The 133rd Grand Master of the Freemasons is hoping to form a new Masonic Lodge in Qualicum Beach.
The new Lodge, says Bowser's Murray Webster, whose year-long term as Grand Master ended in June, would use the Canadian rituals, rather than the Ancient or American rituals.
Freemasonry can be dated back to Euclid, ancient Egypt, the Druids and the Knights Templar of the Crusades, but the first official Grand Lodge was established in London, England in 1717, marking the beginning of modern Freemasonry.
While there are many myths and legends surrounding the Masons, Webster says the Lodges exist to promote "fellowship and moral improvement," based upon following a path to becoming a master stonemason.
"As you learn about becoming a stonemason," he says, "you learn about becoming a human being in its best form."
You do this by progressing through three basic stages or degrees similar to a trade's apprentice, journeyman, master: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.
The progress through these degrees is marked by the performance of rituals, "what people consider the secrets of Masonry," Webster says.
These "little dramas," which have to be memorized and re-enacted, he says, "prepare you to be a Master Mason or Freemason."
These rituals vary culturally. "The purest form of the rituals is done in England," Webster says. "They're the mother of all these Lodges. They'd consider the others to be hybrids."
The Ancient or American rituals were brought to B.C. by gold-rush miners from the U.S. in the mid to late 1800s. The Concord Lodge in Parksville uses these rituals.
The Canadian rituals spread west more slowly until they were dominant in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
"I got to thinking that with all these people moving here from Alberta and Saskatchewan," Webster says, "maybe they'd like to have a Lodge using the Canadian rituals."
There are 148 Masonic Lodges in B.C., he says. Two use the Australian rituals, 10 use the Emulation rituals, emulating the English rituals, and the remainder are split about 50-50 between the Ancient and Canadian rituals.
There are "many similarities" between the Ancient and Canadian rituals, Webster says, and many Masons are familiar with both.
Those interested in forming a Masonic Lodge using the 'Canadian work' are invited to a social gathering Wednesday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m., at Rotary House, 211 Fern Rd., in Qualicum Beach.
For more information, call Murray Webster at 250-757-8755.
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