Devotion News No 63, Oct - Nov 2011. To an Outgoing Master

Letter from Hiram Abiff

Dear W Bro Damien

The heretic in me cannot but congratulate you on your title. I am sure it will not make you a better man, but it is nice to have. I understand you also have a new metal trinket for your chest. Although, as you are no doubt aware, I am fond of metal, it is not formed from my favourite composite, being brass. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc – quite wondrous in my day. I can admit it now, I really wanted to make my masterpieces out of gold, but alas, despite our wealth, the cost of wages in exploration and extraction precluded my ambitions – our mines were exhausted. A committee before my timely arrival to Solomon’s Court considered pyrite, which many of you call fool’s gold, for it is the most common of the slufide minerals. The name pyrite is derived from the Greek πυρίτης (puritēs), "of fire" or "in fire", from πύρ (pur), "fire". Being an innovator I was keen to use something original. I was interested when pyrite enjoyed brief popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries as a source of ignition in early firearms, where the cock held a lump of pyrite against a circular file to strike the sparks needed to fire. Nonetheless brass was best, its muted yellow colour is someone similar to gold and less taxing upon the treasury. It is also resistant to tarnishing and if the project failed, I had planned to recast it as mirrors. Even we were into sensible recycling you know. You would think the idea is new the way people down there harp upon it now.

I have kept loose tabs on you and must conclude you have successfully led your lodge. Unlike mine, whose members assassinated me. I observe that still happens, but generally restricted to assassinations of character. With your lenient ways of dealing with criminals you would think murder would be more popular - but I see it was used to deal with a Libyan problem of late. We lost the word, and I observe from my celestial mansion the assassinations of your time and place seem to deal with the death of harmony, friendship and warrants. I am pleased for you that such distresses have not touched your lodge. Keep vigilant. You must be pleased to have had the time to arrange such a talented successor – alas I did not have the time nor create the opportunity.

You are to be congratulated for leading and growing your lodge with wise discrimination and progressive steps. We still recommend you only take one at a time.

We have concluded your success lies in you, and those who preceded and followed you, and your members. Their capacity for leadership and organization tempered by wisdom, strength and beauty (of course), but also, and I forcibly direct your attention to these, their capacity for communication, compassion and sensitivity.

Freemasonry demands men to act as men of honour, of truth, and of virtue, avoid pettiness, be patient, strong and open and relaxed. We were pleased on the addition of the word ”gentleman” which we managed to successfully lobby for inclusion in your modern rituals post 1717. Not all lobbyists and pamphleteers are evil you know.

Please do encourage compassion and sensitivity for those around you while most strongly discouraging sensitivity to those who might inhabit your earthly bliss. I find your absence of an Almoner quite strange – how ever do you get on?

Sorry it has taken me so long to write, we have been trying taxes on the fires on the plains of Jordon. 

Sources tell me you have a plan to move the two pillars in your temple from the ground floor to upstairs – an idea of excellence. They once stood there you know, but you are too young to have seen them.  Please ensure a canopy is used with the same for completeness. And if you ever rebuild your stairs, please ensure they are winding.

With fraternal regards

Hiram Abiff

Heavenly Mansions