Part six of our MEGHP’s 10-part commentary on ideas to rejuvenate, restore and update Illinois Capitular Freemasonry. These essays are based on Texan Brother Lance Kennedy’s, “10 Propositions for Texan Freemasonry.” You can read his whole article here.

Number six in Brother Kennedy’s essay is entitled “Momento Mori” and discusses what he interprets as an abandonment of some of the Craft’s very traditional customs and rituals. While his discussion is mostly applicable to Blue Lodge degrees and ceremonies, he’s right about one thing: We are a pale dilution of what we once were.

If you haven’t had a chance to see our degree work done with the Blackhawk ritual — or, better, taken part in it! — you are truly missing something. Sure, it’s longer ritual — dramatically, in some cases — than the current “red book” ritual but it retains many of the interesting elements, lessons, and intricacies of our very original ceremonies.

In Illinois, both the “red book” and Blackhawk are acceptable and approved ritual practices. There is only one Chapter — La Fayette No. 2 — that currently confers using only the Blackhawk rituals. They are starting with the Blackhawk Mark Master degree in the late summer if you are interested in sitting in and watching.

The Grand Chapter has number of Blackhawk rituals — in both the original 1915 black-cover version and the more modern, softcover Chief Blackhawk version for sale. If you’re coming to Grand Sessions this week, check out the Grand Chapter store to get your copies — both are excellent collector’s items. Who knows. maybe your Chapter can get back to the old ways and start conferring our ritual using the Blackhawk.