Wiccan Masons

Discussion in 'The Voting Booth' started by Payne, Nov 20, 2009.

?

How many people here are wiccan?

  1. I am

    7 vote(s)
    7.9%
  2. I am not

    82 vote(s)
    92.1%
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  1. Payne

    Payne Registered User

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    What are you referring to..?
     
  2. drowen

    drowen Registered User

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    Chris I was referring to your excellent explanation of Wicca. I guess we don't utilize our total vocabulary inside of prison walls as we could.
     
  3. Payne

    Payne Registered User

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    -reads your name again- No we don't Dan. I don't use half my brain at that place, good seeing you here and you have a PM
     
  4. vanderson78102

    vanderson78102 Registered User

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    Is this another local I don't know about Bro. Payne?
     
  5. Payne

    Payne Registered User

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    Bro. Anderson,

    Dr.Owen is some what local. He is a member of Refugio 190. We used to work together.
     
  6. drowen

    drowen Registered User

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    I worked with Bro Payne for quite a while in Beeville, but transferred to Rusk to help care for my mother who is now in an assisted living center for a short while until she can build up her strength from a bought with pneumonia. I am a member still of Refugio 190, and Milam 2. I think one of your old cronies came back to Refugio and was Master there as well. I took his dad to Beeville to watch his installation. I can't remember his name. His dad was Tom. He was a big ugly fella.
     
  7. Payne

    Payne Registered User

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    I have only attended Beeville lodge a few times so I have no idea who that would be. Bro. Anderson my know though
     
  8. vanderson78102

    vanderson78102 Registered User

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    I can't think of who you are talking about right off.
     
  9. drowen

    drowen Registered User

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    Barry Watson. It came to me last night after I got off the computer.
     
  10. vanderson78102

    vanderson78102 Registered User

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    I know the name but haven't met him. He doesn't come to lodge.
     
  11. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    My Uncle Jake was about as good a Mason as they come and he loved the craft will all of his heart as it facilitated a huge change in his life. This man sweat blue and lived every minute I ever saw by the craft. I was proud that day to be able to wear my white leather apron and although you were not allowed to speak Cousin I know Uncle Jake is so happy and proud of us right now. I think of him quite often as his memories can be a safe harbor in rough seas.
     
  12. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    True enough. Jake taought me the working tools before I knew that I had learned them.

    I guess I'm still disturbed by the fact that a church would interfere with a funeral. especially a founding member of the church. It'll take another death to get me back in a Baptist church. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from that.
     
  13. drowen

    drowen Registered User

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    Barry moved back to Refugio in about 1999 or so. He became WM at 190 in 07.
     
  14. TexMass

    TexMass Registered User

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    Back in MA we had a Brother who was Wiccan. Also, in Duxbury, where my lodge is they had a reality show on tv about a Wiccan Priestest and they were located in Duxbury. They approched us about renting our Masonic Hall monthly for meetings (and we needed the money badly) but the membership said HELL NO. I have no problem with it at all. I used to live next door to a family who practiced it and even went to their Beltane Festival which celabrates the coming of spring. It was fun and very educational.
     
  15. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    My personal position is fairly ordinary Christian, but I've taken quite an interest in the question of eligibility for other faiths and have debated it extensively in other places.

    For Wiccans, the question is quite tricky because it depends upon exactly what the particular petitioner believes. There is much less central doctrine shared by every Wiccan than in the case of the more established religions, and there are a large number of different traditions within Wicca (habitually abbreviated as "trads" by Wiccans) which have significant differences in beliefs as well as in practices. I'm fairly satisfied that some trads (broadly speaking those which identify themselves as "traditional Wicca") are in principle compatible with freemasonry, having a clear belief in an identifiable Supreme Being ("the Source" in Wiccan terminology) and probably having an identifiable scripture (the Book of Shadows) to use as a VSL, but other trads (broadly speaking those which identify themselves as "eclectic Wicca") seem to have vaguer and more changeable beliefs and lack an agreed scriptural basis, so I'm much less convinced that those are eligible.

    Therefore, in the case of a petitioner describing himself as Wiccan, I'd want to ask more detailed questions about what he personally believes than in the case of someone professing most other religions - if someone says he's a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, etc., then you automatically know approximately what he means, at least to the extent that he definitely has a Supreme Being and a VSL, but it's less obvious in the case of neo-pagan religions. Freemasons are not used to having to question a petitioner in detail about his precise beliefs, since this goes against the grain of our inclusive customs, but I think it's generally necessary in the case of neo-pagans to question in detail (but only before Initiation - once it's established that he's eligible, then of course it shouldn't be necessary to question him again afterwards, any more than with any other Brother, unless of course there is some reason to suppose that a Brother's belief has changed and may have ceased to be eligible to remain a Mason).

    It also depends somewhat upon the particular GL, since different jurisdictions have slightly different interpretations of the eligibility requirements. In any case of uncertainty about the local interpretation, a Lodge should obviously seek the guidance of its own GL. For example, here in UGLE a Candidate must take his Obs on the VSL applicable to his own religion, and if his faith lacks an identifiable VSL then he can't be Initiated and that's the end of the story. On the other hand, I note that some US GLs appear to be taking a more flexible view and allowing Obs to be taken on any VSL (typically a Bible) even if that particular VSL isn't the one which actually applies to the Candidate's own faith.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  16. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi TexMass.

    That sounds to me like knee-jerk prejudice by the membership, so to that extent I agree with you. Nevertheless, some practices of many Wiccan covens would strike me as inappropriate usage for Masonic premises, even though I wouldn't object to them practicing what they see fit in their own premises. To some extent I could question the appropriateness of using Masonic premises for the practices of any particular religion, since we make a point of being open to many faiths and never collectively aligning ourselves with a single view of the divine. However, some Wiccan practices might be argued to be especially inappropriate, in a way not applicable to most other religions.

    Thus I might well have ended up siding with those who voted no, although I'd have wanted to ask some questions before deciding, rather than just saying "HELL NO" by reflex. If it had turned out to be possible to restrict the use of Masonic premises to only some aspects of Wiccan practice, then I might have been persuaded to say yes ... but of course the Wiccan group might have regarded such conditions as unacceptable interference and withdrawn their application.

    T & F,

    Huw
     
  17. thehibster

    thehibster Registered User

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    Brother Huw,

    I’ve been reading “The Landmarks of Freemasonryâ€, Book II by Silas Shepard and contained within is an article from Oliver Street entitled “Freemasonry in Foreign Lands.†There was an incident in which the Grand Lodge of Alabama refused to recognize France’s Grand Orient because in 1849 the Grand Orient had changed the wording of it’s constitution from “Freemasonry has for its principles the existence of Deity and the immortality of the soul†to “Masonry has for its principles mutual tolerance, respect for others and for itself, and absolute liberty of conscience†thereby removing the belief in Deity as a condition for becoming a Mason.

    Street argues that a belief in Deity is not one of the ancient landmarks of Freemasonry and uses the following quotation from Anderson’s First Book of Constitutions, 1723 to make his point: “A Mason is oblig’d, by his Tenure, to obey the Moral Law; and, if we rightly understand the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But through in Ancient Times Masons were charged in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ‘tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is to say be good men and true, or Men of Honor and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a perpetual Distance.â€

    Street argues that Masons are only required to obey a moral law and Masons are obliged to keep any opinion of religion to themselves.

    I’m sure I don’t do the article justice and you may want to read and interpret the entire article for yourself, but I thought if applied to this particular dialogue concerning the application of Wiccans to Freemasonry, then we would be obliged to do so.

    Dave
     
  18. Griffin

    Griffin Brother of the R+C Premium Member

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    I agree with the brother(s) who said all that is necessary is that a candidate answer in the affirmative for a belief in a Supreme Being. I don't have to understand, let alone share, whatever that belief may be.
     
  19. Huw

    Huw Guest

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    Hi Dave.

    That's still true, and is the primary reason why no regular jurisdiction anywhere accepts the Grand Orient of France as being genuine freemasons.

    Street is absolutely wrong ... wrong almost to the point of qualifying as an anti-mason for advancing such a view, since this is the most fundamental and unquestionable of all Landmarks. See below.

    You'll note that Anderson clearly states that a Mason "will never be a stupid Atheist", so evidently he requires a belief in Deity. Obviously this instantly destroys Street's argument.

    In more detail, however, what you quote is one of the most widely-misunderstood passages in Anderson ... especially by authors who don't understand the social and religious situation in London when Anderson wrote this. In Anderson's time and place:-

    * "Religion" meant Christianity and other faiths weren't really regarded as proper religions at all;

    * "The Religion of that Country" meant the locally-approved denomination of Christianity, i.e. to be a Catholic in France, an Anglican in England, and so on - it didn't mean non-Christian religions;

    * "That Religion in which all men agree" meant the basic principles of Christianity underlying all of the denominations and sects;

    * "Their particular Opinions" meant which Christian denomination a man belonged to, he wasn't taking account of non-Christian beliefs;

    * "Denominations or Persuasions" meant Christian denominations or persuasions; and

    * "Conciliating true Friendship" between different Christian denominations was a hot issue because we'd been had a series of wars between denominations and there was a great deal of ill-feeling.

    Anderson was, after all, a Presbyterian minister - so probably even more than most other men of his time and place, he wouldn't have regarded anything outside Christianity as conceivable for a respectable man in London. (There were Jews around, but they weren't given much respect ... and other religions were almost completely absent.)

    He's totally wrong about only being required only to obey a moral law, as I've already said. He's right about being obliged to keep their religious opinions to themselves, because advocating the merits of one's own Christian denomination was fighting talk in London in 1723.

    No, because the quotation isn't about non-Christian religions at all.

    The masonic requirement to be a Christian was only officially removed in the early 1800s (although several Lodges had been ignoring the rule and admitting Jews in the late 1700s).


    T & F,


    Huw
     
  20. thehibster

    thehibster Registered User

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    Brother Huw,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I have found the different interpretations of what constitutes a “landmark†to be fascinating. Also within the “The Landmarks of Freemasonry†is an article entitled “The Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry as Adopted, Followed or Undecided by the Forty-Nine Grand Lodges of the United States†as published by the Masonic Service Association in 1940. It lists by state how each Grand Lodge interprets the meaning of “landmarksâ€. No two states are exactly the same and some, like Texas, don’t recognize landmarks at all, but prefer to recognize the “Old Charges†which I think refers to the 1390 Regius Manuscript.

    I agree that a belief in Deity is a landmark of Freemasonry, and is so intertwined in the teachings and symbolism that to deny this point seems foolish. But, the student in me wants to know where this landmark originates and how it evolved, and how it applies to non-Christian religions or beliefs like the Wiccans.

    Thank you for the historical perspective surrounding England at the time Anderson wrote his constitution. I am nearly through Shepherd’s “Landmarks of Freemasonry†and as I skip ahead in volume I of the Little Masonic Library I see next up is the complete 1723 Anderson’s Constitutions. I will try to keep in mind the historical perspective as I read it.

    Thanks,
    Dave

     
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