Symbolic, even among the symbols of Freemasonry, the moon plays an essential part in the esoteric nature of Freemasonry. Not a primary component of the ritual, the celestial body none-the-less features prominently in the rites and rituals of the lodge harkening back to older and more esoteric traditions.
In this installment of the Symbols and Symbolism of Freemasonry, we look at a reading on the luminous orb that encircles our planet in both a reading of Albert Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and from an excerpt of the book, The Master Mason: The Reason of Being – A Treatise on the Third Degree of Freemasonry on the topic.
Mackey writes on the moon:
The adoption of the moon in the Masonic system as a symbol is analogous to, but could hardly be derived from, the employment of the same symbol in the ancient religions. In Egypt, Osiris was the sun, and Isis the moon; in Syria, Adonis was the sun and Ashtaroth the moon; the Greeks adored her as Diana, and Hecate; in the mysteries of Ceres, while the hierophant or chief priest represented the Creator, and the torch-bearer the sun, the officer nearest the altar represented the moon. In short, moon-worship was as widely disseminated as sun-worship. Masons retain her image in their Rites because the Lodge is a representation of the universe. where, as the sun rules over the day, the moon presides over the night; as the one regulates the year, so does the other the months, and as the former is the king of the starry hosts of heaven, so is the latter their queen; but both deriving their heat, and light, and power from him, who has the third and the greatest light, the master of heaven and earth controls them both.
From The Master Mason
In its culmination, [the third degree] is the transition through life and death in order to be reborn anew with an understanding of the spiritual world that has always been around us but now made visible. The moon, here, is key as Yesod leads to our understanding of becoming an emblem of the reflective nature we assume in this transformation. Like the moon, we reflect the light of the Great Architect capturing what is impossible to see without becoming blinded by its radiance. This is, of course, a metaphor but no less appropriate to the change we undergo and the purpose we assume in becoming masters. Like the moon, each of us reflect the glory of the divine sun in phases, exerting our gravitational force over the tides of our interactions.