Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Meditations on My Masonic Ring

 Meditations On My Masonic Ring

Authored by Arbon C. Ransom

Reviewed and edited by Gary Robert's and Jason Lee 

    On the top of my masonic ring is the Compass that makes the divine circle in which bounds one should stay. With it one is able to make the Square. If one uses a compass to draw a circle and then draws a straight line from one side of the circle to the other, that passes through the center point, they will now have two additional points where the line starts and ends on the circumference of the circle. A fourth point may now be arbitrarily chosen on the circle’s boundary. If this point is connected with straight lines to the end points of the dissecting line made earlier, one will have made a right or square angle. Thus, the angle of the square comes from and can be tested by a circle. It is fitting that the Square of morality and virtue is contained and formed within and beneath the circle, or compass. Ethics and morality are determined by what is self-evident, sacred, and inviolable. In the middle of these parts, of the properly lived and examined life, is the letter G. It represents the Name of God. It is also fitting that this virtuous and controlled life would be centered around a Supreme Being, or transcendent Good.

    We can trace the Name of God back to many different and ancient cultures where it was considered to be a source of great power. Among the ancient Hebrews, it was believed that the proper utterance of the Ineffable Name of God by one who is worthy would result in the working of great miracles, or the power of God being manifest on the earth. So perhaps it is within the life lived by the Square and Compass that the power of God or the Divine is found. What is this power? The GAOTU designs, creates, and dictates all things. He is the Logos that harnessed truth to speak potential into being, and saw that it was good. When we live according to divine principles determining our actions we discover, or it is revealed to us, that the Divine or the creative is within us and can be manifested. If we speak and act out Truth we will turn the potential within and around us into something good. How else are we to be expected to truly transform ourselves from a rough ashlar into a smooth one? This is something simple, yet I believe it to be one of the enlightened principles and secrets that Freemasonry offers to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. When we truly realize our potential, we begin to act for ourselves and not be acted upon. We realize that life is not meant to be squandered by being a piece in someone else’s game.

    So, when I look at that ring on my finger I am reminded of who I truly am and of what I am capable. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Importance of Practice for Perfect Ritual

The Importance of Practice for Perfect Ritual

Authored by: Gary Roberts

Edited and Reviewed by: AC Ransom & Jason Lee


In a basketball game, each subject (player) is given unlimited time and freedom of movement before each free-throw attempt. The only instruction they are given is that they must shoot the ball from behind the free-throw line and in front of the three-point arc. The shooter can loft his cowhide globe from anywhere they wish behind this painted line. If you are a fan of the sport, you have seen various methods and movements used by players to focus their efforts in hopes improving their effectiveness and chances of making the 1-point shot.

Specific examples of basketball free-throw ritual include one of my all-time favorites, Karl Malone (Utah Jazz, 1985-2003 and L.A. Lakers 2003-2004)[1], had a well-known pre-free-throw tradition. Each time he came to the line, you could see him speaking to himself under his breath, and he seemed to say the same thing, every time. The formal prework worked well for him as he is known to be one of the better percentage of free-throw shooters in the NBA (.725).

Other notable high percentage free-throw shooters in the NBA also had their pre-shot rituals. Richard (Rip) Hamilton (Washington Wizards 1999-2002, Detroit Piston 2002-2001, Chicago Bulls 2011-2013)[2] would always take two standing dribbles that landed directly in front of himself. He would then take a third dribble off to his right side before making his free-throw attempt. It worked well for him as he had an 88 career free-throw percentage. Jeff Hornacek (Phoenix Suns 1986-1992, Philadelphia 76ers 1993-1994, Utah Jazz 1994 – 2000)[3] used to do this funny thing where he would rub the side of his face with his right-hand several times before tossing the ball at the hoop. Those repeated movements worked well for him as he hit the mark 87 percent of the time and achieved a career-best 95 percent average during his last year of play with the Utah Jazz. 

Other sports have rituals too. In baseball, pitchers wind up their arms and step off the mound with practiced precision, hoping to always get the ball past the opponent at the plate. When serving the ball in tennis, players bounce or lift the ball in practiced ritualistic prose to place the ball with exact precision on the opponent’s side of the court. Even warmups before an event are ritualistic. The players do the same stretches the same way every time to achieve the desired outcome. In the case of sports, it is a win. The player is trying to accomplish a “cause and effect” by committing to their ritual.[4]

As a species, humans are committed to ritual[5]. Humans find meaning and comfort when we make the same repetitive motions. Birthdays, the daily greeting, or periodic attendance at a holy festival or service all help to ground ourselves and bring meaning to what we are.

Ritual is the cement that holds society together.[6] Ceremony forms an essential aspect of our social structure, a means by which people find their place in society. One purpose of ritual, when combined with religion, are actions, which “regulate our relations with special [spiritual] beings.” The social attachments that people develop and the objects that serve as symbols of that bond, such as a religious text or the national flag help strengthen commitment and purpose.

In Freemasonry, the ritual is the center piece of what we do. Like our operative brothers, we practice our craft and go through the same movements and motions, hoping for a perfect outcome. In operative masonry, that is the perfectly laid out ashlar. In speculative masonry, the hope is to create a much-improved, upright man and mason.

A modern Masonic guide states that ritual is “a practice done in a set and precise manner to produce a result with a symbolic signification... It can be viewed as a formula that creates a hidden code to be discovered by those who are in search for the truth.” Masonic ritual, in its general form, has been used for hundreds of years to create an “idealized reality of a perfected Man” in each of the members of the Lodge. Bro. Wilmshurst, in The Meaning of Masonry[7], states:

Masonry is a sacramental system, possessing, like all sacraments, an outward and visible side consisting of its ceremonial, its doctrine, and its symbols which we can see and hear, and an inward, intellectual and spiritual side, which is concealed behind... and which is available only to the Mason who has learned to use his spiritual imagination and who can appreciate the reality that lies behind the veil of outward symbol.

In other words, there are two sides to Masonic ritual: the outward and the inward; these are likened to the great Mystery Schools of ancient Babylon and Greece, where there existed and were performed Lesser and Greater Mystery ceremonies. In general, the legends contained in Freemasonry parallel those from the old Mystery schools; and, Freemasonry by its attestation across the ages teaches a system of morality.

“The manner in which one approaches the ritual of Freemasonry is perhaps the single most important aspect of observing the Craft.[8] Hammer goes on to state that a room filled with men dressed to the nines if they perform the ritual poorly, cheapens the ceremony in the eyes of the candidate and conveys to the Brothermen that the symbology and meaning associated with that ritual are unimportant. A poorly built ashlar will fail and be a burden on those for whom the work was performed and those associated with them.

“In order to have the ritual perform its “magic,” the physical, emotional, and mental formation of the sacrament must not only be as ‘good as we can make it,’ but also involves positive intention and perfect cooperation by each participant. When Freemasons achieve synchronization in these three areas, the ritual will provide the most constructive outcome possible. The partaker of the ritual does not know what awaits her, but the presenters do; thus, the onus of a well-done ritual lies mainly on those that are performing it.”[9] 

The effects of correctly performed ritual are flawlessly illustrated in the poem entitled “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.”[10] The violin in the Master’s hand provides a melody so sweet that it’s value changes right before the eyes of the auctioneers. So too should the value of the man, whom we call brother, change as we, master masons and protectors of our speculative craft, perform and perfect the ritual that is the central part of our craft.

[1] Karl Malone, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 October 2020,

[2] Richard Hamilton, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 August, 2020,

[3] Jeff Honacek, ESPN,

[4] The Power of Superstitions and Rituals in Sports, Liam Blackwell,

[5] The Power of Ritual, Casper ter Kuile, Published June 23, 2020.

[6] Durkheim, E., & Cosman, C. (2001). The elementary forms of religious life (New ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

[7] Wilmshurst, W. L. The Meaning of Masonry

[8] Hammer, Andrew (2010). Overserving the Craft. Mindhive Books.

[9] Wilson-Slack, Kristine, The Effect of Masonic Ritual: Part 1,

[10] Welch, Myra.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Purpose of this Blog

Fraternal greetings,

The goal of Freemasonry is to make good men better. To take something rough and turn it perfect. This process is ultimately an individual journey, but Freemasonry should provide the framework to help its members make that progress. The question therefore becomes; what is that framework? How do we actually make good men better? If we cannot answer this question then we cannot truly call ourselves Masons.

In times of old, when instruction was needed, the master workman would draw his plans and designs upon a trestle board to give the workers an outline of the work to be performed. So, too, is the intent of this newsletter. To provide our brother Masons with the opportunity to explore the question of how we make good men better. As members read texts, gain education, and explore the mysteries of Masonry, we would invite those members to share some of that knowledge here. To write down what they have learned and how they have applied it in their lives.

By necessity, some knowledge may only be explored in the light within the walls of our lodge and we do not want to publicly share more than we should. To this end, we request that any submission to this newsletter be first read and edited by at least two (2) Master Masons. Their task being to ensure both quality of prose and restraint in revelation. With their approval, the document may then be submitted to whomever is currently running the website (currently: Carl Ellsworth) to provide final approval or to be returned to the author for further editing.

This is not a social media platform. This is not an occasion to make suggestions on what to read or expound on something “cool” that was recently experienced. Instead, we intend that this takes on a form similar to that of an academic, peer-reviewed journal or publication. A place where brothers can work together to share what they have learned for the benefit of all, in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. We want to make a place for deep musings and intellectual pontification. That is why it must be read by two Master Masons before posting, why it must be approved before being accepted. We may not be perfect, but as Masons, we demand quality.

In humble testament of this goal, we present the following articles as exemplars of what we hope to be included herein:

Meditations on My Masonic Ring

  Meditations On My Masonic Ring Authored by Arbon C. Ransom Reviewed and edited by Gary Robert's and Jason Lee       On the top of my m...