"The Traditional Observance Lodge"
"The Traditional Observance Lodge" is a relatively new term in Freemasonry. It
refers to lodges that are similar to European Concept lodges in that they also incorporate higher dues, festive boards, a strict dress code, and higher standards of ritual,
but differ in that they choose to follow a close observance of the traditional initiatic elements of Continental European Freemasonry.
This observance is characterized by a solemn approach to holding stated communications and
conferring degrees, the use of the Chamber of Reflection as part of the initiation ceremony, longer time between degrees, and the requirement for candidates to present a paper
before the lodge on the lessons of their degree prior to advancement.
Traditional Observance lodges have a traditional approach to Freemasonry with an emphasis on the
initiatic process and seek to continuously maintain a Masonic Culture, Initiatic Focus and Traditional Structure.
The lodges maintain their high standards by working within guidelines recommended by the Masonic
Restoration Foundation and within the context of their respective Grand Lodge regulations.
The lodges maintain a Masonic Culture, which means that all of their activities are in
conformity with the highest worldwide Masonic standards and have a character of solemnity and circumspection.
Every meeting must be a quality experience. The spiritual efficacy of Freemasonry must be
recognized. All the activities of the lodge should be Masonic in nature. The lodge should have convenient access to a Masonic library. An Agape (festive board)
should be held following every meeting of the lodge. The attitudes of the members must be consistent with those of a Masonic lodge. The lodge must consider itself a
private association and maintain a dignified public image. There must be a Masonic dress code. Formal dress (white tie and tails) is recommended, but at minimum
dark, conservative business suit. White gloves should always be used.
The lodges have an Initiatic Focus, which means that the brethren understand that striving to
improve themselves in Masonry and assisting candidates and fellow brethren in doing the same is chief among their duties.
All ritual must be conducted in a solemn and serious manner. A Chamber of Reflection should be incorporated
into the initiation ceremony. The Chain of Union ceremony should be used after closing each meeting. The lodge should speak to the hearts of its members and respond
to their needs. All efforts must be made to provide the most meaningful initiatic experience for candidates. Candidates for degrees must present a paper before the
lodge; and attend a minimum of five meetings between degrees OR wait a minimum of five months prior to advancement. Candidates for affiliation should present a paper
before the lodge prior to affiliation.
Read more on the website above from Dennis V. Chornenky, President, Masonic Restoration