Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Station and Places: Tyler

I was honored to serve my Lodge as Worshipful Master in 2009. A fairly new tradition in my Lodge is to appoint the outgoing Worshipful Master as Tyler of the Lodge for the following year.

As I stated in my Seneschal post, I talked about how I am always interested in their duties and etymology. Let us dissect this necessary post and his duties.

Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines Tyler as a person's name. Interestingly enough, they list "Wat the Tyler" as a notable name in history. In Mr. Robinson's book "Born in Blood" Wat is believed to an indication of possible Freemasons existing in the time of the Peasant's Revolt in 14th century England. In old English, a Tyler was thought to also be a doorman to an inn, early meeting places of Freemasons before they established their own buildings.

Now we can change the name slightly and see that a "Tiler" is someone who lays tiles. This is interesting as modern speculative Freemasonry pulls from positions and tools of the elder operative Masons that were known for their great accomplishments in history. We also look at the Entered Apprentice Degree where we see the symbolism of the checkered floor, that would have required a skilled tiler to lay.

In modern times, the Tyler serves to prevent non-members and impersonators from entering a private Lodge meeting. They also should serve on the Investigative committee for those Brothers who come to visit the Lodge along with the Senior Warden who also serves to verify the membership of everyone in the Lodge. He is also a face of the Fraternity and should always act accordingly.

My Station and Places: Seneschal

On May 29th, 2010, I was dubbed a Companion Knight of York Tri-Valley College No.178. After the end of the ceremony, the Pre-Eminent Governor asked me to sit as Seneschal and I gladly accepted, with him knowing I would not be at the next year's meetings as I am deploying to Iraq.

I am always interested in the etymology and history of the various stations. If you subscribe to studying the mysterious group known as "Priory of Sion", there were Seneschals, that were 2nd rank from the top of the pyramid-like structure, just as there were in the medieval Knights Templar

The etymology of "Seneschal" comes from the Proto-Germanic words sini, meaning senior, and skalk, meaning servant. Seneschal literally means 'senior servant'.

Historically in France, the seneschal would be sometimes the personal representative of the King charged with dispensing justice and administrative duties. In other kingdoms, seneschals were in charge of feasts and domestic ceremonies. They would seem to be close to stewards in this regard. Other duties would include managing the property and finances of the Lord under who they served.

So when we tie this into the York Rite College, we see that the Seneschal is in charge of organizing the dinners and making sure all properties of the Governor are cared for. While he may not preside over them the Seneschal should be diligent in the planning of such ceremonies as installation and initiations.

The Little Rock Scottish Rite Building

This is a post from my previous blog. It dates back to June 2009.

The Little Rock Scottish Rite building

I am attending some training courses down in Camp Robinson, Arkansas, just outside of Little Rock. The other night I had an occasion to visit Western Star Lodge No.2, F&AM of Arkansas. I had no idea where I was going so I took a cab. The driver knew exactly where it was as it turned out he was a Brother. He entertained me with his knowledge of not only the Craft, but also the area. Once at my destination, I was awestruck by the sheer size of it.

The picture doesn't do it justice, but as you can tell, it runs the entire city block. After being investigated, I was gladly invited to join in the meeting, well, after a good dinner. Before the meeting started the Brothers took me on a tour of the building. They told me it belongs to Scottish Rite, but there are two Blue Lodge rooms in it. Here are the pictures:

The entrance of the building


Fireplace with Albert Pike quote


Dining Hall. 

There is a stained glass window in the left corner of this hall that I think is a great piece of art

Stained glass window


2nd-floor hallway

Lodge of Perfection (I just wish I had time to get a close up of that window)

The Auditorium

The Eastern Chair of the Blue Lodge room

The meeting went well and I was introduced and welcomed by all the Brothers. After the meeting had concluded a few Brothers took me out to have a few beers. We talked more and they told me that the apartment complex across the street still has the same name it did when it was a hotel called "The Albert Pike". Apparently, Albert Pike was a member of Western Star Lodge No.2.

I enjoyed my time with them and will probably visit them again. Maybe I can get more tours of the building.