Monday, January 11, 2010

‘The Art of Initiation’

The Rose Circle Research Foundation and Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons invite you to an inquiry into The Art of Initiation. On Wednesday, February 10 at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, both societies will co-host a daylong event of lectures, ritual exemplification, dining, and more.

Piers Vaughan of the Rose Circle
Research Foundation.
Beginning at 4 p.m. in the Memorial’s North Lodge Room, the Rose Circle’s Piers Vaughan and Oliver Kruse will speak on the ritual, spiritual, and psychological aspects of initiation. Piers of course is the world renowned lecturer, translator of rare French texts, and Past Master of St. John’s Lodge No. 1 in New York City, among other things. Oliver is an 8º Swedish Rite Mason at labor in Zur Brudertreue im Ravensberger Land in Bielefeld, which is under the Great Land Lodge of Freemasons in Germany, within the United Grand Lodges of Germany. He too is very highly regarded the world over for his lecture work and translations of rare German texts.

After which, in the Grand Masonic Hall, our sponsor, Toye, Kenning and Spencer, Ltd., will host a reception to introduce their company of distinct regalia manufacturing to Freemasonry in the United States. TKS has been the maker of jewels and regalia to Britain’s royal family for nearly 300 years. Their Masonic regalia is worn all over the world, and in 2010 they enter the U.S. market.

At 7 p.m., Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 will open its Stated Communication for the exemplification of the Entered Apprentice Degree in the Bristol ritual. The Bristol working is a unique Masonic ritual almost never seen outside England. (South Lodge Room.)

One description says:

“Bristol Masonry is unlike anything seen elsewhere in England. In the first degree alone one witnesses unusual ceremonies and hears statements which will surprise even the well-read Mason. Have you ever heard ‘the Nile, the Ganges, the Euphrates, [and the] Mississippi’ mentioned in an Entered Apprentice degree? How about ‘the immeasurable wilds of the scattered Indian tribes across the mighty Atlantic… the wandering Arabs, roaming tartars, or far distant Chinese?’ Have you ever seen the ‘circle of swords,’ the ‘cup of affliction,’ or the ‘writing test’ given to an Entered Apprentice? It is all here, and much more. As one of the most unusual rituals in the English language, Masons travel from all over the world to witness these fascinating ceremonies. Boasting what is probably the oldest Craft working in England, Bristol ritual retains aspects which are similar to the unpublished Irish workings, but also resembles Continental Masonry in some regards.”

After the degree exemplification, the brethren will retire to the Dining Room for a classic Festive Board.

Reservations for the Festive Board, featuring a catered dinner, are requested. Please write to the Senior Steward of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 at

to say you’re attending, so heads can be counted, and all guests can be accommodated comfortably.

There is no charge for dinner, but donations of $10 (or more) will be appreciated.

Shuttle bus service will be available to take you to and from the Alexandria Mark Hilton beginning at 3 p.m. Make sure you catch that first bus to ensure you do not miss any of the program beginning at four o’clock.

Whether you are traveling to Alexandria for Masonic Week, or if you are local to the area, there will be no Masonic event more worthy of your time on this Wednesday than this occasion.

Look for us on Facebook as The Art of Initiation, or feel free to send questions and comments to The Magpie Mason in the comments section of this blog.

Photo of altar courtesy of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, AF&AM, Alexandria, Virginia.


Chris said...

Anyone who can get to see the Bristol Working should do so. Beg, borrow, (don't steal) to get there. It is perhaps the most impressive ritual worked today.

It is only worked in one lodge in Bristol, under dispensation from UGLE as it includes the ancient penalties. Every lodge meeting they have dozens of visitors from all over the world who want to witness this unique ritual.

Bro Chris Hansen, SW
Goliath Lodge #5595 UGLE

Unknown said...

Hongkong Tuesday 2 February 2010 = Dear Bro Chris Hansen, There are 36 lodges in Bristol and I would be very surprised if only one lodge used Bristol Working. In May 2008, the PGM of Bristol reported: "During the year, our Bristol Ritual has been demonstrated in various parts of the country. In November, at the Lodge of Fellowship at Downend, the Provincial Executive witnessed a demonstration of the First Degree performed by reigning Bristol Worshipful Masters. In February, it was a particular pleasure for the DPGM, Secretary and myself to accompany St. Augustine Lodge when they demonstrated the First Degree at the City of London Lodge of Installed Masters at the magnificent Plaisterers Hall at London Wall. The above and all other demonstrations have evinced enthusiastic letters from the lodges visited, praising the content, dignity and expertise displayed. I congratulate all those who have participated." Hence, we can be sure that Bristol Ritual is used in at least half-a-dozen Bristol lodges because it would have required a minimum of six reigning Bristol WMs (acting as WM, SW, JW, SD, JD & IG) to demonstrate the first degree at Downend. = S+F, Ashok Mahbubani, member of Scottish & English craft lodges (PM923+428SC, PM9718+9756EC)

Chris said...

I apologise for my misstatement. Apparently Bristol is itself a Province of UGLE and there are 15 or 20 Lodges who use the Bristol Working. I myself have been misinformed about the matter and I'm happy to accept the clarification.