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Alphabetically Arranged with Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References

Habakkuk - the embraced one

He was one of the Minor Prophets of Israel, flourishing in his ministry about 630 B.C.  In the Thirty-second Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, his name answers to certain passwords.  The burden of his prophecy... Hab. 1:1-4

Haggai - my feast

Haggai was one of the post-exilic prophets of Judah.  He was probably born in Babylon during the Captivity of the Jews, and returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel as a young man.  He is famed especially for his work in encouraging renewal of the rebuilding of the Temple under the favorable edict of Darius, after the work had been suspended for twenty years as a result of interference by neighboring rulers.  In the Royal Arch system in America Haggai represents the scribe or second officer.  Ezra 5:1 -  Hag. 1:1 -  Zech. 1:1

Hail or Hale

This word is used among Freemasons with two very different significations.  (1) When addressed as an inquiry to a visiting Brother it has the same import as that in which it is used under like circumstances by mariners.  Thus: "Whence do you hail?" that is, "Of what Lodge are you a member?"  Used in this sense, it comes from the Saxon term of salutation hael, and should be spelled hail.  (2)  Its second use is confined to what Freemasons understand by the tie, and in this sense it signifies to conceal, being derived from the Saxon word helan, to hide, the e being pronounced in Anglo-Saxon as a in the word fate.  By the rules of etymology, it should be written hale, but is usually spelled hele.


The official mark of the English Goldsmiths' Company used on articles of gold and silver to indicate their genuineness. There are several publications that list the complete sets of marks.  EXAMPLE and ILLUSTRATION


In Freemasonry, the hand holds an important place in its symbolisms because it is the principal seat of the sense of feeling, which is so necessary in many of the symbols of the Order.  Any Mason who has experienced the necessity of recognizing a brother under unusual conditions recognizes the value of the hand in Masonic communications.


This is the Hebrew term employed in designating overseer Masons employed by Solomon in the building of the Temple.  A group of either 3,300 or 3,600 constituted those so designated, with the distinct idea of "Princes in Masonry."  It is in this symbolism that the term is used among Masons.   2 Chron. 2:2,18 - 1 Kings 5:16


In the western world the nations uncover their head as a sign of respect when they enter a place of worship; the eastern uncover their feet.  To keep the head covered while all around stands uncovered is a token of superiority and rank of office, the badge of his authority. To uncover the head in the presence of superiors is a mark of respect and reverence; it is equally a mark of superior rank in office not to uncover the head.  For this reason the Worshipful Master removes his hat during prayer in the lodge room.  Exo. 3:5  -  Josh. 5:15


What is one of the prerogative rights of a Grand Master?  Any person made a Mason irregular and desiring to correct the mistake will have to be "Healed" by the Grand Master of that jurisdiction before he will be permitted to petition a regular Lodge for reinitiation.  Isa. 6:10


One of the five senses, and an important symbol in Freemasonry, because it is through it we receive instruction when ignorant, admonition when in danger, reproof when in error, and the claim of a Brother who is in distress.  Without this sense, the Freemason would be crippled in the performance of all his duties; and hence deafness is deemed a disqualification for initiation.   Note:  In recent years, Grand Masters have granted dispensations in many jurisdictions to those hearing impaired candidates who have shown the ability to communicate by lip-reading and hand-signing.  Modifications in the ritual are made so the hearing impaired candidate is not blindfolded at the several stations and at the altar.  This is another example proving that Freemasonry can change to meet the needs of a changing world.


Symbolically speaking, Heaven is the Foreign Country into which the Master Mason seeks to enter, in search of wages.  Heaven, the higher state of existence after death, is the Foreign Country.  2 Tim. 4:18 -  Psalms 11:4 -  Matt. 25.34


What is the meaning of the word Hecatomb?  In ancient times men's wealth was in their flocks, and when a person wanted to do a favor in the sight of the Lord, they burned on the altars of sacrifice a number of animals, and it is understood that the word Hecatomb is intended to convey to the Masonic student that, one hundred head of cattle were offered up as a sacrifice to Diety.  Usually the body of the animal was offered up with the exception of the front quarters, which was eaten by the worshippers.  1 Kings 8:63

Heroine of Jericho

This is the name of an honorary or side Degree conferred on Royal Arch Masons, their wives, and daughters.  It is intended to instruct its female recipients of the claims which they have upon the fellow-members of the Fraternity for protection, and to provide effective means of proving their connections with members of the Order.  The ritual is based upon the story of Rahab, the woman of Jericho.  Males who receive the Degree are called "Knights of Jericho."  Josh. 2:1-24 -  Josh. 6:22-25 -  Heb. 11:31

He Shall Rise Up At The Voice Of The Bird

Has allusion to the infirmities of old age, when man rises in the morning at the call of the bird.  Eccles.  12:4

Height of the Lodge

"The height of the Lodge is from the earth to the highest heaven" and is a symbolic expression indicating the unlimited the unlimited expanse of a Mason's privileges and obligations.

High Priest

The presiding officer of a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons according to the American system.  His title is "Most Excellent," and he represents Joshua or Jeshua, who was the son of Josedech, and the High Priest of the Jews.  He wears a robe of blue, purple, scarlet, and white linen, and is decorated with a breastplate and miter.  On the front of the miter is inscribed the words, "Holiness to the Lord."  EXAMPLE

Hills and Valleys

In ancient Israel, and even among many people today, places of worship were placed on high elevations, or on tops of hills.  The "hill-top" or "mountain-top" symbolizes holiness unto the Lord.  Traditionally ancient Masons met "on the highest hills and in the lowest vales" to ensure privacy. In an attempt to continue that tradition, Masonic Lodges have sought out unique places to hold special communications. Two such meetings in particular seem to be the record holders in this regard.

On April 10, 1936, the Brothers of Winnedumah Lodge 287 of Bishop, California, held a meeting near the lowest point in the United States in Death Valley National Park. Members of 50 Lodges from 10 surrounding states joined the gathering at 270 feet below sea level.

On the other side of the spectrum, in 1910, Cascade Lodge 5 of Banff, Alberta, Canada met west of Calgary near the summit of Mt. Aylmer. Held at an elevation of 3161 meters or 10,371 feet, 18 Lodge members and 13 visitors attended.

Hiram Abif

When King Solomon was about to build a temple to Jehovah, the difficulty of obtaining skillful workmen to superintend and to execute the architectural part of the undertaking was such, that he found it necessary to request of his friend and ally, Hiram, King of Tyre, the use of some of his most able builders; for the Tyrians and Sidonians were celebrated artists, and at that time were admitted to be the best mechanics in the world.  Hiram willing complied with his request, and dispatched to his assistance an abundance of men and materials, to be employed in the construction of the Temple, and among the former, a distinguished artist, to whom was given the superintendence of all the workmen, both Jews and Tyrians, and who was in possession of all the skill and learning that were required to carry out, in the most efficient manner, all the plans and designs of the King of Israel.  Of this artist, whom Freemasons recognize sometimes as Hiram the Builder, sometimes as the Widow's Son, but more commonly as Hiram Abif, the earliest account is found in the First Book of Kings 7:13-14, where the passage reads as follow:  "And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.  He was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass, and he was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass.  And he came to King Solomon and wrought all his work."  Also see 2 Chr. 2:13-14 -  2 Chr. 4:16  Most or all of the legend of Hiram Abif is made up.  He is supposed to have died seven years after starting work on the Temple.  The legend is one of the "secrets" of Freemasonry, which most Masons will do their best to avoid recounting.  It is, however, well documented, as follows: 

     Every noon - High Twelve, in Masonic parlance - Hiram Abif went into the temple to pray.  Three Fellow-Craftsmen, not yet Master Masons, determined to wait for him as he came out and to force him to give them the secret word of recognition of the Master Mason.  Their names were Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum.  These are the Ruffians of Masonic tradition.  Jubela was waiting at the south gate, where the Master went first.  When Abif refused to divulge the word, Jubela struck him in the throat with a 24-inch rule.  The Master hastened for the west gate, where Jubelo demanded the word; when it was refused, Abif was struck on the chest with Jubelo's square.  Finally, at the east gate, a blow between the eyes from Jubelum's setting maul completed the job.  Abif fell dead, still having refused to disclose the word - or, as Freemasons have it, the Word or the Word.  The murderers buried their victim over the brow of Mount Moriah and placed a sprig of acacia on the grave.  The murderers were rapidly discovered (before the body was found!) as they tried to escape to Ethiopia.  A search party went out by no less a person than King Solomon (in Masonic tradition, a chum of the builder) soon found the grave, marked by the evergreen sprig.  Then, after the Entered Apprentices and the Fellow-Craftsmen had fail to resurrect their Master, he was raised by the Master Mason with the "strong grip of a lion's paw."

Hiram, King of Tyre

Hiram was one of the most noted of all the Kings of Tyre; he was contemporaneous with both David and Solomon, and on intimate terms with both.  Like Solomon, he was much disposed to mysticism; tradition has it that the two kings often exchanged enigmas for solution.  In legendary Masonry, Hiram, King of Tyre, was Grand Master of all Masons, and Hiram Abif was Master of the Order in Jerusalem.  Viewing the Temple after its completion he recognized the preeminence of the Great Architect of the universe in its perfections, and yielded the supremacy in Masonry to Solomon Jedediah as the representative of Jehovah.  In the symbolic supports of Masonry he represented the pillar of strength, because, "by his power and wealth he assisted the great undertaking."  Legendary Masonry represents him as frequently visiting Jerusalem for consultations with Solomon and the chief architect Hiram Abif during the construction of the Temple.  Formed friendly alliance with David... 2 Sam. 5:11 - Supported Solomon in the building of the Temple... 1 Kings 5:1-11 - Supplied workmen and material for the construction of the Temple... 1 Kings 9:26-28 -  2 Chr. 2:3-16 -  Refused 20 cities offered to him by King Solomon... 1 Kings 9:10-12 -  2 Chr. 8:1,2

Holy Name

Freemasonry reverences all the titled by which God is known, and he is reverently called the "Holy Name," just as the term "Ineffable Name" is often used.  Much of the Masonic ritual is borrowed from the Hebrew mysteries, and Hebrew designations for Deity are used.  Requirements for honoring at all times the name of God... Lev. 22:2 -  Matt. 6:9

Holy of Holies - See Special article on the Temple.

Holy Place - See Special article on the Temple.


What is the symbolism of the hoodwink?  It is a symbol of secrecy, darkness, and silence.  It is a mystical darkness in which the mysteries of our art should be preserved from the unhallowed gaze of the profane.  Gen. 3:5  It is supposed to have a symbolic reference to the passage in Saint John's Gospel 1:5, "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."  But it is more certain that there is in the hoodwink a representation of the mystical darkness which always preceded the rites of the ancient initiations.


The second round in the theological and Masonic ladder, and symbolic of a hope in immortality.  It is appropriately placed there, for, having attained the first, or faith in God,  we are led by a belief in His wisdom and goodness to the hope of immortality.  This is but a reasonable expectation; without it, virtue would lose its necessary stimulus and vice its salutary fear; life would be devoid of joy, and the grave but a scene of desolation.  The ancients represented Hope by a nymph or maiden holding in her hand a bouquet of opening flowers, indicative of the coming fruit; but in modern and Masonic iconology, the science of Craft illustrations and likenesses, it is represented by a virgin leaning on an anchor, the anchor itself being a symbol of hope.  EXAMPLE


An organic thermoplastic material that can be heat-shaped. Pressed horn artifacts are made from ground horn compressed into molds.  Superseded and reproduced by celluloid.  

Horns of the Altar

In the Jewish Temple, the altars of burnt-offering and of incense had each at the four corners four horns of shittim wood.  Among the Jews, as well as all other ancient peoples, the altar was considered peculiarly holy and privileged; and hence, when a criminal, fleeing, took hold of these horns, he found an asylum and safety.  As a Masonic altar is a representation of the altar of the Solomonic member, it should be constructed with these horns; and Cross has very properly represented it in his Hieroglyphic ChartEXAMPLE


This virtue has always been highly esteemed among Freemasons.  Nothing is more usual in diplomas or certificates than to recommend the bearer "to the hospitality of all the Brethren where-so-ever dispersed over the globe"; a recommendation that is seldom disregarded.  All of the old Constitutions detail the practice of hospitality, as one of the duties of the Craft, in language like this: "Every Mason shall receive and cherish strange fellowes when they come over the countreye."


The hourglass is an emblem of human life.  Behold! how swiftly the sands run, and how rapidly our lives are drawing to a close!  We cannot without astonishment behold the little particles which are contained in this machine; -- how they pass away almost imperceptibly! and yet, to our surprise, in a short space of an hour they are all exhausted.  Thus wastes man!   To-day, he puts forth the tender leaves of hope; to-morrow, blossoms, and bears his blushing honors thick upon him; the next day comes a frost which nips the shoot; and when he thinks his greatness is still aspiring, he falls, like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth.   As a Masonic symbol it is of comparatively modern date, but the use of the hour-glass as an emblem of the passage of time is older than our oldest rituals.  Thus, in a speech before Parliament, in 1627, it is said:  "We may handle and play with the hour-glass: that is in our power, but the hour will not stay for us; and an opportunity once lost cannot be regained."  We are told that in the early part of the last century it was a custom to inter an hour-glass with the dead, as an emblem of the sands of life being run out.   EXAMPLE

House Not Made With Hands

This expression comprehends the eternal dwelling place of God, and the resurrected and glorified body of the redeemed in the life beyond the grave... John 14:1-3 -  2 Cor. 5:1-4 -  1 Peter 2:1-8


The ritual of Freemasonry teaches that all members should maintain freedom from pride and arrogance.  The first step toward acquisition of truth is humility of mind, a sense of personal ignorance, and a desire for knowledge... Prov. 16:19 -  Prov. 18:12 -  Luke 14:2 -  Luke 18:13,14 -  Rom. 12:3-8


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