What does a Coach Nagy seminar include?
What does a Coach Nagy seminar include?

What does a Coach Nagy seminar include?

By Paul R. Swanson, 32° KCCH

On April 6, 2024, we invited John S. Nagy, Masonic Coach, and member of our valley to head our training for the day. He had done so the previous year on April 1st, which was a success. This year, unfortunately, we saw several competing options for Masons, including a funeral. Still, those of us who attended were treated to several Masonic topics in review and new ones for our enlightenment. Coach Nagy moves fast in his review of Masonic topics!

Coach Nagy draws from over 150 PowerPoint presentations that are about 45 minutes long. He also has numerous YouTube videos which anyone can check out on Masonic topics. If you are interested in a topic, he has likely talked about it in his many podcast interviews.

The day starts with a simple review that all of us should remember, the trivium and the quadrivium. He mentions the history of the English language and then he reflects on how he was intrigued by several aspects of Masonry. He shows us how the Ngam research works, something I have mentioned several times in my monthly education presentations for this valley. By 1700 the English language was set in its present form.

He cruises into Maslov’s hierarchy of needs and how it applies to our great fraternity but then adds something most of us don’t know, the addition of the 6th need, that of transcendence! This last need is very important to the Mason seeking light.

My next notes are about the old stone masons and how their language made it into our rituals today, including perpend Esler which became the perfect ashlar later, an oblong square which means a rectangle in our language today, and how free was originally used, and had nothing to do with slavery. Free meant master in French and found its way into our rituals in English. Perfect in Shakespeare’s time meant certain, sure, and well-informed. The word perfect thus means informed, as inform the Tyler, perfect points of entrance means informed entrance, etc.

Bourne is reviewed, it means transformed, like crossing the Bourne, from uninformed to informed, while perfect means suitable for the builder’s use in practical application for Mason’s life.

In the next session after a break, he reviews the EA work, with a toolbox of the 11 working tools of that degree. As many will remember, the EA degree is designed to bring order to the heart of the undisciplined ashlar. The purpose of the working tools is to internalize the disciplines to erect the spiritual building agreeably to God’s designs. I don’t know many brothers who have thought as much about the EA degree as Coach Nagy.

The review of the tools takes a bit and is very informative. It is not a review like in the EA lecture either. The tools are reviewed for practical application to one’s life. He mentions that the EA degree strengthens our relations with God and reviews Jacobs’s ladder.  Boaz, which means “manly strength” in Hebrew is noted.

He reviews the Book of Nature and the Book of Revelation concepts. At one time there was in the Middle Ages a real book of nature! Science has taken the subject into such a large volume that no single book can now make that claim, entire sets of books fill that void. But the idea of such a book is maintained in our rituals as well as being mentioned by several Christian saints in their writings. We now use it as an analogy.

The Book of Revelation is the volume of sacred law we place on our alters, the inspired word of God. It takes both books, along with the 7 liberal arts and sciences to bring order to the chaos of our minds, allowing us to see the patterns that are revealed in the symbols and analogies which are useful for building wisdom. Why do all of this?

These things must be completed so that the mature mind can then contemplate the study of philosophy and theology.

He continues the day with many other fascinating topics, such as the substitute word, which is better covered in his book, A Brother Asks, Volume 1, Uncommon Discourses about Hiram. When this topic was requested by the audience, he ended up selling several copies of that book! Not everything can be digested in a seminar, books are authorized.

Beyond the rote memorization of our ritual being emphasized today as the purpose for making masons, he emphasizes that Masonry has a vast amount of learning, esoteric in nature, which means non-ordinary reality found by decoding and uncovering the true or hidden meanings left in plain sight. This learning aspect of Masonry is a joy to behold.

For many of us, these things were what we sought when we joined Masonry in the first place.