Enciclopédia Mackey – G ~ GAUGE



In the Hebrew, represented by The seventh letter of the English, Latin, and Romanic alphabets. In the Greek and many other alphabets it is the third in place; in the Russian, Wallachian, and some others it is the fourth; in the Arabic the fifth, and in the Ethiopian the twentieth. In Hebrew it is called Gheé-mel, is of the numerical value of three, and its signification is camel. It is associated with the third sacred name of God, in Hebrew, in: GlwWdot, or in Latin magnus, the Mighty. In Freemasonry it is given as the initial of the word God. The Masonic use of the letter tends to the belief of a modern form in the ceremony of the Fellow Craft Degree (see G. O. D.). As in all Roman Catholic and in many Protestant churches the cross, engraved or sculptured in some prominent position, will be found as the expressive symbol of Christianity, so in every Masonic Lodge a letter G may be seen in the East, either painted on the wall or sculptured in wood or metal, and suspended over the Master’s chair. This is, in fact, if not the most prominent, certainly the most familiar, of all the symbols of Freemasonry. It is the one to which the poet, Brother Robert Burns, alluded in those well known and often-quoted lines, in which he speaks of . . . that hieroglyphic bright

Which none but Craftsmen ever saw;” that is to say, ever saw understandingly ever saw, knowing at the same time what it meant. There if an uncertainty as to the exact time when this symbol was first introduced into Speculative Masonry. It was not derived, in its present form, from the Operative Masons of the Middle Ages, who bestowed upon Freemasonry so much of its symbolism, for it if not found among the architectural decorations of the old cathedrals. Doctor Oliver says it was in the old lectures; but this is an uncertain expression. From Prichard’s Masonry Dissected, which was published in 1730, it would seem that the symbol was not in use at that date. But it may have been omitted. If Tubal Kain, which was published in 1767, is, as it purported to be, identical with Prichard’s purpose, the question is settled; for it contains the lecture on the letter G. to which reference will directly be made.

However, it is certain that the symbol was well known and recognized in 1766, and some few years before. The book entitled Solomon in all has Glory, the first edition of which appeared in that year, and which is a translation of Le Maçon demasque, contains the reference to and the explanation of the symbol. The work contains abundant internal evidence that it is a translation, and hence the symbol may, like some others of the system subsequent to 1717, have been first introduced on the Continent, and then returned in the translation, all of which would indicate a date some years prior to 1776 for the time of its adoption.

In the ritual contained in Tubal Kain (page 18), or, if that be only a reprint, in Masonry Dissected, that is to say, in 1768 or in 1730, there is a test which is called The Repeating the Letter G, and which Doctor Oliver gives in his Landmarks (I, 454) as a part of the old lectures. It is doggerel verse, and in the form of a catechism between an examiner and a respondent, a form greatly affected in these old lectures, and is as follows, the Resp. meaning Response, and the Ex., Examiner:

RESP. In the Midst of Solomon’s Temple there stands a G
A letter for all to read and see;
But few there be that understand What means the letter G.
Ex. My friend, if you pretend to be
Of this Fraternity
You can forthwith and rightly tell
What means that letter G.
RESP. By sciences are brought about
Bodies of various kinds,
Which do appear to perfect sight
But none but males shall know my
Ex. the Right shall
RESP. If Worshipful.
Ex. Both Right and Worshipful I am;
To nail you I have command,
That you forthwith let me know,
As I you may understand.
RESP. BY letters four and science five
This G aright doth stand,
In a due art and proportion
You have your answer, Friend.

And now as to the signification of the symbol. We may say, in the first place, that the explanation is by no means, and never has been, esoteric. As the symbol itself has always been exposed to public view, forming, as it does, a prominent part of the furniture of a Lodge, to be seen by everyone, so our Masonic authors from the earliest times, have not hesitated to write, openly and in the plainest language, of its signification. The fact is, that the secret instruction in reference to this symbol relates not to the knowledge of the symbol itself, but to the mode in which, and the object for which that knowledge has been obtained.

Hutchinson, who wrote as early as 1776, says, in his Spirit of Masonry (Lecture viii):

It is new incumbent on me to demonstrate to you the great signification of the letter G. wherewith Lodges and the medals of Masons are ornamented. To apply its signification to the name of God only is depriving it of part of its Masonic import; although I have already shown that the symbols used in lodges are expressive of the Divinity’s being the great object of Masonry, as Architect of the world. This significant letter denotes Geometry, which, to artificers, is the science by which all their labors are calculated and formed; and to Masons, contains the determinations definition, and proof of the order, beauty, and wonderful wisdom of the power of God in His creation.

Again, Dr. Frederick Dalcho, a distinguished Freemason of South Carolina, in one of his orations delivered and published in 1801, uses the following language (page 27):

The letter G. which ornaments the Master’s Lodge, is not only expressive of the name of the Grand Architect of the universe. but also denotes the science of Geometry, so necessary to artists. But the adoption of it by Mesons implies no more than their respect for those inventions which demonstrate to the world the power, the wisdom, and beneficence of the Almighty Builder in the works of the creation.

Lastly, Doctor Oliver has said, in his Golden Remains of she Early Masonic Writers, that “the term G. A. O. T. U. is used among Masons for this great and glorious Being, designated by the letter G. that it may be applied by every brother to the object of his adoration.” More quotations are unnecessary to show that from the earliest times, since the adoption of the letter as a symbol, its explanation has not been deemed an esoteric or secret part of the ritual. No Masonic writer has hesitated openly to give an explanation of its meaning. The mode in which, and the purpose for which, that explanation was obtained are the only hidden things about the symbol.

It is to be regretted that the letter G. as a symbol, was ever admitted into the Masonic system. The use of it as an initial would necessarily confine it to the English language and to modern times. It wants therefore, as a symbol, the necessary characteristics of both universality and antiquity. The Greek letter gamma is said to have been venerated by the Pythagoreans because it was the initial of af«,uerpzQ, or Geometry. But this veneration could not have been shared by other nations whose alphabet had no gamma, and where the word for geometry was entirely different.

There can be no doubt that the letter G is a very modern symbol, not belonging to any old system anterior to the origin of the English language. It is, in fact, a corruption of the old Hebrew Cabalistic symbol, the letters 1yod, by which the sacred name of God-in fact, the most sacred name, the Tetragrammaton is expressed. This letter yod is the initial letter of the word ;ll;r, or Jehovah, and is constantly to be met with among Hebrew writers, as the abbreviation or symbol of that most holy name, which, indeed, was never written at length. Now, as G is in like manner the initial of God, the English equivalent of the Hebrew Jehovah, the letter has been adopted as a symbol intended to supply to modern Lodges the place of the Hebrew symbol. First adopted by the English ceremony makers, it has without remark, been transferred to the Freemasonry of the Continent, and it is to be found as a symbol in all the systems of Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and every other country where Freemasonry has been introduced; although in Germany only can it serve, as it does in England, for an intelligent symbol. The letter G. then has in Freemasonry the same force and signification that the letter god had among the Cabalists. It is only a symbol of the Hebrew letter, and, as that is a symbol of God, the letter G is only a symbol of a symbol. As for its reference to geometry, Kloss, the German Masonic historian, says that the old Operative Masons referred the entire science of geometry to the art of building, which gave to the modern English Freemasons occasion to embrace the whole system of Freemasonry under the head of Geometry, and hence the symbol of that science, as well as of God, was adopted for the purpose of giving elevation to the Fellow Craft’s Degree.

Indeed, the symbol, made sacred by its reference to the Grand Geometrician of the universe, was well worthy to be applied to that science which has, from the remotest times, been deemed synonymous with Freemasonry.


A significant word in the advanced Degrees. Oliver says (Landmarks i, 335), “in philosophical Masonry, heaven, or, more correctly speaking, the third heaven, is denominated Mount Gabaon, which is feigned to be accessible only by the seven degrees that compose the winding staircase. These are the degrees terminating in the Royal Arch.” Gabaon is defined to signify a high place. It is the Septuagint and Vulgate form of lip::, Gibeon, which was the city in which the tabernacle was stationed during the reigns of David and Solomon. The word means a city built on a hill, and is referred to in Second Chronicles (i, 3). “So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God.” In a ritual, middle of the eighteenth century, it is said that Gabanon is the name of a Master Mason. This word is a striking evidence of the changes which Hebrew words have undergone in their transmission to Masonic ceremonies, and of the almost impossibility of tracing them to their proper root. It would seem difficult to find a connection between Gabanon and any known Hebrew word. But if we refer to Guillemain’s Ritual of Adonhiramite Masonry (page 95) we will find the following passage:

How is a Master called?

Gabaon, which is the name of the place where the Israelites deposited the ark in the time of trouble. What does this signify?

That the heart of a Mason ought to be pure enough to be a temple suitable for God.

There is abundant internal evidence that these two rituals came from a common source, and that Gabaon is a French distortion, as Gabanon is an English one, of some unknown word connected, however, with the Ark of the Covenant as the place where that article was deposited. Now, we learn from the Jewish records that the Philistines, who had captured the ark, deposited it “in the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah;” and that David, subsequently recapturing it, carried it to Jerusalem, but left the tabernacle at Gibeon. The ritualist did not remember that the tabernacle at Gibeon was without the ark, but supposed that it was still in that sacred shrine. Hence Gabaon or Gabanon must have been corrupted from either Gibeah or Gibeon, because the ark was considered to be at some time in both places. But Gibeon had already been corrupted by the Septuagint and the Vulgate versions into Gabaon; and this undoubtedly is the word from which Gabanon is derived, through either the Septuagint or the Vulgate, or perhaps from Josephus, who calls it Gabao.


In French Masonic language the widow of a Master Mason. Derived from Gabaon.


Hebrews n::, strong. A significant word in the advanced Degrees.


Hebrew, 9 , a man or hero of God. The name of one of the archangels, referred to in some of the advanced Degrees. He interpreted to Daniel the vision of the ram and the he-goat, and made the prophecy of the “seventy weeks” (Daniel viui and ix); he announced the future appearance of the Messiah (Daniel ix, 21-7). In the New Testament he foretold to Zacharias the birth of John the Baptist (Luke i, 19), and to Mary the birth of Christ (Luke i, 26). Among the Rabbis Gabriel is entrusted with the care of the souls of the dead, and is represented as having taught Joseph the seventy languages spoken at Babel. In addition, he was the only angel who could speak Chaldee and Syriac. The Talmud speaks of him as the Prince of Fire, the Spirit presiding over thunder. The Mohammedans term him the Spirit of Truth, and believe that he dictated the Koran to Mohammed.


A bookseller of Berlin, born on the 14th of December, 1763, and initiated into Freemasonry in 1804. He took much interest in the Order, and was the author of several works. the most valuable and best known of which is the Freimaurer-Lexicon, or Freemasons Lexicon, published in 1818; which, although far inferior to that of Lenning, which appeared four years afterward, is, as a pioneer work, very creditable to its author. The Lexicon was translated into English and published in the London Freemasons Magazine.


See Twenty-four-Inch Gage


Also spelled Galaad. Most probably in Doctor Mackey’s opinion, the latter is a corruption of Gilead. The name of a pure and noble Knight, Sir Galahad, of the Round Table who sought the Holy Grail (see Idylls of the King by Tennyson, Quest of the Holy Grail, by Map, and High History of the Holy Grail, by Evans). Sir Galahad was the ideal knight of the legends of romance. The Holy Grail was reputed in several legends to be the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and in its preservation to have been the medium of many miracles and thus was especially sought by the Knights of King Arthur, Sir Galahad a leader in the quest. Said by the old ritualists to have been the Keeper of the Seals in the Scottish Degree of Knights of the Ninth Arch or Sacred Vault of James VI.


French statesman, born at Cahors on April 2, 1838, the son of a Genoese grocer and a Frenchwoman. Studied for the law at Paris and although hindered by the accidental loss of an eye, his energy won for him prominence. Opposing the rupture with Germany in 1870, he patriotically gave every aid to France during the war, escaped in a balloon from the besieged Paris, raised another army, fighting to the finish. He founded the influential journal, La République française, succeeded in the adoption of a new constitution, massed an effective opposition to the restoration of the Pope’s temporal power, became memorable as president of the Chamber of Deputies, formed a ministry, sought to establish friendly relations between France and former foes, and was ever powerful, progressive, and persevering in public service. His career was cut short at the age of forty-four by the accidental discharge of a revolver in his home at Ville d’Avray near Sevres on December 31, 1882. He was initiated in a Masonic Lodge at Bordeaux and on July 8,1875, with Emile Littré and Jules Ferry affiliated with the Lodge La Clemente Amitie at Paris.


The title given to the candidate in the Scandinavian Mysteries, signifying wanderer. The application is also made to the sun.


An abbreviation of Grand Architect of the Universe (see Great Archit of the Universe) .


Renowned Italian patriot, born at Nice, July 4, 1807, died June 2,1882, at Caprera, a small island off the north coast of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea. Son of a sailor, he commanded a vessel in 1830; was condemned to death in 1834 as a revolutionist but escaped to South America; his limbs were dislocated by torture while the prisoner in the revolt against Brazil, and regaining his liberty he enabled Uruguay to secure independence and returned to Italy, refusing any recompense. Forming a new army he was pursued by the forces of France, Spain, Austria, and Naples, lost his wife and most of his followers by death and escaped to New York, where he prospered, and returned to Italy in 1854.

Took command of Alpine infantry in war of 1859 and was from that time successfully engaged in the many struggles for a united Italy. His biography in the books by G. M. Trevelyan is most exhilarating reading. As a Freemason he was Grand Master at Palermo, 1860, and called a convention in 1867 to unite all the Italian Bodies, a project not then fully successful. Through the courtesy of Brother Melvin M. Johnson, Past Grand Master, Massachusetts, an incident relating to General Garibaldi was verified for us. Brother Curtis Guild, Jr., died in 1915, had been governor of Massachusetts for three years and later was Ambassador to Russia, his last year as Governor was also the first of his two years as Thrice Potent Master of Boston Lafayette Lodge of Perfection.

He had a sister and brother, Courtenay Guild, 32 . The account that follows is as both remember their father telling it a number of times:

My father, Curtis Guild, who died in 1911, was a Knight Templar, 32 Mason, and Past Thrice Potent Master of Boston Lafayette Lodge of Perfection. My brother, Curtis build, who died in l915, was a Knight Templar, 33 Mason and Past Thrice Potent Master of Boston Lafayette Lodge of Perfection. The story of my father’s meeting with Garibaldi was told by my father and by my brother at various Masonic meetings and the desire to preserve an accurate record of the incident is my reason for writing out the story that I heard many times from the lips of my father. In 1867 my father and mother made their first visit to Europe, and after travel in England, France and Switzerland had arrived in Florence, with the intention of continuing the journey to Rome. It was summer, and there was some talk of an epidemic of cholera in Rome although little was said about the scourge in the newspapers. If there were an actual epidemic of cholera in Rome it would be most imprudent for American travelers to visit the city, but how could one learn the truth? General Giuseppe Garibaldi, with his army of redshirted soldiers, was preparing his campaign for a united Italy, that achieved success in 1870, and his headquarters were established in Florence. General Garibaldi was at one time Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Italy. Wry father knew him to be a Mason, and had doubtless sat in a Lodge with him during one of his visits to America, so he decided to call on the General and ask his advice.

The idea of an American traveler making a social call on the chief of a revolutionary army was ridiculed, but this traveler felt that he had the benefit of a pass that would gain him admission. He went to the General’s headquarters where there were about twenty men before him awaiting an audience. On his card that he handed to the Orderly were these words:

Curtis Guild,
Boston, America 32

It was a surprise to the traveler as well as to the others when the Orderly returned from an inner room and said that the General would receive the American gentleman at once. The General spoke excellent English. “What can I do for you, Mr. Guild?” were his first words after greetings had been exchanged, and in answer to the inquiry about the cholera he said: “Don’t go to Rome. The local government tries to keep the facts out of the papers, but there are a hundred new cases of cholera a day there, and there is a better reason why you should not go to Rome. Under pledge of Masonic secrecy I tell you that you might find it easier to get into Rome than to get out.” My father thanked the General and could only say to his wife and friends that he had decided not to go to Rome. The following week the army of Garibaldi besieged Rome, and many American travelers in the city were shut up there and delayed so that they missed the steamers on which they had engaged rooms for the return journey to America. The pledge of secrecy was, of course, removed after the siege of Rome was begun, and my father used to enjoy telling the story when anybody asked, ” What’s the use of Masonry? ”

In 1920 Miss Italia Anita Garibaldi, granddaughter of the General, visited America and delivered a number of lectures for the benefit of her family. Hearing her speak before a club in Boston, I was permitted after the lecture to tell to her and to the club my father’s adventure. In connection with subsequent lectures it was a pleasure to me to be able to render service of some value to this daughter, granddaughter, and sister of Masons, in recognition of the favor to my parents fifty-three years before.


Said in an old explanation of the Degree of Knights of the East and West to have been the Patriarch of Jerusalem, between whose hands the first Knights of that Order took, in 1182, their vows. It is a corruption, by the French ritualists, of Garimond or Gartmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem before whom the Hospitalers took their three vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty.


Order of the Female Gardeners, an Italian political order whose members were women, founded in Naples, 1820. Its emblems were flowers. The Italian name was Ordine della Giardiniere.


An apothecary of Paris, who, in the year 1796, published a work entitled Le Tounbeau de Jacques Molai, ou histoire secrete et abrade des initiés anciens et modernes (meaning, Sepulcher of Jacques Moray, or secret and abridged history of ancients and modern initiates). In this book, which embraced all the errors of Barruel and Robison, he made the same charges of atheism and conspiracy against the Fraternity, and loaded the Chevalier Ramsay with the most vehement indignation as a libertine and traitor. But De Gassicourt subsequently acknowledged his folly in writing against a Society of which he really knew nothing. In fact, in 1805, he solicited admission into the Order, and was initiated in the Lodge l’Abeille, at Paris, where, in the various offices of Orator and Master, which he filled, he taught and recommended that Institution which he had once abused; and even on a public occasion pronounced the eulogy of that Ramsay whom he had formerly anathematized.


Grand Duke of Tuscany; in 1737 he inaugurated a persecution against the Freemasons in his dominions.


In the system of Freemasonry, the Temple of Solomon is represented as having a gate on the east, west, and south sides, but none on the north. In reference to the historical Temple of Jerusalem, such a representation is wholly incorrect. In the walls of the building itself there were no places of entrance except the door of the porch, which gave admission to the house. But in the surrounding courts there were gates at every point of the compass. The Masonic idea of the Temple is, however, entirely symbolic. The Temple is to the Speculative Freemason only a symbol, not a historical building, and the gates are imaginary and symbolic also. They are, in the first place, symbols of the progress of the sun in his daily course, rising in the East, culminating to the meridian in the South, and setting in the West. They are also, in the allegory of life, which it is the object of the Third Degree to illustrate, symbols of the three stages of youth, manhood, and old age, or, more properly, of birth, life, and death.


Known as the Monk Gaudini. Elected Grand Master of Templars, 1291; died 1301


See Twenty-four-Inch Gave

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