(20220411) Canada: GL Manitoba: News

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(20220411) Canada: GL Manitoba: News
 
Volume 11 | 2022

 

 
 

 

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That’s a good question ?

 

Why Tassels ?
In the English and French Tracing Boards of the First Degree, there are four tassels, one at each angle, which are attached to a cord that surrounds a tracing-board, and which constitutes the true tessellated border. These four cords are described as referring to the four principal points, the Guttural, Pectoral, Manual, and Pedal, and through them to the four cardinal virtues, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice (see Tessellated Border, also Tulith).

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The Hebrew word tsitsith means both fringes and tassels in the Old Testament.

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Note Deuteronomy (xx, 12), where the older translation has fringes and the Revised Version gives borders, the latter agreeing with border of Mark (vi, 56) and Luke (viii, 44). Where the Revised Version has border throughout, the Authorized Version has hem in Matthew (ix, and xiv 36). As symbols of great importance their use was ordered in Numbers (xv, 3S, 40), “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments, throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.”

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~ Mackey

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The Origin Of The Four Tassels

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These are seen in the four corners of the indented border of the lodge carpet. We are told they represent the four cardinal virtues, but this is a late gloss, probably invented towards the close of the 18th century, and there seems no particular reason why they should represent the four cardinal virtues any more than the four elements or any other particular four.

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We find the true origin of these tassels, as of many more obscure points in our ritual, if we study the medieval methods employed by operative masons when laying out the ground plan for a new building. The Master Mason, or architect, commenced his work by striking the centre of the piece of ground on which the building was to be erected, and from it he plotted out the square or rectangle on which the containing walls were subsequently to rise. To do so, he extended ropes from the centre pin to the four corner angles, and pegged these down at the corners of the building; by the simple use of square and triangle he was able to check the four corners and ascertain if they were true.

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As the walls rose, from time to time, a piece of wood was extended from the corner inwards, and a plumb line dropped down to make sure that the walls were perpendicular and the angle was true on its upper tiers as it was at the base. These corner plumb lines lingered on the wall into the middle of the 19th century in Speculative Masonry not merely woven tassels on the carpet, but actual tassels hanging in the four corners of the lodge room; and in the ritual used in the old days it is these hanging tassels to which the four cardinal virtues were attached implying, that these were guides to enable a man to maintain an upright life.

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In the Grand Temple at Great Queen Street London the four cardinal virtues – Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice, are represented in mosaic, in the four corners of the ceiling.

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Like many other old and interesting customs, these tassels seem to have disappeared, and we are left with a symbolic representation of the four ends of the rope in the corners of our lodge carpet.

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We can thank The Queensland Freemason, February 2008 issue for article researched by Martin P.S. Haywood.

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Thoughts for the Day

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The most dangerous phrase in Masonry is,

‘Because we have always done it this way’.

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Conceit is a privilege of the ignorant, the wise man is humble because he realizes how little he knows.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

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Famous Freemason

 

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was husband and consort of Queen Elizabeth II, born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on June 10th, 1921in Mon Repos on the Greek Island of Corfu. He was the only son and the fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. Phillip’s maternal grandfather had adopted the name Mountbatten during World War I after he renounced his German titles, Phillip later adopted the same name. When Phillip was still an infant, the Greco-Turkish was was being waged. Things went poorly for the Greeks and Phillip’s family was forced to flee Greece for France. Phillips first went to school at an American School in Paris. In 1928 he was sent to England to attend Cheam School. Over the next three years, Phillip’s sisters married German noblemen and moved to Germany. In 1933 Philip was sent to Schule Schloss Salem, a German boarding school it’s founder, Kurt Hahn, was Jewish and was persecuted in the early days of Nazism in Germany. Hahn fled to Scotland and opened a new school, which Phillip transferred to after two terms in Salem. In 1937, Phillip’s sister Cecilie, along with her husband, two sons and mother-in-law, were killed in a plane crash.

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In 1939, Philip left school and joined the Royal Navy attending the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England. It was at the college he first met, then princess, Elizabeth. King George VI, Elizabeth’s father, asked Phillip to escort Elizabeth and her sister Margaret. Elizabeth was thirteen at the time and the two began exchanging letters.

In 1940, Phillip graduated from the Royal Naval College, as the best cadet in his course. Phillip served on a variety of ships during World War II. Notably he was mentioned in dispatches, a term referring to a commanding officer mention a person by name in reference to gallant or meritorious actions, for his actions during the Battle of Cape Matapan.

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By 1942 he was promoted to first lieutenant and was one of the youngest at the age of 21. In 1943, as second in command he saved his ship from a night bomber attack. He devised a plan to launch a raft with smoke floats successfully distracting the bombers allowing the ship to slip away. By 1944 he was stationed on the HMS Whelp which was sent to the Pacific and was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese instrument of surrender was signed. By 1946, Phillip was back in England and assigned as an instructor on the HMS Royal Arthur, the Petty Officers’ School in Corsham, Wiltshire.

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In the summer of 1946, Phillip asked King George VI permission to marry Princess Elizabeth. The King agreed provided any formal engagement wait until Elizabeth’s twenty-first birthday in April of 1947. By the March before the engagement, Phillip had abandoned his Greek and Danish Royalties and adopted the surname Mountbatten. He was also a fully naturalized British citizen. Princess Elizabeth and Phillip were married in Westminster Abbey later in 1947. Their wedding was broadcast live on BBC Radio to over 200 million listeners. Phillip’s three remaining sisters were not allowed to attend the wedding due to their German husbands, some with ties to the Nazis.

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After their marriage, Phillip remained in the Navy. He eventually attained the rank of Commander before leaving the service. His active career ended in 1951. It was around this time the King was ill in health, Elizabeth and Phillip were appointed to the King’s privy council before they set out on a coast to coast tour of Canada and a tour of the British Commonwealth. While they were in Kenya in February of 1952, news reached the couple the King had passed away. Phillip was the one who broke the news to Elizabeth. The couple returned to England immediately. From the moment Elizabeth ascended to the throne, Phillip has been by her side. The Queen in a speech described him as her “constant strength and guide.”

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Prince Phillip has been described as “down to earth.” An anecdote from a visit to Washington, D.C. where two White House butlers were engaged by Prince Phillip seems to confirm this. The butlers claimed Phillip engaged them in conversation and even poured the two men drinks. In 1957 he stated in reference to republicanism “It is a complete misconception to imagine that the monarchy exists in the interests of the monarch. It doesn’t. It exists in the interests of the people. If at any time any nation decides that the system is unacceptable, then it is up to them to change it.” Phillip has also run into trouble from time to time with his sharp wit where some have called him insensitive, this generally is from people outside the situation looking in.

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It should also be noted when Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris, Mohamed Fayed, father of Dodi Fayed, who was also killed in the accident accused Prince Phillip of ordering Diana’s death. This was just a year after the divorce of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. An investigation found no conspiracy surrounding the death of Princess Diana.

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Prince Phillip was the patron of many charities.

Prince Phillip is the longest lived male member of the British Royal Family. The record for the longest lived descendant of Queen Victoria is currently at 95 years, 6 months and five days. Prince Phillip will surpassed the record on December 13th, 2016.

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Prince Phillip joined Navy Lodge No 2612 in London, England in 1953.Prince Phillip passed away on April 9th, 2021.

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Source: MasonryToday

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE: OF THE LEGEND OF HIRAM ABIFF

by Conrad Hahn, P.C.M.

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This Short Talk Bulletin has been adapted from a speech given by the late Most Worshipful Brother Conrad Hahn, in 1972, while serving as the Executive Secretary of the Masonic Service Association.

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The legend of “Hiram, the widow’s son,” is the foundation of Freemasonry’s ritualistic drama of the third, or Master’s Degree. While it would be improper to reveal the details of the drama as it is presented in the lodge room, or to make public the ritualistic secrets and symbolism which it contains, the story of Hiram is so well known and has been referred to in Masonic writings so frequently that it has become a part of the cultural heritage of civilized men everywhere.

Briefly stated, the Hiramic legend is as follows: When Solomon, King of Israel, under-took the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, he sent to Hiram, King of Tyre, for materials and assistance. In exchange for agricultural products like corn and wine and oil, King Hiram sent Solomon cedar trees cut from the forests of Lebanon and a skilled and cunning worker in metals. These facts may be found in the Old Testament, especially in Chapter 7 of I Kings and Chapter 2 of 11 Chronicles, where the skilled artisan, named Hiram, is referred to as the “son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali” whose husband was “a man of Tyre.”

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This much of the Masonic legend of Hiram comes from the Bible; but the story known to Masons has a tragically different development. Hiram, called Abiff (which is simply a Hebrew expression for “father,” a term of respect), worked for King Solomon at Jerusalem, not only in casting all the metallic ornaments for the Temple, but also as a Master of the Works, a superintending architect.

More than 85,000 workmen were employed in the building of the Temple; it took approximately seven years to complete. To those workmen who labored faithfully on the project was promised the status of Master Workman, or Mason, upon its completion.

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But some time before the Temple’s completion, some of the workmen became dissatisfied and demanded the promotion which they had been promised. Not being organized like modern employees and being used to the harsher and more brutal modes of direct action characteristic of the more primitive times in which they lived, they sought the higher wages and fringe benefits of a Master Workman by conspiring to extort them from Hiram Abiff.

If spite of their violent threats, Hiram steadfastly refused to yield to their demands. Reminding them of their obligations to King Solomon and his God, he resolutely insisted that they honor the contracts by which he and they were bound. Three of them, more brutal than the rest, conspired to attack Master Hiram to force the concessions they were demanding; but he, being faithful to his trust, was more adamant in his refusal, and they in their wrath slew him in the unfinished Temple.

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That, essentially, is the legend of Hiram which has become in Masonry one of the most impressive ritualistic dramas of all time. Historically-minded Brethren continue to wonder from whence it came and whose imagination and gifts of language transmitted it into the matchless drama which furnishes the core of “the sublime degree of Master Mason.”

Certainly, the tragedy of Hiram is not to be found in the Bible. If only one Hiram is refer-red to in the Old Testament, the story of his assassination is not corroborated in either I Kings or 11 Chronicles; for there we read as follows: “So Hiram finished all the work he did for King Solomon on the House of the Lord.”

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Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, the most gifted and inspiring of Masonic writers fifty years ago, chose to believe that the tragic story of Hiram was long in the possession of operative Masons from the Middle Ages down to the dawn of Speculative Masonry in the 17th and 18th centuries. This I seriously doubt, since no mention of Hiram is to be found in any of the Old Charges and Gothic Constitutions, or in any of the remnants of old ritualistic practices to be found in the records of operative lodges which date from 100 years or more before the founding of the first Grand Lodge, which marks the beginning of the era of modern Speculative Freemasonry in 1717 . Had there been even a shred of evidence that the Hiramic legend existed in Masonry before that date, I feel sure that Dr. James Anderson would have known of it and used it in the legendary history of the Craft which he published in The Con-situations of the Freemasons in 1723.

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Furthermore, modern Masonic scholars have shown rather conclusively that there was no tri-gradual system of initiation during the period of operative Masonry, that there was no third or Master Mason Degree as a rite or ceremony before the creation of the Premier Grand Lodge in 1717. The first recital of the Hiramic legend as the dramatic cornerstone of a third or Master Mason’s degree appears in an expose of the ritual of Freemasonry entitled Masonry Disseeted, written by a Samuel Prichard and published in London in 1730.

Consequently, it seems a logical conclusion to assume that the Master Mason Degree, and with it, the legend of Hiram Abiff, were introduced into Freemasonry when it became a speculative, or philosophic organization.

Just where did the legend of Hiram come from? No one really knows; scholars have yet to discover its origins and its introduction into Freemasonry. My own scholarly prejudices lead me to believe that it’s a re-working of some mediaeval mystery play, whose original may yet be discovered in a private library or the rubbish of an ancient building.

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Mystery plays were the most popular form of public entertainment in the Middle Ages. Each guild or trade had its own preferred dramas; most of them were Biblical in origin. They were produced, staged and acted by members of the guild, first in churches, and then in public squares, to which they were banished when the plays became too boisterious and irreverant for the sacerdotal authorities.

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These drams were called mysteries, not because they treated of witches, ghosts, or detectives, but because they were produced by craft guilds or “mysteres,” which is variant of the French word “mestaire,” a craft or guild. So the plays became known in England as mysteres, or mysteries, because they were produced by “mestaires,” or guilds. The expression, “the mysteries of Freemasonry,” therefore, originally meant the ritualistic ceremonies, or work of the Lodge.

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To Masons who thirst for historical certain-ty about Hiram Abiff and his position in Masonic ritual, I can only give a dusty answer. It’s not really important.

It’s a mistake to consider the Hiramic legend as history. There was a Hiram Abiff in history, but our Third Degree is not interested in him as such. The drama of Hiram is a conflict of a man with other men, of an individual against evil forces embodied in other men.

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Hiram Abiff is the dramatized symbol of the human soul-of mine, of yours, of every man. The work he was engaged in is symbolic of the work which you and I are committed to perform in the supervision, organization and direction of our lives from birth to dissolution. The enemies that Hiram meets are really symbols of those lusts and passions and failures of the spirit which in ourselves and others make war on our characters and spiritual aspirations.

In my opinion, this symbolic increment to the Hiramic legend was added by one of the Speculative Masons of the early Eighteenth Century, by someone with the education and philosophical attainments of a man like Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers or other Rosicrucian adept.

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Hiram’s death was also his triumph–as the resurrection of truth over ignorance is always a victory, in spite of its being buried for a while in the rubbish of scorn and deliberate persecution.

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This is the real importance of the legend of Hiram, that it still stirs men to serve the Truth by steadfastly maintaining the necessity of their noblest aspirations, even to apparent defeat in death, out of which can arise a more perfect Living Perpendicular!

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Edwin Booth, the famous actor and loyal Mason, was no mean judge of the essence of tragedy; he evaluated the Hiramic legend in these words:

“In all my research and study, in all my close analysis of the masterpieces of Shakespeare, in my earnest determination to make those plays appear real on the mimic stage, I have never, and nowhere, met tragedy so real, so sublime, so magnificent as the legend of Hiram. It is substance without shadow-the manifest destiny of life which requires no picture and scarcely a word to make a lasting impression upon all who understand. To be a Worshipful Master, and to throw my whole soul into that work, with the candidate for my audience and the Lodge for my stage, would be a greater personal distinction than to receive the plaudits of people in the theaters of the world.”

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And that should tell us, if we are Master Workmen, what we should do with the legend of Hiram when we work in “the mysteries of Freemasonry.” We must make it truly sublime!

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

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Articles published in this newsletter are not necessarily the opinion of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba or any of its officers or members, but are solely those of the writer…

Freemasonry is the world’s oldest and largest fraternity. It is comprised of adult men (18+) of good character from every country, religion, race, age, income, education, and opinion. Its body of knowledge and system of ethics is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to improve himself while being devoted to his family, his faith, his country, and his fraternity.

 

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