When It All Goes Symbolic

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Robert H. Johnson

As we move through the degrees in Freemasonry, there's a lot to unpack. The language is old, antiquated and generally hard to understand.

We tend to take everything we hear and read, and apply a passive attitude toward what's mentioned within. Did you study the seven liberal arts and sciences? Do you reflect on your behaviors and apply the working tools?

Passively sure. But being conscious of the lessons, is not enough. Knowing something exists does not mean you've done the work. One needs to actually apply the teachings in order to truly be "Masonic".

Much like the Penalties of the craft, I cannot write, suffice to say that these have been relegated to symbolic status only. I'm not making a case to make them real, just using the common example. In more than one jurisdiction additional verbiage has been added to make sure the initiate knows he doesn't actually have to worry about anything at all.

But what of the rest? To divest yourselves of the vices? Have you done this? Did you quit biting your nails? Quit smoking? Or, did you just keep on doing it, and say, "Man, that was cool."?

Did you apply yourself to the study of the craft with freedom fervency and zeal? Or are the teachings of Freemasonry and everything contained in regards to actionable items, just a symbolic ask?

Candidate: "So do where do I go to study the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences?"

Lodge Officer: "Oh, you misunderstand. You don't really have to do those things."

Is the point to make you aware only? Or to actually do the things the Craft asks us to do? We cannot be workmen if we're about nothing more than a handshake and honor. How are you flawed? How can masonry help? Using the working tools of Freemasonry, we can identify these things within ourselves and with the lessons contained within ritual, we can conquer them.

Let's get down to business and do some Freemasonry--make some good men...better.

"It is absurd to thing that a vast organization like Masonry was ordained merely to teach to grown-up men the world the symbolical meaning of a few simple builders' tools." ~W.L. Wilmshurst


RWB, Robert Johnson is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. He currently serves as the Secretary of Spes Novum Lodge No. 1183 UD. He is a Past Master of Waukegan Lodge 78 and a Past District Deputy Grand Master for the 1st N.E. District of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts weekly Podcasts (internet radio programs) Whence Came You? & Masonic Radio Theatrewhich focus on topics relating to Freemasonry. He is also a co-host of The Masonic Roundtable, a Masonic talk show. He is a husband and father of four, works full time in the executive medical industry. He is the co-author of "It's Business Time - Adapting a Corporate Path for Freemasonry" and is currently working on a book of Masonic essays and one on Occult Anatomy to be released soon

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