From the Wise Master (September 2018)

posted Sep 3, 2018, 6:17 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

                A PAST MASTER’S VIEW

The Worshipful Master extended to me an invitation to provide an article in this month’s Trestle Board. Of course, I said yes as it was his will and pleasure. I have chosen this opportunity to once again briefly ponder on my definition of Freemasonry and a few thoughts on the Masonic initiatic experience. So here we go.

“Freemasonry is a modern - day Mystery School which, through its’ progressive, moral science, is a              transformational experience taking an initiate from darkness to light through its ancient teachings and the practice of the lessons inculcated in it”.

I have always found the idea that Masonry is an organization that “allows good men to become better men” unsatisfactory. It seems to me it could just as well apply to the Rotarians or many other worthy groups who do good work.  I think the definition I proffer implies a more spiritual journey and I believe that Masonic mystic teachings offer an ideal path to follow to find further light.

With that in mind, I think each of us should assess the initiatic experience we provide to a duly and truly qualified candidate for our mysteries.

Is it possible to provide this experience in 90 to 180 days which is rather typical of most modern lodges? I think not. It reminds me of the “90-day wonder”. This phrase refers to a past military practice of creating second lieutenants in three months during WW II. I do not see Masonry facing this kind of urgency so why the rush? Any good or great undertaking, like fine wine, deserves some time to be fully appreciated and understood.

I always like to think in qualitative rather than quantitative terms when it comes to considering applicants for our valuable philosophy of life. Not every good man who knocks at our door is a candidate for our degrees. He might just be looking for an opportunity to serve his community or for comradery with good men.

 If he is looking for a more meaningful experience and has a need to achieve a state of perfect balance between material needs and his spiritual aspirations then Masonry, which provides the study and application of laws that unite humans to the creator could be his path.

If we follow the path given to us by our Ancient Masters, then modern day Masonry must re-assess its approach to the initiatic experience. The teachings are there for the wise man to hear and learn. But I strongly argue it can not be rushed. I recommend you to the Masonic Restoration Foundation website to further any interest you might have in the Masonic initiatic experience. This website can direct you to many excellent books on the subject. One book for example,” The Masonic Initiation” by Brother W.L. Wilmshurst describes an initiation which I fear many of our lodges are not familiar with at all. Take some time to think about this. I would love to hear from you on this subject.