A Journal for the Masonic Student

Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society


Vol. 12 No. 4 – April 1926



THIS brief, first hand account of the present situation in Italy as it affects members of the Masonic Order should help readers of The Builder to expose as occasion arises the many misleading reports that are appearing in the press. The author is an American citizen and Past Master of an American Lodge, but even so it is safer for him that his name should not appear.

MY attention is frequently drawn to such fantastic statements, as that in the clipping you sent me, and which are evidently published for purposes of anti-Masonic propaganda; and these are spread with too much good (or bad) faith by newspapers.

Only recently some brethren showed me an article in a Grotto (Masonic) magazine setting forth that Mussolini was a great friend of Freemasonry, and that he was a 33rd Degree Mason himself!

The alleged political activities of Latin Freemasonry have been greatly exaggerated. Politics and patriotism are frequently confused as if they were synonymous terms. Even the leading Fascisti could not deny the patriotism of Italian Freemasons from the days of the first movements for a united Italy down to the World War. They have never been found guilty of any act of treason which would have justified the terrible persecution to which they have been submitted, culminating, as it did, in the law abolishing the Order and confiscating all its property. Personal observation has taught me that Freemasonry in Italy is the same as in Anglo-Saxon (pardon the word!) countries; and the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, after a thorough investigation, was fully convinced of this fact when it exchanged warrants of friendship with Italian Masonry.

I have the honor of being a personal friend of Grand Master Torrigiani and of Secretary-General Bacci, as well as of other leading officers of the Grand Orient of Italy. I had the privilege of meeting them all many times during my long stay over there from June last to this January, and was always invited to attend their gatherings. While in Rome last September, I was invited to attend the Convention of the Grand Orient, at which G. M. Torrigiani was unanimously re-elected. The memorable gathering will never fade from my memory. Over 300 of the very best citizens of the country, despite the savage attacks against them, assembled from all parts of Italy and from distant colonies. Involuntary tears come to my eyes when I recall a young delegate from Florence depicting the brutal attacks on Masons and their property going on daily in that city. Perhaps, who knows, he was fated to be one of the victims himself a few days later, in that horrible slaughter which shocked the civilized world? And my heart also goes out in deepest sympathy with those who are now languishing in Italian jails — only for being enthusiastic Masons and not in agreement with Fascist principles and practices. We may sincerely hope that none has in any way seriously compromised himself. Glory be theirs — martyrs to the immortal ideal of liberty!

The day after the Convention of the Grand Orient, the Fascist newspapers in Rome were full of trivial insults and fantastic statements. On the front page of one paper there appeared this caption:

"300 Masonic Pigs Met to Plot Against Italy." Among other absurdities, they stated that a man — who was not even present — had presided over the gathering. It was consoling to read this, for it proved that they had not succeeded in planting any spy into the Convention. In truth, nothing was said or done which the Italian Masons had any reason to hide, and the Grand Orient gave out to the press an authoritative statement of just what had taken place. Some newspapers printed it, but the Fascist organs continued to draw on imagination. Right here I want to declare that neither at the Convention nor the other Masonic gatherings I attended, nor during the many confidential conversations I held in Italy with prominent Masons, did I ever see a thing done, or hear a word uttered, which in any way could justify the cruel persecution directed against the Order. On the other side of the ledger, I can assert emphatically that I heard some very high Fascisti freely reveal facts too dangerous to repeat.

Soon after my arrival in Italy I discovered that, evidently due to my signed contributions in American Masonic magazines and in the "Rivista Massonica" of Rome (the organ of the Grand Orient of Italy), and also to my known friendship with leading Italian Masons, I was being closely watched by Fascist spies. I felt and knew that they were anxiously seeking for the smallest excuse to arrest me, but by carefully refraining from saying or doing anything that could conveniently be misinterpreted, I never presented them an opportunity. And I must admit that not until the liner left Naples was I relieved of the fear of being "framed", or having something incriminating "planted" on me to implicate me in some mythical plot allegedly inimical to the Government.

A few days prior to my sailing I went to Rome to bid good-bye to my friends. Grand Master Torrigiani was then preparing a new Constitution to submit to the Government in the hope of being allowed to reform or reorganize the Grand Orient so as to comply in every detail with the law passed against secret societies. He must have failed in this project, for recent press reports state that the Government had taken over for one of its departments the Palazzo Giustiniani, the seat of the Grand Orient and the pride of every Italian Freemason.

At the last Convention of the Grand Orient in September, 1925, in view of the then expected law against secret societies, which would have prevented another gathering being held, G. M. Torrigiani was unanimously given a new, extraordinary authority to suspend or modify the Order, or to take any other steps he might deem necessary in the circumstances that might arise. After the passage of that law, he suspended the Order in a circular which was given out to the press, so that now the Grand Orient of Italy is represented only by its Grand Master, Domizio Torrigiani. Here it may be pointed out that this law is enforced only against Freemasons; all the others are left alone, especially the really dangerous one of the Jesuits.

But if by luck or judgment I avoided trouble during my stay in Italy, an unpleasant surprise was reserved for me at the moment of boarding the vessel to return to New York. I was stopped by officials and escorted to the police station, where a Police Commissioner, after submitting me to a long interrogation, ordered me to hand out all the papers in my possession. I truthfully answered that I had no papers of importance beyond my American passport, my citizen certificate, and my return steamship ticket. He then ordered me to be rigorously searched and my baggage to be ransacked. No papers were discovered, but they found and confiscated (a) a Masonic Apron in its leather folder, presented to me as its Past Master by Garibaldi Lodge, No. 542, F. & A. M. of New York; (b) a leather case containing a silk ribbon and a gold badge inscribed "Garibaldi Lodge, No. 542, F. & A. M., N.Y."

In vain I protested, as an American citizen, against the confiscation of my personal property; but the Police Commissioner said that he had to obey orders. Finally I was permitted to go on board the liner, only just in time. I need hardly say that the affair caused me the deepest regret, all the more as I treasured the two items of which I was deprived-so unnecessarily. As an American citizen I am entitled to appeal to the State Department and claim the protection of the American Government; but as I still retain a feeling of love toward my mother country, I should be unwilling to raise any avoidable fuss over the matter. My view on the situation is strengthened by the fact that my lodge, when it learned of the affair, as an expression of protest, unanimously resolved to present me with a new Apron.

I can fully understand the anxiety of American Masons to know just what is going on in Italy, and hence I have no objection to make this public. Many. other things I would like to tell, but he who gives such information is exposed to terrible personal peril. When the danger shall have been removed by the inevitable restoration of freedom, much will be revealed which will horrify the whole world.

I wish something could be done at least for our illustrious brother, General Luigi Capello, one of the outstanding heroes of the World War, who is suffering in the jail of Regina Coeli in Rome, undoubtedly innocent of any crime, but being a Mason in Italy today is enough to be condemned.

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Bro. Leopold Wolfgang

Translated for The Builder by Bro. J. Ruehl, Illinois

THIS article is taken from "Die Bauhutte" one of the oldest and best known Masonic periodicals of Germany. The author is well known and highly respected in the German Craft. He has the great misfortune to be blind, but this does not prevent his activity in Masonic work. We reproduce his article because the subject is naturally one of interest to all Masons; and it also helps us to see how the latest revival of anti-Masonry strikes observers nearer to the scene of conflict. In several points Bro. Wolfgang is either misinformed or misconceives Anglo-Saxon Masonry, but it is apparent that our brethren in Germany are far better informed on matters relating to the Craft in other countries than are the majority of American Masons.

OPPONENTS to Freemasonry have been of the same type at all times: Orthodoxy, Clericalism and Nationalism, with renegades from the Order. A new and irreconcilable enemy of Freemasonry is Fascism. There are people who see in this the embodiment of national thinking and ideals. But Fascism is more than this; it represents the tendency, if conditions allow, to put brutal force in the place of law and order. It is evident that Freemasonry, even if it has gone with Fascism in some countries to attain certain points, is bound to be in opposition to Fascism. This leads to inexorable enmity, and Fascism discovers that Freemasonry is an opponent. A Fascist chief has said: "In German and Anglo-Saxon countries Freemasonry is a benevolent organization; in Latin countries it is a state within the state." Let us examine this sentence and we may come to altogether different results. In Great Britain, as well as in America and Germany, Freemasonry has a hard fight with Fascism, and the same accusations are made against Freemasonry as in Latin countries. In England not long ago the word was given a great number of lodges that they should support the Labor Party at that time in power. The newly-formed organization of Fascisti which had only 170,000 members grew very rapidly and threw all its influence into the political scale for the dissolution of Parliament and by so doing helped the Conservative Party to its victory. Of course there were many Fascists among the lodges for they feared the spread of Bolshevism if the Labor Party maintained its power. The English Fascists, one must admit, have always been in favor of Law and Order. They always made use of the right of suffrage in order to further their political opinions. That was their right and therefore they could be Fascists without being in opposition to Freemasonry.

The American Fascists, the Ku Klux Klan, are Terrorists of the worst kind. They do not fear to go to the length of bloody fights in the streets in order to gain their points. They are conspicuous because of their fantastic garments and their military organization. Besides they are directed by shrewd business people who know how to ensure their success. The Past Grand Master of New York expressed the hope that no Mason would ever belong to such a society (meaning the K.K.K.) and cautioned Freemasons in general against these peculiar saints, who so wonderfully understand how to fish in troubled waters and to impose upon the credulity and confidence of their fellow men. Naturally there is a great difference between these two elements [Masons and the K.K.K.].

The former want equal rights for all citizens of the state, the latter opposes Catholics, Jews and negroes, and boasts of full-blooded Americanism.

In Germany the fight rages between Fascism, or the German People's Party, as it is general called, and Freemasons, on the platform and in the press. This fight is equally against the Old Prussian Lodges as well as against the Humanity Masonic Lodges. Not long ago the Grand Lodges of the Old Prussian Lodges took steps against these Fascist opponents. In a circular against the German People's Party to their sister lodges they stated that members of the latter, especially officers of the German army (meaning officers under William II), could either belong to the German People's Party or to the Craft, in case they were put to such an alternative. The Anglo Saxon Masons as well as the Germanic Masons have done all in their power to keep politics from entering the portals of their lodges. In spite of this they have had trouble with Fascists. But a more vehement fight still is being carried on in Latin countries.

The members of lodges there belong mostly to the Party of the Left and are fighting the program of the Fascists outside of the lodge. These last are at present victorious; this cannot be denied. A sudden change has taken place in Egypt and France. There Fascists and Masons are at work to obtain the independence of their respective countries, in order to make their fallen opponent, Germany, harmless for all time to come. But when the Fascists on the Nile adopted a policy of violence by killing the English Commander-in-Chief their activity was checked by the measures taken by the government, and there may be no peace for a long time to come between the Fascists and their opponents. Members of lodges have later been sentenced.

In France, after the election of 1919 in which the Fascists were victorious, the Masons took up the fight against Fascism. Many years before the election of 1924 the latter had made their preparations and through the favorable outcome of that election overturned Poincare's ministry, though the beaten opponent is still very strong, and the French Masons, who desire friendship with Germany, must be on guard not to lose the fruits of their victory in 1924. The real home of Fascism is Italy. The readers of the "Bauhutte" know from both the profane and Masonic press how conditions are there. In the beginning there was friendship between Fascists and Masons, later came estrangement and finally mortal enmity. The Italian Masonic brotherhood cannot continue to exist if it be forced to publish its roster, as the new law demands. A similar case was urged by the Grand Orient (of Italy) twenty-five years ago. The writer of these lines was present at one of these meetings and remembers well the indignation with which the resolution was rejected by the brethren. Physicians, lawyers, merchants of all calibers, officers of the government and army were united in the rejection of the publication of the roster. There is no doubt, however, that the King will sign the present bill after the House and Senate have accepted it.

For the time being the Grand Orient has given independent power to the Grand Master Bro. Domitio Torrigiani to do to the best of his ability what seems best for the Order in conformity with his own judgment. Therefore, there is no need of an election or vote to doors of lodges.

The German "High School Journal" of Jan. 25, 1925, claims Mussolini's fight against Freemasonry is a fight against the Jews, but it is in error. Many of the 35,000 Jews belong to the Fascist party. At the time the General Council issued an interdict some brethren were with the Fascist party and some were for the lodge. It was the general opinion that the "Duce" would be in favor of antisemitic activity.

In reply to an interrogation of the chief Rabbi of Rome, Mussolini replied that he did not think Italian citizens would persecute them [the Jews] on account of their belief. This answer could not be a surprise for there are co-workers of the Jewish race in the ministry of the Italian Government. Fascism of course can point to many benefits it has bestowed on Italy. It boasts of having saved the state from Bolshevism, and travelers who come from Italy say that safety of communication, the service on railroads and in the post and telegraph departments have never functioned so well as now. Also that the great plague of the country, the multitude of beggars, is practically abolished in all Italian cities. But these are benefits of a very recent date. Freemasonry, however, can show such services since its existence. The Italian fatherland has to thank Masons for its unity as well as for its progress in culture.

This all goes to be forgotten as ancient history because Fascism with its armed force of 350,000 black shirts has the country in its power. Dark days are to be expected for our Italian brethren. They have to meet a fight forced upon them. The Masonic life will become dormant as long as Mussolini governs in Italy. Mussolini is the despotic ruler of Italy; he is more powerful than the King for he is Minister of the exterior affairs — of war, of the marine, of the air fleet, of finance, and also Commander-in-Chief of the aforesaid 350,000 national militia. Whether he will be able to resist the united opposition forever remains an open question. Conservatives, Liberals, Democrats, Clericals, Socialists and Communists have formed a union for a united opposition against Fascism, and the Masons, whether they will or not, must join it. This fight will not take place only on the further side of the Gothard Pass — other countries will be the scene of a hard fight against Fascism, and Masons, too, will be forced to fight against Fascism if they would not be crushed by their reckless enemies.

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Bro. H. S. Darlington, California

In a small city, where the writer lived, there is a College, or locus of wisdom, on the eastern edge of town; and on the western edge an abandoned cemetry. How Masonically appropriate this is, that we should find Wisdom or Light's-New-Birth in the East, and that Death, Sunset and Oblivion should be in the West. The College is alive and growing under the care of an excellent Mason; but the old cemetery, as a symbol of mortality, is neglected, forgotten; yes, fairly "overcome".

But just to the east of the College, or rather just to the northeast, as if it were the House of Dawn, there is a spacious lawn belonging to a Mason whose initials are P.A.N. Now this man P.A.N., the wealthiest man in the vicinity, takes a particular delight each Easter Day in inviting the children of the town to hunt out, and roll the various colored Easter eggs that are placed in hiding upon this broad sloping Elysian field. One could almost think the Golden Age of the Greeks was once more upon us.

Masons might well ask themselves: "Is there an appropriate symbolization in this egg-rolling frolic, to the East of the Seat of Wisdom — some spiritual quality or degree of righteousness attainable for man which transcends the Light of Wisdom itself? Is there any significance in the behavior of innocent little children, joyously disporting themselves with brightly decorated eggs, which latter in themselves are symbols of a promise of a New Life — seemingly a Life that shall be gloriously illuminated in the variegated tints of Dawn?"

Before answering our own question, let us give consideration to the most common analogy that mankind observes between himself and the cardinal positions of East and West. From the oldest records that we can trace of ancient philosophies and cultures, and from the information that missionaries and ethnographers have gathered with respect to the more general attitudes of mankind toward the phenomena of sunset and sunrise, we discover that, by far the major number of tribesmen and nations of this earth, have looked upon the setting of the sun in the west as symbolical of the descent of the soul of man into the "underworld" at death. It would appear that the soul or spirit of man is vaguely thought of as being analogous to a luminous something, a sort of glory, that is swallowed up in darkness at death, by the powers of the nether world. With this view, none too well defined, or rationalized upon, in the background of his mind, man has frequently been led, half instinctively, to bury his dead to the west side of his sacred village or hamlet, taking care that the feet should be placed to the east or to sunrise. This custom, however, is by no means absolutely universal.

Accompanying this concept of man's having a soul analogous to the bright sun that sinks unto its death at evening in the west, there has nearly always been the contrasting or reciprocal notion that even as the sun is seen to arise from death in youth and glory, in the rosy east, cleansed from the taints of the underworld by being washed in the baptismal waters of the bright eastern seas, so shall, the soul of man arise ultimately from the grave, in radiance and perfection. And the Day of Resurrection arrives when the Great God Pan shall call the soul out from the underworld of material life, and shall cause it to roll around to the East, where the age-old promise of a new birth shall be fulfilled in the glorious illumination of innocent, sex unconscious spiritual wisdom.

Seemingly, York Rite Masonry is attempting to teach just such a doctrine of rebirth into the very realms of God, when we have gone through the lessons that must be learned in the underworld of death, and materially directed efforts; until at length, by passing through the zone of wisdom, or crossing the college campus, we reach the Elysian Lawns, where we are to disport ourselves in searching out the hidden Egg-of-Rebirth that shall become "our very, very own" when discovered.

Let us pursue an inquiry into the meaning of our rituals. The first three degrees of Freemasonry we may call the illiterate degrees or degrees of unenlightenment. We may say of them, to bring out our analogy, that they are the Western, Sunset, or Graveyard degrees because of the blindfolding of the candidate, and the plunging of the lodge in darkness in the third degree. When we say they are the illiterate degrees, we mean that the rites do not assume that the candidate is able to read and write, as the rites in the Chapter do. But the four degrees of the Chapter may well enough be termed the enlightened or literate degrees, the Sunrise, Dawn or Ascension degrees, for the reason that learning is looked upon as enlightenment, almost the world over. Even the rude African tribesman, such as the Ekoi, in attempting to divine the future, will hold up an egg to the sun and pray: "As the bush fowl cries for light, so may light be shed on all we wish to know." The Ekoi is looking for more Masonic light in his own way. So, we think, we are justified in asserting that the Chapter Degrees may be termed Eastern, Sunrise or Re-birth degrees.

In the individualistic work of Masonically building a more stately mansion for his soul, the meditative Mason is searching for that illusive and promisory egg-of-rebirth. He is engaged in the half-drifting, half consciously directed, soul-shaping work of preparing his thoughts and actions by gradually gained spiritual conceptions of man as man, in relation to men, until at length he can tune-in on the harmonies of Deity. In the fourth or Mark Master's Degree, the candidate must be able to read and write, for the first time; for he must be able to read the "marks" or the signatures of the craftsmen, and he must be able to keep time, and figure their wages correctly. In the fifth degree, the candidate attains great wisdom, and is on a par with Solomon, who was the oracle of all knowledge, in the opinion of the ancient Jews. Now, with this attainment of wisdom, he should also attain unto an illumination or unto enlightenment. This idea is accordingly symbolized in the following, the sixth, or Most Excellent Master's Degree. Fire descends from Heaven into the completed Temple. But the Temple, we must ever bear in mind when trying to find out what Masonry means, is invariably the human body, as a housing for the soul. It is intellectual fire that really falls from Heaven. It is, then, spiritual knowledge that is conferred upon the candidate; and thus he becomes transfigured in the sixth stage of soul attainment, and release from the carnal world of matter.

It is not solely the enlightenment of spiritual wisdom that is conferred upon the tyro in this sixth degree; for symbolically, he is freed from all carnal desire, and raised to a level of innocence, and freedom from all shame. This does not mean shamelessness. He is raised to the status of a little child that is naked and innocent and without a sense of shame in his state of unawakened sexuality. This attainment of purity of thought is symbolized by the dropping away of the loin-cloth of shame, which is the apron, in which he was clothed up to the moment of illumination. The real meaning in this connection is not so much that of sexlessness, as it is that of androgenity, or the reunion of the soul that was dichotomized into an Adam half and an Eve half.

The Royal Arch Mason's Degree, or the seventh and last one in the Chapter, comes next. The soul having symbolically been educated and purified in spiritual wisdom and innocence, is in line for the attainment of that status which may be known as Sainthood, Avatarhood, or Christhood. Symbolically taken, this is the approach from the west, eastwardly to the area beyond the campus of spiritual wisdom, even unto the precincts of the Great God Pan; that is to say, the soul advances to godliness in the very realms of God.

However, the seventh degree does not start the candidate off as if he were coming directly from the sixth attainment; but it puts the advancing one through a recapitulation of his whole progress up to that point. He is symbolically put through the first three degrees again, as the first half of the seventh degree. These Blue Lodge degrees are represented in an apparent aimless and discouraging wandering across the desert in an attempt to reach the Holy City. The tyro is blindfolded all this time, because he is supposed to be traversing the Sunset or Unenlightened steps, as prerequisites in soul attainment. Prayers are made, and offerings made at the ancient altars until finally he gets a faint and far-off glimpse of the Holy city of God. Yet, he is left outside of that New Jerusalem, while his spiritual and invisible conductor who has been whispering words of wisdom in his intuitive ear, from time to time, abandons him, and turns him over to a more advanced, brightly robed or illuminated spiritual guide, for further advancement his hoodwink now being removed.

Now his eyes are opened to the non-material world. He finds he is bathed in a glory of lights of varying colors. He passes several veils of different colors, symbolizing a self-radiation of grades of spiritual consciousness. They are supposed to be atmospheres that the candidate sheds about himself by reason of his overcoming material concepts and desires, and an entrance upon spiritual might and effulgence. The total progress is gradual, slow and most discouraging Each colored veil he passes into symbolizes a new birth in spiritual being, or the finding of another egg-like promise of new, scintillant and vibratory life.

After having been inducted within the first veil, which is really a recapitulation of the fourth or Mark Master's Degree, or is supposed to be, the tyro throws a rod to the ground, which becomes a serpent. This he must pick up by the tail, which is an esoteric way of stating that he must take hold of it in a way that seems to be the reversal of what we would ordinarily call the normal. On so doing, the serpent is immediately transformed into a rod. The lesson in this veil is then supposed to have been mastered by the candidate, who then advances into the second veil.

But this idea of the serpent and the rod cannot be understood in its true psychological import unless we take the psycho-analytical view of it. Following Freud, we may say that the subconscious or the unconscious, as we shall call it, does not take either the rod nor the serpent in the literal sense at all. The rod, when held aloft and upright, out of contact with the material ground under our feet, or out of contact with the reproductive soil, or garden of Mother Earth, is a Rod of Command. He who carries this Rod of Command is a sovereign, and a king, by virtue of its mystic properties that may either kill or quicken into life. But, the moment this Rod is thrown down, and plows up this material Mother Earth, then straightway, this Rod of Command is transformed into the lowly "libido." This "libido" is none other than the conscienceless sexual urge, that is said to be so fatal to the gaining of a spiritual consciousness. The serpent is the symbol of the "libido", even of sexuality itself.

The candidate must learn self-control, and suppression of the animal passions. Therefore, he is instructed to pick up the serpent by its tail. In so doing he reverses its nature, so that the libido is lifted into the spiritual plane, and the serpent is sublimated as it were into a Rod of Command over all creation. This sublimation of the "libido" makes man a creator on the mental plane, and a Power and Authority in the Universe, instead of being the slave of carnal desires on the animal plane. Now the spiritual aspirant has done away with sexual desires, in a symbolical way. Thus he has reached the same stage in progress that he symbolically won in the sixth degree when he threw off his loin cloth apron. By rights, this rod and serpent drama should parallel the apron-dropping drama, chronologically, but it does not. This is what we would term a ritualistic error.

When the candidate has advanced to the fourth or last veil, he spills some water on the ground, or rather he discards water for good. Water is a symbol of birth and rebirth, so the psycho-analysts tell us. We see it in the baptismal rites, whereby the child is symbolically and poetically "reborn" into a spiritual life. Hence, in repudiating water, the meaning must be that the candidate is born for the very last time, so that hereafter never again will he need the cleansing offices of rebirth to help him reach the stage of undying, pure, spiritual life. Accordingly, as soon as he spills the water, he is passed out of the last veil and enters into the august presence of the symbolical Trinitarian Deity. All the regalia are now seen to be gorgeous and resplendent, and the tyro himself is clothed in an illuminated robe, and is given a crown to wear. He has now pecked his way out of the last colored egg-shell of clouded comprehension of things spiritual on this symbolical Easter Day ... the day of his being raised to the Supreme Degree of Royal Arch Mason. Then as a climax to all, a new name, a trinitarian deific compound, is conferred upon him, thus raising him to companionship with the Highest. The name is a quality of the soul.

York Rite Masonry is really teaching in an esoteric way a doctrine of soul attainment, unto absolute perfection.

Perhaps we can confirm this interpretation of Easter Eggs and Masonry by citing a parallel case from the Bible. When Jesus Christ, who normally was a Rod of Command in the Right Hand of God the Father, according to the Christian tradition, threw Himself down in the Garden of Gethsemane, He met His death and passed down into the Underworld as a Sun that had set. There He stayed for three days, thus symbolizing the three unenlightened degrees of the Blue Lodge. Following that, He was raised from the dead, so that He immediately received a partial enlightenment, such as we try to symbolize in the fourth degree. But He was in a state of only partial incorporeality, and He alternated from time to time from a state of visibility to invisibility, still on this earth, over a period of forty days, until His Ascension as a Rod of Command in the Right Hand of His Father. But psycho-analysis informs us that forty days in a psychological sense only means the same as four days, because the Unconscious has no knowledge of noughts in its system of mathematics. Therefore, the three days in Hell, and the forty days on earth, should be added as the sum of three and four, thus making seven. The meanings seem to be that the full period occupied in arising from death to everlasting life requires seven stages of soul growth, of which three are in utter darkness or exclusion of all spiritual light.

Now that Biblical event with spiritual import, that is celebrated in Christian lands on Easter Day, is doctrinally taught by means of dramas in our York Rite Masonry; and moreover, is taught by such beautiful and poetical folk-customs as that very practice at Ada, Oklahoma, where the little innocents find their promised births into perfection, in the diligent but joyous search for their four resplendently lighted sheaths of consciousness, as symbolized in the brightly colored eggs under the radiant smile of the All in All, the Great God Pan.

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Prof. E. E. Boothroyd, Canada

THE author of this article, written especially for The Builder, is not a Mason, but he is the occupant of the chair of History in one of the oldest Canadian universities. In many ways the conclusions reached by a disinterested outside observer are often found to be of great value. We hope to have this theme of the historical background of Masonry further developed in future articles.

THE average man, immersed in the cares of business and the distractions of social life, is well contented to take his history on trust. He knows that certain events happened at certain dates, and is generally glad to leave the matter there, largely, perhaps, because the teacher who drilled into him the historical knowledge regarded as necessary by educational authorities was satisfied with that limited amount of information. But when some interest of later life leads him to study the past, he becomes interested in the why and wherefore of things; he wants to know why this or that event happened at all, why at one special time and not at another, why in a certain way out of many apparently possible alternatives. And he will discover that the answers to all these questions are to be found in those inheritances from the past and conditions of contemporary life and society which form what may be called the "background" of any particular movement or institution.

To take an example, not a likely one of course: A boy has learned at school that "In 1717 certain persons assembled at a tavern in London and instituted the first Grand Lodge of the Masonic Order"; has committed this bald statement to memory, repeated it as accurately as possible at some examination, and let the information slip into the background of his mind. Years having passed, the boy, now grown to manhood, becomes a Mason and grasps the importance of the event thus briefly chronicled in his school text-book. Here was an ancient and perhaps moribund institution reorganized and remodelled; scattered and isolated groups of men united into a single communion; the whole foundation of their activities changed; and a development inaugurated which was to spread the Order round the globe and make it one of the vital forces of modern life. At once a host of questions arise. Why was this first Grand Lodge in London, not in Paris or New York? Why did these men meet in a tavern, not in a church or a Y.M.C.A. building? Why should they wish to alter the old arrangements and change the activities of the institution? And, above all, how was it that, so altered and reorganized, Freemasonry arose from the ashes of a dead past to become one of the greatest institutions and most powerful forces in modern society? Now for these and a number of similar problems he will find a solution, not in the private records of the Order itself, but in the general conditions of the early 18th century, in the institutions and ideas which had come down to the men of that day from former ages and the character of the political, economic, social, and even religious life of the time — in a word, in that "background" to which allusion has been made.

If a number of gentlemen were to meet today in some club in one of our modern American cities to organize a new or remodel an old institution, they would not be free to perform their task in any one of the innumerable ways abstractly possible, since they would not meet in an intellectual or emotional vacuum. They would take with them into that club a number of feelings and ideas, partly inherited from the past, partly imbibed from the 20th century American atmosphere in which their lives were being lived; for these feelings and ideas would have become a part of their very natures, and could not be left in the vestibule with their hats and coats. Moreover they would not take with them many thoughts and sentiments which had been familiar to their forbears but had been abandoned by the present generation. And accordingly their actions and the character they would give to the newly created or reorganized association would largely be determined by the presence or absence respectively of these various feelings and ideas. If, then, the organization thus created were to become of such world-wide scope and importance as to invite the attention of the historian some two centuries hence, when ideas and emotions which are commonplaces today no longer occupied the mind and heart of mankind, the student would find himself under the necessity of investigating American history and the social, political, economic and religious atmosphere of the early 20th century to understand why our hypothetical gentlemen had done one thing and left another apparently obvious thing undone. If, for example, the movement for prohibition had been so successful that the very idea of intoxicating liquor had vanished from the thoughts of men, the historian would find himself obliged to pen a foot-note on the growth of the feeling for prohibition in the United States and the enactment of the 18th amendment to explain to his 22nd century readers the reason for the placing of stringent restrictions on the refreshment-list of the association. If, on the other hand, intense activity and strife were to replace our present attitude of tolerance and semi-indifference in matters of religion, it would seem strange to men of the future to find no reference whatever to religious matters, and here again the later historian would have to sketch the religious atmosphere of the period to explain this startling omission. The entrance fee and yearly dues might seem absurdly small, and require an explanatory appendix on economic conditions and the purchasing power of the dollar in 1926. Everywhere this particular association would be seen to touch the life of its time, and to be shaped and conditioned by the national, social and religious atmosphere in which it had its birth.

In like manner, Masons who are interested in the origin and development of the great Order to which they belong, and who delve into the records of the past in search of information on these points, will gradually realize, as their researches proceed, that, in tracing the history of Freemasonry, they are not following a single isolated strand. They will find that this particular thread is interwoven with many others, differently constituted and diversely colored, to create the great tapestry of human history; and that a knowledge of these other threads and of the whole pattern produced by the interweaving is essential for a true and adequate comprehension of their own particular line of study. In a word, they will acquire a real appreciation of that cardinal doctrine — "the Unity of History."

A moment's reflection will show that the central or pivotal event in the history of Masonry was the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1717; and the expenditure of another moment will suggest the two vital questions, "Why should this event take place at the beginning of the 18th century?" and "Why should the reorganization take the shape it did?" The answer to each is to be found in the historical background of the event. The date was determined by the fact that the early 18th century marks a particular stage in human development, the form by the peculiar conditions of the time.

To appreciate how the stage of development reached in England at the beginning of the 18th century determined the date of the event we are considering requires a comprehension of what is implied in the terms "Unity of History" and "Ages and Epochs of Historical Development" (and I must trust to the interest and importance of the subject to carry readers through a dry and dusty dissertation on these topics). The idea of the Unity of History is derived from the realization of the way in which the past determines the present and the present conditions the future, and in which the different sides of life are interrelated and mutually affect one another. A man goes to church on Sunday because of certain events which happened in the past; he takes off his overcoat when in church because a competent heating system has been developed by our present material civilization, and he reads the Gospels and Psalms because printing has made copies available for the ordinary individual and our system of education has enabled him to acquire that art of reading which was so rare in earlier days that its possession would save a convicted murderer from the scaffold. The history of mankind is therefore a unity because the events of the past and the ideas of the present combine to shape the thoughts and determine the actions of men. But a comparison of life at Athens in the 5th century B.C. and in New York in the 20th century A.D. reveals differences in organization, thought, and conditions of life so great that historians divide the whole story of the development of man into books and chapters according to the differences thus revealed. Some of these differences being greater and more fundamental than others are the basis for the division of human history into the three great Ages — Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Times (as our ancestors divided their long and bulky novels into three volumes); others, being of a less radical nature, though still of great magnitude and importance, constitute the reason for the division within the three Ages into various epochs. An age or an epoch has a unity within itself and is distinguished from other ages and epochs because throughout its duration certain ideas-on organization, society and religion, for example-govern the actions of men, ideas differing from those which control their actions at other periods.

Now for convenience of treatment and other reasons historians are accustomed to divide history into these ages at definite points, to date, for example, the end of ancient and the beginning of Medieval times from the abolition of the Western Roman Empire in 476 A.D. and the end of the Medieval and the dawn of the modern age from Columbus' discovery of America or the battle of Bosworth. Any such sharp and clearcut division is, however, very misleading and inaccurate in view of our other general idea of the unity of history. Because of the influence of the past upon the present, men change, not "in the twinkling of an eye", but very slowly, doing today much what they did yesterday and will do again tomorrow. A moment's reflection on our life today will show this. There is no doubt that future historians will regard the recent world-war as a dividing line between two epochs, if not between two ages, and will date the division either from August, 1914, or from the signing of peace in 1919; and yet the life of the average man in 1926 varies only slightly, if at all, from his life in 1913. He lives in the same sort of house, goes to the same sort of church, conducts his lodge-meeting in the same way, and wears the same sort of clothes, with only a trifling variation in the width of the trouser or the length of the coat to prevent his wearing the same suit longer than is good for the tailoring business. It will not be for a generation or perhaps several generations that any striking alterations in habits of life and thought will have become apparent. And as it is today, so it was in the past. The westward voyage of Columbus and the appearance of Luther before the Diet of Worms were striking events — warnings that a new age had dawned; but the change from Medieval to modern conditions of life and thought and feeling did not take place overnight. Spaniard, German and Englishman did not go to bed one night as Medieval individuals and come down to breakfast next morning as Moderns. The change had begun long before Luther and Columbus were born and continued long after they were in their graves.

With these ideas in mind, an appreciation of the position of the early 18th century in the story of human development, and, the point which especially concerns us, the relation of that position to the reorganization of Masonry, is possible. The modern age of mankind had, it is true, dawned at the beginning of the 16th century. The new ideas on organization, society and religion which distinguish it from earlier times had begun to reveal themselves. Nationality, that assertion of the individual conscience and the individual belief in religion which we associate with Protestantism, the right of the people to be consulted in matters of government, and a host of other principles and ideas which shape our life at the present day, may be noticed more or less clearly at work in the 16th and 17th centuries. But the organizations and ideas distinctive of the modern world were not working smoothly. The most striking feature of these two centuries is the intricate and endless strife and disorder which characterize them. Europe was divided in a number of ways into a host of warring groups and factions. In Spain the monarchy with the approval of the bulk of the people was crushing out the few struggling Protestant congregations which had taken root. In England Crown and Parliament were enacting penal laws against Roman Catholics. In France and Germany during these centuries Protestant and Catholic had taken up arms one against the other and were fighting bloody and devastating civil wars. Here is one element of strife, and its cause is apparent. Those ideas on religion (on church organization and worship, religious belief, the necessity for religious uniformity, and the like) which had come down from the Middle Ages were fighting against the new ideas which were to direct thought and action in modern times. Nor was it until nearly two centuries had elapsed that this condition of strife and chaos passed away because the world had become accustomed to the new ideas and new feelings and was working smoothly and efficiently under their direction.

Most historians seem in agreement that the fundamental or root idea which distinguishes the modern from earlier, and will differentiate it from subsequent ages, is that of Nationality; the conception of mankind, not as united into one homogeneous whole, but divided into certain groups, the individuals composing any one of which are united among themselves and distinguished from those composing the others by the possession of certain common characteristics of race, speech, and the like. This idea was unknown to ancient times when men were divided, not into nations but into tribes or city-states, or were united in the world-state of the Roman Empire, and, although originating in the Middle Ages, practically unknown to the Medieval world "theoretically united", it has been said, "in an imaginary 'Christendom,' and practically divided into innumerable feudal principalities and free cities." The 16th and 17th centuries may therefore be regarded as the period in which Europe is settling down to the new order and recasting and remodeling her institutions and ideas into conformity with the new principle of Nationality.

A brief review of English history during the period will, perhaps, serve to make this clear, and give the necessary ballast of fact to the foregoing generalization; a casual glance at the Tudor period which roughly coincides with the 16th century might note as four of the principal movements the Reformation, the creation of the Royal Navy, the economic changes, and the institution of a definite system of poor-relief. Now all these movements represent reorganization of English institutions and activities, religious, war-like, economic and social, on a national basis. The three chief features of the English Reformation are the establishment of the royal supremacy, the institution of the Prayer Book, and the dissolution of the monasteries. In the first place all these measures were effected by statute, that is by enactment of the Assembly of King, Lords and Commons which "represented" the English people. Further, their effect was to nationalize the religious activities of England. Elizabeth's re-enacting statute of Supremacy described how Henry VIII's laws had been for the "utter extinguishment of all usurped and foreign powers and authorities," and established the control of the English Sovereign over the English Church. The introduction of the Book of Common Prayer translated religious services from Latin, the universal language, into English, the national tongue. And the monasteries were abolished because as parts of world-wide orders under the direct control of Rome there was no place for them in a nationally-organized church. The same idea can be traced in the creation of the Royal Navy. In the Middle Ages any fighting ships which happened to be required were provided, not by the whole people, but by certain towns, the Five or Cinque Ports of the Southern coast on which the duty was devolved. The Tudors replaced this system by a permanent naval fighting force, the ships of which were built and the crews paid out of the royal or national revenue. In the other two movements the same principle is equally evident. That regulation of training for work, hours and wages which had been the province of the local craft-guilds in earlier days, and that provision for the poor and needy which had been left to private charity, were now arranged and provided by the national parliament in Elizabeth's famous statute of Apprentices of 1563 (in the 23rd clause of which Masons will remember the presence of the rough mason, plaisterer, brick-maker, brick-layer, tiler, slater and tile-maker) and for the relief of the poor in 1601.

But, as we noticed, this new organization of life on a national basis was not accomplished without friction. The religious changes led to the rebellion of the Pilgrimage of Grace under Henry VIII, the risings in East and West under Edward VI, and the revolt of the Northern Earls in the reign of Elizabeth. The passing of Medieval organizations of industry and charity led to the inundation of England with "sturdy beggars", half mendicant and half foot-pad. Nor did the friction cease with the coming of the new century, but increased to the point of civil war. The danger from Spain had kept internal dissentions within bounds under the tactful rule of the Tudors; with the 17th century England found herself free from foreign danger, and divisions deepened and widened until there was no resource but the sword. Broadly considered the struggles of Crown and Parliament, of Puritan and Churchman under the Stuart kings represent the search for a satisfactory solution of the problems nf ,where the supreme power should rest in the national government and what form of organization should distinguish the national church. The Puritans were not seeking toleration, but the organization of the church in conformity with their particular ideas; and Cromwell prohibited the services of the Anglicans as Elizabeth had prohibited the Mass.

With the close of the 17th century, however, this period of turmoil and chaos came to an end; and with the opening of the 18th men were busily and comparatively peacefully at work organizing their lives and activities along modern lines. The question of government having been settled in favor of Parliament, Walpole was shaping and working the cabinet system by which parliamentary government operates: the creation of the Bank of England and of the National Debt had organized finance in conformity with the dominant principle; the discovery having been made that differences of religious belief were not destructive of national unity, the Toleration Bill had been passed and the era of religious strife ended. Clearly the psychological moment had arrived for those gentlemen whose names are so well-known to the Masonic brotherhood to meet together on st. John Baptist's Day in the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in London, the national capital, and inaugurate a Grand Lodge which should draw together into one national organization the various isolated lodges scattered over the length and breadth of the land.

So it is that a knowledge of "the background of Masonic history in the early 18th century", of the general character and place of that particular period in the development of mankind, provides an answer for two of the questions arising from a consideration of this pivotal event in Masonic history — the formation of the first Grand Lodge — why it should have happened at this particular time and in this particular city. It happened in the early 18th century because that was the time at which the new modern idea of Nationality had permeated, through conflict and chaos, the whole life of England, and was now shaping it into its modern form. It happened at London because London was the capital city, the heart of the nation. For these questions the answer is supplied by a knowledge of the general aspect of the age.

* * *


Bro. N. W. J. Haydon, Associate Editor, Canada

There are altogether ten pillars in Masonic usage, outside the temple or lodge room, three within it and five in its symbolic content. The first five are present at all times; the second five are employed for but one special purpose. As might be supposed, most of our interest and discussion gathers the first two, the famous brazen pillars that marked the chief entrance to the Temple of King Solomon, the position and significance of which have caused unlimited argument.

There two descriptions in the V.S.L. of the temple and its components, one in I Kings, chap. 7, and the other in II Chronicles, chap. 4, which, while appearing to disagree with each other, are said to give the inner and outer dimensions of this building and its several parts, so that without either of them it would be impossible to get a correct image of what that famous building might have been when completed.

The names of these two were first given prominence as to their Masonic connection by a man named Goodall, who published one of the earliest so-called exposures in 1762, under the title "Jachin and Boaz." Thackery, too, poked fun at the "terrors of Jachin and Boaz" in his "Book of Snobs." There are at least three points in connection with these pillars that have been fruitful causes of dispute and the first is, perhaps, the strangest since the records are so clear and should be equally well known. These points are their position, their use, the exact nature of their capitals. As to the first, the arguments rest on whether the record is based on the act of approaching the temple or of leaving it. I have heard brethren argue stoutly that because the description says "the porchway or entrance" to the temple, therefore the position of the pillars must be that seen by one coming towards it, otherwise — say they — the word exit, or its equivalent, would have been used. On that basis the pillar on the right hand, known as Jachin, and on the left hand known as Boaz, would be on the north and south sides of the entrance. Then there are those who oppose this opinion, holding that the description applies when standing between the pillars and looking out upon the court with its great altar and ten basins for washing the sacrifices.

All this argument has been nothing better than vocal exercise, as the sacred record states in both descriptions that the "right side" meant "eastward, over against the south," thus making it quite clear that Jachin was placed on the south of the porch and Boaz on the north, or as they would be seen by an observer who stood in the door of the temple looking outwards. Again, we read in Ezekiel 47-1, that "the forefront of the house stood towards the East, and the waters came down from under the right side of the house, at the South side of the Altar." A fourth witness to this is Josephus, who officiated in the third temple built by Herod the Great, and witnessed its destruction by the Romans. From his writings we learn that when Herod decided to rival the work of Solomon, and pulled down the existent building, he kept careful record of the position of the material so that, while rebuilding on the original site to preserve the continuity of the edifice, he also ensured so far as was humanly possible that his work should be an exact copy of its famous original. [1] We read in his record that "the left side was that towards the north wind, and the right side towards the south," thus leaving no grounds for any further argument on the subject.

As to the symbolic values of these pillars, or the special purposes they served, there are various theories. One is that being hollow they were used to contain the archives of the nation. But it is incredible that a column twenty-seven feet high and six feet in diameter, without any opening save at the top, which was left uncovered, would be used for such a purpose, because of the evident difficulties attendant thereon, especially if it became necessary to consult a document. [2] Another is that they were intended to remind the Israelites of the pillars of fire and smoke by which their flight from Egypt was expedited, and such use is not foreign to their national customs, as we read several times of pillars, mounds and altars being raised to commemorate special events. This usage continues today, in the common use of a broken pillar in cemeteries and obituary notices as an emblem of death. Be this as it may, it is undeniable that the setting up of columns at the porches of temples was a familiar custom among the Phoenicians, who built this one, and who were also a much older people than the Israelites. They, in their turn, were taught by, or borrowed from, the Egyptians and Assyrians whose custom it was from pre-historic times, as proven by evidence still in existence.

There is, however, just ground for criticism of the idea that the left pillar commemorated a man named Boaz and the right another named Jachin. To begin with, the Mosaic law strictly prohibited the Israelites from raising or making images of any living thing, and a pillar could as easily be considered an image of a man as of the membrum virile. There is, I believe, only one exception on record of this rule being transgressed, which was done by Ahsalom; but he was a wild young rake who sought notoriety and came to a violent and deserved ending. Moreover, that Boaz, or as some rabbis hold, Ibzan, [3] who was a judge in Bethlehem (Judges 12-8), was a great-grandfather of David is not sufficient reason for his name being held in honor. For, like each one of us, David must have had three other great-grandfathers and of them we know nothing. Nor is the rabbinical tradition that although Boaz was eighty years old when he married Ruth and, dying the day after his marriage, yet succeeded in leaving her with child, anything out of the ordinary for that time and people, if the Hebrew records are correct. It is rather the story of Ruth that has immortalized her husband as a sort of side issue, just as modern husbands are simply a part of the furnishings in the weddings they help to bring about! No, we must look elsewhere for a reasonable explanation.

Then as regards Jachin, why should the name of one who was only an "assistant high priest" [4] be so remembered and none of the others, not even the High Priest himself? The V.S.L. does not name any of the priests who attended the dedication and, in the time of David there were twenty-four families of them, of whom a Jachin (named in I Chron. 24-17) was in the twenty-first — nearly at the last — in order of importance. [5] It is true there were Assistant, or Second, or Vice-High Priests in the temple service, of whom we read in Jeremiah 52-24 that "they served in the High Priest's stead if he had any necessarie impediment"; but these would be occasional official impurities, which would be disregarded in the case of the laity.

But even this explanation is rather far-fetched seeing how vastly important this dedication would be to all Israelites, so that the High Priest's presence would be indispensable, and I feel that the origin for these names, as given, is as unreliable as many of the other "historical" details which accompany them, and which appear to have arisen from the intense desire of early Masonic writers, headed by Dr. Oliver, to force the whole system on to an Old Testament basis, regardless of anything else. We can, however, get a plausible reason for these names if we examine them simply as Hebrew words. "Bo" means in him or in it and "Az" means strength, so that the word is quite appropriate as meaning the sentence "In Him (it) is Strength" whether referring to the temple as the embodiment of religious strength or to the Deity as the source of all strength. A similar explanation can be given to Jachin — "Jah" (or Jehovah) and "Chin", which means will establish or make firm, so that the two pillars in front could properly serve to represent a pious motto, such as we often see painted over chancels, namely, "God will establish it (this temple) in strength." This can be met with the criticism that we are reading a modern meaning into an ancient practice, and it does not account for the similar use of pillars by older nations, which was copied in this instance. The suggestion is made [6] that since the Hebrews used certain letters as figures for commercial and other purposes, as did the Greeks and Romans, the names given these pillars represent numerical symbolic values. We learn from many sources that there grew into being an elaborate system of symbolism in the use of Hebrew letters, known as Gematria, and, according to this, the numbers representing the Unspeakable Name were so used for purposes of worship where secrecy was required. We find a similar method in early Christian times, when the picture of a fish contained the whole of a creed which it was death to profess openly. [7]

It is interesting to notice that in the Grand Lodge of England, prior to the Union, both words were used, but not spoken, being pointed out to the E.A. after he had been sworn. Also that between 1743 and 1766 the use of these words was reversed to offset the numerous exposures which had been published. This reversal was one of the innovations objected to by many brethren who finally organized themselves in 1753 into the Grand Lodge of the Ancients, but the Act of Union in 1813 between the two Grand Lodges confirmed the original practice.

At least one other feature of our methods with these pillars is open to contention, and that is the placing of globes upon their capitals. This is another piece of foolishness, which seems to be here to stay. The Israelites knew nothing about terrestrial and celestial globes, or even that the world was round. For them, as for many other peoples, the earth was a flat place surrounded by water, for the benefit of which the sun, moon and stars pursued their courses. The Hebrew word here translated globe is "Keteret", which really means a crown, [8] or perhaps a bowl, and might well be equivalent to the baskets set on the heads of the statues that as columns support some of the Greek temples. The most probable explanation is that these globes are descended from the winged discs set by the Egyptians over the doorways of their temples, which represented both the soul of man on the path of evolution and the Lord of Day in his work of beneficence to the earth. [9]

An astronomical theory as to their use has been well supported by illustrated articles in THE BUILDER for September, 1922, and October, 1923, and another reasonable theory is that the Israelites, being a theocracy and government equally by King and Priest, used Jachin as a Royal or Coronation Pillar by which the monarch stood to be anointed, of which instances are given in the V.S.L. and Boaz similarly at the consecration of the High Priest. [10] One other interpretation should not be omitted, if only because of its very real antiquity. I refer to that direct worship of the Great Architect of which we have today only a decadent remnant in the use of phallic symbols. For this purpose either Jachin or Boaz could well serve, as in the old rituals, since such a position requires strength for the establishment of the race. But there have been nations as there is today a church, where the female line of descent is more valued than the male and the symbol of the Vesica Piscis is their equivalent to the two pillars.

Then again, we pass to initiation between two pillars at the porch of the temple, and in II Esdras, 7-7, the path to Wisdom and Life is said to lie between Fire and Water and to be so narrow and painful that only one may pass through at a time. [18] If our symbolism is correctly interpreted by finding in the human body the type of the lodge wherein are taken the experiences that lead to spiritual birth and illumination, then we can see wherein our entrance to that lodge comes with pain and travail through the passage from our mother's womb during the mystery of childbirth, between the pillars that support it, so that even in what has become a commonplace of physical life, we can find the workbench and tools of the Great Architect. Had we but a little of the clearer vision that comes with purity of thought and conscience, perhaps we might even see Him at work and copy Him the more faithfully.

The next set of pillars to be considered are generally spoken of as the Three Columns to avoid confusion with the Two Pillars. These are the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian and are used to symbolize the qualities of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty and the officers to whom these should most fittingly apply, namely, the Master and his Wardens. They should not be confused with the Wardens' columns which are raised or lowered as occasion requires, nor with their pedestals, which are but the shrivelled remnants of their personal work benches. It is difficult to account for this pairing of a specific style of architecture with a definite quality of mind. Our oldest catechism gives us the qualities only and we are indebted to the work of Preston for the additions from Greek architecture. Browne had the same allocation of orders to qualities as Preston, but does not seem to have copied him. Finch (1802) has Ionic instead of Tuscan, and is hardly likely to have been influenced by Webb, though he used the Tuscan in place of the Doric. The change to the present usage was made by Webb for the United States work (at least we first find it in his Monitor) and later by Hemming for the English. [19] If they were based on seniority of style, then the Doric comes first as being the oldest of the Greek orders, since it dates from at least 650 B.C. and is closely akin to that of contemporary Egypt as shown by certain tombs at Thebes. This is the style used in building that architectural marvel known as the Parthenon and was best exemplified by the work of Pericles. Its oldest example, a temple at Corinth, shows a proportion of only one to four between diameter and height, but this gradually increases, as can be seen in the temple of Zeus at Aegina, built about a century later, where it is one to five and a half, and finally in the Parthenon, where it is one to six. [11]

A Scandinavian origin for these pillars is claimed in the statement that Odin, Thor and Freya had always a pillar by their altars, symbolic of their cosmic qualities, which were also Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, and that the last named had also a sheaf of wheat hung over her pillar as, being Mother Nature, she was productive as well as beautiful. [12] However, Bro. Fort does not give any examples of the appearance of these pillars, and his theory does not appear to have been accepted. It has also been noted that the holy altars and places of Hinduism are supported by three pillars in honor of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. After the Doric comes in point of age the Ionic and the Corinthian. The Ionic took its name from its being used, almost exclusively, by the people of Ionia. Its earliest example is the famous temple of the Wingless victory, NIKE APTEROS, which dates from about 470 B.C. The great temple of Diana at Ephesus and of the Dionysian Artificers at Teos, were built in this style. Its special feature was a greater height than the Doric, its proportion being one to nine, and the use of a sort of ram's horn curve for its capitals, known as volutes. These latter appear to have come from Nineveh and may have evolved from the heads of bulls and horses which were carved as capitals on their columns by the Assyrian sculptors, whose influence is to be seen in the work of the Dionysians who traveled through part, at least, of the territory included in that ancient empire. [13] The statement is made that the Doric was modeled on the figure of a sturdy young man and the Corinthian on that of a slender virgin, but I have not found any technical authority for it, though I am informed it is taken from Vitruvius. The symbolic value of this pillar may have been based on the technical skill required to carve the volutes correctly. The Corinthian order is better described as sumptuous or magnificent, rather than as beautiful, for beauty is frequently simple, which this column is not. It is said to have been invented by a sculptor named Callimachus about 400 B.C., from the curves of an acanthus leaf. Its proportion is one to ten, and it has a fluted shaft which fills the eye with a sense of elegance and harmonious proportion.

It is suggested that the use of these pillars was due to the classical renaissance which followed the death of the Operative gild system, as is seen by the general tone of the polite literature of that time, which was padded with quotations from the Greek and Roman authors. There can be no doubt that many members of our Order were drawn from those who read and wrote this sort of matter since the Fraternity had become fashionable through the admission of royalty and members of the nobility to its ranks. [14] Still that does not explain why the quality of the Master as Wisdom to instruct his craftsmen should be shown in the Ionic column, or the Strength of the Wages paid by the Senior Warden shown by the Doric column, or the Beauty of the noon-tide rest and refreshment supplied by the Junior Warden, shown by the Corinthian, even though we can all agree that Wisdom is required to contrive, Strength to support, and Beauty to adorn, both the lodge and the member. The crucial point for a Research Society is not so much the theoretical duties of the lodge officers as the fitness of their symbols. In this connection we read "In a primitive trestle-board, the Blazing star represented Beauty, and was called the Glory in the Centre, being placed exactly in the middle of the Floor Cloth." [15] The same author states in this book, too, that Dunckerley was authorized by Grand Lodge to construct a new Code of Lectures by a careful revision of the ritual then in use. This, however, is denied by a later writer, [16]; who says there is "nothing in the Transactions of the Hall Committee to warrant any such conclusion." (This Committee was the first Board of General Purposes.) The unnamed writer of Lecture VIII in Oliver's "Masonic Institutes" states that "The mighty pillars on which Masonry is founded are those whose basis is Wisdom, whose shaft is Strength, and whose chapiter is Beauty," thus making all three similar in their symbolic values and leaving the necessity for three to be served by their introduction as memorials of the "three founders of the Order," viz., Solomon and the two Hirams.

Lastly we have the five symbolic pillars, each an example of the five Noble Orders of Architecture, but without any definite attributes other than those already mentioned for the three of Greek origin. There are various ceremonial quintettes in Freemasonry, but we are left to apply them as we please, an unfortunate lapse in a claim to a systematic illustration by symbol. The two additional pillars, Tuscan and Composite, are stated to be of Roman origin and, of the former, it is said "The Simplicity of the Construction of this Column renders it eligible where solidity is the chief object and where ornament would be superfluous." [17] Although it contains the divine proportion of seven to one, it may still be said to represent all primitive peoples and states generally, in having Strength without Beauty, this being a usual feature of immaturity. Of the Composite we find that, like the Corinthian, it is built on a ten to one basis, but differs from it by adding double the ornamental features of both this capital and that of the Ionic. It might be considered to represent any decadent civilization which has lost its sense of proportion and, like immaturity, confuses "better" with "more." It shows us Beauty without Wisdom and reminds us of those unfortunate men and women whose empty minds cannot teach them to grow old gracefully, but whose wealth makes them victims of beauty doctors and other imposters who fatten on human vanities.

There is a curious theory of the sort for which our Speculative ancestors have been burnt at the stake, that as our physical body has ten extensions, each caused by a definite need, though today we make no complete use of them, so our sensory apparatus contains ten extensions whereby we shall become fully conscious of our surroundings, though today we are familiar with but five, the "sixth sense" being in evidence only here and there and the rest latent. It may be that our ritual makers builded better than they knew, and that the finished plan of the Great Architect will need ten pillars, or types of mind, for its full accomplishment. Certainly it is not for us to set any limits as to that. But we can well afford to say "it may be so" since as a theory it does no violence either to those present facts on which our faith must be built, or to the processes of reason, which all Masons should follow, whereby our faith is reinforced.

If it be admitted that, as Bro. Wilmshurst says, "the purpose of all initiation is to lift human consciousness from lower to higher levels by quickening the latent, spiritual, potentialities in man to their fullest extent through appropriate discipline. No higher level of attainment is possible than that in which the human merges in the Divine consciousness and knows as God knows," then one may justly claim for our ten pillars, as for all the other symbolic decades, from the Sephiroth down to our fingers and toes, the property of representing, through their own proper duties, these dormant powers of the now half-awakened divine man, the appropriate disciplines by which they will be aroused, and the tools wherewith their purposes will be served in meeting the requirements of the Master Builder.


  1. A Lecture on the Two Pillars, by J. T. Thorpe, P.M., Secretary of the Leicester Lodge of Research.
  2. W. Bro. Rev. F. de P. Castells, A.K.C., sheds light on this, as on other Masonic problems, in his "Apocalypse of Freemasonry," recently published. He suggests that the outer surface of these pillars, like that of "Cleopatra's Needle", were used for the inscription of historical events. In that way they might well carry rather than "contain" the archives of the nation. This suggestion is sufficiently simple to be probable, as the unadorned area of their shafts would be quite large.
  3. The Pillars of Freemasonry, by Wm. Harvey, P.M., J.P., F.S.A., Scotland.
  4. I am informed that the word used here (Ontario) fifty years ago was "Ancient," not "Assistant." This would be much more appropriate, and is most probably correct as this officer could hardly be a young man.
  5. Masonic Names and Words, by Rev. Morris Rosenbaum, P.M.; also Evidences of Freemasonry From Hebrew Sources, by Rabbi Chumaceiro.
  6. Beginning of Masonry, by Frank C. Higgins.
  7. Fellowcrafts' Handbook, by J.S.M. Ward, B.A., F.S.S. Another most illuminating suggestion comes from Bro. The Hon. Sir John Cockburn, M.D., K.C.M.G., P.D.G.M., of South Australia, namely, that in the course of oral transmission foreign words become so corrupt in form that they cease to be intelligible and, in consequence, attempts are made to replace them by words whose meaning is known and whose shape, or sound, is similar to that of the corrupted word. Many Masonic students suspect that this has occurred in our rituals, and Sir John thinks that the original name attached to these pillars were the Greek names Iacchus and Boue. Iacchus, or Bacchu was the God of Youth and of the procreative powers, who in some of the Grecian mysteries was slain and rose again. Boue means the primeval chaos, the dark womb of time, and so the womb of all mothers. This is somewhat confirmed by the practice of the Supreme Council, 33° of France, in giving to its members an interpretation of important words in Freemasonry wherein "J" is explained as the phallus and "B" as the womb. This would indicate that from the descent of the divine life into the womb of substance was brought forth all natural forms of life.
  8. The Perfect Ashlar, by Rev. J. T. Lawrence, M. A.
  9. Mysteries of Freemasonry, by John Fellows.
  10. Solomon's Temple, by Rev. Shaw Caldecott
  11. Story of Architecture, by C. A. Mathews, or similar works
  12. Antiquities of Freemasonry, by Fort.
  13. A Study of the Dionysian Artificers, by Da Costa.
  14. The Keystone, by Rev. J. T. Lawrence, M.A., also Revelations of a Square, by Rev. Geo. Oliver, D.D.
  15. The Symbol of Glory, Lecture XI, by Rev. Geo. Oliver, D. D.
  16. Life, Labors and Letters of Thomas Dunckerley, by Henry Sadler.
  17. Freemasons' Manual, by Jeremiah How, K.T., 30°.
  18. The Meaning of Masonry, by W. L. Wilmshurst.
  19. I am indebted for this information to the Editor of THE BUILDER.

* * *


A Discussion in Three Parts

Bro. Ernest E. Thiemeyer, Missouri


IN discussing the internal difficulties of the story of Hiram two of the main divisions of Bro. Race's argument have been covered. The last and most important phase remains — the dramatic character of the story and its connection with the stage. Bro. Races's theory to be water-tight must preclude a possibility of other satisfactory explanations of the difficulties which have led to his conclusions. One such explanation has been suggested at the conclusion of the foregoing section of this argument. The theory is, then, not above reproach. It has been conclusively proven that the legend is a product of evolution. That, in itself, is not sufficient to exclude the possibility of the legend being a type of drama such as Bro. Race presents, but only shows that if it was ever a drama, it was not such a one as Bro. Race would have us believe. It remains to be shown that those peculiarities in the legend which lead to the opinion that the story itself was once a drama can be explained more conclusively and more satisfactorily in another way. Before this can be done the conclusions that may be drawn from the evolutionary character of the difficulties in the story must be understood. It is then that the explanation of the dramatic feature will become apparent. The present portion of this discussion will, therefore, necessarily take the form of an excurses on evolution and its effects on our legend.

There is no more sure sign of the evolutionary character of the legend than the fact that it is undergoing change at the present time. It is alive, growing, vital, and living. If it were universally practiced in a uniform manner it would be more difficult to reach such a conclusion, but the history of the story within the known period of Masonic development would convince even the most skeptical that it is a product and at present neither beginning nor ending. But aside from this, the source from which all regular lodges of the world sprang is to be found in the British Isles, and some variations might be expected because of the several branches along which the descent could be traced. If the changes were of a purely corrective or legislative nature, the versions would be less divergent than they are. Such corrections would tend toward uniformity rather than the reverse, just as legislative changes do today.

If through the medium of this effort some student of Masonry is encouraged to delve into the subject and propound a new and more feasible theory on the "Origin of the Legend of the Third Degree" its purpose will have been accomplished. The quotation marks are used advisedly. The subject has been so much discussed that the phrase is hackneyed. It is noteworthy how readily the Masonic minds flock to a new development on this subject and how quickly they accept something that is different — provided it seems to have even a germ of truth in it. When Bro. Robert Race delivered his address some years ago, he made more emphatic statements than the evidence warrants accepting, but he brought into being a brain-child which has been recognized among many students as probably accounting for the origin of our Craft Drama. Criticism, attempted verification, presumption, variation, and all the other forms of analysis and error have been applied to it in an attempt to prove its logic; the numerous expressions of opinion and many statements of Race's intended meaning now make it essential that the original be consulted if any understanding of the theory is to be reached. It is now ready for scientific raising (or razing, if one prefers). It has been pointed out in the first part that there is much against accepting the Legend as the plot of a Medieval Drama.


The whole plot is a mass of varying detail and a cancelling of points of difference in the versions in use would leave only a skeleton of the Legend as it is now known. And nothing has been said about including the old forms in this cancellation process. There is no need for particular stress to be laid on this point at this time, because it is a matter on which all who know anything about the subject must be in agreement; the results of such a process will be treated later. Granting that the Legend has been undergoing evolution during the Grand Lodge Era, it is fair to assume that the same forces were at work before 1717. It is necessary, if a stand is to be taken on this basis, to offer proof that the Legend was not, as it has been considered, the invention of Grand Lodge ritualists. Another detail but it merits passing attention. It is sufficient for our needs to accept the opinions of the majority of Masonic students. They are practically in accord that the Legend was not pure invention by either Anderson, Desaguliers, or others of their time, and are now almost without exception of the opinion that the Legend existed in some form prior to the inception of the Grand Lodge of England. That the Legend was amplified or to some extent changed by these pioneers in Speculative Masonry can hardly be denied. Some readers may be inclined to doubt this statement, but that may pass as it is not essential to our discussion. Granted that such changes were made, our argument is not in any respect weakened. It is the collective result that decides whether or not evolution is at work, and not the fact that one change was made by an individual or group of individuals. In addition, such a process demands that innovations be made from necessity, what that necessity is does not matter — it may be the demands of a higher type of life, of a higher stage of mental development, or what not. Certainly the changes in our Legend were made because of some pressing need. The inherent conservatism of the Fraternity would preclude any possibility of innovations in the ritual being made otherwise.

Acting in accordance with general agreement on the above point, it must be admitted that documentary evidence cannot be presented in support of the theory, but a critical examination of the period in which the invention was supposed to have occurred has convinced us that such a conclusion has little inherent probability. When the writings, both literary and scientific, together with the mental attitude of the period are taken into consideration the conclusion is that invention at such a time was impossible. The scientific and literary research of the 17th and early 18th century compares most unfavorably with that of today. The resemblance between the Ancient Mysteries (which, by the way, were also secret in nature) and our Legend, fulfilling as it does the requirements of a pagan ritual in almost every respect, is uncanny. Surely copyists, even had they tried to imitate the old rituals, would have left something out; but even more important, the probabilities of their having knowledge of such ceremonies is extremely remote. The sciences of ethnology and anthropology are not sufficiently old for that, and it is the researches of students of these subjects which have brought to light the evidence we have on the Ancient Mysteries. A suggested conclusion is that our Legend developed either out of or along the same lines as the Ancient Mysteries.

But we are getting ahead of our argument; if it is impossible, as many students believe, for the Legend to have been invented about 1720-25, the possibility of its ever having been a deliberate fiction lessens in direct proportion to the antiquity attributed to the story. It would be indeed difficult to imagine a Boccaccio, a Rabelais, or a Chaucer inventing such a story and in selecting these, we have taken some of the outstanding figures in medieval literature and the first and last of these used traditional plots like Shakespeare. Few story tellers before the modern period invented their plots; Rabelais was probably original, but it is extremely doubtful whether even he could have invented such a story as ours although his capability of producing certain features of it is possible. This being the case it is even more impossible to attribute it to a gild of skilled laborers such as the operative Masons of their day. Possibly the necessary ability came into the Craft with the advent of Speculative or "Accepted" Masons, but the first record of these being admitted is in the latter part of the 16th or early 17th century though there are indications that it was the custom at a much earlier period. Bro. Lionel Vibert would attribute the old M.S. Constitutions to Masons of this character. He would go even further, for he says:

"We have to thank the craftsmen who, in the thirteenth century or earlier made these people masons, for all that the Craft is today and all that it embodies of external symbolism." [1]

I italicize the word "all" in quoting this because it expresses a sentiment to which I take exception. It may be granted, according to my own opinion, that these "Accepted" Masons had an influence, possibly a very great one, on the symbolism, and it may be admitted they wrote the old manuscripts, but that all of the symbolism can be attributed to them is a very sweeping statement. The most sublime symbol in the whole Craft ritual is that embodied in the Legend. If the brightest literary minds of the medieval ages were incapable of such an invention can it be supposed that such monks, priests, or whoever else were accepted masons were mentally capable of the effort?


While the subject of Bro. Vibert's paper is before us, there is one other point he brings out which has a direct bearing on the subject at hand, and incidentally indicates how easily even such a competent student as he may be led astray. To quote:

"In a paper read before the Manchester Research Association some years ago, the late Bro. Robt. Race reconstructed the degree as a miracle play in a very ingenious manner; it worked out singularly well. His suggestion was that the Masters, on the advancement of a fellow, gave a performance of what was their secret play (the italics are mine) never shewn outside the Lodge. It is certainly remarkable that the Craft, although it took its share of Corpus Christi Plays in common with the other guilds never performed any Play or Biblical incident that had any connection at all with their calling. This does look rather as if they thought that any Play that did so should be kept for their private use." [2]

That Bro. Vibert has here hit on a singular truth is not to be doubted, but how he can assume that this is what Bro. Race intended I am unable to understand. A careful perusal of the article to which he refers shows no indication that Bro. Race deemed his Miracle Play to have been of a secret character. In fact he plainly intimates that it is quite the opposite:

"It is perhaps rather imperfectly stated, but IT IS THE LIBRETTO OF A RELIGIOUS DRAMA — NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING LESS. Pageants and dramas have been used from time immemorial, long before the time of King Solomon in order to inculcate something of the religious teaching of the day, or to impress the populace with the mystical might of the Priests. We have known of them as Mystery Plays, or Miracle Plays, right down at least to the 14th or 15th century. Some of you have no doubt seen recent reproductions of these plays; one at all events has been produced in Manchester a few years ago, viz., 'Everyman.' It was the common practice, for there were no other means, unless it was by lecture, of teaching the populace. Now these dramas, when presented as dramas, took place under very simple surroundings. Often enough they were performed in the open glade, often enough on a platform or stage; but in those early days the conditions were practically uniform. There was no scenery; they might have had draperies but there was no scenery and there was very little in the way of properties. To enable the audience to understand what scene was being depicted, either a notice was put up, say 'This is London,' a 'Forest', or something else (but very few would be able to read), or an official stepped forward before the play began and announced 'This is so and so'."

In Race's own statement of his theory, presented above, it is quite evident that he referred not to a secret drama, but to a public one with all the properties, officials, and audience necessary for its production. If the secret presentation of the Legend had been intimated, or stressed, by Bro. Race it would make our task less difficult and it would be much easier for us to place the story in its proper category. It is the emphasis placed on the public nature of the ceremony which leads us to conclude that Race did not carry his classification far enough, he says:

"I have depicted here what might have been and what I believe has been enacted in the presentation of the Legend of H.A. not of necessity in Masonic circles only, but in many and various societies long years ago."

I have drawn attention to the significance of the last clause by italics. Such stories as this are not first public property and later private, but quite the opposite.


As has been intimated above, to this date the Legend has not been properly classified. Statements have been made on the subject, but no intensive effort to agree or disagree with the arguments advanced has been offered. If it is once placed in its true category and treated by the same canons of critical analysis as are applied to the other members of its real group important progress in the right direction will have been made. There is beyond reasonable doubt a connection between our Legend and the Medieval Drama. What this connection is will be pointed out as research on the subject broadens. There are too many things in the way for us to accept it as the plot of such a drama, but the thought is one that will lead us into other and possibly more fruitful fields. The fault in Bro. Race's argument lies not in incorrect analysis, but, as has been said, in not carrying his analysis far enough — a common enough failure in any pioneering movement. Since his classification cannot be accepted and a resemblance between the Legend and Medieval Drama must be admitted, it would seem that a reasonable conclusion would be that it is another branch from the same root.

An excursion into the realms of cultural history, together with an analysis of the mental processes underlying the development of such stories as our Legend will enable us to allocate it to its proper place. The evolutionary steps through which the Legend has passed have led to the conclusion that it is not and was not at any period of its history pure invention of a fictional nature, but a natural outgrowth of ritual requirement. To restate this opinion in a more concise form: The Legend is a RITUAL MYTH. As such it has developed along the lines of other myths. The growth and development of such fables must be clear before such a statement can be accepted as true.

It must first be seen what myth is and its connection with ritual then investigated. As an aid to understanding myth, let us take a dictionary definition of it:

"Myth — 1. a fictitious or conjectural narrative for a time received as historical, an imaginary person, object, or event. 2. an unproved tradition; popular fable. 3. a parable; allegory." [3]

In developing the process of mythical growth the application of this definition to the Hiramic Legend will become apparent. The method to be followed can be of two natures: either the development of myth can be traced from primitive to present day culture or the process may be reversed. For the sake of clarity of thought it is easier to take a simple beginning and build up to a complex structure, so we shall begin with the primitive forms of myth.

In adopting such a method of treatment the results of anthropological and ethnological research may be used. This will eliminate many of the pitfalls which have beset the paths of students before our time, and we avoid the ways of error into which Masonic study has fallen because they have begun with the complex result of evolution instead of the simplest beginnings. Similarity in mistakes is one point which by inference proves that we are fast approaching the proper solution of the problem:

"Among those opinions which are produced by a little knowledge to be dispelled by a little more, is the belief in an almost boundless creative power of the human imagination. The superficial student, mazed in a crowd of seemingly wild and lawless fancies which he thinks to have no reason in nature nor pattern in this material world, at first concludes them to be new births from the imagination of the poet, the tale-teller, and the seer." [4]

Masonic investigators have evidently fallen into the same trap and are only now beginning to see the error of their ways in attributing the origin of the Legend to the conscious invention of the Grand Lodge ritualists. That they have not yet wholly seen the light is clear from their attempts of the present day to consider it as an earlier invention. Another of their errors is summed up:

"We can watch how the mythology of Classic Europe, once so true to nature and so quick with her ceaseless life, fell among commentators to be plastered with allegory or euhemerized into dull sham history." [5]


This quotation on the allegorical interpretation of myth suggests one notable error into which many of our students are even now falling and which is worthy of some consideration. Finding the story hard to understand they have taken its allegorical character and built on it far beyond its proper limits. To deny that allegory has a place in myth is beyond any student of mythology, but to make such a story rational because it is or can be turned into allegory is preposterous. Allegory, properly speaking, is an outgrowth of primitive myth — a later development and not a contemporaneous one. This reference to the mythology of Classic times re-opens a question broached earlier in our discussion. Bro. Vibert admits the resemblance of our Legend to the Ancient Mysteries, but concludes:

"The structure (of the Masonic Fraternity) being that of a Craft Gild it is obvious that the process has been, not that the Ancient Mysteries have come down in unbroken descent and at some period of their course adopted the external appearance of a Gild, but that a particular Gild has for some reason been led to develop elaborate ceremonies and absorb the ancient symbolism; and, as it happens, we can indicate quite precisely the influence under which this took place, and, with some degree of definiteness, the time when it happened." [6]

The state of disrepute into which comparisons between the Ancient Mysteries and our Legend have fallen is clearly shown in this admission of resemblance. Perhaps the trouble is not with the evidence, but, as Tylor intimates above, with the method of applying it, and again:

"History is an agent powerful, and becoming more powerful in shaping men's minds, and through their minds their actions in the world; now one of the most prominent faults of historians is that, through want of familiarity with the principles of myth development, they cannot apply systematically to ancient legend the appropriate tests for separating chronicle from myth, but with few exceptions are apt to treat the mingled mass of tradition partly with undiscriminating credulity and partly with undiscriminating scepticism." [7]

Our Legend has undergone just such stages of criticism as Tylor mentions, treated first with "undiscriminating credulity" as literal history and then with "undiscriminating scepticism" as conscious invention. It has long been known that our narrative was not history, but we do know that it was once considered such. The scepticism of Bro. Vibert in accepting the Ancient Mysteries is clearly of the same type as that to which Tylor takes exception. There is much food for cogitation in the quotation from Vibert given above.

(Part II Continued)


  1. "The Story of the Craft," by Lionel Vibert in the Transactions of the Merseyside Association for Masonic Research, 1923-24, p. 47.
  2. Ibid., p. 53.
  3. From Funk and Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary. Compare also Webster's Dictionary, which goes more into detail.
  4. Primitive Culture, Tylor. Vol. 1, p. 273.
  5. Ibid. Vol. 1, p. 275.
  6. Vibert, op. cit., p. 43.
  7. Tylor, op. cit., Vol. 2, p. 447.

* * *


Bro. W. Ravenscroft, England

THE article which appeared in the January number of THE BUILDER entitled "Gilds, Collegia and Comacines," seems to call for some response and criticism in respect to the latter. Its attitude in the main is such as is assumed generally by those who do not accept the claim some of us make for the Comacines, inasmuch as it neither denies or affirms and consequently is somewhat inconclusive; one would like to get a bit of flat denial, if such could be forthcoming, as something tangible with which to deal; and the suggestion that the greater weight of Masonic scholarship is on the negative side — although one doubts very much if that holds good in England — should indicate that such scholarship ought to produce, if possible, something definite by way of argument on its side.

There are two questions raised by this contribution to your columns: one as to the relationship between Collegia and Comacines; the other as to that of Comacines to Speculative Masonry. As regards the former I cannot admit the statement that "the skeleton of the argument usually advanced amounts to very little more than this: a certain form of social organization existed in Roman times called Collegium — in a later period another form is found that is called a Gild and that where the latter is found the former presumably existed." As regards Collegia and Gilds generally one would suggest that at present there is little ground for such argument and one doubts if as yet it is seriously held by anybody.

But in the case of the Comacines whatever we have before us goes to show that their particular Gild was the outcome of the Collegium and that the hiatus of the Dark Ages, so-called, was the very period in which this change developed. One does not wish to refer unnecessarily to my little book on the Comacines, but to save space I do so for authorities quoted.

Surely the evidence for the existence of a band of workmen living after the downfall of Rome on the Island of Comacina and on the shores and neighboring districts around the Lake of Como, both historic and expressed on stone, is beyond question. It is certainly admitted by our most learned authorities in Europe and England, and the evidence for their connection with Roman artificers is scarcely less strong. The patronage of the Quatuor Coronati — the development of Comacine work in plan, designs and detail from Roman models — the traditional connection with the old Collegia — all developed during the "Dark Ages" surely leave no doubt on the point. Moreover how are the Comacines otherwise to be accounted for? Their persistent preference for the Roman plan rather than the Eastern in their churches forbids the suggestion that, notwithstanding some Byzantine influence felt and developed by them, they were of that school.

As to the derivation of their name, one does not really worry much. When it is remembered that the Lombards named the Island of Comacina "Christopolis" and that its present name is of later date, it is very possible that it was identified as the home of the "Commacon" or associate Masons and hence the derivation both of the name by which the island is now known and the Gild now called the Comacines.


With regard to the other point of the article in question, viz., the association of the Comacines with Speculative Masonry, I do not suppose anyone would claim a direct or rather an immediate connection between the two, especially those of us who hold that the Comacine Gilds either died out or were merged, as is more probable, into the Mediaeval Gilds of the Gothic period.

The suggestion that the disappearance of the Roman power from England broke the connection between the Roman College and subsequent artificers, is one of the main arguments we, who stand for the Comacines, regard as essential to our claim. For while not admitting that "the effect was the reduction of the Celtic population into barbarism as complete as that of their enemies" — seeing it drove a large number of these people westward where they did, to some extent, retain their religion, civilization and art, it is, we claim, from the fact that in England at any rate such was the retrograde condition of things caused by the Roman departure, that it later became necessary for converted Saxons to fetch from France and Italy men who could build as they could not. Thus it was through these men that the continuity of architectural development was maintained in England and ultimately grew into the Norman and later styles which prevailed here. Recent excavations in this country as well as existing buildings here demonstrate in a remarkable way the close connection between the Comacine work of Como and that of England.

As to what was done in 1717 I do not venture to suggest more than this: that through the church building period, and even down to the early eighteenth century, there was before the men who developed our ritual at that time a model from which our Speculative Masonry drew much inspiration; and whether the Mediaeval Gilds gradually merged into a Speculative Society by admission in increasing numbers of laymen to their circles, or whether the Masonry of today has no more association with that of the Operative Craftsmen than that of being formed on its basis, it is fairly clear that the inspiration of Speculative Masonry is considerably drawn from the teaching and practice of the Gilds.

* * *


Bro. N. W. J. Haydon, Associate Editor, Canada



Masonry has so far only a History of the Introduction of Royal Arch Masonry into York, now Toronto, in 1800, by R. Ex. Comp. H. T. Smith, Grand Scribe E., in 1922; and a History of the Hiram Chapter of Hamilton, Ontario, 1820-1920, by the same official. This zealous historian is now finishing a complete history of Royal Arch Masonry in Ontario, to be published soon.

Freemasonry in Canada, compiled by Bro. Osborne Sheppard, of Hamilton in 1915, contains thirty-three chapters by nearly as many writers, prominent in our Order, dealing with its progress in their various provinces. This appeared in 1915 and a revised edition was published last year.

Transactions of the Nova Scotia Lodge of Research. This lodge was organized at Halifax in 1915 and has published several papers of an historical character. The Secretary, R. W. Bro. R. V. Harris, K.C., was the author of two of the papers appearing in the Canadian issue of THE BUILDER, published in August of last year.

An important work of this nature was produced by R. W. Bro. Henry Robertson, of Collingwood, Ontario, who afterwards became Grand Master, in his Digest of Masonic Jurisprudence for Canadian Lodges, in 1882. A second edition appeared in 1889 and the work is still in demand.

Resolutions of Grand Lodge and Rulings of Grand Masters was prepared in 1875 by R. W. Bro. Otto Koltz, of Hamilton, and published in a black paper cover. A second edition in cloth appeared in 1883. A similar compilation of rulings since 1900, for this province, was prepared in 1922 by R. W. Bro. W. M. Logan, M.A., in pamphlet form.

The Masonic Code of British Columbia was published in 1912 by R. W. Bro. Dr. DeWolf-Smith, Grand Secretary of that province.

In 1866 appeared the first issue of The Craftsman and British-American Masonic Record at Hamilton, Ontario. Later it became The Canadian Craftsman and Masonic Record, and so continued until 1907. Montreal had a Canadian Masonic News in 1876, but it does not appear to have lasted more than one year. The Freemason, edited by V. W. Bro. J. A. Cowan, of Toronto, began in 1881 and still continues under the same editorship. The Masonic Sun shed its earliest rays on the Craft from Toronto in 1897 and is now under the editorship of R. W. Bro. H. T. Smith. The Square, of Vancouver, B.C., was commenced by Bro. E. J. Templeton in 1920 and is doing its best to cultivate a literary form of service. Last year the Canadian Masonic News and the Masonic Digest were both started in Toronto: they have still to prove themselves.


Victor Roy, a Masonic Poem, was published in 1882 by Miss H. A. Wilkins, dedicated to M. W. Bro. Daniel Spry, G. M.; it is quite lengthy and much more Masonic than poetical!

Handbook of Freemasonry was issued by R. W. Bro. W. J. Morris, undated. The preface to the edition published at Toronto in 1906 states that it "has already gone through a number of editions." In 1900 its title became Pocket Lexicon of Canadian Freemasonry. Another and revised edition is proposed.

The Two Saints John and Allegory and Symbol were published in 1893 by R. W. Bro. George J. Bennett, Grand Scribe E., at Toronto, and bound together in one pamphlet.

Freemasonry in Canada, a thirty-two page pamphlet, was produced in 1893 by The Toronto Society for Masonic Research, the duplication of Bro. Sheppard's title being quite unintentional. It was written for those new to the Order and has the unique feature of letters of commendation from six Canadian Grand Masters. This Society was organized in 1920, but this pamphlet is its first publication for the Craft at large. A similar Society was formed at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in 1923. The Grand Lodges of Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan have made official effort to encourage this form of activity, and that of British Columbia makes an annual grant for the maintenance of a reference library at New Westminster, in the care of the Grand Secretary. There has been also some talk of founding a Research Lodge in the Province of Quebec, but so far as we can learn nothing has hitherto come of the project.

This list is regrettably incomplete, but omissions are not due to lack of effort or inquiry. As in the case of descriptive matter for articles of Masonic interest in this country, of which mention is made occasionally in official reports, the indifference of many brethren towards even the courtesies of correspondence has been a serious impediment to efforts which can be advanced only by that method. Let us hope that publication of so much will result in further information coming to light.

* * *


Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin

THE Entered Apprentice, after being initiated, is impressed in a way that he has never been impressed before. A wonderful system of moral philosophy has been presented to his view, and the beauties of its high ideals has thrilled him as he has never been thrilled before. The Entered Apprentice Degree contains a complete course of moral philosophy and must necessarily be in an extremely condensed form.

The very fact that such a comprehensive system has been condensed into a brief ritual makes it impossible for the mind to comprehend what the heart has intuitively felt. The newly made Mason, almost without exception, is responsive to the great design of Free masonry and has a lofty purpose of building such a Temple of Character as the Trestle Board of Freemasonry displays.

The heart, however, works much faster than the brain, and unless some systematic mental process is followed the intellect fails to fully grasp that which the heart fully felt. In order to help formulate a mental process by which we may rationally consider the wonderful lessons of this degree, it would seem that a clear conception of what Freemasonry is and its peculiar method of teaching are of first importance.

In the progress we have made all this has been given us in the ritual, but it is necessary to rehearse some of the salient features and closely analyze them.

Freemasonry teaches by a peculiar system of symbolic instruction, using types, emblems and allegories of the builders' art and a geometric symbolism to teach great fundamental moral and spiritual truths and, as Freemasons, our labors are building our Temple of Character.

Before we became Masons we declared that our motive in becoming Masons was a desire for knowledge and a sincere wish of being serviceable to our fellow creatures. This is a most important obligation we assumed. Whether we sincerely fulfill it is the most vital question we are to decide. We became Entered Apprentices voluntarily and every moral obligation we took was a voluntary action. The path has been pointed out to us. It is the path of peace and good will. Those who follow this path practice brotherly love, relief and truth. They seek knowledge of the moral and spiritual law. They live not for themselves but as children of one Father.

The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man are the great principles on which Freemasonry is founded. The "hidden mysteries" which are contained in the symbols and allegories of the ritual will always remain hidden from all those who are not prepared by a sincere desire to exert the talents God has given them to His glory and the service of humanity.

The Entered Apprentice who makes a sincere effort to learn to subdue his passions of prejudice, anger, hatred, fear, greed, selfishness, and countless others which keep humanity from peace and good will and that harmony which should pervade human nature as it does the universe, has made the first step. The second is to study the lessons of this degree in all their detail and be able to make known to others that you are a Mason by living the life which this degree teaches.

* * *


A MILITARY Lodge attached to an Irish Regiment in the service of England seems to have been the first to work Masonically at Havana from 1762. But Freemasonry was not definitely introduced to Cuba, until the opening of the nineteenth century, by French brethren whom the insurrection of 1798 had driven from Santo Domingo where the lodges were active since 1748. These refugees established at Santiago de Cuba the Lodges La Perseverance et la Concorde in 1802, then L'Amitie et la Benefique Concorde in 1803.

The following year, the Lodge Le Temple des Virtus Theologales was installed at Havana under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which had been addressed by the French founders through the intercession of their fellow countrymen established then to the number of more than 15,000 in Pennsylvania. In 1809 the Franco-Spanish war compelled the French inhabitants of Cuba to set out to Louisiana.

Cuban Freemasonry had none the less conserved the spirit of its first years, so well that its liberalism was not slow to carry suspicion to the Spanish Colonial authorities. It was from elsewhere a Frenchman, General Louis de Clonet, who introduced at Havana the Scottish Rite in founding there on April 2, 1818, a Grand Consistory of Princes of the Royal Secret (32° degree).

A Grand Lodge of the York Rite had been founded on March 27 of the same year. Its prosperity was troubled in 1823 by the arrest and putting to death of numerous brethren victims of the bloody persecutions ordered by Ferdinand VII.

Masonic communications were then forbidden and only allowed to be resumed in 1859.

Cuban Freemasonry solidly reconstituted itself in the course of the second half of the nineteenth century. The War of Independence exposed it anew to the severity of the Spanish authorities, but the forbidding of communication did not dissuade the Freemasons from a lively maintenance in their hearts of Masonic spirit. Oppression ceased on March 26, 1899, thanks to the intervention of the United States. Lodges are actually numerous and vigorously active as abodes of healthy moral influence.

The authority for these statements is the Historia de la Masoneria Cubana by Ricardo A. Byrne as quoted in Le Symbolism, November, 1925. Our standard Masonic Histories give no information on the subject previous to the year 1804.

* * *



Editor-in-Chief — R. J. Meekren

Associate Editors

Louis Block, Iowa
Robert L. Clegg, Ohio
Gilbert W. Daynes, England
Ray V. Denslow, Missouri
George H. Dern, Utah
N. W. J. Haydon, Canada
R. V. Harris, Canada
C. C. Hunt, Iowa
Charles F. Irwin, Ohio
A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania
F. H. Littklefield, Missouri
Joseph E. Morcombe, California
Joseph Fort Newton, New York
Arthur C. Parker, New York
Jesse M. Whited, California
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada

* * *


FREEMASONRY is not a religion, nor it is (outside of Scandinavia) a Christian institution, why then should we take note of the chief festival of the Christian Church? One facile answer would be, that like Christmas it has become a conventional holiday, standardized and divorced from religious observance. Purveyors of such things offer inducements to purchase greeting cards to send to our friends, purely commercial cards, in which no mention of Christ or the Resurrection is to be found. Perhaps it is just as well. Easter is a day to wear new clothes, to take a brief vacation (if we can) to enjoy the advent of spring. Some of us go to church, more have a feeling it would be the thing to do — still more do not think of it at all. Under such circumstances it does riot seem to be overstepping the bounds of propriety for us to wish all members of the N.M.R.S. and all others who may read THE BUILDER the best greetings of the season. The year is one-quarter spent, summer is at hand, the trees will soon be in leaf, the flowers in blossom, and the birds are already thinking of nests and singing love songs.

The observance of a Spring Festival is a deeply rooted habit of all inhabitants of the temperate zone, going back to primeval times, and founded in a psychological reaction from which it is impossible to escape. Animals express in their actions the same kind of feelings that in human society, even in its simplest forms, leads to a time of collective rejoicing. Puritanism did its very best, or worst, to eradicate it-and failed utterly. Whether sanctioned by religion or not, whether we have any conscious reason or -not, we accept tradition and keep the feast.

* * *


AS is well known, one powerful and highly organized church is bitterly opposed to Freemasonry, and the essential reason expressed in its official and authoritative pronouncements on the subject would seem to be, that in the lodge men meet together who belong or who may belong to many different religions. That is to say, were he not forbidden to enter by his spiritual rulers, the Roman Catholic might find himself associating with members of Protestant churches, with Jews, Mohammedans and men belonging to no religious organizations. But this in itself seems insufficient, for a Romanist may associate with Protestants in business, in politics, in a Rotary Club, in social life — his dearest friends may be of another faith and yet he is not condemned. It is obvious then that something more is implied, some supposition taken for granted about Freemasonry, which would put association with non-Romanists in the lodge on quite a different category to association with them elsewhere. This supposition can logically be nothing else than that Freemasonry is itself a religion.

Now if there is one thing that Masons have insisted on about their Order, it is that it is not a religion. It is reiterated in official addresses given in lodges and Grand Lodges, it is repeated in articles and in books, and though we all know that there are brethren who are fond of saying that Masonry is their religion, or that Masonry is all the religion they need (and this form of the statement is illuminating), yet they are exceptional and their opinion has never been accepted, and those holding it are told that they have never properly understood Masonry.

It is always useful to the individual to learn how he appears to others, and it is equally valuable to an institution or a society for its members to take note of what those outside think of it. Many clergymen and ministers of other churches and denominations besides the Roman Catholic have held the opinion that the influence of Freemasonry is not conducive to at least the formal and exterior expression of religious life. They say, and there must be some justification or it would not be possible for so many independent observers to come to the same conclusion, that more often than not, a Mason is a good church member in inverse proportion to his attachment to Masonry, that is, the enthusiastic and zealous Mason is apt to lose interest in the church. In such a question nothing is to be gained by mere denial. First one should ask himself individually what the effect has been on himself. It may be that if he will examine, not so much his actual conduct, but his feelings and general attitude, that he may see that there is something in it. And yet Freemasonry is not a religion, at least in the sense in which the word must be understood in ordinary usage.

Though we use the word constantly, and understand each other well enough when it is used, yet it must be remembered that definitions of what a religion is are very varied and in many cases contradictory. The natural tendency is to understand the word as applicable first of all to the religion we belong to or are best acquainted with. As other religions do or do not exhibit the characteristics that we regard as essential in our own so do we allow or refuse the name. Among ourselves of course the different religions we come in contact with are nearly all varieties of the Christian faith. Because of this many would deny the name of religion to the theosophical faith, for example. Without any attempt to go into the matter, let us see what most people would find in their religion, their church and creed. The creed sets forth some conception and definition of the Deity, of man's relationship and duty to Him and to his fellow man. The church is an organization to teach this creed and to aid its members in living up to its precepts. There seems then to be three things, a conception of God, a code of conduct, and an organization in which worship is offered in common to the former and exhortation and edification in regard to the latter. Taking the moral side first. The ethical code of most of us tends always to rest somewhere near the average level regarded as indispensable by the community as a whole. In the history of religion, and of Christianity in particular, we see how over and over again, in spite of revival and reformation, the terrible perfections of the Gospel tend to be watered down to the average level. True there are always prophets speaking of higher things, but they in general are speaking in an unknown tongue to most, or like John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness-unless of course some adventitious circumstance happens to make some one of them "first page news" and then they become for nine days or so a sort of spectacle, something to be seen and heard — but by no means to be followed. From this tendency, then, of the conduct of those in the churches to fall to the level of the general average (we must of course admit the balancing effect of church teaching in raising that average) it follows that so far as external actions go — by which alone we can judge others — a man may be respectable, virtuous and moral without adhering to any religion at all. This is not the same thing as saying without any religion at all, for undoubtedly the community would be different and have different ideals in such case. But so far as the individual is concerned the communal code will keep him pretty well up to the standard maintained on the average in he churches.

Let us take next the belief in God. Here again we have something never yet satisfactorily defined, and it depends very much on the content of the word whether a given individual believes or disbelieves. One may say he is an atheist. Question him and you find he admits (as he must) that the world had necessary antecedents, that is a cause, and that such cause must be competent to produce the effect. He may be a materialistic monist. The universe began in a formless mass of matter in a nebulous state. He may go no further than that, but if the question be raised he must admit that in this gaseous nebula were all the potentialities of life and human intelligence. But he does not want to give the name "God" to this first greater than man, but with the same kind of mind and acting by similar motives. Yet were he willing or able to understand the word as meaning an impersonal First Cause, and thus give verbal assent to a certain question, he could, if otherwise qualified, become a Freemason, for all exponents of Freemasonry whose opinion carries weight and authority in the Craft agree that every Mason is at liberty to conceive God as he can and will in the light of the knowledge he possesses. It is possible that this may be denied, and in any case materialism is not now in fashion. The tendency of physical science today is towards a conception of matter that in effect makes it an illusion of the senses and leaves only intangible forces and energies and inconceivable properties of space as the ultimate realities. But the best answer to those who doubt the statement above, is that under the Masonically orthodox Grand Lodge of England are lodges who receive as members the adherents of Buddhism, and to Buddhism the concept of God as the Christian understands it is meaningless. To a Buddhist God is the whole world objectively, and subjectively he himself is God, and the Way of Enlightenment is to attain a realization of this latter fact, when the limitations of personality disappear and the individual becomes the whole, and is himself all the God there is. The truth is that wherever one starts, and however one travels-and it fulfills a symbolic phrase often repeated by certain Masonic authors, that God is that circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference nowhere-the necessities of thought lead to some conception of the universe and its origin, that, however it may be named, is indistinguishable in definition from either Theism or Pantheism. The net result is that the individual can hold, must hold if he thinks, some conception of what is behind the universe, and that this is a conception of Deity, unless the latter term be restricted by a narrow anthropomorphic definition such as no competent theologian would allow to be sufficient.

So that of the three things we found in religion, two are in our present state of society attainable outside the churches as well as inside. Remains then the third, the assembling together for worship. And this is precisely the most objective of the three, the one that can be most easily observed and made the subject of statistical methods. Does a man attend church regularly? Is he a church worker? Such a question can easily be answered yes or no, and the answer verified. But also, though from the church organizations point of view this aspect tends to take first place, from the point of view of religion, it is the least important, perhaps (though this will be open to question) nonessential. But it is here that Freemasonry may compete with the religious organizations. The ceremonies of the lodge may give the individual the psychological satisfaction that he might otherwise have found in church services.

Let us be clear on the point. Masonic ceremonies are not religious rites. A banquet is not a religious feast because grace is said before and thanks given after it. A court of law (where the form has not been abolished) is not a church because witnesses are sworn on the Holy Bible. Neither does Freemasonry become a religion because prayers are used in the lodge, or newly made Masons exhorted to reverence the Bible as the great light of the Craft. Nevertheless the instinct for ceremonial, so strong in some men, may be satisfied in Masonry as well as in church worship, where it is only an external, used, as indeed it is in the lodge, for expressing collective feelings and emotions. Perhaps other illustrations will make the point clearer. One man May satisfy his liking for music in a church choir, another in a choral society. One may give effect to his benevolence in' parish relief work, another in his lodge sick committee or service association. In effect organized religion is built up out of elements common to all men and all societies, and it has no monopoly of any one, what distinguishes it is the combination it makes of them; and as to the value of the combinations no universal agreement is yet in sight. One thing can be pointed out to Christians and churchmen and that is the saying of Christ: "He that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward." If this means anything at all it must mean that God works outside the organizations of the churches as well as in them, and will receive everyone who follows the light that he has received.

* * *


Bros. A. L. Kress and R. J. Meekren

In a part of the formal teaching of Masonry that is now unfortunately very generally ignored, so that few, even among our Past Masters, know so much as the bare letter, we are given some curious information about the "Lodge" — its situation, its orientation, dimensions, supports, furniture, ornaments and jewels. We are further told how it is formed, and here it is obvious on reflection that the word is being used in a somewhat different sense. The difference in the meaning in this respect can be very conveniently made clear by the analogous use of the word "church." We can speak of a church being founded in such a place, at such a time, meaning the organization of a congregation. We can speak also of a church being erected, that is the building in which the congregation assembles for worship. Thus the lodge may be formed and organized under certain conditions and restrictions, and with certain formalities. But the connection between the lodge thus formed and the lodge in the concrete sense is very close, as it can only be formed in a certain kind of place, and certain "furniture" must be provided. The formal description of these requirements is partly practical, or perhaps rather legal, and partly traditional. The lodge is formed by a certain number of Masons, seven or more, in a secure place furnished with the Bible, square and compasses. But in addition to this a charter or warrant of constitution is necessary. In some places it is said, in quite modern regulatory phrase, that without this last the lodge would be clandestine. In others it is said that a lodge must be just, perfect, and regular, and that the Bible makes it just, the presence of seven Masons, perfect, while the charter makes it regular. Excepting the number seven there is here nothing that can well be called symbolical, but on the other hand we have presented very interesting traces of the historical development of Masonry, like the tide marks of an old river bed high above the present level of the water.

The requirement that a certain number of Masons must be present recalls the phraseology of the old Operative Catechisms, and though the Bible is not mentioned in any of them, it, or the Book of the Gospels, is required by the old MS. Constitutions for the purpose of administering the oath. We also find the descriptive phrase "just and perfect," but it is to be doubted whether the "justness" was ascribed to the sacred book of the law and the "perfection" to the number present with such definition and particularity as appears in the explanation quoted above, although of course it is possible that this idea was present. There is always a constant tendency to ascribe new explanations to old traditional requirements, a tendency that is still actively at work on the esoteric side of Masonry, where it is not held in check by knowledge. Here there were found three requirements and three descriptive epithets. The last requirement, apparently a complete innovation two hundred years ago, was the test of regularity — what was more natural than that to each of the other two requirements should be also ascribed an effect, the one of making the lodge just and the other making it perfect. However if we may judge at all from the evidence of the old catechisms it would seem that the double qualification was merely emphatic and rhetorical, both from the way in which it is used in the places where it is found, and from its equivalents elsewhere. "Just and perfect" certainly seems to be the standard description, but we have also the "true lodge of St. John," a "full and perfect lodge," a "true and perfect lodge," as well as the "holy lodge of St. John" and the "worshipful" and "right worshipful" lodge. But these last phrases are used in a different connection and do not relate to its constitution. The Sloane MS. gives two phrases as alternative, "the just and perfect or just and lawful lodge."


The term "regular" which in American rituals is expressed by the phrase "lawfully constituted" undoubtedly came into use after the formation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717 to distinguish lodges and individual Masons who joined the new organization. The picture drawn by the older historians of the Craft of the early days of this "innovation in Masonry" was that Freemasonry had died out almost entirely in England, only four feeble lodges being left, and these in a moribund condition. That these four united in an attempt to reorganize and revive the "Royal Art" as a Speculative Institution, and that from this new organization all Masons since that time derived their Masonry either directly or indirectly. This account is altogether too clear-cut and definite to be the whole truth. Little by little odds and ends of information have been collected, until a quite different aspect is given to the facts related by Anderson, our chief and almost only informant as to the formation of the Grand Lodge. It would seem that so far from the four lodges and unattached brethren who were present, being the sole representatives left of a decadent fraternity, that they only represented themselves, that not to speak of Scotland and Ireland there were lodges existing elsewhere in England, and probably others in London itself, over and above the four spoken of by Anderson, or the six given by the author of Multa Paucis; or if not actually organized lodges, at least individual Masons, who so far as we can judge had the immemorial right of forming lodges for themselves. Also, a few stray indications as well as inherent probability, would lead us to suspect that the Craft was not so decadent or near to extinction as has been so generally believed in the past. It is quite probable that the formation of the 1717 Grand or "General" Lodge was only one of several stages of reformation and reorganization that marked the period of transition from a Craft organization with honorary members to the entirely Speculative Fraternity we know today.

That the new movement succeeded was doubtless due to the advantages of a centralized government, plus in all probability favoring accidental circumstances. Doubtless also there was no intention of innovating — those responsible probably based their action on the General Assemblies mentioned in the old Constitutions; the Grand Lodge at first was exactly such an Assembly at which every Mason, even Apprentices, had a right to be present. But the new body, revived or reformed or formed entirely anew as the case may have been, soon began to legislate, and its legislation naturally reflected ideas drawn from the constitution and political machinery of the country. Not only for example did it naturally and inevitably become transformed into a body representing constituent lodges instead of being composed itself of all members of the Craft, but its presiding officer, the Grand Master, was very soon regarded as himself the fons et origo of Masonic authority in analogy with the traditional view of the King as the source of all law and government in the country. It was most likely that these developments with the tendency of all governing bodies to extend their claims of jurisdiction, had more to do with the protests and disputes that culminated in the Greal Schism than the ritual differences which undoubtedly must always have existed. We however are concerned here only with the effect the new form of government and the theory of Masonic "regularity" to which it gave rise, had on the requirements regarded as essential for the proper constitution of a lodge. It is obvious from the records that irregularity did not (a first) invalidate the proceedings. The regular lodges were those adhering to the new form of government regular Masons were those belonging to such lodges Regularity at first meant little more than being on the roll of the Grand Lodge, though naturally it soon tended to be regarded as being as essential as the traditional qualifications of "just" or "right" or "perfect," and the "lawfulness" that once consisted only in conforming to the "Charges" and other traditional rules came to be regarded as being obedience to the new authority and its new regulations.

In England the lodge is still described as being "just, perfect and regular," its regularity consisting in possessing a warrant which gives those who hold it the authority to constitute themselves into a lodge. This intermediate stage, which half recognizes the inherent right of Masons to congregate in lodges, naturally soon developed further and the warrant became to all intents and purposes a charter; that is, an instrument which itself constitutes the lodge. From this point of view subordinate or "particular" lodges, as the old phrase went, are merely creatures of the Grand Lodge, permanent committees as it were charged with certain special functions. Nevertheless tradition and ritual preserved by the characteristic conservatism of Masons still makes it ritually necessary that a lodge be constituted (and so far as the ritual goes, self-constituted) every time it is opened, and this "constituting" is closely bound up with ancient symbolical requirements.


First with regard to the number of those required to be present. The impression derived from the Operative evidence is that the normal requirement was seven. Still stronger are the indications that it should be an odd number. The MS. Constitutions tell us as much as this, and other evidence points to the fact that all ranks in the Craft ought to be represented. Naturally the rules of the Constitutions and the minutes of old lodges do not give much detail about the matter, but in discussing the Operative Catechisms in the Study Club of February, this point was incidentally touched upon. (2) One form of these tells us outright that "odds make a lodge" because all odd numbers are "to men's advantage," by which presumably we are to understand that they are "lucky," a very old and widespread idea. This has been worked out in a number of possible variations. Seven fellows and five apprentices is one; three masters, three fellows and three apprentices is another; the arrangement, three masters, two fellows and two apprentices, making seven in all, seems however to have been the most generally accepted, sometimes more minutely divided into a "master, two wardens, two fellows and two apprentices." As all but the last two were Fellows of the Craft this classification agrees in all essentials with the former.

The symbolism of numbers is too large a subject to be fully discussed here, but it may be pointed out that the number seven has an intimate connection with the phases of the moon, on which the seven-day period of our week is undoubtedly based. As certain primitive astronomical concepts have almost certainly been conserved in Masonry (though perhaps only incidentally) this may be not without significance. The three visible quarters of the moon may also have had some influence in the Masonic number system, but consideration of this must be deferred for later consideration. To return to the number forming or making the lodge, we find that echoes at least of the Operative symbolical requirement (perhaps mystical or magical would better describe it than symbolical) have been retained in Speculative Masonry. In the lecture system whose arrangement is generally ascribed to Webb, we learn in the third section of the Third Degree that three are necessary for a lodge of Masters, five for one of Fellow Crafts, and seven for an Entered Apprentices' Lodge, by a continuous addition of two of the successive lower grades, an arrangement closely paralleling certain of the Catechisms though not agreeing exactly with any one. In the fourth section of the English instructions for the Fellowcraft it is said that "three rule a lodge, five hold a lodge and seven make it perfect." The same underlying idea has here been worked out in still fuller detail.


The lodge is thus formed or made by the just or perfect number of Masons present, but they do not seem originally to have been themselves the lodge, nor even today perhaps, except in a secondary sense. Here the process has been just the reverse of that in the illustration given above. The word "church" is derived from the Greek word ecclesia meaning a gathering or assembly, its use as a term for a building or place of meeting is the derived one; while the use of the term "lodge" for the group of Masons forming it is a secondary meaning of a word primarily designating the place of meeting; and the necessary characteristics of this place are most interesting.

Some of our monitorial writers inform us of the obvious present day usage, that "lodges are usually held in an upper chamber, for the security and convenience which such a place affords," but all agree that "our ancient brethren met on the highest hills and in the lowest valleys," giving the trite, and not at all self-evident reason, that they might thus "better observe the approach of cowans and eavesdroppers." The English formularies give much the same explanation in different phraseology, while we have already seen that the Old Catechisms preserved the same traditional requirement. The 1670 statues of the ancient lodge of Aberdeen bear it out as an actual practice. In the third of these it is said that

We ordaine lykwayes that no lodge be holden within a dwelling house where there is people living in it, but in the open fields except it be ill weather, and then let a house be chosen that no person shall heir or sie us.

And in the fifth the still more definite statement

We ordaine lykwayes that all entering prentieses be entered in our antient outfield Lodge, in the mearnes in the Parish of Negg, at the stonnies at the poynt of the Ness.

The phrase "at the stones" has a peculiar significance in a Scottish document. So much has the tradition of standing stones marking a sacred place been retained in popular speech, if not in conscious memory, that in the Highlands "going to the stones" is simply an equivalent to "going to church."

There are a few other traces of the actual custom of outdoor lodges, but it seems to have fallen into general disuse long before 1717, only the memory of the custom remaining in the formal definitions of the catechisms. Some Masonic writers have seen in the tradition an echo of the religious persecutions of the Reformation period, and especially of the outdoor assemblies of the Covenanters in Scotland. This however seems to be a strange limitation of possible sources when there is such an overwhelming mass of evidence for outdoor meetings of all kinds in the British Isles. Not that they are at all unique in possessing such customs, they were as common in Europe generally as in other parts of the world, but whatever organizations parallel to Freemasonry may have existed elsewhere, ultimately derived possibly from an original common source, it is quite certain that our Freemasonry spread from the British Isles, and consequently the customs and folk traditions of that part of the world are those that are of chief value for comparative purposes.


Briefly surveying the evidence, archeological investigation has established in numberless cases that the temples of Greece and Rome were built on sites that had been sacred from pre-historic times, and the same is true of a great many ancient churches. The classical temples in general were merely shelters for the sacred statues, the rites and ceremonies took place outside. The general assemblies of the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples were held out of doors to a very late period; the Vehmgericht, for example, met either at a cross roads or under a tree traditionally sacred. In England the custom of holding shire-moots and folkmoots and manor courts out of doors was not only common everywhere all through the Middle Ages, but has in some instances survived even to the present day.

These local meetings were more often than not held at some local "standing stone" set up in pre-historic times, or under an ancient tree, generally either oak or an ash. The organization of the witches, so singularly resembling in structure that of pre-Grand Lodge Freemasonry, held its ritual meetings at like traditional spots. In this latter cult we have without doubt a late survival of a most primitive form of European religion. Besides all this the local village festivals, once universal, were held out of doors; those of Mayday and St. John's in midsummer especially. The latter almost invariably on high ground, if not on a hill top, for a chief part of the ceremonies was the lighting of fires and carrying torches and burning wheels. In view of all this evidence that the custom of meeting out of doors at traditional spots was universal for every kind of purpose, legislative, administrative, religious and social, it would not be at all strange that Freemasonry should have had the same custom even if it had been entirely of Mediaeval origin; for what a small group does is inevitably and unconsciously influenced by general social customs and habits from which it is practically impossible for individuals to hreak away.

But though we may thus account for the custom of lodges being held out of doors we have yet to discover what the lodge was. There are certain obscure references in our rituals which seem to be of ancient origin and which must now be considered. In a widely used English ritual the candidate at a certain stage of his initiation is "placed" in a particular way in order that he may be "enabled to discover ... the form of the lodge" and it is then said that this form is "a regular parallelepipedon." This pedanticism (one had almost said barbarism) is of course modern, though it has unfortunately been adopted by some American jurisdictions from a mistaken idea that the older traditional phrase, an "oblong square" or a "long square," is somehow incorrect. Of course, though we now in everyday speech frequently use the word "square" for that particular form of rectangle which is also equal-sided, the term is generally referable to the angles only, and the older form is perfectly proper if not quite so convenient. Such marks of antiquity should be explained not eliminated, by translation into modern colloquialisms.


In the lectures ascribed to Webb we have an even more puzzling statement. As part of the explanation for certain points of the ceremonial preparation we are told that these are done so that if the candidate fails to fill the necessary requirements he may be "conducted out of the lodge without being able to discover the form thereof." Putting these two traditional relics together we begin to suspect that this "form" was something that was regarded as in itself very significant. It need not follow of course that there was any very clear and logical ideas about it in the mind of those assembled, probably there was not. It had been received by them and was regarded in the same way as other traditional sanctities have been all over the world. As the threshold, for example, upon which in many places no one might step; or the sacred groves where shadowy wood-spirits dwelt, or the place struck by a "thunderbolt." The "lodge" would differ from such as these only in being the private concern of a closely knit group in the community, like the ground prepared for the Borah ceremonies in Australia which no woman could approach, or the cross roads at which Pausanias blundered into a woman's sacrifice while on his travels, when the matron officiating as priestess angrily bade him to "begone from the sanctities."

It is difficult for us to appreciate this point of view, though we are in a better position to do so than were our Speculative predecessors of the eighteenth century. We can easily see why a "password" must be a secret, it has no value otherwise, any more than the combination of a safe if it becomes known. In the same way trade secrets lose their monopolistic value when learned by competitors. But the secrecy to be observed about a fetish object which it would be unlucky for outsiders to see, naturally appears to us unreal, and is very likely to break down in a civilized state of society. Such secrecy would appear to be in a sense secondary. The mystery object or rite is hidden from the outsider because it would be "unlucky" for anyone not properly prepared to be present; it is not talked about because that, to, is unlucky, except at the proper times. The sacred furniture of the Temple and the Ark of the Covenant was fully described in the sacred writings of the Hebrews, but none but the priests actually saw it. In a somewhat similar manner the "lodge" has been more or less fully described by Masonic writers, though only Masons have "discovered" it. As a matter of fact it has almost disappeared from American Masonry with the advent of stereopticon views, one jurisdiction alone retaining any real survival of it in its original form. A very interesting trace of the process of the breaking down of secrecy on this point is to be seen in the prohibition by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1759 of "painted floorcloths," as the following from Lyon's History shows:

It having been represented to Grand Lodge that a Painted Cloth containing the Flooring of a Master's Lodge was hanging publicly expressed in a painter's shop, and they, considering that the same might be of pernicious consequences to Masonry, ordered the same to be sent for; and, in regard that the use of such painted Floorings was expressly forbid, instruct the Lodge of St. Andrew's (to whom it belonged) not in future to use any such Floors.

Here we seem to have the protest of conservatism pure and simple against the rise of permanent representations of the thing here called a "floor," which later developed into the "tracing boards," "Charts" and "Master's carpets" of the later period, and which in English Masonry of the same period was still spoken of as the "lodge." The "pernicious consequences" that the Scottish Grand Lodge feared must have been sentimental and traditional rather than real or practical, for the prohibition had little or no effect on this tendency, which, prompted by convenience, has today been carried to such an extent that the "form of the lodge" is now only mysterious because it has in a sense — in its original sense — come to be almost entirely forgotten among Masons.

(To be continued)


(1) THE BUILDER, February, 1926, p. 27.

(2) Ibid., p. 57. There is very little to be found in Masonic works on this subject beyond the formal accounts that should be familiar to all readers of THE BUILDER. Mackey's Encyclopaedia and any standard monitor may be consulted. This first part of our article is properly a "clearing away of the rubbish" before the subject of the symbolism of the lodge can be approached with any hope of obtaining fresh light.


  1. What is implied in the term "regularity"? Has it always meant the same thing? If not, how came it to have changed in meaning?
  2. What is implied in constituting a lodge? What part of the opening ceremonies reflect ancient requirements on this point?
  3. What is the real source of Masonic authority? In Grand Masters, Grand Lodges, subordinate lodges, or the Craft at large?
  4. Did Masons originally hold their lodges out of doors, or in their work sheds or the crypts of unfinished churches and cathedrals?

* * *


HISTOIRE DE LA FRANC-MAÇONNERIE FRANÇAISE. Par Albert Lantoine. Emile Nourry, Editeur, Paris. Paper, with original ornamental wood cuts, 514 pages, index. A limited edition. The Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo., will endeavor to obtain copies for those desiring them.

THIS is really a monumental work, and for its style alone would be a delight to any Masonic student conversant with the French language. It is one of the most, if not the most, impartial among Masonic histories that the present writer knows. The two great historians of the English speaking Craft, Mackey and Gould, had each their prejudices which to some extent affected their conclusions at certain points, but the present author seems to hold the balance without desiring either side to outweigh the other. He shows, as European writers in general do, a far juster and more complete knowledge of English speaking Masonry, than is often to be found when American or English Masons write of continental conditions, and though his work is precisely what its title calls it, a history of French Freemasonry, yet as Masonry has, from about 1735 at least, been an international institution he has to deal with matters not exclusively French.

He treats very briefly what he describes as the "fanciful" origins of the Craft, a little more at length on the "probable" ones, in the pre-historic period, then he shortly relates the known facts of the formation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717 in London, and from that proceeds to a second part dealing with the principles upon which Freemasonry is grounded. The discussion in these chapters is intensely interesting and should be carefully read in conjunction with the later account of the circumstances connected with the suppression of the symbolic phrase "Le Grand Architecte de l'Univers" in the rituals of the Grand Orient. He considers very fully the religious and political background of English life at the beginning of the 18th century and reaches the conclusion that in the famous article on God and Religion in the first edition of the Book of Constitutions that Anderson had no idea whatever of enunciating any general principle of tolerance, none at least that would include any but those who could profess an orthodox Christian faith, and that it was even doubtful if he envisaged the inclusion of Roman Catholics. Probably the idea of accepting Mohammedan or Hindu candidates would have shocked him. It is not very easy, however, to determine what opinion the author has on the subject himself, though we judge that he thinks the principle of complete tolerance of any and every kind of religious belief — including negative forms — is the best for such an institution, but he is not concerned to argue cases but only to get at the facts.

The chapters on the origin of "high" or "Scots" degrees is also important. He rather inclines to think the evidence would lead us to believe in their Jacobite origin, and in their existence, with unorganized Masonry, in France even as early as the end of the 17th century. This is not altogether in accord with prevailing opinion, but his discussion is so candid that his own conclusion must certainly have some weight even with those who do not agree with this opinion. He also points out, though no partizan of the A. & A. S. R., that the Supreme Councils of this Rite have achieved the apparently impossible task of producing something like a semblance of order and system in the chaos of the hauts grades — Ecossais, Elu, Kadosh, Templar, Hermetic and the rest, and that what is more, the Supreme Councils alone have succeeded in attaining some practical working out of the principle of Universality, which though dwelt on in their rituals is not apparently much sought after by the Grand Lodges.

The work undoubtedly calls for more than this brief notice, and it is hoped to consider it again in the pages of THE BUILDER at greater length.

* * *

THE FATHER OF THE AMERICAN NAVY. By George W. Baird, Rear Admiral of U.S. Navy (Retired), P.G.M., Washington, D.C. Paper, illustrated, 18 pages.

THIS pamphlet is of a controversial nature, though the author conducts it within the limits of fairness and good taste, in spite of the fact that he evidently, and naturally believing as he does, feels very strongly on the points at issue. It is very probable that many good citizens would be inclined to re-echo the Secretary of War's quite military question, "Who in hell was John Barry, anyhow?" There can be but few, however, who have not heard of Paul Jones.

The main point the author wishes to make is that a statement that is now being made by certain people, that "Commodore" John Barry was the "Father" of the United States Navy is not true, in that he was not a Commodore, having died more than fifty years before that rank came into use, and secondly that he could hardly be the father of the Navy as he was neither the first officer appointed nor the first Commander-in-Chief, nor the one who had performed the greatest exploits. The basis of the statement is presumably to be found in the fact that he was named senior officer at the re-organization of the Navy in 1794, most of his ranking contemporaries of the Revolutionary War then being dead. However, in spite of this he is called Commodore in the inscription on a public monument and is credited with having performed the greatest naval exploits of his time.

To some extent we can sympathize with this desire to extol the fame of a native of Ireland. Members of the Masonic Order are not guiltless of like tendencies; there are some who would like to make out that every prominent man in the history of the country was of the Craft, as witness for example the widespread idea that Lincoln was a Mason. Nevertheless there appears to be too much method in these claims. It is not so much the result of a pardonable pride in family and race, but rather part of a campaign of propaganda in favor of a religious denomination that is not unjustly, or at least not unnaturally, suspected of having political aims, and to follow principles faction (unavowed of course) that fully carried out would be subversive of free and democratic institutions.

The reviewer has in part verified Bro. Baird's statements and he believes the account to be fully worthy of credence. The author's purpose has been to put the facts on record in a compendious and easily accessible form, and we suggest that those in charge of Masonic libraries should secure a copy. The pamphlet contains a number of very excellent illustrations, and is well printed on a good quality of paper. There are a few misprints that might be corrected should a second edition be called for, but these are but minor blemishes on a very excellent little work

F. C.

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RECOLLECTIONS OF THOMAS R. MARSHALL — A HOOSIER SALAD. Published by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange Bldg., St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, index, table of contents, illustrated, 397 pages. Price, postpaid $5.25.

AS a biography the Recollections of Thomas R. Marshall is not exactly what might have been expected, but then it is not so-called and the sub-title A Hoosier Salad is a happy description. Bro. Marshall has followed the chronological order of his life's affairs only in a general way and one finds gems from his later life mixed with the early events. It is a hodge-podge of interesting occurrences. The mere fact that the work is autobiographical in nature, and does not conform to the usual standards by which such books are judged, does not in any way detract from its interest, nor the soundness of its philosophy.

The style is original and exactly what one would expect from a man who made famous the saying that "What the country needs is a good five-cent cigar." It lacks what in many writers of autobiography makes for dryness, and is full of spontaneous humor which leaps out from the most unexpected corners.

The philosophical meanderings are punctuated with anecdotes which, so far from detracting from its value, tends to present the lesson in a manner which makes it the more emphatic. Basically sound, and written for others than Masonic readers, it contains conclusive evidence that the author was a Mason — not one of the proverbial "button-hole" variety, but one who knew what ought to be known and molded his life accordingly.

That portion of Bro. Marshall's life which was spent in political fields is given lengthy treatment. The keenness of the man, his insight into the characters of others, and his valuation of men are presented with astonishing clarity in the several chapters devoted to descriptions and character sketches of the members of the Senate during his term as Vice-President. And incidentally everywhere appears the reason for his faculty for making and keeping friends — the fact that he was friendly and a true friend himself — not blind to other's faults but ever ready to see and emphasize all that was good.

One is inclined to feel that a bit of misplaced pathos is inserted in the reproduction of President Coolidge's letter of condolence to Mrs. Marshall. That the glowing tribute paid by the Chief Executive to his immediate predecessor in the Vice-Presidential chair was warranted none will doubt, but throughout the book the reader feels subconsciously that it is a pity that one who enjoyed life as Bro. Marshall must have done has been called to the Grand Lodge above. A visible reminder of the fact impresses one that the publisher was afraid the reader might forget it. Possibly that is only an impression of this reviewer. True it is that the man died as he lived, honored and respected by all who knew him.

Aside from Thomas Riley Marshall, the humorist, philosopher, statesman and Freemason, a prominent place is claimed by "Tom" Marshall, the friend, the husband, and the man. In speaking of the death of his adopted son he says, "I have only hope and faith that there is a land of pure delight, which we call heaven. I know not where it is, but this I do know — he is there! And I shall never see the glory of another and a fairer world, until I see his curly locks again and hear the music of his voice amid the angelic choir." No man could be more human than the one who penned the dedication: "To the Two Women Who Were Uninjured in the Fall of Eden, My Mother and My Wife."

E. E. T.

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MASONIC ENQUIRE WITHIN. A GLOSSARY OF 1001 QUESTIONS RELATING TO ENGLISH FREEMASONRY. Published by the Masonic Record, Ltd., London. May be purchased through the Book Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, 215 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.00.

WHILE this compendious little handbook is prepared especially for the needs of English Freemasons, it should be of great use to the Craft at large, as a very large proportion of the questions dealt with have a general reference. The specifically English material consists in legal and constitutional matters, and the peculiar characteristics of English ritual. In dealing with history, teaching, symbolism and the like it will be found as useful in America as in England. It ought to be of especial benefit to the large number of members of the National Masonic Research Society who so frequently write for information on matters connected with the Craft in England, and we suggest that it would be a very wise addition to the reference library of a study circle.

The arrangement is simple, yet well thought out. The matter is arranged in brief paragraphs, with sufficient cross-references to guide the seeker for more information. The compilers have done their work without regarding their own "personal opinion or bias," and they have real justification for saying that there has been nothing hitherto published on quite the same lines. Perhaps Dr. Oliver's Book of the Lodge came nearest to following the same plan, but that of course is now naturally quite out of date, aside from the worthy Doctor's constitutional unreliability.

In such a work there will always be things open to question, and positive errors even are almost impossible to keep out. We do not quite understand from what source the statement could have been derived that "three Arks are used" in the American Royal Arch for example, neither do we quite understand the distinction between the Ancient and Accepted Rite and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The former may be the proper style in England, but if this is what is intended it is not made at all clear. It is also said that in some parts of America the "title Carpet is applied to the T.B.," that is the Tracing Board. So far as we know this is not the case except as a colloquial abbreviation for "Master's Carpet." And in passing it may be noted that "T.B." is omitted from the exceedingly useful lists of abbreviations given under each letter.

Under "Monitor," in a parenthesis, there is an evident slip of the pen, for though the meaning intended is fairly obvious there does not seem to be much sense in the phrase "unofficially unauthorized." One is a little at a loss to know just what it was intended to say, the meaning being, we presume, that it is without official authorization.

Under "Uniformity in Ritual" the compilers note that it has proved impossible to attain, and that "some thinkers" at least agree that it is better so; but a number of signs appear of a tendency in England if not in the direction of uniformity, at least in a line of continuous evolution away from old-time Masonry. The trouble is that while every Masonic power assumes it has the right to evolve along its own lines, it also assumes tacitly that no other has the right to do so in a different direction. One of these tendencies is seen under the heading "Hearty Good Wishes." It is an old custom in many English lodges, and one that pleasingly affects the visitor from abroad, at a certain stage in the proceedings for each visitor to rise and in a set formula convey the good wishes of his lodge. But English Masonic authorities seem to have a grudge against it, and seek to limit it by the doctrine that only the Master or Wardens of another lodge in person, or a brother specially authorized to do so, can properly use this formula. With all due respect to the authorities aforesaid this new doctrine seems rather ridiculous. The custom is one that undoubtedly goes back to pre-Grand Lodge times, and is a modern form (much abbreviated) of the Masonic greeting which was one of the original tests of a "right Mason." We sincerely hope that our English brothers will cling to the custom in spite of the wishes of their pastors and masters, more especially as the formula has become entirely obsolete in America and Canada, though the thing itself remains.

Under Patron Saints again we are told that it is "probably strictly true" that there are none such, because Freemasonry is not confined to "any form of religion." This of course is carrying out the tendency that resulted in 1815 when the English ritual was remodeled, in abolishing the old dedication of the lodge to the two Saints John and ascribing it to King Solomon. While of course a Mohammedan or Jew would have no objection to this it could not mean much to a Brahmin or a Parsee, or to a follower of Confucius. The Masonic ritual structure is now largely founded on the Old Testament of the Bible, and as that is not a universally accepted Volume of Sacred Law there seems to be no greater inconsistency involved in retaining the two New Testament characters.

On "Innovations" the compilers rather ask questions than answer them. They quote (though not exactly) the well-known dictum, "It is not in the power of any man or body of men to make innovation in the body of Masonry" without completing the sentence, in which of course they only follow most other authorities. The original statement — which was that of the first Grand Lodge — was as follows: "It is not in the power of any Person or Body of men to make an Alteration or Innovation in the Body of Masonry without the consent first obtained of the Annual Grand Lodge." Which seems to imply that the Annual Grand Lodge did have that Power. The compilers pertinently ask what exactly would be an innovation, and what is the body of Masonry? This they tentatively suggest might be the same thing as the Landmarks, but on looking up that heading one finds the matter still in doubt, for they know no more than others just what the Landmarks are.

Under "Open Air Lodges" there is an omission to note that not only do Oliver and Hutchinson refer to the highest hills and deepest valleys, but that this tradition is yet retained in the catechetical lectures of both Emulation and Stability "workings," as also in the so-called Webb lectures used in America.

Regarding the "Broached Thurnel" we are rightly told that no explanation of its origin and meaning has yet gained general acceptance, but we deprecate the attitude of contented ignorance implied by the suggestion that "as the name is now obsolete and unused it had best be left uncertain in origin and use."

The two headings "Asciculus" and "Amussium" are rather puzzling, we have never come across them before in a Masonic connection. Asciculus is literally the Latin for a little hatchet and explained as being the stone pick of the Mediaeval Masons, but "Amussium" as "an instrument formerly used by masons and carpenters for obtaining a true plane surface" is obscure. Some dictionaries give as equivalent a weather cock or a compass. The latter instrument is certainly used by masons and carpenters but is not especially fitted for obtaining a plane surface.

Amussius according to Latin authors would appear to have been what is now known to engineers and machinists as a surface plate. It is spoken of as a reddened tablet which being applied to the surface to be finished colored the high spots which could then be worked down.

We wonder also what our button-wearing brethren in this country would think of the suggestion that Masonic charms if worn should be kept "out of sight if you have them until you are in Masonic circles." It would seem that we have here also evidence of the different lines taken by English and American Freemasonry. The one tending to become an affair only of the intimate circle of the lodge, the other retaining more of its original character of establishing a link business chance met brethren who would otherwise pass each other by as strangers.

It may seem that this review is mostly fault-finding, but a work of reference, more than any other book, needs severe criticism. Doubtful statements should be queried and erroneous ones corrected. After all compared with the number of definite statements made (and where the matter has been so compressed it necessarily has to be put in dogmatic form) the fact that we have found so few to criticize is evidence of the high standard attained and of the general trustworthiness and value of the book as a whole. The compilers and publishers are to be heartily congratulated upon the quality of their undertaking, and it is to be hoped that their effort will meet the appreciation it merits.

* * *


Let me warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party.

It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.

The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates any community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.

In governments of a monarchial cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged.

The effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

— George Washington.

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In the Question Box you ask "What do others think?" in regard to constructive criticism and suggestions. Well, I'll tell you I don't like the kind of criticism in the February issue. Of course I am not competent to judge how the different articles should be arranged in a magazine but it seems to me that where anyone, man or number of men, spend their time and effort to prepare essays on so many different subjects that are of real interest to Masons and present them in such a clear and concise manner, that they are readily understood, they should not be criticised for rendering this service. I subscribed for THE BUILDER to help gain "Further Light" and it is doing that very thing.

"In the Northeast Corner" is very sad reading and I do not agree with E.W.F. of South Dakota altogether. E.W.F. is probably better able to judge about such matters than I am, from a professional point of view, but I wonder what induced him to become a Master Mason. The pot of gold is always at the foot of the rainbow and the best fishing is always four or five miles upstream or over in the next county. It is only human nature for people to go to a different climate for their health. I know personally a number of people who suffer from asthma in Eastern Washington and Oregon, who are able to find relief on the West Coast. As far as I am able to judge I don't believe that E.W.F.'s argument will hold water. We have all stood in "The Northeast Corner" and afterwards we said we would help, aid and assist all worthy destitute Master Masons, etc., wherever we may find them.

Now it seems to me that we are all, or nearly all, a pretty fair class of men and will help each other whenever we can. But it also seems to me the real working tools of a Master Mason or Companion are the knife and fork. At nearly every Third and Royal Arch Degree a dinner is served which certainly costs something. Why not deny ourselves a little and send the money saved to the Relief Bureau where it would do some good? We could eat our dinner at home before lodge.

The Shrine has hospitals for crippled children, the Knights Templar have an education fund. What has the Blue Lodge in the way of organized relief? In this connection why is there not a Grand Lodge of the United States? In any event let us not forget the words of the Master when He said, "Even as ye do it unto the least of these, even so ye do it unto Me."

H.A.M., Oregon.

We do not think that you have quite understood the point our correspondent E.W.F. had in mind. We do not understand that he is against rendering assistance to those who so badly need it, nor that he wishes to criticize those organizing such relief for so doing. We take it that as a physician he desired to state his conviction that sending tuberculous patients from their homes in the East or North to the Southwest is practically useless. On the whole it would seem that his practical conclusion is very much the same as that of those faithful brethren who are organizing the Sanatoria project to meet not a theory but a condition. These brethren of ours are there in the South-west, ill and destitute — and what are we going to do about it?

* * *


The question has arisen in my lodge as to whether or not the Master should wear his hat while conducting a funeral service in a house or church. I claim it is proper as the lodge is at labor and a Past Master claims it is bad taste. Can you throw any light on this question?

C.N.M. New Jersey.

In answer to your question regarding the propriety of the Worshipful Master wearing his hat when engaged in conducting a funeral service in a house or church, it is necessary to say in the first place that the custom of the Master wearing his hat at all is not universal. It has almost entirely, if not completely, disappeared in England; and I believe that in quite a number of jurisdictions in this country it is no longer followed. However, I am convinced that it is an old custom, at least as old as the beginning of Grand Lodge Freemasonry, that is to say going back to 1717 or thereabouts. In some lodges the custom is as follows: When the funeral takes place in the church, the respect due to a place of worship is held to override the Masonic custom, and the Master while in the body of the church remains uncovered. If the funeral is in the house the Master removes his hat on entering the house and remains uncovered until he actually begins the ceremonies which are conducted in the house are concluded, when he again removes it. This seems to be a very appropriate compromise. Of course the Master should always remove his hat in any case whenever the name of God is mentioned, or a prayer being offered, or any passage of the scripture is being read; and this is equally true of course in the lodge as well as out of it.

* * *


At a recent meeting of our Study Club the question came up as to why the Cable Tow is differently placed in each of the degrees especially why in one of the degrees it is three times around, and why in the place it is, and why is the symbolical meaning. If you will kindly give us some light on the above we will greatly appreciate it.

H.F.W., Oregon.

In answer to your question regarding the Cable Tow one might follow two different lines. One can either give historically what appears to have been the real reason for the difference adopted in employing it, or on the other hand one might attempt to assign a symbolical meaning.

Taking the first possible answer it would seem that the original intention was to make a distinction between the different degrees. This is obvious if for no other reason than the fact that the number of times round that the cord is placed corresponds with the numerical order of the degree. Secondly, there is a certain reference which is quite obvious in the position it takes in the First Degree, and I think that on reflection a similar reference will become obvious in the Third Degree. To put it in a corresponding position for the Second Degree would be rather difficult; therefore the position actually used was chosen which has a reference to certain requirements in the due form of that degree.

Regarding the symbolism there does not appear to be any explanation that has been set forth authoritatively beyond what appears in the ritual and which is of the simplest character; referring to the strength of the obligation. It would seem that this is one of those cases where if any brother can work out a symbolic meaning for himself he is at perfect liberty to do so.

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The question has recently been asked me with regard to the American Dollar Bill of the 1917 issue. The story that I have been told goes somewhat as follows:

The designs both front and back were made by a Roman Catholic. He was told that Washington, whose face appears on it, was not only a Mason, but that the seal of the Treasury was composed of the Masonic emblems (Square, Scales of Justice, etc.) and had been devised by Freemasons of Washington's Cabinet. Also that the picture of Columbus and his companions on the left side of the note is representative of several signs used in the Masonic ceremonies. In order to avoid the note going out to the public and being known as a Masonic note, he conceived the idea of putting in various places on the note, both front and back, signs and symbols of the Roman Catholic Church.

In the upper left-hand corner on the face of the note there is said to be the face of the Pope drawn in miniature. In the lower left a bleeding heart with three drops of blood. In the upper right-hand the face of the Blessed Virgin. In the lower right the snake of St. Patrick.

On the back of the note the middle bar of letter "E" in the word "One" in the lower right-hand corner makes a Latin Cross and differs from the other "E's" on the back of the note. There is also a St. Andrew's Cross on the back of the note in the middle, placed on top of a rose. Hold the note up to the light and one notices that a Rosary is suspended around the neck of George Washington.

The statement is further made that severe punishment was meted out to the designer of the note.

Personally I regard all this as far fetched, but promised to write and ascertain whether you had heard any of these stories.

R.V.H., Canada.

There was a note on this subject in THE BUILDER for May, 1924, page 158.

It is stated there that this design was taken over by the United States Treasury Department from a private engraving firm. Apparently it was engraved in 1869 or thereabouts and has been used in various series of bills since then.

The President of the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis tells us that he has had heard similar rumors about this bill, but did not believe that there was anything in it. He said that he certainly had no official information on the subject and if there had been any occurrence, of the nature of which the story speaks, in the Treasury Department, in all probability only a few of the officials would know about it. But if the previous information given in THE BUILDER is correct the story that the designer was dismissed is obviously untrue, as he has probably, in any case, been dead a good many years; and also he was designer for a private firm and not for the Government. Finally our informant stated that so far as he knew there had been no attempt to recall this issue of bills.

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A story from Pausanias may be of interest in reference to Bro. Parker's article on the "Ark of the Covenant" in the February issue of THE BUILDER, and R.L.'s note in the March Question Box as to the nature of the Palladium. It would appear that in classical Greece there were varying conceptions as to this fetish object. The tale Pausanias was told by the people of Aroe is too long to give in full as the first part is concerned with the origin of a human sacrifice at that place. Then it goes on to tell how Eurypylus obtained a chest after the sack of Ilium:

"In this chest was an image of Dionysus. The image they say was a work of Hephaestus and it was a gift of Zeus to Dardanus. Two other stories are told about the chest: one is that it was left behind by Aeneas in his flight; the other is that Cassandra threw it away that it might bring misfortune on the Greek who should find it. However they may be, Eurypylus opened the chest and saw the image, and no sooner did be see it than he went out of his mind, and mad he continued with a few lucid intervals. In this condition he steered, not for Thessaly but for the Gulf and town of Cirrha, and thence be went up to Delphi. They say the oracle told him, wherever he should find people offering a strang sacrifice, there to set down the chest and take up his abode. Well, the wind wafted his ships to the coast of Aroe, and landing he found a youth and maiden being haled to the altar of Triclaria. He easily perceived that this was the sacrifice referred to by the oracle, and the natives on their side were also reminded of their oracle [that a strange king would come to their land bringing a strange demon with him and would stop the sacrifice to Artemis Triclaria] when they saw a king whom they had never beheld before, and as for the chest, they shrewdly suspected there was some god in it. So the disorder of Eurypylus and the sacrifice came to an end together."

Pausanias Book VII, Ch. 19, J. G. Frazer's translation.

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I would like to see the following question thoroughly explained in the Question Box of THE BUILDER if you deem it advisable to do so:

"Just what is meant by the term the 'Universality of Masonry?"

This term is one that is very frequently used by speakers and Periodicals on Masonic subjects these days. In fact it is so frequently used that it is almost worn threadbare, and it appears to be that a very few if any of the users have any clear idea of just what it means, for it is used in practically a different sense in each case. Especially, I cannot recall having seen it used in the sense that I comprehend it. Probably my comprehension of the term is erroneous and I would like to see what interpretation THE BUILDER gives to it so I can see whether I have formed a correct interpretation or not.

F.J.K., Florida.

You raise a very interesting question indeed and I think perhaps that it is rather worthy of an article than a brief mention in the Question Box. I am afraid that the term "Universal" is applied to Masonry by a great many writers and speakers with only a very vague idea of what they mean by it, and it often happens that those who are most fond of talking about Masonry's universality are the most uncompromising in objecting to any attempt to make it a reality.

Masonry may be said to be universal because it sets forth a code of morality that may be accepted by all men without interfering with their private or public duties or their religious belief. Again it is more or less universal in that it is spread over the whole earth. Its universality in both aspects is rather an ideal than an actuality, and as a matter of fact is further from realization today than it was seventy-five years ago.

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Will you kindly answer in THE BUILDER the following questions? Where and when did initiation become a thing of the soul alone and not of receiving the degrees? In the ancient world only those were initiates who had entered by means of ceremonies one of the mystery religions or schools and learned its secrets. Today in certain occult societies it is taught that initiation has nothing to do with degrees as we understand them as Masons but that it is a change similar to conversion which takes place within the Ego without any outward expression or assistance by a secret order. In fact this type of teaching seems somewhat severe on Masonry and often claims that its followers are the only true Masons, and that we have fallen from true knowledge and grace, having become materialistic because we charge a fee for the degrees of Masonry. Can you suggest a book which will assist in clearing this matter for me?

C.E.N., Pennsylvania.

Perhaps Way of Initiation and Initiation and Its Results by Rudolph Steiner might be of use, and possibly A. E. Waite's works. One might suggest Emblematic Freemasonry, The Secret Doctrine in Israel, and The Lamps of Western Mysticism. It would seem that the critics of Masonry to whom you refer do not mean the same thing by initiation as we do. To them it means the beginning of mystical enlightenment — which is personal matter. In the ritual sense it is the entering a society which being collective must be in some way represented or expressed. Also it is obvious a society must charge some fees, as human bodies must be given food, if either are to continue to survive.

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A set of Mackey's History in seven volumes, morocco, revised edition for sale by Mrs. Pauline Muilliere.

Our lodge has a set of Mackey's History (unrevised of which the first volume is unfortunately missing. We would be very glad to complete this set if any reader of THE BUILDER has an incomplete set and was willing to dispose of the first volume. Our set is the edition bound in blue cloth put out by the Masonic History Company.

Address all communications to the Editor.

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Bro. George W. Baird tells us that he had the little book "The Father of the American Navy," published at his own expense in order to get the facts on record. He has asked us to assist him in distributing them. Single copies 30 cents, five or more 25 cents plus postage. This price will only partly recoup Bro. Baird's expenses, and THE BUILDER is giving its service.

A review of this work will be found on a previous page.