Friday, August 11, 2006

Welcome to the Empty Labyrinth

I'm kicking off this new blog for ruminations on the future of Eastern Star, Freemasonry, and related organizations.

Candidates for membership in OES walk a labyrinth as part of their initiation ceremony, but our pathways lie empty most of the time. Literally, in that our buildings are disused. Literally, in that we initiate so few new members. Literally, in that our new members so rarely become active. Literally, in that attendance and participation are declining. And figuratively, in that we've given up on so many of the ideals we purport to teach there.

I'll be writing occasionally on the things I think we get wrong, the things we do right, and new ideas I think we might try.

If you have a Blogger account and are interested in becoming a contributor to this blog, post a comment to let me know.


Jeff said...

I see OES in my city as a slightly annoying group of old ladies and their Masons who constantly beg Masons and their ladies to fill out a petition and join, using promises of formalwear and pomp and procession as a carrot to get people to join.

My wife is 21 years old. She isn't interested in dressing up like Grandma. She actually craves some sort of esoteric knowledge, an initiatic school of some type, not formalwear. They are actually scaring away the demographic that would best fit such a Masonically affiliated society.

The constant begging to petition, often involving statements like "We really need more Brethren, because we can barely open meetings" tells me that it is a nearly dead organization that would not be very exciting to belong to anyway, and the sheer number of OES chapters, seeming to outnumber the Lodges in the area, tells me that they need to give up some ego and cut back and merge, so that they have one or two strong chapters.

These problems are likely much localized, and of course may not be present everywhere or even anywhere else, but I suspect they might be.

My wife is a bit intellectually and historically interested in the Order of True Kindred, which unfortunately does not exist in our state.

I'm sorry I don't have direct experience in OES, or any particular ideas on how to salvage the situation, but maybe our objections can help you to figure it out?

Masonic Traveler said...

Great Blog. I'm going to have to keep it in my watch list!

Chris Hodapp said...

This may very well be the first place I've seen the issues of the OES and its future out in public. I was wondering if there were any voices out there actively seeking ways to steer the OES away from the path to oblivion. Freemasonry has been grappling with these issues for well over a decade, and there seem to be some excited men headed for its leadership. For the sake of the OES, I hope the same is happening for you.

Perhaps you will help lead the charge.