California Freemason Magazine Presents:
The After Life Issue
“Our brother has reached the end of his earthly toils. The brittle thread which bound him to earth has been severed and the liberated spirit has winged its flight to the unknown world. The silver cord is loosed … the spirit has returned to God who gave it.”
Those are the words of the California Masonic funeral rite, one of the most powerful and moving traditions of Freemasonry. In the words of one cemetery manager and California Mason, it “shows that we value our members’ lives. It shows that this was a person who lived and meant something. I appreciate that, and I’m sure our brothers who are no longer here appreciate it, too.”
For the spring 2022 issue of California Freemason magazine, we’re taking a deep dive—like six feet deep—on the Masonic customs and traditions related to mortality, death, and whatever comes next. From unpacking Masonry’s memento mori symbolism to revisiting the clearing of the state’s largest Masonic cemetery almost a century ago, it’s our attempt to “look with faith beyond the veil.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom! We’ll meet several members whose work brings them into close proximity to the other side to learn what lessons death holds for life—from an MCYAF psychologist and near-death expert to a group of Mason-morticians to a gravedigger-turned-folk singer, an emergency medical technician, and Hollywood’s go-to medium. There’s also our typical grab-bag of stories about California Masonry today: A budding collector of Masonic ephemera; a former lodge hall in a Hollywood Cemetery reborn as a top-flight music venue; a Master Mason and Taekwondo master; and so much more.
In the end, the issue isn’t a lament for our inevitable demise, but rather a celebration of life, and an admonition that (in the words of yet another Mason-mortician), “You have today. Do the things you enjoy, and tell the people close to you that you love them.”
Words to live by.