The Meaning of Masonry


THE MEANING OF MASONRY

foreword

FREEMASONRY has had many great scholars who devoted their time and
talents to the philosophical exposition of the character of the Craft, the
meaning of Craft symbols, and the religious aspects of the Fraternity: Albert
Pike, Robert Freke Gould, Fort Newton, Albert Gallatin Mackey, and W. L.
Wilmshurst.

Walter Leslie Wilmshurst (1867-1939) was a mystic with a practical knowledge
and profound understanding of the religions of the world. The Meaning of Masonry
discloses the real purpose of modern Freemasonry and clearly states the true
body of teaching and practice concerning the esoteric meanings of Masonic
ritual.  Freemasonry is based on the three great principles: brotherly
love, relief, and truth. Over the years, brotherly love and relief have been so
stressed that the Craft is in serious danger of becoming primarily a social and
charitable organization. Truth, the most difficult principle to recognize and
thus the most difficult to achieve, has long been neglected.  Wilmshurst
carefully places his designs upon the trestle board to build his thesis that the
alpha and omega of Freemasonry is not the repetition of the ritual nor the
safeguarding of secrets, but the regeneration of the Brethren.
This book implores the reader to learn to see in Freemasonry something more
than a parochial system enjoining elementary morality, performing perfunctory
and insignificant rites, and serving as an  agreeable accessory to social
life. The greater system of spiritual doctrine contained in the rituals is
strongly emphasized.

The Meaning of Masonry was written with a view toward promoting a deeper
understanding of the Fraternity, and this goal has been achieved. The ideals of
the Masonic Fraternity have a wide appeal to the best instincts of men, and the
Craft has become one of the greatest social institutions in the world. In this
new Aquarian age, when many individuals and groups are working in various ways
for the eventual restoration of the mysteries, an increasing number of aspirants
are beginning to recognize that Freemasonry may well be the vehicle for this
achievement.

We have here a sincere effort by a learned and earnest Brother to point to
the source of Masonic Light in elegant, and at times profound, language. 
They who look with him may enjoy the same felicity.

The great value of this book is that it was written by one who sets an
example for all Masters of Lodges. His was a soul filled with the wonder of
wisdom, strength, and beauty. In these pages, he whispers the password to those
of us who still clamour at the gate, enabling us to enter that inner chamber
where we can join the true initiates and share experiences now veiled from all
but a handful of Brethren.

ALLAN BOUDREAU, PH.D. Curator and Librarian Grand Lodge of Free and
Accepted July, 1980 Masons of the State of New York