“A poor candidate… humbly soliciting to be admitted into the mysteries and privileges of Ancient Freemasonry.”
You’ve heard the line a few dozen times or more from the EA degree, but how many times have you paused to consider what those mysteries and privileges actually are? The truth is there is no good answer to this question. There is no single answer.
If anything, this is one of those open-ended statements that gives Masons fits trying to interpret its meaning. Probably this has to do with the fact that there are no defined privileges or mysteries mentioned in our rituals.
There are some basic concepts, some rules, some guidelines by which to live, and other stuff like that, but nothing so concrete that it precludes independent thought. Perhaps the true privilege is that each brother is permitted to define what those mysteries are; that he is allowed to determine which of the concepts, rules, guidelines, etc. are most applicable to his life, and which of our ideas he can best utilize to his own satisfaction and delight.
There is no one way to be a Freemason; the tools are there to use as each brother sees fit, and with them he can define the mysteries and privileges himself.
Something to Ponder is a little feature I pen for my lodge notice each month. Each typically starts with a bit of the ritual to which I add some (hopefully) educational commentary.