The Death of Ritual

This issue explores the importance of, not only Masonic ritual, but everyday ritual in our lives.. It was edited by Michael Jarzabek, with articles by the talented: Erik Marks, Robert RJ Johnson, Angel Millar, Mark Pearrow, Baruti Kmt-Sisouvong, and Adina Dabija. This issue features the amazing original artwork of Brady McNulty on the cover.

Editor’s Word

An often-heard argument is that Freemasonry is about more than just the ritual. This sentiment reduces ritual to a mere exercise of rote memorization and recitation of the words of which our ceremonies are composed. While it is indeed these things; it is not merely these things.

Throughout this magazine’s pages, we will find that Freemasonry’s rituals, be they internal, external, or universal, are a vast repository of useful knowledge that enables man to preserve society through the progression of the soul. With this in mind, we made a very conscious decision to make the reader’s journey mostly personal rather than merely academic. Many have written in the past about the rituals of others. In contrast, most of the authors in this issue speak from the base of their personal experience.

Ritual is a medicine prescribed for the treatment of an unhealthy soul. It is no accident that we often find the word prescribe associated with the word ritual. This prescription, however, is much more than merely the form and function of the three degrees. One consumes this elixir through communal meals, manners of embrace, modes of dress, and the use of terms of endearment such as calling one Brother. The modern initiate would do well to understand that while Freemasonry is not merely its rituals, it is nothing without them.

Likewise, society is hollow without its rituals; they are the tie that binds humanity. We have an inherent need to celebrate transitions, whether they signify a beginning, middle, or end. Over the last year, many rituals have been subdued, postponed, rescheduled, or canceled. People have laughed alone and cried alone. People have been born alone, and they have died alone. In the end, perhaps that is man’s greatest fear…to be alone and forgotten.

The power of ritual comes from its use. The difference between knowing and doing is the difference between the scholar and the initiate. We hope that our humble offering enables Freemasons to understand the vast unexplored treasures hidden within our tradition and society so that they may use them to heal themselves and those around them and truly dwell together in unity.

Michael Jarzabek