Monday, June 16, 2008

Masonic Symbols

By RmOlano
17 June 2005

In Nov 2004, The MW Reynold S. Fajardo, PGM, Grand Secretary of GLP wrote an article titled The Philippine Flag-its Masonic Roots which is currently posted in the website of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon. View the excellent historical resource and appreciate the Masonic influence not only to the flag which symbolizes the Filipino nation but also the struggle for independence led by our brethren of the Revolution.

In the aftermath of a recent popular movie, the subject of the Masonic influence or conspiracy, depending on which side the readers is on, again raised the consciousness of the public. With equal regularity, the meaning of the All-seeing Eye on top of the unfinished pyramid printed on the one dollar US bill became the focus of those entities that are not too friendly with the Craft. An excellent article by S. Brent Morris, PM, Eye in the Pyramid published in the Short Talk of Masonic Service Association of North America, gave us the a brief historical data of the of creation of the US Great Seal and the Masons use of All-seeing Eye symbol. The article was a snippet of a historical articles of both US and our Craft and a must read for all students of Freemasonry. WB Morris concluded that the Eye of the Providence and the Masons All-Seeing Eye are the same representation of the Divine Omnipotence. That the symbols shared the same meaning therefore, its use was not necessarily motivated or dominated by Masonic ideal. The belief in a Supreme Being is not proprietary right of the Fraternity.

Freemasonry is a progressive moral science taught by degrees; it is veiled in allegories and illustrated by symbols. Symbols could be defined as something that represents something else such as emblems or signs. Some of the emblems mentioned in our lectures which, most of the time are given a cursory wish to be familiar with at a later time. In our contemporary era where consideration for ticking time gave way to the oral explanation of symbols of our Craft, the newly advanced brethren were instructed to seek the monitor and study its meaning. The same concern for time often times resulted in the opposite effect. With time in mind the following symbols illustrated in the Master Mason lecture are being enumerated as a reminder for our contemporary brothers that Masonry symbols goes beyond the Square and Compass.

a. The Three Steps are emblematical of the three principal stages of human life.

b. The Pot of Incense is symbol of pure heart which is always a suitable gift to the Deity.

c. The Beehive reminded us that man was formed for social and active life. Although independent for all other things, mankind is dependent to each other for protection and security.

d. The Book of Constitution guarded by the Tyler Sword reminds us to be watchful and guard our thoughts, words and action.

e. The Sword Pointing to a Naked Heart is an illustration for us to realize that justice will sooner or later overtake us.

f. The All-seeing Eye is a constant reminder that although our thoughts, words and actions maybe hidden from the eyes of man, He pervades the innermost recesses of the human heart.

g. The Anchor and Ark are representation of mans sanctuary from earthly life. Together it alludes to that divine vessel moored safely in a peaceful harbor which provides sanctuary and rest to the weary travelers of time.

h. The Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid teaches us to be general lovers of the arts and sciences.

i. The Hour-Glass is an emblem of human life. A powerful reminder of how swiftly the sands run, and how rapidly our lives are drawing to a close!

j. The Scythe is an emblem of time, which cuts the brittle thread of life, and launches us into eternity. When the sands within the hourglass dropped its last grain so as we must soon be cut down by the all-devouring Scythe of Time and be gathered into the land where our fathers have gone before us.

There are group of emblems that can not be discussed in public and are reserved to elucidation of the brethren of the Craft. However, it is suffice to say that emblems of mortality and immortality were equally visible to the searching eyes. The undertaking to search for message of symbols of Masonry is also a quest for the answer to the proverbial question of --- What is Freemasonry?

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