My first steps into Freemasonry – EA and Beyond

Recently we spoke with Aaron from Maccabee Lodge 8947 (that meets in Manchester Masonic Hall), about his journey into Freemasonry. Aaron has recently undergone his Passing to Fellow Craft and this is what he had to say.

The journey to my EA degree was an interesting one. I spent some wonderful evenings as a guest at a few festive boards in 2019, thoroughly enjoying the obvious brotherhood and camaraderie that resulted in the lodge’s years of developing relationships. I couldn’t wait to be initiated and finally get to glimpse behind that veil to what was only ever alluded to during dinners.

Then COVID hit and that wait became far longer than neither the lodge nor I had ever anticipated. But… Once restrictions lifted, months later, the day came, and in November 2021 another candidate and I were initiated together into Maccabee Lodge 8947.
This was a magical and inspiring experience, yet with equal measure of confusion that led to more questions than answers. The main questions being “What just happened?” and “What Next?”.

Luckily for me, my lodge have some wonderfully experience brethren that could fill in some blanks but urged me to visit other lodges, when I got the chance, to see the ceremony I had experienced, but this time without the hoodwinking. This was where the Manchester Levels Club came in. My details had been passed to them and within a couple of days an email had appeared introducing the club, offering to clarify any questions I might have, and importantly assistance with visiting other lodges. With their open and approachable team, I soon found myself sitting in a lodge room as a visitor with what were soon to become brethren that I value sharing time with, watching that EA ceremony, and experiencing another brother in the making. I got to reminisce about my own experience and had many “Ah, I see!” moments throughout the evening.

Though it didn’t stop there, the MLC were keen to socialise and build strong bonds within the members of the club and whether it’s visiting lodges, walks around town, a couple of drinks in the pub, go-karting, or a good old curry, it’s always a pleasure and, each time, having the chance to meet yet more brethren from other lodges and share experiences. There are also options for helping with more charitable activities and visiting fundraising events with additional open-minded discussion and listening to other views and ideas put forward by brethren of all levels.

As I waited to take the next step into the Fellowcraft degree, more gaps in understanding were also patched with the aid of knowledgeable brethren from both my mother lodge and the MLC, with the latter supporting junior Manchester Masons and beyond through their online learning sessions that were both entertaining and enlightening. I was amazed at the breadth of knowledge and diversity of perspectives that a session provides with ample opportunity to take part and “learn through doing” OR just enjoy the delivery of information more passively with no judgement or pressure toward either preference. All of this stood me in good stead for learning (and understanding) those questions and answers and preparing me for exciting next steps.

I’ve now been passed within my lodge, and I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Fellowcraft degree, developing in my Masonic education, and endeavouring to put those learnings in to practice through my actions each day. I look forward to learning more from my lodge brothers, visiting lodges, and MLC. I aim to enjoy spending time with likeminded brethren for many years to come and hope that one day, I’ll be able to provide the support to other new brethren that has been afforded to me.