Stamp & Stain

from the marshy banks of Glebe Creek to the brick and wood docks of downtown Annapolis, MD... my artwork, ramblings about Freemasonry, and life on the Chesapeake Bay

Empathy breeds proper judgement. Sympathy breeds sorrow. Contempt breeds arrogance. Neither are proper judgements because they’re based on emotions. That’s why two people can look at the same situation and have totally different views. We all feel differently about a lot of things. Empathy gives you an inside view. It doesn’t say ‘If that was me…’, empathy says, ‘That is me.’

Nelson Mandela, A Freemason, and the End of Apartheid

Yes, you read that correctly.  Nelson Mandela was a Freemason and he became one just 4 months after being released from 27 years of imprisonment.  He became a PHA Mason in the state of North Carolina.  But why?  Of all the things he could have been doing upon being released from prison, why did becoming a Freemason rank so high on his personal list?

Livingstone offers a unique blog regarding Nelson Mandela becoming a Freemason.

Just over 1 year ago, I posted a picture of a Maryland Masonic Manual and detailed an adventure I was about to begin; a long journey to the East, as we Masons call it.  This 170 page manual contains the details of everything an officer will perform in a Blue Lodge.  The content is in a cyphered or uncyphered format, depending on its secrecy.  Almost every line officer has a copy of this book, though Secretary’s, Treasurer’s, Junior & Senior Steward’s, Marshall’s, and Tyler’s don’t necessarily need one.  It contains the dialogue of every degree, catechism questions & answers, a number of seldom performed duties, and the 25 Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry.
The book was relatively new at the time I originally posted a picture of it.  It had a number of colored tabs identifying key sections of masonic ritual I needed to memorize, including two lectures clocking in at 21 and 24 minutes.  The hard cover gleamed like fresh patent leather, the gold foil stamp still reflecting light like an ocean wave balances a sun ray, and the corners were still sharp.The book has gone through a lot of adventures since then.  This 4” x 6” inch book has been in my back pocket almost everyday.  Even the 2 week long family trip we took to Whitehorse Beach in Plymouth, MA in July.  I studied the Master Mason lecture on that beach daily.  It was in my back pocket when I attended a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston for the first time.  She has lost her luster, the gold foil is worn down, and the hardcover is quite dinged up.  On lucky days, it has fallen out of my pocket onto carpets, wood floors, linoleum, and brick.  On unlucky days, it has fallen on dirt, mud, rain, and sandy beaches.  The pages have been soiled by printing press ink, dirt, sweat, wine, baby food, and even pizza grease.  It was been opened and closed so many times, the spine broke and I had to repair it.  And despite all that the book has gone through, I still think she’s a beauty!
I can confidently write that I have memorized the entire book and I’m quite astonished at that fact.  I did not know I had it in me to do something so seemingly impossible.  The content within became a third hemisphere of my mind.  And then there’s the question of Why I did it.
Because, like only a few masons at my lodge before me, I sought the East.  I wanted to lead my lodge and manage them.  I wanted to carry a torch that my lodge has been passing from one Master to the next since 1848.  In that time, only about 130 men have served our lodge as the Worshipful Master.  To be eligible, one must gain the confidence of his peers by doing a number of things, primarily executing the duties of Worshipful Master.  There are also exemplifications of degree conferrals which must be performed before a Deputy Grand Lecturer.  The DGL assigned to my lodge accepted nothing short of perfection in order to be passed.
On December 2nd, our lodge held an election for the 2014 officers.  I was nominated and elected to serve as the Worshipful Master and received unanimous support from the brethren.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life.  In just 3 short weeks I will be installed as well as the other officers.
I have the strangest feeling that my life for the next year will be very similar to this book.  I will begin relatively new with a bit of a shine.  By the end of the year, I may lose a bit of luster and show a bit of wear and tear.  But just like the book, the content within will remain unchanged, because, as we are taught in the Entered Apprentice degree, it is the internal, and not the external, qualifications of a man which makes him a Mason…

Just over 1 year ago, I posted a picture of a Maryland Masonic Manual and detailed an adventure I was about to begin; a long journey to the East, as we Masons call it. This 170 page manual contains the details of everything an officer will perform in a Blue Lodge. The content is in a cyphered or uncyphered format, depending on its secrecy. Almost every line officer has a copy of this book, though Secretary’s, Treasurer’s, Junior & Senior Steward’s, Marshall’s, and Tyler’s don’t necessarily need one. It contains the dialogue of every degree, catechism questions & answers, a number of seldom performed duties, and the 25 Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry.

The book was relatively new at the time I originally posted a picture of it. It had a number of colored tabs identifying key sections of masonic ritual I needed to memorize, including two lectures clocking in at 21 and 24 minutes. The hard cover gleamed like fresh patent leather, the gold foil stamp still reflecting light like an ocean wave balances a sun ray, and the corners were still sharp.

The book has gone through a lot of adventures since then. This 4” x 6” inch book has been in my back pocket almost everyday. Even the 2 week long family trip we took to Whitehorse Beach in Plymouth, MA in July. I studied the Master Mason lecture on that beach daily. It was in my back pocket when I attended a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston for the first time. She has lost her luster, the gold foil is worn down, and the hardcover is quite dinged up. On lucky days, it has fallen out of my pocket onto carpets, wood floors, linoleum, and brick. On unlucky days, it has fallen on dirt, mud, rain, and sandy beaches. The pages have been soiled by printing press ink, dirt, sweat, wine, baby food, and even pizza grease. It was been opened and closed so many times, the spine broke and I had to repair it. And despite all that the book has gone through, I still think she’s a beauty!

I can confidently write that I have memorized the entire book and I’m quite astonished at that fact. I did not know I had it in me to do something so seemingly impossible. The content within became a third hemisphere of my mind. And then there’s the question of Why I did it.

Because, like only a few masons at my lodge before me, I sought the East. I wanted to lead my lodge and manage them. I wanted to carry a torch that my lodge has been passing from one Master to the next since 1848. In that time, only about 130 men have served our lodge as the Worshipful Master. To be eligible, one must gain the confidence of his peers by doing a number of things, primarily executing the duties of Worshipful Master. There are also exemplifications of degree conferrals which must be performed before a Deputy Grand Lecturer. The DGL assigned to my lodge accepted nothing short of perfection in order to be passed.

On December 2nd, our lodge held an election for the 2014 officers. I was nominated and elected to serve as the Worshipful Master and received unanimous support from the brethren. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. In just 3 short weeks I will be installed as well as the other officers.

I have the strangest feeling that my life for the next year will be very similar to this book. I will begin relatively new with a bit of a shine. By the end of the year, I may lose a bit of luster and show a bit of wear and tear. But just like the book, the content within will remain unchanged, because, as we are taught in the Entered Apprentice degree, it is the internal, and not the external, qualifications of a man which makes him a Mason…

Inside the Secret World of the Freemasons

Thank you, CBS Sunday Morning, for an accurate and fair report on the fraternity.

Far too often, television reports about the fraternity dive into the absurd—aliens, illuminati, the occult, conspiracy theory, secrets, new world order, etc, etc, etc.  It’s all garbage.  

CBS has taken a different route.  Mo Rocca sat down with actual Masons and masonic historians.  He then reported what he learned without attaching it to the garbage you can find on the “history” channel.

Thank you, CBS.  And thank you, Mo Rocca.  The integrity behind your work is evident and refreshing.

You can’t start the next chapter if you keep re-reading the last one.

—I hope this becomes my battle cry in 2014…

We are the gods of the atoms that make up ourselves but we are also the atoms of the gods that make up the universe.

Manly P. Hall

The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.

—Robert Nesta Marley

Happy Birthday, Bob!!