AB. The Hebrew word בא, AB, signifies "father," and was among the Hebrews a title of honor. From it, by the addition of the possessive pronoun, is compounded the word Abif, signifying "his father," and applied to the Temple Builder.
ABIF. See Hiram Abif.
ABNET. The band or apron, made of fine linen, variously wrought, and worn by the Jewish priesthood. It seems to have been borrowed directly from the Egyptians, upon the representations of all of whose gods is to be found a similar girdle. Like the zennaar, or sacred cord of the Brahmins, and the white shield of the Scandinavians, it is the analogue of the masonic apron.
ACACIA, SPRIG OF. No symbol is more interesting to the masonic student than the sprig of acacia.
It is the mimosa nilotica of Linnæus, the shittah of the Hebrew writers, and grows abundantly in Palestine.
It is preeminently the symbol of the immortality of the soul.
It was for this reason planted by the Jews at the head of a grave.
This symbolism is derived from its never-fading character as an evergreen.
It is also a symbol of innocence, and this symbolism is derived from the double meaning of the word αϗαϗια, which in Greek signifies the plant, and innocence; in this point of view Hutchinson has Christianized the symbol.
It is, lastly, a symbol of initiation.
This symbolism is derived from the fact that it is the sacred plant of Masonry; and in all the ancient rites there were sacred plants, which became in each rite the respective symbol of initiation into its Mysteries; hence the idea was borrowed by Freemasonry.
ADONIA. The Mysteries of Adonis, principally celebrated in Phoenicia and Syria. They lasted for two days, and were commemorative of the death and restoration of Adonis. The ceremonies of the first day were funereal in their character, and consisted in the lamentations of the initiates for the death of Adonis, whose picture or image was carried in procession. The second day was devoted to mirth and joy for the return of Adonis to life. In their spirit and their mystical design, these Mysteries bore a very great resemblance to the third degree of Masonry, and they are quoted to show the striking analogy between the ancient and the modern initiations.
ADONIS. In mythology, the son of Cinyras and Myrrha, who was greatly beloved by Venus, or Aphrodite. He was slain by a wild boar, and having descended into the realm of Pluto, Persephone became enamoured of him. This led to a contest for him between Venus and Persephone, which was finally settled by his restoration to life upon the condition that he should spend six months upon earth, and six months in the inferior regions. In the mythology of the philosophers, Adonis was a symbol of the sun; but his death by violence, and his subsequent restoration to life, make him the analogue of Hiram Abif in the masonic system, and identify the spirit of the initiation in his Mysteries, which was to teach the second life with that of the third degree of Freemasonry.
AHRIMAN, or ARIMANES. In the religious system of Zoroaster, the principle of evil, or darkness, which was perpetually opposing Ormuzd, the principle of good, or light. See Zoroaster.
ALFADER. The father of all, or the universal Father. The principal deity of the Scandinavian mythology.
The Edda gives twelve names of God, of which Alfader is the first and most ancient, and is the one most generally used.
ALGABIL. One of the names of the Supreme Being among the Cabalists. It signifies "the Master Builder," and is equivalent to the masonic epithet of "Grand Architect of the Universe."
ALLEGORY. A discourse or narrative, in which there is a literal and a figurative sense, a patent and a concealed meaning; the literal or patent sense being intended by analogy or comparison to indicate the figurative or concealed one. Its derivation from the Greek ἀλλος and ἀγορειν, to say something different, that is, to say something where the language is one thing, and the true meaning different, exactly expresses the character of an allegory. It has been said in the text that there is no essential difference between an allegory and a symbol. There is not in design, but there is this in their character: An allegory may be interpreted without any previous conventional agreement, but a symbol cannot. Thus the legend of the third degree is an allegory evidently to be interpreted as teaching a restoration to life; and this we learn from the legend itself, without any previous understanding. The sprig of acacia is a symbol of the immortality of the soul. But this we know only because such meaning had been conventionally determined when the symbol was first established. It is evident, then, that an allegory which is obscure is imperfect. The enigmatical meaning should be easy of interpretation; and hence Lemière, a French poet, has said, "L'allégorie habite un palais diaphane"--Allegory lives in a transparent palace. All the legends of Freemasonry are more or less allegorical, and whatever truth there may be in some of them in an historical point of view, it is only as allegories, or legendary symbols, that they are important.
ALL-SEEING EYE. A symbol of the third degree, of great antiquity. See Eye.
ANCIENT CRAFT MASONRY. The first three degrees of Freemasonry; viz., Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. They are so called because they alone are supposed to have been practised by the ancient craft. In the agreement between the two grand lodges of England in 1813, the definition was made to include the Royal Arch degree. Now if by the "ancient craft" are meant the workmen at the first temple, the definition will be wrong, because the Royal Arch degree could have had no existence until the time of the building of the second temple. But if by the "ancient craft" is meant the body of workmen who introduced the rites of Masonry into Europe in the early ages of the history of the Order, then it will be correct; because the Royal Arch degree always, from its origin until the middle of the eighteenth century, formed a part of the Master's. "Ancient Craft Masonry," however, in this country, is generally understood to embrace only the first three degrees.
ANDERSON. James Anderson, D.D., is celebrated as the compiler and editor of "The Constitutions of the Freemasons," published by order of the Grand Lodge of England, in 1723. A second edition was published by him in 1738. Shortly after, Anderson died, and the subsequent editions, of which there are several, have been edited by other persons. The edition of 1723 has become exceedingly rare, and copies of it bring fancy prices among the collectors of old masonic books. Its intrinsic value is derived only from the fact that it contains the first printed copy of the "Old Charges," and also the "General Regulations." The history of Masonry which precedes these, and constitutes the body of the work, is fanciful, unreliable, and pretentious to a degree that often leads to absurdity. The craft are greatly indebted to Anderson for his labors in reorganizing the institution, but doubtless it would have been better if he had contented himself with giving the records of the Grand Lodge from 1717 to 1738 which are contained in his second edition, and with preserving for us the charges and regulations, which without his industry might have been lost. No masonic writer would now venture to quote Anderson as authority for the history of the Order anterior to the eighteenth century. It must also be added that in the republication of the old charges in the edition of 1738, he made several important alterations and interpolations, which justly gave some offence to the Grand Lodge, and which render the second edition of no authority in this respect.
ANIMAL WORSHIP. The worship of animals is a species of idolatry that was especially practised by the ancient Egyptians. Temples were erected by this people in their honor, in which they were fed and cared for during life; to kill one of them was a crime punishable with death; and after death, they were embalmed, and interred in the catacombs. This worship was derived first from the earlier adoration of the stars, to certain constellations of which the names of animals had been given; next, from an Egyptian tradition that the gods, being pursued by Typhon, had concealed themselves under the forms of animals; and lastly, from the doctrine of the metempsychosis, according to which there was a continual circulation of the souls of men and animals. But behind the open and popular exercise of this degrading worship the priests concealed a symbolism full of philosophical conceptions. How this symbolism was corrupted and misinterpreted by the uninitiated people, is shown by Gliddon, and quoted in the text.
APHANISM (Greek ἀφανίζω, to conceal). In each of the initiations of the ancient Mysteries, there was a scenic representation of the death or disappearance of some god or hero, whose adventures constituted the legend of the Mystery. That part of the ceremony of initiation which related to and represented the death or disappearance was called the aphanism.
Freemasonry, which has in its ceremonial form been framed after the model of these ancient Mysteries, has also its aphanism in the third degree.
APORRHETA (Greek αποῤῥέτα). The holy things in the ancient Mysteries which were known only to the initiates, and were not to be disclosed to the profane, were called the aporrheta. What are the aporrheta of Freemasonry? what are the arcana of which there can be no disclosure? is a question that for some years past has given rise to much discussion among the disciples of the institution. If the sphere and number of these aporrheta be very considerably extended, it is evident that much valuable investigation by public discussion of the science of Masonry will be prohibited. On the other hand, if the aporrheta are restricted to only a few points, much of the beauty, the permanency, and the efficacy of Freemasonry, which are dependent on its organization as a secret and mystical association, will be lost. We move between Scylla and Charybdis, and it is difficult for a masonic writer to know how to steer so as, in avoiding too frank an exposition of the principles of the Order, not to fall by too much reticence into obscurity. The European Masons are far more liberal in their views of the obligation of secrecy than the English or the American. There are few things, indeed, which a French or German masonic writer will refuse to discuss with the utmost frankness. It is now beginning to be very generally admitted, and English and American writers are acting on the admission, that the only real aporrheta of Freemasonry are the modes of recognition, and the peculiar and distinctive ceremonies of the Order; and to these last it is claimed that reference may be publicly made for the purposes of scientific investigation, provided that the reference be so made as to be obscure to the profane, and intelligible only to the initiated.
APRON. The lambskin, or white leather apron, is the peculiar and distinctive badge of a mason.
Its color must be white, and its material a lambskin.
It is a symbol of purity, and it derives this symbolism from its color, white being symbolic of purity; from its material, the lamb having the same symbolic character; and from its use, which is to preserve the garments clean.
The apron, or abnet, worn by the Egyptian and the Hebrew priests, and which has been considered as the analogue of the masonic apron, is supposed to have been a symbol of authority; but the use of the apron in Freemasonry originally as an implement of labor, is an evidence of the derivation of the speculative science from an operative art.
APULEIUS. Lucius Apuleius, a Latin writer, born at Medaura, in Africa, flourished in the reigns of the emperors Antoninus and Marcus Aurelius. His most celebrated book, entitled "Metamorphoses, or the Golden Ass," was written, Bishop Warburton thinks, for the express purpose of recommending the ancient Mysteries. He had been initiated into many of them, and his descriptions of them, and especially of his own initiation into those of the Egyptian Isis, are highly interesting and instructive, and should be read by every student of the science of masonic symbolism.
ARCHETYPE. The principal type, figure, pattern, or example, whereby and whereon a thing is formed. In the science of symbolism, the archetype is the thing adopted as a symbol, whence the symbolic idea is derived. Thus we say the temple is the archetype of the lodge, because the former is the symbol whence all the temple symbolism of the latter is derived.
ARCHITECTURE. The art which teaches the proper method of constructing public and private edifices. It is to Freemasonry the "ars artium," the art of arts, because to it the institution is indebted for its origin in its present organization. The architecture of Freemasonry is altogether related to the construction of public edifices, and principally sacred or religious ones,--such as temples, cathedrals, churches,--and of these, masonically, the temple of Solomon is the archetype. Much of the symbolism of Freemasonry is drawn from the art of architecture. While the improvements of Greek and Roman architecture are recognized in Freemasonry, the three ancient orders, the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian are alone symbolized. No symbolism attaches to the Tuscan and Composite.
ARK OF THE COVENANT. One of the most sacred objects among the Israelites. It was a chest made of shittim wood, or acacia, richly decorated, forty-five inches long, and eighteen inches wide, and contained the two tables of stone on which the ten commandments were engraved, the golden pot that held manna, and Aaron's rod. It was placed in the holy of holies, first of the tabernacle, and then of the temple. Such is its masonic and scriptural history. The idea of this ark was evidently borrowed from the Egyptians, in whose religious rites a similar chest or coffer is to be found. Herodotus mentions several instances. Speaking of the festival of Papremis, he says (ii. 63) that the image of the god was kept in a small wooden shrine covered with plates of gold, which shrine was conveyed in a procession of the priests and people from the temple into a second sacred building. Among the sculptures are to be found bass reliefs of the ark of Isis. The greatest of the religious ceremonies of the Egyptians was the procession of the shrines mentioned in the Rosetta stone, and which is often found depicted on the sculptures. These shrines were of two kinds, one a canopy, but the other, called the great shrine, was an ark or sacred boat. It was borne on the shoulders of priests by means of staves passing through rings in its sides, and was taken into the temple and deposited on a stand. Some of these arks contained, says Wilkinson (Notes to Herod. II. 58, n. 9), the elements of life and stability, and others the sacred beetle of the sun, overshadowed by the wings of two figures of the goddess Thmei. In all this we see the type of the Jewish ark. The introduction of the ark into the ceremonies of Freemasonry evidently is in reference to its loss and recovery; and hence its symbolism is to be interpreted as connected with the masonic idea of loss and recovery, which always alludes to a loss of life and a recovery of immortality. In the first temple of this life the ark is lost; in the second temple of the future life it is recovered. And thus the ark of the covenant is one of the many masonic symbols of the resurrection.
ARTS AND SCIENCES, LIBERAL. In the seventh century, and for many centuries afterwards, all learning was limited to and comprised in what were called the seven liberal arts and sciences; namely, grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. The epithet "liberal" is a fair translation of the Latin "ingenuus," which means "free-born;" thus Cicero speaks of the "artes ingenuæ," or the arts befitting a free-born man; and Ovid says in the well-known lines,--
"Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros,"--
To have studied carefully the liberal arts refines the manners, and prevents us from being brutish. And Phillips, in his "New World of Words" (1706), defines the liberal arts and sciences to be "such as are fit for gentlemen and scholars, as mechanic trades and handicrafts for meaner people." As Freemasons are required by their landmarks to be free-born, we see the propriety of incorporating the arts of free-born men among their symbols. As the system of Masonry derived its present form and organization from the times when the study of these arts and sciences constituted the labors of the wisest men, they have very appropriately been adopted as the symbol of the completion of human learning.
ASHLAR. In builders' language, a stone taken from the quarries.
ASHLAR, PERFECT. A stone that has been hewed, squared, and polished, so as to be fit for use in the building. Masonically, it is a symbol of the state of perfection attained by means of education. And as it is the object of Speculative Masonry to produce this state of perfection, it may in that point of view be also considered as a symbol of the social character of the institution of Freemasonry.
ASHLAR, ROUGH. A stone in its rude and natural state. Masonically, it is a symbol of men's natural state of ignorance. But if the perfect ashlar be, in reference to its mode of preparation, considered as a symbol of the social character of Freemasonry, then the rough ashlar must be considered as a symbol of the profane world. In this species of symbolism, the rough and perfect ashlars bear the same relation to each other as ignorance does to knowledge, death to life, and light to darkness. The rough ashlar is the profane, the perfect ashlar is the initiate.
ASHMOLE, ELIAS. A celebrated antiquary of England, who was born in 1617. He has written an autobiography, or rather diary of his life, which extends to within eight years of his death. Under the date of October 16, 1646, he has made the following entry: "I was made a Free-Mason at Warrington, in Lancashire, with Col. Henry Mainwaring, of Carticham, in Cheshire; the names of those that were then at the lodge: Mr. Richard Penket, warden; Mr. James Collier, Mr. Richard Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam and Hugh Brewer." Thirty-six years afterwards, under date of March 10, 1682, he makes the following entry: "I received a summons to appear at a lodge to be held the next day at Masons' Hall, in London. 11. Accordingly I went, and about noon was admitted into the fellowship of Freemasons by Sir William Wilson, Knight, Captain Richard Borthwick, Mr. William Woodman, Mr. William Grey, Mr. Samuel Taylour, and Mr. William Wise. I was the senior fellow among them (it being thirty-five years since I was admitted); there was present beside myself the fellows after named: Mr. Thomas Wise, master of the Masons' Company this year; Mr. Thomas Shorthose, Mr. Thomas Shadbolt, ---- Waidsfford, Esq., Mr. Nicholas Young, Mr. John Shorthose, Mr. William Hamon, Mr. John Thompson, and Mr. William Stanton. We all dined at the Half-Moon Tavern, in Cheapside, at a noble dinner prepared at the charge of the new-accepted Masons." The titles of some of the persons named in these two receptions confirm what is said in the text, that the operative was at that time being superseded by the speculative element. It is deeply to be regretted that Ashmole did not carry out his projected design of writing a history of Freemasonry, for which it is said that he had collected abundant materials. His History of the Order of the Garter shows what we might have expected from his treatment of the masonic institution.
ASPIRANT. One who aspires to or seeks after the truth. The title given to the candidate in the ancient Mysteries.
ATHELSTAN. King of England, who ascended the throne in 924. Anderson cites the old constitutions as saying that he encouraged the Masons, and brought many over from France and elsewhere. In his reign, and in the year 926, the celebrated General Assembly of the Craft was held in the city of York, with prince Edward, the king's brother, for Grand Master, when new constitutions were framed. From this assembly the York Rite dates its origin.
AUTOPSY (Greek αὐτοψία, a seeing with one's own eyes). The complete communication of the secrets in the ancient Mysteries, when the aspirant was admitted into the sacellum, or most sacred place, and was invested by the Hierophant with all the aporrheta, or sacred things, which constituted the perfect knowledge of the initiate. A similar ceremony in Freemasonry is called the Rite of Intrusting.
AUM. The triliteral name of God in the Brahminical mysteries, and equivalent among the Hindoos to the tetragrammaton of the Jews. In one of the Puranas, or sacred books of the Hindoos, it is said, "All the rites ordained in the Vedas, the sacrifices to fire, and all other solemn purifications, shall pass away; but that which shall never pass away is the word AUM, for it is the symbol of the Lord of all things."
BABEL. The biblical account of the dispersion of mankind in consequence of the confusion of tongues at Babel, has been incorporated into the history of Masonry. The text has shown the probability that the pure and abstract principles of the Primitive Freemasonry had been preserved by Noah and his immediate descendants; and also that, as a consequence of the dispersion, these principles had been lost or greatly corrupted by the Gentiles, who were removed from the influence and teachings of the great patriarch.
Now there was in the old rituals a formula in the third degree, preserved in some places to the present day, which teaches that the candidate has come from the tower of Babel, where language was confounded and Masonry lost, and that he is travelling to the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, where language was restored and Masonry found. An attentive perusal of the nineteen propositions set forth in the preliminary chapter of this work will furnish the reader with a key for the interpretation of this formula. The principles of the Primitive Freemasonry of the early priesthood were corrupted or lost at Babel by the defection of a portion of mankind from Noah, the conservator of those principles. Long after, the descendants of this people united with those of Noah at the temple of Solomon, whose site was the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, from whom it had been bought by David; and here the lost principles were restored by this union of the Spurious Freemasons of Tyre with the Primitive Freemasons of Jerusalem. And this explains the latter clause of the formula.
BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY. When the city and temple of Jerusalem were destroyed by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, and the inhabitants conveyed as captives to Babylon, we have a right to suppose,--that is to say, if there be any truth in masonic history, the deduction is legitimate,--that among these captives were many of the descendants of the workmen at the temple. If so, then they carried with them into captivity the principles of Masonry which they had acquired at home, and the city of Babylon became the great seat of Speculative Masonry for many years. It was during the captivity that the philosopher Pythagoras, who was travelling as a seeker after knowledge, visited Babylon. With his ardent thirst for wisdom, he would naturally hold frequent interviews with the leading Masons among the Jewish captives. As he suffered himself to be initiated into the Mysteries of Egypt during his visit to that country, it is not unlikely that he may have sought a similar initiation into the masonic Mysteries. This would account for the many analogies and resemblances to Masonry that we find in the moral teachings, the symbols, and the peculiar organization of the school of Pythagoras--resemblances so extraordinary as to have justified, or at least excused, the rituals for calling the sage of Samos "our ancient brother."
BACCHUS. One of the appellations of the "many-named" god Dionysus. The son of Jupiter and Semele was to the Greeks Dionysus, to the Romans Bacchus.
BARE FEET. A symbol of reverence when both feet are uncovered. Otherwise the symbolism is modern; and from the ritualistic explanation which is given in the first degree, it would seem to require that the single bare foot should be interpreted as the symbol of a covenant.
BLACK. Pythagoras called this color the symbol of the evil principle in nature. It was equivalent to darkness, which is the antagonist of light. But in masonic symbolism the interpretation is different. There, black is a symbol of grief, and always refers to the fate of the temple-builder.
BRAHMA. In the mythology of the Hindoos there is a trimurti, or trinity, the Supreme Being exhibiting himself in three manifestations; as, Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Siva the Destroyer,--the united godhead being a symbol of the sun.
Brahma was a symbol of the rising sun, Siva of the sun at meridian, and Vishnu of the setting sun.
BRUCE. The introduction of Freemasonry into Scotland has been attributed by some writers to King Robert Bruce, who is said to have established in 1314 the Order of Herodom, for the reception of those Knights Templars who had taken refuge in his dominions from the persecutions of the Pope and the King of France. Lawrie, who is excellent authority for Scottish Masonry, does not appear, however, to give any credit to the narrative. Whatever Bruce may have done for the higher degrees, there is no doubt that Ancient Craft Masonry was introduced into Scotland at an earlier period. See Kilwinning. Yet the text is right in making Bruce one of the patrons and encouragers of Scottish Freemasonry.
BRYANT. Jacob Bryant, frequently quoted in this work, was a distinguished English antiquary, born in the year 1715, and deceased in 1804. His most celebrated work is "A New System of Ancient Mythology," which appeared in 1773-76. Although objectionable on account of its too conjectural character, it contains a fund of details on the subject of symbolism, and may be consulted with advantage by the masonic student.
BUILDER. The chief architect of the temple of Solomon is often called "the Builder." But the word is also applied generally to the craft; for every Speculative Mason is as much a builder as was his operative predecessor. An American writer (F.S. Wood, of Arkansas) thus alludes to this symbolic idea. "Masons are called moral builders. In their rituals, they declare that a more noble and glorious purpose than squaring stones and hewing timbers is theirs, fitting immortal nature for that spiritual building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." And he adds, "The builder builds for a century; masons for eternity." In this sense, "the builder" is the noblest title that can be bestowed upon a mason.
BUNYAN, JOHN. Familiar to every one as the author of the "Pilgrim's Progress." He lived in the seventeenth century, and was the most celebrated allegorical writer of England. His work entitled "Solomon's Temple Spiritualized" will supply the student of masonic symbolism with many valuable suggestions.
CABALA. The mystical philosophy of the Jews. The word which is derived from a Hebrew root, signifying to receive, has sometimes been used in an enlarged sense, as comprehending all the explanations, maxims, and ceremonies which have been traditionally handed down to the Jews; but in that more limited acceptation, in which it is intimately connected with the symbolic science of Freemasonry, the cabala may be defined to be a system of philosophy which embraces certain mystical interpretations of Scripture, and metaphysical speculations concerning the Deity, man, and spiritual beings. In these interpretations and speculations, according to the Jewish doctors, were enveloped the most profound truths of religion, which, to be comprehended by finite beings, are obliged to be revealed through the medium of symbols and allegories. Buxtorf (Lex. Talm.) defines the Cabala to be a secret science, which treats in a mystical and enigmatical manner of things divine, angelical, theological, celestial, and metaphysical, the subjects being enveloped in striking symbols and secret modes of teaching.
CABALIST. A Jewish philosopher. One who understands and teaches the doctrines of the Cabala, or the Jewish philosophy.
CABIRI. Certain gods, whose worship was first established in the Island of Samothrace, where the Cabiric Mysteries were practised until the beginning of the Christian era. They were four in number, and by some are supposed to have referred to Noah and his three sons. In the Mysteries there was a legend of the death and restoration to life of Atys, the son of Cybele. The candidate represented Cadmillus, the youngest of the Cabiri, who was slain by his three brethren. The legend of the Cabiric Mysteries, as far as it can be understood from the faint allusions of ancient authors, was in spirit and design very analogous to that of the third degree of Masonry.
CADMILLUS. One of the gods of the Cabiri, who was slain by his brothers, on which circumstance the legend of the Cabiric or Samothracian Mysteries is founded. He is the analogue of the Builder in the Hiramic legend of Freemasonry. 256
CAIRNS. Heaps of stones of a conical form, erected by the Druids. Some suppose them to have been sepulchral monuments, others altars. They were undoubtedly of a religious character, since sacrificial fires were lighted upon them, and processions were made around them. These processions were analogous to the circumambulations in Masonry, and were conducted like them with reference to the apparent course of the sun.
CASSIA. A gross corruption of Acacia. The cassia is an aromatic plant, but it has no mystical or symbolic character.
CELTIC MYSTERIES. The religious rites of ancient Gaul and Britain, more familiarly known as Druidism, which see.. 109
CEREMONIES. The outer garments which cover and adorn Freemasonry as clothing does the human body.
Although ceremonies give neither life nor truth to doctrines or principles, yet they have an admirable influence, since by their use certain things are made to acquire a sacred character which they would not otherwise have had; and hence Lord Coke has most wisely said that "prudent antiquity did, for more solemnity and better memory and observation of that which is to be done, express substances under ceremonies.".
CERES. Among the Romans the goddess of agriculture; but among the more poetic Greeks she became, as Demeter, the symbol of the prolific earth. See Demeter.
CHARTER OF COLOGNE. A masonic document of great celebrity, but not of unquestioned authenticity. It is a declaration or affirmation of the design and principles of Freemasonry, issued in the year 1535, by a convention of masons who had assembled in the city of Cologne. The original is in the Latin language. The assertors of the authenticity of the document claim that it was found in the chest of a lodge at Amsterdam in 1637, and afterwards regularly transmitted from hand to hand until the year 1816, when it was presented to Prince Frederick of Nassau, through whom it was at that time made known to the masonic world. Others assert that it is a forgery, which was perpetrated about the year 1816. Like the Leland manuscript, it is one of those vexed questions of masonic literary history over which so much doubt has been thrown, that it will probably never be satisfactorily solved. For a translation of the charter, and copious explanatory notes, by the author of this work, the reader is referred to the "American Quarterly Review of Freemasonry," vol. ii. p. 52.
CHRISTIANIZATION OF FREEMASONRY. The interpretation of its symbols from a Christian point of view. This is an error into which Hutchinson and Oliver in England, and Scott and one or two others of less celebrity in this country, have fallen. It is impossible to derive Freemasonry from Christianity, because the former, in point of time, preceded the latter. In fact, the symbols of Freemasonry are Solomonic, and its religion was derived from the ancient priesthood.
The infusion of the Christian element was, however, a natural result of surrounding circumstances; yet to sustain it would be fatal to the cosmopolitan character of the institution.
Such interpretation is therefore modern, and does not belong to the ancient system.
CIRCULAR TEMPLES. These were used in the initiations of the religion of Zoroaster. Like the square temples of Masonry, and the other Mysteries, they were symbolic of the world, and the symbol was completed by making the circumference of the circle a representation of the zodiac.
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 Masonry.
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 initiations.
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 century.
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 Bare Feet.
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 the west.
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 masonic acacia.
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 Solomon.
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.