GLOSSARY OF MASONIC TERMS Acacia Tree - The Masonic symbol of the immortality of the soul and resurrection to new life. All-seeing Eye - A Masonic symbol for the supreme deity. Altar - The most important article of furniture in a lodge room. On it rest the Volume of the Sacred Law, Square, and Compasses. Anchor and Ark - Emblems of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life. Anno Lucis - "Year of Light." The Masonic parallel to the Christian Anno Domini. (Since Masonry holds that creation took place four thousand years before Christ, the year 2006 would beMasonically represented as Anno Lucis 6006.) Apron -The required attire for any formal Masonic assembly. Worn around the waist, called "the badge of a Mason," the apron represents the purity of life and conduct necessary to gain admission into heaven. Ashlar - The Perfect Ashlar is a hewn, or squared, stone. It symbolizes the state of perfection at which a Mason hopes to arrive. The Rough Ashlar is a symbol of a Masons rude and imperfect state by nature. Beehive - An emblem of industry. It teaches Masons that, as intelligent beings, they should be ever industrious. Blazing Star - The Masonic symbol of divine providence. Blue Lodge - The body of Freemasonry that confers the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. It may also refer to a particular lodge under the jurisdiction of a Grand Lodge. Boaz - The secret name for the grip of an Entered Apprentice. It denotes strength and is only given in a secret syllabic exchange between two Masons. It is also the name of the left brazen pillar of King Solomon’s Temple. Book of Constitutions - The book that reminds Masons to be guarded in their thoughts, words, and actions, particularly in the presence of Masonry's enemies, bearing in mind the Masonic virtues of silence and circumspection. Cabletow - The rope that a candidate wears during his initiation into the three degrees. In the Entered Apprentice degree, the cabletow, worn around the candidate‘s neck, symbolizes his tie to the profane world. In the Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees, it is worn around the arm and waist, respectively, to symbolize the Masons tie to the Lodge. Celestial Lodge Above - Masonry’s name for heaven. Chalk - Symbol of the freedom with which operative Entered Apprentices served their Masters. Its slightest touch leaves a trace behind. Charcoal - Symbol of the fervency with which operative Entered Apprentices served their Masters. Well-ignited charcoal causes the most obdurate metals to Yield. Circumambulation - The process of conducting a blindfolded candidate around the lodge room as he is examined by the principal officers. Clandestine - An irregular Mason. One who has not yet been accepted under the authority of a recognized Grand Lodge. Clay - Symbol of the zeal with which operative Entered Apprentices served their Masters. Clay also represents the earth, reminding the brethren that from it we came, and to it we must all return. Coffin - That which received the remains of Hiram Abif. A reminder of death. Common Gavel - In Operative Masonry, the tool used to break off the corners of rough stones. In Speculative Masonry, a symbol of the Masons effort to divest his mind and conscience of the vices and superfluities of life in order to become fit for heaven. Cowan - One who attempts to procure the secrets of Freemasonry unlawfully by eavesdropping or pretending to be a Mason. Craft Masonry - Another name for Blue Lodge Masonry, the authority that confers the three degrees. Degree - The ceremony or ritual in which a candidate receives a particular level of Masonic status. Demit - The process of terminating a man’s membership in a Masonic lodge. Also the document evidencing the termination. Discalceation - The rite in which a candidate for a Masonic degree removes his shoes and is invested with special slippers before being admitted into the lodge. Divestiture - The rite in which a candidate for a Masonic degree removes his outer clothing worn in the profane world before being admitted into the lodge. Due Guard - The secret sign simulating the position in which a Candidate’s hands were placed on the Volume of the Sacred Law while swearing his Masonic oath. Entered Apprentice - One who has completed the first degree of Blue Lodge Masonry. Fellowcraft - One who has completed the second degree of Blue Lodge Masonry. Five Points of Fellowship - The position to which the Master Mason is raised in the third degree and receives the Grand Masonic Word: foot to foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, and cheek to cheek or mouth to ear. Five Senses - Hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting, the first three of which are most important in Masonry. A Mason hears the word, sees the sign, and feels the grip by which Masons may know one another. Furniture of the Lodge - The Volume of the Sacred Law, the Square, the Compasses, and the Masonic altar. The Letter G - The most common Masonic symbol for God in English-speaking countries. The letter G stands for God, Geometry, and Gnosis. GAOTU - Acronym for Masonry’s name for God, the Great (or Grand) Architect of the Universe. Grand Hailing Sign of Distress - The secret sign given by a Master Mason when he is in danger. Grand Lodge - The supreme governing body of Freemasonry in a given jurisdiction. There are fifty-one Grand Lodges in the United States. Grand Masonic Word - The secret word Ma-Ha-Bone. It is always given between two Masons on the Five points of Fellowship, in syllabic form and in low breath. Great Lights - The Volume of the Sacred Law, the Square, and Compasses. The Great Lights are displayed during open lodge. Grips - Secret handshakes of the various degrees. Hiram Abif - In Masonic legend, the master builder of King Solomont Temple. The savior of Freemasonry. Hiramic Legend - The death-burial-and-resurrection rite of the third degree of Blue Lodge Masonry. Hoodwink - The blindfold used during a candidate’s initiation into Masonic degrees. Hourglass - An emblem of the brevity of human life. Jabulon - Masonry's secret name for God, revealed in the Royal Arch degree of the York Rite. Jachin - Secret name for the grip of a Fellowcraft. It denotes establishment and is always given in a secret, syllabic exchange between two Masons. It is also the name of the right brazen pillar of King Solomon’s Temple. Jewels - Each lodge has six jewels, three immovable and three movable. The three immovable jewels are the Square, which teaches morality; the Level, which teaches equality; and the plumb, which teaches rectitude of conduct. The three movable jewels are the Rough Ashlar, the perfect Ashlar, and the Testleboard. Labor - The Lodge at work, either conducting a business meeting or conferring a degree. Landmarks - The most fundamental and unalterable tenets of Freemasonry. While there is no universal agreement on the Landmarks, most versions include belief in God, immortality resurrection, symbolism, secrecy, modes of recognition, and physical qualifications of candidates. Lesser Lights -The three burning lights situated near the altar. They represent the sun, the moon, and the Master of the Lodge. Level - In Operative Masonry, a tool used ro prove horizontals. In Speculative Masonry, a symbol of equality. Lost Word - Refers to divine knowledge, or the name of deity. In the Hiramic Legend, the Fellowcrafts murdered Hiram Abif because he would not disclose the Lost Word. Ma-Ha-Bone - The Grand Masonic word, uttered in syllabic form and low breath to the newly raised Master Mason on the Five Points of Fellowship. Master Mason - One who has completed the third, and highest, degree of Blue Lodge Masonry. Northeast Corner - In Operative Masonry, the place where Masons usually laid the first stone. In Speculative Masonry, the part of the lodge where the newly initiated Entered Apprentice, his first instruction. Obligations - Masonic oaths sworn by the candidate as part of his initiation. Officers of the Lodge - Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens, Senior and Junior Deacons, Senior and Junior Stewards, Tiler, Secretary, Treasurer (or Secretary-Treasurer), Lodge Counselor, and Chaplain. May also include Marshal, Organist, or Soloist. Operative Masonry - A term indicating the building of physical structures. Also, the ancient guild members who built Europet great cathedrals during the Middle Ages. Ornaments of the Lodge - The Mosaic Pavement (symbolic of good and evil), Indented Tessel (symbolic of blessings and comforts), and Blazing Star (symbolic of divine providence). The Mosaic Pavement and Indented Tessel also represent the ground floor of King Solomon's Temple. Pass - Password. There are two passes in Blue Lodge Masonry: Shib- boleth (Fellowcraft degree) and Tubal-Cain (Master Mason degree). Petition - The formal application a candidate submits to the lodge to request a Masonic degree. Plumb - In Operative Masonry, a device used to raise perpendiculars. In Speculative Masonry, it is used to admonish the Mason to walk uprightly before God and man. Pot of Incense - Symbol of a pure heart, which is always an acceptable sacrifice to deity. Profane - One who has not been initiated into the degrees of Freemasonry: a non-Mason. Proficiency Man - One who has been formally recognized by his Grand Lodge as an expert in performing Masonic ritual and is authorized to give instruction in Masonic ritual. Refreshment - Term used to describe the lodge at momentary rest (the lodge is called "from labor to refreshment"). Regular - That which is universally recognized by Freemasonry. Scythe - An emblem of time, which cuts the thread of life and launches Masons into eternity. Setting Maul - In Masonic legend, the mallet used to murder Hiram Abif. An emblem of those casualties and diseases by which our earthly existence may be terminated. Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences - Grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Most revered among Masons is geometry because it is said to offer the surest proof of God's existence. Shibboleth - The secret password of the Fellowcraft degree. It also refers to the secret pass grip of a Fellowcraft. Shock of Enlightenment - The moment at which the hoodwink is removed from the Entered Apprentice after he has sworn the oath at the Masonic altar. Signs - The secret gestures that simulate the self-mutilation and death penalties carried by the Masonic oaths. Spade - The implement that dug the grave of Hiram Abif. A reminder of death. Speculative Masonry - The teaching of moral and religious truths using operative stonemasons' tools and terminology to build a man's spiritual temple (soul). Square - One of the Great Lights of Masonry. It is a tool used in Operative Masonry to square off the work. In Speculative Masonry, it symbolizes morality. Sword Pointing to Naked Heart - Symbol of justice and the knowledge that God will reward all good Masons according to their merits. Symbolic Lodge - Same as Blue lodge. Three Great Pillars - The three symbolic supports of the Lodge, representing wisdom, strength, and beauty. Three Steps - Symbols of the three principal stages of a man's life: youth, manhood, and old age. The steps also represent the three Masonic degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason), as well as the three principal officers of the Lodge Junior Warden, Senior Warden, and Worshipful Master). Tiler (or Tyler) - The Mason who guards the outer door of the lodge in order to determine that those who enter are regular Masons. Token of the Pass - The secret handshake that coincides with the Pass. Testleboard - Symbol of the tracing board on which a Mason erects his spiritual and moral designs. Trowel - In Operative Masonry, a tool used to spread cement. In Speculative Masonry, it is symbolically used to spread the cement of love and affection, thus uniting all Masons into one sacred band of friends and brothers. Tubal-Cain - The secret name of the pass grip of a Master Mason. Also refers to the eighth man from Adam, who, having perfected himself in masonry, is also the first known maker of bronze and iron tools. Twenty-Four-Inch Gauge - Tool used in Operative Masonry to measure and lay out the work. In Speculative Masonry, it divides a Mason's time into a twenty-four-hour day with three equal parts: eight hours for the service of God and relief of distressed worthy brothers, eight hours for usual vocations, and eight hours for refreshment and sleep. Volume of the Sacred Law - Any book placed on the Masonic altar that symbolizes God's will. In the United States, this book is typically the Holy Bible, but it can be accompanied by other religious writings. Winding Staircase - Symbol of a Mason's spiritual and moral advancement by means of the Masonic degrees (three steps), human senses (five steps), and the liberal arts (seven steps). Words - The secret names for the various grips in Freemasonry.
Jeff Wilkerson Editor Est. 2013