ATTN: MASONIC LECTURERS AND RESEARCHERS
 

ABOUT WSMAG   ADD YOUR ARTICLE   ARCHIVES   CONTACT US

THE WIDOWS SONS IS THE LARGEST MASONIC MOTORCYCLE ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD

 

continued from last issue of WSMag
 



CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 
 THE RITUAL OF THE OPERATIVE FREE MASONS Part 3
By THOMAS CARR, M.D, P.M. Honorary Member of the Guild of Operative Free-Masons





I

VI. The Super Fellows Third and Fourth Degrees.

 

The word "Giblim" and the sign described in the last chapter, left arm perpendicular and right arm horizontal, are the Pass Word and Pass Sign leading from the Second to the Third Degree; and the perfect Ashlar stone the candidate has himself made is the proof for advancement to the Super Fellows or Third Degree. The Operative Third Degree and the first part of the modern Mark Degree corresponding to the old Mark Man of the Speculatives are so very similar that a Speculative Mark Mason would find himself quite at home in the Operative working. The Word and Sign of the Operative Super Fellows or Third Degree is the same as the Speculative Mark Degree. It is obvious that this precludes me as a Speculative Mark Mason from describing the ceremony fully in print. The Super Fellow is allotted his Mark, and as a Super Fellow he is charged to produce "fare work and square." In this degree the Candidate is led round the Lodge three times and he takes his obligation on the polished ashlar stone with both knees bare.

 

FORM D.

 

Application to the Super Intendent of the Works of the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers.

 

I, …………, having well and truly served as a Super Fellow of the Craft of Free Mason for one year, and being of the age of twenty-three years, humbly crave to be further advanced to the honourable degree of Super Fellow Erector of the Craft of Free Mason. I further promise and swear -that if once advanced to the Fourth Degree of the Fellowship I will forever conform to all the ancient charges, usages and established customs of the Fraternity, as Super Fellow Erectors have done in all ages.

 

Witness my hand this day of . , , 19 . . . Signed . ……….Witness . ………….. Certificate of Character.

Signed ………….. Super Intendent of the Works.  Approved : Signed   Grand Master Mason VIP. Enrolled :

Signed ………….. Registrar.

 

The next Degree for the Operative Free Mason is that of an Erector, still a Super Fellow but one who is qualified and entitled to erect and put in position on the site the stones prepared in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Yards and Marked in the 3rd Stone Yard. This is the Operatives' Fourth Degree. The Super Fellow Erector ascertains from the marks the exact position in which each stone is intended to be placed. This is very similar to the Second Part of the modern Speculative Mark Masons Degree, corresponding to the old Speculative Mark Masters Degree ; which again precludes me as a Mark Mason from describing the ceremony fully in print.

 

In the Square Division it is the Chief N. E. Corner Head Stone that is missing, and in the Arch Division it is the Keystone of the Arch that has been lost. The moral is the same in both cases. "The Stone which the Builders refused is become the Head-stone of the corner." The Arch Masons reject the corner stone, and the Square Masons reject the Key-Stone. In the Operative account it is the negligent Mark Men who neglected to mark well who are "hove over" with a 30 cubits drop, and form the Completion Sacrifice; which is certainly in accordance with the spirit of the times of the building of King Solomon's Temple.

 

In this IVth Degree the Candidate takes his obligation on a perfect polished Ashlar stone, both knees bare as before, and he is led round the Lodge four times. The Word and Sign are the same as in the Speculative Mark Degree. All Operative Free Masons have these two Mark Degrees although the Mark was struck out by those who formulated Modern Speculative Free Masonry in 1717. The great majority of Operative Free Masons do not proceed beyond this, the Fourth Degree; as to take the Fifth Degree, -that of Superintendent, requires considerable technical knowledge.

 

FORM E.

 

Application to the Super Intendent of the Works of the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers.

 

I …….. , having well and truly served as a Super Fellow Erector of the Craft of Free Mason for one year, and being of the age of twenty-four years, humbly crave to be raised to the honourable degree of Intendent of the Craft of Free Mason. I further promise and swear that if once raised to the Fifth degree of the Fellowship I will forever conform to all the ancient charges, usages, and established customs of the Fraternity, as Menatzchim have done in all ages.

 

Witness my hand this day of , 19. . ,  Signed …………………. Witness. ……………….. Certificate of Character

Super Intendent of the Works.           Signed .                             Enrolled :                          Approved :

Signed  Grand Master Mason VIF    Signed                                Registrar.

 

VII. The Overseers. Fifth and Sixth Degrees.

 

There is no Degree in Speculative Free Masonry exactly corresponding to the V° of Super Intendent in Operative Free Masonry, although the term is used in the Speculative Arch Degree for Provincial Grand Rulers, and for Grand Lodge Officers in the Speculative Craft. The ceremony is however -somewhat similar to the appointment and investiture of Officers at a Speculative Installation Meeting. Every Officer is examined as to his knowledge — actual technical knowledge — and has to take the Officer's Oath and be installed in his Chair. The word of this Degree is "Menatzchim."

 

FORM F.

 

Application to the Masters of the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, R.ough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers.

 

I, having well and truly served as Intendent and Super Intendent of the Craft of Free Mason for one year, and being of the age of twenty-five years, humbly crave to be exalted to the honourable degree of Passed Master of the Craft of Free Mason. I further promise and swear that if once exalted to the Sixth Degree of the Fellowship I will forever conform to all the ancient charges, usages, and established customs of the Fraternity, as Harodim have done in all ages.

 

Witness my hand this day of , 19 •                   Signed                             Witness.                          Certificate of Character. .-.

Signed .                                                                   Super Intendent of the Works.                           Approved :

Signed  - „ J Grand Master Mason VIP.            Enrolled:                        Signed                             Registrar.

 

The next Operative Degree that of a Passed Master VI° requires still more knowledge than the V°. A man who takes it — and the number in a Lodge is limited to 15 — must be able to conduct building operations and generally understand his profession thoroughly, consequently requiring much more technical knowledge than does a Craftsman. He has to be able to lay schemes, draw plans and take complete charge of a department. The Senior Passed Master is really the Deputy Master. His Masonic title is Adoniram. He is practically General Manager and Works Manager and is responsible to the Three Masters. The word of this Degree is "Harod," plural "Harodim." The Fifth Degree Mason is led round the Lodge Five times and the Sixth Degree Mason six times.

 

FORM G.

 

Application to the Masters of the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors. Plaisterers and Bricklayers.

 

L…….. , having well and truly served as Passed Master, and Deputy Master Mason for five years, and being of the age of thirty-five years, humbly crave to be enthroned in the honourable and exalted degree of Master Mason of the Craft of Free Mason. I further promise and swear that if once enthroned in the Seventh Degree of the Fellowship I will forever conform to all the ancient charges, usages, and established customs of the Fraternity, as Enthroned Master Masons have done in all ages.

 

Witness my hand this day of , 19. ,                   Signed ,                           Witness _                        Certificate of Character and Skill

Signed ,                           Approved :                    Signed.                            Third Master Mason VII°.              Grand Master Mason VII°.

Enrolled :                       Signed                             Registrar.

 

In filling in the "Certificate of Character and Skill" for the foregoing Form G the only acceptable character is that found in II Chronicles II, v. 13 and 14. "A cunning man, endued with understanding." "Skillful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron,. in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson ; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him." On October 2nd, when the person who has signed Form G requires to be enthroned, this character must be read out in full before he can be considered eligible to become the Third Grand Master Mason.

 

III. The Three Masters. Seventh Degree.

 

The last and final or Seventh Degree is that of a Grand Master, of which there are three. These correspond in some measure to the Speculative Grand Master, Pro Grand Master, and Deputy Grand Master; or perhaps more nearly to the Three Principals in the Speculative Arch Degree. They represent Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre; and Hiram Abiiif. On being admitted to this Degree each Master is led round the Lodge seven times. The First and Second Grand Masters hold office for life or until superannuated. The Third Grand Master is ritually slain on the 2nd of October, and a fresh one is appointed every year. The Secrets of the Three Grand Masters are the 3, 4, 5,

 

THE PRESENT MASTERS OPENING A VII LODGE, BARDON HII,!,, JUNE IS, igil. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT THEY ARE: BRO. BAILEY, 3RD MASTER; R. B. GRANT; W. GRANT, 1ST MASTER; CLEMENT E. STRETTON.

 

Triangle, the laying out of Rectangular Buildings on the Five Point System, the Swastika, the Polar Star, and the worship of the Most High, whom they venerate under his. Hebrew name of El Shaddai. This name "El Shaddai" is the great word of the VHth Degree. These secrets of the Masters have been described by me in another paper and they still further support the opinion. I have endeavoured to maintain in these articles. One of the most remarkable facts about these secrets is that the VII Degree Operative Free Masons are taught that the Polar Star is the real seat of the power of the Most High and that the Swastika is his symbol and the emblem of the Pole Star. This is esoteric teaching which has long perished in Europe and is now only to be found in India, China, Japan and in the Valley of the Euphrates. It is ridiculous to pretend that a body holding such doctrines can have emanated from a modern Society founded in 1717 or thereabouts.

 

The Operatives have one great Annual Assembly which every Mason is bound to attend if possible, as pointed out in Article 23 of the Charge to Fellows of the Craft of Free Mason, given in a former part of this paper. They traditionally base this assembly made by King Solomon and set forth, I Kings viii, i and 2. In addition to this great annual assembly, which in the York Division is usually held on October 30th, they also have three great annual ceremonies.

 

(i) The commemoration of the Foundation of King Solomon's Temple, in April.

(2) The commemoration of the Death of Hiram Abiff on October 2nd.

(3) The commemoration of the Dedication of the Temple on October 30th.

 

Their tradition is that Free Masons have held these annual Commemorations ever since the building of King Solomon's Temple, and that these ceremonies are based on their own traditions and are only illustrated by the Bible narrative. All that is certain to an observer is that there is much in their ceremonies which is beyond the Bible narrative although quite harmonious with it. On each of these great occasions the Sanhedrim is opened before the ceremony takes place. I would now direct your attention to the plan of the Vlth and Vllth Degree Lodges. Note that the Masters' Chairs are in the West, on a raised dais with 7 steps, each step representing one of the Masonic Sciences, Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy. Also that Adoniram, the Deputy Master is just within the Vlth Degree Lodge Room; and that there are three pillars, hexagonal in shape, in the Lodge Room. The one in front of King Solomon in the West; another in the North East; and the third in the South East. The one in the West represents Mount Moriah, the one in the North East represents Mount Tabor, and the one in the South East represents Mount Sinai.

 

Three pillars are also to be found in Speculative Lodges, though not situated in the same places; and two of these Mounts are mentioned in Grand Lodge. Surely the three is more complete and more logical than the two. On ordinary occasions the Seventh Degree or Grand Masters' Lodge is opened by the three in private; and the Six Degree or Passed Masters' Lodge is opened by them in the same manner; then the door or screen or curtain between these two lodge rooms is opened and work goes on. But when the Annual Assembly or one of the three Great Commemorations is to be celebrated, then the Sanhedrim must be opened by these two Degrees together and conjointly. At the Sanhedrim there is no Warden present as such. King Solomon occupies the central seat of the Masters' Chair with Hiram King of Tyre on his right hand and Hiram Abiff on his left hand. The First Master asks the second and Third Masters if they agree that the Sanhedrim be opened; on their acquiescence all members of the VI Degree must prove themselves members by forming in three and make the word San-he-drim by each giving a syllable in turn. It is in this Sanhedrim that at the Foundation Commemoration in April the First Master says, quoting I Kings, v 3, 4, 5, "Thou knowest how that David my Father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord, My God hath given me rest on every side so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke unto David my father, saying. Thy son whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name."

 

He then commands a levy of men, I Kings, \. 13., "a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men;" and according to I Kings, VI, 7, that "neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron shall be "heard in the house while building." This necessitates the marking of the different parts. Next the VP Masons have to get out plans and specifications and make all arrangements. Then follows the ceremony of the founding and construction of the Temple. At the Dedication Commemoration the same process of opening the Sanhedrim has to be gone through. In this ceremony the occupant of the Chair in the .South East acts as Chaplain and represents Jachin and is regarded as being placed on Mount Sinai. The occupant of the chair in the North East represents Boaz and is regarded as being placed on Mount Tabor. The hexagonal pillars in front of them as they face the West bear the same names as the occupants of the chairs and the Operatives point out that the Scriptural narrative in I Kings VII, 21., confirms their arrangement as King Solomon stands in the West and faces East, "and he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin, and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz."

 

The Grand Deputy Master whose chair is at the feet of the three Grand Masters hands a blue cord up to King Solomon who fixes it to the pillar in front of him by passing it round it, and commands that it be carried to Boaz who fixes it to the pillar in front of him, then it is carried from Boaz to Jachin who fixes it to the pillar in front of him and sends it back to King Solomon. Three separate persons take the 3 angles and these when handed to the First Master acting as King Solomon, must add up to 180; if they do not the ceremony must be repeated. This blue cord is regarded as the great line of communication between the three great mountains or High Places, Moriah, Tabor and Sinai. The Operatives further explain that the First Master represents the King, and that as Jachin was High Priest at the time of the Dedication so he represents the Church, and Boaz the founder of the Royal House of David represents the State so that King and Church and State are all represented and are all united by the symbolical blue cord.

 

At the end of the ceremony of Dedication the First Master goes in state to the pillars at the East end, as he stands facing them, he points with his right hand and says "this on my right hand I name Jachin," and pointing with his left hand, "this on my left I name Boaz'' The Goldsmith's Guild, which is represented, then fixes a gold plate on each pillar bearing its name, and the First Master representing King Solomon himself fixes the last gold bolt. These plates are fixed on the bases of the pillars and on their east side so' that all entering see the name as they approach. The First Master then raises his hands and his eyes to Heaven, and addressing El Shaddai, says, "I have completed the work that my father commanded me to perform." The Grand seven-fold Salute of the Grand Masters is then given to El Shaddai 21 times, thus, seven times, then a pause and seven times again, and then a pause and seven times" again. Then the First Master blesses the congregation, who all stand up, according to I Kings, viii, 14, "and the King turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood)."

 

Then the special sign of the Triangle is given. This is done by putting the tips of the thumbs together the thumbs being held in the same horizontal line, then join the tips of the fore-fingers together and you get as nearly as possible an equilateral triangle ; bring the hands in front of the face so that the two eyes look through the triangle thus formed. The word J. A. H. is uttered, and the sign of dispersal, you can go, is given. "The work is finished." Then the Sanhedrim is closed and after that the VII Degree and VI Degree Lodges. This ends the ceremony.

 

The question has been raised by some, who can have been but inadequately acquainted with the Operative Free Masons and their Ritual, might not the Operative Society and Ritual be derived from the Speculative Society and Ritual rather than the other way about as I claim it to have been in 'this paper. Surely this does not require much consideration to see how incredible a deduction it is. The Operative Ritual is based, as regards its ceremonies, its signs and its words, on actual operative tools, practices, and customs. The Operative Ritual is much nearer in form to that of the ancient charges which have come down to us and which date long before the foundation of speculative Freemasonry, as divorced from Operative Freemasonry in the early 18th century. The Ritual of the Operatives is more archaic in form and is much fuller than is that of the Speculatives and contains practical instruction of which only the echoes are found in the Speculative Ritual. Nearly all the Speculative teaching can be traced to the Operative Ceremonies, but there is much of the Operative teaching which has no correspondence in the Speculative ceremonies.

 

Then the reason for much of the speculative ceremonies can be seen in the Operative Rituals, while the Operative ceremonies get no elucidation from the Speculative Ritual. I would specially draw your attention to the obligation in the First Degree in which the Operative formula contains all that the Speculative does and just enough more to show its meaning and forcefulness. I think there can be no two opinions as to which is the older form of the two and is the original. Then the signs and words of the Operatives are all connected "with and based upon their trade while, extraneous signs and words are introduced into the Speculative system, for example, the Speculative Pass Word from the Second to the Third Degree is really the word of the Blacksmith's Guild. I would here specially refer to the Giblim sign of the expert craftsman of the Second Degree and to the VII Degree signs and secrets; added to which, the -Operative ceremonies are actual and concrete and refer to realities, while the Speculative ceremonies and allusions are symbolic and abstract and refer to idealatries. The actual must precede the symbolic for it to have reference and meaning, and the concrete must exist before the abstract can be conceived. The realistic exists before the idealistic can be built upon it. To any one who will compare the two Rituals and the internal evidence of each there can be no question as to which is the elder and original, quite irrespective of tradition and of the fact that the older body, the Operative, is using ceremonial forms which are admittedly the same as those of the 17th Century of at least fifty years before the formation of Speculative Free Masonry in 1717. Surely if any brother did not know or doubted the fact that the Speculative system is irrefutably based upon, and Bro. Clement E. Stretton has many and deep resemblances to, Operative Free Masonry, he must now be convinced.

 

Findel, the great German writer, in "The History of Free Masonry" published so long ago as 1865, puts my own conclusions most forcibly when he says "Originating from the Fraternity of Operative Masons, the Craft has borrowed its emblems and symbols from the Building Corporations, to impart to its members moral truths and the rules of the Royal Art." And again, speaking of the increase of the Speculative element, "Then it was that Freemasonry, as it is understood at the present day, dawned into existence, retaining the Spirit of the Ancient Brotherhood, their fundamental laws, and their traditional customs, yet all were united in relegating Architecture and Operative Masonry to the station to which they belonged. The customary technical expressions, which were excellently well suited to the symbolic Architecture of a Temple, were retained, but figuratively, withal bearing a higher signification."

 

In conclusion I must express my gratitude to the Worshipful Society of Operative Freemasons of the York Division, with special reference to W. Bro. C. E. Stretton, for their patient instruction in the technical work and ritual of their ceremonies. I also gratefully testify to their brotherly regard and desire for the extension of knowledge which has alone led them to give me permission to publish so much of their working and of their secrets. Personally, I sincerely regret and deeply deplore the fact that trade unionism and modern conditions of trade have caused the decay and threaten the existence of so useful ancient and honourable a society; but am highly gratified at having been selected as the medium to make their present existence and more widely known. Possibly the Operative Guild of Free Masons which has continued down to the present day may be doomed to extinction; but their history will ever live and their memory ever be perpetuated by their undoubted successors, the Speculative Free Masons, whose proper title is "The Ancient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons."

 

The Swastika

 

The Swastika is probably the most ancient and most widely distributed symbol that has ever existed. The author in another paper has traced it back to the Great Yellow or Turanian Race and shows reasons to believe its distribution took place in the Bronze age and that originally it was the emblem of the Rotation of the Seven Stars of the Great Bear (The Dipper) around the Polar Star and was the symbol of the most High God who there reigned and ruled the visible universe. Among Operative Freemasons the VII° candidate is taken into a vault under the Grand Lodge Room and from the darkness looks up to the centre of its roof and there sees a large letter G. from which a plumb-line is suspended which hangs down into the chamber in which he is placed. He is told that this plumb-line comes down from the Pole Star and that the Swastika is its symbol. The Swastika is depicted on the Sacred Pedestal in front of him. When an Operative Lodge is opened in the VIP each of the Grand Masters puts his "Square" together with the Square on the Volume of the Sacred Law in such a way as to form a Swastika which is a much venerated symbol among all Operative Freemasons and is held to represent El Shaddai or the Most High, Himself.

 

 

 

 

Manufactured by

GAYLORD BROS. Inc.

Syracuse, N. Y.

Stockton, Callif. ..

 END OF DOCUMENT

 

ATTN: MASONIC LECTURERS.........The WSMAG is looking to becomethe best source for Masonic Education. We hope to work with Masonic Lecturers, Artists, poets and researchers as a team to present the teachings of Freemasonry to the readers of the WSMag......If you are interested in having your work published in the WSMag, please contact the WSMag.


COMMENT
ON
THIS ARTICLE

 

READ
THE
COMMENTS


HOME