In my last blog I addressed the mistake I believe United Grand Lodge of England made when it removed the penalty portion of the degrees, penalties I believe that were meant to inform not warn.
Now I would like to address another change in Masonic ritual that should be looked at.
It is said in Freemasonry we meet upon the level, meaning we are all equals.
The fact is that makes no sense, in Freemasonry we have more titles then the military.
We are also told to square our actions, another symbol taken out of context.
Enter Brother William Preston who wrote a series of lectures on the degrees in the late 1700s which Thomas Smith Webb revised and rewrote for American use in the early 1800s. Almost all Grand Lodges in the United States work a ritual derived from Preston and Webb’s work. Here is where we find the lost in translation moment.
In Preston's ritual we find "we meet upon the square and hopefully depart on the same level.", a simple sentence brother Webb may of misunderstood when he rewrote the American ritual.
I believe Preston's makes more sense when you understand the underlying philosophy of Freemasonry (oh yes brothers there is a philosophy).
Allow me to explain; the square is symbolic of matter. What is matter, none other than this life, our body, this earth. This is the plane in which we now meet, matter, the square.
As for the level, once one begins to understand the symbolic meaning of the seven levels (or steps) to the Master of the Lodge and how they relate levels of consciousness (or understanding) than one will understand why it's actually alluding to a high level of awareness we hope to depart with (not some rank system).
I guess Webb just didn't understand what Preston was trying to convey (I guess they weren't on the same level).
What if said to circle your actions, or triangle your actions, would that make sense?