We’re currently working through the First Degree Ceremony for the third time as part of our 100 Day Study Plan to learn the Master’s work ahead of going into the Chair. Our first two times through the Initiation ceremony were for learning, this run through is revision – not to be word perfect, but to at least attempt to recall before reading.

After opening and getting up the First Degree Obligation yesterday, today naturally is…

Revising Masonic Ritual, Day 38 of 100: First Degree Obligation

On our first reading through we spent two days reading through the First Degree Obligation, we then covered it again on Day 33 (pages 81-83 in my blue book of Emulation Ritual).

When revising the Ritual (as opposed to learning) I find it best to cover the page with a piece of paper and reveal the lines after you attempt a reciting. This way you can spot any errors and correct now – you don’t want to miss a line out or get something wrong and not realise it until you are prompted in the middle of a Lodge meeting.

I managed to make it about 25% of the way through the First Degree Obligation before I needed a prompt (by sliding the paper down to reveal the line).

I often find that non-common words actually make it easier by acting as little stepping stones because they stand out. You need to learn that little piece parrot fashion, but it’s uniqueness gives you a something to grasp. Having said that, the word “heretofore” can only stay in my mind for 10 seconds – no matter how many times I try –  and whole sentence melts away from my memory.

The irony is that by acknowledging how I can’t remember that part of the First Degree Obligation it will create an anchor point in my mind, so next time I’ll probably remember that piece as the “bit I can never remember”. If that’s how the subconscious mind works then so be it, as long as it works..

By the end of today hopefully you can work your way through the Obligation will needing only a little prompt here and there (and no doubt kick yourself afterwards) and be about 85-90% accurate.

Of the coming weeks it will slowly leak out of your short term memory, but much of it will survive in your long term memory. Assuming your Lodge meets every month and the Ceremony immediately following your Installation is an Initiation then the soonest you will be performing an Initiation will be in 93 days (or 91 days if your Installation is in February!) That is plenty of time to turn short term memory into long term memory.

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