Perhaps you've come across this cryptic code as an Internet hashtag? Or maybe you've seen it on a bumper sticker or a license plate frame? Possibly, you've seen a Mason respond with it on social media or a forum when asked how one "joins" the fraternity?
What is it?
My Masonic Brethren know, of course, and I'm sure most others can deduce. But for the sake of dispelling any possible confusion it is simply a convenient way to write "to be one, ask one" which is how an interested party is expected to proceed if he wishes to become a Mason. In other words, if you want to become a Mason, talk to a Mason about how to do so. The undercurrent of this statement isn't quite as obvious but what it comes down to is that, generally, one is not going to ask you, or more simply put, you have to make the first move.
This is also very applicable to seeking initiation in Traditional Wicca and, I would wager, any other intiatory group. Not because they don't want new people to join their organization (though that may be true for some), but because they want to see you, the seeker, take the initiative to become part of their group; to prove that your interest is more than just a passing curiosity and that you're willing to put effort into it. More than that, though, I believe this is the first lesson these organizations aim to teach.
What lesson, you ask? Growth requires labor.
In having to take that first step not only to ask, but even to find someone to ask in the first place, the seeker is taught that what he desires requires effort and patience to attain. One learns to temper his enthusiasm and manage his expectations as he works to make the appropriate contacts and to go through the process required to gain the trust and acceptance of the group, be it lodge, coven, or other, with which he is seeking initiation. All this, if he is paying attention, helps him to come to understand that if he truly wants something in life he's going to have to work for it; and it puts him in the right frame of mind to be ready to work if and when he is accepted and gains that initiation.
There's also an added benefit to this labor which is the feeling of being invested in the process. Most of us have an innate sense of ownership in things we put effort into and this can cause a positive feedback loop where increased investment leads to increased effort leads to increased investment and so on. All this is to say that working toward an initiation means that the seeker has likely taken ownership of his growth by the time he is initiated and is more likely to be motivated to continue his efforts post-initiation.
Lastly, make no mistake, it's no accident that Freemasonry refers to itself as the Craft nor is it that Wicca does the same for they are both practices that expect lifelong commitments to self-improvement, personal growth, and in the case of Wicca, religious devotion. These practices are inherently laborious. Thus, it only makes sense that these organizations would, from the very beginning, instill in their seekers that rewards come to those who work for them.
So mote it be.