Masonic Ritual – Saluting the West?

Masonic Ritual – Saluting the West?

MASONIC RITUAL

Saluting the West?

 

MASONIC RITUAL EXPLAINED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CUSTODIANS OF THE WORK

Saluting the West? Are we allowed to salute the West at the Master’s direction when entering or retiring from a Lodge?

In the Grand Lodge of New York,

Masters direct that entering and retiring Brothers to salute the Senior Warden during moments when saluting the East would unduly interrupt or disturb the business of a Communication such as a talk or presentation.

The Ritual is unambiguous in specifying that the salutation is given to the Worshipful Master, and this practice should prevail in all but the narrowest of circumstances. However, in the Grand Lodge of New York the Worshipful Master has virtually unlimited discretion in delegating portions of the Master’s Work—discretion that is routinely exercised with respect to the Working Tools, Apron Presentation, Lectures of Forms and Ceremonies, Historical Lectures, Charges and more. Moreover, because a Brother to whom a portion of the Master’s Work has been delegated is the Worshipful Master at the time of his delivery for purposes of the Ritual, it is a colorable argument that a Brother saluting the West pursuant to the Master’s directive would at that moment be saluting the Master. The Custodians of the Work have therefore concluded that there is no purely Masonic basis upon which to assert that the Master could not delegate this salutation to the Senior Warden. Such delegation must actually take place by declaration from the East, however, and necessarily must be time-limited to a portion of the Communication in which it is made, such as the duration of a talk or presentation. At all other times, the usual procedure must be observed. Attendees may not salute the West of their own accord or as a matter of custom, neither may the Master issue a directive that encompasses entire or multiple Communications of the Lodge. The most practical solution for times when salutations of the East would unduly interrupt or disturb the Lodge’s programming is simply to call the Craft from Labor to Refreshment, so long as the programming does not reveal the secret or esoteric material of Masonry.

The answers provided here reflect GLNY customs, rules, and ritual. We welcome discussion about how these may differ in your jurisdiction.

Response provided by RW Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Chairman, Custodians of the Work, Grand Lodge of New York

Note: This site is an excellent source of information about Freemasonry. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information about Masonic Ritual, please remember that a website is not a substitute for your jurisdiction’s Standard Work or Approved Ritual.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Masonic Ritual – How to Wear the Apron

Masonic Ritual – How to Wear the Apron

MASONIC RITUAL

How to Wear the Apron

 

MASONIC RITUAL EXPLAINED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CUSTODIANS OF THE WORK

Should the Apron be worn on the outside or the inside of the jacket?

In the Grand Lodge of New York,

The Masonic Apron should be fully visible and unobscured by clothing. In the Grand Lodge of New York, it is therefore worn outside a fastened jacket in all circumstances, unless worn with a cutaway such as a black formal tailcoat for full evening dress. The strings are tied at the front under the flap. Sartorially, we note that the jacket must be unfastened if the Apron is worn inside, and that a suit jacket, blazer, or odd jacket is meant to be worn fastened when standing (unless worn with a vest). A Brother whose unbuttoned jacket hangs open with the front panels flopping around looks untidy and/or inappropriately casual for our settings. While it’s true that Masons depicted in old paintings and photographs have their Aprons inside their jackets, one may note that they are dressed in open cutaways. Some Lodges and jurisdictions require Aprons to be worn inside the jacket in an attempt to preserve what they regard as the “traditional way of wearing the Apron,” but men haven’t worn cutaways unless in full formal dress for over a hundred years. As sartorial styles and traditions have evolved over the centuries, the manner of wearing the Apron should accommodate that evolution. Otherwise, let’s get out the shoe buckles and knee breeches for our meetings.

The answers provided here reflect GLNY customs, rules, and ritual. We welcome discussion about how these may differ in your jurisdiction.

Response provided by RW Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Chairman, Custodians of the Work, Grand Lodge of New York

Note: This site is an excellent source of information about Freemasonry. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information about Masonic Ritual, please remember that a website is not a substitute for your jurisdiction’s Standard Work or Approved Ritual.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Masonic Ritual – Meanings and Pronunciation

Masonic Ritual – Meanings and Pronunciation

MASONIC RITUAL

Meanings and Pronunciations

 

MASONIC RITUAL EXPLAINED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CUSTODIANS OF THE WORK

What does this word mean and how am I supposed to say it?

In the Grand Lodge of New York,

The late eighteenth/early nineteenth-century language of our Ritual contains many words that aren’t often used in the modern vernacular. This can lead to difficulties ranging from simple mistaken pronunciations all the way to an incorrect or incomplete understanding of what a given passage means and what the Ritual is trying to teach us. If only there were a readily available resource where a Mason could easily discover the correct meanings and pronunciations of unfamiliar words in the Standard Work and Lectures of the Grand Lodge of New York! As it turns out, there is such a resource. Did you know that the 2019 printing of the Ritual Book and the forthcoming Monitor each contains an extensive glossary and pronunciation guide? Any Brother who is preparing a portion of our Ritual for performance should look through this section of the book to ensure he knows what he’s saying and how to say it. Here are some words I frequently hear used incorrectly in our Lodges:

August means “inspiring of awe and reverence; worthy of respect as a result of antiquity.” The accent is on the second syllable; when the accent is on the first syllable it refers to the month.

Cavil means “to complain about unimportant details.” The accent is on the first syllable.

Compassionate means “to share the suffering of; have compassion for; sympathize with; pity.” It is differentiated from the adjective form by the pronunciation of the last syllable (kum-PASH-uh-nate).

Excess is “undue or immoderate indulgence; surpassing the usual or proper limits.” The accent is on the second syllable (ek-SESS), which differentiates it from the adjective form.

Fidelity is “the quality of being loyal and faithful to a person, organization or idea.” The accent is on the second syllable (fih-DELL-uh-tee) and the first syllable is not pronounced “fye.”

Fides is a Roman goddess who personified the principles of honesty and good faith. It is pronounced “FEE-dess,” not “FYE-deez” or “fydes.”

Halve means “to divide into two equal parts.” Note that the “L” is silent.

Hitherto means “until now; before the present time.”

Inclemency is “the quality of being stormy, rainy, cold or otherwise unsuitable for outdoor activities.” The accent is on the second syllable (in-CLEH-men(t)-see; pl. in-CLEH-men(t)-seez).

Indite means “to put down in writing; to give literary expression to something.” Not to be confused with the homophone indict, the act of formally accusing someone of a crime.

Ornan the Jebusite is a Biblical figure and owner of a threshing floor on Mount Moriah which he later sold to King Solomon. Jebusites were pre-Israelite inhabitants of Jerusalem. It is pronounced, “or-NAWN thuh JEB-you-site.” He is named Ornan in the Book of Chronicles and Aranuah in the Book of Samuel.

Palliate means “to make the effects of something less painful or harsh; to cover by excuses and apologies.” The accent is on the first syllable (PAL-ee-ate).

Pectoral means “of or relating to the chest. The accent is on the first syllable (PECK-tuh-rul).

Sublime means “extremely good or beautiful; evoking emotions of awe, veneration, adoration.” The accent is on the second syllable (suh-BLIME).

Succoth (soo-COAT) is a Biblical city on the east bank of the Jordan River, north of Jerusalem.

Superficies means “a geometric plane; two-dimensional magnitude consisting of length and breadth, especially when forming the surface of a solid.” The accent is on the third syllable (soo-per-FISH-eez).

Superfluities are “things or amounts beyond what is necessary or needed, especially when immoderate and luxurious.” Not to be confused with superfluidity, a special state of matter in which a fluid has zero viscosity that has only been observed in liquid helium at cryogenic temperatures.

Zeredathah (zeh-ruh-DAH-thuh or zeh-RED-uh-thuh) is a Biblical city on the east bank of the Jordan river, north of Jerusalem; called Zeredathah in the Book of Chronicles and Zarthan in the Book of Kings.

The answers provided here reflect GLNY customs, rules, and ritual. We welcome discussion about how these may differ in your jurisdiction.

Response provided by RW Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Chairman, Custodians of the Work, Grand Lodge of New York

Note: This site is an excellent source of information about Freemasonry. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information about Masonic Ritual, please remember that a website is not a substitute for your jurisdiction’s Standard Work or Approved Ritual.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Masonic Ritual – The Junior Deacon’s Knocks

Masonic Ritual – The Junior Deacon’s Knocks

MASONIC RITUAL

The Junior Deacon’s Knocks

 

MASONIC RITUAL EXPLAINED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CUSTODIANS OF THE WORK

When and how often should the Junior Deacon knock on the outer door?

In the Grand Lodge of New York,

Contrary to popular belief, the Junior Deacon does not need to knock every time he opens and closes the outer door. Over-knocking is an extremely common error of Junior Deacons, to say the least, and it is not unusual for a poorly trained Junior Deacon to exchange knocks with the Tiler every single time he opens the outer door as well as every single time he closes it. This is not only improper and unnecessary, but an excess of loud knocking can be unpleasant for the Brethren on occasions when the Lodge receives delegations and Masonic dignitaries.

Fortunately, three simple rules govern when and how the Junior Deacon and Tiler are required to knock on the outer door. On all other occasions, the Junior Deacon can open and close the door with no knocking whatsoever. For example, if the Master orders the Junior Deacon to give a message to the Tiler or if a Brother needs to leave the room, he can simply open and close the door as needed without any knocking. Neither the Junior Deacon nor the Tiler ever gives just a single knock on the outer door. That protocol is reserved for knocks on the inner door during Degree conferrals. The Junior Deacon should always take a moment to pause and consider whether he should knock or not. Usually, the answer will be no.

Here are the three rules:

Rule no. 1: initiating an exchange of knocks. The Junior Deacon only knocks first as part of a Ritual dialogue with the Tiler. If it’s not in the Ritual Book, don’t knock. The Junior Deacon knocks first three specific times only: (1) when he informs the Tiler that the Lodge is about to open or about to close, which only happens at the beginning of the Rituals of Opening and Closing; (2) when he informs the Tiler that the Lodge is either open on a specific Degree or closed for the evening, which only happens at the end of the Rituals of Opening and Closing or when the working Degree is changed during a meeting; and (3) when he asks the Tiler if any Candidates are in waiting, which only happens at the beginning of the Degree Rituals. During the main body of a Communication, the Junior Deacon will never knock first unless he is informing the Tiler that the Lodge has changed to a different Degree. Thus, if the Junior Deacon has closed the outer door to inform the Master that a Brother seeks admittance, he does not knock before re-opening the door to admit him. Similarly, the Junior Deacon opens and closes the outer door without knocking if he has a non-Ritual message or question for the Tiler. Meanwhile, the Tiler only knocks first when he needs to alarm the Lodge, usually because a Brother seeks admittance.

Rule no. 2: Door management and timing of knocks. The Junior Deacon always and only knocks before opening the outer door and never after closing it. The only exception is when the outer door is already open, in which case the knocks must be given after closing as a matter of practicality because it’s impossible to knock before opening an open door. This only happens once, after the open outer door is closed at the beginning of the Ritual of Opening. It is never proper to knock before opening and again after closing the outer door.

Rule no. 3: Responding to alarms. When one officer knocks three times on the outer door, his counterpart on the other side must knock three times in reply before the door is opened. Thus, if the Tiler knocks three times to make an alarm, the Junior Deacon must knock three times before opening the door to ascertain the cause. Similarly, if the Junior Deacon knocks three times first (see rule 1 above) the Tiler must knock three times before the Junior Deacon opens the door.

The answers provided here reflect GLNY customs, rules, and ritual. We welcome discussion about how these may differ in your jurisdiction.

Response provided by RW Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Chairman, Custodians of the Work, Grand Lodge of New York

Note: This site is an excellent source of information about Freemasonry. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information about Masonic Ritual, please remember that a website is not a substitute for your jurisdiction’s Standard Work or Approved Ritual.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Masonic Ritual – Brothers versus Brethren

Masonic Ritual – Brothers versus Brethren

MASONIC RITUAL

Brothers versus Brethren

 

MASONIC RITUAL EXPLAINED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CUSTODIANS OF THE WORK

What is the difference between “Brothers” versus “Brethren”? When and how should they be used?

In the Grand Lodge of New York,

“Brethren” should always be used when referring to or addressing every Mason in the room, or every Mason who will receive a communication. “Brothers” should be used when referring to or addressing multiple Masons but not every Mason in the room or every Mason who will receive a communication. Thus, for example, the Master might call the Lodge’s attention to the Stewards by saying, “Brethren, give a round of applause to the Stewards. These Brothers did a great job with this evening’s collation.” In this case he uses “Brethren” to address his remarks to all those present, and then uses “Brothers” in his remarks to refer to the Stewards only.

The answers provided here reflect GLNY customs, rules, and ritual. We welcome discussion about how these may differ in your jurisdiction.

Response provided by RW Samuel Lloyd Kinsey
Chairman, Custodians of the Work, Grand Lodge of New York

Note: This site is an excellent source of information about Freemasonry. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information about Masonic Ritual, please remember that a website is not a substitute for your jurisdiction’s Standard Work or Approved Ritual.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey