The Builder Magazine
September 1918 - Volume IV -
OF A MASON
BY BRO. J. GEORGE GIBSON,
THERE is no disgrace in
working for wages. In these days there are some who prefer the word "salary"
or that of "stipend" as more "genteel." In reality neither of these words is
even a wee bit more "genteel" than the old, old word "wages." Has the world
fallen out of love with the idea of receiving just that which represents some
work done and no more? If so is there anything more honorable in the taking of
what is not only the due but carries with it also a profit of a trade nature?
These may be days of contracts and of unequal profits; but that does not, and
should not, make us forget that there is nothing more honorable or ancient
than the receipt of our just wages, which are the cash equivalent of the work
we have done. It may sometimes inconveniently suggest the "work of one's
hands," and therefore to some the menial task. This is, however, no objection,
for he who receives that which represents what he has done receives that which
will make him hold up his head with the greatest. He who accepts a profit may
be equally honest in intention but yet may have to wonder at times just what
his profit costs his fellow man. It may be significant or not according to the
point of view, but the fact remains that in the new country where men are face
to face with facts, deep underlying facts of life, there is none of this
squeamishness as to the use of the word "wages." There is after all a great
deal of the absurd in this attempt to gloss over the fact that we labour for
wages, as though it were a something to be ashamed of that we are engaged in
manual toil, instead of being matter for joy and glory that we are able to
contribute to the art and wealth of the world about us.
All this talk of the
"honorarium," the "fee," the "remuneration," and the like is the coinage of
the "shabby genteel" who are ashamed of all that should give them the right to
live and the right to a place in society. The sooner we get back to the place
from which so many of us have fallen the better for the world and for our own
manhood. There is no one so little of account among the respectable classes as
the idler, who is not even an apprentice "working for his meat." And it is
time that the world which can be taught by Masonry learned more the value of a
regular occupation from the practice of which all received, not an allowance,
but wages. Justice is not so blind as she is made out to be, and it is a fact
that the rule in life is that we receive exactly the wage for the work we have
done, and no more.
A Mason is not only the
temple he builds but he is much more--the Builder. His life is his
masterpiece, and woe to him if he works not of his best. Where are his wages
but in the work itself ? All labour that is in accordance with the teaching of
the tracing board goes unpaid for. And in life there is no deferred payment
either. It is not kept from him until he can no longer use it in this lodge
below, but the Great Warden settles with each man every day after each task is
performed. "And each man's reward shall be according as his work shall be."
This is the Law of Life: it is also the Masonic Law. But the condition is
Labour. No playing at the forms of toil will be sufficient. The recital of the
ritual, and the statement that we are prepared to be liberal beyond the dreams
of the reformer will not avail us when we stand before our Master each
evening. If we give liberally of that which we shall never miss, of that the
loss of which costs us nothing, we are no richer at the end of our Masonic
career than we were at the beginning. But if the gift of our goodwill is also
the gift of our real toil, that is if it has cost us something, then the
reward comes to us in the increased muscularity of our soul, and in the
greater power by which we yield to the claims of need in the future. "He who
would be. greatest must be servant of all." That is to say "he must serve." It
is service that passes a man from the lower work of the bench to the higher,
and it is service that creates within us the spirit of the true artisan.
It is no reason for shame
that we are filled with the desire to covet earnestly the greater gifts. The
Entered Apprentice need not hang his head at the thought that he would like,
even he, to reach the seat of K. S. in his lodge. But if it be rank alone that
draws him, then he is still in the outer courts of the Masonic Temple. A
Master of his lodge who has never dreamed, and never executed the masterpiece
is one who holds a high office unworthily. He holds rank without dignity.
Office should come in the ordinary course of the development of a man's
Masonic experience. To the best workman the best work. The king's scepter is a
degradation to the throne if the king be too foolish to reign in equity. And a
man's life capacity should be the surest nomination for office and for labour
in the highest grades. To give the Craft its due it is only right to say that
the weak Worshipful Master is the exception and the officers who are chosen
are usually those who are best fitted for the duties of their office. But with
the rapid augmentation of our numbers in these days of a favorably received
Freemasonry there is just a danger that with the huge new membership there may
creep in the profane standards, and then the weakening of the Masonic
testimony. This is seen too often in the way in which brethren are hastened
through the degrees to the exaltation in the Sublime Degree.
We sometimes wonder how many
of the workmen know how to handle the chisel of life, and how many are capable
of spending the wages they receive out of all reason before their work is
completed. We have also met with Worshipful Masters who were not even word
perfect in the ceremonies, and who did not seem to consider it necessary that
they should take much trouble to impress upon the initiate lessons they had
perhaps never understood themselves. More than that we have often wondered
upon what grounds of efficiency some of the appointments to positions in the
higher walks of Freemasonry have been allocated. Men whose whole lives have
been devoted to the explication of the meaning of true Masonry are ignored
excepting in the paragraph of the Masonic Press, while others whose service to
Masonry, and whose development in the direction of the templar erection has
been to say the least obscure have been pushed to the front, much to their
discomfort. We have seen the social position outside the lodge qualify for
high position within, and the potentiality of the true workman lost sight of.
We are glad to know that such incidents are rarer than they were, but they
should be impossible. Some kind of account should be kept of the wages due to
the Mason by the Craft he works for. The Great Warden has his account and the
reward will surely come; but it would tend to the strengthening of the bond of
Freemasonry did the brethren know that their labours were all entered in the
human book of remembrance.
And yet, when we come to
think of the multitude who have in our own recollection been labouring at the
bench to which they have been sent from the first, we cannot recall one of the
real workmen who has become dissatisfied with his modicum of human recognition
and left his tools before the great work of his life has been accomplished.
Why is this? The answer is simple. They have received wages, though men paid
them none. They who give receive, they who labour to give are enriched, they
who sacrifice to give are yet more enriched. The neophyte on whose mind the
profane impression is still evident may turn tired of the long period of toil
to which he is called when he enters the lodge; but the veteran soon gives the
call of profane ambition the goby since his Masonic ambition is to serve and
enrich the world in which he is set apart to the ministry of service. He may
have been robbed by the obtuseness of those who are in the front ranks of the
army of those opportunities of usefulness which at one time he longed to win;
but he has made the best use of those he won for himself, and looks back with
satisfaction and forward with hope. His reward is in himself, and none can
deprive him of the fruit of a long service. When we see the world about us
moved by our spirit, when we know that as the result of our sacrifices a
higher standard of benevolence is set up all over the world, and know that the
angles that symmetry does not require are rubbed away, and that the anger that
once spoiled many a good cause is now discredited, the mere pomp of place does
not count with us, for these results are our wages, and we give the receipt
for them with new resolutions that are even more ambitious than those that now
From Harmony, from heavenly
This universal frame began;
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard
Arise, ye more than dead!
Then cold, and hot, and
moist, and dry
In order to their stations
And Music's power obey.
From Harmony, from heavenly
This universal frame began;
From Harmony to Harmony
Through all the compass of
the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in
--John Dryden, 1631-1700.
FURTHER NOTES ON THE COMACINE
BY BRO. W. RAVENSCROFT,
PERHAPS the most
distinguishing feature of Comacine work is the campanile, and of all parts of
their churches their towers retain more than any their individual character.
They abound in Italy, but not elsewhere, these campanili of the eleventh and
twelfth centuries and earlier, for in these remarks are not included the large
number of much diversified form built in later times. At first plain, without
corbel tables, pilaster strips or strings, and having a single opening at the
top, afterwards adorned with two, three, sometimes four, round-arched
openings, supported on shafts, much as some of our Saxon belfry windows are
treated, they soar in many cases to quite a considerable height, and form the
landmarks for miles around as well as being real belfries and not merely
places of refuge or defense, such as church towers are often found to be
They abound, as may be
expected, around the Italian lakes, but also are plentiful in Rome and in fact
are everywhere in Italy as has been already noticed.
As a type of all the rest and
remarkable for its beauty and situation, is the campanile of the ruined church
of sta. Maria close to Bellagio (see frontispiece.)
On the influence of Byzantine
over Comacine art, one word may be allowed in connection with the sculptured
and pictorial work of the two schools. While the former developed a spiritual
side associated with mystery, the latter, where unaffected by this, manifested
a grosser conception of the human body, and as in the eleventh century it came
more under the influence of the Byzantine, so its pictorial and sculptured art
became refined. This is well illustrated in the church of St. Pietro al Monte
di civate, already referred to. (1)
Thus far, as to the relation
between the two schools we have had under consideration, and it only remains
to remark how strangely in many instances Greek, Roman and Comacine details
appear to be jumbled together. At the church of S. Prassede Rome there is a
doorway consisting of a Byzantine cornice, Roman egg and dart enrichment,
dentils, chevrons and interlaced knot-work, while the capitals of the columns
are after a debased Ionic treatment. A similar conglomeration appears in the
vestibule of S. Mark's at Venice but without the interlaced work.
Merzario (I. Maestri Comacini)
claims that the forerunners of the Comacines on leaving Rome took with them
Roman art, but worked out their own style chiefly on basilican forms, and that
it was only by degrees they came under Byzantine influence as they worked
That the Comacines were
everywhere in Italy we have already seen, and now have to consider point
number six: "They spread their influence over all Western Europe and even to
our own shores."
Edgecumbe Staley, writing on
the Gilds of Florence, states that the Comacines were consolidated by A. D.
590 and influenced the architecture of the whole of Italy but had no governing
lodge, saying in the words of their motto that their Temple "was one made
Merzario writes (2) (I.
Maestri Comacini, vol. I, p. 78):
"The Comacines remained still
alive and went about scattered through many cities and provinces to exercise
their art even after the fall of the Lombards, and that as the artists of
Greece kept behind (followed) the long steps of Alexander in the countries
captured by him in Asia and Egypt, and those of Rome behind the victorious
Caesar upon the Rhone and the Rhine, so they followed closely upon the traces
of the Conqueror of Desiderius, of the dominator of the Saxons and the
"Thus became cast the first
seeds of that art which was altogether unknown and there rose on the surface
of the earth and elevated itself in Germany and Gaul, with the physiognomy of
the fathers, named in common Comacines, or Lombards, who had given birth to it
or taught it."
Further on he continues (p.
"The Frenchman, Quatremere de
Quincy, in his Historical Dictionary of Architecture writes thus:
"'The Comacines, (as they
called themselves in the Middle Ages,) that company of builders who, from the
borders of the lakes of Como, of Lugano and Maggiore, with usage not yet
interrupted scattered themselves through Europe to build edifices, some
sacred, some profane, and in the Lombard laws with the name of Magistri
Comacini, were honored by special privileges.
artificers--architects, sculptors, mosaicists or workmen who idealized and
executed, is attributed the resurrection of art and its propagation in the
Northern countries where it was introduced and propagated with Christianity.
Certainly we owe to them that the heredity of the ancient age was not
altogether derelict, and that at least by tradition and by imitation the
practice of the constructor remained alive and produced works which even at
this time are admired and recognized as more surprising in contrast with the
ignorance of science in those obscure centuries.'"
One makes no apology for
translating Merzario's quotations from other authorities, because they give a
weight of added testimony not otherwise available.
Thus he continues (vol. I, p.
81) after mentioning the German Kugler and the Frenchman Ramee as most
competent men in the history of art, and as holding similar views:
"We will add the opinion of
other of our authoritative writers. The lamented Pietro Selvatico notes that
the architecture which held sway from the eighth to the thirteenth century in
Europe consisted of Byzantine and Roman elements conjoined, but in 800 became
mixed with another which, in part produced from those, had nevertheless in
itself elements so original as to construct an independent art. This, he says,
is the Lombard or Comacine architecture call it which you like, which is
distinguished by the low pitched roofs, by the always semi-circular arches
rising from the columns in the facade resembling the Greek and Roman; it was
indeed not enlarged in Italy quickly after being born, but taking root little
by little, resulted in a sure, systematic unity after the first half of the
"This, it cannot be denied,
was the product of the union of the Masters of Como with the Romans and of
their connection with Aquileja towards the Levant.
"Caimi, in the first page of
a valuable work of his, writes:
"'Toward the beginning of the
ninth century architecture, which in Italy presented a mixture of Roman and
Byzantine elements, commenced to develop under a more original and
characteristic form and, without repudiating the origin of its being, took
normal and special rule, from which came to be constructed that manner or
architectonic style which, from the country, was called Lombard. That style
spread rapidly, not in the country of Italy alone, but in many regions of
Northern Europe especially through the works of those associations or
companies of Freemasons who were better known under the name of Comacine
"Professor Camille Boito
makes to stand out more clearly still the figure and merit of our Masters,
'The Comacine Masters.' He writes:
"'Some have wished to
demonstrate a secret society having the monopoly of the architectural arts for
the space of several centuries while others have wished to make them out
ignorant masons or but little more called here and there in Italy and in
foreign countries to manual labour. It is certain that in every case they had
great importance and that Como would not cede to other provinces the ancient
merit of having been the cradle of a new art, wise and beautiful in its own
time, from which art was born after a series of transformations the pointed
arch styles which found so much favour in Germany, France and England, and
also the ways of our art of the thirteenth century, so rich in artistic
variety, so free, so refined, of the art in fact which at length, renewed,
beautified, civilized, was able to become perhaps the base of the Italian art
of the future."'
On page 91 Merzario writes:
"From the declaration of an
almost contemporary author it appears quite clearly that the Lombard
artificers had, after the dispersion of the Lombards, a school in Rome--a
quarter to themselves near that of the Franks and Saxons, who were protected
by Charlemagne and his successors. From this school must have derived that
community and brotherhood which we see extended between the Lombard and German
artists with the faculty for the Lombards to go into Germany, where they found
fellow-disciples and friends, and the name 'Tedeschi' given in successive
periods to the Lombard artificers, who in great part were Comacines."
Merzario traces the footsteps
of the Comacines as following the Lombards in their descent upon Sicily where
they came in contact with the Normans, also into Germany where their mark is
seen in the Cathedral of Spires, Worms, Magdeburg and other cities but enough
has been quoted from this author for our purpose here. Comacine influence on
the Norrnans was in two directions, northward and southward, and in evidence
of the former a few references may here be permitted.
Paul the Deacon (De gestis
Longobardorum, book 3, ch. 6) states that at the beginning of the seventh
century Pope Gregory "the great" sent certain "religious" to England, who,
following in the footsteps of the blessed Augustine, of Melitus, John and
others, were directed to visit and bring under obedience the divided Britons
of the world ("divisos orbe Britannos") who had only once seen the face of the
Romans. These brought with them certain artificers who were to raise up the
temples of the faith and who, coming from Italy, most probably belonged to
those Craftsmen, which had the use and privilege of such construction.
The Venerable Bede tells us
how S. Benedict Abbott of Wearmouth, in A. D. 674, wishing to build his church
went into France to collect masons who could erect it after the manner of the
Romans, and when these had completed their work in order to the furnishings of
the church he had recourse to the country of the Romans for things he could
not procure in France or England.
Richard, Prior of Hagustald,
narrates how S. Wilfred, about 674, made pilgrimage to Rome and became
enamored of the beautiful churches and buildings there, and that having in
mind to build a church in honour of S. Andrew of Hagustald near to York, he
brought together in Italy and France and in other countries as many builders
and industrious artificers as he could find and conducted them into England.
It is said that in these
writings of Bede and the Prior words and phrases are to be found which were in
the edict of King Rothrares (A.D. 643) and in the "Memoratorio" of Liutprand
(A. D. 713) thus connecting the work of S. Benedict and S. Wilfred with the
W.S. Calverley, writing of
Stephens, says ("Notes on the Early Scriptured crosses, etc., in the Diocese
of Carlisle" 1899, p. 44):
"According to his view the
latter part of the seventh century was a period of great artistic energy under
Wilfreth and other Romanizing leaders, and at that date these scrolls and
interlacings were learnt from Lombardy and not from Ireland. For example, the
tomb of the Irish Saint Columbanus at Bobbio, which one would expect to find
ornamented with the so-called Irish art, is decorated merely with the patterns
then in vogue in Rome, while in Lombardy--not in Ireland--interlaced scrolls
were used early in the seventh century."
Dr. Colley, F. S. A., in a
paper read before the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club,
published in 1913, says:
"The three decorative
interlacements (on a font at stone, near Aylesbury,) may indicate a Byzantine
influence. Such designs had much vogue in Italy during the eighth century and
were brought to the north of Europe by Italian monks. The intreccio that runs
round the rim of the font is threefold and represents the Trinity in Unity,
that on the (heraldic) right having neither beginning nor end means eternity,
while the other, an endless band interlacing a circle, teaches that Infinity
is controlled by a Unity."
S. Ninian, it is known, was a
great friend of S. Martin of Tours and from him obtained masons skilled to
work in stone.
A little book published by
Talbot, London, entitled "Lives of the Saints" says (p. 216):
"Both the churches of Ripon
and Hexham were built after the Roman manner--that is the basilican type with
the altar in a chord of a western apse by which the celebrant faced the east
when saying mass."
Mr. George Coffey, in his
guide to Celtic antiquities in the Dublin National Museum, notes that while
the intreeeia of Italy were almost universally three stranded, those of Greece
and Central Syria, as well as Ireland, consisted mainly of two strands.
Certainly those in England are rarely of three strands, but generally of two
or one only. Mr. Coffey seems to think the Lombard pattern was derived from
both Roman and Greek sources. Whatever the origin of the Comacine intreccia
may be, it would seem to be pretty clear that the three-stranded form was
their particular one, and may be taken generally as indicative of their work.
Interlaced patterns in these
islands are chiefly found on crosses, fonts, and other such details and of
these crosses especially there remain a great number.
There is no doubt that
intercourse between Italy and our Western shores in the early Middle Ages was
fairly intimate, and since the pagan Saxon hold on England would prevent it
being overland, especially in regard to church matters, such intercourse was
necessarily by sea. Hence the association of the Irish Round Towers with those
of Italy gets confirmation, and indeed seems to be increasingly held (see
Arch. Review fol October, 1908, and following numbers).
A comparison of other details
found in Italy and England will give some interesting results.
Some of the oldest Comacine
capitals, side by side with richly carved ones, are massive cushion capitals,
such as are to be found in the Crypt of S. Vincenzio at Gravedona.
The illustration of the
capital of a column in S. Giaeomo di Como (Fig. 11) should be compared with
the Norman capital from Winchester (Fig. 12), and one from the Como Museum
with that from Milford Hants, and another from Selham Sussex (Figs. 13, 14 and
Outside the apse of S. Sisto
Viterbo (a roundarched church) an arcade occurs in which the interlaced
pattern is alternated with the dog-tooth of almost Early English type (Fig.
16) . At S. Pietro Ancona a similar arcade is notched with an early dogtooth
ornament while at the same church another arcade is surmounted with a chevron
and running ornament of what we should call Norman character (Figs. 17 and
On the west front of S. Paolo
Pisa (a generally round-arched church) occur two pointed arches in the
arcading having chevron treatment as at Wimborne Minster Dorset.
The lion excavated at
Corstopitum near Hexham, already mentioned, (3) is obviously of the same
family as those of the Comacines in Italy and its proximity to Hexham gives
added reason for regarding it in this light.
The use of pilaster strips,
common to the Italian campanile and the Saxon or early Norman Tower, suggests
a relationship between the two and as regards plan there is not wanting good
evidence of the Comacine influence on English work.
Not long since discoveries
were made in connection with Abbot Wulfric's round church at S. Augustines
Canterbury and, writing thereon in the Times, Mr. G. McN. Rushforth, F. S. A.,
mentions several round churches as having existed in England, saying it was
about 68 A. D. that Wilfrid built the round church of S. Mary at Hexham, while
Riviora points out that all these circular plans are derived directly or
indirectly from Roman models, and that in choosing this form for the church of
the Holy Sepulchre, Constantine did but follow the pattern of a typical Roman
Mausoleum on the grand scale.
The plan of Canterbury
Cathedral as it existed before 1076 carries out the Comacine idea, even to the
two apses, one at each end and the campanili flanking the aisles, north and
Comment on all this is surely
superfluous. It speaks for itself, and indeed it would appear that most
authorities are agreed that from North Italy English architecture received
both its inspiration and realization in its earlier days. That it was through
the Comacines rather than through the Milanese or Lombard school (if indeed
there were two distinct schools) one would submit is practically demonstrated
in the foregoing comparison of the chief peculiarities of the two schools. (4)
That the Comacines merged
into the great Masonic Gilds of the Middle Ages, and that as these declined,
forms and ceremonies held and practiced by them were to a great extent
preserved in the speculative Masonry of the present day, particularly that
practiced under the English and American Constitutions, is still doubted by
some and denied by one or two.
Merzario would have us
believe that the Comacines, from whom he appears to derive a large number of
other schools of medieval architecture, could be traced down to 1800 A. D.,
but such opinion would want a great deal of evidence to make it acceptable.
Sig. Monneret de Villard, who
takes the view that they were a school distinct from other contemporary ones,
holds that as an organized body they ceased to exist after the twelfth
A good illustration of the
way in which symbols were transmitted even from the Temple of Solomon to the
medieval Craftsmen and thence to our speculative Masonry, is to be found in
the two pillars at Wurzburg Cathedral already mentioned. It has been pointed
out that they were originally situated on either side of the porch but are now
in the body of the Cathedral (their relative positions reversed), and that
these shafts are interlaced in a manner already referred to in these pages.
One has thought it worth
while to make some careful inquiries with regard to these pillars and hence
before the commencement of the present war I was able to ascertain, on what I
have reason to believe to be competent authority, that these pillars
originally supported three archways of a porchway or entrance just within the
nave, having over them a gallery approached by a staircase. In this position
they would correspond to the arrangement of the porch at S. Pietro al Monte di
civate, and they are said to be of the same date (Fig. 3a).
To get the knot effect they
had to be clustered shafts, and like those at Arlezo (see Fig. 9) one appears
to have more of these shafts in number than the other. This is significant,
but what is more so is the fact that one capital bears on it the word B.....
and the other the word J..... If these words were added at some recent time
there would be nothing much in the argument, but as one is told as the result
of expert examination the writing is of the same date as the columns, viz.,
before the end of the twelfth century, then it would seem to be a fair and
reasonable conclusion that the Medieval Gilds had traditions of King Solomon's
Temple, and also that our speculative system did take over signs and symbols,
etc., from the operative lodges. The position of the pillars and their
inscriptions admit of no other conclusion.
One wonders whether this
particular form of knot rather than the intreccia of the Comacines is not that
which is still named in Italy as Solomon's knot. If so, this would be yet
another association worthy of notice.
The carving of working tools
in connection with the Gild work of the Middle Ages is not without
significance. The representation of a square or a plumbrule in the Catacombs,
such as may be seen in the Lateran Museum, probably merely indicated the trade
of the person commemorated, but when as in the representation of the Quatuor
Coronati at Or S. Michele at Florence, are found the compasses, the level, the
plumb-rule and the square, and in addition to these one of the four masons
describing on the reversed capital of a column, a circle, at the same time
that he applies a square, the conclusion is obvious that they have a deeper
Again, at Assisi, on the
Comacine Lodge, as well as on the Castle, the open compasses containing a rose
are to be seen, and in the Castle work also a mason's square. Other working
tools are also depicted in the well-known Isabella Missal in the British
And as regards the Four
Crowned Martyrs themselves, while not pressing too far from this connection
any conclusion, it is well to call to mind a few, outstanding facts.
Sarcophagi are claimed as
theirs in their church in Rome, founded in their honour, and in connection
with which a Gild of Marble Cutters to the present time celebrate mass on the
last Sunday of the month. Over the door of their chapel (S. Sylvestro, A. D.
1198- 1215) there is a fresco of the four with the inscription "statuariorum
et Lapicidarum Corpus Anno MDLXX."
Edward Condor, in his paper
contributed to "Ars Quatuor Coronatorum," (vol. 27, part 2), not only shows
the strong obligation placed upon the Craft generally in London to attend mass
on the 8th November, the festival of the Quatuor Coronati, as set forth in the
ordinances and regulations of the body, A. D. 1841, but adds:
"The legend of the Four
Crowned Martyrs (5) is purely Italian in its inception and spread with the
Craft into Germany, Gaul and Britain. There is evidence of the legend in MSS
of the seventh century A. D., and a church was built in their honour at
Winchester, in the eighth 'century. (6)
"The festival was fixed for
November 8th in the Sarum Missal of the eleventh century and from that date to
the Reformation in the sixteenth century the day was regularly honoured in the
To this, be added, that the
Masonic Lodge having perhaps the widest association in the world, viz., the
Quatuor Coronati Lodge, in London, significantly associates its name with
The Masonic association with
the two Saints, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, finds some
counterpart in the same association of these Saints with the Comacines
illustrated in the frequent dedication of many of their churches to one or the
other of these, as well as the dedication of the Island of Comacina to st.
John the Baptist, whose annual festival, with much religious ceremony and high
pageant, is still attended on the Island on Midsummer Day, by people from far
Once more, and finally, from
Merzario (page 93):
"It is at that time and to
that movement of thought of studies and of persons particularly set on foot by
the Comacines that certain writers make to rise the institution of Masonic
unions or lodges, and of the primitive Masonry. Troya says that the curious or
secret societies of the Comacines which under the Lombards had been
circumscribed, although public, and lived without mysteries and without
arrogance, began after Charlemagne to restrict themselves into more compact
societies, to form their secret statutes, to have private rights and occult
language, and to look forward to a proselytism international and almost
Hope has written:
"Lombardy was the cradle of
the Association of Freemasons, and it is from these Societies or Gilds
initiated by the Comacine Masters that he and various historians, Italian and
not Italian, derive the Companies of Freemasons which diffused themselves from
Italy to England, in Scotland, in Germany, in Switzerland, in Provence and
Spain, and were the origin of the Freemasons lodges composed at first of
architects, constructors and their colleagues only."
Taking together all these
items of evidence, what conclusion can be reached other than that link by link
we have a chain extending from the Roman Collegia through the Comacines to the
Medieval Gilds of the Middle Ages, and our speculative lodges of today, with
traditions and associations clearly handed on unbroken.
As a frontispiece to the July
issue of THE BUILDER is reproduced an old print, now in the Como Museum,
showing the Island of Como as it was supposed to be in the day of its
(1) See page 198, THE
(2) Peculiarity of some of
the expressions in the transcripts made in these pages from Merzario is
probably due to the translation from Italian to English being somewhat
(3) See page 196, THE
(4) Notwithstanding the two
views of Merzario and Monneret it is not unreasonable to point the probability
of the derivation of the Milanese from the Comacine school, seeing that in the
early days of the Lombards when they required artificers they sent for the
Comacines, having none of their own.
(5) For an interesting
article on the Church of the Quatuor Coronati, Rome, having special reference
to its recently restored cloister, by Professor Forbes, see Ars Quatuor
Coronatorum, vol. 27, part I.
(6) There may be a little
mistake here since a church was built to the honour of the Quatuor Coronati,
in Canterbury, early in the seventh century. Possibly there was another at
Winchester, but evidence is wanting.
THE LYRIC ARGUMENT
I sing of brooks, of
blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and
I sing of May-poles,
hock-carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and
of their bridal cakes.
I write of Youth, of Love,
and have access
By these, to sing of cleanly
I sing of dews, of rains, and
piece by piece,
Of balm, of oil, of spice,
I sing of times
trans-shifting, and I write
How roses first came red, and
I write of groves, of
twilights, and I sing
The Court of Mab, and of the
I write of Hell; I sing and
Of Heaven, and hope to have
it after all.
--Robert Herrick, 1591-1674.
Spread golden flowers on my
And do it very often;
I'll need them in my daily
But not upon my coffin.
--John A. Joyce.
SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE
BY BRO. OLIVER DAY STREET,
PART II--THE SYMBOLISM OF THE
FELLOW CRAFT DEGREE
THE ceremonies of initiation,
passing, and raising, as well as the lectures explanatory of them, are
necessarily brief; want of time and the danger of over-burdening the candidate
require that they should be so. The Mason, therefore, who relies solely upon
what he sees and hears in the lodge will obtain a very inadequate conception
of Freemasonry. He may and doubtless will be more or less affected by our
ceremonies; it could scarcely be otherwise, so solemn and impressive are they,
but he will fail to discover and understand some of the greater truths which
lie hidden beneath the surface, and can never become truly speaking a "bright
Nearly every Masonic symbol
or ceremony (like all true allegories) has two (sometimes more)
significations, one literal, the other symbolical. The literal meaning,
usually the more apparent, is often of great interest, frequently affording
striking evidences as to the origin and antiquity of Freemasonry. But it is
the symbolical or allegorical meaning, usually the more recondite, which
appeals most to the thoughtful mind.
Nor is it unfortunate that
the more important lessons are somewhat veiled from observation. We do not
prize what we obtain easily; it is that for which we have striven or paid a
big price which we value. If, therefore, from beneath the surface of these
familiar ceremonies any of us by our own studies and reflections are enabled
to discover and bring to light truths which have lain somewhat hidden, the
appreciation of them is keener and the impression produced deeper and more
lasting than if they had been open to superficial observation. For this reason
many of the greatest lessons of Freemasonry are wisely hidden away as prizes
for the studious and the diligent only. The "mysteries" and the "secrets" of
Freemasonry are not synonymous terms; the mysteries continue such forever even
to the Mason who will not study and read. Do you feel that Masonry is an idle
and frivolous thing, unworthy of the attention of serious men? If so, did you
ever reflect whether the fault was yours or that of the institution? Unless
you are sure that you know what Freemasonry is and what it teaches and what
are its designs and that you thoroughly understand its methods of teaching
withhold your condemnation till you have made it the subject of a little
serious study, because, as observed by an eminent authority, the character of
the institution is "elevated in everyone's opinion just in proportion to the
amount of knowledge that he has acquired of its symbolism, philosophy and
Freemasonry is a many sided
subject. There is something in it which arrests and appeals to the shallowest
mind or the most frivolous moral character. At the same time, there is much in
it which has chained the thought and attention of the world's greatest
intellects and wisest philosophers. It presents many aspects for study and
investigation, either of which will amply repay the efforts of the intelligent
mind and will lead to knowledge not merely curious, as some suppose, but of
the utmost practical value.
I am forced to refer again to
one line of thought touched on in the preceding lecture because I regard it as
fundamental to the study and understanding of any part of Freemasonry. This
idea is that Freemasonry is an elaborate allegory of human life, both
individually and collectively, in all its varied aspects, past, present, and
future; that the lodge represents the world into which mortal man is
introduced, lives, moves, has his being and eventually dies; that it also
represents the place or state of the redeemed in the life which we believe
follows this; that the lodge-member typifies the individual man; that its
organized membership represents mankind united into human society; that the
ideal lodge-member, ruled by love, wisdom, strength and beauty, typifies man
raised from this state of imperfection to one of perfection.
Of all the ceremonies of the
lodge, the Fellow Craft degree, when viewed by itself is the most difficult
and I believe the least generally understood. Preston, who wrote the first
Monitor tells us that "such is the latitude of this degree that the most
judicious may fail in an attempt to explain it." In Akin's Georgia Manual we
read that the "splendid beauty of the Fellow Craft degree can be seen only by
the studious eye and that the Master vho would impress it upon the candidate
must store his mind with the history, traditions and ritualism of this
A flood of light, however, is
at once shed upon the subject when we consider it a part of a human allegory,
of which the Entered Apprentice and Master's degrees are respectively the
beginning and the completion.
Let us then briefly consider
it in this manner and endeavor to reach a clearer understanding of its
meaning. That we may the better perceive just where it falls into the complete
scheme, it will be necessary first to consider for a moment the Entered
Apprentice and Master's degrees.
We are told in the Master's
lecture that the Entered Apprentice represents youth; the Fellow Craft,
manhood; and the Master Mason, old age. A little study will serve to show us
how completely this simile is justified.
The introduction or first
admission of the Entered Apprentice candidate into the lodge, therefore,
typifies the entrance of man upon the world's stage of action or in other
words, the birth of the child into this life. The distinguished Masonic
scholar, Dr. Mackey, says that the Entered Apprentice is a "child in Masonry"
and we read in many Monitors that "the first or Entered Apprentice degree is
intended symbolically to represent the entrance of man into the world in which
he is afterwards to become a living and thinking actor. In English working the
candidate is reminded that his admission into the Entered Apprentice lodge "in
a state of helpless ignorance was an emblematical representation of the
entrance of all men on this their mortal existence." (1)
The preparation of the
candidate and the plight in which he is admitted an Entered Apprentice
strikingly symbolizes the helpless, destitute, blind and ignorant condition of
the newly born babe. Yea, it is even certain that there are features preserved
in Masonic symbolism which allude to that part of life preceding even birth
and which hint at the phenomena of coition, generation, conception and
gestation of the child in its mother's womb. These things rightly considered
are as much a part and as pure and holy a part of a human life as birth or
death, and could no more be omitted from any complete representation of it.
Let no one, therefore, imagine that he has found anything impure in
Freemasonry because he has discovered in it symbols and ceremonies which once
undoubtedly bore phallic significations.
We may, therefore, say that
the Masonic system epitomizes allegorically the life of man from the moment he
is begotten through every stage of existence, conception, gestation, birth,
infancy, childhood, youth, manhood, old age, death, the resurrection and
everlasting life. Did any greater theme ever engage the attention of any
society? Anything that pertains to any of these great subjects and which tends
to strengthen, to elevate or to ennoble the human mind and character is
properly a part of Freemasonry.
The first important lesson
impressed upon the candidate after his entrance into the lodge is intended to
signify to us that the very first idea that ought to be instilled into the
mind of the child is a reverence and adoration for the Deity, the great and
incomprehensible author of its existence. From beginning to the end, the
Entered Apprentice degree is a series of moral lessons. This is a hint so
broad that one need not be wise in order to understand that the moral training
and education of the child should precede even the development and cultivation
of its intellect. How many parents and teachers fail just at this point! They
polish and adorn the minds of their children and pupils with great diligence
at the same time neglecting their moral training, and when too late find that
often they have made of them smart criminals.
The placing of the young
Entered Apprentice in the northeast corner of the lodge in imitation of the
ancient custom of laying the corner stone of a building in the northeast
corner, signifies that as an Entered Apprentice he has but laid the foundation
whereon to build his future moral edifice, that of life and character. It
aptly and fully symbolizes the end of the preparatory period and the beginning
of the constructive period of human life.
The admonition there given
him is to the effect that, having laid the foundation true, he should take
care that the superstructure is reared ill like manner; in other words, that
his life, his moral temple be kept in harmony with the moral precepts which
have been given him in the Entered Apprentice degree.
This likening of the human
body to a temple of God is an ancient metaphor. Jesus' employment of it in
speaking of his own body was but in keeping with a common practice among
Jewish writers and teachers of his time. It immensely dignifies the physical
body of man and teaches that, when kept clean both in the literal and the
moral sense, it is a fit place for even Diety himself to dwell.
This body so powerfully and
yet so delicately contrived that often apparently slight causes produce death,
we have no right to defile or abuse with any kind of excess. No mechanism was
ever so delicately adjusted and no careful engineer would ever think of
putting even too much oil upon a fine piece of machinery. Yet excessive
indulgence in food, drink, or other appetites works far greater injury to our
The lesson is that we have no
more right to defile or abuse our bodies than had the Jew to defile the Temple
of God upon Mount Moriah.
In the Third degree the
matter pressed upon our attention are the closing years of life, death and the
vast hereafter. The xii chapter of Ecclesiastes, the most beautiful and
affecting description of old age in all literature, is introduced. We are also
told that the events it celebrates occurred just before the completion of the
Temple, which is but a figurative way of saying that the period of life
symbolized by the Master's degree is that just preceding its close, just
before the completion of the moral and spiritual temple. (2) It is, therefore,
with the greatest propriety that the Master's degree is said to represent old
If then the Entered
Apprentice represents childhood and youth, and the Master Mason old age, the
Fellow Craft degree should, in order to complete the allegory, represent
middle life and its labors, and this is precisely what it does with the
greatest beauty and consistency.
Although the candidate for
the Fellow Craft degree is to be regarded as a seeker after knowledge, yet the
first section of this degree consists chiefly of a reiteration of the moral
teachings of the First degree. This is to remind the young man as he is about
to enter upon the serious labors and struggles of life that virtue is to be
always the first consideration, that no knowledge, no success which is
purchased at the sacrifice of morals, honor or integrity is to be prized. This
lesson is repeated more than once in the course of this degree, admonishing us
that, no matter how engrossed in the affairs of life we may become, we should
never suffer the allurements of coveted gains to seduce us from the pathway of
strict rectitude and justice.
Although thus reiterating and
emphasizing the moral precepts of the First degree, the Fellow Craft degree is
as distinctly intellectual in its purpose and spirit as the Entered Apprentice
is moral. The great theme of the Second degree is the attainment of knowledge,
the cultivation of the mind and the acquisition of habits of industry. (3)
This feature becomes prominent in the second section of this degree. Preston,
who, as already observed, wrote what might he termed the first Monitor, says
that while the First degree is intended "to enforce the duties of morality,"
the Second "comprehends a more diffusive system of knowledge." We read in
Simon's Monitor that "the Entered Apprentice is to emerge from the darkness to
light; the Fellow Craft is to come out of ignorance into knowledge." Dr.
Mackey expresses it thus: "The lessons the Entered Apprentice receives are
simply intended to cleanse the heart and prepare the recipient for that mental
illumination which is to be given in the succeeding degree," and further he
says, "The candidate in the Second degree represents a man starting forth on
the journey of life with the great task before him of self-improvement," and
that the result is to be the development of all his intellectual faculties and
the acquisition of truth and knowledge. In England, the candidate is informed
that while in the Entered Apprentice degree "he made himself acquainted with
the principles of moral truth and virtue, he is in the Fellow Craft degree
permitted to extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and
science," and that he is "led in the Second degree to contemplate the
intellectual faculty and to trace it from its development, through the paths
of heavenly science, even to the throne of God himself." Brother J. W. Horsely,
Rector of St. Peter's Cathedral, London, thus expresses the idea: "Generally,
therefore, we may say that the Third degree represents and enforces the
blessedness of spiritual life and the duty of progress therein, as the Second
degree performs the same office for the intellectual life, and the first for
the moral life." (4)
THE JEWELS OF A FELLOW CRAFT
The very means of gaining
admission into a Fellow Craft lodge* * *, alluding to the three jewels of
Fellow Craft, are made to typify the processes of communicating, acquiring and
preserving knowledge. "The attentive ear receives the sound from the
instructive tongue and the mysteries of Freemasonry (as indeed all other
knowledge) are safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts."
THE WORKING TOOLS
The plumb, square, and level
were the appropriate tools of the operative Fellow Craft Mason. To the Master
or Overseer fell the duty of superintendence, to the Entered Apprentice that
of gathering and rough hewing of the materials, but to the Fellow Craft fell
the labor of actual construction. This involved the laying of level
foundations and courses, the erection of perpendicular walls and the bringing
of the stones to perfectly rectangular shape. These labors necessitated the
constant use by the operative Fellow Craft Mason of the plumb, square and
level. Their operative uses very appropriately symbolize the analogous
processes in the building of human character. This symbolical application of
these implements of the builder is by no means recent; it dates back even
among the Chinese more than 700 years before Christ. Five hundred years before
Christ what we call the Golden Rule was by the Chinese called "the principle
of acting on the square." Mencius, the great Chinese philosopher, who lived in
the third century before Christ, teaches that men should apply the square and
level to their lives, and speaking figuratively says that he who would acquire
wisdom must make use of the square and compasses.
BOAZ AND JACHIN
Solomon, in accordance with
the common practice of his day, placed two immense and highly ornate pillars
or columns at the entrance of his temple. It is well known that King Hiram did
the like for the great temple to Melcarth erected by him at Tyre. Many other
instances might be cited. Whence originated this custom has been a matter for
much speculation. We have seen what was the ancient conception of the form of
the earth. To their world the Strait of Gibraltar appeared to be a veritable
door of entry. On either side of this entrance rose two enormous rock
promotories, Abyla and Calpe, (now called Gibraltar and Ceuta) which
completely commanded egress and ingress and are familiarly known as the
Pillars of Hercules. They were believed by the ancients to mark the western
boundary of the world, Many have seen in these two vast columns of stone, set
by nature to the entrance of the then known world, the counterparts of the
pillars so often set by the ancients at the entrance to their temples, which
were to them, as the lodge is to us, symbols of the world.
The first objects that engage
the attention of the Fellow Craft on his way to the Middle Chamber are the
representatives of these pillars at the entrance to Solomon's Temple. In
addition to the explanation given in the lodge, they undoubtedly have also an
allusion to the two legendary pillars of Enoch upon which tradition tells us
all the wisdom of the ancient world was inscribed in order to preserve it
"against inundation and conflagrations." Standing at the very threshold of
Solomon's Temple, as well as of the Fellow Craft lodge, they admonish us that
after a proper moral training the acquisition of wisdom is the next necessary
preparation for a useful and successful life. (5) Their names, Boaz and Jachin,
possess also a moral signification, meaning together that "in strength God
will establish His house." Symbolically applied to the candidate, they mean
that God will firmly establish the moral and spiritual edifice of the just and
The idea that the globes upon
the two brazen pillars represent the globes celestial and terrestrial is
certainly modern. The globular form of the earth was unknown to the ancients.
Except to a few profound thinkers like Plato, the conception of the earth as a
sphere was utterly foreign. Not until about the time of the discovery of
America did this fact become generally understood.
Moreover, the Bible, at least
in English translations, says nothing of any globes upon the pillars, but
distinctly states that there were "made two chapiters of molten brass to set
upon the tops of the pillars," and that "upon the tops of the pillars was
lily-work." 1 Kings vii, 16, 22. The more recent revisions of the Bible call
the "chapiters" by their more familiar name of "capitals." The learned Jewish
Rabbi, Solomon Jehudi, speaks of them as "pommels," a word signifying a
globular ornament. It is well known that many of the architectural features
and ornamental designs of Solomon's Temple were borrowed from the Egyptians.
The so-called "lily-work" was unquestionably some form of water-lily or lotus
pattern of ornamention so common in ancient architecture and which even now is
employed in conventionalized forms nearly everywhere. It sometimes assumes the
form of the lotus leaf, at others of the full blown blossom, and at others
still of the bud. Our common "egg and dalt" pattern is a development therefrom.
At the time of Solomon, one
of the most frequent and at the same time one of the most beautiful of the
lotus or water-lily designs was the lotus-bud capital, which often assumed an
egglike or oval shape. It is accurately indicated by the word "pommel," and
indeed this term is employed in some of our Masonic Monitors in lieu of the
term "globes." There seems little reason to doubt that the two Brazen Pillars
were columns of the Egyptian style with the lotus-bud capitals. Their great
diameter as compared to their height (about six diameters) is another strong
evidence of their Egyptian derivation. Furthermore, we know that winged
globular ornaments, sometimes of immense size, were extensively employed by
the Egyptians in adorning the entrances to their temples.
The lotus or water-lily was
the sacred plant of the Egyptians and among other things signified
"Universality." The conclusion, therefore, seems reasonable that, if there was
anything like globes on the two Brazen Pillars, they were not true globes of
the earth and of the heavens, but representations of the lotus-bud. If so,
though the symbol has not been accurately perpetuated, the symbolism has.
There is another ancient
conception to which the idea of globes upon the pillars may be related. From
remotest times men must have observed that numerous forms of life proceeded
from an egg. This observation gave rise to the belief which we know to have
been widely disseminated in ancient times, and which modern science has almost
completely confirmed, that life in every form proceeds from an egg. This
supposed universal source of life became to the ancients the symbol of the
source of things universal. In other words, the egg was the symbol of the
Universal Mother. It is easily perceivable that to a people entertaining these
ideas, globes or eggs mounted upon columns would convey the idea of
In addition to the lotus
capitals, no doubt the two pillars were, in keeping with the universal custom
of the time, further ornamented with various forms of the lotus or water-lily
design. The familiar token of peace with us is the palm branch, but to the
Egyptian and the Jew this office was fulfilled by the lotus or water-lily. It
is, therefore, with precise accuracy that we say that the lotus, or Egyptian
water-lily, (an entirely different plant from our lily,) denotes peace.
The net work which adorned
the capitals or chapiters of the pillars might be more familiarly described as
"lattice-work." Curious specimens of this ornamentation are found in ancient
and medieval architecture, particularly in that of the Magistri Comacini, or
Comacine Masters of Northern Italy. Many of these are of the most beautiful
and intricate designs and without either beginning or end. A more appropriate
emblem of unity than these could not be conceived.
It is interesting to note in
this connection, that recently a woman, and of course a non-Mason, Mrs.
Baxter, writing under the nom de plume of Leader Scott, has in her splendid
book, "The Cathedral Builders, adduced much evidence to prove that our modern
Freemasonry is derived from these same Magistri Comacini, and through them
from the Collegia Fabrorum, or Colleges of Builders, of the pre-Christian
Roman era. To my mind, one of the strongest of these evidences is the common
possession and employment of this net-work ornamentation.
This tracing of our society
back to the Roman Building Societies of the eighth century before Christ, (if
it can be sustained,) carries us back to the time when we know that building
societies were common not only in Rome, but in Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and
Palestine. Indeed, it is impossible to explain the erection of such
architectural wonders as the great pyramids and temples of Egypt, Asia, Greece
and Rome, without supposing the existence at that time of building societies,
or associations of architects, embracing within themselves the most brilliant
intellects and skillful workmen, not only then living, but whose superior the
world has never since seen; in other words, precisely such a society as our
traditions teach built King Solomon's Temple. Evidences of ancient history
point to the existence of such a brotherhood, known as the Dionysian
Architects, at Tyre, the home of the two Hirams at the time of the building of
the Temple and it was to this place, according to Scripture, that Solomon sent
when he wanted artisans competent to carry out his great design.
The pomegranate, which also
adorned the capitals of the pillars, is a symbol of great antiquity, but its
meaning seems to have been sacredly guarded. Pausanias, who wrote about 160 A.
D., calls it aporreto teros logos,--i. e. a forbidden mystery. Ancient deities
were often depicted holding this fruit in their hands and this, Achilles
Statius, Bishop of Alexandria, says "had a mystical meaning." The Syrians at
Damascus anciently worshipped a god whom they called "Rimmon," and this we
know to be the Hebrew word for pomegranate.
Cumberland, Bishop of
Peterborough, a most learned antiquarian, guessed that on account of the great
number of its seeds a pomegranate in the hand of a god denoted fruitfulness or
fecundy. This corresponds closely enough with the meaning that we, as Masons
attach to it,--that of plenty.
OPERATIVE AND SPECULATIVE
The candidate is informed
that there are two kinds of Masonry, operative and speculative; the one, the
erection of material edifice to shelter us from the inclemencies of the
seasons; the other, the building of that moral, religious and spiritual
edifice, human life and character, that house not made with hands eternal in
the heavens. He is reminded of the historical fact that our ancient brethren
wrought in both kinds of Masonry, but we work in speculative only. With this
distinction in mind, the candidate is expected to be able to grasp the
allegorical meanings of the succeeding ceremonies.
THE WINDING STAIRS
In the Winding stairs an
architectural feature of Solomon's Temple is seized upon to symbolize the
journey of life. It is not a placid stream down which one may lazily float, it
is not even a straight or level pathway along which one may travel with a
minimum of exertion; it is a devious and tortuous way, requiring labor and
effort for its accomplishment. This is appropriately symbolized by a winding
stairway. It teaches us that our lives should be neither downward nor on a
dead level, but, although difficult, progressive and upward.
SCIENCE OF NUMBERS
The Winding stairs consist of
3, 5 and 7 steps, numbers which among the ancients were deemed of a mysterious
nature. This introduces us to what is to us one of the most curious bodies of
learning of the ancient world, what is known as their Science of Numbers, many
fragments of which are scattered throughout Masonry. It is exceedingly
difficult for the modern mind to get any grasp whatever upon what is meant by
this so called science, so highly speculative was it. It does not allude as
its name might seem to indicate, to any of the mathematical sciences, or
anything akin to them. It was a system of moral science or philosophy, wherein
numbers were given symbolical meaning and the letters of the alphabet were
given numerical values; whence words were supposed to have certain occult
significations according to the sums or multiples of the numerical equivalents
of its letters. The elaboration of this idea was productive of what is known
as the Hebrew Kabala. Pythagoras is reputed to have introduced this school
among the Greeks and according to Aristotle he taught that "Number is the
principle of all things and that the organization of the Universe is an
harmonic system of numerical ratios." (6) To illustrate, the soul was made to
correspond to the number 6, and 7 was the counterpart of reason and health.
The numbers 3, 5 and 7 had
many meanings among the Jews which are not elucidated in the lodge. The
preservation in our ritual of hints of this learning of a past age is now
chiefly valuable to us as a proof of the antiquity of Masonic symbolism. (7)
THE THREE STEPS
Adopting the method of these
ancient worthies but varying the meaning, we make the number 3 to allude to
the organization of our Society with its three degrees and its three principal
officers. Among the earliest realizations of every man is that no man lives to
himself alone; that he is dependent upon his fellow creatures and they upon
him; that he owes them and they owe him mutual aid, support and protection;
that to secure these advantages some must rule and some must at least
temporarily obey; that there must be classes and that progress from one class
to another must depend upon proficiency in the former. This state of mutual
obligation and mutual dependance of men upon one another we call Society. The
Three steps, alluding to the three degrees and the division of our society
into those who govern and those who obey, leads to the ideas of organization
and subordination in the lodge. We have seen that the lodge symbolizes the
world; so its organization symbolizes that of the world into society and
governments. Dr. Mackey says "that the reference to the organization of the
Masonic institution is intended to remind the aspirant of the union of men
into society and the development of the social state out of the state of
nature. He is thus reminded in the very outset of his journey of the blessings
which arise from civilization and of the fruits of virtue and the knowledge
which are derived from that condition. In the allusion to the affairs of the
lodge and the degree of Masonry as explanatory of the organization of our own
society, we clothe in symbolic language," says Dr. Mackey, "the history of the
organization of society" in general. (8) This feature is brought out
prominently in many Monitors.
No representation of the
pathway to knowledge would of course be complete without some allusion to the
means by which it is to he acquired. Thus are the allusions to the five senses
of human nature to be understood. A moment's reflection will prove to us that
through them we gain all our knowledge and that without them we could learn
nothing. What wonderful and noble faculties and yet how seldom even thought of
by us and how little appreciated and understood! No nobler or more interesting
subjects for study exist in all the realms of nature than hearing, seeing,
feeling, smelling, and tasting. What a truly marvelous organ is the eye, which
can without contact make us sensible of the presence, the form and the color
of objects at a distance and through which we obtain our knowledge and
appreciation of all that is beautiful in nature. The senses of hearing and
feeling are scarcely less wonderful and are equally important. A little
reflection will also furnish us with additional reasons to those given in the
lodge why hearing, seeing and feeling are most revered by Masons. They are in
every way the most important. Consider for a moment the relatively small part
of our knowledge that comes through tasting and smelling, and how utterly
useless these two senses were to our ancient brethren in their operative
labors. Then consider again how helpless a human creature would be who
possessed neither hearing, seeing or feeling. Helen Keller is rightly
considered a marvel, yet she is bereft of only two of these, hearing and
seeing. Deprive her of her finely attenuated sense of feeling and it would
have been impossible for her to have made any progress whatever in knowledge.
Commenting on this part of the ritual, Thomas Smith Webb says, "To sum up the
whole of this transcendant measure of God's bounty to man, we shall add that
memory, imagination, taste, reasoning, moral perception and all the active
powers of the soul present a vast and boundless field for philosophical
disquisition which far exceeds human inquiry." We could have none of these
without the five senses, and they are, therefore, introduced as symbols of
intellectual cultivation. (9)
The disquisition upon the
five senses of human nature which appears in our American Monitors may be
found in the English Monitors also which preceded the revision of Dr. Hemming
in 1813. He eliminated all reference to them and they are still missing from
authorized English "work." We feel that in some way Dr. Hemming must surely
have failed to catch the meaning of this part of our symbolism. Dr. George
Oliver, an eminent and learned English Mason, deplores the omission and says
that it ought by all means to be restored.
Having thus indicated to the
candidate something of the importance and the means of acquiring knowledge,
the proper fields of study and investigation are next pointed out.
THE FIVE ORDERS IN
The five steps are said to
allude further to the five orders in architecture, the Tuscan, the Doric, the
Ionic, the Corinthian and the Composite. Their origins and their relative
merits are pointed out, and we are told something of architecture in general.
We would naturally expect something on this subject in a society derived from
one of actual builders and architects, and here we have an internal evidence
of the great age of Freemasonry. This is a flotsam which has been wafted to us
down the stream of time from that remote period when Freemasonry w as an
organization of operative Masons. To our speculative society it typifies all
the other useful arts and serves to convey to the intelligent mind the truth
that architecture considered as one of the fine arts is a subject well worthy
of our study. It is through architecture that every great people have left the
enduring records of their fame. Books perish and decay, but from their
buildings, which still remain, we know for a certainty of the great nations of
antiquity. George Moller, in his charming essay on Gothic Architecture, speaks
of these architectural remains as "documents of stone" and declares that they
"afford to those who can read them the most lively picture of centuries that
have lapsed." (10)
THE SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND
Other fields of study are
said to consist of the seven liberal arts and sciences and are enumerated as
grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. In our
Fellows Craft's charge we are recommended to study "the liberal arts and
sciences which tend so effectually to polish and adorn the mind." In England
("Emulation Working,") the candidate is informed that he "is expected to make
the liberal arts and sciences his future study, that he may 'the better be
enabled to discharge his duties as a Mason, and estimate the wonderful works
of the Almighty." (11)
It is, of course, obvious at
a glance that these seven subjects enumerated above by no means exhaust the
fields of knowledge now open to man, but the time once was when they did. And
herein is another incontestible evidence of the great age of Freemasonry and
its ceremonies. I cannot do better than quote Dr. Mackey again. He says that
in the seventh century, that is to say 1300 years ago, "these seven heads were
supposed to include universal knowledge. He who was master of these was
thought to have no need of a precepter to explain any books or to solve any
questions which lay within the compass of human reason; knowledge of the
trivium (as grammar, rhetoric and logic were then denominated,) having
furnished him with the key to all language, and that of the quadrivium
(arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy) having opened to him the secret
laws of nature." At a period, says Dr. Mackey "when few were instructed in the
trivium and very few studied the quadrivium, to be master of both was
sufficient to complete the character of a philosopher."
The term trivium means the
three ways or paths, and quadrivium the four ways or paths to knowledge. Hence
it is with the greatest propriety that it is said that we are taught in the
Fellow Craft degree to explore the paths of heavenly science. (12)
There is another interesting
feature of the total number of steps of the Winding Stairs, fifteen in all.
This was an important symbol among the Jews, because it was the sum of the
numerical equivalents of the Hebrew letters composing the word J A H--one of
the names of Deity.
It will also be noted that
the number of each series of steps, three, five and seven, as well as the
total number of steps, fifteen, is odd. As we have seen, odd numbers were by
the ancients regarded with greater veneration than were even numbers.
Vitrivius, the great Roman architect, who flourished just before Christ,
states that the ancient temples were always approached by an odd number of
steps. The reason, he says, was that commencing with the right foot at the
bottom, the worshipper would find the same foot in advance when he entered the
temple, and that this was considered a favorable omen. The thoughtful Mason
cannot fail to be struck with the coincidence here indicated.
Preeminence is given by our
ritual to the science of Geometry. This now appears strange, but if we regard
its history we will cease to be surprised. It and its allied branches,
(trigonometry, architecture and astronomy), was the only exact science known
to the ancients, but the perfection to which they had reduced it is even now
constantly surprising us. By it all mathematical calculations were made.
Arithmetic and algebra were then unknown. The astonishing results obtained by
them from an application of geometrical processes were well calculated to
impress the mind. As the only exact science known to them, it was the most
appropriate emblem of moral perfection, in an age when everything had its
symbol. We accordingly read in our Masonic Monitors that of the seven liberal
arts and sciences, "Geometry is the most revered by Masons"; that "it is the
foundation of architecture and the root of mathematics"; that it is "the first
and noblest of sciences"; that it is "the basis on which the superstructure of
Masonry is erected"; that by it "we may curiously trace nature through her
various windings to her most concealed recesses"; and "discover the power, the
wisdom and the goodness of the Grand Artificer of the Universe"; that
"Geometry or Masonry, originally synonymous terms, being of a divine and moral
nature, is enriched with the most useful knowledge"; that "while it proves the
wonderful properties of nature, it demonstrates the more important truths of
It cannot be denied that to
the present generation and in our present state of learning, Geometry is
nothing of the kind. To anyone except a Freemason, and to the great majority
of them, the idea that Geometry inculcates moral truth is utterly foreign and
incomprehensible. Those members of the craft who have ever thought of the
matter at all, as a rule look upon these expressions as crude extravagances,
as distorted attempts to attach a speculative meaning to a science or an art
which had never properly borne any other than a practical signification. We
are not surprised, it is true, to find still incorporated in our system these
inheritances of a past age and simply tolerate them as such without any
serious attempt to ascertain their meaning or to measure their significance.
While, as stated, Geometry
does not at present enjoy any such an enviable distinction among the sciences
as that claimed for it in our Masonic ritual, yet the time once was when it
was precisely so regarded by the wisest of men on earth. (13)
What then is the significance
of these ideas of a past age in our Masonic system ? It seems to me to afford
the strongest internal evidence of the great age of our Masonic ritual and
The seven liberal arts and
sciences, as thus enumerated in the lodge, are not now to be understood
literally, but rather as a symbol of what they once were in fact, namely, the
entire domain of human knowledge and research. No one man is, of course,
expected to cultivate the whole of this vast field, but this part of the
ceremony of passing urges upon us the importance and the duty of constantly
applying our minds to the attainment of wisdom in some of its forms. We have
no right to be idle. It is a sin against God, ourselves and society.
Contemplate the despicable
figure of the habitual loafer who sits on the curbstone or whittles away his
days, telling anecdotes which could not be repeated in respectable society.
Listen to the "loud laugh of his vacant mind," see what a large share of his
time, that most priceless gift of God, he wastes in indolence or in the
pursuits that are either unprofitable or positively hurtful. Is it any wonder
that so many men fail in life and that the progress of the race as a whole is
so exceedingly slow ? What a multitude of drones there are in the hive who are
not only to be fed and clothed by the industrious, but who are positive
hindrances and stumbling blocks in the way of those industrious ones who would
progress. Note how almost invariably you find the idler on the wrong side of
every question that arises in his community. See how he resents with
bitterness the prosperity of his moral and industrious neighbor and falls into
a habit of chronic antagonism to him. They will not work; fed and clothed they
must be; if they cannot dead-beat a living, they turn to crime in order to get
it. What a great lesson then is here taught by Masonry! Whatever others may
be, Masons have no right to be idlers and loafers. It is our God given
privilege and our solemn duty to work, work, work, not because a night is
coming when man's work is done, but that we may be able to do better work and
more work in that brighter day that all good Masons expect to see when this
life has passed away.
THE WAGES OF A FELLOW CRAFT
In the Middle Chamber we are
informed what the wages shall be to the faithful Craftsman who has observed
the moral and the divine law and wasted not his time in idleness or vice. We
are told that they shall be corn, wine and oil. Such was literally true to our
ancient operative brethren, as our old documents abundantly prove. With us, of
course, they are not received in the realistic sense, but emblematically. From
a remoteness of time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, the
spica, or ear of corn, has symbolized plenty; wine has symbolized health; and
oil has symbolized peace.
The faithful Fellow Craft is,
therefore, assured that his wages, his reward, shall be plenty, not mere
sufficiency but plentitude to supply all his physical, moral and spiritual
wants; health of body, mind and soul; peace in this life, in the hour of
death, and in the life to come. Are not these wages worthy of the laborer?
Verily, do they not include all things that can in any wise contribute to our
real comfort and happiness?
Idleness and vice surely lead
to their opposites, poverty, disease and despair.
While I have by no means
exhausted the subject this, my brethren, is briefly the meaning and purpose of
the Fellow Craft degree, and, if you do not already, I am sure that a little
study and reflection will lead you to agree with me that in beauty and purity
and loftiness of conception this degree is worthy to keep company with those
splendid degrees of Entered Apprentice and Master Mason.
(1) Mackey's Symbolism, p.
(4) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. XII. p. 2.
(5) Mackey's Symbolism, p.
(6) Univ. Cyc., vol. 9, p.
(7) Mackey's Symbolism, pp.
(8) Idem, p. 221.
(9) Idem, p. 222.
(10) Mas. Mag. vol. 6, p.
427; Mackey's Symbolism, pp. 222, 223.
(11) Yarker's Arcane School,
(12) Mackey's Symbolism, pp.
(13) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. X, p. 82, Freeman, vol. XLVIII, p. 417.
(14) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. V, p. 168.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON MASONIC RESEARCH OF THE
GRAND LODGE OF WISCONSIN
To further the study side of Masonry to such an extent as
possible, was the purpose for which this Committee was appointed. The idea was
not new; many of
Grand Masters have earnestly desired to promote a more thorough knowledge of
Masonry, and in 1915, Past Grand Master N. M. Littlejohn, offered the
following resolution, which was adopted: "Resolved, That at the meetings of
subordinate lodges when there is no degree work, the Worshipful Master shall
have prepared and introduce exercises of an interesting and instructive
character, such as an address, the reading of interesting articles,
recitations, music or other proper entertainments calculated to keep the
members interested in the work of the order."
Many Masters of lodges endeavored to carry out the
spirit of the resolution; but in too many cases the degree work was apparently
so strenous that tirrle was not to be found at the regular communications for
the lodge to improve itself in Masonic knowledge beyond the ritualistic work.
The ritual is the foundation of all Masonic knowledge; it is the key to the
secrets that are worth while; but we believe the Master Mason should not be
permitted to infer that he has received the sum of Masonic knowledge, but
should have the way to the beauties of its literature clearly pointed out to
him. If the regular communications of the lodge are so far taken up with
degree work as to make it impracticable we believe an occasional special
communication for the purpose of helping the brethren and inducing others to
become interested would be of great benefit to the lodge and to its
membership. It has always been found that the Mason who has a broad conception
of Masonry is the most helpful to his lodge and to the Craft and it will
reflect credit on the lodge to have a high percentage of such Masons.
Immediately after its appointment your Committee
met and formulated plans. A circular letter was sent to every lodge asking for
the names of those brethren who would be interested, and upon receiving
replies, a communication, outlining plans of study, containing sugggestions
for the formation of study clubs, giving a short list of the most available
and reliable books for popular reading and a notification that the Committee
would use the Masonic Tidings for supplying short outlines of topics of
interest. We also invited the brethren to call upon us for any assistance we
could give them.
With the co-operation of Masonic Tidings, we have
been able to furnish the brethren with seven of the outlines of Masonic study.
A copy of "The Encyclopedia Handbook" has been
sent to all brethren who have expressed an interest in the work of the
Committee, and we believe this book will induce many of the brethren to use
Mackey's Encyclopedia in their search for more light. The "Handbook" itself
contains a fund of the most useful information to every Mason.
A pamphlet entitled "What is Freemasonry ? Whence
did it originate?" written for the purpose of arousing an interest in the
study of Masonic history and philosophy has been issued by the Committee.
Your Committee held a meeting at the Scottish Rite
Cathedral on March 29th, at which time we invited representatives from
Milwaukee lodges to be present, and plans were discussed for promoting the
study side of Masonry in Milwaukee. Several earnest, zealous and well
qualified brethren in Milwaukee are working hard to inculcate a love of
Masonic literature among the brethren and one lodge has quite materially
improved its library.
Your Committee has received the co-operation of
several talented and well informed brethren in the organization of a "Lecture
Bureau"; and these brethren are now ready to respond to calls for lectures
from study clubs or lodges who desire them. We feel that this is one of the
best results we have accomplished.
In response to inquiries, your Committee has
assisted brethren in the selection of Masonic books and answered inquiries as
to where they might be procured.
A meeting of the Committee has been held every
month and in several cases oftener and the appropriation of $300.00 which this
Grand Lodge voted for its use has been used with economy. The expenditures
have totaled $91.14, leaving an unexpended balance of $208.86.
Our work is for your inspection, and should it
meet with your approval we recommend that a Committee on Masonic Research be
appointed for the coming Masonic year and that $300.00 be appropriated for
their use. Fraternally submitted,
Signed by entire committee.
Report was adopted by Grand Lodge, June 11th,
FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING
BULLETIN -- No. 20
DEVOTED TO ORGANIZED MASONIC
Edited by Bro. H.L. Haywood
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF
FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS
AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for
its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE BUILDER and Mackey's
Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how the references to former
issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be worked up as
supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with
the papers by Brother Haywood.
The Course is divided into
five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
Division I. Ceremonial
A. The Work of a Lodge.
B. The Lodge and the
C. First steps.
D. Second steps.
E. Third steps.
Division II. Symbolical
B. Working Tools.
Division III. Philosophical
D. Religious Aspect.
E. The Quest.
G. The Secret Doctrine.
Division IV. Legislative
A. The Grand Lodge.
1. Ancient Constitutions.
2. Codes of Law.
3. Grand Lodge Practices.
4. Relationship to
5. Official Duties and
B. The Constituent Lodge.
2. Qualifications of
3. Initiation, Passing and
5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical
A. The Mysteries--Earliest
B. Studies of Rites--Masonry
in the Making.
C. Contributions to Lodge
D. National Masonry.
E. Parallel Peculiarities in
F. Feminine Masonry.
G. Masonic Alphabets.
H. Historical Manuscripts of
I. Biographical Masonry.
Masonry--Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting
a paper written by Brother Haywood, who is following the foregoing outline. We
are now in "First steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be twelve monthly
papers under this particular subdivision. On page two, preceding each
installment, will be given a list of questions to be used by the chairman of
the Committee during the study period which will bring out every point touched
upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall
reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from other sources
which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother
Haywood in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental
papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of
references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to
the attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of
the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be used one
month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committee will have
opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings
and the Brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will
be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and
studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL
Immediately preceding each of
Brother Haywood's monthly papers in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be
found a list of references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These
references are pertinent to the paper and will either enlarge upon many of the
points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and discussion. They
should be assigned by the Committee to different Brethren who may compile
papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances
the articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the
originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not feel
able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed
appropriate without any alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND
CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The Lodge should select a
"Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members. The study meetings
should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the Lodge called
for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the
Lodge routine) should be transacted--all possible time to be given to the
After the Lodge has been
opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the Lodge
over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully
prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom
references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with
their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1. Reading of the first
section of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers thereto.
(Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the Lodge should
make notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the
discussion is opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in
elections should be distributed among the members for this purpose at the
opening of the study period.)
2. Discussion of the above.
3. The subsequent sections of
Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up,
one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
4. Question Box.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE
FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
Invite questions from any and
all Brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their
particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions
they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to
facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the
paper. If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them,
SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in
an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make
special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers
within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand
Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the
Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised
by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information
should enable local Committees to conduct their Lodge study meetings with
success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications from
interested Brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely
clear to them, and the services of our Study Club Department are at the
command of our members, Lodge and Study Club Committees at all times.
QUESTIONS ON "THE LIGHTS"
I Why do you suppose that the
old operative Masons made use of the "shock" in their ceremonies ? What is
your theory as to why they used it at the time of the candidate's entrance ?
Why should the "shock of enlightenment" be retained in our ritual ? Can you
think of some analogous ceremony used in every day life? Is our custom of
firing a volley over the grave of a soldier, or while raising or lowering the
flag like the "shock" as used in our ritual ? How did the "shock" affect you
during your initiation?
II Of what is the hoodwink a
symbol ? Was it used in ancient fraternities ? In the Ancient Mysteries, for
example ? If so, why do you think they used it ? What does the removal of the
hoodwink signify? Why is it removed just when it is? Why is it not left on
until the end of the work in each degree? When is the school-boy's hoodwink of
ignorance removed ? Are you wearing any mental hoodwinks? If so, how can you
get them off? Do men wear political, religious, social hoodwinks?
III What is the meaning of
"Light" in Masonry ? Are there any other Lights in Masonry aside from the
(Greater and the Lesser? What are the Great Lights in politics? In business?
How does a man or a nation find "a place in the sun" ?
IV Why is the Holy Bible
called the V. S. L. ? To what extent are the materials in our ritual drawn
from it? In what sense is the Bible true ? What constitutes its "unity" ? How
many books in it? Can you tell how these books came to be gathered together ?
Can you tell the difference between the canon (or "collection") of books used
as the Bible by the Greek Catholics, the Roman Catholics, and the Protestants
? What is inspiration ? In what way is the Bible inspired ?
What does "infallible" mean ?
Is the Bible infallible as history ? As a book of science ? In what way is it
infallible ? If it is infallible in any manner at all how can we prove it? How
can its teachings be verified? How are scientific teachings verified ?
Of what is the Bible a symbol
? What are the sacred hooks of other races ? When, and for what reason, can
those books be substituted for the Bible on a Masonic altar ? In what manner
can other sacred books serve as a symbol of that of which the V. S. L. is the
V In how many ways is the
Square used in our ritual ? Describe the Square as it is used Masonically. Why
did early peoples think that the earth was cubical or square-shape ? How did
the Square come to have its present significance ? What is the Great Light of
which it is a symbol? Why do we say of an honest man "that he is square" ?
What do we mean by "the square deal" ? Why do we say that a dishonest man is
"crooked"? Is dishonesty ever justifiable? Is a dishonest man like one who
walks in the dark? Why?
VI Why did ancient peoples
believe the heavens to be circular? What did the Compasses signify to them ?
What do they signify to us ? Do you believe that there is a divine element in
you ? Is there a divine element in a murderer ? How can we discover the divine
in others and in ourselves ? How can we learn to let it rule us ? Explain the
various positions of the Compasses with relationship to the Square, and
explain the reason for this.
VII Who were the Hermeticists
? How did their symbols come to be adopted by early Masons ? Are the
Hermeticists still in existence ? Why is the sun an emblem of the male element
in nature ? The moon an emblem of the female ? Can you name some noted modern
man in whom the masculine predominates? In whom the feminine ? What is meant
by "balance" in life ? Why do you call some men "unbalanced" ? What are the
penalties of being unbalanced? Is a fanatic unbalanced? If so why? Who is the
masterful man ? How does he become masterful ? In what way is he a more
valuable member of society ? How does Masonry help us to become masterful ?
Has it really helped you ?
The articles in this issue,
"The Three Lesser Lights," by Brother Taylor, and "The Symbolic Lights," by
Brother Atchison, should, if time will permit, be read at the September study
meeting before Brother Haywood's paper is taken up. The reading of them will
prepare the brethren present for a more intelligent discussion of the subject
when the section in the study paper concerning the Lesser Lights is reached.
Bible in Masonry, The, vol.
1, p. 254; Great Light Symbolism, (poem), vol. II, p. 273.
Bible, p. 104; Compasses, p.
173; Fixed Lights, p. 267; Lesser Lights, p. 442; Light, p. 446; Lights,
Greater, p. 447; Square, p. 708; Square and Compasses, p. 709.
BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA,
PART VIII-- THE LIGHTS
THE Shock of Enlightenment.
In very early Masonic initiations it seems that the shock, or battery, was
employed twice during the initiatory ceremonies; once while the candidate made
his entrance and again at the time that his hoodwink was removed. Why the use
of the shock in the former instance has been dropped we do not know, but we
may be glad that it has been retained in the latter connection because it most
certainly adds to the impressiveness of the ceremony when the candidate is
brought from darkness to light. Moreover it enables the brethren to
participate as well as the Wardens, and it seems to emphasize the importance
of the removal of the hoodwink: whether or not it had some symbolic meaning of
its own among early Masons we have not learned.
II Removal of Hoodwink. The
hoodwink, all the way through, is a symbol: its purpose is not to hide from
the candidate what is going on, but to remind him that until the lodge grants
him light he still walks in Masonic darkness. It signifies the inner darkness
of the uninitiated: not a darkness of bodily vision but an unillumined state
of the mind: the candidate has not yet found the Masonic wisdom which lights
the path of life. When the hoodwink is removed it is not merely that he may
see the Great Lights but to symbolize the fact that his mind is now to be
opened to that of which the Great Lights are the symbols. The removal is as if
the lodge said to him, "Open now your mind, even as you have opened your eyes,
and you will see that which will light your way through life henceforward."
III The Great Lights. We must
remember that when the Great Lights are disclosed to the candidate they are
not to be considered as things in themselves but as symbols, and it is that
which they symbolize that is the real illumination of the Masonic pathway.
What are the mental, or spiritual realities, of which the V. S. L., the
Square, and the Compasses are the symbols?
IV The V. S. L. In American
Masonry no lodge can receive or initiate candidates except while the Book lies
upon its altar. So much of the material of our ritual is drawn from the Holy
Bible that students have traced to it more than seventy-five references;
almost every name used throughout the ceremonies are drawn from it, and the
teachings of the Craft are built upon it as a house is built upon the ground:
for this we may all be very grateful because, in spite of all that critics and
skeptics have said, the volume remains the most remarkable book in existence.
A library of sixty-six books of the most diverse character, and drawn from
many peoples and conditions, there is all through it a marvelous unity, as if
its hundreds of chapters had been strung, like pearls, on one golden wire. For
two thousand years it has remained as fresh and new as when written, and today
it is being printed in more than five hundred languages or dialects. To make
such an appeal, to manifest such a life, it must, in some real sense, be
inspired; and not only inspired but inspiring, fol there is no other writing
which so stirs the depths of our souls. As Coleridge said, "It speaks to the
deeps in us."
Masonry does not attempt to
define its inspiration, least of all to formulate any dogma as to its
infallibility: but it may be noted, in this present connection, that for
strictly Masonic purposes it is really infallible, if we will carefully note
the accurate meaning of that abused term. "Infallible" means "that which will
not fall down, that which will not fail." The Bible makes no claim to be a
text-book on history or on science but offers itself as a revelation to us of
the Mind and Will of God and when so used it will never fail us, as millions
could testify, millions, even, of Masons, for the Book has been one of our
Great Lights these many centuries.
Nevertheless, to Masons the
Book is after all a symbol of something that lies behind the Book. It stands
for the Mind of God as we have come to know that Mind, and it is this Mind
which is our real guide. If Masons in other lands find that Mind revealed to
them in some other book we are contented to permit them to substitute their
own sacred book for ours, as when Jewish lodges use the Old Testament,
Mohammedans use the Koran, Hindus the Bhagavad-Gita or the Vedas, or when
Parsees use the Zend-Avesta. The point is that no lodge is properly furnished
unless it have to its altar some book to symbolize the Faith which is the
guide and rule of the life Masonic.
In placing the V. S. L. upon
its altar the lodge says, in effect, "In this dark world, where every pathway
lies in shadow, your feeble human mind cannot guide you to your goal; you need
the assistance of the Mind that made the world, and that Mind will be revealed
to you if you seek to have it. While following that Kindly Light you will not
go astray, even in your attempt to thread the labyrinth of this existence
where the wisest is as a child that cries in the dark, and with no language
but a cry." In sum, we may say that the Mind and Will of God, as we know it,
is the first Great Light of Masonry, and that the V. S. L. is the symbol
V The Square. In the Blue
Lodge ritual the Square has three distinct and separate uses. It serves as an
emblem of the Worshipful Master, as a working tool of the Fellow Craft, and as
one of the Great Lights; it is important that its symbolism in the last named
connection should not be confused with its other symbolical purposes.
Primitive people thought of
the earth as being a kind of oblong square or cube: in consequence thereof all
emblems of square shape were thought to have some reference to the earth, and
since the try-square was used to measure angles it was held to be a symbol of
that which is mundane or earthly, as opposed to the Divine. But as it was used
to prove that angles were right it came to have the further significance of a
true character, a character in conformity with righteousness. Such seems to be
its meaning when used as one of our Great Lights: it symbolizes our right
earthly relationships; in other words, our relationships with our fellows.
Consequently, in placing the
Square before the candidate it is as if the lodge said to him, "Here is
another guide for you to use throughout your earthly pilgrimage: deal with
your fellows squarely; do to them as you would that they should do to you. Any
other conduct brings us into social and moral darkness." A perfected earthly
nature, that is the thing of which the Square is the symbol.
VI The Compasses. In this
connection we must again remember that the present symbol is elsewhere used in
the initiatory ceremony; much confusion will be avoided if this is kept in
mind. The people of old days, as has already been said, thought of the earth
as square shape: by token of the same reasoning they thought of the skies, or
the heavens, as being circular. Was not the sky itself a dome? Did not the
stars and planets move in curved tracks ? Was not an astronomical chart an
assemblage of curves and spirals ? By an inevitable association of ideas the
compasses, which were used to test or to draw circles and spirals, came to
stand for the heavenly in man, the divine. Such has been the significance of
the compasses in many forms of ceremonies, and such remains its meaning when
used as one of our Great Lights.
In other words, there is in
each of us a spark, or echo, of the divine, one may call it what he will: at
least there is a capacity for communing with the divine, else all religions
are utterly vain. Accordingly, our symbolism says to us that the God-like
elements in our nature constitute another guiding principle in life, and that
if we will always yield ourselves to such Goodness, Truth and Beauty as is
given us to know we will be safely led through life.
It may be noted just here
that in the First degree the compasses are placed in a certain position
relative to the Square, that they are changed in the Second degree, and still
again in the Third. A careful study of these three positions will disclose to
us a beautiful symbolism of progress in the Masonic life. In the first degree
the candidate's divine nature is supposed to lie entirely underneath his
earthly self; in the Second, which stands midway in the Masonic life, the
divine nature is partly disengaged from the earthly; in the last degree the
divine nature is in the ascendant, and properly keeps the earthly beneath
VII The Lesser Lights. The
Sun, Moon and Master compose a symbolism which we have received from the
Hermeticists, a group of occultists very influential in Europe two or three
hundred years ago. Some scholars have sought to trace this symbolism to
another source but the balance of evidence is in favor of the Hermeticists.
The Sun. According to the
Hermeticists the Sun, which hurls out light and heat from itself, is the
emblem of the active, or male element in nature: that this was not very
far-fetched is proved by the fact that we still commonly speak of the sun as
"he" or "him."
The Moon. By virtue of a
similar reasoning the Hermeticists made the moon to stand for the passive, or
female, element in nature: and here again the interpretation is in harmony
with our customary practices because we all speak of the moon as "she" or
"her." This is appropriate because the moon emits no light of her own but
merely reflects such light as she receives from the sun.
The Master. In our Masonic
usage we make this refer to the Master of the lodge, not as an actual officer,
but in a symbolical sense: the Master is to us the type of the perfect, the
masterful man, the complete man. Again, we may note that this is in consonance
with the Hermeticists for their "Master" typified the same thing. Who is the
masterful man? According to this symbolism he is the one in whom the male and
the female are symmetrically blended. Nietzsche, to give an example, was all
for masculinity: he taught that the more womanly virtues are weak signs of
degeneration: if we were all like Nietzsche, or like Nietzsche's ideal of a
man, the world would be peopled with blond beasts. John Woolman, on the other
hand, was so feminine that he wept over the death of a robin which he killed
as a boy; if the world were peopled with Woolmans it may be feared that the
human race would become ill-fitted to wrestle with the hard gray realities of
life. The ideal man, the Master, is one in whom the male and the female, the
active and the passive, the gentle and the aggressive, are balanced. Such was
Horus, in the old Egyptian mythology, who combined the masculinity of Osiris
with the femininity of Isis: such was Jesus in real life, of whom Tennyson
justly says that he was "man-woman."
Thus it is that the Three
Lesser Lights teach us the old doctrine of balance, while the Lesser and
Greater Lights as a whole teach us the ideal of the symmetrical life: when,
through our knowledge of the Mind and Will of the S.G.A.O.T.U., we learn to
perfect our earthly nature by giving to the divine in us its proper
sovereignty; and when, again, these elements of life are kept in poise,
neither one over-riding the other, we have reached the Masonic ideal of life
as disclosed to us in this wonderful symbolism of the Lights.
THE SYMBOLIC LIGHTS BY BRO.
WIDLEY E. ATCHISON, ASST SECRETARY
"A lodge has three symbolic
lights; one of these in the East, one in the West, and one in the South. There
is no light in the North, because King Solomon's Temple, of which every lodge
is a representation, was situated so far north of the ecliptic, that the sun
and moon, at their meridian height, could dart no rays into the northern part
thereof. The North, therefore, we Masonically term a place of
THE WRITER must confess to
preconceived ideas of his own in regard to the location in the lodge-room of
the "representatives of the Three Lesser Lights"; ideas which to his mind,
were well-founded. But the present investigation of the subject reveals a wide
divergence of opinion, and has convinced him that a surprising number of other
brethren are possessed of conceptions widely at variance with his.
Nothing more or less than
"custom" or "convenience" seems to govern the location of these symbolic
lights in many varied positions in the different Grand Jurisdictions of
America. In at least one jurisdiction the ritual does not specifically require
that they shall be placed in a triangular form "about the altar" but "about
the lodge." Hence in that particular jurisdiction it would be perfectly proper
to place them singly or in a group north, south, east or west of the altar, or
even in any part of the lodge-room distant from the altar.
The custom of grouping the
symbolic lights in triangular form about the altar does not prevail, so far as
we are able to learn, in Great Britain and other European countries. In
England and Scotland in particular they are placed at the stations of the
Master and Wardens. One theory of this custom (1) is given as follows:
The medieval lodge was a
frame building, constructed of planks, and erected close to the spot where a
church or other religious edifice was in process of building. It had three
main windows--one in the East, one in the West, and one in the South. There
was none in the North, because the lodge was always built on the southern side
of the church and close to it on account of the advantages of light and warmth
presented by a southern aspect. Hence a window in the North would have been
useless. These windows were termed by the craft the "three great lights", the
words lichter, light, and windows being synonymous. We find in Vetruvious and
in cicero the word lumina, or lights, used to denote windows.
These windows are always
represented on the early tracing boards and are distinctly alluded to in our
old rituals of 1725 and 1730. In the latter they are termed "fixed lights",
their uses being to "light the men to, at and from their work"; and in a note
it is expressly stated that these fixed lights "are three windows supposed to
be in every room where a lodge is held."
At these three windows were
seated the Master and his two Wardens; the Fellowcrafts had their appropriate
positions, and the Apprentices were placed in the North as they required less
light than the more skillful and advanced Fellowcrafts. The ritual of 1730
alludes to this fact and places the Junior Entered Apprentice in the North,
his business being "to keep off all cowans and eavesdroppers." This is
explained by the fact that the narrow space between the northern wall of the
lodge and the southern wall of the church would form a convenient hiding place
for cowans and eavesdroppers, and hence the duty of the Junior Entered
Apprentice. On the Master's table at the east window were placed the Bible,
Square and Compasses; the former as a token of devoutness and the latter, not
merely as the peculiar implements of the Master, but also a sign or mark of
The Craftsmen while busied at
their labors well knew that they received the light necessary for their work
from the three great windows in the East, South and West; but they also knew
that an inward, or mental light was even more necessary, and without it they
could not properly complete their task. As expressive symbols of that mental
light, they accepted the implements of the Master and the sacred Book which
were displayed on the table; for the Bible was given to them as the rule and
guide of their faith and practice; the Square was an ancient symbol of the
law, hence among the Greeks and Romans the expression kanon or gnomon tuo
nomon and norma legis; and the compasses was an appropriate emblem of that
fraternal conduct which should characterize their dealings with all mankind,
and more especially within their own circles. These three Great Lights thus
inculcated a knowledge of God, of themselves and of mankind.
The three lesser lights of
Masonry are derived from the same source. The actual work of the Masons was
performed during the hours of daylight. When, however, the brethren met for
social enjoyment or business at night, artificial or candle light became
necessary. The officers retained their usual positions and before each was
placed a candle. These three candles were now termed "the lesser lights," and
the idea of the sun, moon and Master was connected with them.
In the ritual of 1736 the
three lesser lights are described as "three large candles placed on high
candlesticks; they represent the sun, moon, and Master Mason." When in the
course of time the practice was introduced of holding lodges in taverns, or
ordinary-houses, the three great windows disappeared but the three candles
were retained. The oblong square formerly represented by the lodge itself
could no longer be properly represented, either in form or situation, by the
meeting- room of an ordinary-house, and its place was supplied by the "drawing
upon the floor," consisting of an oblong square drawn with chalk and charcoal.
The places of the officers were removed from the walls to the interior of the
drawing, while the rest of the brethren stood around.
Subsequently this custom was
again changed and the places of the officers and candles were removed outside
of the drawing. Again, in later times, for the purpose of convenience, the
oblong square was painted upon a movable carpet or tapis and when this custom
had once been adopted it soon led to the introduction of more and more emblems
upon the carpet until the original symbolism of the latter was entirely lost.
In America the use of the carpet has been totally discontinued, its place
being taken by the altar which was formerly the Master's table, and which has
been transferred from the East to the center of the lodge.
Sun-worship played a
prominent part in the religion of the ancients and was introduced into the
mysteries, says Mackey, (2) not as a material idolatry, but as a means of
expressing an idea of restoration to life from death, drawn from the daily
reappearance in the East of the solar orb after its nightly disappearance in
the West. The Gnostics derived many of their symbols from the Mithraic
initiations, in which sun-worship played an important part. These again
exercised their influence upon the medieval Freemasons. Thus it is that the
Sun has become so prominent in the Masonic system; not as an object of
worship, but purely as a symbol, the interpretation of which is presented in
many different ways. As the source of material light the sun reminds the Mason
of that intellectual light of which he is in constant search. But it is
especially as the ruler of the day, giving to it a beginning and end, and a
regular course of hours, that the sun is presented as a Masonic symbol. Hence,
of the three lesser lights, we are told that one represents or symbolizes the
sun, one the moon, and one the Master of the lodge, because as the sun rules
the day and the moon governs the night, so should the Worshipful Master rule
and govern his lodge with equal regularity. And this is in strict analogy with
other Masonic symbolism. For if the lodge is a symbol of the world, which is
thus governed in its changes of times and seasons by the sun, it is evident
that the Master who governs the lodge, controlling its time of opening and
closing, and the work which it should do, must be symbolized by the sun.
"The sun is the symbol of
sovereignty, the hieroglyphic of royalty; it doth signify absolute authority,"
This representation of the
sun as a symbol of authority, while it explains the reference to the Master,
enables us to amplify its meaning and apply it to the three sources of
authority in the lodge, and accounts for the respective positions of the
officers wielding this authority. The Master, therefore, in the East is a
symbol of the rising sun; the Junior Warden in the South, of the meridian sun;
and the Senior Warden in the West, of the setting sun.
In the ceremonies attendant
upon the lighting and extinguishing of the three symbolic lights, why should
we not carry out this reference to the sun's daily journey, as we do in our
rite of circumambulation ? In fact, this is done in one Grand Jurisdiction,
and possibly in others, by the officers of the lodge whose duty it is to
attend to these matters. In lighting the lights the one in the East is
attended to first, followed respectively by those in the South and West, thus
symbolizing the opening of the day. In extinguishing the lights at the close
of Masonic labors, the same detail is carried out, significant of the growing
darkness first apparent in the East, thence in the South and West.
Compare this practice with
the custom obtaining in many jurisdictions of simply snapping a button to
light or extinguish the electric lights all at the same instant.
Manifestly this ceremonial
cannot be carried out by the use of electrical substitutes, especially where
the three "imitation" candles are all on one circuit, and therefore in lodges
where such substitution is permitted, this symbolism would be lost.
But why should we not abolish
the substitutes? Our predecessors in the days before electric lights were
available got along very well with their actual "burning tapers", or candles.
The general excuse offered
for the employment of the electric imitation is that the tallow or paraffine
candle is "mussy"; that the drippings fall to the floor, and in warm weather
the candles, after burning a short time, become softened and have a tendency
to curve from an upright position. Such troubles may be easily overcome by the
use of an ingenious contrivance consisting of a hollow metal tube, white
enameled, in which the candle is inserted from the bottom leaving only the
wick protruding at the top. The tube is longer than the candle, and after the
candle has been inserted the tube is placed over the top of the candlestick.
As the candle is consumed by the flame at the top, the weight of the tube is
such that it slides down over the top of the candlestick and the candle is
forced upward in the tube as it is consumed, leaving the wick always just
above the top of the upper opening. There are no drippings to fall to the
floor, and since the body of the candle is contained within the tube it cannot
therefore become bent out of its upright position.
In his report for 1916, as
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence of the Grand Lodge of
Colorado, Brother Lawrence N. Greenleaf raised a question concerning the
"Symbolism of the Burning Taper," with especial emphasis on the "burning".
Another studious brother of the "Gild of Fraternal Correspondents" thereupon
began an investigation the result of which gives us some pertinent facts
relative to the matter. He says: (4)
This correspondent has not
thus far found the leisure to look up the symbolism of candles in religious
worship, but the study of their use is quite a simple matter. They were so
used prior to the Christian era, for the elder Pliny, who flourished in the
first century of that era, tells us in his Natural History that the Romans
employed them at funerals, making them out of different kinds of rushes. The
rush formed the wick and was probably drawn through melted wax or grease,
something after the manner of the old rush-lights.
The extensive use of candles
or tapers in the ritual of the Roman Catholic church is well known. The second
of February is known as Candlemas Day (candle mass) and on that day, there is
a blessing of candles by the clergy and a distribution of them to the people,
by whom they are in some churches lighted and carried in procession. Candlemas
Day is also observed by Catholics as the festival of the Purification of the
virgin Mary, and hence some writers have supposed the candle bearing on that
day to refer to simeon's words: "a light to lighten the Gentiles."
It would be interesting, as
Brother Greenleaf remarks, to know whether there is any symbolism in a burning
taper with special emphasis on "burning". Years ago it was customary to mark
divisions of time by the burning of certain makes of candles down to certain
marks left on them. In England, prior to the Reformation, a meaning was
attached to the size of candles and the manner in which they burned during the
procession. The reserved portions of the candle were also supposed by the
populace to possess a strong supernatural virture, Thus we find in Barnaby
George's translation of Naogeorgus in the "Popish Kingdom," as printed in
Ellis' edition of Brand's "Popular Antiquities," these lines:
This done, each man his
candles lights, Where chiefest seemeth he Whose taper greatest may be seen And
fortunate to be Whose candle burneth clear and bright; A wondrous force and
might Doth in these candles lie, which if At any time they light They sure
believe that neither storm Nor tempest doth abide. Nor thunder in the skies be
heard Nor any devils spied Nor fearful spirits that walk by night, Nor hurts
or frost or hail, etc.
It is, of course, possible to
imagine a certain amount of symbology for burning candles in the lodge. They
may represent the light of truth, the torch of knowledge or the light referred
to in the second verse of the last chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes. Though
truth is unchanged and unchangeable, our knowledge of it here can only be "in
part," and consequently "more light," both in Masonry and in every department
of Knowledge should be our constant aim. The taper burning more or less
slowly, but always surely towards its inevitable end and formerly employed, as
we have seen, to mark the passage of time, may be considered as fitly
representing the light referred to by the wise man in his injunction to
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while . . . the light . .
. be not darkened." * * *
In regard to the substitution
of gas or electric light for candles, it may or may not be of interest to
Brother Greenleaf and others, to know that the Roman Catholic church, which
uses candles so much in its ritual, does not tolerate the substitution for
them of more modern forms of artificial lights, either in the case of the
essential lights on its altars or in that of the tapers employed around the
catafalque at funerals. Extra illumination is now made by means of electricity
in many churches, even about the altars, but never in the case of the
essential altar lights.
An interesting history of the
use of candles in the Roman Catholic ritual, with an account of their
symbolism to members of that church, has been kindly furnished to the writer,
in answer to his inquiries, by a learned theologian who is both a Doctor and a
Professor of Divinity, and is, therefore, an authority upon the subject
whereof he speaks. May it not be that the original employment of candles in
Freemasonry was necessitated, as in the case of the Roman Catholic church, by
the darkness of the subterranean or other concealed quarters, in which its
votaries found it necessary in the Dark Ages to hold their assemblies, and
that the use of them has been perpetuated, not only as a symbol of human
progress from the darkness of ignorance to the increasing Light that comes
with the pursuit of Knowledge, and Freemasonry's constant aim to contribute to
this upward progress of the race, but also--as in the case of the church in
question--because of the early associations connected therewith.
The information which has
come to us from the source above referred to, reads as follows:
"Lights have always been
connected with sacrifice and the worship of God. We find that a light, of
purest olive oil, was ever to burn in the Tabernacle of the Old Testament,
vide Exod. xxvii., 20-21. This would suffice to explain the presence of lights
in the sacrifice of the New Testament. But there is to be added the necessity
of using them in the early church. Christianity was prescribed for centuries
and in the great centres of the Roman Empire, chiefly in Rome, it had no right
to existence, and had to take refuge in the catacombs. There the Christians
met, in the bowels of the earth, for the celebration of mass, the reception of
the sacraments, and instructions in the faith. Lights were consequently an
absolute necessity in that subterranean refuge. This association of lights
with mass and sacraments was too dear to the Church not to endure after she
came to her place under the light of day, and was free to take it under God's
open sky. Lights therefore, became a ritual obligation, and the faithful who
had seen them used in the catacombs, expected to find them in the churches at
mass and all the liturgical ceremonies. In these countries, olive oil was
used--naturally--being the common oil that served for lighting purposes. And,
of course, it was pure oil, as God's worship required the best, and forbade
admixture of foreign and less worthy elements. Candles were not used on the
altars for many centuries after. They were carried by the acolytes, etc., and
placed about the altar steps, but not on the altar. Lamps were hung about and
around the altar, filled with pure olive oil. But candles used at mass were of
beeswax, and for the same reasons, viz., facility of obtaining the material,
rejection of mixture with baser compounds, these candles were of pure wax.
When later the candles were placed on the altars as today, these candles of
pure beeswax were required. The mind of the church has always been that what
is best and purest should be used in God's service. Hence, she prescribed pure
beeswax for the candles. This is a matter of legislation. There are formal and
clear rules on this point.
"1. The candles must be
beeswax, vide, for instance, Decision of Congregation of Rites, Sept. 4, 1875.
"2. These candles are
prescribed for mass and for the administration of the sacraments. The two
candles lighted at low mass, and the six at high mass, must be of beeswax. As
also, the Paschal candle.
"3. Other candles used for
ornament, for devotional purposes, are not included in this ruling. Lamps of
oil may be used upon the altar, but when mass is said, there must be two
candles of beeswax.
"4. Owing to climatic and
economic reasons, in countries far removed from the basin of the
Mediterranean, allowances have been made, and an admixture is permitted. For
candles used during mass on the altar, the beeswax must be in greatest
proportion; as for the Paschal candle, too. The other candles, in greater
part, or in notable part of beeswax. Vide Cong. of Rites, Dec. 14, 1904. These
regulations were formal and binding.
"As to the symbolism of
candles, we must recall the use in the Old Testament, and its perpetuation in
"Sacrifice means the
destruction of a victim in expiation of sin. Man substitutes a victim in his
own stead, and offers it in his own place. These victims were not only
animals, as in the Old Temple, but also other things, as lights (oil),
incense, wine poured out, etc.
"Just as the victims,
animals, etc., should be without defect for God's worship demands what is
best, so the other things offered should be unadultered. Consequently, its was
pure olive oil that was prescribed in Exod. 20, and pure oil and pure beeswax
should enter into the sacrificial worship of the New Testament. All the
sacrifices of the Old Testament were merely the shadow of the Sacrifice of the
Cross and of the mass, which is its continuation. So that the idea of purity
of the material is inherent to the sacrificial use.
"The use of electric lights
is forbidden when they would replace the candles at mass or in the
administration of the sacraments, or in benediction. They may be used about
the altar, for illumination, or ornament. A recent ruling from Rome forbade
their use upon the altar for these purposes. All the bishops have not yet
promulgated this ruling, and until a bishop of a diocese does so, it does not
come into effect. Hence, some differences in the use of electric lights upon
or about the altar."
It should not, we feel, be
necessary to offer any apology to any of our brethren, whatever their
religious faith, for printing the above exactly as we have received it. To
those members of the Fraternity who are accustomed to the use of the lights so
kindly and so interestingly described above in their own places of worship,
and to many more of us who delight in the study of ancient symbology, there is
much therein that is particularly striking and instructive. Others will
understand, that for Masons in general, any of the symbolism of the last
nineteen hundred years to which reference is made in the above contribution is
mainly interesting as affording to students of our rituals the opportunity of
judging to what extent, if any, our use of candles is connected with that
employed in the Roman Catholic church, and what reasons exist, if any, against
changing them for electrically lighted imitation candles, especially in view
of the fact that such proposed change has met with strenuous adverse criticism
in the United states. With this explanation, we believe ourselves justified in
printing the above information just as it has reached us, and in thus
contributing to cast upon this "burning" question, all the "light" at our
ARRANGEMENT OF LIGHTS WITH
REFERENCE TO ALTAR IN AMERICAN AND CANADIAN JURISDICTIONS
In the following diagrams
showing the manner of arranging the symbolic lights in the various Grand
Jurisdictions, it will be noted that in every instance the arrangement is in
triangular form- -some states adopting the right-angled triangle and others
the equilateral --; the triangle being universally recognized as a symbol of
To the Mason who has never
visited lodges outside of his own jurisdiction a comparison of the location of
the symbolic lights in other jurisdictions should prove interesting. A letter
sent out from the Secretary's office to every Grand Secretary in the United
States and Canada resulted in the receipt of diagrams showing the arrangement
of the lights in nearly every Grand Jurisdiction, and eleven different plans
are here exhibited.
Figure 1. Right angled
triangle, apex at northwest. Lights at northeast, southwest and northwest
corners of altar.
Adopted in Alabama,
Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
Figure 2. Right-angled
triangle, apex at southeast. Lights at northeast, southeast and southwest
corners of altar.
Adopted in Connecticut, South
Dakota and Virginia.
Connecticut. Some lodges in
this jurisdiction group them in triangular form directly south of altar, as in
South Dakota. Several lodges
use electric lights on a single-base standard having three branches for the
lights, placing them at the northeast corner of the altar.
Figure 3. Right angled
triangle, apex at southwest. Lights at southeast, southwest and northwest
corners of altar.
Adopted in Georgia.
Figure 4. Equilateral
triangle, apex at south. Lights centered directly east, south and west of
Adopted in Arkansas.
Figure 5. Equilateral
triangle, apex at south. All lights grouped on south side of altar.
Adopted in Arizona, British
Columbia, California, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Missouri, Nevada,
Nova Scotia, Utah, Vermont, wisconsin and Wyoming.
British Columbia. Canadian
and American working lodges follow no fixed rule, some placing the lights in
this position, and others in the form shown in Figure 7. English working
lodges follow the English custom of placing them at the stations of the three
California. Placed in this
form "for convenience."
Idaho. This plan is general,
but there is no fixed rule.
Kentucky. No uniform rule,
but the general practice is to place them in this form. Personal reasons of
Grand Secretary Jackson given as "because there was no light in the North. In
triangular shape so as to diffuse greater light to aid reading the Great
Louisiana. Prior to ten years
ago the lights were arranged around the three sides of the altar farthest from
the north side of the lodge room and the explanation was then given as "three
burning tapers arranged in a triangular form around the altar." After that
time the verbiage of the description was changed to "three burning tapers
arranged in a triangular form about the altar," and the lights were then
placed on the south side.
Montana. This form was
adopted by the Grand Lodge some twenty years ago on the ground that the
majority of Grand Lodges so placed them.
Missouri. Placed in this
position because the south is "the place of the sun at its meridian height,"
and "a place of light."
Nevada. This custom
established "by precedent."
Texas. This form is generally
used because the lights are grouped on a standard having a single base, with
three prongs for the lights. Some lodges use individual candlesticks and
arrange them otherwise.
Utah. The conclusion of Grand
Secretary McCarty, who consulted several Past Grand Officers in the matter, is
that when the first Utah lodges were established the brethren instrumental in
organizing them followed the custom prevailing in their mother jurisdictions
and that the practice eventually became an "unwritten law" or custom of the
Grand Jurisdiction of Utah.
Figure 6. Equilateral
triangle, apex at north. All lights grouped on north side of altar.
Adopted in Iowa, Kansas and
Iowa. This form is the
general custom in this jurisdiction, although the ritual simply says the
lights are to be placed in a triangular form "about the lodge. Hence it would
be perfectly proper to place them in a triangular form in any other part of
the lodge, near or distant from the altar, or even at the stations of the
three principal officers similar to the English practice.
Minnesota. At the Annual
Communication of the Grand Lodge in October, 1867, a committee of five was
appointed, of which E. P. Barnum was chairman, to formulate the "work" for
this Grand Jurisdiction and report at the next Annual Communication, which
they did and exemplified the work before Grand Lodge, which adopted it as
exemplified. In arranging the lights at the altar they decided to place them
on the north, instead of the south side, as some of the lodge rooms in those
early days were so narrow that it was not practical for the Senior Deacon and
candidate to pass between the lights and the station of the Junior Warden.
Figure 7. Equilateral
triangle, apex at south. East and West lights opposite northeast and northwest
corners, South light centered directly south of altar.
Adopted in Colorado, British
Columbia, Michigan, Ohio and Manitoba.
Colorado. Brother W. W.
Cooper, Grand Lecturer, says:
"This method of placing the
lights is probably based on local custom. No doubt the influence of Dr. Albert
G. Mackey had much to do with the establishment of the custom, as he
specifically recommends this arrangement in his Monitor, which was the
standard in this jurisdiction for many years.
"Dr. Mackey also resided
temporarily in Colorado, and on one occasion, when visiting the Grand Lodge,
addressed the Grand Lodge on the subject of the lights.
"The use of the lights to
form an equilateral triangle was also advocated by Albert Pike.
"One reason for placing them
in this manner is that the equilateral triangle is a great and ancient symbol
of the deity. We cannot read or understand the Great Light without assistance
which is furnished by the reason or intelligence which comes to us from God,
who is symbolized by the equilateral triangle."
British Columbia. See
reference under explanation of Figure 5.
Michigan. This is considered
the best plan to represent the East, South and West.
Ohio. Thus located to
interpret the ritual.
Manitoba. American working
lodges place the lights in this position. They are not lighted in the second
and third degrees.
Figure 8. Equilateral
triangle, apex at south. East and West lights on a direct line with the north
side of altar; South light centered directly south of altar.
Adopted in District of
Figure 9. Equilateral
triangle, apex at south. East and West lights on a direct line with the south
side of altar; South light centered directly south of altar.
Adopted in Indiana.
Grand Secretary Prather says
this arrangement was advocated by Brother Rob Morris and so taught in the
Figure 10. Equilateral
triangle, apex at east. Grouped north and east of altar.
Adopted in Massachusetts.
Some lodges in this
jurisdiction follow the English custom of placing the lights at the Master's
and Wardens' stations.
A cut of the lodge room in
the Masonic Temple at Cristobal, Canal Zone, (under jurisdiction of the Grand
Lodge of Massachusetts,) shows the lights arranged as in Figure 7.
Figure 11. Equilateral
triangle, apex at west. Grouped directly east of altar.
Adopted in Maryland.
Grand Lecturer Seipp
describes this triangular arrangement as symbolic of Deity and perfection,
which is the moral, mental and spiritual aim of the candidate in the three
(1) Freemasons Magazine, vol.
XXIV, p. 340.
While we cannot vouch for the
authenticity of this explanation of the origin of the lesser lights, perhaps
some of our English or Scotch brethren or other members of the Society who may
have access to the rituals of 1725, 1730 and 1736, may be able to confirm the
Fort, in his "Early History
and Antiquities of Freemasonry," p. 294, states that this theory of the
windows was advanced by Krause, but he (Fort) discredits it, saying that the
assumption is unquestionably incorrect, and lacks the essential elements, as
usually elucidated, of symbolism. However, MacBride, in his "Speculative
Freemasonry," p. 74, refers to the lights as "three windows."
(2) Mackey's Encyclopedia,
1917 edition, p. 737.
(3) Idem, p. 736.
(4) Kentucky Masonic Home
Journal, January 1, 1917.
We regret our inability to
give the name of the brother who made this investigation, since it was not
appended to the article. If some member of the Society can enlighten us as to
the authorship we shall be glad to make proper acknowledgment in a future
issue of THE BUILDER.
THE THREE LESSER LIGHTS
BY BRO. WILLIAM H. TAYLOR,
P.G.M., PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
IN all ages and among all
peoples there have ever been two fundamental beliefs which have permeated-the
body politic. The first is, that nature itself is subject to a constant
struggle between two contending forces which continually strive for the
supremacy. As day and night, light and darkness, good and evil. The other
belief was that the soul is immortal. On these two beliefs were founded the
ceremony of initiation depicted by the Mysteries of the various nations.
Masonry as the logical
descendent of these Ancient Mysteries likewise seeks to impress upon its
initiate of 'today, in' the strongest manner possible, its continued belief in
these two great fundamental principles, which have come down to us from our
forefathers of long ago. Therefore do we bring the initiate in Masonry from
darkness to light and illustrate to him the Hiramic legend in the third
In all the Ancient Mysteries
this struggle between light and darkness was typified by two deities, who in
each case were a male and a female representing respectively the Sun and the
In the Indian Mysteries these
two deities were called Mahadeva and Bhavani; in the Persian, Mithras and Asis;
in the Egyptian, Osiris and Isis. This same characteristic is also peculiar to
the Phoenician, Phrygian, Grecian, Britain and Scandinavian systems of
In the Egyptian Mysteries
Anubis shares in the honors which were paid to Osiris and Isis. He was the
friend and counselor of Osiris and when Isis started out in her search for the
body of Osiris she was accompanied and aided by Anubis, who took the shape of
a dog and thus becomes sirius, The Dogstar, the brightest star in the heavens.
Anubis is of peculiar interest to us, as Masons in that he was renowned among
other characteristics as the inventor of astronomy and surveying and as the
deity who first taught the worship of gods and the building of temples.
In the Eleusian Mysteries,
the temple in which the ceremonies were held was lighted by a hole or a window
in the roof and the three great lights of nature, the Sun, the Moon and
Mercury (the latter being the same as Anubis) played an exceedingly important
part and were mystically represented by three images.
It has ever been a custom on
the rise of a new sect or institution for it to lay hold of that which was
good in its predecessors and make it an integral part of itself, either on the
one hand because it believed by so doing it would the more securely fasten its
hold on its converts or on the other, because it desired to thus perpetuate
its intimate connection with that which it had succeeded. From a study of the
growth of the early Christian Church we know that to make the new religion
more understandable to their new converts, the priests held their meetings in
the same temples where the sacrifices had been made to the "pagan" divinities.
They appropriated the statues of the "heathen" gods and sometimes by placing
on them a new head and at other times even dispensing with this formality they
transformed them into "Saints" of the Church.
Among their new converts,
especially, the priests continually found a tendency to revert to the worship
of the gods. Particularly was this true in the case of Isis and her infant son
Horus. After combating unsuccessfully with this tendency for several years the
priests finally assimilated both the statue and the attributes which were
associated with it. Thus Isis and her son Horus became the virgin Mary and the
Infant Jesus whence comes the prominent place given to their worship in the
Roman Catholic Church of today.
As the church has thus
unintentionally and unconsciously immortalized the mysteries no less has
Masonry deliberately perpetuated the customs of our ancient brethren. The
three great lights of nature, as we have said, which in the Ancient Mysteries
were represented by images dedicated respectively to the Sun, the Moon and
Mercury, have become the three lesser lights of a Masonic lodge, but how, when
or where the substitution of the "Master of the Lodge" for "Mercury" crept in,
it is impossible to trace. There seems to be about as much justification for
it as there was for the addition by Jeremy Cross of the "Marble Monument" and
its explanation as given in the lecture of the third degree. While the three
lesser lights are to be found in all regular Masonic lodges there seems to be
no fixed rule as to where they should be placed in the lodge.
In some jurisdictions a light
is placed at the station of the Master, one at that of the Senior Warden and
one at that of the Junior Warden.
There may be some
justification for this arrangement but it would not be possible to adapt it to
the "work" as it is now given in this and many other jurisdictions.
In some lodges they are
represented by a metal stand about three feet high with three arms branching
out at the top. At the extremity of each arm is a light and these lights are
in the form of an equilateral triangle. This metal stand is usually placed at
the right of the altar as one faces the East. In other lodges the three lesser
lights are grouped about the altar in the form of a right angle triangle; the
base of the triangle parallel to the West, with the hypothenuse running from
the South to the East to join up with the perpendicular in the East.
The metal stand with its
branching arms in the form of an equilateral triangle is emphatically
incorrect. It is a product of an inventive age and a concession to cheapness
and facility in installation which should never be tolerated save when a more
expensive arrangement is inadvisable.
The other grouping is the one
used in this and many other jurisdictions. It is sanctioned by Albert Pike
than whom there is no greater authority. He uses this arrangement in his
liturgy for the first as well as in the thirty-second degree.
This arrangement is justified
too in that it is the natural position in which to place the triangle, could
we but consider it as separate and apart from the necessity of avoiding the
placing of a light in the North; in that the base, which here represents
"Ignorance" is surpassed in potentiality by "Learning," represented by the
perpendicular which is longer than the base as four is to three. This
perpendicular runs from East to West which constantly reminds us of the belief
of our ancient brethren that all learning has its origin in and proceeds from
This grouping, however, might
be considered objectionable in that it places a light in the North directly
opposite the one in the South. This is contrary both to the practices of the
Ancient Mysteries as well as to teachings of modern Masonry. In the Ancient
Mysteries the initiate in his circumambulations followed the course which our
forefathers ascribed to the-sun in his daily travels. When the initiate
reaches the East, it is here the Sun rises, at the South the Sun is at
meridian height, while it is in the West that the Sun sets. From here until he
reaches the East again the initiate is supposed to be traveling at night, or
as we say in a place of darkness. For this reason modern Masonry has no light
in the North and not for the stupid reason as given in our lecture in the
The correct placing as
depicted in all the ancient prints we have been able to find, fixes the lights
about the altar in the form of a right-angled triangle but with the right
angle at the South; the base runs from the East to the South, the hypothenuse
runs from the East to the West with the perpendicular connecting the South
with the West.
Both methods represent the
right angled triangle as we have it in the 47th Problem of Euclid. Its sides
in the proportion of 3, 4 and 5 of which proportion 3 is the base, 4 the
perpendicular, and 5 the hypothenuse. Its perpendicular represents the male,
its base, the female, while the hypothenuse represents their progeny or the
product of the two. Thus to the ancients did this right-angled triangle
The light in the East is
dedicated to the Master of the lodge, the one in the West to the sun and the
one in the South to the moon. As the Master sits in the East the light
dedicated to the Sun is on his right hand; the one to the Moon is on his left.
Hence you will understand why the jewels of the Senior and Junior Deacons who
likewise sit on his right and left bear respectively representations of the
Sun and of the Moon.
Therefore, in pointing out
the lesser lights to the initiate, the Master should be careful to call his
attention first to the light in the West as representing the Sun, next to the
one in the South as representing the Moon and finally to the one in the East
as representing the Master of the Lodge. When the three principal officers of
the lodge group themselves about the altar each should be careful to take his
stand directly in front of his respective station. They will thus form an
equilateral triangle ever considered by our ancient brethren as an emblem of
With the Master, Senior and
Junior Wardens thus grouped about the altar we have formed a living
equilateral triangle symbol of Deity; with the three lesser lights about the
altar forming the right-angled triangle of Euclid, symbol of Humanity. We,
therefore, have at the conferring of each and every degree in Masonry a
striking symbolism of the two great fundamental teachings of our order:--"The
Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man."
A CERTAIN POINT
WITHIN A CIRCLE
YOU are all familiar with what is crudely set
forth by glaring colored stereopticon slides as to a "certain point within a
circle." Two parallel lines of equal length are drawn tangent, or let us say,
touching a circle containing at its center a prominent dot, or circular spot
or mark. On the top of the circle and midway between the two vertical lines or
tangents, is a representation of the Holy Bible. At either side of the
parallels, or vertical lines, sometimes actually upon them, are the two robed
and bearded men commonly designated as St. John the Baptist and St. John the
The monitorial explanation is familiar to all
Masons and is printed freely in many authorized publications of the Craft.
Various other explanations of the symbolism are extant. Another suggestion is
not so well known to the fraternity, and is here submitted.
Two bearded figures standing by a sphere or circle
surmounted by a dove is by no means a rare medieval representation of the
Trinity; the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.
Let us refer to the work entitled "Christian
Iconography, or History of Christian Art in the Middle Ages," and to volume I
(and volume I is all that was issued of the series so far as can be discovered
by the present commentator) bearing date of 1851, and being an English
translation by E. J. Millington, from the French of M. Didron and published by
Henry G. Bohn, of London, England.
If you look at page 39 you will find there a
reproduction of a miniature, taken it is so averred, from a manuscript having
the name of Louis, Duke of Anjou, and the title "Heures du Duc d'Anjou (Hours
of the Duke of Anjou), Bib. Roy. The date of the manuscript is ascribed to
have been at the end of the thirteenth century, and the illustration in
question is intended to be representative of the Trinity. Now please ploceed
with the suggested comparison in mind.
There are two bearded figures. Between them, and
resting on their outstretched hands, is a circle or sphere, and surmounted on
the latter - resting on and above the circle - is a dove with wings
outstretched. The outstretched wings of the dove do, at but a very little
distance, resemble an opened book. Both the robed figures wear the cruciform
or cross type of nimbus, or radiance or glory circles, around the head usual
in so many pictorial representations of saints or divinities. A nimbus or
aureole is also worn by the dove.
Preference is for the middle of the illustration
being occupied by a sphere, rather than a circle, because there is a somewhat
significant and unfinished curved line across the circular figure in center
and just about where the equator might be depicted if the world were to be
The similarity of this symbolical drawing to what
is so well known to we Freemasons is not capable surely to explanation as
being by mere accident. If indeed the one illustration is born of the other,
as seems not unlikely, then quite another and a very different, but obvious,
symbolism to that ordinarily submitted to us is disclosed, of much interest to
the reflective member of the Craft.
Robert I. Clegg.
* * *
TO MASONIC STUDY COMMITTEES
It is recommended that the articles in this issue
headed "The Lesser Lights" and "The Symbolic Lights" be previously studied by
those of our members belonging to lodges and study clubs interested in our
"Bulletin Course of Masonic Study," and, if time will permit, that one or both
of the articles be read at their meetings for the benefit of those present who
may not yet be members of the N.M.R.S.
It is quite probable that many new theories or
facts will be brought out at these meetings which may throw additional light
on the subject. We shall be very glad to receive such information from study
club committees so that we may pass it on to other lodges and study clubs.
EDITED BY BRO. H. L. HAYWOOD
The object of this Department is to acquaint our
readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best
Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may
especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor wih be very glad to render any
possible assistance to studious individuals or to Study Clubs and Lodges,
either through this Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish to
learn something concerning any book - what is its nature, what is its value,
or how it may be obtained - be free to ask him. If you have read a book which
you think is worth a review write us about it; if you desire to purchase a
book - any book - we will help you get it, with no charge for the service.
Make this your Department of Literary Consultation.
"THE DRAMA OF SAVAGE PEOPLES”
It has been a commonplace among us these many
years that the roots of Masonry go afar into the remote past but it may be
doubted if very many of the members of our Fraternity ever realize just how
ancient are the instincts and impulses which lie behind such an institution as
Masonry. Of late, however, many scholars have been presenting us with a wealth
of facts concerning secret societies among primitive folk, so that now a Mason
is without excuse who does not understand that some organization, similar to
Masonry, and performing like functions, has existed among men from the very
earliest times. Fortunately for the scholar, there still exist in the
backwashes of the world a few tribes that still carry on the ancient
practices; by investigating these folk the anthropologists are enabled to
guess what were the customs of races long dead and forgotten. The most
valuable of such works, probably, is Frazer's "Golden Bough," a veritable
encyclopedia of primitive customs. Hutton Webster's "The Men's House" is
another work which has thrown much light on the original roots of the secret
society. Now comes a Yale anthropologist, Professor Loomis Havemeyer, with a
book bearing the title that stands at the head of this article, to throw added
light on the entire subject. Although it is not written with much literary
grace it is a book which the Masonic student may welcome, especially since it
sets forth so clearly the mental roots out of which secret societies grow.
Professor Havemeyer's principal concern is with
the evolution of the drama among savage peoples,. and his thesis is that among
those who have no alphabet, no written language, and consequently no schools,
the young, and often the old, are educated through acted representations of
truths and facts. In his first chapter he deals with "The Early Development of
the Drama": thereafter he studies the ceremonies having to do with animal food
and then with plant food: after comparing the savage drama with the more
finished ancient Greek drama he passes on to treat of the drama of initiation;
war ceremonies; and, lastly, pleasure plays.
It is the chapter on "Initiation Ceremonies" that
will appeal most to Masons for therein will be found many striking points of
resemblance between the quaint, and often terrible, rites of our ancestors,
and our own ritual, resemblance, that is, in principle, not in detail.
The author shows that nearly all savage tribes
have a ceremony of initiation through which the youth passes into manhood and
the full rights of the tribe: this is usually a rehearsal of a legend of the
origins of the tribe presented in a series of symbolical ceremonies. The
savage looks upon the coming to manhood as a new birth: consequently in the
ceremony the youth is supposed to die and then to be raised to his new life;
or some older person, representing the candidate, goes through the dramatic
death and resurrection. As these ceremonies last many months, and often for
several years, there is opportunity to instruct the young man in the history
of his own people; in regard to his proper relationship with other members of
the tribe, especially the women; in the virtue of obedience to elders; and in
the other principles of the simple tribal code of morals.
Those Masonic students who would understand the
psychological roots and spirit of initiation ceremonies, who would learn how
deeply imbedded in our nature is the necessity for such ceremonies, are
recommended to read this richly rewarding book. It is published by The Yale
University Press, of New Haven, and the price is $1.75.
He is the freeman whom the
truth makes free,
And all are slaves beside.
There's not a chain
That hellish foes confederate
for his harm
Can wind around him, but he
casts it off
With as much ease as Samson
his green withes.
He looks abroad into the
Of Nature, and though poor
With those whose mansions
glitter in his sight,
Calls the delightful scenery
all his own.
His are the mountains, and
the valleys his,
And the resplendent rivers;
his to enjoy
With a propriety that none
But who, with filial
Can lift to heaven an
And smiling say, "My Father
made them all."
- William Cowper.
Know the true value of time;
snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no
procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.
- Earl of Chesterfield
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and
fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and
is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is
better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not
champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another; but offers
to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or
fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are
open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on
Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those
connected with Lodges or Study Clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course
of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail
before publication in this department.
SYMBOLIC MASONRY IN EUROPE
It has been reported here by several Scottish Rite
Masons that the only higher body recognized in France is the Scottish Rite,
and that the York Rite is hardly known in Europe. While I am not a Scottish
Rite Mason, I would like to get some authentic information on this subject.
What is the approximate strength of the York Rite in France, England,
Scotland, Ireland and other European countries? E.M.J. Texas.
We shall answer your questions on the assumption
that by the "York Rite" you mean the symbolic degrees of Entered Apprentice,
Fellow Craft and Master Mason. Following is a list of the Grand Bodies of
Europe having jurisdiction over lodges of these degrees:
GRAND ORIENT OF FRANCE.
Lodges, 471. Members, 33,000.
INDEPENDENT AND REGULAR
NATIONAL GRAND LODGE OF FRANCE AND THE FRENCH COLONIES.
Lodges, 136. Members, 7,600.
UNITED GRAND LODGE OF
Lodges, 3,203. Members,
GRAND LODGE OF IRELAND.
GRAND LODGE OF SCOTLAND.
GRAND LODGE OF DENMARK.
Lodges, 12. Members, 5,854.
GRAND ORIENT OF GREECE.
Lodges, 18. Members, 950.
GRAND LODGE SYMBOLIC,
Lodges, 91. Members, 6,526
GRAND ORIENT OF NETHERLANDS
AT THE HAGUE.
Lodges, 105. Members, 4,600.
GRAND ORIENT LUSITANIA UNIDO
Lodges, 135. Members, 4,278.
GRAND LODGE OF NORWAY.
Lodges, 16. Members, 4,299.
GRAND LODGE OF ROUMANIA.
GRAND SPANISH ORIENT.
Lodges,100. Members, 4,880.
SUPREME COUNCIL OF SERBIA.
Lodges, 4. Members, 96.
GRAND LODGE OF SWEDEN.
Lodges, 43. Members, 13,558
GRAND LODGE ALPINA OF
Lodges, 34. Members 4,200
GRAND ORIENT OF TURKEY.
There are nine Grand Lodges in Germany, a list of
which you will find on page 94 of the March, 1918, issue of THE BUILDER.
Of the 3,203 lodges under the jurisdiction of the
Grand Lodge of England, approximately 760 of these are located in London; 1425
in Great Britain, outside of London, and the remaining number in British
possessions outside of Great Britain. This Grand Lodge has three Military
Lodges not stationary.
51 of the 504 Irish lodges are located in Dublin; 72 in
Belfast, and 322 outside of these two cities. There are 11 Military
lodges, not stationary, under this Grand Lodge, and some forty or more lodges
are located in Africa, India, New Zealand, South Australia, Spain and the West
Of the 829 Scotch lodges a
little over one-half of this numbers are located in Scotland and the remainder
in other countries. There are several lodges under the Scottish registry in
Canada. The Supreme Councils recognized by the Supreme Council Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States are
Northern Masonic Jurisdiction
of the United States.
Denmark (Grand Lodge).
England and Wales, and the
Dependencies of the British Crown.
France and its Dependencies.
Norway (Grand Lodge).
United States of Colombia.
Some of the foregoing
Supreme Councils of the Scottish Rite, especially those of some South American
Countries, control the symbolic degrees in their respective countries since in
many of these Republics independent Grand Lodges have not been established. In
Denmark and Norway the Grand Lodge is the governing body of both the Scottish
and the symbolic degrees.
* * *
EX-PRESIDENT TAFT MADE A
MASON "AT SIGHT".
Will you please inform me in
the next issue of THE BUILDER how, when and where Ex-President Taft was made a
I have heard several
different accounts of the incident but have been unable to find anything on
the subject in print.
Brother Taft was made a Mason "at sight," February
18th, 1909, at Cincinnati, Ohio, by Grand Master Charles S. Hoskinson.
The entire ceremonies occupied only one hour. The
Grand Master convened an "Occasional Lodge" for the purpose of conferring the
degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason on Mr. Taft.
After this lodge was duly opened Mr. Taft was escorted into the lodge and
presented at the altar by P.G.M. William B. Melish The Grand Master, after
propounding the customary questions and receiving the required answers,
obligated the candidate in the Entered Apprentice obligation and then
instructed him fully in the unwritten work of that degree. The same procedure
was carried out in the Fellow Craft and Master Mason degrees and after reading
the charge of the Master's degree, the Grand Master declared Brother Taft a
Master Mason, in good and regular standing.
This ceremony did not make Brother Taft a member
of any particular lodge and it was necessary for him to thereafter petition a
lodge for affiliation in the regular manner and to be balloted upon for
An article on making Masons "at sight" may be
found on page 47 of volume II (1916) of THE BUILDER.
NORTH DAKOTA MlLITARY LODGE
In response to your request for information concerning the
North Dakota Lodge now operating in France, I may say
that it is known as "North Dakota Military Lodge No. 2, U. D.,
A. F. and A. M.," and operates under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of
the State of North Dakota, with original jurisdictions to confer the degrees
on all members of the 164th Infantry resident in North Dakota, also with usual
authority to confer degrees upon any one elected by a Blue Lodge in the United
States at the request of such lodge.
This lodge is known as North Dakota Military Lodge
No. 2, because in 1898, at the time when the First North Dakota Infantry was
on its way to the Philippine Islands, the then Grand Master of North Dakota,
Hon. Robert Carothers, issued a dispensation for a military lodge for that
I was named as Junior Warden of that lodge, and
the operation of the lodge in the Philippines was so palpably beneficial to
the Craft, and gave so much pleasure to the Masons sojourning there, that when
the First North Dakota was called into service for France, the present Grand
Master of North Dakota, W.J. Reynolds, issued a dispensation for a lodge for
that regiment, which regiment became known under the new regimental
description as the 164th Infantry.
A few meetings of the lodge were held at
Charlotte, N.C., and some degrees conferred. The work was done in the
beautiful temple owned by the Masonic brethern of Charlotte, who very kindly
tendered the use of the building and in large numbers attended our meetings,
and expressed great pleasure at the thought that there would be going with the
United States troops to France, facilities for meeting and working.
Another meeting was held on the transport carrying
troops over, the night before landing. No work was done at this meetilrg, but
a pleasant evening was spent in Masonic converse.
Since being settled in France weekly meetings have
been held. The rules promulgated by the Secretary of War prevent any work
being done in any Camp of the United States troops, so it is necessary to make
arrangements for meeting places outside the Camp limits. This we are enabled
to do through the kindness of the Y.M.C.A.
Our meetings are largely attended, the register of
attendance showing at every meeting brethren from various states. One meeting
showed over one hundred brethren in attendance from thirty-seven states. Many
meetings are attended by over a hundred.
The work is well done and great care is taken to
accept none but good material, the rule being that when a candidate submits to
the original jurisdiction of this lodge, before he is balloted on his name is
sent through the Grand Secretary of North Dakota to his local lodge to
ascertain whether he is acceptable to them.
If as great results Masonically follow the
bringing to France of this lodge, as did in taking the lodge to the
Philippines no man can tell what influence it may have on the future, for it
is conceded that the North Dakota Military Lodge established Freemasonry in
the Philippines with all the resultant good that Masonry brings to its
Even if no such results should follow here, it
none the less gives to hundreds of brethren sojourning in a strange land, far
from home, the pleasure that only a Mason feels in the company of other
There is in France another military lodge, known
as "Montana Military Lodge U. D.," of which Major Foote is the Master. They
are not located near us, so I have no opportunity of knowing just what they
are doing, nor how actively they work, but I am certain from my knowledge of
Brother Foote that whatever work his lodge hay do will be "good work, true
work and square work."
Colonel John H. Fraine, W.M.,
North Dakota Military Lodge
No. 2, U.D.,
* * *
THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT
Freemasonry and Zionism are two distinct
movements. Freemasonry is an institution to teach the grand lesson of the
Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of Man. Zionism is only an organization
to improve the conditions materially and intellectually of the most abused and
oppressed, and most intellectually suffering, of the homeless people of
Israel. Freemasonry upholds all the universally recognized religions. Zionism
tends to uphold only the religion of Judaism amongst the Jews.
In order to understand Zionism properly, it is
necessary to study Judaism and the Jewish history. By studying the Holy Bible
you will find the origin of Zionism.
David in his Psalm said, "When the Lord turned
again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth
filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; then said they among the
heathen. The Lord hath done great things for them; the Lord hath done great
things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn Again our captivity, O Lord, as the
streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth
forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with
rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:1-6). By the rivers of
Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged
our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried
us away captive required of us a song, and they that wasted us, required us
mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's
song in a strange land? If I forget not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to
the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem, above my chief joy." (Psalm
The origin of Zion started when God promised to
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the Holy Land to their descendants; then the prophets
instilled in the minds of Israel the hope that the land will be restored to
them; and at last the oppression of Israel in Spain, Portugal, throughout
Europe during the Crusades when thousands and thousands of Jews were put to
death, and at last the massacres in Russia, persecution in Roumania, and
AntiSemitism in Germany and France were the greatest stimulants to the
movement of Zionism.
Zionism is not anti-Americanism. Justice Brandeis of the United
States Supreme Court, is an enthusiastic Zionist, still
I believe he is a
patriotic American. Lord Reading, English Ambassador to the United States, is
a good Zionist and loyal English Statesman. Above all, the Jewish people as a
whole, are showing their patriotism to their countries wherever they live at
the present time, with their lives, finance, and spirit.
When an English Lord assailed Disraeli, because he
was a Jew, Disraeli replied, "Yes, I am, and I am proud of it, because while
your grandfathers were still savages and worshiped idols, my grandfathers were
civilized and worshiped the One, true God. If it is really a crime for a Jew
to tell the world that he is a Jew, the Gentiles are responsible for it."
During the middle ages, the Gentile nations made
the Jew wear on his clothing a yellow patch to remind everybody that he was a
Jew. In Europe they have special laws enacted for the Jews only; and right
here in this free country even among the educated American Gentiles, an
American Jew is not admitted to their organizations, because he is a Jew.
Zionism does not mean that if the holy land will
be restored that all the Jewish people from the whole world will go back to
Palestine. The main objects of Zionism are, first, to assist those Jewish
people who are oppressed in Europe on account of their religion. Second, as
Dr. Herzle, the leader of Zionism stated in his message at the second
congress, that it is necessary for the Jewish people to return first to
Judaism, in order to return to Zionism. But how shall we sing the Lord's song
in a strange land ? It is our hope that the people who gave to the world a
King Solomon and his temple upon which the super-structure of Masonry is
built, the people who gave to the world the ten commandments and the Bible,
the people who gave to the Christian world a Saviour, and to the Catholics,
St. Mary, the Mother of God, the people who gave the world the prophets whose
teachings are the moral guide of humanity, may receive justice and
The people who gave such gifts to the world will
in the future, when the Lord returns the captivity of Zion, produce again
great, intellectual men.
Jacob Goldman, Indiana.
Scripture references: Zech. 8:23. Isa. 46:12-13:
49:16; 49:24; 51:3; 51:11; 52:2-3. Amos 9:13-15. Obadiah 1:17. Micah 4:2-6:
4:6-8. Zeph. 3:19-20. Zech. 1:16-17: 2:2: 8:3.
* * *
THE UNCHANGING SPIRIT OF
In discussing Masonry in France, Masonry in South
America, or Masonry anywhere or in any age, perhaps we lean too much to the
physical side, to forms and ceremonies, to regularity, ritual and government.
In many physical ways (and they are subject to more or less change as mankind
changes) Masonry is a thoroughbred, has had the foundation stock, but has been
evolved into its present status. This relates purely to the physical side.
The spirit, the psychic, or soul side, has never
changed, it is impossible of change, because it is the God part. The heart, or
soul, or pyschic life must first be touched otherwise there is no foundation
upon which to build Masonry. A Mason at heart is one who has a sincere desire
to benefit mankind. Turn loose a body of men like that in any country, in any
age, and they will leave a trail. In this way Masonry can be traced from the
beginning of the world. By their fruits ye shall know them.
This is universality of Masonry. Men cannot long
remain united on physical things, but when guided by the heart, or spirit, or
in the broader sense, the pyschic life, Masonry is absolutely the same the
The quest for the truth is the same in the
heathen, the pagan or the Christian, regardless of his conception of Deity.
Masonry unites the best men of all nations. This is possible only when the
psychic life is wakened. It is the foundation of Masonry. We build the
physical part of Masonry upon it. This is the eternal battle, to be temperate,
and not allow excess in either.
Mankind is prone to make laws to govern
everything; when guided by the physical or animal side only, he depends upon
compulsion to enforce law, both civil and religious, all of his own making.
The German Empire personifies this idea.
Masonry would seek to arouse and stimulate the
better nature of man, of peace on earth, good will to man, which wil never
obtain on a physical basis only. Masons wherever dispersed, who practice the
virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, should be judged
tolerantly, and should no be held too strictly to arbitrary rules of
regularity and ritual.
A. K. Bradley, Texas.
* * *
AN OWNER WANTED
The Rev. E. J. V. Huiginn of Beverly, Mass., was on a vacation
in South Lyndeboro, New Hampshire, in October, 1917. There he met Mr. A. D.
Cram, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, formerly a Sergeant of the
Eighth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers. On one occasion Mr. Cram said that
he had been in charge of a burying squad after the battle of Fort Hudson,
Louisiana, on the 27th of May, 1863, and that he buried the body of a young
Confederate officer on which he found a peculiar badge composed of three
interlaced triangles surmounted by a crown. Though in later years Mr. Cram had
tried through some of the great dailies and in other ways to trace the owner
of the badge he had never succeeded. He gave the badge to Mr. Huiginn to try
if he could find any trace of the young officer. The accompanying picture
is a copy of
a photograph of the badge.
Mr. Huiginn has turned the matter over to Brother
Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary of Massachusetts, Masonic Temple,
Boston, at whose request we are very glad to publish the circumstances
surrounding the finding of the jewel. Brother Hamilton says that it might
bring great happiness to some one to have this jewel restored and the present
holder is anxious to place it in the hands of an heir of the original
* * *
BROTHER SHRYOCK SERVING HIS
THIRTY-THIRD TERM AS GRAND MASTER OF MARYLAND AT TIME OF HIS DEATH
I have just noticed that in my article on Brother
Shryock which appeared in the April issue of THE BUILDER I made the error of
stating that he was serving his thirty-second year as Grand Master. He had
served thirty-two years and was elected for the thirty-third time last Fall. I
think this ought to be corrected in an early issue in the interest of
John H. Cowles, District of
* * *
THE DEGREES PROBLEM
To my mind one strong argument in favor of the
contention that at one time the degrees consisted of but two, namely the first
and the combined second and third, is in the fact that in the second section
of the second, the three mystic numbers, 3, 5, and 7, are explained (or
supposed to be). In the English lodges, the three numbers are associated
respectively with the first, second and third degrees, the number 7 being
associated with the third degree. This being so, why is it referred to in the
second degree ?
The natural influence is that at one time the
second section of the second degree, at least, must hare part of the third
degree. Ernest E. Murray, Montana.
There are no points of the
compass on the chart of true patriotism. - Robert C. Winthrop.