In this episode of In The Chair I talk to Rick Smith, author of the great book “Learning Masonic Ritual, the Simple, Systematic and Successful Way to Master the Work”.
He has also written a companion book “Learning Royal Arch Chapter Ritual”.
Before talking about the book Rick introduces himself and tells us what Lodges he is a member of, and that they have different workings, and the positions he holds in each.
Rick talks about how he got an idea for the book, and how he accumulated the content for it by looking at systems that work, those that don’t, and why you need a system.
The three stages of learning ritual: cramming, learning and polishing.
1. Cramming: Understand the structure and meaning of the ritual to build a foundation.
2. Learning: Get word perfect at the Ritual
3. Polishing: Rehearsing out loud and working on the Presentation
Whilst discussing learning the Ritual, Rick whets my appetite for the Inner Workings that I’ll be going through at my upcoming Installation, and explains that once I’ve gone through it, the next thing will be to prepare learning it for installing my successor next year.
Prompting: decide who is going to be your prompter and train them to prompt when you want a prompt, and not to prompt you when you are just pausing for dramatic effect!
Make sure you attend a Lodge of Instruction, and understand the importance of it. Even if you need to join another Lodge of Instruction, practising and rehearsing amongst other Masons is essential.
Rick also talks about his theory that the Warden’s places in the Lodge are designed so that they have good views of the Master’s work, and the opportunity to learn by example.
Although going into the Chair you ideally want to learn all the Ritual to perfection, that isn’t always possible, so what are the essentials a Master really needs to know, and what the pieces that can be farmed out, and how you can make compromises.
Once you’ve been through the Chair it’s still worth keeping up to date with the Ritual, as it’ll stay in your long-term memory and will occasional revision you’ll be able to step into Offices with short notice.
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