The Masonic Lodge
The lodge, basic cell of the Masonic order
The order is the set of Masonic structures referring more or less to tradition.
It is at the level of the lodge that the admission is carried out in the form of Masonic initiation; it is in the lodge that the appropriation of the Masonic "method" is carried out, which can be understood as a reading of the world, of human relations, of the sharing of the path of life.
It is in the Lodge that the new initiate will acquire his or her status as a Freemason.
For all these reasons, it is well understood that if the masons who make up the lodge are not able to assume their responsibilities, the masonic training will be imperfect.
Fortunately, personal work can correct the imperfections of a lodge.
A reality: the lodge under the influence of obedience
It can never be said enough that Freemasonry is practiced in a lodge! Not in councils of order, not in fraternities, and especially not in the commercial café!
The lodge is the place where everything is possible if you want it to be!
Freemasonry is above all the free lodge for free sisters and brothers!
For three hundred years the habit has been established of giving primacy to the obediences: Errare humanum es!!!
While the Lodges should be at the origin of the obediences, today we see the obediences being created without a real initiative of the Lodges.
The obedience is justified to help the lodges not to impose a line! If the democracy of federations of lodges is to make parliamentarianism is the failure of the Masonic method which must be respectful of the identity of each!
The obedience proposes, the lodge disposes!
The Freemasons and Freemasons have become timid in the exercise of the dynamics of the Lodge: it takes permission from the obedience for the slightest initiative! While the Lodge should be sovereign, it tends to become an administrative structure without real personality!
The venerable are now managers of a bureaucratic order: above all no wave!
With this regime, relational problems are unmanageable: absenteeism, conflicts, resignations, splits are inevitable!
If this state of affairs is a generality, fortunately, it is not always the case and there are lodges that fully assume their responsibilities and know how to take initiatives!
It is easier for the free lodges, they live the handicap of isolation or refuge in a mystical masonry that restrains them!
The masonic lodge must be open, diverse, tolerant and benevolent; it cannot be monochrome in any colour! It must promote its swarming as soon as its membership exceeds 30 members maximum size allowing quality work!
The flat lodge works!
It is a small pavilion in a residential area; I arrive around 6.30 pm; three rings of the bell and a brother opens and welcomes me after presentation (I had taken the precaution of warning of my arrival); some sisters and brothers are already there!
Everyone is busy moving the furniture in the living room and clearing the necessary space of about 4 m by 3 m; a table is positioned to represent the orient; behind it on the wall hangs the triangle with the eye of Horus, a light representing the sun and another one for the moon; the dressing room carpet is placed between three wrought iron pillars; two small tables for the supervisors; a chair for the roofer, three others on each side for the columns; the two apprentices are busy; pieces of blue cloth to cover the tables and in a few minutes everything is ready; there are about ten of us; a few visitors are asked to fill the vacancies.
Then, the venerable mistress intervenes to incite everyone to sit down and be quiet to concentrate and leave the metals at the door of the temple; a blow of the mallet repeated twice and it's off to the so-called French rite!
The holding will take place quite normally by following the agenda: opening ritual, report of the last works, letters, boards, interventions, various questions and chain of union before finishing by the closing of the works!
Afterwards, everyone is busy putting everything back in place while the banquet master and the apprentices set up the table on the terrace for the agape! A simple home-cooked meal, fraternal and relaxed exchanges and it's midnight when we kiss goodbye! The sisters and brothers have split up for the commission work and everyone seems happy and satisfied!
For me, it was an edifying visit and I tell myself that this masonry in the apartment was very impressive! Simple, authentic, easy, no fuss! In this GODF lodge, we practice beautiful masonry; we were three visitors, there were nine members of the workshop present and four excused! All in all, everything went well! This lodge has been working like this for about ten years and it looks like many other lodges I have visited in orients with temple! As everywhere, there are surely small relationship problems, egos to comfort and others to calm but no more!
Of course, it is an exceptional situation in a remote province with difficulties of access but all in all one wonders why it would not be like this in the Parisian suburbs or elsewhere.
When we see that the last GODF convent planned to buy and renovate, for several tens of millions of euros, a building next to the building on rue Cadet to allow some Parisians to have "mothered" comfort, we say to ourselves that common sense is not always where we would like it to be!
So if you too, you want to swarm or bring together a few siblings to create a workshop, know that masonry in apartments works!
Old age is a shipwreck, even in a lodge! But...!!!!
General Charles de GAULLE (1890-1970), in Volume I, L'Appel - 1940-1942, of the War Memoirs (1954), evokes Marshal Pétain with these words: "Old age is a shipwreck. So that nothing would be spared, Marshal Pétain's old age would be identified with the sinking of France. »
Since then, it has been customary to use the first part of this quotation to evoke the physical and intellectual degradation of the last part of existence.
Shipwreck is first and foremost a navigational term which designates the decrease in autonomy of a ship which leads to its loss; it is this loss of autonomy which constitutes the primum movens of shipwreck.
It is true that the metaphor is well chosen; the ageing human being is first of all concerned by this loss of autonomy, which affects him in several areas :
From a physical point of view first of all with a fatigue, a decrease of certain functions and a physical limitation ;
From an intellectual point of view also with among others, a diminished curiosity, a difficulty to conceive other imaginary things and a decrease in the capacity of concentration:
And also a greater emotional sensitivity with a more perceptible underlying anxiety and a fear of insecurity that burdens many situations.
This loss of autonomy exposes to risky "navigation" and the shipwreck materializes when this is no longer possible: from the progressive loss of autonomy one ends up in dependence!
Progress in medicine and living conditions makes it possible to temper this evolution by offering possible "adaptations" in order to make the physiological reality less distressing!
If we consider that the age of 65 is the entry into this life bracket, in France, we should go from 15% of the population in 1950 to nearly 42% in 2050.
In the Lodge today, if we believe the GODF statistics, we are at more than 30% of members aged 65 or more for an average age of about 59 years.
Old age is therefore a reality of Lodge life!
But isn't it a taboo subject that we don't address so as not to upset anyone?
It is true that we have in our rituals the mythical notion of the Venerable, wise old man with a white beard who is supposed to know life and know what others do not yet know!
This does not prevent the great masters and mistresses from calling for rejuvenation in recruitment!
How to reconcile this rejuvenation with the snoring, deafness, difficulty in concentration and moral lessons of the kind "of my time? » ?
A real squaring of the circle for the venerable!
And yet, this old age is beautiful when it knows how to stay in its place, protect itself and intervene wisely!
For old age is good for the vitality of the Lodge if it accepts itself as a testimony and makes the effort to know how to play a role of recourse and not of outrageous interventionism!
In conclusion, yes, old age is a shipwreck and being aware of it allows us not to want to make a spectacle of ourselves, but this old age, if it knows how to expose itself intelligently, is also a glory and a beauty for all!
A book to understand everything about the functioning of a Masonic lodge.
Embellished with drawings by YaKaYaKa, this book is a reflection on the functioning of a Masonic lodge: to understand it, to know the risks of dysfunction and how to avoid them, how to improve it.
It is available in all bookstores and also on the internet and in particular by following this link.