the glossary by clicking on any of the letters below.
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U | V | W
| X | Y | Z
Alphabetically Arranged with
Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References
- The Letter
This letter is one of the most
sacred of the Masonic symbols. Where it is used, however,
as a symbol of
Deity, it must be remembered that it is the Saxon representative of the Hebrew Yod and the Greek Tau--the initial letter of the Eternal in those
languages. This symbol proves that Freemasonry always prosecuted its
labors with reference to the grand ideas of Infinity and Eternity. By
the letter "G"--which conveyed to the minds of the brethren, at the
same time, the idea of God and that of Geometry--it bound heaven to earth, the
divine to the human, and the infinite to the finite. Masons are taught
to regard the Universe as the grandest of all symbols. In the Lodge room
it is always visible in the East, either painted on the wall or sculptured in
wood or metal, and suspended over the Master's chair.
Psalms 103:11-22 - Psalms 8:3-9 - Ex. 20:22
- man of God
This is the
name of one of the archangels of Jehovah, referred to in some of the high
degrees of Masonry. He is always represented in the Scriptures as the
Messenger of Divine grace, of infinite love, and of redemption; such is his
rank in the rites of Freemasonry.
Dan. 9:21,27 - Luke
1:18,19 - Luke 1:26,27
- troop; good fortune
Seventh son of Jacob, and the eighth
point of the ancient English lectures, symbolizing the obligation, and alluded
to the solemn vow made by Jepthah, Judge of Israel, who was of that
tribe. Gen. 49:19 - Judges 11:30-31
abbreviation of Grand
of Eden, The
There was a
tradition of the Garden of Eden long before the time of Jesus, and they used
to try to find an actual location that would fit the allegorical description of
the one fruitful river flowing into the Garden, and four rivers flowing
out. A philosopher and scholar named Philo (the Jew), who lived in
Jesus' time (20 B.C. to 40 A.D.) was perhaps the first to consider the
tradition to be an allegory. He maintained, 1700 years before the
founding of the administrative structure of modern Masonry, that Eden was a
soul, delighting in virtue, and the four rivers were the four specific virtues
of prudence, temperance, courage and justice. Any Mason will instantly
recognize these allegorical references. Genesis 2:15. And the Lord
God (Jehovah) took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it
and to keep it. The name Eden means pleasure, delight.
of the Temple
Q. What is the
symbolism of the East,
A. In the system of
Freemasonry, the Temple of Solomon is represented as having a gate on the
east, west, and south sides but none on the north. In reference to the
historical Temple of Jerusalem, such a representation is wholly
incorrect. In the walls of the building itself there were no place of
entrance except the door of the porch, which gave admission to the
house. But in the surrounding courts there were gates at all of the
points of the compass. The Masonic idea of the Temple is, however,
symbolic. The Temple is to the Speculative Mason only a symbol, not an
historical building, and the gates are imaginary and symbolic also. They
are, in the first place, symbols of the progress of the sun in his daily
course, rising in the east, culminating to the meridian in the south, which it
is the object of the third degree to illustrate, symbols of the three stages
old age, or, more properly of birth, life, and
death. St. John 2:19
formerly made of steel and worn by knights as a protection to their hands in
battle. They have been adopted in the United States, as a part of the
costume of a Knights Templar, under a regulation of the Grand Encampment,
which directed them to be "of buff leather, the flap to extend four
inches upwards from the wrist, and to have the appropriate cross embroidered
in gold, on the proper colored velvet, two inches in length.
The Common Gavel is
one of the working tools of the Entered Apprentice Mason. It is made use
of by the Operative Mason to break off the corners of the rough ashlar, and
thus fit it the better for the builder's use, and is therefore adopted as a
symbol in Speculative Masonry, to admonish us of the duty of divesting our
hearts and consciences of the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting
our minds as living stones for that spiritual building, that house made not
with hands, eternal in the heavens. It borrows its name from its shape,
being that of the gable or gavel end of a house; and this word again comes
from the German gipfel, a summit, top, or peak -- the idea of a
pointed extremity being common to all... The true form of the
gavel is that of the stonemason's hammer. It is to be made with a
cutting edge, that it may be used to break off the corners of rough stones, an
operation which could never be effected by the common hammer or mallet.
The gavel thus shaped will give, when looked at in front, the exact
representation of the gavel or gable end of a house, whence, as has
been already said, the name is derived. The gavel of the Master is
also called a Hiram, because, like the architect, it governs the
Craft and keeps order in the Lodge, as he did in the Temple.
- Jehovah has become great
Five persons by this name are
mentioned in the Scriptures, but only one is definitely known to have been
contemporary with the destruction of the Temple. That was Gedaliah, a
son of Pashur, and a prince at the court of Zedekiah. It is this
Gedaliah, and not the one who was afterwards made governor of Judah by
Nebuchadnezzar, who is represted by the second officer in a Council of
Superexcellent Masters. Jer. 38:1
or Gemstones (Birthstones and Their Significance)
- Garnet: Insures constancy, true friendship and fidelity.
- Amethyst or Pearl: Freedom from passion and from care.
- Bloodstone or Hyacinth: Courage, wisdom, and firmness in affection.
- Diamond: Emblem of innocence and purity.
- Emerald: Discovers false friends and insures true love.
- Agate or Cat's Eye: Insures long life, health and prosperity.
- Coral or Ruby: Discovers poison, corrects evil from mistaken
- Sardonyx or Moonstone: Without it no conjugal felicity, so must
live unloved and alone.
- Chrysolite or Sapphire: Frees from evil passions and sadness of the
- Opal: Denotes hope and sharpens the sight and faith of the possessor.
- Topaz: Fidelity and friendship. Prevents bad dreams.
- Turquoise or Lapis Lazuli: Success and prosperity in love.
Among mathematical sciences, Geometry is the
one which has the most especial reference to architecture, and we can,
therefore, under the name of Geometry, understand the whole art of
Freemasonry. In Anderson's book of constitutions, Freemasonry is
frequently called Geometry, and of the latter he said of the whole being of
the Order is comprehended in it. Freemasons therefore ought to make
themselves intimately acquainted with Geometry. It is not absolutely
necessary to be able to deduce all our actions, works, or resolutions from
Geometrical principals. 1 Cor. 3:9-17
Geometry, Advantages of
By this science
the architect is enabled to construct his plans, and execute his designs; the
general, to arrange his soldiers; the engineer, to mark out grounds for
encampments; the geographer, to give us the dimensions of the world, and all
things therein contained; to delineate the extent of seas, and specify the
divisions of empires, kingdoms and provinces. By it, also, the
astronomer is enabled to make his observations, and to fix the duration of
times and seasons, years and cycles. In fine, Geometry is the foundation
of architecture, and the root of the mathematics.
alloy consisting principally of sixty percent copper, twenty percent nickel
and twenty percent tin. Since circa.
1914 known as nickel silver.
Austrian mark meaning registered.
or Giblim -
building of King Solomon's Temple these were expert operative Masons, the name
meaning stone squarers, who understood the science of geometrical proportion
in its practical applications and were cemented in their lodge by the morality
of its detached and component parts. 1 Kings 5:18 And in our common
version, is as follows: "And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did
hew them, and the stone-squarers; so they prepared timber and stones to build
the house," where the word translated in the authorized version by stone-squarers
is, in the original, Giblim.
or gold trimmed object.
Gold in color
but not solid gold.
A finish that
produces a smooth texture and a bright (shiny) gold color to the metallic
surfaces of a phaleristic item. A gilt finish is achieved by either
electroplating an artificial gold to a base metal or by gold plating a less
precious metal, usually silver. Opposite of a matte finish.
Acid washing the
interior/exterior of an item enables a very thin coating of gold to
adhere. The process prevented the chemical components from interacting
adversely with silver.
atop the Pillars of the Porch are symbols of Unity, Peace and Plenty.
The globes are two artificial spherical bodies, on the convex surface
of which are represented the countries, seas, and various parts of the earth,
the face of the heavens, the planetary revolutions, and other important
particulars. Their principal use, besides serving as maps to distinguish
the outward parts of the earth, and the situation of the fixed stars, is to
illustrate and explain the phenomena arising from the annual revolution, and
the diurnal rotation of the earth round its own axis. They are
invaluable instruments for improving the mind, and giving it the most distinct
idea of any problem or proposition, as well as enabling it to solve the same.
Contemplating these bodies, we are inspired with a due reverence for the Deity
and his works, and are induced to encourage the studies of astronomy,
geography, navigation, and the arts dependant on them, by which society has so
The humorous idea that riding the
goat constitutes a part of the ceremonies of initiation in a Masonic
Lodge is just a Joke and has its real origin in the superstition of
antiquity. The old Greeks and Romans portrayed their mystical god Pan in
horns and hoof and shaggy hide and called him goat-footed.
When the demonology of the classics was adopted and modified by the early
Christians, Pan gave way to Satan, who naturally inherited his attributes; so
that to the common mind the Devil was represented by a he-goat, and his best
known marks were the horns, the beard, and the cloven hoofs. Then came
the witch stories of the Middle Ages, and the belief in the witch orgies,
where, it was said, the Devil appeared riding on a goat. These
orgies of the witches, where, amid fearfully blasphemous ceremonies, they
practiced initiation into their Satanic Rites, became, to the vulgar and
illiterate, the type of the Masonic Mysteries; for, as Doctor Oliver says, it
was in England a common belief that the Freemasons were accustomed in their
Lodges "to raise the Devil." So the riding of the goat, which
was believed to be practiced by the witches, was transferred to the
Freemasons; and the sayings, artifacts, and jokes about it remain to this day,
although the use of them has long since died out. The Lodge Goat and
Goat Rides book (here)
plays on the joke of riding the goat and plays on the humorous side of Lodge
life. To see an actual Goat Riding
A belief in the
existence of God is an essential point of Speculative Freemasonry--so
essential, indeed, that it is a landmark of the Order that no atheist can be
made a Freemason. Nor is this left to an inference; for a specific
declaration to that effect is demanded as an indispensable preparation for
initiation. Hence Hutchinson says that the worship of God "was the
first and corner-stone on which our originals thought it expedient to place
the foundation of Masonry."
The initials of
Gomer, Oz, Dabar. It is a singular coincidence, and worthy of thought,
that the letters composing the English name of Deity should be the initials of
the Hebrew words wisdom, strength, and beauty; the three great pillars, or
metaphorical supports, of Masonry. They seem to present almost the only
reason that can reconcile a Mason to the use of the initial "G" in
its conspicuous suspension in the East of the Lodge in place of the
Delta. The incident seems to be more than an accident. Thus the
initials conceal the true meaning.
In French Lodges
the member who introduces a candidate for initiation is called his parrain,
Pure gold is
said to be 24 carat, but is too soft for articles intended for use. It
is therefore alloyed with other metals, usually silver or copper. It is
highly malleable and not subject to oxidation. 22, 18, 15, 14 and
9 carat gold indicates the number of parts of pure gold to the other
metals. Gold may have slightly different colors, white gold often
alloyed with platinum or palladium, red with copper, yellow and green with
silver. In the United States the term "carat" is spelled
"karat". Its element symbol is Au.
Bowl Be Broken
Refers to old age, and the brain, which is
rendered unfit to perform its functions by the approach of death.
candlestick which was made by Moses for the service of the tabernacle, and was
afterward deposited in the holy place of the temple to throw light upon the
altar of incense, and the table of shewbread, was made wholly of pure gold,
and had seven branches; that is three on each side, and one in the
center. These branches were at equal distances, and each one was adorned
with flowers like lilies, gold knobs after the form of an apple and similar
ones resembling an almond. Upon the extremities of the branches were
seven golden lamps, which were fed with pure olive-oil, and lighted every
evening by the priests on duty. Its seven branches are explained in the
Ineffable degrees as symbolizing the seven planets. It is also used as a
decoration in Chapters of the Royal Arch, but apparently without any positive
symbolic signification. See a photograph of the Golden Candlestick here.
and unique rule of conduct in man's relation to and treatment of his
fellowmen, spoken by the Savior, holds a high place in Masonic teachings.
Matt. 7:9-12 - Luke 6:27,28
A symbol of
medieval knighthood and a theme of the Vatiican and Austrian-Hungarian Orders
of the Golden Spur (1539 and 1918). To signify that a knight must be as
swift to follow God's commandments as the pricked charger, gold spurs were
placed over the heels of the initiate during the ceremony or dubbing into
A sheet of
composition metal sandwiched between two sheets of gold. Gold filled
sheets are made by taking one piece of gold about 4" by 2", another
of the same size but thinner (for the inside of the object), and placing in
between a same size sheet of hard composition metal. Tiny pieces of hard
gold solder are placed between the sheets, and they are put into a furnace at
a high temperature.
The covering of
an article with gold by means of electrolysis.
Adventurine gemstone sparkling with
particles of gold-colored minerals; or, man-made brown glass with specks of
copper infused within.
Acid washing the
interior/exterior of an item enables a very thin coating of gold to
adhere. The process prevented the chemical components from interacting
adversely with silver. EXAMPLE
There is an
honorary or side Degree by this title, conferred only on Royal Arch Masons and
their wives. Two Samaritans must be present, one of whom must be a Royal
Arch Mason. It is a degree of great dignity and enforces the lessons of
aid for the unfortunate. The fate of Lot's wife also has a place in the
ritual of this degree. The parable of the Good Samaritan can be found
here... Luke 10:30-38
Christian Degree of Rose Croix the "sign of the Good Sheperd" is a
representation of the Christ bearing his once lost but now recovered sheep
upon his shoulders. It is a most impressive symbol, and is employed most
15:3-7 - John 10:11-18
The general name
of Gnostics has been employed to designate several sects that sprang up
in the eastern parts of the Roman Empire about the time of the advent of
Christianity; although it is supposed that their principle doctrines had been
taught centuries before in many of the cities of Asia Minor. The word Gnosticism
is derived from the Greek Gnosis or knowledge, and was a term
used in the earliest days of philosophy to signify the science of Divine
things, or as Matter says, "superior or celestial knowledge."
He thinks the word was first used by the Jewish philosophers of the famous
school of Alexandria. The favorite opinion of the scholars is that the
sect of Gnostics arose among the philosophers who were the converts of Paul
and the other Apostles and who sought to mingle the notions of the Jewish
Egyptian school, the speculations of the Cabalists and the Grecian and Asiatic
doctrines with the simpler teachings of the new religion which they had
embraced. They believed that the writings of the Apostles enunciated
only the articles of the vulgar faith; but that there were esoteric traditions
which had been transmitted from generation to generation in mysteries, to
which they gave the name of Gnosticism or Gnosis. King says (Gnostics
page 7) that they drew the materials out of which they constructed their
system from two religions, namely, the Zend-Avesta and its modifications in
the Cabala, and the reformed Brahmanical religion, as taught by the Buddhist
missionaries. The architects and stone-masons of the Middle Ages
borrowed many of the principles of ornamentation, by which they decorated the
ecclesiastical edifices which they constructed, from the abstruse symbols of
the Gnostics. So too, we find Gnostic symbols in the Hermetic Philosophy
and in the systems of Rosicrucianism; and lastly, many of the symbols still
used by Freemasonry--such, for instance, as the triangle within a circle, the
letter G and the pentacle of Solomon--have been traced to a Gnostic source.
One of the seven
liberal arts and sciences, which forms, with Logic and Rhetoric, a triad
dedicated to the cultivation of language. "God," says Sanctius,
"created man the participant of reason; and as he willed him to be a
social being, he bestowed upon him the gift of language, in the perfecting of
which there are three aids. The first is Grammar, which rejects
from language all solecisms and barbarous expressions; the second is Logic,
which is occupied with the truthfulness of language; and the third is Rhetoric,
which seeks only the adornment of language." In the Fellow Craft
lecture Grammar is explained as the key by which alone the door can be opened
to the understanding of speech. It is Grammar which reveals the
admirable art of language, and unfold it various constituent parts, its names,
definitions and respective offices; it unravels, as it were, the thread of
which the web of speech is composed. These reflections seldom occur to
any one before their acquaintance with the art; yet it is most certain, that,
without a knowledge of Grammar, it is very difficult to speak with propriety,
precision and purity.
Grand Architect of the Universe
The Grand Architect of the Universe (also Great
Architect of the Universe or Supreme Architect of the Universe) is a
conception of God discussed by many Christian theologians and apologists.
As a designation it is used within Freemasonry to neutrally represent whatever
Supreme Being to which each member individually holds in adherence. It is also
a Rosicrucian conception of God, as expressed by Max Heindel. The concept of
the Demiurge as a grand architect or a great architect also occurs in
gnosticism and other religious and philosophical systems.
Two pictorial illustrations:
The head of a
non-royal order, usually the Head of State of the order's country of origin
The head of a royal order is normally called the Sovereign of the Order or the
Master of the Order. The office of Grand Master was an invention of the
Order of Knights Templar, founded in 1118.
Shall Be A Burden
Refers to the infirmities of old age when the body
ceases to function. Eccles. 12:5
Master's Degree it is the analogue of the couch or coffin in the Ancient
Mysteries, and is intended scenically to serve the same purpose. Of
greatest importance is the Sprig of Acacia, to teach symbolically the great
Masonic doctrine of a resurrection and future life.
John 5:28,29 - 1 Cor.
Tool used to
engrave sheet metals. ILLUSTRATION
animal with the body, tail, and hind legs of a lion and the head, wings, and
forelegs of an eagle. A female griffin has wings while a male has spikes
along his back. When standing on one hind leg, the heraldic term for the
position of a griffin is "segreant" instead of the usual rampant.
Probably originating in Syria during the second millennium B.C. and known in
Greece by the 14th century B.C., the griffin is a pagan solar symbol and a
Christian symbol for duality, such as the divine-human nature of Christ,
because of the combination of a land animal and a bird.
Cease Because They Are Few
Refers to the infirmities of old
age and the loss of teeth. Eccles. 12:3
Floor of The Lodge
Mt. Moriah, where the temple was built is
symbolically called the ground floor of the Lodge. This sacred spot was
once the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite and from him David purchased
the site for six hundred shekels of gold. A tradition of Masonry is that
Entered Apprentice's Lodges were held on the ground floor of King Solomon's
Temple, and that symbolically this is true today. 1 Chron. 21:18-25
- Another name for engine turned
designs. Often enameled over in single translucent colors so that
the engine turned design remains visible as gradations of color.
Also used as a term for a form of decoration used in architecture.
- Gun metal
- A kind of bronze; an alloy of 16 parts of
copper and 2 parts of tin. Metal items said to be gun metal are in
fact blued steel. Many items offered for sale use the descriptor
- Gutta percha
A hard substance extracted from Palaquium trees
in Malaya, Borneo and Sumatra. Discovered in the 1840's, it was used for
making jewelry, statuary and even furniture. Popular from 1845 until the 1930s.
examples of gutta percha items were made, but the material was subject to
rapid deterioration when exposed to air and light; many items that are claimed
to be gutta percha are more likely to be vulcanite. EXAMPLE
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