Travel preparations

Masonic passportIn order to visit lodges abroad a few prerequisites must be met. The exact rules may vary between different grand lodges (the governing body on a national (or federal) level), but this is what is required of me:

Masonic Passport: A nice little booklet, with an official embossed emblem, a picture and extra pages for travel stamps. One must hold the Third degree to obtain the passport. I look forward to having it plastered with foreign lodge stamps.

Third degree: Symbolically attaining the rights of a free man, one must be a Master Mason of good standing.

Letter of good standing: This is basically a letter saying that I have paid my dues and been a good boy. (Could prove useful in many aspects of life …)

Regularity: Not every lodge recognise the legitimacy of others. For instance the Danish Order of Freemasons (DDFO) does not recognise the regularity of Le Droit Humain, and therefore I cannot visit their lodges. The majority of the world’s grand lodges count their regularity through The Grand Lodge of England, and so does DDFO, so I have a huge number of lodges to choose from.

Communication: There is also a bit of bureaucracy involved. The grand lodge needs to check up on the regularity, and sometime the Secretaries are required to communicate, sometimes on a lodge level, at other times through grand lodge. Travelling alone makes it a little less formal: as long as the lodges are regular, I can knock on my own accord and “be tried”, that is have them examine my papers and Masonic knowledge to confirm that I am indeed a Freemason.

Regalia: The most important trapping worn in lodge is the apron, a white (lamb-)skin worn around the waist. Some lodges will let you borrow these, but it’s better to bring one’s own, particularly if you are part of special rite such as the one practised by DDFO (namely Swedish Rite).

Once it becomes for real I am certain the details will matter less: such minutiae always seem trivial once real people actually get together and shake hands. But tradition must be observed, and the West Gate stay guarded – this is also important.

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