Tuesday, December 25, 2007

We all shine on: Thomas Munkholt

Fellow blogger and Danish brother Thomas Munkholt introduces himself in our latest "This is Who I Am" essay. Welcome, Bro. Thomas. Thanks for writing.

I've followed this blog from its inception, and have been blogging since 2005, mostly in Danish, but this year branched into an English blog as well.

Briefly, outside of freemasonry I work as a freelance translator and editor, although I was educated to become a teacher. I am 37, a citizen of Copenhagen, Denmark, currently staying in Dublin, Ireland.

I was Initiated into the Danish Order of Freemasons in 2005, lodge Hafnia in Copenhagen, and am a "Worthy Master of St. John", which is the title used for a Master Mason in the Swedish Rite (SwR). SwR has no progressive officers' line, so I haven't held an office, and it will be some years yet before I am liable. There are other ways of keeping busy, though: I have helped form a group for new members of Hafnia and another lodge in Copenhagen. Its purpose is to create stronger social bonds, to the benefit of the lodges (as there is now a tradition of visiting each other and sharing lectures etc.) and in the hope that we can improve retention – it takes time to build an understanding and full appreciation of the ritual, but if we can make the new brethren come back for the social aspect, the ritual and symbolic side will have time to grow on them. Nobody gets left behind – that's the philosophy. I have petitioned a lodge of St. Andrew, which is the next rung in the SwR ladder, and expect to be advanced in a year or so. When I return to Copenhagen, I also plan to start "understudying" an office.

As detailed on my blog, Grail Quest, I am traveling for a year with my wife and son, and this is also an opportunity to see ways of doing freemasonry in other countries. Denmark has a very strong tradition with its SwR (which I think is a wonderful ritual), and as it is also something of the odd man out on a global level, seeing as it is strictly Christian, there is perhaps a tendency to be slightly insulated, satisfied with what we have. But I hope to bring home awareness of what's going on elsewhere. The blogosphere is part of that, with all its highs and lows.

The most important lesson in freemasonry for me has been this: I entered it with expectations of what the ritual would be, and be capable of doing, and some reservations about the kind of people I would meet — I probably still had some of the most common bias, and frankly, I didn't know them. The SwR ritual was everything and more than what I had hoped for. But the real gem in the crown was the people I met. Now, when I go home from lodge, the ritual is what has massaged my soul, but the smile on my face, that's all down to the brethren.

Sincerely & Fraternally,

Bro. Thomas Munkholt

To submit your own "This is Who I Am" essay, read this.

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