Enjoying Freemasonry Beyond Your Blue Lodge
Freemasonry is a family of organizations that bring together men and women, young and old. It provides opportunities for fellowship, charity, education and leadership, thereby improving the individual members, their families and communities. Each organization provides opportunities for its members to experience brotherhood, wherever their journeys may take them in the United States and abroad.
This chapter explores the benefits of and requirements for traveling to Lodges in Maine and other Masonic jurisdictions. It also reviews the opportunities for involvement in the family of Masonic bodies, as well as the similarities and differences in how each body uses symbols to teach its lessons.
Visiting Other Lodges
Every Mason should regularly attend meetings of his own Lodge and is encouraged to visit other Lodges. Traveling has many advantages. Visiting other Lodges increases a member’s knowledge of Freemasonry and widens his circle of friends and Brothers. Even within our jurisdiction, many Lodges have distinct and interesting customs for conducting floor work, for delivering the Masonic lessons contained within the degrees, for recognizing Brethren for Lodge service and for being first time visitors. These customs often add a “special touch” to a Lodge and might be warmly adopted by the traveler’s Lodge. For many Brethren traveling on business or vacation, or in retirement, visiting Lodges provides an enjoyable opportunity to associate with men known to share common values and interests, thereby providing a means to enjoy new friendships.
To visit a Lodge, a Brother must present a current year’s dues card, without which a visitor will not be admitted. As noted in Chapter II, a dues card will be accepted if current. If his dues card has expired, a Mason may not be allowed to visit another Lodge.
There are two ways in which a Brother can gain admission to a Lodge for the first time. If a Mason present has sat with the visitor in a Lodge open on the degree which the visitor wishes to see, or a higher degree, he can vouch for the visitor’s eligibility to attend the Lodge meeting. The first-time guest will sign the Visitors’ Register and the member will also sign, vouching for the Master Mason. The visitor will then be admitted into the Lodge.
If nobody is present to vouch for the visitor, he must be examined by a committee that must be satisfied that the guest is a Master Mason. If a Mason has to be examined or “work his way into a Lodge,” he should have the following knowledge:
- The position of the Great Lights during each degree.
- The due guard and sign of each degree.
- The grips, pass grips and words of each degree.
- The Five Points of Fellowship, the Grand Masonic Word and
- the Grand Hailing Sign.
In addition, the visitor may be required to give the Tyler’s Oath and may be asked additional questions. After successfully passing the committee examination, the visitor will then sign the Visitors’ Register and be admitted to the Lodge. It is not the intention of any Lodge to deny a visiting Mason from attending that Lodge, but only to ensure that the visitor is a Mason.
Before traveling to Lodges in Masonic jurisdictions outside the United States, a Brother should contact his Lodge Secretary or the Grand Secretary’s office in Portland to determine whether the Grand Lodge of Maine recognizes the jurisdiction to which the Brother will be traveling. Every Lodge can advise a Brother on which jurisdictions have been recognized and where Lodges are located in each jurisdiction by use of the List of Lodges (The Tyler’s Book). Masons are encouraged to visit duly chartered Lodges in any recognized jurisdiction. A traveling Brother may request that his Lodge Secretary or the Grand Secretary provide him with a letter of introduction, which should facilitate his admittance by Lodges in jurisdictions outside the United States.
In addition, the Grand Lodge of Maine has fraternal relations with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Connecticut and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of Massachusetts. The latter has one lodge in Maine, North Star Lodge #22, F & AM in Bangor.
Collateral Masonic Bodies
This Grand Lodge recognizes no degrees of Masonry, except those conferred under the regulations of the Grand Lodges of the various states and territories of the United States and governments throughout the world. It officially recognizes the supreme and subordinate bodies of the Scottish and York Rites and the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
In addition to these collateral bodies, Master Masons may join many additional organizations that have membership in Freemasonry as a prerequisite condition for membership. These organizations include the Grotto, Tall Cedars of Lebanon, the Eastern Star, the White Shrine and the Amaranth. Masons are encouraged to actively support the various youth organizations associated with the Masonic Fraternity, including the Order of DeMolay for young men and the Order of Rainbow for girls.
All Freemasonry is built upon the Symbolic Lodge whose members may join and become active in other Masonic organizations. The man who has received the three degrees in a Lodge is a Master Mason; the Fraternity has no rank higher and nothing superior to being a Master Mason. A Master Mason may join the Scottish Rite, the York Rite and the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S., or the Shrine).
Scottish Rite Freemasonry
Introduction — In its origin, the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry has no geographic connection with Scotland. It developed from a system of twenty-five so-called “higher degrees” which flourished in France in the mid-18th century and which came to be known as The Rite of Perfection.
A predecessor of today’s Scottish Rite existed in Albany, New York, as early as 1767. The first Supreme Council was founded in 1801 in Charleston, South Carolina. The Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction was formed in 1813.
The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction comprises the 15 states north of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River. The Southern Jurisdiction comprises the rest of the country. The Supreme Council recognizes the exclusive jurisdiction of the Grand Lodges over the three symbolic degrees of Freemasonry and exercises jurisdiction only over the degrees starting with the fourth and ending with thirty-third.
The most widely recognized emblem of the Scottish Rite is the double-headed eagle. This symbol is the oldest Royal Crest in the world and was first used in Freemasonry in 1758 by a Masonic body in Paris – the Emperors of the East and West – which was a precursor of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. The two heads, one facing East and the other facing West, symbolize the universality of the Scottish Rite.
Scottish Rite Freemasonry is known throughout the world, and with its twenty-nine degrees, interprets the symbols and allegories of Masonry using drama and music to present its teachings. The moral teachings and philosophy of the Scottish Rite elaborate on the basic Masonic principles found in Symbolic Freemasonry. Vivid and colorful, the degrees are presented in rich and impressive settings depicting, with thrilling drama, pictures that produce a deep and lasting impression upon the mind. Candidates are not required to memorize any part of the ritual but rather to observe and absorb the lessons of each degree.
Degree Structure — The Scottish Rite is a journey of twenty-nine successive steps or degrees that entertain the mind at the same time that they instruct. These degrees are conferred by four bodies as follows:
4°-14° – in a Lodge of Perfection, are commonly called the Ineffable Degrees. In these eleven lessons, the candidate will observe many references, scenes and characters which recall and amplify the three symbolic degrees.
15°-16° – in a Council of Princes of Jerusalem, are the Historical Degrees and teach lessons using settings based on the ancient captivity of the Hebrews and the building of the second Temple.
17°- 18° – in a Chapter of Rose Croix, are the Philosophical Degrees and represent the spiritual heart of the Scottish Rite. They emphasize a new law: that the only lasting Temple is the soul of man.
19°- 32° – in a Consistory, are the Traditional and Chivalric Degrees that portray memorable lessons that range in settings from the days of chivalry through the 20th century. The 33° is an honorary degree and is conferred only by the Supreme Council.
Participation— The Scottish Rite member and his family have many opportunities to enjoy a variety of family oriented programs. There are also many opportunities to participate in the several charitable endeavors of the Valleys and Supreme Council – support of mental health research, the Scottish Rite Museum of Our National Heritage and scholarship assistance. In addition, assistance is always welcome in the Scottish Rite Masonic Children’s Learning Centers – an ever expanding effort to diagnose and provide therapy for children with dyslexia.
The member and his family receive The Northern Light magazine, a Masonic publication that has received national recognition. It is published four times a year.
Scottish Rite meetings provide an opportunity to broaden Masonic horizons and enjoy the fellowship of men from a wide variety of Masonic, business, professional and social experiences. Of course, there are many opportunities for participation as an officer, degree worker or committee member. Experiences as an active Scottish Rite worker can provide invaluable experience in organization, service and degree work.
Finally — The Scottish Rite elaborates on the lessons of Symbolic Freemasonry, appealing to the eye and ear by symbolism, drama, allegory and lessons in various forms. It is a graduate school of Freemasonry. It brings to the heart and mind of every Scottish Rite Freemason, a fuller appreciation of the principles of our Fraternity.
The Scottish Rite is organized into “Valleys” or centers of activity. There are 108 Valleys in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. In Maine there are five Valleys, a name for the Districts of Scottish Rite, located in Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Portland and Rockland. The Valleys in Auburn, Augusta, Bangor and Rockland are three body Valleys, each, consisting of a Lodge, a Council, and a Chapter, while Portland is a four body Valley which includes Maine Consistory. For more information on Scottish Rite Freemasonry, contact your local Lodge secretary or:
Maine Council of Deliberation
415 Congress Street Portland, ME 04001 (207) 772-7711
Supreme Council, 33°, N.MJ.
P.O. Box 519
Lexington, MA 02173 (781) 862-4410
York Rite Freemasonry
Much of the ritual of Freemasonry is drawn from incidents in the Bible. In the Symbolic Lodge, the lessons of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth are taught. Masonry gives to all a formula for righteous living. York Rite Freemasonry consists of three constituent bodies: the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, the Council of Royal and Select Masters, and the Commandery of Knights Templars. The York Rite degrees and orders are an advance in, rather than an amplification of Symbolic Masonry. They tell the story of the loss, the discovery, and the preservation of the Master’s Word. Symbolic Masonry tells of the loss of the Word, Royal Arch Masonry reveals its discovery and Cryptic Masonry explains the manner of its preservation.
The Commandery has its origin or example in the Crusades of the 12th century. It has adopted the traditions, insignia and symbolism of the Crusaders. Templary is the New Testament in Masonry, and is based on the Christian religion and the practice of the Christian virtues. Together, the York Rite bodies teach an integrated story of Ancient Craft Masonry by a series of events, both Biblical and legendary, portraying the ancient Masonic story of the building, the destruction and the rebuilding of King Solomon’s Temple, followed by the later defense of the Christian religion by the ancient Templars.
In Chapter, the beautiful ceremonies depict the story of the Mason’s Mark, the completion and dedication of the Temple and the recovery of the Master’s Word. The Royal Arch Degree has been called the Summit of Ancient Craft Masonry. Cryptic Masonry explains the manner of the preservation of the Word for nearly five hundred years and teaches, in its spiritual ceremonies, the virtues of Faith, Friendship and Fidelity. The Council Degrees are among the most beautiful and most impressive in all Masonry.
Each of the York Rite bodies is affiliated in its national organization: the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, the General Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters and the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar. While there are instructional lectures in the York Rite, candidates are not required to learn them. The lessons are well taught by the beautiful ritual of the Degrees and Orders.
Charity is the true measure of human greatness, and in the York Rite this truly Masonic virtue is given the fullest expression by each member through his participation in its organized charities. Thus the York Rite of Freemasonry gives depth to life’s experience and hope in the ultimate destiny of life; to that end, man is brought to realize his duty as a citizen, with special reverence for the flag of our country and the Constitution of which it is the emblem.
Royal Arch Chapters, the entry level into York Rite Masonry, are located in fifty-four communities across this Masonic jurisdiction. There should be a body near you.
For more information on York Rite Freemasonry, contact your Lodge secretary, a Chapter located near you or one of the following York Rite statewide offices:
Grand Royal Arch Chapter and
Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters
Robert D. Chaput, Secretary/Recorder 29 Hillside Drive
Hampden, Maine 0444-1742 (207)942-2750
Grand Commandery Gordon E. Reynolds, Recorder 3 Fairmount Park West
Bangor, ME 04401 (207) 942-4193
Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
The “Shrine” was conceived in the Knickerbocker Cottage Restaurant in New York City during 1870 by two Masons, a prominent doctor and a star actor, who thought seriously about a fraternity in which fun and fellowship would be stressed more than ritual.
While William J. Florence was on tour in Marseilles, France, the actor was invited by a banker to a party given by an Arabian diplomat. The entertainment was in the nature of an elaborately staged musical comedy, at the conclusion of which, the guests became part of a secret society. He made copious notes on the ceremony that night and at subsequent viewings in Algiers and Cairo. Assisted by a prominent lawyer and an expert printer, the doctor, Walter M. Fleming, who served as a Civil War surgeon in the 13th New York Infantry Brigade, took the actor’s notes and converted them into what became the Shrine. He declared that members would wear what would become the trademark red fez of a caring Shriner. The first meeting was held on September 26, 1872 in New York City.
The philanthropic work of the Shrine soon came to the fore in Jacksonville, Florida, as Shriners worked long hours to relieve the suffering from an 1888 Yellow Fever epidemic. Shrine service spread quickly, and the first Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children opened in 1922, with the first burns institute following in 1963.
Today, Shriners treat children with burns or orthopedic conditions in 22 facilities across North America. These children travel from all around the world to receive the best care available anywhere. This care is provided without regard to the child’s religion, race, color, sex or Masonic relationship – the only consideration is whether the child can be helped. That’s the Masonic way!
A brand new orthopedic hospital opened in Springfield, Massachusetts during 1994, followed by the dedication of a new nine-story burns center in Boston during 1995. The operating budget of the 22 facilities for the year 2001 totaled $567 million annually, and neither the patients nor their parents pay for the outstanding care provided to the children being served. All costs are paid by Shrine-Masons from around the United States, Canada and Mexico!
Shrine Temples hold at least four “stated meetings” each year, one or more ceremonials for the induction of new members, plus numerous social events by the many Shrine Units and local Shrine Clubs. The Units are often enjoyed in parades and include oriental and bagpipe bands, swing and brass bands, various horse and motor patrols, clowns, chanters and the Legions of Honor. Each unit not only has fun in its chosen activities, but also competes internationally against other Shrine Temples and raises funds for the Shrine hospitals.
The two Shrine Temples in Maine may be contacted as follows:
P.O. Box 735
Bangor, Maine 04002-0735 (800)225-2624
(207) 942-1994 (fax)
11 Sabattus Street
Lewiston, Maine 04240 (207) 782-5672
(207) 782-2870 (fax)
Email: koraoffice @kora temple.org
Other Members of the Masonic Family of Organizations
There are several additional organizations that are closely related to Freemasonry, although they are not officially recognized by our Grand Lodge as collateral bodies. Men of the Eastern Star, White Shrine and Amaranth must be Master Masons, while the ladies must be related to Masons. Brethren serve in leadership roles in several youth organizations, including the Order of DeMolay and Order of Rainbow. Information follows on those organizations that are most active in Maine.
Order of DeMolay
The Order of DeMolay was founded in 1919 by Frank S. Land. Membership is open to young men between the ages of twelve and twenty-one. DeMolay provides opportunities for brotherhood and the development of personal qualities in its members. Many famous men have been members of DeMolay, including John Wayne, Walt Disney, Russ Francis, Dan Rather, John Glenn and Willard Scott.
Funding for DeMolay is provided through the DeMolay Foundation and contributions are always welcome from Masonic bodies, individuals and businesses. Adult leaders, or advisors, are volunteers from the Masonic Fraternity who give of their time and talents to aid chapter members. For information on supporting this youth organization, contact:
The Executive Office Dr. Martin Bressler 527 Tiffany Road, Sydney, Maine 04330 or call (207)547-3100. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Order of Rainbow
The International Order of Rainbow was founded in 1922 by Reverend W. Mark Sexson who envisioned an organization which would teach basic religious principles land the lessons of Love, Religion, Nature, Immortality, Fidelity, Patriotism and Service. As a symbol, he chose God’s first promise of Hope to his people – the Rainbow. Maine Rainbow has a camp on a pond where girls participate in numerous outdoor events. Rainbow girls are involved in fund raising events in support of their charitable and scholarship efforts.
The Order is open to young women, ages 11 to 20, who are daughters of Master Masons, Eastern Stars or Amaranth members, or friends of Rainbow Girls. Each member is provided numerous opportunities for personal growth and charitable giving. For information on a Chapter near you, contact:
The Supreme Inspector
238 Windham Center Road
Windham, Maine 04062
or call (207) 892-3684
Information may also be obtained from:
The International Order of Rainbow for Girls
P.O. Box 788
McAlester, OK 74502
Telephone (918) 423-1328
Order of the Eastern Star
The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women can belong. It was conceived in 1850 by the poet-laureate of Masonry, Dr. Rob Morris. It is a fraternal and social organization dedicated to Charity, Truth and Loving Kindness. Women eighteen years of age or older may belong if they are related to a Master Mason in one of the following ways: daughter, step-daughter, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, great granddaughter, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, step-sister, half-sister, niece, wife or widow.
The Order of the Eastern Star in Maine supports the Order of Rainbow for Girls. The Eastern Star also provides scholarship assistance to college bound students, and supports cancer research, the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, heart research, the Shrine hospitals and various other charities.
The Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem
The White Shrine of Jerusalem is a Masonic affiliated fraternal organization to which both men and women may belong. It was organized in the State of Illinois on October 23, 1894. Its ritual is based upon the Christian religion and the life of Christ. Members are to do noble deeds and acts of kindness to all mankind.
In Maine there is only one White Shrine which is located in Auburn. It is Rugged Cross Shrine No. 2, and meets on the fourth Friday of each month, July and August excluded, at the Masonic Temple located at 1021 Turner Street.
Masons and women with Masonic relations may join by filling out an application from a White Shrine Member of Shrine Scribe (Secretary).
A visit from the White Shrine representative will be made and a vote for admittance taken.
The philanthropic project of the White Shrine is the Material Objective Program. Through this we help those in need of rehabilitation, regardless of race, creed, sect or age who have no other means of assistance. There is no limit as to any particular physical or medical problem. The funds for this project are derived from voluntary donations and the income from our endowment fund.
The Order of the Amaranth
The Order of the Amaranth was originally created by Queen Christina of Sweden in the early 1600’s. In 1860, James B. Taylor, a Mason, wrote the Degree of the Amaranth and incorporated many of the symbols and much of the phraseology used by Queen Christina. Robert Macoy revised the work of Brother Taylor and perfected it into ritualistic form. He decided to combine it with the Eastern Star and the Queen of the South Degree with the Amaranth being the third or highest degree. As time went on, when first started in America, the Order of the Amaranth became completely separate from the Order of the Eastern Star and Queen of the South. The Order spread throughout most of the United States and Canada as well as to the British Isles, Australia, France and the Philippines. As of 1998, forty-three grand courts are in existence as well as several subordinate courts under Supreme Council jurisdiction.
It is a fraternal organization composed of Master Masons and their properly qualified female relatives. In its teachings, the members are reminded of their duties to God, to their Country, and to their fellow beings. They are urged to portray their belief in the Golden Rule. The extent of its charitable work and overall benevolence is limited only by the opportunities that exist. The Order of the Amaranth means many things to many people.
To its early members it meant the opportunity to build upon the strong foundations of TRUTH, FAITH, WISDOM and CHARITY. It is a fraternal order having for its purpose, service to humanity, set to the music of fraternal love. It means a challenge to build higher and stronger upon these foundations of Fraternal Love and Service. It means the hand of fraternal friendship to those in distress, and thinking and remembering about its members in their hours of sorrow and sickness. Most of all, it means the opportunity to serve and to enjoy the close fraternal ties of mutual respect and understanding, thus enriching our lives with friendship.
The Philanthropic Project of the Amaranth is the Diabetes Foundation adopted by its Supreme Council in 1979. An irrevocable trust was then established for the purpose of having one voluntary charity project. The Order annually donates to diabetic research. In 1997 this amounted to nearly one half million dollars.
The Daughters of the Nile
Daughters of the Nile is a benevolent international fraternal organization for women who are related by birth or marriage to Shriners. It boasts 147 constituted Temples throughout the United States and Canada. Twenty-two progressive women with strength of purpose and vision founded the organization in 1913. There are more than 55,000 members throughout the North American continent. The Daughters of the Nile are proud of their heritage and grateful to the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for allowing them to assist with the patients at the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children in North America and Hawaii. Annually, through the Supreme Temple Convalescent Endowment Fund and Convalescent Relief Fund there was contributed more than a million and half dollars to the hospitals for prostheses, orthotics, braces, shoes, etc. for the children. Besides all this, many Temples sew garments, quilts, provide toys and hold parties for the children in the hospitals. Their interest in and concern for the children was expressed in April 1997 by contributing $1,590,500 to the Hospitals for the 1996-97 Supreme temple fiscal year. This figure denotes that more than 30,000 children were assisted by the Daughters of the Nile within one year. Imperial Shrine Headquarters arranged for the Daughters of the Nile to have gold plaques placed in 15 of the hospitals. “Each plaque represents $1,000,000 or more in giving and untold hours of unselfish and innovative fund raising from the members.”
Daughters of the Nile enjoys its heritage from the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine and are pleased to have the support and interest of the local Shrine Temples, as well as that of the Imperial Shrine. Membership in the Order is gained by being proposed for the same. Petitions for membership by individuals are not accepted
The Social Order of the Beauceant
The Social Order of the Beauceant is an organization of Christian women whose membership is limited to the wives and widows of Knights Templar. It was founded in Denver, Colorado, on February 20, 1890.
Members of each Assembly throughout the country work for charities, including the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. The theme of this Order is “Faith, Loyalty and Love for God, the Order of Knights Templar and each other.”
The Auburn, Maine Assembly was organized in 1991 and meets the first Thursday of each month, except January and February.
Symbols of the Family of Masonic Organizations
The use of symbols within the Masonic Fraternity was discussed in Chapter I, and the symbols used in Lodges are discussed in Chapters II and III. Many of these symbols have consistent meanings within the Masonic family of organizations, while other symbols have different meanings. Some symbols are unique to their individual organizations. For instance, the young ladies who belong to the Order of Rainbow use the rainbow as a symbol meaning that God is good and he cares about people. This comes from the story of the rainbow in the Bible where God placed a rainbow in the sky to indicate a new covenant with man. In addition, virtues are assigned to different colors: Red, Love; Orange, Religion; Blue, Fidelity; Violet, Service; Green, Immortality; Indigo, Patriotism; and Yellow, Nature. The symbol of the rainbow reminds the members of the Order that a good life is built on those virtues.
The Order of Amaranth uses the crown to symbolize royalty, which doesn’t mean just the right of one person to command another. It means more importantly that each person must be sovereign over his or her own life, feelings, thoughts and actions. The crown symbolizes self-control, which is necessary for personal growth.
York Rite Masons use the crown to mean the power and authority to lead or command. When it is combined with a cross, one of the meanings of the crown is “Victory,” while the cross symbolizes Christianity.
The Order of the Eastern Star uses a crown in combination with a scepter. The crown symbolizes Honor, Power and Authority; the scepter symbolizes power used to guard and protect others. The combination teaches that all persons have an obligation to use whatever resources they have to make sure that no one is exploited or denied justice.
The most common symbol used by Masons is the Square and Compasses. The Square stands for Virtue and Morality, for the world and physical reality. The Compasses stand for the importance of keeping our passions within bounds; for spiritual things. Therefore, one of the meanings of the symbol is that while a person has both a physical or animal nature and a spiritual nature, the spiritual should be stronger than the physical. The letter “G” in the compasses stands for God and geometry, since the ancients believed that the study of geometry led the mind to the study of God.
The Eastern Star uses the five-pointed star, usually shown with one point down, as a symbol for the star which guided the Wise Men to Bethlehem. The downward pointing ray represents the light of the star coming to the earth and also the birth of Jesus when He came down to earth from heaven.
Masons also use the five-pointed star as a symbol. For Masons, the star is a symbol of Man, with the five points representing his head, hands and feet. Scottish Rite Masons use the star to represent the blazing glory of God, which fills the entire universe, and also that God reveals Himself to mankind through nature.
Another symbol of both Masons and the Eastern Star is a sheaf of wheat or corn. In England, “corn” meant any cereal grain, not what we think of as corn in the United States. For Masons, it symbolizes plenty and the goodness of God in providing for mankind. For the Eastern Star, it teaches that many small acts of kindness performed, or many small duties well carried out, add up to important totals; that it is just as important to do small tasks and acts of kindness as to do large ones.
DeMolay uses school books as a symbol of the importance of education and, even more importantly, as a symbol of intellectual freedom that is the foundation of all other freedoms.
The Eastern Star uses the triangle as a part of the jewels belonging to the officers occupying the “Star Points.” The triangle surrounds the symbol specific to the particular star point, e.g. the triangle surrounds a Broken Column in the jewel for “Martha.” The Broken Column symbolizes grief and sorrow, especially that caused by the death of someone we love; the triangle symbolizes God. Together, they teach that the deepest sorrow is relieved by a trustful faith in God. The York Rite similarly uses the triangle in some of its officer’s jewels.
For Masons, the triangle is a symbol of God. For Christian Masons, the three sides represent the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Scottish Rite and York Rite Masons also use three triangles. The triangles represent the Power, Wisdom and Creative nature of God. In ancient times, one of the bars of each triangle was sometimes removed. The symbol looks very much like a turning wheel; therefore, the symbol was used to represent the movement of God throughout the universe and also the movement of the universe through time. By the time of the Greeks, the symbol had changed again, and the three partial triangles turned into three legs.
In Masonry, the sword is the symbol of the Tyler. It symbolizes Security or protection, and it teaches that a Mason should be constantly on guard against unworthy or improper thoughts. In Scottish Rite Masonry, the sword symbolizes Chivalry and Justice; when it is drawn with a wavy blade, it symbolizes lightning, which also symbolizes the power of God.
The two swords behind the crown in the DeMolay emblem symbolize Justice and Fortitude; the fact that the swords are crossed symbolizes Mercy. For the Eastern Star, the sword is covered with a veil. The sword symbolizes Right and the veil symbolizes Revelation. The two, in combination, suggest Right, Honor and Integrity, and that such virtues are revealed to men and women.
For Masons, the Apron symbolizes purity of life as a goal for which we all should strive. For Rainbows, the apron stands for the Masonic Fraternity and the ideals of the Fraternity. The pot or censer of burning incense represents prayer to Masons. For Scottish Rite Masons, it also symbolizes the purity of the heart and mind with which a person should approach prayer. The Scottish Rite uses a dove to symbolize Good, Light and God’s Mercy.
The Gavel is an interesting symbol. Masons were the first to use a gavel as a symbol of a presiding officer. Because so many of America’s first judges and legislators were Masons, the Congress of the United States started using it to open and close sessions, indicate that a bill had passed, or call for order, just as we do in the Masonic bodies.
In America, every Masonic body requires that an American flag be present in the room as a symbol of patriotism.
These symbols tell us that each body within the Masonic family teaches the need for personal faith and reliance on God. Each body regards personal honor and integrity as important. Each teaches that purity in individual life is significant, and each teaches the importance of being of service to others and treating others with respect.