I have yet to meet a man who joined Freemasonry who isn’t in the Fraternity, in part, because of the fellowship involved. Said plainly, the majority of us like to “hang out with the guys.” However, Freemasonry is so, so, much more. Being around good men can certainly have an affect on you and enable you to better yourself, but learning the lessons of the philosophy of Freemasonry will go much further.
When I joined Freemasonry I envisioned a room of men pondering the finer points of life, but that is not what I found. I found men who were good, even great, and fun to be around, though they took the ritual work of Freemasonry with the utmost discretion and dignity. Some of these men know a good deal about the lessons Freemasonry endeavors to inculcate in its members, but the majority don’t know anything beyond what is printed in our ritual monitor, known locally as the Blue Lodge Text Book.
When I leaned about the Scottish Rite Master Craftsman Program (SRMC), I instantly signed up for the first course they had at the time, History & Ritual, the prerequisite course for Philosophy. Having now completed both of those I am returning to the newest course, now billed as the first course, called Esoterika. It takes a lot of time to complete this learning, and the overall cost is low ($165 total for all 3 courses, but paid individually per course, ranging from $40-$65 per). Buying the books alone, without the tests, costs $227.95 (That’s Esoterika, Morals & Dogma, Monitor & Guide, and A Bridge to Light), so you can see the value in ordering the program and not just buying the books!
There are no time limits! I myself took a hiatus during the History & Ritual portion, with several months in between a few of the quizzes – but it was never a problem – you can just pick up and keep going whenever you are ready. Self-paced is more than an apt term for this program. Indeed, they’ll encourage you to take a lot of time, and that the courses were developed with the intent to require you to take a lot of time – which enables you to soak in more of the lessons.
After all, are we not told that we are to “study the legend carefully and learn, if you can, its symbolic and allegorical meanings.”?
At the August business meeting of the Valley of Meridian in the Orient of Mississippi, I received my medal for completing the Philosophy course. With it comes two devices or pips that are Teutonic or Potent Crosses. The devices signify your completion of the other 2 courses. Of course, if you complete all 3 courses in their current order, by the time you get this medal you will have completed the other two courses – so you would pin these devices on your medal to signify that. Since I still have 1 more course to go, I only installed one of the pips.
Whether you are a Freemason or not, you can take these courses. And, whether you are in the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite in the USA or not, I know you’ll find value in these courses. I hope you consider taking them and then spreading the knowledge you gain to others, and inform them where you learned it, so they might take the course as well!
I very much appreciate the Supreme Council for this course, and for leaders such as the Supreme Grand Commander, the Grand Archivist, the Editor for the Scottish Rite Journal, the Director of Member Services, Grand Cross Recipients, and many other staff members who took the time to review and grade my tests. It is a great lesson to see these busy men taking the time to review and grade tests from members and not just leave the task to an employee who might not even be a Freemason. Thank you, Brethren.
Always, always, keep seeking more light!