Lesson 1: Street - Symbolism of the Three Degrees - Pages 54-56

THE COVERING OF THE LODGE

The covering of the lodge is said to be a clouded
canopy or starry decked heaven. The appropriateness
of this symbol is striking when we regard the
lodge as emblematic of the world, for such is literally
at. all times the covering of the earth. Equally true,
in the literal sense, was this description when lodges
were held in the open air, as we are assured and as
seems probable they were. In the earliest temples
erected by man for the worship of God there was no
roof, the only covering being the sky. To them also
this description holds good. This fact may give additional
point and meaning to the statement that our
lodges extend from earth to heaven. Later, when
temples were covered and our lodges began to be
held in closed rooms, it was customary to decorate
the ceiling with a blue canopy spangled with stars.
This starry decked heaven, wheti now exhibited in our
lodge rooms, either on the ceiling or on our charts,
or master’s carpets, is obviously reminiscent of the
real canopy of heaven with which anciently our lodges
were iti fact covered, and is symbolical of that abode
of the blessed which is universally regarded as 10~
cated in the sky?’

THE ORNAMENTS OF THE LODGE

The ornaments of the lodge are the Mosaic Pavement,
the Indented Tessel and the Blazing Star; that
m Pike, &foraZi and Dogma,, -p. 235; Mackq, Sym~ot~m
of Preemasonyy, p. 117; Handin, History of Ar&it&ure,
p. 26; Xteinbrenner, History of Mmm~y, p. 150.

is to say its fluor, the margin thereof, and the stars
with which its ceiling are or should be decorated.
Does this symbolism hold good when applied to the
earth? It does most perfectly. To the beholder the
visible part of the earth appears as surface, horizon
and sky. The surface of the earth, if viewed from
above checkered with fields and forests, mountains
and plains, hills and valleys, land and waters, would
be found to look very much like a pavement of Mosaic
work. A few miles up it would seem almost as
delicate. The horizon, that mysterious region that
separates land and sky, earth and heaven, where the
heavenly bodies appear and disappear, with its inexpressible
charms and numberless beauties, has in all
ages been a source of mystery and inspiration to the
poets. It is fitly typified by the splendid borders
which surround the floors of some of our most magnificent
buildings and which is fabled to have surrounded
the floor of Solomon’s Temple, while the
firmament above, studded with stars by night and the
blazing sun by day, completes the ornamental scheme
of the earth. The surface, the horizon, the firmament
embrace all of visible beauty of Nature there is, and
they have never yet been exhausted by poet, painter
of singer.
Opinions have differed much whether the Blazing ’
Star, classed as one of the ornaments of the lodge,
alludes to the sun, or some particular star, or to the
heavenly bodies in general. It has an ancient and
interesting symbolism with which the statement of
our Monitors, that it hieroglyphically represents Divine
Providence, is in substantial accord,

THE THREE GREAT LIGHTS
If we read discerningly the explanation given of
these in our lectures and ceremonies we must perceive
that they symbolise, respectively: (1) The Bible symbolises
the word of God, not merely that disclosed in
His revealed word, but including also the knowledge
which we acquire from the great book of Nature; (2)
the Square typifies the rule of right conduct, and
(3) the Compasses is an emblem of that serf-restraint
which enables us on all occasions to act according to
this rule of right. Beyond a perfect knowledge of
God’s word and therefore of the rule of right living
nothing is needed to make the perfect man except a
perfect self-restraint,
The value and importance of self-restraint is thus
portrayed by Brother Albert Pike :
‘The hermetic masters said, ‘Make gold potable
and you will have the universal medicine.’
By this they meant to say, ‘Appropriate Truth
to your use, let it be the spring from which you
shall drink all your days and you will have in
yourself the immortality of the Sages.’ Temperance,
tranquillity of the soul, simplicity of the
character, the calmness and reason of the will,
make man not only happy but we11 and strong.
It is by making himself rational and good that
man makes himself immortal. We are authors
of our own destinieti, and God does not save us
without our co-operation,)’