THREE ROSETTES ON A MASTER MASON'S APRON EXPLAINED
by R.W. Bro. Otto Klotz
The Craftsman - 1875
The Rose, the
Queen of Flowers, is the symbol of beauty, of youth, of love, of
joy, and of silence.
In the ancient mysteries, in mythology
among the ancient Hebrews and other nations the rose was ever
considered a very important symbol.
Greeks dedicated the Rose, as the symbol of beauty, to
Aphrodite the goddess of love. The Flora of Spring carries a rose
in her hand, and Homer assigns rosy fingers to Aurora.
Among the Hebrews it was customary to decorate themselves with
roses at joyous festivals, hence the passage in Wisdom of Solomon
II., S, "Let us crown ourselves with ross-buds before they
withered." The same custom obtained among the Greeks and the
Romans. Among the latter the Romans, this caution
was particularly popular, during the winter whole cargoes of
roses were shipped from Alexandria to Rome. At banquets the
guests were seated upon cushions filled with rose leaves.
Among the Sybarites it was the custom to sleep upon rose
In Egypt and Greece the candidates for initiation into
the mysteries especially wore roses; and roses were
the constant ornaments of the temples during the ceremony of
dedication and opening the feasts of the mysteries. The object of
decorating the candidates for initiation with roses being to
intimate to them, that that which had been communicated to them
as secrets (sub- rosa) they were bound to preserve
with inviolable silence, hence the rose, especially among the
Freemasons, is considered as the symbol of silence which
the candidate not only promised to observe but a silence which
he faithfully and inviolably observed.
A similar custom as that practised in the ancient Egyptian and Greek
mysteries, obtained among the ancient Germans at
their banquets, a wreath of flowers with a rose in its centre
was suspended from the ceiling over the banquet table, as a
symbol that everything that was spoken during those social
gatherings should be kept as a secret among the partakers of
This custom we find even at more
recent periods, in several other countries the guests that
were entertained at particular banquets wore a rose as a part of
their head dress, while on the ceiling and upon the tables
roses were either painted or produced in a natural state, for a
like purpose, i.e. as the symbol of silence.
It is thus
that the rose, the queen of flowers, became the favorite flower
of the Freemasons, the disciples of the Royal Art, and the
greatest of their festivals that of St. John the Baptist, is
richly decorated with roses, thus reminding every Freemason
of the three-fold meaning of that emblem of Love, of Joy, and
The three Rosettes on a Master Mason's
Apron indicate that every Master Mason has thrice been obliged
to Fidelity, to Secrecy, and to Silence.
Fidelity to the
Craft, Secrecy as regards our sacred Secrets, and Silence as to
the proceedings of the Lodge, which should never be disclosed
to the profane.
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