The Masonic Trowel

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The King highest in rank in the Scandinavian Mysteries.
There are alphabets used among the Persians and Arabs as secret ciphers, which it can scarcely be doubted were original, and ages ago adopted and recognized as the ordinary business mode of communication among mankind. Of these ciphers the Tree Alphabet is the most common. The Philosopher Dioscorides wrote several works on the subject of trees and herbs, and made prominent the secret characters of this alphabet, which became known by his name, and was adopted and used by others.
The characters were distinguishable by the number of branches on either side of the tree; thus, the T H is recognizable from the S. H, notwithstanding each has three limbs on the left hand of the stem or trunk, by the one having six and the other seven branches on the right-hand side. As an example, there are in the illustration nine of the mystic characters and their relative values.
The characters in the lower line given in the engraving are the relative value, and known as the Alphabet of Hermes or Mercury.
The important position whit h this peculiar faith occupied among the peoples in the earliest ages of the world is apt to be overlooked in the multitude of succeeding beliefs, to which it gave many of its forms and ceremonies, and with which it became materially blended. In fact, Tree and Serpent worship were Combined almost at their inception. So prominent a position does Tree worship take in the opinion of Fergusson, in his absorbing work on free and Serpent Worship, that he designates the Tree as the first of Faiths; and adds that "long before the Theban gods existed, Tree and Serpent Faiths flourished. The Methidy tree was brought into the later religion, to shade with holy reverence the tomb of Osiris; the Sycamore was holy to Netpe, and the Persea to Athor, whilst the Tamarisk planed an important part in all the rites and ceremonies of Osiris and Isis; and all who are orthodox will acknowledge that Abram seemed to consider that he could not worship his Jove till he had planted his grove and dug a well (Genesis xxi, 33).
His Oak or Terebinth, or turpentine tree, on the plains of Mamre, was commonly worshiped till the fourth century after Christ, and it is revered by Jews to the present hour." And again: "That long ere Buddha or his saints were represented by images and adored, long ere the eaves and temples of that faith had sanctuaries for holy relies, the first actual symbol-worship he can trace is that of the Bo tree, which he describes as upon a basrelief in a cave called the JodeaGopa at Katak, Bengal, proving how early that worship was introduced, and how pre-eminent it was among the Buddhists of those days"; and says J. G. R. Forlong, in his Rivers of Life, or Faiths of Man, "before Vedic days (the period in India of about 1600 B.C.); and can be found in almost every cave and temple allied to the Phallic faith as certainly as can be found ever standing at the entrance of these Houses of God the Phallic pillar or pillars. It is the old story whether we turn to Solomon's temple, 1000 B.C., or to the Karli Buddhist temples, which gaze down upon us from Bombay to Poona, and which date from about the Christian era."

The Bael tree, as a representative of the triad and monad, was always offered at Lingam worship, and the god was commonly to be found under an umbrageous or leafy-screened Bael.
All nations, Aryans in particular, considered treeplanting a sacred duty. The grand old trees became centers of life and of great traditions, and the charaeter of the foliage had its symbolic meanings.
At the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, at the autumnal harvest, .lews are ordered to hang boughs of trees, laden with fruit, round the borders of their booths also boughs of barren trees. The worshipers go to the Synagogue carrying in their right hand one palmbranch, three myrtles, and two willows, all tied together; and in the left hand a citron branch with fruit on it. These they make touch each other, and wave to the East, then South, then West, and then North. this is termed Hosanna, an exclamation of praise to God, the Hebrew word meaning "Save, I pray." On the seventh day of the Feast, all save the willow bough must be laid asides. The Palrn, as a tree, yields more to man than any other class of trees. Nineveh shows the Palm surrounded by winged deities holding the pine-cone— symbol of life, which there takes the place of the Crux Ansata, or Cross with circle. The Phenix resting on the Palm signifies Resurrection to eternal life. The four Evangelists are depicted in "an evangelum," in the library of the British Museum, as all looking up to the Palm-tree. Christians, for a similar ideal, erected a cross-bar, and placed an Alpha and an Omega on it.

At Najran, in Yemen, Arabia, Sir William Ouseley describes the most perfect tree-worship as still existing close to the city. The tree is the Palm or Sacred Date. The Palm has always borne a most important part in all the faiths of the world down to the present day. The Jews gave the Palm a distinguished place in architecture. The tree and its lotus top, says Kitto, took the place of the Egyptian column on Solomon's famous phalli, the Jachim and Boaz.
The two trees in Genesis were those of Life and Knowledge, and were probably drawn from the Egyptian and Zoroastrian stories. But no further reverence is taken in the Bible of the Tree of Knowledge after Genesis, but to that of Life, or the "Tree which gives Life," as in the Apocalypse (ii, 7). This is also the Eastern name and significance of the Lingam or Pillar; and when covered with carved inscriptions, the Toth or Pillar in Egypt became known as the Tree of Knowledge.
The Trestle-Board is defined to be the board upon which the Master inscribes the designs by which the Craft are to be directed in their labors. The French and German Freemasons have confounded the Trestle-Board with the Tracing-Board; and Doctor Oliver (Landmarks i, page 132) has not avoided the error. The two things are entirely different. The trestle is a framework for a table—in Scotch, trest; the Trestle-Board is the board placed for convenience of drawing on that frame. It contains nothing but a few diagrams, usually geometrical figures. The Tracing-Board is a picture formerly drawn on the floor of the Lodge, whence it was called The Floor-Cloth or Carpet. It contains a delineation of tlhe symbols of the Degree to which it belongs. The Trestle-Board is to be found only in the Entered Apprentice's Degree. There is a Tracing-Board in every Degree, from the first to the highest. And, lastly, the Trestle-Board is a symbol; the Tracing-Board is a piece of furniture or picture containing the representation of many symbols.
It is probable that the Trestle-Board, from its necessary use in Operative Masonry, was one of the earliest symbols introduced into the Speculative svstem. It is not, however, mentioned in the Grand Mystery, published in 1724. But Prichard, who wrote only six years afterward, describes it, under the corrupted name of Trasel-Board, as one of the immovable jewels of an Apprentice's Lodge. Browne, in 1880, following Preston, fell into the error of calling it a Tracing-Board, and gives from the Prestonian lecture what he terms "a beautiful degree of comparison," in which the Bible is compared to a Tracing-Board. But the Bible is not a collection of symbols, which a Tracing-Board is, but a Trestle-Board that contains se plan for the construction of a spiritual Temple. Webb, however, when he arranged his system of lectures, took the proper view, and restored the true word, Trestle-Board.

notwithstanding these changes in the name, Trestle-Board, Trasel-Board, Tracing-Board, and Trestle-Board again, the definition has continued from the earliest part of the eighteenth century to the present Day the same. It has always been enumerated among the jewels of the Lodge, although the English system says that it is immovable and the American movable; and it has always been defined as "a Board for the Master Workman to draw his designs upon." In Operative Masonry, the Trestle-Board is of vast importance. It was on such an implement that the genius of the ancient Masters worked out those problems of architecture that have reflected an unfading luster on their skill. The Trestle-Board was the cradle that nursed the infancy of such mighty monuments as the cathedrals of Strassburg and Cologne; and as they advanced in stature, the TrestleBoard became the guardian spirit that directed their growth. Often have those old Builders pondered by the midnight lamp upon their Trestle-Board, working out its designs with consummate taste and knowledge—here springing an arch, and turning an angle there, until the embryo edifice Stood forth in all the wisdom, strength, and beauty of the Master's art.

What, then, is its true Symbolism in Speculative Freemasonry? To construct his earthly Temple, the Operative Mason followed the architectural designs laid down on the Trestle-Board, or book of plans of the architect. By these he hewed and squared his materials; by these he raised his walls; by these he Constructed his arches; and by these strength and durability, combined with grace and beauty, were bestowed upon the edifice which he was constructing.
In the Masonic Ritual, the Speculative Freemason is reminded that, as the Operative Artists erects his temporal building in accordance with the rules and designs laid down on the Trestle-Board of the Master Workman, so should he erect that spiritual building, of which the material is a type, in obedience to the rules and designs, the precepts and commands, laid down by the Grand Architect of the Universe in those great books of nature and revelation which constitute the spiritual Trestle-Board of every Freemason.

The Trestle-Board is then the Symbol of the natural and moral law. Like every other Symbol of the Order, it is universal and tolerant in its application, and while, as Christian Freemasons, we cling with unfaltering integrity to the explanation which makes the Scriptures of both Dispensations our Trestle-Board, we permit our Jewish and Mohammedan Brethren to content themselves with the books of the Old Testament or Koran. Freemasonry does not interfere with the peculiar form or development of any one's religious faith. All that it asks is that the interpretation of the symbol shall be according to what each one supposes to be the revealed will of his creator. But so rigidly exacting is it that the symbol shall be preserved and, in some rational way, interpreted, that it peremptorily excludes the atheist from its communion, because, believing in no Supreme Being—no Divine Architect—he must necessarily be without a spiritual Trestle-Board on which the designs of that Being may be inscribed for his direction (see FloorCloth).
In all the ancient mythologies there were triads, which consisted of a mysterious union of three deities. Each triad was generally explained as eonsisting of a creator, a preserver, and a destroyer. The principal heathen triads were as follows: The Egyptian, Osiris, Isis, and Horus; the Orphic, Phanes Uranus, and Kronos; the Zoroastric, Ormuzd, Mithras, and Ahriman; the Indian, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; the Cabirie, Axereos, Axiokersa, and Axiokersos; the Phenician, Ashtaroth, Mileom, and Chemosh; the Tyrian, Behls, Venus, and Thammuz; the Grecian, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades; the Roman, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; the Eleusinian, Iacchus, Persephone, and Demeter; the Platonie, Tagathon, Nous, and Psyche; the Celtic, Hu, Ceridwen, and Creirwy; the Teutonic, Fenris, Midgard, and Hela; the Gothic, Woden, Friga, and Thor; and the Seandinavians, Odin, Vile, and Ve. Even the Mexicans had their triads, which were Vitzliputzli, Kaloc, and Tescalipuca.
This system of triads has, indeed, been so predominant in all the old religions, as to be invested with a mystical idea; and hence it has become the type in Freemasonry of the triad of three governing officers, who are to be found in almost every Degree. The Master and the two Wardens in the Lodge give rise to the Priest, the King, and the Seribe in the Royal Areh; to the Commander, the Generalissimo, and the Captain-General in Templarism; and in most of the higher Degrees to a triad which presides under various names.
We must, perhaps, look for the origin of the triads in mythology, as we certainly must in Freemasonry, to the three positions and functions of the sun. The rising sun or creator of light, the meridian sun or its preserver, and the setting sun or its destroyer (see Three).
The San Hop Hwai, or Triad Society, is a secret political association in China, which has been mistaken by some writers for a species of Chinese Freemasonry; but it has in reality no connection whatsoever with the Masonic Order. In its principles, which are far from innocent, it is entirely antagonistic to Freemasonry. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master of British Freemasonry in China made a statement to this effect in 1855, in Notes and Queries (first series, volume xii, page 233).
As the only object of a trial should be to seek the truth and fairly to administer justice, in a Masonic trial, especially, no recourse should ever be had to legal technicalities whose use in ordinary courts appears simply to be to afford a means of escape for the guilty. Masonic trials are, therefore, to be conducted in the simplest and least technical method, that will preserve at once the rights of the Order and of the accused, and which will enable the Lodge to obtain a thorough knowledge of all the facts in the case. The rules to be observed in conducting such trials have been laid down by Doctor Mackey in his Jurisprudence of Freemasonry and he refers to them in the present article. They are as follows:

1. The preliminary step in every trial is the accusation or charge. The charge should always be made in writing, signed by the accuser, delivered to the Fieeretary, and read by that officer at the next Regular Communication of the Lodge. The accused should then be furnished with an attested copy of the charge, and be at the same time informed of the time and place appointed by the Lodge for the trial.
Any Master Mason may be the accuser of another, but a profane cannot be permitted to prefer charges against a Freemason. Yet, if circumstances are known to a profane upon which charges ought to be predicated, a Master Mason, may justly avail himself of that information, and out of it frame an accusation, to be presented to the Lodge. Such an accusation will he received and investigated, although remotely derived from one who is not a member of the Order.
It is not necessary that the accuser should be a member of the same Lodge. It is sufficient if he is an affiliated Freemason. We say an affiliated Freemason, for it is generally held, and we believe correctly, that an unaffiliated Freemason is no more competent to prefer charges than a profane.

2. If the accused is living beyond the geographical jurisdiction of the Lodge, the charges should be communicated to him by means of a registered letter through the post-office, and a reasonable time should be allowed for his answer, before the Lodge proceeds to trial. But if his residence be unknown, or if it be impossible to hold communication with him, the Lodge may then proceed to trial—care being had that no undue advantage be taken of his absence, and that the investigation be as full and impartial as the nature of the circumstances will permit.

3. The trial must commence at a Regular Communication, for reasons which have already been stated; but having commenced, it may be continued at Special Communications, called for that purpose; for, if it was allowed only to be continued at regular meetings, which take place but once a month, the long duration of time occupied would materially tend to defeat the ends of justice.

4. The Lodge must be opened in the highest Degree to which the accuser has attained, and the examinations of all witnesses must take place in the presence of the amused and the accuser, if they desire it. It is competent for the amused to employ counsel for the better protection of his interests, provided such counsel is a Master Mason. But if the counsel be a member of the Lodge, he forfeits, in Doctor Mackey's opinion, by his professional advocacy of the accused, the right to vote at the final decision of the question.

5. The final decision of the charge, and the rendering of the verdict, whatever be the rank of the accused, must always be made in a Lodge opened on the Third Degree; and at the time of such decision, both the accuser and the accused, as well as his counsel, if he have any, should withdraw from the Lodge.

6. It is a general and an excellent rule, that no visitors shall be permitted to be present during a trial.

7. The testimony of Master Masons is usually taken on their honor, as such. That of others should be by affidavit, or in such other manner as both the accuser and accused may agree upon.

8. The testimony of profanes, or of those who are of a lower Degree than the accused, is to be taken by a Committee and reported to the Lodge, or, if convenient, by the whole Lodge, when closed and sitting as a Committee. But both the accused and the accuser have a right to be present on such occasions.

9. When the trial is concluded, the accuser and the accused must retire, and the Master will then put the question of guilty, or not guilty, to the Lodge.
Not less than two-thirds of the votes should be required to declare the accused guilty. A bare majority is hardly sufficient to divest a Brother of his good character, and render him subject to what may perhaps be an ignominious punishment. But on this subjeet the authorities differ.

10. If the verdict is guilty, the Master must then put the question as to the nature and extent of the punishment to be inflicted, beginning with expulsion and proceeding, if necessary, to indefinite suspension and public and private reprimand. To inflict expulsion or suspension, a vote of two-thirds of those present is required, but for a mere reprimand, a majority will be sufficient. The votes on the nature of the punishment should be viva voce, the living voice, or, rather, according to Masonic usage, by a show of hands.

Trials in a Grand Lodge are to be conducted on the same general principles; but here, in consequence of the largeness of the Body, and the inconvenience which would result from holding the examinations in open Lodge, and in the presence of all the members, it is more usual to appoint a Committee, before whom the case is tried, and upon whose full report of the testimony the Grand Lodge bases its action. And the forms of trial in such Committees must conform, in all respects, to the general usage already detailed.
There is no symbol more important in its significance, more various in its application, or more generally diffused throughout the whole system of Freemasonry, than the triangle. An examination of it, therefore, cannot fail to be interesting to the Masonic student.
The equilateral triangle appears to have been adopted by nearly all the nations of antiquity as a symbol of the Deity, in some of his forms or emanations, and hence, probably, the prevailing influence of this symbol was carried into the Jewish system, where the yod within the triangle was made to represent the Tetragrammaton, or sacred name of God.
The equilateral triangle, says Brother D. W. Nash (Freemasons Magazine iv, page 294), "viewed in the light of the doctrines of those who gave it currency as a divine symbol, represents the Great First Cause, the Creator and Container of all things, as one and indivisible, manifesting Himself in an infinity of forms and attributes in this visible universe." Among the Egyptians, the darkness through which the candidate for initiation was made to pass was symbolized by the trowel, an important Masonic implement, which, in their system of hieroglyphics, has the form of a triangle. The equilateral triangle they considered as the most perfect of figures, and a representative of the great principle of animated existence, each of its sides referring to one of the three departments of creation, the animal, vegetable, and mineral.

The equilateral triangle is to be found scattered throughout the Masonic system. It forms in the Royal Arch the figure within which the jewels of the officers are suspended. It is in the Ineffable Degrees the sacred Delta, everywhere presenting itself as the symbol of the Grand Architect of the Universe. In Ancient Craft Masonry, it is constantly exhibited as the element of important ceremonies. The seats of the principal officers are arranged in a triangular form, the three Lesser Lights have the same situation, and the Square and Compasses form, by their union on the greater light, two triangles meeting at their bases. In short, the equilateral triangle may be considered as one of the most constant forms of Masonic symbolism.
The right-angled triangle is another form of this figure which is deserving of attention. Among the Egyptians, it was the symbol of universal nature; the base representing Osiris, or the male principle; the perpendicular, Isis, or the female principle; and the hypotenuse, Horus, their son, or the product of the male and female principle.

This symbol was received by Pythagoras from the Egyptians during his long sojourn in that country, and with it he also learned the peculiar property it possessed, namely, that the sum of the squares of the two shorter sides is equal to the square of the longest side—symbolically expressed by the formula, that the product of Osiris and Isis is Horus. This figure has been adopted in the Third Degree of Freemasonry, and will be there recognized as the Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid (see Geometry, Circle, Square, and Forty-seventh Problem).
As the Delta was the initial letter of Deity with the ancients, so its synonym is among modern nations, It is a type of the Eternal, the All-Powerful, the SelfExistent. The material world is typified by the Square as passive matter, in opposition to force symbolized by the Triangle.
The Square is also an emblem of humanity, as the Delta or Triangle typifiess Deity. The delta, Triangle, and Compasses are essentially the same. The raising one point, and then another, signifies that the divine or higher portion of our nature should increase in power, and control the baser tendencies. This is the real, the practival "journey toward the Last." The interlacing Triangles or Deltas (figure 1) symbolize the union of the two principles or forces, the active and passive, male and female, pervading the universe. The two Triangles , one white and the xther black, interlacing, typify the mingling of the two apparent powers in nature, darkness and light, error and truth, ignorance and wisdom, evil and good, throughout human life.
The Triangle and Square together form the Pyramid  as seen  in the Entered Apprentice's Apron. In this combination the Pyramid is the metaphor for unitx of matter and foree, as well as the oneness of man and God. The numbers 3, 5, 7, 9, have their places in the parts and points of the Square and Triangle when in pyramidal form, and imply Perfection (see Pointed Cubical Stone and Broached Thurnel).
See Seal of Solomon and Shield of David.

See Pentalpha.
A Triangle placed within and surrounded by a circle of rays. This circle is called in Christian art, a Glory. When this Glory is distinct from the Triangle, and surrounds it in the form of a eirele, it is then an emblem of God's Eternal glory. This is the usual form in religious uses. But when, as is most usual in the Masonic symbol, the rays emanate from the center of the Triangle, and, as it were, enshroud it in their brilliancy, it is symbolic of the Divine Light. The perverted ideas of the Pagans referred these rays of light to their sun-god and their Sabian worship.
But the true Masonic idea of this Glory is, that it symbolizes that Eternal Light of Wisdom which surrounds the Supreme Architect as a Sea of Glory, and from Him as a common center emanates to the universe of His creation.
The perdalpha, or Triangle of Pythagoras, is usually called also the Triple Triangle, because three triangles are formed by the intersection of its sides. But there is another variety of the Triple Triangle which is more properly entitled to the appellation.
It will be familiar to the Knight Templar as the form of the jewel worn by the Prelate of his Order. Like every modification of the triangle, it is a symbol of the Deity; but as the Degree of Knights Templar appertains exclusively to Christian Freemasonry, the Triple Triangle there alludes to the Mystery of the Trinity. In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Degree of Knight of the East the symbol is also said to refer to the triple essence of Deity; but the symbolism is made still more mystical by supposing that it represents the sacred number 81, each side of the three triangles being equivalent to 9, which again is the square of 3, the most sacred number in Freemasonry.
In the Twentieth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, or that of "Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges," it is said that the number 81 refers to the triple covenant of God, symbolized by a Triple Triangle said to have been seen by Solomon when he consecrated the Temple. Indeed, throughout the Ineffable and the Philosophic Degrees, the allusions to the triple triangle are rnueh more frequent than they are in Ancient Craft Masonry. The Indian Trimourti, or Triple Triangle of the Hindus is of a different form, consisting of three concentric triangles. In the center is the sacred triliteral name, Aum. The interior triangle symbolizes Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; the middle one Creation, Preservation, and Destruction; and the exterior one, Earth, Water, and Air.
All the twelve Tribes of Israel were engaged in the construction of the first Temple. But long before its destruction, ten of them revolted, and formed the nation of Israel; while the remaining two, the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, retained possession of the Temple, and of Jerusalern under the name of the Kingdom of Judah. To these two Tribes alone, after the return from the eaptivitv, was entrusted the building of the second Temple. Hence in the advanced Degrees, which, of coure are connected for the most part with the Temple of Zerubbabel, or with events that occurred subsequent to the destruction of that of Solomon, the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin only are referred to. But in the primary Degrees, which are based on the first Temple, the Masonic references always are to the twelve Tribes. Hence in the old lectures the twelve original points are explained by a reference to the twelve Tribes (see Twelve Original Points of Freemasonry).
The modern Statutes of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States direct trials of Masonic offenses, committed by any Brethren of the Rite above the Eighteenth Degree, to be held in a court called a Tribunal of the Thirty-first Degree, to be composed of not less nor more than nine members. An appeal lies from such a Tribunal of Inspectors Inquisitors to the Grand Consistory or the Supreme Council.
This has two distinct references for us.
1. The Seventy-first Degree of the Rite of Mizraim.
2. The meeting of Inspectors Inquisitors of the Thirty-first Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite according to the more recent practice of the Mother Council.
The name of the ruined castle, four miles from Madenburg, on a mountain slope, where Sir Richard Coeur de Lion was a prisoner for more than a year, by decree of the Emperor Henry III, and until his liberation by the faithful Blondel. Naught remains but thirty feet of the tower and some fragments of wall. It is recorded that there may be seen engraved deep in the window-stone of the tower this Mark: the Passion Cross standing upon the square with an apex upward, and having upon it an inverted Tau of proportionate size at an inclination of about forty-nine Degrees.
Three-lettered Name. The sacred name of God among the Hindus is so called because it consists of the three letters, A U M (see A Otto).
Three stones, two of which are placed parallel on their ends, and Crossed by the third at the top. Many curious combinations of this rude but imposing construction are to be found in Europe, as at Stonehenge in England and Brittany in France.
Freemasonry was introduced into the island of Trinidad by the establishment of a Lodge called Les Freres Unis, United Brothers, under a Charter from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, in 1797. A Charter had been granted the year before by the Grand Orient of France, but never aeted on, in consequence of the suspension of that body by the French revolutions In 1804, the Crand Lodge of Pennsvlvania, in its capitular capacity, granted a Charter for a Royal Arch Chapter, which continued to meet until 1813, when it obtained a new Warrant of Constitution from the Supreme Chapter of .Scotland. In 1814, exemplar Masonry was established by a Deuchar Warrant from the Grand Conclave of Scotland. In 1819, a Council of Royal and Select Masters was established. Trinidad has also had established a Provincial Grand Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and some Lodges under the government Grand Lodge of England.
An androgynous, both sexes, Order founded in 1198, in the time of lnnocent III, for the purpose of ransoming Christians from the Moors.

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