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From the South

September 2017

posted Sep 1, 2017, 4:18 PM by Robert Bigelow

Virtues Are the Working Tools of Life

To be moral and upright is the product of good virtue. Just as the builder has the primary working tools to build his edifice; the square, the level, the plumb, the 24 inch gauge in life, the four cardinal virtues are the working tools of our spiritual building.

Imagine trying to build a house by pacing off the measurements of the foundation or eye balling the rafters into position what confusion and anxiety that would cause, it seems almost insane. When the working tools are used properly it is almost impossible to err. Thus, the finished product will be strong and beautiful. That is why the virtues are so important and are the working tools of our daily lives.

It takes temperance and especially fortitude to subdue our passions. It takes prudence to apply our passions in a proper manner and above all it takes a just mind to know how, when and why to apply the first three of the cardinal virtues.

And Act,
By the Plumb

Chris Smith
Junior Warden

June 2017

posted May 22, 2017, 8:45 AM by Robert Bigelow

Greetings Brethren,
I was fortunate enough to be a side-liner at a practice session for the Second Section of the Master Mason Degree, a few weeks ago, where we had Brethren to perform several parts and carrying on the tradition. This takes a considerable amount of memory and floor work to perfect. Well done, my brothers and thank you. As an imminent brother of our lodge once said, Free Masonry lives on.
We do not have any formal dinners planned for June, however, on stated meeting night, the DeMolay will be providing spaghetti dinner for the attending brothers.

"Just as Freemasons consider the north a place of darkness, so does the operative construction worker consider the north side of the building a place of shade." -Chris Smith.

And Act,
By the Plumb

Chris Smith
Junior Warden

May 2017

posted Apr 26, 2017, 10:03 AM by Robert Bigelow

Brethren,
I would like to thank all the brothers who helped out a the Easter Breakfast and the Grandmaster visitation dinner as well as the superb service by the Job's Daughters. We had a fantastic turnout for the dinner with lots of great comments.  My hope is to continue this trend.

We do have one dinner event coming up in May, our annual Cinco de Mayo Taco Tuesday on May 9th at 6:30pm.  Hope to see everyone there.

I don't have a masonic saying or quote for this month but I would like to share some "May" ancient traditional history, its a bit lengthy but an interesting read.  Please indulge me.
________________________________________________________________________

The History and Origins Of May Day

Well, it is a fact that May Day, which the children do enjoy with all vibes, is not an overly prominent holiday in America. Yet, it does have a long and notable history as one of the world's principal festivals. The origin of the May Day as a day for celebration dates back to the days, even before the birth of Christ. And like many ancient festivals it too has a Pagan connection.

For the Druids of the British Isles, May 1 was the second most important holiday of the year. Because, it was when the festival of Beltane held. It was thought that the day divides the year into half. The other half was to be ended with the Samhain on November 1. Those days the May Day custom was the setting of new fire. It was one of those ancient New Year rites performed throughout the world. And the fire itself was thought to lend life to the burgeoning springtime sun. Cattle were driven through the fire to purify them. Men, with their sweethearts, passed through the smoke for seeing good luck.

Then the Romans came to occupy the British Isles. The beginning of May was a very popular feast time for the Romans. It was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers. It was in her honor a five day celebration, called the Floralia, was held. The five day festival would start from April 28 and end on May 2. The Romans brought in the rituals of the Floralia festival in the British Isles. And gradually the rituals of the Floralia were added to those of the Beltane. And many of today's customs on the May Day bear a stark similarity with those combined traditions.

May day observance was discouraged during the Puritans. Though, it was relived when the Puritans lost power in England, it didn't have the same robust force. Gradually, it came to be regarded more as a day of joy and merriment for the kids, rather than a day of observing the ancient fertility rights.

The Tradition of Maypole and greeneries:

By the Middle Ages every English village had its Maypole. The bringing in of the Maypole from the woods was a great occasion and was accompanied by much rejoicing and merrymaking. The Maypoles were of all sizes. And one village would vie with another to show who could produce the tallest Maypole. Maypoles were usually set up for the day in small towns, but in London and the larger towns they were erected permanently.

The Maypole tradition suffered a setback for about a couple of decades since the Puritan Long Parliament stopped it in 1644. However, with the return of the Stuarts, the Maypole reappeared and the festivities of May Day were again enjoyed. One of the great Maypoles, was the changes brought about by the Reformation included attempts to do away with practices that were obviously of pagan origin. But the Maypole, or, May tree, was not issued in practice at the behest of the second Stuart.

Although they succeeded in doing this, Maypole with most of the other traditions, many still survived. And Maypole is one of them. In France it merely changed its name. In Perigord and elsewhere, the May Tree became the "Tree of Liberty" and was the symbol of the French Revolution. Despite the new nomenclature, the peasants treated the tree in the same traditional spirit. And they would dance around it the same way as their forefathers had always done.

Maypoles and trees:

Trees have been linked to a part of celebration, perhaps, to the days ancient New Year rites. The association of trees to this celebration has come riding on the back of the spring festival in ancient Europe. Trees have always been the symbol of the great vitality and fertility of nature and were often used at the spring festivals of antiquity. The anthropologist E. O. James finds a strong relationship between the ancient tree related traditions of the British and the Romans. According to James' description, as a part of the May Day celebration, the youths in old Europe cut down a tree, lopped off the branches leaving a few at the top. They then wrapped it round with violets like the figure of the Attis, the ancient Roman god. At sunrise, they used to take it back to their villages by blowing horns and flutes. In a similar manner, the sacred pine tree representing the god Attis was carried in procession to the temple of Cybele on Rome's Palatine Hill during the Spring Festival of March 22.

Roots of May Day celebration in America:

The Puritans frowned on May Day, so the day has never been celebrated with as much enthusiasm in the United States as in Great Britain. But the tradition of celebrating May Day by dancing and singing around a maypole, tied with colorful streamers or ribbons, survived as a part of the English tradition. The kids celebrating the day by moving back and forth around the pole with the streamers, choosing of May queen, and hanging of May baskets on the doorknobs of folks -- are all the leftovers of the old European traditions

April 2017

posted Mar 22, 2017, 9:28 AM by Robert Bigelow

"There is a certain grave beauty in the practice of masonic etiquette. The masonic life as it is lived out in our assemblies is a conscious work of art, with each and every part coordinated to every other, and instinct with the feeling of the whole; if a man enters into a system without preparation or forethought, and trusting only his instincts, his manner will strike an awkward note, like a discord dangling across a strain of music; but if he has trained himself in his part and caught the spirit of the whole, the genius of freemasonry will shine through his actions, will express itself through ritual, symbol, law, philosophy, fellowship and daily deed. To have oneself thus become a part of a great living whole is a kind of satisfying pleasure nothing else can give, a participation of a very life of beauty, appreciated as much by the beholders as by the actor. This ability to confer pleasure upon ones fellows when gathered in communication or in a ceremony is not the least of etiquette's rewards".
- W. Henry G. Meecham
Grand Lecturer, Grand Lodge of New York


Hail Brethren,
The chill and darkness of winter are being swept away by the warm spring rains, and April is upon us.
We have a few events this month, of course, the first is our monthly stated meeting on April 4th at 7:30pm. We will have a pot roast dinner prior to the meeting, so if you are hungry please show up at 6:30 to share a meal with us.

Second, our Easter Breakfast on Sunday, April 16th from 8:00 am to 11:00 am.

Third, on April 18th at 6:30 pm, we have the official visitation of Grand Master, Art Borland to a dinner and lodge meeting. We have put together an amazing evening of music and dinner by candlelight along with a fun little craft class for your ladies and guests while we are in lodge.


We will be enjoying a nice sit down dinner with candlelight ambience, so be sure to bring a guest if you like. Beautiful guitar music will be provided by our newest EA, Jeff Dinicola while we dine. In addition, there will be a fun craft class for your ladies and guests to enjoy while we are in lodge by my sweet lady, Candy Rosenberg. All supplies will be provided and lots of fun to be had.

We have put a lot of effort into this evening and would love to see a great turnout. It is important to support the lodge and show our hospitality to our guest, the Grand Master. Please be sure to add your name to the Dinner Sign Up Sheet and include any guests to ensure we have everything that we need to make it a wonderful evening for all. You can find the sign up sheet on Tyler's desk.


Act By The Plumb,
Junior Warden Chris Smith

March 2017

posted Feb 27, 2017, 10:20 AM by Robert Bigelow   [ updated Feb 27, 2017, 10:24 AM ]

Many writers and thinkers have tried to define free masonry but it really defeats definitions. It is too complex, too profound in conception, too easily expressed in words. Perhaps the simplest and best definition of all, is the phrase "the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of god." Our masonic forefathers had an understanding of human needs and human aspirations. They may never have dreamed of the mindless computer which governs our lives, or the fission of matter which threatens our lives, but they understood human nature and what motivates the spirit of man. Thus, from the simple process of using stone and mortar for building, they progressed to the most important of life's functions...the building of character.
-Louis L Williams


Brethren, March is upon us and with it the winds of change will bring us out of the darkness of winter and into the fresh light of spring, a new beginning. Speaking of new beginnings, I would like to remind the brethren that we have an EA degree scheduled for March 14th at 7:30 pm.


I hope to see many brothers at the degree, this is the candidates first impression of our lodge and our chance to inspire them.


Remember to live by the plumb,

Chris Smith

February 2017

posted Jan 23, 2017, 10:57 AM by Robert Bigelow   [ updated Jan 23, 2017, 11:07 AM ]

"The magic in these Masonic rituals is very, very old. And way back in those days, it worked. As time went on, and it started being used for spectacle, to consolidate what were only secular appearances of power, it began to lose its zip. But the words, moves, and machinery have been more or less faithfully carried down over the millennia, through the grim rationalizing of the World, and so the magic is still there, though latent, needing only to touch the right sensitive head to reassert itself." - Thomas Pynchon

Brethren,

February will be quite active starting of course with stated meeting Feb 7th at 7pm and, yes there will be refreshments.

Next, Feb 14th, Valentine's Dinner. Because this is the evening that celebrates the true magic of life, so gentlemen don't let her miss out on smoked pot roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, veggies and desert. Sounds good, dinner is at 6:30.

We have degrees planned for the rest of the month starting with a Fellow Craft degree Feb 21st at 7pm. There are many words of wisdom in this one. Feb 28th after the officers meeting at 6:30 we will be doing an Entered Apprentice degree. Wouldn't it be amazing for the candidate to hear the rumble and clap of a lodge full of freemasons when being brought to light for the first time.

And Act,
By the Plumb

January 2017

posted Dec 28, 2016, 11:57 AM by Robert Bigelow

The secret of masonry, like the secret of life can be known only by those who seek it, serve it and live it. It cannot be uttered, it can only be felt and acted. It is in fact an open secret and each man knows it according to his quest and capacity. Like all things worth knowing, no one can know it for another and no man can know it alone.
- Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, Clergyman, Freemason




Well, with that being said, I can tell you that it is no secret that the Past Master's roast will be held at Grants Pass Elmer's on January 17, 2017 at 6pm. We will be honorably roasting our friend and Past Master for 2016, worshipful brother, Greg Gilbert. So if you seek substance and fellowship come join us for dinner and laughs. The more the merrier.


And let the plumb be an ever reminder of that rectitude of conduct which should prevail among all freemasons.

December 2016

posted Nov 30, 2016, 3:28 PM by Robert Bigelow

Brethren,

             All the new tables have been installed and thank you to our Master of the Lodge Greg Gilbert and his son Gage for helping me haul the majority to the Lodge.

             Upcoming: Please invite your family and friends.

If you have any questions, my contact info is:

keith@traherns.com

541-479-7179

 

**December 6th - Grand Master’s Dinner, 6:30 PM

             Sunrise Café out of Medford, Hawaiian Food, cost is $10 per person. Same great food and Aloha as at the Café, but brought right to us in Grants Pass. He’ll be serving his “Island Buffet”; Huli Huli Chicken, Ed’s Famous Pulled Pork, rice, buns, mac salad, and coleslaw. You can check out his website at www.medfordsunrisecafe.com

December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day and the 75th Anniversary, so what better way to honor out Grand Master and our Country. Our Stated Meeting will follow the dinner at 7:30 PM.

 

**December 13th - Lodge Christmas Dinner, 6:30 PM

Papa Teralls BBQ, cost is FREE for our local Masonic Family. We will be having a Tri-Tip and Chicken dinner with all the fixings. For the dinner it would be preferred to RSVP so we have a head count.

We will be doing a White Elephant Gift Exchange for those of you that want to play along. The price of the gift should be between $10-15 and be wrapped and marked Male or Female. If you have kids coming, please advise me as I will be buying some generic gifts and candy for them; or if you have something you want them to have, just let me know what you are bringing for them, and I will make the arrangements to give it to them.

Overall, if I do not see you have a blessed rest of your year, and a very Merry Christmas.

 

And Act,

By the Plumb.

 

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