(20240406) Canada: GL Manitoba: News

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(20240406) Canada: GL Manitoba: News
April 2024






These funds will be used by Grand Lodge to cover operating expenses and in turn go to keeping your per-captia fees as low as possible. Contacts for tickets are:

Tim Heisler 204-430-1349 or heislet@hotmail.com

Norm Lyons 204-955-3424 or normanlyons@shaw.ca

Bill Bracegirdle 204-781-8100 or wmtelca@gmail.com

Jeffrey Anderson 204-952-7953 or jeff@fountainhouse.ca


Grand Lodge Office 204-453-741






Spring has arrived, the trees are blooming, the grass is greening up, and the days are getting longer and warmer. This morning’s sunrise was particularly clear and there was a mix of dew and frost on the grass. Birds and squirrels doing their morning work (keenly watched over by my dogs), so basically a time for some quick reflection. Years ago, a fine Brother in an offhand comment asked, “What is untempered mortar”? We first hear this in the EA Degree (see also Ezekiel 22:28 (KJV)) and clearly there is a connection between that and the purpose of the trowel revealed in the Working Tools of the MM Degree. (American)


My Grandfather was an amazing man, skilled at numerous trades and one of my favorite memories was finally being allowed to help him build a foundation wall for a new shed he was building. He mostly used me for labor, moving the blocks from the staging area to the build site. However, he also showed me how to mix the cement, sand, and lime then add the water and mix, mix, mix, and mix. Let it rest, then mix some more thus creating properly tempered mortar!


In building, when mortar is untempered it could mean several things:


Incorrect Proportions: The ratio of cement to sand to water may be off, leading to a mixture that is too dry, too wet, or lacks cohesion.


Poor Mixing: The ingredients may not have been mixed thoroughly, resulting in uneven distribution of components and weak spots in the mortar.


Inadequate Curing: After application, the mortar needs time to cure properly, allowing it to harden and develop its full strength. If it does not receive adequate curing time or conditions, it may remain weak and prone to cracking or crumbling.


Can you see the allegories in your personal life?


So, using untempered mortar can compromise the structural integrity of a building (or a lodge)! However, when the mortar is properly tempered structural stability is intact and the integrity and longevity of the structure are guaranteed.


Of course, the structure requires the proper application of tempered mortar and the primary tool used is (of course) the humble trowel. The trowel, a seemingly simple tool in the hands of a skilled mason, is the linchpin of their craft. With deft precision and practiced finesse, masons wield this instrument to shape mortar, lay bricks, and craft structures that stand the test of time.


Versatility: A mason’s trowel is more than just a tool; it is an extension of their hand and mind. With its flat, rectangular blade and pointed tip, the trowel is versatile, capable of performing a myriad of tasks with ease.


Mortar Mastery: The key to a sturdy and well-built structure lies in the proper application of mortar, and the trowel is the mason’s primary instrument for achieving this. With a practiced hand, the mason adeptly loads the trowel with mortar, gauging the right amount needed for each application. The angle and pressure applied to the trowel determine the thickness and consistency of the mortar bed, ensuring optimal adhesion and strength.


Precision Placement: Laying bricks or stones requires precision and accuracy, and the mason’s trowel is essential for achieving uniformity in alignment and spacing. With measured movements, the mason delicately positions each unit, using the trowel to adjust its placement and ensure proper alignment with neighboring units. The trowel’s flat edge acts as a guide, allowing the mason to maintain straight, even courses as the structure takes shape.


Joints and Finishes: Creating clean, well-defined joints is crucial for both structural integrity and aesthetic appeal. The mason deftly uses the trowel to shape and smooth mortar joints, removing excess material and achieving crisp edges.


Efficiency and Productivity: With practiced movements, the mason can work quickly and methodically, laying course after course with precision and accuracy. The ergonomic design of the trowel reduces strain and fatigue, enabling the mason to maintain peak performance throughout the day.


Problem Solving: Beyond its primary functions, the trowel also serves as a tool for problem-solving on the job site. Whether it is filling gaps, correcting errors, or accommodating irregularities in the building materials, the mason relies on the trowel to address challenges and ensure the integrity of the finished structure.


Craftsmanship and Pride: For a skilled mason, the trowel is more than just a tool; it is a symbol of craftsmanship and pride in their work. With each pass of the trowel, the mason imbues the structure with their skill, experience, and dedication to excellence. The finished product stands as a testament to their artistry and expertise, a legacy that endures for generations to come.


In the hands of a skilled mason, the trowel transcends its humble origins to become an instrument of creation and mastery. With precision, finesse, and an unwavering commitment to quality, the mason transforms mortar and building materials into enduring works of art that shape the world around us.


Again, can you see the allegories in your personal life?


Brethren, make sure you are using tempered mortar in all aspects of your lives and continue to wield your trowel as the expert craftsman that you are. This important allegorical lesson is what makes our Gentle Craft the best fraternity in the world.


~W. Bro. Author Unknown (American PM)












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Cowans and Eavesdroppers are two common names used in Freemasonry.


We can’t have a masonic meeting without those words. As Freemasons we are reminded on a regular basis to be on guard for both. But what are they really? The etymology of both words are lost to time, so let’s look at each of them.

First Eavesdroppers. The origin of the word is believed to refer to the water dripping from a roof, or eaves drippings. If you have ever seen a house or building without gutters, there is a line around the structure where run off has eroded the ground. The idea of an eavesdropper came from someone who stood so close to the structure they were on or inside the line and able to hear what was going on inside the house or structure. Another definition of eavesdropper, possibly due to Henry VIII, were people who hid up in the beams of the house by the eaves.


Henry VIII had wooden figures carved and placed in the beams of his palace. The idea was to make all in his court feel like they were being listened to and the information was being reported back to the King. This may have something to do with the fact in old lodges, the Deacons were charged with checking the rafters of the meeting room with their staff. Making sure no one was listening and unlawfully obtaining the secrets of masonry.


Ironically a Cowan could very well be a successful Eavesdropper. The origin of the word Cowan is believed to be old Scottish. A Cowan was a person, often someone who worked as an operative mason, who was not part of a lodge and not formally trained. Extending from the fact operative lodges were trade guilds (unions), a Cowan in modern terms is a “scab”, someone who either refused to join a union or in some way went against a union. A Cowan is any individual who presents themselves as a Freemason, having never joined the Fraternity. In a real sense a Cowan is a clandestine Mason. A Cowan may have all of the right answers to be able to get in the door of a lodge room.


Albert Mackey stated in Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, a Cowan was a word uniquely Masonic in it’s origin.


Regardless of the origins of the words, Cowans and Eavesdroppers for Freemasons might as well be one word. It reminds us of our obligations to the fraternity and to remind us we should be careful of who we let into our lodge room, and by extension those we let into our life.