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Masonic activity, July 11th - Songs of innocence and of experience [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Douglas Spencer

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Masonic activity, July 11th [Jul. 15th, 2008|05:05 pm]
Douglas Spencer
In that three-questions meme a while ago, someone said that they really didn't know what Freemasonry was all about. Well, here's a post to let you know what life as a Freemason is like.

We had a Chapter meeting on Friday 11th. This meeting was an "exaltation", a meeting when we get a Freemason and introduce him to an extra bit of Freemasonry called the Royal Arch. The ceremony comes in two parts: in the first part we take the candidate through a sort of dramatic presentation, and in the second part there's a series of lectures communicating various aspects of the order -- they're called the Historical, Symbolical and Mystical lectures. These lectures have to be done from memory, and this year it's supposed to be my job to present the Historical lecture.

The first part of the ceremony, the dramatic presentation bit, is largely in the hands of an officer called the Principal Sojourner. There's about eight to ten pages of script to learn including two long monologues. I was Principal Sojourner for about four years running a few years ago, and I've gained a bit of a reputation for delivering it well if I get dropped into the role at short notice when someone's absent.

On Monday 7th we had a rehearsal for the forthcoming meeting. It transpired at this meeting that the person who was going to do the Mystical lecture was going to be absent, and this proved to be a problem. You see, while the Historical and Symbolical lectures can be deferred to a subsequent occasion, the Mystical lecture is compulsory -- in a ceremony like Friday's, it can never be omitted. And so we decide that we'd defer the Historical and Symbolical lectures, and we'd share the Mystical lecture amongst other companions.

Including me.

So with four days notice, I had to do the middle section of the Mystical lecture -- a lecture I've heard quite a few times, but which I've never had to deliver. And there's some rather intricate verbal origami in the middle of my section, a sort of semantic tongue-twister. Great if you get it right, but it's very easy to stumble over it and fudge it up somewhat.

So when someone asks what being a Freemason is like, it's like this -- every now and then, you get landed with a bit of ceremony unexpectedly, and usually at short notice. Sometimes it's something you've done before, and a little while mugging up means you'll get by... and sometimes it's something that's substantial and new.

It went passably well, but I hope that by the time delivering the Mystical lecture is actually my job (in two years time) I'll be able to do a better job.

[User Picture]From: julia_winolj
2008-07-15 04:16 pm (UTC)
Good to see that you are sitting there communicating hard with your mother!!
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2008-07-15 04:17 pm (UTC)
She's doing Sudoku...
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[User Picture]From: the_magician
2008-07-15 04:29 pm (UTC)
Well done ... it's better to do it from memory than from the book, which seems to happen at a lot of the smaller Chapters where people effectively have to take on whatever job on the evening as someone hasn't turned up ...

... where does your Chapter meet?
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2008-07-15 04:50 pm (UTC)
Upper Thames and Hogarth Chapter (8696) meets in the Masonic Centre in Henley-on-Thames, the first Friday in May (Installation), the second Friday in July, and the third Friday in September.

I'm currently in Craft in London, and in Royal Arch in Oxfordshire. In September I'm going into Rose Croix in Berkshire. It occurs to me that when I join other orders I should do so each time in a new province: Mark in Surrey, RAM in Buckinghamshire, KT somewhere else...
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[User Picture]From: the_magician
2008-07-15 05:14 pm (UTC)
If you fancy doing Mark/RAM in Surrey, I know someone who can introduce you in Croydon (Addiscombe) :-)

Mark & RAM are usually done together, so doing one in one place and the other somewhere else is going to get needlessly complex!
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[User Picture]From: gaspode
2008-07-15 08:44 pm (UTC)
Well - I believe it was me who asked ... Am I any clearer ? Um no .. But I am interested ...
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2008-07-15 09:03 pm (UTC)
Ask me when we're in the same place at some point, and we can talk about it in more depth.
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