Words Poem, By John S. Nagy, Masonic Coach from his book, The Craft Perfected: Actualizing Our Craft.
Words Poem, By John S. Nagy, Masonic Coach from his book, The Craft Perfected: Actualizing Our Craft.

Words Poem, By John S. Nagy, Masonic Coach from his book, The Craft Perfected: Actualizing Our Craft.


Dated Words….give insights into Recent Pages.

Old-Fashioned Words…Give insights into Nostalgic Cages.

Rare Words…give insights into Possible Sages.

Historical Words…give insights into Specific Ages.

Archaic Words…give insights into Long-Ago Stages.

But Obsolete Words…give insights into Long-Lost Gages.

The last word in the poem rhymes, but is that all? Not shown in the poem above but shown in Coach Nagy’s book version has the foot-note next to gages, which when looked up denotes “Gage (Noun) a valued object deposited as a guarantee of good faith.”

Brother Nagy had taken the time and effort to research many of the words in our Florida ritual specifically, but the effort applies to most of the United States Masonic ritual in general. He cites several times notes from Brother Mackey’s writings from long ago as well as citing other sources for his words and phrases which changed over time but unfortunately our current ritual seems to not have noticed those changes, often with lost meaning for the initiates and instructors alike.

The rediscovery of the true meanings breathes fresh insight into our ritual, which has obviously been modified and changed over the centuries. Modification can lose meanings over time unfortunately if one is not careful.

He reviews several words and phrases, but one in particular is the word “perfect”. Did you know that our ritual was influenced by William Shakespeare and how he used this word? The obsolete definitions for us used by Shakespeare found their way into our ritual, only to add confusion to our understanding today if we don’t look to our past and sort out the differences. Coach Nagy has done just that for us.

Formerly in those times perfect meant well-informed. Today we could include in this general terminology the word well-read also. Both are levels of personal educational attainment which a mature man should aspire towards, particularly a worthy Brother Master Mason.

We have in our rituals, perfect ashlars, perfect points of entrance, and seven members of a lodge make it perfect as a few examples of the word use.

To quote our Masonic Coach Nagy, “Could it be that the introduction of the word perfect into our Rituals was an intentional breadcrumb trail, a nineteenth-century version of a hyperlink, to this obsolete definition?”

Coach Nagy explores several rabbit holes in his book revealing his research findings about our ritual words and their evolution. He even suggests that some might find the Scottish Rite degrees with the word perfect more interesting after his discoveries, particularly the 5th degree, called the Perfect Master and the 14th, called the Perfect Elu in the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, which covers Florida. Elu by the way means, an elect, or one who was elected.

Words, beyond memorization can be profound in their impact and their motivations. Ideas and issues can be compressed and streamlined into worthy and memorable images or into rhymes that tend to stick better in our memories. How many lines from Shakespeare have made it into our general conversation, often using rhymes?

A Coach Nagy analogy I admire and mentally use in my life explains things a bit more. An EA needs to bring order to the chaos of his heart. A FC needs to bring order to the chaos of his mind, using the 7 steps of the liberal arts and sciences which brings to the newly made fellow a base of wisdom.

A MM has, if he listened and applied the ritual advice in the preceding degrees, attained the level of mastery in his life where he can teach the knowledge to others and apply the wisdom learned from his labors in the quarries he has experienced in his life, with expectations of attaining the old meaning of the word, perfection = well-informed.

Paul R. Swanson, 32° KCCH