The Mission and Purpose of Freemasonry Illustrated by Symbols




Brother "Jim" Marshall passed to the Grand Lodge Above in September 1984 at the age of 63, after a very short illness. He spoke quite openly to those he knew would understand of his innate knowledge of the fact that he knew he was "going home" very soon there were no apparent signs of any physical illness at that time so obviously he had made provision for his departure.

He was of a quiet, reserved nature, yet had the extraordinary ability when conducting our "Miscellaneous Topics" meetings of getting non-stop discussions taking place without seeming to say much himself, confining his contribution to asking what appeared to be innocuous questions.

His private avocation coincided with his nature, for he was an analytical chemist. This is reflected in a series of short papers left by him: concise sentences, clear-cut ideas, logical concepts. He does not lead us along an associational chain of thought: to the contrary, he keeps on stopping us, to make us think for ourselves.

One can almost hear his admonition: Man is the superior animal because he has the power to reason please use that power.



In the middle of this the twentieth century, we have joined a world wide order, which knows many Constitutions, and which has adopted, adapted and makes use of, ritual ceremonial, allegory and symbols. Particularly we in Britain have had conferred on us three degrees, and regretably it is the case that little or no attempt is ever made to set out their overall purpose, or individually to explain them.

Masonry requires a perfect freedom of inclination in every candidate. Thus every man is free to make of Freemasonry what he will. Perhaps it even puts every candidate under an obligation to do so. Therefore these thoughts are offered for acceptance or rejection, perhaps to inform and instruct, certainly to interest, even to inspire, but not to assert or dogmatism Unfortunately, they will not mean anything to anyone who has not already wondered what it is all about, and who has not sought for something of its meaning and purpose.

Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality. This might be put better. Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality dramas, for this does not alter the meaning. Morality here means the same as in the morality plays of the middle ages, for the episodes are dramas intended to teach morals or lessons. This meaning of "morals" is different from that in the sentence that "True and proper persons to be made Freemasons are just, upright and free men of mature age, sound judgment and strict morals." In the latter context, "morals" mean "principles of conduct."

But the commonly quoted definition that "Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality" can be turned round without altering the meaning to read "The morality of Freemasonry is systematic." It is complete within itself and self-affirming. The validity of any part serves to affirm the validity of the whole. If the morality is systematic, then also is the symbolism, i.e. the meanings of the Symbols is systematic, but, within the broader framework of the system of morality, for the system is illustrated by symbols.

If we put forward the overall, comprehensive concept that the lodge is a symbol of man, we are making the interpretation of our symbols systematic, in that interpretations of all the parts must fall within these limits. They are to be interpreted only in the light of man himself, and thus the landmarks and boundaries of our symbolism are established. Not only are the symbols related, for in the main they are architectural, but the meaning also must fit into this broad pattern. We may examine the validity of this concept by considering the supportive evidence.

If the lodge is a symbol of man, we are perpetuating the intentions of our operative predecessors, for they built churches and cathedrals (of course among other reasons and for other purposes) as a symbol of man. It is well known that Chartres Cathedral is built according to the dimensions of a man. But, behind this, an architect with such an idea will have been motivated by a desire to express the psychological make-up of man in the physical forms and proportions of his intended structure.

It follows also that when a candidate comes into our Order, and into a lodge, he is being introduced to a symbol of himself, and hence he is from the moment of his initial reception embarking on the pursuit of that most interesting of all human studies, a knowledge of himself. We say that Freemasonry has subsisted (note subsisted, not existed) from time immemorial, and if the purpose of Freemasonry is to teach self knowledge, then it is clear how we may ascribe such a great age to it, for has not man always asked who and what he is, where he is, why he is and whither shall he go? Did not these self same questions perplex the Ancient Egyptians?

And it follows that when a brother becomes Master of a Lodge, he is symbolically master of himself. How many of us can say we are truly masters of ourselves,

masters at all times and under all circumstances? For example: some like to smoke, and are hooked on the habit. Are they masters of themselves? Are we always in control of our moods and our emotions? Are there not occasions when we are e.g. indecisive, or non-plussed, or speechless, or shattered, or have over indulged?

In the first degree, the candidate is made acquainted with the principles of moral truth and virtue, and in the second degree, he develops his intellectual faculties by a study of the liberal arts and sciences, and he must extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and science. If we remember that meanings of words have changed, sometimes considerably, since the time the ritual was drawn up (say two to three hundred years ago) the hidden mysteries of nature and science mean "the hidden mysteries of human nature and the science of self knowledge." So it is obvious that Freemasonry is concerned with man's inner life. It is concerned with the serious things in life, and this is its function and purpose.

In the third degree the candidate is charged: "Guide your reflections in that most interesting (nowadays ' rewarding' might be a better word) of all human studies, the knowledge of yourself." What is this knowledge of oneself that is referred to? What do we want or need to know about ourselves?

It might help to include here some of the things that Freemasonry is not, in order to arrive at a clearer idea of what it is, and what it is designed to do. It should be obvious that a vast organisation such as ours was not brought into being, and maintained now for more than 250 years, just to support a Charity, worthy though this is; nor was it to teach us love, which we learn from our mothers; not to give academic instruction of any kind, which we get in our schooling, nor was it to tell us that we should inevitably die. Freemasonry perpetuates something more than the trade associations of the stonemason, and must be something more than a code of elementary morality, for moralising upon a few building tools does not require a costly organisation. Indeed, is it not likely that the operative mason of old, whilst working away at his stone, said to himself; "Thus must I square the stone of my soul?" What Freemasonry has to give is inculcated by means of extensive and elaborate ceremonies. Even the great central legend of the third degree can never have had any practical bearing on or connection with the actual trade of an operative mason. The secrets of architecture have never been lost. Other societies are philanthrophic, and social conviviality is a valuable and humanising asset. Freemasonry is not concerned with anatomy, or any of the sciences to do with the physical body, neither is it concerned with physical development, nor with physical skills. Yet it known as the Royal Science and the artless art. It is concerned with that vast inner part of man, known as the mind, or the soul, or the immortal part. It is to the mysteries of man's own inner nature that Freemasonry seeks to direct its members.

All men are equal in origin and destiny, but are not all men also made of the same basic ingredients? What men have in common far exceeds their differences. Do not all men have the same heart, will, the same hopes, ambitions, ideals, even the same thoughts, ideas, the same virtues, and even the same vices? Haven't we all got hang-ups, and in our psychological development, left-behind bits? We may differ in our capacities for study or physical endurance, in our individual gifts, and of course, in our political environment or economic geographical circumstances. Men differ because all these things interplay, and every man is a different permutation of them.

But what is the self-knowledge that Freemasonry can teach? What do we really need to know about ourselves? Most people, when asked, will say they know themselves quite well, so let us pose a few questions. What is the relationship between conscience and will? Conscience drives the heart, mind and will to right activity. A simple question such as "Have you taken the dog for a walk today?" produces an answer instantly yes or no or whatever. But in that instant we dip into both memory and conscience before producing an intellectually coherent answer. What processes have been involved in producing it?

What sort of things always make us feel cross? And who feels cross? The things which always make us feel cross could be e.g., bloody- mindedness, obstructivism/obstructionism, the arrogant ignorance of petty officialdom. Who feels cross? We can after all control our degree of "crossness?" What do we really mean when we say: "This is my hand?" Who "owns" the hand? Where do our thoughts come from? Inside us? Or outside us? That two people have the same thought at the same time is quite a common experience. If they originate from inside us, how is it they are new thoughts? Why have we not had them before? The sword of the Tyler is said to teach us to set a watch at the entrance of our thoughts, but nevertheless, have there not been occasions when we have deliberately put a thought into someone else's mind? Or again, we have second thoughts, checking the first lot; . . . and with intuition, no thought process is involved at all! All these are related to the true Self within ourselves, and this Self is what Freemasonry would help us become aware of, for we do not know ourselves very well at all. The secrets, mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry are truly great, profound and valuable. This Self is the Centre within ourselves, the vital and immortal principle, and is known elsewhere as the Divine Spark, the Spirit of God, the Overself, the Transpersonal Centre.

The Self is that which is secreted deep within the most impenetrable part of man, and it is to its recovery that the ritual, ceremonial, allegory and symbols of our Freemasonry are directed. This is the mission and purpose of Freemasonry.

Freemasonry seeks not to preserve its secrets, but to reveal them, to those properly prepared and entitled to them. There is no point in having secrets at all if they are never revealed. The secrets of a speculative science are really no different from those of any other human activity, in that they are quite simply "the tricks of the trade." They are not really complicated, and they shorten the process of initiation. It must follow that initiation, with its fulfilment in the return/restoration of man to his Divine Origin or original divinity, is not something which can in any way be confined to a few individuals calling themselves Freemasons. but must be freely available to, and ultimately required of, humanity in its entirety. It will be found that there are many other Institutions giving initiation to its adherents. Even life itself is a school of initiation.

Now all this has developed from the suggestion that the Lodge is a symbol of man, and there is already ample evidence for its validity. We have all expressed a firm belief in a Supreme Being, and we may say that one of the functions of Freemasonry is to help a man convert his faith in God into a knowledge of God. The Lodge has been deliberately constructed as a symbol of man; each officer representing a part of man, either a faculty or an activity. He is required to get to know each part (which he does by occupying each office) and then as Master to rule over all the individual parts and weld them into an orderly whole. The Lodge is a collection of not always harmonious elements which man has to learn to unite. Thus is chaos changed into regular form and peaceful existence. The symbolism is designed for this purpose.

Now what of the ritual? This is designed to awaken man to his own nature, to make him question himself e.g. are we always as charitable as the lesson of the first degree would have us be? Do we always remember the peculiar moments we were received into Freemasonry, poor and penniless? It should be noted exactly what, in the ritual sense, charity really is. The first degree clearly demonstrates that a man is required to show charity when his pocket is empty, and it emphasises that true charity comes only from the heart. This lesson is brought home to the candidate very early on in his masonic career in order to point out that we cannot receive until we have given. If we deplete the chalice we have all been given to carry through life (and the chalice is a symbol of the heart) it is at once replenished by a gift from on High, and so is the Senior Warden able to truly say, in closing the lodge in the first degree, that every brother has had his due, implying in the manner each of the brethren is paid out, a complete absence of caprice, favouritism, delay, conditions or qualification. Hence every brother may be enriched by the act of giving himself, ultimately to the point where his chalice bears only purity and truth. So every brother is required to question himself and his motives.

These suggestions have concerned only this perhaps outstanding episode, but every degree can be, as it were, separated broadly into a number of episodes, namely: admission, prayer, perambulation and recapitulation, presentation, advance, obligation, enlightenment, entrustment, testing, investiture, and instruction variously in history, legend, design, morals, etc. Each episode may be related to, or have a parallel with, an inner experience.

The ceremonial is an extensive elaboration of that part where we say the method of advancing from West to East is as follows, and advance in this direction takes place in every degree in Freemasonry (including those outside our Craft system.) What do East and West mean? East is the Greater world of infinite Spirit, the place of enlightenment, e.g., altars are in the eastern end of churches: the Moslem turns to the East. What is West? This is our present world, the Lesser world of finite matter, this sublunary abode, the place of darkness, this tomb of transgression, this arena of toil, trouble, testing, spiritual wickedness, ignorance and doubt. Now remember the parable of the prodigal son, who left home, the East, journeyed into the world, the West, suffered and when poor and penniless, returned to his father's house, humble and wiser for the experience, for which he was rewarded, over the brother who had not so travelled. This part of the parable is enacted in the first degree. A candidate, poor and penniless, decides he has had enough of the darkness of the West, and voluntarily embarks on the journey back to the East. Obviously in our ceremonies, the journey is far from being on a simple straight line between two points. Ceremonially, the journey involves a number of perambulations, back and forth, wherein the candidate encounters the many sides of his nature, represented by the four sides of the lodge, and this advance becomes orderly and more regular, only after the appropriate order via the Senior Warden and Deacon, that it may henceforth be "proper." Even so, it still never is a straight line.

Perhaps as candidates ourselves we did not realise that this was what we were doing, but sooner or later, we must all abandon the husks (of the parable) for the worthwhile fruit, the true ear of corn, the bread of life. So in brief, the ceremonial may be summed up as an advance to the Light.

The candidate is prepared in a state of helpless indigence to instruct him that whatever academic standard he might reach, whatever his social status, whatever his worldly attainments, there remains a very great deal yet to learn and acquire, privileges available to those who solicit them with humility, and in order to gain these, he must approach with the openmindedness (innocence) of a child, with the wonder of the unprejudiced. This does not mean that everything in the past was wrong. The proper approach requires openmindedness, and to a considerable extent self surrender. We are all so certain of ourselves, so wise in our own eyes, that we are quite unaware of how much we have to unlearn, just how much we are prejudiced. The more we can cast off from ourselves, the better we can progress on this path from West to East. What are to be cast off are mental barriers, symbolised by the door of the lodge through which the candidate has to pass. How? By three distinct knocks which, as the Sections of the Lectures state, have an allusion to that passage in Matthew ch. 7, "Seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall have, knock and it shall be opened unto you." These correspond with three faculties in man. The candidate should seek with the intellectual activity of his mind, ask with the aspirational activity of his heart, and knock with his strength, the physical activity of his body. Only the whole man can receive initiation, and to ensure complete sincerity on the part of the candidate, certain questions are put to him to test his motives, and we insist that there should be no evasion, equivocation or mental reservation of any kind in his replies. There has also been previously the ballot, which has a significance in that as the lodge is a symbol of man, we require the whole man to concur in the initiation and acceptance of the candidate. Truly it is that if his heart is not in it, a candidate will never truly be conformed to our Order. That the whole lodge must concur in any step a candidate takes is shown by the repetition in each and every degree that all members of the lodge should give their approval to the advancement. A candidate for the second or third degrees answers certain questions, and there is an opportunity for further ones to be put to him by any brother. If the candidate does not answer satisfactorily, nor gain the approval of the entire lodge, his next step can be postponed, by resolution and agreement of the brethren. The Master Elect is likewise elected to his preferment, as is a candidate for the Royal Arch. The brethren thereby regulate the progress of any candidate, at every stage, or rather, bearing in mind that the lodge is a symbol of man, we regulate our own progress.

It was stated earlier that ritual is designed to make man question himself. How does it do this? Words have meanings as of course we all know but consider what happens when we hear just one word, e.g., the word "virtue." This may mean to one "an irreproachable attitude;" to another "goodness," or any one of a range or of many shades of meaning, but whatever this outer meaning, this word, such "virtue," has an irrational element, an element which appeals to our feelings as well as our intellects. It stirs our feelings, elevates our being and makes us to be in harmony with other beings. Such a word has this effect, and our ritual, by its deliberate construction with such words, has this power. This is the power behind masonic brotherhood, that so much of our ritual appeals to our higher natures and stands the test of our intellects. This power cannot be refuted, contradicted or evaded.

This leads to the reason for stepping off with the left foot, which we do because the left side of the body is the heart side, the "feelings" side, and the right side is the head side, or the "intellect" side. And it is certainly true that any situation, or thought, or idea received by man is dealt with by the feelings, before it reaches the head or intellect. (If you do not accept this, then observe yourselves.) We step off with the left foot because the head should confirm what the heart truly dictates.

But analysis of the ceremonial must cease, because there are three whole degrees, and all we have covered so far is just about enough to get the candidate inside the lodge for his first degree. As is well known, in the course of the ceremonies, which do indeed make full use of a deliberately constructed ritual, the candidate encounters many officers and brethren in the lodge, all of whom symbolise and represent a part of his own being. Some of the officers represent qualities, and others represent activities. Later he may get to know them by filling them. He is also engaged in a search for light, for something that was lost, by means of a journey from West to East, and during the ceremonial, the candidate is entrusted with certain secrets, or knowledge, or safeguards. At the completion of a ceremony, he is restored to his personal comforts, which is a way of saying he loses nothing in terms of possessions and knowledge, nothing of what he came into the lodge with. His personal comforts are his knowledge, experience, status, memories, common sense together with all his weaknesses, blind spots, gaps, hobby horses, worldly attachments, his monies and metallic substances, for Freemasonry does not take anything away from a man. It does not criticise him for what he was, or is, nor does it threaten him in any way. It only seeks to offer him something better, something eternally durable. He regains all this, but he has been entrusted with a peculiar knowledge, indeed an expression in miniature of the science of self knowledge, which we know as substituted secrets. These comprehend the principles of moral truth and virtue, a development of the intellect embracing the seven liberating arts and sciences, but principally they are a reminder of man's divine origin and his ultimate destiny, not of death, but of a higher state of living.

Perhaps there should be just a brief mention of the dramatic climax to the central legend in the third degree. This represents that, by self-purification and self- building, a candidate may, as it were, lie dead to his present natural self, and may be brought out from this state of imperfection, to be finally exalted into the Light which shines around. We have all been made to represent Hiram A'Biff, and if we can see this character as representing a part of our own being, then perhaps we can see in what sense it has to be slain and eliminated. It is perhaps inappropriate to develop this here. Such a development is very much a personal responsibility. The ceremonial is completed in the Holy Royal Arch as may be reasonably inferred, by the recovery of the genuine secrets.

So all these thoughts have evolved from, and are based on, the concept that the Lodge is a symbol of man's inner being. Freemasonry exists to help man to improve in self knowledge, and to bring him into the Light. It started with a reminder that masonry requires a perfect freedom of inclination in every candidate. We may take the ritual, ceremonial and symbolism of Freemasonry at face value, as simple moralistic instruction, observable by all men, whether Masons or not, or we may look for a more secret knowledge, a more advanced doctrine.

These levels of knowledge may find a parallel in interpreting the significance of each of the two pens in the Secretary's jewel. These suggestions are put forward only to indicate that interpretations can be made on many levels. The first pen records what it is directed by the Master to do, i.e., issue summonses, record the proceedings and activities of the Lodge, and to deal openly with its ordinary affairs. The second pen works in secrecy andsilence, recording with confidentiality in the book of life every thought, word, deed, and of course, our errors and omissions, our debits and credits. For the pencil of the Most High is two plumed with speech and silence. Isn't there a Secretary within each one of us, coping on the one hand with our everyday lives on the mundane level, and on the other recording absolutely every detail aye, even our very thoughts? Yes, and it is "un-rubbable- out"/ "un- rub-out-able." Is this not so? Isn't this what we are all doing, all the time, albeit unconsciously? Likewise, there is a Treasurer within each of us, and any of the other officers, but these thoughts must be brought to a close, with the summary that the mission and purpose of Freemasonry is instruction in self knowledge, and an advancement to Light.


Of course the morality of Freemasonry must be illustrated by symbols, for.there is nothing else. Many papers, not just recent onesshave pointed out that everything we use is a symbol. A symbol is something we are familiar with, which, in addition to its conventional meaning, has a specific connotation, beyond the obvious one. It is not necessary to elaborate on the distinction and difference between a sign and a symbol. No one has ever yet "invented" a symbol a sign yes, but symbol no. Symbols originate in the subconscious. Every word is a sort of shorthand to express a concept or define an object. Words mean more or less the same to each of us, but . . . only more or less. Even the letters making up the words have a deliberate meaning, form and a peculiar relationship to each other.

Masonic symbols are generally architectural. They are borrowed from architecture, which has been defined as living mathematics. They are applied to the science of soul measurement and soul development, to self knowledge, that most rewarding of all human studies. But why should the square teach morality? What was the process of logic, or was it a revelation, whereby this tool became associated with this concept? We should not forget that the square was used thus as a symbol in China over 6000 years ago. In the definition of 'morality" is there not an element of both e.g. equality and uprightness? If therefore there is a degree of arbitrariness in allocating morality to the square, or the square to morality, how much does this matter? What is important is that we try to fully understand morality. Could you define "morality?" And of course, distinguish it from "morality!" When we can do so, we no longer need any symbol for it at all, and so could discard the square.

Put in another way, how may a glass of wine be interpreted as a symbol? To one it could represent drunkenness, to another abstention and teetotalism, while to a third it would suggest the mellowness of moderation. So the meaning may very well depend on the environment or context. It is probably true to say that a symbol can never be precisely defined or fully explained. Symbols are stimulating seed thoughts.

The cross in Western religion expresses a multitude of ideas, emotions and aspects, but a cross after a name on a list can simply mean that the individual is dead or has not paid his subscription. The graffiti of a twelve year old boy may have an explicit meaning, not present when an electrician speaks of male plugs and female sockets, and we should get very refined ideas from an educated Hindu on this significant and symbolic subject. The meaning and significance depend on the context. However, just as in Masonry, the square always teaches morality, so is it that when we give the masonic fire or salutation, "Point, left, right," the Point always refers to the Deity. (It does so in all degrees, not just the Craft, and Royal Arch.) For in the Deity is the comprehensive conjointing of all opposites, represented by "left" and "right." There is a tradition that when the Creation came into manifestation, the first thing to appear was a Point, so the point (or Jod) is a symbol of God Manifest.

But a brother was recently heard to say he was looking for an authoritative interpretation of symbols. If we might regard Dr. C. G. Jung as something of an authority on symbols, we may take note of some ideas which are expressed and fully elaborated in his last work entitled "Man and his symbols." It is well known that Jung regards dreams as a means used by the subconscious mind of man to give sensible instruction to the conscious mind. (Instruction here is used to include: awaken, warn, arouse, subdue, remind, liberate, enlighten, provoke, restrain, enliven, direct . . . The subconscious mind just has to get through to the conscious mind.) Every aspect of a dream is of significance to the dreamer, who alone can interpret it. He may of course be helped by a so called psychoanalyst or psychologist, but the dreamer alone can assess the validity of the interpretation. Jung also holds that the dream contains its own key to the understanding of the dream's message. The Talmud savs "The dream is its own interpretation." In other words, no dream symbol can be separated from the dreamer. Curiously, this finds an exact parallel in modern scientific research, where it is becoming accepted, perhaps reluctantly by scientists, that the result of any research is NOT independent of the researcher.

So, with dreams, the dreamer gets instruction which originates from within himself. In Freemasonry, a brother gets instruction by a deliberately constructed system of morality. One may be regarded as coming from "within," the other from "without," but both are indeed illustrated by symbols.

Allegories are a way of stringing symbols together into coherence, into some sort of story. Dreams use the equivalent of mixed metaphors they do not make sense neither do allegories, if examined too literally and closely. Dreams are vivid and picturesque; so are allegories. It is the conscious mind, the so- called intellect, which needs concepts trimmed of their emotional and fantastic content. A paper such as this has to present ideas in a somewhat cold, intellectual manner. This may seem to be a rather one-sided concessions to man's developing need, and it is possibly a result of the technological revolution over the last few hundred years, with its emphasis and insistence on intellectual appreciation, because it has been paralleled by a corresponding decrease in man's use of his other perceptive faculties.

But there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds at all if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use it but in an astonishingly naive way. Many wide awake people live as if they never use their senses. They do not see the obvious before them, hear not the sounds around them, and notice not the things they touch. They are even unaware of their own bodies. Others, being completely devoid of imagination, live as if the state they had arrived at today were final, with no possibility of change, as if both their inner and outer worlds were static and permanently so. Truly thinking people apply their intellects to trying to adapt themselves to people and circumstances; and there are equally intelligent people who make their way by feeling.

Sensation (i.e. sense perception) which may be equated with the Tyler, tells us something exists, the impressions having been tationalised by the Inner Guard. Thinking and feeling, as just described above, the Junior Warden, tells us what it is and whether it is agreeable. Intuition, the Senior Warden, tells us whence it came and whither it shall go. Conscience, the Worshipful Master, relates it to all other things, i.e. to the Unity of all things. (Note the derivation of the word "conscience.") These functions of our being are represented by these masonic symbols.

So the significance of a masonic symbol is quite deliberate, but nevertheless is open to individual interpretation. Doubtless the meanings attaching to the symbols in the mysteries of ancient Egypt were equally deliberate. In a way, the meanings remain the same, but the form the meaning is clothed with, changes. We can quite easily imagine an Egyptian neophyte asking "Where did this Osiris-Isis myth come from? Was Osiris a real person?" and hearing an old Egyptian past master, on being prodded into wakefulness, reply "We always did it the other way in my day . . . we never asked questions." These questions need answers.

Do we not say "Masonry requires a perfect freedom of inclination in every candidate?" What a symbol means is not independent of the individual. Our masonic symbols are almost too well defined. If they always meant exactly the same thing, a symbol would become a mere word, and the word a collection of meaningless letters. Is it not written "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life?"

So, Brethren, let us remember that Freemasonry is a means to an end, an end which is far more important than the means. And likewise with its symbols. They too are unimportant compared with what the symbol means to you, for man in his present state can never really understand or comprehend anything.


Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Its morality is systematic and it follows that the symbolism is also systematic within the broader framework of its systematic morality. Our operative predecessors built churches and cathedrals (among other reasons and of course for other purposes) as a symbol of man. It is well known that Chartres Cathedral is built according to the dimensions of a man. But behind this, an architect with such an idea, will have been motivated by a desire to express the psychological make- up of man in its physical forms and proportions. Our speculative lodges are likewise a symbol of man. It follows that when a candidate comes into our order, he is being introduced to a symbol of himself, and he is at once embarking on the pursuit of that most interesting of all human studies, a knowledge of himself. We say that Freemasonry has subsisted (note subsisted, not existed) from time immemorial, and if the purpose of Freemasonry is to teach self knowledge, then it is clear how we may ascribe such a great age to it, for has not man always asked who and what he is, where he is, why he is, and whither shall he go? And when a brother becomes Master of a Lodge, he is symbolically master of himself. How many of us can say truly we are masters of ourselves, masters at all times, and under all circumstances? If one of the purposes of Freemasonry is to perfect oneself, this cannot be systematically entered upon without seeing oneself in all one's parts. The lodge therefore is not merely an assembly of persons, for it is primarily a symbol of man, a presentation of each individual man composing it, for its purpose is to be a fundamental symbolic object lesson in self-knowledge.

Man is a threefold being: an outside personality or body, an inner being, often referred to as "soul," and a supreme factor affiliating him to the Source of all being, his "spirit." This last is man's "Centre," his "Blazing Star," that part of man which justifies the biblical assertion that man is made in the image of God. The soul is that part of man which survives the physical experience known as death. It animates the body, and the craft of Freemasonry is directed towards developing it from a state of chaos to one of order and beauty, for it is only when the soul has been purified, rectified and perfected that the Divine Spark can be brought to life and consciousness. The Lodge is a model of the faculties, activities and tendencies which we call the soul,and the work of the Craft transforms it from the rough ashlar to a perfect stone, from darkness to darkness visible. (Do please remember that the light of a master mason is merely darkness visible. i.e., he has now become aware of his surrounding ignorance.) It is to the mysteries of the Soul that the symbolism, science and work of the Craft is directed. The mind must become conscious of the Divine Spark within it, and this is what is meant by being Master.


Masonry is a progressive system, and in it we have birth, life, death, raising and exaltation. This may be paralleled with birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. The first degree is an emblematical representation of the entrance of all men on this their mortal existence, and the second degree may be likened to everyday life itself wherein we acquire knowledge, by a study of the seven liberating arts and sciences. Our third degree candidate is made to represent Hiram A'Biff, a name which means "the teacher from the Father," and the same candidate proceeds to the Royal Arch, though it is instructive to remember that the Royal Arch was originally conferred only on an Installed Master, and that during his Installation the Master Elect is made to represent another individual (albeit very briefly) from whom and from which moment henceforth he may now take the name which means "Risen Lord." (It may be instructive also to speculate how closely these names may be applied to Jesus, as a prototype of the Mysteries.) We have two preparatory degrees before any part of the third is conferred, and the third degree is the degree of true initiation, as it involves a death and rebirth. Let us therefore consider the third degree as a whole. "You may perhaps imagine that this day you have taken a fourth degree in Freemasonry. Such however is not the case. It is the Master Mason's completed."

So in the Royal Arch, we complete the third degree. We have a different set of symbols by which to interpret the meaning and significance of the Officers: we also have a different allegory, a different layout, and (in England) a different authority. We certainly have a different atmosphere. Let us follow in its proper sequence the journey of the candidate, and this will be different from that in the ceremony. He comes as a trinity of sojourners from Babylon and is journeying to Jerusalem. It is during this journey that he would "Pass the Veils." Babylon is a place of confusion, (Is it indicative of the power and delusion of "babble?" Is it the open grave of the master mason?) and Jerusalem means "Haven of Peace." The story in the ritual explains the object of the three (they are still master masons) and demonstrates their humility and docility. They may be said to represent (1) a man in his triple aspects of emotion, intellect and spirit, (2) the three ruffians responsible for the death of Hiram A'Biff, or (3) the three Grand Masters, Solomon King of Israel, Hiram King of Tyre, and Hiram A'Biff. It may be that all these possibilities are merely different aspects of the same concepts.

Consider the first suggestion. It is the Principal Sojourner who makes the ultimate discovery of the Name. Spiritual things may only be discerned spiritually. But the Spirit has to be assisted by the emotions and intellect (or body and soul) for it cannot in itself function in a way we can understand and in which we can consciously participate, without them. In considering the second possibility, remember the interpretations for these (suggested earlier and elsewhere) of heart, mind and will, for it is the misuse of these parts of man's being, truly the three more determined and atrocious than the rest, that is responsible for his loss of his awareness of his divine origin, a loss symbolised by the death of Hiram A'Biff. There is the need that these repent, reorientate their attitudes to themselves, and reapply themselves to their re-entry into "Eden," their entitlement to which they must earn. That they were previously misused does not lessen their true value when properly used, as they must be in the Second Temple. The First Temple is a symbol of man in his original Edenic state, and the Second Temple represents the ultimate regenerated man. This leads to the third possibility, the recollection that even rubble from the former Temple could be used in the building of the Second, whose glory will exceed that of the First.

Man in his primal state before the "fall" was a perfect creation. The first Temple was allegorically built by Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram A'Biff. King Solomon was responsible for its conception arid construction, i.e., for the non-physical part of man. Hiram, King of Tyre, was responsible for the physical part, the materials of construction. Hiram A'Biff provided a curious element, for he represents the affiliation of man to his Divine Source, man's spirituality, the beautiful adornment of man with Light. The Royal Arch ceremony includes the passage from Haggai, ch. 2, which says "the glory of the latter house shall be greater than of the former." In what way was the first Temple "inferior" to the second? The second Temple certainly includes all that was in the first, but is "greater" because of man's experience coffined in this mortal, material existence, whereby and wherein he must acquire something of incredible value. "Acquire" may not be fully the right word, for man must voluntarily and completely submerge his petty will to the Divine Will. He must become aware/conscious of the spirituality permeating throughout the whole of Creation. He must learn to use fully and properly the powers of his own mind. King Solomon at Jerusalem sentenced the three more determined and atrocious characters to that death which the heinousness of their crime so justly merited. In other words, the "fully wise" or higher mind, because of its establishment in the "haven of peace," will eliminate the misuse, abuse, misdirection of the three lower faculties of emotion, intellect and petty will, which were either excessive, deficient or defective.

So as Hiram A'Biff represents man's conscious awareness of God, and then in the Royal Arch, he makes a very significant discovery. The ritual details the hard work necessary for him on the Temple of his own being (truly a ruin) for this is what the symbolism refers to. The conflagration was a complete destruction, a "firing" or thorough cleansing, or rather perhaps it means a complete reduction of the first Temple to its elemental parts. The fragments remaining are so tough and impenetrableas to be a rock-like, but eventually a break and entry is made. It is to be noted that it is the Principal Sojourner, the Spirit, the Divine Will, or the lost consciousness which so penetrates and discovers itself (according to which of the three possibilities suggested earlier is followed). And this is on the end of the lifeline, the silver cord, the cable tow, the thread which binds all the parts of man together.

After removing two of the archstones, and in so doing identifying himself with them, for the very stones themselves, which indeed we have fashioned, are obstacles and impediments to the realisation of the Light, the candidate is lowered into the vault, the most secret part of his own being. The Scripture readings relate to Wisdom in many ways. "The Lord by Wisdom hath founded the earth. The Lord giveth Wisdom. Happy is the man that findeth Wisdom." He discovers a scroll, but is unable to read it without the assistance of his other two companions, for as was stated just now, the spirit cannot operate without the intellect and emotions as a means of expression, and these three together are necessary to read the scroll.

These suggestions relate of course to the practice in English Chapters, but a consideration of the procedures in Scotland is quite elucidating. Here each sojourner in turn removes a stone, makes a descent and a discovery. Each removal, descent and discovery can be equated with the significance of each of the three Craft degrees. The first sojourner is greatly troubled by damp and noxious vapours, and the first Degree is that concerning the principles of moral truth and virtue. The confusion caused to, and the effect on an individual who carries these to an excess, and who thereby is emotionally unbalanced, without the stabilising restraint of the intellect, is well represented by the hints of the anxiety caused by confinement in a strange environment. The first sojourner is then drawn up. After the removal of the second stone, the second sojourner descends, and by the use of his developed intellectual faculties, and still guided by the principles of moral truth and virtue, he discovers something like the base or pedestal of a column, with characters on it, and a scroll. The base of the column being wrought into due form, indicates that within us, all is law and order, and the scroll points to the one Source of all such law and order. The last was only realised on the return of the second sojourner, who is thereby acknowledging the limitation of his intellectual development. It leads on to a forward looking awareness of the next level, the spiritual realms. A third stone, the all important keystone is removed, and the third sojourner descends at high noon. The Secret Vault has been unharmed by the destructive fires, and has been proof against the fury of every enemy. This sojourner learns the full significance of the altar by his spiritual perception. At the heart of every man there is an eternal principle whose perfection is inviolable. This applies, whether we know it or not, or admit it, to every man, in each of whom God "substantially dwells."

It is necessary to comment on the scroll. Formerly it read, "In the Beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God. ' The substitution by what we now use was part of the dechristianisation of the Royal Arch ceremony, and it has perhaps made the understanding of the allegory all the more difficult.

To resume the consideration of the English version. The next act by the candidate is to remove the keystone, thereby becoming identified with it. A keystone is a craftsman's masterpiece. Whereupon on being lowered again, he is enabled by the intimations in the scripture readings of the coming and the glory of the second Temple, and by the "meridian sunlight of his understanding" to make further discoveries, including that of a Name, and this in a particular position.

If in the English Royal Arch practice, there are only two descents, then perhaps this relates to that period in the history of English Freemasonry when there were only two degrees, the first being a combination of what we now understand as the first and second degrees, and the second being the Master's part. Alternatively perhaps it may relate to the very essential conjointing of the first and second degrees in Truth and Stability before a candidate is properly qualified to progress to the third degree. Or, it may remind us that one lodge of Fellowcrafts made no discovery of importance.

So the Lost Word was God. These words from the first verse of the Gospel of John mean exactly the same as the present wording used, the first verses of Genesis. When God said, "Let there be Light," the Light referred to here is the Light created before the sun, moon, stars or anything else. This is the Light to which the candidate is restored, the Everpresent Light which shines around, and without which nothing was made that was made. At the moment when the candidate is restored to Light, he becomes fully aware of, and able to withstand the power of the surrounding Light, and we may see why the Craft part of the third degree is conferred in relative darkness. It is of the utmost importance to appreciate at just what point in man's journey there occurs this restoration to Light. Sunlight, his spiritual consciousness, enabled him clearly to distinguish what had previously been imperfectly discovered. In the elaboration of the significance of the discovery in the ritual, the hope that is expressed in the opening of the third degree, when it is declared that secrets of a Master Mason may be found at the centre of a circle, has been fulfilled. On the top of the double cube is a circle, at the centre of which is the triangle bearing the Name, in four languages corresponding to the four levels of consciousness, sensual, moral, intellectual and spiritual. The significance of the Circle is given in the Lecture on the First degree Tracing Board. This Circle is bounded between North and South, by two Grand Parallel Lines, one representing Moses, the other King Solomon. Moses gave the moral law to Israel, while the wisdom of King Solomon is a fitting symbol of man's intellect. On the Circle rests the Volume of the Sacred Law, a perfect symbol of man's spiritual nature. All this is contained within the full four-sided Square, which relates to man's life in the outside world of activity. Thus the two Grand Parallels and the Volume of the Sacred Law symbolise the three subjective levels of life, the moral, intellectual and spiritual. The genuine secrets of a Master Mason are found only when these are fully integrated in balanced proportions and expressed in the outer physical world of activity.

In conjunction with the (original) words on the scroll, the Name reminds us that it is still only a substitution. Indeed the candidate, in order to obtain a complete knowledge of the Royal Arch Degree has to pass the three Principal's chairs. In doing so, he identifies with each one of the trinitarian aspects of God Manifest (not Unmanifest) i.e., Priest, Prophet and Prince. The Historical Lecture is directed to the lower part of a man's soul, for it is emotive and instinctual. As the control of the emotions is probably the hardest of all tasks facing a man, it needs the strongest possible ruler, i.e., a Prince to effect it. (This Lecture should be ziven bv the Prince, and there would appear to have been a switch of offices. So may we speculated The Symbolical Lecture, given by the Prophet, is directed to a higher part of man, for it is intellectual instruction. The Mystical Lecture, properly due from the Priest, (for a priest is the logical source of spiritual knowledge, rather than a Prince of the people) is directed to the Divine Spark within, and is intuitive instruction, or experiential cognition. (It may be noted that these modes of communication do not include the thought flashes and love thrills, which the Deacons of the Craft degrees symbolise.)

It is however still open to speculation whether the candidate, having recovered the longlost Sacred Word, knows how to pronounce it. That three are required to give it, admits only of the fact that knowing what the Word is does not mean that its correct pronunciation is known. Perhaps the correct pronunciation is a truly incommunicable secret guarded even more closely by the Spirit. This is quite consistent with the Hebrew practice relating to the pronouncing of the Word by the High Priest.


During the ceremony of his Exaltation, the candidate is rewarded with a jewel as a mark of approbation, and is admitted as a companion among the others of the Chapter. Later he is presented with a Certificate as documentary evidence that he is a regular companion of the Order, and that he has been properly registered on the books of Supreme Grand Chapter. Its principal importance however lies in its symbolical significance. Before proceeding to mention in detail some of the symbols it includes, we must consider it as a whole and in conjunction with the Craft Certificate. The two certificates together add up to a fair version of the First Degree Tracing Board. This Board is a pictorial representation of a synopsis of the whole masonic system. The Craft certificate may be said to represent the disposable scaffolding to be dismantled and discarded when the building is completed, and the Arch certificate presents the end and object of the masonic system, a perfected edifice, the double cube the lost eternal element in man. In this way the Craft and the Royal Arch are interdependent.

Before considering the symbols, it is necessary to take a look at the relationship between the Craft and the Royal Arch, i.e., between their whole organisations. To the members of the original Grand Lodge, the Moderns, formed in 1717, the Royal Arch does not appear to have been very important. To the Antients, whose Grand Lodge was formed in 1751, it was essential. Indeed an Antient's Lodge was empowered, not only to work the Craft degrees, but in addition it was authorised to confer the Mark Degree and the Royal Arch, after the lodge had been opened in the "High and Excellent Supreme and Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Jerusalem." It was a fundamental part of the whole system. These differences in belief and need constituted a major stumbling block to the reconciliation of the two Grand Lodges. However without elaborating on the union and how it came about, an examination of our present Royal Arch and its certificate shows traces of both origins.

The certificate bears the letters ITNOTGAOTU, not ITNOTTALGMH as might be expected, and the double cube stands on the flat flooring of a Craft lodge, and nowhere is it indicative of a concave vault. The double cube, as the central pedestal, or altar of dedication, has largely disappeared from Craft lodges, but it is (first) encountered by an Entered Apprentice as the place where the prayer is offered on his behalf that he might dedicate himself to God's service and thereby become a true and faithful brother. Later he is made to represent a foundation stone and charged to erect upon it a superstructure.

The ashlar may be said to represent the six parts of man's nature, and these may be equated with the six days of creation. It stands on the base representing the subconscious, and the top correspondingly represents the conscious mind. The four sides represent the perceptive, emotional, intellectual and intuitional parts of a man's being, and in a perfected man, all these six parts are properly balanced. This state represented by a perfect ashlar could be attained by a "humanist," one who does not feel a need for a Supreme Being, and one whose altruism is directed back into the material world. But for others for whom the soul of man is vivified by the Spirit, the Light which ever shines around, the second and upper cube within the double cube, is a very positive object of attainment. Just what the superstructural part of the double cube signifies is the sole and absolute responsibility of the candidate himself. The double cube has many other valid interpretations. Thus it may be said to represent heaven and earth, with the Sacred and Mysterious Name to be found on the top square. In the Royal Arch, perfection has been attained (at least that is the theory) so that the Lost Name is found in association with it. But it is to be noted that the double cube appears at the beginning of a candidate's journey through Freemasonry and at the end.

Immediately above the Altar on the Certificate, there is the Blazing Star, the Glory in the Centre, the Divine Spark, framed by the triangle, the Sacred Delta. The attention of the Entered Apprentice was drawn to this Blazing Star on the First Degree Tracing Board, and it appears here. Again the end is the same as the beginning. This is the G. the Sacred Symbol, the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, to whom we must all submit and ought most humbly to adore; it is the Superconsciousness, and the source of the Light which shines around.

On the left of the certificate is an outline of the Royal Arch jewel. It is possibly as plain as it is here because the jewel itself incorporates so much detail, far too much to be reproduced on the Certificate. It merits much study not only because of the words on it, but also because of the many symbols, and their interrelationships. It is noteworthy that the Scottish jewel incorporates the signs of the Zodiac, and the Irish one, a keystone. Perhaps its most significant lesson is that it demonstrates how the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. This is shown, very simply but admirably, by the Triple Tau. Each tau incorporates two right angles, but when the three are conjoined, they form a fourth pair in the centre, in all eight right angles.

On the right of the Certificate is the seal of Supreme Grand Chapter. It is a combination of the arms of the two original Grand Lodges, differing only from the seal of the United Grand Lodge in the words around the edge, and the incorporation of certain Hebrew characters which mean "Holiness to the Lord," the motto of one of the Grand Lodges. That of the other was "In the Lord is our Trust." and the words "Holiness to the Lord," or the characters, are to be found engraven on the Sceptre of the Third Principle. Again this is an indication of the paramount importance of the Priestly aspect.

There seems to be quite a lot of evidence to support the view that at some time in the history of the Royal Arch, the Priest and the Prince have been interchanged. In respect of man's inner life, the Priest is the significant principle. Anyway we may note that the prophet is Holy, the prince is Royal, and the priest is Arch, or Highest.

The words "Holiness to the Lord" form one of the sets of passwords used in the part of the ceremony of Exaltation known as "Passing the Veils," now very seldom worked in England outside Bristol, but retained in Scotland and Ireland. The ceremonial is based on three episodes recorded in the early chapters of Genesis, relating to Aaron's serpent, the leprous hand and the libation of water.

This relationship between the Craft and the Royal Arch is confirmed by many of the other symbols which appear throughout the whole system. In the Craft, the VSL and the Square and Compasses are both the Furniture of the Lodge and the three Great Lights. These twin interpretation are derived respectively from the Moderns and the Antients, and we must note that the Reconciliation caused them to be known as the three Great though Emblematical Lights in Freemasonry. In the Royal Arch, the three large candles are the three Great Lights and represent the Sacred Word itself, but this also appears on the top of the Altar, an obvious repetition and this is yet further evidence of our present workings being derived from more than one source. The smaller candles are the Lesser Lights.

The arrangements of the Lesser Lights in the Chapter is the same as was the common practice in Craft Lodges when a central altar was usual. This was surrounded by three candles, whose relative positions indicated the degree in which the Lodge was open. When the central altar disappeared, the lights were moved outwards. Gradually the Master and Wardens began to be thought of as the Lights, but they really only personify that which is much better represented by the candles themselves. It should be noted that the Master of a Lodge, whom we consider to be the highest "thing" in it, is only a Lesser Light.

In the Craft, the three Great Lights are "brought down to earth." The Divine Law, i.e., the Volume of the Sacred Law, is the visible emblem of the invisible Cosmic Law, and is the virtual representation of God Himself who underlines everything. The Compasses are the masonic symbol of the Divine Spirit issuing into manifestation, while the Square is the vesture of the substance in which the Spirit takes form. In conjunction they indicate the cosmic purpose, and the three Lesser Lights reflect this in man, in whom the three great Cosmic Principles are reproduced in miniature. The sun represents spiritual consciousness, the moon the intellectual faculties, while the Master may be equated with the will. With the RA ritual in mind a dispensation is a progressive revelation of wisdom, a gradual unfoldment of Truth. The Patriarchal Light alludes to the archetypal expression of religious fundamentals, as revealed to Moses, emanating directly from the Deity. The Mosaic Law glorifies the whole rather than its parts, for it unifies fragments into an intellectually comprehended picture. A Prophet intuits an inspired revelation of Divine Will. There will be seen to be allusions to past, present and future revelations on three levels of consciousness, and obvious parallels with the Lesser Lights of the Craft. The ritual itself hints of meanings on a much higher level. They are obviously interrelated, and demonstrate the Trinity in Unity and the One in Three.

The Square and Compasses have become separated from the VSL, or Bible as it is in the Royal Arch, which lies open at the Centre when the Chapter is at labour, and these two are now positioned in the North, that part of the Chapter (and Lodge) associated with the element Earth, where they symbolise the strength and perfection of material substance when vitalised with the energy of the Divine Spirit.

On the South side are the Sword and Trowel, adopted by Royal Arch masons to build the Temple and protect it against unprovoked attacks by enemies. The Tyler of a Craft Lodge is armed with a drawn sword to protect the Lodge from attacks from without, while the Inner Guard has a poignard, and this is of course repeated here, as is indicated by the ritual. As the Lodge and Chapter are both symbols of the soul of man, then they are defended and protected from without and within by these two swords. The end is the same as the beginning. However as this Sword is within the confined area of the Ensigns, i.e. the special area of the Secret Vault, it reminds us of the necessity to guardagainst the insidious emotions and antipathetic thoughts arising within ourselves. With his poniard, the Inner Guard symbolises the rational or reasoning faculty in man, an idea repeated here by placing the Sword in the South, the area associated with the intellect. The Sword may cleave in twain him whowields it, utterly destroying him, for it turneth everyway.

In recent years the Trowel has been adopted as the jewel of the Charity Steward, but for long it has had many and varied associations. In some old Lodges it is the jewel of the Tyler; in Scotland the jewel of a Deacon, and it is associated with an Installed Master. Further there are those who would form the outline of a Trowel with the Working Tools of each of the three Craft degrees, and with the implements used by the Inner Guard, when he admits a candidate. These reiterate repeatedly, at many diverse points in our whole system, the cementing of the brotherhood by love, and the strengthening of the ties of affection and esteem, a system whose purpose is integration.

There are three cords. One cord is used to indicate the wish to be drawn up from the vault, and this vertical movement may remind us of the plumbline of the Junior Warden. The other cord asks for more liberty, permitting horizontal movement, reminding us of the level of the Senior Warden. The cord around the waist may be considered in association with (1) the cable tow, or (2) the skirrett. These last both refer to the silver cord, that tenuous thread which binds all the parts of man together, and which is severed at death.

With the thought of Faith, Hope and Charity symbolised on the ladder of the First Degree Tracing Board by a Cross, and Anchor and a Chalice, let us consider the three implements used by the sojourners, the crow, the pick and the shovel. With a crosspiece, the Crow becomes the cross of Faith. The cross may be interpreted in many ways. The vertical links earth with heaven, earthliness with the spiritual. The crow points to the erect manner in which the spirit will arise on a certain awesome day to meet its tremendous though merciful judge. The horizontal refers to the duality of our present existence, which is fully pointed out by the first and second degrees, and as these have now been conjoined and transcended, they and their reference to the opposites have no place in the Royal Arch. If the four arms of the cross are considered to refer to these four things, we all have a cross to bear, the burden of this material existence. We are unable to descend from the cross until all these four parts are correctly balanced and aligned, or until we are "centred." The pick loosens i.e., helps to separate the earth, and later the shovel completes the separation. If we give the pick a crosspiece, we delineate an anchor, which has ever been considered an emblem of eternal life, especially when in conjunction with the cross. The chalice of charity may be compared and contrasted with the shovel. As a symbol, the chalice has many meanings as the Holy Graal of Arthurian legends, and in "Parsifal." Maybe it is that receptacle wherein Purity and Truth abide in fulness. It is a vessel in Communion, a loving cup, and of all masonic symbols, this is possibly the one whose interpretation is the most personal. (What does it mean to you? What do you carry in your own chalice? Are its contents changing?) Is it a vessel for all that is desirable, permanent, truly valuable, and do not these have to be kept utterly free from adulteration, in a manner adequately depicted by the work of the shovel? May the speculations of every thinking Freemason be instructive and rewarding.

Further items must be mentioned, though briefly. The triangle on the square altar plate finds a curious parallel in the triangular flap and square sided apron of the Entered Apprentice. The apron demonstrates the twin aspects of man, the spirit being confined in matter, and its progressive adornment indicates the stage of development of man's immortal, hermaphrodite soul. The triangle within the square of the altar indicates the manifestation in matter of the eternal androgynous Spirit.

The four elements of earth, water, air and fire, which are included in the penalties of the Craft degrees, and which occur in some workings as obstacles in the parambulations, are of course presented in the Royal Arch as the four Platonic bodies, which in our ceremonial get only a passing reference. The fifth Platonic body representing the sphere of the universe, may suggest that man contains a whole world within him. The lodge is a symbol of man, and the universe contains man. So each contains the other, for man is the microcosmic equivalent of the macrocosm.

In the Craft, there are two secret words in the Third Degree, each of three syllables; likewise in the Royal Arch. In the Craft they are communicated between two on the five points of fellowship. The similarities and the differences may be demonstrated and explained. This is quite valuable as elsewhere among other masonic degrees, there are further variations of the five points of fellowship.

The order of the five points may differ, but it would be consistent to build them from the lowest, or earthiest, to the highest. If we recall the ritual relating to each point, the first three points (in both Craft and RA) are very similar. Two may give each other mutual support, but need a third for stability, an idea fully elaborated in another masonic degree. Foot to foot gives support in all laudable undertakings. Knee to knee, in my daily supplications, I shall be reminded of your needs. Hand to hand, in brotherhood and companionship. Concerning the fourth, "your lawful secrets when to my care, I will carefully preserve as my own" becomes the realisation that in the Royal Arch "all hearts are open." Lastly, when we raise the left hand, what has symbolically been exalted? All these five points show that mere Brotherhood between two has expanded to acknowledge and incorporate the Fatherhood of God. "When two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst thereof."

So there is plenty to affirm the continuity of symbolism from Craft to Royal Arch, thereby showing their interrelationship, and further the end is the same as the beginning. The candidate does not acquire anything new. He recovers that which was lost to him. His ignorance, or rather his innocence is replaced by knowledge, and he becomes aware of that which prompted the search. The lecture on the First Degree Tracing Board tells us that a Tracing Board is an immovable jewel lying open in the Lodge for the brethren to moralise upon. As the complete certificate has now become the candidate's personal tracing board, he is enjoined to moralise upon it.

Lastly, on the Royal Arch Jewel occur words which translated Mean "There is nothing missing but the key." The Sections of the Craft Lectures say that Freemasons have secrets and hope to arrive at them by the assistance of a key which hangs by the thread of life, in the passage of utterance between guttural and pectoral, and that this key is the tongue of good report. At his initiation the tongue of good report was heard in favour of the candidate. The profundity of this symbolism is shown when we consider the significance of the Treasurer, who is distinguished by a key, a symbol of power, silence and circumspection. As a symbolic part of man, he receives, conserves and distributes for the good of the whole, wisdom and spiritual riches, which he keeps in his heart, as with a key, for the same key which locks the heart against worldly materialism, whilst admitting only what is necessary, opens it to the knowledge of God, and the wealth of the kingdom within. The key, being an index of the mind, should utter nothing but what the heart truly dictates. "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."

May the candidate recover the Sacred Word in truth, but remember the tradition which required many washings and purifications by the High Priest before he could speak the Word. Possession of a knowledge of the Sacred Word does not imply a knowledge of its correct pronunciation, and maybe this is a letter revelation, a truly incommunicable secret closely guarded by the Spirit. When he dares to pronounce the longlost Sacred Word, and pronounce it properly, may once again the tongue of good report be heard in his favour. He is then ready and properly prepared for the next round on the helical of spiritual progress.