Far Out

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Ken JP Stuczynski

It was the first time he seriously looked at the Charter. Written on what looked like actual paper, it was dated "6169 A.L." The eldest Past Master proudly pointed out it was dated exactly 100 Earth-years after Tranquility Lodge’s first communication of any Lodge, not on Earth. Apparently, it still exists. It was naturally chartered under the Grand Lodge of Texas, thanks to a document brought with Brother "Buzz" Aldrin on Humankind's first landing on its solitary moon. Not altogether coincidental, that was exactly another hundred years previous.

Freemasonry clearly traced back to before any forays into space. Maybe that's why the ritual seemed so odd. It wasn't just the archaic language--difficult to comprehend at times. Both "moon" and "sun" were used in the singular, while he lived his whole life on a world with two of one and three of the other. And why divide the 24-inch gauge into three parts instead of six when there are two full sleep periods between sunsets? His brain caught up with his thoughts and recalled days on Grandmother Earth are roughly half as short. Or... were his twice as long? And what if he lived on the innermost planet of his system, which is tidally locked? There is no sunrise or sunset there at all.

By the time he had been a Mason a full year, or what his world considered a year, he realized nothing in the ritual was arbitrary. The roles of a lonely Sun and lonely Moon filled some special place in Humankind's psyche. He could either resign himself to unrelatability, or let it take him back to an earlier time, one where such things were much more physical realities than vague symbols.

Here was a chance to hold the sort of tools that were used centuries ago, by countless hands over an eon or more. He could recreate their use in his mind as if he were working with actual stones, building a grand edifice by sheer will and skill rather than artificial calculation and the strength of machines. If not for ritual, he would never have contemplated the rawness ⁠⁠– or rather a purity ⁠– of such Geometric knowledge. He couldn't express it in spiritual terms, but it felt like an immortal marrow to the bones of all mortal technological advancements.

Most Lodge meetings were "Personal Observance", meaning that except for Labor to Refreshment and collation, there was no presence at a distance of any kind, be it audio, video, or holographic. It was like the days of yore when people, out of necessity, gathered together face to face or not at all. There was something so... human about it, something he didn't even know he had been missing. And he discovered the custom of the physical handshake was perpetuated or even revived on some worlds simply because it was preserved by Masonic tradition. Taken for granted by the masses, it tied Humanity together across space and time.

There were a lot of other meanings to all this, or so he started to understand. But to experience a tradition so rooted in early human existence took him to a place where he sat among ancient brethren who freely breathed natural air at all times, bare feet touching Terra Firma. The stories and objects in the degree lessons were not so far removed from everyday existence but were visible, accessible in a palpable way.

He couldn't expect them to look forward to a distant future and see all that has happened since. They might have doubted their Craft would survive after building with stone was replaced with other materials and processes. They may have wondered if Humankind would destroy itself, if not suffer a geologic or cosmic disaster before escaping the solitary tenancy bounded by Earth's gravity.

But perhaps they did look up at the firmament and wondered if some descendant among the stars would someday return the gesture with a shared contemplative spirit.

And he wondered how much Masons back on Grandmother Earth take for granted the configurations of their Masonic Work. Surely they must realize its perpetual testament to Humankind's nature and place within creation at his original home. Or perhaps they don't.


Bro. Ken JP Stuczynski
is a member of West Seneca Lodge No.1111 and recently served as Master of Ken-Ton Lodge No.1186. As webmaster for NYMasons.Org, he is on the Communications and Technology Committees for the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. He is also a Royal Arch Mason and 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, serving his second term as Sovereign Prince of Palmoni Council in the Valley of Buffalo, NMJ. He also coordinates a Downtown Square Club monthly lunch in Buffalo, NY. He and his wife served as Patron and Matron of Pond Chapter No.853 Order of the Eastern Star and considered himself a "Masonic Feminist".

As a masonic speaker throughout New York State, he has also given presentations at town hall meetings regarding the use of technology in the Craft. His numerous Empire State Mason articles have been republished in Arizona and New Jersey. To aid in his outreach on these topics, he authored "Webmastering the Craft: Fraternity in a Digital World", available worldwide in softcover and eBook.

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