Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First Degree Proficiency:

Within minutes of my degree ceremony, I was approached by G., the Head Candidate Coach, and also L., another Candidate Coach. Both of them are Past Masters, so they both have amazing amounts of wisdom when it comes to Masonry and ritual. They told me that in order to pass to the 2nd Degree, I would have to commit a bunch of information to memory, and would be tested on it.

From what they said, it was recapitulation of my experiences during the ritual, along with the obligation that I swore to, in its entirety. Apparently there is an option to take the “short form” of proficiency, which is MUCH shorter and MUCH easier, but both of these gentlemen would have nothing of it. I was to learn the entire “full form.”

(That being said, I have found out recently that the “short form” proficiency is only to be used in extreme circumstances, when there appears to be no way that the candidate can memorize the “full form.”

I won't be so bold as to speak for my entire generation, but I think that people may try to make it easier for us 'young-uns' to join Masonry, but I for one, don't want it. If someone truly can't learn it, that's cool, do the "short form." But personally, I want it to be hard. I want to know that I've earned it.)

I met with both G. & L. on numerous occasions, together and separately, and pounded through the memory work. Luckily for myself, committing text to memory comes quite well & very quickly. I pretty much had whole thing memorized in about 2-3 weeks, but due to other degree ceremonies scheduled and the Lodge going dark in the Summer, I didn't do my proficiency for about 3 months.

As an aside: Now, having memorized the whole flippin' thing, I can assure you that (at least in California, anyways)
Duncan's Ritual is WRONG!!!

That's all I'm going to say on that point.

The second main part of my proficiency was to write a paper answering 3 questions posed in the California Grand Lodge Entered Apprentice Handbook. This was really quite cool, as I could put some of my thoughts on paper about what the ritual was supposed to convey and what it meant to me.

If I'm allowed, I might post that text here on my blog. We'll see.*

Now that it's all memorized and it's good to go... The only thing left to do is...

Wait a time with patience, until it's time to do the proficiency.


*Our Lodge Secretary, R., is looking into it.
**Clarification: The Grand Lodge of California doesn't have a ritual book like those shown above, at least not to my knowledge. We're required to commit the proficiency to memory by rote.


Tom Accuosti said...

Congrats, and kudos!

BTW, it's not so much that Duncan's is wrong, it's that every state has some variation; even states will change their own ritual for various reasons that never make sense to me. Duncan's is old, so NY has changed several times. It's similar to Conn, but somethings are very different.

If you want something really different, you need to see parts of Canada or Australia.

Prexy said...

Actually, Brother, the GL of CA does in fact have a ritual book, but it is written in cipher. Once you have seen the degrees enough times though, it becomes almost as plain as actual writing. Furthermore, you should at least be able to get a pamphlet from your secretary with the entire proficiency written out (in cipher form of course). I don't know if the GL still publishes them, but they were around when I went through. Anyway, congrats and good luck!

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