Enciclopédia Mackey – D ~ DIASTOLE

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The fourth letter of the Phoenician, the Hebrew, the Greek, the Roman, and of nearly all alphabets. In Hebrew it is Daleth, signifying the door of life, a representation of which was probably its original hieroglyph

The numerical value of Daleth is four; as a Roman numeral it stands for 500.


A native of Colonia-do-Sacramento, on the river La Plata. He was made a Freemason in Philadelphia in the United States and afterward settled in Lisbon. He was subsequently persecuted by the Inquisition, and was rescued only in time to save his life by the aid of English Brethren who got him under the protection of the British flag. He then passed over into England, where he lived for several years, becoming a zealous Freemason and devoting himself to Masonic literature. In 1811, he published in London a Narrative of his persecution in Lisbon, by the Inquisition, for the pretended crime of Freemasonry, in two volumes. He wrote also a History of the Dionysian Artificers, in which he attempts to connect Freemasonry with the Dionysian and other mysteries of the ancients. He begins with the Eleusinian mysteries, assuming that Dionysus, Bacchus, Adonis, Thammuz, and Apollo were ail various names for the Sun, Whose apparent movements are represented by the death and resurrection referred to in the ceremonies. But as the sun is typified as being dead or hidden for three months under the horizon, he thinks that the mysteries must have originated in a cold climate as far north as latitude 66 , or among a people living near the polar circle. He therefore attributes the invention of these mysteries to the ancient Scythians or Massagetae, of whom he confesses that we know nothing. He afterward gives the history of the Dionysiac or Orphic mysteries of El eusis, and draws a successful parallel between the initiation into these and the Masonic initiation. His disquisition’s are marked by much learning, although his reasoning may not always carry conviction.


Priests of Cybele, in Phrygia, of whom there were five, which number could not be exceeded, and alluded to the salutation and blessing by the five fingers of the hand. The word is from the Greek daktylos, meaning a finger.


A torch-bearer. The title given to an officer in the Eleusinian mysteries, who bore a torch in commemoration of the torch lit by Ceres at the fire of Mount Etna, and carried by her through the wood in her search for her daughter.


A famous artist and mechanician, whose genealogy is traced in the Greek myths as having sprung from the old Athenian race of kings, the Erechtheidae. He is said to have executed the Cretan Labyrinth, the reservoir near Megaris in Sicily, the Temple of Apollo at Capua, and the celebrated altar sculptured with lions on the Libyan coast. He is said to be the inventor of a number of the working Tools used in the various degrees of Freemasonry, the plumb-line and the ax, most of the tools used in carpentry, and of glue. Of him is told the fable of his flying safely over the Aegean by means of wings made by himself. His nephew, Perdix, is the reputed inventor of the third Great Light in Freemasonry, the Compasses, which are dedicated to the Craft. Through envy Daedalus is said to have hurled his nephew, Perdix, from the Temple Athena.


In the advanced Degrees a symbol of Masonic vengeance, or the punishment of crime (see Vengeance).


A miter in the Amsterdam Journal of November 3, 1735, of an article on the subject of Freemasonry, which caused an edict from the States General forbidding Masonic gatherings throughout the country (see Thory, Acta Latomorum 11, 306).


President of a General Assembly of thirty Lodges, held on Saint John’s Day, 1756, at the Hague, for the formation of the Grand Lodge of Holland. It was at this December meeting that Baron Van Aerssen Beyeren Van Hogerheide was appointed Grand Master (see Thory, Acta Latomorum 1, 72).


From the French word dais, meaning a canopy. The raised floor at, the head of a banqueting room, or any ceremonial chamber or hall, designed for guests of distinction ; so called because it used to be decorated with a canopy. In Masonic language, the dais is the elevated portion of the eastern part of the lodge-room, which is occupied by Past Masters and the dignitaries of the Order. This should be elevated three steps above the floor. This station of the Junior Warden is raised one step, and that. of the Senior two.


Saint .John’s Lodge was the first Lodge in Dakota. It received a Dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Iowa, December 5, 1862, and a Charter on June 3, 1863. Representatives of this Lodge and of Incense. Elk Point, Minnehaha, and Silver Star Lodges held a Convention on June 21, 1875, to consider the formation of a Grand Lodge.

Members of Mount Zion Lodge, U. D., were present but, owing to the fact that they had no Charter, did not take part, in the proceedings. A Constitution was adopted and Grand Officers; who were installed at another meeting on July 21, were elected. When in 1999 the territory of Dakota was divided by Act of Congress into North Dakota and South Dakota the Grand Lodge of Dakota became the Grand Lodge of South Dakota and certain Lodges in North Dakota were permitted to organize a Grand Lodge of North Dakota.

The General Grand Chapter of the United States chartered eight Chapters in Dakota, the first of which was Yankton, No. 1, at. Yankton, chartered on August 24, 1885. On February. 25, 1885, the Grand Chapter was organized by the following Chapters: Yankton, No. 1; Sioux Falls, No. 2; Dakota, No. 3; Siroc, No. 4; Casselton, No. 7; Cheyenne, No. 9, U. D. Huron, No. 10, U. D.; Keystone, No. 11, U. D.; Watertown, No. 12, U. D.; Jamestown, No, 13, U. D.; Aberdeen, No. 14, U. D. The first Annual Convocation was held June 8, 1885. When the division of the Territory took place the Grand Chapter of Dakota gave permission to the Lodges located in South Dakota to organize a Grand Chapter of South Dakota, under the Constitution of the General Grand Chapter. This was done on January 6, 1890. The Grand Chapter of North Dakota was organized three days later.

The first Council in Dakota, Fargo, No.1, was chartered by the General Grand Council on November 19, 1889. This Council was located in North Dakota and, therefore, after 1889, was considered the first. Council of that State. There was no Grand Council in Dakota until after the division of the Territory.

The Grand Commandery was organized at Sioux Falls on May 14, 1884, by representant of the four Commanderies. Dakota. No1; Cyrene, No. 2; De Molay; No. 3, and Fargo, No. 5. On June 16, 1890 the representatives of Tancered. No 4: Fargo, No. 5; Grand Forks, No. 8, and Wi-ha-ha, No . 12, organized the Grand Commandery of North Dakota. The Grand Commandery of North Dakota. The Grand Commandery of Dakota then changed its name to that of Grand Commandery of South Dakota.

A Consistory of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was chartered at Fargo, on May 26, 1886, as Dakota, No. 1; a Council of Kadosh, Fargo, No. 1, on December 8, 1883; a Chapter of Rosy Croix, Mackey, No.1, on February 27, 1882, and a Lodge of Perfection, Alpha, No. 1, on February 8, 1882.


One of the founders of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States. He was born in the City of London in the year 1770, of Prussian parents. His father had been a distinguished officer under Frederick the Great and, having been severely wounded, was permitted to retire to England for his health. He was a very earnest Freemason, and transmitted his sentiments to his son. At his death, this son was sent for by een uncle, who had a few years before emigrated to Baltimore. Here he obtained a good classical education, after which he devoted himself successfully to the study of medicine, including a more extensive course of botany than has been common in medical course. Having received his degree of Doctor of Medicine, he took a commission in the medical department of the American army. With his division of the army he came to South Carolina, and was stationed at Fort Johnson, in Charleston harbor. Here some diviculty arose between Doctor Dalcho and his brother officers, in consequence of which he resigned his place in the army in 1799. He then removed to Charleston, where he formed a partnership in the practice of physic with Isaac Auld, and he became a member of the Medical Society, and a trustee of the Botanic Garden, established through its influence, On the 12th of June, 1818, Doctor Dalcho was admitted to the priesthood of the Protestant Èpiscopal Church. On the 23d of February, he was elected assistant minister of Saint Michael’s Church, in Charleston. He died on the 24d of November, 1836, in the sixty- seventh year of his age, and the seventeenth of his ministry in Saint Michael’s Church. The principal published work of Doctor Dalcho is “An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina. He also published a work entitled ” The Evidence from Prophecy for the Truth of Christianity and the Divining of Christ : besides several sermons and essays, some of which were the result of considerable labor and research. He was also the projector, and for a long time the principal conductor, of the Gospel Messenger, then the leading organ of the Episcopal Church in South Caroline.

The Masonic career of Doctor Dalcho closely connects him with a York Freemasonry in South Carolina, and the Scottish Rite throughout. the United States.

He was initiated in a York or Athol Lodge at the time when the Jurisdiction of South Carolina was divided by the existence and the dissension’s of two Grand Lodges, the one deriving its authority from the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England, and the other from the rival Atholl Grand Lodge.

His constant desire appears, however, to have been to unit these discordant elements, and to uproot the evil spirit of Masonic rivalry and contention which at that time prevailed -a wish which was happily gratified, at length, by the union of the two Grand Lodges of South Carolina in 1817, a consummation to which he himself greatly contributed.

In 1801 Doctor Dalcho received the Thirty.-third and ultimate Degree of Sovereign Grand Inspector of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite ; and May 31, 1801 he became instrumental in the establishment at Charleston of the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, of which Body he was appointed Grand Secretary, and afterward Grand commander; which latter position he occupied until 1823, when he resigned. September 23, 1801, he delivered an oration before the Sublime Grand Body in Charleston. This and another delivered March 21, 1803, before the same Body, accompanied by a learned historical appendix, were published in the latter year under the general name of Dalcho’s Orations. The work was soon after republished in Dublin by the Grand Council of Heredom or Prince Masons of that city; and McCosh says that there were other editions issued in Europe, which, however, Brother Mackey had never seen.

The oration of 1803 and the appendix furnish the best information that up to that day, and for many years afterward. was accessible to the Craft in relation to the history of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in this country.

In 1807. at the request of the Grand Lodge of York Masons of South Carolina, he published an Ahiman Rezon, which was adopted as the code for the government of the Lodges under the jurisdiction of that Body. This work, as was to be expected from the character of the Grand Lodge which it represented, was based on the previous book of Laurence Dermott.

In 1808 he was elected Corresponding Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons, and from that time directed the influences of his high position to the reconciliation of the Masonic difficulties in South Carolina.

In 1817 the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and that of Ancient York Masons of South Carolina became united under the name of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina. Doctor Dalcho took a very active part in this reunion, and at the first annual communication he was elected Grand Chaplain. The duties of this office he faithfully performed. and for many years delivered a public address or sermon on the Festival of Saint John the Evangelist.

In 1822 he prepared a second edition of the Ahiman Rezon which was published the following year, enriched with many notes. Some of these notes he would have hardly written, with the enlarged experience of the present day; but on the whole the second edition was an improvement on the first. Although retaining the peculiar title which had been introduced by Dermott it ceased in a great measure to follow the principles of the “‘Ancient Masons.”‘ In 1822 Dalcho became involved in an unpleasant controversy with some of his Masonic associates, in consequence of difficulties and dissension’s which at that time existed in the Scottish Rite; and his feelings were so wounded by the un-masonic spirit which seemed to actuate his antagonists and former friends, that he resigned the office of Grand Chaplain, and retired for the remainder of his life from all participation in the active duties of Freemasonry.


A robe worn by deacons in some Christian Churches. Originally made of linen, as shown by early Christian paintings on the walls of the catacombs at Rome, but now generally made of heavy woolen or silk material, as the planate or outer vestment worn by the priest. This article of dress has become quite common in many of the Degrees of various Rites.


An ancient and important city of Syria, situated on the road between Babylon and Jerusalem, and said in Masonic tradition to have been one of the resting-places of the Freemasons who, under the proclamation of Cyrus, returned from the former to the latter city to rebuild the Temple. An attempt was made in 1868 to introduce Freemasonry into Damascus, and a petition, signed by fifteen applicants, for a Charter for a Lodge was sent to the Grand Lodge of England; but the petition was rejected on the ground that all the petitioners were members of Bodies under other Grand Lodge Jurisdictions.


The vast rock temple of the Buddhists in Ceylon, containing a profusion of carvings, figures of Buddha of extraordinary magnitude. Monuments of this deity are, in the common Singhalese term, called Dagoba, but the more general name is Stupa or Tope (see Topes).


In the York Roll No.4 and some of the other old manuscripts, we find the direction to the Apprentice that he shall not so act as to bring harm or shame, during his apprenticeship, “either to his Master or Dame.” It is absurd to suppose that this gives any color to the theory that in the ancient Masonic gilds women were admitted. The word was used in the same sense as it still is in the public schools of England, where the old lady who keeps the house at which the pupils board and lodge, is called the dame. The Companions de la Tour in France called her la mére, or the mother. it must, however, be acknowledged, that women, under the title of sisters were admitted as members. and given the freedom of the company, in the old Livery Companies of London -a custom which Herbert ( History of the Livery Companies i, 83) thinks was borrowed, on the reconstitution of the companies by Edward III, from the religious gilds (see this subject discussed under the tittle Sisters of the Gild).


An androgynous, both sexes, Masonic Society, established about the year 1818, under the auspices of the Grand Orient of France. Its design was to give charitable relief to destitute females.


Religious ladies who, from its first institution, had been admitted into the Fraternity of Knights Hospitalers of Saint John of Jerusalem. The rules for their reception were similar to those for the Knights, and the proofs of noble descent which were required of them were sometimes more rigid. They had many conventual establishments or asylums in France, Italy, and Spain.


See Feuillants


A name sometimes given in the times of chivalry to a page or candidate for knighthood, but also used mean a young woman.


One of the twelve tribes of Israel, whose blue banner, charged with an eagle, is borne by the Grand Master of the First Veil in a Royal Arch Chapter.


In all the old Constitutions and Charges, Freemasons are taught to exercise brotherly love, and to deal honestly and truly with each other, whence results the duty incumbent upon every Freemason to warn his Brother of approaching danger. That this duty may never be neglected, it is impressed upon every Master Mason by a significant ceremony.


The old countersign with “Darius” formerly used in the Thirty-second Degree, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. A Hebrew prophet, contemporary of Ezekiel, about 600 B.C. Carried captive to Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, but selected for instruction in all the learning of the Chaldeans by order of the Court. His skill in the interpretation of dreams was famed. He became Governor of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, and the first ruler of the whole Medo-Persian Empire, inferior only to Darius, then the king. Under Cyrus he was Grand Master of the Palace and Interpreter of Visions, as suggested by the Fifteenth Degree, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

He did not return with his countrymen to Judea when granted their liberty. It is a dispute as to when he died, or where, but the majority favor Sushan, in Persia, when he was ninety years of age. At the present day a tomb is shown in this ancient city bearing his name; in fact, it is the only standing structure there. Daniel was noted and famed for his piety, and as well for his worldly possessions.


The banner of Denmark containing a white cross is founded upon the tradition, which reminds us of that of Constantine, that Waldemar II, of Denmark, in 1219 saw in the heavens a fiery cross, which betokened his victory over the Esthonians.

Brother Charles Schou, San Carlos, Occidental Negros, Philippine Islands, writes that the Danish flag is a white cross on a red field, the white cross dividing the background or field of the flag into four red squares. He says further that ” the origin of this banner, or the legend of its origin as it was taught to me years ago when I went to school. in Denmark is as follows: ‘During the Esthonian battle in 1219, the Danish army was being hard pressed and it looked as if it would lose the battle. Bishop Absolon who was with the Army, asked to be carried up on a hill nearby and there he prayed for victory for the Danes. The Bishop was old, he had just left his sickbed and he soon became exhausted and it was necessary for the monks to hold up his arms while praying. Suddenly the heavens opened up and a large red banner with a white cross was seen floating towards earth. It was immediately caught and carried to the front of the Danish Army. The sight of the cross inspired the Army with new courage and soon the Esthonians were fleeing for their lives.’


In the year 1768, on the 3d of October, the burgomaster and magistrates of the city of Dantzic commenced a persecution against Freemasonry, which Institution they charged with seeking to undermine the foundations of Christianity; and to establish in its place the religion of nature. Hence, they issued a decree forbidding every citizen, inhabitant, and even stranger sojourning in the city, from any attempt to reestablish the society of Freemasons, which was thenceforth to be regarded “as forever abolished,” under penalties of fine and imprisonment.


The Zen name for light, from Daer, meaning to shine.


A responsive word in the Twenty-third Degree of the Scottish Rite. sometimes pronounced dar-kee-ale. The Latin expression is Directio Dei, meaning By direction of God.


The successor of Cyrus on the throne of Persia, Babylon, and Medea. He pursued the friendly policy of his predecessor in reference to the Jews, and confirmed the decrees of that monarch by a new edict. In the second year of his reign, Haggai and Zechariah, encouraged by this edict, induced their countrymen to resume the work of restoring the Temple, which was finished four years afterward.

Darius is referred to in the Degrees of Princes of Jerusalem, the Sixteenth of the Scottish Rite, and Companion of the Red Cross in the American Rite.


Darkness has, in all the systems of initiation, been deemed a symbol of ignorance, and so opposed to light, which is the symbol of knowledge.

Hence the rule, that the eye should not see until the heart has conceived the true nature of those beauties which constitute the mysteries of the Order. In the Ancient Mysteries, the aspirant was always shrouded in darkness as a preparatory step to the reception of the full light of knowledge. The time of this confinement in darkness and solitude varied in the different mysteries. Among the Druids of Britain the period was nine days and nights; in the Grecian Mysteries it was three times nine days, while among the Persians, according to Porphyry, it was extended to the almost incredible period of fifth, days of darkness, solitude, and fasting. Because, according to all the cosmogonies, accounts of the universe, darkness existed before light was created, darkness was originally worshiped as the firstborn, as the progenitor of day and the state of existence before creation. The apostrophe of Young to Night embodies the feelings which gave origin to this debasing worship of darkness:

O majestic night!
Nature’s great ancestor! Day’s elder born!
And fated to survive the transient sun!
By morals and immortals seen with awe!

Freemasonry has restored darkness to its proper place as a state of preparation; the symbol of that antemundane chaos from whence light issued at the Divine command; of the state of nonentity before birth, and of ignorance before the reception of knowledge. Hence, in the Ancient Mysteries, the release of the aspirant from solitude and darkness was called the act of regeneration, and he was said to be born again, or to be raised from the dead. And in Freemasonry, the darkness which envelops the mind of the uninitiated being removed by the bright effulgence of Masonic light, Freemasons are appropriately called the sons of light. In Doctor Oliver’s Signs and Symbols there is a lecture “On the Mysterious Darkness of the Third Degree.” This refers to the ceremony of enveloping the room in darkness when that Degree is conferred-a ceremony once always observed, but now, in this country at least, frequently but improperly omitted. The darkness here is a symbol of death, the lesson taught in the Degree, while the subsequent renewal of light refers to that other and subsequent lesson of eternal life.


The Grand Lodge of Darmstadt, in Germany, under the distinctive appellation of the Grand Lodge zur Eintracht (meaning of Concord), was established on the 22d of March, 1846, by three Lodges, in consequence of a dissension between them and the Eclectic Union. The latter body had declared that the religion of Freemasonry was universal, and that Jews could be admitted into the Order. Against this liberal declaration a Lodge at Frankfort had protested, and had been erased from the roll for contumacy. Two other Lodges, at Mainz and at Darmstadt, espoused its cause, and united with it in forming a new Grand Lodge for Southern Germany, founded on the dogma “that Christian principles formed the basis on which they worked.” It was, in fact, a dispute between tolerance and intolerance. Nevertheless, the Body had the Grand Duke of Hesse as patron, and was recognized by most of the Grand Lodges of Germany.


A Freemason and physician of Dublin, Ireland, who published, in 1744, at that city, A Serious and Impartial Inquiry into the Cause of the present Decay of Freemasonry in the Kingdom of Ireland. It contained an abstract of the history of Freemasonry, and an allusion to the Royal Arch Degree, on account of which it has been cited by Dermott in his Ahiman Rezon. The work is important on account of its reference to Royal Arch Masonry, but is very scarce, only three copies of it being known to exist, of which one belongs to the Grand Lodge of Iowa, and one to the West Yorkshire Masonic Library, of which a facsimile was published in 1893, while a third copy was discovered in 1896.

The writer’s name is spelled D’Assigny or Dassigny, but is given in the latter form on the title-page of the Serious Enquiry. Dr. W. J. Chetwode Crawley has investigated the history of the D’Assigny family (see Caelnentaria Hibernica. FascieulusII).

Both the spelling and the pronunciation of this name have been matters of some inquiry. The name is Dassigny on the title page of his famous Enquiry.

The Ahiman Rezon of Brother Laurence Dermott, 1764 (page 47), gives the name as D’Assigny. Kenning’s Cyclopedia of Freemasonry spells the name Assigny and says of this spelling ” generally so spelt, but his real name seems to have been Dassigny,” though Brother Woodford (page 148) spells it D’Assigny, a choice of three ways. As for the sounds in the name the following is suggested as representative of common usage: Das, as in pass or class; sig, as in see or key, and ny, as in penny or many. Doctor E. B. de Sauzé prefers the following from a French point of view: Da, as the first a in lateral; ssi, as ci in city; gn, as in signor with the Spanish ñ, and y, as the French i. He also feels certain that the original spelling of the name was D’Assigny.


See Calendar


A Reubenite who, with Korah and Abiram, revolted against Moses and unlawfully sought the priesthood. In the first chapter of the Book of Numbers, where the whole account is given, it is said that as a punishment the earth opened and swallowed them up. The incident is referred to in the Order of High Priesthood, an honorary Degree of the . American Rite, which is conferred upon the installed High Priests of Royal Arch Chapters.


See Mason’s Wife and Daughter


The daughter of a Freemason is entitled to certain peculiar privileges and claims upon the Fraternity arising from her relationship to a member of the Craft. There has been some difference of opinion as to the time and manner in which the privileges cease. Masonic jurists, however, very generally incline to the opinion that they are terminated by marriage. If a Freemason’s daughter marries a profane, she absolves her connection with the Fraternity. If she marries a Freemason, she exchanges her relation of a Freemason’s daughter for that of a Freemason’s wife.


David has no place in Masonic history, except that which arises from the fact that he was the father of King Solomon, and his predecessor on the throne of Israel. To him, however, were the Jews indebted for the design of a Temple in Jerusalem, the building of which was a favorite object with him. For this purpose he purchased Mount Moriah, which had been the threshing-floor of Oman the Jebusite; but David had been engaged in so many wars, that it did not seem good to the Lord that he should be permitted to construct so sacred an edifice. This duty, therefore, he left to his son, whom, before dying, he furnished with plans and with means to accomplish the task. Though David is a favorite subject among the Cabalistic and the Mohammedans, who relate many curious traditions concerning him, he is not alluded to in the legends or symbolism of Freemasonry except incidentally as the father of Solomon.


1124–53; known as Protector of Freemasons and Patron of the building art (see Alexander lll).


See Shield of David


Born at Chateaudun, in France, May 2, 1781. He was a devoted student of Freemasonry, and much occupied in the investigation of the advanced Degrees of ail the Rites.

He was an opponent of the Supreme Council, against which body he wrote, in 1812, a brochure in French of forty-eight pages entitled Eztrait des colonnes gravées du Père de Famille, vallée d’Angers ( meaning Extract from the Graven Columns of the Father of the Family, Valley of Angers). Kloss calls it an important and exhaustive polemic document. It attempts to expose, supported by documents, what the author and his party called the illegal pretensions of the Supreme Council, and the arrogance of its claim to exclusive Jurisdiction in France. Dazard was the author of several other interesting discourses on Masonic subjects.


In every Symbolic Lodge, there are two officers who are called the Senior and Junior Deacons. In America the former has been appointed by the Master and the latter by the Senior Warden, both have been elected according to the respective Codes of the Jurisdictions, Pennsylvania, for example, has the Deacons appointed, Ohio has them elected; in England both are appointed by the Master. It is to the Deacons that the introduction of visitors should be properly entrusted. Their duties comprehend, also, a general surveillance over the security of the Lodge, and they are the proxies of the officers by whom they are appointed Hence their jewel, in allusion to the necessity of circumspection and justice is a square and compasses. In the center, the Senior Deacon wears a sun, and the Junior Deacon a moon, which serve to distinguish their respective ranks. In the English system, the jewel of the Deacons is a dove, in allusion to the dove sent forth by Noah. In the Rite of Mizraim the Deacons are called acolytes.

The office off Deacons in Freemasonry appears to have been derived from the usage’s of the primitive church. In the Greek church, the Deacons were always the wvxwpoí, the pylori or doorkeepers, and in the Apostolica Constitutions the Deacon was ordered to stand at the men’s door, and the Subdeacon at the women’s, to see that none came in or went out during the oblation In the earliest rituals of the eighteenth century, there is no mention of’ Deacons, and the duties of those officers were discharged partly by the Junior Warden and partly by the Senior and Junior Entered Apprentices, and they were not generally adopted in England until the Union of 1813. Brother W,J. Chetwode Crawley has some comments upon the subject in Caementaria Hibernica (Fasciculus i, pages 9-10). He advises that:

We must carefully distinguish between the Deacon of the early Scottish Minute Books, and the Deacon of Irish ritual. The former occupied almost, if not altogether, the highest post among his Brethren, and having precedence over the Warden and presiding over the meeting when occasion required. The latter corresponded to the Dean-that is Deacon-of Faculty ; the latter to the lost order of the Ministry, the Deacon in Ecclesiastical parlance. The similarity does not go beyond the name.

The appointing of Deacons served in latter days, as a distinction between Irish and English work, for the Lodges under the Constitution of the Ancient naturally followed the Irish use. It must be observed that the office of Deacon was confined to supporting Lodges. During the first one hundred and twenty years of its existence, the Grand Lodge of Ireland never elected Grand Deacons . when their services were required they were selected for the occasion from the Masters then present. Their first appearance as prominent Grand Officers is in the addition of the Irish Constitutions, promulgated in 1850, though thirty-seven years previously the United Grand Lodge of England had adopted the office, in deference to the usage of the Ancient. (See also references under Titles.)


See Rod, Deacon’s


Deaf mutes, as imperfect men, come under the provisions of the Old Constitutions, and are disqualified for initiation. At one time, however, a Lodge in Paris, captivated by the eclat of the proceeding, and unmindful of the ancient landmark, initiated a deaf mute, who was an intelligent professor in the Deal and Dumb Asylum. All the instructions were given through the medium of the language of the deaf mutes. lt. scarcely need be said that this cannot be recognized as a precedent.


The Scandinavians, in their Edda, describing the residence of Death in Hell, where she was east by her father, Loke, say that she there possesses large apartments, strongly built, and fenced with gates of iron. Her hall is Grief; her table, Famine Hunger, her knife; Delay, her servant; Faintness, her porch; Sickness and Pain, her bed ; and her tent, Cursing and Howling. But. the Masonic idea of death, like the Christian’s, is accompanied with no gloom, because it is represented only as a sleep, from whence we awaken into another life. Among the ancients, sleep and death were fabled as twins. Old Gorgias, when dying, said, “Sleep is about to deliver me up to his brother”; but the death sleep of the heathen was a sleep from which there was no awaking. The popular belief was annihilation, and the poets and philosophers fostered the people’s ignorance, by describing death as the total and irremediable extinction of live. Thus Seneca says-and he was too philosophic not to have known better-”that after death there comes nothing,” while Vergil, who doubtless had been initiated into the Mysteries of Eleusis, nevertheless calls death “an iron sleep, an eternal night,” yet the Ancient Mysteries were based upon the dogma of eternal live, and their initiations were intended to represent a resurrection. Freemasonry, deriving its system of symbolic teachings from these ancient religious associations, presents death to its neophytes as the gate or entrance to eternal existence. To teach the doctrine of immortality is the great object of the Third Degree. In its ceremonies we learn that live here is the time of labor, and that, working at the construction of a spiritual temple, we are worshiping the Grand Architect for whom we build that temple. ‘But we learn also that, when that live is ended, it closes only to open upon a newer and higher one, where in a second temple and a purer Lodge, the Freemason will find eternal truth. Death, therefore, in Masonic philosophy, is the symbol of initiation completed, perfected, and consummated.


Each of the ancient religious Mysteries, those quasi-Masonic associations of the heathen world, was accompanied by a legend, which was always of a funereal character representing the death, by violence, of the deity to whom it was dedicated, and his subsequent resurrection or restoration to life. Hence, the first part of the ceremonies of initiation was solemn and lugubrious in character, ,while the latter part was cheerful and joyous. These ceremonies and this legend were altogether symbolical, and the great truths of the unity of God and the immortality, of the soul were by them intended to be dramatically explained.

This representation of death, which finds its analogue in the Third Degree of Freemasonry, has been technically called the Death of the Mysteries. It is sometimes more precisely defined, in reference to any special one of the Mysteries, as the Cabiric death or the Bacchic death, as indicating the death represented in the Mysteries of the Cabiri or of Dionysus.


Debates in a Masonic Lodge must be conducted according to the fraternal principles of the Institution. Masonic debate or discussion should not become wrangling disputes nor quarrelsome contention. in the language of Doctor Oliver, ”the strictest courtesy should be observed during a debate, in a Mason’s Lodge, on questions which elicit a. difference of opinion; and any gross violation of decorum and good order is sure to be met by an admonition from the chair.” It must be always remembered that the object of a Masonic: discussion is to elicit truth, and not simply to secure ,victory. When, in a debate, a Brother desires to speak, he rises and addresses the chair. The presiding officer calls him by’ his name, and thus recognizes his right to the floor. while he is speaking, he is not to be interrupted by any other member, except on a point of order. If called to order by any member, the speaker is immediately to take his seat until the point is stated, when the Master will make his decision without debate. The speaker will then rise and resume his discourse, if not ruled out by the Master. During the time that he is speaking, no motion is permissible. Every member is permitted to speak once on the subject under discussion ; nor can he speak a second time, except by permission of the Master, unless there is a more liberal provision in the by-laws of the Lodge. There are to this rule two exceptions, namely, when a member rises to explain.

and when the mover of the resolution closes the debate by a second speech to which he is entitled by parliamentary law.


The ten commandments of the Masonic law, as delivered from Mount Sinai and recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, are so called. They are not obligatory upon a Freemason as a Freemason, because the Institution is tolerant and cosmopolite, and cannot require its members to give their adhesion to any, religious dogmas or precepts, excepting those which express a belief in the existence of God, and the immortality of the soul. No partial law prescribed for a particular religion can be properly selected for the government of an Institution whose great characteristic is its universality (see Moral Law).


An officer in the Knights Templar system of Baron Hund, who, in the absence of the Grand Master and his Prior, possessed the right to preside in the Chapter.


There Were two of this name, father and son. 0ne, born at Newport, Rhode Island, exact date unknown, died in 1808, at Philadelphia. Captain in the United States Navy from its birth, Brother Decatur was in charge of the Delaware, sloop of war, and later on commanded the Philadelphia, until the close of the differences with France. He moved from Philadelphia to Sinnepuxent, Maryland, and there, January 5, 1779, his son, Stephen Decatur II, was born. In August, 1777, Brother Decatur, the father, was initiated in Lodge No. 16, at Baltimore, and later in the same year received the Second and Third Degrees. Baltimore Lodge No. 16 was chartered by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1770. In 1781 its Charter was forfeited but was restored in 1785 as Saint, Johns Lodge No. 20, Fells Point, Baltimore, and which later went out of existence. Grand Secretary John A. Perry, Pennsylvania, writes to us that on “revering to the Minute Book of Lodge No. 3, I find the signature of Stephen Decatur of the outside leaf. The minutes show:

Stated Lodge opened in due form April 18, 1780.

Brother Decatur of Lodge No. 16 in Maryland petitioned to become a member of this Lodge, was balloted or and unanimously approved of.

Lodge closed and a Master’s Lodge opened.

Brothers Jackway and Decatur were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, returned and gave thanks.

Brother Decatur paid his fees $100.00 in the hands of the Treasurer.

He no doubt previously received the Entered Apprentice Degree in Lodge No. 16, Baltimore, Maryland, whose Warrant was granted by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, September 21, 1779, but was not in existence very long.” The claim is made but not fully proven that the younger Stephen Decatur was initiated in Saint Johns Lodge, either of Maryland or Rhode Island, October 12, 1799. He became a naval commander of prominence and met with great success in various enterprises (see History of Freemasonry in Maryland , E.T. Schultz volume 1, pages 60, 102; also Builder, George W. Baird, May, 1920).


The nom de plume, meaning in French the pen name, of C. L. Reinhold, a distinguished Masonic writer ( (see Reinhold).


Every candidate for initiation is required to make. “upon honor,” the following declaration before an appropriate officer or committee.

That unbiased by the improper solicitation of friends, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives, he freely and voluntary offers himself as a candidate for the Mysteries Freemasonry: that he is prompted to solicit the privileges of Freemasonry by a favorable option conceived of the constitution and a desire of knowledge; and that he will cheerfully conform to all the ancient usage’s and established customs of the Fraternity.

This form is very old. It is to be found in precisely the same words in the earliest edition of Preston. It is required by the English Constitution, that the candidate should subscribe his name to this declaration, But in America the declaration is made oral;, and usually before the Senior Deacon or the Stewards.


Every Master of a Lodge, after his election and before his installation, is required to give, in the presence of the Brethren, his assent to the following fifteen charges and regulations:

  1. Do you promise to be a good man and true, and strictly to obey the moral law?
  2. Do you promise to be a peaceable citizen, and cheerfully to conform to the laws of the country in which you reside?
  3. Do you promise not to be concerned in plots and conspiracies against the government of the country in which you live, but patiently to submit to the decisions of the law and the constituted authorities?
  4. Do you promise to pay proper respect to the civil magistrates, to work diligently , live creditably, and act honorably by all men?
  5. Do you promise to hold in veneration the original rulers and patrons of’ the Order of Freemasonry, and their regular successors, supreme and subordinate, according to their station ; and to submit to the awards and resolutions of your Brethren in Lodge convent, in every case consistent with the constitutions of the Order?
  6. Do you promise, as much as in you lies, to avoid private piques and quarrels, and to guard against intemperance and excess.
  7. Do you promise to be cautions in your behavior, courteous to your Brethren, and faithful to your Lodge?
  8. Do you promise to respect genuine and true Brethren, and to discountenance impostors and all dissenters from the Ancient Landmarks and Constitutions of Masonry?
  9. Do you promise, according to the best of your abilities to promote the general good of society, to cultivate the social virtues, and to propagate the knowledge of the mystic art, according to our statutes?
  10. Do you promise to pay homage to the Grand Master for the time being, and to his officers when duly installed, and strictly to conform to every edict of the Grand Lodge or General Assembly of Masons that is not subversive of the principles and groundwork of Masonry’?
  11. Do you admit that it is not in the power of any man or body of men, to make innovations in the Body of Masonry?
  12. Do you promise a regular attendance on the committees and communications of the Grand Lodge, on receiving proper notice, and to pay attention to all the duties of Masonry , on convenient occasions?
  13. Do you admit that no new Lodge can be formed without permission of the Grand Lodge; and that no countenance ought to be given to any irregular Lodge, or to any person clandestinely initiated therein, as being contrary to the ancient churches of the Order?
  14. Do you admit that no person can be regularly made a Freemason in, or admitted a member of, any regular Lodge, without precious notice, and due inquirer into his characters
  15. Do you agree that no visitors shall be received into your lodge without due examination and producing proper vouchers of their having been initiated in a regular Lodge? With very slight differences, such as might properly be called editorial variations, these charges and regulations are generally in use.


When a brother ceases to visit and pay his monthly subscription, he thereby declares himself off the Lodge” (see the Symbolical Dictionary). In England, the Brother resigns. Various designations rule in the United States, the chief one being dropped from the roll. In some States the Brother is punished by suspension. If, however, in certain States, he is clear of the books, upon application he can receive a certificate to that effect, and be dropped from the roll. In England he gets a clearance certificate. in Scotland a demit is issued by the Daughter Lodge and countersigned by the Grand Secretary.


A Lodge-room ought, besides its necessary furniture, to be ornamented with decorations which, while they adorn and beautify it, will not be unsuitable to its sacred character. On this subject, Doctor Oliver (in his Book of the Lodge, chapter v, page 70) makes the following judicious remarks: The expert Mason will be convinced that the walls of a Lodge room ought neither to be absolutely naked nor too much decorated. A chaste disposal of symbolical ornaments in the right places, and according to propriety, relieves the dullness and vacuity of a blank space and, though but sparingly used, will produce a striking impression and contribute to the general beauty and solemnity of the scene.


Among the ancients every temple, altar, statue, or sacred place was dedicated to some divinity. The Romans, during the Republic, confided this duty to their consuls, pretors, censors, or other chief magistrates, and afterward to the emperors. According to the Papirian law, the regulations of a clan or group of Roman families, the dedication must have been authorized by a decree of the senate and the people, and the consent of the college of augurs. The ceremony consisted in surrounding the temple or object of dedication with garlands of flowers, whilst the vestal virgins poured on the exterior of the temple the lustral water. The dedication was completed by a formula of words uttered by the Pontiff, and the immolation of a victim, whose entrails were placed upon an altar of turf. The dedication of a temple was always a festival for the people, and was annually commemorated.

While the Pagans dedicated their temples to different deities-sometimes to the joint worship of several -the monotheistic Jews dedicated their religious edifices to the one supreme Jehovah. Thus, David dedicated with solemn ceremonies the altar which he erected on the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, after the cessation of the plague which had afflicted his people; and Calmet conjectures that he composed the thirtieth Psalm on this occasion. The Jews extended this ceremony of dedication even to their private houses, and Clarke tells us, in reference to a passage on this subject in be Book of Deuteronomy, house to God with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving; and this was done in order to secure the divine presence and blessing, for no pious or sensible man could imagine he could dwell safely in a house that was not under the immediate protection of God.”

There is a noteworthy reproduction in the Symbolism of the Churches and Church Ornaments, a translation of the first book of the Rationale Divinorum Officorum written by William Durandus in the thirteenth century. Here we have the ritual of an ancient form of dedication. There is also quoted a brief but suggestive passage from Sugerius book on the dedication of the Church of St. Denis:

Right early in the morning, archbishops and bishops archdeacons and abbots, and other venerable persons who had lived of their proper expense, bore themselves right bishop fully and took their places on the platform raised for the consecration of the water, and placed between the sepulchers of the holy martyrs and S (the holy) Saviour’s altar. Then might ye have seen and they who stood by saw, and that with great devotion, such a band of so venerable bishops, arrayed in their white robes, sparkling in their pontifical robes and precious orfreys, grasp their pastoral staves, call on God in holy exorcism pace around the consecrated enclosure, and perform the nuptials of the Great King with such care that it seemed as though the ceremony were performed by a chorus of angels not a band of men. The crowd, in overwhelming magnitude, rolled around to the door, and while the aforesaid Episcopal band were sprinkling the walls with hyssop, the king and his nobles drive them back, repress them, guard the portals.

Suger, or Sugerius, as the name is often Latinized, was born about 1081 A.D. and died on January 31, 1151. A Frenchman who has been deemed the foremost historian of his time, he was in his tenth year at school in the Priory of St. Denis near Paris. Later he became secretary to the Abbot of St. Denis, and after a sojourn at Rome succeeded to this office. At his death the Abbey possessed considerable property, including a new church of which he had written much, including the above item of interest in regard to the old ceremony of dedication.

According to the learned Selden, there was a distinction among the Jews between consecration and dedication, for sacred things were both consecrated and dedicated, while profane things, such as private dwelling-houses, were only dedicated. Dedication was, therefore, a less sacred ceremony than consecration. This distinction has also been preserved among Christians, many of whom, and, in the early ages, all, consecrated their churches to the worship of God, but dedicated them to, or placed them under, the especial patronage of some particular saint. A similar practice prevails in the Masonic Institution; and therefore, while we consecrate our Lodges “to the honor of God’s glory,” we dedicate them to the patrons of our Order.

Tradition informs us that Masonic Lodges were originally dedicated to King Solomon, because he was our first Most Excellent Grand Master. In the sixteenth century Saint John the Baptist seems to have been considered as the peculiar patron of Freemasonry; but subsequently this honor was divided between the two Saints John, the Baptist and the Evangelist; and modern Lodges, in the United States at least, are universally erected or consecrated to God, and dedicated to the Holy Saints John. In the Hemming lectures, adopted in 1813, at the time of the union of the two Grand Lodges of England, the dedication was changed from the Saints John to King Solomon, and this usage now prevails very generally in England where Lodges are dedicated to “God and His Service, also to the memory of the Royal Solomon, under chose auspices many of our Masonic mysteries had weir origin”; but the ancient dedication to the Saints John was never abandoned by American Lodges.

The formula in Webb which dedicates the Lodge to the memory of the Holy Saint John,” was, undoubtedly, an inadvertence on the part of that lecturer, since in all his oral teachings Brother Mackey asserts he adhered to the more general system, and described a Lodge in his esoteric work as being “dedicated to the Holy Saints John.” This is now the universal practice, and the language used by Webb becomes contradictory and absurd when compared with the fact that the festivals of both saints are equally celebrated by the Order, and that the 27th of December is not less a day of observance in the Order than the 24th of June.

In one old lecture of the eighteenth century, this dedication to the two Saints John is thus explained:

Q. Our Lodges being finished, furnished, and decorated with ornaments, furniture, and jewels, to whom were they consecrated?
A. To God.
Q. Thank you, Brother; and can you tell me to whom they were first dedicated?
A. To Noah, who was saved in the Ark.
Q. And by what name were the Masons then known?
A. They were called Noachidæ, Sasses, or Wise Men.
Q. To whom were the Lodges dedicated during the Mosaic Dispensation?
A. To Moses! the chosen of God, and Solomon, the an of David, king of Israel, who was an eminent patron of the Craft.
Q. And under what name were the Masons known during that period?
A. Under the name of Dionysias, Geometricians, or Masters in Israel.
Q. But as Solomon was a Jest, and died long before the promulgation of Christianity. to whom were they dedicated under the Christian Dispensation?
A. From Solomon the patronage of Masonry passed to Saint John the Baptist.
Q. And under what name were they known after the promulgation of Christianity?
A. Under the name of Essenes, Archaics, or Freeze masons.
Q. Why were the Lodges dedicated to Saint John the Baptists
A. Because he was the forerunner of our Savior, and, by preaching repentance and humiliation, drew the first parallel of the Gospel.
Q. Had Saint John the Baptist any equal?
A. He had; Saint John the Evangelist.
Q. Why is he said to be equal to the Baptist?
A. Because he finished by his learning what the other began by his zeal, and thus drew a second line parallel to the former- ever since which time Freemasons’ Lodges in all Christian countries, have been dedicated to the one or the other, or both, of these worthy and worshipful men.

Here is another old lecture, adopted into the Prestonian system, which still further developed
these reasons for the Johannite dedication, but with bight variations in some of the details.

Brother Mackey quotes it thus:

From the building of the first Temple at Jerusalem to the Babylonish captivity, Freemasons’ Lodges were dedicated to King Solomon; from thence to the coming of the Messiah, they were dedicated to Zerubbabel, the builder of the second Temple, and from that time to the final destruction of the Temple by Titus, in the reign of Vespasian, they were dedicated to Saint John the Baptist; but owing to the many massacres and disorders which attended that memorable event, Freemasonry sunk very much into decay; many Lodges were entirely broken up, and but few could meet in sufficient numbers to constitute their legality; and at a general meeting of the Craft, held in the city of Benjamin, it was observed that the principal reason for the decline of Masonry was the want of a Grand Master to patronize it. They therefore deputed seven of their most eminent members to wait upon St. John the Evangelist, who was at that time Bishop of Ephesus, requesting him to take the office of Grand Master. He returned for answer, that though well stricken in years, being upwards of ninety, yet having been initiated into Masonry in the early part of his life, he would take upon himself the office. He thereby completed by his learning what the other Saint John effected by his zeal, and thus drew what Freemasons term a sine parallels ever since which time Freemasons Lodges in all Christian countries have been dedicated both to Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist.

So runs the tradition, but, as it lacks every claim to authenticity, a more philosophical reason may be assigned for this dedication to the two Saints John.

One of the earliest deviations from the pure religion of the Noachidae was distinguished by the introduction of sun worship. The sun, in the Egyptian mysteries, was symbolized by Osiris, the principal object of their rites, whose name, according to Plutarch and Macrobius, signified the prince and leader, the soul of the universe and the governor of the stars. Macrobius (Saturnalia, Book 1, chapter 18) says that the Egyptians worshiped the sun as the only divinity; and they represented him under various forms, according to the several phases, of his infancy at the winter solstice in December, his adolescence at the vernal equinox in March, his manhood at the summer solstice in June, and his old age at the autumnal equinox in September.

Among the Phoenicians, the sun was adored under the name of Adonis, and in Persia, under that of Mithras. In the Grecian mysteries, the orb of day was represented by one of the officers who superintended the ceremony of initiation; and in the Druidical rites his worship was introduced as the visible representative of the invisible, creative, and preservative principle of nature. In short, wherever the spurious Freemasonry existed, the adoration of, or, at least, a high respect for, the solar orb constituted a part of its system.

In Freemasonry, the sun is still retained as an important symbol. This fact must be familiar to every Freemason of any intelligence. It occupies, indeed, its appropriate position, simply as a symbol, but, nevertheless, it constitutes an essential part of the system. “As an emblem of God’s power,” says Hutchinson (Spirit of Masonry, Lecture IV, page 86), “His goodness, omnipresence, and eternity, the Lodge is adorned with the image of the sun, which he ordained to arise from the east and open the day; thereby calling forth the people of the earth to their worship and exercise in the walks of virtue.”

“The government of a Mason’s Lodge,” says Oliver (Signs and Symbols of Freemasonry, pages 204), “is vested in three superior officers, who are seated in the East, West, and South, to represent the rising, setting, and meridian sun.”

The sun, obedient to the all-seeing eye, is an emblem in the ritual of the Third Degree, and the sun displayed within an extended compass constitutes the jewel of the Past Master in the American system, and that of the Grand Master in the English.

But it is a needless task to cite authorities or multiply instances to prove how intimately the sun, as a symbol, is connected with the whole system of freemasonry.

It is then evident that the sun, either as an object of worship, or of symbolization, has always formed an important part of what has been called the two systems of Freemasonry, the Spurious and the Pure.

To the ancient sun worshipers, the movements of the heavenly bodies must have been something more than mere astronomical phenomena; they were the actions of the deities whom they adored, and hence were invested with the solemnity of a religious character. But, above allay the particular periods when the sun reached his greatest northern and southern declination, at the winter and summer solstices, by entering the zodiacal signs of Cancer and Capricorn, marked as they would be by the most evident effects on the seasons, and on the length of the days and nights, could not have passed unobserved. hut, on the contrary, must have occupied an important place in their ritual Now these important days fall respectively on the 21st of June and the 21st of December.

Hence, these solstitial periods were among the principal festivals observed by the Pagan nations. Du Pauw (Dissertations on Egyptians and Chinese in, page 159) remarks of the Egyptians, that “they had a fixed festival at each new moon; one at the summer, and one at the winter solstice, as well as the vernal and autumnal equinoxes ”

The Druids always observed the festivals of midsummer and midwinter in June and December The former for a long time was celebrated by the Christian descendants of the Druids “The eve of Saint John the Baptist,” says Chambers (information for the recopies Nose 89), “variously called Midsummer Eve, was formerly a time of high observance amongst the English, as it still is in Catholic countries. Bonfires were everywhere lighted, round which the people danced with joyful demonstrations, occasionally leaping through the flame.”

Godfrey Higgins (Celtic Druids, page 165) thus alludes to the celebration of the festival of midwinter he the ancient world:

The festival of the 25th of December was celebrated, by the Druids in Britain and Ireland, with great fires lighted on the tops of the hills. On the 25th of December, at the first moment of the day, throughout all the ancient world, the birthday of the god Sol was celebrated. This was the moment when, after the supposed winter solstice and the lowest point of his degradation below our hemisphere he began to increase and gradually to ascend. At this moment. in all the ancient religions, his birthday was kept; from India to the Ultima Thule. these ceremonies partook of the same character: everywhere the god was feigned to he born, and his festival was celebrated with great rejoicings.

See, also, Dudley Writrht’s Druidism, the Ancient Faith of Britain (page 24).

Our ancestors finding that the Church, according to its usage of purifying Pagan festivals by Christian application, had appropriated two days near those solstitial periods to the memory of two eminent saints, incorporated these festivals by the lapse of a few days into the Masonic calendar, and adopted these worthies as patrons of our Order. To this change, the earlier Christian Freemasons were the more persuaded by the peculiar character of these saints. Saint John the Baptist, by announcing the approach of Christ, and by the mystic ablution to which he subjected his proselytes, and which was afterward adopted in the ceremony of initiation into Christianity, might well be considered as the Grand Hierophant of the Church; while the mysterious and emblematic nature of the Apocalypse assimilated the mode of instruction adopted by Saint John the Evangelist to that practiced by the Fraternity.

We are thus led to the conclusion that the connection of the Saints John with the Masonic Institution is rather of a symbolic than of a historical character In dedicating our Lodges to them, we do not so much declare our belief that they were eminent members of the Order, as demonstrate our reverence for the great Architect of the Universe in the symbol of His most splendid creation, the great light of day.

In conclusion it may be observed that the ceremony of dedication is merely the enunciation of a form of words, and this having been done, the Lodge is thus, by the consecration and dedication, set apart as something sacred to the cultivation of the principles of Freemasonry, under that peculiar system which acknowledges the two Saints John as its patrons. Royal Arch Chapters are dedicated to Zerubbabel, Prince or Governor of Judah, and Commanderies of Knights Templar to Saint John the Almoner. Mark Lodges should be dedicated to Hiram the Builder; Past Masters to the Saints John, and Most Excellent Masters to King Solomon.


There are five dedications of the Temple of Jerusalem which are recorded in Jewish history:

  1. The dedication of the Solomonic Temple, 1004 B.C.
  2. The dedication in the time of Hezekiah, when it was purified from the abominations of Ahaz, 726 B.C.
  3. The dedication of Zerubbabel’s Temple, 513 B.C.
  4. The dedication of the Temple when it was purified after Judas Maccabaeus had driven out the Syrians, 161 B.C.
  5. The dedication of Herod’s Temple. 22 B.C.

The fourth of these is still celebrated by the Jews in their Feast of the Dedication. The first only is connected with the Masonic ritual, and is commemorated in the Most Excellent Master’s Degree of the American Rite as the Celebration of the Capstone. This dedication was made by King Solomon in the blear of the World 3000, and lasted eight days, commencing in the month of Tisri, 15th day, during the Feast of Tabernacles. The dedication of the Temple is called. in the English system of Lectures, the third grand offering which consecrates the floor of a Mason s Lodge. The same Lectures contain a tradition that on that occasion King Solomon assembled the nine Deputy Gland Masters in the holy place, from which all natural light had been carefully excluded, and which only received the artificial light which emanated from the east, west, and south, and there made the necessary arrangements. The legend must be considered as a myth; but the inimitable prayer and in vocation which were offered up by King Solomon on e occasion are recorded in the eighth chapter of the first Book of Kings, which contains the Scriptural fount of the dedication.


See Back


“The definitions of Freemasonry,” says Oliver, in his historical Landmarks of Freemasonry, “have been numerous; but they all unite in declaring it to be a system of morality, by the practice of which its members may advance their spiritual interest, and mount by the theological ladder from the Lodge on earth to the Lodge in heaven. It is a mistake, however, to suppose that Freemasonry is a system of religion. It is but the handmaiden to religion, although it largely and effectually illustrates one great branch of it, which is practice.”

The definition in the English Lectures is often quoted, which says that “Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated symbols.”

But Brother Mackey believed that a more compressive and exact definition is that it is a science which is engaged in the search after Divine Truth, and which employs symbolism as its method of instruction.

Another definition is by Dr. S. Bein, who terms Freemasonry that religious and mystical society – hose aim is moral perfection on the basis of general quality and fraternity (see Vortaro de Esperanto, page 50).

A more elaborate definition is by Brother W. N. Pontone, P.G.M., of Canada, as follows Masonry is something more than a secret Society, though secrecy is an element in esoteric work, more than ritualism, though the ritual, simple in its dignity and quaint and rhythmic in expression, is a factor more than symbolism, though Symbolic teaching is significant and transfigures the commonplace; more than philosophy, though it speculatively teaches how to live wisely and well; more than religion, but not greater than religion, yet discerning the divinity in humanity; more than mere landmarks, though these have their defining, historical, and traditional place; more even than brotherhood, for as in the Pythagorean days, it is educational and intellectual as well as social and fraternal; more than constructive and practical philanthropy, though love crowns all; yet it is all of these together with that something more of which language is inadequate to express the subtle mystery, even to those few choice spirits who seek to penetrate to the heart of its often unconscious power, and the span of life too brief to enable those who endeavor to attain the ideal perfection of that living organism, whose countersign is manhood~ whose inspiration is the God-head-that Masonic edifice of which love and truth form base and spire-Nisi Dominus frustra (see Builder, volume viii, page 55).

The Latin phrase Nisi Dominus frustra may be expressed in English as meaning Except the Masler be cheated. Brother Roscoe Pound has contributed to the Dictionary of Religion and Ethics (Macmillan Company, 1921), the following definition of our Institution:

The art or mystery of the Freemasons or Free and Accepted Masons, a universal religious, moral, charitable and benevolent fraternal organization It is religious in requiring belief in God as a prerequisite of initiation and insisting on such belief as one of its unalterable fundamental points. Beyond this and belief in immortality it has no religious dogmas but expects the brother to adhere to some religion and obligates him upon the sacred oath of the religion he professes For the rest it seeks to promote morals by ceremonies, symbols and lectures, inculcating life measured by reason and performance of duties toward God, one’s country, one’s neighbor and oneself. It relieves needy Brothers, cares for their dependents, educates orphans, and insists upon duties of charity and benevolence.

.At the laying of a cornerstone with Masonic ceremonies, an old friend, the late Colonel Edward hi. L. Ehlers, Grand Secretary of New York, gave an eloquent oration in which he used with fine effect a magnificent tribute to Freemasonry as our gifted and beloved Brother understood the Masonic Institution. As a definition it may be appropriately inserted here and should be studied with a similar statement found elsewhere (see Charity).

Fraternities of men have existed in some shape or form during every period of the world s history. Doubtless in the primitive ages it became apparent that mutual protection would afford the greatest security against the unbroken forces of nature and the evil nature of man and secure sympathy, support and protection, to those whose bond of union was made a common cause. Hence originated Masonry.

The origin of Masonry, like other historical transactions, lies buried in the gloom of obscurity. Its philosophy may be traced to the remotest ages of the world’s history. Its symbols are older than the Temple of Solomon and antedate the Pentateuch of Moses. Its ceremonials were practiced in the ancient mysteries when Egypt stood as the first and the most enlightened power of the then known world. Its tenets were known by the nomadic tribes of the East and transmitted from father to son, generation after generation, so that even today the Bedouin of the desert recognizes the hail of the Craftsman.

The mission of Masonry is to curb intemperate passions and to reconcile conflicting interests; to extend to nations these principles of humanity and benevolence which should actuate individuals, to destroy the pride of conquest and the pomp of war; to annihilate focal prejudices and unreasonable partialities; to banish from the world every Source of enmity and hostility, and to introduce those Social dealings which are better r adulated to preserve peace and good order than penal laws or political regulations.

The advantages which mankind in genera! reap from this master Science are beyond calculation. Its blessings are confined to no country, but are diffused with the Institution throughout the world. Men of all languages, of all religions, of the remotest nations, and of every habit and opinion, are united in a bond of brotherly affection..

A Mason is at home in every country and with his friends in every clime. What Society other than our own could make the proud boast that we know no foreign land On the plane of Masonry we only know God and man We know no royal blood or peasant stock. Men of wealth and simple toil, philosophers and men of low degree. royal heirs and hard-handed peasants, meet hers upon a common ground as brothers and God is Father of them all.

Live on for ever, thou Genius of Masonry ! Bring light and gladness, toleration and rational liberty, to those who dwell in darkness and superstition! reach the millions yet unborn thy Faith, thy Hope, thy Charity!


The Old Constitutions declare that the candidate for Freemasonry must be a “perfect youth, having no maim or defect in his body.” The Masonic law of physical qualifications is derived from the Mosaic, which excluded from the priesthood a man having any blemishes or deformities. The regulation in Freemasonry constitutes one of the landmarks, and is illustrative of the symbolism of the Institution. The earliest of the Old Constitutions, that of the Halliwell or Regius Manuscript (lines 153 to 156), has this language on the subject:

To the Craft it were great shame
To make a halt man and a lame,
For an imperfect man of such blood
Should do the Craft but little good.

This question is discussed in Doctor Mackey’s Jurisprudence of Freemasonry.


The word degree, in its primitive meaning, signifies a step. The degrees of Freemasonry are, then, the steps by which the candidate ascends from a lower to a higher condition of knowledge. It is now the opinion of the best scholars, that the division of the Masonic system into Degrees was the work of the revivalists of the beginning of the eighteenth century; that before that period there was but one Degree, or rather one common platform of ritualism; and that the division into Masters, Fellows, and Apprentices was simply a division of ranks, there being but one initiation for all.

In 1717 the whole body of the Fraternity consisted only of Entered Apprentices, who were recognized by the thirty-nine Regulations, compiled in 1720, as among the law-givers of the Craft, no change in those Regulations being allowed unless first submitted “even to the youngest Apprentice.”

In the Old Charges, collected by Anderson and approved in 1722, the Degree of Fellow Craft is introduced as being a necessary qualification for Grand Master, although the word degree is not used. “No brother can be a Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow Craft before his election.” And in the Manner of constituting a New Lodge of the same date, the Master and Wardens are taken from “among the Fellow Crafts,” which Derrnott explains by saying that “they were called Fellow Crafts because the Masons of old times never gave any man the title of Master Mason until he had first passed the chair.” In the thirteenth of the Regulations of 1720, approved in 1721, the orders or Degrees of Master and Fellow Craft are recognized in the following words: “Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow Crafts only in the Grand Lodge.” Between that period and 1738, the system of Degrees had been perfected; for Anderson, who, in that year, published the second edition of the Book of Constitutions, changed the phraseology of the Old Charges to suit the altered condition of things, and said, “a Prentice, when of age and expert, may become an Entered Prentice or a Free-Mason of the lowest degree, and upon his due improvements a Fellow Craft and a Master-Mason” (see Old Charge Ill, Constitutions, 1738, page 145).

No such words are found in the Charges as printed in 1723; and if at that time the distinction of the three Degrees had been as well defined as in 1738, Anderson would not have failed to insert the same language in his first edition. That he did not, leads to the fair presumption that the ranks of Fellow Craft and Master were not then absolutely recognized as distinctive degrees. The earliest ritual extant, which is contained in the Grand Mystery, published in 1725, makes no reference to any Degrees, but gives only what we may suppose was the common understanding of the initiation in use about that time.

The division of the Masonic system into three Degrees must have grown up between 1717 and 1730, but in 80 gradual and imperceptible a manner that we are unable to fix the precise date of the introduction of each Degree. In 1717 there was evidently but one Degree, or rather one form of initiation, and one catechism. Perhaps about 1721 the three Degrees were introduced, but the second and third were probably not perfected for many years. Even as late as 1735 the Entered Apprentice’s Degree contained the most prominent form of initiation, and he who was an Apprentice was, for all practical purposes, a Freemason. It was not until repeated improvements, by the adoption of new ceremonies and new regulations, that the Degree of Master Mason took the place which it now occupies; having been confined at first to those who had passed the chair.


See Ancient Craft Masonry


Degrees that are conferred on females as well as males (see Androgynous Degrees).


See Apocalyptic Degrees


See High Degrees


See Honorary Degrees


See Ineffable Degrees


The religious and military orders of knighthood which existed in the Middle Ages, such as the Knights Templar and Knights of Malta, which were incorporated into the Masonic system and conferred as Masonic degrees, have been called Degrees of Chivalry. They are Christian in character, and seek to perpetuate in a symbolic form the idea on which the original Orders were founded. The Companion of the Red Cross, although conferred, in the United States of America, in a Commandery of Knights Templar, and as preliminary to that Degree, is not properly a Degree of chivalry.


Fessler was desirous of abolishing all the advanced Degrees, but being unable to obtain the consent of the Royal York Grand Lodge, he composed out of them a new system of five Degrees which he called Degrees of Knowledge, the German being the words Erkenntnis-Stufen, to each of which was annexed a form of initiation. “The Degrees of Knowledge,” says Findel (History of Freemasonry, page 496), “consisted of a regular detailed course of instruction in each system of the Lodges, whether extinct or in full activity, and were to end with at complete critical remodelling of the history of Freemasonry, and of the Fraternity of Freemasons from the most ancient period down to our own day” (see Fessler, Rite of).


See Philosophic Degrees


See Symbolic Degrees


The counterpart of Tuathal. Mackenzie, in the Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia, says: Deiseil is used by the Druids as a term for the circumambulation of the sacred cairns. Derived from dead south, and tub a course that is, in a southward direction following the course of the sun. The opposite is Tuathal, in a northward direction, as is observed at the present day in approaching the grave with a corpse.

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