Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Sword and Trowel

The Sword and Trowel is a prominent symbol of the Cryptic Rite.  Though it is not always the case, this symbol can be displayed with the crossed Sword and Trowel within a broken triangle, within a complete equilateral triangle, and within the circle contained within the square. Most of the time it is seen as it is on the right. Let us delve into each of these symbols with the three exterior symbols: the square, the circle, and the triangle.

The Square, the Circle, and the Triangle

These three symbols have many meanings.  The square is a symbol of security and protection. According to George L. Marshall, Past Grand Commander: "The hollow square (also known as the infantry square) was a formation assumed by the infantry when threatened with a cavalry attack." As I talked about in the last Royal Arch article, the square's four sides signify completion, balance, stability, order, endurance, and the many quadrants of nature (directions, winds, elements, moon phases, and so forth).  The circle has no end and no beginning which represents infinity or eternity.  It has been to many generations a representation of the celestial and Heavenly bodies.  The circle also represents freedom, unity, completeness, and harmony. The circle is also restrictive though, as we are reminded in the 1st degree of Freemasonry and Point within a Circle whereby we are taught to restrain our passions, our prejudices, and our interests from betraying us if we were to go beyond the bounds of this line. The circle, in some cultures, represents the union between Heaven and Earth as well as the psyche. The triangle signifies divinity, harmony, ascension, illumination, and gender (depending on positioning of the triangle). The triangle and the number 3 represents time: past, present, and future, or the beginning, the middle, and the end. Three is the first number to form a geometric shape -- the triangle.  In Christianity, we see the 3 Wise men or Magi; the 3 realms of the afterlife: Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (Catholic doctrine); the Holy Family; and the Holy Trinity. In Masonry this number corresponds in the 3 Great Lights, the 3 Lesser Lights, the 3 Principle Officers, the 3 Great Pillars, the 3 Virtues, the 3 Principle Tenets, and the 3 Principle Stages of Human Life. The Broken Triangle represents mortality and death.  This symbol is comparison to Craft Masonry is the Broken Column.

Sir Knight Marshall also points out that the square is the "here and now of this life". I found this intriguing as I read the other day on an article about the Dualism of the Sword and Trowel, that the square is the body, the circle is the mind, and the triangle is the soul. In Buddhism the square located in the circle, indicates the relationship of the human and the divine. We also see the enlightened man within the combination of these 3 symbols; the triangle within the circle within the square.  The square being the man containing the enlightened mind and the faithful soul all within.

The Sword and Trowel

These implements, although not combined, are seen in Craft Masonry. the Sword reminds us of the Tiler and his duties to protect the bounds of the Lodge from the unworthy, uninitiated, and imposters.  The Sword, a emblem of duality, not only symbolizes security, but also light, purification, righteousness, spiritual transition, and from its double-edged it shows us the defensiveness and destructiveness. The sword is like the mind and knowledge, without proper training and honing of skill, one can cause great damage and face many challenges.  The scholar and the master swordsman alike must be well-trained and keep their metaphorical and physical sword sharp. The Trowel takes us to the Master Mason's degree where the trowel is used as the primary working tool of the degree from which we learn to spread the cement of Brotherly Love which unities all the stones (the Brothers) into one common structure (the Fraternity). The trowel symbolizes completion (whether completion to our spiritual or temporal buildings), spiritual work, and enlightenment.

From the 46th chapter of H.L. Haywood's book "Symbolical Masonry", we see:

The Entered Apprentice, who can make only a beginning at the task of shaping the ashlar, needs only the gavel and the gauge; the Fellow Craft, to bring the stone into completeness of size and form, requires the plumb, square, and level; the Master Mason's task is to set the finished stone in its place, and bind it there, for which purpose the trowel is his most necessary tool. Therefore the Master Mason has been given the Trowel as his working tool because it is most symbolic of his function in the great work of Temple Building; when that tool has done its work there is nothing more to do, because the structure stands complete, a united mass, incapable of falling apart; the stones which were many have now, because of the binding power of the cement, become as one.
 "They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon."
Nehemiah 4:17

From Biblical accounts, Nehemiah received from Artaxerxes the position of Governor of Judea, and was permitted to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and to restore the city to its former fortified condition, he met with great opposition from the envious Governors and from the heathen tribes. The Governors used deceit and lies to attack the reputation of Nehemiah to Artaxerxes. The tribes obstructed the labor, and openly attacked them. Measures were taken to ensure that the men were armed while they worked with their working tools in one hand and swords in their other.

This Biblical telling of the armed builders is repeated by man, but particularly by Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay in his famous 1737 Oration and by Albert Pike in his tome "Morals & Dogma". The former stated, "this union was made after the example set by the Israelites when they erected the second Temple, who whilst they handled the trowel and mortar with one hand, in the other held the sword and buckler." The latter wrote, "Work on, the Sword in one hand, and the Trowel in the other!"  This is taken from the 15ยบ of the Scottish Rite and Albert Pike points out that one of the lessons of this degree is "Constancy and Perseverance under difficulties and discouragement." The Sword and Trowel united remind us that while we are building our buildings through life we will be beset on all sides by the ignorant, the intolerant, fanaticism, and the tyrannical, so should we stay steadfast and overcome the opposition.

Speaking in dualism, Companion Jeff Day of Rogue Council #23, wrote the following:
Well, the Sword keeps people away, and the Trowel binds people together, so these seem to fit the description. Come to think of it, the lessons of Masonry are filled with this statements to this effect. On one hand, we are taught about the Universal Brotherhood of Mankind and on the other hand we are told to keep them in the dark concerning the secrets of Masonry.
The good Companion goes on later to talk about the emblems combined allude to a balance between Severity and Mercy.

With all this symbolic interpretations, one must also look at the basis of the degrees.  In Royal Arch Masonry we learn of the Recovery of the Lost Word and in the Cryptic Rite we learn of the Preservation.  These symbols represent Preservation through the interpretations mentioned above. Brothers, Companions, and Sir Knights remember to persevere by uniting the moral and righteous virtues that makes all men great and cutting away the vicious habits that will lead us astray and betray ourselves, and to ruin of our spiritual building! 

References

1. "mahiao". (2008, February 28). Symbolism of Circle,Triangle and Square. Retrieved from The Process of Doing Assignments: http://fatemehommi.blogspot.com/2008/02/symbolism-of-circletriangle-and-square.html

2. 3 (number): Abrahamic Religions. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3_%28number%29#Abrahamic_religions

3. Bradley, S. (n.d.). vanseodesign. Retrieved from The Meaning of Shapes: Developing Visual Grammar: http://www.vanseodesign.com/web-design/visual-grammar-shapes/

4. Circle Symbol Meaning. (n.d.). Retrieved from Whats-Your-Sign.com: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/circle-symbol-meaning.html

5. Day, J. (n.d.). Dualism of the Sword and the Trowel. Retrieved from Rogue Council #23: http://rogue.cryptic-masons.org/dualism_of_the_sword_and_trowel

6. Haywood, H. L. (n.d.). Symbolical Masonry.

7. Marshall, G. L. (2011, March). Some Symbolic Interpretations of the Commandery Jewels of Office. Knight Templar magazine, p. 23.

8. Number 3. (n.d.). Retrieved from MysticalNumbers.com: http://mysticalnumbers.com/Number_3.html

9. Pike, A. (1871). Morals & Dogma. Charleston: Supreme Council of the Thirty Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.

10. Sword and Trowel. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Grand Council, Royal and Select Masters of Texas: http://texasyorkrite.org/council/forms/general/ShortTalk-2.pdf

11. Sword Symbolism. (n.d.). Retrieved from Whats-Your-Sign.com: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/sword-symbolism.html

12. Triangle Meaning. (n.d.). Retrieved from Whats-Your-Sign.com: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/triangle-meaning.html

13. Trowel and Sword. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopedia of Freemasonry: http://encyclopediaoffreemasonry.com/t/trowel-and-sword/

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Foot Soldier For Freemasonry

This poem was one of the first Masonic poems I remember reading after being Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason 6-years ago. It struck a cord with me that has resonated with me since I first read it and with permission of W:. Bro. Tim Bryce, I would like to share it with all of you.  I thought it would be appropriate on this my 6th Masonic birthday.

A Foot Soldier For Freemasonry
By Tim Bryce

I carry no bullet or bomb in my kit,
Just a spoken word and a brotherly grip.
My mission is neither holy or unjust,
It is simply brotherhood, charity, and trust.
I seek no office, I have but three degrees,
Making me a proud foot soldier for Freemasonry.

Our enemy is ignorance, of our customs and belief,
We simply cherish honor, ethics, and relief.
We are not a cult which deals in witchcraft or some perverse hate,
We are not an invisible empire with a questionable faith.
Our precepts foster citizenship, hope and charity,
Our intentions are honorable and promotes morality.

Members of our army are found in all walks of life,
All armed with ethics, intent on fighting strife.
A closed society we are not, we welcome all breeds,
We welcome men of all color, race, faith, and creeds.
But make no mistake, being a member should not be taken lightly,
It requires honesty, integrity, and love of the Almighty.
Our mission is to seek truth, justice, and help others renew,
To build a better world for all people, not just the chosen few.
But our soldiers grow weary, and our numbers dwindle,
We need to rearm and enlist new soldiers to rekindle.
Such men exist my Brothers, I tell you this with certainty,
If we are to survive, we need new foot soldiers for Freemasonry.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest

Again delving into the honorary and invitational bodies of the American York Rite, I will address the order known as the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests (HRAKTP) and its history.  Try saying that ten times.

It is important to note that one should not confuse this body with that of the Templar Cleric orders established by Von Starck that existed in the late 18th century.

Introduction

The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests is an invitational body with membership limitations. This order exists to recognize Past Commanders of Commanderies of Knights Templar who made great contributions to Masonic Templary, to their country, and to their community or society in general. Although many groups make this claim, it is one of the highest honors one can receive in York Rite Masonry.

Tabernacles are composed of no more than 33 members plus up to 16 Emeritus members.  These Tabernacles are led by the following officers: Preceptor, Deputy Preceptor, Seven Pillars, Chaplain, Registrar/ Treasurer, Inner Guard, and Outer Guard. The Grand College of America exercises authority over the constituent Tabernacles and their officers follow the same pattern. The number of Tabernacles permitted in each state is dependent upon the number of chartered Knight Templar Commanderies. Originally, this body conferred 33 degrees, but now only one is conferred in a Tabernacle. The degrees are:

1. Knight of the Christian Mark
2. Knight of St. Paul
3. Knight of Patmos
4. Knight of Death
5. Knight of the Black Cross
6. Knight of Bethany
7. Knight of the White Cross
8. Knight of St. John
9. Knight Priest of the Holy Sepulcher
10. Holy Order of Wisdom
11. Holy and Illustrious Order of the Cross
12. Priest of Eleusis
13. Knight of Harodim
14. Knight of the North
15. Knight of the South
16. Knight of the Sanctuary
17. Grand Cross of St. Paul
18. Knight of St. John the Baptist
19. Knight of Rosae Cross
20. Knight of the Triple Cross
21. Knight of the Holy Grave
22. Knight of the Holy Virgin Mary
23. Knight of the White Cross of Torphichen
24. Grand Trinitarian Knight of St. John
25. Grand Cross of St. John
26. Knight Priest of Jerusalem
27. Knight of Palestine
28. Knight of the Holy Cross
29. Knight Priest of the Tabernacle
30. Knight of Redemption
31. Knight of Truth
32. Knight of Rome
33. Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest
From the August 2011 edition of the Knights Templar magazine:
Our title of Knight Priest is significant and descriptive and is borne with great pride by our members. We feel it recognizes that first, we are Knights, and our origin and allegiance are clearly with the Grand Encampment. In addition, as was true with the Templars of old, we are Priests committed to the priestly role of preserving and promoting the Christian religion. Dedication to Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord must always be the guiding principles of our lives. Although not ordained as professional ministers, our challenge is to minister within Freemasonry, especially in Templary.
Origin and History

The exact date of appearance for this Order is not known, but probably started between 1770 and 1780.  What we know is that it first appeared in Ireland and then in Bristol. It existed along the East Coast of England and Scotland, but it wasn't until landing in Newcastle did it survive under the formation of the Illustrious Order of Knights Grand Cross of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.  In the 1820s and 1830s this system was virtually unknown outside of Newcastle

In the following decades attempts were made to revive this in certain regions of England, but they died out very quickly.  By the end of the 19th century, this system controlled a number of degrees, believed to be around forty degrees, probably picked up after the union of the Grand Lodges in England. Some are recorded to have been the Order of the Red Cross of Babylon, Royal Arch, Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Masters. Later many of these degrees would fall from this system and be founded under different banners or today can only be found in the US. As this system was fledgling it seemed to confer these degrees without any central authority.  Also among these numerous degrees was the Order of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests or also known as Order of Holy Wisdom.

On January 1st, 1897, an agreement was made which placed the Order of Knight Templar Priests (and surviving degrees attached to this system) under the authority of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees, but allowed the Tabernacle in Newcastle to confer the rank of Knight Grand Cross of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, a privilege that it still has today.

By 1920, Colonel Napier-Clavering became Grand Master of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees and, through his recommendations, a Grand College for England, Wales, and the Colonies and Dependencies of the British Grown of the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests was established in the May of either 1923 or 1924 (the exact date is uncertain).

The first appearance of this order in the United States goes back to 1829 in Rhode Island. Between 1840 and 1931 there were five Tabernacles established, but none of them remained active very long.  This history begins with two meetings of the Order of the High Preisthood which took place on February 21st and February 25th, 1829. There are other references to this order with connection to the Scottish Rite, but by 1887 there appeared to be very little activity recorded. In October 1931, three North Carolinians were admitted into the Order by Sidney Clifton Bingham of Christchurch, NZ, who not having any news from the British Grand College cited from the Constitution that in the case of emergencies his actions were permitted, to include issuing warrants constituting three Tabernacles in North Carolina.

On May 14th, 1933, the Preceptors of these three Tabernacles met at a convention in Raleigh and agreed to form a sovereign body which they did on the 27th of the same month.  The name of this original order was the Great Priory of America, Priestly Order of the Temple. In 1934, these Knight Priests discovered that the Order was not extinct in England and to ensure the recognition of their Order a delegation was sent to England in 1935. John Edward Allen, the Grand Preceptor of the American order, was received on August 16th, 1935 by the Royal Kent Tabernacle. On his return to the United States he re-consecrated the existing Tabernacles using the English ritual and on the 27th of October he qualified all members of the previously organized Tabernacles.

In 1936, at an Annual meeting the English Patent could be viewed and explained.  The Great Priory adopted the similar title of Grand College of the Order of Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, or Order of Holy Wisdom.

Today the Order is composed of over 2,600 Knight Priests and 75 Tabernacles in the US, the Ontario Province of Canada, the Phillipines, Portugal, and Italy. 

References

1. Historical Sketch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of France: http://www.glmmmf.org/uk/ctpsar/Historique.htm

2. Historical Sketch of the Order. (n.d.). Retrieved from Lehigh Lodge #326: http://www.lehighlodge.com/resources/HRAKTP.pdf

3. History. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Grand College of America Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests: http://www.hraktp.org/history.html

4. Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests. (n.d.). Retrieved from MasonicDictionary.com: http://www.masonicdictionary.com/hraktp.html

5. Pruitt, W. B. (2011, August). Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests. Knight Templar magazine, pp. 4-5.

6. Invitational Bodies. (n.d.). Retrieved from York Rite Freemasonry: http://yorkrite.com/degrees/#8

7. Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest. (2009, July 1). Retrieved from French Freemasonry: http://www.frenchfreemasonry.org/english/the-rites/the-side-degrees/holy-royal-arch-knight-templar-pries

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sights and Places: Intro

I am pleased to announce a new series of posts coming to this blog.  I plan on posting several articles on the various Masonic sights across this nation and some outside the United States for those Brothers who travel afar.

This is spawned from a comment made by a Brother during my visit to the East Coast last October. While I had visited most of Philidelphia, the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown,Washington DC, and the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, this particular Brother said I was on a great Masonic vacation.  For the most part he was right, the main purpose I had traveled across the nation was Masonic and it was a nice vacation.

Originally I had planned on creating one large post, but I've turned away from that as I want to give each site its just due.

I am still out in the field for military duty so the first one may not appear until the end of the month.  I will start off though with the Detroit Masonic Temple.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Symbols of Royal Arch Masonry - Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1 of Royal Arch symbols, I will finish this set off.

Banners of the Master of the Veils

In Royal Arch Masonry, a particular significant symbol are the banners.  It is important to note that there is a difference between American Royal Arch Masonry and British Royal Arch Masonry in the number of banners used. In England, there are 12, but in America there are only 4 banners displayed. Regardless of their used numbers, these banners are to represent the 12 tribes of Israel.  Here we will pay attention to the American Four.

The colors of these four banners are Blue, Purple, Scarlet, and White representing the tribes of Judah, Ephraim, Reuben, and Dan.  The devices attached to these four banners, respective to their colors are: an eagle, a man, an ox, and a lion. According to the Masonic Leader blog, "But as to what were the devices on the banners, or what were their various colors, the Bible is absolutely silent. To the inventive genius of the Talmudists are we indebted for all that we know or profess to know on this subject." These four banners are filled with many meaning.

With the First Banner we see the color blue to remind us of our intimate connection with the Blue Lodge. Symbolically the color blue can mean friendship, loyalty/fidelity, integrity, steadfastness, and strength.  By strength we see the Royal Arch degree complete the Master Mason degree, thereby completing ones initiatory journey through Ancient Craft Masonry and strengthening ones knowledge of the lessons imparted. The device attached to this banner is the Eagle who has been a symbol of courage (fortitude), the spirit, strength, messengers of heaven, and masters of the air. The Tribe of Dan is represented by this banner.  According to the Book of Numbers, the Tribe of Dan was said to be the second largest Israelite tribe, after Judah.  The most famous Danite was Samson and his famous hair. This banner represents moral integrity, which aligns with the Masonic virtue of temperance.

The Second Banner depicts a man upon a purple background and is said to represent the Israelite tribe of Reuben. This color stands for royalty, sovereignty, and magic/enchantment.  Like the color blue, this color reminds us not only of our connection to the Blue Lodge, but the union of Craft and Royal Arch Masonry.  This man, against the other creatures of this Earth, is an emblem of intelligence, the gift from God to be stewards of this Earth. According to the Torah, this tribe consisted of the descendants of Reuben, the first son of Jacob, who lived on the East side of the Dead Sea. Together, this banner represents strength, which corresponds to the Masonic virtue of fortitude.

The Third Banner is scarlet with an ox depicted upon it, to represent the tribe of Ephraim. Scarlet is a color fervency, zeal, of passion, and of blood and therefore life.  It used to represent warriors with their bravery and courage as well as the blood of martyrs' in their steadfastness to their beliefs. The ox is seen as a patient, diligent, and powerful (as in strength) animal. From the Bible, the ox was a sacrificial animal and symbolizes St. Luke. This tribe is said to be descendants of Ephraim, a son of Joseph. Even though he wasn't the eldest he received the blessing of the firstborn as Jacob, his grandfather, foresaw that Ephraim's descendents would be the greatest of his siblings. The area occupied by this tribe was at the center of Canaan, a very mountainous region giving it protection, and was highly fertile which gave the people prosperity. This banner represents patience and diligence, and compare that to the Masonic virtue of prudence.

The Fourth Banner with its pure white background shows us the lion upon it, the sigil of the Tribe of Judah. White is a wondrous color and it symbolizes many things such as light, innocence, purity, joy, sanctity, silence, secrecy, humility, and balance. Traditionally, the lion was seen as lord of the land, the king of the beasts, as the eagle is supreme in the air. It was used by warriors and noblemen alike as a symbol of their strength and authority. Symbolically the lion represents courage, valor, power, royalty, dignity, justice, wisdom, and ferocity. The lion while the ancients saw the lion as a "solar animal", but the lion is primarily a nocturnal hunter; with this we see the lion as a symbol of balance between night and day, darkness and light. The tribe of Judah, the leading tribe of the Kingdom of Judah, is known for its important Jewish leaders to include David and his royal lineage, the prophet Isaiah, and Zerubbabel (as claimed by the Exilarchs). This banner represents promptness and readiness, and can be compared to the Masonic virtue of justice.

Turning our attention to the number 4, see many symbolic meanings emerge. The old phrase goes, "the Master's Degree without the Royal Arch is a story half told, a song half sung and a promise unfulfilled." Four represents completion which corresponds to Royal Arch Masonry completing the Master Mason's degree. The number four signifies stability, solidity, order, endurance, and nature whereby we observe the four seasons, the four cardinal directions, four winds, four quarters of the moon, and the four elements.  By it we are reminded of the four arms to a cross, the four rivers of Paradise that formed a cross, and we read in the 1st Chapter of the Book of Genesis that God, on the fourth day, put lights in the firmament to separate light from darkness, to mark days, and to outline the passing of seasons and time.

These banners lead us, as candidates are guided, to the next symbol, the arch.

The Arch

It is all too obvious why the Arch is important to Royal Arch Masonry.

As we learn of the 5 orders of architecture in the FellowCraft degree, so do we see another important architectural marvel and that is the arch. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an arch is a "curved structural member spanning an opening and serving as a support (as for the wall or other weight above the opening)." The word "arch" comes from the Latin term "arcus" meaning "to bow." Arches are said to have started appearing around the 2nd millennium B.C. and have been used by cultures across the world.

Aches are also symbolic of the sky. The blue sky reminds us of the values taught to us in the Blue Lodge and teaches us that these virtues should be as expansive of arch of heaven that above us. To the ancient Egyptians, the goddess Nut was the goddess of the sky.  She was often represented as a nude women arching over the Earth. For the Greeks, Uranus was the god of the sky, which the Greeks saw a brass dome decorated with the cosmos. This arch of sky was also a favorite of the goddess of rainbows, Iris. In many mythologies the sky was seen as a vault, a dome, arching over the Earth.



Arches are gateways, symbols of transition and change. Arches are associated with doors, gateways, or supports of a bridge. It is through or by an arch that we gain passage to something beyond.  This transitioning can be internal or external; internally as in a change of personality or perspective and externally as in change in location or career.  Spiritually, the arch represents a gateway or transition between the two worlds. We are constantly transitioning through life and eventually we will come to face our final arch, one which we all must pass through, and meet our Creator. 

The Keystone
 
No arch would be complete though with a keystone.  A keystone is a wedge shaped stone placed at the apex of an arch, and is the last piece placed during construction and locks all the stones into position.  This keystone gives the arch its strength and ability to bear the weight.

According to the Texas Grand Chapter Short Talk Bulletin, "the purpose of a Keystone is to impart to Royal Arch Masonry its vitality, and perpetuity." Of the degrees that fall under Royal Arch Masonry, the Mark Master degree deals with the Keystone as a primary symbol. The Most Excellent Master degree deals with it in the ceremony and holds it in high esteem. Again, from the same short talk bulletin, "in the Royal Arch degree, the Keystone is rediscovered in the ruins of the Temple."

It is also important to note that the keystone, by being at the apex of arch and what gives it strength, is closest to God and should inspire us to continue upward in faith and knowledge to God, and follow his guidance as the keystone of our lives.  We as living arches are nothing without God and his Word, our spiritual Keystone.

Officers Jewels

The jewels of the Officers of the Chapter, from their symbolism, tell an interesting story.  For the High Priest, I refer you to Part 1 for the symbolism and meanings.  We will only cover some of the officers, not all of them.  They will be the King, Scribe, Captain of the Host, Principal Sojourner, and Royal Arch Captain.

One would think with the title of "King", that he would be the presiding officer, but in Royal Arch Masonry the King is subordinate to the High Priest to teach us that our duty to God is comes first. The badge of this officer is the Level surmounted by the Crown which according to the installation ceremony we are told this should remind us that although this officer is a representative of the king, yet we remain on a level with them as respects our duty to God, country, and ourselves.

As we learn in the Blue Lodge, the level denotes equality. Time passes us all by and death will come to all of us.  Death cares nothing of our incidental differences and will reduce us all to the same state in the end. As I pointed out in Part 1, the Crown is an emblem of authority or sovereignty.

When I first heard the term "Scribe" used for the name of an officer, I thought they were referring to the Secretary, as that is how it is in Kappa Sigma. In the absence of the High Priest and the King, the Scribe is to preside over the Chapter.  The jewel of his office is the Plumb surmounted by a turban.  It is an emblem of rectitude and vigilance, ever reminding us  to walk uprightly before God and man.  As Scribe we should admonish our fellow Companions  to fidelity and industry while at labor, and temperance and moderation while at refreshment. Just as the other two have, so to does the Scribe have a type of headdress on his jewel, and, with the other two, it symbolizes the authority of his officer. 

The Captain of the Host shares similar duties with that of Senior Deacon and the Marshall of the Blue Lodge as he assists with the opening and closing of a Chapter just as a Deacon would, but also is the superintendent of processions, public or private.  The jewel of this officer is an armed soldier engraved upon a triangular plate, which is a symbol of order, security, and decorum.

To guide the blind by a way they know not, and lead them in paths that they have not known is the duty of the Principal Sojourner.  From, the installation of officers, we are informed that this officers should be qualified to make darkness light before the guided and make crooked things straight.  We see a correspondence between this officer and that of the Senior Deacon who leads the blind, the uninitiated, through the darkness. The badge of this officer is the pilgrim engraved upon the triangular plate.

The equivalent to the Lodge's Junior Deacon, the Chapter has the Royal Arch Captain. Together with the help of the Captain of the Host, he is to ensure all in attendance are Royal Arch Masons and guard the 4th, last, banner.  The jewel of his office is the sword upon the triangular plate as a symbol of security of not only the banner, but entire Chapter from those who have no traveled the rugged path of trial.

References

1. "Leader". (2011, January 28). The Royal Arch Banners. Retrieved from The Masonic Leader: http://themasonicleader.com/?p=413

2. Eagle. (2006). Retrieved from Totems: http://www.linsdomain.com/totems/pages/eagle.htm

3. Number 4. (2011, February 28). Retrieved from Numerology - The Vibration and Meaning of Numbers: http://numerology-thenumbersandtheirmeanings.blogspot.com/2011/02/number-4.html

4. Arch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster dictionary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arch

5. Arch. (n.d.). Retrieved from Online Etymology Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=arch

6. Ghare, M. (2008, July 23). Arch: The Symbol. Retrieved from Mind Maze: http://imagesinthemind.blogspot.com/2008/07/arch-symbol.html

7. Holy Royal Arch Degree Ritual Furnishings. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Illinois: http://www.ram-il.org/RoyalArchFurnishings.htm

8. Horvat, M. T. (n.d.). The Man, The Ox, The Lion & The Eagle. Retrieved from Tradition in Action: http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/f005rp.htm

9. Installation of Officers. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, of Minnesota: http://www.mnram.org/Documents/CHAPTER%20INSTALL.pdf

10. Keystone (architecture). (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_%28architecture%29

11. Lion Symbol. (n.d.). Retrieved from Animals Symbols: http://www.animal-symbols.com/lion-symbol.html

12. Manasseh, C. R. (n.d.). The Mysticism of Royal Arch. Retrieved from Pietre Stones Review of Freemasonry: http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/manasseh.html

13. Mitchell, S. (2011, August 01). How to Explain Royal Arch Standards. Retrieved from eHow: http://www.ehow.com/how_10017119_explain-royal-arch-standards.html

14. Numerology. (n.d.). Retrieved from Crystalinks: http://www.crystalinks.com/numerology2.html

15. Officers Jewel. (n.d.). Retrieved from E&T Embroidered Specialties, Inc.: https://etregalia.com/?page_id=29

16. Royal Arch Officers. (n.d.). Retrieved from Golden State Royal Arch Chapter Library: http://www.goldenstatechapter.org/pdf/Royal%20Arch%20Officers.pdf

17. Spiritual Meaning of Numbers. (n.d.). Retrieved from Whats-Your-Sign.com: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/spiritual-meaning-of-numbers.html

18. Symbolic Meaning of Lions. (n.d.). Retrieved from Whats-Your-Sign.com: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/symbolic-meaning-of-lions.html

19. The Holy Bible

20. Tribe of Dan. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Dan

21. Tribe of Ephraim. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Ephraim

22. Tribe of Judah. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Judah

23. Tribe of Reuben. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Reuben

24. The Keystone. (n.d.). Retrieved from Texas York Rite: http://texasyorkrite.org/chapter/forms/general/ShortTalk2.pdf

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Monumentous Day

Although I am currently out in the field for military training, I want to give my Father a congratulations on retiring.  He is retiring after serving nearly four decades in law enforcement.  He started his career with being a Military Police officer in the US Army, then working for Bannock County Sheriff's Department, and finally with the Emmett Police Department where he has served in several positions ending with Patrol Lieutenant.

As his son, words cannot express how proud I am of him and all that he has done for the town of Emmett.

My Father's next endeavor is to run for Gem County Sheriff.