Hands


   

                    Hands
                      or
                "take me as I take you"

The human hand consists of twenty seven bones that are moved by thirty five 
powerful muscles, of which fifteen are in the forearm.  The twenty muscles 
within the hand itself are arranged so that the hand and fingers can make a 
variety of precise movements.  A man's hands are often a true indication of the 
crafts and skills of their owner.  Long tapered fingers are found on an artist 
or a musician.  Big expansive hands are found on a carpenter or bricklayer.

In the era of uncivilized man, the upraised open hand was a sign that no weapon 
was being concealed and was therefore a sign of "peace".  Still later, and in a 
similar vein, when knights wore armour, to remove a gauntlet and extend a bare 
hand was a sign that though the knight was dressed for battle he came in peace.  
Even today we remove a glove to shake hands.  Though we may never have known for 
this reason of etiquette, we are stating by action rather than words, "I won't 
hurt you" -- "I will gladly take your hand because I trust you".

For centuries, hand clasps or grips have served as modes of recognition and 
friendly greetings.  It seems only fitting that "hands" were used with 
significance in freemasony from its earliest times.  Indeed our ancient brethren 
the operative mason, made his living with his "hand tools".

From time immemorial, the hand has played an important part in our search for 
masonic light.  In token of brotherly love and friendship, grips and words were 
exchanged so one mason may know another, in the dark as well as the light.

Let us be good stewards of that which we have received and enjoy masonry by 
extending the "hand of brotherly love".  If you point a finger at someone, be 
careful of why you are pointing.  Remember, as one finger points toward another 
person, three fingers are pointing back at you.

The strong grip of a master mason can accomplish many things.  Shake the hand of 
your brother with pride.  Be proud of your lodge.  Be proud of freemasonry.  
Don't loose your grip.  You have earned the right to take me as I take you.
	           

A paper compiled by r.W. Brother stan payne
from two articles by w. Bro. Harold grainger
and w. Bro. Orville wessler



the lions paw


for centuries, hand clasps or grips have served as modes of recognition and 
friendly greetings.  The earliest recorded incident of such practice is recorded 
in ii kings 10:15 when joab met jehonadab, and being uncertain whether jehonadab 
was friend or foe asked him "is you heart right with my heart, if so give me 
your hand".


Masons ask "what has a lion to do with masonry?"  the lion has been, and is, the 
national emblem of several countries and organizations as well as the land of 
judah.  This emblem was emblazined on their armor, and on the banners under 
which they fought their battles.


Perhaps when we discover why the lion was so chosen by the tribe of judah, we 
may also see why the lions paw occupies such a prominent place in our ritual, 
and in the hearts of so many masons.


Jacob, grandson of abraham, and father of the 12 tribes of israel, pronounced a 
blessing and prophesy concerning judah, that made this tribe outstanding among 
the other eleven tribes.  Blind and on his death bed, with all of his sons 
present, he called each one, in the order of their birth, and blessed them and 
foretold their individual places in the future nation.  To judah he said "you 
are a lion's whelp".  (whelp means young lion or cub) "you will head the royal 
line and furnish the ruler of the nation".


He said "the scepter shall not depart from judah".  (gen. 49:9 the "lion of 
judah" then had nothing to do with the lion being the king of beasts for he was 
not a member of the animal kingdom at all.  Neither is he merely a resident of 
the land of judah, as some may suppose.  He is a person, a particular person; a 
descendant of judah, the fourth son of jacob.


Who, then, is the lion of judah, this king or ruler?  Is his reign past, present 
or future?  Looking into mackeys' encyclopedia of freemasonry we find under 
"lion of judah" this definition:

"refers to christ who brought life and immortality to light"

"a symbol of the resurrection"

               a paper condensed by r.W. Bro. Stan payne
	           from the royal arch magazine spring 1985.
Ancient masonic language


many words in our masonic rituals were in common useage at one time but have 
since become obsolete and are no longer generally used by society.


Where else can we find words like "due-guard", "cabletow", "cowans", 
"eavesdroppers", "hele" or "tyler".  Where else except in a masonic lodge do you 
hear "so mote it be" used in response to prayer?  Masonry has a language all its 
own and we are proud of it.  When we speak to the master in the lodge we use the 
term "worshipful master" as a title of respect.  How many people use this 
expression.  How many people, except we masons, ever use word combinations such 
as "worthy and well qualified", "duly and truly", "stand to and abide by", 
"promise and swear", "parts and points".


These words come to use from 13th century england where two languages were used, 
the native anglo-saxon and the conquering norman-french.  With two competing 
tongues and the necessity for co-existence, there was a vital need for two way 
expression so that each was understood.  The word "worshipful" has no religious 
meaning in our ritual but is derived from the old english word "worchyp" that 
was used as a title of respect.


Another word which is still used but has an entirely different use then it's 
former meaning is "charity".  When our ritual was first used and the first bible 
printed "charity" meant "love".  But love in our language today can mean 
anything from the score of a tennis match to the affection that god has for his 
children.


Those words which we use, my brethren are as much the "badge of a mason" as much 
as our apron or square and compasses.  We must not only see the badge but also 
hear it.  For those masons who are of the opinion that we should modernize our 
rituals by changing these words, it is my opinion that they should not be 
changed.  These are the kinds of things that lead to the mystique of our 
organization.  It is not changing our rituals that will improve our craft that 
can only be through education.
	                           R. W. Bro. Stan payne










tumbo chien
or
choosing the drummer;
a warning or an awakening


tumbo chien, is a pronounciation of the classic greek for "I prepare my 
sepulchre".  It is used in this paper as an allusion to actions and efforts of 
some so-called leaders of freemasonry, over the last decades, to dig our own 
grave as a fraternity.


However, this is not a discussion of what is wrong with the masonic fraternity 
or the masonic family; this is not a jeremiad of gloom, doom, and despair - it 
is simply an attempt to refocus our attention upon a very basic issue.  This 
issue is controlling and is of paramount importance, but it is largely ignored 
amid all the noise.


We must have a focus, because we are told that there is a path to renewal, and 
we are exhorted to follow the beat of a drummer.  There is, however, more than 
one drummer and the drum-rolls lead along different paths.  If we choose a 
drummer to follow, the choice should be made by the quality of his drumming and 
the direction of his path - not simply by the volume of sound and the glitter of 
his drum.


Of all the pathways, panaceas, and snake-oil we are offered to cure our decline 
in membership and interest, none of the trails nor nostrums offer any insight or 
inquiry into the fundamental issue.  That fundamental issue, the chief stone of 
the corner, the foundation of inquiry, and the question that must be asked and 
answered before all else is this: What is a man seeking when he joins a secret 
society?


We can begin by understanding that secret societies have various common 
elements:

1) secrecy: Their forms and ceremonies are kept from the world-at-large, and 
they go to great lengths to inculcate the necessity for preserving this secrecy 
(even if it is actually non-existent).

2) exclusiveness: They are not for everyone.  There are very strict admission 
requirements. Usually, the paramount rule is "men only".

3) hierarchical: There is a progressive system of status, and a stratification 
based upon esoteric grades.

4) ordeal: There is an initiatory ordeal, the reasons for which are explained as 
follows:

" a man can be given only what he can use; and he can use only that for which he 
has sacrificed something.  This is the law of human nature.  So if a man wants 
to get help to acquire important knowledge or new powers, he must sacrifice 
other things important to him at the moment.  Moreover, he can only get as much 
as he has given up for it..."


5) mythic origin: They have an elaborate mythical history of their origin, which 
they also use to inculcate their system of ethics and discipline.  Some mythic 
systems have a factual basis that is used in a mythological context, some are 
outright fabrications (an example of the former is the craft legend; and example 
of the latter is the shrine initatory skit).

6) self-contained: They go to great lengths to separate themselves from society-
at-large, to be self-sufficient and independent.


In essence: Secrecy, hierarchy, exclusion, ordeal, myth, and independence.  Why, 
then, do men join?

Men join secret societies because they use secrecy to organise their 
personalities and regulate their relationships to outher members of their 
species.  That is, they use secrecy to circumscribe their desires and keep their 
passions within due bounds toward other of their species, especially members of 
the society.


How many of us, as children, did not have "secrets" we shared withother 
children; did we not feel special because we had those "secrets"?  Secrecy, in 
this context, is used to make us different; if it does not make us different, 
then we reject it.  If our secret connexion makes us different, we hold to it 
with tenacious loyalty.


Today, masonic "authorities" without understanding of secret societies - but 
with vast understanding of financial matters and their own titles and prestige - 
have rationalised the craft down to a state of equalitarian mediocrity.  As a 
result, men who would otherwise be clamouring for admission into the craft are 
simply not interested.  They are not interested because ther is nothing to 
indicate that masonic membership makes a man one iota different or better than 
any other man!  All aminals are elitist; every man wants to be better than his 
fellows (whether he will admit it - even to himself - or not).  If anyone can be 
a mason, who would want to be one?

The average man, however, who does not immediately see that his organisation is 
satisfying his needs is not going to do what a few of us have done - which is to 
adopt masonry as part of a divine quest.  He is not going to discover masonry by 
diligent inquiry and make up for what his organisations fail to give him by 
pulling himself up by his masonic bootstraps.  He is going to be disappointed 
and lose interest, although he may continue to pay lip service - and his annual 
dues - to the fraternity.  The forms and ceremonies may be impressive, but empty 
words and ceremony cannot endure without substance.  As one fellow told a past 
grand commander in florida: "they took me by the and and led me into the lodge; 
they took me by the hand and led me into the rite; they took me by the hand and 
led me into the shrine; they took me everywhere, but they didn't teach me 
anything"!


Participation is not being ingrained in the member as much as the perceived 
importance of progressive initiation into a myriad of post-raising orders and 
societies.  Performance is not prized so much as promotion.


We devote too much time to soliciting, qualifying, and initiating members, and 
forget what to do with them after initiation (besides handing them a petition 
for some other degree or order).  We, with rare exceptions, cannot teach them 
anything of substance because we know nothing of substance ourselves.  While 
there are many masons who can parrot liturgy, very few understand the meaning of 
the words they are reciting.  We teach catechism without comprehension, panoply 
without philosophy.  We impress the new member with - if anything - our own 
ignorance.


We must understand and admit this; if the firm foundation is not laid in the 
lodge, it is the fault of freemasonry - not the initiate. The unfruitful 
initiate was either admitted for the wrong reasons or we misused him afterward.  
If he was willing and eager to give up something (money, time, monday night 
football, etc.) in order to get something from freemasonry, we ought to have had 
something to give him besides a set of booklets and another petition.


Given all these considerations and shortcomings that have crept into the craft - 
which place a wedge between the man and the secret society that he is seeking so 
desparately (whether he knows it or not) - we should know what to do about it.


Yet: We are asked to follow the beat of one drummer toward slick promotional 
brochures, films, recruiting campaigns, license plates, toll-free telephone 
numbers, and solicitation.  Fraternity is not a commodity that can be mass-
merchandised like underarm deodorant.

If we don't know what we're selling, nor why the fellows buy, then we're 
merchandising ashes with a huckster's empty cry.


The drumbeat we must follow is that which will lead us to the knowledge of the 
strong grip needed to draw freemasonry from the tomb we have prepared for it.  
It is a drumbeat that calls us to so order our efforts that every man will 
understand and believe that there is something in the masonic lodge that he 
cannot obtain anywhere else.  He must leave every masonic meeting with the 
conviction that he has done something that he could not have done somewhere 
else.  He must believe that he is special because he is a mason, he is better 
than the average man.  He must believe that being a mason raises him to a higher 
level of understanding and duty.  We must believe these things, and we must 
dedicate ourselves and our lodges to making those beliefs as much the truth to 
other masons as they are to us.  For, if we did not believe, would you or I be 
here today.

           Paper condensed from an article by
	       r.W. Bro.Wm. a bessent, grand lodge of florida