Depression In The Craft

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Adam Thayer

Recently, I made a post on Facebook about how depression and comedy go hand in hand. The feedback I got was surprising; a lot of Masons wrote me in private, saying they too were depressed, and it made me think: am I depressed? Is Freemasonry filled with depressed people?

Depression seems to be more prevalent among certain mind sets: the artists, the aesthetes, those who are creative and appreciate beauty. Those who, in a search for truth and beauty, may find themselves naturally drawn to a society that teaches the importance of both.
I’ve often joked in the past that after finishing a big art project (like writing five papers in a month), I experience the artistic version of postpartum depression; I feel drained and empty, overwhelmed at the thought of ever writing another word, and completely disconnected from the world around me. Of course, it is nothing like real postpartum (which involves hormones and other complicated things), but it’s a pretty appropriate metaphor for my experience.

Science has long shown a solid link between creativity and mental disorder, and I know that personally when I’m at my most creative I’m also a complete wreck. As Lord Byron once said, “We of the craft are all crazy. Some are affected by gaiety, others by melancholy, but all are more or less touched.”

Freemasonry is the perfect home for the artist, who can create and share with his brothers in a place where criticism is, generally, positive and useful. The written word is especially powerful, as we value the exchange of knowledge so highly, however our craft has also enjoyed the talents of many successful painters, sculptors, musicians, actors, and those skilled in stagecraft, all of whom find that they may continue to refine their work within our metaphorical walls, and in return hide allegorical messages in their product for us to discover and enjoy.

As for me, I’m just trying to recover from the mad rush of papers in March and April, and force my fingers back onto the keyboard. I’m sorry I haven’t been as active in writing as I had been in the past, and I hope that I’m on the uphill climb of this roller coaster again!


WB. Bro. Adam Thayer is the Senior Warden of Lancaster Lodge No. 54 in Lincoln (NE) and a past master of Oliver Lodge No. 38 in Seward (NE). He’s an active member in the Knights of Saint Andrew, and on occasion remembers to visit the Scottish and York Rites as well. He continues to be reappointed to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Education Committee, and serves with fervency and zeal. He is a sub-host on The Whence Came You podcast, and may be reached at He will not help you get your whites whiter or your brights brighter, but he does enjoy conversing with brothers from around the world!


  1. It is rather sad that Freemasons are so disconnected from the ancient meaning of their ritual. In the First Degree, our Chaplain recites a prayer from the Bible, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down the beard, even Aaron's (long) beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments." In the Second Degree we are told Masons receive as their wages the "oil of joy."

    These both refer to the same thing. The precious ointment, or oil of joy, are cold pressed olive oil or sesame oil. These oils were poured over the heads of older people suffering from depression, which immediately lifts the dark burden from their mind. You need to actually try this to see how dramatic an effect the oil of joy has in bringing joy to the mind and erasing depression. It is no wonder the oil of joy was considered precious, and coveted as payment for hard work.

    I use an improved recipe for this oil, which consists of 4 parts cold pressed sesame oil, 1 part vitamin E oil, and 1 part neem oil. This oil has remarkable healing properties for joint pain, nearly all skin ailments including burns, rashes, and poison ivy, and for clearing the skin of various types of blemishes through regular use.

  2. Through great suffering comes great creativity; you cannot spell painting without pain

  3. Through great suffering comes great creativity; you cannot spell painting without pain


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