Field Lodge of the Masonic Lodge Phoenix to the Three Lights
Insights into our lodge life – 23.09.2022
A special experience in the context of our ritual work is the field lodge, when the framework conditions are once unusual and adventurous. In the open air and in a foreign environment, the quality of such an event increases significantly. With the following brother meal our field lodge was likewise presented in the sense of an “open air tasting” an unforgettable evening.
To our this year’s field lodge some lecture excerpts:
We gather this evening at a familiar time in what can be called an unfamiliar place. Here, for our field lodge, in the open air and surrounded by the visible, massive evidence – a work on the truly rough stone.
…as unfamiliar as it may seem to us, as familiar it has been to those who once laid the foundation of our symbolic masonry doctrine.
Let’s go on a mental journey and take ourselves back to the year 1459:
We are in Regensburg on April 25th for the meeting of the most important builders that our German-speaking area has to offer these days.
The entire territory, which extended over today’s Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary as well as parts of the Slavic East, is today organizationally assigned to the four main lodges : Strasbourg, Cologne, Vienna and Berne in the so-called “Strasbourg Order” and represents the economically as well as artistically probably the most important power of its time.
Today, on April 25, 1459, 19 master craftsmen and 21 journeymen met in Regensburg and decided on the smelter regulations, entirely in the sense of establishing the law.
The whole thing is authenticated 40 years later by the German king and later emperor Maximilian I by a letter of protection of 1498.
From here on, this “hut order” is an expression of the heyday of the stonemason brotherhoods.
Medieval stonemasons are well aware of the symbolic content of their work. In many cases they are artistically educated and feel their art deeply as a religion.
They are symbolic men and thus the compass, protractor, spirit level and their various other tools have a deep symbolic meaning.
The so-called “right stonemason’s ground” is considered to be its supreme secret, which – wrapped in the veil of mysticism and symbolism – is strictly guarded.
In him the whole essence of constructing is hidden and his knowledge to be drawn from it is considered the highest goal of the brothers.
The mason’s ground contains in its purely practical part the three main figures: the square, the equilateral triangle and the circle.
They indicate the basic shapes of each Gothic church, the points of the column positions and the height ratios.
Together with the octagon, the tools and the relationships of the right-angled and isosceles triangle, they contain the entire harmony of the building: That symbol of the mysterious force from which the ingenious intuition of architectural harmony comes.
It also describes that elusive experience of aesthetic unity – the so-called golden ratio.
The stonemason brotherhood
stands for itself and is to be distinguished from the lodge, the guilds and the guilds.
The lodge is the on-site institution of the stonemasons involved in the construction of the cathedral, the guild is an association of merchants and the guilds are estates organizations of master craftsmen.
The stonemasonry fraternity is a very unique supra-regional organization.
The huts at that time serve as a place of exchange and training, providing food and accommodation. Members of the lodge can only become free stonemasons, who have a blameless lifestyle and a recognized craft training to show.
The main lodge in Strasbourg, as the supreme jurisdiction, supervises the observance of the order, regulates the staffing and the training of junior staff. It deals with labor and wage issues, the law governing journeymen and master craftsmen and the ban on strikes, and settles disputes between the smelters.
The life of the stonemasons at that time is said to have been regulated down to the most private details and a basic religious and charitable attitude was observed.
Severe penalties are imposed for gambling or adultery. Attendance at certain religious services is mandatory.
At that time, the master’s workbench was already located on the east side, which was reserved for him alone. To the west work the parliers, the supervisors, to the south the journeymen facing east, and to the north the apprentices.
The apprentice who has been absolved is not granted the rights of a journeyman until he is “in good standing.” This is done by making him an “ honorable journeyman“ after passing the ” examination of his knowledge in the secret guild customs” according to the rules.
By the “Hüttenordnung” the craftsmen are bound only to the building to be erected and have no obligations to the community, which results in their elevated position of that time.
This “Hut Rules are Law” and from here on an expression of the heyday of the stonemason brotherhoods – and at the same time – testimony to their imminent decline. The end of the Gothic period was also associated with the decline of large-scale construction sites for the church, which particularly affected the stonemasons’ brotherhoods. Although their huts continued to exist into the 19th century, their order of huts fell into economic insignificance, even though their fascination remained unbroken.
This fascination grows on the original ground of the medieval stonemason brotherhoods, their customs and their ritual mystery – the so-called “inner lodge”, Freemasonry as we know it today.
says about the speciality of stonemasons:
(“on art and antiquity in the Rhine and Mainge areas”)
…think of an innumerable mass of people, through all degrees of skill, going to the master’s hand, inspired by religion, enlivened by art, subdued by custom;
then one begins to understand how such tremendous works can be conceived, undertaken, and, if not completed, yet taken further and further than conceivable…”
The “Bricklayers and Stonecutters Song” from 1785 describes it this way:
Up, bricklayers and bricklayers comrades !
Why are you so lazy and sullen?
Long live who calls himself a mason !
Who treats us to joy and pleasure !
Let our guild be honored
Listen to a happy song !
You noble worthy members,
You who are masters and brothers
Declared by the Freymaurer Order;
We will gladly let you have your Werth !
But through us is your order
Become what he is.
And you have the same, for example,
Already there at Solomon’s temple,
Yes even, according to old respect,
To Babylon’s towers, built;
That’s how it would be if it were right,
Certainly for us much honor.
You masters and noble journeymen,
Leads angle maas, apron skin and trowels
Although only in jest, to the state;
But we are serious, in fact.
But our guilds both
Are laid out for joy.
You like to sing funny songs,
Empties cups, and fills them again;
And we can do just that
According to ancient mason use.
So let us sing one,
And to bring us a glass !
Up, bricklayers and bricklayers comrades !
Why are you so sluggish and sullen?
Who rejoices with us in innocence,
And who weyht his friendship us,
The shall of long life
Give the world a pattern !
As can be seen from this “funny song”, the operative masons are quite sympathetic to us speculative ones.
The stonemason family – the hosts of our field lodge
Equally warm and well-disposed is the stonemason family Grandi, our host here in Herdecke.
The family of my particularly good friend Domenico is now rooted here in this place of activity in the 4th generation, after his great-grandfather Felice was called here from northern Italy around 1900.
Domenico’s father has made far-reaching developments here over the last 60 years and has made this place, which we will get to know a little better in a moment, what it is today.
Brother Speaker, K.D.
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