Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pain In The Gas

We Ruffians are just as perturbed by the present state of the fuel economy as anyone else. Although I am sure that many of our fine Brothers overseas are used to paying exhorbitant amounts of money for gas, most of us in the States are finding clever ways to MacGyver baskets and saddlebags onto our bicycles just to make the morning office commute!

Gas is high, all across the country. And there is talk that the barrel prices could climb as high as $180.00 or more this summer. EEK. Already, consumers are paying blistering pump prices...all north of $3.50 per gallon. On the coast, it is $5.00 and up!

So why do we Ruffians care? What could this possibly have to do with Freemasonry? Why Everything of course. Real Masons are Patriots. And Real Masons stand up for their rights and especially the rights of others. Real Masons DO something about it. Face it, we threw a lot of tea overboard in Boston.

This is a topic that we need to be talking about, thinking about and, if possible, doing something about. Year after year the Oil companies make vast fortunes off our planet's, and our own, natural resources. Additionally, leading economists have demonstrated that in America alone there are hundreds of years worth of petroleum left. Who is going to drive a car in One hundred years let alone five or six? Won't we be flying around like the Jetsons then!? One would hope our technological frontiers have not met with a stone wall.

The fuel economy is killing our market economy. People simply don't have the money to spend that they did. And it is only getting worse. The dollar is breaking down in the face of a world economic system that is simply not getting the job done for America.

And it is all happening because the sheep sit tight in their pasture all too worried about the wolves and all too powerless to do anything to stop them.

The Oil companies need a wake up call. America needs a wake up call. The Free World has gone Corporate while the Free Man has been dozing on his sofa watching reruns. I think it's time we borrow a line from the movie 'Network' and shout out our windows...

"I'm Mad as Hell! And I'm Not Going To Take it Anymore!"

Remember. Freemasons are Citizens of the World. And we are firstly...Free Born. If we want to keep it that way we need to stick together and do whatever we can. We need to take notice. Wal-Mart is huge...but it's a mindless corporate dragon. Exxon is huge...another dragon. Freemasonry is Big too...only we're a bunch of free thinking Knights. Think about it.

Our sponsor has some interesting ideas too. Check it out!

Monday, April 28, 2008

How To - Leave A Comment!

We Ruffians encourage your Fraternal participation here in our Cyberlodge. Therefore, if you like or dislike, agree with or disagree with or feel like you have something to add or take away from one of our posts...then Comment about it!!

It's Easy! However, you must Register for a FREE Google Account so you can recieve a Username and Password so you can post your comment on this site.

After you have your Username and Password, Just Click on the words Post a Comment that can be found at the bottom of any post. A pop up screen will appear and you can then Add Your Comment! Voila!

So make yourself a part of our web community and let our readers know what YOU have to say.We value your suggestions and any extra info that you might have to add.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Echoes In Eternity

"What we do in life. echoes in eternity."

Eternity As defined by Sir Webster from the nearby Kingdom of "Dictionary" ( it's close to the foreign country of Thesaurus): Eternity is infinite duration. IMMORTALITY: a seemingly endless or immeasurable time: "Throughout eternity."

My brothers, this is what matters in life. It's not the cars we drive; the girls we date; the public offices we hold, but our ACTIONS that will echo forever more, long after we are gone.

During a very dull seminar on how to be successful with an E-business, an elder gentleman was giving his testimony about how he made his millions. Mostly it involved stories of trial and tribulation. However, one point stood out. During his talk, about his time in the military during WWII, he stopped for a moment and said, "It's hard to believe that the generation from the WWII era was the last great generation."

Now this woke me up from what was about to be a very good nap. You see I'm a young man, at barely 24 years of age, and this man was telling me that my generation was lazy, that we cared more about what felt good, rather than what was good for mankind. This got me thinking. And this is primarily the reason for this message.

Is he right? Are we just a bunch of spoiled kids, who don't appreciate anything? Is chivalry dead?

I'd like to think not; however, the evidence points in a different direction.

We have guys out there who sit at home and don't support their family. There are moms and dads alike who just treat their children like crap. And don't forget crooked politics, money hungry tycoons, and people who just don't do anything to better the world.

So my brothers I humbly remind you of your obligation to aid and assist those in need. Give back to your community. Make it known that we are not a generation that just wants to freeload and take advantage of what our forefathers have put together for us.

Let the world know that chivalry is not dead. Things like HONOR, RESPECT, and VALOR are still qualities that exist. Show the world that there is a group of men and women who still believe in what our ancestors put together for us, just a few hundred years ago.

The next time you see an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life, no matter how big, take the time to do so. And remind them that there is still some good left in this crazy world. Remind them that people helping people is how we got to where we are today and promote them to pass it along.

My brothers, I hope you take this and reach deep down inside, and find out what you are made of. Go out in your community and make a difference, and it will be those ACTIONS that echo on into eternity.

God Bless

"What we do in life, echoes in eternity." ~General Maximus Decimus Meridius~

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Conspiracy of Ignorance

As the story goes, King Solomon, King Hiram of Tyre and Hiram Abiff elected to construct a series of labyrinthine chambers below the Temple to therein place the most sacred and Holy artifacts.
They hid them away as did Enoch before them.

What treasures then have men killed for century upon century? What secrets have sent armies to war and countless thousands, or even millions, to the stake to be burned alive?

Legend has it that the famed Knights Templar excavated those very chambers of King Solomon's Temple and brought to the light of the world the Holy treasures of antiquity. One can only speculate as to the nature of those treasures. But it wouldnt be long before the Templar were all but stamped out by the mighty hammer of the Roman Catholic Church. Still, they survived and secreted those ineffable jewels to safer...Lodgings.

There are many questions that are raised outside of Freemasonry, not the least of which is 'Is it a religion?' This question is always followed by the inevitable, 'Who is the God of Freemasonry?'I am quite certain that the Roman Catholic Church, in the time of the Inquisition, asked variations of these same questions to the tortured Templar Knights.

Secrets then, hidden away, have moved and motivated empires.

Ironically, the Face of God remains a Mystery. Religions disagree about it. Science cannot fathom it. It seems that only Philosophy may glimpse such Holy Relief. Those philosophies of Pythagorian Geometry and Math, Socratic Thought and Arisotlean Logic penetrate the veil.

There is a promise of the more direct experience, the Gnosis, of God within. Before Constantine's Council of Nicea creating his Universal or 'Catholic' Church, Gnostic seekers flourished in the world. And before they were ever called Gnostics, many of them were what we now understand to be Shamans.

In the book, Astrotheology and Shamanism, a kind of Cypher in the form of a Metaphorical Codex is revealed in the nature and history of religion. The religions themselves are seen as the Chambers in King Solomon's Temple. And for those Knights who delve into them, there are some surprising finds indeed. If you have the 'ears to hear and the eyes to see' then you should go looking too. But be prepared for controversy if you dare with an open mind.

There is a movie circulating on the web that is the subject of much of this kind of controversy. You can watch the movie in its entirety at http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/. The first part of it deals with Astrotheological perspectives. Of course, if you agree with any of them then you would have been burned at the stake a few hundred years ago. So you'd better keep it secret if you do...to be on the safe side now.

Copernicus and Gallileo fearlessly looked into the Face of God on Earth (i.e. The Church) and defied that mere reflection, that haughty human vanity. They deemed that the True God lived elsewhere and His secrets were revealed in Nature.

To be clear, it is all too easy to raise Idols. But little choice have we that cannot live to look into that Glorious Face and come to a knowledge of It. Thus we look to the parts and search the Myths and Legends like roadmaps to Heaven. Christ said, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is Within.'The Greatest Treasure is not buried then under King Solomon's Temple and never was. Perhaps the roadmap was. But The Map is in the stars and in the stories.

That Map is in Nature.

Monday, April 21, 2008

21st Century Freemason

Who is this new guy walking around the lodge without a tie and sporting faded jeans and tennis shoes? He's a bit cocky and, at the very least, he certainly thinks he knows a good bit more than the older, more distinguished, gentlemen in the lodge. After all, he learned most of the secrets of the Order, or so he thinks, before he even took the Obligation of an Entered Apprentice. He read them on the internet and found them tucked away in the stacks at the local bookstore.

The new guy is young. He's full of life and he earnestly elected to become a Mason because he hoped and still believes there is something secret and of inestimable value there to be discovered. Thus, he spearheads the degree work with a kind of fervor. He digests the proficiency and he shifts into high gear as an active lodge member.

The other, older, men of the lodge take the new guy in with warm secret handshakes. They nod and smile. Those just a decade older smile with a kind of incredulous approval that the new guy has not quite won from them. Those much older men, the ones with the litanies of war stories and fond remembrances, give the new guy the smile of a man who has finally accepted the earmarks of age...and of youth.

It is true that the new guy knows a great deal more than what was once available. His mind is rich with visions of the cosmos, space shuttles and mars rovers that he saw on the evening news. He can Google the secrets of the world on his keyboard and has been chatting with Masons a world away on Myspace.

Still, is this 21st Century Freemason ready to make sense of what he has learned? The old guard awaits the inevitable change. They watch the new guy and hope that he understands the real secrets involved. The older tyler sitting by the door with his antique sword testifies to having lived a good life. Ask him what that means and the secrets are yours.

The future is with the young. This time around, they are the generation of the microchip, the cell phone, blogs, YouTube and Google. Still, the secret lies always in its application and one cannot help but wonder how much the old guard has applied fighting wars and building families, businesses and communities. If the new guy can take one great secret from the order perhaps he should listen to those stories the old tyler has to offer over a cup of coffee. The Fraternal Tradition that the one Brother passes to another is certainly a steady and true guide. But the older man has the wisdom to appreciate it.

Carpe Diem young brothers. The handshakes, the traditions, the philosophies are yours. It is one thing to know them however. And it is quite another thing to earn them. There's a bit of 'Saving Private Ryan' in that. But it's right isnt it? You can't just put the apron on. You earn it...every day.

As the world changes, so the man changes, so the Order changes. But the Light is always Light and the Torch is passed.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Art of Proficiency

Some things are better left unchanged. Though Freemasonry must evolve as all things must, its core values remain, its ideals are timeless, and its foundation of craft work and ritual provide a necessary order for its continued function and existence. In fact, that foundation and that order are what make Freemasonry what it is...to be passed on from Brother to Brother. And so those values and those ideals are passed on.

This ritual work of Freemasonry is at once stabilizing and demanding. It requires a considerable amount of study and reflection to not only develop 'proficiency' in the knowledge of the ritual work but to gain real understanding of what it is all about.

Proficiency in the rituals of the three core masonic degrees has become a kind of Art. Today, many lodges do not require the 'Proficiencies' to be returned before advancement through the degrees as was once required. Times are changing. Proficiency in the rituals, though highly esteemed by one's fellows, is now left mostly up to the individual Mason.

Learning the ritual, verbatim, has its origins in antiquity when most forms of knowledge were carried mouth to ear and passed on in the same fashion. It is especially important within orders and societies that must protect their knowledge and workings from outsiders. Still, the greatest tangible value of memorizing ritual lies in the preservation of the original intent, spirit, and governing of the Order. In this way, though the faces of the Brothers may differ from lodge to lodge and over generations, the Order itself remains the same.

It is good to know that most of the Brother Masons who I know, whatever their age, still value the Proficiency and this memorization of the ritual work of the Craft. They know it is an Art. They know it bestows order, value and deep meaning to the Fraternity. In my own blue lodge, some of these Masons are taking steps to preserve this Art and to see to it that new members to the lodge receive the instruction they need to meet its demands.

The Art of the Proficiency can help us Brothers to become better Masons. More importantly, this Art helps Masonry. The rituals and the order remain the light on the path. And so like the Olympian torch this light is rightly passed on, there to remain a beacon for all who aspire from the darkness.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Support Our Troops!

The Ancient And Illustrious Order of the Three Ruffians wishes to encourage you or your Lodge to support the American Soldiers that are right now fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and abroad as well as their families here at home.

One of the ways that you can do this is by sending a Care Package. AnySoldier.com offers a variety of pre prepared care packages that you can purchase to send to the troops or simply the military loved one you choose. TreatAnySoldier.com offers a similar program.

In addition to the Care Packages, you might want to send a letter of thanks or written support. The website letssaythanks.com offers ways for you to do this. Please. Take some of your time and pass along your hope and good will.

The 3 Ruffians would like to Thank Brother T. Couch for bringing this to our attention.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Masonic Fu - The Black and Blue Lodge

Just a little side note for some of the Order's wandering Ruffians.
Masonic Master F and Master C will be offering the Orders Third Annual Installment of Masonic Fu. For those of you interested in honing more than your Masonic Proficiencies, the Masters will help you learn the Ways of the Fu Lodge.

Discover some of the Rarest and Greatest Mysteries of Masonic Fu:

- Yes! The 5 Perfect Points of Whupass!
- Yes! The Complete Apron System from Blue To Deadly Black!
- Yes! York Rite Style! Scottish Rite Style! Shrine Noble Style!
- Yes! Even Tyler Style! The Mastery of the Sword!

The Gloves Are Off. The Aprons Are On! Join us Ruffian Brothers.
The Black and Blue Lodge Awaits!!

Bow to Your Worshipful Master!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Even Solomon Loses His Keys

For many, this post could be filed somewhere under Arcana. Some of the ideas are esoteric in the least. We Ruffians do not endeavor to wage war between Academia and Religion. Nay. Not us. Rather, we enjoy philosophical contemplation. There are too many bitter lines already inscribed on Temple floors and, as Freemasons, we know this is not the place for them. We draw our lines in the changing sands where we might see Forms revealed, if momentarily, before passing with the Tide of Time. This being said. It is time to take a brief look at the Lost Keys of Solomon.

Good King Solomon was reknowned in legend, and history perhaps, as the Wisest Man on Earth.
According to the Bible, this was the gift of God, bestowed Gratefully for love of David. It's a telling story for those who pay attention. What is the gift of wisdom? Some might even ask...what great truths did Solomon possess?

Most Freemasons, most of the planet for that matter, have no doubt learned that Dan Brown, the famed writer of 'Angels and Demons' and 'The DaVinci Code' is directing his considerable literary skills and unrivaled marketability to the subject of Freemasonry. His new work of fiction will spotlight many of the mysteries regarding Freemasonry in America and raise questions about the planning behind Washington D.C., among other things.

Other writers, many of them writing on the non fiction aspects of the Order's alledged secrets, have already addressed most of those 'secrets' in the multitudinous pages of a veritible library of books and blogs. In relation to Dan Brown's fictional effort, Freemasonic writer Robert Lomas offered his own ideas about Washington D.C. in his book, 'Turning the Solomon Key.'

What is in those pages? Theories. Lots of them.

Along with the books by Brown and Lomas, there are countless others bringing all manner of facts, theories and, in some cases, flat out lies to the masses. Quickly though, these 'Keys' of Solomon, this Arcane Wisdom (also known as the Perennial Philosophy) speaks of Gematria, Astrology, Geometry, Alchemy, and that ancient Philosophy that binds them all. In short, these Lost Keys represent age old beliefs, superstitions and lost sciences.

Dont get me wrong. I'm not saying none of it is true. I'd rather say, in fact, that while not all of these Keys open the right doors, many of them seem to be Skeleton Keys. They open many doors at once. They are Archetypes.

An Archetype is a First Form, a Blueprint. Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, and Carl Jung, the psychiatrist, both elaborated on the subject and demonstrated quite well how Archetypes could account for myth, religion and psyche. The 12 signs of the Zodiac, the Sephiroth of the Kabbalah are all Archetypes. Form follows Function and so symbols result. They perpetuate. They become Dawkin's memes and they reproduce like Coke and Pepsi. They make their way into the flesh, the DNA, and then they Are the Soul. Is that a thought in the mind of God?

Gematria reaches to the Form and Function of numerical symbolism. Astrology confers the Ancient Hermetic adage of 'As Above So Below' to the stars and earth and the workings thereof. Geometry is a science. And Alchemy is the early philosophical congress of science as well as symbolism.

Behind all of Solomon's Keys is God's Wisdom, the Wisdom that was so imparted to the Great King. It is the Wisdom of form and relation, of length and breadth, measure, square and circumference. It is the Wisdom of Freemasonry. And God resides as that Light Within, as T:.G:.A:.O:.T:.U:.

Any good medical school student knows theoretically that 'ontology recapitulates philology.' In essence, what is learned is developed upon as it is in the case of species change over time. The Universe, God, does not forget the stages. The question really needs to be asked whether the Function preceded the Form and continues to do so from that very first of beginnings. Pick up a copy of 'The Beginners Guide to Constructing the Universe' and you'll know what I'm talking about.

According to modern physics, nature is non-local. Things are not truly seperate. Things are connected. You can point out that you have an 'eye' or a 'finger' but it really isnt a piece of you. It is you. In fact, it is a 'progression' of Youness. Ultimately, and I say that with all seriousness, how far back that 'progression' goes and what that Archetypal Function may be is The Wisdom.

Perhaps Solomon's Keys are not lost at all. They are intrinsic to the order of things. We cannot see them because they are a part of us. And that tells us a great deal about our nature, Wisdom and God too. The symbols, however, we can see. We manage philosophies and sciences with them. Numbers relate forms and mathematical equations relate governing principles. Those principles make our world, and us, what we are.

I am reminded of myths, relating such principles; relating philosophy. But that is another subject.

Take a good look around and you might just find Solomon's Keys.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Knight By Any Other Name

Who can resist the romantic allure wrought of lengendary tales of knights on gallant quests of bravery and valor? Such is the repast of our youth as we press the pages of Thomas Mallory's 'La Morte d Arthur' or Ivanhoe. And, even so, now come the modern knightly stories of 'Holy Blood and Holy Grail' or 'Born in Blood.' All of these tales, whether they be history or fiction (or a bit of both as such may be the case), make us all feel something deep within. They reach to and catalize a Spirit of Quest in seekers as such we brothers are.

The image is one of a lonely questing knight, perhaps Parsival, on the errant quest of his Apprentice Youth. This valiant innocent, this Tarot Fool, trods haphazardly into the most harrowing reaches of the world. And we go with him, seeking that Grail, whatever it may truly be. For we too are knights and we too share Parsival's Quest.

What awaits the questing knight? Is it the long lost secret that will restore the King, the Land? Is it Spiritual Power to heal or enlighten the soul? Is it a Regal bloodline, meticulously guarded for centuries? It is doubtful that it is any of these. And if, even it is, then perhaps the quest is misspent.

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, The Knights Templar as they are popularly known, were brought together to fight and die for an ideal. These great knights persevered through trial and inquisition and remain now, perhaps, in the rank and file of Freemasonry. But that great ideal, Parsival's Grail, what has become of it?

Today, the speculation on the nature of the Grail is endless and does not need to be elaborated upon here. A cup? The womb of Magdalene carrying Christs child? Treasure such as the Ark of the Covenant? These are but a few of the wild theories about the Great Reward awaiting the Questing Knight.

The Age of Chivalry is not quite dead...thank goodness. Knights were servants then, appointed by Kings and Royalty to preserve and protect the Land and the People. And the greatest of those served with Love at heart, be it for God or their long sought damsel in waiting.

We cannot forget that we, as men and women, are little different now than we were in those days of Chivalry. The only real differences lie in our attitudes, our modern vanities and our willingness to forget that not only is our past a part of our soul but that we are the modern edge of that sword. The point.

Thus, our duty remains the same to our personal God, our family, our fair maiden or husband, and to our Land and People. The Grail we have lost is this Force of Love and the Wisdom to apply it generously. Our hearts are not stone to be chipped away but Light to be shined upon All. Love for God. Love for Family. Love for Country. Love for All Mankind. This is the best of Quests to embark upon. Like all great quests it is difficult and often requires great personal sacrifice.

But it is worthy of a Knight.

We Encourage Your Charity

Be an Angel of Charity.


We Ruffians work to serve the interests of those who cannot always help themselves. There are many charitable organizations out there and this one, the Masonic Angel Fund, is one of our favorites.

Take a bit of your time to see what you, or your lodge, can do to help.

We also encourage you to spread the word about the work that the Scottish Rite is doing to help those suffering from Schizophrenia, Learning and Auditory disorders.

Don't forget the fantastic efforts of the Shriner's Hospital For Children and the many unsung heroes of that Great Body. Please, be another one and help in any way that you can.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Ruffian Plea

"Woe is me...
That my Thoughts were not Tempered,
That my Emotions were not Prudent,
That my Actions were not Just.
Oh God. Grant me Fortitude in my Hour of Despair.
That so Corrupt I have been...So Righteous I Shall Become."

The Ruffian Credo

Thus Follows the Credo of The Ancient and Illustrious Order of the Three Ruffians.This to be observed with the utmost of sobriety, conscience and fervor.

The Credo (Known Also As The 3 Great Reasons To Disband):

  1. When All of the Ruffians Are Dead. Disband.
  2. When All Souls Are Ruffian Souls. Disband.
  3. When The Lost Reason To Disband is Found. Disband.

Hail Hearty Brothers! Secrets well kept we have for a turn or thrice this day and whence we travelled from. Keep your tongues still, your hands at work, your tools well kept and your spirits free. There is Mystery afoot, moving hence from that first corner step and trodding forward into the Light of Understanding.

Have YOU not the Cabals for This Journey Brother? I ask thee.


Think on this then..

'In Chaos Conceiled, is Nature Revealed.
Such as the Light Meets Form
And Truths are seen in Shadows
Behold! The Singular Element.
Through prisms glass as 3.
3 Arcs, 3 Stars, 3 Laws.
All Shadows Be.
And One Truth...For Few Those Fellows.'

Our Labors of Desire

Consider Brothers, the indelible image of Salome, dancing for the head of John the Baptist. Was not this audacious display more than a moment of desire, lust or power? In such infamy is a curious thing, a truth. This truth then, that our flesh, and its array of natural passions labor to cleave us of our reason.

Always we are beset by the lower demons of our nature, these instincts of carnal reward or simple survival. And we have our angels as well. We play a kind of chess game with this instinctive nature of ours. We are, after all, born with the archetypal pieces and the playing field already layed out before us. Knights, we find in friends perhaps, brothers. Pawns we make of those nameless many that move about our lives. Bishops we turn to for guidance and when our souls weary. A Queen we desire to conquer even though she is the most windsome - and powerful - of all. The King, our own ego, awaits the turns of the Game with us. And behind it all, we play the patterns out, move by move as we have been taught or as we learn to act and react. Instinct, an inborn program mapped on our soul, seems determined to Fate us. Still, we might pause and reflect not only upon our opponent, the world, but - finally - upon ourselves.

The Papyrus of Ani, familiarly known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead eloquently portrays the 'weighing of the heart' by Thoth as man seeks entrance into the afterlife. If the heart weighs more than a feather then the soul is devoured by a crocodile!

How important is the heart, long considered the emotional seat, in relation to the head that thinks its way through? Much is said of 'purity of heart' but what does this mean? Is it simply a purity of intent?

When we reflect upon ourselves, circunambulating that great inner temple, we find our reason blinded by our emotions. Led by reason we could see. But would we truly 'see' with the sight that 'feeling' gives us there...at once in the moment? Eyes are ravenous and, like hungry things, devour ready truths as that very crocodile. The heart, however, fits the scale well. For it simply is. Emotion is not an endless, changeless thing. Emotion is the moment.

We labor like Heracles between the conscious and the unconscious. From that unconscious field springs both thoughts and emotions. And, of these, which of them are we? Which moves on the chessboard will 'we' make if we could be divested of this wellspring? Would we, could we, move at all?

And so we are the Player and the Board, the thoughts, the feelings and the actions we take in 'light' of them. To reach to the True Light beyond them...Is it even possible? 'Know Thyself' says the Pythian Oracle of Delphi. Can we achieve this balance of head and heart and set our inner angels and demons to rest at peace?

Salome dances, the Archetypal female Anima. She embodies that unconscious spirit that demands the spirit of reason to acquiesce to the flesh, the natural soul from whence it came. Come to balance after all, she decries, in death. And so, John the Baptist's head is hers on a platter. This Occult Nature is greedy...demanding.

An accord must be made with the windsome chess Queen, Salome. As she moves about the field, she must be understood to Be the field...as all pieces are. The Enlightened Player knows no opponent. The Enlightened Player fears no outcome. For the Game is his, won or lost.

We simply need to subdue our passions by accepting them as parts of ourself that we may learn to understand; thus keeping our heads as it were. To this end, we strike a balance with our innate nature and the world at large. Oft blinded by our articles of fate, we still possess the capacity to reflect in the moment; to be in the moment; to be it All. Would that passion and reason could share such space?

About The Ruffians

The Ancient and Illustrious Order of the Three Ruffians

'Always Secret. Always Shadowed. Always Hidden.'

The Rule of the Illustrious Order is one of Secrecy. To that end, Great Truths are often clothed in Mirth and hidden in the Uproarious and Precocious Attitude affected by any tried and true Ruffian of the Order.

Thus, the Ancient and Illustrious Order of the Three Ruffians does not exist. It has never existed. There are no Members. There is nothing to speak of, dispose of or even deny the existence of. The Ruffians are a Myth. We are Keyser Soze. We are the Usual Suspects indeed.
If we existed. Which we dont. Period.

Those Brothers and Fellows that recognize the 3 Ruffians from Ritual are invited to come to an understanding of the part these three scoundrels play in one's individual development. Once revealed, were they not Brothers? And so Brothers they remain.

Heed the Counsel of the Three Ruffians:

'Woe Is Me...
That my Thoughts were not Tempered.
That my Emotions were not Prudent.
That my Actions were not Just.
Oh God. Grant me Fortitude in my Hour of Despair.
That so Corrupt I have Been.
Righteous I Shall Become.'

And so YOU have made it This Far since embarking on that First Great Step. Carry the Temple in your Heart and Mind. Always walk about the Center and Know that Peace Thereon. Moreso than Always Seeking that Great Light; Rather, BE that Great Light upon this world, Reflecting Always those Immortal and Timeless Virtues of Truth.
- Brother Free.
Freestyle is an entrepreneur, developer and writer. Part Hunter Thompson and part Martin Luther, Brother Free enjoys rattling cages and shaking the tree of life now and then. Originally from Texas, he now resides in Missouri. He is a Master of the Royal Secret of the Scottish Rite (32') and a Companion of the Royal Arch and The Cryptic Rite and a Sir Knight of the Knight's Templar Commandery of the York Rite. He is also a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. Aka Brother Free.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Freemason F.A.Q.

WHAT'S A MASON? That's not a surprising question. Even though Masons (Freemasons) are members of the largest and oldest fraternity in the world, and even though almost everyone has a father or grandfather or uncle who was a Mason, many people aren't quite certain just who Masons are. The answer is simple. A Mason (or Freemason) is a member of a fraternity known as Masonry (or Freemasonry). A fraternity is a group of men There are things they want to do in the world. It has become known as a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols • There are things they want to do "inside their own minds." • They enjoy being together with men they like and respect.

WHAT'S MASONRY? Masonry (or Freemasonry) is the oldest fraternity in the world. No one knows just how old it is because the actual origins have been lost in time. Probably, it arose from the guilds of stonemasons who built the castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Possibly, they were influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land. In 1717, Masonry created a formal organization in England when the first Grand Lodge was formed. A Grand Lodge is the administrative body in charge of Masonry in some geographical area. In the United States, there is a Grand Lodge in each state. Local organizations of Masons are called lodges. There are lodges in most towns, and large cities usually have several. There are about 13,200 lodges in the United States.

WHAT'S A LODGE? The word "lodge" means both a group of Masons meeting in some place and the room or building in which they meet. Masonic buildings are also sometimes called "temples" because much of the symbolism Masonry uses to teach its lessons comes from the building of King Solomon's Temple in the Holy Land. The term "lodge" itself comes from the structures which the stonemasons built against the sides of the cathedrals during construction. In winter, when building had to stop, they lived in these lodges and worked at carving stone.

WHAT GOES ON IN A LODGE? This is a good place to repeat what we said earlier about why men become Masons: • There are things they want to do in the world. • There are things they want to do "inside their own minds." • They enjoy being together with men they like and respect. The Lodge is the center of those activities.

MASONRY DOES THINGS IN THE WORLD. Masonry teaches that each person has a responsibility to make things better in the world. Most individuals won't be the ones to find a cure for cancer, or eliminate poverty, or help create world peace, but every man and woman and child can do something to help others and to make things a little better. Masonry is deeply involved with helping people -- it spends more than $1.4 million dollars every day in the United States, just to make life a little easier. And the great majority of that help goes to people who are not Masons. Some of these charities are vast projects, like the Crippled Children's Hospitals and Burns Institutes built by the Shriners. But with projects large or small, the Masons of a lodge try to help make the world a better place. The lodge gives them a way to combine with others to do even more good.

MASONRY DOES THINGS "INSIDE" THE INDIVIDUAL MASON. "Grow or die" is a great law of all nature. Most people feel a need for continued growth and development as individuals. They feel they are not as honest or as charitable or as compassionate or as loving or as trusting as they ought to be. Masonry reminds its members over and over again of the importance of these qualities. It lets men associate with other men of honor and integrity.

MASONS ENJOY EACH OTHER'S COMPANY. It's good to spend time with people you can trust completely, and most Masons find that in their lodge. While much of lodge activity is spent in works of charity or in lessons in self-development, much is also spent in fellowship. Lodges have picnics, camping trips, and many events for the whole family. Simply put, a lodge is a place to spend time with friends. For members only, two basic kinds of meetings take place in a lodge. The most common is a simple business meeting. To open and close the meeting, there is a ceremony whose purpose is to remind us of the virtues by which we are supposed to live. Then there is a reading of the minutes; voting on petitions (applications of men who want to join the fraternity); planning for charitable functions, family events, and other lodge activities; and sharing information about members (called "Brothers," as in most fraternities) who are ill or have some sort of need. The other kind of meeting is one in which people join the fraternity -- one at which the "degrees" are performed.

WHAT'S A DEGREE? A degree is a stage or level of membership. It's also the ceremony by which a man attains that level of membership. There are three, called Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. As you can see, the names are taken from the craft guilds. In the Middle Ages, when a person wanted to join a craft, such as the gold smiths or the carpenters or the stonemasons, he was first apprenticed. As an apprentice, he learned the tools and skills of the trade. When he had proved his skills, he became a "Fellow of the Craft" and when he had exceptional ability, he was known as a Master of the Craft. The degrees are plays in which the candidate participates. Each degree uses symbols to teach, just as plays did in the Middle Ages and as many theatrical productions do today. (We'll talk about symbols a little later.) The Masonic degrees teach the great lessons of life -- the importance of honor and integrity, of being a person on whom others can rely, of being both trusting and trustworthy, of realizing that you have a spiritual nature as well as a physical or animal nature, of the importance of self-control, of knowing how to love and be loved, of knowing how to keep confidential what others tell you so that they can "open up" without fear.

WHY IS MASONRY SO "SECRETIVE"? It really isn't "secretive," although it sometimes has that reputation. Masons certainly don't make a secret of the fact that they are members of the fraternity. We wear rings, lapel pins and tie tacks with Masonic emblems like the Square and Compasses, the best known of Masonic signs which, logically, recalls the fraternity's roots in stonemasonry. Masonic buildings are clearly marked, and are usually listed in the phone book. Lodge activities are not secret picnics and other events are even listed in the newspapers, especially in smaller towns. Many lodges have answering machines which give the upcoming lodge activities. But there are some Masonic secrets, and they fall into two categories. The first are the ways in which a man can identify himself as a Mason -- grips and passwords. We keep those private for obvious reasons. The second group is harder to describe, but they are the ones Masons usually mean if we talk about "Masonic secrets." They are secrets because they literally can't be talked about, can't be put into words. They are the changes that happen to a man when he really accepts responsibility for his own life and, at the same time, truly decides that his real happiness is in helping others. It's a wonderful feeling, but it's something you simply can't explain to another person. That's why we sometimes say that Masonic secrets cannot ( rather than "may not") be told. Try telling someone exactly what you feel when you see a beautiful sunset, or when you hear music, like the national anthem, which suddenly stirs old memories, and you'll understand what we mean.

IS MASONRY A RELIGION? The answer to that question is simple. No.

IF MASONRY ISN'T A RELIGION, WHY DOES IT USE RITUAL? Many of us may think of religion when we think of ritual, but ritual is used in every aspect of life. It's so much a part of us that we just don't notice it. Ritual simply means that some things are done more or less the same way each time. Masonry uses a ritual because it's an effective way to teach important ideas -- the values we've talked about earlier. Masonry's ritual is very rich because it is so old. It has developed over centuries to contain some beautiful language and ideas expressed in symbols. But there's nothing unusual in using ritual. All of us do it every day.

SO, IS MASONRY EDUCATION? Yes. In a very real sense, education is at the center of Masonry. We have stressed its importance for a very long time. Back in the Middle Ages, schools were held in the lodges of stonemasons. You have to know a lot to build a cathedral -- geometry, and structural engineering, and mathematics, just for a start. And that education was not very widely available. All the formal schools and colleges trained people for careers in the church, or in law or medicine. And you had to be a member of the social upper classes to go to those schools. Stonemasons did not come from the aristocracy. And so the lodges had to teach the necessary skills and information. Freemasonry's dedication to education started there.

HOW DOES A MAN BECOME A MASON? Some men are surprised that no one has ever asked them to become a Mason. They may even feel that the Masons in their town don't think they are "good enough" to join. But it doesn't work that way. For hundreds of years, Masons have been forbidden to ask others to join the fraternity. We can talk to friends about Masonry, we can tell them about what Masonry does. We can tell them why we enjoy it. But we can't ask, much less pressure anyone to join. There's a good reason for that. It isn't that we're trying to be exclusive. But becoming a Mason is a very serious thing. Joining Masonry is making a permanent life commitment to live in certain ways. We've listed most of them above -- to live with honor and integrity, to be willing to share and care about others, to trust each other, and to place ultimate trust in God. No one should be "talked into" making such a decision. So, when a man decides he wants to be a Mason, he asks a Mason for a petition or application. He fills it out and gives it to the Mason, and that Mason takes it to the local lodge. The Master of the lodge will appoint a committee to visit with the man and his family, find out a little about him and why he wants to be a Mason, tell him and his family about Masonry, and answer their questions. The committee reports to the lodge, and the lodge votes on the petition. If the vote is unanimously affirmative the lodge will contact the man to set the date for the Entered Apprentice Degree. When the person has completed all three degrees, he is a Master Mason and a full member of the fraternity.

TEN REASONS TO BECOME A MASON1. A place where you can confidently trust every person and trust your family with them also. 2. A place where, within moral and civil guidelines; free thought, free speaking and the spiritual growth of man, can grow into its fullest potential. 3. A place to meet outstanding individuals from all walks of life, that a person would not otherwise have had the opportunity to know and call brother. 4. A place to be part of an organization which has for its principal tenets – Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. 5. A place that provides self-development opportunities, leadership training and experience, and to improve public speaking skills. 6. A place you can go to seek support as well as give it. 7. A place where moral virtues are taught and through these teachings a regular reinforcement of the moral virtues is experienced. 8. A place to spend time with a group of brothers, who by acting as good men, make me want to become a better man. Not better than others, but better than I would have otherwise been. 9. A place to become better equipped to serve Church and community. 10. A place to meet with established members of the community and to become a part of the community.

WHEN IS A MAN A MASON? When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope, and courage which is the root of every virtue. When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his fellow man. When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all how to keep friends with himself When he loves flowers, can hunt birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child. When he can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When star-crowned trees and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters, subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead. When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps any man to lay hold of divine things and sees majestic meanings in life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin. When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. When he has kept faith with himself with his fellow man, and with his God; in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song -- glad to live, but not afraid to die! Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one which it is trying to give to all the world.

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