A Middesex Mason In Texas


More news from W. Bro Nick Grossman on his sojourn in Texas. This is his report.

“I’m not sure where the time has gone but I’ve now been living in Austin, Texas for four years. That’s four years of being increasingly immersed in a style of freemasonry that is both familiar (well, most of the time) and startingly different at the same time. As I’ve reported before, whilst the offices here are largely the same (there are some additional ones) the ritual is very different in as much as there’s not very much of telling/explaining the story to the candidate but much more theatre and acting out the degrees in great detail with extended casts of players and props. Who’d have thought that there was a market for artificial Acacia sprigs?

I’ve now progressed from my positions as Junior and Senior Steward (where I had to plan, shop and prepare a two-course meal for 30+ people each week when we met. I am now Senior Deacon and getting ever closer to the East. My prospective year in the East in 2026-27 marks the 150th anniversary of the Lodge so no pressure at all exists around planning the celebrations etc.

Despite visiting my Middlesex and Berkshire Lodges, when I’ve been able to, I’m doing a great job of trying to erase all that ritual that’s deeply engraved in my subconscious and learn the Texas ritual instead. There’s still some way to go here, to say the least.

I went to the annual communications at the Grand Lodge of Texas this year which is held in a splendid building in Waco. Several thousand were in attendance for the three-day agenda.

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I’ve been keen for a while to attend Chapter here and see how this differs from my experience at Strawberry Hill Chapter No 946 at Twickenham. This wasn’t quite as straight forward as I’d expected as in Texas, Holy Royal Arch sits amidst a series of York Rite degrees, and one has to progress through the preceeding degrees before being Exalted.  So, over a series of several months I’ve been taken through the degrees of:

Mark Mason – an enjoyable ceremony at the end of which I now possess my very own ‘mark’ to chisel into my work.


Most Excellent Master – an entertaining ceremony which including a smoke machine and various other special effects.

Royal Arch – including some painful floorwork as I traversed the ruins of the temple in my bare feet as I made my way from Babylon to Jerusalem


And finally Royal & Select Masters. Two ceremonies conducted on the same evening by a team in fetching lavender coloured aprons.


You’ll see from the images that for each degree the team have different colour aprons and matching blazers and ties, though being Texas turning up in anything other than shorts is perfectly allowable so there are lots of jeans etc., being worn. In York Rite the three principal officers wear brimmed hats too.

All that’s left in the York Rite progression now are the three Chivalric degrees of Commandery which involves French naval uniforms and Ostrich feather hats. Is there no help for the Widow’s Son?

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