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Red & Blue Lodges
by Don Falconer
Comprehensive answers to the reasons for calling the Craft and the Chapter blue and red lodges respectively are give in my paper entitled "The Symbolism of Colours" - which is Chapter 14 in the revised edition of my book. I will begin posting this paper during the coming week. The following extracts taken from different sections of the chapter will give you a lead, but you will have to read the whole chapter to get the full picture. The symbolism of a wide range of colours from ancient times to the present is discussed at length. In addition to the following, you will read elsewhere in the chapter that red is an ancient symbol of fervency and zeal, which is one of the core teachings of the Royal Arch and its associated degrees.
Blue is the fundamental colour of ancient, free and accepted masonry, or that branch of speculative freemasonry commonly called craft freemasonry and meeting in what are known as blue lodges. Blue is the fundamental colour because, as a symbol of universal friendship and benevolence, it is intended to remind every brother that in his breast these virtues should be equally extensive. The degrees of craft freemasonry are the basis of speculative freemasonry and are a prerequisite for membership of all branches of freemasonry. Capitular freemasonry is an extension of craft freemasonry and relates to the rebuilding of the temple and symbolically to the rebuilding of life. It is typified by the colour red and meets in Royal Arch Chapters, commonly called red lodges.
Although an order or a series of degrees in freemasonry may have one or more characteristic colours, the individual degrees within the order or series may use other colours as specific symbols, typical of that degree. For example, although blue is the characteristic colour of speculative craft freemasonry, the typical colour appropriate to the first degree, or Entered Apprentice, is white emblematic of purity, innocence and initiation. Blue is the typical colour of the second degree, or Fellow of the Craft, because it is emblematic of the intellectual knowledge and practical skill of the craftsman and his faithfulness to the fraternity. Lastly, green is the typical colour of the third or sublime degree of a Master Mason, alluding to his discovery of the characteristics of divine truth, his belief in the immortality of the soul and his hope of a resurrection.
An example of several colours being used in combination is to be found among the degrees of the Royal Arch Chapter, for which the characteristic colour is red, from which is derived the expression "Red Masonry" to distinguish it from the craft which is commonly referred to as "Blue Masonry".
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Last modified: March 22, 2014