I was reading an article by Don Harvey called, ‘Tips and Tricks on becoming a Master of your Craft’, and this gem shone out:
Practice + Effort = Skill.
Skill + Effort = Achievement.
In our journey to being the best person we can be, using Freemasonry as our guide to that end, I saw this simple phrase as:
Practice + Effort = Fellowcraft.
Fellowcraft + Effort = Master.
The Winding Staircase. – Steps to the Making of a Master.
The common denominator is ‘effort’ – ‘the physical and/or mental capacity to achieve something’. (Cambridge Dictionary).
To achieve there must be a willingness and a desire to reach a goal. Without that willingness and desire to learn and be adaptable to change you can never become a ‘Master of your Craft’.
I put this question to you: in Freemasonry does ‘Master’ mean; ‘Mastered the Masonic ritual’, or does it mean, ‘Mastered a significant way of life’?
This is something I struggle with whenever it comes around to selecting the Master of a Lodge. Does mastering the ritual have more sway over mastering a significant way of life? Or vice versa.
The ‘ideal’ candidate, of course, would have both qualities.
In the first degree we find the ‘moral man’, in the second degree we find the ‘intellectual man’. A man who is continually developing his knowledge. At the time of the Guilds, in the middle ages, at the genesis of Freemasonry, higher education was in the form of the Trivium and the Quadrivium. The seven liberal arts and sciences.
The Trivium – grammar, rhetoric and logic.
The Quadrivium – arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy.
These studies were intended to provide a general knowledge and develop general intellectual capacities as opposed to professional or vocational skills.
The Trivium gave the learner the tools to understand language and reasoned argument whilst the Quadrium the means of calculation, both essential qualities of the educated man of the time.
Even today when going for a job or entering into higher education, qualifications in English and Maths in the UK at a general level are an essential requirement.
The symbolism of each step of the winding staircase is to continue your personal development throughout your life, right up to your last breath in this world.
Each day brings new challenges and each day we learn more about ourselves and the world around us. By using all of our senses we become at one with the universe.
As we pass up the staircase we pass each of the five noble orders of architecture from the plain column of the Tuscan through to the most decorated column of the Composite, showing the developing skill sets of your education in each step. They align with the five senses for when learning it is essential that all our senses are used.
A simple experiment is to close your eyes and just listen to what is around you. Now open your eyes and see what the noises heard relate to.
What extra information are you acquiring?
Now take hold of an object, how does it feel; rough, smooth, sharp, cool, warm?
What does it look like, colours, shapes?
Does it make a noise?
Does it smell?
What does it taste like?
We have applied our five senses and each sense brings more information, and so with the five noble orders of architecture. Each order requires a little more skill to complete.
So as we require more information through our senses our skill level advances to produce a column of exquisite design.
The steps are winding which symbolises the courage it takes to make each step into the unknown, for we are unable to see where the steps are leading us.
But with the strength given to us at our foundation, the courage of the moral man, and the hope that that brings we take each step with confidence and trust in our guide.
The first three steps indicate our moral development. Square conduct, level steps and upright intentions.
The second five steps our physical and skill based development and the third seven or more steps our intellectual development.
Self-development is a continual life process for as we learn we realise that, ‘the more we know the more we know we don’t know’, which in itself brings a desire to learn more. A daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.
Our goal is to reach the top of the staircase and receive the reward of our labours.
Make learning a habit for ‘Masters are made, not born!’ (Don Harvey) Enjoy every moment of every day for the purpose of life is happiness.
‘Tips and tricks on becoming the master of your craft’. Don Harvey.
Masonic Ritual. Lodge of Union No. 38
Article by: Stephen J. Goulding
Stephen was initiated into Freemasonry in 1978 in Tylney Lodge No. 5856 (UGLE). He was Master in 1989 & 2004.
He was Master of the Lodge of Union 38 (UGLE) in 2018. He is also a PZ in the Holy Royal Arch and PM in the Mark Degree.
Stephen served 30 years in the Metropolitan Police Service (London, England) before going into education in 2000, where he became a college lecturer and a mentor for both the college and the University of Greenwich (London, England). Now retired, he teaches Tai Chi and Qigong in the community.
Facebook: Steve Goulding-Tai Chi West Sussex–Chi at Chi
Recent Articles: in this tutorial series
Commentary on the Second Degree Charge
In the second degree we learn about being an educated man. Skilful, not only in the Craft itself but also how to communicate and manage others. This Commentary looks at the second degree charge in detail.
The Charges in Each Degree
The ‘Old Charges’ have come down to us, containing the rules and regulations by which Lodges should be run and the moral and social standards to which each Lodge member should adhere.
The Winding Staircase
Steps to the Making of a Master. The symbolism of each step of the winding staircase is to continue your personal development throughout your life, right up to your last breath in this world.
On the First Degree tracing board the most dominant feature is Jacob’s Ladder stretching from Earth to Heaven. Being straight, it is the shortest and quickest way to reach heaven, and being straight you can see the end goal.
The North East Corner: A Lesson on Charity
The ritual of the North East corner is a powerful piece of teaching. Let us examine that piece of ritual more closely; the lesson on charity.
When we look at the ritual book the deacons are told to ‘perambulate’ with the candidate. So what does this really mean?
Vows of Fidelity
The taking of a ‘Vow of Fidelity’. Oaths, Vows and Covenants
Morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols
A phrase that immediately comes to mind when describing Freemasonry – Morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Let us have a look at what this phrase actually means.
Officers of the Royal Arch The Principals – Spirituality
Who were the Principals and how do they link Spirituality
Officers of the Royal Arch - Scribe Ezra
When we describe faith what do we mean?
Officers of the Royal Arch - Scribe Nehemiah
In order to achieve enlightenment it is necessary to have an 'inner peace', a calmness of the mind in the midst of turmoil and stress.
Officers of the Royal Arch - The Sojourners
Who are the Sojourners , Having self-respect you never compare yourself to others
Officers of the Royal Arch - The Janitor
Who is the Janitor, What is your destiny? going beyond yourself spiritually
Commentary on the Charge after Initiation
A more detailed explanation in order for us to understand the Charge after Initiation
Officers of the Lodge - Worshipful Master
Who is the Worshipful Master being placed in the east? your spirit, the quality of your purpose in life.
Officers of the Lodge - Senior Warden
Who is the Senior Warden – Your very essence
Officers of the Lodge - Junior Warden
Officers of the Lodge - Who is the Junior Warden? – Spiritual Consciousness
Officers of the Lodge - Deacons
Who are the Deacons ? - The most important aspect of communication is not only to listen but to hear. Hear both what is and what isn’t being said.
Officers of the Lodge - Inner Guard
Who is the Inner Guard – Instinct
Officers of the Lodge - Tyler
Who is the Tyler being placed outside the door of the lodge, symbolically to protect our moral selves.
to be a better citizen of the world
share the square with two brothers
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