Friday, February 16, 2018

A Brother Asks: Your Thoughts on this Meme




A Brother Asks:  Coach Nagy, I’ve seen a Freemasonic meme recently that puts a spin on the three degrees that doesn’t seem quite right.  What are your thoughts?

Coach:  The problem with the meme is it more accurately reflects the romantic notions and imaginings of the meme creator rather than the actual degrees themselves. 
Let me review each claim and provide a suitable response to each.
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The First Claim:

“Entered Apprentice - The first Degree of Masonry is symbolic of birth. The candidate, in a state of darkness, is brought into the lodge not knowing what will follow; but trusting his Brothers to lead him along the way in his quest for light (knowledge).
The Reality:

This Degree is a Freemasonic Degree; not a Masonic one.  It is not symbolic of birth; it is symbolic of initiations of ignorant intemperate youths.  Brothers will not lead candidates along any path in any quest for light.  These Brothers will perform plays called “rituals” that point to activities and goals that candidates must do and achieve to transform themselves to the better, but only when these candidates pay close attention and follow the road map that is symbolically acted out before them.
The Truth:

The first Degree is symbolic of the Work youths must engage in to move themselves from Youth to Adulthood.  In this respect, they must transform their Rough Ashlars to Perfected Ashlars. Their Work brings Order to the Chaos of their Hearts so that they are freed to take upon themselves the burdens of Adulthood and it strengthens them to assure they can handle it, when they do the Work. 
Those who have taken the time to study the degrees understand this.

-------------------------------------

The Second Claim:
“Fellowcraft - The second Degree of Masonry, the Fellowcraft Degree, is symbolic of the life and the work that makes a man into a gentleman.  Through trial, error and study, the rough stones are made smooth.
The Reality:

As pointed out before, this Degree is also a Freemasonic Degree; not a Masonic one.  When candidates are not already gentleman by this time with already smooth ashlars, their mentors and coaches have failed to properly…

                  1) assess the candidates’ readiness for progression; and
                  2) prevent them from progressing. 
 
The Truth:

The second Degree is symbolic of the Work adults must engage in to set the stage for moving into Age.  In this respect they must Raise their Perfected Ashlars by climbing the Winding Stairs (Develop and Cultivate Mastery of the Seven Liberal Arts & Sciences which sets the stage for spiritual pursuits) so that they may be positioned and cemented into that house not made by hand - The Masonic Brotherhood.  Their Work brings Order to the Chaos of their minds so that they are further strengthened to take upon themselves the burdens of Age and lives that lead to eventual death.
Those who have taken the time to study the degrees understand this.

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The Last Claim: 
Master Mason - The Master Mason Degree is symbolic of death and rebirth.  The candidate begins by proving that he is in possession of the lessons learned in the former degree, and he is symbolically raised to new life in the brotherhood.”
The Reality:

The third Degree is symbolic of achieving and celebrating mastery, aging and eventual death; there is no rebirth.  This entire degree is designed to let candidates know that they will eventually pass, and do so either by unexpected consequences or natural decay, whether they achieve Mastery or not  There is no rebirth or even resurrection.  The Allegory presents a test for candidates to see if they have Raised themselves and can actually apply the lessons of the previous degrees appropriately and in line with the intent of the Degree.  The individual responses and reactions to this degree tell all involved who know this whether each candidate did or did not do his Work proficiently.
The Truth:

The third degree is symbolic of the Work Masters must engage in bringing into alignment their Heads and Hearts.  The alignment Work is critical so that they may attend to spiritual pursuits without being severed in twain by the two pulling them in opposing directions.  Their Work is to assure future generations are given opportunity to Mature, cultivate Mastery as well and make accept death so that they may live more fully.
Those who have taken the time to study the degrees understand this.

-------------------------------------

 
The Blue Lodge Degrees symbolize the life of men, what to expect and what is expected should they want better.  These Degrees don't require them to do anything other than make promises. 

However, should candidates going through them actively listen to what they present and internalize what they point toward, they'll have a road map of life that they can follow to make the best of it, when they to the Work!

F&S,

Coach John S Nagy







Friday, January 26, 2018

A Brother Asks: Producing Unbiased and Untainted Works




A Brother Asks: I'm not sure anything Brothers write can be unbiased or untainted.  I'm not even sure that is desirable!  How do you research thought without bias?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Brother Asks: Degree Focus and Work

 
 
A Brother Asks:  I'm in constant discussions with other Brothers about the degrees and find myself at a loss for words at times.  I would appreciated some concise language  regarding the blue lodge degrees, what they are about, their focus and the work they direct us to do.  Could  you and would you provide to me your shortest breakdowns possible of each Degree Focus and Work?
 



 
Coach: Sure! And kudos to you for being engaged with your Brothers in these serious discussions and asking for this.   Here are a few triplets that you can use to convey degree focus, purpose and Work each points toward.
 
It's not about training; it's about Learning!
  1. EA - Preparing to Learn
  2. FC - Learning How to Learn
  3. MM - Learning and Teaching
It's not a about learning the degrees; it's about Learning what the degrees Direct us to Learn!
  1. EA - Learning about the Creature - The Self
  2. FC - Learning about the Creation - The Universe
  3. MM - Learning about the Creator - The Word
It's not about being orderly; it's about Bringing Order to Chaos!
  1. EA - Bringing Order to the Chaos of the Heart
  2. FC - Bringing Order to the Chaos of the Head
  3. MM - Bringing Order to the Chaos of the Spirit
It's not about building; it's about Living!
  1. EA - Laying the Foundation of the House
  2. FC - Building the House made not by hand
  3. MM - Living in the House (baking cookies, being a host and inviting guests)
It's not about Mastery; it's about Providing the World with Masterful Brothers!
  1. EA - Maturing the Youth
  2. FC - Mastering the Adult
  3. MM - Replacing the Master
Satisdiction?
 
F&S,
 
Coach John S Nagy
 
 
 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Brother Asks: Where's the Goat?



A Brother Asks: Coach!  I keep on hearing jokes about goats from my Brothers.  I've  looked high and low and can't find any association with goats in ritual.  Where's the goat?

Coach: Parts of goats are displayed right on top of two officers' staffs[1]?

Brother: Goat parts?

Coach: Yes, goat parts?

Brother: Okay, I'm looking at the insignias used upon all the staffs and I don't see any goat parts.

Coach: Of course you do. 

Brother: No.  I don't see them at all.

Coach: You do.  You just don't recognize them.

Brother: Okay.  I give up.  Which staffs?

Coach: The Stewards'.

Brother: All I see are weird looking squiggly cone shaped things.

Coach: There is a name for them.  Care to hear it?

Brother: Sure.

Coach: They are called, "cornucopias" .

Brother: Cornucopias?

Coach: Yes, cornucopias.

Brother: How are cornucopias parts of goats?

Coach: Great Questions!  If you do a little research, you'll find that a cornucopia is defined one way as "a symbol of plenty consisting of a goat's horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn." 

Brother: Okay, that makes sense.

Coach:  What does?

Brother: The cornucopia...  I remember hearing this word as a youth when I asked what those strange looking things in the Thanksgiving pictures were with all the fruit coming out of them.

Coach: Yes.  Cornucopias are one of many symbols used during this observance.

Brother: Okay.  So you are saying the Steward staffs have goat parts on them.

Coach:  No.  I am pointing out that the Stewards' staffs have a cornucopia upon each of their tops, that a cornucopia is "an ornamental container shaped like a goat's horn", that it is a symbol for "an abundant supply of good things of a specified kind" and that a cornucopia is a goat's horn overflowing with specific good.  This is what I am saying.

Brother: I am beginning to see what you are saying.  Our ritual does indeed allude symbolically to goats through the cornucopia.

Coach: I'm glad that you are seeing it now.

Brother: Are there any other connections?

Coach: I'm impressed.

Brother: Impressed?

Coach: Yes.  I am.

Brother: By what?

Coach: By your further interest.


Brother: Further interest?

Coach: Yes.  You didn't stop at the cornucopia information.  You continued to seek further connections beyond that one.  That is impressive.

Brother: Why?

Coach: So many members stop at the information they are provided.  They do not question it.  They remain content not seeking Light beyond that which was provided.  You didn't do this.  You're still seeking.  That's impressive.


Brother: Thanks!

Coach: You're most welcome.

Brother: Well?

Coach: Ah!  Good. 

Brother: Thanks! Please continue...

Coach: I suggest you look at the Freemasonic allusions to the Tropic of Capricorn, when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky during Winter.

Brother: Capricorn?  Isn't that a symbol that is based on, "Enki", the Sumerians' primordial god of wisdom and waters?

Coach: Yes!  It is.

Brother: Doesn't Capricorn have the head and upper body of a goat and the lower body and tail of a fish.

Coach: Yes. The goat part of the symbol depicts ambition, resoluteness, intelligence, curiosity, steadiness and an ability to thrive in inhospitable environments.

Brother:  And this is all alluded to by the time of year that Saint John the Evangelist's day is observed?

Coach: Yes.  Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area of the heavens from December 22 to January 19 each year.  The dates differ for the sidereal zodiac.

Brother: I'm enjoying these goat connections.  What's more?

Coach: Good!  You're remaining on task.  Have you ever looked at the word "Tragedy"?


Brother: A long time ago.  Why?


Coach: You might want to look into it again and make a sincere effort to connect the etymology of the word with that which we do overall and that which we do for candidates as we carry them through the third degree drama.[2]

Brother: Wait?  You're not going to give me the Light?

Coach: I just did.  It is up to you to use it.

--------------------------------------------------------

[1] a.k.a or called "rods" in many jurisdictions
[2] Chapter XIII; The First Freemason; The Craft Unmasked! The Uncommon Origin of Freemasonry and Its Practice; Bro. John S Nagy; Nov. 2014

 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Freed Cave Dweller Maxims



Good Day Fellow Travelers!

I wrote these "Freed Cave Dweller Maxims" years ago due to some in depth conversations with some frustrated light seekers.  They were put forth in guidance, in humor and in love.   

Perhaps they may provide some grist for your thought mill.

Enjoy!


Bro. John S. Nagy

--------------------

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #1: Knowledge is not Power; it's inventory. It is only through application that Knowledge emPowers.


Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #2: Share what you know only with those who will apply it for Good.

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #3: Going back to the cave to find those who will apply knowledge for good is a awesome responsibility not intended for the weak of spirit and timid of heart. It is a loving act.

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #4: To spark a QUEST, ask an empowering QUESTion.

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #5: To incite a massive jail break, write a whole bunch o' questions and publish them in a series of odd sounding books designed to cause chain corrosion.

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #6: Never assume a curious person is a moral person.

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #7: Those who cannot handle Light shall find ways to numb their reality, conceal their numbing ways from themselves and others and sabotage and, if need be, destroy those who make effort to reveal these numbing ways.

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #8: Self-serving action is not a bad thing.

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #9: The cave can be a really fun place to visit, especially if you like messing with cave dwellers in subtle but beneficial ways.

Freed Cave Dweller Maxim #10: When returning to any cave, bring a Light. It'll help Guide you and keep you warm.

What maxims do you see needing to be added?




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A BROTHER ASKS - Volume 1 - Uncommon Discourse about Hiram



Brother and Friends!

On November 7, 2017, I pressed the print button on my latest book, "A Brother Asks - Volume 1 - Uncommon Discourse about Hiram" and received copies for distribution three days later. 

This book is unlike any other I have written and I believe you'll find it entertaining, informative, thought provoking and a very difficult book to put down.

Please read through the back cover copy, the table of contents and the "soon to be available" reviews when you have an opportunity.

F&S,

Brother John S Nagy

------------------------



Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Brother Asks: Apron Flaps

 
 
A Brother Asks: In some lodges I have seen that the flap of the apron worn is pointed up... why is that so?
 
Coach: It's a direct allusion to Stonecraft Masons. Stonecraft Apprentices had their flap up to assure their clothing, chest and body were not negatively affected by what they were working upon. While the flap is much smaller in the case of Freemasonic wear and missing neck strings, Stonecraft Masons' flaps went from their waists all the way up to just below their necks and had a way of fastening the flap around their necks.  

FCs were frequently supervisory in capacity and hence did not require the flap being up all the time unless they had to demonstrate something for teaching purposes or do something that apprentices could or should not do.
Coach: There are a lot of things that the flap turned up could mean. However, the most basic meaning is that apprentices have a lot of hard work to get through and it could tear them up if they are not properly protected in doing so.
 
 F&S,

Brother John S Nagy
------------------------------------ 
 
NOTE: Pictures c/o Brother Steven McAfoose of Florence Lodge #949, Florence, KY, USA  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Brother Asks: Is Parroting a Learning or Teaching Problem?

 

A Brother Asks: At my last meeting of my new lodge, one of our brothers mentioned "parrot mason".  He explained these were members who were fluent with the rituals and lectures but only says them without understanding the full meaning behind the lectures and ritual. Which makes me wonder, is it a learning problem or a teaching problem?

Coach: Brother, please look up the word "telos".

Brother: An ultimate object or aim?

Coach: Yes. The problem is the perceived telos.

Brother: So what's wrong with the mission? Are Masons not understanding what masonry is all about?

Coach: Before we go there, what's a "parrot"?

Brother: Someone who repeats back what they hear, with no understanding of what they are repeating back.

Coach: Yes! Let me expand it.  The archetypical parrot mason's telos is "to memorize and give back"; not "to learn, understand and apply".

Broather: YES!  So how do we fix this?

Coach: Great question.  First you must establish and maintain a telos that's 1) clearly what you want to accomplish for everyone involved, and 2) concise toward that end.  Then you must 3) have it unwaveringly supported by all involved.

Brother: So better communication and better everything?

Coach: No. Make sure everyone involved supports a prescribed telos that actually "makes good men better" rather than only "giving it lip service and no results".

Brother: So practical application then? sorry I'm just not understanding this.

Coach: You asked: is it a learning problem or a teaching problem. I'm telling you it's a telos problem. The parrot telos is "memorizing and giving back without understanding and application".  This only brings about more parrots.

Brother: Ah! Okay...  I get it now.

Coach: The Masonic telos is not "to parrot"; that's a Freemasonic telos. The Masonic telos is "to make good men better".  Parrots actually think parroting makes them and others better. They are mistaken.  That being said, without them, ritual performances would likely stop altogether.

Brother: Huh?

Coach: Think about it.  Parroting in and of itself is not a invaluable activity. 


Brother: What!?

Coach: Members who memorize and give back are providing an important aspect of support to the craft in that their lived out parrot telos keeps ritual performances going.  They preserve the code and hand it down to the next generation!  In this respect, they should be respected and honored for what they contribute, not for what they themselves lack.

Brother: Interesting!  I had not thought along those lines.

Coach: Good response!  So, what is the problem?

Brother: Understanding and Accepting that each member contributes in their own way and each should be honored and respected for what they choose to give.

Coach: Indeed!


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Brother Asks: What's up with Ghana?



A Brother Asks: Why are we getting so many requests from men in Ghana asking for help with joining Freemasonry ?

Coach: The reasons are quite simple and are alluded to by the very men who seek membership. 

One seeker conveys:
In Ghana it is very hard to join the great brotherhood. As the general rule goes like 2b1ask1, you can rarely see Freemasons. You can only reach them on the various platforms on social media but are not open. Please I may need a brother from the masonic lodges in Ghana...
This seeker put into words the underlying reasons why we are getting so many posts from men within this nation. 

What are those reasons? 
  1. The perceived game of hide and seek going on and seekers believe that they should play along.
  2. Men, the seekers,  within Ghana hear the unbelievable Ghana Freemasonry Mythos, get excited by it and want to join. 
  3. Men who have joined, the hiders, are keeping to themselves and are doing so for a whole bunch of other perceived reasons, including and not limited to:
    • keeping the "mythos", "mystic" and "mystery" intense
    • knowing full well that being a member isn't all that the mythos portrays
    • it's an "in the know" clique
    • charging higher initiation fees and dues
    • perceived "society favors and perks"
    • perceived power and ego tripping
All this perceived holding back only drives the seekers to want to join even more, especially when they are being compelled by the belief that they will benefit only if they try harder to join.  This in turn drives members into keeping to themselves even more due to the perceived side perks.

Of course, the frenzy only escalates for those who get fixated upon becoming a member.  This is typically expressed in words conveyed by yet another seeker: 
...please help me, i'm determined to do anything that it might require to become a member...
And there's another perceived game, as is conveyed by yet another seeker, and it is quite crazy making:
...there are Masonic Lodges in Ghana according to what I read at www.Grandlodgeofghana.com. But the fact is none of the email addresses nor phone numbers of the mentioned Lodges are active... ...even their locations are not well known except the main one in Accra...  And even when you call or visit the main Hall you are told to get a Mason to introduce you.
And another conveyance from the same seeker:
...in Ghana, even when you go a Masonic Lodge for a petition you are told to go look for a member, befriend him to introduce you...
So, according to the first seeker, "2b1ask1".  But according to the second seeker, when you ask someone within the main organization or at an actual Freemasonic Lodge, who you would think are themselves members, "...you are asked to get a Mason to introduce you..."  or "...you are asked to go look for a member, befriend him to introduce you...", which is next to impossible to do when the very members that you are asking are telling you to seek elsewhere. 

It's insanity exemplified!  However, it is also evidence of some awesome word-of-mouth marketing techniques at play. 
 
Brother: So how do we help these membership seekers?
 
Coach:  The first thing to do is understand the insane games that are actually going on and the influence these perceived games have upon the seekers.
 
Brother: Then what?
 
Coach:  Then realize that you truly cannot help them in the way they are seeking you to help them.  The games that are actually going on are internal to the culture and, more specifically, the members within that area.  The seekers are making effort to circumvent the perceived games by going outside their cultural boxes in hope that outsiders can and will influence the perceived game going on toward each seeker's favor. 
 
My response to your last question is this, and I shall paraphrase our mythical Grand Master Hiram:   
Other than letting them know the nature of these perceived insane games and the actual games and how each is influenced by members within their area, we cannot; we should not; we will not get involved.  It's a waste of time for all involved.
Brother: So what do we say to them?
 
Coach: Communicate the actual game going on...
  1. Seekers are required to find a member through non-organizational means or connections. 
    • Members will not cooperate through these channels.
  2. Once a member is found, seekers are to befriend them. 
    • Members are not looking for more members.  They are looking for friends.
  3. Once befriended, seekers are to invest time in building that friendship. 
    • Members want to know that seekers are invested in the friendship and not the hopes of attaining membership.
  4. Seekers should continually keep in mind that no one person outside that relationship is to influence it coming together or progressing forward. 
    • Members are turned off by outside interference.  The friendship should be brought together and supported by the relationship between the two and separate from outside influences.  
  5. Once built, seekers are to live on hope that members like them enough to support each seeker's efforts to join.
    • Members are keenly aware that their membership status is a beacon for member-wannabes. Members detecting non-friendship motives for the relationship connection will likely continue to be friendly, but not likely friends.
  6. Should seekers try to discuss becoming members before the approached members determine if the motives for joining are acceptable, the seekers shall most likely never be supported toward membership.
    • Once again, members are very keen on detecting motives that are outside those that should be influencing the relationship coming together and driving it  forward.

Brother: But, that game doesn't sound insane at all?

Coach: Yes.  It truly doesn't.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  According to research done by a trusted Brother regarding obtaining membership in lodges that reside in and around Ghana, the following should be understood:
  1. To obtain a petition from a lodge you want to join, you must be proposed by a member of that lodge.
  2. To be proposed by a member of any lodge, that member must know, like and trust you.
  3. To be known, liked and trusted by a member, you must first have an ongoing relationship with that member outside of your seeking membership.
F&S,

Brother Nagy


Monday, August 14, 2017

A Brother Asks: Passions' Radius?

 
 

A Brother Asks: We've been told that we are supposed to circumscribe our passions.  What specifically should be the radius of a Brother's Passion?
 
Coach: That's a great question.  How would you define "Passion"?
 
Brother: Something that a person feels very strongly about.
 
Coach: That's a great start.  I add to your thought that, while a desire is something that someone wants, a passion is something that a person wants so strongly that he is compelled to take action to pursue it, even if it means that he suffers in his pursuit and does so willingly!
 
Brother:  That makes sense.  How can that be translated into a specific radius for circumscription?
 
Coach: Knowing that he is willing to suffer, a Brother, by virtue of being held to account for his passions as prescribed by Freemasonic ritual, should set the radius of his passions short of causing any and all sufferings upon others that he is compelled to embrace for himself.
 
Brother:  I get it.  No other person should be made to suffer as a result of a Brother's passionate pursuits.

Coach: Exactly!  Let's make it personal. 

Brother: Sure!

Coach: When anyone other than yourself suffers because of your passion, you've gone too far. 


Brother: But what about those who are willing to suffer with you?

Coach: Then they by their engagements have revealed aligned passions with yours and are either directly or indirectly willing participants who, by their very willingness,  engage in suffering also, and do so by choice!

Brother: But wouldn't you agree that if such suffering results in damage then you've went too far?


Coach: Wouldn't that truly depend upon what you want and what you are willing to sacrifice to obtain it?

Brother: How so?

Coach: I agree that collateral suffering even to the point of damage is an unwarranted imposition upon those who have not agreed to suffer along with you in your pursuits. 

However, if you willingly suffer to the point of damage to your person, yea even your life, then you have a desire in your heart that is to you worth more than your person.


This does occur when passions run high and is usually viewed as heroic by those who benefit from such passionate actions without suffering themselves. 

Brother: Have you an example to offer?

Coach: Do you think Christ went too far?


Brother: Point taken.