The Rough Ashlar

Thoughts from a Traveling Man

The Rough Ashlar - Thoughts from a Traveling Man

Everything I needed to know for the CAE exam I learned by being a Freemason

Well, maybe not everything, but it gave me a good background for lots of topics and I credit some experience helping run my Masonic lodge with success on the test and with the CAE Kickoff class. I had already been part of financial audits, setting budgets, reviewing financial reports, and seen the necessity for transparency.

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I wrote this piece about how experiences as a Freemason helped me in my professional career. When you work in the membership-based organization business, a Masonic lodge can give you a different perspective on some things. In my case, it helped me earn a valuable professional credential.

A Majestic Temple

I never get over how beautiful this temple is. I love it.

wpid-IMAG0489.jpgThis is the view looking east down King Street in Alexandria. That pale strip of foliage is in Maryland. As a Virginia resident I am practically forbidden from ever going there, even if I wanted to. You can see this view and many more if you come to the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Let me know when you are making your visit and I will be neighborly and meet you of happy hour or lunch.

Masonic Rings

Masonic Ring IMGP0003_1Many brothers are curious, especially when new, what kind of ring they should get, how fancy it should be, how much to spend, and more. First, I understand that many new brothers are full of fervency and zeal when it comes to being part of the fraternity and outwardly showing membership. However, before rushing off and buying a ring, think about the style you might like to have and whether you really want one at all. Some professions lend themselves to not wearing something like this. Mechanics, for example, could be at a disadvantage if they wear rings at work, and some lines of work prohibit the wearing of jewelry other than a wedding ring or simple necklace.
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Welsh Masonic Lapel Pin

wpid-IMAG0725-1.jpgI was given this pin by a brother who is in town from Wales for a few months. Something nice about being a Mason in the Washington, D.C. area is that I often get to host or at least meet brothers from all over the world who come here for various purposes. It is always nice when they give small tokens such as this pin – something unique by which I can remember their visit and the time we shared in our fraternal sanctuary. Likewise, I try to have a pocket full of pins from my lodge or perhaps odd pins I came across online that people will find meaningful or interesting. It is like the old days when shop keepers might have candy for children. You don’t see that much anymore. All the same, it is important to give a visitor a small token of thanks for taking the time to be with your lodge.

This pin is definitely one to wear a good bit. I love the Welsh dragon on it. Maybe I will write about some of the other special pins I have received over the years.

Masonic Name Badges

Name BadgesIt occurred to me while packing for a move about a year ago that I have a whole mess of Masonic name badges. Somehow, over the span of just a few years, I have managed to amass a collection of name badges that baffles me in its size. Here is a brief catalog of the collection, with highlights. You did not even know a collection of name badges could have highlights, I bet.

  • Name badge from when I joined my mother lodge. All members of my lodge get name badges. Not all lodges do this, but it is something nice we do for our members.
  • My Second Lodge. I have another one from A. Douglas Smith Lodge of Research. This one has a representation of the Lighthouse in Alexandria, on which the George Washington Masonic Memorial is designed. When I wear this name badge to other lodges it always gets comments. I suppose that is as close as we get to fashion in the Masonic lodges.
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Brewing and Freemasonry

I was recently invited to give a talk at Freedom Lodge No. 118 in Lovettsville, Virginia and then at my mother lodge about brewing and Freemasonry. Freedom Lodge was a fun lodge to visit and afterward we went to a new brew pub a few doors down.

Here is the text of my presentation. Anyone who wants to use this presentation is welcome to. Just let folks know where it came from.

Brewing is truly alchemy. This is as good as the mystery of how to turn lead into gold. The way brewing works is really quite simple. Beer consists of four basic ingredients:

  • Water
  • Malted barley (or malt extract)
  • Hops
  • Yeast

The process of making beer is simple:
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Royal Arch Jewel

imageI recently introduced myself to a brother visiting my lodge who turned out to be the Third Provincial Grand Principal for the Provincial Grand Chapter of Cumberland and Westmoreland in England. I gave him a pin representing my Royal Arch Chapter, as I do whenever I meet a traveling companion. This particular brother had so many badges and jewels that it was like meeting a high-ranking military officer. That is the tradition in England. They really do it up right.

At the end of our lodge meeting, the companion took the jewel pictured here and put it on my breast pocket. He had no more need for it, he told me, because he was about to ascend to the grand line from the provincial grand line, which would necessitate a different jewel.

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