Category Archives: Degrees

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Patrick Farrell, PDDGM
Secretary, Masonic Association
11th and 12th Districts

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There are a few items in the February Monthly Mail of particular interest to the 11th and 12th Districts.

1. Lodging reservations for the upcoming Annual Communication in Orlando.

2. Ezra Lodge outdoor degree to be held March 22, 2014

3. The 37th Annual Chitlin Degree to be performed by Albert J. Russell Lodge No. 126

4. Chili Cook-off at Amelia Lodge No. 47 on March 25, 2014 //CANCELLED as reported at MA Meeting 2/26/2013

5. Pilgrimage Day at the Masonic Home on Saturday, March 15, 2014. This is of special interest to local lodges because our own Lady Betsy Griffith’s Project, renovation of the Chapel at the Masonic Home, will be unveiled. We have a bus going and there are still seats open. Contact RW Frank Kleese for info. He needs your money by this Wednesday at the Masonic Association meeting which will be held at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center.

The complete Monthly Mail page can be found here:



Patrick Farrell, PDDGM
Secretary, Masonic Association
11th and 12th Districts

Seven Rules For Learning Ritual

The background of this document is currently unknown. Hobasco Lodge was moving and organizing its artifacts when [a] file was found. It was scanned into the Secretary’s computer for archival purposes. This edition of the Seven Rules for Learning Ritual was typeset and formatted by Brother Eric S. Howd of Hobasco Lodge #716, Cayuga-Thompkins District, of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York [and reprinted here with Brother Howd’s permission.

Having spent a few years learning the proper delivery of ritual and striving to find ways to improve my own performance I have sought the advice of many learned brothers regarding their own methodologies and preparations. The wisdom contained in the pages of this tiny pamphlet is immediately apparent to any serious ritualist. I hope you find these rules helpful.

1. Follow the admonition of the Charge of the degree of Entered Apprentice.

During your leisure hours, that you may improve in masonic knowledge, you are to converse with well-informed brethren, who will be always as ready to give as you will be to receive instruction.

Since some of our ritual is in code, learn it correctly the first time through. It is much more difficult to relearn incorrectly memorized material than learning it correctly from the start. It is also more fun to work with another Brother because of the fellowship it promotes. First cardinal rule of learning ritual: Do not work alone!!!

2. Read the piece you are working on in its entirety! Get the gist of what it is that we are trying to teach in the piece. Go over it in your mind. Retell the same message in your own words until you know what the “thought” is behind the ritual piece. Make a brief outline of the piece.* Only when you have a good working knowledge of the meaning of the piece of ritual, should you begin to memorize it. The biggest mistake the beginner makes is to begin the memorization process too soon. What are the “key words” that would remind you of each thought? As you learn the key word or thought, associate those keys as retrieval cues to jog your memory. Second cardinal rule of learning ritual: Know the meaning before beginning to memorize.

* For the esoteric or coded work, make this outline in your mind. The exoteric or monitorial work may be outlined on paper. Look in your monitor for the difference. All the esoteric work has been deleted.

3. Work in short time periods. 15-20 minutes, then take a 2-3 minute break. Do not try to consciously remember what you have worked on. Let it “cook” in your mind for a few minutes. Then go back to the work. Your subconscious mind will do a lot of the work, if you let it. Three time periods would be the most for any one day. Don’t overdo it! Third cardinal rule of learning ritual: Work in short time periods.

4. When you start a new session for the day, never never begin with a recitation from memory. This rule must be followed, with no exceptions! The reason is simple. Since the material is not yet firmly in place in your mind, you are apt to do that first recitation incorrectly. This incorrect recitation will make an impression on your mind. Then you will have to relearn it. You do not want to make more work for yourself. Read the portion of the ritual you want to practice, preferably, out loud. Read it carefully! Then try a recitation. One recitation only! Reread the portion to correct any mistakes. The try another recitation. Keep this alternating process up until you know the piece cold. Fourth cardinal rule of learning ritual: Do not begin a days session with “memory recitation.” Read-recite-read-recite.

5. Some time before the degree, go to the lodge room and practice the piece in the actual place in the room that you will be giving it. If during the degree you will be moving from place to place, then practice reciting your part while moving about. Suit the action to the word. There is no substitution for this important rule. Performing in an unfamiliar place makes it more difficult to do a good job. Practicing in the actual Lodge room will aid and allow your memory to do its best job. Fifth cardinal rule of learning ritual: Practice in the Lodge room in the very place you will be during the degree.

6. Have confidence that you will do a good job. Remember, no one is perfect. Anyone can have a momentary loss of memory. That’s why we have prompters, and while on the subject, have the Master announce that only one person is to prompt. Also, have an agreement with the prompter, that he is to cue you only at your request. You can use a verbal or hand signal. It gives an authoritative impression when you are the one to request a prompt, but don’t overdo it.Sixth cardinal rule of learning ritual: Have confidence but also back yourself up with a well-informed and well-rehearsed prompter.

7. Relax! Always remember the most important rule of doing ritual: have fun! This will be contagious to the new Brother for whose benefit you are giving the work in the first place. Both learning and teaching are best done in a relaxed atmosphere. Seventh cardinal rule of learning ritual: Relax and have fun!

These simple rules are to help you learn and teach the important tenets of our fraternity. Ritual should never be a tortuous process. There is so much value in our teachings that we must never cloak it in the image of difficulty and too much solemnity. Keep in mind our watchwords …

let there be light!


The author also recommended a reading list for learning about Mnemonics. You might find them helpful. Through the magic of modern technology I have turned these APA style references into hyperlinks to the book.

Buzan, Tony. Make the Most of Your Mind. New York: Fireside, 1984

Buzan, Tony. Use Your Perfect Memory. New Your: Plume, 1991

Lorayne, Harry. How to Develop a Super Power Memory. Hollywood: Frederick Fell Publishers, 1989

Lorayne, Harry and Jerry Lucas. The Memory Book. New York: Ballantine Books, 1975


I found this to be insightful wisdom. Now, what do you think? Do your experiences confirm or discount this advice? Is there something you’d like to add? Perhaps as you sit there thinking you will recall to mind a time in your own life that illustrates this wisdom? Care to share? See the comment link below and tell us all about it. Thanks for reading.



2012-05-17 Hyde Park No. 370 – MM Degree

Front L-to-R: RW Wilmer Atwell, W Bobby Que, Bro. Alberto Felizmena, W Freddie Velasco, 2nd Row L-to-R: RH Corey Kosciusko, W Bill Crime, RW Rudy Boatright, RW Wiley Hart, Bro Todd O. Jennings, Bro. Reynaldo Viray, Back Row L-to-R: W Wayne Williams, RW Alan McQuaig, W Brad Yoder, W Tony Chavez, Bro Lawrence Griffin, W Mike Stoinoff

In spite of the thunderstorms, brothers from six local lodges as well as one visiting brother from Pennsylvania gathered to confer the MM Degree on FC Brother Alberto Felizmena. The evening began with fellowship and giving thanks for our many blessings. The lecture was performed by RW Wilmer Atwell and the charge delivered by W Tony Chavez. Finally, RW Rudy Boatright and RW Alan McQuaig presented Brother Felizmena with his bible and masonic monitor. It was an enjoyable evening with plenty of fun and fellowship as we turned in our labors.

2012-05-15 Barnett Lodge No. 187

Front L-to-R: Bros. John Broughton, Joshua Card, John Fails, Joshua Fitchett, Kaream Johnson, James Neal, Gale Arnold, John Santiago. Center L-to-R: Bros. Clint Mcquarry, Victor Towns (hat), Bruce Ford, Shawn Shannon, Back L-to-R: W Chris Glass, Bro Todd O. Jennings.



The evening began as usual with good fellowship. Five lodges were represented by approximately 35 or so brothers. We came together to break bread and get on with some work. After greeting many brothers, some that I had not seen in quite a while, we took time to give thanks for our many blessings. We then feasted on Sheppard’s Pie with a side salad. Since we were at Barnett Lodge, we were greeted by a plethora of the most delightful sweets for dessert.

After dinner, we retired to the lodge room for labor. Brother Victor Towns presided in the East and with the able assistance of Brother Dave Thomas managed to turn in a respectable performance. The remainder of the degree team followed suit and all ears were at the door to make sure the Georgia work stayed outside.

The new Fellowcrafts were treated to a fine lecture by RW Robby Stokes of Solomon Lodge no. 20. The Charge was delivered in fine fashion by Brother Shawn Shannon of Barnett Lodge. Many positive comments were made by brothers throughout the lodge as well as the FC brothers. The lodge was closed in Due Form and harmony prevailed.

New Master Masons at Orange Park

Front Row L-to-R: Bros. Matthew Moore, Bruce Hanson, Lance Norman 2nd Row L-to_R: Bros Richard Bilyard, Sr., John Moore, RW Patrick Farrell, W Duane Trump, RWDDGM Frank Kleese, RH Corey Kosciusko Back Row L-to-R: Bro Maleko Berrier, RW Rudy Boatright, Bro Richard Bilyard II

Last month, April 30th, we raised two new Master Masons at Orange Park Lodge. It was especially meaningful for Brother John Moore, member of Riverview Lodge, because he was able to raise his grandson, Matthew Moore. W Bill Maule performed the part of King Solomon before turning over the honors to Bro Moore.

Under the category of Honored Guests we were pleased to host RWDDGM Frank Kleese. The 1st part of the degree was conferred by W Duane Trump, Master of Orange Park Lodge. In the 2nd half, the District Instructor for the 12th District, RH Corey Kosciusko performed the part of King Solomon. The lecture was delivered by Bro Mark Balester and the Charge by RW Patrick Farrell.

Left, W Duane Trump, Master of Orange Park Lodge. Right, MW Bob Trump, Past Grand Master of Masons in Florida