Synoptical Index.


AB. The Hebrew word 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


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 [Greek: akakia], 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 enamored 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, this 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.

AL GABIL. 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 [Greek: a)llos] and [Greek: a)gorein], 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 practiced 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 practiced 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 [Greek: a)phani/zô], 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 [Greek: apor)r(e/ta]). 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 [Greek: ay)topsi/a], 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 Hindus to the tetragrammaton of the Jews. In one of the Puranas, or sacred books of the Hindus, 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

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 practiced 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; myth logically 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 [Greek: e)po/Ptês], _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 [Greek: ey)/resis], _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, p. 93.

FIFTEEN. A sacred number, symbolic of the name of God, because the letters of the holy name JAH are equal, in the Hebrew mode of numeration by the letters of the alphabet, to fifteen; for [Hebrew: yod] is equal to ten, and [Hebrew: heh] 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 hypotenuse 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.


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 (yod), which is the initial of the ineffable name. As such, it is a symbol of the life-giving and life-sustaining power of God.

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 sepulcher of Christ.

GRIPS AND SIGNS. They are valuable only for social purposes as modes of recognition.


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 succeeded.

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 confounded.

HIEROPHANT. (From the Greek [Greek: i(ero\s], holy, sacred, and [Greek: phai/nô] 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 the soul.

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 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 the ancients.

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 practiced 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, _hewers of stones_. The Fellow Crafts at the temple of Solomon. (2 Chron. ii. 2.).

ISH SABAL. Hebrew, _bearers of burdens_. The Apprentices at the temple of Solomon. (2 Chron. ii. 2.).


JAH. It is in Hebrew [Hebrew: yod-heh] 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 [Hebrew: yod-heh-vau-heh], and called, from the four letters of which it consists, the tetragrammaton, or four-lettered name.


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 symbols.”

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 ancient Mysteries.

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 metals.

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.


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 modified, 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 rededication 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 symbolic idea.

LEGEND OF THE THIRD DEGREE. In all probability this legend is a mythical history, in which truth is very largely and preponderating mixed with fiction.

It is the most important and significant of the legendary symbols of Freemasonry.

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 human learning.

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 from 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 not correct.

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 initiation.

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 Phallus.

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 the acacia.

It was also a sacred plant among the Egyptians.

LUSTRATION. A purification by washing the hands or body in consecrated water, practiced 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 temple.

MASTER MASON. The third degree of Ancient Craft Masonry, analogous to the epoch of the ancient Mysteries.

MENATZCHIM. Hebrew _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 Hindu 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 Hindus. 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 built.

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 [Greek: my/ô], 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_ are synonymous.

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 interpretation.

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 [Greek: ne/on] and [Greek: phyio\n], _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 faith.

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.

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 Hindus.

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 ancient Mysteries.

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 system.

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 entrusted 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 immortal life.

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 [Greek: pasto\s], _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 practiced 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 Freemasonry, 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 see.

PURIFICATION. A religious rite practiced 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 Freemasons.


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 within.

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 Masonic symbols.

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 TSABA Hashmaim, “the host of heaven.” It was practiced 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 absolutely essential.

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. (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 symbolic reference.

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 sphere.

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 of morality.

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 fetishism. 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 soul.

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 of Freemasonry.

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 student.

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 [Greek: tetra\s], four, and [Greek: gra\mma], a letter. The four-lettered name of God in the Hebrew language, which consisted of four letters, viz. [Hebrew: yod-heh-vau-heh] 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 Mysteries.

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 of Israel.

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 Jews.

TROWEL. One of the working tools of a Master Mason. It is a symbol of brotherly love.

TRUTH. It was not always taught publicly by the ancient philosophers to the people.

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 [Hebrew: heh] converted into 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 soul.


WEARY SOJOURNERS. The legend of the “three weary sojourners” in the Royal Arch degree is undoubtedly a philosophical myth, symbolizing the search after truth.

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 into life.

The number of steps are always odd, because odd numbers are a symbol of perfection.

But the fifteen steps in the American system are a symbol of the name of God, Jah.

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 the present.

WORD. In Freemasonry this is a technical and symbolic term, and signifies divine truth. The search after this word constitutes the whole system of speculative masonry.

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 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 Occidental nations.


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.

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