Archive for the ‘E’Category

Eavesdropper

A listener.

The punishment which was directed in the old lectures, at the revival of Freemasonry in 1717, to be inflicted on a detected cowan was: “To be placed under the eaves of the house in rainy weather, till the water runs in at his shoulders and out at his heels.”

The French inflict a similar punishment: “On le met sous une gouttiere, une pompe, ou une fontaine, jusqu’à ce qu’il soit mouillé depuis la tete jusqu’aux pieds,” meaning They put him under the rain-spout, a pump, or a fountain, until he is drenched from head to feet. Hence a listener is called an eavesdropper.

The word is not, as has by some been supposed, a peculiar Masonic term, but is common to the language. Skinner gives it in his Etymologicon, and approvingly calls it vox sane elegantissima, aptly sound word; and Blackstone (Com, mentaries iv, 13) thus defines it:   Eavesdroppers, or such as listen under walls, or windows, or the eaves of a houses to hearken after discourse and thereupon to frame slanderous and mischievous tales, are a common nuisance and presentable at the court leet or are indictable at the sessions. and punishable by fine and finding sureties for their good behavior.

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12

05 2010

Eastern Star, Order of the

This is the very popular American Rite of Adoption to which Brother Rob Morris gave many years labor and dedicated numerous poems. There are five beautiful degrees to which Freemasons and their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters are eligible. The ceremonies are entirely different to the old Rites of Adoption practiced on the Continent of Europe (see also Adoptive Masonry and Androgynous Degrees).

Degrees for women, under the title of the Masonry of Adoption, were as long ago as 1765 in vogue on the continent of Europe. These were administered under the patronage of the ruling Masonic body and especially flourished in the palmy days of the Empire in France, the Empress Josephine being at the head of the Order and many women of the highest standing were active members.

The term Adoption, so it is said, was given to the organization because the Freemasons formally adopted the ladies to whom the mysteries of the several degrees were imparted. Albert Pike, who took great interest in this Masonry of Adoption and made a translation of the ritual into English with some elaboration dictated by his profound knowledge of symbolism and philosophy, points out the reason that in his judgment existed for the conferring of degrees upon the women of a Freemasons family. He says in the preface to his ritual of the Masonry of Adoption:

Our mothers. sisters, wives and daughters cannot. it is true, be admitted to share with us the grand mysteries of Freemasonry, but there is no reason why there should not be also a Masonry for them, which may not merely enable them to make themselves known to Masons, and so to obtain assistance and protection; but by means of which, acting in concert through the tie of association and mutual obligation, they may Co-operate in the great labors of Masonry by assisting in and, in some respects, directing their charities, and toiling in the cause of human progress. The object of ‘ la Maçonnerie des Dames” is, therefore, very inadequately expressed, when it is said to be the improvement and purification of the sentiments. The Order of the Eastern Star has become just such an organization, strong enough to take an active and powerful co-operative concern in the beneficent labors of Freemasons for the care of the indigent and the afflicted. While entirely different and distinct from the Masonry of Adoption, being indeed of American and not French development, all the expectations so ably expressed by Brother Pike have in no other fraternal association been so admirably fulfilled as in the Order of the Eastern Star. Some mystery involves the origin of the Order. In this respect the Order of the Eastern Star is closely akin to the various branches of the Masonic brotherhood. To unravel the truth from the entanglement of myth is, with many of these knotty problems, a troublesome and perhaps a never wholly satisfactory task. Evidence having few and incomplete records, dependent rather upon memory than in documents of authority is the usual subject-matter of discussion when laboring at the historic past of human institutions.

First of all let us take the testimony of Brother Rob Morris, than whom no one person has, it is conceded, given more freely of his service in the early development of the Order. None ought to know of the Eastern Star’s inception story more than he, the acknowledged pioneer propagandist during its tender infancy and struggling youth.

During the latter part of 1884 Brother Rob Morris gave an account of the origination of the Eastern Star, which is in part as follows: In the winter of 1850 I was a resident of Jackson, Mississippi. For some time previous I had contemplated, as hinted above, the preparation of a Ritual of Adoptive Masonry, the Degrees then in vogue appearing to me poorly conceived, weakly wrought out, unimpressive and particularly defective in point of motive. I allude especially to those Degrees styled the Mason’s Daughter, and the Heroines of Jericho. But I do expressly except from this criticism, the Good Samaritan, which in my judgment possesses dramatic elements and machinery equal to those that are in the Templar’s Orders, the High Priesthood, the Cryptic Rite, and other organizations of Thomas Smith Webb. I have always recommended the Good Samaritan, and a thousand times conferred it in various parts of the world.

About the first of February, 1850, I was laid up for two weeks with a sharp attack of rheumatism, and it was this period which I gave to the work in hand. By the aid of my papers and the memory of Mrs. Morris, I recall even the trivial occurrences connected with the work, how I hesitated for a theme, how I dallied over a name, how I wrought face to face with the clock that I might keep my drama within due limits of time, etc.

The name was first settled upon The Eastern Star. Next the number of points, five, to correspond with the emblem on the Master’s carpet. This is the pentagon, ”The signet of King Solomon,” and eminently proper to Adoptive Masonry. From the Holy Writings I culled four biographical sketches to correspond with my first four points, namely, Jephthah’s Daughter (named Adah for want of a better) Ruth, Esther, and Martha. These were illustrations of four great congeries of womanly virtues, and their selection has proved highly popular. The fifth point introduced me to the early history of the Christian Church, where, amidst a noble army of martyrs, I found many whose lives and death overflowed the cup of martyrdom with a glory not surpassed by any of those named in Holy Writ. This gave me Electa, the “Elect Lady, ” friend of St. John, the Christian woman whose venerable years were crowned with the utmost splendor of the crucifixion.

The colors, the emblems, the floral wreaths, the esotery proper to these five heroines, were easy of invention. They seemed to fall ready made into my hands. The only piece of mechanism difficult to fit into the construction was the cabalistic motto, but this occurred to me in ample time for use.

The compositions of the lectures was but a recreation. Familiar from childhood as I had been with the Holy Scriptures, I scarcely needed to look up my proof texts, so tamely did they come to my call. A number of odes were also composed at that time, but the greater part of the threescore odes and poems of the Eastern Star that I have written were the work of subsequent years. The first Ode of the series of 1850 was one commencing “Light from the East, ’tis gilded with hope.”

The theory of the whole subject is succinctly stated in my Rosary of take Eastern Star, published in 1865: To take from the ancient writings five prominent female characters, illustrating as many Masonic virtues, and to adopt them into the fold of Masonry. The selections were:

1. Jephthah’s Daughter, as illustrating respect to the binding force of a vow.

2. Ruth, as illustrating devotion to religious principles.

3. Esther, as illustrating fidelity to kindred and friends.

4. Martha, as illustrating undeviating faith in the hour of trial.

5. Electa, as illustrating patience and submission under wrong.

These are all Masonic virtues, and they have nowhere in history more brilliant exemplars than in the five characters presented in the lectures of the Eastern Star. It is a fitting comment upon these statements that in all the changes that the Eastern Star has experienced at so many hands for thirty-four, years, no change in the names, histories or essential lessons has been proposed. So my Ritual was complete, and after touching and retouching the manuscript, as professional authors love to do, I invited a neighboring Mason and his wife to join with my own, and to them, in my own parlor, communicated the Degrees. They were the first recipients the first of twice fifty thousand who have seen the signs, heard the words, exchanged the touch, and joined in the music of the Eastern Star. When I take a retrospect of that evening but thirty-four years ago and consider the abounding four hundred Eastern Star Chapters at work today, my heart swells with gratitude to God, who guided my hand during that period of convalescence to prepare a work, of all the work of my life the most successful.

Being at that time, and until a very recent period, an active traveler, visiting all countries where lodges exist — a nervous, wiry, elastic man, unwearying in work caring little for refreshments or sleep, I spread abroad the knowledge of the Eastern Star wherever I went. Equally in border communities, where ladies came in homespun, as in cities, where ladies came in satins, the new Degree was received with ardor, and eulogized in strongest terms, so that every induction led to the call for more. Ladies and gentlemen are yet living who met that immense assemblage at Newark, New Jersey, in 1853 and the still greater one in Spring Street Hall, New York City, a little earlier, where I stood up for two hours or three, before a breathless and gratified audience, and brought to bear all that I could draw from the Holy Scriptures the Talmud, and the writings of Josephus, concerning the five “Heroines of the Eastern Star.” Not that my work met no opposition. Quite the reverse. It was not long until editors, report writers, newspaper critics and my own private correspondents began to see the evil of it. The cry of “Innovation” went up to heaven. Ridicule lent its aid to a grand assault upon my poor little figment. Ingenious changes were rung upon the idea of ”petticoat Masonry.” More than one writer in Masonic journals (men of an evil class we had them: men who knew the secrets, but have never applied the principles of Masonry), more than one such expressed in language indecent and shocking, his opposition to the Eastern Star and to me. Letters were written me, some signed, some anonymous, warning me that I was periling my own Masonic connections in the advocacy of this scheme. In New York City the opponents of the Eastern Star even started a rival project to break it down. They employed a literary person, a poet of eminence, a gentleman of social merit, to prepare rituals under an ingenious form, and much time and money were spent in the effort to popularize it but it survived only a short year and is already forgotten. But the Eastern Star glittered steadily in the ascendant. In 1855 I arranged the system of Constellations of the Eastern Star, of which the Mosaic Books was the index, and established more than one hundred of these bodies. Looking over that book, one of the most original and brilliant works to which I ever put my hand, I have wondered that the system did not succeed. It must be because the times were not ripe for it. The opposition to ” Ladies’ Masonry ” was too bitter. The advocates of the plan were not sufficiently influential. At any rate it fell through. Four years later I prepared an easier plan, styled Families of the Eastern Star, intended, in its simplicity and the readiness by which it could be worked, to avoid the complexity of the “Constellations.” This ran well enough until the war broke out, when all Masonic systems fell together with a crash.

This ended my work in systematizing the Eastern Star, and I should nearer have done more with it, save confer it in an informal manner as at first, but for Brother Robert Macoy of New York, who in 1868, when I had publicly announced my intentions of confining my labors during the remainder of my life to Holy Land investigations, proposed the plan of Eastern Star Chapters now in vogue. He had my full consent and endorsement, and thus became the instigator of a third and more successful System The history of this organization, which is now disseminated in more than four hundred chapters, extending to thirty-three States and Territories, I need not detail. The annual proceedings of Grand Chapters the indefatigable labors of the Rev. Willis D. Engle Grand Secretary of the General Grand Chapter, the liberal manner in which the Masonic journals have opened their columns to the proceeding of the Adoptive Order, the annual festivals, the sociables, concerts, picnics, etc., which keep the name of the Society before the public, make a history of their own better than I can write. In another statement under date of 1884, Brother Morris further informs us: Some writers have fallen into the error of placing the introduction of the Eastern Star as far back as 1775, and this they gather from my work, Lights and Shadows of freemasonry published in 1852. What I intended to say in that book was that the French officers introduced Adoptive Masonry into the Colonies in 177S, but nothing like the degree called the Eastern Star, which is strictly my own origination.

The statements of Brother Morris are deserving of the utmost consideration and affectionate confidence. His devotion to Masonic service was long and honorable, freely acknowledged by his Brethren with promotions to places of the highest prominence within their gift. We can thus approach his assertions confident of their accuracy so far as the intent of Brother Morris is concerned. Candor, nevertheless, compels the conclusion that our excellent Brother did not in his various and valuable contributions to the history of the Eastern Star, and the related Bodies, always clearly define his positions, and the studious reader is therefore somewhat in doubt whether on all occasions the meaning is unmistakable. For example, the foregoing references are in themselves very clear that Brother Morris was the originator of the Eastern Star. It is substantially shown in detail how the several items of consequence were actually put into practice by him.

Let us now briefly mention what may be set forth on the other side. The Mosaic Book, by Brother Rob Morris, and published in 1857, says in Chapter II, Section 2: In selecting some Androgynous Degree, extensively known, ancient in date, and ample in scope, for the basis of this Rite, the choice falls without controversy upon the ” Eastern Star.- For this is a degree familiar to thousands of the most enlightened York Masons and their female relations—established in this country at least before 1778 —and one which popularly bears the palm in point of doctrine and elegance over all others. Its scope, by the addition of a ceremonial and a few links in the chain of recognition, was broad enough to constitute a graceful and consistent system, worthy, it is believed, of the best intellect of either sex.

Brother Willis D. Engle, the first R. W. Grand Secretary of the General Grand Chapter of the Order, says (on page 12 of his History) that: The fact is that Brother Morris received the Eastern Star degree at the hands of Giles M. Hillyer, of Vicksburg, Mississippi, about 1849.

Puzzling as is this mixture of statements, there is the one possible explanation that in speaking of the Order, Brother Morris had two quite different things in mind and that he may have inadvertently caused some to understand him to be speaking of the one when he referred to the other, or to both, as the case might be. We know that he had received Adoptive Degrees and we are well aware that he had prepared more than one arrangement of Eastern Star Degrees or of allied ceremonies. What more likely that in speaking of the one his thoughts should dwell upon the other; the one, Adoptive Freemasonry, being as we might say the subject in general; the other, the Eastern Star, being the particular topic. He could very properly think of the Degree as an old idea, the Freemasonry of Adoption, and he could also consider it as being of novelty in the form of the Eastern Star; in the one case thinking of it as given him, and b the second instance thinking of it as it left his hands. In any event, the well-known sincerity and high repute of Brother Morris absolve him from any stigma of wilful misrepresentation. Certainly it is due his memory that the various conflicting assertions be given a sympathetic study and as friendly and harmonious a construction as is made at all possible by their terms. Another curious angle of the situation develops in The Thesauros (a Greek word meaning a place where knowledge is stored) of the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Eastern Star as collected and arranged by the committee, and adopted by the Supreme Council in convocation, assembled May, I793. A copy of this eighteen-page pamphlet is in possession of Brother Alonzo J. Burton, Past Grand Lecturer, New York. This book of monitorial instruction has been reprinted and does afford a most interesting claim for the existence of an Eastern Star organization as early as the eighteenth century.

A Supreme Constellation was organized by Brother Rob Morris in 1855 with the following principal officers: Most Enlightened Grand Luminary, Rob Morris; Right Enlightened Deputy Grand Luminary and Grand Lecturer, Joel M. Spiller, Delphi, Indiana; Very Enlightened Grand Treasurer, Jonathan R. Neill, New York, and Very Enlightened Grand Secretary, John W. Leonard, New York. Deputies were appointed for several States and by the end of 1855 seventy-five charters for subordinate Constellations had been granted. These Constellations were made up of five or more persons of each sex, with a limit of no more than twenty-five of the one sex, and several Constellations might be associated with a single lodge.

There subsequently arose a second governing Body of which James B. Taylor of New York became Grand Secretary. This organization was known as the Supreme Council of the Ancient Rite of Adoptive Masonry for North America. How much of a real existence was lived by this body is now difficult of determination because of the secrecy with which its operations were conducted. Early in the seventies it expired after a discouraging struggle for life.

Brother Morris was not a partner in the above enterprise and had in 1860 begun the organizing of Families of the Eastern Star. To use his own expression, “The two systems of Constellations and Families are identical in spirit, the latter having taken the place of the former.” A further statement by Brother Morris was to the effect that the ladies who were introduced to the advantages of Adoptive Freemasonry under the former system retained their privileges under the latter. During the next eight years more than a hundred Families were organized. Brother Robert Macoy of New York had in 1866 prepared a manual of the Eastern Star. In this work he mentions himself as National Grand Secretary. He also maintained the semblance of a Supreme Grand Chapter of the Adoptive Rite. Brother Morris decided in 1868 to devote his life to Masonic exploration in Palestine. His Eastern Star powers were transferred to Brother Macoy, as has been claimed. The latter in later years described himself as Supreme Grand Patron. Still another attempt at the formal organization of a governing Body occurred in 1873 at New York, when the following provisional officers of a Supreme Grand Council of the World, Adoptive Rite, were selected: Supreme Grand Patron, Robert Macoy, of New York; Supreme Grand Matron, Frances E. Johnson, of New York; Associate Supreme Grand Patron, Andres Cassard, of New York; Deputy Supreme Grand Patron, John L. Power, of Mississippi; Deputy Supreme Grand Matron, Laura L. Burton, of Mississippi; Supreme Treasurer, W. A. Prall, of Mix sari; Supreme Recorder, Rob Morris, of Kentucky; Supreme Inspector, P. M. Savery, of Mississippi. But nothing further came of this organization except that when later on measures were taken to make a really effective controlling Body, the old organization had claimants in the field urging its prior rights, though to all intents and purposes its never more than feeble breath of life had then utterly failed. The various Bodies of the Order under this fugitive guidance became ill-assorted of method. Laws were curiously conflicting. A constitution governing a State Grand Chapter had in one section the requirement that ”Every member present must vote” on petitions; which another section of the same constitution forbade Master Freemasons “when admitted to membership” from balloting for candidates or on membership. There was equal or even greater inconsistency between the laws of one State and another. Serious defects had been discovered in the ritual. Some resentment had been aroused over the methods employed in the propaganda of the Order. The time was ripe for a radical change. Rev. Willis D. Engle, in 1874, publicly proposed a Supreme Grand Chapter of Representatives from the several Grand Chapters and “a revision and general boiling down and finishing up of the ritual which is now defective both in style and language.” Not content with saying this was a proper thing to do, Brother Engle vigorously started to work to bring about the conditions he believed to be most desirable. Delegates from the Grand Chapters of California, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and New Jersey, met in Indianapolis, November 15-16, 1876, on the invitation of the Grand Chapter of Indiana. Grand Patron James S. Nutt, of Indiana, welcomed the visitors and opened the meeting. Brother John M. Mayhew, of New Jersey, was elected President, and Brother John R Parson, of Missouri, Secretary. A Constitution was adopted, a committee appointed on revision of the ritual, and a General Grand Chapter duly organized.

The second session of the General Grand Chapter was held in Chicago, May 8-10, 1878, and the name of the organization became officially The General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. The Most Worthy Grand Patron was then the executive head, though in later years this was decided to be the proper province of the Most Worthy Grand Matron. The Grand Chapters with their dates of organization are as follows:

Alabama …………………… March 6 1901

New York …………. November 31, 1870

Alberta ……………………… July 20, 1912

New Mexico ………. April 11, 1902

Arizona …………………….. November 15, 1900

North Carolina ….. May 20, 1905

Arkansas …………………… October 2, 1876

North Dakota …….. June 14, 1894

British Columbia ……….. July 21, 1912

Ohio ………………… July 28, 1889

California …………………. May 8 1873

Oklahoma …………. February 14, 1902

Colorado ………………….. June 6, 1892

Ontario…………….. April 27,1915

Connecticut ………………. August 11, 1874

Oregon……………… October 3, 1889

District of Columbia …… April 30, 1896

Pennsylvania ……… November 21, 1894

Florida …………………….. June 7, 1904

Porto Rico …………. February 17, 1914

Georgia …………………… February 21, 1901

Rhode Island ……… August 22, 1895

Idaho ……………………… April 17, 1902

Saskatchewan …….. May 16, 1916

Illinois ……………………. November 6, 1875

Scotland ……………. August 20, 1904

Indiana …………………… May 6, 1874

South Carolina ….. June 1, 1907

Iowa ………………………. July 30, 1878

South Dakota ……. July 10, 1889

Kansas …………………… October 18, 1878

Tennessee ………….. October 18, 1900

Kentucky ……………….. June 10, 1903

Texas ……………….. May 5, 1884

Louisiana ……………….. October 4, 1900

Utah …………………. September 20, 1905

Maine ……………………. August 24, 1892

Vermont …………… November 12, 1873

Maryland ……………….. December 23 1898

Virginia……………. June 22, 1904

Massachusetts …………. December 11, 1876

Washington ………. June 12, 1889

Michigan ……………….. October 31, 1867

West Virginia …….. June 26, 1904

Minnesota ……………… October 18, 1878

Wisconsin …………. February 19, 1891

Mississippi …………….. May 29, 1906

Wyoming ………….. September 14,1898

Montana ……………….. September 25, 1890

Missouri ……………….. September 25, 1890

Nebraska ………………. June 22, 1875

Nevada …………………. September 19, 1905

New Hampshire ……… May 12, 1891

New Jersey ……………. July 18, 1870

Of the above Grand Chapters there are three not constituent members of the General Grand Chapter. These independent bodies are New Jersey, New York, and Scotland. Chapters of the Eastern Star are also to be found in Alaska, the Canal Zone at Panama, the Hawaiian Islands,’ the Philippine Islands, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Quebec, Cuba, Delaware, India, Mexico, and in the Yukon.

A Concordat or treaty agreement adopted by the General Chapter on September 20, 1904, and by a convention of Scottish Chapters of the Eastern Star held at Glasgow on August 20, 1904, was to the following effect:

“The Grand Chapter of Scotland shall have supreme and exclusive jurisdiction over Great Britain, Ireland, and the whole British dominions (excepting only those upon the Continent of America), and that a Supreme or General Grand Chapter of the British Empire shall be formed as soon as Chapters are instituted therein and it seems expedient to do so.”

According to the terms of this agreement the territory in the East Indies wherein Chapters were already instituted, as at Benares and Calcutta, was ceded to the Grand Chapter of Scotland, which retains control. The other Chapters not so released are still under the jurisdiction of the General Grand Chapter.

The first eighteen Most Worthy Grand Matrons of the General Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star have been the following:

Mrs. Elizabeth Butler, Chicago, Ill 1876

Mrs. Elmira Foley, Hannibal. Mo 1878

Mrs. Lorraine J. Pitkin, Chicago. 111 1880

Mrs. Jennie E. Mathews, Rockford, la 1883

Mrs. Marv A. Flint, San Juan. Calif. .1886

Mrs. Nettie Ransford, Indianapolis Ind.1889

Mrs. Marv C. Snedden, Wichita, Kans.1892

Mrs. Marv E. Partridge, Oakland, Calif . . .1896

Mrs. Hattie E. Ewing, Orange. Mass . . .1898

Mrs. Laura B. Hart, San Antonio, Tex 1901

Mrs. M. B. Conkling, Cheeotah, Okla. 1904

Mrs. Ella S. Washburn. Racine. Wis 1907

Mrs. M. Alice Miller, El Reno, Okla .1910

Mrs. Rata A. Mills, Duke Center. Pa .1913

Mrs. E. C. Ocobock. Hartford. Mich . 19l6,

Mrs. E. L. Chapin, Pine Meadow. Conn . 1919

Mrs. C. R. Franz, Jacksonville. Fla 1922

Mrs. Clara Henrick, Newport, Sky. 1920

The first eighteen Most Worthy Grand Patrons of the

General Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star have been:

Rev. John D. Vineil, St. Louis, Mo 1876

Thomas M. Lamb, Woreester, Mass 1878

Willis Brown, Seneca, Kans 1880

Rollin C. Gaskill, Oakland, Calif 1883

Jefferson S. Conover, Coldwater, Mieh 1886

Benjamin Lynds, St. Louis, Mo 1889

James R. Donnell, Conway, Ark 1892

H. Harrison Hinds, Stanton, Mich .1895

Nathaniel A. Gearhart, Duluth, Minn 1898

L. Cabel Williarnson, Washington, D. C 1901

Dr. William F. Kuhn, Kansas City, Mo .1904

William H. Norris, Manchester, la .. . .1907

Rev. Willis D. Engle, Indianapolis, Ind ..1910

G. A. Pettigrew, Sioux Falls, so. Dak.1913

George M. Hyland, Portland, Ore . .1916

Dr. A. G. McDaniel, San Antonio, Tex 1919

Dr. Will W. Grov., St. Joseph, Mo . .1922

J. Ernest Teare, Cleveland, Ohio .1925

From 1876 to 1889 Rev. Willis D. Engle of Indianapolis was the Right Worthy Grand Secretary. In 1880 Mrs. Lorraine J. Pitkin, of Chicago, became the Most Worthy Grand Matron, and afterwards the General Grand Secretary, being elected in 1889. She Joined the Order in 1866. Born in 1845, she died in 1922. Mrs. Minnie Evans Keyes, of Lansing, Michigan, was elected Right Worthy Grand Secretary of the Seattle meeting of July, 1919, and the headquarters of the Order established at Washington, District of Columbia.

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16

04 2010

Easter

Easter Sunday, being the day celebrated by the Christian church in commemoration of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, is appropriately kept as a feast day by Rose Croix Freemasons. The Western churches, or those not identified with the Jewish race, generally keep Easter as the first day of Holy Week following the Friday of the crucifixion, while the Eastern churches as a rule keep Easter as the fourteenth day of April, immediately following the general fast. With the Jews, the Christian thought of Easter bears significant resemblance to the Paschal Lamb. Easter signifies to the entire Western Christian world the resurrection of the Christ, the name being derived from the Latin pascha which, in turn, came from the Chaldee or Aramaean form for the Hebrew word meaning Pass-over (see Exodus, xii, 27).

According to Bede the name is derived from Eostre or Ostara, the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. Eostur monath or our month of April was also dedicated to this goddess. The German name for Easter is astern, named after this self-same goddess of Spring, the Teutonic Ostera. The New Testament makes no mention of an observance of Easter. The first Christians did not have special days held more sanctified than the rest. As has been written (Ecclesiastical History, Socrates v, 22), “The apostles had no thought of appointing festival days, but of promoting a life of blamelessness and piety.”

For centuries the controversy as to just exactly what day was to be held as Easter went on between the various sects. Easter day is, briefly, the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. This varies in different longitudes and this difficulty presented many problems to the clergy and the astronomers. About the year 325 it was decided by the Council of Nicaea, called by Constantine, that the correct date of Easter was to be reckoned at Alexandria and announced each year to the churches under the jurisdiction of that See by the Bishop

him self. This was to be communicated to the Roman See.  A bitter controversy ensued. Many refused to accept this solution of the difficulty, insisting upon the observance of the fourteenth day. Attempts were made to compute by means of cycles of years the correct time. At first an eight years cycle was adopted, then the eighty-four year cycle of the Jews, and after much reckoning a cycle of nineteen years was accepted.

Offing to the lack of anything definite Saint Augustine tells us that in the year 387 Easter was kept on March 21 by the churches of Gaul, on April 18 in Italy and on April 25 in Egypt. The ancient Celtic and British Churches adhered stubbornly to the finding of the Council of Constantine and received their instructions from the Holy See at Rome. Saint Augustine of Canterbury led the opposing group and this difference of opinion had the effect in England of a Church holding Easter on one day of certain years and the other Church holding Easter on an entirely different Sunday. Bede tells us that between the y ears 645 and 651 Queen Eanfleda fasted and kept Palm Sunday while her husband, Oswy, then King of Northumbria, followed the rule of the British Church and celebrated the Easter festival.

In 669 this difference of opinion was ended in England, due probably to the efforts of Archbishop Theodore. In 1752 the Gregorian reformation of the calendar was adopted by Great Britain and Ireland. Easter at present is the first Sunday after the full moon which happens upon or next after the 21st of March, and if the full moon happens on a Sunday, Faster day is the Sunday after. By

full moon is meant, the fourteenth day of the moon.

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02

04 2010

East, Grand

The place where a Grand Lodge holds its Communications, and whence are issued its Edicts, is often called its Grand East. Thus, the Grand East of Boston, according to this usage, would be placed at the head of documents emanating from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Grand Orient has sometimes been used instead of Grand East, but improperly. Orient might be admissible as signifying East, but Grand Orient having been adopted as the name of certain Grand Bodies, such as the Grand Orient of France, which is tantamount to the Grand Lodge of France, the use of the term might lead to confusion. Thus, the Orient of Paris is the seat of the Grand Orient of France. The expression Grand East, however, is almost exclusively confined to America, and even there is not in universal use.

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20

03 2010

East

The East has always been considered peculiarly sacred. This was, without exception, the case in all the Ancient Mysteries. In the Egyptian rites, especially, and those of Adonis, which were among the earliest, and from which the others derived their existence, the sun was the object of adoration, and his revolutions through the various seasons were fictitiously represented. The spot, therefore, where this luminary made his appearance at the commencement of day, and where his worshipers were wont anxiously to look for the first darting of his prolific rays, was esteemed as the figurative birthplace of their god, and honored with an appropriate degree of reverence. Even among those nations where sunworship gave place to more enlightened doctrines, the respect for the place of sun-rising continued to exist. The camp of Judah was placed by Moses in the East as a mark of distinction; the tabernacle in the wilderness was placed due East and West; and the practise was continued in the erection of Christian churches. Hence, too, the primitive Christians always turned toward the East in their public prayers, which custom Saint Augustine (Serm. Dom. in Monte, chapter 5 accounts for “because the East is the most honorable part of the world, being the region of light whence the glorious sun arises.” Hence all Masonic Lodges, like their great prototype the Temple of Jerusalem, are built, or supposed to be built, due East and West; and as the North is esteemed a place of darkness, the East, on the contrary, is considered a place of light.

In the primitive Christian church, according to Saint Ambrose, in the ceremonies that accompanied the baptism of a catechumen, a beginner in religious instruction, “he turned towards the West, the image of darkness, to abjure the world, and towards the East, the emblem of light, to denote his alliance with Jesus Christ.” And so, too, in the oldest lectures of the second century ago, the Freemason is said to travel from the West to the East, that is, from dark ness to light.

In the Prestonian system, the question is asked:
“What induces you to leave the West to travel to the East?”

And the answer is:
“In search of a Master, and from him to gain instruction.”

The same idea, if not precisely the same language, is preserved in the modern and existing rituals.

The East, being the place where the Master sits, is considered the most honorable part of the Lodge, and is distinguished from the rest of the room by a dais, or raised platform, which is occupied only by those who have passed the Chair. Bazot (Manuel, page 154) says:

“The veneration which Masons have for the East confirms the theory that it is from the East that the Masonic cult proceeded, and that this bears a relation to the primitive religion whose first degeneration was sun worship.”

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18

01 2010

Earthern Pan

EARTHEN PAN

In the lectures of the early part of the eighteenth century used as a symbol of zeal, together with chalk and charcoal, which represented freedom and fervency. In the modern lectures clay has been substituted for it. Pan once signified hard earth, a meaning which it now obsolete, though from it we derive the name of a cooking utensil.

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26

11 2009

Ear, of corn and listening

EAR OF CORN

This was, among all the ancients , an emblem of plenty.

Ceres, who was universally worshiped as the goddess of abundance, and even called by the Greeks Dewneter, a manifest corruption of Gemeter, or Mother Earth, was symbolically represented with a garland on her head composed of ears of corn, a lighted torch in one hand, and a cluster of poppies and ears of corn in the other. In the Hebrew, the most significant of all languages, the two words, which signify an ear of corn, are both derived from roots which give the idea of abundance. For shibboleth, pronounced shib-bo-leth which is applicable both to an ear of corn and a flood of water, has its root in pronounced shib-bole, meaning to increase or to flow abundantly; and the other name of corn, pronounced daw-gawn, is derived from the verb, no, pronounced daogaw, signifying to multiply, or to be increased.

Ear of corn, which is a technical expression in Freemasonry, has been sometimes ignorantly displaced by a sheaf of wheat. This was done under the mistaken supposition that corn refers only to Indian maize, which was unknown to the ancients. But corn is a generic word, and includes wheat and every other kind of grain. This is its legitimate English meaning, and hence an ear of corn, which is an old expression, and the right one, would denote a stalk, but not a sheaf of wheat (see Shibboleth).

EAR, THE LISTENING

The listening ear is one of the three precious jewels of a Fellow Craft Freemason. In the Hebrew language, the verb YDD, pronounced shaw-mah, signifies not only to hear, but also to understand and to obey. Hence, when Jesus said, after a parable, “he that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” he meant to denote that he who hears the recital of allegories should endeavor to discover their hidden meaning, and be obedient to their teaching.

This is the true meaning of the symbol of the listening ear which admonishes the Fellow Craft not only that he should receive lessons of instruction from his teacher, but that he should treasure them in his breast, so as to ponder over their meaning and carry out their design.

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28

10 2009

Eagle, Double Headed

Double Headed Eagle

Double Headed Eagle

The Eagle Displayed, that is, with extended wings, as if in the act of dying, has always, from the majestic character of the bird, been deemed an emblem of imperial power. Marius, the consul, first consecrated the eagle, about eight years before the Christian era, to be the sole Roman standard at the head of every legion, and hence it became the standard of the Roman Empire ever afterward.

As the single-headed Eagle was thus adopted as the symbol of imperial power, the double-headed Eagle naturally became the representative of a double empire; and on the division of the Roman dominions into the eastern and western empire, which were afterward consolidated by the Carlovingian race into what was ever after called the Holy Roman Empire, the double-headed Eagle was assumed as the emblem of this double empire; one head looking, as it were, to the West, or Rome, and the other to the East, or Byzantium.

Hence the escutcheons of many persons now living, the descendants of the princes and counts of the Holy Roman Empire, are placed upon the breast of a doubleheaded Eagle Upon the dissolution of that empire, the emperors of Germany, who claimed their empire to be the representative of ancient Rome, assumed the double-headed Eagle as their symbol, and placed it in their arms, which were blazoned thus: or, an Eagle displayed sable, having two heads, each enclosed within an amulet, or beaked and armed Jules, holding in his right claw a sword and scepter or, and in his left the imperial mound. Russia also bears the double-headed eagle, having added, says Brewer, that of Poland to her own, and thus denoting a double empire. It is, however, probable that the double-headed eagle of Russia is to be traced to some assumed representation of the Holy Roman Empire based upon the claim of Russia to Byzantium; for Constantine, the Byzantine emperor, is said to have been the first who assumed this device to intimate the division of the empire into East and West.

Commenting on this suggestion by Doctor Mackey, Brother David E. W. Williamson writes that: There is no historical question whatever as to the time and occasion of the adoption of the double-headed eagle by Russia. It was taken as his device by Ivan III on his marriage with Zoe Palaeologa (Sophia), daughter of Thomas of Morea claimant to the imperial throne of Byzantium, and the date was 1469. It was probably because he claimed to be the successor of the Eastern Emperors. As to the adoption of the device in the West. I have no original authorities, but it is stated that it is first seen in the Holy

Roman arms in 1345 and it is a fact that it first appears on the seals of the Holy Roman Empire in 1414. The legend of how it came to be adopted by the Emperors at Constantinople may or may not be true, but it is certainly not correct to say that the Seljuk Turks adopted it from the ruins of Euyuk, for Tatar coins antedating the occupation of the Asia Minor country by the Seljuks have been found. As to the device at Euyuk, it is not the most ancient representation of the double-headed eagle by any means if the figure of a comb, No. 10, plate XXIX, in Petriess Prehistoric Egypt, be, as I think it is, an attempt to carve it.

The statement of Millington (Heraldry in History, Poetry, and Romance, page 290) is doubtful that the doubleheaded eagle of the Austrian and Russian empires was first assumed during the Second Crusade and typified the great alliance formed by the Christian sovereigns of Greece and Germany against the enemy of their common faith, and it is retained by Russia and Austria as representations of those empires.” The theory is more probable as well as more generally accepted which connects the symbol with the eastern and western empires of Rome. It is, however, agreed by all that while the single-headed eagle denotes imperial dignity the extension and multiplication of that dignity is symbolized by the two heads.

The double-headed eagle was probably first introduced as a symbol into Freemasonry in the year 1758. In that year the Body calling itself the Council of Emperors of the East and West was established in Paris. The doubleheaded eagle as likely to have been assumed by this Council in reference to the double Jurisdiction which it claimed, and which is represented so distinctly in its title.

The jewel of the Thirty-third Degree, or Sovereign Grand Inspector-General of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, is a double-headed eagle (which was originally black. but is now generally of silver), a golden crown resting on both heady wings displayed, beak and claws of gold, his talons grasping a wavy sword, the emblem of cherubic fire, the hilt held by one talon, the blade by the other. The banner of the Order is also a double-headed eagle crowned. A captivating account of the curious progress of the double-headed eagle from a remote antiquity was prepared by Brother W. J. Chetwode Crawley (Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, pages 214, volume xxiv, 1911). This essay in part runs as follows:

The most ornamental, not to say the most ostentatious feature of the insignia of the Supreme Council, 33 , of the Ancient and Accepted (Scottish) Rite, is the doubleheaded eagle, surmounted by an imperial crown. This device seems to have been adopted some time after 175S by the grade known as the Emperors of the East and West; a sufficiently pretentious title. This seems to have been its first appearance in connection with Freemasonry, but history of the high grades has been subjected to such distortion that it is difficult to accept unreservedly any assertion put forward regarding them.

From this imperial grade, the double-headed eagle came to the “Sovereign Prince Masons” of the Rite of Perfection. The Rite of Perfection with its twenty-five Degrees was amplified in 1801, at Charleston, United States of America, into the Ancient and Accepted Rite of 33 , with the double-headed eagle for its most distinctive emblem. When this emblem was first adopted by the high grades it had been in use as a symbol of power for 5000 years, or so. No heraldic bearing, no emblematic device anywhere today can boast such antiquity. It was in use a thousand years before the Exodus from Egypt, and more than 2000 years before the building of King Solomon’s Temple.

The story of our Eagle has been told by the eminent Assyriologist, M. Thureau Dangin, in the volume of Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie 1904. Among the most important discoveries for which we are indebted to the late M. de Sarzec, were two large terra cotta cylinders covered with many hundred lines of archaic cuneiform characters These cylinders were found in the brick mounds of Tello, which has been identified with certainty as the City of Lagash, the dominant center of Southern Babylonian ere Babylon had imposed its name and rule on the country.

The cylinders are now in the Louvre and have been deciphered by M. Thureau Dangin, who displays to our wondering eyes the emblem of power that was already centuries old when Babylon gave its name to Babylonia. The cylinder in question is a foundation record deposited by one Gudea, Ruler of the City of Lagash, to mark the building of the temple, about the year 3000 B.C., as nearly as the date could be fixed. The foundation record was deposited just as our medals, coins and metallic plates are deposited today, when the corner stone is laid with Masonic honors. It must be born in mind that in this ease, the word cornerstone may be employed only in a conventional sense, for in Babylonia all edifices, temples, palaces, and towers alike, were built of brick. But the custom of laying foundation deposits was general, whatever the building material might be, and we shall presently see what functions are attributed, by another eminent scholar, to the foundation chamber of King Solomon’s Temple.

The contents of this inscription are of the utmost value to the oriental scholar, but may be briefly dismissed for our present purpose. Suffice it to say, that the King begins by reciting that a great drought had fallen upon the land. ” The waters of the Tigris,” he says, ” fell low and the store of provender ran short in this my city,” saying that he feared it was 3 visitation from the gods, to whom he determined to submit his evil ease and that of his people. The reader familiar with Babylonian methods that pervade the Books of the Captivity, will not be surprised to learn that the King dreamed a dream, in which the will of the gods was revealed by direct personal intervention and interlocution. In the dream there came unto the King” a Divine Man, whose stature reached from earth to heaven, and whose head was crowned with the crown of a god, surmounted by the Storm Bird that extended its wings over Lazash, the land thereof.” This Storm Bird, no other than our double-headed eagle, was the totem as ethnologists and anthropologists are fain to call it, of the mighty Sumerian City of Lagash, and stood proudly forth the visible emblem of its power and domination. This double-headed eagle of Lagash is the oldest Royal Crest in the world.

As time rolled on, it passed from the Sumerians to the men of Akhad. From the men of Akhad to the Hittites , from the denizens of Asia Minor to the Seliukian Sultans, from whom it was brought by Crusaders to the Emperors of the East and West, whose successors today are the Hapsburgs and Romanoffs, as well as to the Masonic Emperors of the East and West, whose successors today are the Supreme Council, 33 , that have inherited the insignia of the Site of Perfection.

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10

06 2009

EAGLE

The eagle, as a symbol, is of great antiquity. In Egypt, Greece, and Persia, this bird was sacred to the sun. Among the Pagans it was an emblem of Jupiter, and with the Druids it was a symbol of their supreme god. In the Scriptures, a distinguished reference is in many instances made to the eagle; especially do we find Moses (Exodus xix, 4) representing Jehovah as saying, in allusion to the belief that this bird assists its feeble young in their flight by bearing them upon its own pinions, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” Not less elevated was the symbolism of the eagle among the Pagans. Thus, Cicero, speaking of the myth of Ganymede carried up to Jove on an eagle’s back, says that it teaches us that the truly wise, irradiated by the shining light of virtue, become more and more like God, until by wisdom they are borne aloft and soar to Him. The heralds explain the eagle as signifying the same thing among birds as the lion does among quadrupeds. It is, they say, the most swift, strong, laborious, generous, and bold of all birds, and for this reason it has been made, both by ancients and moderns, the symbol of majesty. In the jewel of the Rose Croix Degree is found an eagle displayed at the foot of the cross; and it is there very appropriately selected as a symbol of Christ, in His Divine character, bearing the children of His adoption on His wings, teaching them with unequaled love and tenderness to poise their unfledged wings and soar from the dull corruption’s of earth to a higher and holier sphere. Thus the eagle in the jewel of that Degree is significantly represented with wings displayed as if in flight.

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18

05 2009


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