Everything to be found in ‘Observing the Craft’ has been practised in Masonic lodges throughout the world at one time or another. But the reason this book has been written is because so many of these things have fallen out of practice in so many of our lodges, if indeed they have ever been practised in some of them. It is the fervent desire of Andrew Hammer that they may be reconsidered, revisited and restored by those brothers who are inspired and inclined to do so, and thus the intention of this book is to describe these ideas and the reason why it is believed that their practice is indispensable to the Craft.
The first question that many readers may have when encountering this book is What does it mean to “Observe the Craft?” One can argue that from the very beginning of the recognised and verifiable origin of Freemasonry in 1717, there is no one way to do so; there has always been a great degree of variety in how the members of our Craft have understood, manifested and conducted what it is that we are meant to be doing.
The book will steadfastly support the definition of the Craft as a philosophical society which demands of its members the highest standards in all areas of its labour. The insistence on observing and maintaining those standards is what this author has termed Observing the Craft. In each chapter Hammer provides some ideas for what those standards are, why it is believed that they constitute the optimal form of observance, and how to conduct Masonic labour in conformity with them. The Author attempts to illustrate how from this definition, the other more temporal benefits found in Freemasonry naturally follow from the embrace, understanding and practice of the spiritual lessons of Masonic philosophy. The book advocates this path in plain view of those who think differently, in the hope that if “they cannot be persuaded of these arguments, they will bid us peace in the same way that we bid them peace”.
Every Lodge should read it, and have a copy available for study.
Mindhive Books, 2010