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Freemasonry and Sword Dancing

Les in Chorlton 13 Jul 04 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,MMario 13 Jul 04 - 02:22 PM
Amos 13 Jul 04 - 02:50 PM
Geoff the Duck 13 Jul 04 - 03:09 PM
C-flat 13 Jul 04 - 03:49 PM
Hawker 13 Jul 04 - 04:25 PM
Hawker 13 Jul 04 - 04:26 PM
Mark Clark 13 Jul 04 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Th 13 Jul 04 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,The Vulgar Boatman 13 Jul 04 - 05:41 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Jul 04 - 06:22 PM
Bert 13 Jul 04 - 06:24 PM
Wyrd Sister 13 Jul 04 - 06:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Jul 04 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,I.G./J.D./S.D./J.W./S.W./W.M. 13 Jul 04 - 06:54 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Jul 04 - 07:27 PM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Jul 04 - 10:39 PM
mack/misophist 13 Jul 04 - 11:36 PM
el ted 14 Jul 04 - 05:19 AM
Dead Horse 14 Jul 04 - 06:41 AM
Dave Bryant 14 Jul 04 - 06:58 AM
Les in Chorlton 14 Jul 04 - 02:03 PM
gnomad 14 Jul 04 - 02:24 PM
Folkiedave 14 Jul 04 - 04:20 PM
Wyrd Sister 14 Jul 04 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Mr Red who burnt the cookies 14 Jul 04 - 05:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Jul 04 - 05:46 PM
Dave Bryant 15 Jul 04 - 05:16 AM
Les from Hull 15 Jul 04 - 09:09 AM
Les in Chorlton 15 Jul 04 - 11:11 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Jul 04 - 11:26 AM
manitas_at_work 15 Jul 04 - 11:30 AM
el ted 15 Jul 04 - 11:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 15 Jul 04 - 01:24 PM
Les in Chorlton 15 Jul 04 - 01:38 PM
Manitas_at_home 15 Jul 04 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Blackcatter 15 Jul 04 - 03:11 PM
Blackcatter 15 Jul 04 - 10:19 PM
GUEST,J.D. 16 Jul 04 - 02:33 AM
fat B****rd 16 Jul 04 - 04:01 AM
GUEST 16 Jul 04 - 07:10 AM
manitas_at_work 16 Jul 04 - 08:59 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Jul 04 - 02:24 PM
Wyrd Sister 20 Jul 04 - 03:14 PM
Wyrd Sister 20 Jul 04 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,The Insider 22 Jul 04 - 05:00 PM
LesB 22 Jul 04 - 07:25 PM
C-flat 14 Sep 10 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 14 Sep 10 - 09:10 AM
Dave Hanson 14 Sep 10 - 09:30 AM
C-flat 14 Sep 10 - 09:58 AM
Alan Day 14 Sep 10 - 02:04 PM
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Subject: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 01:59 PM

What is the connection, if any?


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 02:22 PM

I've never heard of any connection - but then again I am not a freemason nor a sword-dancer


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 02:50 PM

SOme Sword Dancers are Freemasons and some Freemasons are Sword Dancers.

That's all I know about it!

A


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 03:09 PM

And some morris dancers are stonemasons.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: C-flat
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 03:49 PM

I certainly don't know of any connection. I do know a number of freemasons but none of them, to my knowledge, are sword dancers.
What prompted the question?


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Hawker
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 04:25 PM

The dad of one of the kids who used to be in my sword dancing team is a freemason - is that the connection?
;0) Lucy


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Hawker
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 04:26 PM

Seriously though Les, are we talking Rapper or Longsword?
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Mark Clark
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 05:38 PM

Rapper? You mean like Eminem? <g>

I always associate Sword Dancing with Cossacks and doubt that Cossacks have become Freemasons in any numbers. Have other cultures taken up sword dancing as well?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST,Th
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 05:40 PM


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST,The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 05:41 PM

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

KYBTTS


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 06:22 PM

There is a theory--which is far from proven--that the Knights Templar and Morris dancing were created in imitation of the practices of the Sufis, which the Crusaders learned about in Palestine. Then Freemasonry later emerged from the officially disbanded and suppressed Templars. I can't defend this theory or tell you much about it, but I might be able to come up with a link. Stay tuned.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Bert
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 06:24 PM

...Have other cultures taken up sword dancing as well?...

There are French, English and Scottish sword dances that I know of. And there are probably many more.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 06:35 PM

And Belgian, Czech, Italian, Basque...tried to make a clicky to Sword spectacular but it timed out or summat.
Anyway, I know members of traditional longsword teams in England but know nothing of Freemasons bit. I'll ask. Mind you, they do have their trousers hitched up a bit high...


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 06:39 PM

And then there is the snickersnee, from those blood-thirsty Dutch (possibly equivalent to cut and thrust in English).

(Who invents all these weird tales?)


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST,I.G./J.D./S.D./J.W./S.W./W.M.
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 06:54 PM

I am a Freemason and I can tell you the link if you like.
Of course I will then have to kill you.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 07:27 PM

Here's an article: The History of Islam in the British Isles: An Overview. It touches on both Morris dancing and the Templars.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 10:39 PM

It certainly makes interesting reading, but it's full of "it is said that" (by whom? we are not told) and the usual vague mentions of unnamed records that may or may not have existed and may or may not have been destroyed or "suppressed"; no evidence or supporting information, as usual, is given. Interesting that it seems to credit my own family with an early (allegedly) Islamic antecedent. I wouldn't be particularly surprised if it were true, but the argument given is not, so far, what I'd call compelling.

Engaging and likeable, and sensible enough when it deals with documented history; but to an extent the work of what the Opies used to call a "happy guesser", I suspect.

As for the original question: when folk imply connections beyond simple coincidence between Masonry and Sword dance (there have also been past discussions about Fascism and Morris, and if we've not yet had someone asking whether Thomas the Rhymer was really a victim of Alien Abduction, it can only be a matter of time), I begin to suspect bored people with nothing better to do; if not conspiracy theorists.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: mack/misophist
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 11:36 PM

Modern Freemasonry rose in the middle 1700's. Is the style of sword dancing you're interested in older or younger than that? Also, a lot of societies like swords as emblems. I don't know of any (modern) that actually use them.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: el ted
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:19 AM

Some masons are masons, and some sword dancers are sword dancers... errrh... I'll get my coat.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Dead Horse
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 06:41 AM

I doubt that such a link exists. If it did, then surely sword dance would not be confined to the north east (largely).
On the continent the sword teams are mostly associated with guilds, but the style of dance is somewhat different to that practised in the UK.
I have tried to find a link to Trevor Stone, who is somewhat of an authority on such matters. He has, I believe, researched this very theme, but I came up blank.
Below is a link to Sword Spectacular, mentioned above
http://www.swordspectacular.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/index.html
I do have Trevors address if you wish to persue this further.
PM me for this if required.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 06:58 AM

You could also try asking mudcatter "Blossom" (of "Skinner's Rats" and "Slattery") who is a freemason and I believe quite an expert on their history.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 02:03 PM

The reason I raised this issue is a friend gave me lots of back copies of the Folk Music Jounal (EFDSS). The 1978 edition has an article by Ivor Alsop on the Papa Stour Dance. The article ends:

'all sword dances are in some way bound up withe rites of Freemasonry. This remarkable theory is expounded by James E Spears in an article entitled "A note on the Shetland Sword Dance" which appeared in Volume 32 of No 4 of 'The Southern Folk Lore Quarterly'. But this I leave to some-one more qualified than me to look into.'

So, what do think???????????


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: gnomad
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 02:24 PM

Ivor is certainly an authority on sword dance. I can't help feeling he would have encountered at least some evidence during his research, and told of that evidence, if such a link were to exist.

As a former sword dancer (never a mason) I can only add that I never knew of any such link.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 04:20 PM

Ivor's book - Longsword dances from Traditional and Manuscript sources is available from me. There is no mention of freemasons or masons in the index.

Also I have Violet Alford's book, "Sword Dance and Drama", similarly available, links sword dancing to ancient mining. She has dances from all over Europe.

Best regards,

Dave Eyre
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:22 PM

Asked two members of longsword team tonight - both laughed and denied any knowledge. I'm with above - if Trevor/Ivor don't have info it's not there to be got..


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST,Mr Red who burnt the cookies
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:31 PM

Mark Clark

Basque dancing is swords with attitude.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:46 PM

Having had Masons among my forebears and ancestors, I can vouch for the fact that they were not sword dancers but danced on the head of a pin.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 05:16 AM

My brother is a freemason and I don't suppose he even dances at his lodge's Ladies Nights.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Les from Hull
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 09:09 AM

I assume that James E Spears is the American folklorist whose name comes up with a Google search. So he's probably neither a sword dancer or a freemason.

Anyway, those little cases that the Masons carry are the wrong shape for a sword (there's a Lodge on my street).


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 11:11 AM

"A note on the Shetland Sword Dance" which appeared in Volume 32 of No 4 of 'The Southern Folk Lore Quarterly'.

Has anybody tracked this reference?

I can't see that a connection would be likely but do I detect a twitchy sense of resitance to my question?


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 11:26 AM

I wonder if Morris dancing and sword dancing evolved from some kind of rhythmic martial arts training exercise, somewhat like the katas (sp?) that karate students perform.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 11:30 AM

I came across a throwaway reference in a history of the Templars in which it the English were impressed at the way the Muslim soldiers moved together and thought it was due to the dances they did and so took the dances back to England as part of their training exercises. Nothing was given to support this assertion.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: el ted
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 11:41 AM

Morris dancing derived from Martial arts!!!! ..... Most Morris Men I've ever seen couldn't punch there way out of a paper bag!!! (duck)


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 01:24 PM

The idea that local unexplained things come from far away places to take route is not a great contender is it?

Perhaps I'll go and put 'The Southern Folk Lore Quarterly' into Google.

Meanwhile are the Masons keeping quiet or what?


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 01:38 PM

Ok I have tried Google and found the Southern Folklore Review. However, no Spears, no sword dancing. Freemasonry throws up links to Poe.

A search in Google for James Spears only gives Britney, so not entirley wasted the?


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 03:04 PM

Well,no,the idea wasn't that Morris dancing derives from martial arts but that the practice of dancing together got the soldiery used to working together and moving backwardsm, forwards etc as one body.It was the dances that were tehn transplanted.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST,Blackcatter
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 03:11 PM

Morris Dancing likely predates Islam.

There is no evidence I know of Masons and sword dancing other than both occasionally being practiced by the same person (was would be drinking, singing, breathing, etc.


And anyway - shouldn't Masons do a bit of trowel dancing?


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Blackcatter
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 10:19 PM

Did some cross-checking now that I'm at home in my Masonic books - no connections could be found.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST,J.D.
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 02:33 AM

"Meanwhile are the Masons keeping quiet or what?"


Not keeping quiet Les, just checking my facts.
Having only been involved for the past few years, I can't speak with authority on all aspects of freemasonry but I can find no connection with sword dancing in any of my literature and I can say with certainty that the nearest any of the brethren of my lodge have come to a sword would be a Wilkinson Sword razor-blade.
There's masses of history and ritual in freemasonry, some of which is very ancient (one of the reasons for my interest) and those rituals are different at the various levels of involvement but, again, there are no rituals (to my knowledge) which involve a sword.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: fat B****rd
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 04:01 AM

Basque sword dancing ! You mean women dancing wearing basques and whirling swords around !!???
Sorry, I'll get me coat.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 07:10 AM

Reminds me of a line from Phoenix Nights:

"What do you think about Basques?" (referring to the lingerie)

Potter - "Well they can't all be bombin' carparks"


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 08:59 AM

Wasn't William Kimber a master mason?


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 02:24 PM

It sounds like the Masons are better arcivists than the sword dancers, but also good at keeping secrets.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 03:14 PM

Ivor kindly sent us his copy of the aforementioned article(A NOTE ON THE SHETLAND SWORD DANCE by James E. Spears,University of Tennessee at Martin: Southern Folklore Quarterly Vol 32 No 4 Dec 1969).He himself doesn't wish to research this area.
To me, the links appear pretty tenuous, and more relating to the
calling-on:
"The imagery and language, substance and/or symbolic action, and the survival of the play in Yorkshire could suggest that the Shetland Sword Dance is linked with the institution of Freemasonry.
At least three images used ... in the dance are reminiscent of the rites of Freemasonry and are germane to its vocabulary: tried, right hand and raised."
http://www.papastour.shetland.co.uk/dance.html


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 03:16 PM

Sorry, meant to say if there is enough interest I'll type the whole lot out- it's about two-and-a-half pages.


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Subject: RE: What is the connection?
From: GUEST,The Insider
Date: 22 Jul 04 - 05:00 PM

They all practice one form or another of the ancient Crafts.


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: LesB
Date: 22 Jul 04 - 07:25 PM

Interesting link to the Papa Stour web site. Where I was pleased to see a picture of us Southport Swords performing Papa Stour for 5 at last years Beverly Fest. We normaly perform it for 7, as it should be.
Les


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: C-flat
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 08:36 AM

A long time since the question was asked but the only link between sword dancing and English Freemasonry (I can't speak for others) would be a ceremonial sword held by an outer-guard whose job. traditionally, was to keep out intruders (non masons).
The guard or "Tyler" may be (depending on the individual lodge ceremony) presented with the sword on his appointment during a ceremony to appoint lodge officers.
No dancing involved, I'm sad to say!!
C-flat


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 09:10 AM

I can well believe that the impoverished folk of the North-East were recruited in droves by the, usually, well connected and wealthy Masons to teach them the fighting skill of dancing in a circle, slowly, with rather blunt swords


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 09:30 AM

Masons do a dance not unlike a ' handkercheif ' only it's a ' pinnafore ' dance, all in a big circle with their little pinny on, one trouser leg rolled up and left tit bare.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: C-flat
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 09:58 AM

I don't know which lodges you've been to Dave, but I've never seen a "dance" as you describe, and I've visited a great number of lodges around the UK.
It does, however, conjour some alarming mental imagery!!
Thanks for the chuckle..
C-flat


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Subject: RE: Freemasonry and Sword Dancing
From: Alan Day
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 02:04 PM

Well as Organist (concertinist) of a Lodge I have never seen ,played or heard of any links to Sword Dancing. There are a number of ancient rituals however , which are off shoots of Masonry, Knights Templar being one of them and one can be a Freemason ,but not necessarily know the other rituals that exist.So there could be a link but it may be an obscure one.
It is one of the interesting features of Freemasonry, to find out these different rituals if you so wish and why it is more interesting to go through the ceremony rather than be told what it is all about before you take part. Hence the secrecy. Rather like reading an Agatha Christie novel after someone has told you who did it.
Al


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