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Handshake token outside the lodge


Registered User
A new EA brother from a different constitution approached me on this. He is very discouraged that his new fellow brothers do not greet him with a masonic handshake when they meet. He says this happens in lodge sometimes and almost always outside lodge (in public).

My reply was that he must not make too much about it since it's really just a way to recognize someone you don't know to be one for test purposes.

I do however understand why he feel discouraged. My own lodge brothers always greets me the way we do in and outside lodge and I would also feel a bit weird and discouraged if this should happen to me.

What is your thoughts on this? :)


Premium Member
The tokens and grips being a part of the "modes of recognition," I don't use these unless I'm certain/satisfied that the other fellow is a brother, and rarely in public. I made a promise some time ago "... and ONLY unto him or them..."

There are better ways to test whether the other person is a brother before you get to that sort of stuff...


Premium Member
Not a fan of using them in public, more because I'm a traditional handshake kind of guy. I'm one of those that appreciate hardy handshakes and not limp-wristed pawing. Plus, going for the grip becomes kind of awkward if the other guy isn't expecting it.


Registered User
He was referring to giving it brothers who sat with him in lodge, who would not return it. Not complete strangers.


Premium Member
probably a little awkward, when was the last time you shook on the first outside ritual? Or on the second?



Registered User
Everytime I see a brother in town we shake on it. Not a big deal, just comes natural, Guess it's not like that everywhere.


Premium Member
I like that it's a rare treat.

At lodge we're all in the tiled space together so we don't need it. Extending the hand of brotherly love makes the difference between in person and on line but unless we're checking out a first time visitor the difference is tiny.

Outside of lodge I figure the less it is used the more it's a treat not an expectation. Being rare gives it value.

Brother JC

Moderating Staff
Staff Member
I often "tap" a man's hand in an EA grip if I believe him to be a Brother, and I always use that grip with known Brethren in a lodge building. I can still make a firm handshake out of it, and I like the connection it creates between Brothers.


Premium Member
My formula...

I let the "masonically older than I" decide. I know those that grip and those that just shake and I act accordingly when I know them to be such.

Those that are masonically younger than I will receive a shake from me unless we're doing a degree, examination or it is a required (opening the lodge for example.)

I shake outside of Lodge unless the individual falls into part one of my formula above.


Premium Member
I've been to some lodges that always give the masters grip when greeting each other, but I found this odd since someone could be watching and learn it (if they knew what they were looking for). Somewhere I read a post that said he only gives the EA grip when meeting new brothers because its by which one brother may know another. Later I had a New Mexico brother shake my hand this way after I introduced myself. Now it is also the way I shake hands of people who I see are masons, but do not know them. Seeing the look of surprise and recognition on their face is priceless.


Registered User
We try to have fun with it...especially for a new EA. I might ask if he's seen my little dog with a leather collar. Knowing disgusts and sign are important to him I'll encourage him to stay interested. The token too? Why not. A fellowcraft will learn better and a master more so. The apprentice is neither. The journey is from boyhood after all


Registered User
If I meet a brother I know to be a Master Mason, or am introduced to a Master Mason I do not know by a brother whom I do (which I would take as "properly avouched for") I will give him the grip. A poster upthread suggested that someone "might see". I highly doubt it. I have noticed some MMs return it, some do not, however no one has ever complained or even mentioned it. At least in our Valley it's not uncommon for SR folks to greet one another on an MM grip at Valley functions. What I do NOT do, however, is greet that way just because someone is wearing a lapel pin or a ring. My father and I, by the way, always shake hands by way of a MM grip. After all, he raised me in more ways than one!
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