Dormer Index

The Spiritual Significance of Some of Our Symbols

Bro. F. V. Mataraly

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

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

"The Builders" — Fort Newton.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The Universe is the temple of the Deity whom we serve; Wisdom, Strength and Beauty are about His throne as the pillars of His works; for His Wisdom is Infinite, His Strength omnipotent, and Beauty shines through the whole creation in symmetry and order."

Wisdom, Strength and Beauty thus lead us to Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence, and all are attributes of the Deity in the eternal sphere of the Divine Mind above space and time, that spiritual world which the Neoplatonists called the intelligible world which is intermediate between the One and the Soul world. They have a very close affinity to the three great Platonic values of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.

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

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

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

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

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

a) The two Great Pillars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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