Don’t sit alone in the dark – where to go for your Freemasonry fix

April 20, 2020 3 comments

As the social distancing and self-quarantines stretch on, Freemasons are feeling the itch to get out and have some fellowship with their brothers. While not quite the same as sitting around a table and chatting over coffee or an aqua vitae, many Freemasons have already found a way to indulge in discussion with like-minded brethren — not just from their lodge, but from around the state, and even around the world.

For those who haven’t done more than share pictures of their dinner or grandkids on Facebook, the social media giant has dozens of groups for Masonic discussion, both informal and educational. Some of the larger ones are:

The Winding Stairs Freemasonry Group: One of the fastest growing Masonic groups, with over 20,000 members (not all online at once), this moderated group has a wide mix of educational articles, questions from new and old Masons, some humor, and general information.

Masonic World Wide: A large, established group with a large percentage of members from across the pond. While mainly a chat group, one will find a lot of fascinating information here.

Freemasons Page: One of the largest and oldest Facebook groups, there’s something here for everyone. Chat, education, articles of interest, and plenty of humor to lighten the mood.

Freemasonry is not confined to just Facebook; Reddit, one of the largest online news sharing and social groups has a club (known as a subreddit) for every interest, including Freemasonry.

The Reddit Freemasonry group (http://reddit.com/r/freemasonry) is one of the largest active online groups outside of Facebook, and has dozens of discussions going at any time.

The Lodgeroom UK (http://lodgeroomuk.com/forumphpBB/index.php) One of the oldest web forum based groups, and not limited to UK Freemasonry.

Those hoping for a more “live” online experience can join the Freemasonry group on Discord, a popular chat and messaging app. Those of you with a Discord account can find it at: https://discordapp.com/invite/fezFP88

For those of you who would prefer to listen to some background discussion instead the news, there are some fantastic podcasts by Masons, covering a wide range of topics of interest. Some of the best known are:

The Masonic Roundtable: (http://themasonicroundtable.com) A group of Freemasons running a weekly podcast, with guests, Masonic news, and some good natured banter.

Masonic Lite (https://www.masoniclite.com): Inspired by The Masonic Roundtable, a decidedly lighter flavored group of guys, just sitting around and talking about anything with a Masonic spin.

Whence Came You? (https://wcypodcast.com/) A more educational podcast, with a wide range of topics, presented by different speakers.

The Craftsmen Podcast (http://www.thecraftsmenpodcast.com) A monthly podcast discussing “… the nuances of the Scottish Rite, humor of the York Rite, and all things Masonic, except for the secret handshakes. Sometimes we even share our favorite recipes,”

Occult of Personality (http://occultofpersonality.net) With a focus on authenticity, accuracy, and quality, Occult of Personality peers behind the veil to provide recorded interviews with serious esoteric practitioners, scholars, and teachers from all over the world.

Finally, for those of you who would rather relax with some reading material, there are still some excellent blogs online.

The Midnight Freemasons (http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/) Topics of interest from a variety of authors.

The One Minute Mason (http://oneminutemason.blogspot.com/) Short essays on various topics.

Freemasons Are Us (https://freemasonsareus.wordpress.com/) Mainly historical topics about the development of Freemasonry.

The Traveling Templar (https://www.travelingtemplar.com/) A variety of history, information, and personal blogging.

Noble Science, Royal Art (https://noblescienceroyalart.wordpress.com/) Essays on various Masonic themes.

Addendum: For the latest in up-to-date Masonic news, don’t forget to put Chris Hodapp’s  Freemasons for Dummies blog (https://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/) on your reading list.

A list of other blogs, podcasts, and further online resources can be found at:

Ashlars to Ashes (http://ashlars-ashes.blogspot.com/)

 

 

 

 

 

Connecticut beats the virus by going virtual

April 1, 2020 3 comments

According to an upcoming article in The Connecticut Freemasons Magazine, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut will be the first US Grand Lodge to charter an all-internet based lodge. According to the article by editor RW Frank Way:

While there have been a few other lodges calling themselves an “internet lodge,” none of them have actually been constituted as internet only, or “virtual” lodges; most of them are what I’d call hybrid lodges. The UGLE has Internet Lodge No. 9659, but the members belong to other lodges, and the lodge itself is not allowed to confer the degrees. Besides, they actually meet three or four times a year in a physical building.  Likewise, Ireland’s Lodge 2000 is also a hyrbrid, meeting quarterly in a building, and without the ability to confer degrees.  On this side of the pond, a couple of states have attempted to start some kind of internet lodge, but none of them have been actual lodges, in the sense that they can meet, confer degrees, and have regular communications. In fact, I can’t think of any offhand that are even still operating.

The most successful attempt at an online, virtual lodge has come, surprisingly, from our neighbor to the north. Well, considering that it is based in, and chartered by the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, maybe it’s not so surprising; as anyone who has ever driven through the area can attest, there’s nothing out there except frozen tundra, except for maybe two months in the summer, when there are nothing but mosquitoes and biting horse flies. That aside, Castle Island Virtual Lodge, CIVL (or “Civil,” as it’s known among the various internet groups) is mainly a research lodge, although it is allowed to confer the degrees if they can do so in a building.

CIVL about the closest any Grand Lodge has come to an actual lodge that meets only on the internet, until now.

Owing to advances in internet meeting technology which weren’t even on the horizon five years ago, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut has given dispensation for a new, entirely internet based lodge. Operating out of the town of Southington, with the officers and most members coming out of the Fifth Masonic District, the Farmington Valley Virtual Lodge (UD). FVVL (or Favvil, as the members call it) will be a fully functioning Masonic lodge, using state of the art meeting technology, and the officers will have the ability to confer degrees to online candidates.

While a virtual lodge for the state has been in the works for some time, the recent COVID virus pandemic has obviously made an impact on garnering the approval of the Grand Lodge, which has cancelled its own annual communication, and has ordered the brick and mortar lodges to suspend their own communications for the foreseeable future. The Grand Lodge sees FVVL as the first of a number of virtual lodges that will be instituted around the state (“around” being merely a term of availability, instead of location).

With the possibility of the pandemic causing a closure of public meetings running into the next few months, it’s quite likely that most of the lodges in the state will remain dark throughout the summer month and not re-open until September. We are hoping that the success of FVVL will quickly lead to more such lodges opening in Connecticut by the end of the year. Then we will truly be able to have fellowship with other brothers in the privacy and safety of our own homes.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Freemasonry

Freemasons to watch Area 51 Run with alien friends, technology

September 18, 2019 Leave a comment

Alexandria, VA — The Connecticut Freemasons Magazine has learned that a number of prominent Freemasons from around the US and Canada, including some from Connecticut, will be on hand to watch the festivities of the upcoming Area 51 Run at the end of September from the high tech communications center at the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

Started as a Facebook joke in July, and called “Storm Area 51 – They Can’t Stop All Of Us“, the author suggested that hundreds of thousands of willing volunteers would be able to crash through the high security perimeter and find the aliens rumored to be working with (or possibly held captive by) the US government. The author went on to suggest that by using a maneuver from a Japanese manga (cartoon) called a “Naruto run,” the volunteers might be able to move fast enough to dodge bullets.

Aerial photograph of the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

The spire of the George Washington Masonic Memorial houses high tech communication equipment.

“It’s rather ironic that there are hardly any aliens left at Area 51 anymore,” said Art Morris, Special Communications Director at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. “They came, helped set up a few research centers, gave us some high tech equipment, and most of them either went home, or are quietly living among us as anthropologists, studying our culture.”

The Connecticut Freemason has learned that the spire of the George Washington Masonic Memorial actually contains very high tech communication equipment. While officials won’t confirm that it is alien technology, anonymous sources have admitted that “it’s like nothing else on Earth.”

That’s why the decision was made to use the Memorial as an observation post to watch the Area 51 event; large screen TVs will be set up to watch the various sensors and monitors around the Area 51 perimeter, and, should any volunteers actually make it inside, interior observation equipment will monitor their progress. The Facebook signups number almost 2 million, although it’s expected that only several thousands will actually show up. As a courtesy, a number of Freemasons, including a reporter for The Connecticut Freemason,have been invited to watch the event live.

“It will be an opportunity for some of the alien anthropologists to watch and ask questions to some of our own psychologists and sociologists, who will be there, along with a number of Freemasons from around North America,” explained Morris. “While they’ve been studying us for decades, they still don’t seem to ‘get’ some of our humor.”

He added “Although to be fair, a lot of humans don’t ‘get’ some of our own humor, either.”

 

 

Categories: aliens Tags: , , ,

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Categories: Freemasonry

Grand Lodge of California drops recognition of Grand Lodge of Connecticut over ring decision

April 1, 2019 6 comments

Most of you will remember that early in February, Connecticut Freemasons woke up to discover that there now is actually a correct answer to the age-old question of which way to wear one’s ring. The Grand Lodge, tired of the endless debates on Facebook, instructed their DDGMs to quietly “correct” members during their lodge visits so that sitting and past Masters would wear theirs with the points facing out, and those who had never made a trip to the East would have to wear theirs with the points in. The decision was made so that it could be announced and confirmed at the next Grand Lodge annual communication.

Even though the directive is being kept quiet for now, it’s been all over the various Facebook groups, because Freemasons are famous for not being able to keep secrets – so obviously, none of this comes as any surprise.

Now, while the Connecticut Grand Lodge decision is an open secret, it hasn’t been met without some resistance. Naturally there were the usual complainers on the various internet groups in which this was discussed, and several podcasters had some snide comments. However, nobody expected the reaction from the Grand Lodge of California last month:

Whereas the Grand Lodge of Connecticut has cast aside the time immemorial traditions of Freemasons with regard to the correct disposition of the wearing of one’s Masonic ring, and,

Whereas the Grand Lodge of Connecticut has forced upon their members an unnatural and specious decision with regard to the aforementioned,

Be it known that the Grand Lodge of California now holds the Grand Lodge of Connecticut to be in violation of the Ancient Landmarks of the Fraternity, and is now an unrecognized body, and will remain as such until they and their regulations comply with the Landmarks and customs of our order.

Knowing the Grand Lodge of California to be a fairly liberal and progressive minded group, many West Coast Freemasons have expressed surprise that the Grand Lodge has taken such a hard line stance on what is essentially an unenforceable decision that would probably have been rescinded in a year or two. However, others have noted that the Grand Lodge has taken up social justice causes in the past; for example, California no longer uses the term “clandestine” to describe unrecognized lodges or Grand Lodges.

Worse, rumors about the potential dropping of recognition made for tense moments at the Conference of Grand Masters of North America (COGNMA) in February, as many officers from different states quietly aligned, siding with either Connecticut or California.

It is written someplace that “Freemasonry is a progressive science,” but the term was not meant to be used in the modern, political connotation, and it’s unfortunate to see such schisms in our midst. However, we should also keep in mind that much of what we take for granted now were once considered changes, alterations, and deviations from ancient craft masonry.

While no other Grand Lodges have (at this time) indicated that they intend to follow California, traveling men headed to Connecticut should just be aware that some brothers may be paying closer attention to your ring.

In the meanwhile, I’m hopeful that this will blow over, like so many other Freemason fads, and that we can get back to discussing important issues, such as whether it’s better to wear one’s apron under or over one’s jacket.

Categories: Freemasonry, Rings
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