FURTHERMORE AND THE WORSHIPFUL POOH
Brother Furthermore Raven was in a contemplative mood last night after Lodge. I mention this, my Brothers, only because he doesn't think I can spell that word and I do so love to surprise him.
Anyway, we had been to Junior Wardens' Night at Oriental Lodge #20 in Mesa, Arizona, and it was a wonderful event. Furthermore, as a rule, doesn't think much of Junior Wardens. Whether that is because I am one or not is a point of continuing discussion. So he groused (bird pun) and I had a great time with a dozen or so other Junior Wardens and the terrific hospitality of our host lodge.
But I digress.
On the drive home, Furthermore finally got to the point. "Your lodges need to be more inclusive, welcome Brothers of all persuasions and cultures. It would be much better."
I was surprised and told him so.
"I'm surprised, Brother Furthermore! I thought we pretty much did that now."
"Nope," he responded quickly. "I saw it tonight. Nothing but human beings. You guys were the only species there-except me, of course." He preened briefly.
I was stunned and told him so.
"I'm stunned, my Brother. Seriously, what did you expect? Do you know of any Brothers of other species?!"
Silly question, of course. I should have spotted a setup.
"Of course. And you should have spotted the setup."
I'm getting slow. And old.
A lengthy and surreal discussion followed, as you probably suspected. For your benefit, I'm condensing. I know. You're welcome.
Furthermore holds to the belief that many species have their own form of Freemasonry, some very much like our own, except they tend to enforce the penalties of the obligations. Which isn't all that bad an idea, now that I think about it. Furthermore seemed to think there were significant differences, however, in the ritual among cats, but, then he would think that, you know? He has little love for cats.
After a time, he began citing great and famous animal Masons. Remember the Dick and Jane stories from our youth? And their dog? Our Most Worshipful Brother Spot? And Worshipful Brother Flipper The Dolphin, 32°? (I've heard that he is a holder of the Grand Dorsal Cross!)
The most amazing part of the list, however, was the bears. Bears, apparently, hold the Craft in high honor. And their memory work is almost as good as the elephants. Consider Worshipful Brother Teddy, Most Worshipful Brother Smokey and, of course, Worshipful Brother Pooh.
I stopped Furthermore at this point. Pooh?! Winnie the Pooh! That Pooh?
Yup. And he proceeded to point out the more esoteric parts of the Pooh stories that I had missed when reading them to my small children years ago.
You'd better sit down for this.
Let's begin with the obvious. Pooh is much smarter than he looks. Of course, this is true about many of us. You will recall that in the first paragraph of the book, Pooh is being dragged down a flight of stairs. In the last paragraph of the same book, Pooh is being carried up the same flight of stairs. Without getting into the ritual significance of the stairs, themselves, it is clear that Pooh is a traveling bear, from Up to Down and Down to Up again. He later confirms this, himself, when talking to Rabbit. "I must move about more. I must come and go." To further signify a change has occurred, in the opening paragraph, at the top of the stairs, he is introduced as Edward Bear. It isn't until he reaches the bottom that we learn he is now Winnie The Pooh, clearly, I believe, the initiatory difference between "Mister" and "Brother."
In Chapter Three, we find Brother Pooh laboring in a quarry as he seeks the lost Woozle. The esoteric meaning is, of course, clear to a Master Mason. In the same semi-sacred source, we also discover Pooh leading his friend Piglet through the quarry in clockwise circles. Here, of course, is Brother Pooh at work as the elder Deacon as he guides Piglet in what appears to be Third Degree ceremonies. At one point, Pooh explains to Piglet that they may face hostile animals on this rough and rugged road.
Pooh as Senior Deacon appears elsewhere. In the chapter dealing with Heffalumps, Piglet is struggling to knock on the door of Pooh's home. He is unable to reach the knocker. Worshipful Brother Pooh, instead, knocks for Piglet, thus gaining admission. Incidentally, I confess to assuming his election to the Oriental Chair. I find it highly possible, because in Chapter Nine, we learn that "Pooh went out to discover the East Pole by himself." Clearly, the Master's job is a lonely one.
I was completely convinced by the next bit of evidence. A central part of the story of Pooh and Piglet is the building of a house. In the Hundred Acre Wood, there is no mention of any architectural structure save the House they build at Pooh Corner. It was a simple house of wood, and no sound of metal was heard during its building. And it was built at a corner, an angle of 90 degrees or a square. And it was built in the shape of a triangle, the inverted compasses. The illustration of this confirms the description. The Square and Compasses. How much clearer can it be? As for his own dwelling, Pooh describes it in one chapter as "a beehive."
One final piece of evidence: In Chapter Nine, a partial list of Pooh's titles is given. His is an F.O.P. (Friend of Piglet), R.C. (Rabbit's Companion); and an E.C. and T.E. (Eeyore's Comforter and Tail-finder). So, in part, we have Worshipful Brother Pooh, F.O.P., R.C., E.C. and T.E.
Now, I ask you. Is that Masonic or what?!
There was much more evidence to support this thesis, of course, but a little education at a time is probably a good thing. Brother Furthermore and I thank you for staying with us this far. In the words of Eeyore, another Brother of the Lodge of the Hundred Acre Wood (who is clearly speaking to brothers here), "Thank you...you're a real friend. Not like some."