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Got the Secret Handshake Down

By UrbanAnthropod, October 20, 2010 10:33 pm

During Open House New York, I made my way down to the Grand Lodge of the Masons in New York. This historical and secretive building is apparently open for touring. During the tour, I learned a bit about the history and ideals of Freemasonry. We were allowed to visit several rooms of different styles within the lodge. Each of the rooms I had access to followed the same basic plan of having a central altar surrounded by 3 torches indicating the ranking masters of the lodge. Towards one exit of each room were two pillars topped with a globe. One represented the earth and the other represented the universe. At one end of each room was an electronic organ and the pipes of the original pipe organs.

A room in the Masonic Lodge

On my way out of the building, I passed by the third floor which housed the lower portion of the large meeting room. The two floor meeting room had tiered seating off to either side of the room with the same basic set-up of the other rooms with the organ on the second floor of the room.

Pipe organ in the large meeting room

While I was familiar with the idea of Freemasonry prior to the visit, seeing the lodge first hand elicited more inquisitive about the organization. According to the members of the fraternity, the only basic attribute of a Mason is the belief in something greater. The idea of a higher being is observed during each meeting by placing a holy text upon the altar.

French inspired room in the Masonic Lodge

The Grand Lodge was an interesting place to see. And while the organization is still a mystery, the visit did demystify some aspects of it. While one can visit the lodge, OHNY really makes for a good excuse to go.

Head of the large meeting room of the Masons Lodge

See the slideshow here.

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