The Symbols of the Second Degree

by Wor. Bro. Ernest H. Shackleton, Templars Lodge 4302.

"The connection which exists between the symbols and the train of thoughts which they generate, is as perceptible in a moral point of view as that which exists between a man's conduct and his motives, or between cause and effect." (CHARLES SCOTT.)

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory. (1. COR. 2.)

To make daily progress in knowledge and virtue is our constant duty, and expressly required by our general laws. (AHI REZ)

The material world is boundless and immense, the masonic world is illimitable in its dominions. The mind of the cultivated Mason is directed to the study of the visible universe, and may survey the bright fields of astronomy and investigate the laws of the planetary system. (CHARLES SCOTT.)

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork. They call upon us to translate their actions into our language and copy their obedience in our lives, that so we may, both by word and deed, glorify with them, the Creator of the Universe." (BISHOP HORNE.)

The mysteries of Freemasonry exist in its signs, words, symbols, rites and ceremonies, which have an allegorical, hidden, secret, spiritual, mystical meaning. They contain deep doctrines as well as strange facts, doctrines which are holy mysteries, and facts which have left an indelible impression upon all time, and produced the mightiest results, doctrines and facts, whose mystical sense will never be revealed until we are raised to a higher state of existence.

Our Degrees are like triangular prisms, that must be set in a due light and posture, before they can represent that great variety of spiritual mysteries contained in them.

It would be wise in us to think often of the necessity of preparation to be advanced in light and knowledge. Let it be deeply impressed on our minds and strictly observed.

He took the golden compasses, prepared In God's eternal store to circumscribe The Universe and all created things.


All things being are in mystery; we expound mysteries by mysteries And yet the secret of them all is one in simple grandeur.


Freemasonry is an ancient science, but allegory and symbolism which respectively veil and illustrate its tenets are older still, being as old as the world itself.

As Freemasons we go to the Great Light of Freemasons for instruction, and there we find the record of the Elohim placing in the midst of the Garden of Eden a tree, the symbol of that which was forbidden, and after our first parents had fallen, setting forth their punishment in allegorical language. Sacred history is full of promises, teachings and prophecies veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols - the Bow in the Clouds, the Twin Pillars of Fire and Cloud - so important to a Fellow Craft - the prophecies of Isaiah foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem and allegorically the Gospel Prophet proclaims the coming of the Saviour.

The use of Masonic Allegory and symbolism is to excite the imagination and to express more clearly than can be done by any other means the important truths of morality.

In our day we have symbols - our National Flag - the symbol of the Union of the Race, the Unknown Warrior's Grave - the symbol of our National Sorrow, the engagement ring - a pledge of faithfulness and the wedding ring of constancy, the figure surmounting the Dome of the Central Criminal Court of justice, the Symbol found over the President's Seat in the Admiralty Court - to mention only a very few.

So on his Initiation our newly made Brother was invested with a pure and spotless Lambskin apron indicative of the purity of life and action towards which he is all his life to strive.

The 1st Degree representing the entry of all men into mortal existence by preparation and discipline - the special objective of the 2nd Degree becomes possible - namely contemplation and enlightenment. The striving by work and development of his faculties until he realises that he will connect with and ultimately terminate in the Divine.

Looked at in this light the 2nd Degree is by no means so uninteresting as a superficial examination of it has often lead Brethren to suppose. It symbolises a long course of personal development, requiring deep study and an ever-growing knowledge of the mental and physical sides of his natures. He has been instructed to build by his own efforts an edifice which is himself - to lead a new life - in this Degree he adopts the golden counsel of a quest followed in the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science.

Having received "Light" around him he is now to illumine the darkness within - it is for this purpose he was taught how to calm his mind, to free it from all vain and unbecoming thoughts - to knock off all superfluous knobs and excrescences - to concentrate and to contemplate.

In one of the old schools of thought it is called the "Focus Degree."

In Strength - only - will he establish.

You remember, Brethren, how we left our Brother on the lower steps of the Temple having the Badge of an E.A. Freemason upon him, knowing of the L.H. pillar - symbol of Space and Creation - now he will progress to the Lodge of the Fellowcrafts.

Having come through the Ceremony of Initiation he is ready to be tested as a Candidate for Passing - a ceremony less dramatic which sacramentally signifies advancement in the Tri-gradal orders of the Craft.

The 1st Degree having to do with his material and active life the 2nd directed to his intellectual awakening so that the understanding may be ultimately crowned with wisdom. This is the "Silent Degree" to be in marked contrast to the other two.

In the olden times three Temples were used, one for each Ceremony - over the door of the 2nd Temple were five stars, inside the Sq. L. and P.r.

Passing means a Midway or Transitional phase of Life - the first phase in the olden times being "Darkness of natural reason" and the second "Illumination of the Mind" and the third "Light of the Spirit."

You have heard how it is that we emphasise the distribution of Spiritual Force and how we secure the idea of ascending to higher levels by progressively opening up from one degree to another and exposing in each a "Tracing Board." So in this Degree it is the I.P.M. who finally seals the opening by placing the Sq. and Cs.

The W.M. still represents the "Rising Sun" coming from the "E." In the Indian ritual he is Brahma, the Creator and Rising Sun. In Egyptian he is Horus - Originator - Original Father. SPIRIT.

The S.W. - setting Sun. Shiva - the destroyer - or TRANSMUTER for ever - whose caste mark is a Horizontal Line, the S.W.'s jewel. The J.W. the Sun at the Meridian - the sunny side, he is Vishnu the Preserver during Life - and is associated with Water and Corn - whose caste mark is a Perpendicular Line mentioned in the olden days as representing Falling Rain - the jewel of the J.W.

The upright Line - rectitude - which pulls to right and left the presses and represses of Life - it being our duty to keep this line perfectly erect.

The co-operation of these three principal officers must act together in all degrees if any progress is to take place in our work.

In the earliest of the nature and sun cults they represented the three agricultural seasons.

The S. and J.D.s are still the messengers, and the I.G. under the control of the J.W. the connecting link with the outer Guard. The world of the SPIRIT (the Lodge) with the outside material world.

So we are in the world of the Spirit on a higher plane where the intellectual faculties are to be paramount - and these seven officers will carry the Candidate up on to this level working together to that end.

Who Comes Here? A Brother who has taken the first step in Masonry, out of the darkness towards the Light, from dim instinct into dawning insight, from the chaos of the senses into the ordered beauty of moral law; spiritual relations, and righteous purpose; a seeker who has found in the Lodge the ground plan of a Temple, vast and slowly rising, whereon he would be a builder, making his life a living stone, shaped and polished by the Master of all good work; an Apprentice in the knowledge of God and the service of man, who fain would be a just and upright man.

What Came You Here To Do? To discover myself, and how to rule and use the strange powers within my nature; to improve myself in the art of Masonry, by which the Rough Ashlar of youth is wrought into the Perfect Ashlar of manhood, noble and true; to learn to live with love and care upon the Level, by the Plumb and Square; to master my passions; and win the high promise of a character established in strength and wisdom; to find the meaning of my life and its fulfilment in a Beloved Community, a Brother and Builder, faithful, fearless and free.

What Do You Most Desire? To walk in the light, to know the truth, to live in the glory of an illumined world; to ascend the Winding Stair of knowledge to wider outlooks and the great freedoms of the mind; to be taught the liberal arts and the seven sciences of man, and how to play Divine Music on the harp of the senses; to enter the chambers of Imagery where the symbols of God hallow our mortal life, casting over its neering days and fleeting hours an august memory and an eternal hope - to find balm for my sorrow and solace for my seven solitudes.

Enter And Fear No Evil! The Lodge is the House of Light, its centre an Altar, its roof the sky, reflecting on earth the law and rhythm of the heavens. Here Nature and Revelation unite, and law and love are joined, giving us a gleam of white light to guide us in the dim country of the world. Here gather men seeking the good life, keepers of old and simple symbols, and a wisdom tried by time and found to be true. Follow, and thou shalt find what thou art ready and worthy to know, if thou hast humility to learn and valour to make adventure.

An Apprentice in his search for Light must start from the North with the Easter sun in the East and travel by way of the South to the West and back into darkness. He again comes to the North in the East and passes through the same course again and again in his development. Obstacles are met by the Candidate in his progress, so similar that they seem identical. The little occurrences of life may seem unimportant but they determine whether we will be permitted to advance. The Candidate must have been well and worthily qualified.

Advancing By Regular Steps On The Square. According to the old books and pictures the black and white chequered pavement when laid in a church or cathedral symbolised the eternity of the world, in contrast to which a man, as he walked across the earth, was very humble and very transient. The midway is the Fellow Craft period of life, when the soul passes through the ordeal of its Second Degree. In an old tradition "When one finds himself among eighty thousand Fellowcrafts, a bearer of burdens or a hewer in the mountains, it is little wonder if he despairs of his old hopes and his old ideals."

Nevertheless, it is then if ever that a man becomes a man, worthy in the eyes of God to be entrusted with responsibilities, for, as the beautiful lesson of our Fellowcraft Degree has it, there is a Middle Chamber to be entered after one has climbed the wearisome winding stairs. The wages are not what one expected in youth, but they are better, if one has been a faithful worker, courage, endurance, fidelity, patience, these are the rewards in which, after they are once gained, a man finds more happiness than in wreaths or garlands, this is what a Fellowcraft should know, the need, the nature, and the purpose of education, the sum total of the influences that bridge this gap between helplessness and maturity is education, the conscious shaping of the processes of growth, the purposive direction of experience towards the end of a fully developed manhood that is the grand end and goal of every Mason who must needs be "enflamed with the study of learning and the admiration of virtue, stirred with the highest hopes."

It is with certain satisfaction and joy that we find these signs or symbols which point out the right road to travel and mark our moral and spiritual progress - much the same as the signs along the road marked out on the pilgrims' progress in olden times.

A hieroglyphic moral system taught in ancient times by emblems and allegorical figures and having the four great ideas - a belief in one God, a life after death, a symbolical idea of building a glorious spiritual Temple, and the task of seeking after something which was lost.

For our work in times borders on eternity. To study the sublime doctrine taught in the olden times by the virtuous and the great and to learn to walk in their shining footsteps. Such is he about to do.

He has to pass the test of the questions - a review of his first entry - Where, How, When, What, and the Perfect p .... s of his entrance.

Of. At and On.

In the olden days he was required to repeat his obligation and to answer as many as 70 questions.

In an old ritual the Master in opening a Lodge asks of the J.W. "How do you demonstrate the proof of your being a F. to others?"

Our Brother knows of the L.H. Pillar of "Space and Creation" and has now passed between the two, learning of the R.H. Pillar of "Time and Regeneration" on to the "Path of Life."

The construction of these two pillars you know so well from the Tracing Board and the description of them in the talk on the Ceremony of Initiation, being the signs of

"Establishing for Ever."

No mortal who passes this way but goes through them, we can be happy that we know of them and can appreciate the Landmarks of our Order and the meaning of progression in company with a great Brotherhood.

These two Pillars have been described by one writer on our Craft as being emblems of our own bodies and the description of the records being stored in their hollow centres - likened to the rolls of the record of our own lives bearing in the flying past the results of our experiences, our good deeds and our misdeeds - the accumulation of which make for a happy, clear, conscious and joyful life if we obey the laws of our Divine Creator. A lovely link with the final degree and the second of the working tools applicable thereto.

Are they not also the twin pulls of our earthly struggle - that perpetual pull of conscious endeavour to do right and not be swayed by wrong. The great twin guiding bars between which we steer our course?

In the beautiful papyrus of Ani, the original of which is in the British Museum, we find at the entrance of the Temple, two pillars dedicated to Horus and Set, the Gods of alternating Light and Darkness, and bearing two spheres representing the terrestrial and celestial globes, of earth and heaven. These pillars were placed at the Gateway of the Higher World, the one being called "TAT," which means in Egyptian "Strength" and the other "TATTU," which means "The Place of Establishing for Ever." According to the old Egyptian rites, these Temples were simply the earthly counterpart of Amenti, or Heaven, and the Gates of Tattu led to the immortal region where the Soul is established for ever "as a dweller among the great ones in Heaven," the teaching and ceremonies but illustrating the trails to which the spirit is subject until the journey to the "throne of Glory" is accomplished.

You remember they were cast on the Clay Ground between Succoth and Zeredetha, where the casting was carried out - it is about 35 miles N.E. of Jerusalem. The clay there is of great tenacity, peculiarly fitted for making moulds.

He is entrusted and this is the First Keynote of the Degree - a word - a token - an emblem.

The word S....... h, a Hebrew one, signifying "Sprouting Forth."

Applicable to a Brother at this stage in his Masonic career - new life germinating in him. It has also the meaning of an E. of C. or a F. of W. In the olden days the S.W.'s Chair was adorned with a Sheaf of Corn - we see it sometimes in the Carving on his Chair.

In the Eleusinian Mysteries an E. of C. was shewn to the Candidate and Osiris was the Corn God. In Mexico the God Quetzacoatl - the Preserver - wears an E. of C. in his hair, is (in their ritual) wounded near a F. of W. and makes the Sign of a F.C.

As you know Brethren this is the word which the Gileadites, by order of Jephthah, required the Ephraimites to pronounce on attempting to cross the river Jordan, as the word signifies a stream of water it is probable that this meaning suggested it as an appropriate test word on that occasion.

In Passing through the Porchway in the olden days he was told that this word "enabled him unerringly to distinguish a Bro. from a Stranger."

Ears of C. were always buried with the dead in the Egyptian rituals of the Dead - symbolising Eternity - as they never die - I believe some ears of corn were taken from the jars filled with corn in Tukhanhaman's Tomb and were planted and gave more ears, were of a strong variety, large and of very good stock.

Corn in the Indian ritual is said to be a "Sacred Plant," it never dies, however cut down and, and always reasserts itself and comes again more vigorously than ever.

The Gr... the Highest Hills and Lowest Valleys are symbolised in these gs. and this is the First V. - he has passed the Mount of Initiation.

The E. of C. to a Candidate is a symbol of his own growth nourished by the living waters of knowledge from above. The righteous Man is as a tree planted by the waterside. Psalm 1. Finally Full C. in the E. is exhibited in gold embroidery on Full Dress Collars of a G.L. Officer as an emblem that what was once sown in them as bare grain, has ripened to full knowledge.

When in Consecrating a Lodge the Consecrating Officer scatters C. to the four corners of it, he is emulating in small, the cosmic activity of the Great Sower who continually goes forth sowing souls in space like unto grain.

He is prepared and as the 1st D. was associated with the head and with actions now it is the left side, which is called the Passive and Heart side - this being called many years ago: the "Heart Degree."

In Operative times an apprentice was bound for seven years, during which he was to learn the first things about his Craft. After that period he usually sought to become a F.C. He had then to give evidence as to how well he had occupied his time as an apprentice by preparing some piece of practical workmanship which was called an Essay. If this met with approval he was allowed to proceed. In many of our old buildings these Essay Pieces are to be seen, a beautiful column here, or a piece of lovely tracery in the cornice work or round a window.

If this met with approval and passed all the tests he was allowed to proceed.

In the Netherland ritual the Ceremony is much more elaborate than ours. The Candidate enters the Lodge veiled, and halfway through the Ceremony the veil is lifted and his attention is drawn to the Flaming Star and the Letter. He is asked if he has now attained sufficient self-knowledge. He has to make five journeys - the first with the Chisel and Common Gavel, second with Compasses and Ruler, third with Ruler and Level, fourth with Ruler and Sq., and finally on the fifth with no tool. The Catechism consists of 28 questions and then the S. and Wd. are given.

The L. arm is to be supported in the angle of a Sq.

The Lodge has ascended from the Material to the Spiritual and he enters on the Sq. and asks for advancement.

In Ireland the C.T. is wound round the C.'s N... in the 1st Degree three times, in the 2nd twice, and in 3rd once - a gradual freeing from "darkness of understanding."

The K.s of the 2nd Degree indicate symbolically that the Physical work is complete and that the F.C. has still two planes to conquer. He is now to make his Astral body into a perfect instrument for the Higher emotion of the final Degree.

Remembering that he originally came to the Lodge, urged to do so "humbly soliciting," he is now "recommended" having the assistance of the Sq. and the Benefit of the P.G. and P.W.

In the first Prayer "Vouchsafe Thine Aid," in the second "Supplicate the Continuance of Thine Aid," in the 1st "Begun in Thy Name," in the 2nd "Carried on to Thy Glory" - Progression.

Our prayers - begun, - continued, - and ended in Thee - make it clear, as they are intended so to do, that the process of becoming a M.M. is a WORK not merely a ceremony.

It is appropriate that the J.W. representing as he once did the E.A. Degree, should examine him as to his proof in the Degree and when he has passed his Gate he should then proceed to the S.W. in charge of a F.C. Lodge and there he has to gain admittance, having passed through an E.A. Lodge, in to the F.C. Lodge, by giving the P.W. which will let him through that Gate and he is then presented to the W.M. as a Candidate ready to be Passed - he then passes along the N. and enters the L. of a F.C. We now have the Perambulations as before in the "Course of the Sun" in which he demonstrates to the Brethren that he is ready.

And finally makes his way to the East - having learned to walk on the L. he comes to the Central Feature of the Degree - "The W....... S......." full of symbolic meaning, twofold in character, and vested with divine and human significance. The various steps of the different flights are typical of divine attributes, of elemental expressions of Divine Creation and of the various forms of Life on which that Creative power has manifested itself, they also symbolise the various human faculties, the senses, wherewith knowledge is built up, and of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The cardinal idea of this Degree is essentially progress towards the knowledge, the deeper understanding - of Himself.

By study, by ruling his life, by entering into the interpretation of our hidden mysteries, by establishing strength in knowledge and by an increasing belief in the Stability of our philosophy so that he will be enabled to pass into sovereignty of the greatest Kingdom ever swayed by mortal hands - the Mastery of Himself.

"The Door of the Middle Chamber was in the right side of the House, and they went up with winding stairs into the Middle Chamber." (1 Kings, Ch. vi, v. 8.)

3 5 or 7 or more.

He is obligated, silence secrets power and wisdom, so now he has to vain himself to understand and discipline both his head and his heart. The R...... g B ... s of the Air in Scriptural terms signify the invisible evil battling to enter and gnaw at the goodness of man in his spirit, so he is to keep himself protected by faith from the attacks of the insidous.

The Penalty as again a most ancient one of the East, deeply feared by the oldest races. In the Ritual of the Dead - when the deceased is passing his various trials - it is rather significant that we find that among the prayers said for him are these - "Let not my tongue be torn out," and "Let not my breast be laid open and my heart be torn away from me," expressing perhaps two of the fears he had encountered in life as penalties which might be executed upon him in certain events.

The position of the Sq. and Cs. are altered to indicate to him that spiritual principle is coming into activity within him and that he is now midway in Masonry.

Immediately the Obligation is sealed our Secrets are shared.

He takes the 2nd S... the second of the 3 Taus - our signs are acts of Worship and promises.

The Sign of F. implies not merely fidelity to his oath but obedience to the Rules of the G.G.O.T.U. by which we can hope to be preserved only if we conform to those Rules laid down by HIM for our preservation.

The H...... S.... is said in our Ritual to be the sign of Perseverance just as of old when Shiva - the God Preserver - used it. The older rituals give it as the sign of Prayer. Perseverance in Prayer. The word............

MAN - plus - GOD.

In the 1st "A Prince and Ruler." Material.

In the 2nd "An Assistant High Priest." Spiritual.

For God's House is Man and the Building of Man from Quarry state of unconditioned Nature into strongly individualised living Stone, perfect in all its parts and redounding in honour to the Builder, is the whole aim of our great Craft.

So the S. of the Fellow Craft suggests he endeavours to examine and lay bare his heart, to cast away impurities from it, standing like Joshua, praying that the light of day may be extended to him until he has accomplished the over-throw of his own inward enemies and removed every obstacle to his further progress, so that he stands ready with confidence for that last and greatest trial by which he can enter into the great consolations and make acquaintance with the supreme realities of existence.

This sign is found among the Pathans, Dervishes, Brahmans of India, the Central African Tribesmen - The Amsu - a form of Risen God, Horus in Ancient Egypt is generally represented as having this sign, he is known as "He who lifteth up his arm." This God is the spirit of the Sprouting Corn.

He passes the repeated trials to make sure that as he treads the path, his steps are true and the sign of progress is sure.

In the Egyptian rituals are the words:-

"I come from between the Pillars, I have trodden the narrow way of the Sq. and balanced Good and Evil in myself."

He is invested with the Badge of the Fellow Craft Freemason. Still the white Lambskin of Innocence but with two Blue Rosettes, one on each of the lower corners, indicating that the Spiritual has now descended and is taking charge of the lower sign which is Man. The triangle lowered to signify that advance - spirit and body working together with understanding. One old ritual says "This downpouring of the Triangle typifies the flow of the Spirit into the Square of Man."

The Two Rosettes are hieroglyphics of LIGHT, Wisdom - forming the Base, incomplete at present - when complete the Triangle of the Spirit will be evident.

In an ancient interpretation of the Symbolical Language of the V.O.T.S.L. the Triangle of Force as applied to the G.G.O.T.U. is His infinite knowledge. His watchful providence. His omnipresence. The eyes of the Spirit.

And to Man the Understanding, the eyes of the Mind. A friendly counsellor. The whole man. Human Designs. Eyes of Man. Here we see that eyes as applied to T.G.G.O.T.U. denote three things, as applied to Man four things, the two perfect figures, the triangle and the square. Three and four together make the seven.

So a F.C.'s Apron is of a threefold nature, indicating the ascension of Matter, the penetration of Mind and the diffusion of the Spiritual Forces.

1st Degree Birth

2nd Degree Life.

The Rose symbol is one that pertains to the Quest for God, from the beginning of the Path. The Cathedral Builders carved the rose symbol on the stonework with exquisite perfection.

Our ritual recognising the fact that as he advances he will become more conscious of the difficulties of the task before him, we find he is taught to persist with Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance and Justice. These are the Four Cardinal Virtues which added to the Three Theological Virtues of the 1st Degree Faith, Hope, and Charity make the seven.

This quartet are indeed beautiful in their choice - it was the code taught to the Athenian youth centuries ago, before the Christian era, which has stood for more than 25 centuries as a vital code.

It is somewhere written that "Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" and Fortitude is needed to strengthen and encourage us amidst our trials.

He is now likened unto the Perfect Ashlar of the Fellow Craft, found on the Pedestal of the S.W. suspended by the Line of Life to the G.G.O.T.U. The Rough Ashlar (the E.A.) was in a reasonably advanced state of preparation, rough square, but only received if it is believed that he is capable of perfecting the work begun in the 1st Degree.

In some Lodges the Perfect Ashlar is superimposed on the Rough forming a Double Cube.

He will receive his "Wages" which he will learn to accept without scruple or diffidence knowing that he is justly entitled to them. Having reached the top of the W..... S..... which represents progress of learning, so that he eventually succeeds in passing the Wardens and obtains a reward for his labours, in like manner all honest work, all noble endeavour must surely be certain of recognition in the end. The Staircase is winding - the end cannot be seen from the beginning - his wages are said to include happiness, peace in mind and clear conscience.

He is placed in the S.E. f.... in the f.... of a Sq. and maybe the Perfect Ashlar is placed in the R. angle of his F...

He is expected to extend his researches.

The W...... T..Is are now presented - in the 1st Degree they were tools of ACTION, the Rough Ashlar state is deemed to have given way to the condition symbolised by the Perfect Cube so in this Degree they are tools of testing, trying, adjusting and proving.

The Sq., Justice and Morality.

In this Degree having in mind the increased knowledge of our Bro. it is said that one Arm represents "Independence" that great quality in virtue of which we assert and develop our own individuality and contribute our quota to the welfare of the community, the personality by which we stand four square against the world - the other arm representing our relations with our fellows, being members one of another - cogs in the great social wheel serving the common good and contributing to the social whole help and relief. These instincts acting alone would spell ruin in human life but joined together on the Sq. the individualistic and the social - well-balanced - produce perfection - a perfect citizen. This is the Law of the Square in the Spiritual World.

The Level - is the symbol of Equality - on which all men naturally stand in the sight of T.G.G.O.T.U. advancing alike towards the end subject to the same temptations, dangers and woes - partakers of the same hopes and fears. In some rituals as "That vast Level of Time on which all men are travelling to its limits in Eternity" - and it teaches Humility.

The P. R... is used to construct a Temple free from danger of failing - this can only be done by just, upright conduct and is the symbol of Rectitude - integrity.

The ancients seem soon to have discovered the principle of gravitation and the line of gravity in the plumb line. And, the Sun's outline provided them with the symbol of the Eternal. It is round the tools of this Degree that the theory of Freemasonry is to some extent built - they are the everlasting tests - the triangle - the Sign of the Divine - of the Trinity. There is the Square at the base of the 3, 4 - 5 triangle, and from it the circle - sometimes found alone but more often with the formative square - all these signs and symbols were found at the most unlikely places and found to originate in all the far-distant ages of the world's history, from a common ideal and for a common purpose. They also speak the common language of Human Religion and of Human Dependence upon the LAW of the ALMIGHTY LORD. The Square also is, among the emblems, most startlingly in evidence. It is referred to, as the principle of Law by which all life should be regulated, and is evidenced by the picture language of every race - which has built up anything at all.

To "Live by the Square" meant, at all times, that the law of uprights and perpendiculars alone could guide the art of mankind, whether in regard to the operative Craft or to that of the building of Man.

The Square Stone formed the Altar. The tools and symbols of the Fellow Craft Mason are applied to the speculative field. The V.O.T.S.L. abounds with instances, in which the symbology of the Builder's Art is used for the expression of thoughts affecting the life and character of mankind.

The Prophet Isaiah - "Behold I lay in Zion, for a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet." Amos says "The Lord stood upon a wall made by the plumbline, with a plumbline in His hand." In the later Books we find St. Paul saying "We know that when our earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heaven." St. Peter - "Ye also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house." In the Book of Revelation we have the Masonic figure of speech "The City lieth four-square and the length is as large as the breadth." From the writing of different ages, and from statements from differing places, and by different types of man, the ancient manner had become the common mode of speech, the Operative and Speculative at that time when these words were used, have no different meaning to-day. The concept of Man, was, and had been for a great length of time, geometrical in manner. The thought of man, was in terms of geometric science. They spoke of living by the Sq., of being right, upright, true and they put these symbols in their Temples and formed these very Temples with those tools.

In the old Egyptian Ritual of the Dead, amulets were placed with the body of the deceased as a protection on the journey into the unknown and as proof of the fact that he had been possessed of virtues during his life, thus we find the Square placed on the breast, symbol of piety and virtue and the Plummet to secure justice and moderation for the deceased in his coming trials.

They are mentioned in the Book of the Dead, and appear to have been used from the earliest times. These have been found buried with the deceased Pharaoh: and how much they reveal to us. Miniature pillars - signifying

"Firmness, stability and preservation." The 155 ch. orders them to be made of gold. The Square, symbolising protection; Stairs with five steps, the idea of raising to Heaven; the Plummet to secure justice and moderation for the deceased.

The Comacines, with their Masters and Wardens, their Grandmaster, their grips and signs and passwords, the aprons and interwoven triangles, the Sq., Arch, Compasses, Plumbline, carry on the F.C. work to later times.

He is instructed in the seven gifts of the Spirit:-

Wisdom Understanding Counsel Ghostly Strength Knowledge True Godliness

and Holy Fear

of the seven Corporeal works of Mercy and is reminded of the seven deadly sins: Pride, Envy, Avarice, Gluttony, Lust, Anger and Sloth.

The seven periods of Creation. The five Orders of Architecture and the five Senses.

Freemasonry is the science of "Attainment" of Supreme knowledge and the form of our Lodge being a parallelepipedon measuring from the surface of the earth to the Centre and even as high as the Heavens the F.C. is expected and instructed to spend the time before the next step he will take in learning Geometry, which is the study of the six Great Periods of Creation, of the elements and materials of Creation, the primordial substance out of which we human beings have been created.

The First instance of His Supreme Power was made manifest by commanding LIGHT. Calling light "Day," and darkness "Night."

The Second Period was employed in laying the Foundation of the Heavens called the Firmament, designed to keep the waters within the Clouds and those beneath them asunder.

The Third Period, the waters were commanded to retreat and dry land appeared, called Earth, the mighty waters being called "Seas," the earth being barren was clothed with grass, flowers, trees and shrubs.

In the Fourth Period the Sun and the Moon were created. The Sun to rule the Day and the Moon to govern the Night. They were ordained for signs, for seasons, for days and for years. The Stars bespangled the Sky.

In the Fifth Period the fish, the whales inhabited the waters and the birds filled the air and the melodious notes of their songs were heard.

In the Sixth Period the beasts of the field, the reptiles were created. And when in this period all was ready, animals and birds and fishes, with abundance of food for them, Man was created out of the Dust of the Earth, combining in him everything that was excellent, throughout the whole Creation, formed after immediate Image of God, thereby intimating to him that integrity and uprightness should ever influence him to adore his Creator who had so liberally bestowed on him the faculty of speech, and endued him with that noble instinct called Reason.

He learns of the Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Astronomy stands confessedly the most exalted and sublime science that has ever been cultivated by man. The noble science may justly be said to comprehend the whole of the other six as by Grammar we correctly express the substance of our observations; by RHETORIC we forcibly impress the Truths therein contained; by LOGIC we proceed to demonstrate those Truths; by ARITHMETIC we make our calculations; by GEOMETRY we measure the magnitude and distances of those vast orbs, and finally we cannot but subscribe to the harmony of the whole, while there is not the least discord to be found in any of its parts.

In the Second Section of the Second Lecture of the Fellow Craft Degree we find these words:-

"Before the Almighty was pleased to call this vast whole into existence, the elements and materials of Creation lay blended without form or distinction; darkness was over the great deep and the Spirit of God moved o'er the face of the waters."

The Symbol of the "Sea" or turbulent waters is retained in this Degree, and the Candidate is counselled to "Steer the barque of life over the rough sea of passion without quitting the helm of rectitude."

It is here that reference is had to a mysterious "Border" which in the past had a very definite meaning, it was of a Cosmic or Astronomical character as it refers us to the planets which in their revolutions form a beautiful border or skirtwork round the Sun, the Great Circle of the Zodiac, the Foundation of Time, hence we have in our Ritual still the allusion to the Sun, the Stars and the Canopy of Heaven.

The Universe, Time, and Man. The word "Zodiac" means "Circle of Life" and is said to be the oldest Bible of Humanity. In the very ancient times this Degree was known in some of the Mysteries as "The Degree of the Zodiac."

In the dim and distant ages, man in worshipping the Supreme Being, was accustomed to perform his devotional exercises in the open air, and under the extended arch of Heaven, to worship Him by whose omnipotent hand the Pillars of the Earth were founded, and the Arch of Heaven was spread. As time went on and a more intimate acquaintance with the symmetry, beauty and glory of the works of the G.G.O.T.U. manifestedly discoverable in the great fabric of the Universe grew, man became desirous of imitating in their measure the workmanship of so, Great a Master and erected buildings wherein were displayed features, signs and symbols of that great outer world.

So, Brethren, the Zodiac is the especial study of this Degree, and is, in the deepest philosophical sense, a sacred glyph or emblem illustrating by hieroglyphical, arithmetical and geometrical symbols the evolution of both Man and the Universe.

Distances are so great that it is only by the exercise of the mind's power of reasoning and the eye's power of observation that we can realise in some measure the immensity of the Universe. All the stars down to the tiniest speck are bound each to each, and to this minute speck of earth in some sort of relationship which we know exists and the secret of which we seek to penetrate. So vast are the spaces that light from some of these far-distant stars is still coming down to us but though it started when the world began has not yet reached us.

The Zodiac is a belt of 16 degrees wide, extending round the sky and having in its middle line the Great Circle (The Ecliptic) along which the Sun appears to travel during the year.

The marking off in the sky of the Zodiac, and the division of the belt into twelve equal parts, each named after a leading constellation in it, was the beginning of astronomy. This division is very old, and was known to the Babylonians nearly 5,000 years ago.

The visible Heavens are the Symbol of this Great Universal principle of life towards which all aspirations, all poetry and philosophy point as their highest goal. Being the emblem of the Universal Spiritual and Eternal Spirit. The Heavens declare the Glory of God, the firmament showeth His handiwork, day after day uttereth speech, night after night sheweth knowledge. How true to our Brother these words are meant to be.

In the oldest of our Institutions this great belt is said to symbolise


Just as the Heavens cover the Universe so will Masonry cover the Earth in a great Brotherhood.

The Great Geometrician of the U. having no material form, exists, pervading all space, the Creator of all things, Governor of all Animate and Inanimate Nature, the Fountain of Wisdom, Whose Greatness, Perfection and Glory is incomprehensible and Whose loving-kindness and tender mercies are over all His other works.

In some districts in the older Operative days the F.C.s were known as the Geometric Masons, and in those days the Candidate was taught the theory of the 3, 4 and 5 rods. The old name for the 2nd Degree was that of "THE 3, 4, 5."

Upon a right use of these rods depended many a jealously guarded secret still preserved by the Guilds.

Plutarch says in Egypt the Three Rods were dedicated to Isis, Osiris and Horus and each had a special colour: black, red and blue.

By placing these rods together you get a right-angled triangle with sides 3-4-5 and the contents of which measure 6.

Vitruvius, a Roman Architect in possession of the secrets, wrote a treatise on Architecture about 25 B.C. dedicated to Augustus Caesar. In Ch. II Book IX he says Pythagoras demonstrated the method of forming a right-angle by rods, and he then goes on to show how the square, which is described upon the sides subtending the right-angle, is equal to the square described upon the sides which contain the right-angle - and in his words - when Pythagoras discovered this property, convinced that the muses had assisted him in the discovery, he evinced his gratitude to them by sacrifice.

Let us here recall the Steps of the 1st which are 9, 12 and 15, and let us consider the significance of these numbers. First developing them by squaring them. Then balance them by adding the squares of the first two together when the sum will be found equal to the square of 15. We have here one of the most guarded secrets of the olden times.

Brethren, we now come to the climax to which the Degree has been progressing. The W.M. asks a question of the J.W.: What have you been enabled to discover in this Degree? And the answer is "The S...... S...... Where? In the C... of the B....... To Whom does it allude? To G.. T.G.G.O.T.U.

So our Brother F.C. is enabled to discover in the M..... C...... the vital and immortal principal, the Lord of Life which is found in the Centre of each of us.

By this is meant that the Bro. has in reality advanced to the 2nd Degree in Self-development, has discerned that G.. is not outside him but within and overshadowing his own building, and that the rays of Heaven will fill all the corners of his Being with Divine Wisdom.

'Tis when the S... S.... is discovered that we hear those lovely words "Brethren - let us remember that where-ever we are, whatever we do ..... His All-seeing Eye beholds us."

The S.. S... gives us a fuller conception of G.. than the symbol of the previous Degree, just as the idea of the G.G. transcends that of the G.A. in the 1st Degree.

The Dormer window is symbolical of the Light entering into the Temple of Man (how aptly was chosen the name of our own Circle) that Knowledge entering into him so that seeing and hearing may be blended in him and his inner eye of the Heart may instantly perceive. As Moses has said "I see Thy word O God."

Our Bro. is a good way on the Path to become the Risen Master of the final Degree, the inevitable destiny to become perfected.

He becomes

"A Dweller on the Threshold."

Is this not a wonderful experience, sublime in its simplicity, great in its teaching and glorious to behold? In this short Ceremony the great things of Life have been touched upon, a course set which will bring a thoughtful Brother much happiness in discovering the terms of the duties he owes to God, to Himself and to his neighbour. To render himself a fit and proper Candidate for that which is to come and a life-long task elevating in its teaching, serene in its contemplation.

So. Brethren, "In the meanwhile let us conduct ourselves in our several stations with honour to the Craft and credit to ourselves

Happy have we met Happy have we been Happy may we part and Happy meet again "

leaving our Brother on the Path which will bring him to the "Great Light" into the "Hall of Wisdom."