The first week in February saw Masons who are also members of various York Rite bodies congregate at the Hilton in Alexandria for national meetings, installation ceremonies, dinners, and other fun side degrees. It's generally called "Masonic Week" or "AMD Week" (AMD = Allied Masonic Degrees, of which I'm a member of actually.)
Anyway, the timing of me working here and Masonic Week were more than a coincidence, I believe, because there were several brethren whom I've known in the Masonic online community for years, and finally got to meet in person, as if the GAOTU bought us together in fellowship and Masonic enlightenment.
Also, I was fortunate enough to be invited to an historic dinner at Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town, Alexandria, with some of the brightest minds and authors in North American Masonry of my generation. The dinner conversation focused on how many of our own Masonic lodges have already reinvigorated themselves to be THE place for men to gather in harmony, enlightenment, and progressive knowledge, and how we can offer support for brethren seeking the same in their own jurisdiction.
But I digress... Back at the Hilton... some highlights...
My dear friend, known online as "Fylfot", and I were given tickets to a dinner for the Knight Masons Occidental (I have no idea what Masonic body that is). A couple brethren mentioned they had visited Alberta and the mountains in particular.
Then we went across the hall and participated in the "Elevator Degree" performed by the Pacific Northwest Players (see cheese hat photos in slideshow below). The "degree" was a satire on how some Masonic jurisdictions have experimented with what are known as "one day classes", fast tracking men through all three degrees of Masonry, often right through to membership in Shrine, all in one day. The performance was hilarious and I laughed throughout.
The brethren of the Pacific Northwest Players had hosted a wonderful hospitality suite for the week, and Fylfot and I had spent much time there getting to know the Masons we've only known online, as we had been doing that week ourselves. That was a great highlight and I hope to meet them again one day soon, hopefully in lodge.
I should mention that the first few photos in the slideshow below are me visiting Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The gentleman in the royal blue collar with me is actually one of my favourite Masonic authors, Worshipful Brother W. Kirk MacNalty. Some of his books include:
Freemasonry: Symbols, Secrets & Significance
Freemasonry: A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol
The Way of the Craftsman
and an article published in "Heredom" 2005 called "Freemasonry for Bobos". That evening, he gave a presentation in lodge on the spiritual Masonic journey through the powerful symbolism presented in the degrees. He ended with a statement about what happens when we finally reach the "sanctum sanctorum" of our inner temple that I simply cannot publish.