Our So-Called Knowledge
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners
As much as I preach about the evils of social media and try to limit my use of it and especially commenting on it, occasionally I succumb to doing so. Recently I did succumb to that temptation when I came to the defense of MWB Robert Davis who had innocently responded to a comment in a Masonic Facebook group from someone who stated that they were not a Freemason, but that our "so-called knowledge" is easily available to anyone who seeks it. Now, MWB Davis replied to the comment stating that what he read in ritual exposures are not the "secrets". This lead the commenter to attack MWB Davis, with claims that the Freemasons are nothing more than men pretending they are better than other men and that MWB Davis was egotistical for replying in such a fashion. Those of you who like me have had the extreme honor of meeting MWB Davis know this is not the case. In any case, I got involved and the commenter went back and forth with us.
While one might think that can read the multitude of Masonic Rituals available for public consumption for our "so called knowledge", they will never understand it. The key to the understanding of our "knowledge" is the transformative art of our degree system. An egregor is a term used in Ritual Magick which is the collective energy or force of a group of individuals that are united toward a common purpose. The continued reverent repetition of our ritual over time creates this egregor as a reservoir of spiritual power which influences the ritual, the lodge members and the lodge itself.
The lodge is a sacred space because we make it into one. It is through our reverent presentation of our opening ritual which includes a pray to deity for it's blessing upon all the lodge members that we seal this space for our sacredotal and royal art, invoking the egregor to empower us to meet on the level and act by the plumb. When we perform our closing ritual, we unseal the same space. While it might seem trite to do this for our stated business meetings, the egregor that we tap into it is hoped will help guide the proceedings to be positive and productive. However, the egregor is most powerfully employed during the initiatory degrees. It is only as part of this egregor where the transformative energies of our degree work takes hold on each candidate, on a sublime and spiritual level.
I believe that the key to true understanding of Freemasonry is not something that is found in parroting the ritual, going through the motions of the floorwork, and laissez faire adherence to Masonic etiquette. It is only found through meaningful, thoughtful and reverent presentation of the ritual and floorwork to create the egregor. When lodges are united in this cause, I believe that the lodge is healthy on both a spiritual and material level because the egregor is being maintained and perhaps fed by the actions of the lodge. When lodges and their members do not care to treat our ritual and floorwork reverently, by not memorizing it and continuing to practice it, that we see dysfunction because the egregor is no longer maintained, the reservoir of power is continually drained until it ceases to exist.
Which type of brother do you want to be? One that only has "so-called knowledge" or one that has understanding? We are told in the opening of the Entered Apprentice degree in my jurisdiction that we come to lodge to subdue our passions and improve ourselves in Masonry. I believe that we should be doing this all of the time. It is through the study, observation and practice of our ritual and floorwork whereby we should endeavor to learn to meaningfully, thoughtfully and reverently employ it in our lodges. When we along with our brothers are able to do this, then we achieve true understanding of Freemasonry. That understanding is that while Freemasonry can be studied individually, it can only be employed properly in unison with your brothers. My hope is that you are aspiring to maintain and feed the egregor within your lodges.
WB Darin A. Lahners is our Co-Managing Editor. He is a host and producer of the "Meet, Act and Part" podcast. He is currently serving the Grand Lodge of Illinois Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as the Area Education Officer for the Eastern Masonic Area. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s also a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, Salt Fork Shrine Club under the Ansar Shrine, and a grade one (Zelator) in the S.C.R.I.F. Prairieland College in Illinois. He is also a Fellow of the Illinois Lodge of Research. He was presented with the Torok Award from the Illinois Lodge of Research in 2021. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.