C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33°, Sovereign Grand Commander
Dream Catchers
image image
The Scottish Rite helps
fulfill the best dreams
of humankind.

…It seems to be little more than a  small hoop of willow on which is woven a net of string. It is decorated with beads and feathers, and I first saw one in the airport when I flew into Oklahoma for a conference. It is called a �dream catcher,� and, in Native American culture, it is hung by the bed. Its purpose is to catch dreams, letting the good and truthful ones through while keeping bad and false dreams enmeshed in the net.
…I was reminded of it one day last winter when I was walking into the House of the Temple. The winter sun was throwing the shadow of a leafless tree on the wall of the building, and the shadowy pattern reminded me of the web of the dream catcher. It was an appropriate image, for the House of the Temple and all Masonic buildings are dream catchers in the truest sense of the word. Their function is to catch dreams, let the good and true dreams in, and keep the bad and hurtful dreams at bay.
Men have to dream. Without dreams no great inventions are conceived, no great works of art are created, no great nations are founded. The Scottish Rite has always encouraged such dreams, just as we have always fought against the nightmares. Masonic buildings are dream catchers.
…Consider our Masonic libraries. Here are caught and stored the dreams of millions of men and hundreds of nations. Every great idea, every noble sentiment, every bright inspiration of human dignity or divine revelation is caught there, nurtured, and made available to generations of men and women, present and yet unborn, so that they may build their own dreams of the future upon the dreams of the past. And the evil dreams are caught and nullified — the dreams of hatred and fear and intolerance are caught and held, so that men and women may see them for what they are and strip them of their power.
…Our Masonic hospitals are dream catchers. Here the pain of injured or deformed limbs is caught and turned aside. Here there are dreams of a future in which the child runs and laughs and plays. Visit such a hospital, if you doubt that they are places of the best possible dreams.
…Our Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinics, Centers, and Programs are dream catchers, too. Here the frustration and hurt of dyslexia and other language disorders — by far the most common and most stressful problems of childhood — are caught and turned away. In their place, we, as supporters of these facilities, supply good and true dreams of development and success.
…Our museums are dream catchers, also. They catch the tangible dreams of centuries of human progress, they show us how people lived and what was important to them, and they let us enter their dreams, learn from them, and strengthen our own dreams in turn.
…Our Masonic Centers are dream catchers. Here, for a while, the affairs and problems of daily life are shut away, and men dream the great dreams taught in Freemasonry — the dreams of true Brotherhood, Relief, and Truth. And from these centers, men enter the world to make those dreams a reality.
…Yes, there is much in common between that small hoop of willow and net of string and these great achievements of our Rite — our libraries, hospitals, clinics, museums, and centers. All speak of the human condition. All show a path to a better future. And all teach us the importance of dreaming great dreams.