Auld Lang Syne

On December 31st, as the earth rotated through its 24 time zones, millions of people took their turn at the stroke of midnight and sang an age-old song, a bittersweet song we have all heard, to welcome the New Year and honor old friends. The song of course is Auld Lang Syne.

The anonymous ancient Scot who created the notes of "Auld Lang Syne" somehow hit upon an innate human melody, equivalent Robert Burns to the meadowlark's song, the rooster's sunrise salute and the mating call of the moose.

In researching this song...

Short Inspiring Masonic Video

Cresent Moon

The Moon and Freemasonry

In modern Masonic ritual work, the moon is referred to in the First Degree as one of the three lesser or moveable lights and is identified as the biblical ruler of the night and as a reference of regularity for the conduct of the Master of the Lodge. In the higher symbolism of the lodge, the moon has always been particularly identified with the Senior Warden in the West. Some Masonic philosophers have found this to be a fitting parallel for as the light of the moon is a mere reflection of the greater light of the sun, so the Senior Warden, the officer associated with the Doric pillar of Strength, is intended to be a reflection of the "light" of the Worshipful Master who is associated with the Ionic pillar of Wisdom. It is thus particularly significant that the messenger of the Senior Warden within the lodge is the Junior Deacon who, as his jewel, wears the square and compasses enclosing the moon.

In the early eighteen hundreds when Masonry in Vermont was still a new venture, the Green Mountain State was a wild and unsettled place. It is difficult for us to imagine the thoughts and feelings of a nineteenth century Vermont Mason stepping into the bitter cold of a winter night after a lodge meeting to pursue his travel homeward. For him, a trip of several miles at night after a lodge meeting was a major undertaking where even the task of finding one's way was formidable. For this reason, many of these early lodges in Vermont and other jurisdictions adopted the custom of holding their meetings during the week of the full moon. Hence, these lodges became referred to as "Moon Lodges".

What is a "Cowan"? What is an eavesdropper?

"Cowan" is an old Scottish word, meaning an ignorant Mason who put stones together without mortar, or piled rough stones from the field into a wall without working them square and true. He is a Mason with the word; the Apprentice who tries to masquerade as a Master.

The eavesdropper in ancient times was that would-be thief of secrets who listened under the eaves of houses (there was often a space between wall and roof, for the purpose of ventilation). Because to hear he had to get close to the wall under the eaves, he received the droppings from the roof if it rained - hence, eavesdropper. In modern times the eavesdropper is that bold man who forges a good standing card, or finds one and masquerades as its owner; the man who has read a so-called "expose" of Masonry and tries to get into a lodge in order to ask for charity or help. He is very rare, and few tilers have ever met him!

The cowan, however, the Fellowcraft or Entered Apprentice stopped for cause, the one-time member in good standing who is now dropped for one cause or another, these not infrequently try to pass the tiler.

Where is "Joppa"?

Joppa, or Jaffa, a city of over 50,000, is a port on the Mediterranean Sea. In ancient times it was the port of nearest access to Jerusalem. Originally it marked the boundary of the Tribe of Dan; after the captivity it became Hebrew territory. It was from this port that Jonah set forth for Tarshish and here that St. Peter restored Tabitha to life.

Just A Little More

I recall the kind old grocer
when the sugar he would pour,

How he'd tip the scale to balance,
then he'd add - just a little bit more.

My, how his business prospered,
folks were always at his store,

For he'd give an honest measure,
then he'd add - just a little more.

So it is with life, my brother,
we would build a better score;

If, when we've done what is expected,
we'd add - just a little more.

National Treasure 2

Eager to Step From
Cultural Shadows

U.S.News and World Report

Inside The Masons
A U.S.News Magazine
Article 2005