The solemn lodge hid from unworthy eyes, unnoticeable forgotten place made of
granite. Two Sphinx-like granite lions with women’s heads peered down from the
entrance of the lodge. An ‘ankh’ adorned the lion’s neck entwined with a cobra.
An image of a woman embellished the neck and breast of the other lion, speaking
of fertility and procreation.
Fervent men slowly made their way up the three levels of narrowing steps,
passing under the two Egyptian swords with curved serpentine blades, and
through the two tall bronze doors.
One man glanced up as he ascended the steps, silently mouthing “the temple
of the Supreme Council Freemasons,” made of brass letters and set into stone. He
looked toward the plaque cut into stone, “Freemasonry Builds Its Temples in the
Hearts of Men and Among Nations.”
Stone columns grew tall, high above the entrance and partially concealed an
image of an Egyptian god, backed with radiating sun and flanked by six large
golden snakes. He entered into the lodge entirely made of marble, exotic wood and
statues carved from gold.
The offices, dining room, Council room, temple room and meeting room were
decorated with many symbols, especially the serpent, and portraits of famous and
influential men lined the walls. The lights shone above the men, resembling stars in
the dark blue sky. And the golden serpents silently watched in the blue heavens.
The dark-headed man slowly removed his clothes and put on the long black
robe, placing a hood over his head to partially conceal his face.
In the recesses of the ancient temple, an ornately decorated room is filled with
candles, lighting the way for the men filing in. Dressed in long black robes, hands
pressed solemnly together, slowly the row of men trudge into the Temple room. Each
with their face down and instinctively form a large circle in the room.
The room fell with a deathly silence, then ‘knock, knock, knock.’ The
Worshipful Master spoke, “You will admit him in the name of the Grand Architect
of the Universe, and let him be placed in the West.”
Gradually the door creaked open, and a young man enters with a black robe
and the left knee and breast exposed. The young man’s face covered by the dark
cloth and led around the circle by a rope around his neck. The candidate is lead to
the oath of secrecy where the Worshipful Master stands. A sword is pricked to the
candidate’s left breast.
“As this is a prick to the flesh at this time, so may the remembrance of it be to
your conscience hereafter, should you ever attempt improperly to reveal any of the
secrets with which you are about to be entrusted.”
The group silently watch as the candidate is instructed to kneel with his left
knee bare and bent, his right foot forming a square and the body being erect in that
square. The left hand supports the Volume of the Sacred Law, compass and square
and right hand placed thereon.
“‘Vouch safe Thine Aid, Almighty Father, Grand Architect of the Universe, to
this our present conviction. Grant that this Candidate for Masonry, now kneeling
before thee, may dedicate and devote his life to thy Service, and become a true and
faithful Brother amongst us. To this end endue him with such a competency of thy
Divine Wisdom, that assisted by the secrets of our Royal Masonic Art, he may be
better enabled to display the beauties of true godliness to the Honour and glory of
Thy Most Holy Name.’ “
“‘I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear to have my throat cut
across, my tongue torn out by the roots, and my body buried in the rough sands of
the sea at low water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows in twenty-four hours . . .
should I ever knowingly or willingly violate this my solemn oath or obligation as
an Entered Apprentice Mason. So help me God.’ “
The young man is then presented with white gloves and escorted to the pedestal
in the East to become an Entered Apprentice.
Throughout the ceremony the dark-haired man’s heart skipped excitedly.
Another man would join them, and this man would be the one. He had done a lot
to encourage them to allow this man to be initiated.
But he could never have foretold the events to come.
A candlelit chamber houses a secret meeting where four men sit around a
table, each wearing the long black robes and only talking above a whisper.
“The time has come to make our stand and proclaim to our Brothers that it’s
time. It’s our time to cause such a panic, that people will not know whom to turn
to. That the reliance on religion and government will pass. It’s our time to take
control, and whoever does not stand behind us will fall.”
“Yes, we must give a sign to our Brothers that can only be recognised by them,
that will shock the world over again.”
“Mummy, mummy, wake up! Please don’t leave me.” A dark shadow
appeared, as a man advanced towards her.
“Mummy’s not going to wake up, but daddy will look after you.”
“Please don’t hurt me, I’ll be good. I promise.”
An arm went around the child, and darkness fell.
* * *
A mixture of sounds and smells fill the streets of Seville. The
reverberation of marching bands, crying and laughing erupt through
every street. The scents of orange blossom of azahar, incense and candle
wax waft softly through the air. I close my eyes, and inhale the aromas
that blow by.
A crowd of onlookers watch the statues of saints on floats meander
their way along the streets. And as the image of Christ begins winding
through the busy streets, the people claw to get near it. They touch, kiss
and confess to the image as it moves to the church.
12 Sharlene Almond
I relish the sights as the
Madruga or processions bring to life the week
before the crucifixion. Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday each represents a
day before the Christ was crucified, and
pasos or floats carry the images
of the Virgin Mary.
My thoughts wonder to the first time I experienced this unique event.
“Make sure you save your strength for Friday and Sunday, my dear,”
my aunt advised. “On Friday morning we can travel back through time to
the morning that our Lord had to carry the cross through the shouting
crowds up to Golgotha Hill.
“And in the afternoon you will witness many statues passing through
the streets with Christ on the cross, representing the Crucifixion.
Our blessed Holy Mother Mary will also be carried through the streets,
as she represents the sorrow she felt when her son was crucified.”
That day was filled with mourning. People cried and pleaded for
forgiveness, as statues of Christ and Mary were carried on the floats. I
could remember my aunt explaining to me about the sudden explosion
of instruments and songs that erupted all over the city on Friday night.
“It represents how God tore the land in two. How the temple curtains
were torn from top to bottom. The tombs broke open, and the bodies of
many holy people were raised to life.”
My heart beat as I remembered that dramatic night. How tears had
filled my eyes because of the suffering of Christ. I had told my aunt that
I didn’t want to return, it was so sad.
“Oh, my child. This is not the end. On the Easter Sunday it represents
Christ rising from the dead. It’s the best part of Holy Week.”
I had reluctantly attended. The day was full of light, colour and
energy. People celebrated in the streets, crying and laughing at the same
time. Vibrations erupted all over the city as the church and cathedral
bells rang out, celebrating the resurrection of Christ.
I felt a hand gently nudge me out of my reverie.
“Come on,” Celestina encouraged, “otherwise we will never be able
to get home again.”
I glanced back at the floats one last time, finally turning to withdraw
from the celebrations.
We navigated through the busy crowds into the narrow, winding
cobbled streets of Santa Cruz. The whitewashed houses lengthened up
on each side of us. The ancient houses provoked a unique appearance
with the way they sloped towards each other.
Entering through the iron-gated doors into the courtyard filled with
century-old gardens and aromatic orange trees, many could still hear
Semana Santa travelling down the streets.
Initiate d to Kill 13
I welcomed the familiar feel of our Spanish-style apartment, the walls
graced with white paint and paintings that were collected by both of
us. Splashes of maroon brightened up the traditional earthy tones that
decorated our living room.
I strolled through the dining room that led out onto the patio and
gazed out over the Alcazar gardens. The variety of trees, flowers, ponds,
fountains and terraces provided a view unique to Seville.
Closing my eyes, I leaned against the iron railing and inhaled the
delicate aromatic scents of rose, orange and frangipani that garnish
each patio along the street.
I draw in the culminating aromas, but the sounds that made the
people laugh with pleasure, I couldn’t experience. The marching bands,
the trod of the horses did not reach my ears.
I subconsciously reached behind my head and fingered the scar
crisscrossing along my hairline. The scar that would daily remind me of
what I lost, of what I could never get back.
Staring out at the deserted streets, I reluctantly entered in the humid
confines of the apartment. Celestina hummed along to some music,
swaying her hips as she placed grainy bread on top of a stacked sandwich.
Her model-like height of 5’8 accentuated her thin frame, while her long
black hair cascaded down her shoulders and nearly reached her lower
back. The intensity of her emerald green eyes, matched with her sexual
prowess drew men to her like flies.
Her confidence was something I could never achieve. A weakness I
could never let go.
Celestina handed me a plate and proceeded out on to the patio. We
sat in silence, staring out at the Plaza’s gardens.
First making eye contact with me, she wiped her hands on her short
“So, do you want to hear about my latest conquest?” Her eyes held a
Shaking my head in amusement, I couldn’t help but smile. I didn’t
need to go out and have fun, she did enough for both of us.
“Perhaps you should write a book. You have enough tales to fill a
I turned to her, waiting for her provoked reaction.
Smiling, she tilted her head back.
“Someone has to.”
Shaking my head once again, I stood up, making it clear I wasn’t in
the mood for one of her tales.
14 Sharlene Almond
“While you daydream, I’ll go for a walk to clear my head. Those
smells were enough to intoxicate anyone.”
She didn’t reply as I made my way out.
I stood for a moment in the courtyard, everything around me silent.
I again fingered the scar on the back of my head. The injury that caused
permanent damage, an injury that left me unable to hear