Written by Bro. Ryan Longpre, Beacon #190 (Red Deer, AB), and presented at Eureka #10 (Lacombe, AB) as part of the 2018 District Education / Visitation program, and at Beacon #190 March meeting
The 6 Most Prolific & Ignored Words in Masonry
We all know that masonry consists of many words, symbols, phrases and teachings throughout its degrees. Because of the vast number of learnings in masonry, it is no wonder that we struggle to remember and retain all the masonic knowledge we take in. There are, however, 6 words that in my opinion, are the most prolific to our journey as mason’s, and yet, the majority of us (if not all), simply ignore them entirely. These six simple words are spoken to every mason prior to us ever entering a lodge upon our initiation and are over heard in lodge throughout our masonic journeys and yet we rarely, if ever, discuss or reflex upon them. The words are…..
TAKE HEED UPON WHAT HE ENTERS
The full sentence is “Let him be admitted in due form, but let him take heed upon what he enters”. Now, as a candidate, we all heard these words prior to entering lodge for the first time, but how many of you paused to reflex upon their significance? Did anyone here stop at this point in their initiation to take time to think about what they were about to join? I know I didn’t. I heard the words spoken but thought not much of them, I simply listened to my guide (as I could not see) and proceeded to follow him into the lodge. It wasn’t till much later (2 years) that the relevance of these simple words truly revealed itself to me, but before I proceed to tell that story, lets look at the words themselves for a moment.
Take heed upon what he enters. Depending on how we look at the words, they can mean a couple of different things. To ‘heed’ something is to take note of, be cautious of, or pay attention too. Now if we are to TAKE HEED UPON WHAT WE ENTER as we are asked to do in our initiation prior to entering lodge, then we are being asked to pay attention to what we enter, take note of what we enter, and to be cautious of what we enter.
Paying attention and taking note of something are very similar things. It is also only natural that any organization would ask this of you when you first join. If one is to learn the true meaning of Masonry, then of course one must pay attention and take note of what is going on around him. Now with these words being spoke to us all at our initiation, I believe we are being asked to pay particular attention to our initiation and take note of all that is going on around us as this is the very first step of our masonic journey and the importance of our initiation will be apart of us till the end of our days.
Although asking us to pay attention and take note of our initiation and Masonry in general is wise advice, what about the be cautious part? When we are told to “be cautious” we are really being warned, the true question is then, what are we being warned about at our initiation? This for me, is the deeper of the 3 meanings of take heed upon what he enters.
Now, warning’s themselves are, generally, meant to let us know of dangers that lie ahead, so what are we warning candidates about? Are we trying to scare them off? Are we testing their courage as me asking them to blindly enter the unknown? Are we warning them of physical harm that could come their way? I think not. Then why do we warn every single member prior to them joining and what are we warning them about?
The truth of this warning is cloaked in mystery, much like most masonic teachings are, for this warning may mean something different to each and ever one of us. For me, it was a warning of immense change. Now, back to the story of when these simple words revealed their true meaning to me.
Several months back I was sitting a brother’s house enjoying some fellowship and drinks. There was several of us there that day, including our spouses. For those of you who know me, you know I’m loud and outspoken and enjoy being right in the middle of any good conversation. My wife on the other hand is the polar opposite. She is reserved and rather shy at times, or at least she used to be. As I sat there at the dinner table, I leaned back in my chair and took a moment to “take in” what was going on around me and then I noticed one amazing detail I simply hadn’t seen before. My ever so “shy” wife was laughing loudly, speaking her mind and giving our host a hard time (all in good fun of course). This is behavior I have never really seen in her before. My wife does not drink by the way, so alcohol played no part in her newly discovered socialising. Now this may not seem like much to some of you, but to me, this was a major shock as I was used to my wife quietly enjoying her evening on the sidelines of the conversation, not being outspoken right in the middle of it (this is my job after all). I’ve been a member of other fraternities and brotherhoods before, but not once have I seen my wife come out of her shell like I have with my masonic family. This one moment made me take pause and reflexed over the past couple of years, and when I did, I came to the conclusion that my masonic journey has had a significant impact on those near and dear to me, particularly my wife. The simple acceptance and genuine friendship we have been shown by this great organization has given my wife the support she needed to truly be herself in social situations. This newly found confidence of hers does not end at masonic events, it has trickled through to the rest of her life as well. Masonry has helped my wife become a more confident and self accepting individual and this is something I can never repay.
TAKE HEED UPON WHAT HE ENTERS
A greater warning has never been given, for this warning will affect not only you, but those around you as well. For me, it was a warning of life changing events ahead, some of which have taken place and some of which I’m sure are yet to come. These simple 6 words foretold a great change in my life that I could not have seen coming, and could not have come if I had not joined such a wonderful brotherhood. I have shared with you this evening only one of the many changes I have seen in my life, and I am sure there are many more just waiting to reveal themselves to me in the future as well.
My ask of you is this, take a moment to reflexed upon your masonic journey, really look at the simple yet profound changes in your life and the lives of those around you.
TAKE HEED UPON WHAT HE ENTERS!
What were these words warning you about?