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3GP441

What if.......

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If you could redesign regular Freemasonry to include any Rite or Order, which ones would you include?

Or do you think that having a selection of (relatively) independent Orders to choose after a Craft (perhaps + Mark) and HRA backbone is the best way to do things.......

 

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I have to say that I prefer our English pick-and-mix arrangement, with pre-qualifications, to a regimented order.  We can select to our individual tastes and needs, as they develop over the years.  Of course, it's the way I'm used to, so won't suit everyone.

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I defo wouldn't want to try and "bring them in" as I don't see it as really practical and I also feel that doing so would add credence to their "legendary histories".

I would, however, like to see a proper education given to Freemasons about their actual origins so that they can make their own informed decision about whether they want to get involved with them.

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I like the Scottish system that you do Mark in your craft lodge. Most lodges have one or two Mark degrees per year. No separate governing body and no other regalia therefore preventing unnecessary cost. 

 

I’d like to see HRA done in craft lodges in England as a “special meeting” when there’s a candidate. I don’t see the need for separate governing bodies. 
 

I’d keep all the other side orders separate. 

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I think MrSifter has got it about right. I’d like to see the Mark in its proper place, between Passing and Raising, followed by HRA, all in the the Craft lodge.

I’m rather pleased that the other orders are not in the vice-like and stifling grip of UGLE.

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2 hours ago, 3GP441 said:

Is that Mark and Passing of Veils before HRA a la our Caledonian Brethren?

 

I think so. Mark after Passing and before Raising, and PoV after Raising and before HRA.

Were you at the demonstration of POV a couple of years ago at Bateman St? Very interesting. 

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In Scotland you have to be a MM to do your Mark. 
 

The lodge is opened in the 3rd then reduced to a second to perform the ceremony. 
 

Not sure about HRA up there as I was exalted in England. 

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In Scotland the Royal Arch consists of three Degrees (aside from the Installation of the Principals and Office bearers) The Mark, which is the first degree an applicant for the Royal Arch will take (and like in England and Wales you must be a M.M. before being eligible to take the Mark), The Excellent Masters Degree (The Passing of the Veils) and finally the Exaltation.

In Scotland the Mark Degree is primarily considered a Royal Arch Degree although by "agreement" between the Supreme Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland and the Grand Lodge of Scotland it can also be given in Craft Lodges (and nowadays this is the more usual route). I put "agreement" in inverted commas because that is a story in itself. The main difference is that the R.W.M. of a Scottish Craft Lodge dispenses the Mark Degree by virtue of his authority of being Installed in the Chair of K.S. He is not an Installed Mark W.M. as recognised in England & Wales. That, on occasion, leads to "debate" as to whether a Mark mason made in a Craft Lodge is a "proper" Mark mason".

I stay well out of such debates, having been Initiated, Passed, Raised, Advanced and Exalted in England but having been through all those ceremonies in Scotland as well. So I've been "double done", as it were.

Should an applicant to join a Chapter have already received his Mark Degree in a Craft Lodge his first step would be to affiliate his Mark to the Mark Lodge held within the Chapter. Consisting of a short Obligation he would then go straight into the Passing of the Veils Degree that evening. 

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A Scottish friend of mine joined our Mark lodge a couple of years ago. He'd received his Mark in his Scottish Craft lodge, but we accepted it anyway. For some reason it fell to me to prove him beforehand, and I noticed that they give one of the signs very slightly differently. 

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There is quite a difference in the signs used in England and Scotland, ie., the signs for all three Craft Degrees vary greatly. And just wait until you get to the Temple Degrees and Rose Croix. Still. still part of Life's rich tapestry.

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On 26/10/2019 at 09:59, DavidGoode said:

A Scottish friend of mine joined our Mark lodge a couple of years ago. He'd received his Mark in his Scottish Craft lodge, but we accepted it anyway. For some reason it fell to me to prove him beforehand, and I noticed that they give one of the signs very slightly differently. 

I'd be interested in seeing what that difference is next time I see you!

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On 09/12/2019 at 17:00, Sontaran said:

I'd be interested in seeing what that difference is next time I see you!

I'm not sure I can even remember the difference. I'll have to ask him to show me again.

I was at your Craft lodge last Friday, but you weren't there!

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16 hours ago, DavidGoode said:

I'm not sure I can even remember the difference. I'll have to ask him to show me again.

I was at your Craft lodge last Friday, but you weren't there!

Jane was working.

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I agree a lot with what has been said/suggested.

I've always felt that Chapter feels incomplete and deserves to have more ritual and ceremony. Personally, I would like to see the Mark Degree as the first ceremony, followed by the passing of the veils as the second, which is then completed with a third degree-exaltation. This would make the HRA completer and more substantial, as I find having just one ceremony a little disappointing. 

I would also add more emphasis on completing the HRA (and these additional degrees) as part of the Masonic journey. I see the first three craft degrees as the completion of the first step, I'm not suggesting we have to join a million appendant orders; but a completion of the HRA in its true form would be something I would like to see and something that would encourage and entice the members. 

However, I doubt this will ever happen as MM Hall and UGLE don't work together. It’s similar to the old Antients and the Moderns, there was a lot of crossover as members would be in both sometimes and visit but they remained very separate. I suspect a "new union" won't happen until numbers drop even further and they are "forced" to amalgamate and share their resources. 

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On 11/12/2019 at 14:11, DavidGoode said:

I'm not sure I can even remember the difference. I'll have to ask him to show me again.

I was at your Craft lodge last Friday, but you weren't there!

My mother Lodge has its very own ritual, and we do several things in our own unique way. Looking at the faces of visitors most seem to find that highly entertaining and when we visit other Lodges even more curious looks when Brethren from our Lodge do their thing 😉

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On 05/01/2020 at 12:41, Rueben Moriarty said:

I agree a lot with what has been said/suggested.

I've always felt that Chapter feels incomplete and deserves to have more ritual and ceremony. This would make the HRA completer and more substantial, as I find having just one ceremony a little disappointing. 

I would also add more emphasis on completing the HRA (and these additional degrees) as part of the Masonic journey. I see the first three craft degrees as the completion of the first step, I'm not suggesting we have to join a million appendant orders; but a completion of the HRA in its true form would be something I would like to see and something that would encourage and entice the members. 

However, I doubt this will ever happen as MM Hall and UGLE don't work together. It’s similar to the old Antients and the Moderns, there was a lot of crossover as members would be in both sometimes and visit but they remained very separate. I suspect a "new union" won't happen until numbers drop even further and they are "forced" to amalgamate and share their resources. 

Rose Croix only has the one ceremony until you attain higher degrees, but doesn't feel stifled or restricted by it.  I'm not in the Mark degree, but associate with plenty that are and have never heard any critical comment about it.  Conversely and behind closed doors, HRA is often referred to as the marmite degree; some like it, some don't and quite a few drop out.  It's also interesting that some Districts use membership of the HRA as a requirement to gain Active Honours.  Maybe this is why some don't enjoy it, as it must seem like being press ganged into something.  

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" Personally, I would like to see the Mark Degree as the first ceremony, followed by the passing of the veils as the second, which is then completed with a third degree-exaltation. This would make the HRA completer and more substantial, as I find having just one ceremony a little disappointing. "

That, in a nutshell, is the Scottish Royal Arch system. I think it worth pointing out that we meet seven times a year, not three and an Installation of the Principles and Office Bearers. You would have to increase the number of meetings each year to accommodate the extra ceremonies. And I think you would find some "resistance from above" to importing what some would regard as "foreign ritual".

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2 hours ago, sojourner said:

" Personally, I would like to see the Mark Degree as the first ceremony, followed by the passing of the veils as the second, which is then completed with a third degree-exaltation. This would make the HRA completer and more substantial, as I find having just one ceremony a little disappointing. "

That, in a nutshell, is the Scottish Royal Arch system. I think it worth pointing out that we meet seven times a year, not three and an Installation of the Principles and Office Bearers. You would have to increase the number of meetings each year to accommodate the extra ceremonies. And I think you would find some "resistance from above" to importing what some would regard as "foreign ritual".

The difficulty to which you refer as far as UGLE is concerned, would have a tendency to impact much wider international recognition, since much of that is based on the structure of 'three degrees and no more; . . .  including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.' agreed at the 1813 Union which created UGLE.  Perhaps a solution may be found for making the 'Ceremony of the Veils' available to English Masons in a similar way to the Mark, by having it as an 'optional extra' which a qualified Mason may take should he wish it to be part of his journey.  One possible home for the Veils could be the Royal and Select Masters, as there we already find the Excellent Master and Super Excellent Master in those Cryptic Degrees.  By doing so, the 'three degrees and no more' remain unchanged under UGLE, the Mark is already optionally available and then so would the Veils.  It has seemed to me over a number of years consideration that only a little effort would be needed to put this into effect.  The Veils is already permitted to be demonstrated in our provinces; all it needs is a proper home.

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I've actually taken part in 2 veils ceremonies (demonstrations) with my mother chapter .. one as candidate, and the other as guard to the white veil. Would that qualify, I wonder, as having taken it?

Edited by Sontaran

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23 hours ago, Sontaran said:

I've actually taken part in 2 veils ceremonies (demonstrations) with my mother chapter .. one as candidate, and the other as guard to the white veil. Would that qualify, I wonder, as having taken it?

Hardly - but nice try, though!

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On 08/01/2020 at 12:59, Trouillogan said:

The difficulty to which you refer as far as UGLE is concerned, would have a tendency to impact much wider international recognition, since much of that is based on the structure of 'three degrees and no more; . . .  including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch.' agreed at the 1813 Union which created UGLE.  Perhaps a solution may be found for making the 'Ceremony of the Veils' available to English Masons in a similar way to the Mark, by having it as an 'optional extra' which a qualified Mason may take should he wish it to be part of his journey.  One possible home for the Veils could be the Royal and Select Masters, as there we already find the Excellent Master and Super Excellent Master in those Cryptic Degrees. 

Good prediction...

But rather bizarrely, The Excellent Master Degree (Passing the Veils) is only available to those much further along their masonic journey than a Master Mason...

Quote

Candidates for the Degree in this Order must be Installed Masters and have received the Order of the Silver Trowel previously. In a similar fashion to the Silver Trowel, recommendations are made by the District Grand Master, directly to the Grand Master of the Order of Royal and Select Masters in very limited numbers, currently 2 per year.

http://www.somerset-wilts-rsm.org.uk/excellentmaster.html

For the avoidance of any doubt, the Order of the Silver Trowel is worked in a number of Royal and Select Masters Districts by Installed Masters Councils... meaning you already need to be a RSM Installed Master to be eligible for the Excellent Master degree!

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7 hours ago, Not quite so Uninitiated said:

Good prediction...

But rather bizarrely, The Excellent Master Degree (Passing the Veils) is only available to those much further along their masonic journey than a Master Mason...

http://www.somerset-wilts-rsm.org.uk/excellentmaster.html

For the avoidance of any doubt, the Order of the Silver Trowel is worked in a number of Royal and Select Masters Districts by Installed Masters Councils... meaning you already need to be a RSM Installed Master to be eligible for the Excellent Master degree!

Since the word for the first veil is that given to and required from the Craft Master Elect (in the proper full extended version of that installation ceremony) and the word for the last veil is that for a RA Exaltee, perhaps the Installed Craft Master requirement was logically correct at the time.  However, then we get tied up in that installation requirement becoming the 'choke point' again.  Would having an optional extra create an undesireable two-tier system?  I wonder.

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