by kayes, a Past Master twice over of an Emulation Lodge

(this article was first published in The Chisel, Jan/Feb issue 1986)

Taking the Chair may be an achievement but it also brings with it an unbroken chain of worries for the ensuing year, beginning at least a month from Installation Day. Suddenly it dawns on Master Elect that it is no easy task being Master and one starts to wonder how some Masters seemed to have done everything with such ease and confidence. Did they have photographic memories or perhaps they have little tape recorders behind their ears?

They say if you start well, all will end well. The Installation Meeting should be relatively simple. Nothing much to do except to invest officers and to close the Lodge but will I be hit with an unexpected bout of stage fright? How many risings? Three or four? And when do I ask District Grand Master whether he wishes to retire? How do I invest the Deacons? Right or left side of pedestal? Remember to speak loud enough with clear diction. Don't smoke too much as it will turn you hoarse and definitely not too much scotch as it causes surprise lapses in memory.

First Regular Meeting and why has it got to be a Third Degree? Impossible to peep at any cue cards. Being not of athletic build I hope I will not fall over in attempting to raise a candidate who is a mere 250 lbs! Have to rely greatly on Director of Ceremonies. Just can't get the Exhortation and Charge right. Which one comes first? Exhortation or Charge? Traditional History even worse. Hope I don't throw in a paragraph of the Tracing Board into the Traditional History. Do not hit candidate with Heavy Mall - only simulate it!

Second Regular Meeting and it is a First Degree. Why can't they have it in a sequence? It will sure make things more logical. Must do well, as it is important for candidate to follow the entire ceremony and understand at least half of what is being said. Why can't all three degrees be done without the lights on? No one can see a red face in the dark! Charge after Initiation must be flawless and what? Did you say District Grand Master is coming? Will the lights and airconditioning fail? They say DGM is on Emulation and no slip up gets by unnoticed and Assistant District Grand Master may come also? He too is on Emulation? Perhaps I will have to fall sick or arrange a business trip to Siberia.

Third Regular Meeting and it is another Initiation. Should be easier this time. A month is not long enough to forget but it seems it will be a Raising again next month. At the rate things are going, I may be the only Master who has not done a Passing! Junior Deacon suddenly called away on urgent business and Inner Guard is ill. Who are the possible replacements? Can D of C and Assistant D of C take over? Did his proposer ask the candidate to come at all?

Committee Meeting and Treasurer reports that funds are critically low and threatens to resign because brethren are not responding to his pleas. Director of Ceremonies says attendance at Lodge of Instruction poor. Caterer says he will not serve any more food as the constantly varying dinner times are driving his microwave ovens crazy. Someone says he has not been receiving Summonses for three months and Secretary asks for his postcode. Discussion on Charity and that word reveals a myriad of interpretations.

Visitation Night. Hope all brethren particularly officers are punctual. Are there sufficient people to help at the bar? Do not wish to see visitors outnumbering us. Wonder whether seating arrangements at Festive Board are properly done. New caterer - hope he serves at least warm food and hot coffee. Tell the Scots we do not have haggis. Irish coffee yes.

Installation Meeting and glad to know one is vacating the Chair but no sooner starts to miss it. District Grand Master is definitely attending. Make sure generators are in working order and candles ready. Must remember Inner Working. Do not close Board of Installed Masters prematurely. Propose the toast to the new Worshipful Master and everything's over. Now to start worrying about the job of being the Immediate Past Master.


Any stories/experiences to share? Use the form below:-



Diane Clements, Director of the Library & Museum of Freemasonry, London

Freemasonry is alive and well in the 21st century as people seek sanctuary from the tribulations of everyday life. Steeped in history and surrounded by myth, the highly secretive society dates back to the Knights Templar, claims 5 million members worldwide. A lot of people are finding in the 21st century that organised religion is not answering their needs and for some people Freemasonry is the answer. This is basically an 18th century organisation operating in the 21st century but membership is healthy and stable. Modern Freemasonry with its plethora of arcane symbols and secret rituals dates its origins back to 1717.

John Coles<>

Hi Kayes Freemasonry would be the answer in solving all the world's problems. Lionel apparently passed away about 15 years ago. His family lived in Butterworth. I have got some early '70s 'photos of Penang somewhere. I will try and fish them out. I used to like all the different celebrations there especially Thaipusam. Sarah West was her maiden name. She is probably married by now. She used to have blonde hair. I also see that you collect watches. I do too. I also collect Japanese WW11 militaria. I don't ever remember seeing much of it when I lived in the Far East. John

Nabo Ishie<>

Hi Kayes, I find that it is very hard to find people in Malaysia that have same interest and passion especially in esotericism as I do. People might mistaken us as atheist but in fact, what we are not atheists but those humble ones who wanted to explore deep in the knowledge and intricate workings of the Nature Currently i reading something about Opus Dei, P2 Lodge in Italy and its connection with Italian right-wing parties (Avanguardia Nazionale) the scandal involving Vatican during the 80s when the God's banker, Roberto Calvi was found dead. Regards Max

Stuart Thorpe<>

That's really interesting. I haven't heard of W.Bro Bevan My Masoniccareer is shorter than yours! I joined Forest of Arden Lodge No 3826 in 1993, and was Installed in 2000. in April 2003 I joined St Paul's Lodge No 43, and was Installed in January this year. On Monday we elect our WM for next year, and all the indications are that it will be me! I'm also in Royal Arch and Mark. I design websites for several Lodges, and run a Masonic website hosting company.


Did you see the movie "National Treasure" starring Nicholas Cage? A highly successful motion picture and yet another one that uses Freemasonry as the selling theme. Well, everyone loves secret signs and buried treasures! However, Freemasonry is again wrongly portrayed in the film even though some aspects of Masonry were correctly stated. The mistaken beliefs perpetuated are that Freemasons are heirs to the Knights Templars and emblems that are alleged to be Masonic symbols are hidden in US currency notes. It also shows that the Square & Compasses are drawn at the back of the Declaration of Independence. The film was thoroughly fiction but nevertheless, I enjoyed it as an adventure movie.

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