Many American Masons now know of the story of Brothers Corey Bryson and Duke Fortesque and their separation from the Grand Lodge of Florida. Both men were hit hard by having to leave Freemasonry.
But Bryson has gone from despair to joy in just a few short months. Sometimes when one door closes another door opens. And if you are observant and open to a new challenge then walking through that new door feels really awesome.
And that is where Bryson is now having just returned from Salt Lake City where he was adopted into Lodge Athena No. 2009 in the International Masonic Order DELPHI, mixed gender Freemasonry.
At one time in our history when the population was less mobile, Mainstream Lodges in each hamlet and village had a monopoly on the Craft. But times have changed and so has our mobility. But the biggest change has been the advent of the Information Age. As Mainstream Masonry has squashed individual initiative, the free thinkers and has expelled far too many good Masons, alternatives to traditional Masonry are now available.
Now, whether new or discarded, male or female, Christian or not, Black, White, Red or Yellow, Americans can peruse the Internet and find Co-Masonic, Mixed Gender Lodges such as the International Masonic Order DELPHI, Prince Hall Freemasonry and others to choose from. The monopoly of Mainstream Masonry is being broken and its arrogance thwarted.
Corey Bryson has found a new home and it is one he says he might have eventually gravitated to in time anyway. He points to the non judgmental nature of Delphi, how open and unfettered the Masonic experience is when it’s not set up as a closed society.
Bryson explains that there is less focus on memorization and more emphasis on the meaning of the philosophy of Freemasonry. Every newly initiated member receives a written copy of the degree and ritual for their own personal continued education. Sometime later, they must present their “impressions” of their initiation to their Brothers and Sisters in Lodge. Delphi Masons are required to think not just be a parrot.
Delphi uses Scottish Rite ritual rather than Preston-Webb. This does make for some differences that former Mainstream Masons will notice. For instance there is no cable tow nor exposed breast. The configuration of the Lodge room puts the Senior Warden’s station in the North West. The connection between South-West-East forms a triangle. Delphi also uses the Chamber of Reflection.
The overall emphasis of Delphi mixed gendered Freemasonry, Bryson tells us, is on esoteric study and knowledge. Delphi is more spiritually open, he says, and appeals much more to seekers than traditional Freemasonry. It is far less a social club and much more a place of self improvement.
Bryson will be a member of Delphi’s latest U.S. Lodge in Tampa, Florida, Phoenix Triangle (UD). There are 6 people who have already applied for membership. They also have a place to meet. Members of Delphi nationwide are now handcrafting brand new furniture for the latest Triangle.
For Corey Bryson a new day has dawned. Before concluding my interview with him I asked him if this experience had changed him in any way. He said that he was now far less cynical than he was just a year ago. My faith in humankind has been restored, he said. That means that for Corey Bryson the glass is now half full instead of being half empty.