Saturday, July 14, 2007

Veiled in Allegories and Symbols

Letters and Figures
by RmOlano

Freemasonry is a system of morality veiled in allegories and illustrated in symbols. To better understand this definition we could break the sentence into bitable pieces. System is a group or assembly of parts forming a complete, perfect whole acting together in accordance to an establish phenomena or law. Morality is an attitude of being able to distinguish from right or wrong or a behavior based on principle of right conduct rather than law or customs. Veil is a transparent covering materials use to hide face for concealment or enhancement. Allegories are representations of abstract meanings through actions of fictional characters that serve as symbols. Symbol is something that is used as a representation of something else such as emblem or sign.

Taken together, we can infer Freemasonry as a collection of thoughts acting in unison to live in a righteous conduct rather than law or customs though the use of partly concealed or decorated representation of models usually seen as signs. We could also express Freemasonry as system of attitude based on ethics partly hidden through actions which indirectly convey its meaning by the use of symbols. Note the two major parts of the definition, an accepted principle based on ethics and partly concealment or enhancement of such ideals by using symbols as clues.

Masonic traditional lectures inform us of the origins of our Fraternity. It is being unnecessary as you have been already informed that our ancient brothers were responsible for erecting King Solomon Temple and other stellar edifices. Allegory-fictional characters that serves as symbols. Historical and archeological facts do not support this story and anybody who would think other wise will be hard pressed to defend this notion. The Craft developed and illustrated this ceremony to “make deep and lasting impression upon” the mind of the novitiates. A product of a fertile mind and imaginary event. So be it, what important is the theoretical meanings of the multitude symbols it represents.

The word “free” in Freemasonry and/or Freemason was explained in numerous Masonic writings as a condition of one doing something without restrictions. The use of the word somehow alluded that there were slave masons or forced masonry. No self respecting history student will ignore the use of captured soldiers or citizens as slave labors by the victors. Chances are there were more slave masons than “free” masons. So if anybody will form a group for their own mutual support, it would be the slaves. The main stream thinking that Freemasonry evolves from stone workers guild and taken over by the non-operatives would not support the theory of slave/captures masons. The absence of stone masons guild in England also does not hold water in regards to the main stream pitch.

In the book Born in Blood by the late John J. Robinson, a medieval historian who wrote that “free” was the corruption of the French word “frere” meaning brother. His book is about a close knit group of men who were on the run from religious fanatics. They hide in the plain sight by concealing their true identity and beliefs, developed a means of recognizing one another using symbols. The unjust persecution of the Knights Templar is a matter of record. There are no written records that will prove this Templar theory but then again there are equally no written records that will prove conclusively other than circumstantial evidence of the free stone-masons theory.

Allegory based on fictional characters that serves a representation of something else. Freemason could mean an unrestricted, no string attached stone mason who follows rules to build cathedrals and somehow develop an elaborate course of study called Freemasonry. On the other hand, it could also means---Brother Mason, a cover for a man on the run who lives by the principle of righteousness not by law or customs.

The study of our Craft tells us to be extra curious for what we see or hear because there are meanings behind those least letters, figures, or characters.


Read in Hanford Commandery meeting and printed May 2005 Trestleboard Hanford Lodge No. 279.

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