Friday, November 28, 2014

THE CRAFT UNMASKED BOOK PREVIEW: Chapter V. The Masterful Roots


Good Day My Fellow Travelers,

Here's an article published in Oct. 2014 based upon my upcoming book, "The Craft Unmasked - The Uncommon Origin of Freemasonry and its Practice", due out December 1st that might be of interest to you.  It's not the full chapter, but it gives a good idea as to the content and direction.

Fraternally and Sincerely,

Bro. John S. Nagy
Building Better Builders Series Author

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Chapter V. The Masterful Roots
 

When you seek the Mysteries of Freemasonry, you had best be sure that
what you seek is exactly what is being offered. 
 
It was a few years ago that I came across a curious connection between the words, Mastery and Mystery.  I put that connection aside while I pursued other ventures, and as fate would have it, that connection continued to harass me ever since.
 
bf)))))))fa
 

 My original quest entailed seeking the roots of the word Mastery.  What drove me?  I was seeking a better understanding of the word and believed looking into its etymology would reveal more about how it came to mean what it does today. 
Upon further prompted investigation, I found to my delight that the Word Mastery has the same roots as the word Mystery. They both meant[i] at one time “handicraft, trade, art”, which came from another Medieval Latin root that meant “service, occupation, office, ministry”.  As it was originally used in the late 14th century, it reflected a man’s trade or profession.  At that time, it would not have been uncommon for a man to be asked what his Mystery was and to have him state his occupation.  It should be no small wonder how the two words were intimately entwined as all trades had secrets that would be closely guarded and only shared with those who were worthy and could be trusted not to share them with outsiders, no matter what the situation.
The other meaning that the word Mystery relates to is what is now commonly accepted today: that which is associated with secrets involving rites, worships and hidden things. 
It should be clear that when you truly Desire to Learn the Mysteries of Freemasonry, you’re going to have to study the Craft and make your efforts more than just a mere preoccupation to find secrets.  It’s no small Mystery! You’re going to have to become exactly what you Seek and do so with Mastery.





[i] mystery (n.1) "handicraft, trade, art" (archaic), late 14c., from Medieval Latin misterium, alteration of Latin ministerium "service, occupation, office, ministry" (influenced in form by Medieval Latin mysterium (see mystery (n.2)) and in sense by maistrie "mastery see ministry)." mystery (n.2) early 14c., in a theological sense, "religious truth via divine revelation, hidden spiritual significance, mystical truth," from Anglo-French *misterie, Old French mistere "secret, mystery, hidden meaning" (Modern French mystère), from Latin mysterium "secret rite, secret worship; a secret thing," from Greek mysterion (usually in plural mysteria) "secret rite or doctrine," from mystes "one who has been initiated," from myein "to close, shut" ; perhaps referring to the lips (in secrecy) or to the eyes (only initiates were allowed to see the sacred rites).
The Greek word was used in Septuagint for "secret counsel of God," translated in Vulgate as sacramentum. Non-theological use in English, "a hidden or secret thing," is from late 14c. In reference to the ancient rites of Greece, Egypt, etc. it is attested from 1640s.
The two senses of mystery formed a common pun in (secular) Tudor theater.
 
 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

THE CRAFT UNMASKED BOOK PREVIEW: Chapter I. The Grand Assumption


Good Day My Fellow Travelers,

Here's an article published in Nov. 2014 based upon my upcoming book, "The Craft UNMASKED! The Uncommon Origin of Freemasonry and its Practice", due out in 3 days that might be of interest to you. 

Fraternally and Sincerely,

Bro. John S. Nagy

________________
  

Chapter I. The Grand Assumption

  

So many Seekers assume that Freemasonry comes from Roots that are somehow Disclosed by or Alluded to within its very Rituals and Lectures.  Unfortunately, the very Craft Freemasonry conceals is done so well that it required no hiding at all! 
 
From all that is written about Freemasonry, one could conclude quite safely that the Society from its very beginning has masked its origins in Masterful veils.  One could also easily conclude that it was purposefully done this way as to take focus off its primary root and on to what it was designed to do.  Such conclusions are easily supported by the overwhelming lack of consistency among the multitudes of theory surrounding the craft built up by years of conjectures from hundreds of zealous authors.
Along these same lines, anyone removing these carefully placed layers would not find disclosed any deceit or deception.  They would not find a terrible grand conspiracy of any sort.  They would find, as with every Masterful Production, Freemasonry’s intention to accomplish something wonderfully Grand.
It is abundantly clear that the Freemasonic Organization was a truly Masterful way to do something that was life changing for any generation.
 
Ì  ä
 
      There is one constant within these writings which stands out as a beacon which has led many members and non members to crash upon the rocky shores of self-deception.  That one consistency is the assumption that the Freemasonic Organization came from any origin other than the one that would be most obvious and clear to an unbiased observer. 
Far too many have accepted without question the offerings of those who have come before them.  Equally, far too many have not stepped back and actually Observed what the Craft was actually doing.  As a result, when faced with investigating Craft origins, they start out upon their quest on a biased road and in directions that lead them toward further illusion.
From our Society’s very beginning, one specific assumption was made by almost every member Entering the Craft.  From then on that one assumption has had each member redirect his thoughts away from its true origins and toward historical fantasies that had nothing to do with Craft origins. 
 
A Brotherly Light House 
 
Brother Albert Mackey had a good sense that this was the case.  His thoughts on investigating Craft Origins are captured in a few of his attributed writings on Freemasonic History.  He was not kind in what he had to say about many of the authors of his time, or those whom preceded it.  Brother Albert states very concisely that to write Freemasonry’s history, one must first take extreme care in how you define it.  He goes on to convey that it is also clear that to include Masonry in this writing, it must not be taken to be synonymous with Freemasonry unless “we confine ourselves closely to the events that are connected with the Institution in its present form and organization.”  Our Brother also tells us that far too many authors use the word “Masonry” loosely.  He provides several examples of this looseness and he then summarily dismisses their contributions as a result.  His message is a warning that very few have heeded, even to this day.
For me, I believe he conveyed great wisdom and was on the right path.  I believe his observations and conclusions were brilliant on this issue.  I also believe that he did not go far enough in his statements.  He did however reveal the path to future Craft Origin discovery for those who would follow his works.

Tagging Along

A few years back, I began to see that there was a difference between how all the words associated with Freemasonry and Masonry were being used.  Sometimes they were being used synonymously.  Other times they would be used within the same sentence and they would change their meaning each time they were being used.  The consistency of this was enough to grab my attention and hold it.  And I would find that I was not alone in this piquing.
Within a very short time, I had gathered enough information to conclude that the two words were entirely different in their focus.  I also concluded that there exist many people, in particular Brothers, who take them to mean the same thing.  Included in this latter group are many of the writers that help shape the psyche of each generation, inside and outside the Society. 
Furthermore, not only did they take these two words to be synonymous, but they used them interchangeably and with shear irreverence to their roots.  In that acceptance, they were blind to their blatant differences.  With every sentence they constructed, they soon could not see any difference whatsoever as they employed them in their writings.
I began to share my observations about these two words with others.  I first did this with those who expressed to me their confusion as to what the Society was actually doing.  We seemed to have come to the same conclusions along similar lines of investigation.  It was a breath of relief for all who engaged in these thought exchanges.  In a very warm way what we saw was being confirmed through our interactions. 
This validation brought about a bit of boldness on all our parts and we began sharing our thoughts and conclusions with others outside our circles when opportunities arose.  It was amazing to us how we would get such a mix of responses to our disclosers. 
Some listeners simply nodded their heads in understanding.  It was clear to us by their response that they saw and believed the same things.  You could see in their countenances, and more specifically their eyes, how much they appreciated our putting words to what they intuitively felt.  It was an awesome experience for all of us.
 
Brotherly Ugliness

There was a dark side to all this.  There were some self-appointed protectors of the Craft that took exception to our sharing.  They found it annoying and antagonistic to what they had come to believe about the Fraternity.  In response, they reacted very negatively to any and all sharing that was contrary to what they themselves had accepted to be true. 
Sometimes they would respond with abusive indignation.  They took any opportunity they could to attack both the thoughts and the very person who shared these thoughts.  They did so with a barrage of words and actions that made the heads spin of those involved and even of those who observed. 
The fallout of their negative behavior degraded many opportunities for harmonious discourse.  Their broad strokes of disharmony were seen everywhere contrary thoughts were shared.  They employed dissention with every word they conveyed.  Their mere presence would be a signal to shut discourse down.  Many left who came together for intelligent exchange.  They soon shut down any efforts to share Light contrary to what they dogmatically held to be true. 
It was clear to all of us that the Light we shared was not welcome by Darkness.
 

Further Down the Path

As thoughts evolved around the differences between Freemasonry and Masonry, investigations continued.  Thoughts were exchanged and conclusions became more refined.  Some, other premises that were normally taken for granted, were approached, inspected and ascertained as to whether they could be taken to be valid any longer.  A whole new world of investigation soon unfolded before our eyes.
And we were delighted by what we found!
 
Ì  ä


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Brother Asks... Holy Saints John


A Brother Asks: How do the Holy Saints John fit into Masonry?

My Response: I'll focus strictly upon the Masonic side and not the Freemasonic side of this question. When interpreting Ritual Masonically, I always default to how Allegory and Symbol support the Transformational Work that the Degrees point Brothers toward.

The first Degree Work is Development and Cultivation of the Heart -- Bringing Order to the Chaos of the heart is its whole purpose. This clearly is alluded to... by Holy St. John the Baptist; he was a man of great passion. Research his life to get a feel for how this applies.

Likewise, the second Degree Work is Development and Cultivation of the Head (Intellect) -- Bringing Order to the Chaos of the head is its whole purpose. This clearly is alluded to by Holy St. John the Evangelist; he was a man of great intellect. Research his life to get a feel for how this applies.

Sure, they collectively allude to 1) the Left and Right side of Masonry (Heart and Head), 2) the before and after (Alpha and Omega) and 3) the Solstices (Great Illumination verus Lesser Illumination), but the allusion to the Transformational Work has ALWAYS taken priority for me -- how else can the claim that "Masonry makes good men better" be justified and supported?

If we don't keep the Transformative Work as our focus, then it's all just mental pleasuring. Not that this isn't fun, but nothing of any significance occurs for any man without Work.

F&S,

Brother John S. Nagy