Freemasonry for the 21st Century


My thoughts: Though this article is about Freemasonry (and its modernisation) it could be interesting to others too. “Starfish” and “Spider” organisations are highlighted by such orgs as Wikipedia, Napster, Skype and even terrorist cells.

” Perhaps this is a reason for why Heathenry in the Nordic countries seem to function and have functioned with such little strife. It was never centralized since there was no way TO centrilize it (too small population on too vast areas). I often feel that why in the US often (not always) there is a bickering about “Universalists” and “Folkish”, the Swedish Heathens just pour a beer by a tree as they always have, with very few craps to give about how their neighbour does it. In Sweden we often use the word “Folkrörelse” (peoples movement) to org with little or no central governing.

Wiccan and other strains of  Witchcraft are also thriving by not being centralized.

My only personal concern is that the baby isnt thrown out with the bathwater.
I belive in tradition,continuation, lineages, charters and heritage AS WELL as rejuvenation.

Freemasonry for the 21st Century

By: BRO. RICH GRAETER

In The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, authors Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom group organizations into two broad categories: starfish and spiders.[i] Spiders are coercive, centralized organizations with rigid rules and hierarchy, whereas starfish are open and decentralized organizations lacking a clear chain of command.[ii]

At first glance, spiders and starfish may seem to resemble each other, but in fact, they are very different.[iii] Whereas cutting off the head of a spider will kill it, a starfish does not even have a head to cut off. Not only will the starfish not die, its parts will regenerate. If you cut a Linckia, or long-armed starfish, into two pieces, you will get two starfish. Cut it into five pieces and you will get five starfish. This is the amazing power of an open, decentralized network.[iv] You can’t kill it; and, attacking it only makes it stronger.

Open, decentralized networks have enormous power, and they are extremely resilient. A fundamental principle of Starfish organizations is that when attacked, in response they become even more open and decentralized, and therefore more resilient to attack.[v] The Apache Indians, Napster and its progeny[vi], Skype, Craigslist, Alcoholics Anonymous, and even, ominously, Al-Qaeda, are all classic examples of Starfish organizations. The Apache outlasted the Spanish conquistadores; Napster brought the major recording labels to their knees; Skype rendered the telephone industry’s long-distance profit model obsolete; and, Craigslist eviscerated newspaper ad revenues. All these starfish all took on spider organizations and beat them.

My favorite starfish example is Wikipedia because it illustrates one of the best principles of starfish organizations: “put people into an open system, and they’ll automatically want to contribute.”[vii] Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization. Wikipedia’s articles are written collaboratively by volunteers around the world and the vast majority of them can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet. Steadily rising in popularity since its inception, it currently ranks among the top ten most-visited websites worldwide.[viii] This popular, comprehensive, dynamic, and constantly improving free resource is entirely the product of the undirected cooperation of people worldwide. Open systems have the capacity to bring out the very best in people, rewarding collaboration and community oriented thinking.

There are several additional principles of starfish organizations that also help explain their success. Being decentralized, intelligence is spread throughout the system, often coming from the edges, closer to where the action is.[ix] Open systems can easily mutate to accommodate a changing environment.[x] Starfish have a tendency to sneak up on you.[xi] As starfish invade industries, industries become more decentralized, and overall revenue decreases.[xii] The record labels never saw Napster coming, and their profits have yet to recover from their lack of vision.

Some photos taken during midsummer blot / my birthday . As a Swedish Heathen i dont feel at all governed by any body of other Heathens.

The paradox of grand lodges is that taken together, they are the starfish that make up Freemasonry, but each individually is a monstrous spider within its own jurisdiction. Freemasonry is the ultimate starfish example. It is comprised of hundreds of grand lodges, so many that the exact number is unknown. There are traditional grand lodges, Prince Hall Affiliated grand lodges, co-masonic grand lodges, International grand lodges, grand orients, and probably dozens more. The self-proclaimed mainstream grand lodges do not recognize many of the other grand bodies, but this matters little to the amorphous body of Freemasonry. Kill any single grand lodge, another grows in its place, and the body of Freemasonry goes on with little notice.

But individually, grand lodges are classic spider organizations: highly centralized, rigid, and oft-times coercive. Grand Masters rule a rigid hierarchical structure with absolute authority. Grand lodges attempt to control communication among lodges (prohibiting the circularization of the lodges concerning any legislation pending before the Grand Lodge[xiii]) even among members (dissenting opinions are censored on heavily moderated online official forums). But take away the Grand Master and his officers, and the grand lodge dies. But not Freemasonry.

W6. Founded 1851 in my hometown, Gothenburg. Has lodges all over Sweden but not outside. Like so many fraternal (Masonic and other) organisations, most Orders in Sweden has a central Grand Lodge, Mother Lodge or similar. Many, though, seem to face similar problems as Masonry. An Order might be thriving compared to another Order, but not compared to any soccer / football supporter club, model airplane society or even motorcycle gang.

Grand lodges need not be spiders, however. They could devolve power back to their constituent lodges and assume a more supportive role. They could become more democratic, flatten the hierarchy, and become less rule-bound. They could evolve back into the starfish that they once were. In fact, our survival depends on it! Grand lodges are themselves an innovation to the body of Freemasonry. With the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge of England on June 24, in 1717, a new masonic institution was created. Originally created to restore the tradition of an annual feast, this body quickly expanded in scope, which in turn led to the explosive growth in masonic lodges over the next two centuries.[xiv]

One way to recapture the explosive growth of our past would be for grand lodges to decentralize their organizational structures. Imagine an organizational structure that turns the pyramid upside-down, where individual lodges are primary, having broad discretion to govern their internal affairs. The rights and immunities of lodges and their members would be expansive, whereas the power of any grand officer would be strictly limited (and maybe even nonexistent). Each lodge could choose the ritual that best suited them; determine the manner in which their candidates would progress; in which degree to conduct business; what lodges offices will be elective and how to elect their officers; and, whether alcohol could be served on lodge property. The primary function of the central organizing body would be simply to function as a mutual support association to serve a vast and growing network of independent lodges and provide the means for interconnectivity among them.

Any masonic body professing allegiance to the fundamental core ideology of Freemasonry should be welcomed. Independent lodges, mainstream lodges, Prince Hall affiliated lodges, in short, any lodge that practices Freemasonry. Active cooperation with other grand bodies outside of the U.S. mainstream, like the George Washington Union, Le Droit Humain, and other women-only and co-masonic lodges should also be encouraged. Isn’t it about time to once and for all do away with artificial racial, gender, religious, and political distinctions among people, especially among Freemasons?

I do not suggest that lodges change their individual character (e.g. all-male or all-female), only that we update the antiquated recognition apparatus too used to declare groups of good men (or women) as irregular. Men-only, women-only, and co-masonic lodges could all exist side-by-side, meeting separately behind tiled doors, but always working together outside the lodge room to promote Freemasonry and benefit humanity. Likewise, lodges predominantly comprised of a single ethnic group would undoubtedly continue to exist, but they could, within this new decentralized context, also recognize and cooperate with one another as well, beginning at long last the hard work of chipping away at the cultural barriers that kept them separated for over two centuries.

Although it is also a spider organization, the Scottish Rite (here I must qualify that my comments apply only to the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, as I am unfamiliar with the Southern), of all masonic groups, is perhaps the best situated to face the challenges in the 21st Century. As an institution, it is the largest and wealthiest masonic body in the U.S.A. Of all masonic bodies, its leaders seem most acutely aware of the need to modernize its organization. Its leaders not only preach change but are actually putting into practice that change that they preach. Almost everyone in the NMJ is by now familiar with the new I.C.E. concept which instructs that our Scottish Rite programs be Inspirational, Convenient, and Enjoyable.

But the brutal truth is that Scottish Rite is a stone giant with feet of clay. It is still strong, but it stands on the state grand lodge system upon which it is wholly dependent for its prospective members and therefore for its future. What the Scottish Rite needs to survive is a growing pool of Master Masons. Unless the Scottish Rite plans to start making new Masons on its own, its prospect for growth is not very promising. Where will the Scottish Rite find its candidates? New lodges could help address the membership gap.

But whether the Scottish Rite starts making its own Master Masons or finding them in new places, either road would lead to the same end: a growing body of Masons independent of mainstream grand lodges. If all concerned were willing to meet on the level, new systems could work in concert with the present grand lodge system. Nothing says that the systems must be mutually exclusive. In fact, a rational approach would be to encourage all alternatives and to let them compete with one another, and through the competitive process improve Freemasonry overall. Clearly the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite would be the primary beneficiary of this competition, and in fact, its survival may depend on it.

In conclusion, the great Temple of Solomon is the perfect symbol for Freemasonry. Like it, our Temple has been laid waste by the ruthless hand of ignorance, the devastations of war, and the unsparing ravages of barbarous force. But, the destruction of Solomon’s Temple did not destroy the Jewish people or their culture; they and their culture thrive in spite of the loss. Their ultimate triumph serves as an example for the potential to build a growing network of new masonic lodges, all working to call the very best people together to labor for the betterment of all humanity. A Freemasonry for the 21st Century!

Endnotes

Freemasonry for the 21st Century

[i] Brafman, Ori and Rod A. Beckstrom. The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations. New York: Penguin Group, 2006.

[ii] To classify an organization as a spider or a starfish, Brafman and Beckstrom ask the following ten questions: 1. Is there a person in charge? 2. Are there headquarters? 3. If you thump it on the head, will it die? 4. Is there a clear division of roles? 5. If you take out a unit, is the organization harmed? 6. Are knowledge and power concentrated or distributed? 7. Is the organization flexible or rigid? 8. Can you count the employees or participants? 9. Are working groups funded by the organization or are they self-funded? 10. Do working groups communicate directly or through intermediaries? Brafman, 46-53.

[iii] Brafman, 36

[iv] Brafman, 35.

[v] Brafman, 21.

[vi] Napster II, Kazaa, K+, Grokster, eDonkey, and ultimately eMule

[vii] Brafman, 74.

[viii] See generally,

[ix] Brafman, 39-40.

[x] Brafman, 40.

[xi] Brafman, 41.

[xii] Brafman, 45.

[xiii] §34.02(h)(3) Ohio Masonic Code.

[xiv] Hamill, 47

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My other blogs and Twitter:

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Hermeticism, Theurgy, Thelema, Freemasonry, Heathenry, Golden Dawn, OTO, Ceremonial Magick, Kabbala, Enochian, Yoga, Paganism, Rosicrucianism, Esoterica, Alchemy, Voudoun, Santeria and more

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Vintage, 1920´s, Flappers, Charleston, Jazz, Gangsters, Prohibition, Movies, Music, Fashion, Hairstyles, Make Up, Attitudes and more

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Personal blog.

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Yup, i´m whoring myself out!

 

History of Odd Fellow


 

 

 

 

Thomas WildeyOdd Fellows History

 

 
Origins and Nature of the Institution

The Order of Odd Fellows is a benevolent and social society, sometimes classified as a friendly benefit society having initiatory rites and ceremonies, gradation or degrees in membership, and mystic signs of recognition and communication.

While Odd Fellowship is not a religious institution, many of its principles, tenets, practices, and objectives are based upon the teachings of the Holy Bible. Many of the rites and ceremonies, of ritual and lectures, the secret passwords, signs, and counter-signs, have a Biblical origin or significance.

Any friendly and benevolent society is a mutual association of individuals which has as its chief purpose the welfare of its members. One of its primary aims is to provide its members with aid when suffering for the needs of life because of illness, unemployment, or other misfortunes. The relief or sustenance of members, of their families and close relatives, of their widows and orphans in case of death, appears to have been the chief purpose of the organization of Odd Fellowship in its beginning. These aims and purposes have been consistently and faithfully maintained throughout the history of the Order.


By 1796 Odd Fellow organizations were numerous in England, and each was independent from the others. Fraternal groups such as the Odd Fellows were suppressed in England for a time, but by 1803 the Odd Fellows were revived by an organization called “London Union Odd Fellows,” which later became known as the “Grand Lodge of England” and assumed authority over all Odd Fellow lodges in that country.

Victory Lodge in Manchester declared itself independent of the Grand Lodge of England in 1809. In 1814, the six Odd Fellows lodges in the Manchester area met and formed The Manchester Unity of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which elected officers and proceeded to standardize degree work of the lodges.


Why the Name Odd Fellows?

There are several different reasons given for our strange name. One old and apparently authoritative history of Odd Fellowship gives the explanation, “That common laboring men should associate themselves together and form a fraternity for social unity and fellowship and for mutual help was such a marked violation of the trends of the times (England in the 1700’s) that they became known as ‘peculiar’ or ‘odd,’ and hence they were derided as ‘Odd Fellows.’ Because of the appropriateness of the name, those engaged in forming these unions accepted it. When legally incorporated the title ‘Odd Fellows’ was adopted.”

Another, similar explanation is that the original Odd Fellows were men who were engaged in various or odd trades, as there were organizations for some of the larger trades.

Modern references state that the true reason for the name Odd Fellows isn’t known or documented. Whatever the reason may have been, the unusual name has been the object of public curiosity (and on occasion derision or mirth) for well over 200 years.

Odd Fellowship In North America

Among the first records of the Order in America is that of five Brothers of the English Order who met in New York City in 1806 and formed Shakespeare Lodge No. 1.

The founders were three boat builders, a comedian, and a vocalist – a group befitting the name “Odd Fellows,” indeed. The lodge was self-instituted, a common practice in those times. Their first candidate was a retired actor who was the keeper of the tavern where they met. Accounts state that lodge meetings were accompanied by merry making and mirth and that the wares of the tavern were freely indulged in. This lodge was dissolved in 1813 due to poor attendance brought on by controversy over the War of 1812.

Another lodge of which little is known existed briefly in New York in 1816. In 1818, Shakespeare Lodge in New York was re-instituted in the Red Cow tavern, operated by a former member who had in his keeping the books and papers of the former lodge. They claimed to have received a charter from the Manchester Unity which gave them authority over all other Odd Fellows Lodges in the United States, but this authority was not accepted by other lodges. Several more lodges were founded in the New York City area and one in Philadelphia, due to the efforts of the Brothers of Shakespeare Lodge.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows as we know it today began in Baltimore, Maryland, where five members of the Order from England founded Washington Lodge No. 1 on April 26,1819, by self-institution. One of these Brothers was Thomas Wildey, the first Noble Grand and the man revered as the founder of Odd Fellowship in North America. A charter was received from Duke of York Lodge in Preston, England, in 1820, a year and a half after its self-institution.

A second lodge was formed in Baltimore in 1819, but these two lodges and those in New York were unaware of each others’ existence for some time, communications being slow in those days, and there being no reason such information would travel from one city to another except by pure chance.

In 1821, the “Grand Lodge of Maryland and of the United States of America, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows,” was founded. Brother Wildey also served as the first Grand Master/Grand Sire of the first Grand Lodge, for a period of 12 years. Several more lodges were established, and in 1824, the “Grand Lodge of the United States” now termed “The Sovereign Grand Lodge,” was separated from the Grand Lodge of Maryland. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows in North America (United States and Canada) became independent from the Order in England in 1834.

Members of Lodge #64 Sven Ericsson, Sweden

Source: http://www.iooftn.org/history.htm

 

Swedish Rite Freemasonry


The Swedish Rite is a variation of Freemasonry that is worked in SwedenNorwayDenmarkFinland and Iceland. A slight variation is common in parts of Germany under the Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland. Also other craft masonic bodies are working in the nordic countries (see further under freemasonry in Sweden and freemasonry in Denmark). However only one Grand Lodge in each country is working the Swedish Rite, each of which governs its own jurisdiction.

The Rite is divided into three divisions: St. John’s (Craft) degrees (I–III), St. Andrew’s (Scottish) degrees (IV–VI) and the Chapter degrees (VII–X). In addition one may attain the XIth degree, although only a very few gain this. Progression from one degree to the next is not automatic. A brother not only has to be in regular attendance, but also has to show that he has a certain proficiency and knowledge of Freemasonry. The Swedish Rite demands members be Christian and not just that they believe in a supreme being. Like other regular Masonic organisations, only men are allowed membership.

Since 7 November 2006 all laws of the Swedish Order of Freemasons are publicly available on the Internet.Among others, the laws prohibit any member to gain advantages outside the lodge by using the lodge as an instrument. The laws also stress the charity works of the members and the observance of the Golden Rule.

Charles XII of Sweden

Degrees

  • St. John’s degrees
    • I Apprentice
    • II Fellow Craft
    • III Master Mason
  • St. Andrew’s degrees
    • IV/V Apprentice and Companion of St. Andrew (one degree)
    • VI Master of St. Andrew
  • Chapter degrees
    • VII Very Illustrious Brother, Knight of the East
    • VIII Most Illustrious Brother, Knight of the West
    • IX Enlightened Brother of St. John’s Lodge
    • X Very Enlightened Brother of St. Andrew’s Lodge
  • Grand Council honorary degree
    • XI Most Enlightened Brother, Knight Commander of the Red Cross

Grand Lodges using the rite

The Swedish Rite is used by:

An earlier version of the rite, the Zinnendorf Rite, is used by:

  • Große Landesloge der Freimaurer von Deutschland