By: Andrew Hammer
A good book that should not be confused with another book titled “A Traditional Observance Lodge” by Cliff Porter. While this book touches on the Traditional Observance Lodge (TOL), it is not the soul focus of the book. Rather, this book reminds the Master Mason that there are customs, courtesies, and rituals that set Freemasonry off from community service organizations, traditional charitable organizations, and other social organizations. The point of the book is to point out areas where we have perhaps strayed from those things that made our fraternity unique- some customs and courtesies, and some associated to the TOL.
This is a good “primer” for “A Traditional Observance Lodge” because it does introduce terms and definitions from the TOL and helps the reader with the necessary context to understand the difference between “today’s lodge” and the TOL. It defines and describes Festive Boards/Table Lodges, Chambers of Reflection, and Chain of Union and members of the York and Scottish Rites will gain perspective in the origin of some of those ritual customs.
This book is for those who hunger for more from masonry, more from the spiritual side but aren’t quite sure what that “more” might be. It is not for those who seek more or better ways to do more fundraisers or community service activities; while those can be important to a lodge, this book addresses the traditions and customs of masonry that originally drew many of us to the West Gate.
I recommend this book to Master Masons who have spent some time in the quarry and are familiar with their lodge operations, Lodge-Grand Lodge relations, and Grand Lodge Law and Constitutions. While not required, it will have more meaning for those who have advanced through York and Scottish Rite degrees and it prompts the mason to consider the relationship between the Blue Lodge and those appendant bodies regarding not just degrees, but the form and function of the bodies themselves.
(With thanks to Bro/Comp Chris Williams who recommended the book)
Review by Companion Bill Boyd
This book is available on Amazon.