What is Freemasonry ? A Peculiar system of Morality, Veiled in Allegory and Illustrated with Symbols Mackey rephrases this as: A System of Morality developed and inculcated by the Science of Symbolism Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Part 2 – Albert Mackey
What is Symbolism ? Symbolism is Integral to Freemasonry, but what exactly is a Symbol ? From Dictionary.com: –something used for or regarded as representing something else; a material object representing something, often something immaterial; emblem, token, or sign.
Also from Dictionary.com a word, phrase, image, or the like having a complex of associated meanings and perceived as having inherent value separable from that which is symbolized, as being part of that which is symbolized, and as performing its normal function of standing for or representing that which is symbolized: usually conceived as deriving its meaning chiefly from the structure in which it appears, and generally distinguished from a sign.
Veiled in Allegory Veil From Dictionary.com: to cover or conceal with, or as with a veil to hide the real nature of; mask; disguise
Veiled in Allegory Allegory From Dictionary.com: a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another. a symbolical narrative emblem
So Freemasonry is… Some keywords: Covered or concealed Hidden, Masked, Disguised Spiritual Meaning We have to work at uncovering the real meanings… Work is also a key metaphor
A Quote “What is most worth knowing in Masonry is never very openly taught. The symbols are displayed, but they are mute. It is by hints only, and those the least noticeable and apparently insignificant, that the Initiate is put upon the path of the hidden secret.” - Albert Pike, The Legenda and Readings of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
Where do we Begin ? We have in front of us a Mystery … But were we left any Clues ? Yes, we were ! But first…..
Origin of Symbols How many Pages in the VSOL ? How many Words ? »KJV - 788,280 words
We Express Ourselves in Words The Invention of the Printing Press in 1440 was a revolution - but only ½ the equation ! The other ½ is paper ! - Paper has not always been cheap … (Wikipedia): Paper remained expensive, at least in book-sized quantities, through the centuries, until the advent of steam-driven paper making machines in the 19th century
Before Books & Paper We had: –Animal Hide –Papyrus –Paint –Carved Rock Delineating our thoughts has become quicker & easier over time…
How long did it take to “Write” this ? Ramses II with Egyptian gods - Wall Carving at Abu Simbel
Data Compression Conveying the Maximum Meaning With the Minimum of Work, Time and Space The biggest bang for their pre-historic buck!
A Clue… Pythagoras – E.A. Tracing board Lecture The only Great Greek mentioned in our Rituals All is Number
Lots of Theories All seeing eye of God Spiritual Insight Symbol of the Illuminati etc…
Let us consider the Symbol as a book, or at least a story… “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth“ – Genesis 1 The G.A. existed before the beginning – he is Immortal and Infinite Using our Pythagorean Clue
Infinity… If the G.A. is Infinite, then there can be nothing outside of the G.A. Anything he Creates must be WITHIN himself.
He created Creation, within himself According to the Hebrew Rabbis, the G.A. withdrew himself from within an area of himself. They depict this as a Circle “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth“ - Genesis 1
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light“ – Genesis 3 The G.A. created the first creation Light From 0 to 1
“ And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness “ – Genesis 4 From 0 to 1 to 2…
“ And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. “ – Genesis 6 From 0 to 1 to 2 to 3…
“ And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so “ – Genesis 9 From 0 to 1 to 2 to 3 to 4… 1, 2 and 3 represent the Divine 4 represents the physical realm
The Flap or Bib A quote from our GL website: "... the master undid the flap of my apron, which was fastened to one of my waistcoat-buttons ; and told me that in quality of master, I was at liberty to let it fall down..." Solomon in All His Glory, [unknown] 1766
The Flap or Bib And from Duncan’s Masonic Ritual and Monitor (1866) The Senior Warden approaches the candidate and ties the apron upon him, with the flap and corners turned down, and says: “Master Masons wear their aprons with the flap and corners down, to designate them as Master Masons, or as overseers of the work, and so you will wear yours. “
The Flap or Bib The Flap folded into the Apron represents the qualities of the Divine being brought into ourselves. A piece of Symbolism we have lost in some of our modern forms of the Ritual
Conclusions The Founding Fathers of the US – Aspiring to build a nation worthy of the Divine to dwell within or endow. Freemasons – Making ourselves worthy for the Divine to dwell within
Conclusions How many of our symbols contain deeper meanings, or contain entire stories or layers of meaning ? How many of our symbols in the Lodge share meanings with other non-Masonic symbols that we encounter in the everyday world ?