I went to Grand Lodge intending to obtain a trestleboard to catch a meeting. And I was very fortunate to run into the Assistant Grand Secretary, MM. MM was very knowledgeable in the different rites of the world, including Swedish Rite, so that was a nice surprise. He showed me around in the magnificant building, and also proved to have a very interesting personal story. Good man.
One of the unique features of this hall is that they have five rooms, or temples, each serving a different masonic body or ritual, making the them distinctly different from one another. Here are the halls that I was shown, with pictures from the Grand Master’s Lodge website (but I hope to visit again and maybe be allowed to shoot some pictures myself). (There is also a Mark Masons room that we skipped.)
Prince Masons Chapter Room
Home of Rose Croix. This is a very nice hall, not particularly large. On closer inspection some of the decoration is a little worn, and I was told that this is due to the temple having moving location more than once. A few days later I was in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which has a choir for the knights of Ireland – looked very similar.
Knights Templar Preceptory Room
A wonderfully detailed hall with all the Templar trappings you could wish for, lavishly furnished by Queen Elizabeth’s treasury. Even though I have not yet entered Chapter, having the Wardens in the west, the use of stone, rather than wood and leather, as well as the overall imagery reminded me of home.
Grand Lodge Hall
Although this hall appears quite magnificant in pictures, it is even more forceful in real life. Large, but still retaining an intimicay. Very traditional, with the paintings and dark wood, but the colours making it quite light. I don’t know, just felt very balanced. And there is a portrait of Edward VII wearing Swedish Rite regalia.
Holy Royal Arch Chapter
Last stop, another great little room. MM explained that there is a difference in the underlying myths of Irish and English Royal Arch masonry. Also, as is visible here, the GL of Ireland has “the Veils”, a detail that has gone out of practise in the UK. Next year I will join a lodge of St. Andrew, which is the Swedish Rite equivalence of HRA, and I will be able to see for myself.