The Symbolism of Freemasonry
Albert G. Mackey
Part 5 out of 6
CIRCUMAMBULATION. The ceremony of perambulating the lodge, or going in
procession around the altar, which was universally practised in the
ancient initiations and other religious ceremonies, and was always
performed so that the persons moving should have the altar on their right
hand. The rite was symbolic of the apparent daily course of the sun from
the east to the west by the way of the south, and was undoubtedly derived
from the ancient sun-worship.
CIVILIZATION. Freemasonry is a result of civilization, for it exists in no
savage or barbarous state of society; and in return it has proved, by its
social and moral principles, a means of extending and elevating the
civilization which gave it birth.
Freemasonry is therefore a type of civilization, bearing the same relation
to the profane world that civilization does to the savage state.
COLLEGES OF ARTIFICERS. The _Collegia Fabrorum_, or Workmen's Colleges,
were established in Rome by Numa, who for this purpose distributed all the
artisans of the city into companies, or colleges, according to their arts
and trades. They resembled the modern corporations, or _guilds_, which
sprang up in the middle ages. The rule established by their founder, that
not less than three could constitute a college,--"_tres faciunt
collegium_,"--has been retained in the regulations of the third degree of
masonry, to a lodge of which these colleges bore other analogies.
COLOGNE, CHARTER OF. See _Charter of Cologne_.
COMMON GAVEL. See _Gavel_.
CONSECRATION. The appropriating or dedicating, with certain ceremonies,
anything to sacred purposes or offices, by separating it from common use.
Masonic lodges, like ancient temples and modern churches, have always been
consecrated. Hobbes, in his _Leviathan_ (p. iv. c. 44), gives the best
definition of this ceremony. "To consecrate is in Scripture to offer,
give, or dedicate, in pious and decent language and gesture, a man, or any
other thing, to God, by separating it from common use.".
CONSECRATION, ELEMENTS OF. Those things, the use of which in the ceremony
as constituent and elementary parts of it, are necessary to the perfecting
and legalizing of the act of consecration. In Freemasonry, these elements
of consecration are _corn_, _wine_, and _oil_,--which see.
CORN. One of the three elements of masonic consecration, and as a symbol
of plenty it is intended, under the name of the "corn of nourishment," to
remind us of those temporal blessings of life, support, and nourishment
which we receive from the Giver of all good.
CORNER STONE. The most important stone in the edifice, and in its
symbolism referring to an impressive ceremony in the first degree of
The ancients laid it with peculiar ceremonies, and among the Oriental
nations it was the symbol of a prince, or chief.
It is one of the most impressive symbols of Masonry.
It is a symbol of the candidate on his initiation.
As a symbol it is exclusively masonic, and confined to a temple origin.
COVERING OF THE LODGE. Under the technical name of the "clouded canopy or
starry-decked heavens," it is a symbol of the future world,--of the
celestial lodge above, where the G.A.O.T.U. forever presides, and which
constitutes the "foreign country" which every mason hopes to reach.
CREUZER. George Frederick Creuzer, who was born in Germany in 1771, and
was a professor at the University of Heidelberg, devoted himself to the
study of the ancient religions, and with profound learning, established a
peculiar system on the subject. Many of his views have been adopted in the
text of the present work. His theory was, that the religion and mythology
of the ancient Greeks were borrowed from a far more ancient people,--a
body of priests coming from the East,--who received them as a revelation.
The myths and traditions of this ancient people were adopted by Hesiod,
Homer, and the later poets, although not without some misunderstanding of
them, and they were finally preserved in the Mysteries, and became
subjects of investigation for the philosophers. This theory Creuzer has
developed in his most important work, entitled "Symbolik und Mythologie
der alten Völker, besonders der Greichen," which was published at Leipsic
in 1819. There is no translation of this work into English, but Guigniaut
published at Paris, in 1824, a paraphrastic translation of it, under the
title of "Religions de l'Antiquité considérées principalement dans leur
Formes Symboliques et Mythologiques." Creuzer's views throw much light on
the symbolic history of Freemasonry.
CROSS. No symbol was so universally diffused at an early period as the
cross. It was, says Faber (Cabir. ii. 390), a symbol throughout the pagan
world long previous to its becoming an object of veneration to Christians.
In ancient symbology it was a symbol of eternal life. M. de Mortillet, who
in 1866 published a work entitled "Le Signe de la Croix avant le
Christianisme," found in the very earliest epochs three principal symbols
of universal occurrences; viz., the _circle_, the _pyramid_, and the
_cross_. Leslie (Man's Origin and Destiny, p. 312), quoting from him in
reference to the ancient worship of the cross, says "It seems to have been
a worship of such a peculiar nature as to exclude the worship of idols."
This sacredness of the crucial symbol may be one reason why its form was
often adopted, especially by the Celts in the construction of their
temples, though I have admitted in the text the commonly received opinion
that in cross-shaped temples the four limbs of the cross referred to the
four elements. But in a very interesting work lately published--"The Myths
of the New World" (N.Y., 1863)--Mr. Brinton assigns another symbolism.
"The symbol," says this writer, "that beyond all others has fascinated the
human mind, THE CROSS, finds here its source and meaning. Scholars have
pointed out its sacredness in many natural religions, and have reverently
accepted it as a mystery, or offered scores of conflicting, and often
debasing, interpretations. _It is but another symbol of the four cardinal
points, the four winds of heaven._ This will luminously appear by a study
of its use and meaning in America." (p. 95.) And Mr. Brinton gives many
instances of the religious use of the cross by several of the aboriginal
tribes of this continent, where the allusion, it must be confessed, seems
evidently to be to the four cardinal points, or the four winds, or four
spirits, of the earth. If this be so, and if it is probable that a similar
reference was adopted by the Celtic and other ancient peoples, then we
would have in the cruciform temple as much a symbolism of the world, of
which the four cardinal points constitute the boundaries, as we have in
the square, the cubical, and the circular.
CTEIS. A representation of the female generative organ. It was, as a
symbol, always accompanied by the phallus, and, like that symbol, was
extensively venerated by the nations of antiquity. It was a symbol of the
prolific powers of nature. See _Phallus_.
CUBE. A geometrical figure, consisting of six equal sides and six equal
angles. It is the square solidified, and was among the ancients a symbol
of truth. The same symbolism is recognized in Freemasonry.
DARKNESS. It denotes falsehood and ignorance, and was a very universal
symbol among the nations of antiquity.
In all the ancient initiations, the aspirant was placed in darkness for a
period differing in each,--among the Druids for three days, among the
Greeks for twenty-seven, and in the Mysteries of Mithras for fifty.
In all of these, as well as in Freemasonry, darkness is the symbol of
initiation not complete.
DEATH. Because it was believed to be the entrance to a better and eternal
life, which was the dogma of the Mysteries, death became the symbol of
initiation; and hence among the Greeks the same word signified _to die_,
and _to be initiated_. In the British Mysteries, says Davies (Mythol. of
the British Druids), the novitiate passed the river of death in the boat
of Garanhir, the Charon of the Greeks; and before he could be admitted to
this privilege, it was requisite that he should have been mystically
buried, as well as mystically dead.
DEFINITION OF FREEMASONRY. The definition quoted in the text, that it is a
science of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, is the
one which is given in the English lectures.
But a more comprehensive and exact definition is, that it is a science
which is engaged in the search after divine truth.
DELTA. In the higher degrees of Masonry, the triangle is so called because
the Greek letter of that name is of a triangular form.
It is a symbol of Deity, because it is the first perfect figure in
geometry; it is the first figure in which space is enclosed by lines.
DEMETER. Worshipped by the Greeks as the symbol of the prolific earth. She
was the Ceres of the Romans. To her is attributed the institution of the
Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece, the most popular of all the ancient
DESIGN OF FREEMASONRY. It is not charity or alms-giving.
Nor the cultivation of the social sentiment; for both of these are merely
incidental to its organization.
But it is the search after truth, and that truth is the unity of God, and
the immortality of the soul.
DIESEAL. A term used by the Druids to designate the circumambulation
around the sacred cairns, and is derived from two words signifying "on the
right of the sun," because the circumambulation was always in imitation of
the course of the sun, with the right hand next to the cairn or altar.
DIONYSIAC ARTIFICERS. An association of architects who possessed the
exclusive privilege of erecting temples and other public buildings in Asia
Minor. The members were distinguished from the uninitiated inhabitants by
the possession of peculiar marks of recognition, and by the secret
character of their association. They were intimately connected with the
Dionysiac Mysteries, and are supposed to have furnished the builders for
the construction of the temple of Solomon.
DIONYSIAC MYSTERIES. In addition to what is said in the text, I add the
following, slightly condensed, from the pen of that accomplished writer,
Albert Pike: "The initiates in these Mysteries had preserved the ritual
and ceremonies that accorded with the simplicity of the earliest ages, and
the manners of the first men. The rules of Pythagoras were followed there.
Like the Egyptians, who held wool unclean, they buried no initiate in
woollen garments. They abstained from bloody sacrifices, and lived on
fruits or vegetables. They imitated the life of the contemplative sects of
the Orient. One of the most precious advantages promised by their
initiation was to put man in communion with the gods by purifying his
soul of all the passions that interfere with that enjoyment, and dim the
rays of divine light that are communicated to every soul capable of
receiving them. The sacred gates of the temple, where the ceremonies of
initiation were performed, were opened but once in each year, and no
stranger was allowed to enter. Night threw her veil over these august
Mysteries. There the sufferings of Dionysus were represented, who, like
Osiris, died, descended to hell, and rose to life again; and raw flesh was
distributed to the initiates, which each ate in memory of the death of the
deity torn in pieces by the Titans."
DIONYSUS. Or Bacchus; mythologically said to be the son of Zeus and
Semele. In his Mysteries he was identified with Osiris, and regarded as
the sun. His Mysteries prevailed in Greece, Rome, and Asia, and were
celebrated by the Dionysiac artificers--those builders who united with the
Jews in the construction of King Solomon's temple. Hence, of all the
ancient Mysteries, they are the most interesting to the masonic student.
DISSEVERANCE. The disseverance of the operative from the speculative
element of Freemasonry occurred at the beginning of the eighteenth
DISCALCEATION, RITE OF. The ceremony of uncovering the feet, or taking off
the shoes; from the Latin _discalceare_. It is a symbol of reverence. See
DRUIDICAL MYSTERIES. The Celtic Mysteries celebrated in Britain and Gaul.
They resembled, in all material points, the other mysteries of antiquity,
and had the same design. The aspirant was subjected to severe trials,
underwent a mystical death and burial in imitation of the death of the god
Hu, and was eventually enlightened by the communication to him of the
great truths of God and immortality, which it was the object of all the
Mysteries to teach.
DUALISM. A mythological and philosophical doctrine, which supposes the
world to have been always governed by two antagonistic principles,
distinguished as the good and the evil principle. This doctrine pervaded
all the Oriental religions, and its influences are to be seen in the
system of Speculative Masonry, where it is developed in the symbolism of
Light and Darkness.
EAST. That part of the heavens where the sun rises; and as the source of
material light to which we figuratively apply the idea of intellectual
light, it has been adopted as a symbol of the Order of Freemasonry. And
this symbolism is strengthened by the fact that the earliest learning and
the earliest religion came from the east, and have ever been travelling to
In Freemasonry, the east has always been considered the most sacred of the
cardinal points, because it is the place where light issues; and it was
originally referred to the primitive religion, or sun-worship. But in
Freemasonry it refers especially to that east whence an ancient priesthood
first disseminated truth to enlighten the world; wherefore the east is
masonically called "the place of light."
EGG. The mundane egg is a well-recognized symbol of the world. "The
ancient pagans," says Faber, "in almost every part of the globe, were wont
to symbolize the world by an egg. Hence this symbol is introduced into the
cosmogony of nearly all nations; and there are few persons, even among
those who have not made mythology their study, to whom the _Mundane Egg_
is not perfectly familiar. It was employed not only to represent the
earth, but also the universe in its largest extent." _Origin of Pag.
Idolatry_, i. 175.
EGG AND LUNETTE. The egg, being a symbol not only of the resurrection,
but also of the world rescued from destruction by the Noachic ark, and the
lunette, or horizontal crescent, being a symbol of the Great Father,
represented by Noah, the egg and lunette combined, which was the
hieroglyphic of the god Lunus, at Heliopolis, was a symbol of the world
proceeding from the Great Father.
EGYPT. Egypt has been considered as the cradle not only of the sciences,
but of the religions of the ancient world. Although a monarchy, with a
king nominally at the head of the state, the government really was in the
hands of the priests, who were the sole depositaries of learning, and were
alone acquainted with the religious formularies that in Egypt controlled
all the public and private actions of the life of every inhabitant.
ELEPHANTA. An island in the Bay of Bombay, celebrated for the stupendous
caverns artificially excavated out of the solid rock, which were
appropriated to the initiations in the ancient Indian Mysteries.
ELEUSINIAN MYSTERIES. Of all the Mysteries of the ancients these were the
most popular. They were celebrated at the village of Eleusis, near Athens,
and were dedicated to Demeter. In them the loss and the restoration of
Persephone were scenically represented, and the doctrines of the unity of
God and the immortality of the soul were taught. See _Demeter_.
ENTERED APPRENTICE. The first degree of Ancient Craft Masonry, analogous
to the aspirant in the Lesser Mysteries.
It is viewed as a symbol of childhood, and is considered as a preparation
and purification for something higher.
EPOPT. (From the Greek ἐπόπτης, _an eye witness_.) One who, having been
initiated in the Greater Mysteries of paganism, has seen the aporrheta.
ERA OF MASONRY. The legendary statement that the origin of Masonry is
coeval with the beginning of the world, is only a philosophical myth to
indicate the eternal nature of its principles.
ERICA. The tree heath; a sacred plant among the Egyptians, and used in the
Osirian Mysteries as the symbol of immortality, and the analogue of the
ESSENES. A society or sect of the Jews, who combined labor with religious
exercises, whose organization partook of a secret character, and who have
been claimed to be the descendants of the builders of the temple of
EUCLID. The masonic legend which refers to Euclid is altogether
historically untrue. It is really a philosophical myth intended to convey
a masonic truth.
EURESIS. (From the Greek εὔρεσις, _a discovery_.) That part of the
initiation in the ancient Mysteries which represented the finding of the
body of the god or hero whose death was the subject of the initiation.
The euresis has been adopted in Freemasonry, and forms an essential part
of the ritual of the third degree.
EVERGREEN. A symbol of the immortality of the soul.
Planted by the Hebrews and other ancient peoples at the heads of graves.
For this purpose the Hebrews preferred the acacia, because its wood was
incorruptible, and because, as the material of the ark, it was already
considered as a sacred plant.
EYE, ALL-SEEING. A symbol of the omniscient and watchful providence of
God. It is a very ancient symbol, and is supposed by some to be a relic of
the primitive sun-worship. Volney says (_Les Ruines_, p. 186) that in most
of the ancient languages of Asia, the _eye_ and the _sun_ are expressed by
the same word. Among the Egyptians the eye was the symbol of their supreme
god, Osiris, or the sun.
FABER. The works of the Rev. G.S. Faber, on the Origin of Pagan Idolatry,
and on the Cabiri, are valuable contributions to the science of mythology.
They abound in matters of interest to the investigator of masonic
symbolism and philosophy, but should be read with a careful view of the
preconceived theory of the learned author, who refers everything in the
ancient religions to the influences of the Noachic cataclysm, and the
arkite worship which he supposes to have resulted from it.
FELLOW CRAFT. The second degree of Ancient Craft Masonry, analogous to the
mystes in the ancient Mysteries.
The symbol of a youth setting forth on the journey of life.
FETICHISM. The worship of uncouth and misshapen idols, practised only by
the most ignorant and debased peoples, and to be found at this day among
some of the least civilized of the negro tribes of Africa. "Their
fetiches," says Du Chaillu, speaking of some of the African races,
"consisted of fingers and tails of monkeys; of human hair, skin, teeth,
bones; of clay, old nails, copper chains; shells, feathers, claws, and
skulls of birds; pieces of iron, copper, or wood; seeds of plants, ashes
of various substances, and I cannot tell what more." _Equatorial Africa_,
FIFTEEN. A sacred number, symbolic of the name of God, because the letters
of the holy name הי, JAH, are equal, in the Hebrew mode of
numeration by the letters of the alphabet, to fifteen; for י is
equal to ten, and ה is equal to five. Hence, from veneration for
this sacred name, the Hebrews do not, in ordinary computations, when they
wish to express the number 15, make use of these two letters, but of two
others, which are equivalent to 9 and 6.
FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM. The forty-seventh problem of the first book of
Euclid is, that in any right-angled triangle the square which is described
upon the side subtending the right angle is equal to the squares described
upon the sides which contain the right angle. It is said to have been
discovered by Pythagoras while in Egypt, but was most probably taught to
him by the priests of that country, in whose rites he had been initiated;
it is a symbol of the production of the world by the generative and
prolific powers of the Creator; hence the Egyptians made the perpendicular
and base the representatives of Osiris and Isis, while the hypothenuse
represented their child Horus. Dr. Lardner says (_Com. on Euclid_, p. 60)
of this problem, "Whether we consider the forty-seventh proposition with
reference to the peculiar and beautiful relation established by it, or to
its innumerable uses in every department of mathematical science, or to
its fertility in the consequences derivable from it, it must certainly be
esteemed the most celebrated and important in the whole of the elements,
if not in the whole range of mathematical science."
FOURTEEN. Some symbologists have referred the fourteen pieces into which
the mutilated body of Osiris was divided, and the fourteen days during
which the body of the builder was buried, to the fourteen days of the
disappearance of the moon. The Sabian worshippers of "the hosts of heaven"
were impressed with the alternate appearance and disappearance of the
moon, which at length became a symbol of death and resurrection. Hence
fourteen was a sacred number. As such it was viewed in the Osirian
Mysteries, and may have been introduced into Freemasonry with other relics
of the old worship of the sun and planets.
FREEMASONRY, DEFINITION OF. See _Definition_.
FREEMASONS, TRAVELLING. The travelling Freemasons were a society existing
in the middle ages, and consisting of learned men and prelates, under whom
were operative masons. The operative masons performed the labors of the
craft, and travelling from country to country, were engaged in the
construction of cathedrals, monasteries, and castles. "There are few
points in the history of the middle ages," says Godwin, "more pleasing to
look back upon than the existence of the associated masons; they are the
bright spot in the general darkness of that period; the patch of verdure
when all around is barren." _The Builder_, ix. 463
G. The use of the letter G in the Fellow Craft's degree is an anachronism.
It is really a corruption of, or perhaps rather a substitution for, the
Hebrew letter י (yod), which is the initial of the ineffable
name. As such, it is a symbol of the life-giving and life-sustaining power
G.A.O.T.U. A masonic abbreviation used as a symbol of the name of God, and
signifying the _Grand Architect of the Universe_. It was adopted by the
Freemasons in accordance with a similar practice among all the nations of
antiquity of noting the Divine Name by a symbol.
GAVEL. What is called in Masonry a common gavel is a stone-cutter's
hammer; it is one of the working tools of an Entered Apprentice, and is a
symbol of the purification of the heart.
GLOVES. On the continent of Europe they are given to candidates at the
same time that they are invested with the apron; the same custom formerly
prevailed in England; but although the investiture of the gloves is
abandoned as a ceremony both there and in America, they are worn as a part
of masonic clothing.
They are a symbol of purification of life.
In the middle ages gloves were worn by operative masons.
GOD, UNITY OF. See _Unity of God_.
GOD, NAME OF. See _Name_.
GOLGOTHA. In Hebrew and Syriac it means _a skull_; a name of Mount
Calvary, and so called, probably, because it was the place of public
execution. The Latin _Calvaria_, whence Mount Calvary, means also a skull.
GRAVE. In the Master's degree, a symbol which is the analogue of the
pastos, or couch, in the ancient Mysteries.
The symbolism has been Christianized by some masonic writers, and the
grave has thus been referred to the sepulchre of Christ.
GRIPS AND SIGNS. They are valuable only for social purposes as modes of
HAND. The hand is a symbol of human actions; pure hands symbolize pure
actions, and impure or unclean hands symbolize impure actions.
HARE. Among the Egyptians the hare was a hieroglyphic of _eyes that are
open_, and was the symbol of initiation into the Mysteries of Osiris. The
Hebrew word for _hare_ is _arnabet_, and this is compounded of two words
that signify _to behold the light_. The connection of ideas is apparent.
HELLENISM. The religion of the Helles, or ancient Greeks who immediately
succeeded the Pelasgians in the settlement of that country. It was, in
consequence of the introduction of the poetic element, more refined than
the old Pelasgic worship for which it was substituted. Its myths were more
philosophical and less gross than those of the religion to which it
HERMAE. Stones of a cubical form, which were originally unhewn, by which
the Greeks at first represented all their deities. They came in the
progress of time to be especially dedicated by the Greeks to the god
Hermes, whence the name, and by the Romans to the god Terminus, who
presided over landmarks.
HERO WORSHIP. The worship of men deified after death. It is a theory of
some, both ancient and modern writers, that all the pagan gods were once
human beings, and that the legends and traditions of mythology are mere
embellishments of the acts of these personages when alive. It was the
doctrine taught by Euhemerus among the ancients, and has been maintained
among the moderns by such distinguished authorities as Bochart, Bryant,
Voss, and Banier.
HERMETIC PHILOSOPHY. The system of the Alchemists, the Adepts, or seekers
of the philosopher's stone. No system has been more misunderstood than
this. It was secret, esoteric, and highly symbolical. No one has so well
revealed its true design as E.A. Hitchcock, who, in his delightful work
entitled "Remarks upon Alchemy and the Alchemists," says, "The genuine
Alchemists were religious men, who passed their time in legitimate
pursuits, earning an honest subsistence, and in religious contemplation,
studying how to realize in themselves the union of the divine and human
nature, expressed in man by an enlightened submission to God's will; and
they thought out and published, after a manner of their own, a method of
attaining or entering upon this state, as the only rest of the soul."
There is a very great similarity between their doctrines and those of the
Freemasons; so much so that the two associations have sometimes been
HIEROPHANT. (From the Greek ἱερὸς, _holy, sacred_, and φαίνω _to show_.)
One who instructs in sacred things; the explainer of the aporrheta, or
secret doctrines, to the initiates in the ancient Mysteries. He was the
presiding officer, and his rank and duties were analogous to those of the
master of a masonic lodge.
HIRAM ABIF. The architect of Solomon's temple. The word "Abif" signifies
in Hebrew "his father," and is used by the writer of Second Chronicles
(iv. 16) when he says, "These things did _Hiram his father_ [in the
original _Hiram Abif _] do for King Solomon.".
The legend relating to him is of no value as a mere narrative, but of vast
importance in a symbolical point of view, as illustrating a great
philosophical and religious truth; namely, the dogma of the immortality of
Hence, Hiram Abif is the symbol of man in the abstract sense, or human
nature, as developed in the life here and in the life to come.
HIRAM OF TYRE. The king of Tyre, the friend and ally of King Solomon, whom
he supplied with men and materials for building the temple. In the recent,
or what I am inclined to call the grand lecturer's symbolism of Masonry (a
sort of symbolism for which I have very little veneration), Hiram of Tyre
is styled the symbol of strength, as Hiram Abif is of beauty. But I doubt
the antiquity or authenticity of any such symbolism. Hiram of Tyre can
only be considered, historically, as being necessary to complete the myth
and symbolism of Hiram Abif. The king of Tyre is an historical personage,
and there is no necessity for transforming him into a symbol, while his
historical character lends credit and validity to the philosophical myth
of the third degree of Masonry.
HIRAM THE BUILDER. An epithet of Hiram Abif. For the full significance of
the term, see the word _Builder_.
HO-HI. A cabalistic pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, or ineffable name
of God; it is most probably the true one; and as it literally means
HE-SHE, it is supposed to denote the hermaphroditic essence of Jehovah, as
containing within himself the male and the female principle,--the
generative and the prolific energy of creation.
HO The sacred name of God among the Druids. Bryant supposes that by it
they intended the Great Father Noah; but it is very possible that it was a
modification of the Hebrew tetragrammaton, being the last syllable read
cabalistically (see _ho-hi_); if so, it signified the great male principle
of nature. But HU, in Hebrew אוה, is claimed by Talmudic writers
to be one of the names of God; and the passage in Isaiah xlii. 8, in the
original _ani Jehovah, Hu shemi_, which is in the common version "I am the
LORD; that is my name," they interpret, "I am Jehovah; my name is Hu."
HUTCHINSON, WILLIAM. A distinguished masonic writer of England, who lived
in the eighteenth century. He is the author of "The Spirit of Masonry,"
published in 1775. This was the first English work of any importance that
sought to give a scientific interpretation of the symbols of Freemasonry;
it is, in fact, the earliest attempt of any kind to treat Freemasonry as a
science of symbolism. Hutchinson, however, has to some extent impaired the
value of his labors by contending that the institution is exclusively
Christian in its character and design.
IH-HO. See _Ho-hi_.
IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL. This is one of the two religious dogmas which
have always been taught in Speculative Masonry.
It was also taught in all the Rites and Mysteries of antiquity.
The doctrine was taught as an abstract proposition by the ancient
priesthood of the Pure or Primitive Freemasonry of antiquity, but was
conveyed to the mind of the initiate, and impressed upon him by a scenic
representation in the ancient Mysteries, or the Spurious Freemasonry of
INCOMMUNICABLE NAME. The tetragrammaton, so called because it was not
common to, and could not be bestowed upon, nor shared by, any other being.
It was proper to the true God alone. Thus Drusius (Tetragrammaton, sive de
Nomine Dei proprio, p. 108) says, "Nomen quatuor literarum proprie et
absolute non tribui nisi Deo vero. Unde doctores catholici dicunt
_incommunicabile_ [not common] esse creaturae."
INEFFABLE NAME. The tetragrammaton. So called because it is _ineffabile_,
or unpronounceable. See _Tetragrammaton_.
INTRUSTING, RITE OF. That part of the ceremony of initiation which
consists in communicating to the aspirant or candidate the aporrheta, or
secrets of the mystery.
INUNCTION. The act of anointing. This was a religious ceremony practised
from the earliest times. By the pouring on of oil, persons and things were
consecrated to sacred purposes.
INVESTITURE, RITE OF. That part of the ceremony of initiation which
consists of clothing the candidate masonically. It is a symbol of purity.
ISH CHOTZEB. Hebrew בצה שיא, _hewers of stones_. The Fellow
Crafts at the temple of Solomon. (2 Chron. ii. 2.).
ISH SABAL. Hebrew לבס שיא, _bearers of burdens_. The Apprentices
at the temple of Solomon. (2 Chron. ii. 2.).
JAH. It is in Hebrew הי whence Maimonides calls it "the two-lettered
name," and derives it from the tetragrammaton, of which it is an
abbreviation. Others have denied this, and assert that _Jah_ is a name
independent of Jehovah, but expressing the same idea of the divine
essenee. See Gataker, _De Nom. Tetrag._.
JEHOVAH. The incommunicable, ineffable name of God, in Hebrew הוהי, and
called, from the four letters of which it consists, the tetragrammaton, or
LABOR. Since the article on the Symbolism of Labor was written, I have met
with an address delivered in 1868 by brother Troué, before St. Peter's
Lodge in Martinico, which contains sentiments on the relation of Masonry
to labor which are well worth a translation from the original French. See
_Bulletin du Grand Orient de France_, December, 1868.
"Our name of Mason, and our emblems, distinctly announce that our object
is the elevation of labor.
"We do not, as masons, consider labor as a punishment inflicted on man;
but on the contrary, we elevate it in our thought to the height of a
religious act, which is the most acceptable to God because it is the most
useful to man and to society.
"We decorate ourselves with the emblems of labor to affirm that our
doctrine is an incessant protest against the stigma branded on the law of
labor, and which an error of apprehension, proceeding from the ignorance
of men in primitive times has erected into a dogma; an error that has
resulted in the production of this anti-social phenomenon which we meet
with every day; namely, that the degradation of the workman is the greater
as his labor is more severe, and the elevation of the idler is higher as
his idleness is more complete. But the study of the laws which maintain
order in nature, released from the fetters of preconceived ideas, has led
the Freemasons to that doctrine, far more moral than the contrary belief,
that labor is not an expiation, but a law of harmony, from the subjection
to which man cannot be released without impairing his own happiness, and
deranging the order of creation. The design of Freemasons is, then, the
rehabilitation of labor, which is indicated by the apron which we wear,
and the gavel, the trowel, and the level, which are found among our
Hence the doctrine of this work is, that Freemasonry teaches not only the
necessity, but the nobility, of labor.
And that labor is the proper worship due by man to God.
LADDER. A symbol of progressive advancement from a lower to a higher
sphere, which is common to Masonry, and to many, if not all, of the
LADDER, BRAHMINICAL. The symbolic ladder used in the Mysteries of Brahma.
It had seven steps, symbolic of the seven worlds of the Indian universe.
LADDER, MITHRAITIC. The symbolic ladder used in the Persian Mysteries of
Mithras. It had seven steps, symbolic of the seven planets and the seven
LADDER, SCANDINAVIAN. The symbolic ladder used in the Gothic Mysteries.
Dr. Oliver refers it to the Yggrasil, or sacred ash tree. But the
symbolism is either very abstruse or very doubtful.
LADDER, THEOLOGICAL. The symbolic ladder of the masonic Mysteries. It
refers to the ladder seen by Jacob in his vision, and consists, like all
symbolical ladders, of seven rounds, alluding to the four cardinal and the
three theological virtues.
LAMB. A symbol of innocence. A very ancient symbol.
LAMB, PASCHAL. See _Paschal Lamb_.
LAMBSKIN APRON. See _Apron_.
LAW, ORAL. See _Oral Law_.
LEGEND. A narrative, whether true or false, that has been traditionally
preserved from the time of its first oral communication. Such is the
definition of a masonic legend. The authors of the Conversations-Lexicon,
referring to the monkish Lives of the Saints which originated in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, say that the title _legend_ was given to
all fictions which make pretensions to truth. Such a remark, however
correct it may be in reference to these monkish narratives, which were
often invented as ecclesiastical exercises, is by no means applicable to
the legends of Freemasonry. These are not necessarily fictitious, but are
either based on actual and historical facts which have been but slightly
modificd, or they are the offspring and expansion of some symbolic idea in
which latter respect they differ entirely from the monastic legends, which
often have only the fertile imagination of some studious monk for the
basis of their construction.
LEGEND OF THE ROYAL ARCH DEGREE. Much of this legend is a mythical
history; but some portion of it is undoubtedly a philosophical myth. The
destruction and the reëdification of the temple, the captivity and the
return of the captives, are matters of history; but many of the details
have been invented and introduced for the purpose of giving form to a
LEGEND OF THE THIRD DEGREE. In all probability this legend is a mythical
history, in which truth is very largely and preponderatingly mixed with
It is the most important and significant of the legendary symbols of
Has descended from age to age by oral tradition, and has been preserved in
every masonic rite.
No essential alteration of it has ever been made in any masonic system,
but the interpretations of it have been various; the most general one is,
that it is a symbol of the resurrection and the immortality of the soul.
Some continental writers have supposed that it was a symbol of the
downfall of the Order of Templars, and its hoped-for restoration. In some
of the high philosophical degrees it is supposed to be a symbol of the
sufferings, death, and resurrection Christ. Hutchinson thought it a symbol
of the decadence of the Jewish religion, and the rise of the Christian on
its ruins. Oliver says that it symbolically refers to the murder of Abel,
the death of our race through Adam, and its restoration through Christ.
Ragon thinks that it is a symbol of the sun shorn of its vigor by the
three winter months, and restored to generative power by the spring. And
lastly, Des Etangs says that it is a symbol of eternal reason, whose
enemies are the vices that deprave and finally destroy humanity.
But none of these interpretations, except the first, can be sustained.
LETTUCE. The sacred plant of the Mysteries of Adonis; a symbol of
immortality, and the analogue of the acacia.
LEVEL. One of the working tools of a Fellow Craft. It is a symbol of the
equality of station of all men before God.
LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES. In the seventh century, all learning was
limited to the seven liberal arts and sciences; their introduction into
Freemasonry, referring to this theory, is a symbol of the completion of
LIGHT. It denotes truth and knowledge, and is so explained in all the
ancient systems; in initiation, it is not material but intellectual light
that is sought.
It is predominant as a symbol in all the ancient initiations.
There it was revered because it was an emanation trom the sun, the common
object of worship; but the theory advanced by some writers, that the
veneration of light originally proceeded from its physical qualities, is
Pythagoras called it the good principle in nature; and the Cabalists
taught that eternal light filled all space before the creation, and that
after creation it retired to a central spot, and became the instrument of
the Divine Mind in creating matter.
It is the symbol of the autopsy, or the full perfection and fruition of
It is therefore a fundamental symbol in Freemasonry, and contains within
itself the very essence of the speculative science.
LINGAM. The phallus was so called by the Indian nations of the East. See
LODGE. The place where Freemasons meet, and also the congregation of
masons so met. The word is derived from the _lodges_ occupied by the
travelling Freemasons of the middle ages.
It is a symbol of the world, or universe.
Its form, an oblong square, is symbolic of the supposed oblong form of the
world as known to the ancients.
LOST WORD. There is a masonic myth that there was a certain word which was
lost and afterwards recovered.
It is not material what the word was, nor how lost, nor when recovered:
the symbolism refers only to the abstract idea of a loss and a recovery.
It is a symbol of divine truth.
The search for it was also made by the philosophers and priests in the
Mysteries of the Spurious Freemasonry.
LOTUS. The sacred plant of the Brahminical Mysteries, and the analogue of
It was also a sacred plant among the Egyptians.
LUSTRATION. A purification by washing the hands or body in consecrated
water, practised in the ancient Mysteries. See _Purification_.
LUX (_light_). One of the appellations bestowed upon Freemasonry, to
indicate that it is that sublime doctrine of truth by which the pathway of
him who has attained it is to be illumined in the pilgrimage of life.
Among the Rosicrucians, light was the knowledge of the philosopher's
stone; and Mosheim says that in chemical language the cross was an emblem
of light, because it contains within its figure the forms of the three
figures of which LVX, or light, is composed.
LUX E TENEBRIS (_light out of darkness_). A motto of the Masonic Order,
which is equivalent to "truth out of initiation;" light being the symbol
of truth, and darkness the symbol of initiation commenced.
MAN. Repeatedly referred to by Christ and the apostles as the symbol of a
MASTER MASON. The third degree of Ancient Craft Masonry, analogous to the
epopt of the ancient Mysteries.
MENATZCHIM. Hebrew םיהצנמ _superintendents_, or _overseers_. The
Master Masons at the temple of Solomon. (2 Chron. ii. 2.)
MENU. In the Indian mythology, Menu is the son of Brahma, and the founder
of the Hindoo religion. Thirteen other Menus are said to exist, seven of
whom have already reigned on earth. But it is the first one whose
instructions constitute the whole civil and religious polity of the
Hindoos. The code attributed to him by the Brahmins has been translated by
Sir William Jones, with the title of "The Institutes of Menu."
MIDDLE CHAMBER. A part of the Solomonic temple, which was approached by
winding stairs, but which was certainly not appropriated to the purpose
indicated in the Fellow Craft's degree.
The legend of the Winding Stairs is therefore only a philosophical myth.
It is a symbol of this life and its labors.
MISTLETOE. The sacred plant of Druidism; commemorated also in the
Scandinavian rites. It is the analogue of the acacia, and like all the
other sacred plants of antiquity, is a symbol of the immortality of the
soul. Lest the language of the text should be misunderstood, it may be
remarked here that the Druidical and the Scandinavian rites are not
identical. The former are Celtic, the latter Gothic. But the fact that in
both the mistletoe was a sacred plant affords a violent presumption that
there must have been a common point from which both religions started.
There was, as I have said, an identity of origin for the same ancient and
general symbolic idea.
MITHRAS. He was the god worshipped by the ancient Persians, and celebrated
in their Mysteries as the symbol of the sun. In the initiation in these
Mysteries, the candidate passed through many terrible trials, and his
courage and fortitude were exposed to the most rigorous tests. Among
others, after ascending the mystical ladder of seven steps, he passed
through a scenic representation of Hades, or the infernal regions; out of
this and the surrounding darkness he was admitted into the full light of
Elysium, where he was obligated by an oath of secrecy, and invested by the
Archimagus, or High Priest, with the secret instructions of the rite,
among which was a knowledge of the Ineffable Name.
MOUNT CALVARY. A small hill of Jerusalem, in a westerly direction, and not
far from Mount Moriah. In the legends of Freemasonry it is known as "a
small hill near Mount Moriah," and is referred to in the third degree.
This "small hill" having been determined as the burial-place of Jesus, the
symbol has been Christianized by many modern masons.
There are many masonic traditions, principally borrowed from the Talmud,
connected with Mount Calvary; such as, that it was the place where Adam
was buried, &c.
MOUNT MORIAH. The hill in Jerusalem on which the temple of Solomon was
MYRTLE. The sacred plant in the Eleusinian Mysteries, and, as symbolic of
a resurrection and immortality, the analogue of the acacia.
MYSTERIES. A secret worship paid by the ancients to several of the pagan
gods, to which none were admitted but those who had been solemnly
initiated. The object of instruction in these Mysteries was, to teach the
unity of God and the immortality of the soul. They were divided into
Lesser and Greater Mysteries. The former were merely preparatory. In the
latter the whole knowledge was communicated. Speaking of the doctrine that
was communicated to the initiates, Philo Judaeus says that "it is an
incorruptible treasure, not like gold or silver, but more precious than
everything beside; for it is the knowledge of the Great Cause, and of
nature, and of that which is born of both." And his subsequent language
shows that there was a confraternity existing among the initiates like
that of the masonic institution; for he says, with his peculiar mysticism,
"If you meet an initiate, besiege him with your prayers that he conceal
from you no new mysteries that he may know; and rest not until you have
obtained them. For me, although I was initiated into the Great Mysteries
by Moses, the friend of God, yet, having seen Jeremiah, I recognized him
not only as an Initiate, but as a Hierophant; and I followed his school."
So, too, the mason acknowledges every initiate as his brother, and is ever
ready and anxious to receive all the light that can be bestowed on the
Mysteries in which he has been indoctrinated.
MYSTES. (From the Greek μύω, _to shut the eyes_.) One who had been
initiated into the Lesser Mysteries of paganism. He was now blind, but
when he was initiated into the Greater Mysteries he was called an Epopt,
or one who saw.
MYTH. Grote's definition of the myth, which is cited in the text, may be
applied without modification to the myths of Freemasonry, although
intended by the author only for the myths of the ancient Greek religion.
The myth, then, is a narrative of remote date, not necessarily true or
false, but whose truth can only be certified by internal evidence. The
word was first applied to those fables of the pagan gods which have
descended from the remotest antiquity, and in all of which there prevails
a symbolic idea, not always, however, capable of a positive
interpretation. As applied to Freemasonry, the words _myth_ and _legend_
From this definition it will appear that the myth is really only the
interpretation of an idea. But how we are to read these myths will best
appear from these noble words of Max Müller: "Everything is true, natural,
significant, if we enter with a reverent spirit into the meaning of
ancient art and ancient language. Everything becomes false, miraculous,
and unmeaning, if we interpret the deep and mighty words of the seers of
old in the shallow and feeble sense of modern chroniclers." (Science of
Language, 2d Ser. p. 578.).
MYTH, HISTORICAL. An historical myth is a myth that has a known and
recognized foundation in historical truth, but with the admixture of a
preponderating amount of fiction in the introduction of personages and
circumstances. Between the historical myth and the mythical history, the
distinction as laid down in the text cannot always be preserved, because
we are not always able to determine whether there is a preponderance of
truth or of fiction in the legend or narrative under examination.
MYTHICAL HISTORY. A myth or legend in which the historical and truthful
greatly preponderate over the inventions of fiction.
MYTHOLOGY. Literally, the science of myths; and this is a very appropriate
definition, for mythology is the science which treats of the religion of
the ancient pagans, which was almost altogether founded on myths, or
popular traditions and legendary tales; and hence Keightly (Mythol. of
Ancient Greece and Italy, p. 2) says that "mythology may be regarded as
the repository of the early religion of the people." Its interest to a
masonic student arises from the constant antagonism that existed between
its doctrines and those of the Primitive Freemasonry of antiquity and the
light that the mythological Mysteries throw upon the ancient organization
of Speculative Masonry.
MYTH, PHILOSOPHICAL. This is a myth or legend that is almost wholly
unhistorical, and which has been invented only for the purpose of
enunciating and illustrating a particular thought or dogma.
NAME. All Hebrew names are significant, and were originally imposed with
reference to some fact or feature in the history or character of the
persons receiving them. Camden says that the same custom prevailed among
all the nations of antiquity. So important has this subject been
considered, that "Onomastica," or treatises on the signification of names
have been written by Eusebius and St. Jerome, by Simonis and Hillerus, and
by several other scholars, of whom Eusebe Salverte is the most recent and
the most satisfactory. Shuckford (Connect. ii. 377) says that the Jewish
Rabbins thought that the true knowledge of names was a science preferable
to the study of the written law.
NAME OF GOD. The true pronunciation, and consequently the signification,
of the name of God can only be obtained through a cabalistical
It is a symbol of divine truth. None but those who are familiar with the
subject can have any notion of the importance bestowed on this symbol by
the Orientalists. The Arabians have a science called _Ism Allah_, or the
_science of the name of God_; and the Talmudists and Rabbins have written
copiously on the same subject. The Mussulmans, says Salverte (Essai sur
les Noms, ii. 7), have one hundred names of God, which they repeat while
counting the beads of a rosary.
NEOPHYTE. (From the Greek νέον and φυιὸν, _a new plant_.) One who has been
recently initiated in the Mysteries. St. Paul uses the same word (I Tim.
iii. 6) to denote one who had been recently converted to the Christian
NOACHIDAE. The descendants of Noah, and the transmitters of his religious
dogmas, which were the unity of God and the immortality of the soul. The
name has from the earliest times been bestowed upon the Freemasons, who
teach the same doctrines. Thus in the "old charges," as quoted by Anderson
(Const. edit. 1738, p. 143), it is said, "A mason is obliged by his tenure
to observe the moral law as a true Noachidae."
NOACHITES. The same as _Noachidae_, which see.
NORTH. That part of the earth which, being most removed from the influence
of the sun at his meridian height, is in Freemasonry called "a place of
darkness." Hence it is a symbol of the profane world.
NORTH-EAST CORNER. An important ceremony of the first degree, which refers
to the north-east corner of the lodge, is explained by the symbolism of
The corner-stone of a building is always laid in the north-east corner,
for symbolic reasons.
The north-east point of the heavens was especially sacred among the
In the symbolism of Freemasonry, the north refers to the outer or profane
world, and the east to the inner world of Masonry; and hence the
north-east is symbolic of the double position of the neophyte, partly in
the darkness of the former, partly in the light of the latter.
NUMBERS. The symbolism of sacred numbers, which prevails very extensively
in Freemasonry, was undoubtedly borrowed from the school of Pythagoras;
but it is just as likely that he got it from Egypt or Babylon, or from
both. The Pythagorean doctrine was, according to Aristotle (Met. xii. 8),
that all things proceed from numbers. M. Dacier, however, in his life of
the philosopher, denies that the doctrine of numbers was taught by
Pythagoras himself, but attributes it to his later disciples. But his
arguments are not conclusive or satisfactory.
OATH OF SECRECY. It was always administered to the candidate in the
ODD NUMBERS. In the system of Pythagoras, odd numbers were symbols of
perfection. Hence the sacred numbers of Freemasonry are all odd. They are
3, 5, 7, 9, 15, 27, 33, and 81.
OIL. An element of masonic consecration, and, as a symbol of prosperity
and happiness, is intended, under the name of the "oil of joy," to
indicate the expected propitious results of the consecration of any thing
or person to a sacred purpose.
OLIVE. In a secondary sense, the symbol of peace and of victory; but in
its primary meaning, like all the other Sacred plants of antiquity, a
symbol of immortality; and thus in the Mysteries it was the analogue of
the acacia of the Freemasons.
OLIVER. The Rev. George Oliver, D.D., of Lincolnshire, England, who died
in 1868, is by far the most distinguished and the most voluminous of the
English writers on Freemasonry. Looking to his vast labors and researches
in the arcana of the science, no student of masonry can speak of his name
or his memory without profound reverence for his learning, and deep
gratitude for the services that he has accomplished. To the author of this
work the recollection will ever be most grateful that he enjoyed the
friendship of so good and so great a man; one of whom we may testify, as
Johnson said of Goldsmith, that "nihil quod tetigit non ornavit." In his
writings he has traversed the whole field of masonic literature and
science, and has treated, always with great ability and wonderful
research, of its history, its antiquities, its rites and ceremonies, its
ethics, and its symbols. Of all his works, his "Historical Landmarks," in
two volumes, is the most important, the most useful, and the one which
will perhaps the longest perpetuate his memory. In the study of his works,
the student must be careful not to follow too implicitly all his
conclusions. These were in his own mind controlled by the theory which he
had adopted, and which he continuously maintained, that Freemasonry was a
Christian institution, and that the connection between it and the
Christian religion was absolute and incontrovertible. He followed in the
footsteps of Hutchinson, but with a far more expanded view of the masonic
OPERATIVE MASONRY. Masonry considered merely as a useful art, intended for
the protection and the convenience of man by the erection of edifices
which may supply his intellectual, religious, and physical wants.
In contradistinction to Speculative Masonry, therefore, it is said to be
engaged in the construction of a material temple.
ORAL LAW. The oral law among the Jews was the commentary on and the
interpretation of the written contained in the Pentateuch; and the
tradition is, that it was delivered to Moses at the same time, accompanied
by the divine command, "Thou shalt not divulge the words which I have said
to thee out of my mouth." The oral law was, therefore, never intrusted to
books; but being preserved in the memories of the judges, prophets,
priests, and wise men, was handed down from one to the other through a
long succession of ages. But after the destruction of Jerusalem by the
Romans under Adrian, A.D. 135, and the final dispersion of the Jews, fears
being entertained that the oral law would be lost, it was then committed
to writing, and now constitutes the text of the Talmud.
ORMUZD. Worshipped by the disciples of Zoroaster as the principle of good,
and symbolized by light. See _Ahriman_.
OSIRIS. The chief god of the ancient Egyptians, and worshipped as a symbol
of the sun, and more philosophically as the male or generative principle.
Isis, his wife, was the female or prolific principle; and Horus, their
child, was matter, or the world--the product of the two principles.
OSIRIS, MYSTERIES OF. The Osirian Mysteries consisted in a scenic
representation of the murder of Osiris by Typhon, the subsequent recovery
of his mutilated body by Isis, and his deification, or restoration to
OVAL TEMPLES. Temples of an oval form were representations of the mundane
egg, a symbol of the world.
PALM TREE. In its secondary sense the palm tree is a symbol of victory;
but in its primary signification it is a symbol of the victory over death,
that is, immortality.
PARABLE. A narrative in which one thing is compared with another. It is in
principle the same as a symbol or an allegory.
PARALLEL LINES. The lines touching the circle in the symbol of the point
within a circle. They are said to represent St. John the Baptist and St.
John the Evangelist; but they really refer to the solstitial points Cancer
and Capricorn, in the zodiac.
PASTOS. (From the Greek παστὸς, _a nuptial couch_.) The coffin or grave
which contained the body of the god or hero whose death was scenically
represented in the ancient Mysteries.
It is the analogue of the grave in the third degree of Masonry.
PELASGIAN RELIGION. The Pelasgians were the oldest if not the aboriginal
inhabitants of Greece. Their religion differed from that of the Hellenes
who succeeded them in being less poetical, less mythical, and more
abstract. We know little of their religious worship, except by conjecture;
but we may suppose it resembled in some respects the doctrines of the
Primitive Freemasonry. Creuzer thinks that the Pelasgians were either a
nation of priests or a nation ruled by priests.
PHALLUS. A representation of the virile member, which was venerated as a
religious symbol very universally, and without the slightest
lasciviousness, by the ancients. It was one of the modifications of sun
worship, and was a symbol of the fecundating power of that luminary. The
masonic point within a circle is undoubtedly of phallic origin.
PHILOSOPHY OF FREEMASONRY. The dogmas taught in the masonic system
constitute its philosophy. These consist in the contemplation of God as
one and eternal, and of man as immortal. In other words, the philosophy of
Freemasonry inculcates the unity of God and the immortality of the soul.
PLUMB. One of the working tools of a Fellow Craft, and a symbol of
rectitude of conduct.
POINT WITHIN A CIRCLE. It is derived from the ancient sun worship, and is
in reality of phallic origin. It is a symbol of the universe, the sun
being represented by the point, while the circumference is the universe.
PORCH OF THE TEMPLE. A symbol of the entrance into life.
PRIMITIVE FREEMASONRY. The Primitive Freemasonry of the antediluvians is a
term for which we are indebted to Oliver, although the theory was broached
by earlier writers, and among them by the Chevalier Ramsay. The theory is,
that the principles and doctrines of Freemasonry existed in the earliest
ages of the world, and were believed and practised by a primitive people,
or priesthood, under the name of Pure or Primitive Freemasonry. That this
Freemasonry, that is to say, the religious doctrine inculcated by it, was,
after the flood, corrupted by the pagan philosophers and priests, and,
receiving the title of _Spurious Freemasory_, was exhibited in the ancient
Mysteries. The Noachidae, however, preserved the principles of the
Primitive Freemasonry, and transmitted them to succeeding ages, when at
length they assumed the name of _Speculative Masonry_. The Primitive
Freemasonry was probably without ritual or symbolism, and consisted only
of a series of abstract propositions derived from antediluvian traditions.
Its dogmas were the unity of God and the immortality of the soul.
PROFANE. One who has not been initiated as a Freemason. In the technical
language of the Order, all who are not Freemasons are profanes. The term
is derived from the Latin words _pro fano_, which literally signify "in
front of the temple," because those in the ancient religions who were not
initiated in the sacred rites or Mysteries of any deity were not permitted
to enter the temple, but were compelled to remain outside, or in front of
it. They were kept on the outside. The expression a _profane_ is not
recognized as a noun substantive in the general usage of the language; but
it has been adopted as a technical term in the dialect of Freemasonry, in
the same relative sense in which the word _layman_ is used in the
professions of law and divinity.
PURE FREEMASONRY OF ANTIQUITY. The same as Primitive Freemasonry,--which
PURIFICATION. A religious rite practised by the ancients, and which was
performed before any act of devotion. It consisted in washing the hands,
and sometimes the whole body, in lustral or consecrated water. It was
intended as a symbol of the internal purification of the heart. It was a
ceremony preparatory to initiation in all the ancient Mysteries.
PYTHAGORAS. A Grecian philosopher, supposed to have been born in the
island of Samos, about 584 B.C. He travelled extensively for the purpose
of acquiring knowledge. In Egypt he was initiated in the Mysteries of that
country by the priests. He also repaired to Babylon, where he became
acquainted with the mystical learning of the Chaldeans, and had, no doubt,
much communication with the Israelitish captives who had been exiled from
Jerusalem, and were then dwelling in Babylon. On his return to Europe he
established a school, which in its organization, as well as its doctrines,
bore considerable resemblance to Speculative Masonry; for which reason he
has been claimed as "an ancient friend and brother" by the modern
RESURRECTION. This doctrine was taught in the ancient Mysteries, as it is
in Freemasonry, by a scenic representation. The initiation was death, the
autopsy was resurrection. Freemasonry does not interest itself with the
precise mode of the resurrection, or whether the body buried and the body
raised are in all their parts identical. Satisfied with the general
teaching of St. Paul, concerning the resurrection that "it is sown a
natural body, it is raised a spiritual body," Freemasonry inculcates by
its doctrine of the resurrection the simple fact of a progressive
advancement from a lower to a higher sphere, and the raising of the soul
from the bondage of death to its inheritance of eternal life.
RITUAL. The forms and ceremonies used in conferring the degrees, or in
conducting the labors, of a lodge are called the ritual. There are many
rites of Freemasonry, which differ from each other in the number and
division of the degrees, and in their rituals, or forms and ceremonies.
But the great principles of Freemasonry, its philosophy and its
symbolism, are alike in all. It is evident, then, that in an investigation
of the symbolism of Freemasonry, we have no concern with its ritual, which
is but an outer covering that is intended to conceal the treasure that is
ROSICRUCIANS. A sect of hermetical philosophers, founded in the fifteenth
century, who were engaged in the study of abstruse sciences. It was a
secret society much resembling the masonic in its organization, and in
some of the subjects of its investigation; but it was in no other way
connected with Freemasonry. It is, however, well worth the study of the
masonic student on account of the light that it throws upon many of the
ROYAL ART. Freemasonry is so called because it is supposed to have been
founded by two kings,--the kings of Israel and Tyre,--and because it has
been subsequently encouraged and patronized by monarchs in all countries.
SABIANISM, or SABAISM. The worship of the sun, moon, and stars, the
םימשה אבצ TSABA _Hashmaim_, "the host of heaven." It was
practised in Persia, Chaldea, India, and other Oriental countries, at an
early period of the world's history. Sun-worship has had a powerful
influence on subsequent and more rational religions, and relics of it are
to be found even in the symbolism of Freemasonry.
SACELLUM. A sacred place consecrated to a god, and containing an altar.
SAINTE CROIX. The work of the Baron de Sainte Croix, in two volumes,
entitled, "Recherches Historiques et Critiques sur les Mystères du
Paganisme," is one of the most valuable and instructive works that we have
in any language on the ancient Mysteries,--those religious associations
whose history and design so closely connect them with Freemasonry. To the
student of masonic philosophy and symbolism this work of Sainte Croix is
SALSETTE. An island in the Bay of Bombay, celebrated for stupendous
caverns excavated artificially out of the solid rock, and which were
appropriated to the initiations in the ancient Mysteries of India.
SENSES, FIVE HUMAN. A symbol of intellectual cultivation.
SETH. It is the masonic theory that the principles of the Pure or
Primitive Freemasonry were preserved in the race of Seth, which had always
kept separate from that of Cain, but that after the flood they became
corrupted, by a secession of a portion of the Sethites, who established
the Spurious Freemasonry of the Gentiles.
SEVEN. A sacred number among the Jews and the Gentiles, and called by
Pythagoras a "venerable number."
SHEM HAMPHORASH. (שריפמה םש _the declaratory name_.) The
tetragrammaton is so called, because, of all the names of God, it alone
distinctly declares his nature and essence as self-existent and eternal.
SHOE. See _Investiture, Rite of_.
SIGNS. There is abundant evidence that they were used in the ancient
Mysteries. They are valuable only as modes of recognition. But while they
are absolutely conventional, they have, undoubtedly, in Freemasonry, a
SIVA. One of the manifestations of the supreme deity of the Hindoos, and a
symbol of the sun in its meridian.
SONS OF LIGHT. Freemasons are so called because _Lux_, or _Light_, is one
of the names of Speculative Masonry.
SOLOMON. The king of Israel, and the founder of the temple of Jerusalem
and of the temple organization of Freemasonry.
That his mind was eminently symbolic in its propensities, is evident from
all the writings that are attributed to him.
SPECULATIVE MASONRY. Freemasonry considered as a science which speculates
on the character of God and man, and is engaged in philosophical
investigations of the soul and a future existence, for which purpose it
uses the terms of an operative art.
It is engaged symbolically in the construction of a spiritual temple.
There is in it always a progress--an advancement from a lower to a higher
SPIRITUAL TEMPLE. The body of man; that temple alluded to by Christ and
St. Paul; the temple, in the construction of which the Speculative Mason
is engaged, in contradistinction to that material temple which occupies
the labors of the Operative Mason.
SPURIOUS FREEMASONRY OF ANTIQUITY. A term applied to the initiations in
the Mysteries of the ancient pagan world, and to the doctrines taught in
those Mysteries. See _Mysteries_.
SQUARE. A geometric figure consisting of four equal sides and equal
angles. In Freemasonry it is a symbol of morality, or the strict
performance of every duty. The Greeks deemed it a figure of perfection,
and the "square man" was a man of unsullied integrity.
SQUARE, TRYING. One of the working-tools of a Fellow Craft, and a symbol
STONE OF FOUNDATION. A very important symbol in the masonic system. It is
like the _word_, the symbol of divine truth.
STONE WORSHIP. A very early form of fetichism. The Pelasgians are supposed
to have given to their statues of the gods the general form of cubical
stones, whence in Hellenic times came the Hermae, or images of Hermes.
SUBSTITUTE WORD. A symbol of the unsuccessful search after divine truth,
and the discovery in this life of only an approximation to it.
SUN, RISING. In the Sabian worship the rising sun was adored on its
resurrection from the apparent death of its evening setting. Hence, in the
ancient Mysteries, the rising sun was a symbol of the regeneration of the
SUN-WORSHIP. The most ancient of all superstitions. It prevailed
especially in Phoenicia, Chaldea. and Egypt, and traces of it have been
discovered in Peru and Mexico. Its influence was felt in the ancient
Mysteries, and abundant allusions to it are to be found in the symbolism
SWEDENBORG. A Swedish philosopher, and the founder of a religious sect.
Clavel, Ragon, and some other writers have sought to make him the founder
of a masonic rite also, but without authority. In 1767 Chastanier
established the rite of Illuminated Theosophists, whose instructions are
derived from the writings of Swedenborg, but the sage himself had nothing
to do with it. Yet it cannot be denied that the mind of Swedenborg was
eminently symbolic in character, and that the masonic student may derive
many valuable ideas from portions of his numerous works, especially from
his "Celestial Arcana" and his "Apocalypse Revealed."
SYMBOL. A visible sign with which a spiritual feeling, emotion, or idea is
connected.--_Müller_. Every natural thing which is made the sign or
representation of a moral idea is a symbol.
SYMBOL, COMPOUND. A species of symbol not unusual in Freemasonry, where
the symbol is to be taken in a double sense, meaning in its general
application one thing, and then in a special application another.
SYMBOLISM, SCIENCE OF. To what has been said in the text, may be added the
following apposite remarks of Squier: "In the absence of a written
language or forms of expression capable of conveying abstract ideas, we
can readily comprehend the necessity, among a primitive people, of a
symbolic system. That symbolism in a great degree resulted from this
necessity, is very obvious; and that, associated with man's primitive
religious systems, it was afterwards continued, when in the advanced stage
of the human mind, the previous necessity no longer existed, is equally
undoubted. It thus came to constitute a kind of sacred language, and
became invested with an esoteric significance understood only by the
few."--_The Serpent Symbol in America_, p. 19.
TABERNACLE. Erected by Moses in the wilderness as a temporary place for
divine worship. It was the antitype of the temple of Jerusalem, and, like
it, was a symbol of the universe.
TALISMAN. A figure either carved in metal or stone, or delineated on
parchment or paper, made with superstitious ceremonies under what was
supposed to be the special influence of the planetary bodies, and believed
to possess occult powers of protecting the maker or possessor from danger.
The figure in the text is a talisman, and among the Orientals no talisman
was more sacred than this one where the nine digits are so disposed as to
make 15 each way. The Arabians called it _zahal_, which was the name of
the planet Saturn, because the nine digits added together make 45, and the
letters of the word _zahal_ are, according to the numerical powers of the
Arabic alphabet, equivalent to 45. The cabalists esteem it because 15 was
the numerical power of the letters composing the word JAH, which is one of
the names of God.
TALMUD. The mystical philosophy of the Jewish Rabbins is contained in the
Talmud, which is a collection of books divided into two parts, the
_Mishna_, which contains the record of the oral law, first committed to
writing in the second or third century, and the _Gemara_, or commentaries
on it. In the Talmud much will be found of great interest to the masonic
TEMPLE. The importance of the temple in the symbolism of Freemasonry will
authorize the following citation from the learned Montfaucon (_Ant._
ii. 1. ii. ch. ii.): "Concerning the origin of _temples_, there is a
variety of opinions. According to Herodotus, the Egyptians were the first
that made altars, statues, and temples. It does not, however, appear that
there were any in Egypt in the time of Moses, for he never mentions them,
although he had many opportunities for doing so. Lucian says that the
Egyptians were the first people who built temples, and that the Assyrians
derived the custom from them, all of which is, however, very uncertain.
The first allusion to the subject in Scripture is the Tabernacle, which
was, in fact, a portable temple, and contained one place within it more
holy and secret than the others, called the _Holy of Holies_, and to which
the _adytum_ in the pagan temples corresponded. The first heathen temple
mentioned in Scripture is that of Dagon, the god of the Philistines. The
Greeks, who were indebted to the Phoenicians for many things, may be
supposed to have learned from them the art of building temples; and it is
certain that the Romans borrowed from the Greeks both the worship of the
gods and the construction of temples."
TEMPLE BUILDER. The title by which Hiram Abif is sometimes designated.
TEMPLE OF SOLOMON. The building erected by King Solomon on Mount Moriah,
in Jerusalem, has been often called "the cradle of Freemasonry," because
it was there that that union took place between the operative and
speculative masons, which continued for centuries afterwards to present
the true organization of the masonic system.
As to the size of the temple, the dimensions given in the text may be
considered as accurate so far as they agree with the description given in
the First Book of Kings. Josephus gives a larger measure, and makes the
length 105 feet, the breadth 35 feet, and the height 210 feet; but even
these will not invalidate the statement in the text, that in size it was
surpassed by many a parish church.
TEMPLE SYMBOLISM. That symbolism which is derived from the temple of
Solomon. It is the most fertile of all kinds of symbolism in the
production of materials for the masonic science.
TERMINUS. One of the most ancient of the Roman deities. He was the god of
boundaries and landmarks, and his statue consisted only of a cubical
stone, without arms or legs, to show that he was immovable.
TETRACTYS. A figure used by Pythagoras, consisting of ten points, arranged
in a triangular form so as to represent the monad, duad, triad, and
quarterniad. It was considered as very sacred by the Pythagoreans, and was
to them what the tetragrammaton was to the Jews.
TETRAGRAMMATON. (From the Greek τετρὰς, _four_, and γρὰμμα, a letter). The
four-lettered name of God in the Hebrew language, which consisted of four
letters, viz. הוהי commonly, but incorrectly, pronounced _Jehovah_. As a
symbol it greatly pervaded the rites of antiquity, and was perhaps the
earliest symbol corrupted by the Spurious Freemasonry of the pagan
It was held by the Jews in profound veneration, and its origin supposed to
have been by divine revelation at the burning bush.
The word was never pronounced, but wherever met with _Adonai_ was
substituted for it, which custom was derived from the perverted reading of
a, passage in the Pentateuch. The true pronunciation consequently was
utterly lost; this is explained by the want of vowels in the Hebrew
alphabet, so that the true vocalization of a word cannot be learned from
the letters of which it is composed.
The true pronunciation was intrusted to the high priest; but lest the
knowledge of it should be lost by his sudden death, it was also
communicated to his assistant; it was known also, probably, to the kings
The Cabalists and Talmudists enveloped it in a host of superstitions.
It was also used by the Essenes in their sacred rites, and by the
Egyptians as a pass-word.
Cabalistically read and pronounced, it means the male and female principle
of nature, the generative and prolific energy of creation.
THAMMUZ. A Syrian god, who was worshipped by those women of the Hebrews
who had fallen into idolatry. The idol was the same as the Phoenician
Adonis, and the Mysteries of the two were identical.
TRAVELLING FREEMASONS. See _Freemasons, Travelling_.
TRESTLE BOARD. The board or tablet on which the designs of the architect
are inscribed. It is a symbol of the moral law as set forth in the
revealed will of God.
Every man must have his trestle board, because it is the duty of every man
to work out the task which God, the chief Architect, has assigned to him.
TRIANGLE. A symbol of Deity.
This symbolism is found in many of the ancient religions.
Among the Egyptians it was a symbol of universal nature, or of the
protection of the world by the male and female energies of creation.
TRIANGLE, RADIATED. A triangle placed within a circle of rays. In
Christian art it is a symbol of God; then the rays are called a _glory_.
When they surround the triangle in the form of a circle, the triangle is a
symbol of the glory of God. When the rays emanate from the centre of the
triangle, it is a symbol of divine light. This is the true form of the
masonic radiated triangle.
TRILITERAL NAME. This is the word AUM, which is the ineffable name of God
among the Hindoos, and symbolizes the three manifestations of the
Brahminical supreme god, Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu. It was never to be
pronounced aloud, and was analogous to the sacred tetragrammaton of the
TROWEL. One of the working tools of a Master Mason. It is a symbol of
TRUTH. It was not always taught publicly by the ancient philosophers to
The search for it is the object of Freemasonry. It is never found on
earth, but a substitute for it is provided.
TUAPHOLL. A term used by the Druids to designate an unhallowed
circumambulation around the sacred cairn, or altar, the movement being
against the sun, that is, from west to east by the north, the cairn being
on the left hand of the circumambulator.
TUBAL CAIN. Of the various etymologies of this name, only one is given in
the text; but most of the others in some way identify him with Vulcan.
Wellsford (_Mithridates Minor_ p. 4) gives a singular etymology, deriving
the name of the Hebrew patriarch from the definite article ה converted
into ת, or _T_ and _Baal_, "Lord," with the Arabic _kayn_, "a blacksmith,"
so that the word would then signify "the lord of the blacksmiths." Masonic
writers have, however, generally adopted the more usual derivation of
_Cain_, from a word signifying _possession_; and Oliver descants on Tubal
Cain as a symbol of worldly possessions. As to the identity of Vulcan with
Tubal Cain, we may learn something from the definition of the offices of
the former, as given by Diodorus Siculus: "Vulcan was the first founder of
works in iron, brass, gold, silver, and all fusible metals; and he taught
the uses to which fire can be applied in the arts." See Genesis: "Tubal
Cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron."
TWENTY-FOUR INCH GAUGE. A two-foot rule. One of the working-tools of an
Entered Apprentice, and a symbol of time well employed.
TYPHON. The brother and slayer of Osiris in the Egyptian mythology. As
Osiris was a type or symbol of the sun, Typhon was the symbol of winter,
when the vigor, heat, and, as it were, life of the sun are destroyed, and
of darkness as opposed to light.
TYRE. A city of Phoenicia, the residence of King Hiram, the friend and
ally of Solomon, whom he supplied with men and materials for the
construction of the temple.
TYRIAN FREEMASONS. These were the members of the Society of Dionysiac
Artificers, who at the time of the building of Solomon's temple flourished
at Tyre. Many of them were sent to Jerusalem by Hiram, King of Tyre, to
assist King Solomon in the construction of his temple. There, uniting with
the Jews, who had only a knowledge of the speculative principles of
Freemasonry, which had been transmitted to them from Noah, through the
patriarchs, the Tyrian Freemasons organized that combined system of
Operative and Speculative Masonry which continued for many centuries,
until the beginning of the eighteenth, to characterize the institution.
See _Dionysiac Artificers_.
UNION. The union of the operative with the speculative element of
Freemasonry took place at the building of King Solomon's temple.
UNITY OF GOD. This, as distinguished from the pagan doctrine of
polytheism, or a multitude of gods, is one of the two religious truths
taught in Speculative Masonry, the other being the immortality of the
WEARY SOJOURNERS. The legend of the "three weary sojourners" in the Royal
Arch degree is undoubtedly a philosophical myth, symbolizing the search
WHITE. A symbol of innocence and purity.
Among the Pythagoreans it was a symbol of the good principle in nature,
equivalent to light.
WIDOW'S SON. An epithet bestowed upon the chief architect of the temple,
because he was "a widow's son of the tribe of Naphthali." 1 Kings vii. 14.
WINDING STAIRS, LEGEND OF. A legend in the Fellow Craft's degree having no
historical truth, but being simply a philosophical myth or legendary
symbol intended to communicate a masonic dogma.
It is the symbol of an ascent from a lower to a higher sphere.
It commences at the porch of the temple, which is a symbol of the entrance
The number of steps are always odd, because odd numbers are a symbol of
But the fifteen steps in the American system are a symbol of the name of
WINE. An element of masonic consecration, and, as a symbol of the inward
refreshment of a good conscience, is intended under the name of the "wine
of refreshment," to remind us of the eternal refreshments which the good
are to receive in the future life for the faithful performance of duty in
WORD. In Freemasonry this is a technical and symbolic term, and signifies
divine truth. The search after this word constitutes the whole system of
WORD, LOST. See _Lost Word_.
WORD, SUBSTITUTE. See _Substitute Word_.
WORK. In Freemasonry the initiation of a candidate is called _work_. It is
suggestive of the doctrine that labor is a masonic duty.
YGGDRASIL. The sacred ash tree in the Scandinavian Mysteries. Dr. Oliver
propounds the theory that it is the analogue of the theological ladder in
the Masonic Mysteries. But it is doubtful whether this theory is tenable.
YOD. A Hebrew letter, in form thus י, and about equivalent to
the English I or Y. It is the initial letter of the tetragrammaton, and is
often used, especially enclosed within a triangle, as a substitute for, or
an abridgement of, that sacred word.
It is a symbol of the life-giving and sustaining power of God.
YONI. Among the nations and religions of India the yoni was the
representation of the female organ of generation, and was the symbol of
the prolific power of nature. It is the same as the _cteis_ among the
ZENNAAR. The sacred girdle of the Hindoos. It is supposed to be the
analogue of the masonic apron.
ZOROASTER. A distinguished philosopher and reformer, whose doctrines were
professed by the ancient Persians. The religion of Zoroaster was a
dualism, in which the two antagonizing principles were Ormuzd and Abriman,
symbols of Light and Darkness. It was a modification and purification of
the old fire-worship, in which the fire became a symbol of the sun, so
that it was really a species of sun-worship. Mithras, representing the
sun, becomes the mediator between Ormuzd, or the principle of Darkness,
and the world.
 "The doctrine of the immortality of the soul, if it is a real
advantage, follows unavoidably from the idea of God. The _best_ Being, he
must _will_ the best of good things; the _wisest_, he must devise plans
for that effect; the _most powerful_, he must bring it about. None can
deny this."--THEO. PARKER, _Discourse of Matters pertaining to Religion_,
b. ii. ch. viii. p. 205.
 "This institution of religion, like society, friendship, and marriage,
comes out of a principle, deep and permanent in the heart: as humble, and
transient, and partial institutions come out of humble, transient, and
partial wants, and are to be traced to the senses and the phenomena of
life, so this sublime, permanent, and useful institution came out from
sublime, permanent, and universal wants, and must be referred to the soul,
and the unchanging realities of life."--PARKER, _Discourse of Religion_,
b. i. ch. i. p. 14.
 "The sages of all nations, ages, and religions had some ideas of these
sublime doctrines, though more or less degraded, adulterated and obscured;
and these scattered hints and vestiges of the most sacred and exalted
truths were originally rays and emanations of ancient and primitive
traditions, handed down from, generation to generation, since the
beginning of the world, or at least since the fall of man, to all
mankind."--CHEV. RAMSAY, _Philos. Princ. of Nat. and Rev. Relig._, vol ii.
 "In this form, not only the common objects above enumerated, but gems,
metals, stones that fell from heaven, images, carved bits of wood, stuffed
skins of beasts, like the medicine-bags of the North American Indians, are
reckoned as divinities, and so become objects of adoration. But in this
case, the visible object, is idealized; not worshipped as the brute thing
really is, but as the type and symbol of God."--PARKER, _Disc. of Relig._
b. i. ch. v. p. 50.
 A recent writer thus eloquently refers to the universality, in ancient
times, of sun-worship: "Sabaism, the worship of light, prevailed amongst
all the leading nations of the early world. By the rivers of India, on the
mountains of Persia, in the plains of Assyria, early mankind thus adored,
the higher spirits in each country rising in spiritual thought from the
solar orb up to Him whose vicegerent it seems--to the Sun of all being,
whose divine light irradiates and purifies the world of soul, as the solar
radiance does the world of sense. Egypt, too, though its faith be but
dimly known to us, joined in this worship; Syria raised her grand temples
to the sun; the joyous Greeks sported with the thought while feeling it,
almost hiding it under the mythic individuality which their lively fancy
superimposed upon it. Even prosaic China makes offerings to the yellow orb
of day; the wandering Celts and Teutons held feasts to it, amidst the
primeval forests of Northern Europe; and, with a savagery characteristic
of the American aborigines, the sun temples of Mexico streamed with human
blood in honor of the beneficent orb."--_The Castes and Creeds of India_,
Blackw. Mag., vol. lxxxi. p. 317.--"There is no people whose religion is
known to us," says the Abbé Banier, "neither in our own continent nor in
that of America, that has not paid the sun a religious worship, if we
except some inhabitants of the torrid zone, who are continually cursing
the sun for scorching them with his beams."--_Mythology_, lib. iii. ch.
iii.--Macrobius, in his _Saturnalia_, undertakes to prove that all the
gods of Paganism may be reduced to the sun.
 "Varro de religionibus loquens, evidenter dicit, multa esse vera, quae
vulgo scire non sit utile; multaque, quae tametsi falsa sint, aliter
existimare populum expediat."--St. AUGUSTINE, _De Civil. Dei._--We must
regret, with the learned Valloisin, that the sixteen books of Varro, on
the religious antiquities of the ancients, have been lost; and the regret
is enhanced by the reflection that they existed until the beginning of the
fourteenth century, and disappeared only when their preservation for less
than two centuries more would, by the discovery of printing, have secured
 Strabo, Geog., lib. i.
 Maurice, Indian Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 297.
 Div. Leg., vol. i. b. ii. § iv. p. 193, 10th Lond. edit.
 The hidden doctrines of the unity of the Deity and the immortality of
the soul were taught originally in all the Mysteries, even those of Cupid
and Bacchus.--WARBURTON, apud Spence's _Anecdotes_, p. 309.
 Isoc. Paneg., p. 59.
 Apud Arrian. Dissert., lib. iii. c. xxi.
 Dissert. on the Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, in the Pamphleteer,
vol. viii. p. 53.
 Symbol. und Mythol. der Alt. Völk.
 In these Mysteries, after the people had for a long time bewailed the
loss of a particular person, he was at last supposed to be restored to
life.--BRYANT, _Anal. of Anc. Mythology_, vol. iii. p. 176.
 Herod. Hist., lib. iii. c. clxxi.
 The legend says it was cut into _fourteen_ pieces. Compare this with
the _fourteen_ days of burial in the masonic legend of the third degree.
Why the particular number in each? It has been thought by some, that in
the latter legend there was a reference to the half of the moon's age, or
its dark period, symbolic of the darkness of death, followed by the
fourteen days of bright moon, or restoration to life.
 Mystères du Paganisme, tom. i. p. 6.
 Notes to Rawlinson's Herodotus, b. ii. ch. clxxi. Mr. Bryant
expresses the same opinion: "The principal rites in Egypt were confessedly
for a person lost and consigned for a time to darkness, who was at last
found. This person I have mentioned to have been described under the
character of Osiris."--_Analysis of Ancient Mythology_, vol. iii. p. 177.
 Spirit of Masonry, p. 100.
 Varro, according to St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, vi. 5), says that
among the ancients there were three kinds of theology--a _mythical_, which
was used by the poets; a _physical_, by the philosophers, and a _civil_,
by the people.
 "Tous les ans," says Sainte Croix, "pendant les jours consacrés au
souvenir de sa mort, tout étoit plongé dans la tristesse: on ne cessoit de
pousser des gémissemens; on alloit même jusqu'à se flageller et se donner
des coups. Le dernier jour de ce deuil, on faisoit des sacrifices funèbres
en l'honneur de ce dieu. Le jour suivant, on recevoit la nouvelle
qu'Adonis venoit d'être rappelé à la vie, qui mettoit fin à leur
deuil."--_Recherches sur les Myst. du Paganisme_, tom. ii. p. 105.
 Clement of Alexandria calls them μυστήρια τὰ πρὸ μυστηρίων, "the
mysteries before the mysteries."
 Les petits mystères ne consistoient qu'en cérémonies
préparatoires.--_Sainte Croix_, i. 297.--As to the oath of secrecy, Bryant
says, "The first thing at these awful meetings was to offer an oath of
secrecy to all who were to be initiated, after which they proceeded to the
ceremonies."--_Anal. of Anc. Myth._, vol. iii. p. 174.--The Orphic
Argonautics allude to the oath: μετὰ δ' ὁρϗια Μύσῖαις, ϗ. τ. λ., "after
the oath was administered to the mystes," &c.--_Orph. Argon._, v. 11.
 The satirical pen of Aristophanes has not spared the Dionysiac
festivals. But the raillery and sarcasm of a comic writer must always be
received with many grains of allowance. He has, at least, been candid
enough to confess that no one could be initiated who had been guilty of
any crime against his country or the public security.--_Ranae_, v.
360-365.--Euripides makes the chorus in his Bacchae proclaim that the
Mysteries were practised only for virtuous purposes. In Rome, however,
there can be little doubt that the initiations partook at length of a
licentious character. "On ne peut douter," says Ste. Croix, "que
l'introduction des fêtes de Bacchus en Italie n'ait accéleré les progrès
du libertinage et de la débauche dans cette contrée."--_Myst. du Pag._,
tom. ii. p. 91.--St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, lib. vii. c. xxi.) inveighs
against the impurity of the ceremonies in Italy of the sacred rites of
Bacchus. But even he does not deny that the motive with which they were
performed was of a religious, or at least superstitious nature--"Sic
videlicet Liber deus placandus fuerat." The propitiation of a deity was
certainly a religious act.
 Hist. Greece, vol. ii. p. 140.
 This language is quoted from Robison (_Proofs of a Conspiracy_, p.
20, Lond. edit. 1797), whom none will suspect or accuse of an undue
veneration for the antiquity or the morality of the masonic order.
 We must not confound these Asiatic builders with the play-actors, who
were subsequently called by the Greeks, as we learn from Aulus Gellius
(lib. xx. cap. 4), "artificers of Dionysus"--Διονυσιαϗοι τεχνιταὶ.
 There is abundant evidence, among ancient authors, of the existence
of signs and passwords in the Mysteries. Thus Apuleius, in his Apology,
says, "Si qui forte adest eorundem Solemnium mihi particeps, signum dato,"
etc.; that is, "If any one happens to be present who has been initiated
into the same rites as myself, if he will give me the sign, he shall then
be at liberty to hear what it is that I keep with so much care." Plautus
also alludes to this usage, when, in his "Miles Gloriosus," act iv. sc. 2,
he makes Milphidippa say to Pyrgopolonices, "Cedo signum, si harunc
Baccharum es;" i.e., "Give the sign if you are one of these Bacchae," or
initiates into the Mysteries of Bacchus. Clemens Alexandrinus calls these
modes of recognition σωθηματα, as if _means of safety_. Apuleius elsewhere
uses _memoracula_, I think to denote passwords, when he says, "sanctissimè
sacrorum signa et memoracula custodire," which I am inclined to translate,
"most scrupulously to preserve the signs and passwords of the sacred
 The Baron de Sainte Croix gives this brief view of the ceremonies:
"Dans ces mystères on employoit, pour remplir l'âme des assistans d'une
sainte horreur, les mêmes moyens qu'à Eleusis. L'apparition de fantômes et
de divers objets propres à effrayer, sembloit disposer les esprits à la
crédulité. Ils en avoient sans doute besoin, pour ajouter foi à toutes les
explications des mystagogues: elles rouloient sur le massacre de Bacchus
par les Titans," &c.--_Recherches sur les Mystères du Paganisme_, tom. ii.
sect. vii. art. iii. p. 89.
 Lawrie, Hist. of Freemasonry, p. 27.
 Vincentius Lirinensis or Vincent of Lirens, who lived in the fifth
century of the Christian era, wrote a controversial treatise entitled
"Commonitorium," remarkable for the blind veneration which it pays to the
voice of tradition. The rule which he there lays down, and which is cited
in the text, may be considered, in a modified application, as an axiom by
which we may test the _probability_, at least, of all sorts of traditions.
None out of the pale of Vincent's church will go so far as he did in
making it the criterion of positive truth.
 Prolog. zu einer wissenshaftlich. Mythologie.
 In German _hutten_, in English _lodges_, whence the masonic term.
 Historical Essay on Architecture, ch. xxi.
 Bishop England, in his "Explanation of the Mass," says that in every
ceremony we must look for three meanings: "the first, the literal,
natural, and, it may be said, the original meaning; the second, the
figurative or emblematic signification; and thirdly, the pious or
religious meaning: frequently the two last will be found the same;
sometimes all three will be found combined." Here lies the true difference
between the symbolism of the church and that of Masonry. In the former,
the symbolic meaning was an afterthought applied to the original, literal
one; in the latter, the symbolic was always the original signification of
 /P "Was not all the knowledge Of the Egyptians writ in mystic
symbols? Speak not the Scriptures oft in parables? Are not the choicest
fables of the poets, That were the fountains and first springs of wisdom,
Wrapped in perplexed allegories?"
BEN JONSON, _Alchemist_, act ii. sc. i. P/
 The distinguished German mythologist Müller defines a symbol to be
"an eternal, visible sign, with which a spiritual feeling, emotion, or
idea is connected." I am not aware of a more comprehensive, and at the
same time distinctive, definition.
 And it may be added, that the word becomes a symbol of an idea; and
hence, Harris, in his "Hermes," defines language to be "a system of
articulate voices, the symbols of our ideas, but of those principally
which are general or universal."--_Hermes_, book iii. ch. 3.
 "Symbols," says Müller, "are evidently coeval with the human race;
they result from the union of the soul with the body in man; nature has
implanted the feeling for them in the human heart."--_Introduction to a
Scientific System of Mythology_, p. 196, Leitch's translation.--R.W.
Mackay says, "The earliest instruments of education were symbols, the most
universal symbols of the multitudinously present Deity, being earth or
heaven, or some selected object, such as the sun or moon, a tree or a
stone, familiarly seen in either of them."--_Progress of the Intellect_,
vol. i p. 134.
 Between the allegory, or parable, and the symbol, there is, as I have
said, no essential difference. The Greek verb παραβαλλω, whence comes the
word _parable_, and the verb συμβαλλω in the same language, which is the
root of the word _symbol_, both have the synonymous meaning "to compare."
A parable is only a spoken symbol. The definition of a parable given by
Adam Clarke is equally applicable to a symbol, viz.: "A comparison or
similitude, in which one thing is compared with another, especially
spiritual things with natural, by which means these spiritual things are
better understood, and make a deeper impression on the attentive mind."
 North British Review, August, 1851. Faber passes a similar encomium.
"Hence the language of symbolism, being so purely a language of ideas, is,
in one respect, more perfect than any ordinary language can be: it
possesses the variegated elegance of synonymes without any of the
obscurity which arises from the use of ambiguous terms."--_On the
Prophecies_, ii. p. 63.
 "By speculative Masonry we learn to subdue our passions, to act upon
the square, to keep a tongue of good report, to maintain secrecy, and
practise charity."--_Lect. of Fel. Craft._ But this is a very meagre
definition, unworthy of the place it occupies in the lecture of the second
 "Animal worship among the Egyptians was the natural and unavoidable
consequence of the misconception, by the vulgar, of those emblematical
figures invented by the priests to record their own philosophical
conception of absurd ideas. As the pictures and effigies suspended in
early Christian churches, to commemorate a person or an event, became in
time objects of worship to the vulgar, so, in Egypt, the esoteric or
spiritual meaning of the emblems was lost in the gross materialism of the
beholder. This esoteric and allegorical meaning was, however, preserved by
the priests, and communicated in the mysteries alone to the initiated,
while the uninstructed retained only the grosser conception."--GLIDDON,
_Otia Aegyptiaca_, p. 94.
 "To perpetuate the esoteric signification of these symbols to the
initiated, there were established the Mysteries, of which institution we
have still a trace in Freemasonry."--GLIDDON, _Otia Aegyp._ p. 95.
 Philo Judaeus says, that "Moses had been initiated by the Egyptians
into the philosophy of symbols and hieroglyphics, as well as into the
ritual of the holy animals." And Hengstenberg, in his learned work on
"Egypt and the Books of Moses," conclusively shows, by numerous examples,
how direct were the Egyptian references of the Pentateuch; in which fact,
indeed, he recognizes "one of the most powerful arguments for its
credibility and for its composition by Moses."--HENGSTENBERG, p. 239,
 Josephus, _Antiq._ book iii. ch. 7.
 The ark, or sacred boat, of the Egyptians frequently occurs on the
walls of the temples. It was carried in great pomp by the priests on the
occasion of the "procession of the shrines," by means of staves passed
through metal rings in its side. It was thus conducted into the temple,
and deposited on a stand. The representations we have of it bear a
striking resemblance to the Jewish ark, of which it is now admitted to
have been the prototype.
 "The Egyptian reference in the Urim and Thummim is especially
distinct and incontrovertible."--HENGSTENBERG, p. 158.
 According to the estimate of Bishop Cumberland, it was only one
hundred and nine feet in length, thirty-six in breadth, and fifty-four in
 "Thus did our wise Grand Master contrive a plan, by mechanical and
practical allusions, to instruct the craftsmen in principles of the most
sublime speculative philosophy, tending to the glory of God, and to secure
to them temporal blessings here and eternal life hereafter, as well as to
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