About Alexander

I am a Master Mason from Lodge St John Mid Calder, under the Grand Lodge of Scotland who serves as an Administrator with Masonic Network.org. I am also a Royal Arch Mason, Royal Ark Mariner, Knight Mason, Royal and Select Master, Member of the Order of the Eastern Star and Corkie.

The Story Behind Forget Me Not Emblem!

In the years between World War 1 and World War 2 The blue Forget Me Not Emblem (Das Vergissmeinnicht) was a standard symbol used by most charitable organizations in Germany, with a very clear meaning: “Do not forget the poor and the destitute“.

It was first introduced in German Masonry in 1926, well before the Nazi era, at the annual Communication of the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne, in Bremen, where it was distributed to all the participants. That was a terrible time in Germany, economically speaking, further aggravated in 1929 following that year’s Great Depression.

That economic situation, contributed to Hitler’s accession to power. Many people depended on charity, some of which was Masonic. Distributing the forget-me-not at the Grand Lodge Communication was meant to remind German Brethren of the charitable activities of the Grand Lodge. 

In early 1934, it became evident that Freemasonry was in danger.  In that same year, the Grand Lodge of the Sun (one of the pre-war German Grand Lodges, located in Bayreuth) realising the grave dangers involved, adopted the little blue Forget Me Not flower as a substitute for the traditional square and compasses.

It was felt the flower would provide brethren with an outward means of identification while lessening the risk of possible recognition in public by the Nazis, who were engaged in wholesale confiscation of all Masonic Lodge properties. Freemasonry went undercover, and this delicate flower assumed its role as a symbol of Masonry surviving throughout the reign of darkness.

In 1936 the Winterhilfswerk (a non- Masonic winter charity drive) held a collection and used and distributed the same symbol, again with its obvious charitable connotation. Some of the Masons who remembered the 1926 Communication possibly also wore it later as a sign of recognition. We have no evidence of that and its general signification still was charity, but not specifically Masonic charity.

During the ensuing decade of Nazi power a little blue Forget Me Not flower worn in a Brother’s lapel served as one method whereby brethren could identify each other in public (although even then it was not always safe to wear any non-Nazi pin), and in cities and concentration camps throughout Europe. The Forget Me Not distinguished the lapels of countless brethren who staunchly refused to allow the symbolic Light of Masonry to be completely extinguished.

When the Grand Lodge of the Sun was reopened in Bayreuth in 1947, by Past Grand Master  Beyer, a little pin in the shape of a Forget Me Not was officially adopted as the emblem of that first annual convention of the brethren who had survived the bitter years of semi-darkness to rekindle the Masonic Light.

At the first Annual Convent of the new United Grand Lodges Of Germany AF&AM (VGLvD), in 1948 Bro. Theodor Vogel, Master of the Lodge “Zum weißen Gold am Kornberg”, in Selb (then in Western-occupied Germany), remembered the 1926 and 1936 pin, had a few hundred made and started handing it out as a Masonic symbol wherever he went. When Brother Vogel was later elected GM of the Grand Lodge AFuAM of Germany and visited a Grand Masters’ conference in Washington, DC, he distributed.

But is the story True?

Information about the Masonic tradition surrounding the blue forget me not amounts to very little. It is true that the flower was used by some German Masons about 1926, and it appears likely that in March 1938 some of them did wear it again as a Nazi badge, even though by an extraordinary coincidence, it had been chosen as a Masonic emblem twelve years earlier. It is likely not true that it was ever worn after March 1938 as a secret mean of recognition.

However, even if many German Masons (together with the great majority of German citizens of that time) never objected to the Nazi politics and went so far as to support Hitler, some were brave enough to fight him openly.

Based on the membership of all the then existing German Lodges, it is likely that around 1 or 2%. Out of the 174 Lodges which participated in the creation of the first United Grand Lodge of Germany, five only belonged to the Symbolical Grand Lodge of 1930, the only German Grand Lodge which resisted Hitler.

For human and political reasons as well, those Masons who thought it their duty to rebuild German Freemasonry once the War was over could hardly tell the whole truth to their foreign brethren. I personally believe they might have told the story of those dark years in a different way, but I am ready to admit that it is probably easier to say so in 2009 than it was in the 1950s.

Accordingly a legend was born. Not the legend of the forget-me-not, but that of a German Freemasonry too weak to resist, banned as soon as Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich, wearing a badge on the streets and – of all things ! – in concentration camps. That legend was likely born as the result of an unconscious effort to inhibit the past as well as a conscious manoeuvre. It was believed not only because it was the logical thing to do, but also because it was reassuring to imagine Freemasons acting according to their ideals, fighting for freedom and defending it.

Lets keep it at that and let us admit to the Masonic Brotherhood of the blue Forget Me Not  and thus did a simple flower blossom forth into a symbol of the fraternity, and become perhaps the most widely worn emblem among Freemasons in Germany.

In the years since adoption, its significance world-wide has been attested to by the tens of thousands of brethren who now display it with meaningful pride.

Which Lodge is oldest Masonic Lodge?

Many freemasons are curious as to what is the oldest Masonic Lodge in the World?

Many believe that Mother Kilwinning in Scotland is the oldest particularly as it holds number 0 on the role of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, but Mother Kilwinning claim that most of its early records were last in fires or other disasters.

With actual evidence Lodge of Edinburgh No.1 Edinburgh is the oldest lodge in the world, this lodge is sometimes known as Mary’s Chapel.  Its oldest Masonic Lodge Minutes are dated 31st July 1599ce and it is 410 years old.

More impressively, the first 5 pages of minutes incorporate the Schaw Statutes  which are dated 28th December 1598ce. Six months later, on 31st July 1599ce are to be found the minutes which confirm the lodge’s claim as having the oldest existing masonic minutes.

The Schaw Statues are named for William Schaw, who was Master of Works to His Majesty, King James VI  and General Warden of the Masonic Craft. In the statues, he declared that these ordinances issued by him for the regulation of lodges considered the lodge at Edinburgh to be for all time, the first principal Lodge

Lodge of Edinburgh No. 1 was first called “The Lodge of Edinburgh” and retained this name until 1688ce, when the Grand Lodge of Scotland confirmed its charter in the 1730’s, it designated the lodge as: ” The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel ) No1”.

Prominent members belonging to the Lodge in its very early days included His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales (afterwards called King Edward VII) and His Royal Highness King Edward VIII.

Both were affilated within  the Lodge, taking the obligation on the “Breeches Bible” which was printed in 1587ce. The pen with which these 2 brethren signed the roll is still preserved in the Edinburgh Lodge No. 1 museum.

As early as 1600ce, The Lodge of Edinburgh began to admit non-operative freemasons. In June 1600ce the Laird of Auchinleck was made a speculative member, the first authentic record of the making of such a member.

When the Grand Lodge of Scotland was established on 30th November 1736ce the Lodge of Edinburgh took an active part. Thirty Three lodges were represented at the meeting which was held in the lodge room of the Edinburgh Lodge. Because the oldest minute of a  lodge was that of Edinburgh Lodge, it was placed first on the roll of the Grand Lodge

Linking the Knights Templar to Freemasonry

KT LogoAs many of you are undoubtedly aware, there are several small-crafttheories regarding a possible physical relationship between Freemasonry and the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, commonly known as the Knights Templar.


Many modern scholars vehemently refuse to examine objectively the prospect of any connection between the two Orders, however, there is a significant handful of learned scholars whose hearts and imaginations have been stirred by the possibility and who keep tripping over little hints of evidence which keep the theories alive.


The purpose of this Blog is to acquaint you with a theory that could suggest a potential Link between Freemasonry and the ancient Knights Templar.  This Link is represented by the St Clair (Modern: Sinclair) family of Scotland and a small unfinished Collegiate  chapel, constructed and lying in a tiny hamlet just south of Edinburgh, named Rosslyn.

After the Dissolution

When Pope Clement V and King Philip of France affected the successful dissolution of the Templars on 13th October 1307ce, many knights escaped and some managed to take refuge in the highlands of Scotland. The Scots were currently embroiled in a struggle for sovereignty and against their neighbours, England.



Their emerging leader, Robert De Bruce, was then under an order of excommunication issued by the Pope and was at war with Edward II of England and his allies.

Consequently, having nothing to loose, De Bruce gave his approval for the outlawed Templars to be sheltered and merged into the Knights Hospitallier or to take refuge in the Highlands of Scotland, thus enabling them to live out their lives.


Seven years later, in 1314ce, Sir Henry St. Clair, who was allegedly a member of the Knight Templar, and his two sons, William and Henry, took part in the famous Battle of Bannockburn where the Scots were able to preserve an independent Scotland for the King, Robert the Bruce.


An exciting and romantic legend links the Templars to the battle of Bannockburn. The legend tells us that Scots were outnumbered three to one and were struggling desperately against the forces of Edward II, losing men and ground rapidly, when there appeared on the horizon a well-equipped and obviously highly professional band of knights in full armor and mounted on heavy horses. the knights, although superbly equipped and obviously experienced in military battle tactics, bore no markings on their shields and carried no battle standards flying their colours.


These mysterious soldiers joined the battle on the side of King Robert the Bruce and quickly turned the tide in favour of the Scots who won the battle and freedom for Scotland. The knights then rode off over the horizon without making known their identities or from whence they came.


Many scholars believe these mysterious knights to be a contingent of the refugee and internationally outlawed Knights Templar that the King had permitted to take refuge in the highlands. Were they returning the favor while pledging loyalty to Scotland and King Robert the Bruce?  There is a Masonic degree based on this story.


Many sources tell us that years later, Sir Henry St. Clair was appointed the Hereditary Grand Master of all the Masonic guilds of Scotland by royal charter (the King of Scotland remains the Sovereign Grand master).


This Hereditary Grand mastership was to abide with the Sinclair family until 1736ce, when Sir Henry’s heir, Sir William St. Clair of Rosslyn resigned his stewardship of the Scottish Masons to affect the creation of the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland. A body to which he was immediately elected the Grand Master.

Rosslyn Chapel

rosslyn_chapelIn 1440ce a mere 133 years (just two generations) after the suppression of the Templars by King Philip and Pope Clement, the Earl of Orkney, a descendant of Sir William St. Clair designed and began the project of building a church in the family seat of Rosslyn. His intention was to build a great sanctuary to the glory of God and the Templar tradition. It was to be constructed in the form of a cross with a lady Chapel and a high tower in the centre.


He imported the best stonemasons available, as well as tradesmen from the other guilds as necessary. The Master masons were paid a sum of 40 pounds per annum and the lesser skilled masons were paid 10 pounds. Simultaneously, he built the small hamlet of Rosslin to support and house his craftsmen during the project and see to their every need. The great sanctuary’s construction was never completed.


Through the centuries, St Clair’s unfinished sanctuary survived several invading armies and the brutalities of the Reformation as well as Scotland’s civil war of the mid-seventeenth century. It’s said that during this period, the armies of Oliver Cromwell occupied the areas in and around Edinburgh, including Rosslyn. Indicative of the disdain for which the Puritan church and Cromwell held divergent theological beliefs, after razing nearby Rosslyn castle, Cromwell stabled his invading troops horses and livestock in the chapel at Rosslyn.


There is a legend that says Cromwell recognizing the exoteric religious and Masonic symbolism and himself being a Brother, the unit’s commander was careful to preserve and protect the chapel and its artifacts during his troops occupation. Other religious structures and their icons did not fare as well during this turbulent time.


The Dirge of Rosabell is described in prose as our Brother Sir Walter Scott spoke of the ancient Barons of Rosslyn who were buried in the crypt of the chapel. His famous poem, The Lay of the Last Minstrel speaks of the ghosts and spirits of the honoured knights laid to rest in the ancient Gothic chapel’s crypt.


In 1787ce, our esteemed Brother Robert Burns, the recognized Poet laureate of Scotland and Masonry visited the chapel with a friend and artist, Alexander Nasmyth and implored him to paint his portrait while at Rosslyn.


The chapel that remains today, many scholars say, is probably one of the most remarkable examples of Gothic architecture in Scotland, not because of its design when viewed primarily from and architectural point of view, but because of the profusion of overt and esoteric design and symbolism shown in such abundance everywhere within the chapel.


When first viewed Rosslyn Chapel has an almost haunting quality exhibited not only in its Gothic spires and flying buttresses, but the chapel’s spiritual and ghostly esoteric qualities are manifested in the profuse and intricate carvings and hieroglyphics evidenced on the interior’s every square inch of masonry surface.


In this small cathedral, it’s a short and misty road from the present to the past. It’s a place where you enter into a world of “intellectual oblivion” expressed in design and stone by our spiritual Brothers of a different time. It is impossible, in this environment to deny that the genesis of our Order is shrouded in esoteria and rooted in the cryptic origins of contemplative man.


The ornate carvings and depictions in stone are almost overwhelming to everyone who views the chapel. But the abundant, half-hidden Templar and Masonic symbolism is profound and easily identified by the Initiated. There abounds hundreds of references to Christian parables, Biblical characters, the ancient Knights Templar, Freemasonry, and commentary on the religious-political climate of that time in our long past.


The chapel is a perfect exemplification of our sacred geometry and incorporates many easily recognized Masonic and Templar symbols in its architectural designs. The Apprentice Pillar with its attendant carvings, the Master’s Pillar, the hidden and much speculated upon contents of the subterranean crypt, the proliferation of Templar splayed and floriated crosses, obvious reference to the Masonic degrees, transparent references to Templarism, and so much more, can be found everywhere. There is a lintel at the east end of the south aisle bearing a familiar inscription in Latin which translates:


“Wine is strong, a King is stronger, women are even stronger, but Truth conquers all”


There is such a profusion of intricate carvings incorporated into the design and construction of every minute detail, that you can easily lose yourself for hours while just wandering.


To the best of my knowledge, Rosslyn Chapel represents the only place where such an obvious and overtly profuse collection of Masonic and Templar esoterica and symbolism is displayed together in a structure predating the traditional origins of the Craft.


Additionally, the founder and builder was documented as an heir to the heritage of the Knights of the temple as well as a Knight Templar himself. The dating of the construction of the chapel as well as its proximity to other known Templar and Masonic sites of pilgrimage leads me to the conclusion that Rosslyn Chapel is of significant importance to Masons and Knights Templar and may well be the common factor linking the respective orders.