Driving into Masonry

It’s funny how getting what you want can make you feel strange – almost scared. Ever since I discovered my uncle was a Mason and understood what it meant I’ve wanted to become one. Now I’m sitting behind the wheel of Uncle’s old battered Land Rover heading for the Lodge and my first Masonic meeting. I’m an Entered Apprentice, and I’m struggling with emotions I never thought I’d even recognise.

Why?

It seemed natural, Uncle being a Mason. There was the odd joke about it from family at Christmas but I always had a child’s fascination for it. Mystic symbols, secret meetings, the knowledge of the ages – that kind of thing. I was excited, intrigued, and more than a little in awe. It was natural that I should try to become a Mason myself. When I took over the family shop when Dad died, and subsequently moved it to rural country when Mum went, I was approached and eagerly accepted the invitation.

Where?

Scotland doesn’t have a lot of Masonic lodges, and I wouldn’t expect one to be where I was headed now. As I drive I’m struck again by how beautiful but desolate so much of what I now call my home country can be. It’s late afternoon in late autumn, and it’s dark, and there’s mist, and the road is not a major one. Like so many of Scotland’s minor roads, it’s been cut to pieces by tractors and farm equipment and the broken and uneven soil beneath us is frozen, making it rough going, even for the Landy.

The Working Tools

As an Entered Apprentice I’ve got my Masonic Working Tools, with me now in the Land Rover. A 24 Inch Gauge and The Common Gavel. It makes me feel both angry and sad that so many people who don’t understand Masonry look upon these tools – symbols if you will – with derision. They make perfect sense to me.

The Gauge

The Gauge helps me focus upon how I spend my time, my life if you like: it’s divided into three sets of eight hours:

  • eight hours to be spent in the service of God and worthy brethren
  • eight hours for my work
  • and eight to sleep and relax
I’m still wondering how I’m going to split my days up according to this and it makes me wonder if I’m ready and how I’ll do. It’s up to us all as individuals to work this out. I’m sure there will be more than enough help around, and guidance and that makes me feel a little less concerned. It may be I never get the balance right – but I’m determined to keep trying.

It’s still so dark and rough under the Landy’s wheels, and I’ve not seen a light for a long time …

The Common Gavel

Ancient stone masons used a Common Gavel to break off the rough on a stone, ready for the Mason to work it in fine detail. Apply this to the foundation stones of buildings and it’s easy to see how this translates into life and building solid foundations upon which to build a better one. This involves getting one’s life square – getting rid of the rough edges and the things in life that are less meaningful and trivial. I hope I’m up to it.

I can see light now, and a dark building rising about a half miler away. The mist seems to be clearing. It’s crazy, but I suddenly feel overwhelmed. I’ve stopped the Landy. The Lodge is ahead. For reasons I’ll never understand, I get out and start to walk …