The Masonic Trowel

... to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree ...

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

 Masonic quotes by Brothers

Search Website For

Add To Favorites

Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!

List of Contributors

PDF This File

Print This Page

Email This Site To ...

We can find no symbolism of the cross in the primitive Degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry. It does not appear among the symbols of the Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, the Master, or the Royal Arch. This is undoubtedly to be attributed to the fact that the cross was considered, by those who invented those Degrees, only in reference to its character as a Christian sign. The subsequent archeological investigations that have given to the cross a more universal place in iconography were unknown to the old rituals. It is true, that it is referred to, under the name of the rode or rood, in a manuscript of the fourteenth century, published by Halliwell; this was, however, one of the Constitutions of the Operative Freemasons, who were fond of the symbol, and were indebted for it to their ecclesiastical origin, and to their connection with the Gnosties, among whom the cross was a much used symbol. But on the revival in I7I7, when the ritual was remodified, and differed very greatly from that meager one in practise among the medieval Freemasons, all allusion to the cross was left out, because the revivalists laid down the principle that the religion of Speculative Freemasonry was not sectarian but universal. And although this principle was in some points, as in the lines parallel, neglected, the retieenee as to the Christian sign of salvation has continued to the present day ; so that the cross cannot be considered as a symbol in the primary and original Degrees of Freemasonry.
But in the advanced Degrees, the cross has been introduced as an important symbol. In some of them - those which are to be traced to the Temple system of Ramsay-it is to be viewed with reference to its Christian origin and meaning.
Thus, in the original Rose Croix and Kadosh-no matter what may be the modern interpretation given to it-it was simply a representation of the cross of Christ. In others of a philosophical character, such as the ineflable Degrees, the symbolism of the cross was in all probability borrowed from the usages of antiquity, for from the earliest times and in almost all countries the cross has been a sacred symbol.
It is depicted on the oldest monuments of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and Hindustan.
It was, says Faber (Mysteries of the Cabiri 11, 390), a symbol throughout the Pagan world long previous to its becoming an object of veneration to Christians.
In ancient symbology it was a symbol of eternal life.
M. de Mortillet, who, in 1866, published a work entitled Le Signe de la Croix avant le Christianism (The Sign of the Cross before Christianity), found in the very earliest epochs three principal symbols of universal occurrence: namely, the circle, the pyramid, and the cross. Leslie (Man's 0rigin and Destiny, page 312) quoting from him in reference to the ancient worship of the cross, says: "It seems to have been a worship of such a peculiar nature as to exclude the worship of idols." This sacredness of the crucial symbol may be one reason why its form was often adopted, especially by the Celts, in the construction of their temples.
Of the Druidical veneration of the cross, Higgins quotes from the treatise of Schedius, De Moribus Germanorum xxiv, the following remarkable paragraph :
The Druids seek studiously for an oaktree, large and handsome, growing up with two principal arms in the form of a cross, beside the main, upright stem. If the two horizontal arms are not sufficiently adapted to the figure, they fasten a cross beam to it. This tree they consecrate in this manner. Upon the right. branch they cut in the bark, in fair characters, the word Hesus; upon the middle or upright stem, the word Taramis; upon the left branch, Belenus; over this, above the going off of the arms, they cut the name of God, Thau. Under all the same repeated, Thau. This tree, so inscribed, they make their kebla in the grove, cathedral, or summer church, towards which they direct their faces in the offices of religion.

Brinton, in his interesting work entitled Symbolism; The Myths of the New World (page 95) has the following remarks :
The symbol that beyond all others has fascinated the human mind, the cross, finds here its source and meaning. Scholars have pointed out its sacredness in many natural religions, and have reverently accepted it as a mystery, or offered scores of conflicting, and often debasing interpretations. it is but another symbol of the four cardinal points, the four winds of heaven. This will luminously appear by a study of its use and meaning in America.

Brinton gives many instances of the religious use of the cross by several of the aboriginal tribes of this continent, where the allusion, it must be confessed, seems evidently to be to the four cardinal points, or the four winds, or four spirits of the earth. If this be so, and if it is probable that a similar reference was adopted by the Celtic and other ancient peoples, then we would have in the cruciform temple as much a symbolism of the world, of which the four cardinal points constitute the boundaries, as we have in the square, the cubical, and the circular.
The Latin is Viri Crucigeri. A name sometimes assumed by the Rosicrucians. Thus, in the Miracula Naturae of the year I6I9, there is a letter addressed to the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, which begins with a Latin phrase: Philesophi Fratres, Viri Crucigeri, meaning Brother Philosophers, Cross-Bearing Men.
See Cross, Patriarchal.
A teacher of the Masonic ritual, who, during his lifetime, was extensively known, and for some time very popular. He was born June 27, 1783, at Haverhill, New Hampshire, and died at the same place in I86I. Cross was admitted into the Masonic Order in 1808, and soon afterward became a pupil of Thomas Smith Webb, whose modifications of the Preston lectures and of the advanced Degrees were generally accepted by the Freemasons of the United States. Cross, having acquired a competent knowledge of Webb's system, began to travel and disseminate it throughout the country. In I8I9 he published The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor, in which he borrowed liberally from the previous work of Webb.
In fact, the Chart of Cross is, in nearly all its parts, a mere transcript of the Monitor of Webb, the first edition of which was published in I797. Webb, it is true, took the same liberty with Preston, from whose Illustrations of Masonry be borrowed largely. The engraving of the emblems constituted, however, an entirely new and original feature in the Hieroglyphic Chart, and, as furnishing aids to the memory, rendered the book of Cross at once very popular; so much so, indeed, that for a long time it almost altogether superseded that of Webb. In 1820 Cross published The Templars Chart, which, as a monitor of the Degrees of chivalry, met with equal success. Both of these works have passed through numerous editions.
Cross received the appointment of Grand Lecturer from many Grand Lodges, and traveled for many years very extensively through the United States, teaching his system of lectures to Lodges, Chapters, Councils, and Encampments.
He possessed few or no scholarly attainments, and his contributions to the literature of Freemasonry are confined to the two compilations already cited. In his latter years he became involved in an effort to establish a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite. But he soon withdrew his name, and retired to the place of his nativity, where he died at the advanced age of seventy-eight.
Although Cross was not a man of any very original genius, yet a more recent writer has announced the fact that the symbol in the Third Degree, the broken co1umn, unknown to the system of either Preston or Webb, was invented by him (see Monument).
A Greek cross between four crosslets. It was adopted by Baldwyn as the arms of the kingdom of Jerusalem, and has since been deemed a symbol of the Holy Land. It is also the jewel of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. Symbolically, the four small crosses typify the four wounds of the Savior in the hands and feet, and the large central cross shows forth his death for that world to which the four extremities point.
A cross of eight points, worn by the Knights of Malta. It is heraldically described as "a cross pattée, but the extremity of each pattée notched at a deep angle." The eight points are said to refer symbolically to the eight beatitudes (see Matthew v, 3 to II ).
See Labarum.
Called also the Pontifical Cross, because it is borne before the Pope. It is a cross, the upright piece being crossed by three lines, the upper and lower shorter than the middle one. It is the insignia of the Grand Master and Past Grand Masters of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States. The same cross placed on a slant is the insignia of the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
The cross on which Jesus suffered crucifixion. It is the most common form of the cross. When rayonnant, or having rays issuing from the point of intersection of the limbs, it is the insignia of the Commander of a Commandery of Knights Templar, according to the American system.
A cross, the upright piece being twice crossed, the upper arms shorter than the lower. It is so called because it is borne before a Patriarch in the Roman Church.
It is the insignia of the officers of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States. The same cross placed on a slant is the insignia of all possessors of the Thirty-third Degree in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
A saltier or cross whose decussation or crossing of the arms is in the form of the letter X. Said to be the form of cross on which Saint Andrew suffered martyrdom. As he is the patron saint of Scotland, the Saint Andrew's cross forms a part of the jewel of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which is "a star set with brilliants having in the centre a field azure (blue), charged with Saint Andrew on the cros, gold this is pendant from the upper band of the collar, while from the lower band is pendant the jewel proper, the Compasses extended, with the Square and Segment of a Cirele of 90°; the points of the Compasses resting on the Segment, and in the centre, the Sun between the Square and Compasses.'' The Saint Andrew's cross is also the jewel of the Twenty-ninth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, or Grand Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew.
The cross on which Saint Anthony is said to have suffered martyrdom. It is in the form of the letter T (see Tau).
André Favin, a French heraldic writer, says that the original badge of the Knights Templar was a Patriarchal Cross, and Clarke, in his History of Knighthood, makes the same statement, but this is an error. At first, the Templars wore a white mantle without any cross. But in 1146 Pope Eugenius III prescribed for them a red cross on their breasts, as a symbol of the martyrdom to which they were constantly exposed. The cross of the Hospitalers was white on a black mantle, and that of the Templars was different in color but of the same form, namely, a cross pattée, pattée meaning the arms broad and spreading at the outer ends. In this it differed from the true Maltese Cross, worn by the Knights of Malta, which was a cross pattée, the limbs deeply notched so as to make a cross of eight points. Sir Walter Scott, with his not unusual heraldic inaccuracy, and Godfrey Higgins, who is not often inaccurate, but only fanciful at times, both describe the Templar cross as having eight points, thus confounding it with the Cross of Malta. In the statutes of the Order of the Temple, the cross prescribed is that depicted in the Charter of Transmission, and is a cross pattée.
The cross formerly worn by the Teutonic Knights. It is described in heraldry as "a cross potent, sable (or black), charged with another cross double potent or (or gald), and surcharged with an escutcheon argent (or silver), bearing a double-headed eagle sable (or black). " It has been adopted as the jewel of the Kadosh of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in the United States, but the original jewel of the degree was a Latin or Passion Cross.
A Degree formerly conferred in this country on Knights Templar, but now extinet. Its meetings were called Councils, and under the authority of a body which styled itself the Ancient Council of the Trinity.
The Degree is no longer conferred.
See Cross of Salem.
In referring to the philosophic triads and national crosses, there will be found in a work entitled The Celtic Druids, by Godfrey Higgins, the following: "Few causes have been more powerful in producing mistakes in ancient history than the idea, hastily formed by all ages, that every monument of antiquity marked with a cross, or with any of those symbols which they' conceived to be monograms of Christ the Saviour, was of Christian origin. The cross is as common in India as in Egypt or Europe."
The Rev. Mr. Maurice remarks (Indian Antiquities) : "Let not the piety' of the Catholic Christian be offended at the assertion that the cross was one of the most usual symbols of Egypt and India. The emblem of universal nature is equally honored in the Gentile and Christian world. In the Cave of Elephanta, in India, over the head of the principal figure may be seen the cross, with other symbols."
Upon the breast of one of the Egyptian mummies in the museum of the London University is a cross upon a Calvary or mount. People in those countries marked their sacred water-jars, dedicated to Canopus, with a Tau cross, and sometimes even that now known as the Teutonic cross. The fertility of the country about the river Nile, in Egypt, was designated, in distance on its banks from the river proper, by the Nilometer, in the form of a cross.
The erudite Dr. G. L. Ditson says: "The Rabbins say that when Aaron was made High Priest he was marked in the forehead by Moses with a cross in the shape of that now known as Saint Andrew's. "
Proselytes, when admitted into the religious mysteries of Eleusis, were marked with a cross
The Cabalists have an alphabet so called, in allusion to the crossing of the river Euphrates by the Jews on their retum from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. It has been adopted in some of the advanced Degrees which refer to that incident. Cornelius Agrippa gives a copy of the alphabet in his Occult Philosophy.
In the Middle Ages it was the custom to bury the body of a Knight Templar with one leg crossed over the other; and on any monuments in the churches of Europe, the effigies of these knights are to be found, often in England, of a diminutive size, with the legs placed in this position. The crosslegged posture was not confined to the Templars, but was appropriated to all persons who had assumed the cross and taken a vow to fight in defense of the Christian religion. The posture, of course, alluded to the position of the Lord while on the cross.
A name given to the Knights Templar, who, in the sixteenth century, united themselves with the Masonic Lodge at Sterling, in Scotland. The allusion is evidently to the funeral posture of the Templars, so that a cross-legged Mason must have been at the time synonymous with a Masonic Knight Templar.
One of the most prominent cities of the Greek colonists in Southem Italy, where, in the sixth century, Pythagoras established his celebrated school. As the early Masonic writers were fond of citing Pythagoras as a Brother of their Craft, Crotona became connected with the history of Freemc.wnry, and was often spoken of as one of the most renowned seats of the Institution. Thus, in the Leland Manuscript, whose authenticity is now, however, doubted, it is said that Pythagoras "framed a grate Lodge at Groton, and maked many Maconnes," in which sentence Groton, it must be remarked, is an evident corruption of Crotona. .
An iron implement used to raise heavy stones. It is one of the working-tools of a Royal Arch Mason, and symbolically teaches him to raise his thoughts above the corrupting influence of worldly-mindedness.
A portion of Masonic regalia worn by officers who represent a king, more especially King Solomon. In Ancient Craft Freemasonry, however, the crown is frequently displaced by the hat.
See Knight of the Crown.
The French phrase is Princesses de la Couronne. A species of androgynous or female Freemasonry estabilshed in Saxony in 1770 (see Thory, Acta Latomorum 1, 303). It existed for only a brief period.
See Four Crowned Martyrs.
The French expression is Le couronnement de la Maçonnerie. The Sixty-first Degree, seventh series, of the collection of the Metropolitan Chapter of France (see Thory, Acta Latomorum 1, 303).
As the result of considerable classification, Brother Robert Macoy presents nine principal crowns recognized in heraldry and symbolism :
  • 1. The Triumphal Crown, of which there were three kinds---a laurel wreath, worn by a General while in the act of triumph; a golden Crown, in imitation of laurel leaves ; and the presentation golden Crown to a conquering General.
  • 2. The Blockade Crown of wild flowers and grass, presented by the army to the Commander breaking and relieving a siege.
  • 3. The Civic Crown of oak leaves, presented to a soldier who saved the life of his comrade.
  • 4. The Olive Crown, conferred upon the soldiery or commander who consummated a triumph.
  • 5. The Mural Crown, which rewarded the soldier who first sealed the wall of a besieged city.
  • 6. The Naval Crown, presented to the Admiral who won a naval victory.
  • 7. The Vallary Crown, or circlet of gold, bestowed on that soldier who first surmounted the stockade and forced an entrance into the enemy's camp.
  • 8. The Ovation Crown, or chaplet of myrtle, awarded to a General who had destroyed a despised enemy and thus obtained the honor of an ovation.
  • 9. The Eastern or Radiated Crown, a golden circle set with projecting rays.
The crown of Darius, used in Red Cross knighthood and in the Sixteenth Degree, Scottish Rite, was one of seven points, the central front projection being more prominent than the other six in size and height.

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United States or elsewhere.
It is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion
of Freemasonry, nor webmaster nor those of any other regular Masonic body other than those stated.

DEAD LINKS & Reproduction | Legal Disclaimer | Regarding Copyrights

Last modified: March 22, 2014