PREFIX TO QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS [c]

TO THE RITUAL AND CUSTOMS OF THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND IN 1976

 

In the Masonic Year of 1976-1977 the Education Committee of Toronto

Masonic District No. 3 Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of

Ontario, under the direction of R. W. Bro. Frank J. Bruce P.D.D.G.M.

complied 47 questions which were sent to the late W. Bro. Harry Carr

P.J.G.D., Past Secretary and Editor of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076

United Grand Lodge of England.  These are his answers.  It is to be

noted that the answers refer to the Ritual and customs of the Grand

Lodge of England in 1976.

 

This transcript of the Questions and Answers edited by W. Bro. Nelson

King FPS

 

Question 1.         What is meant by the term "Symbolic Degrees" and

"Symbolic Lodges?"

 

Answer 1.            If we look at the whole panorama of Masonry as it has

developed in the last 600 years, we find dozens of Rites and hundreds

of Degrees with an infinite variety of headings under     which they

could be classified or grouped. Many of them have been rearranged;

many have disappeared.

                If I try to answer the question as simply as possible, I would

say that the term "Symbolic Degrees" is a synonym for the Craft

Degrees, as distinct from the so-called "Capitular Degrees," e.g., 

those associated with Rose Croix and Knights Templar.

                Personally I greatly prefer the title "Craft Degrees," because

they are the only Degrees which owe their origins directly to

operative Masonry and which developed entirely out of the Mason Trade

itself.  All the others are either offshoots or appendages.

 

 

Question 2.         Is there any documented account of the date or year

when Masonry, as we know it today, was first practiced?

 

Answer 2.            The essences of this question lies in the words

"Masonry, as we know it today."  Our present system was virtually

standardized in England around 1813-1816, from materials that had been

in existence since the 16th century, materials which had been

gradually amplified, and later overlaid with speculative

interpretation, especially during the second half of the 1700's.

                I believe it would be impossible to prove the existence of

more that one single ceremony of admission during the 1400's.

                A two degree system came into use during the early 1500's and

in 1598-1599 we have actual Lodge minutes [in tow Scottish Lodges] of

the existence of two degrees, the first for the "Entered  Apprentice,"

and the second for the "Master of Fellow Craft" with evidence that

they had been in use for some time.

                Outside the Lodge, the Master was an employer and the Fellow

Craft was an employee; but inside the Lodge they shared the same

ceremony, which was conferred only upon fully-trained masons. This

point is very important when we come to consider the inevitable

appearance of a system of three degrees.

                The earliest minute recording of a third degree was in a

London Musical Society in May 1725, and highly irregular.  The

earliest record of a regular  third decree in a Masonic Lodge is dated

March 25, 1726 at the second meeting of Lodge Dumbarton-Kilwinning,

[now No. 18 on the register of the Grand Lodge of Scotland].

 

 

Question 3.         What is meant by the "Perfect Points of Entrance?"

 

Answer 3.            They were first mentioned in ritual text dated 1696,

when they clearly referred to secrets of the Entered Apprentice

ceremony. In a series of questions asking how a mason could prove

himself the first answer was; "by signes [sic] tokens and other points

of my entrie [sic]."

                In those days the first Point was "heill [sic] and conceall

[sic]" and the second point was the penal sign of an Entered

Apprentice. In effect, the "Points of Entrance" were a brief        

summary of essential elements in the initiation ceremony, but they

developed eventually, into a series of "trap-questions," with very

cautious answers.

                In the late 1700's, Preston in this "First Lecture of

Freemasonry" defined the "Points" as comprising the ceremonies of

"preparation, admission and obligation."  In another version of the

same Lecture, he gave the Points of Entrance as a set of code-words,

"Of, At, and        On," and the question ran:

                                Question:      Of what?

                                Answer:               In relation to apparel,

                                Question:            At what?

                                Answer:               The door of the Lodge.

                                Question:            On what?

                                Answer:               On the left knee bare.

 

                The "Of, At and On" became firmly established in our English

Lectures in the next 20-30 years, until they eventually settled into

the form in use to this day.

 

 

Question 4.         What are the Points of Entrance?

 

Answer 4.            Of, At and On.

                                Of what?             Of my own free will and accord.

                                At what?              At the door of the Lodge.

                                On what?            On the pint of a sharp instrument

presented to my N. L. B.

 

 

Question 5.         The "three lesser lights" are placed in the East,

South and West.  Why is there none in the North?

 

Answer 5.            The answer to this question is in the First Lecture,

Section III;  "....because the Sun darts no ray of light from that

quarter to our hemisphere."  And the search for light is a major

inspiration in our ceremonies.

 

 

Question 6.         What is the meaning of the word "Cable-tow?"  What is

meant by the reference to its length?

 

Answer 6.            The Oxford English Dictionary contains a number of

cable combinations, e.g., "cable-rope, cable-range, cable-stock,"

etc., but does not give "cable-tow."

                The word tow has another significance, in addition to pulling

or dragging, it also means the fibre of flax, or hemp, or jute. A

cable might be made of plaited wire, or of metal links, or of manmade

fibres, but the combination "cable-tow" which seems to be of purely

Masonic usage, implies almost certainly the natural fibre from which

the rope is to be made.

                The "cables length" is a unit of marine measurements, 1/10th

of a sea mile, or 607.56 feet.  We use the term "cables length" in two

senses:

                1.            "A cables length from the shore," implying that

anything buried at that distance out at sea, could never be recovered.

                2.            "If within the length of my cable-tow."  In operative

times, attendance at Lodge or assembly was obligatory and there were

penalties for non-attendance.  Early regulations on this point varied

from 5 to 50 miles, except "in the peril of death."  In effect, the

length of the cable-tow implies that masons were obliged to attend, so

long as it was humanly possible to do so.

 

 

Question 7:         Why does the Candidate wear the cable-tow while taking

his Obligation?  He comes of his own free will, yet the cable-tow is a

symbol of restraint.

 

 

 Answer 7:           With us, the cable-tow serves the practical purpose of

restraint. As a symbol it has several         different meanings. I suggest:

                1 .           The implicit duty of regular attendance, 'if within

the length of my cable-tow, as noted in another question and in the

Obligation of the 3rd degree.

                2.            Humility, it, the frame of mind in which one enters

the order.

                3.            Submission, to the regulations, tenets and principles

of the Craft.

                4.            The bondage of ignorance until one sees the light,

later on.

 

 

 

Question 8:         What is the meaning of the word "hele?"

 

Answer 8:            To hide, conceal, keep secret.  The Oxford English

Dictionary quotes the earliest English use of the word in c. 975 over

a thousand years ago.

 

 

Question 9:         Why must the Brethren be convinced that the Candidate

has no metal about him, "or else the ceremony, thus far, must have

been repeated?"

 

Answer 9:            The reasons given in the "Charity Lecture" are

adequate and complete. The reason for this deprivation arises from an

ancient superstition of "pollution by metals" as shown in the     

account of the building of King Solomon's Temple. [1 Kings, 6 & 7]

"...there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the

house while it was in building." The proof or test is required,

because all other points in the "preparation" of the Candidate are

readily visible during the perambulations, but the absence of metals

would not be visible, hence the special test.

 

 

Question 10:      Explain the significance of the Candidate's dress in

the 1st Degree. Why does he bare his right arm, left breast and left

knee and why is he slipshod?  When did this first originate?

 

Answer 10:         The sum total of these procedures were not

standardized in England until 1813-1816.  The individual items came

into use at various times and the records are very scanty, e.g.  The

"left knee bare" appears in the Dumfries No. 4 M.S. dated 1710. The

"Naked Left Breast" appears in Masonry Dissected 1730 and the

Wilkinson MS, 1730.  Slipshod, and other hints   relating to clothing,

appear in a curious question and answer in Masonry Dissected:

                               

                                Question:            How did he bring you?

                                Answer:               Neither naked nor clothed, barefoot nor shod.

  

               

                The French exposures, from 1737 onwards, say that "he is made

to wear his left shoe as  a slipper." The bare right arm, came in much

later and I have found no explicit record of that until the 1780's, in

Preston's First Lecture.  The Graham MS, 1726 says "poor            

penniless and blind..." and also "half naked, half shod, half

barefoot, half kneeling, half standing." As to the reasons for these

preparations etc. The stands on Holy Ground [Exodus III, v. 5] and to

confirm the bond in the Obligation [Ruth IV. v 7. 8.] The bare right

arm. to show that the Candidate carries no weapons. The naked left

breast to ensure he is male, and the left is nearest the heart. The

left knee because Christian Brethren. take their Obligation on the

left knee.  These are the traditional reasons, but practices are not

uniform in different countries.

 

Question 11: Why is Ruth IV used as a base for Obligation in the

first Degree?

 

Answer 11:         I am not no sure if I understand the Question. The

Book of Ruth was designed to demonstrate the quality of David's

ancestry. When the childless Ruth was widowed, the law required that

her husband's nearest kinsmen should marry her, that she might bear

children "to raise up the name of the dead'. [Ruth IV, 5]. The nearest

kinsmen was unable to accept the obligation, and, in witness that he

had relinquished his rights, he slipped his shoe [Ruth IV, 8]. Boaz

"a mighty man of wealth" and also a kinsmen, claimed the right,

married Ruth and they became the great-grandparents of David. [See

"Slipshod" in Question 10.]

 

 

Question 12:      What is the significance of the tracing Board?

 

Answer 12:         The earliest reference I have been able to find, is in

the minutes of the Old King's Arms Lodge, No. 28, London. On Dec. 1st,

1735, the Lodge resolved...that the Foot Cloth made use of at the

initiation of new members should be defaced.  The Lodge was ten years

old in 1735, and the Foot Cloth must have been worn out. The Tracing

Board, or "Floor Cloth" evolved from the early custom of drawing on

the floor of the Lodge, a collection of symbols relevant to particular

degrees. Originally, it was the Tyler's duty to draw the designs in

                Chalk and Charcoal, and the Candidates duty at the end of the

ceremony to wash out the design with "mop and pail." Later the designs

were drawn or painted on "Floor Cloths" for more permanent use, and

the collected symbols became the basis for the speculative        

interpretation of the ceremonies, which were eventually standardized

as the Lectures on the Tracing Boards. As to the significance of the

Tracing Board's; in the course of time the "Lodge Board" became "the

Lodge" and acquired a quality of sanctity. "The Lodge stands       on

Holy Ground" and none were allowed to stand or walk on it. Finally,

when the Consecration ceremony came into use, the essential elements

of consecration, Corn, Wine, Oil and Salt were poured on "the

Lodge", i.e.  on the Tracing Board.

 

Question 13: Where does the Penal Sign of the First degree

originate?

 

Answer 13:         It appears in several of our oldest ritual documents

from 1696 onwards. In England this [and several other familiar

penalties] appear to have been in use as Naval punishments,    

authorized by the Admiralty from C. 1451 onwards.

 

Question 14: What is the symbolism of the Rough Ashlar and the

Perfect Ashlar?

 

Answer 14:         The more or less official symbolism of the Ashlars [as

given in the first, Lecture Section 5] says that the Rough Ashlar is

for the Entered Apprentice to work on, and the Perfect Ashlar is for

the use of experienced Craftsmen when they test or adjust their tools.

But symbolism in Freemasonry is a very personal matter, and I believe

that we enter the Craft to build spiritual Temples within ourselves.

For me the Ashlars are our symbolic foundation stones. In English

practice, the Candidate is placed in the North East part of the Lodge

[where the Rough Ashlar rested in former times] and he stands at his

own spiritual foundation stone, to hear the Charity Lecture, one of

the great lessons of Freemasonry. In the Second Degree, he stands in

the South East corner, for a similar exhortation. Broadly, I equate

the two  stones with the Candidate, upon his entry and progress in the

Craft. He comes, in rough, unpolished condition, unaware of what the

Craft holds for him, and ignorant of its teachings. Later, the

polished stone marks his progress in the Craft and his greater   

understanding of its objects, duties and responsibilities. I should

add that the Ashlars belong to an era when there were only two Degrees

[Entered Apprentice and Master or Fellow Craft], and this may explain

why the Perfect Ashlar, representing the peak of Masonic          

experience, comes in the second Degree. Finally, there are my own

personal views and I do not speak with the voice of authority. A few

moments of speculation may lead you to other ideas, so much the

better!

 

Question 15:      What is the origin of the Tyler and what were his

duties?

 

Answer 15:         Originally "tiler", one who lay Tile. The spelling

"Tyler" is said to be obsolete, except in Masonic usage. The duties of

the Tyler have been many and various, but some of them have

disappeared since that Office first came into practice in the early

1700's. They are listed here, roughly in the order in which they

appeared:

                                [1] To guard the door of the Lodge, or Grand Lodge.

                                [2] To deliver the Lodge Summonses.

                                [3] To "draw the Lodge" i.e.  the Tracing Board.

                                [4] To prepare the Candidates for each Degree, and

announce them.

                                [5] To take care of the Clothing, Jewels, and

equipment.

                                [6] To take charge of the Signature Book to ensure

that all signed it.

                                [7] To give the Tyler's Toast at the end of the after

proceedings.

 

Question 16:      The year on an Application Form is shown as A.L. Why?

 

Answer 16:         The A.L. - Anno Lucis [the year of light] appears on

many Craft Documents. Our system of Masonic chronology is based on a

pre-Christian tradition that the Messiah [Christ] would be born 4000

years after the Creation of the Universe, so that the calendar, in

early Christian times, counted the Creation [Anno Lucis] as 4000 B.C.

 

Question 17: Where did the word Cowan come from?

 

Answer 17:         The Oxford English Dictionary says "Derivation

unknown," and defines it as "One who builds dry stone walls [i.e. 

without mortar] ... applied derogatorily to one who does the work of a

mason, but who has not been regularly apprenticed or bred to the

trade." The word is probably of Scottish origin, and it appears, in

that sense, in a large number of Scottish Masonic documents from 1598

onwards [For further details see Carr's, "The Freemason at Work,"

pages 86-89].

 

Question 18:      What is the meaning of symbolism in Masonry?

 

Answer 18:         Symbolism in Freemasonry is the means by which we

explain or interpret the tenets, principles and philosophy of the

Craft. The answer to Question: 14 may perhaps serve as an example.

 

Question 19:      What is the peculiar characteristic of the colour Blue

in Craft Lodges?

 

Answer 19:         The question seems to imply a quest for the symbolism

of the two shades of Blue used                 in our [English] Craft Regalia, and I

answer in that vein. The M.M. Apron in use today, was first prescribed

in the Book of Constitution, 1815, by the newly United Grand Lodge. It

was        then "plain white lambskin ... with sky-blue lining and an

edging 1"/2 inches deep, "virtually identical with today's Apron which

is officially described as with "light blue lining and an edging not

more than 2 inches in width ..."

                Before that time there seems to have been total freedom of

choice, both as to the colour of lining or edging, and of the various

decorations, printed, painted, or embroidered with which they were

frequently adorned. On 24 June 1727, the Grand Lodge prescribed that

                Masters and Wardens of private Lodges should "wear the Jewels

of Masonry hanging to a White Ribbon"; there was no mention of Aprons,

which were Presumably of white skin. On 17 March 1731, Grand Officers

were ordered to wear "blue Silk Ribbons" [ie Collars] and "Aprons

lined with blue Silk". A note in the Rawlinson MS. c. 136, dated 1734,

makes the earliest mention of "Garter Blue Silk" for the Grand

Masters" Aprons and from this time onwards Grand Officers' Collars and

Aprons are always linked with Garter Blue just as they are today. It

is important to observe, however, that until 1745 at least, the blue

Robes of              te Garter Knights were of "a light sky-blue" and there

is useful confirmatory evidence that this was the original shade of

Grand Officers' regalia, sky-blue! In 1745, the light sky-blue         was

altered by King George ll to the present rich Garter-blue, to

distinguish his Garter Knights from those who received that honour

from the Pretender. Our present use of the "garter-blue" so prescribed

in the modern Constitution dates back to c. 1745. Finally, it must be

emphasized, that in all the scanty evidence on the choice of colours

of English regalia, there is never any hint "that the colours of

Freemasonry were selected with a view of symbolism". [For the details

in this, I am mainly indebted to a valuable paper, Masonic Blue: in

A.Q.C. 23, pages 309-320, by the late Bro. Dr. W. J. Chetwode

Crawley].       

 

Question 20: What is the basis of Masonic Chronology?

 

Answer 20:         See Question: 16.

 

Question 21:      What are the Landmarks of Masonry? How many are there?

 

Answer 21:         The best definitions of the term as applying to the

Craft are:

                [a] A landmark must have existed from "the time whereof the

memory of man runneth not to the contrary."

                [b] A Landmark is an element in the form or essence of the

Society of such importance that Freemasonry would no longer be

Freemasonry if it were removed. With such strict definitions it would

be difficult to compile a list that genuinely conforms to those

standards. The U.G.L. of England does not have a list, though many

lists have been compiled [ranging from five to fifty items] and

adopted by various Grand Lodges. The best known list in the     

Western Hemisphere was prepared by Albert Mackey who actually used the

two definitions quoted above. His list of 25 items was adopted by

several USA jurisdictions, even though the majority of them could not

possibly pass the strict test which he had himself prescribed.      To

illustrate the difficulty, I quote two of Mackey's Landmarks which

cannot be Landmarks because we can actually date the period of their

first appearance in Masonry. From the "Freemason at Work" p. 264,

Mackey's No. 1 ... and Mackey's No. 2 ...]. To avoid a lengthy     

discussion of the kind of rules, customs and privileges that could

never qualify as Landmarks, the following is a Code of Landmarks

adopted by the newly formed Grand Lodge of Iran in 1970, Which I

compiled for them at their request:

                                a] Belief in God, the G.A.O.T.U.

                                b] Belief in the immortality of the soul.

                                c] The V.S.L. which is an indispensable part of the

Lodge, No Lodge may be              opened without it and it must remain open and

in full view while the Lodge is at labour.

                                d] Every Mason must be male, free-born and of mature

age.

                                e] Every Mason, by his tenure, expresses his

allegiance to the Sovereign or Ruler of his native land.

                                f] The Landmarks of the Order can never be changed or

repealed. [For further details see Carr, "The Freemason at Work" pages

263-267].

 

 

Question 22:      What is the essential use of Tokens in Freemasonry?

 

Answer 22:         To provide a virtually invisible means of proving

oneself a Mason and of testing a stranger. The ritual says that they

can be used "by night as well as by day".

 

 

Question 23:      What does the word Free signify when connected with

Free Masonry?

 

Answer 23:         The origin of the term has given rise to much debate.

In the earliest attempt to regulate building wages in 1212, the

freemason's [sculptores lapidum liberorum] were distinguished               from

"masons" [caementorie] as separate classes of workmen, notably in

their wages. Masons were paid 1.5 to 3 pence per day; freemasons

received 2.5 to 4 pence, and in numerous later building accounts, the

"freemason" [in a variety of spellings] are regularly distinguished

from "rough masons", layers, rough hewers, hard hewers, etc.

Originally, the term "freemason" is undoubtedly connected with

"freestone" [franche pere in Old French, where the "franche" means of

excellent quality].  Freestone was a fine-grained stone that could be

worked in any direction and could be undercut, lending itself

particularly to the carving of foliage, images and mouldings,

vaulting, window-frames and door-ways. The skilled worker  in

freestone was an artist and a precision worker, so that the

designation "freemason" denoted "superior qualifications in the mason

trade" Confusion arises however, when the titles are occasionally

interchanged doubtless through carelessness. It is not surprising,

perhaps, that when the character of the Craft began to change by the

admission of "Accepted "or non-operative Masons, the title Freemasons

was adopted, quite unofficially, for men who had never worked in

stone. When Elias Ashmole recorded his admission on 16 October 1646,

he wrote in his diary: "4:30 p.m. I was made a Freemason at

Warrington, in Lancashire, with Colonel Henry Mainwaring, of

Karincharn in Cheshire". Two other uses of the word Free arise in the

records of the mason trade:

                                [1] Free, ie not a bondman, who would not be eligible

for admission even as an apprentice.

                                [2] Free of the trade: it was customary in the London

Masons Company as in many other crafts, for an apprentice at the end

of. his indentures to buy his "freedom by the payment of certain fees.

He then became "free of the trade" and was entitled to set up as a

master. I am satisfied that neither of these connected with the title

"Freemason".

 

 

 

Question 24:      What is cubit measure?

 

Answer 24:         Originally, the distance from the elbow to the

finger-tips [Oxford English Dictionary] varying at different is and

places, but usually about 18-22 inches.

 

 

Question 25:      What is veiled allegory?

 

Answer 25:         There is an error in this question. It is not the

allegory that is veiled. We use the allegory to veil our teachings.

The best simple definition will explain my meaning: Allegory: to

describe one subject in the guise of another,

 

 

Question 26:      What do the references to the Golden Fleece and Roman

Eagle mean in our Apron Charge?

 

Answer 26:         The Order of the Golden Fleece was one of the most

illustrious Orders of Knighthood in Austria, Spain and Flanders,

founded by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and the Netherlands in

1429. The insignia, or Jewel of the Order is a golden sheepskin with

head and feet, resembling a whole sheep hanging the middle from a gold

and blue flintstone emitting flames. The Eagle was to the Romans the

ensign of Imperial power. In battle it      was borne on right wing of

each Roman legion. It was held in veneration by the soldiers and

regarded as affording sanctuary. We cite the Golden Fleece and Roman

Eagle to illustrate the respect and veneration that we owe to the

simple white lambskin Apron.

 

 

Question 27:      What is the significance of the Wardens Columns being

raised and lowered?

 

Answer 27:         In Three Distinct Knocks, 1760 we find "Calling Off"

and "Calling On". It begins with a series of whispered questions,

carried by the Deacons, from the Worshipful Master to the Senior

Warden and Junior Warden, after which the Junior Warden declares with

a loud    voice that "this lodge is called from Work to Refreshment;

then he sets up his Column, and the Senior Warden lays his down; for

the care of the Lodge is in the Hands of the Junior Warden while they

are at refreshment." Here we have the earliest details relating to the

raising and lowering, of the Columns and the reasons for those

procedures, showing that they were designed to draw a readily

noticeable distinction between the Lodge when open and when "Called

Off ", This would have been an important matter in those days, when

"Work and Refreshment" [ie, ceremony, drink and dinning] all took

place in the same Lodge room. The raising and lowering of the Columns

is standard usage today but the whispered instructions have been

replaced by a brief catechism spoken aloud.

 

 

Question 28:      Why is the Sun over the Junior Warden's chair and the

Moon over the Senior Warden's if the Senior Warden is in charge during

the work of the Lodge and the Junior Warden is in charge during

Refreshment or not at work?

 

Answer 28:         Two unrelated problems are linked here, which were not

designed to fit logically with each other, though they are not really

incompatible. Perhaps the best explanation will appear                 if we trace

how the Sun and Moon, Junior Warden and Senior Warden got into those

positions. In our earliest ritual documents, we read frequently of

"three lights," candles, standing in various indeterminate positions

An exposure of 1724 said that they stood "Right, East, South and

West", [clearly implying the course of the sun at sunrise, at meridian

and at sunset, though this was not mentioned in the text.] In Masonry

Dissected, 1730, the "Three Lights" are still situated "East South and

West" and they represent Sun, Moon, and Mason, and the same text says

that both Wardens stand in the West, In operative times, when the

masons worked with hammer and chisel, there was only one Warden in

charge of the craftsmen; he was "progress-chaser" and it was his duty

to ensure that nothing disturbed the progress of the work. In

non-operative Lodges certainly before 1730 there were two Wardens and

sometime between 1730 and 1760, when for ritual purposes it was deemed

advisable to allocate specific duties to each, the Senior Warden

remained in charge of the Lodge at labour, and the Junior Warden was

placed in charge of the Lodge at Refreshment. The earliest ritual text

that describes this is Three Distinct Knocks, 1760, where the

Worshipful Master is in the East, and for the first time the Junior

Warden is in the South and the Senior Warden in the West.  In the

Opening ceremony the Junior Warden's duty is:

                The better to observe the Sun, at high Meridian to call the

Men off from Work to Refreshment and to see that they come on in due

time. Notice the Junior Warden, only called the Lodge to Refreshment

at the midday break and it seems to me that the points raised by the

question are not incompatible.

                In the course of this lengthy answer I have tired to show:

                [1]          How the three lights, East, South and West con to

represent the daily course of the Sun.

                [2]          How the Junior Warden  and Senior Warden arrived at

the South  and West, and acquired the Sun and Moon emblems on their

Chairs.

                [3]          How the Junior Warden's duties came to be allocated.

 

                The real problem is how to reconcile the East, South and West

with the "Sun, Moon and Master," the traditional reply which still

appears in our modern ritual.  After much study, I am convinced that

if we said "South, West and East," that the problem would disappear as

well.

 

 

Question 29:      Do the Tassels have to have lights in them, and why?

 

Answer 29:         Sorry, I have never heard of lights in Tassels.

 

 

Question 30:      [a] Are there any Lodges that use the Tracing Boards?

                [b] Did they have one in the olden days of Masonry, say

1700-1800?

 

Answer 30:         [a] Yes. About 7,500 in England alone and in most

Lodges in overseas jurisdictions that       follow English usage.

                [b] Yes, with ample evidence from 1735 onwards. [See Question

12] But we only use then in the speculative sense, to explain the

symbols of Masonry.

 

 

Question 31:      What shape is a parallelepipedon and how does it

relate to Masonry?

 

Answer 31:         The Oxford English Dictionary. defines it as: A solid

figure contained by six parallelograms, of which every two opposite

ones are parallel. This is my pet abomination in Masonry. There ought

to be a law against words of more than 3 or 4 syllables! It appears in

the First Lecture, Section III in answer to the Question asking "The

form of the Lodge". The same question in 1730, had the answer "A long

square", and I feel that the man who decided to use the

Parallelepipedon ought to be shot!

 

 

Question 32:      Why does the Junior Deacon conduct the Candidate? 

Could any other Officer do this job?

 

Answer 32:         In 1730, it was the Warden's job [and Deacons were

rather rare].  Since 1813 it has been the Junior Deacon's duty, but

any other Officer could be deputize for him in his absence [or by

arrangement].

 

 

Question 33:      Is there any significance in the Right Arm laid bare

etc.?  If not, why bother?

 

Answer 33:         Certainly there is; [See Question 10] It would be fair

to say that there is "significance in every item of clothing,

equipment and procedure, sometimes very important, sometimes almost

trifling. But what is trifling to you, may be important to me. In

matters of symbolism and interpretation, the significance that you

work out for yourself is what really matters. Try it sometime; you

will find it an interesting exercise. As for the Right Arm, it is bare

to show that the candidate carries no weapons.

 

 

Question 34:      Did they have mosaic pavement in the Temple?  Where?

 

Answer 34           No. See 1 Kings V 15, which says that Solomon

"...covered the floor of the house [ie. the Temple] with planks of

fir."

 

 

Question 35:      Was Boaz really the great-grandfather of David, a

Prince and Ruler in Israel?

 

Answer 35:         Boaz was "a mighty man of wealth" and he was neither

Prince nor Ruler. The ritual would be less confusing if we said:

"...great grandfather of David, who became a Ruler in Israel."

 

 

Question 36:      When does a man become a Mason, after his First or

Third Degree?

 

Answer 36:         Under the United Grand Lodge of England, and in many

jurisdictions that follow our usages, the Candidate becomes a Mason at

the end of his Initiation, and I believe that this is               probably true

in most of the recognized Grand Lodges. In several Grand Lodges in the

USA a Mason does not become a Member of his Lodge until he has passed

his Proficiency Test in the Third Degree and in most of those cases he

cannot enjoy the privileges of the Craft [eg, Masonic Funeral, etc.,

etc.] until he has signed the Lodge Register following the            

Proficiency Test.

 

 

Question 37:      Is there any record of a Candidate's death in the

First Degree by impaling himself on the sword presented at the door of

the Lodge?

 

Answer 37:         Positively no!

 

 

Question 38:      What is to be done if the Candidate declares himself

unwilling to take his Obligation?

 

Answer 38:         You must not try to persuade him.  That would be a

Masonic "crime", because he comes of his own free will. If this ever

happened in my presence, I would see the Candidate courteously

returned to the Preparation Room and as soon as he was ready [without

a word of criticism] see him out and call a taxi for him.

 

 

Question 39:      If the penalties are not intended to be carried out,

what is their purpose?

 

Answer 39:         They are traditional, based on 15th century Admiralty

penalties for treason. Nobody has ever suffered those penalties and

their contents have been a source of worry to Masons and Grand Lodges

in many parts of the world. In 1964, The English Grand Lodge resolved

to approve "permissive changes" in the Obligations [plural] and in the

relevant  passages in the ritual relating to the Obligations by which

the Candidate undertakes now to "bear in           mind" the "traditional

penalty, that of having the..." Note, the Candidate does not undertake

to suffer the penalty, or to inflict it, he only promises to bear it

in mind. The permissive changes were "permissive" in so far that no

Lodges were ordered to adopt them; they could only adopt them by a

majority vote in the Lodge. A large number of Lodges adopted the

changes; many still adhere to the earlier forms. [see Carr's, "The

Freemason at Work", pages 38-45]

 

 

Question 40:      Why does the Entered Apprentice Apron not contain one

rosette?

 

Answer 40:         It is not necessary. The Entered Apprentice Apron is

always described as "a plain white lambskin" and every English Mason

would know that it designates Entered Apprentice status. In the USA

especially [but probably elsewhere too], only the Lodge Officers wear

ornamented Aprons and all visitors and members wear a plain white - as

emblems of equality - and in many jurisdictions, the grade of the

wearer, Entered Apprentice Fellow Craft, or Master Mason is indicated

by turning up the corners of the Apron or some similarly              

recognizable practice.

 

 

Question 41:      What does the "Broken Column" signify?

 

Answer 41:         It is an emblem of mortality and it has no place in

our English ritual. In many of our Lodges, it is used as a

collecting-box for Alms, but it has no status as a Masonic symbol. In

the USA it appears with other symbols in many of the monitorial

workings, associated, I believe, with the Master Mason Degree.

 

 

Question 42:      What does the "Hoodwink" symbolize?

 

Answer 42:         The purpose of this term is to ensure that in case a

Candidate refuses to undergo the ceremony, he may be led out of the

Lodge without discovering its form. [First Lecture, Section Il]. The

symbolism of the Hoodwink is the darkness of ignorance until the light

of Masonry is made known to the Candidate.

 

 

Question 43:      What effect did the "Papal Bulls" have on Masonry?

 

Answer 43:         The whole story would require a very long answer and I

must be brief. In the 240 years or so since the first Bull against the

Masons was promulgated in 1738 by Pope Clement XII and reissued by

many of his successors, in various forms during the next 150 years,

they       have prevented millions of good and respectable Roman

Catholics from joining the Craft.  Throughout the centuries no real

attempt was made to bridge the gulf that separated the Freemasons from

the Church of Rome, until after the Second Ecumenical Council. Some of

the more liberal ideas that emerged from the Council, began to spill

over into other fields     and within a few years, spontaneous efforts

were being started among sympathizers in France, Germany and the

U.S.A., all working in their own fashion in the hope of reaching an

accord between the Craft and the Roman Catholic Church. I myself was

deeply concerned in the work, writing and lecturing on the subject

and I had several important interviews with the Late Cardinal Heenan,

who helped the cause very considerably in his   approaches to the

Papal authorities. The full story covering the public efforts and

private negotiations has not yet been published. Suffice to say that

in July 1974 Cardinal Heenan received a communication from the Holy

See announcing that the Papal ban had been lifted. Roman Catholics

everywhere [but not Officers of the Church of Rome] are now able to

join the Craft without the penalty of excommunication and already a

number of excellent Roman Catholic Candidates have joined the

Craft in England. [See Carr's, "The Freemason at Work" pages 277-281].

 

 

Question 44:      What is the limit of a Mason's charity?

 

Answer 44:         In its pure original sense, e.g. man's love of his

neighbour, kindness, affection, with some notion of generous or

spontaneous goodness [Oxford English Dictionary] there is no limit to

a Mason's charity. In its more common sense of alms, or more

substantial gifts to the poor or to institutions, the English ritual

specifies the limit, ie, "without detriment to yourself or

connections." [dependants] .

 

 

Question 45:      What is the exact meaning of the word Cowan?

 

Answer 45:         The Oxford English Dictionary says "Derivation

unknown", and defines it as "One who builds dry stone walls [ie,

without mortar] - applied derogatorily to one who does the work of a

mason, but who has not yet been regularly apprenticed or bred to the

trade". The word is probably of Scottish origin, and it appears, in

that sense, in a large number of Scottish Masonic documents from 1598

onwards. [For further details see Carr's "The Freemason at Work" 

pages 86-89].

 

 

Question 46:      During the Master Mason Degree the Chaplain recited

"Or ever the silver cord be loosed..."      What is meant by the "silver

cord"?

 

Answer 46:         The words are from Ecclesiastes XII which describes,

in great detail, the decline of man in old age, and the failure of his

senses, limbs and faculties. I would quote from my annotated

Geneva Bible, which says that the "silver cord" is "the marrow of the

backbone and sinews". It may be pure coincidence, but I am forcibly

reminded of a passage in the Graham MS. , 1 726, which, after

describing the earliest raising within a Masonic context,               

contains the word "Here is yet marrow in this bone".

 

 

Question 47: Distinguished between Hiram. King of Tyre and Hiram

Abif? The Bible refers to only one.

 

Answer 47:         The question is wrong.  Both are mentioned several

times in the course of the two Old Testament versions of the building

of King Solomon's Temple. Hiram King Tyre appears in I Kings V, 1, as

Hiram, King of Tyre and several times in the same chapter as Hiram.

Hiram Abif, the "widow's son" appears first in I Kings VII, 13, and

again in the same chapter in verse 40, where the name appears with two

slightly different Hebrew spellings. This has given rise to a theory

that there were two craftsmen named Hiram [Quite apart from Hiram,

King of Tyre]

                Hiram, King of Tyre appears in the Chronicles version [in ll

Chronicles 11, 3] and he appears again as Hiram, King of Tyre in the

same chapter, verse 11. In verse 13 he writes to Solomon saying that

he has sent him a skilled craftsman, "a cunning man, endued with

understanding, of Hiram my Father's."* these last four words in

English are the translation            of the Hebrew words "Le-Haram Aviv"

and this sentence is the source of our words "Hiram       Abif. It was

Luther who first used this name [Hiram Abif] because he could not make

sense of the Hebrew "of Haram my father's."

                Note: In ll Chronicles, IV, 11, we find the name of Hiram, the

craftsman, again with two different Hebrew spellings, suggesting that

there were two craftsmen of the same name, a father and a son.  It is

impossible to solve this problem more especially because, unlike our

Hiramic legend - which is pure legend - there is no Biblical record of

the death of Hiram, the marvellous craftsman.

 

 

                *Footnote: More correctly "of Hiram his father".

 

 

 

 

 

         

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