Monday, 16 May 2016

Art Inspired by Masonry

I have always been interested by art that is inspired by Freemasonry, the society having attracted many artists over the centuries, artists such as Hogarth, Pine, Thomas Beckwith and John Harris. The society has also inspired many other artists who were not members, such as William Blake. The artist behind these pieces is Isabella Wesoly, a London based artist who is also a Freemason. Her work presented here being inspired by the visual interpretation of the chequered flooring of the lodge room. Isabella has designed and co-produced several murals projects in and around West London, and the chequerboard depictions have been part of her craft long before she stepped onto a Masonic path. These early explorations include 'War Games: Where No Checks Mate' (pen and ink sketch) and a wall mural that was painted in the 1980s in London. Isabella studied life drawing at Chelsea School of Art and drawing skills as part of her undergraduate studies at Thames Valley University has exhibited art works with Open Ealing Art Centre and the 4020 Art Group in Spring 2012.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Freemasonry - The Shared Experience of Initiation

In Freemasonry, one of the first things we are taught is that we are all equal as brothers; every brother in the lodge has undergone the initiation ceremony, and we have all experienced the same event. We are all brethren sharing a similar past experience. This binds us together, as shared experiences are valuable to the group. There have been many recent studies into this 'shared experience' by psychologists, some studies suggesting that shared experiences are amplified and are thus more powerful (Boothby et al. 2014).

Of course, the experience of initiation into Freemasonry is a good experience, a powerful, moving and celebrated experience, one to be valued, and it is this shared aspect of it that creates the bond of brotherhood, a brotherhood that breaks down barriers of age, social background, nationality, and cultural background. For example, a study discussed by the British Psychological Society that was published in the Journal of Consumer Research puts forward that 'the first impression an individual has of an event has a greater impact when they share this experience with somebody else'. Of course there is a bit of a difference between being initiated into Freemasonry and consumerism, but as the overall study looks at the shared experience in a social context, then one can see how powerful and memorable the shared experience is.

Of course, initiation as a process of entry into societies has been with us for thousands of years; the value of shared experience that creates bonding on a powerful level being known by our ancestors. It has been used in various religions, tribes, in the military, in street gangs and in social groups, to create that bonding and that sense of being part of a family. Masonic initiation also involves an obligation and as a society it teaches us moral lessons and above all, that we are all equal. Being forbidden to talk about religion and politics in lodge helps us, as brothers, to transcend our cultural and national differences, and this is what helps to make us all equal. 


Erica J. Boothby, Margaret S. Clark & John A. Bargh, ‘Shared Experiences Are Amplified’, Psychological Science

Friday, 6 May 2016

Three Distinct Knocks

Who would believe outside of Freemasonry that the Masonic door knocker is such a vital part of the lodge room, even though it's on the outside? The knocker of course has a language all of its own, and is used in a certain way when a Mason or candidate requires entry into the sacred and secret space of the Temple when the lodge is tiled. Hence there are some very ornate and elaborate Masonic door knockers on the doors of lodges all over the Masonic world. Indeed, a lot of effort seems to have been put on the old Masonic lodge room door knocker, and here are a selection of different styles from around the world.

The above three photos show a similar style of the square and compass, the last two with a hand holding a gavel. I have seen many lodge doors to have this style.

From the door of a lodge room at Lancaster Masonic Hall, England.

A similar style modern Masonic knocker as some of the ones above, using the gavel as the actual knocker. This is from the USA.

A door on a street with an Ouroborus - not Masonic - but as a Mason - you would have to give it a knock!

The doorway into the Temple in the Grand Lodge of Greece, Athens.

The door to a lodge room at the Masonic Temple, Birkenhead, Cheshire.