Friday, September 30, 2005

Some Masonic Eduaction: from my email box


(This Paper is reproduced in our Transactions by
permission of the Worshipful Master and Brethren of
The Lodge of Living Stones No. 4957).

“The old time Masons were religious men and as such
sharers in the great human experience of Divine
things, and did not need to go to hidden teachers to
learn mysticism. They lived and worked in the light of
it. It shone in their symbols, as it does in all
symbols that have any meaning or beauty. It is, indeed
the soul of symbolism, every emblem being an effort to
express a reality too great for words. So then,
Masonry is mystical as music is mystical, - like
poetry, and love, and faith, and prayer, and all else
that makes it worth our time to live; but its
mysticism is sweet, sane, and natural, far from
fantastic, and in no wise eerie, unreal or unbalanced.
Of course, these words fail to describe, as all words
must, and it is therefore that Masonry uses parables,
pictures, and symbols.”

“The Builders” - Fort Newton.

This Paper is an attempt to discover the significance
of some of the allegories and symbols which pervade
our Ritual. There is no pretence at endeavouring to
assess how the symbols crept into the Ritual, but at
trying to interpret certain parts of the Ritual as it
is this day for the benefit of fellow Masonic
students. As it is practically impossible to consider
the subject apart from its relation to mysticism, a
few words regarding the origin of this word will nit
be out of place by way of introduction to its
connection with Freemasonry.

Illumination or “muesis,” although sometimes used, as
we in the Craft use “initiation,” to denote the whole
process of spiritual regeneration, was the technical
term in the ancient Greek mysteries for the second
stage of the work; the first being “catharsis” or
purification, and the third “epopteia” or mystical
union. A “mustes” (mystic) is one who has been, or is
being, initiated into some esoteric knowledge of
Divine things, about which he must maintain silence;
one who is not yet an “epoptes.” The adjective
“mustikos” was used of something seen through a glass
darkly, some knowledge purposely “veiled in allegory
and illustrated by symbols.” The safeguard of
mysticism is the belief that we have not merely to
renounce the world of ordinary experience, but to find
its deeper and more spiritual meanings and so to
advance in the knowledge of God, the world, and
ourselves, that every aspect of our experience may be
exalted and consecrated together.

All who are acquainted with the literature of
mysticism, the study of which has come greatly to the
fore in recent years, will know that the mystic makes
his life’s aim to be transformed into the likeness of
Him in whose image he was created. Just as Freemasonry
is a quest for “Light,” so the mystic quest is the
pursuit of ultimate objective truth, the journey of
the soul by an inner ascent to the presence of God and
immediate union with Him. The mystic loves to figure
his path as a ladder reaching from earth to heaven,
which must be climbed step by step. This “Scala
perfectionis” is generally divided into three steps.
The first is called the purgative life; the second the
illuminative; while the third, which is really the
goal rather than a part of the journey, is called the
unitive life or state of perfect contemplation. It is
a fundamental mystical doctrine that, while
purification removes the obstacles to our union with
God, our guide on the upward path, the true hierophant
of the Divine mysteries, is LOVE. In our Masonic
system we have, as a connecting link between heaven
and earth, the symbol of Jacob’s Ladder (definitely
identified at one point in the Ritual with the
“infallible P.R.,”) with its many staves or rounds,
but it is significant that there are “three principal
ones” corresponding to the three stages of mysticism,
the “third and last” comprehending the whole being
designated by the term “Charity” understood in “its
most ample sense” i.e. LOVE.

The notion of purification or purgation - “catharsis”
- runs through our three Degrees very insistently. We
have to purify our physical and moral nature in the
First Degree, our mental and psychic nature in the
Second, and our spiritual nature in the Third. In each
degree there is also a measure of illumination, (fresh
access of light, or enhancement of consciousness), and
of union; (we become united to all others on the same
rung of the ladder). While each degree considered
separately thus consists of purification,
illumination, and union, it is true to say that the
First is more especially the Degree of purification,
the “rough ashlar” stage when we are given two W.T.’s,
in order “to knock off all superfluous knobs and
excrescences,” so that “our words and actions may
ascend pure and unpolluted” and became acceptable to
T.G.A.O.T.U. The Second Degree is that of illumination
and knowledge, where we are exhorted to study the
“liberal arts and sciences.” The Third is the Degree
of union, - after a mystical death we are raised to a
“reunion with the companions of our former toils.” We
experience symbolically the death unto sin which must
necessarily precede the new birth unto righteousness,
and learn the significance of the “f.p.o.f.”

This may suffice to show that our Masonic ceremonies
have a very real affinity with the well-trodden mystic
way, of which we read in literature from the earliest
times, 500 B.C. at least, and a proper understanding
of this seems to me to be necessary if we are to
“distinguish and appreciate the connection of our
whole system and the relative dependency of its
several parts.” One of the first definitions we give
our Candidates is that Freemasonry is “a peculiar
system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated
by symbols,” and it is this aspect that I wish to
develop a little in the present Paper, - to consider
the mysticism of the Craft as exemplified in some of
its “Geometrical” symbols. Now, it is a tendency of
all symbols to petrify or to evaporate, and either
process is fatal; for in the former instance the
recitals of explanations become dry and meaningless
through constant repetition, and in the latter case
the explanations become dry and meaningless through
constant repetition, and in the latter case the
explanations are so divorced from reality that, having
become fantastic, they cease to have vital

We learn from the Old Charges, and also from the
Ritual itself, that Freemasonry is founded upon
Geometry, and in fact is Geometry. IN our charge to
the F.C. we say that the Science of Geometry “is
established as the basis of our Art.” It was a saying
of Pythagoras that “all things are in numbers; the
world is a living arithmetic in development, - a
realized Geometry in repose.” Plutarch attributed to
Plato the saying that God is always geometrising, and
Henry Fabre, the great naturalist, in one of his
books, makes the following remark: - “Geometry, that
is to say, the science of harmony in space, presides
over everything. We find it in the arrangement of a
fir-cone, as in the arrangement of an epeira’s living
web; we find it in the spiral of a small shell, in the
chaplet of a spider’s thread, and in the orbit of a
planet; it is everywhere, as perfect in the world of
atoms as in the world of immensities. And this
universal geometry tells us of a Universal
Geometrician, whose Divine compass has measured all

Even the modern astronomer, Sir J.H. Jeans, says that
“from the intrinsic evidence of His creation
T.G.A.O.T.U. now begins to appear as a pure

In short, “geometry,” as applied to the science of
Freemasonry, is not to be construed in the narrow
sense of mathematical limitation, but in the much
wider sense in which it was understood by the
Antients, namely an enquiry into the source of all
things, and a knowledge of the secrets of nature and
science through the whole of God’s creation, including
the innermost essence of man himself.

In dealing with these transcendental matters we must
never forget that our comprehension is of necessity
very limited. The created cannot compass the Creator,
any more than a stream can raise higher than its
source. As Evelyn Underhill, a well known Writer on
mysticism, says, “If the reality of God were small
enough to be grasped, it would not be large enough to
be adored.” In particular we, with our limited
intellect and intuition, know little or nothing in
regard to origins; we can only speculate as to
probabilities. We cannot conceive that space and time
are either limited or unlimited. we are, however,
aware that certain things are independent of, or
rather transcend, space and time, e.g. Life, Mind,
Goodness, Truth, Beauty, Wisdom etc., and all the
imponderables. The mystical doctrine is that the
material creation is everlasting and its Creator is
eternal, and although we do not know the “how” of the
process, we must accept the fact that by some means
the “many” have arisen from the “One.” While,
therefore, we cannot hope to attain any finality in
discovering how the material world of space and time
came into being from the Absolute, we can take life as
we know it, and endeavour to construct a mental
picture of the relation of God to the world, which
will serve until a better and nobler takes it place.
Faith has been defined as the resolution to stand or
fall by the noblest hypothesis.

A good starting point in our enquiry is the “POINT.”
It is stated in the Hebrew “Zohar” (“Book of
Splendour”) that, “when the Concealed of all concealed
wished to reveal himself, He first made a single
Point. The Infinite was entirely unknown and diffused
no light before this Luminous Point violently broke
out through the vision,” (i. 15); and again, “the
indivisible Point, which has no limit, and which
cannot be comprehended because of this purity and
brightness, expanded from without, and formed a
brightness which served as a covering to the
indivisible Point, yet it could not be viewed in
consequence of its immeasurable lights” (v. 20) As
regards the first of these sentences it may be
relevant to point out that the most complex living
creature starts it career on this earth as, in effect,
a point, round which the physical-form gathers in
accordance with the guidance of the underlying reason
principle, or Logos.

A very old mystical saying has it that, “God is a
circle whose centre is everywhere and whose
circumference is nowhere.” A point has position but it
is without magnitude. This saying is thus another way
of indicating that God being eternal is above space
and time, but at the same time is present, or
immanent, at every point in space. This is the first
point in our Masonic ontology, for the “point within a
circle” is one of the most important symbols, and at
the moment the emphasis is on the point. This
particular point is then a symbol of God. It is the
point from which we all come and to which we all
return. It is the centre where all knowledge resides
and where we shall find the lost grand secrets. Until
we arrive at the centre we must perforce be content
with substituted secrets, for as Isaac Pennington
says, “All truth is a shadow except the last. But
every truth is Substance in its own place, though it
be but a Shadow in another place. And the Shadow is a
true Shadow, as the Substance is a true Substance.”

The idea connoted by the “centre,” which is itself an
adequate subject for a complete Paper, not merely a
passing reference appears variously in our Ritual as
“the All-seeing Eye,” the “Sacred Symbol,” in the
centre of the building,” “the Blazing Star or Glory in
the centre,” and by certain Hebrew Characters related
to the Middle Chamber of the Temple which are depicted
on the Second degree T.B. by the letter “G”. In the
Platonic dialogue known as the First Alcibiades it is
plainly declared that “to know oneself is wisdom and
the highest virtue of the soul; for the soul rightly
entering into herself will behold all other things and
Deity itself; laying aside multitude and the variety
of all manifested powers which she contains she
ascends to the highest watchtower of beings.”

I used also to be said that, when the Almighty wished
to create the Universe, He described a circle. Now the
instrument we use for this purpose is the Compass -
the emblem of restraint and limitation - so that the
idea behind this old saying is evident; creation in
space and time is a limitation of the Divine Essence.
We recollect, of course, that the Compasses will do
their work properly only when one point is fixed, thus
making the other point free to range over infinite
space. The fixed point is a vital condition of their
proper activity. Just as the point can be anywhere, so
the circumference is unlimited.

The Lectures tell us that the proper subjects of
Geometry are Magnitude and Extension, or a regular
progression from a point to a line, a line to a
superfices, and a superfices to a solid, i.e., 1 to 2,
2 to 3, and 3 to 4. This progression in ancient
Geometry was known as the Pythagorean Tetractys, and
was represented by ten dots arranged in the form of an
equilateral triangle with four dots in the side - and
this has a deeply mystical meaning. The single dot
carried the significance just accorded to the centre,
and was regarded as the Active principle in Nature, or
SPIRIT. The two dots represent the Passive principle,
or MATTER, and here it is pertinent to notice that in
these modern times matter is regarded as consisting in
the last resort of a combination of protons and
electrons, positive and negative charges of
electricity, something we know nothing about except in
its manifestations. The three dotes denoted the
combination of the active and passive principles or
physical form; and the four dots denoted the
perfection of nature. The whole was thus a glyph of
the perfection of the Deity in manifestation.

From another angle this regular progression referred
to the tetrahedron, the first of the Platonic solides,
of which we read in the “Timaeus.” The apex, the line,
the equilateral triangle, and the solid itself. More
poetically we can refer it to the seed, stem, leaves,
and fruit, the whole symbol signifying the perfection
of the complete entity. I would like to develop the
mystical significance of this regular progression of
1,2,3,4 in a slightly different way.

The underlying meaning of the ONE has been indicated,
but by no means exhausted, in the foregoing references
dealing with the point. The ONE, or the Absolute, is
beyond space and time, the world of becoming, and
perhaps even beyond Being. It, or He, is in mystical
literature called the No-Thing because He is all
things - the foundation of all being, - and can only
be described by saying “not this; not that; but
something more.” The One is the particular theme of
Neoplatonism, and union with it was the goal of the
Ancient Mysteries, - the flight of the alone to the

When the One manifests in space and time, it
necessarily becomes “tow” or dual, positive and
negative, and everyone is familiar with the pairs of
opposites which pervade creation; light and dark, heat
and cold, and so on. In the Craft we have B. and J.,
which we are told referred to the “pillar of Fire”
which gave light and the “pillar of Cloud” which
proved darkness. B.J. therefore clearly correspond to
the two our of progression. Just as positive and
negative charges of electricity in the modern theory
of matter unite in a stable manner to produce chemical
elements and the bricks of the material world, so in
Freemasonry we learn that “Strength” (power or
positive activity) when conjoined with something
“Established” (or passive) produces “Stability.” Of
the two as a line I will deal later on in this Paper.

We now come to three, the first number which has a
beginning, middle and end, and which has been known as
the first perfect number. You will recall the many
trials in our Ritual, which is a symphony in three
movements upon the number three. The threefold idea
runs through the whole with great insistency, but the
particular triad I am concerned with at the moment is
that of the three Grand Pillars which support a
Freemason’s Lodge, - Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. In
the first T.B. they are definitely called Divine
attributes, and the passage wherein they are
described, After dealing with their Application to the
individual, continues with their cosmic significance
as follows:-

“The Universe is the temple of the Deity whom we
serve; Wisdom, Strength and Beauty are about His
throne as the pillars of His works; for His Wisdom is
Infinite, His Strength omnipotent, and Beauty shines
through the whole creation in symmetry and order.”
Wisdom, Strength and Beauty thus lead us to
Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence, and all
are attributes of the Deity in the eternal sphere of
the Divine Mind above space and time, that spiritual
world which the Neoplatonists called the intelligible
world which is intermediate between the One and the
Soul world. They have a very close affinity to the
three great Platonic values of Goodness, Truth, and

The three as an equilateral triangle is a glyph of the
spiritual world, and this symbol refers to the
three-in-oneness of the Divine Nature, an idea by no
means restricted to the Christian religion.

The addition of the fourth point completes the
tetrahedron> Image the solid standing on its base. Any
plane parallel to the base will contain a perfect
tetrahedron above it. The apex corresponds to the
ineffable Godhead - the One; - the three lines
radiating therefrom represent Wisdom, Strength and
Beauty, and the equal sides of the base correspond to
B.J. (action and reaction) and the result of their
conjunction - balance, harmony, and stability. There
is an infinite number of bases to which the apex and
the three radiating lines are common.

Bearing in mind that tetractys, and now the
tetrahedron, represent the perfection of the Deity in
manifestation, we are now in a position to consider
the application of this glyph to the building of King
Solomon’s Temple, which in the First T.B. refers
symbolically to the creation of the Universe. Has not
the First T.B. been aptly called the description of
the Cosmic Temple? “The Universe is the temple of the
Deity whom we serve.”

We find in the first Lecture that the materials for
Solomon’s Temple were brought from afar off and the
whole erected in silence. Also we learn that when the
material came to be put together, “each piece fitted
with that exact nicety that it appeared more like the
work of T.G.A.O.T.U., than of human hands.”
Penetrating below the literal surface meaning this
seems to refer to the activity of the Divine
Intelligence, or Logos, building up the temple of the
material universe in space and time out of the
material prepared in those far off days when what we
now know as matter was crystallised out of the nebulae
from which our stellar and solar systems arose. We
need no reminding of the essential “silence” of the
natural processes of growth. “I am not in the habit of
speaking,” Plotinus makes Nature say.

The two outstanding features about the building of
Solomon’s Temple were:-

a) The two Great Pillars

b) The fact that there were three Grand Masters who
bore sway, neither of whom could carry on without the
consent and co-operation of the other two.

I have already alluded to the two Great Pillars when
referring to the dual nature of matter, or the
material of the Cosmic Temple, which is symbolised by
B. & J. and the stability of their union. It should
now be noted that the three Grand Masters are
specifically identified, in the Lecture on the First
T.B., with Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty; “S.K.I., for
his Wisdom, H.K.T.for his Strength in providing men
and materials, and H.A.B., for his curious and
masterly workmanship in beautifying and adorning the
same.” In terms of individual activity, wisdom is
shown forth by thought or intellect, strength by will
or action, and beauty by feelings, emotions and
desires; in other words, by those three facets of the
complete personality otherwise known and described as
head, hand, and heart. Here we may perhaps be able to
resolve an apparent inconsistency in the Ritual and
the Traditional History, for it will be recollected
that whereas in the actual ceremony the representative
of our Master is slain and raised by the three
principal Officers of the Lodge, in the narrative of
the Traditional History the offence is committed and
the body raised by three workmen.

Now, H.A.B., as we have seen, corresponds to the
Divine attribute of Beauty, the principle which
“shines through the whole of the creation in symmetry
and order,” and which is thus responsible for Form.
But Beauty is further stated “to adorn the inward
man,” and this individual reference serves to show
that H.A.B., also typifies the hidden man of the
heart, the Divine spark in everyone, which lighteth
every man that cometh into the world, and which
shineth in darkness though the darkness comprehendeth
it not until it is sought for and its light diffused
over all being. This spark which the Cambridge
Platonists called the seed of the deiform nature,
cannot sprout or grow to full perfection until we
purify our whole nature, intellect, will and feelings;
our workmen, so to speak; good servants when
disciplined, but bad masters when allowed to run
riot.At the same time, these activities when purified
to become the principal officers of our personal
“Lodge,” are the self-same means by which we can, by
constantly orienting them towards Wisdom, Strength,
and Beauty respectively, raise our Master from his
imprisonment and restore him to his rightful place in
the scheme of things.

Our Master is slain by three great knocks,
representing the rebellion of our workmen, intellect,
will and feelings, who have misused their working
tools, i.e., thoughts, actions and desires. By three
knocks at the door of our personal Lodge we commence
the great work of raising him to the mastership of our
personal being.

In the foregoing discussion we have dealt more
especially with points. The first development of a
point in space is a line, and I would like to draw out
the symbolic significance of some of our lines.

A single vertical line represents the Plumb Rule, and
the Working Tools. Two vertical lines, parallel,
refer to B. & J. but when we consider that the
significance of B. & J., is that of a pair of
opposites, in particular from their ascribed meanings
of activity and passivity, we shall find their
ascribed meanings of activity and passivity, we shall
find that it will be more appropriate for one of the
lines to be vertical and the other horizontal. We
actually meet two pairs thus in Lodge on the Wardens’
Ps. with exactly this meaning.When these two lines
are conjoined we have a glyph of the level, if the
vertical rises from the mid-point of the base, or of
the square, if from either end, another intimation
that B. & J., when conjoined denote stability,
harmony, or balance.

There is another more covert reference to these two
lines at right angles, for if you consider the Signs
of the Three degrees you will find that the right hand
moves in the Three degrees in such A way as to come to
rest in the third in the position denoting perfect
balance, at the centre of the body.

In the Ritual these tow lines occur combined in the
former manner under different circumstances and with a
correspondingly different meaning - in the three
regular steps. I have referred earlier to the fact
that the three degrees refer respectively to the
purification of our physical, mental, and spiritual
natures. In each case before we are entrusted with the
Secrets of the Degree or the rewards of our continued
progress, we are required to take a special step,
which from the instruction given is specifically in
the form of a Tau Cross. This cross has been the
emblem of Life in all ages, and in its grosser aspect
refers to the baser parts of our nature, which require
to be disciplined before we attain our goal of
spiritual regeneration. These regular steps symbolise,
therefore, the necessary work of treading underfoot
the baser elements of our physical, mental, and
spiritual natures at each stage of our progress
towards the light. As we step into each charmed
circle, the left foot forms a chord of that circle and
the right foot bisects it at right angles, pointing to
the centre. In passing it may be mentioned that there
seems to be a distinct, though somewhat hidden
reference to the Tau Cross in its highest aspect in
the Third Lecture, where we are told that the
candidate is raised from a superficial flat to a
lively perpendicular; also that the gavels, the
emblems of power wielded by the Master and Wardens,
are shaped in the form of the Tau, and their use is
the prerogative of the Rulers in the Craft.

The next time we see three Taus in conjunction is on
the Installed Masters’ Apron, where they replace the
rosettes, the feminine emblem of submission. This
seems to indicate symbolically that an Installed
Master having completed his journey in a Craft Lodge
is deemed to have effected the work of purifying his
three-fold nature, and is in fact the “just man made

So far in dealing with these three Taus we have been
concerned with the individual in his progress from the
“rough ashlar” stage to the perfect ashlar stage; but
there is implicit in the Ritual a further more
elaborate symbol which in its development will link up
with that portion of the earlier part of this Paper
which dealt with Masonic ontology and with the Cosmic
Temple of which we are all living stones.

We are told in the Lecture on the First T.B., that in
all “regular, well formed, and duly constituted
Lodges, there is a point with a circle round which the
Brethren cannot err.” This centre is bounded “between
N. and S. by two parallel lines, the one representing
Moses and the other King Solomon; on the upper part of
the circle rests the V. of the S.L., unfolded.: Now,
Moses symbolises STRENGTH - was he not the strong man
who led Israel out of Egypt “with a high hand and
outstretched arm”? Solomon, moreover, symbolises
WISDOM, while the V.S.L., refers to the BEAUTY of
holiness and the divinity which pervades all things,
so that we have a covert reference to the three Great
Pillars. When we consider that the Compasses, And by
implication the circle, are emblematic of that
restraint which keeps the Freemason within due bounds,
we can see that from the point of view of the
individual, when we open our personal Lodge on the
centre, we are bound by Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty,
the ultimate terms of thought, action, and desire,
respectively. The individual reference in the First
T.B., Lecture you will remember, is “Wisdom to conduct
us in all our undertakings, Strength to support us in
all our difficulties, and Beauty to adorn the inward

We are, however, given a Cosmic reference in the same
Lecture, to which I have already alluded; “His Wisdom
is infinite (Omniscience); His Strength Omnipotent
(Omnipotence); and Beauty shines through the whole of
the creation in symmetry and order (Omnipresence).”
If, therefore, we draw the radii from each of the
tangents to the centre of the circle we find a
three-fold Tau, a very adequate symbol of the Most
High and the conjunction of the three Divine energies,
which are three yet one. The following quotation from
the “Book of the Wisdom of Solomon” will perhaps serve
to illustrate this truth, but examples could be
multiplied:- “wisdom is more moving than any motion;
she passeth through all things by reason of her
pureness. For she is the breath of the power of God,
and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the
Almighty; therefore can no defiled thing fall into
her; for she is the brightness of the everlasting
light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and
the image of His Goodness. And, being but one, she can
do all things, and, remaining in herself, she maketh
all things new; and in all ages entering into holy
souls, she maketh them friends of God and prophets,
for God loveth none but him that dwelleth with Wisdom;
for she is more beautiful than the Sun and above all
the order of the stars ... she is privy to the
mysteries of the knowledge of God and a lover of His

The next step is form a line to a superficies. So far
we have confined ourselves to the point, the line and
the circle. I would like now to consider the triangle
and the square, and to develop an ordered sequence of
ideas embodying their use. In the old days when the
earth was thought to be flat and square, the Square
(or quadrangle) was the emblem of the earth, and
later, of the earthly element of man, and matter
generally. The triangle on the other hand, and
especially the equilateral triangle, came to refer to
the perfection of the Divine nature, and therefore
Spirit. When applied to the individual, the triangle
and the Square have come to refer to his spiritual and
physical natures respectively.

We first encounter these two geometrical figures in
conjunction in the E.A.’s Apron, which in many
workings is worn with the flapup, its five-pointed
form thus symbolising that the E.A. possesses a
material and an immaterial part, but that the latter
has not yet succeeded in controlling the former, or in
coming into proper relation with it. The spirit is as
yet only brooding over the face of the waters, so to

In the F.C.’s Apron we have a change. The triangular
flap is turned downwards on to the square, implying
that the work of subdual of the physical or lower
nature by the spiritual or higher nature is in
progress. Two rosettes also appear in this Degree,
and this leads us to consider the two-fold nature of
the immaterial part of our make-up, and its symbolical

The triangle can be drawn with the apex pointing
upwards or downwards. These were known in medieval
Kabbalism as the triangles of fire and water
respectively. Symbolically the triangle of fire refers
to the spiritual nature, and the triangle of water to
the mental or psychic nature; one meaning of the
interlaced triangles being the perfection of manhood;
spirit and soul in perfect balance. Returning to the
F.C.’s Apron, the water triangle of the mental or soul
nature is evident in the flap, but there is only an
adumbration of the triangle of fire. The triangle of
fire here consists of points only instead of lines,
and the apex is hidden, indicating that in this
Degree, the spiritual is as yet half concealed and
half revealed. The F.C. is in the midway of

In the M.M.’s Apron the third point has become
visible, and the two triangles have become partly
interlaced. We must wait until later on before we
arrive at the symbol of really perfect manhood or of
Divine Humanity - the interlaced equilateral triangles
with a point within and the whole surrounded by a

“From a superficies to a solid” is the last step of
our progression. The three solids we meet with in a
Craft Lodge are the parallelopipedon, the rough and
the perfect ashlars.

Brethren will remember the symbolical significance of
the first of these solids as explained in the lecture
on the First T.B. In the Craft the stone of true die
or square is the symbol of mature manhood “after a
life well spent in acts of piety and virtue.” It has a
correspondence with the other symbol just mentioned,
the interlaced triangles, for whereas this has twelve
points and six lines, the cube has twelve lines, or
edges, and six surfaces. The cube is such that its
sides coincide with three planes at right- angles; it
is the first of the Platonic solids to which this
applies. The cube is thus in its structure triadic,
and is a peculiarly apt symbol for the human
personality with its threefold nature, hand, heart,
and head; intellect, will, And feelings; thought,
actions, and desires; body, soul, and spirit. To apply
this idea still further, consider on a point of a
cube. From it radiate three lines, which correspond to
the components of the triads just mentioned. In the
rough ashlar these are rough and irregular. By the
exercise of the three Working Tools, a straight- edge,
a chisel (also represented by a line), and a gavel
(represented by two lines at right angles), the rough
material is wrought into due form and the perfection
of the whole brought into manifestation. So in the
individual, the material is rough, albeit sound,
stone; else he would not have been accepted as a
candidate, but by the exercise of the Working Tools of
the personality, purified thought, action, and desire,
the individual is wrought into due form and the hidden
Master brought to light. This can be exemplified by
opening the perfect cube up into the form of a Cross,
when the hidden man of the heart, represented by the
middle square, will be seen surrounded by the other
five perfect squares, which correspond to the five
purified senses. The upright line of spirit - B -
conjoined with the horizontal line of matter - J -
indicates that in the perfect man balance and harmony
has been attained, and as these lines form a Cross, we
have an adumbration of the method by which such
balance is necessarily attainable, the Cross having
always been regarded as the gateway to fuller and more
abundant life.

Before leaving the three lines radiating from the
point of a cube, there is a further point which may
not be without interest. Just before an E.A. is
entrusted with the Secrets of the Degree he is told to
stand “perfectly erect, feet formed in a square,” his
“body thus being considered to be an emblem of” his
mind, and his “feet, of the rectitude of his actions.”
It will be evident that his body and feet are thus
aligned along the three edges of a cube, which were
equated above with intellect, will, and feelings,
among other things. The upright line refers to
intellect (or mind), and the other two lines, will and
feelings, the mainsprings of actions. Incidently it
may be remarked that the erect body refers in a hidden
way to the Plumb Rule, the feet to the Square, and
from this position the candidate advances to the first
regular step which is in the form of the level. He has
just been told that all Ss. Ls. and Ps. “are true and
proper signs by which to know a Freemason,” but there
is also a suggestion here of the Working Tools of the
Second Degree, which the candidate learns more about
when he becomes a F.C.

The whole glyph thus indicates the progress from the
rough ashlar to the living stone. You will no doubt
recall that St. Peter in one of his Epistles exhorts
his readers in this strain: “Be ye living stones,
built up into a spiritual house,” and you may also
have heard the exhortation of Cornelius Agrippa, one
of the medieval alchemists: “Be ye transformed from
dead stones into living philosophical stones.”

Our goal is to become living stones fit for the
habitation not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens, the Heavenly Jerusalem, of which Solomon’s
Temple with its middle chamber, containing “certain
Hebrew characters, alluding to God, T.G.A.O.T.U.,” and
also our Masonic Lodges are earthly types. In the
vision of the Apocalypse at the end of the V.S.L.,
this city had twelve gates, it was four- square, and
the length, breadth, and height were all equal; its
wall was 144 cubits, the measure of a man who is an
angel, square man, the perfect man. There was no
temple, but the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were
the temple of it. The City had no need of Sun or Moon,
because the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb
was the light therefor. (In our earthly Lodges we have
lesser lights - “the Sun, the Moon, and the Master of
the Lodge”). From the temple flowed a river of living
water beside which was the tree of life, whose leaves
were for the healing of nations. (In our earthly
Lodges we depict “an ear of corn, near to a fall of

I will end this section by showing how the tetractys
can be combined with the triangle, the perfect ashlar,
and the centre, into a comprehensive glyph of the
Masonic process of regeneration, The tetractys
referred to the perfection of nature as a
manifestation of T.G.A.O.T.U. Joining the three outer
points we get the equilateral triangle representing
the over-arching realities of Wisdom, Strength, and
Beauty, the trine attributes of Deity, which are the
ultimate terms of human activity; within is the
centre, the point from which creation commences in the
physical world. BY drawing the three radiating lines
from the centre, the perfect ashlar emerges
symbolising the perfection of manhood bounded by
Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that in many
respects this study represents an individual point of
view, the acceptance of which is obligatory upon no
one. It may be likened to a bunch of flowers culled
from many gardens; I have merely supplied the cord
binding the whole together, at the same time taking
the liberty of adding a few blossoms of my own. I put
it forward with all sincerity in the hope that it may
assist Brethren, not only to appreciate some of the
hidden implication of our Ritual, but to make the
Ritual and all it stands for, a living issue for us


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