Published By: Daniel Genchi
|By history, custom, tradition and ritualistic requirements, the Craft holds dear the days of St. John the Baptist on June 24, and St. John the Evangelist on December 27. A lodge which forgets either forfeits a precious link with the past and loses an opportunity for the renewal of allegiance to everything in Freemasonry symbolized by these Patron Saints. No satisfactory explanation has as yet been advanced to explain why operative Masons adopted two Christian saints, when St. Thomas, the patron of architecture and building, was available.Most Freemasons are agreed that the choice of our ancient brethren was wise. No two great teachers, preachers, wise men, saints, could have been found who better showed in their lives and works the doctrine and teachings of Freemasonry. St. John the Evangelist apparently came into our fraternal system somewhere towards the close of the sixteenth century; at least, we find the earliest authentic lodge minute reference to St. John the evangelist in Edinborough in 1599, although earlier mentions are made in connection with that may be called relatives, if not ancestors, of our Craft. For instance “The Fraternity of St. John” existed in Cologne in 1430. “St. John’s Masonry” is a distinctive term for Scotch Lodges, many of the older of which took the name of the saint. Thus, in its early records, the Lodge of Scoon and Perth is often called the Lodge of St. John, and the Lodge possesses a beautiful mural painting of the-saint, on the east wall of the lodge room.Other Lodges denominated “St. John’s Lodges” were some of those unaffiliated with either the “Moderns” or the “Ancients” in the period between establishment of the Ancients (1751) and the Reconciliation (1813).In many old histories of the Craft is a quaint legend that St. John the Evangelist became a “Grand Master” at the age of ninety. Read More…|
Presented at the Vancouver Grand Masonic Day, October 16, 1999
Written by: Bro. Mark S. Dwor, Centennial-King George Lodge No. 171, Richmond
Posted by: Daniel Genchi
I first gave a variation of this particular talk in May, 1996. I have given it a number of times since. Every time I’ve given the talk the analysis, although not the facts or the substance, changes slightly. As I have now had time to once again reconsider this and am now obligated to present the talk in written form, I also feel somewhat obligated to explain not so much my research, as meandering as it might have been, but rather the various pieces of Masonic history that are linked to Tracing Boards. The history of Tracing Boards actually is fairly easy to describe, but how it fits into the larger context of Masonry and why it is that we are now required, in the Canadian work, to actually use Tracing Boards is quite a complex story. I must assume that the majority of readers of this paper will be in the same state of darkness that I was when I approached this topic however, for those of you who already know much or most of what I am about to describe, I hope you do not mind a refresher course, and to those to whom some or all of this is new, I trust you will find it as intriguing as I have.
When I refer to the Canadian Ritual that is used in this Province the reference is to the British Columbia Canadian Work as authorized by Grand Lodge on June 23, 1955 and amended to 1983. When I refer to the Antient Ritual it will be to British Columbia Antient Work, approved by Grand Lodge June 2, 1962. When I refer to the transactions of the Quator Coronati, I will use the abbreviation AQC. I’m going to present some conclusions right now, so you can better understand where the topic is going:
1. Much of what needs to be known about Tracing Boards is known. The people who made them and the Lodges that use them are all fairly well documented. This part of Masonic history does not fall into “from time immemorial.”
2. The time frame when the Tracing Boards came into being is roughly at the very end of the Eighteenth Century and the first decades or so of the Nineteenth Century. The contents of them reflects the reality of Masonry at the time, just prior to and through the process of and after the Lodge of Reconciliation.
3. While we think of the rise of the two rival Grand Lodges in the Eighteenth Century as a time of conflict, in actual fact it was a time of the greatest Masonic growth where the Brethren in the Lodges were experimenting with different methods of communicating the Masonic message to each other and perfecting new rituals.
4. The Tracing Boards are teaching aids. They have taken on a life of their own, which has had some startling repercussions in Ritual work.
5. To understand where Tracing Boards came from, you have to understand where Floor Cloths came from, but that does not necessarily mean that Tracing Boards are an evolution from Floor Cloths. Many Lodges that use Tracing Boards still use Floor Cloths, and some Lodges that use Floor Cloths do not use Tracing Boards, &c. While I am discussing primarily the Tracing Boards that are used in our jurisdiction in the Canadian, Emulation, and Australian Lodges, I do not mean to overlook the Degree charts and Floor Cloths used in the Antient Lodges.
6. The Tracing Boards that we use ought not to be called Tracing Boards, and this has been recognized by commentators for the last 80 years, but the chance of renaming them even 80 years ago was zero and is certainly less than that now.
7. The Tracing Boards were originally designed to lie flat on the floor of the Lodge, and the Tracing Boards that we use now have used the same artistic perspective as did the original Tracing Boards.
8. While the Tracing Boards as a teaching aid can also be an adornment of the Lodge, it is generally agreed by the writers on this topic that the ones that are most commonly in use, particularly in British Columbia, are the least artistically interesting.
9. There appears to be no rule in terms of Ritual that requires the Tracing Boards for the Degrees that are not being worked to be hidden–i.e., if you are in Third Degree, First Degree and Second Degree Boards must not be shown, or conversely, that the Third Degree Board must not be shown while you are in the First Degree.
To understand specifically why these issues were of importance to me, you have to understand why I did the research in the first place. Two years prior to giving the talk on Tracing Boards, I had given a talk at my Lodge on art and imagery in Masonry. While I was doing research on that, specifically reviewing the wonderful colour reproductions in Freemasonry A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol by W. Kirk McNulty,1 two groups of questions arose in my mind..
The first question group was, why the Third Degree Board is almost always on display, and why the First Degree Board, which to me is the most interesting, is only seen briefly during a typical meeting when we are going into the First Degree. Because we are in British Columbia we are obliged to do our business in the Third Degree, but that is really not much of an answer.
The real question is why that Board needs to be tucked away when we were not in the First Degree. The obvious answer, of course, is that in a functional basis there is no place to display all three Boards at the same time. There does not appear to be any particular ritual requirement for the lack of display of one Tracing Board or another. The only requirement is for a Tracing Board of the particular degree to be displayed specifically when the degree is being worked.
In the Canadian Ritual the Senior Deacon displays a Tracing Board and the working tools of each degree separately. First Degree, (pages 6 & 17); Second Degree (pages 15 & 16) and Third Degree (page 13). There is no requirement for the placing of the Tracing Board for the First Degree Tracing Board Lecture, rather the Candidate is taken to the Junior Warden Station and the Junior Warden delivers the lecture on the Tracing Board (page 38). Similarly, in the Second Degree, the Candidate is taken to the West, where the Senior Warden delivers the Tracing Board Lecture (page 70). In the Third Degree the Deacons conduct the Candidate to the Master Mason’s Tracing Board and the Worshipful Master points out its features, which are limited to the ornaments of a Master Mason’s Lodge i.e. the porch, the dormer and the square pavement (page 100).
I will be touching on certain issues regarding ritual, but this talk is not about Tracing Boards and the ritual; that is a somewhat separate topic which has been dealt with by VW Bro. Jim Bennie in a talk he delivered to the Vancouver Lodge of Education and Research about two years ago. I did not include a copy of his paper because it did not necessarily deal with some of the issues that I have raised, nor should I expect anyone else to deal with my singular concerns.
The second question group deals with something on the typical First Degree Tracing Board, that is on the “Jacob’s Ladder,” the images for the three cardinal virtues–that is, Faith, Hope and Charity–typically had a cross for faith. As I looked into the pictures of the early Tracing Boards, I realized that none of them had a cross for Faith; in fact, the cross did not appear in the Tracing Boards until the 1860s.
The question then raised was, if Freemasonry is inclusive not exclusive–that is, if it is designed to include all religions and not exclude any religion–why was the symbol of Faith a cross?
I must admit I pondered this for a long time because I knew that if I had gone to my Brethren and raised this issue the matter would have been resolved very quickly, as it was in fact when I did raise the issue, by simply pasting a large F over the cross. In some of the earliest Tracing Boards, Faith, Hope and Charity were represented with the capital letters “F”, “H” and “C”. But there was an intellectual, not just a religious, problem here, and that was figuring out why it was that Freemasonry was nondenominational, save and except the belief in a Supreme Being.
The Jacob’s Ladder with the symbols being a cross for Faith, an anchor for Hope and a heart for Charity, has taken on a life of its own apart from its Tracing Board significance. It is one of the few pieces of Masonic symbolism, aside from the square and compasses (with or without the G) that is known worldwide. I’ve seen it in publications as far afield as an Argentinian Masonic magazine. Read More…
Published on this site: Daniel Genchi
Euclid was a professor who taught mathematics, science and geometry in the Greek city of Alexandria in Egypt. Most importantly he was a product of his times and of the great city in which he lived. Alexandria was built between 332 and 321 BCE by the Greek architect Dinocrates. The city like Athens was a center of learning the drew the brightest minds of the time to study and write. The city was the home of the tallest building of the time, which was the lighthouse. The lighthouse had a mirror that cast light 35 miles onto the Mediterranean and guided sailors into the harbor. (12) Alexandria was home to the Greatest Library of the Ancient world, one of the greatest Museums, and temples built by the finest architects. Alexandria thrived as a center of learning from the time it was built until the 5th century when philosophy and learning were seen as a threat to the newly emerging religion of Christianity. Alexandria weathered the conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey. There are many conflicting accounts of the burning of the library but it was probably during this conflict that the Great Library was destroyed. The Library allegedly contained Aristotle’s private library and many other great texts that are lost to us today. Historians and philosophers have written that the library contained as many as 700,000 texts. Alexandria continued as a center of ancient learning until around the 4th century CE. It’s gradual decline began when it was destroyed by Diocletian in retaliation for an imagined insult. Intolerance of pagan learning by the new Christian rulers of the Mediterranean led to the burning of the Museaum and the Serapaum by Theodosius the Patriarch of Alexandria. One of the saddest incidents in history signaled the death of learning in the West was the murder of Hypatia, the Daughter of the last keeper of the museum at Alexandria. She was one of the last pagan mathematicians and scientists in the west.
During Alexandria’s heyday Eratosthenes had calculated the diameter of the earth to within 1% by measuring the difference in the angle of the noonday sun in distant cities. It would take centuries and the persecution of Galileo before west would again understand that the earth was spherical. All in all Alexandria was a shining light of learning for almost 700 years. It was this city that Euclid called “home”. Read More…
FREEMASONRY IN LIGHT OF VEDANTA
RAVI S. KUDESIA EXPLORES AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CRAFT ACCORDING TO EASTERN WISDOM AND TRADITIONS
Published by: The PHILALETHES Society, Fall 2010 Volume 63, #4
The Craft of Masonry has, as its supreme strength and perhaps greatest inadequacy, a rather paradoxical nature: It is replete with meaning and yet completely devoid of it. All too often a candidate progresses through the three degrees with a sense of wonder and awe at the spectacle of ritual, yet upon attaining his master mason degree, comes to believe the purpose of his instruction as a simple moral teaching. The rather mundane understanding of the square and compass as tools to “square one’s actions” and “circumscribe one’s desires” hardly match the sense of wonder that these magnificent instruments evoke as symbols. So, many Brethren pass through the degrees unable to reconcile the immensity of the experience of the symbols and ritual with the rather straight forward interpretation provided by the institution of Masonry itself.
This is not unexpected as symbols, by their nature, both conceal and reveal. Unlike words, which are fully arbitrary in form, symbols are capable of containing inherent meaning — yet with out the proper knowledge to unlock their hidden meaning, one may only speculate what the symbol is attempting to teach. Symbols also contain a unique ability to convey a multiplicity if meanings, depending on the level of knowledge of the ones observing them. Then same working tools first seen by an Entered Apprentice gain a much deeper meaning by the time one becomes a Master Mason. That is not to say that the Entered Apprentice is deceived or a false understanding of the symbol, but simply a limited understanding, one which independent study must further build upon and develop.
For this reason, there can be no substantial innovations made to Masonry, as it contains “a minimum, and yet a sufficiency”.[i] The Craft speaks quietly through symbols- yet, according to some, when these symbols and rituals are approached with the right kind of attitude, they can take the initiate beyond simplistic moralizations to communicate a higher, more esoteric knowledge. Many of our venerable interpreters have insisted upon this point. For Example, Albert Pike said: Read More…
by Bro. William Steve Burkle KT, 32° Scioto Lodge No. 6, Chillicothe, Ohio.
The numbers 3, 5, and 7 are significant in the Craft, as is evident from the dramatic manner in which these numbers are brought to the attention of a Fellowcraft Mason during the ritual of the Degree. It has always been interesting to me that beyond the literal explanation provided during that Degree, very little is presented thereafter regarding any possible metaphoric or symbolic use of this numerical progression. In fact the only memory I have of further formal reference to, or use of, the numbers 3, 5, and 7 is for certain applause cadences associated with Scottish Rite ritual.
Since much of the symbolism of Freemasonry deals with geometry or geometric construction, it seemed reasonable to me that there may be subtle meaning contained in the numerical sequence 3, 5, and 7 which might only be brought to light by examining the numbers in a Geometrical context. As will be demonstrated, one method for the geometric representation of the numbers 3, 5, and 7 is in the form of intersecting circles . This approach produced an astonishingly simple proof of Euclid’s 47th Proposition. It would appear that Euclid’s famous theorem pops up with surprising regularity in Freemasonry. This is perhaps no surprise since Euclid’s 47th Proposition is regarded as foundational to the understanding of the mysteries of Freemasonry.
This paper will present a detailed account of how the numbers 3,5, and 7 when translated into a diagram of intersecting circles resulted in a proof of Euclid’s 47th Proposition. Interestingly, I developed this proof, then discovered through additional research that an identical proof has already been established by a 14 year old girl from Iran[i] (Miss Sina Shiehyan from Sabzevar, Iran), using an identical figure or diagram, but developed by methods which did not involve either circles or the numbers 3, 5, and 7 (talk about ego deflation). Consequently I make no claims for having originated the proof, but present it here for the sole reason that it is based upon a numerical progression and unique geometric representation which is of interest to the Craft.
During the preparation of this article, a number of different approaches were taken (including arrangements based upon The Lune of Hippocratus, and Three Co-Tangent Circles, neither of which worked), to represent the numerical progression 3, 5, and 7 in geometric form. Of these approaches, the one which appeared most interesting to me was one in which the numbers in the sequence were made to represent circles having a diameter equal to their numerical value. I felt it was important to arrange the circles in such a manner that the progression of the numbers was maintained (i.e. 3 + 0, then 3 +2, then 5 + 2). In this progression each number increases by two relative to the sum of the two preceding numbers. It’s interesting to note that the number one (1) is not included in this sequence, even though it clearly fits into the pattern (1 + 0 = 1, 1 + 2 = 3, 3 + 2 = 5, 5 + 2 = 7). The fact that the number 1 is absent from our Masonic sequence was puzzling. One possible reason is that in a linear progression of numbers, only three are necessary to establish that the progression is indeed linear. For example, when plotting a graph, if the alignment of any three points on that graph may be connected with a common straight line, then the plotted values represented by these points are linear. The slope of the straight line connecting these points is constant at any point along it’s length. Figure 1 is the representation of the circles having proportions of 3, 5, and 7 which I have described. The progression in the diameter of each circle is represented by the method in which the circles overlap, with the constant increase in each successive diameter depicted by the uniform spacing between the circle centers. This representation also captures the fact that the numbers 3 and 7 when added total 10; and that 5 is the mathematical mean or average of the sum of these two numbers.
Development of the Figure of Proof
Since the relationship between the diameter of these circles is linear, I am able to construct a straight line which is simultaneously tangent to all three circles (Figure 2). In Figure 2 the tangent line is represented by line AB. Lines have been drawn from the center of each circle (the centers are labeled as points F, G, and H) to points perpendicular to tangent line AB where it intersects each circle. These points of tangency are labeled C, D, and E respectively. Notice that all three lines are parallel to one another and that they pass through their point of tangency at the same angle. Although not shown in the figure, extension of line AB to the left of the first circle would eventually result in the tangent line intersecting the blue dotted line which depicts the common diameter and horizontal centers of the three circles. This would represent the origin or convergence point of the progression. An infinite number of circles, each successively decreasing in size, but maintaining the proportions 3, 5, and 7 (and overlapped exactly like those shown in the figure) would fit perfectly at tangent points between these two converging lines. There are many highly interesting geometric and mathematical properties represented here, however it is beyond both the scope and focus of this article to delve into these.
In Figure 3 we have constructed line DN which is perpendicular to line FH and which is also tangent to both the first circle and center circle at point N. A right triangle (FHD) has been inscribed in the center circle (based upon the Theorem of Thales[ii] triangle FHD is a right triangle) with the vertex of the right angle at point D (the point at which AB is tangent to the center circle). This divides trapezoid FHEC into three similar right triangles FDC, HED, and FHD. In addition, line DN divides the larger triangle FHD into two smaller right triangles, FND and HND. Note that triangles HED and HDN are congruent (identical) and that triangles FCD and FND are also congruent.
Figure 3 provides an excellent opportunity for a glimpse of the proof. Notice that triangle FCD and triangle HED may both be “folded” down onto the triangle FHD (along lines FD and HD respectively) so that they exactly coincide with triangles FND and HED, completely filling the area represented by triangle FHD.. This obviously means that the area of the two triangles FCD and HED when added together equal the area of the larger triangle FHD. Therefore, we can state that two times the area of triangle FHD will equal the area of trapezoid FHEC which is composed of the three triangles. The proof is predicated upon this principle.
Demonstration of Proof
Before beginning the demonstration of proof I would like to offer a short comment concerning the Pythagorean Theorem (aka Euclid’s 47th Proposition) which may assist some readers in understanding how and why the proof works. The Pythagorean Theorem establishes that in a right triangle the square of the length of the hypotenuse of that triangle will equal the square of the sums of the lengths of the other two sides. We state this mathematically as c2 = a2 + b2 in which c is the hypotenuse and a and b are the other two sides.
Although we identify the Pythagorean Theorem with the calculation of the length of the sides of a right triangle, its basis of proof is actually in the calculation of areas. The Pythagorean Theorem may be rewritten to state that the sum of the area of the squares enclosing two sides of a right triangle will equal the area of the square forming the hypotenuse of that triangle. One figure often used to establish the proof of this restated version of the Pythagorean Theorem is provided by Figure 4. Consequently, one method of proof of the Pythagorean Theorem involves demonstrating that the area of side c2 in a right triangle is equal to the area of some other polygon (often a trapezoid) in which it is exactly contained. Often, several right triangles which may be summed to equal the area of a polygon are used to the same effect.
The truth behind the ‘Masonic’ symbolism on the US $1… Historians must be cautious about many well-known “facts.” George Washington chopped down a cherry tree when a boy and confessed the deed to his father. Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball. Freemasons inserted some of their emblems (chief among them the eye in the pyramid) into the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. These historical “facts” are widely popular, commonly accepted, and equally false.The eye in the pyramid (emblazoned on the dollar bill, no less) is often cited as “evidence” that sinister conspiracies abound which will impose a “New World Order” on an unsuspecting populace. Depending on whom you hear it from, the Masons are planning the takeover themselves, or are working in concert with European bankers, or are leading (or perhaps being led by) the Illuminati (whoever they are). The notion of a world-wide Masonic conspiracy would be laughable, if it weren’t being repeated with such earnest gullibility by conspiracists like Pat Robertson.Sadly, Masons are sometimes counted among the gullible who repeat the tall tale of the eye in the pyramid, often with a touch of pride. They may be guilty of nothing worse than innocently puffing the importance of their fraternity (as well as themselves), but they’re guilty nonetheless. The time has come state the truth plainly and simply. The Great Seal of the United States is not a Masonic emblem, nor does it contain hidden Masonic symbols. The details are there for anyone to check, who’s willing to rely on historical fact rather than hysterical fiction.• Benjamin Franklin was the only Mason on the first design committee, and his suggestions had no Masonic content.• None of the final designers of the seal were Masons.• The interpretation of the eye on the seal is subtly different from the interpretation used by Masons.• The eye in the pyramid is not nor has been a Masonic symbol. The First CommitteeOn Independence Day, 1776 a committee was created to design a seal for the new American nation. The committee’s members were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, with Pierre Du Simitière as artist and consultant. Of the four men involved, only Benjamin Franklin was a Mason, and he contributed nothing of a Masonic nature to the committee’s proposed design for a seal.Du Simitière, the committee’s consultant and a non-Mason, contributed several major design features that made their way into the ultimate design of the seal: “the shield, E Pluribus Unum, MDCCLXXVI, and the eye of providence in a triangle.” Read More…
Phillip G. “Phil” Elam, Grand Orator (1999-2000)
Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Missouri
By history, custom, tradition and ritualistic requirements, the Craft holds in veneration the Festival Days of St. John the Baptist on June 24th, and St. John the Evangelist on December 27th. Any Blue Lodge that forgets either of these important Festival Days forfeits a precious link with the past and loses an opportunity for the renewal of allegiance to everything in Freemasonry symbolized by these Patron Saints.
No satisfactory explanation has yet been advanced to explain why operative Masons adopted these two particular Christian saints, when, for example, St. Thomas, the patron of architecture and building, was already in wide use.
Regardless, Freemasons agree that the choice of these two ancient Brethren was, indeed, wise. No other two great teachers, wise men, or saints could have been found who better exemplified through their lives and works the sublime doctrine and ageless teachings of Freemasonry.
It was a common custom in the Middle Ages for craftsmen to place themselves under the protection of some saint of the church. All the London trades appear to have ranged themselves under the banner of some saint and if possible they chose one who bore fancied relation to their trades Thus, the fishmongers adopted St. Peter; glove makers chose St. Crispin; guards chose St. Matthew; tilers chose St. Barbara; tailors often chose Eve; lawyers selected St. Mark; lead workers chose St. Sebastian; stone cutters chose the Four Crowned Martyrs; doctors chose St. Luke; astronomers chose St. Dominic; and so on.
Eleven or more medieval trade guilds chose John the Baptist as their Patron Saint. Even after exhaustive research by some of the best Masonic scholars, no one can say with any certainty why Freemasons adopted the two Saints John, or why they continue to celebrate feast days when they once held a far different significance. However, the appropriateness of the two Johns is obvious in our system of Great Moral Teachings, if we consider the spiritual suggestion of their lives.
St. John the Baptist was a stern and just man, intolerant of sham, of pretense, of weakness. He was a man of strength and fire, uncompromising with evil or expediency, and, yet, courageous, humble, sincere, and magnanimous. A character at once heroic and of rugged nobility, the Greatest of Teachers said of the Baptist: “Among them that are born of woman, there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist.”
What do we know about John the Baptist? John was a Levite. His father Zechariah was a Temple priest of the line of Abijah, and his mother Elizabeth was also descended from Aaron. The Carpenter from Nazareth and John the Baptist were related. Their mothers, Mary and Elizabeth, were cousins. John the Baptist was born 6 months before the Nazarene, and he died about 6 months before Jesus. The angel Gabriel separately announced the coming births of the Great Teacher Christ and John the Baptist. Zechariah doubted the prophecy, and was struck dumb until John’s birth. John lived in the mountainous area of Judah, between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
John had a popular ministry. It is generally thought that his ministry started when he was about the age of 27, spreading a message of repentance to the people of Jerusalem. John’s ministry became so popular that many wondered if he was the Messiah prophesized in the ancient Hebrew teachings. We are also told that John the Baptist baptized Jesus after which he stepped away and told his disciples to follow Jesus. It would seem logical that these two would combine their ministries. Oddly enough, however, they apparently never met again.
Descriptions from various historical sources seem to indicate that John was a strong, handsome, well-formed man, and there is every indication that he was attractive to the opposite sex. However, we know that he never married, and chose to devote his life to his ministry. In addition to being concerned with the spiritual reformation of the people of the Hebrew nation, John was also interested in the affairs of state.
John’s ministry and life ended when he admonished Herod and his wife, Herodias, for their sinful behavior. John was imprisoned and was eventually beheaded. Saint Jerome wrote that Herod kept the head for a long time after, stabbing the tongue with his dagger in a demented attempt to continuously inflict punishment upon John. After he was murdered, John’s disciples came and buried his body, and then went and told the Great Teacher all that had happened. The Carpenter responded to the news of John’s death by saying, “John was a lamp that burned and gave Light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his Light.”
On June 24th, we observe the festival of summer sun and on December 27th, we observe the festival of the winter sun. The June festival commemorates John the Baptist and the December festival honors John the Evangelist.
The Festivals of the Saints John bear the names of Christian Saints, but ages ago, long before the Christian era, they bore other names. Freemasonry adopted these festivals and the Christian names, but has taken away Christian dogma, and made their observance universal for all men of all beliefs.
St. John’s the Baptist’s Day, June 24th, marks the summer solstice, when nature attains the zenith of light and life and joy. St. John’s the Evangelist’s, December 27th, symbolizes the turn of the sun’s farthest journey, which is symbolic of the attainment of wisdom, the rewards of a well-spent life, and goodwill toward men. The Catholic Church observes the birth of the Baptist as a hallowed event. Interestingly, they have no such commemoration for the birth of any of the other Saints.
In addition to being the initial Patron Saint of Freemasons, the Baptist was also considered to be the Patron Saint of the following: Bird dealers, convulsions, cutters, epilepsy, furriers, hailstorms, Knights Hospitaller, Knights of Malta, lambs, Maltese Knights, monastic life, motorways, printers, spasms, and oars.
The first Grand Lodge organized in England in 1717, on the Festival Day of the Baptist. The United Grand Lodge of England was created in 1813 on the Festival Day of the Evangelist. The day of St. John the Baptist is truly symbolic of a day of beginnings, while the day of the Evangelist is symbolic of endings. Read More…