When you accurately describe the land you wish to Travel, you are better able to Navigate within it, through it or around it.
For some time now I have described Freemasonic Ritual as “Roadmaps for Personal Transformation”. Describing Ritual in this way has enabled me and quite a few other Brothers to delve into what these rituals point toward. This view better enabled us to use these Maps for the ends to which we entered the Society. Perhaps it’s time to describe Freemasonry as a whole so that members overall shall be enabled to both Better themselves and the organization. Let’s start with future members.
From the view of incoming Candidates, the operation of the Fraternity is that which is assumed to be styled after Medieval Stoneworkers guilds, especially when it comes to what is conveyed as the hierarchy of the Organization at the Lodge level. They are led to believe that this is how the Stoneworkers’ Lodges were set up and how they did their business. The Lexicon is present throughout the Lodge as both verbal and symbolic cues, especially while at Labor. They are from the very beginning immersed in a World that is foreign to them and filled with mystery and confusion.
With time comes clarity, but it is a clarity wrought towards the reality of the play put before them and without an anchor, they are swept away by the Performance. If they are like the majority, they too shall never make the leap to comprehend fully the truth that is being offered them through allusion.
So little is shared with Candidates about what they truly should expect beyond experiencing the Degree Performances and perhaps doing rudimentary Proficiencies.
This is a statement that I share with Brothers who have just gone through any one of the Symbolic Lodge Degrees. Feel free to share it as you want, as you can and with proper attributions:
The Road Map Talk
Congratulations my Brother. What you have just experienced is a Road Map of Masonic Progression provided to you by your loving Brothers. It is one of Three Road Maps that you experience within the Symbolic Lodge Educational system. Each Road Map provides you directions to make yourself a Better man.
Your Brothers shall Coach and Mentor you toward becoming Proficient in remembering each of these Road maps. They shall also help you to install them within your head and hopefully within your heart.
I caution you earnestly though to remember always that the work you do installing each Map is not the Work that makes you a Better man. That Work is performed by you when you take each map out, Recognize it for what it is, Understand the Work toward which it points you and then Apply it by Travelling the Territory it represents doing the Work required of you.
Keep in mind always that no Map is a Territory. Should you merely memorize these Maps without following them, you shall be no Better off than had you not bothered to memorize them at all. Should you want to be a Better man, you must do the Work that each Degree directs you toward. Your Brothers should know this well and you can hopefully rely upon them to assist you in doing just that. If they can’t, find Brothers who can.
Once you have Traveled these Territories, Learned well their varying Terrains, and Established the Strengths that each are intended to bring forth within you, your Word shall open up your world in ways you cannot begin to imagine.
One final word of caution, Maps are not Substitutes for the real thing. Should you merely memorize these Maps, accept them as real and Travel not the Territories they direct you toward, you shall bar yourself from the world they are supposed to offer you.
Once again, I congratulate you and wish you well in all your Travels.– Brother John S Nagy
The Source of this material comes directly from Chapter XXI in the book The Craft Unmasked: The uncommon Origin of Freemasonry and its Practice. Feel free to use "The Road Map Talk" with proper attributions.