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Untitled black book?

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posted on Mar, 22 2008 @ 08:58 AM
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Those of you who know me personally know that I collect and study rituals. I am mostly interested in Masonic rituals and have literally hundreds in my library. (There are also tons of non-Masonic fraternal society rituals in my collection). What Uglydad has here ("The Work") is a Canadian version of the ritual that was, indeed, adopted from the "Emulation Ritual" of the U.K. My copy of "The Work" (1999 ed.) was given to me by a friend from Canada at a meeting of The Philalethes Society in Indiana several years ago. It is indeed a black leatherette book with no markings on the cover. Like the Emulation (and other U.K. rituals) very little is written in cipher. The modes of recognition are omitted and a few things are abbreviated such as "G.L." for Grand Lodge, etc.

This ritual is quite different from any ritual used in Grand Lodges in the United States, though, as most U.S. Grand Lodges work a variation of the "Webb Work" so called after Thos. Smith Webb who "Americanized" the ritual. Such things in British ritual as the command "Brethren, be up-standing" were changed to "Brethren, please rise" and so forth.

Some states have a very difficult to read cipher, right down to unique characters for certain words or phrases; some use one and two-letter cipher like Masonic Light mentioned above; some have the ritual in full text with only the modes of recognition omitted (Illinois, Michigan and Arizona come to mine) and some Grand Lodges do NOT allow a ritual cipher to be printed.




posted on Mar, 22 2008 @ 11:41 AM
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Originally posted by Masonic Light

Because of all this, it is impossible for anyone to read unless he's been through his coaching sessions, which take place between degrees. The written cipher is used to aid one in memorizing the ritual, after its already been taught to him by word of mouth.


Well actually I have been successful with Ecce Orienti . The bottom line from someone not a mason is, well no offense at all, its really some pretty boring stuff. Certainly not worth the effort to bother decoding.



posted on Mar, 22 2008 @ 12:03 PM
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Originally posted by umwolves123
Is it possible you didnt hear the whole conversation? He may have been asking about something else if you just heard the last part of the convo or something.

He may have been asking because the other guy is a mason or a known Mason Friend (so i've come to call them). Here's an example: A very good friend of mine, who is not a mason, runs a tuxedo shop he knows i'm a mason and gives me a discount on tux's said if i send a mason to him he'll give him the same discount. it's just something nice that he does for me as a friend and i send him more buisness. This i call a "mason friend".


Isn't that what the Masons are, basically? A good ol' boys club that helps each other out? I've never noticed them do much beyond that.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 04:24 PM
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We have no such books in Pennsylvania. Everything is mouth to ear.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 08:22 AM
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The Texas Work is printed in cipher, though to my knowledge, Texas Masons are prohibited from owning/using them (perhaps that was one of the resolutions voted on at GL in December). It's available at Barnes & Noble, actually. The TX version is titled "King Solomon and His Followers," and would be virtually impossible to decipher without prior knowledge of the ritual. There is VERY little that is written out in plain English. In fact, I think the Charges (and a very few other monitoral things) are the only parts that are.

It is a memory tool, not a learning tool.

Edit: Cug, I think that is a Royal Arch Cipher, if I'm not mistaken.

Funny though, I learned it from a code book I checked out from the school library in 8th grade. My buddy and I used to use it to pass notes in class!


The teacher was like, WTF?!



[edit on 3/31/08 by The Axeman]



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by The Axeman
The Texas Work is printed in cipher, though to my knowledge, Texas Masons are prohibited from owning/using them


They also cannot be owned here. All copies are property of the Grand Lodge. Each Lodge are loaned 7 copies, which in turn loan them to their 7 officers. All new officers have to sign for them, and when their term expires, they turn them back in.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 09:19 AM
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reply to post by Masonic Light
 


Yeah we don't even have that. They are "contraband" lol.

There are those who have them though, and those who encourage others to use them at home. Personally I don't see the harm but whatever.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 11:01 AM
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Originally posted by The Axeman
The Texas Work is printed in cipher, though to my knowledge, Texas Masons are prohibited from owning/using them (perhaps that was one of the resolutions voted on at GL in December).
It was, and passed. It is now ok for a Master Mason to own a copy (not OK for FCs or EAs), but it cannot be brought into the lodge, nor used during the instruction of EAs and FCs learning their work.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 11:12 AM
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reply to post by JoshNorton
 


*whew*

Glad to hear that.


It was recommended to me (by a learned Bro.) to buy one but to "keep it on the square," as it were. I'm glad that passed.

I'm equally glad that our PH Brothers are now recognized in TX.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 11:36 AM
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reply to post by The Axeman
 

Yeah, GL of Texas voted to recognize PH as regular in 2006. Being relatively new to Masonry, I didn't see it as a big deal because when I joined my lodge, the WM was black. This year both the SW and JW are and the rest of our lodge is pretty diverse as well. I know there's still racism in some lodges here, but not in mine. (I wouldn't have joined a lodge that espoused the equality of all men, but then didn't practice what they preached.)



posted on Apr, 5 2008 @ 11:57 AM
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I have seen many people with a Mason ring on and said something which they just say what. Saying to me they are not Masons. I do not call them out on it as some may just have a ring from a passed father etc but there are many who are not Masons who have them. I disagree with people wearing them unless it is from a passed father or close grand father.

The book is one of the mentioned above. Some states have changed the rule to print degree booklets only in cypher.



posted on Apr, 5 2008 @ 01:07 PM
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very intriguing, thank you for sharing. Thanks to the masons for making it more clear as well.

I would be very interested to hear about the "differences between lodges" that i saw referenced at least once in this thread. what is it that varies, and why?

I would also be interested to hear more about what you all know about the content of the book of course only what you felt comfortable sharing.

Edit to add the most important question...Why are they illegal?

[edit on 5-4-2008 by Animal]



posted on Apr, 5 2008 @ 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by Animal
very intriguing, thank you for sharing. Thanks to the masons for making it more clear as well.

I would be very interested to hear about the "differences between lodges" that i saw referenced at least once in this thread. what is it that varies, and why?


Having only seen the one for my GL, I couldn't say specifically but I'd suggest that they differ in relatively small ways in terms of delineating the mechanics of the ritual as well as the wording. Think of it as the difference between Australian English and British English. Both mostly understandable to the other on the whole even if certain specifics differ.


Originally posted by Animal
I would also be interested to hear more about what you all know about the content of the book of course only what you felt comfortable sharing.


There really isn't much to say about the content above and beyond what I've said.


Originally posted by Animal
Why are they illegal?


Illegal's kind of a harsh word but I can see how certain jurisdictions frown on them. One of the first promises you make as a Mason is that you won't in any way make the wording of the ritual available to a non-Mason which in essence a printed version of the ritual is even if certain words are only obliquely referenced.

However, a printed version is an acknowledgement that time is a very valuable commodity in western society and it isn't always practically possible for a Master Mason and either Entered Apprentice or Fellow Craft Masons looking to take the next step to meet and spend the necessary time for the junior Masons to learn the ritual strictly verbally. That said, for those jurisdictions that make that great effort to do so, I doff my cap.



posted on Apr, 5 2008 @ 02:58 PM
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Fitzgibbon gave a good response to this, but I'll go ahead and add my 2 cents as well...

Originally posted by Animal
I would be very interested to hear about the "differences between lodges" that i saw referenced at least once in this thread. what is it that varies, and why?
There's no central head to Masonry. The closest there is to any standardization only applies within a state at best. Being a tradition that's essentially verbal for reasons Fitzgibbon gave, and being ~300 years old, there's bound to be things that have changed and evolved in their own ways over time. Most of the changes are small... 2 of this instead of 3 of that, words in a slightly different order; some lodges have more or less officer positions than others, or different titles for people who do the same thing; etc. It's one of the reasons Masons find the idea of an all-encompassing Masonic conspiracy laughable, because once you start getting to know the work and how it's changed, it's pretty obvious that there's no puppetmaster controlling things, or they'd be more standardized.


I would also be interested to hear more about what you all know about the content of the book of course only what you felt comfortable sharing.


Usually it's the ritual: the words and actions of each of the players in the allegories that are told. Sometimes there will be bits in plain english. These are usually also in "the monitor of the lodge" which can be bought by anyone. Those parts aren't considered secret. Sometimes they're some of the longer parts of the lecture that aren't particularly esoteric, or things that make for good reference material. I've quoted from my monitor a handful of times on ATS when trying to clarify some points.


Edit to add the most important question...Why are they illegal?

I've been reading up on Albert Pike's thoughts on secrecy as applied to Masonry. Basically the thinking of the time was that a Mason would be more likely to risk his life to help a brother in a quick and urgent situation than any other stranger. Pike believed that keeping the modes of recognition and signals of distress secret, someone could not put a man at risk under false pretenses.



posted on Apr, 9 2008 @ 12:02 AM
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Originally posted by Neiby
Isn't that what the Masons are, basically? A good ol' boys club that helps each other out? I've never noticed them do much beyond that.


Simply put...NO. Just because you don't see or read about their deeds, doesn't mean they don't exist. Masonic Lodges have Scholarship funds for local schools, support CHIPs programs for Childhood ID, work in local charitable groups, etc. And that doesn't even touch on what the Shriners, DeMolay, Eastern Star, Rainbow, and other branches of Masonry do in and around their local area.

In our state the Rainbow Girls in a 4 years period donated over $300,000 to the National Children's Cancer Society....not to include their volunteer hours at hospitals and with terminally ill kids.

So again, NO. This isn't just a good 'ol boys club that helps only its members. It's the oldest fraternal orginazation in the world that also helps anyone that needs assistance.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 07:11 PM
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I have a similar "Black book" it is the ECCE Orienti, which is essentially the same thing.

I took it to the Eastern Star i work with, she said that there is infact a code to be dechiphered beyond the shorthand typeset, but she didnt elaborate and i didnt ask. she did say it has to do with the capitol letters of both the masonic titles on the side and the capitols within the acual text of the ritual, but thats all she offered. No biggie, i'll be told after i'v joined



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 09:39 PM
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The books of freemasonry will be intended to educate the freemason to the possiblilties available to him during his short stay here.
Im not a freemason but i am certainly free, I understand that to the lay person these rituals seem like rubbish although there is a deeper meaning within the teachings of freemasonry.
Basically it goes like this:

Religion as we call it has been thoroughly ruined with people and their politics, ideas and greed.

Freemasonry should be about passing the tradition (to him that has an ear) from generation to generation as was originally intended.

There are a class of people out there who can see how things are, those are the people who find in freemasonry what it was intended for.

There really is nothing sinister about freemasonry, its about freedom and a rejected keystone.



posted on Nov, 6 2008 @ 01:17 AM
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Hi People, I'm from mexico, from the Great Lodge of Nuevo Leon, and the book that are you talking about is a degree book, we call it "Liturgia" I don't know how you Brothers call it in the US, but the masonic abreviation of some words, is by using only the first letter of the complete word

I don't know how you say than in english, but for the words W:. M:. is the "Venerable Maestro" and then, the "Primer Vigilante" an so.

but if you are not a mason you couldn't read it, unless you search what those abreviations mean, and just for explanation, that book you say, is not a secret book or something, it's just a book wich explains how to open the works and close it, but has no secrets.



posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 12:19 AM
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reply to post by Uglydad
 


W.M. is "worshipful master"
S.W. is "senior warden"
J.W. is "junior warden"

[] or thereabouts represents "lodge"

It isn't very difficult, not many big words, nothing too confusing, for the same reason that Wal-Mart does not carry Linux manuals.

They know their market, if you get my drift.

Remember it has to be usable by the sort of people who would join the Freemasons...



posted on Nov, 7 2008 @ 07:45 PM
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There is a thread on TOTSE that explains the abbreviations in some detail.

It is an interesting read.



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