One common feature of Irish Freemasonry was the preponderance of Moon Lodges along the North and North Eastern coastline of Ireland during the 18th and 19th century. These Lodges tended to meet later than the usual Lodge, and were often associated with the working of Higher Degrees, after the Craft meeting concluded. The Brethren were then able to make their way homeward by means of moonlight, over dark and inhospitable terrain, late at night.
Local Lodges such as Royal Antrim No 28, Glenarm 45, Union Lodge No 148 Cogry, Rising Sun Lodge No 170 Crawfordsburn, Lodge 194 Bucknaw, Lodge 216 Carnlough, Lodge 276 Straid, Copestone Lodge No 474 Crawfordsburn, Magheramorne Lodge No 514 Larne, Solomon’s Band Lodge No 565 Lisburn, Ensor Lodge No 625 Loughgall, St John’s Lodge No 675 Donaghadee, Ancient Blue Lodge No 704 Ahoghill, Lodge 788 Cairncastle, Tartaraghan Lodge No 789, Lodge 812 Crawfordsburn and Garryowen Lodge No 923 Larne, still meet on or before the Full Moon in compliance with ancient tradition.
The Moon has played an important role in Man’s social affairs for many millenia. Its history can be traced back in the Holy Bible to Genesis Chapter 1 verses 14-19, in which we are told that on the 4th Day God created two Great Lights – The Sun, the Greater to rule the Day and the Moon, the Lesser to rule the Night. In Deuteronomy and The Book of Kings, we find specific prohibitions against Lunar Worship, yet the Moon has always been regarded as a strong symbol of permanence. Of particular interest are the references in Numbers Chapter 28 verses 11-15, which note the tradition of monthly offerings by some of the Jewish synagogues.
In Freemasonry, the Moon has always been associated with the Senior Warden in the West, following the Egyptian tradition associating the Moon with that direction. As the Moon is a mere reflection of the Greater Light of the Sun, so too does the Senior Warden reflect the “Light” of the Master.