Symbolical Masonry, by H.L. Haywood, , at sacred-texts.com
The Sun, Moon, and Master of the lodge, is, according to our best authorities, a Hermetic symbol and must be interpreted accordingly. The sun throws out light from itself, it dispenses energy, and in the physical sense is the creator of life. In view thereof the Hermetists made the sun to signify the active principle in nature. By a peculiar coincidence it is still a popular custom to speak of the sun as he or him and this suggests that the Hermetic theory was not very far-fetched.
By virtue of a similar kind of reasoning the moon was accepted as the symbol of the passive forces of nature, and here again we find the popular custom in agreement, for we all speak of the moon as she or her. The moon has no light of her own but merely reflects to us that which she has received from the sun; therefore she may be understood as symbolising the receptive, passive, and feminine principles.
This cleavage between masculine and feminine, active and passive, goes down to the roots of the world; it is a distinction found in all nature's processes and in every man and woman. Work and rest, ruthlessness and pity, hardness and tenderness—everywhere are these qualities found, mingling in various proportions; and the secret of the full-orbed life is to hold them in equilibrium. John Woolman was so tender that he grieved for days over a robin's death; Friedrich Nietzsche looked upon pity as a
weakness, and taught men to flee it as a disease and urged his disciples to be hard. Too much of John Woolman in human nature would people the world at last with a race of sentimentalists too soft for the mastery of the hard, grey facts of nature; too much of Nietzsche would give us a world full of blond beasts, preying on each other, like the dragons in the slime; but when Woolman and Nietzsche balance each other, the one correcting the extravagances of the other, man will be tender with little children, chivalrous to women, patient with his fellows, and he will have strength to wage the warfare against death, disaster, and destruction. Out of Isis and Osiris, comes Horus, the master of life. Out of the woman and the man, comes Christ, "the man-woman." Out of the Sun and the Moon comes the Master, even the Master of a Lodge, for the Master of the Lodge, in our symbology, is nothing other than a representation of the Complete Man.
This, I have said, is the Hermetic explanation of the symbolism of the three Lesser Lights; but with this reading of the matter some scholars will not agree, preferring to trace it to usages in the old Operative Lodges. The hut, or the lodge, they say, was always erected "against the southerly wall of the church," and could therefore receive no light from the north, or "dark side"; accordingly the windows of the workroom were necessarily on the east, south, and west sides. Steinbrenner, who traces the Order to the German Steinmetzen, argues that windows were known as lights, and quotes Cicero and Vitruvius in support of his contention. He holds that these windows were the origin of the Great Lights, while others of the same school of thought believe them to have been the prototype of the Lesser Lights.
This interpretation of the matter is on the side of simplicity, and makes unnecessary that one go afield into occultism, but to some of us it is not convincing, and that for more than one reason. That Operative Lodges always, or even frequently, built their temporary headquarters on the south side of the church is not supported by evidence, and may well be questioned; besides it is difficult to understand how these windows could ever have become identified with the Holy Bible, Square and Compass, or with the Sun, Moon and Master. Moreover, the last-named symbolism was in use by occult fraternities long before lodges were built, as many authorities have testified, and it seems most reasonable to believe it to have been introduced into our Ritual by the Speculatives accepted into the Craft in the latter part of the seventeenth century.