Tag Archives: arts and letters

The Apron Symbolism

More ancient than the Golden Fleece

Whose story shines in classic lore:

Or Roman Eagle—which portrayed

Chivalric deeds in dare of yore.

 

More honored than the Knightly Star,

Or Royal Garter, it must be;

A symbol you should fondly keep

From spot and stain forever free.

 

It may be that in coming years,

As time shall all your labors test:

That laurel leaves of Victory

Shall on your brow in honor rest.

 

Yea, from your breast may jewels hang

fit for diadem to grace:

And sparkling gems of beauty rare

May on your person find a place.

 

Nay more, perchance which coming light,

Your feet may tread the path of fame:

Which in our Mystic order leads

To glory, and an honored name.

 

Yes, on your shoulders there may rest

The purple which we hold so dear:

That ensign which our progress marks

In high fraternal Circles here.

 

But never more can you receive

From mortal hand while here below:

An emblem which such honor brings

As this one—which I now bestow.

 

Until your spirit shall have passed

Beyond the pearly gates above:

May this the “Badge of Innocence”

Remind you of your vows of love.

 

‘Tis yours to wear throughout your life,

‘Til death shall call your soul to God;

Then on your casket to be placed,

When you shall sleep beneath the sod.

 

Its spotless surface is a type

Of that which marks a noble mind:

The rectitude of heart and life,

Which in its teachings you should find.

 

And when at last your weary feet

Shall reach the goal awaiting all:

And from your tired nerveless grasp

The working tools of life shall fall.

 

May then the record of your life,

reflect the pure and spotless white

Of this fair token which I place

Within your keeping here tonight.

 

And as your naked soul shall stand

Before the great white house throne of light;

And judgement for the deeds of earth

Shall issue there—to bless or blight;

 

Then may you hear the Welcome Voice

That tells of endless joys begun,

As God shall own your faithfulness,

And greet you with the words, “Well Done.”

— N A McAulay, The Builder, Anamosa, Iowa, December, 1916

Let There Be Light

Let there be light! the Almighty spoke—

Refulgent streams from chaos broke,

To ilume the rising earth!

Well pleased the Great Jehovah stood,

And gave the planets brith!

In choral numbers Masons join

To bless and praise this Light Divine.

 

Parent of light! accept our praise,

Who shed’st on us thy brightest rays—

The light that fills the mind!

By choice selected, lo! we stand,

By Friendship joined, a mystic band,

That love, that aid mankind!

In choral numbers Masons join

To bless and praise this Light Divine.

 

The Widow’s tears we often dry,

The Orphan’s wants out hands supply,

As far as power is given;

The naked clothe, the prisoner free—

These are our works, sweet Charity!

Reveal’d to us from Heaven!

In choral numbers Masons join

To bless and praise this Light Divine.

— From The Freemason’s Repository for 1797

Each In His Own Tongue

A fire-mist and a planet—

A crystal and a cell

A jelly-fish and a saurian,

And caves where the cave-men dwell;

Then a sense of law and beauty

And a face turned from the clod—

Some call it Evolution,

And others call it God.

 

A haze on the far horizon,

The infinite, tender sky,

The rich ripe tint of the cornfields,

And the wild geese sailing high—

And all over the uplands and lowland

The charm of the golden rod—

Some of us call it Autumn,

And others call it God.

 

Like the tides on a crescent sea-beach,

When the moon is new and thin,

Into our hearts high yearnings

Come welling and surging in—

Come from the mystic ocean

Whose rim no foot has trod—

Some of us call it Longing,

And others call it God.

 

A picket frozen on duty—

A mother starved for her brood—

Socrates drinking the hemlock

And Jesus on the rood;

And millions who, humble and nameless,

The straight hard pathway plod—

Some call it Consecration,

And others call it God.

— William Herbert Carruth

To this beautiful conception, Deputy Grand Master Roe Fulkerson, Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, has added the following inspiration:

Brethren banded together

Hand in hand for good,

Joined for mankind’s uplift,

United in brotherhood.

Each of the band a builder,

Faces turned from the sod;

Some folks call it Masonry

And others call it God.

“Unto the Least of These”

Hail, Craftsman, hail! Canst thou in honor say

Thou hast fulfilled the glory of this day,

Ere thou hast heard the plea of those who miss

A mother’s holy love, a father’s kiss?

 

Tho’ from thy lavish hand such riches pour

As even princes had not known before,

Hast though much given while a Brother’s child

Wakes to a dawn on which Christ has not smiled?

If Thou hast children, or the memories

Of dear soft lips that once thy cheek didst know,

Give to the orphaned waifs and thou wilt please

The Master who hath said long, long ago:

“As ye have done it to the least of these,

Thus ye have done it unto Me also.”

— George Sanford Holmes, from The Square & Compass, December 1921

God’s Freemasonry

Here in a lodge of pines I sit;

The canopy thrown over it

Is heaven’s own of very blue;

Due east and west its precincts lie

And always the all-seeing eye

Of summer’s sun is shining through.

 

Its portals open to the west;

The chipmunk gray and sober dressed,

The tyler is: You see him dodge

To challenge every new alarm:

He has no sword upon his arm

But well he guards this secret lodge.

 

Out master is that giant pine

Who bends o’er us with mein divine

To keep the lodge in order trim:

His wardens are two gray-beard birch

Who sit like elders in a church

Or make decorous bows to him.

 

The deacons are two slender trees,

Who move about whene’er the breeze

Brings orders from the master’s seat;

Our organist? Where thickest glooms

Are darkening in the pine top’s plumes

The brother winds out music beat.

 

Whoever knocks upon the door

To learn the ancient wildwood lore,

That one he is our candidate:

We strip him of his city gear,

And meet him on the level here,

Then to our ways initiate.

 

We slip the hoodwink from his eye

And bid him look on earth and sky

To read the hieroglyphics there;

More ancient these than Golden Fleece

Or Roman Eagle, Tyre, or Greece,

Or Egypt old beyond compare.

 

On grass and stone and flower and sod

Is written down by hand of God

The secrets of this Masonry;

Who has the hoodwink from his eyes

May in these common things surprise

The awful signs of Deity.

 

Here bird and plant and man and beast

Are seeking their Eternal East:

And here in springtime may be heard,

By him who doth such teachings seek

With praying heart, and wise, and meek,

The thundering of the old Lost World.

 

All things that in creation are

From smallest fly to largest star,

In this fellowship may be

For all that floweth out from Him,

From dust to man and seraphim

Belong to God’s freemasonry.

— H L Haywood, from The Builder, December 1918

Hermetic Library Zine

I have been considering putting together a ‘zine. Anyone want to contribute words or images?

Send in your submissions to Hermetic Library Zine

A draft library zine may or may not exist … but if it did it’s an awful mess right now. It’s just about 20 pages of stuff (some graphics, some scans of someone’s notebook and 1 article) I had from the handful of submissions I got back in 2013 for when I tried to start up a journal. (This isn’t that!) I don’t really know what I’m doing with it. I’ve just thrown everything together and started messing with brutally simple layout.

There’s no particular theme right now. And it’d be easier to say what I’m not looking for than what I am looking for, I think. Generally, I think I’m open to anything tangentially related to the subject matter of the library, but not limited to just the scope of what is on the site; and things for which the submitter can offer permission to me to publish, and that don’t directly spill degree related mysteries.

There’s no particular deadline right now. I’ll publish these when I’ve got enough submissions that it feels like time to issue. But, that doesn’t mean to procrastinate. Rather it means send in your stuff so I have it.

I’m vaguely thinking about doing this zine, like how I do the audio pool. The audio pool is a kind of a wild and wooly version of what I do more formally with the music anthology. I’ve thought about doing a zine as a kind of wild and wooly version of what would more formally be done as a journal, if I ever get to re-introduce that.

So, I’m totally in the storming phase here, and haven’t figured out anything yet set in stone, if ever that will be a thing. I’m open to whatever, so if you’ve got an idea let me know, or better yet just show me your idea in a submission.

Ideally, graphic submissions of art or layout should be “camera ready” pages I can just put into the thing. But, as for guidelines on submissions, follow the suggestions provided for general submissions I created for when I tried starting the journal.

Any thoughts or feedback? Got ideas? Wanna talk about it? Send me an email and let’s talk!

Yeah?

Tubal Cain

Old Tubal Cain was a man of might,

In the days when earth was young;

By the fierce red light of his furnace bright,

The strokes of his hammer rung:

And he lifted high his brawny hand

On the iron glowing clear,

Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers,

As he fashioned the sword and the spear.

And he sang: “Hurrah for my handiwork!

Hurrah for the spear and the sword!

Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well,

For he shall be king and lord.”

 

To Tubal Cain came many a one,

As he wrought by his roaring fire,

And each one prayed for a strong steel blade

As the crown of his desire:

And he made them weapons sharp and strong,

Till they shouted loud for glee,

And gave him gifts of pearl and gold,

And spoils of the forest free.

And they sang: “Hurrah for Tubal Cain,

Who hath given us strength anew!

Hurrah for the smith, hurrah for the fire,

And hurrah for the metal true!”

 

But a sudden change came o’er his heart,

Ere the setting of the sun,

And Tubal Cain was filled with pain

For the evil he had done;

He saw that men, with rage and hate,

Made war upon their kind,

That the land was red with the blood they shed,

In their lust for carnage blind.

And he said: “Alas! that ever I made,

Or that skill of mine should plan,

The spear and the sword for men whose joy

Is to slay their fellow man!”

 

And for many a day old Tubal Cain

Sat brooding o’er his woe;

And his hand forbore to smite the ore,

And his furnace smouldered low.

But he rose at last with a cheerful face,

And a bright courageous eye,

And bared his strong right arm for work,

While the quick flames mounted high.

And he sang: “Hurrah for my handiwork!”

And the red sparks lit the air;

“Not alone for the blade was the bright steel made,”—

And he fashioned the first ploughshare.

 

And men, taught wisdom from the past,

In friendship joined their hands,

Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,

And ploughed the willing lands;

And sang: “Hurrah for Tubal Cain!

Our stanch good friend is he;

And for the ploughshare and the plough

To him our praise shall be.

But while oppression lifts its head,

Or a tyrant would be lord,

Though we may thank him for the plough,

We’ll not forget the sword!”

— Charles Mackey, 1915

Is It Masonry?

Is it Masonry

To dare to take God’s name in vain,

Or be careful of our speech;

From evil thoughts and words refrain,

And practice what we preach?

 

Is it Masonry

To boast of your fine jewels,

Or purify your heart;

To be a man and Mason

And act a Mason’s part?

 

Is it Masonry

To fail to help your brothers,

Or your obligations fill?

To leave it for the others,

Or mean and say “I Will”?

— F G Oliver, 1915

The Palace

When I was a King and a Mason—

A Master Proven and skilled—

I cleared me ground for a Palace

Such as a King should build.

I decreed and dug down to my levels;

Presently, under the silt,

I came upon the wreck of a Palace,

Such as a King had built.

 

There was no worth in the fashion—

There was no wit in the plan;

Hither and thither, aimless,

The ruined footings ran.

Masonry, brute, mishandled,

But carven on every stone,

“After me cometh a Builder;

Tell him I, too, have known.”

 

Swift to my use in my trenches,

Where my well-planned groundworks grew,

I tumbled his quoins and his ashlars,

And cut and rest them anew.

Lime I milled of his marbles;

Burned it, slacked it, and spread;

Taking and leaving at pleasure

The gifts of the humble dead.

 

Yet, I despised nor not gloried

Yet, as we wrenched them apart,

I read in the razed foundation

The heart of that builder’s heart.

As he has risen and pleaded,

So did I understand

The form of the dream he had followed

In the face of the thing he had planned.

 

When I was a King and a Mason,

In the open noon of my pride,

They sent me a Word from the Darkness—

They whispered and called me aside.

They said, “The end is forbidden.”

They said, “Thy use is fulfilled.

Thy Palace shall stand as that other’s—

The spoil of a King who shall build.”

 

I called my men from my trenches,

My quarries, my wharves, and my sheers;

All I had wrought I abandoned

To the faith of the faithless years.

Only I cut on the timber—

Only I carved on the stone:

“After me cometh a Builder;

Tell him I, too, have known!”

— Rudyard Kipling