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Sunday, February 27

Symbolism in Masonic Ritual

Every Mason has attended a Lodge where the ritual has been delivered in a less than perfect manner. Now everyone appreciates that nerves or memory can affect the best ritualist, but there need be no excuse for poor delivery.

It is incumbent on any Brother who takes to the floor of the Lodge that he perform the ritual to the best of his ability: it is only by so doing that he can hope to instill a spark of enthusiasm in the Candidate.

Proficency in delivery is, however only part of the equation: mere recitation will achieve nothing more than a literal, or trivial interpretation of the words. Only by delving into the inner meanings of the symbolism to enrich ones own understanding can the orator hope to convey to the Candidate the smallest glimmer of the treasures within.

This is not revelation: in his 1922 book, 'Symbolism of the Three Degrees', Oliver Day Street observed,

It may be asserted in the broadest terms that the Mason who knows nothing of our symbolism knows little of Freemasonry. He may be able to repeat every line of the ritual without an error; and yet, if he does not understand the meaning of the ceremonies, the signs, the words, the emblems and the figures, he is an ignoramus Masonically. It is distressing to witness how much time and labour are spent in memorising 'the Work' and how little in ascertaining what it all means.
It has all been said before, and yet we still encounter the same monomania.

2005 however, has something which 1922 did not: the World Wide Web. Use the knowledge it contains - question, challenge, research and learn! Make it your goal to achieve a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. Certainly, learn the ritual, and lastly, volunteer to deliver the fruits of your labour.


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