The Hedge Mason blog is the creation of E C Ballard, a Folklorist, and Ethnographer specializing in Afro-Caribbean traditions of Central African origin, Fraternalism, Celtic Studies and Ethnomusicology, having received his Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.
Eoghan has been variously musical instrument maker, bookseller, college professor, academic dean, and independent researcher.
Eoghan is Tata Nganga, a Vodousaint, and is a Master Mason, Orator for Lodge Intrepid, and GM of GLMRNAC, affiliated with UMURM.
Blog Link: http://hedgemason.blogspot.com/2021/
Why ‘Hedge’ Mason?
THE HEDGE MASON EXPLAINS:
A word or two by way of explanation may be worth offering concerning the title of this blog.
Hedge Mason, like similar terms Hedge Master, Hedge Lodge, and the more widely recognized Hedge School, are terms from Hiberno-English.
The latter of these terms, as many Irish will know, refers to illicit schools dedicated to the maintenance of Irish culture and language, alongside the classics of European Philosophy, including Greek and Latin studies.
These institutions were founded throughout rural Ireland during the Penal era when Irish Gaelic culture was under attack by the English occupier.
During this time also, the term Hedge was added to masonic terms to refer to any masonic individual or institution not approved of by the Anglophone world.
These often were lodges and masons working to advance the cause of Irish independence. It seems a very appropriate term then, for me to use to name this blog.
For quite a while I have observed various blogs and podcasts relating to Freemasonry, finding both much worth emulating and a few things worth avoiding among them.
Fairly quickly it became apparent to me that there was little being published in North America (or elsewhere for that matter) that dealt fairly and offering a positive perspective on Liberal Freemasonry or the world beyond the confines of the Preston-Webb Rites or the AASR Northern or Southern Jurisdictions and especially with the Modern Rite with which we are associated.
Such sites exist beyond the Anglophone Internet, but The Hedge Mason will endeavor to bring some of that information within the grasp of an English speaking audience.
It seems to me that it is time for a change, and this blog will hopefully serve as a small corrective step in that direction.
The goal of this blog will be to provide interesting topics from time to time on subjects relating to Liberal Freemasonry and on responsible alternatives to what is exemplified by the mainstream Grand Lodge system in North America.
While this site will not avoid covering contemporary issues, it will try to avoid heavy handed critiques of any system or tradition within Freemasonry.
It is my belief that there is no such thing as clandestine or irregular freemasonry.
Such labels belittle the rich tapestry of our traditions both contemporary and historical.
Further, such attitudes directly contradict the premise of brotherhood and fraternalism which is the foundation of Freemasonry.
In short, this site is about education and expanding the horizons of Freemasons of all stripes and those who are just interested in the subject.
It is not a place intended for debate or dispute, although if it engenders some that might be a good thing.
Just in case some object to certain posts being off topic, please note the subtitle of this blog includes the phrase, ‘and other stuff’.
That of course is because it’s my blog and occasionally I want to ramble.
The Hedge Mason – a recent guest blog by Kelly Ranasinghe, introduced by E C Ballard
As someone who participates in many Masonic groups online and on Facebook, I have on occasion asked myself why.
The answer is that on occasion one meets an outstanding Brother whose insight renews both optimism and enthusiasm.
One such Brother is Kelly Ranasinghe, of El Centro, California. He wrote a post that deserves to be shared and taken to heart.
In fact, although specific to Freemasonry, the advice he offers is applicable to all areas of human interaction.
Thank you, Brother Ranasinghe.
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Kelly Ranasinghe, a Mason from California and past master of Imperial Valley Lodge 390. He currently serves as the Senior Warden of that Lodge. He was raised in San Diego Lodge 35 in 2010.
“Hey brothers, we need to talk about some racism and microaggressions against Masons of color and Masons who are not from western countries.
We are all brothers here, but we may want to keep in mind:
1) Ritual is NOT the same everywhere and neither are obligations, degrees, ceremonies, and literally every other aspect of Masonry.
Your Masonic experience is not indicative of everyone’s experience, and the American Masonic experience is not universal.
For example here in the Southwest, we sometimes do our rituals outside.
Just across the border, our sister lodge in Mexicali has entirely different ritual more akin to a Commandery or appendant order.
A few miles down the road in Yuma, people wear their aprons differently.
All that happens within a few miles of us, so imagine what it is like when the distance is far greater.
2) English is not the lingua franca (pun intended) of Masonry or the world.
In fact, it’s tied with Mandarin for the most populous language with Hindi and Spanish coming in second.
Remember that Brothers may be using English as a second language and be respectful.
The way you speak and communicate in your jurisdiction may be socially and culturally different from other jurisdictions.
3) Telling people to “remember their obligation” when the basis of their offense is entirely subjective is called “gatekeeping” but not in the Masonic sense.
Gatekeeping is bad. It is when you limit who can and cannot be part of a community or identity based on subjective and arbitrary rules, which often are racist, sexist, elitist, ableist, colorist or other similarly bad subjective judgment calls.
Gatekeeping exists in every community, but should not exist in Masonry among people who are Masons.
Said another way, it’s a way of saying “you don’t belong here.”
4) Finally, remember that the way you act cordially and friendly is ENTIRELY different based on where you are, your age, your region, your job, and a hundred other dimensions of your identity and subcultures.
A Mason in Virginia or Massachusetts is going to speak and communicate differently than me, who lives in the rural border community of South-eastern California.
That’s the beauty of Masonry, we pull together people who are from entirely different areas for common purposes.
So please, remember we are all walking a very long road to the East, and we ALL can use help to carry the load.
Peace brothers. “
READ MORE FROM THE HEDGE MASON HERE…
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