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The Tyler ‘s Toast (Afflictions)

To all poor and distressed freemasons, Wherever they may be, On the land, on the sea or in the air. A speedy relief from their afflictions, And a safe return to their native land, If they so desire. (Response) To all poor and distressed brethren.


Did you know – In Freemasonry, “cowans” and “eavesdroppers” are terms used to describe individuals who are not members of the fraternity and are therefore not permitted to participate in its meetings or learn its secrets.

Cowans: Historically, a cowan was a stonemason who built without using mortar or dressed stones, essentially a rough mason. In Masonic terms, a cowan is someone who tries to present themselves as a Freemason without having been initiated into the fraternity properly. They may have some knowledge of Masonic symbols and practices but lack the deeper understanding and legitimacy of a true member1.

Eavesdroppers: This term refers to non-members who attempt to listen in on Masonic meetings. The name comes from the practice of standing under the eaves of a house to overhear conversations within. In a Masonic context, eavesdroppers are those who try to discover the secrets of the fraternity unlawfully2.

Both terms highlight the importance of discretion and the safeguarding of Masonic traditions and rituals. Freemasons are reminded to be vigilant against cowans and eavesdroppers to maintain the integrity and privacy of their meetings.