Man is an enigmatic creature having a dual nature, temporal and spiritual. His institutions reflect the multiple facets of his complex and varied mental processes. He is at once occupied with the routine of satisfying the basic human needs for food, clothing, and shelter and the less tangible and more varied spiritual and social needs. His viewpoints are as varied as the individuals, subject not only to the external changes of environment but to self-created internal changes. Man alone has within himself any considerable power of thought or imagination. One facet of man's behavior to come out of his imagination, superstition, spiritual grouping, and reasoning is Symbolism. The craft in its infancy was truly a science of symbolism. In ancient times the art of writing was virtually unknown and every idea was therefore reduced to a symbol or sign. The masters of old considered every art of theirs a secret, and communicated it only to the worthy few. The ideas being conveyed only in symbols and signs could be successfully kept secret from the profane till divulged to the worthy initiate properly prepared to receive them.
Signs, pictures, objects, emblems, words, numerals, music, or any means of conveying ideas from one individual to another become the vehicle of symbolism or symbols. Certain of man's activities lend themselves more readily to symbolism than others. The ritual of Freemasonry is especially rich in symbols - familiar things that convey a hidden meaning to the initiated. Philosophic Masonry is the heir to the symbolism practiced in the ancient mysteries and Rosicrucian societies.
When I was to be installed as WM of Lodge 283, I was then a Senior Warden. On the day of my Installation there were seven flags across the pathway, seven flags to its right and seven flags on its left both at an angle of 90 degrees signifying the Level of a Senior Warden. After my installation and on my hidden cue, the position of flags was shifted. Four were across the platform in the lawns and three at an angle of 90 degrees towards its left, thus forming a square signifying the elevation of SW to WM was complete. The change in position of flags or the hidden symbolism therein was not noticed on that Day of October the 16th, 2005 except by a very few brethren.
In present age, where material things engross almost every waking hour, symbolism has lost much of its fascination, but this was not so in the eighteenth century when our brethren played an important role of revolutionary heroes who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the erection of the new nations with the motto of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.
(Masonic Currency) U.S. Dollar / & Great Seal of America & Freemasonry:
The Great Seal of the United States can be easily viewed on the back of a one-dollar bill. Although the colors mentioned in this article won't be visible, it is still an easily obtained reference point for your convenience. The OBVERSE is on the right side (the eagle), while the REVERSE is on the left side (the pyramid) of the instrument.
On the obverse is an eagle whose dexter wing has thirty- two feathers, the number of ordinary degrees in Scottish Rite Freemasonry. The sinister wing has thirty-three feathers, the additional feather corresponding to the Thirty-Third Degree of the same Rite conferred for outstanding Masonic service. The tail feathers number nine, the number of degrees in the Chapter, Council, and Commandery of the York Rite of Freemasonry. Scottish Rite Masonry had its origin in France; the York Rite is sometimes called the American Rite; the eagle thus clothed represents the union of French and American Masons in the struggle for Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. The total number of feathers in the two wings is sixty-five which, by gematria, is the value of the Hebrew phrase YAM YAWCHOD (together in unity). This phrase appears in Psalm 133 as follows: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity," and is used in the ritual of the first degree of Freemasonry. The glory above the eagle's head is divided into twenty-four equal parts and reminds the observer of the Mason's gauge which is also divided into twenty-four equal parts and is emblematic of the service he is obligated to perform. The five pointed stars remind him of the Masonic Blazing Star and the five points of fellowship. The arrangement of the stars in the constellation to form overlapping equilateral triangles and the Star of David calls to the Mason's mind King David's dream of building a Temple, to his God, the Companions who rebuilt a desecrated Temple, and the finding of the Word that was lost. The gold, silver, and azure colors represent the sun, moon, and Worshipful Master, the first that rules the day, the second, the night, and the third, the lodge. While silver, connected with the letter Gimel or G and being surrounded on an azure ground by a golden glory, reminds the Mason of the letter G, a most conspicuous furnishing of a proper lodge room. The shield on the eagle's breast affirms by its colors, valor (red), purity (white), and justice (blue), and reminds the Mason of the cardinal virtues. The value of these colors, by gematria, is 103, the value of the phrase EHBEN HA-ADAM (the stone of Adam) and suggests the perfect ashlar, or squared stone, of Freemasonry. One hundred and three is also the value of the noun BONAIM, a Rabbinical word signifying "builders, Masons." Thus the colors spell out, by gematria, the name of the fraternity. The scroll in the eagle's beak, bearing the words E PLURIBUS UNUM (of many one) reminds him also of the unity which has made brothers of many.
On the reverse, is the All Seeing Eye within a triangle surrounded by a golden glory. Besides the obvious Masonic significance of this design, (i.e. by joining the letters M, A, S, O, N, with all seeing eye, square & Compass is formed. And by joining all the six we get – six pointed star – The Great Seal of King David. it also has a cabalistic value of seventy plus three plus two hundred, equaling two hundred and seventy-three which is the value of the phrase EHBEN MOSU HABONIM (the stone which the builders refused) familiar to all Royal Arch Masons. It is also the value of the Hebrew proper noun HIRAM ABIFF, the architect of Solomon's Temple and the principal character of the legend used in the Master Mason degree. The triangle is isosceles, formed by two right triangles having sides of five, twelve, and thirteen units in length, illustrating the 47th Problem of Euclid. The triangle also represents the capstone of the unfinished pyramid and reminds the Mason of the immortality of the soul and that in eternity he will complete the capstone of his earthly labors according to the designs on the trestle-board of the Supreme Architect of the Universe. The unfinished pyramid cannot fail to remind him of the unfinished condition of the Temple when tragedy struck down our Master architect.
The blaze of glory found on either side of the Great Seal cannot fail to remind the Mason of the Great Light in Masonry which is the rule and guide to faith and practice and without which no Masonic lodge can exist. It reminds him that only more light can dispel the pall of ignorance in which he stumbles until he enters the Celestial Lodge where all light is given.
Special Note: I am not the Author of this article. Author is unknown.
(There is more of Masonic Symbolism in US One Dollar Bill at its other side also).
With Fraternal Greetings,