Friday, November 8, 2013

Tetrahedron of Freemasonry

A tetrahedral gaming die
I named this blog "The Tetrahedral Freemason" for a reason. Specifically, there are four "faces" of Freemasonry that I see as most important to myself and which, unlike the square for example, are not at right angles to each other. These four areas are:

  • Fraternity
  • Community
  • Esotericism
  • History

Each of these aspects or "faces" of Freemasonry, in turn, has three sides:

Fraternity is the relationship that one feels with the Lodge, Freemasons everywhere and the Fraternity as an organization.

Community is the bond of love and charity that one feels toward family and friends, the larger community in which you live and all mankind.

Esotericism is a broad topic, encompassing the symbolic, philosophical and ritualistic aspects of the Craft.

History is the history of the specifically Masonic elements of one's community, the Masonic history of the broader community and the history of the Fraternity itself.

However, like a tetrahedron, these sides are shared, making just 6 true sides in our tetrahedron:

  1. Fraternity/Community - Brotherly love and leadership
  2. Fraternity/Esotericism - The spiritual bond of brotherhood
  3. Fraternity/History - The eternal edifice of the Fraternity
  4. Community/Esotericism - Sacred duty to mankind
  5. Community/History - Stewardship of the past and present
  6. Esotericism/History - The allegories and ritual of Freemasonry and their meanings
Any one of these topics could occupy me for the rest of my brief life, but it is my intent to explore these topics, one at a time, and bring some light to them in my own life and hopefully for others as well.

As a point of clarification, however, this blog is almost entirely focused on Blue Lodge or Craft Freemasonry. That is, it's not about The Shrine, Scottish Rite or York Rite, fascinating though those are.

The Crusades and Freemasonry

This past weekend, I took several of the degrees in The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. It's a tad off topic for this blog (I'm focusing more on the Blue Lodge), but I distilled something from it on Facebook earlier today and I wanted to share that here.

The topic of discussion was actually the York Rite where a Facebook friend of mine was talking about how blood-stained crusader avatars on Facebook (apparently something to do with Veteran's day that the Knights Templar are doing?) really rubbed him the wrong way. His family was on the receiving end of some of the more unfortunate parts of the Crusades so it's not a happy thought for him.

I shared these thoughts about Scottish Rite in return:

I was very concerned about some of the degrees I took this weekend, going in. They weren't KT degrees, and I understand that those are steeped in the lore of the Crusades to a deeper extent, but here's my takeaway for what it's worth: Freemasonry gets the dark periods of human history. We've experienced crusades and purges, pogroms and slavery, ghettos and persecution. We're an old organization (how old can be debated, but for my purposes, "long enough" suffices) and we've seen the darkness of man's heart, but we continue to assert the light of his soul, and even with the evidence of our brutality--even with the evidence of the actions of a very few within the Fraternity itself who have failed to uphold its ideals--we find the transformative experience repeated over and over again.

You can look at the SS officer who decides that he must save as many human beings from extermination as possible, or you can look at the slave owner who decides to free and provide for his slaves as his brothers and sisters, not property. Throughout history, the crucible of great waves of evil deeds have brought forth the light upon which all men agree in their hearts.

To summarize: the blood-soaked crusader is more ideally placed than any of us to receive the lessons of a Freemason, so perhaps it is something to commemorate. Freemasonry is many things, but one of its core reasons for being is to help good men find the light of truth and reason and by so doing, subvert the darkest impulses of mankind: fear, hatred, intolerance and selfishness. Is the warrior monk of the Knights Templar all of that? Not always, but when they were, they were a beacon that shined so brightly that we continue to follow that light, today.

Perhaps, then, we can celebrate those times because of the few good men who carried us out of the darkness and into the light. Also, the funny hats are cool.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tetrahedral Freemason: Mission Statement

This new blog is intended as a place for me to record my thoughts as I progress through Freemasonry. When a new Freemason arrives, their thought is often of the journey in front of them in terms of the degrees. This is not really the case. The degrees are like signposts on the way. Each signpost tells you that you have new sights to see and new things to learn, but the signpost itself isn't the journey. Eventually, you will be equipped with the tools to embark on your own journey and degrees won't be necessary any more.

I'm chronicling the journey, here, and not the signs. If you're looking for a place to learn the "secrets of Freemasonry," then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. This is a look inward at what Freemasonry has meant to me and how I've grown and changed as a result.

If you want to contact me about anything related to this blog, please use the email address, I'll collect questions sent there and respond to them in this blog when I have a chance. If your question is more time-sensitive you might try something like the Reddit /r/freemasonry subreddit which I do read and respond to.

So welcome, and I hope you enjoy the blog!