Welcome, to the guided learning course based on the “The Entered Apprentices Handbook” by J S M Ward.
We have the pleasure of delving into the intriguing world of Masonic rituals. Our focus will be on the degree of an Entered Apprentice, with the aim of inspiring you, especially our younger brethren, to move beyond the external form of ceremonies and explore the profound significance that lies within Masonry.
Now, before we begin, I want to acknowledge that not all of you may agree with the conclusions I present. Masonic rituals, much like Holy Writ, are multi-faceted and open to multiple interpretations. They have evolved over time, influenced by different epochs and forces that both differ from and agree with one another. This constant adjustment between seemingly contrary yet complementary factors is what gives the Ritual its adaptability and enduring relevance.
At the heart of Masonry lies the relationship between Spirit and Matter, Heaven and Earth, God and Man, and the Soul and the Body. It is crucial for us to reconcile these elements, and the Ritual serves as a conduit for achieving this harmonious balance. Over time, certain emphasis may be placed on one side or the other, depending on the prevailing cultural, social, and spiritual climate.
Let us take, for example, the symbols of the Cross and the Square. Initially, these symbols represented earthly matters, but as time went on, they came to signify the essential principles of both Christianity and Masonry. By integrating the physical and spiritual aspects, Masonry emphasizes that piety towards God must manifest in benevolent relationships between individuals.
In our exploration of symbolism within the Craft, I propose an interpretation of the Junior Warden and Senior Warden as representing the body and soul, respectively. Despite the terrestrial nature of the Junior Warden’s emblems and the celestial nature of the Senior Warden’s, these roles are ultimately intertwined and inseparable. Masonry inherently embodies the interweaving of the divine and the human, emphasizing the interdependence of duty towards God and duty towards one’s neighbour.
I must stress that the Fatherhood of God implies the Brotherhood of Man, and conversely, dedicating oneself to the service of others demonstrates a brotherly relationship and a connection to the Divine.
The purpose of this lecture series, and this initial volume in particular, is to deepen our understanding of the Ritual’s significance and enhance our appreciation of its external features. By taking the time to study, learn, and internalize the meaning behind the ceremonies, we allow the symbols and emblems of Masonry to come alive with an inner light that magnifies their beauty.
These handbooks cater not only to our junior brethren seeking greater understanding of the Ritual, but also to those among us who are already well-versed in its intricacies. The warm reception and popularity enjoyed by these books among the Craft attest to their ability to meet the recognized need for comprehensive expositions of the Ritual, adding depth and illumination to this cherished tradition.
Through the pages of this book, I invite you all to embark on a journey of exploration, enabling you to transcend the superficial and dive into the depths of Masonic wisdom. My scholarly approach, enriched by extensive reading, travel, and profound understanding of men and affairs, aims to instil confidence in our analysis.
While it is important to note that not all of you may resonate with my conclusions, I hope that this lecture provides a valuable stepping stone towards uncovering the hidden layers of the Ritual.
In conclusion, this course reflects my commitment as a Masonic scholar and my dedication to illuminating the deeper meaning of Masonic rituals. By encouraging you to move beyond the mere observance of ceremonies and to seek a profound comprehension of their symbolism, I invite you to unlock the treasures of Masonry. Drawing upon my extensive knowledge and experience, I strive to shed light on the intricate relationship between Spirit and Matter, and the unbreakable connection between God and Man.
With the hope of inspiring our younger and seasoned brethren alike, this series of handbooks promises to guide Masons towards a more profound appreciation of the enduring teachings of the Craft.
Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to our further explorations together.
To summarise, the aims of this course:
– This course is based on the book by W. Bro. Ward, a well-known Masonic scholar and author.
– It is the first book in a series of studies on the meaning of Masonic rituals.
– The book focuses on the degree of an Entered Apprentice.
– The author encourages readers to go beyond the surface level of the rituals and understand their deeper meaning.
– The author acknowledges that not all readers may agree with his conclusions.
– The rituals of Masonry are seen as a balance between spiritual and material aspects.
– Emphasis is laid on the reconciliation between Heaven and Earth, God and Man, and the Soul and the Body.
– The symbols of the Junior Warden and Senior Warden represent the body and soul, respectively, but are ultimately inseparable.
– The main objective of the book is to help readers understand the significance of Masonic ceremonies and enhance their appreciation of the rituals and symbols used.