Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

Giving the charge

Before I forget: as previously mentioned, we had three candidates for the Third Degree this past Thursday. Overall, it went well, if rather inefficiently -- we didn't get to dinner until about 8pm, and didn't start the second section (the meat of the degree) until almost 9pm. There are things we need to work on -- in particular, I need to get more hard-assed about *everybody* showing up for rehearsal, and how things work with three candidates (the Stewards, who normally have little to do, are much more important when there are three) -- but I don't think the candidates noticed most of the rough edges. The Past Masters all did a good solid job, and (blessedly) restrained themselves from shouting out corrections to each others' lines. (I was a bit worried -- it's a common bad habit.)

I did give the Candian Charge, as planned; if I do say so myself, it rocked. I gave the preamble, then had them drop the lights so that the main light was the spot on the candidates kneeling at the altar, plus a few other small strategic lights around the room. I started out midway between the altar and East, so I was in semi-darkness, and gradually approached them, verse by verse, so I was right at the other side of the altar for Verse 7. Matching that, I played with tone a bit: calm and friendly at the beginning, with a very slow crescendo in Verses 3-6, then back down to *very* quiet for the final one, which is directed straight at the candidates. As I hoped, they gave the "Never" in Verse 7 without needing any more prompt than a raised eyebrow, meaning that I'd drawn them in properly.

*Quite* a lot of fun: there are few things I enjoy more than blurring the lines between ritual and acting. I'll have to do that bit again sometime.

For those who were interested (and for my own records), here's the final form of the charge, as I actually gave it. This has a few additional tweaks beyond the version I posted a few weeks ago, and worked well.

Optional Preamble
(from Warren 13 Lodge, http://warren13mason.tripod.com/id1.html)

My brother(s), it must indeed be gratifying to know that you are at last a Master Mason, and once you have affixed your signature to the Bylaws of this lodge, you will have sealed your allegiance to the oldest and greatest fraternity in existence, one that encircles the globe and whose influence for good is never ending.

The particular reason that you chose to become a member of this grand and noble order is known only to yourself. It might have been the prompting of idle curiosity. That being true, you should now be well satisfied. It might have been for financial reasons. That being true, be at once undeceived for Freemasonry offers no financial benefits to any of its members. It might have been for social aspirations. That being true, you are now afforded the opportunity to acquaint yourself with many interesting and intelligent gentlemen. It might have been because a relative or close friend is a Mason and expressed a desire that you should become one also and follow in their footsteps. That being true, it is not only an honor to yourself, but to the fraternity as well.

But, be the reason that it may, there are two great questions that still confront you. Will you be worth anything or nothing to Freemasonry and, will Freemasonry be worth anything or nothing to you? The answers lie within you yourself, for if you will apply to your own life the lessons that you have received in the three degrees, it will make you a better citizen, a better father, a better son and a fonder husband............for

Canadian Charge
(AKA "On Yonder Book", AKA the Morris Charge, AKA Candlelight Charge)

1.
In Mason's Lodge, with darkened eyes
And cable tow about me,
I swore to hele all mysteries
That Masons keep, and Masons prize:
The Brothers' secret whispered low,
The words they speak, the things they do,
In mystic manner taught me.
On yonder Book that Oath I took,
And will I break it? Never!
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.
(Step, Due Guard and Sign of an Entered Apprentice,
one with each "this")

2.
I swore to answer and obey
All summons sent me duly,
By brothers' hand or Lodge array:
I swore that I would never stray,
From Ancient laws and rules that bound
Freemasons in the days renowned,
But would observe them truly.
On yonder Book that Oath I took,
And will I break it? Never!
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.
(Step, Due Guard and Sign of a Fellow Craft,
one with each "this")

3.
I swore with generous gifts, to care
For those with sorrow smitten:
The brother on the darkened square;
The mourner with disheveled hair;
The orphan doomed, alas, to stray
Upon a rough and rugged way,
While tears gush forth unhidden.
On yonder Book that Oath I took,
And will I break it? Never!
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.
(Step, Due Guard and Sign of a Master Mason,
one with each "this")

4.
I swore to deal in honesty,
With each true heart around me,
That "Honor bright should ever be
Unbroken bond" 'twixt him and me:
Nor wrong nor guile, nor cruel fraud,
Should ever break the sacred cord,
By which my vows have bound me.
On yonder Book that Oath I took,
And will I break it? Never!
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.
(Giving the Step, Due Guard and Sign of all 3 Degrees,
one with each "this")

5.
I swore to guard the portals close
Of yon Masonic Temple.
To rid the quarries of their dross,
To build each mystic wall across.
With body perfect, upright heart,
And mind mature in moral art
In precept and example.
On yonder Book that Oath I took,
And will I break it? Never!
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.
(Pointing to Greater and Lesser Lights and letter G,
one with each "this")

6.
I swore the Chastity to shield
Of women true and tender.
Of Mason's widow, wife, or child,
His mother, sister, undefiled.
To them I pledge a brother's love,
By Him who rules the Lodge above,
To be a true defender.
On yonder Book that Oath I took,
And will I break it? Never!
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.
(Giving Distress sign - one motion with each "this")

7.
My Brother (or Brothers):
These are your Vows, Be they your cares.
And may such light be given,
In answer to your earnest prayer,
That you may ever do and dare
All that God's gracious Laws enjoin,
So that, when shades of night decline,
You may be found in Heaven.
On yonder Book these Oaths WE took,
And will we break them? Never!
But stand by this, and this, and this,
Forever and forever.

(Have candidate(s) join with you in giving the Steps, Due Guards
and Signs of all three Degrees - one with each "this")

Written by M.W. Benjamin L. Hadley, P.G.M.
as reported by Lawrenceville Lodge,
(http://lvlodge131.org/yonder.html)
hybridized by Wor. Mark Waks with bits from PhoenixMasonry
(http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/canadian_charge.htm)
and Halpaus's "Masonic Matters" essay
(http://royalarchmasonsalberta.com/library/Murray/Masonic%20Matters.pdf)
and Iowa Masonic Library's "Morris Charge"
(http://www.iowamasoniclibrary.org/webforms/Downloads/Morris%20Charge.pdf)
Tags: diary, masonry
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