Monday, April 14, 2008

Remember now thy Creator

Last week I was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, and I've spent the ensuing days mulling over how best to write about the experience without doing it injustice or, in my enthusiasm, sounding like I just went to a tent revival.

I had read repeatedly that the third degree is quite different from the first two, and I already knew about the Hiram legend and general theme of the ritual, but I was wholly unprepared for the effect it had on me; whereas the first two degrees were fascinating and steeped in history and tradition, the third was, well... sublime! Over the last 9 months I've read a number of blog posts by newly-raised Brothers that just say, "I was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason last night, and it was awesome!" I don't want to stop at that; thinking back to my earliest Google searches about Freemasonry and what the ritual is about, I want to try and at least give some further impressions.

I can understand a little bit better the reluctance of many Brothers, past and present, to discuss the ritual with profanes, because it's a very personal and intense experience and, at least for me, hard to describe in terms of emotional/spiritual impact. I don't mean physically intense, or scary - early in the Entered Apprentice degree we are told to "fear no danger", and that certainly carries through the second and third degrees; by this third degree, I knew and trusted most of the Brothers doing the ritual work.

However, from the Chaplain's reading as I was accepted for the third time into the lodge room it was clear that the tone of this degree is very different than the first two, and from that point until the actual raising I found myself reflecting on mortality and the sum of my life's accomplishments. While the first two degrees were instructive, the third was deeply introspective. And yet, at the end of it I felt much more closely bound to my Brothers than I could have expected; early last June I described myself as a life-long introvert and someone who is generally suspicious of any chummy clique of people, and that hasn't really changed. Clearly, I have found the meaning I was looking for when I petitioned 9 months ago, even if it has taken a form I don't quite understand yet.

2 comments:

attempted said...

Brother, I encourage you to participate in the ritual work of raising other proficient Fellowcrafts to the sublime degree of Master Mason. As you do you will be humbled by thoughtful reflection on the situation at hand.

A.C. said...

Thank you for the encouragement, Bro. attempted... I think it is only a matter of time before I wind up in an officer's chair, although I'm hoping to see at least one cycle of degrees from the sidelines before jumping into the fray.