Scandi Shenanigans

W Bro.Ian Dent, WM of London Welsh No 2867 and Honor Oak No 1986 reports

Back in Christmas 2018, a group of Danish Masons from the Logen Mod Lyset No 832 were looking for a London Lodge to attend…

Being members of various London Lodges, we were lucky enough for them to be referred to our London Welsh Lodge No 2867. We were delighted to receive around six Danish brethren to our Christmas meeting, who also gifted us lapel pins and jewels from their various Lodges and Chapters. The friendship forged that Christmas continues to flourish to this day.

Once the pandemic eased, we were graced by another couple of visits by the Danish and Swedish Brethren to London Welsh; and this year we finally managed to reciprocate a Lodge visit to Denmark, which coincided nicely with a Chapter meeting, the Holy Royal Arch only very recently being established there.

I and my proposer, WM Stacy Harman, organised the trip which saw Brethren from our Mother Lodge, Honor Oak No 1986, our London Welsh Lodge No 2867, and Formula One Lodge No 4168 travel to Denmark. We had no idea that we would also meet Brethren from Golden Rule Lodge No 1261 and the Connaught Club!

We were very kindly met and chaperoned to Den Danske Frimurorden Grand Lodge building, a mere ten minutes from our hotels, by our host, Kristoffer Brinch Ladefoged. The building’s “rough”, almost unfinished exterior was to be our first indication of how intensely the symbolism is portrayed in Danish Freemasonry, for as we progressed through the building, the interior decor gradually progressed to becoming more polished; and we were reminded of our initiation and journey in the Craft and of the Rough and Perfect Ashlars by our tour guide, Ronni Holm Hansen.

He then explained the differences between the Danish and Swedish systems in comparison with the UK and this would become apparent when we attended the Swedish meeting the following evening. We were expertly shown around with a detailed tour and history of the building. There were rooms specifically designed for the ceremony of each degree, the detail and glamour of which can only be described as breathtaking. The detail of each ceremony was meticulously recounted to those qualified. When we arrived at the Third Degree Lodge room, those of us who are Master Masons and above, experienced first-hand their unbelievably theatrical ritual, in an intricately decorated and symbolic Masonic area which is truly out-of-this-world. It was obvious to our hosts that we were all overwhelmed by what we had seen, and this topic of conversation continued throughout the whole visit – so much so that many of us have contacted other Brethren in the UK playfully gloating over what they have missed out on!

Our tour complete, we were invited for drinks before our first meeting at Det Danske Frimurerlaug for Logen Mod Lyset No 832 in the Danish rite. We viewed the different and spectacular regalia worn by the Brethren from Denmark, Sweden and visiting Brethren from Lithuania. My Hall Stone Jewel sparked a lot of interest! We were received into a beautiful Lodge room with a magnificent ceiling, depicting a constellation of stars, an exact copy of the sky at the consecration of the building. At the finale of the meeting, the lights were dimmed and the ceiling illuminated as calming music was played and everyone reflected on the evening’s proceedings. We retired to the Festive Board where we were treated to a basic but delicious meal of chicken and potatoes in a typical and tasty local Danish sauce.

The next day, we enjoyed an unusually sunny day with a cocktail on the rooftop bar of our hotel with the other Brethren before heading back off to Denmark Grand Lodge as guests for the initiation of Claus Pedersen in the Swedish Rite. We were all surprised and delighted to be presented with swords to use during the meeting! Once again, the meeting did not disappoint, with so many magnificent differences. We retired to the Festive Board where a number of us were honoured to be seated on the top table. I and Bro Stacy then presented gifts of Masonic pins, books and firing glasses on behalf of my Lodges to the initiate, WM and Brethren. W Bro Jake Mossom also presented gifts from the Connaught Club.

The last day of our visit marked an important day for us all as Royal Arch Masons, as we were privileged to attend the first Chapter meeting since the inauguration of the Grand Chapter of Denmark earlier in the year. Again this meeting did not disappoint as Companions came together to partake in yet another meeting hosted in fraternal affection. Our journey back home left us contemplating all the many welcome but differing aspects of Danish and Swedish Freemasonry that we had the honour to witness. A further visit, with more Brethren, is definitely on the cards.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 53 December 2023 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 53 here.