Thursday, July 23, 2020

Grand lodge mandates use of tracing boards for Masonic education and ritual

On Friday, the Grand Lodge of Texas's Masonic Services & Education Committee announced that, commencing immediately, all Lodges in the jurisdiction are to use tracing boards as visual aids for Masonic education and ritual. 

Very Worshipful Brother Joe Snow, a spokesperson for the Masonic Services & Education Committee, explained,  "We've been taking a hard look at the state of Freemasonry and Masonic education today. It's apparent from the lack of proper Masonic discourse, as evidenced across social media to include groups like The Whining Stairs or our very own Fexas Treemasons, that most brethren today lack the intellectual acuity to internalize our Masonic teachings as conveyed through the ritual alone. It has become clear to the committee that we need to bring Masonry back to a simpler time, when we conveyed teachings through pictures drawn on some dusty tavern floor. We're hoping that the introduction of visual aids might help our less astute brethren better understand their responsibilities and obligations as Masons."

At this time it is unclear if the Grand Lodge will provide direction or standards guides for the symbols to be drawn in the degrees, and brethren at local Lodge levels have already taken to social media to express their differences of opinion over which symbols should and should not be included. In the Whining Stairs facebook group, Brother Bubba Sawyer took a break from shitposting Confederate flag and All Lives Matter memes to express his confusion about the Grand Lodge's direction: "I dunno about them pictures they're drawing in the Lodge room. Why do we even need em? The only ones I need to recognize as a proud American Mason are the flag of this great nation and the AR-15, the badge of our free and accepted 2nd amendment rights. #MyRitualMyRights" 

The Past Bastard reached out to Bro. Joe Snow to ask if, perhaps, the issue isn't with the ritual, but instead the character of the men within the organization. "No," he said unequivocally, "we're great at guarding the west gate. Besides, we can't just kick people out once they're in. That would wreak havoc on our membership numbers."

For now, this reporter for The Past Bastard is left wondering: "Am I out of touch?" No, it's the ritual that is wrong.

Above: A Texas Lodge room being prepared for an upcoming Master Mason degree.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

UGLE announces CoVid degree conferral guidelines

Westminster, UK --Because of the inherent difficulties in conferring the craft degrees, the UGLE has issued guidelines to all lodges in order to comply with government regulations, and to ensure a safe experience for the candidate and the lodge officers and members.

Most of the guidelines are now quite commonplace in the general public: wearing of face masks, carrying small containers of hand sanitizer, avoiding touching of odd surfaces, keeping hands away from nose and eyes, etc. However, it is important to note the guidelines for the degree ceremonies in order to, as much as possible, prevent the contamination and spread of CoVid-19, or any similar infectious pathogens in the future.  Here, then, are some of the highlights.

Candidate Preparation

Initiation garb is no longer allowed. Candidates are to be fully clothed in their own regular clothing. Shoes will be worn on both feet, however, depending upon the degree conferred, in place of removing a shoe, several grains of uncooked rice or small pebbles will be placed in the appropriate shoe.

Hoodwinks, blindfolds, or head coverings will no longer be allowed. Candidates will be issued their own pair of Ray-Bans with the lenses blacked out.

Pants legs will no longer be rolled up; however, garters around the appropriate calf may act as a symbolic reminder.


No members should be present in the lodge room, except for the several officers needed to perform the ceremony itself. 

Candidates will no longer wear cable tows. Instead, they will be guided by buckled traces or collars with leashes (available at most pet supply or exotic adult shoppes). Stewards or deacons will remain at least one to two metres distance, and shall be careful to gently coax the candidate along by use of light tugging.

With the aid of the Stewards, the candidate will circumnavigate the space, ending on the north side of the room for instruction. Stewards will aid by using pushbrooms to place their feet in the proper position.

Guiding the candidate to the altar, the candidate will be restored to light, not by the JD being directed, but with some such formula as “Normally the JD would remove the hoodwink with which you would, up to this point in the ceremony, have been blindfolded. On this occasion, however, you will yourself remove the dark glasses you are wearing, on the count of three. [“One, two, three” to synchronise with movements of gavel.] You will place the glasses in the bag which is in front of you to your right.”

The candidate will be given the obligations, and upon removing his dark glasses, he should be presented with as large a video screen as can be accommodated, showing the WM who will safely be giving the lectures from a nearby room.

The WM will, via the video, give further instructions to the Candidate. Stewards and Deacons will alternately direct the Candidate's attention to the various working tools which have been set up in distant stations around the lodge.

At the end of the ceremonies, the Candidate will proceed to the main hall, where he and his new brethren can share tea and sandwiches from Sainsbury's,  Pret a Manger or some other local cafe.

Please keep in mind that these guidelines are for the safety of the candidate and officers, and that they should continue to be performed with the same dignity as previously. 



Friday, July 3, 2020

Masonic Temples look to hire security and protection

"They're a bunch of thugs and lowlifes." -- Juan Nieves
"I don't trust any of them. They're trouble anywhere they go." -- John Snow
"Every time I see these guys, they're loud, drunk, or stoned on something." --Chon Yuki
"Yes, I get that they are trying to accomplish something, but they invariably go about it exactly the wrong way." -- Jonpreet Himapaat

These and similar comments were all over The Windy Steps and other Facebook groups following the news that The Widows Sons, a national motorcycle club for Freemasons, will begin offering "protection services" for hire at Masonic temples around the US and Canada. 

"I was stuck at home, like a lot of other folks, just watching some streaming service, when they started showing 'Gimme Shelter,' a documentary about a Rolling Stones tour that used the Hell's Angels as concert security. Well, when I saw on Fox New that those rioting kids pulled down a statue of John Pike at the George Washington Center, I started thinking that it would have been great if, you know, the statue had been guarded by his brothers," said Carl Chesterfield, head of the Hiram's Hogs chapter in Virginia. "So I called Jeff Lee, he's the Senior Warden over at the Stone Temple Pilot's chapter in Alexandria, and told him what I was thinking. He said it sounded like a great idea, so we made some calls, and the next thing you know, we have almost two dozen Widows Sons chapters that have been hired to protect lodges, temples, statues, and other historic Masonic buildings all around the DC area, and spreading up the northeast coast."
Members of The Three Pillars chapter of
The Widows Sons prepare to defend a local
donut shop from rioters in the next town.  

However, not everyone is convinced that this is a good idea. The Past Bastard talked to Geoff "Twisted" Syster, Imperial Potentate for the Shriners in Virginia. 

"First off, these guys are outlaws who pretend to be Freemasons. All they do is drink, cause trouble, and get into arguments with the Grand Lodge of whatever state they happen to be in. There's only room for one masonic motorcycle club who does all that, and it belongs to the Shrine. Take that to the bank, sonny."

More on this topic as events warrant.