The day is fast approaching. So my last entry before Initiation will be to describe what made me take the final step. As described elsewhere I had amassed some curiosity over the years. I finally got to a point where I felt that I had to decide once and for all whether this was something for me. The positive outcome was decided by several factors:
Talking to people
One of the main motivating factors was the direct contact with other people and their opinions and experiences. I have already mentioned the friend at the New Year Eve’s dinner, the rewarding first meeting with my Proposer, and an impromptu pub-meeting with a freemason in London. But my wife’s interest has also been important, and it is exciting to see her move forward with finding a lodge herself. But the final turning point probably came when I asked my father about how he felt about it. He had told me that he had withdrawn from the Order, and I probably had the impression that he carried a somewhat negative feeling about it. But we had a really good talk where he explained that it had been a decision based on prioritizing his family, and he wished me the best of luck. The fact that he approved of it made it more real than anything I had heard or read. And I am glad that I will soon be able to share the experience with him. Generally speaking, the reactions from my surroundings have been curiosity and honest interest.
Seeking information in advance
The Internet have made a wealth of sources available for research. A lot of it is crap, but there are also serious collections of sources, and wise people willing to answer questions. For me, asking and seeking has always been the right thing to do – some will insist that you should know nothing in advance, but I think this is different for each of us. I have set limits for myself, though: I have deliberately not looked at rituals, and I have closed otherwise interesting books when I felt they became too revealing. Another factor here are the different online fora, where a wealth of information is filtered through people whom you start to relate to on some level, although you’ll never meet them. I have also in previous bursts of interest sought information, but was maybe tempted to follow the more sensational links, whereas this time I have approached things more critically – it didn’t make it any less interesting.
Being able to see a purpose
First and foremost there is an expectation that I will benefit from joining the Order that goes far beyond satisfying any immediate curiosity. In my application I wrote, among other things:
I truly believe in the ability of the ritual to reach us on several levels – through aesthetic, symbolic and solemn means. That it can serve as a tool to develop us as individuals, exercise our ability to seek out meaning beyond what is apparent to the eye and create room for reflection. So, to me the ceremony is an important part of the attraction of freemasonry. Also, there is a wish to delve into the rich subject-matter that is part of it: the mythical, Christian, esoteric, historical etc. – something that I hope to learn more about. And I hope that the pride of one’s craft that I have felt in many masons will also touch me, and that I can express sincere enthusiasm about the noble purpose of the Order.”
Choosing a lodge
Being in contact with different people as well as my own research meant that I had a choice of lodges, and I ended up in the Danish Order of Freemasons, lodge Hafnia. The main reasons:
- it was my father’s order;
- it is Denmark’s largest and oldest Order, and history and tradition is important here;
- it is recognised by UGLE which means incredible opportunity to visit lodges around the world;
- Freemasons Hall in Copenhagen offers an impressive backdrop for the ceremonies;
- I had a positive first meeting with a representative from Hafnia, which I visited by chance;
- it has a very well spoken off system that is well thought out, progressive and includes a set of higher degrees;
- the Christian angle.
So that’s where it stands today. It has been almost eight months since I made my decision, but I expect it will be worth the wait.
[Date of original post: October 31, 2005]