Pompano Masonic Lodge No. 263
I found some facts on the 47th Problem of Euclid, that I wanted to share with the fraternity. 47th Problem Of Euclid. Symbol of geometry; of exact science. Passed over with but a few words of ritual, it is Masonically most interesting. It appears on the frontispiece of Anderson's Constitutions, published in 1723; Street says it is the earliest example of a printed symbol of Masonry. It was apparently known to ancient mathematicians long before Pythagoras (Masonically credited as its discoverer) or Euclid, who made of the properties of a right-angled triangle his forty-seventh problem. It is the root of all mathematics used to determine an unknown from two knowns. Given the distance of a mountain and the angle of sight to its top mathematics may determine its height. Tunnels are driven through mountains from both sides to meet exactly by means of measurements made by the 47th problem. In non-Euclidian language, a right angled triangle of 3 feet base and 4 feet height, has a line joining the free ends of the two legs 5 feet long. All right-angled triangles, regardless of the length of base and upright, follow this law; that the line joining the free ends (the hypotenuse) is the square root of the sum of the squares of the two sides. Therefore, if any two of the three are known, the third may be calculated. According to the ritual "it teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and sciences".
From Satan to the Sphinx
The Masonic Mysteries of D.C.'s Map
by Charles Paul Freund
THE MAP of Washington, the story goes, encodes certain secret symbols of Freemasonry,
symbols that go back centuries if not entire millenia. Symbols, moreover, that if properly decoded will
reveal a cryptic history not only of the capital but of the country. And not only a hidden national history, but
a hidden destiny as well. That there is something suspicious, or at least suggestive, about the city's
geometry has been rumored for a very long time, no doubt since the heyday of anti-Masonic paranoia during Andrew Jackson's administration. Now, with the explosion of popular interest in conspiracies, and the occult histories they
necessarily imply, such claims are again growing in number and volume. Indeed, an apotheosis in this genre was reached at October's Million Man March, when Louis Farrakhan, standing on the Capitol's West Front, told a
baffled national audience that the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the White House and the whole of the city's monumental core had been "placed and based in a secret Masonic ritual." Farrakhan went on to sprinkle his extended remarks liberally with references to Masonic initiation rites, numerology, Egyptology and other arcana. When it comes to the national capital's map, however, and the patterns that may have been traced into it by Freemasons, there are other thinkers whose visions either complement or compete with Farrakhan's, and in the interest of context, these too bear examination A word or two of initiation. Masons have a confused place in the national imagination: To many they are charitable, fun-loving lodge-members who engage in odd but harmless fraternal rites; to some, their secrecy is suspicious; to a few they are Satanists working to destroy Christianity and take over the world; a handful of nonmembers identify with their precepts. Although many of the nation's founders were Masons, including George Washington, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere and all the participants in the Boston Tea Party, there has been a persistent conspiracist underground that for 200 years has regarded them as a front for some other force -- the Bavarian Illuminati, the International Jewish Conspiracy, pagan Devil-worshippers of Atlantis, etc. -- which seeks to undermine American institutions and sovereignty. Currently, there is a large and ever-increasing library of new anti-Masonic literature that associates them with the godless New World Order that purportedly threatens the country's independence and its citizens' freedoms; the evidence that Washington, D.C. is now and has ever been in the grip of this conspiracy is, according to these authors, plentiful. This includes above all the particulars of the Great Seal pictured on the back of the dollar bill, with its undeniably Masonic symbolism of an unfinished pyramid, the All-Seeing Eye and the Latin motto that translates into "New Order of the Ages." Even the number of feathers on the eagle of the Seal's obverse has been linked to the number of degrees in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. That the Seal appeared on the currency during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, a 32nd degree Mason and the purported prime mover of socialism in America, is said to be no coincidence. Many details of the city are cited to demonstrate an ages-old un-American, un-Christian allegiance of the national leadership. That the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol faces not west toward the rest of the country, but east, toward Egypt and Persia, is one such sign. That the monument to George Washington is an Egyptian obelisk is another. That the cornerstones of many government buildings, including the Capitol, were laid by Masons in full-aproned regalia, performing mystifying Masonic rituals, is yet another. Clinching proof of conspiracy is that the patterns of the capital's very streets conceal Masonic shapes, symbols and signs from all but a knowing, if not all-seeing eye. The simplest version of the Masonic map theory is the claim that the Mall is laid out so as to replicate a Masonic Lodge, and a glance at a typical floor plan of an 18th century Lodge quickly suggests where the idea could have come from: There is an apparent affinity of form. According to Masonic histories, the shape of a Lodge had been largely standardized by the time Washington was laid out in the 1790s; it consisted of a long rectangle positioned east and west, with a tapered but unfinished triangle at the eastern end, where the "furniture" (compass, square and Bible) would be found, and where the Master would officiate. This does not necessarily describe a building, by the way; lines on a floor would also constitute a Lodge. That's essentially the Mall. It's a long east-west rectangle with an unfinished triangle at its east end, formed by the convergence of Pennsylvania and Maryland Avenues at the foot of Capitol Hill. Where the Master would stand, stands the Capitol. Certain details are absent, but other important Masonic shapes can be located on the Mall. An aerial view of the Washington Monument and its circular walkway, for example, provides the "Point in the Circle," a multi-layered symbol in Freemasonry's speculative and mystical side. Of course, circles, squares, rectangles and triangles are not hard to find on any city map, especially Washington's with its Baroque-inspired design filled with circles and radiating boulevards. But the presence of these shapes at the very heart of power is not coincidental to a suspicious observer, especially one familiar with the importance Masons place in shapes, and the symbolic significance they have attributed to them.
Masons maintain that though their Lodges can be dated only from 1717, Freemasonry actually developed out of medieval builders' guilds. Accordingly, they are thus keeping alive a tradition that is not only responsible for the sacred architecture of Gothic cathedrals, but also an inner doctrine of symbolic geometry that they say dates all the way back to the construction of Solomon's Temple. This doctrine regards the character of God as that of the Great Architect, and of builders as potentially doing God's work, though that would depend on the purpose, shape, proportion and harmony of their creations.This is an abstruse doctrine, but one with a long history. Its origins lie with the mystical Pythagoreans of ancient Greece, who believed all of creation was continuous and could be expressed in numbers; musical octaves, for example, are produced by striking strings whose lengths are in whole number ratios. Eventually, the Pythagoreans were confronted with heretical irrational numbers, which they apparently attempted to suppress. Related doctrines were at large in Medieval times. The Benedictines, for example, are sometimes credited not only with building their monasteries according to sacred geometric principles, but even of pitching their chants in harmony with their architecture. Gothic architecture is of course replete with complex geometrical symbolism. Bernard of Clairvaux is said to have expressed its underlying concept in the 12th century when he asked, "What is God?" and answered, "He is length, width, height and depth." Renaissance hermeticism was obsessed with grasping the harmony of creation's ultimate continuity; the occult means it used for the purpose -- sacred geometry, numerology, Kabbalah, alchemy, magic, etc. -- became, as scholar Frances Yates has demonstrated, the foundation of the scientific revolution. But the point of this ages-old search was to apply the underlying mechanics of cosmic harmony to man and his worldly works Thus, a building designed according to such principles is not merely a building; it is an inspired and in a sense, a living thing, resonating with the cosmos. And if that could be true for a building, it could be true for the ideal city, if only such a thing could be designed and built. Which brings us back to Washington and the Mysteries of its design. The obsession with geometrical forms to be found in the works of speculative Freemasonry is an echo of this tradition, though no one knows how it came to be part of Masonic doctrine; Freemasonry's ultimate origins are a matter of complete confusion, with at least a dozen competing theories in circulation. Still, if one concludes that there is a Lodge traced into the Mall, it is not merely a matter of a floor plan: Whether sacred or profane, it would be a Lodge. But Lodges are not all that interpreters of the city's map have discovered there: There may be two Ideal Cities traceable within the Profane City's limits. In 1989, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh published a work entitled, "The Temple and the Lodge," which sought to demonstrate that Freemasonry evolved from the 14th century wreckage of the Knights Templar, a Crusader group of immense wealth that was accused of heinous blasphemy and suppressed. Their concluding chapter is a Masonic history of the American Revolution, and ends with the design of Washington, D.C. According to them, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson intervened in Pierre L'Enfant's work of laying out the city, so as to impose a pair of octagonal shapes around the Capitol and the White House. Baigent and Leigh, who cite no sources for their assertion, write that the intervention of Washington and Jefferson would "produce specifically octagonal patterns incorporating the particular cross used as a device by Masonic Templars." Actually, it's well-known that Jefferson, who is not known to have been a Mason, wanted the street pattern of the federal city to be a simple grid; he had produced a grid layout of the city before L'Enfant was assigned the task and complained to the Frenchman about all the diagonal avenues he was planning. Anyway, it was not octagons that interested 18th century revolutionaries; it was circles and triangles. James H. Billington, writing in "Fire in the Minds of Men," describes at length the connection between the concepts of Pythagorean order and of revolution that developed during the period. "However bizarre it may appear to later revolutionaries and historians alike," writes Billington, "this Pythagorean passion seriously influenced the organizational activities of the first revolutionaries." According to Billington, revolutionaries of the period combined their political thinking with geometry; odd though it may seem, it was a case of Pythagorean simplicity warring against Rococo absolutism. Revolutionaries signed their names with geometric shapes. Ruminations about the social and political implications of the circle and triangle may be found in the period's revolutionary works, including that of the notorious Adam Weishaupt, founder of the very Illuminism that still figures in the nightmares of modern conspiracists. This state of mind may appear incomprehensible today, though it is worth remembering that Isaac Newton had earlier established the foundation of modern scientific thinking at the very time he was trying to map the typography of Hell. In any event, all of this political geometry is entirely germane to both the geometry-minded Masons, who were in the thick of the international revolutionary underground of the period, and to the Mysteries of the American capital's map, which is, after all, overflowing with both triangles and circles. As for the octagons, if they are indeed carved into the city's street pattern, they would point not to a revolutionary ideal shape, but to a different but related ideal shape: The eight-sided Ideal City of Vitruvius, the 1st century B.C. architect whose work became an essential influence on early modern architects. In Vitruvius' time, the Ideal City could only be imagined; any effort actually to build one would necessarily fall short. His octagonal city, by the way, is based on the belief, current in antiquity, that there were eight winds. An effort to incorporate the concept in Washington's map would represent a notable effort of intellectual imagination. Are these octagons there? No. At least not where Baigent and Leigh assert they are. They do provide a map purporting to show how the streets around the Capitol and White House encompass the shapes, but if the rule is that there actually must be streets where purported shapes are to be found, then their map falls short. Farrakhan, for his part, is interested in none of this; he's interested in Gizeh, Egypt, the site of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, which he believes that the nation's founders, as Masons, have purposely replicated in symbolic form in downtown Washington: The Jefferson Memorial is the Sphinx, Arlington Cemetery is the Valley of the Kings, etc. Expansion on his references to the city's Mysteries can be found in the "Million Man March Home Study Guide Manual," published in advance of the march. There he provides a map of the Mall revealing the hidden pyramid that can be found by drawing lines connecting such major sites as the Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial, among others. However, L'Enfant, who placed both the Capitol and the White House on their respective sites, is not likely to have in mind their relation to the sites of the later Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials, if for no other reason than that in the 1790s, when he was working, the sites of both memorials lay in the midst of the Potomac Mud Flats. A century was to pass before those locations were turned into dry land. Farrakhan, it should be noted, strongly approves of the secret Masonic designs he perceives in the city's map, because he believes the Masons to be serious adepts of Islam. That is also why derivations of the number 19, important in Islamic numerology, can be found all over the monumental core. It is in fact possible, in some sense, to "Islamicize" the Masons if you connect them with the Templars, because the Templars are said to have maintained cordial relations with Muslims, especially the Ismailis, during their long Crusader sojourn in Jerusalem. Indeed, they are said to have been influenced by certain Islamic and Judaic doctrines, and to have evolved a mysterious Secret Doctrine, on which much ink has been spilled, based on those influences. Such scholars as Peter Partner dismiss this tradition as nonsense, but that is the folklore. Farrakhan's view is not based on this connection, but rather on the fact that one kind of Mason, the Shriners, wears fezes and refers to "Allah" in their rites, rites which were created in the 19th century. The Home Study Guide Manual refers to all Masons as "Moslem Sons," notes that many presidents have been Masons, and states that "There are many others in high places who know and recognize the identity of Master Fard Muhammad [regarded as the promised Mahdi by the Nation of Islam], the Honorable Elijah Muhammed and Minister Louis Farrakhan . . . ." Farrakhan's position that the Masons are Muslims is shared by the Free the Masons Ministries, located in Washington state, though they do not at all approve of this. To this Ministry, Islam is a form of paganism, the Masons are serving the devil, and the streets of Washington are the Masons' secret tribute to Satan. To demonstrate this, the Ministries published "Freemasonry: Satan's Door to America?" a pamphlet distributed in the late 1980s. Included in this work is the single most spectacular map ever drawn of the secret shapes discernible in the capital's streets. Not only is there the usual Mason's compass and square, there is an entire Pentangle traced out focusing on the White House, and a Satanic Horned Goat traced around the Capitol. Most impressive of all is that the shapes offered follow actual city streets, with a minimum of rounding off and cheating. This map is the work of a man named J. Edward Decker, who writes of these secret shapes that he is as much impressed "by the audacity of the thing as the conspiratorial nature of it." Decker notes that the inverted Pentangle is an instrument used to conjure evil spirits, and citing a colleague whom he identifies as a "former Mason and former Satanist," he argues that this design "is a spiritual door to the occult, a planned invasion by the powers of darkness," and that the nation has "been under siege from the first day our first president walked into the Oval Office." When Jefferson warned L'Enfant that he was drawing too many diagonal avenues into the city's plan, diagonals that created all these angles and triangles, and that crossed in traffic circles, he likely did not have these problems of Masonic perception in mind; Jefferson believed right-angle grids were rational, and that L'Enfant's many diagonals were troublesome and arbitrary. L'Enfant went ahead anyway, not because he was a Mason, but because, according to the classic account, he was much influenced by the Baroque layout of Versailles. His converging avenues have nothing to do with Pythagoras, and everything to do with the three-road patte d'oie, enabling a viewer to command an impressive vista. L'Enfant has been criticized for this, since the inspiration was absolutist, and its application to a democratic capital is questionable. As architect Paul Speiregen put it in a 1963 critique, "The whole plan of Versailles focused on the bedroom of Louis XIV. What could that kind of plan mean symbolically in the United States?" But who sees Louis XIV at the convergence of Pennsylvania and Maryland avenues? Almost nobody, not when there's so much to distract one: compasses and squares and Great Pyramids and Horned Heads of Satan and Ideal Cities where once there blew only the Potomac winds. All eight of them.
Things Aren't Always What They Seem"
Harold J. Littleton, P.G.M., Delaware, member Southern California Research Lodge
Over the last 10-12 years there has bbeen a growing tendency among some Grand
Lodges to consider either elimination of the penalties from the obligation or
to shift the penalties from the obligation to the historical lectures.
By March 1990 three of the 57 Grand Lodges had removed the penalties from the
obligation while four more had moved them to a separate explanation. (27) of
the Grand Lodges surveyed, 52 of 58 have made no change except to insert the
word "symbolic." Why have these changes been made? Partially to answer some
of Freemasonry's critics, partially to modernize the ritual and partly
because many Masons don't understand the significance of the penalties.
Two schools of thought have developed on this subject -- one suggesting major
changes and the other minor changes, if any. A committee report at the 1988
annual session of the Scottish Rite Supreme Council (N.M.J.) says, "Prompt,
orderly and thoughtful reform is needed in the area of penalties sworn to in
the obligation of all Masonic bodies.... It is becoming increasingly apparent
that thinking candidates are having trouble giving honest assent to the
current Penalties contained in the obligations. Oaths required deal with "ancient" penalties which are
obsolute, unbelievable, unacceptable and simply not relevant to today's society. Further, it rings
very hollow to attempt to explain away a penalty as having merely symbolic in nature. Factually and
usually, the oath is taken at an altar and upon an open Bible.
An oath taken anywhere on a Bible, be it in the courtroom or in one's church,
is far from being symbolic in nature.... It is exceedingly difficult to make
the case to an intelligent young man as a candidate that solemn observance
and announced assent are in fact meaningless."(29)
P.G.M. Singer of New York suggests that (a) the obligation binds a man on his
word, not by some physical penalty and (b) the ancient penalties are not so
ancient, were in fact not in the earliest Masonic Constitution, were not part
of the original obligation and are not landmarks. (21) (2) His arguments
reflect the view expressed in 1970 by the note- British Masonic scholar, the
late Harry Carr. Carr suggests that "to argue that the penalties are only
symbolical is sheer nonsense." He asks how can you take a symbolic oath
"without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation." (5)
In 1978 the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts relocated the penalties from the
obligation cipher commenting that previously "we have been less than
intellectually honest with the candidate." (3)
A quote on this subject from DARKNESS VISIBLE. by Walter Hannah, repeated in
one Catholic report and by the Grand Master of Pennsylvania says, "Either the
oaths mean what they say, or they do
not. If they mean what they say, the candidate is entering into a pact
consenting to his own murder by barbarous torture and mutilation should he break it.
If they do not mean what they say, then he (the candidate) is swearing high-sounding schoolboy
nonsense on the Bible, which verges on blasphemy." (5) Bear in mind that some
of these critics have not been exposed to the full teachings of our order --
they may he taking part of the ritual out of context. There is no shred of
evidence that the physical penalties have ever been inflicted! (4)
In 1986 England made these physical penalties optional. ( 12) At the Grand
Lodge of Vermont in 1983 and 1984 there was a lengthy discussion on this
subject. (7, 8) Among the Grand Lodges that have removed the physical
penalties are Pennsylvania (10), North Dakota (16) Nebraska (17), New Zealand
(11) and a few others.
The second school of thought suggests because these penalties are historical,
symbolical and an essential part of the ritual, they should not be changed.
When the penalties were inserted into the obligation in the 15th century they were similar to actual
punishments carried out by English courts. Similar oaths were taken by mariners in the
15th century. (26) And in the recently published book, BORN IN BLOOD, there
are noted many gruesome penalties. (28)
On the subject of penalties, Mackey says, "The adversaries of Freemasonry
have found, or rather invented, abundant reasons for denouncing the
Institution; but on nothing have they more strenuously and fondly lingered
than on the accusation that it makes, by horrid and impious ceremonies, all
its members the willing or unwilling executioners of those who prove recreant
to their vows and violate the laws which they are stringently bound to observe....
The only Masonic penalty inflicted by the Order upon a traitor, is the scorn
and detestation of the Craft whom he has sought to betray." (1)
Included in arguments to retain the ancient symbolic penalties are a couple
of overlooked facts. First, the penalties are preceded by the phrase "under
no less a penalty than that..." If a Mason violates his vow he would not
receive the physical penalties, but being expelled from the fraternity, with
the knowledge that he is despised by whose whom he called brother, is a more
fearsome punishment. (8)
The other point, loudly proclaimed by those of the Christian faith, leads one
to review the communion act -- the act of consuming the body and blood of
Christ which is the central mystery of the Christian faith. Is this act
nothing more than an inducement to cannibilism? No reasonable man would make
this suggestion because it is rightly seen, as a symbol of the relationship
of God to Man and Man to God. Does the Eucharist mean what it says, or does it not ? (14)
In 1950 P.G.M. J. Allen Frear in his address to the Grand Lodge made the
following observation, "One of the charms of Freemasonry is our ritual. We
are always intrigued with its quaint phraseology which links us to the past.
The heart of the ritual is the obligations. They are designed to strengthen
our Institution by setting forth standards of conduct and responsibility becoming a man and Mason.
They also unite us with our brethren in fellowship and purpose. They are vital to the Craft,
but I strongly feel that the penalties of our obligations, as given in Delaware, weaken the
obligations and lessen their effectiveness.
In this modern age, it is doubtful that any candidate believes
that they will be enforced regardless of the gravity of the offense.
"Considering serious obligations with absurd penalties, reminiscent of the
pirates of old on the Spanish Main, given with equal solemnity, casts doubts
on the sincerity of the whole proceedings.
"I understand that in some jurisdictions the candidate is told that the
penalties are symbolic -- not to be taken literally -- that the real penalty
of a violated obligation is that the violator stands debased and foresworn, a
false man and Mason, in the eyes of his fellowmen. Adding such comments will
not affect the purity of our ritual. Certainly, it would strengthen and make
more impressive our obligations and ritual as a whole." (22)
At the 1951 annual communication a special joint report of the Committee on
Work and the Jurisprudence Committee reported, "The Committees were unanimous
in their decision that no change be made in our ritual itself." However, they
recommended that a new paragraph be inserted in the Charge at the Initiation
into the First Degree which today we all take for granted. "
As you progress in Masonry, you will find that it is a speculative art,
taught by allegory, emblems and symbols. Even the penalties of the
obligation, seemingly so severe, are not to be taken literally. They are
meant to convey to you the mental suffering that would be your punishment if
you should be base enough to violate your vows." (23)
In 1988 Delaware added this same paragraph to the Secretary's charge to the
candidates before they enter the lodge. (24)
What do we conclude about ancient symbolic penalties? 1. Grand Lodges may
have wasted a lot of time discussing a subject easily corrected by simple
ritual revisions. Gordon Bennett P.S.G.C. of Canada says, "Our principles are
God given, but our rules, customs, programs, lectures, structure and
operating procedures are man made." To that I would add that our obligations
are also man made.
2. Changes in the ritual resulting from external pressures are inappropriate;
our critics will never he satisfied. We should not allow our critics or our
enemies to rewrite our Masonic ritual. (14) As Judge Sentelle told the Senate
when debating his appointment, to reject his vows would he saying that what
he had been doing in the past was wrong.
3. The symbolic penalties have never been inflicted; the only penalties
Masonry inflicts are expulsion, suspension, or reprimand. (8)
1. Mackey, A.G., Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 1927 ed.
2. Scotland, Grand Lodge Year Book, 1966
3. Massachusetts, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1978, p. 87-88
4. Carr, Harry, "Penalties in the obligation," Aug. 29, 1978 from The
Freemason At Work, p. 38-45
5. Carr, Harry, The Permissive Changes In The Work, Aug. 28, 1979 6. Vermont, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1983, p. 74-76 7. Vermont, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1984, p. 68-71 8. Marsengill, Jerry, The Philalethes Magazine, August 1985, p. 7, 9 9. Southern California Research Lodge reprint St Petershurg Times, Aug. 10,
10. Pennsylvania Grand Lodge, Freemasonry Answers Its Critics, William A.
Carpenter, October 16, 1985
11. Hart, Ron W., Ancient Penalties, Conf. of Grand Masters 1986, p. 209-215 12. England, Grand Lodge Proceedings, June 11, 1986, p. 158-169 18. Walker, L.L., The Philalethes Magazine, Oct. 1986, p. 5-8,17 14. Hillard, John Mauk, The Philalethes Magazine, Oct. 1986, p. 10, 11, 17 15. Birt, Lewis J., Royal Arch Magazine, Fall 1986, p. 209-215 16. North Dakota, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1986, p. 7, 70 17. Nebraska, Grand Lodge Proceedings 19. England, Newspaper article, 1987 20. Letters, Philalethes Magazine, June 1987, p. 20, 21 21. New York, The Empire State Mason, Spring 1987, p. 7 E2. Delaware, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1950, p. 27 23. Delaware, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1951, p. 61 24. Delaware, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1987, p. 17 25. Nevada, Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1986, quoted in Indiana Freemason, Sept. 1987, p. 118 26. Aldridge, K.W. "Ancient Symbolic Penalties," M.S.A. Short Talk Bulletin,
27. M.S.A. Questionnaire, March 1990
28. Robinson, John T., Boorn in Blood (1989)
29. Scottish Rite Proceedings, 1988, p. 239 (N.M.J.)
An Historic Bible
President-elect George W. Bush took his oath of office as President of the United States on the historic St. John's Lodge No. 1 (Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York) bible, the very same bible upon which both President Washington and the President-elect's father, George B. Bush, took their oath of office, as did at least three other Presidents.
Three Brothers from St. John's Lodge will accompany the bible to the Inauguration. They are W. Paul Magnotta, Master; W. Jules Garfunkel, Past Master and Chairman of the Lodge's Bible Committee; and V.W. John Mountain, Past Master and Secretary of the Lodge.
About two weeks ago there was a show on the History Channel on this subject, some interesting points brought out on that show were: It seems the Lodge does not allow the Bible to be transported by plane, only by land, accompanied by 3 members of the lodge, usually in full-Masonic regalia. It also reported that candidates from that lodge take their Master Mason oath on this very historic Bible. It was used at Brother George Washington's inauguration when a Bible was not brought to the ceremony in New York, as luck would have it, the Master was present and offered to ride his horse to the nearby lodge.
First ladies are not as eager to hold this Bible because it weighs in excess of 10 pounds. Special pillows are also used in the lodge to prevent breaking the bindings when opened. And the lodge allows its use on very special and important occasions. The show was also very flattering to our fraternity hinting that many Freemasons participated in the forming of our country and that we are not a secret society, but rather, "just a social organization for men."
READY FOR MY LAST DEGREE
An old man lay sick in the Masonic Home.
His face was as wan as the white sea foam.
His eyes were dim, is hair was gray.
His back was bent with the trials of the way.
He faltering spoke, but I heard him say,
I'm ready for my last degree.
I've come to the end of the level time
That leads us all to the Grand Lodge sublime
From whose borne none ever return.
More light in Masonry there I shall learn
By an Alter where light shall evermore shine.
I'm ready for my last degree.
With the Apprentice's gauge, I've divided my time
Into three equal parts since life's early prime.
And this I have found amidst life's turmoil.
My wages are due me, in Corn, Wine and Oil.
I'm ready for my last degree.
Each day from life's quarries, I've hewn a stone,
With the gavel I've shaped them, each one alone.
And shipped them along beyond that bright stand,
To build me a house in that great better land.
A spiritual house not made with hands.
I'm ready for my last degree.
I' v squared each stone by the virtue square,
And plumbed them all true, as I shipped them there.
With the compass I've measured the Master's designs
And kept within due bounds, with his points and his signs.
My blue prints are folded; I've answered his signs.
I'm ready for my last degree.
The Mortar I've made, from friendship and love,
To be spread with the Masters trowel up above.
My apron is worn, but its surface is white.
My working tools now will be cold and quiet.
My Trestle Boards bare, and I'm going tonight.
I'm ready for my last degree.
A few moments later, the old man was dead.
And I fancy that I could see his soul as it fled,
Upward and onward, to the great door,
Where he gave an alarm, and a voice did implore.
The old man gave his answer with these words once more,
I'm ready for my last degree.
That night in a lodge, free from all strife and storm,
He took that degree his last in due form.
So may I live like he did; to build day by day,
A spiritual house, in that land for away.
So I, when I meet my Grand Master I can say,
I'm ready for my last degree.
Why Only Three Degrees?
Why has Symbolic Masonry three degrees only and not four or seven or
a larger number, as have other branches of the Fraternity?
Three is the numerical symbol of the equilateral triangle, which is
man's earliest symbol for God. It was the "most sacred number" at
the dawn of civilization. Masonry emphasizes it: three degrees,
three circumambulations in the Third Degree, three Great Lights,
three Lesser Lights, three steps on the Master's Carpet, three
Fellows who stood at the gates of the Temple, three who discovered
the Master Workman, three principal rounds, three Grand Columns, etc.
Evidently the ritual makers of an early age believed that there
should be a symbolism of number as well as of object in the teaching
of Masonry regarding the fatherhood of God, to instruct that He is
present at all times in every ceremony and meeting.
(Carl H. Claudy, PGM District of Columbia)
It has been said "Once a Mason, Always a Mason. Likewise, you better believe it, the same goes for any of the U.S. Marines. Semper Fi.
Websites that detail the origin of the Corps. as well as the Masonic Order in this country at Tun Tavern Beer Jernt, Philadelphia, Penna.:http://members.tripod.com/~JHarp/history.html http://members.tripod.com/~JHarp/index.html
"In 1732, the first meetings of the St. John's #1 Lodge, a Grand Lodge of the Masonic Temple, were held at the Tavern. The election of the first Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was held at the Tavern; subsequently Benjamin Franklin was its third Grand Master. The Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, recognizes the Tavern as the birthplace of the Masonic teachings in this country; there are estimated to be over 2.3 million Masons in the United States today"
"On November 10, 1775, Robert Mullan, the proprietor of the Tavern and son of Peggy Mullan, was commissioned by an act of Congress to raise the first two battalions of Marines, under the leadership of Samuel Nicholas, the first appointed Commandant of the Continental Marines. Nicholas's grandfather was also a member of the Tun Tavern Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and it is this relationship between Mullan, Nicholas and the Tavern which has resulted in Tun Tavern being acknowledged as the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps. There are an estimated three million active and retired U.S. Marines worldwide who have been exposed in their military training to the historical significance of Tun Tavern. Each year on November 10th, around the world Marines toast the Marine's birthplace on the most significant date in the history of the Corps."