A Masonic Primer for the Partners

Masonry is, perhaps naturally, enigmatic. This isn’t just due to its requirements of secrecy. Whenever a group of men get together behind closed doors, away from women, and particularly away from wives, girlfriends, and partners, it becomes a mystery. What the hell are these guys doing in there? What is my husband up to?

For today’s installment of No Chicks Week, Worshipful Master Jesse Williams addresses this particular mystery.

***

My wife comes from a masonic family. Her grandfather was an active and accomplished Freemason in South Dakota. From the beginning of our relationship she respected my participation in the craft. She showed support of my participation and interest in my successes at lodge. But she was always understanding and respectful of the somewhat clandestine nature of our activities.

On the Thursdays I am not at home but she knows that I am with the guys. Some times she waits up for me to come home but not always. Nights at lodge which run until one or two in the morning are not uncommon and she does not worry about where I am or what I am doing because she knows the men I am with and is familiar with the schedule. Most Thursdays she enjoys as evenings to herself when she sows and watches her shows.
I suppose wives of masons or of perspective masons ought to be affirmed of a few things

  • When men are at lodge they are mostly chatting amongst themselves about daily life, interesting observations, and potential projects they may start which another brother at the lodge may have an interest.
  • If you were a fly on the wall you’d probably be disappointed by the utter lack of scandal and gossip which is passed around.
  • When we go to lodge we stay there. Some groups have an “outer lodge” a restaurant or bar they like to attend but these are well established and rarely change.
  • If you are interested in the ritual we perfomr and the nature of our secrets then read Joseph Campbell’s “A Hero with a Thousand Faces.” That book will explain the universal nature of male myth and offer an insight to what we do. Though it does not reveal any specific about our fraternity.

Thursday nights at Braden are events for the men involved. We look forward to the comradery and the repetition of our ritual. You can enjoy a care free night with yourself or with whomever you chose certain of where we are and what we are doing.

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5 thoughts on “A Masonic Primer for the Partners

  1. My wife asked me to make post the following:
    “While I am not so interested in things like passwords, secret handshakes, etc., here in the 21st century, where people,especially women, and relationships are different than in centuries past, the occurance of such things as a man being shot in the face and killed during a ritual excerise in a New York Masonic lodge certainly gives us the right to know what kind of activities the men who are our husbands, fiances”, and th fathers of our children are paticipating in witht he lodge they join. We have the right to make informed decisions about what sort of actions are acceptable in our relationships. If my husband ever decided to belong to any group that engaged in such dangerous and reckless behavior in that context it would be at the cost of his marriage. Just sayin’.

  2. What’s acceptable to a husband and wife in a marriage is, of course, to be entirely determined by the husband and wife. This, I think, is a great reason why, when interviewing a petitioner for membership, the wife should also be interviewed to an extent, to determine her perspective on her husband joining.

    As to people getting shot it the face, it wasn’t during a ritual exercise; it happened while the lodge in question was screwing around. There are no guns, loaded or unloaded, in our ritual work. It is something, however, that was done a lot in fraternal organizations during their heyday in the early 20th century. Gag hazing was common (I’m unsure if Masonic organizations participated, but it’s certainly possible.)

    It was probably a poorly thought-out way to stimulate membership and activity in lodge. Obviously, the shooting was a tragic and negligent accident, but throwing in anything that smacks of screwing around, I believe, only takes away from the important work we do, and adds nothing to the solemnity and impact, not even a heightened sense of anxiety, like the article says.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,113691,00.html

    • Then they’ve been screwing around for 70 years.

      And that would fit the time frame pretty well. A lot of fraternal organizations did weird hazing things out of some sort of spirit of camaraderie. It’s not part of the Fellow Craft degree and has no part in Masonry.

  3. I think that Masonry, unlike any other organization, shouldn’t worry spouses in the least. Masons are respectful, honest, and intelligent. We join not for a desire to get drunk or a desire to move up in the world but are there to improve ourselves and others and to watch out for distressed brothers and their families Some spouses may be nervous but I think like in Matt and my article, men need a place to be men. Although many dispose of Robert Bly’s ideas on masculinity, I don’t. I do see a change, men are forgetting their manhood. This leads to men acting more like teenagers and less like adults. That is a problem, a problem that I think Masonry helps to solve.

    Nick

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