Those who know me and my journey, know that I had taken a short-lived stint in Masonry. When I was convinced that I would have to be a man for the rest of my life, I chose to be the best man I could. With a little gentle prodding from my bud, Ben Wood, I decided to enter Masonry.
Mind you, I was not unfamiliar with Freemasonry. My Grandfather had been a Mason as well as my Father. My Father was even a Past Master of his lodge. He had even been High Priest. My Grandfather was a member of the Grotto. So there was a line.
Ben and I were friends on a site called Tribe. He saw something in me and told me I was a natural Mason. When Cindy and I lived in North Attleboro, I would walk Brandy at night and I would pass the lodge there. I sometimes thought to go and knock on the door sometime, but soon, Cindy and I were talking of moving. I put it off and we moved to Lakeville. As it turned out, my neighbor Mick was a member of the local lodge. We talked and soon I was being made a Mason at the local lodge.
Given that I believed that I was stuck being a man and would have to be, I threw myself into Masonry. It was great as it also served my social needs. Cindy jokes that I am a social butterfly, but I do like to be out with others. I soon was immersed in Masonry. I won the Rookie Award by completing a number of tasks. One was to start the Make A Fool of Yourself night. This was a fundraiser that Cindy and I put together. We grew that over the five years we ran it, breaking records on funds the past two years. I had also stepped into the line and was progressing towards the Masters chair. I was made Ambassador, first for the lodge, but then for the District. Some would say that I was destined to wear purple. I do look good in purple.
During this time, I also got involved in York Rite. York Rite is another side path, if you will of Masonry, as is Scottish Rite and Shriners. I worked my way through all three bodies of York Rite and became a Knight Templar. I quickly stepped into the line in all three of those bodies and was an officer in all four bodies. I ascended quickly and was the top officer in one, second in another, and third in the last. I was also making my way through my own lodge and was fourth in line. I had gained great respect. I had become an instructor. I really made the idea, Masonry is just one night…….. off a month. LOL. That is the running joke.
So what is this all about? Well, given my situation, I felt it was necessary to step away. After all, a woman cannot be a Mason. Oh history has shown that there were special exceptions in the past, but I didn’t want to push that. Harmony being the strength and support of all institutions …… I knew that some would have issue. So with a sad heart, I submitted my demit. Well, today, I received my demit notice from Grand Lodge. I got kind of melancholy holding it. I had given my all to Masonry. Yet, here I was officially demitted from Masonry. I didn’t even have to do it. I was a lifetime member of both Grand Lodge and my home or Blue lodge. It would have cost nothing to the lodge to keep me on the roles. I just felt that I needed to step away. I needed to make it official. After all, I was not exactly going to be welcomed back, or so I thought.
Remember I mentioned that I had started a fund raiser in the lodge. It was a great night with a pasta dinner with all the fixings, salad, rolls, sausage, meatballs and homemade sauce that I made right there that day from scratch. It would end with a night of music and laughs with karaoke. I was walking away from the lodge, so I was walking away from that. Or so I thought. I was asked to continue it. So on it will go. The lodge will pick up the meal and cooking and I will just KJ as I have done. It is nice that I will still have this connection to the lodge that gave so much to me.
I do want to note that beyond that, many of my Masonic brothers have maintained contact. They have followed my journey and are supporting me. I was even asked to come to one lodge in January and give a talk on Shamanism. Ah, another aspect of my journey people don’t know about because I don’t talk a lot about it. Another blog maybe. So though I walked away, I am still with them.
I want to say that Masonry was a great experience. I made a lot of good friends and made a lot of good memories. I won’t miss all the rehearsals, but the rest does sort of leave a hole. I had many lunches with Ron at Jacob Wurths in Boston when I went there for Grand Lodge Quarterlies. I loved going to the Lodge of Instructions in the District every month and seeing Brothers from other lodges and making even more friends and connections. I was an instructor there, so it was nice to be able to teach others about Masonry. I really enjoyed going around with my mentor, Barry, to visit other lodges. He was the one who got me going to Grand Lodge. Oh, if you ever get up to Boston, check in to see if they are giving tours. It is a magnificent building.
Masonry was a great experience. I loved meeting new people and sharing. I miss that, but I am in a new phase of my life. I have been asked to join Eastern Star which is the co-ed version of Masonry, for lack of a better term. That was kind of nice to be asked to join. I had to laugh when one of the guys joked that I would make one hell of a Worthy Matron. Sheesh, I hadn’t even decided to take them up on their offering and all ready they have me ascending the ranks.
Look, I just want to say, I loved Masonry. I am sorry I had to step away but it is nice that my Brothers aren’t letting me stray too far. Masons do so much good with little notice. They aren’t looking for accolades. It is the oldest fraternal organization in the world. Our own Grand Lodge is the third oldest in the world. It has survived all these years. The many charitable funds that they have is amazing. Probably the most famous of these is the Shriners hospitals. Yet, there is the Scottish Rites Dyslexia institute, Knights Templar Eye Insitute, Blue Lodge Angel Funds aimed to help kids in need.
A recent estimate from a Masonic site showed:
Recent estimates which stand the scrutiny of conservative verification, indicate that more than One Million, Four Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,400,000.00) a day are expended in Masonic benevolences in the United States. That’s just a little more than One Half Billion Dollars a year! ! In anybody’s language, that’s a lot of money!
So I really am glad that I had that opportunity to become a Mason. I am glad to have made so many friends from it. While I was asked to join Eastern Star, which I am grateful for, but I am taking a year off. I want to see which way the wind blows me. I have a lot of work to do on the farm. I also want to get back to my studies in Shamanism and Native American healing. I think I need that spiritual pick up again. I need to reconnect.
Now that I have my personal life on its right path and I no longer have to hide who I am, I am ready to start revisiting the me in me. I hope to continue to write. I want to thank you for walking with me on my journey.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.