Saturday June 22, 2019 – Third Degree
Every year, at the summer solstice, a mysterious ceremony is held for more than 150 years at the summit of Mount Owl’s Head in the Eastern Townships. Let’s see what brings the Freemasons to this isolated place in the mountains and become mythical for many people.
Lodge Golden Rule N° 5
The Masonic ceremony that has been held annually on Mount Owl’s Head for 150 years is also known as the Golden Rule Lodge ceremony on the mountain. The origin of this goes back to the creation of the Lively Stone Lodge of Derby Line in Vermont in 1803 and which brought together Freemasons on both sides of the Canada-US border. But the War of 1812 brought Canadians to form a wholly Canadian entity: the Golden Rule Lodge of Stanstead. The lodge will receive is charter from the United Grand Lodge of England in 1813. But it was not until 1857, following a derogation from the Grand Lodge of Canada authorizing her to hold a rally outside, that the Lodge no 5 began to hold a ceremony at the summer solstice on the summit of Mt. Owl’s Head, next to Lake Memphremagog, in an enchanting site.
The mysterious ceremony of Mount Owl’s Head
Every year in June, the most popular meeting of the Masonic Calendar in Quebec brings together Freemasons from across Quebec, Canada, the United States and even elsewhere. This is not an ordinary meeting, as it stands at 739 meters (2425 feet) above the majestic Lake Memphremagog. It is of course headed by Lodge No. 5 and during it, the Freemasons take the opportunity to raise one of them to the rank of Master Mason.
For historical reasons only, the ceremonial ritual of climbing the mountain and the said ceremony are reserved for mason only. The Master Mason candidate must wear all the time of the climb, alone, a basket of braided ash called simply “the Basket” which contains the material for the ceremony: ropes, a Bible, masonic accessories, masonic insignia and flags from Canada, the United States and Quebec. The whole thing still weighs 60 pounds (27 kg)! Once all the material and members on the site at the top, the ceremony (unfortunately secret) can begin. When everything is over, everyone comes back down and joins families and friends for a BBQ.
Freemasonry in Quebec
The first Freemason lodge to officially settle in Quebec (and Canada), arrived with the English soldiers at the beginning of the Conquest in 1759 in Quebec, although it seems that there were Freemasons in New France. These, soldiers, nobility or French or Canadian traders, would have gathered in the same boxes as the English, then their enemies on the battlefield, but united in the brotherhood of Freemasons. Amazing anyway! We could also say inspiring ..
W. Bro. Iain J. Y. Mann