Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

18 October 2007

That Successful Feeling

Part of loving the ritual is listening to it performed with different stylistic interpretations. I have often imported practices witnessed in other jurisdictions, for instance, replacing the slides for the Entered Apprentice lectures with what is now considered "The Deering-style walking lecture." Really, it is just the style I saw at St. John's Lodge in Portsmouth, NH and imported to my Mother Lodge. From the English I picked up singing "so mote it be" and from Tranquil Lodge at Lewiston, ME I picked up a new style for exchanging the Entered Apprentice's and Fellow Craft's Words.

Last night was the annual Inspection and Visitation at Harmony Lodge in Gorham. The officers did a great job and it was a real pleasure to see young men doing such good work. The Master was one of the Brothers at Tranquil Lodge and he too heard the new exchange style. They employed the new style with great skill making it a proud moment for all of us. The new style is taking root in the 17th District!

The other difference in the ritual was even more thrilling. At the class on the Development of Masonic Ritual I discuss the phrase "...always hail, forever conceal, and never reveal..." in Maine ritual. The word "hail" was originally "hele" and it means "hide; cover; roof". The pronunciation of the word is up for serious debate among Masonic scholars (See "Notes on 'Hele'"). Nevertheless, the consensus among Masonic scholars of note, particularly the late Harry Carr, is the three words were always intended for form a rhyme for easy memorization and stronger impact. If the word, therefore, is to be pronounced "hail" then the others should be "con-sale" and "re-vale", however, if the other two are using a modern pronunciation then the triplet should be "heal" "conceal" and "reveal". Having discussed this at two classes and in other presentations I was both astounded and pleased when the Master of Harmony Lodge said "...always hele, forever conceal and never reveal...".

As the District Deputy Grand Master said in his remarks, "He looked like a proud papa." And so it was. Never insisting or demanding, just teaching and seeing the lessons take root and grow. I am proud of the young men in the District, their fine work and their efforts to make Masonic ritual grow in beauty. Renewal is a beautiful thing...

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At 11 November, 2007 19:41 , Blogger radcliffe said...

Good ritual binds us and the lodge, seeing a Brother come to light and then incorporate the moral teaching lifts the heart and mind. I am so glad that these ancient degrees still hold sway, unchanged.

At 23 November, 2007 14:00 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you are a FM be careful what you post, and remember the consequences

At 23 November, 2007 17:31 , Blogger Christian Ratliff said...

I am indeed a Freemason, a fact you can confirm with the Maine Grand Master's Message from Sept 3, 2007 "Maine Masonic Educational Summit").

As for consequences, I am not sure I have done anything wrong in this particular posting. The debate over the word "hele" and its place in the ritual is well established online, in research articles and in books. There is no secret divulged with the line "...always hele, forever conceal and never reveal...", as it is frequently quoted in said materials. Is there something else I should be aware of in this posting?

At 24 November, 2007 08:56 , Blogger radcliffe said...

Ratliff, dont be concerned about anonymous's comments, there is no prohibition against anything about except the signs of recognition. I have a distinct feeling that some of these anon comments are from someone with another agenda.


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