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Master Mason Handbook
WTF does this have to do with photography?
"Wilbur" wrote in message
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THE MM'S BOOK
by J.S.M. Ward
THE third degree in Freemasonry is termed the Sublime Degree and the
is truly justified. Even in its exoteric aspect its simple, yet
power must leave a lasting impression on the mind of every Cand.. But
esoteric meaning contains some of the most profound spiritual
which it is possible to obain to-day.
Even the average man, who entered The Craft with little realisation of
real antiquity and with the solemnity of this, its greatest degree. In
directness and apparent simplicity rests its tremendous power. The
and esoteric are interwoven in such a wonderful way that it is almost
imopssible to separate the one from the other, and the longer it is
the more we realise the profound and ancient wisdom concealed therein.
Indeed, it is probable that we shall never master all that lies hidden
this degree till we in very truth pass through that reality of which it
The two degrees which have gone before, great and beautiful though they
are but the training and preparation for the message which the third
holds in almost every line of the ritual. Here at length we learn the
purpose of Freemasonry. It is not merely a system of morality veiled in
allegory and illustrated by symbols, but a great adventure, a search
that which was lost; in other words, the Mystic Quest, the craving of
Soul to comprehend the nature of God and to achieve union with Him.
Different men vary greatly; to some the most profound teachings appeal,
while to others simpler and more direct instruction is all they crave.
there is hardly a man who has not, at some time or other, amid the
and distraction of this material world, felt a strange and unaccountable
longing for knowledge as to why he was ever sent here, whence he came,
whither he is wending. At such times he feels Iike a wanderer in a
land, who has almost forgotten his native country, because he left it so
long ago, but yet vaguely realises that he is an exile, and dimly craves
some message from that home which he knew of yore.
This is the voice of the Divine Spark in man calling out for union with
Source of its being, and at such times the third degree carries with it
message which till then, perhaps, the brother had not realized. The true
s...ts are lost, but we are told how and where we shall find them. The
gateway of d. opens the way to the p. within the c., where the longing
spirit will find peace in the arms of the Father of All.
Thus it will be seen that the third degree strikes a more solemn note
even that of d. itself, and I have endeavoured in this little book to
in outline form some part at least of this sublime message.
As in my previous books, I freely confess that I have not covered the
ground. Not only would it be impossible to do so in a book of this size,
in so doing I should have defeated one of my principal objects in
namely, to inspire others to study for themselves and endeavour to find
our ceremonies further and deeper meanings.
The success of the earlier books shows clearly that my efforts have not
in vain, and that the brethren are more than anxious to fathom the inner
meaning of the ceremonies we all love so well. This book completes the
series dealing with the meaning of the three craft degrees, but their
popularity has convinced me that the experiment of producing a small and
inexpensive handbook has been completely justified. I have therefore
encouraged to write further volumes, and the next of the series will be
outline history of Freemasonry " from time Immemorial."
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION
The success of the first edition of this book has necessitated a second
wherein I have corrected a few printing errors and added a few points
may help my brother students.
From the number of letters I have received from all parts of the world,
thanking me for the light these books throw on the meaning of our
ceremonies, it is clear that the new members who are entering our Order
tending to take an increasing interest in the meaning of our Rites and
no longer content to regard the Ceremonies merely as a pastime for an
Introduction by The Hon. Sir John Cockburn, M.D., K.C.M.G., P.G.D.Eng.,
Chapter 1 Questions and P.W.
Chapter 2 The Opening
Chapter 3 The Symbolical Journeys, etc.
Chapter 4 The Exhortation
Chapter 5 The S..s
Chapter 6 The Badge
Chapter 7 The Legend
Chapter 8 The Tracing Board, etc.
Chapter 9 Closing
Chapter 10 Conclusion
By Sir John A. Cockburn,
W.Bro. Ward has lost no time in supplying his large circle of readers
this little book on the 3 degree. With becoming reverence he touches on
last great lesson which Masonry presents to the mind of the Craftsman.
the manifold blessings that Freemasonry has conferred on mankind none is
greater than that of taking the sting from death and robbing the grave
victory. No man can be called Free who lives in dread of the only event
is certain in his life. Until emancipated from the fear of death, he is
his life long subject to bondage. Yet how miserably weak is this phantom
king of Terrors who enslaves so many of the uninitiated. As Francis
remarked, there is no passion in the mind of man that does not master
dread of death. Revenge triumphs over it; love slights it; honour
to it; grief flieth to it. Death has always been regarded as the
of the Great Mystery. It was only at the promise of dissolution that the
seeker after the Elixir of Life exclaimed Eureka. Masonry regards death
as the gate of life, and the Master Mason learns to look forward with
but humble confidence to the moment when he will receive his summons to
ascend to the Grand Lodge above.
Brother Ward very properly attaches much significance to the Pass Word
leading to the 2 degree and 3 degree. In the Eleusinian Mysteries an ear
corn was presented to the Epoptai. This, as an emblem of Ceres,
by the S.W., is appropriate to the F.C.'s, who are under the guidance of
that officer, while the name of the first artificier in metals, which is
reminiscent of Vulcan, the Celestial Blacksmith, seems specially
to the attributes of the J.W., as it was in the days before 1740. The
sees in the lozenge formed by two of the great lights a representation
the Vesica Piscis. This symbol, whose literal meaning is "the bladder of
fish,' is of deep significance. Some see in it the essential scheme of
ecclesiastical architecture. But as the spiritually blind are unable to
discern similitudes, so those who are gifted with deep insight are apt
over estimate analogies. The Vesica Piscis being, as Brother Ward
states, a feminine emblem, and therefore one sided, can hardly represent
equilibrium attained by the conjunction of the square and compasses.
respectively stand for the contrasted correlatives which pervade
and, like the pillars, are typical when conjoined of new stability
from their due proportion in the various stages of Evolution. The
progressive disclosures of the points of the compasses seems to indicate
ultimate realisation of the spirituality of matter; the at-one-ment and
reconciliation at which Freemasonry and all true religions aim. Brother
repeatedly points out the similarity that exists between the lessons of
Christianity and of Freemasonry. It is indeed difficult to distinguish
between them, The Ancient Mysteries undoubtedly possessed in secret many
the truths proclaimed in the gospel. St. Augustine affirms that
Christianity, although not previously known by that name, had always
existed. But whereas the hope of immortality was formerly in the
confined to a favoured few, the new Convenant opened the Kingdom of
to all believers. Incidentally this little volume clears up many
which are obscure in the Ritual. For example, there could be no object
directing that the F.C's, who, on account of their trust-worthiness,
selected by the King to search for the Master, should be clothed in
prove their innocence. That was already beyond question. The order was
evidently meant for the repentant twelve who took no actual part in the
crime. This and similar inconsistencies in the Ritual may be accepted as
evidence of its antiquity. Had it been a modern compilation such
contradictions would have been studiously avoided.
It is probable that many earnest Masons may not agree with all Brother
Ward's interpretations. Nor can such unanimity reasonably be expected.
Freemasonry, as a gradual accretion of the Wisdom of Ages Immemorial,
traces of many successive schools of thought. But all its messages are
fraught with hope for the regeneration of humanity. The author intimated
desire in this series of handbooks to lead others to prosecute the study
Masonry for themselves; and indeed he has abundantly proved that in its
unfathomable depths there are many gems of priceless ray serene which
well repay the search. Brother Ward is heartily to be congratulated on
having attained the object he had in view.
John A. Cockburn.
QUESTIONS AND P.W.
Those of our Brethren who have read the previous two books of this
will not need much help in understanding the significance of the
which are put to the Cand. before being raised. Practically every
has been dealt with in detail in the previous books; the majority of
are taken from incidents in the Lectures and Tracing Board, and since
latter was explained at some length we shall not now detain our readers
The manner of preparation for the second degree stressed the masculine
which is characteristic of it. The admission on a S. indicated that the
Cand. had profited by the moral training rcceived in the First degree,
that his conduct had always been on the S.. There is, however a deep
esoteric meaning in the apparent platitude that it is the fourth part of
circle. Among all the ancient nations the circle is a symbol of God the
Infinite, Whose name we discovered in the second degree in the M.Ch.,
we leamt that it consisted of four letters. Thus the Cand. was admitted
one letter of the Mystic Name, and if the four Sq.s are united with the
circle in a peculiar way they form the cosmic cross, emblem of matter,
within the circle of the Infinite.
We have in the last book considered at such length what is implied by
words "Hidden mysteries of nature and science," that we need here only
our readers to that section, wherein we saw that in former times these
hidden mysteries undoubtedly referred to certain occult powers, which
be dangerous if acquired by a man who had not proved himself to be of
highest moral character.
The "wages" we receive consist of the power to comprehend the nature of
Who resides in the M.Ch. of the Soul of every Mason. The F.C. receives
wages without scruple or diffidence because the Spiritual benefit he
receives from Freemasonry is in exact proportion to his desire, and
to comprehend its inner meaning.
He cannot receive either more or less than he has earned, for if he has
understood the profound lesson of the Divinity within him, naturally he
cannot benefit therefrom.
His employers are the Divine Trinity, of Whom Justice is one of the
outstanding attributes. God could not be unjust and remain God. This
conception is almost a platitude, but the average man, while realising
God will not withhold any reward earned, is at times apt to assume that
because God is love He will reward us more than we deserve. This is
a mistake, for God could not be partial without ceasing to be God,
the F.C. receives exactly the Spiritual wages he has earned, and neither
more nor less, but some F.C.'s will nevertheless obtain a greater reward
than others, because spiritually they have earned it.
The significance of the names of the P....rs was explained in the last
but in view of the nature of the third degree it seems advisable to
out once more that their secret Kabalistic meaning is (1) Being
every moral virtue, (2) you are now properly prepared, (3) to undergo
last and greatest trial which fits you to become a M M.. Thus we see
even the w..ds of the preceding degrees lead up to this, the last and
As in the former case, the remark of the W.M. that he will put other
questions if desired indicates the possibility of members of the Lodge
asking qucstions based on the Lectures of the Second Degree, or even on
Tracing Board. It is, indeed, a pity that this right is practically
exercised. For example, a particularly appropriate question would be
was the name of the man who cast the two great p....rs ? " As it is, the
Cand. in a dramatic way represents the closing incidents in the life of
great man, whose importance till then he has hardly had any opportunity
Having answered these test questions, the cand. is again entrusted with
P.W., etc., to enable him to enter the Lodge after it has been raised to
Third degree during this temporary absence. We have in the previous book
explained that the raising of a Lodge should alter the vibrations of
present by a process well recognised in the ceremonies of Magic, and, to
enable the Cand. quickly to become in ttme with these higher spiritual
vibrations, a word of "power" is given him, which in a moment places him
the same plane as the other members of the Lodge. This word he has to
not only outside the d....r of the Lodge, but also immediately before
presentation by the S.W. as "Properly prepared to be raised to the Third
Degree." It is only after this has been done that the real ceremony of
Third Degree, so far as the c. is concerned, begins, and therefore that
full force of the vibrations of the M.M.'s come into play.
The P.W. itself is of the greatest significance, more especially when
combined with the P.W. leading from the First to the Second degree. At
time the P.W.'s were reversed. T.C. being the W. leading to the Second,
Sh... . the W. leading to the Third. This is still the case in those
Grand Lodges, such as the Dutch and the French, which derive from us
1740, when the W.s were altered owing to certain un-authorised
This alteration was one of the just grievances which brought about the
secession of the so-called "Ancients," who charged Grand Lodge with
the Ancient Landmarks. When the Irish followed our example they
the prohibition of the introduction of m..ls until the Third degree,
is a logical procedure, for clearly you have no right to bring them into
Lodge until you have been symbolically introduced to the first artificer
that material. As the W.s now stand they convey the following spiritual
lesson:- the F.C. is one who finds the simple necessities of life, such
C. and W., sufficient for his requirements. They are plenty to the
spiritually minded man, whose soul becomes clogged and hampered by the
acquistion of worldly possessions and since it is hard for a rich man to
enter the Kingdom of Heaven, immediatdy the Cand. has symbolically
W.P. he is Sl....n.
T.C. conveys the lesson that W.P. in themselves bring death to the soul
prevent its upward progress. To-day, the river of death connected with
P.W. leading to the Second degree has largely lost its significance,
when it was a P.W. leading to the Third, it was in itself a fine
We must remember that Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress was well known and
read at the beginning of the 18th Century, and those who were
our rituals at that time could not have been blind to the similarity of
allegory hidden in the w. Sh. and the account by Bunyan of Christian's
fording the river of death on the way to the Holy City. The change of
1740 destroyed this allegory, and its survival in the Tracing Board is
merely one of those numerous footnotes which, to the careful student,
invaluable indications of the various transformations though which our
ritual has passed during the course of years. Nevertheless, I do not
the change, as I think the present spiritual lesson is even finer than
former one, but the other arrangement was more logical. Firstly, from
practical point of view the F.C. required the use of m..1 tools to
his operative tasks, and in the process of his work acquired W.P., in
contradiction to the E.A., who did only rough work and received only
maintenance: i.e., corn, wine , and oil. Secondly, from the symbolical
standpoint the sequence was also more logical, for the F.C., having
wealth by means of his skill, was brought to the river of d., and passed
through it in the Third Degree.
According to Bro. Sanderson, in his "Examination of the Masonic Ritual,"
actual translation of the Hebrew w. Sh. is an " e. of c., or a f. of
hence the manner in which it is depicted in a F.C.'s Lodge-while the w.
in Hebrew means only a blacksmith, though another w. similarly
means acquisition. Hence, as he points out, " an allegorical title has,
translating the Old Testament, been mistaken for the name of an actual
person, for the name itself means `A worker in M...t...ls'" Therefore
connection with H.A.B. is obvious. Bro. Sanderson, quoting from the
Discipline," by S. L. Knapp, says, "In a work on ancient ecclesiastical
history the following occurs, 'By a singular plasus linguae the moderns
substituted T.C. in the Third Degree for tymboxein-to be entombed.' "
I am unable to say whether Knapp is justified in this statement, it is
quitee probable that this P.W., and indeed all the P.W.s are
modern substitutes, taken from the Bible to replace ancient W.s of power
whose full meaning was lost and whose form in consequence had become
and unintelligible. The Greek word tymboxein would be peculiariy
r a P.W. leading to the Third Degree, in view of its meaning, and
magical ceremonies are full of corrupt Greek words indiscriminately
with equally corrupt Hebrew and Arabic. There is, therefore, nothing
intrinsically improbable in the suggestion that this ancient Greek word
the original from which T.C. has been evolved. We know as a fact that
pieces of Biblical history were imported wholesale into our rituals in
18th Century, and what is more likely than that an unintelligible work,
already so corrupt as not even to be recognisable as Greek, should be
amended into a well known Biblical character? However, the word as it
stands, because of its Hebrew meaning of acquisition, can correctly be
translated as W.P., while as meaning an artificer in M. it clearly
H.A.B., who made the two p.....rs, and whom the Cand. is to represent.
following this line of interpretation, we perceive that the Cand. really
represents H.A.B. when he enters the Lodge, although under the disguised
title conveyed by the P.W..
In dealing with these P.W.s I have endeavoured to show that there are
meanings within meanings, and the same is true of practically every
important incident in the whole ceremony. In a book of thissize it is
obviously impossible to attempt to give all of these meanings, and even
one did the result would be to befog the young reader and so prevent him
from getting a clear and connected interpretation of the ceremony. It is
this reason that, in the main, I am concentrating on one line of
interpretation, but I have thought it desirable in this section to give
hint to more advanced students, so that they can follow up similar lines
investigation for themselves.
In English and Scotch workings there is no c.t. around the Cand. in
preparation for the Third Degree, but in the Irish working it is wound
around his n., in the Second degree twice, and the First three times. If
regard the c.t. as symbolising those things which hamper a man's
progress, the gradual unwinding of it as used in Irish workings becomes
great significance. This interpretation implies that the Cand. is
in Body, Soul and Spirit in the First Degree, whereas by the time he has
reached this point in the Third Degree the Body and Soul have triumphed
the sins which peculiarly assail them, and in that stage symbolised by
Degree itself the Spirit has only to triumph over Spiritual sins, such
Spiritual Pride. With this exception the manner of preparation is the
in all these British workings, and indicates that the Cand. is now about
consecrate both sides of his nature, active and passive, creative and
preservative, etc., to the service of the Most High.
The explanation already given in the previous books of the various
such as being s.s., holds here, and a brief glance at the other volumes
render it unnecessary for me to take up valuable space therewith in this
third book. The Can. is then brought to the Lodge door and gives the
a F.C. These Kn's indicate that Soul and Body are in union, but the
is still out of contact whereas the proper Kn's of a M.M. (2/1)
that the Spirit dominates the Soul and is in union with it, the body
fallen away into significance. It will be remembered that in the first
of this series I pointed out that the three separate kn's of an E.A.
symbolise that in the uninitiated man, Body, Soul and Spirit are all at
variance. Meanwhile the Lodge has been raised to a Third Degree by a
ceremony whose profound significance demands consideration in a separate
Having satisfied himself that all present are symbolically upright and
men, the W.M. asks the J.W. if his spiritual nature has evolved
to control both soul and body. The J.W. suggests that he should be
not only by the emblem of upright conduct, but also by the Compasses.
these combined with the Square form a lozenge, which is itself a symbol
the Vesica Piscis, emblem of the female principle. The Compasses,
are the instruments with which geometrical figures are created, and more
especially the Circle. By means of two circles the triangle, emblem of
triune nature of God,. is produced, while the Cirde itself is the emblem
Eternity and therefore of Spirit. A point within the cirle forms the
for the Hindu conception of the Supreme Being, Paramatma, whence we have
come and whither we shall all ultimately return. At the centre of the
rests all knowledge; there shall we find every lost secret. Now such a
figure can only be drawn with the help of the Compasses, and in drawing
the following significant symbolical act takes place.
One point of the Compass rests at the centre, and the other makes the
of the Infinite. No matter how far the legs of the Compass be extended,
how large the Circle, the fact remains that one leg is always at the
Thus the Compasses, while they travel through infinity, are at the same
never separated from the centre, and from that point cannot err.
This instrument may therefore be considered as standing for the Divine
in Man, in all its manifestations. One of these is conscience; but the
Divine Spark has many attributes and names.
So the J.W.'s reply indicates that he is prepared to be tested both by
moral code and by the spiritual laws of our being.
But after these preliminaries the proceedings become of an even more
nature. All that has gone before has been but preparation for the Great
Quest on which we must now set forth. It is the quest of the Soul for
realisation of God, and at-one-ment with Him. This is the Mystic Quest
all ages, and, true to the ancient symbolism, it starts from the East,
place of Light, and goes towards the West, the place of darkness and
The East represents God, Who is our home. It indicates that each soul
out from the place of Light, from Light itself, that is, from the very
substance of God, descends through the Gateway of the Dawn and becomes
incarnate in Matter. But it brings with it a sense of loss and
for it has come out from God, and the Divine Spark within it longs
whence it came. Having lost the secret of its true nature and the way of
return, it wanders in darkness, seeking and for most men the way of
is through the Western portal, the gateway of Death, for so long as we
finite beings we cannot hope to comprehend the Infinite.
Yet there are some few exceptions to the general rule, who, while still
the flesh, have a vision of the Divine splendour, are caught up in it,
became one with God. To such men the return to ordinary mundane
seems unreal and shadowy. Where others believe in God they Know Him, but
is almost impossible for them to convey to others the experience through
which they have gone. Yet that such experiences are real, as real as any
other fact in life, is attested by a long line of witnesses right
To the average man, however, the first real step towards the realisation
what constitutes God is through the portal of physical death; - but even
then the end is still far off.
Hence the answer explaining how the true secrets came to be lost
not the cause of the loss, but the first step towards the recovery, and
fact is borne out by the subsequent events in the ceremony itself.
Note, it is the body only that dies, and by its death enables the Soul
Spirit to re-discover in part the secrets which were last. Yet this
the Body effectually debars the communication of these secrets to the
sorrowing F.C.'s left behind. It is the passing through that veil which
separates life and death which stars us on the road which ends with God.
It must never be forgotten, however, that the genuine secrets are never
recovered in the Craft, although symbolically we rise from the grave,
that secret can only be discovered at or with the C.-i.e., with God. To
exalted position we can only attain after long journeys through the
of existence beyond the grave. In our symbolism there is nothing which
indicates that immediately after death man is fit to pass into the
of the King of Kings.
But the Divine Spark within us is never really separated from the Great
All-Pervading Spirit. It is still part of it, though its glory is dimmed
the veil of flesh. Therefore, just as one arm of the compasses ever
the centre, no matter how far the other leg travels; so however far we
travel from God, and however long and hard may be the journey, the
Spark within us can never be truly separated from Him, or err from that
Centre. Thus the point of the Compasses at the centre of the circle may
considered to be the Spirit, the head of the Compasses the Soul, and the
point on the circumference the body.
So the task is set and the brethren go forth on the quest, that quest
must lead through the darkness of death, as the ceremony that follows
in allegory. It is not correct to say that the search hinted at in the
Opening ceremony is suddenly abandoned, and those who think this
misinterpret the whole meaning of the legend. Never in earthly life
find the answer we seek, nay, even death itself will not give it; but,
having passed beyond the grave, through the four veils of the Scottish
and so into the H.R.A., we find an excellent answer in allegorical and
symbolical language, whilst the jewel of the degree emphasises what the
of the quest is.
Nor must it be forgotten that the body alone cannot realise the nature
God, and that is why without the help of the other two, H.A.B. neither
could, nor would, disclose the S........t.
The W.M.'s promise to help indicates that the Spirit will render
but though the Spirit subsequently raises man from the grave it is not
sufficiently evolved to give him the true secret. This can only come
when the Spirit has raised the Soul to a far higher stage of
Though this is the degree of Destruction, that form of the Trinity is
invoked, and the title used corresponds more closely to the Hindu name
the All-Embracing than to their form of the Destroyer. This no doubt is
deliberate, for the symbol of this degree is the same emblem which among
Hindus denotes the Most High, namely the Circle with a Point within it.
some Scotch rituals, after the Lodge has been opened in the first degree
I.P.M., or the D.C., opens the V.S.L., and, strange to say, does so with
words, "In the beginning was the Word." Similarly, when the Lodge is
in the first degree the book is closed with the words, "And the word was
with God." Here then we get two striking features: 1) the use of words
the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, and 2) their
correlation with the phrase in the Third Degree, "At, or with the C."
procedure suggests that the lost W. is the Logos, or Christ, and
what we have previously pointed out in the earlier books, i.e., that
is a perfectly logical Christian interpretation of the whole of the
ceremonies, this fact becomes of increasing significance.
Before closing this chapter, I would like to add that the Third Degree
itself to a Christian interpretation even more markedly than the former
ones, and several of the higher degrees in Freemasonry adopt and expand
line of teaching.
In view of the fact that in the Middle Ages Freemasonry was undoubtedly
Christian, we cannot lightly reject this view of the inner meaning of
ceremonies, but as the frame work of our ceremonies apparently goes back
before Christian times, a non-Christian interpretation is equally
THE SYMBOLICAL JOURNEYS, ETC.
The Can. is admitted on he C....... s, and this fact is of far greater
significance than most brethren probably realise. Firstly, as has been
noted, one arm of the C.s is always at the C., no matter how far the
may travel, and from the point of view of the Can., though he knows it
this act in a sense indicates that his heart, and therefore he himself,
at or on the C........e. Secondly, the C....s in this degree link up
the Sq. used in the former degree on a similar occasion. We have seen in
previous books that the Sq. and C........s are united on the Ped. in
way as to form the vesica piscis, the emblem of the female principle,
the symbol of birth and rebirth. Hence symbolically thc Can. passes
the vesica piscis. Also after entering the Lodge in this, as in the
degrees, he kn....s while the blessing of Heaven is invoked, and as he
so the wands of the deacons are crossed above his head. He thus
in a triangle, the emblem of Spirit, and itself connected with the
Two equilateral triangles make a lozenge, which is produced from the
piscis-formed by two circles, as shown by the first proposition in
In view of the great stress laid upon Geometry throughout the whole of
rituals these facts cannot be ignored. Our Operative Brn. must have
that the whole science of Geometry arises out of this first proposition,
which shows how to make a triangle (the emblem of the Trinity and the
Spirit) by means of two circles whose circumferences pass through the
of each other. In doing so they form the vesica piscis, which gives
first of all to the triangle, and secondly, to the double triangle, in
form of a lozenge. This last emblem is symbolised by the sq., denoting
matter, and the c...s, denoting spirit. The above facts throw a flood of
light upon the interplay between these Masonic emblems.
Before leaving this subject it is worth while pointing out that the Can.
likewise takes every Ob. in Craft masonry within this triangle, and that
same method is employed in other ancient rites, including those of the
Society of Heaven and Earth in China, where the Can. kn...s on one
while two others are held over his head so as to form a triangle of
The Can. now starts on his three symbolical journeys. He first satisfies
J.W., representing the Body, that he is an E.A., i.e., a man of good
character. He next satisfies the S.W., representing the Soul, that he
benefited by the lessons of life and acquired intellectual knowledge.
comes the third journey, when he is once more challenged by the Soul,
demands the P.W., the full significance of which has already been
Let us combine these meanings! He comes laden with worldly possessions,
which in themselves carry the seeds of death, unconsciously representing
his person the worker in metals who made the twin colunms, and is about
be entombed. (tymboxein).
Therefore the Soul presents him to the Spirit as one properly prepared
carry out the part of his great predecessor. There is a point here which
need to realise, for it is one which is often overlooked. In the
degrees only one Deacon was instructed to lead the Can. by the proper
to the E., but here both are needed. From the practical point of view
is no obvious reason why the help of the J.D. should be invoked at all,
as the ceremony is usually carried out he does nothing but look on. I
believe, however, the S.D. should first go through the S...ps and the
should assist the Can. to copy his example. If thus were so we should
almost exact repetition of the analogous ceremony in the R.A. where the
p.s., corresponding to the S.D., is helped by an assistant. Thus, with
Can., in both cases we get a Trinity, only one of whom actually descends
into the g., or, in the other case, into the v.
As Major Sanderson has pointed out in An Examination of the Masonic
among the primitive, races usually, a man who stepped over an o.g. would
considered to have committed sacrilege, and almost certainly would be
but, on the other hand, we do know that in many Initiatory Rites either
Can., or someone else for him, steps down into a gr., and is
symbolically sl...n therein. If this be the true interpretation of this
of the ceremony, the reason for the presence of the two deacons in
to the Can. becomes clear. It is only the Body that descends into the
the Soul and the Spirit have no part therein. Thus, for the moment,
only temporarily, these three represene the triune nature of man, while
three principal officers represent the triune nature of God. The fact
this is undoubtedly true in the case of the R.A., makes it almost
that the same idea underlies this apparently unimportant diffirence
the arrangements in the third degree, and those followed in the first
Again and again when one comes to study carefully the details of our
one finds little points, such as these, which would certainly not have
survived the drastic revision of 1816 if there had not been present some
who really did understand the inner meaning of our ceremonies, and
to allow important lessons to be lost by the removal of what, at first
sight, appear to be unnecessary details.
Therefore, those of us who value the inner meaning of our ceremonies owe
deep debt of gratitude to these men, even though their actual names be
unknown to us, and on our part a duty is imposed on us that we shall not
hastily tamper with the rituals, merely because we do not ourselves see
full significance of a phrase or think that by revising it we can make
wording run more smoothly.
The next factor we must consider most carefuUy is the actual sp...s
themselves. These make the Latin cross of suffuring and sacrifice.
Sometimes the sp..s are not done quite correctly, for the Can. should be
careful to face due North, due South, and due East respectively. This
procedure undoubtedly refers to the three entrances of the Temple
which H.A.B. endeavoured to escape. Hence it is we see that the Master
himself trod out the cross of Calvary during the tragedy, and in a sense
made the Consecration Cross of the Temple.
In a mediaeval church, and even to-day at the consecration of a church
according to the Anglican ordinance, there should be a dedication cross
marked on the building. In the Middle Ages these were usually marked on
pillars, and apparently corresponded to the mark made by an illiterate
person when witnessing a deed. The Consecrating Bishop sometimes drew
cross on the pillar or wall, or sometimes merely traced over a cross
painted there for the purpose. Any new piece of work in a church, even
only a new fresco, had its dedication cross. For example :-At Chaldon
Church, Surrey, the dedication cross is marked on the margin of a fresco
depicting The Brig of Dread, described at length in Freemasonry and the
Bearing these facts in mind, we shall perceive that, even from the
point of view, the manner of advancing in this degree, and the manner in
which H.A.B. met his end, had a peculiar significance. The Great
of the Temple must have traced the dedication cross the whole length and
breadth of the Temple in his own blood. Moreover, such dedication
have actually survived are nearly always found to be painted in red.
H.A.B.'s last work was, as it were, to commence the consecration of the
Temple which was completed by K.S., for until that cross had been marked
either on the wail or pavement, according to mediaeval Operative ideas
building could not be consecrated. Therefore, the Can., who is
the same drama, must obviously do likewise, and in so doing dedicates
Temple of his body.
But there is still more hidden within this ceremonial act. The ancient
Knights Templar were accused of trampling on the cr., and a careful
examination of the evidence taken at the trial shows that in reality
took a ritual sp., somewhat similar to those taken by the Can. in this
One of the esoteric meanings indicated is the Way of the Cross which
to Calvary. Furhermore, having thus traced out a cr. he is subsequendy
on it, and this fact is emphasised by the position in which his legs or
are placed. The foot of this cr. reaches to the Ped., on which rests the
O.T. If, therefore, this symbolical cr. were raised as it was on Calvary
would rest on the O.T., and the Can. would face the E., and would be, as
were, on a mountain. This fact should be borne in mind by those who seek
Christian interpretation of our Craft ceremonies. Mystically
indicates that every aspirant for union with the Divine must tread the
of the Cross, and suffer and die thereon, in order that he may rise to a
life, a realisation of his union with the Infinite. v Even those who are
disinclined to admit the possibility of a Christian interpretatior, of
Craft degrees, must recognise the fact that this cr. is the cr. of
and means that the true aspirant must be prepared to sacrifice
his search after Truth.
The number of the sp...s is the combination of the Trinity and of the
elements, representing matter. It is the same number as forms the
lodge, and also the seven elements which form man, whether we interpret
according to the ancient Egyptian system, or in the more modern form of
five physical senses, the Soul and the Spirit. In the latter case it
indicates that the man must be prepared to sacrifice, or shall we say
dedicate to God, Body, Soul and Spirit.
There are yet other profound meanings in this one ritual act, but enough
been written to set my readers pondering for themselves, and we will
therefore proceed to consider the next point in the ceremony.
The Ob. itself contains one or two interesting points. Thus it indicates
that a M.M.'s Lodge must always be open on the C.. This shows us at once
that we are dealing with a ceremony with a mystical meaning, for the C.
means the same as the middle ch. in the second degree-the secret chamber
the heart, where dwells the Divine Spark-and so tells us in veiled
that all that happens thereafter is a spiritual experience, which sooner
later comes to every mystic. The special moral obligations which the
undertakes should be noted, but require no explanation. It is, however,
difficult to understand why they should be deferred until this stage. In
ancient charges similar obligations are imposed apparently on the E.A.,
this seems more logical.
The Py. varies even in different parts of England, but in essentials is
always the same. You are s. at the c., and the manner of disposal is
reminiscent of the way in which the dead are cremated in India in honour
Shiva. There the corpse is burnt near running water, preferably near the
Ganges, and the ashes are thrown into the air over the river to the four
cardinal points, that the winds may scatter them. It must be remembered
Shiva represents the destructive attribute of the Diety and he makes the
P.S. of a M.M. on his statues. His is the element of fire, and all these
facts must be born in mind when considering our own Py.
The position of the Sq. and Cs., in addition to the explanation given,
indicates that the spirit, represented by the Cs., now dominates the
typified by the Sq..
The opening part of the exhortation gives a convenient summary of the
previous degress and quite clearly indicates that the first inner
the series is Birth, Life which is of course educational and preparatory
its sequel, and Death. The phrase relating to the second degree "And to
trace it, from its devlopment through the paths of Heavenly Science even
the throne of God Himself," shows plainly its real significance. As
out in the F.C. Handbook, in the Mid. Ch. the F.C. discovers not only
name of God, but that he himself is the fifth letter Shin which
the name Jehovah into the name Jeheshue, or Messias, the King.
But according to the old Kabala Jeheshue must be raised on the cross of
Tipareth, and the significance of this fact is impressed on our Can. by
incidents now to take place. The average Christian need not trouble
the subtleties of the Kabala, for the story in the New Testament
him with a very similar interpretation.
The W.M. having, almost casually, given him this key to the inner
what is about to follow, proceeds at once to the most dramatic part of
ceremony. Up to this point almost all forms of our ritual are
the same, but henceforward there are many marked differences.
ritual may be regarded as containing the bare minimum, but the
details found in many Provincial workings in England, and in Scotland,
Ireland, America, and many of the Continental Lodges, are too important
be ignored. There is no reason to assume that they are innovations; on
contrary all the evidence points to the fact that they are integral
the ceremony which, for various reasons, were omitted by the revisers of
ritual who met in the Lodge of Reconciliation. I shall therefore proceed
note and explain them where necessary.
Whereas in Emulation working as soon as the Ws. are called on the
retire, in most others, in the Provinces, etc., they fall back to the
of the g.. Thus with the W.M. the W.s form the triangle of Spirit, and
the D.s the Sq. of matter, on which the triangle rests, for the M.
from his chair and stands in front of the Ped.. As a practical piece of
advice I would recommend that the J.W. should not direct the Can. to c.
f. until after the S.W. has dealt with him, for it is impossible for him
drop on his respective k...s if his f. are c., whereas by carrying out
instructions before the last attack he will fall the more readily.
In most of the old Scotch rituals the Can. journeys round the Lodge, is
attacked by the J.W. in the S., by the S.W. in the W. (note that), and
returns to the M. in the E., where the final incident takes place. I
however, our English system of having the attack in the N. instead of in
W. is preferable, and is probably the correct form. In the Scotch ritual
three villains have names, and the same is the case in America. They are
Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum. The word itself clearly comes from the
word meaning "To command," and refers to the fact that they commanded
give up the S....s. But the terminations of the three names appear to
curious esoteric reference to India. It can hardly be by accident that
three names form the mystic word AUM. The U in India in this case is
pronounced almost like O, and when this word is disguised, as it usually
it is written OMN. If this be so we have the Creative Preservative, and
Annihilative aspects of the Deity emphasised in the Third Degree, and it
the Destructive aspect, symbolised by the letter M, which deals the
This variation is therefore of importance, but I must warn my readers
not all Scotch workings have it, some of them being much more akin to
own, even having the attack in the N.. Practically all of them, however,
have the perambulations, during which solemn music is played. The usual
procedure is for the brethren to pass round the gr. once making the P.
an E.A.. When this is done the J.W. makes his abortive attempt. The
round is made with the H. S. of an F.C., after which the S.W. tries and
fails. The third round is made with the S. of G. and D. of a M.M., on
conclusion of which the Can. is r... by the lion's g.... It is a great
that the use of this name for the M. M.'s g. is falling into disuse in
London, for it has in itself important symbolical references, to which
shall refer later in the chapter.
In many parts of England it is still customary to place the Can., either
a c----n or in a g. made in the floor, and the same method is found in
other parts of tke world. Indeed, in the Dutch ritual the Can. is first
all shown a c..n in which is a human skeleton. This is subsequently
though he does not know it and he thinks when he is laid therein he will
find himself in its bony clutches. Even as near London as Windsor there
Masonic Temple which has a special chamber of d. with a g. actually in
floor and until recently it was still used although whether it is to-day
Let us now turn to consider the meanings of the main incidents. The
meaning of the degree is obvious; it prepares a man for his final end
hints of a possibility of life beyond the grave but it must be admitted
the lesson is not driven home with the same force as it is in most of
ancient mysteries. Osiris Himself rose from the dead and became the
all who followed after Him, and because of this fact His worshippers
believed that they too would rise. In our legend, however, it is only
dead body of H.A.B. which is lifted out ofthe g. in a peculiar manner,
in the legend there is not even a hint as to what befell his Soul. The
question is often asked why they should have raised a c..s and placed it
its feet. (1)
(1) See Ward, Who Was Hiram Abiff?
One explanation probably is, by analogy with the Greek story of the
in which Hercules recovered Alcestis and ransomed her from the bondage
Thanatos-Death himself. We are told that Hercules wrestled with Thanatos
would nor let him go until he had agreed to allow Hercules to bring her
from the realm of the Shades to the land of living men. It may be that
corpse here represents Death. It is also worth noting that Isis joined
together the fragments of the body of Osiris, and the "Setting up" of
backbone of the God was a ceremony carried out every year by the ancient
Egyptian Priests. The body of Osiris apparently was raised from the bier
Anubis in precisely the same way as the M.M. is r.. When it was set on
feet life returned to it. One fact is certain, that in every Rite which
as its central theme symbolic d. the Can. is r. by the same g., and in
precisely the same manner, and this manner becomes a method of greeting
of recognition among all who have passed through this type of ceremony.
example :-it is known and used in the Dervish Rite, among West African
Negroes, among the Red Indians of Central America, and was apparently
to the ancient Druids, for it is carved on a stone found at Iona. In the
ancient rites of Mithra it also appears to have been the method used
similar occasion. These facts show that it is an ancient landmark and
be most carefully guarded.
The use of the phrase The Lion Grip is peculiarly significant, as Major
Sanderson shows in his work, An Examination of the Masonic Ritual.
he points out that in the Book of the Dead the Supreme God, whether Ra
Osiris, is appealed to as the " God in the Lion form," and in all such
the prayer of the Soul is that he may be permitted to " Come forth " in
East, rising with the sun from the d..s of the g.. In Egypt the lion was
`personification of strength and power, but it is usually associated
the idea of the regeneration of the Sun, and therefore with the
resurrection. Major Anderson goes on to point out as follows. "Shu
`the Lifter') who as the light of the Dawn was said to lift up the
sky-goddess from the arms of the sleeping Earth, is often represented as
lion, for only through him was the rebirth of the Sun made possible.
is called the lion of yesterday, and Ra the Lion of tomorrow : the bier
Osiris is always represented as having the head and legs of a lion."
Major Sanderson indicates, the expression "the lion grip" is a survival
from, the Solar cult, and therefore a landmark which should be carefully
The Bright Morning Star whose rising brings peace and Salvation, almost
certainly was originally Sirius, but to Englishmen it must seem strange
Sirius should be said to bring peace and Salvation. The association of
ideas with the Dog Star is undoubtedly a fragment which has come down
Ancient Egypt, for the rising of Sirius marked the beginning of the
inundation of the Nite, which literally brought salvation to the people
Egypt by irrigating the land and enabling it to produce food. That
was an object of veneration to the philosophers of the ancient world is
known to all archaeologists, and many of the Temples in Egypt have been
proved to have been oriented on Sirius. There is also a good deal of
evidence showing that some of the stone circles in Great Britain were
similarly oriented on Sirius by the Druids. It is therefore not
that this star is still remembered in our rituals. Naturally it has
a deeper spiritual meaning in the course of years, and may be regarded
representing the First Fruits of the Resurrection, the sure hope of our
Redemption. This aspect is set forth in the lectures drawn up by
who regarded it as the star of Bethlehem, and as typifying Christ. See
At this point the Can.. who has been carefully put in the N., the place
darkness, is moved round by the right to the South. From the practical
of view this is to enable the M. to re-enter his chair from the proper
but there is also an inner meaning. Immediately after death the Soul is
to find itself on the earth plane amid murk and darkness. Lacking mortal
eyes, it cannot perceive the sun, and, on the other hand, is still so
immersed in matter that it cannot yet see clearly with its spirit eyes;
this stage rapidly passes away, and the Soul is received into a higher
of existence, being brought thither by messengers of Light. The position
the North represents this period of darkness on the earth plane, and
this is not accidental is shown by the fact that in most rituals the
are not turned up until the phrase "That bright morning star, etc." has
uttered. Then the M., representing one of these spirit messengers, leads
Can. gently round to the South, thereby symboling his entry into the
of light. And who is this messenger? Every installed master who has
the P.W. leading to the Chair should realise that, no matter how
he represents the risen Christ. Thus we see the peculiarly appropriate
nature of the act coming after the reference to the bright morning star,
which also in another sense represents the risen Christ.
Having thus been brought into the place of light the Can. is given not
Gen. Ss, but only substitued ones. This fact must often have puzzled the
Can.. The pratical reason given in the ritual, though perfecdy
to a R.A. mason, cannot be the real one. In view of the unexpected
no-one could have thought K.S. was breaking his ob. by nominating a
successor to H.A.B. and giving him the full ss..ts. Actually according
the R.A. story he did something much worse, for he wrote them down and
placed them somewhere, in the hopes that they would be subsequently
rediscovered, and he had no assurance that their discoverers would even
masons, much less that they would keep their discovery secret. Of course
this is also an allegory, and from this stand-point perfectly correct.
lost s...ts are the nature and attributes of God, which must be realised
each man for himself, and no other man can really communicate them.
Moreover, this complete realisation of the nature of God, and the union
the Divine Spark within us with the Source of All, can never be achieved
during mortal life. Even after death we shall need to leave the world
behind and travel far, before we can hope to attain that state of
evolution which will enable us to approach the Holy of Holies, and gaze
unveiled eyes upon Him, Who is the beginning and the end of all.
With regard to these substituted s..ts. let us note that they grow out
those used by the F.C.. Having already shown in the last book that the
of the F.C., and in fact the real s..t of that degree, is the
of Jehovah into Jeheshue,
we see that this is most appropriate. To use modern language, the second
degree teaches of the birth of the Christ Spirit within us, while the
indicates that mystically we, like the great Master, must die and rise
again. As St. Paul says, " Die daily in Christ."
The sn.s given are probably all of great antiquity. Of some we have
which shows that they were venerated in ancient Egypt and Mexico, are
employed in the primitive Initiatory Rites of the savages, and are
associated with the Gods in India. For example, the P.S. is used by
the Great Destroyer, Who when He makes it, holds in His hand the lariet
death. The sn. of G. and D. is found all round the world, as I have
full detail in Sign Language of the Ancient Mysteries. Ancient Mexico,
Quetzacoatl makes it, can be matched with Easter Island in the far
Peru, West Africa, East Africa, New Guinea, Malaya and many other
Major Sanderson points out that the second Cas. Sn. is depicted in
pictures as being used by those who are saluting Osiris in his coffin.
who desire will find it in Papyrus 9,908 in the British Museum.
The English sn. of g. and d. (for up till now we have been speaking of
Scotch form) is almost certainly not the correct one. Its general
would incline one to believe that it is a penal sn., though whence
it is difficult to say. A little thought will indicate the nature of the
penalty as being somewhat similar to that of one of the higher degrees.
far as I can find it is not recognised as a sn. of g. and d. to-day,
among masons who are descended masonically from the Grand Lodge of
but in a picture by Guercino of Christ cleansing the Temple, in the
Rosso, Crenoa, both this and the Scotch form are shown, while the G. of
constantly appears in mediaeval paintings, e.g., in the Raising of
The so-called Continental form undoubtedly comes from a well known high
degree, where it is much more appropriate: it is apparently restricted
the Latin countries, whereas even in Germany it is the Scotch form that
The sn. of Exul. is a form used to this day in of Asia to indicate
and was similarly employed in Ancient Egypt. Major Sanderson suggests
it was copied from the position in which Shu upheld the sky.
Thus we see that six out of the so-called seven sn.s can be shown to be
ancient origin, and it is quite probable that further research will
us to prove that the other one is equally old. Such sn.s as these
had a magical significance, and the explanation given in the ritual as
(1) see The Sign Language of the Mysteries by Ward.
origin is no doubt of a much later date than the sn.s themselves.
careful study of certain of the sn.s will show that they are not the
sn.s which would have been used to indicate the feeling they are said to
express. For example, in the sn. of h...r the left hand would not
be placed in the position in which we are taught to put it, if this sn.
originated as related in. the story. So obvious is this that some modern
preceptors of Lodges of Instruction have to my knowledge altered the
position of the left hand in order to make it conform to the story, but
venture to think that in so doing they are committing a very serious
mistake, nothing less than the removal of an ancient landnrark.
Some day we shall probably discover the real origin of this sn., but if
is altered that will of course become impossible.
The lion's grip and the actual position of r..s...g are equally old,
far as we can find, this manner of r..s...g is employed in every rite,
whether ancient or primitive, which deals with the dramatic
of d.. As a manner of greeting it is employed by the initiated men in
Red Indian Trihes, in West Africa, among the Senussi in North Africa,
the Dervish Rites. (1)
The parts of the b. brought in contact with each other are all parts
presided over by some sign of the Zodiac, and there would appear to be
old astrological meaning which has now become lost. It may possibly have
been connected with Gemini, the Twins, and this fact is made the more
probable by the survival of the name "The Ln's Gr." The explanation
although possibly of a fairly recent origin, nevertheless contains a
valuable inner meaning, for it shows that we cannot hope to advance
God unless we do our duty to our fellow men. Thus in dramatic form is
that the brotherhood of man necessitates the Fatherhood of God.
It hardly seems necessary in this book to point out again that the
st. forms a tau cross and teaches us that we must trample under foot our
animal passions, if we desire to approach near to God. We note, however,
that the Can., in advancing to obtain the s..ts, has perforce to make
tau crosses, and the Christian Mystic will
(1) For further explanation see Ward, Who Was Hiram Abiff?
doubtless perceive in this a hidden reference to the three crosses on
Finally, as has already been pointed out, the penalties of the first and
second degrees draw attention to two important occult centres, and so
in this degree the Solar Plexus, the most important occult centre of
indicated, and since the object of every Mystic is to achieve the
vision, the fact that the monks of Mt. Athos, near Salonica, do so by
their eye on this part, shows that there is a very special reason for
special form of the p.s of the third degree.
On his re-entering the Lodge the Can. is presented, and in due course
invested by the S.W., as in the previous degrees, thereby indicating
even after death man's spiritual advancement is registered by the Soul.
Badge itself, however, is full of symbolic meaning, and though in its
present form it is of comparatively recent date, it is evident that
who designed it had a much deeper knowledge of symbolism than some
critits are apt to believe.
Firstly, the colour, which is that of Cambridge University, and likewise
that used by Parliament when fighting King Charles, has a much deeper
significance than is generally known. It is closely related to the
the Virgin Mary, which itself had been brought forward from Isis and the
other Mother Goddesses of the ancient world. It is possible that the
designers were also influenced by the existence of certain Orders of
Knighthood which had their appropriate colours, for the aprons of Grand
Lodge Officers have Garter blue, but this blue is also the colour of
and the colour associated with the Royalist cause at the time of the
War. At any rate, it is appropriate that our aprons should thus employ
colours of the two great Universities of England. There is, of course,
exception in the case of the red aprons allocated to Grand Stewarts, for
which there are historical reasons into which we need not now enter. We
however point out that the dark blue aprons of Grand Lodge are often,
erroneously, spoken of as the Purple, indicating a Royal colour, and
implying no doubt that Brn. entitled to wear this colour are rulers in
Craft, and represent the masculine element. Light blue, on the other
represents the feminine or passive aspect, and is most appropriate for
ordinary M.M., whose duty it is to obey, and not to command. Indeed, the
M.M.'s apron contain: other emblems which indicate this feminine aspect.
These are the three rosettes, which symbolise the rose, itself a
for the Vesica Piscis, and they are arranged so as to form a triangle
the point upwards, interpenetrating the triangle formed by the flap of
apron. The two triangles only interpenetrate half way, therein differing
from the double triangles seen on the jewels worn by R. A. Masons, which
completely overlap. These two triangles deserve a little careful study.
lower triangle with its point upwards is the triangle of fire, the
Shiva, and the symbol of the Divine Spark. The triangle made by the flap
the apron, which has its point directed downwards, is the triangle of
and is thus to some extent representative of the Soul. These two
are within a sq., the emblem of matter, and therefore of the body, and
see that the M.M.'s apron symbolically represents the triune nature of
whereas the R.A. jewel, (the only high degree jewel which may be worn in
Craft Lodge) has these two triangles within a circle, which is the
the Infinite. In this case the triangle of water presents the
aspect, the triangle of fire, the destructive aspect, the point or eye
the centre, the creative aspect, and the circle, the everlasting nature
the Supreme Being. There is therefore a curious correspondence, and also
marked difference, between the jewel of the R.A. Mason, and the apron of
Viewed from another standpoint the apron has another set of meanings.
triangle represents Spirit, and the Sq., matter. The flap forms a
entering into the sq., and so depicts the entry of Spirit into matter,
therefore, man. The E.A.'s apron should have the flap pointing upward,
indicating that the Divine Wisdom has not yet truly penetrated the gross
matter of our bodies. This custom is unfortunately going out of use in
modern Masonry, which is a great pity, as undoubtedly a valuable lesson
thus lost. The F.C. has the flap pointing downward for several reasons.
Firstly, to indicate that wisdom has begun to enter and therefore to
matter; secondly, to represent the triangle of water and thus indicate
Soul and Body are acting in unison; thirdly, because this triangle is
emblem of Vishnu the Preserver, and so emphasises - the fact that the
of God taught in this degree is the preservative aspect, whereas the
addition of the three rosettes in the third degree shows, not only the
of Body, Soul and Spirit, but also that the great lesson of this degree
the importance of the Destructive side of the Diety, or as we may prefer
tall it, the Transformative side.
What, however, of the two rosettes worn by the F.C.? Firstly, they
the dual nature of man, and have a very clear reference to the two
Similarly, no doubt, they indicate that the F.C. is not yet a complete
united being ; Body and Soul are in union, but unlike the M.M., these
are not in complete accord with the Spirit. Thus we obtain a
between the knocks of the F.C. and the two rosettes. Furthermore, the
triangle is incomplete, showring that the F.C. is not yet a complete
and this correlates with the position of the C.s when taking the ob. in
F. C. degree.
Two other features of the apron must also be considered. Firstly, the
tassels, which appear originally to have been the ends of the string
which the apron was bound round the waist. There is little doubt that in
18th century the aprons had not the present symbolic tassels, but were
fastened round the body in a very similar way to that in which the E.A.
F.C. aprons are to this day. It is interesting to note in this
that the actual aprons worn by the officers of Grand Lodge for the year,
distinct from the Past Grand Officers' aprons, have no tassels at all.
In the course of years, no doubt, the ends of the strings were
tassels, and to this day the aprons of the Royal Order of Scotland are
bounmd round the body by an ornamental cord with tassels, which are tied
front in such a way that the two tassels stick out from underneath the
These tassels, when the final form of our aprons was fixed, were
from the bands which fasten the apron, and attached to the apron itself,
becoming as we now see simply strips of ribbon on which are fastened
chains. When this change took place it is clear that those who made the
alteration deliberately chose the number 7, and intended thereby to
symbolic meaning. We have already explained the numerous symbolic
of the number 7; for example, it represents God and Man, Spirit and
Naturally they had to have two tassels to balance, and it would have
very inartistic to have had four chains on one tassel and three on the
other, and so it would be unwise to lay too much stress on the number
which is the sum total. We may regard it merely as a curious and
coincidence that the body of Osiris was stated to have been divided by
into 14 pieces. But in addition to these details as to the historical
development of the tassels, we must not forget that in many of the 18th
century aprons the two p....rs are depicted. These aprons were usually
decorated by paintings on the leather, and varied considerably from
Lodge, but one of the most usual kinds of decoration included the two
and the remembrance of these may very probably have influenced those who
designed our present apron.
The modern arrangement by which the apron is fastened, namely, a piece
webbing with a hook and eye attachment, gave a fine opportunity for some
really profound symbolism, and I feel certain that it was not an
which led to the universal adoption of the snake to serve this purpose.
There are two kinds of symbolism attached to the snake in all ancient
religions. Firstly, the snake as the enemy of man, and therefore as the
representative of the powers of evil; and secondly the snake as emblem
the Divine Wisdom. " Be ye wise as serpents" does not refer to the
craftiness of the Devil, but to the Divine Wisdom itself.
In Ancient Egypt the Soul as he passed through the Underworld met with
serpents of evil, and also with serpents of good. In India, legend tells
of a whole order of beings, the Serpent Folk, who are of a Spiritual
different from man, possessed their own rulers, and were endowed with
superhuman wisdom. Some of these are considered to be friendly to man,
others are hostile. The Sacred Cobra is well known to every student of
religions, and is essentially good. Actual worship is paid to the
throughout the whole of India, and in many other parts of the world, and
the Kapala we get clear traces of the fact that under certain
the serpent is regarded as "The Shining One" -the Holy Wisdom Itself.
we see that the serpent on our apron denotes that we are encircled by
Finally, the serpent biting its tail, and thus forming a circle, has
been regarded as the emblem of eternity, and more especially of the
Wisdom of God. Nor must we forget that the snake is peculiarly
with Shiva, whose close symbolic association with the third degree has
already been clearly shown.
Much more might be written on the meaning of the apron, but we cannot
any more space to this subject, interesting though it may be, although
before considering our next point it will perhaps be well to recall what
already been mentioned in the E.A. handbook, viz., that aprons, in
to their Operative significance, have right through the ages been
in connection with religious ceremonial. On the monuments of Egypt a
garment, which can best be described as a triangular apron with the
upward, is depicted in circumstances indicating that the wearer is
part in some kind of ceremony of initiation. In ancient Mexico the Gods
depicted wearing aprons, and it is not without interest to note that the
modern Anglican bishop wears an apron, although it appears to have
from a long flowing robe somewhat the shape of a cassock.
After the ceremonial investiture of the Cand. the W.M. continues the
narrative of the traditional history. At least this is the case in most
English workings, but in some Scotch workings the whole story is told
and subsequently the Cand. and the other Brn. act the chief parts.
one of the most important points to realise is the correct meaning of
name H.A.B. . Major Sanderson in An Examination of the Masonic Ritual
the following interesting interpretations, which we will proceed to
further.-" The title H.A.B. is taken direct from the Hebrew of 2 Chron.,
Chapter 4, verse 16., and means, ` H. His father.' H. means 'Exaltation
light, their liberty or whiteness, he that destroys'; It is of interest
note that abib in Hebrew means `Ears of corn,' or `Green fruits,' and
is just a possibility that this is the correct title of H."
Bearing these translations in mind we at once perceive a whole series of
inner meanings hidden in the name of the principal Architect. Taking the
Christian interpretation of our rituals :-firstly, we shall remember
Christ said " If I am raised up (or exalted) I shall draw all men unto
Secondly, Christ died to make us free, that is, to give us liberty from
bonds of death and hell. Thirdly, mediaeval divines were never tired of
referring to Christ's whiteness and purity, and relate many beautiful
legends and allegories to drive home this lesson. One phrase alone will
suffice to bring this aspect of the Christ to our minds, i.e. , that He
constantly spoken of as " the lily of the valley." Fourthly, He came to
destroy the bonds of death and hell, nor must we forget the old prophecy
spoken concerning the coming Christ and the serpent, representing Satan,
It (Christ) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel," Gen.
v. 15. It is of interest to note that Quetzacoatl, the Mexican
who fought and overthrew the great giant of evil, was himself smitten in
foot, near to a fall of water, subsequently died from the wound, and
ultimately rose again from the grave. In India Krishna similarly died
an arrow wound in the heel. Moreover, in mediaeval frescoes Christ is
constantly represented as crushing the head of the great dragon under
left foot, while in His right hand He upraises a staff on which is a
Such scenes are usually described as " The Harrowing of Hell."
Fifthly, if the word abib is the correct rendering for the second half
the name in question, we get a clear reference to the Sacramental bread.
ears of corn are obviously synonymous with the wafer or consecrated
which in mediaeval days alone was given to the laity: while the
translation, "Green Fruits," brings to our mind the Biblical saying that
Christ is "the first fruits of them that slept" (1 Corin, 15. 20).
this possible Christian interpretation in mind, installed masters will
perceive the deep significance of the P.W. which leads from the degree
M.M. to that of I.M.
But in addition to these Christian interpretations of H.A.B. there was
another, which in some senses may be regarded as older, and the key to
is supplied by India. In this sense H.A.B. takes on the characteristics
Shiva, the Destroyer.
Firstly, "Exaltation of life" reminds us of the legend that Shiva on a
certain day increased in stature until He overtopped the universe, and,
result, overthrew Brahma, the Creator, and was ackowledged by Vishnu as
superior. On that great day He gathered unto Himself the beginning and
end of all things, Alpha and Omega, and henceforth birth and death alike
were in His hands.
Secondly, "Their liberty" refers to the fact that, to the pious Hindu,
by death grants liberty from the toil and anguish of this world, and
the soul free to mount to greater heights of spiriruality.
Thirdly, Shiva is always spoken of as the "Great White God, white with
ashes of the dead who are ever burned in His honour." Nor must we forget
that these ashes are always scattered to the four cardinal points of
Fourthly, He is in His very essence " The Great Destroyer."
The "Ears of corn" are symbols of Vishnu the Preserver, Who Himself,
according to numerous Hindu legends, was slain and rose from the dead,
thereby paying allegiance to the Lord of Death ; and so:
Fifthly, we obtain the idea of the Resurrection as symbolised by the
corn, which are planted in the earth and bring forth an abundant
the "Green fruits" of the fields. In this connection it is as well to
remember that the central theme of the Eleusinian Mysteries was the ear
corn which was shown to the Cand. at the most solemn point of the whole
ceremony, and similarly taught the doctrine of the resurrection from the
The next point that strikes us in the legend is the number of craftsmen
"went in search." The Irish version is of peculiar interest, for it
that it was the twelve who relented who afterwards "went in search," and
a new company of ffiteen. In many ways this is more logical, and
has a deep symbolic meaning. It is logical in that it shows that the
penitent twelve did their best to make amends for ever having allowed
themselves to listen to the wicked schemes of the other three, and the
subsequent decree of K.S., ordering them to wear white gloves and white
aprons as a mark of their innocence, is most appropriate. It was a
announcement that K.S. forgave them their indiscretion and acquitted
responsibility for the crime.
On the other hand, in our version there seems no logical reason why K.S.
should order an entirely new batch of F.C.'s to wear these emblems of
innocence, since they clearly had nothing to do with the crime, and
moreover, all the others, except the penitent twelve, were equally
and should therefore likewise have been instructed to wear white gloves
aprons. It must be remembered that these white gloves, etc., were not
bestowed as a reward for having taken part in the search, but are
specifically stated to have been ordered to be worn to denote innocence.
The Irish account goes on to state that the twelve set out from the
and went together in one company until they came to a place where four
met, and formed a cross; then they divided into four companies, and
went North, three East, three South, and three West. Thus they trod the
of the Cross. In some old Irish workings we are told that the three who
North never returned. This symbolically implies that they went into the
Place of Darkness. As the tendency in modern Irish masonry appears to be
adjust its ritual in main essentials to our English workings, it is but
that I should say that I have a tangible proof of this form of legend,
the shape of an old Irish apron dated 1790, which, unlike modern Irish
aprons, has a number of paintings on it depicting incidents in the
One of the paintings shows the twelve F.C.'s separating at the four
roads. (See frontispiece).
It is clear from all accounts, whether English, Irish, Scotch or
that the scoundrels, the agents of death, were found by those who went
the direction of Joppa, that is in the W., but we are left in
doubt as to whether the b. was found in the E. or in the S..
however, it would clearly be in the S., for H.A.B., like the Christ, was
struck down at High Twelve, when the sun is in the S.. From a practical
point of view it is fairly obvious that the scoundrels who were carrying
away the b. could never have reached Joppa if they had once gone E., for
they would have had to fetch half a circle round Jerusalem, a procedure
which would have rendered their chance of escape almost hopeless. By
S. they might hope to throw their pursuers off the track, and then turn
at an angle, reach Joppa, and escape by boat. That this was their
is clear from many old forms of the legend, and especially in those
in America. King S., however, foresaw this possibility and prevented
escape by forbidding any ships to sail. In the American working one of
officers of the Lodge enacts the part of a sea captain, and even wears a
yachtman's cap. The villains come to him and beg him to take them
but he refused because of the embargo ordered by K.S.. That the same
incident was known in the old Irish working is shown by the little
on the same Irish apron depicting the arrest of the villains on the sea
shore, for in the back ground there is a ship.
Let us interpret the meaning of the Irish working first. From the
standpoint the twelve F.C's represent the twelve apostles, Mathias
the traitor Judas. But in the non-Christian, and possibly earlier
interpretation, these twelve would of course be the twelve signs of the
Zodiac, searching for the sun which had been eclipsed. We must never
that in addition to the deep spiritual meaning hidden in our ritual
also a Solar Myth embedded, which has in the course of years become
allegorized and filled with deeper spiritual truths.
But being English masons we must be prepared to find an explanation of
fifteen. In ancient Egyptian times the month consisted of 30 days, and
year of twelve such months, plus five extra days. Now the first fifteen,
whom twelve recanted, presumably represent the first half of that month,
while the second half of the month is represented by the fifteen who
search. But spiritually the meaning of the fifteen is fairly clear. Man
five senses and is triune in nature, and thus implies that Body, Soul
Spirit must cooperate in trying to find God, and employ on that quest
Lest there be any misapprehension here I would explain that man is
considered to have not only the five physical senses, but also
senses of Soul and Spirit. The phrase "To see with the eyes of the
is perfectly well known, and similarly we can speak of the eyes of the
To give concrete examples :-Students of psychic science constantly speak
clairaudience and clairvoyance. While it is not necessary to accept this
type of phenomena, it is clearly obvious that if man survives death at
his Soul must have a means of communicating with other Souls and that
correspond in some way to our physical senses. In like manner how are we
describe the visions of the great seers and prophets, related in the
except by the possession of spiritual sight ?
Bearing this in mind, we obtain the following interpretation of the fate
which befell the three F.C. Lodges into which the fifteen formed
Those who found nothing represent the physical senses of man, which are
useless beyond the grave : the next company must therefore represent the
Soul, for despite the logic of the physical world, it is the Soul which
realises that death does not end all, and so it was one of these who
the M But the power which tells us what is right and wrong, and which
ultimately punishes us for our offences, is what we call conscience, and
thus assuredly is the Divine Spark within us-the Spirit.
Let us now turn to consider the details connected with the dlscovery of
body. The incident of the shrub is such a striking analogy with a
one found in AEneid, wherein AEneas finds the body of the murdered
by plucking up a shrub which is near him on the side of a hill, that
students suggest that in the revision of our ritual this incident was
from Virgil. But, in Who was Hiram Abiff, I show that both refer back to
ancient source and have an allegorical meaning. One proof supporting
view; is that this particular tree, the Acacia, has from time immemorial
been more or less sacred in the near East. In ancient Egypt the earliest
forms of the legend of Osiris relate that it was an acacia which grew up
round the coffin of Osiris, and not a tamarisk as in the later versions.
(See An Examination of the Masonic Ritual, by Major Sanderson). In like
manner this tree is sacred in Arabia, India, and many parts of Africa,
it is the ****tim wood of the Old Testament, from which the ark was
doubt in this reverence for the acacia we have a survival of the
veneration for trees, usually spoken of as "tree and serpent worship."
India the assouata tree is stated to be a symbol of Trimurti, The Three
One. Its roots represent Brahma, its trunk Vishnu, and its branches
At any rate we can regard the acacia tree as in itself an emblem of the
resurrection, for the tiny seed which is buried brings forth a mighty
covered with fragrant blossoms.
The account of the manner in which the Cas. S...s came into existence,
though ingenious, can hardly be taken as historic. As we have already
with this point previously, we shall only say that every folk-lore
is well aware that, in the vast majority of cases, legends purporting to
explain the origin of a certain custom do not give the real origin at
but merely indicate that the origin of the custom has been lost, owing
its great antiquity. The very manner in which some of the S..s are given
sufficient to indicate that they did not originate in the way suggested,
while, on the other hand, we find these same S...s all round the world,
entirely different explanations as to their origin. They are indeed
landmarks, and the utmost care should be taken not to alter them in any
The next incident in the legend is the capture of the scoundrels. In
rituals it is given with much interesting detail of a picturesque
All agree that they were apprehended in a tavern, and many say explicidy
that it was near the sea shore. Some of the rituals state that the
were overheard lamenting as follows:- "One said, 'Oh, that my t. had
c.a. rather than I should have done it;' while another more sorrowfully
exclaimed, `Oh, that my h...t had been t.o. rather than that I should
struck him;' and a third voice brokenly said, `Oh, that my b. had been
t. rather than that I should have smitten him,' " This last version is
interest as explaining the legendary origin of the py. of the three
and incidentally it shows how legend incorporates facts into a story, in
order to explain something whose original meaning is lost. It would also
appear from this version as if the scoundrels had not intended to
kill their victim but merely to terrorise him, and in the excitement of
moment lost their heads. Symbolically this contains a valuable piece of
teaching. According to one interpretation the three scoundrels represent
"The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life"
John, 2. 16). In other words, the sins of the flesh, the sins of the
such as covetousness, and spiritual pride, the most deadly of all.
These sins assuredly destroy man both physically and spiritually, yet it
truly be said that in giving way to them no man intends to destroy
From the more strictly Christian standpoint the three scoundrels are
Caiaphas, and Pontius Pilate, and it is perfectly clear that Pilate and
Herod, at any rate, did not wish to kill our Lord; but were caught in a
position from which they found it impossible to escape.
Returning to the deeper mystical interpretation we notice that the
scoundrels were found in the West, the region of Death, which teaches us
that the just retribution for all our sins, whether of body, soul, or
spirit, will overtake us after death, and that though in one sense it is
God, here shadowed forth by K.S., who punishes, yet in another sense it
our five spiritual faculties which themselves rise up in judgment
us. We ourselves, doom ourselves, and therefore we can obtain nothing
Without pretending that we have exhausted this subject, this brief
explanation of the true character of the scoundrels and their captors
suffice, and we will only mention in passing that here also there
be a half forgotten astrological reference to the three winter months
oppress the sun.
THE TRACING BOARD, ETC.
The next part of the narrative is incorporated in most English workings
the Tracing Board. The most interesting feature is the description of
g.. It is obvious that peculiar stress is laid on the centre, even in
present form of our ritual, because of the way in which the measurements
given. Why should it not have been said that it was six feet long? In
old rituals the g.. or rather the monument, is described as a dome,
made a complete circle at its base, and was three feet from the centre
way. If so it must have been like a small replica of the earliest form
the Buddhist Pagoda, and the Master was thus buried at the centre. In
ase the top of the dome would have been five feet from the surface of
ground, and we should thus get the correct symbolic use of 5 as
the body, and 3 as representing the spirit, while enabling the human
be decorously interred. It seems probably that when the g.. was made to
conform to the type familiar in England, a desperate effort was made to
retain the 3 and 5. It is worth noting that there is no mention of the
of any c...f...n, despite the picture on the tracing board, and if a
c...f....n had been used at the supposed date of the incident it
would not have been of the European shape depicted, but much more like
Egyptian Sarcophagus. Nevertheless, though the ritual does not justify
existence of any c..f....n on the tracing board, it was an integral part
the ancient mysteries of Osiris, and its retention in other ritual is
certainly an ancient landmark. On the same tracing board may be seen
letters in the Masonic cypher, which are practically never explained.
often when transliterated, among other things, they will be found to
the P.W. leading to the three degree. This fact is of interest, for the
meaning of that W., as already explained, is a w...k...r in m...ls, the
correct description of H.A.B. The fact that he was buried as near the
Sanctum Sanctortum as possible, symbolically denotes that he had reached
centre, and was in union with the Source of All.
The Dormer window historically is the hypostyle, the method by which
Egyptian and classical temples obtained light. The pillars of the
nave of such temples rose considerably higher than the roofs of the
thus leaving openings through which the light could enter the building.
These, however, were many in number, and it is difficult to justify the
apparent statement that there was only one such opening. Symbolically it
intended to represent the means by which the Divine Light penetrates
the deepest recesses of every man's nature.
The squared pavement has already been explained under the section
with the mosaic pavement, in the first degree, and our readers are
referred to it. Briefly, it indicates that man's progress towards the
is through alternate experiences of good and evil, darkness and light,
and severity, life and death.
The Porch which is the entrance to the Sanctum Sanctorum is the gateway
The working tools, "as in other cases, contain much sound moral teaching
typical 18th Century work, but there is one implement which deserves
more than passing attention. For what follows I must express my
to W. Bro. Sir John Cockburn, P.G.D. The s..k...t does not appear to be
in use among Operative masons. It is used by gardeners, but the
mason has other means for marking out the ground for the foundations.
implement has more than a superficial resemblance to the Caduceus of
Mercury, and Sir John Cockburn suggests that it has been employed to
this "Heathen" emblem. For my part, I think this is most probable, for
clear that at the beginning of the 19th century a deliberate attempt was
made to eliminate this emblem from our ceremonies. The jewel of the
in the 18th century was not a dove, but a figure of Mercury, bearing the
Caduceus. A number of these old jewels can be seen in the library of
Lodge, and there are still a few old Lodges which continue to use them,
instead of the modern jewel. Now this jewel is far more appropriate to
Deacons than is a dove. A dove is the emblem of peace and a carrier
bears messages, but neither of these birds do all the work of the
Mercury, however, was the Messenger of the Gods, and carried the
instructions of Jupiter, thus fulfilling one set of the duties of a
He was also the conductor of souls through the underworld; taking the
by one hand, and uplifting the Caduceus in the other, he led the Shade
the grave, through the perils of the underworld, to the Elysian Fields;
before his Caduceus the powers of evil fled. In mediaeval escatology it
Christ who leads the Souls on a similar journey, uplifting in His Hand
Cross of Salvation. Even to-day the jewels of the Deacons in a Mark
bear the Caduceus, a mute but convincing witness to the use of this
We can thus see that on the one hand a deliberate effort was made to
from our ceremonies the Caduceus, probably because it was considered to
Pagan, while on the other hand it was clearly quite easy for ignorant
masonic furnishers, in the course of years, to make the Caduceus
more and more to a masonic tool, so as to fit it in with other avowedly
masonic implemens. As a masonic tool it has very little significance,
to a Speculative, and is of no practical value to an Operative, but the
Caduceus would be peculiarly appropriate to the third degree. In short,
is an ancient landmark, an emblem of the dead and forgotten Mysteries,
symbolical of Him who leads the soul from the darkness of the grave to
light of the resurrection.
Before leaving the M.M. degree let me say to all installed masters that
they have received the P.W., not the W. of an Installed master, but the
leading from the M.M. to that further degree, they will find in it
not of a mere hint of the resurrection, but of the Resurrection itself,
a close association with the version of that doctrine set forth in the
of the Perfect Master.
Here we are reminded that we are working in symbolism, for we come back
the West, i.e., the grave, to this material world. But we have only
substitutes, and we offer them as some consolation to the spirit, i.e.,
W.M. The advance to the centre of the room is an obvious reference to
other centre. The s...s are communicated by the body to the soul, which
passes them on to the spirit. The meaning of these s....s is dealt with
the ceremony, but it is worth noting that the word shows clearly that
s....t is to be found only through the death of the body. The actual
word whose corrupt form we use really means " My son is slain." It is
well to remember that the p.s. and the s. of G.& D. (Scottish form) are,
signs which come down from the ancient mysteries, and are still found
throughout the world. A brief summary of that has already been said may
helpful. The p.s. is often associated with Shiva, the Destroyer, and is
found appropriately used at Burobudor in Java; it refers to that occult
centre, the solar plexus. In view of what the lost s...t is, this sign
therefore most significant. In other words, it is a hint to those who
deserve to know while it conceals from those who do not.
The Scottish sign of G. & D. is found all round the world, and always
the same meaning of an appeal for heIp. It is used in the most primitive
initiatory rites of a boy into manhood, and in Kenya the boy takes it to
indicate that he is ready for the operation of circumcision to begin. In
Nyasaland, among the Yaos, it is associated with a grave, and in Mexico
Preserver is shown making it. He was slain and rose from the dead, and
constantly found in Mexico in the form of a carving, consisting of a
skeleton cut in half at the centre and making this sign, as, for
the Temple of Uxmal.
The manner of communicating the s..s and the gr. are equally old.
the lion's grip appears to be the grip of all the Mysteries. It was the
of Mithra, and by this grip Osiris was raised. Among the Druids it was
known, as is shown by a carving at Iona. I have, however, gone into the
evidence for the antiquity of our signs so fully that I will not take up
further space here.
We may as well add, however, that the number "5" no doubt refers to the
senses of man, just as the seven steps remind us of the Egyptian
sub-division of every mortal.
Having received the sub. s...s the W.M., or Spirit, confirms their use
the true ones are discovered. This last remark indicates that the quest
not ended or abandoned, in reality it has just begun; the first stage
has been passed, which stage is death. It also tells every Craft Mason
he a good craftsman till he has at least taken the Royal Arch.
Thus the spirit acknowledges that death is a step forward. It has freed
soul of the trammels imposed on it by the body, and so our life's work
earth, as symbolised in the Lodge, is closed. The knocks indicate that
spirit now dominates the soul and body and before we leave these heights
is well to point out that almost all the great religious teachers have
taught that in some mysterious way this physical body will be
and still be used after death. In short, that matter, as well as spirit,
part of God. Science has shown that matter is indestructable, though its
form may be changed completely, and so even after the symbolical death
resurrection, three knocks are still required.
This then concludes the third degree. More than any other degree in
Masonry it has embedded in it ancient landmarks, brought down from a
distant past. Under the surface lie hidden, meanings within meanings,
I make no pretence to have exhausted. Already this book has exceeded in
length either of the two previous ones, but to do full justice to the
sublime degree one would require a volume four times as large as this. I
trust, however, that I have given some help, more especially to younger
brethren, which will aid them to glimpse the deeper side of Freemasonry.
they too will strive to discover further alternative meanings, I shall
this labour of mine has been well repaid.
Let me again warn them that just because Masonry is so old, its rituals,
the course of years, have been again and again revised, and newer
have continually been grafted on to the old stock. We are not entitled
say one meaning is right and another wrong. Both may be right.
itself has taken over a vast mass of pre-Christian ceremonies and
and the student is perfectly entitled to consider that both the
and the pre-Christian interpretations of these symbols are equally
There is also another point which should be borne in mind. Again and
we find that incidents and phrases which appear to have come from the
on closer investigation are found not to correspond exactly with the
Biblical narrative. At one time there was a tendency to say that in
cases it was our duty to substitute the Biblical version for the
"Inaccurate" traditional form. With all due respect I venture to say
such action is totally unjustifiable. Masonry is not the Bible. It is a
traditional ritual into which 18th century revisers inserted fragments
the Bible, because that was the only book dealing with the period of the
masonic incidents which was then available to them. To-day, we know a
deal more about this period than did our 18th century predecessors, and
modern investigator has just cause to lament the well meaning, but
misdirected, zeal of these worthy masons, who thereby have probably
destroyed for ever valuable landmarks, which would have helped us to
discover the historical growth and the symbolic meaning of many parts of
Such apparent contraditions, and even mistakes, as appear to exist,
be carefully retained, for they are sure indications to the conscientous
student of a connection with a long distant past, which modern methods
research may enable us finally to trace to its origin. If, however, they
revised out of existence, future generations will have nothing to help
in the task of unravelling the true history and meaning of Freemasonry.
If a Sn. does not correspond with the explanation of the manner in which
is said to have originated, don't alter the way of giving the Sn., for
an ancient landmark. Rather try to discover if anywhere in the world
Sn. is still used in some old ceremony which may throw light on its true
origin. If H.A.B. was not buried in a c...f...n, don't eliminate the
c...f...n from the tracing board, but rather bear in mind that his great
prototype, Osiris, was so buried and that the c...f...n played a
important part in the legend which recounts his death : which legend was
hoary with antiquity before K.S. was born.
Finally, let me say that even if a man can never fathom the full meaning
the third degree, yet there is no man worthy of the name who has passed
through that third degree but will certainly have learnt one important
lesson, namely, how to d., and thereby will be the better man.
Watch out for these Freemason guys. This is a very racist organization.
See - http://www.freemasonrywatch.org
.---. =\ \
| WB \ =\ \
.' .-.The Wright Brotherz .-.`-.
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|Compare Mat Master and Logan mat cutters||Brenna||In The Darkroom||0||April 13th 04 07:59 PM|
|Compare Mat Master and Logan mat cutters||Brenna||In The Darkroom||0||April 13th 04 07:56 PM|
|My first Impression of my "new to me" Linhof Master Tech 4x5 and I hate the GG!||Leonard Evens||Large Format Photography Equipment||4||February 8th 04 08:34 PM|
|Seeking a Master Printing Workshop||Ken Smith||In The Darkroom||14||February 5th 04 11:56 AM|
|Seeking a Master Printing Workshop||Ken Smith||Large Format Photography Equipment||24||February 4th 04 12:29 AM|