HE RITUAL of Freemasonry is a symbolic exposition of man's
functions and possibilities. It illustrates the correspondence between
the macrocosm and the microcosm at the important points in the soul's
cyclic journey, and thus serves as a road map to spiritual attainment. We find,
therefore, that the Entered Apprentice degree treats of man on the physical plane. The
Master Mason's degree treats of man on the spiritual plane of existence. And the
Fellowcraft degree, which we are now considering, treats of man in association with
the astral plane.
Now upon the physical plane man has a seven-fold constitution. But at the death of
the physical body both the physical form and the etheric body are lost. Physical
substance and etheric substance, as most physicists now agree due to experiments
conducted in the effort to prove or disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity, cannot
have a velocity greater than that of light, which in a vacuum is 186,271 miles per
second. And astral substance cannot have a velocity less than that of light. That is,
velocities in the ether approximating that of light are the Boundary-Line between the
two planes of existence. And as the physical body and the etheric body cannot exist
on the astral plane, which is the region where the soul functions immediately after
death until it has evolved sufficiently to pass to the spiritual plane, man on the astral
plane has a five-fold constitution.
Those parts of man corresponding to the Treasurer and the Secretary, even when man
functions voluntarily on the astral plane before death, are left behind. Consequently
we find that a lodge of Fellowcraft Masons may be opened by five officers; a Master,
two Wardens, and two Deacons. And, instead of being a ground plan of King
Solomon's Temple, the F.C. lodgeroom is said to represent a middle chamber of the
temple; that is, it corresponds to the middle, or astral plane.
The password of the Fellowcraft degree is Shibboleth. This word means plenty, and
refers to the abundance and high vibratory rate of etheric energy generated in the
human nervous system by those striving to attain regeneration. This
super-vitalization is a great aid to one who desires to pass from the physical body and
travel consciously on the astral plane without a break in consciousness. In fact, so
essential was it considered by the Ancient Masons that no one is permitted to remain
in the F.C. lodge who has not, in some measure, accomplished this; that is, who has
not the proper password. To state it plainly, generation in the physical sense pertains
solely to the physical plane, and when man reaches the astral, either through the
avenue of death, or through voluntary sojourn while yet possessing a physical body,
marriage becomes a higher, yet less specialized, fusion.
The Masonic ritual states that this pass was instituted in remembrance of a quarrel
between a Jewish judge and the Ephraimites, that resulted in a battle. The
Ephraimites were routed, and guards were placed along the River Jordan that they
might not pass. All passing the river were required to pronounce the name
Shibboleth. The Ephraimites, being of another tribe, were unable to pronounce it
thus, saying Sibboleth, which revealed their identity, and they were slain to the
number of forty and two thousand.
According to the Hermetic System of Names and Numbers (see Course 6, The
Sacred Tarot), the fifth Hebrew letter, which was omitted from the password by the
Ephraimites, denotes the feminine principle in nature, and applied to humanity it
denotes woman. Its omission from the word signifying the process of regeneration
typifies those who attempt regeneration while living lives that are isolated from the
Let no one think that the Ancient Masons taught there is any danger in a chaste life.
Chastity, under normal circumstances is quite consonant with physical health and
physical balance; for nature has adequately provided for such a contingency. In fact,
when nature is not violently tampered with she usually keeps her children from
But there are those who make great virtue of the celibate life. Numerous sects today
quote scriptural passages to prove that wonderful advantages result from sex
repression, in spite of the very obvious circumstance that those making such claims,
as well as their followers, have not made any great attainment, and usually have the
psychic faculties opened in a way that gives erroneous visions and distorted notions.
One of the favorite quotations is from I John; 4;9: "Whosoever is born of God doth
not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of
A reading of the passage in the Bible preceding this one shows that the seed referred
to is the seed of righteousness implanted by the Son of God. But this, and other
passages, are misconstrued to mean that in some way man is greatly benefited and
spiritualized by never losing his physical seed. There is undoubtedly a great amount
of nonsense afloat in regard to this.
Among other things, it is quite commonly taught that the seed is reabsorbed into the
blood stream and thus confers magnetic strength and psychic power. Yet a fuller
knowledge of the nature of the seed indicates that such absorption does not take
place, and that if it did it would be a detriment to the physical body. The
spermatozoon, which is the male seed, for instance, is to all intents and purposes a
flagellate cell. That is, it is an independent one-celled organism provided with a
whip-like tail by which it lashes itself through whatever fluid it is in. If such a cell
should enter the blood stream it would be, while it still lived, a parasite; as much a
parasite as the protozoon microbes--certain ones of which cause malaria and
sleeping sickness--which it greatly resembles. It is very doubtful, however, that the
seed does thus enter the blood. At least it does not unless forcibly retained; for nature
has her safety valves, and under normal conditions the seed when so abundant as to
cause danger passes from the body with other secretions.
It is quite likely that the basis of this notion lies in a misunderstanding. For the glands
associated with the seed, the gonads, have been found by physiologists to be the most
important of all agents for restoring youthfulness and vigor of body and mind. Gland
transplantation, in many cases, has produced marvelous results in this respect. Both
old men and old women have been restored, at least for a time, to youth, vigor, and the
functions of earlier life. But this regenerating substance is the endocrine
secretion--which enters the blood stream under any sexual excitement, and does not
pass from the body in sexual union--and not the seed.
Therefore, let those who wish to retain youth and vigor study how to keep their
various glands, particularly the gonads, from wearing out; and how to keep these
glands vigorous and healthful, and they will be on the way to an actual
accomplishment of that which some imagine may be attained through mere retention
of the physical seed. The teachings of the Ancient Masons, while making no mention
of endocrine glands, are such as to indicate that they had studied and mastered
methods of preserving and strengthening these glands, and thus not only lived in full
vigor to a greater age than people live today, but also arrived at a much greater
--Before turning from the subject of forced celibacy still another fallacy should be
mentioned. It is often stated that because the sex fluids contain the very quintessence
of life that their loss results in great depletion, and that their retention leads to great
vitality and power. Now there is no denying that excess in this direction is
devitalizing. Nevertheless we must bear in mind that nature has provided for the
expenditure of a normal amount of energy in reproduction. That is, a normal quantity
of such fluids are manufactured by the body, and if not used in reproduction will find
a way to leave the body. Also, man has normal muscular strength and normal mental
It might be supposed that if man did not use up his muscular energy in exercise that he
would retain his strength. But the facts are that if he fails to take the normal amount of
physical exercise, not only his body weakens and his health fails, but his mental
powers deteriorate also. And it might be thought that if man did not exercise his mind
that it would be strong and vigorous; but lack of exercise weakens the mind. And as
the sexual function is an essential portion of man's constitution, we can hardly help
drawing the conclusion that prohibiting sexual expression is bound to weaken the
sexual nature and that this in turn will react upon the body and mind in a manner to
lessen their vigor.
This is not a brief in favor of indulgence. It is an attempt to explain the real nature of
regeneration, in which physical union is no longer necessary, as taught by the
Ancient Masons. But before being able to understand regeneration we must know
something about generation. A whole school of psychoanalytic doctors have sprung
into existence and have a widespread practice today, because they are able to correct
and heal thousands of cases of serious maladies caused by repressed sex desires.
Freudian literature is now known to almost everyone. And the first step in the
treatment of those afflicted through repression is to get them to recognize that there is
nothing ungodly in normal sexual desire and expression.
There is, however, according to the teachings of the Ancient Masons, a higher
expression of sex than the physical. Regeneration is the sublimation of desires into
aspirations. Physical unions are no longer necessary because there is a higher, finer,
magnetic union that satisfies. Desires are not repressed, they are transmuted. No
effort is made to retain the sexual fluids, because, to a great extent the energy that
previously was consumed in their manufacture now is used in the manufacture of
etheric energy. In other words, instead of forcing a condition upon the physical, there
is no longer a desire for physical expression because the energies are expressing
themselves in a more refined manner.
When the thoughts enthusiastically turn to a higher, better, more spiritual mode of
expressing the love nature, there need be no concern about the physical; for the
energies go where the thoughts are directed. Under such circumstances, the physical
will take care of itself, and no attention need be given to it.
In regeneration, as taught by the Ancient Masons, lust, passion, and carnal desire are
entirely unknown, having been transmuted into a higher expression. Sexual union as
commonly recognized has no existence, but has become blended gradually into a
glorious, harmonious, transcendent, responsive reverberation of soul to soul. Man,
as we know, has an etheric body, an astral body, and a spiritual body. Regenerate
union may relate to any one, or to all three, of these finer bodies. It may be but the
harmonious blending and mutual exchange of magnetism between husband and
wife, an interchange of vital energy beneficial to health and accompanied by exalted
feelings. It may mean the complete fusion of their astral bodies in a symphony of
concord, strengthening their mental ability, and arousing their psychic perceptions.
It may consist of a blending of their spiritual bodies that unless their spiritual
faculties are very acute they will fail to comprehend; a blend that is realized as a sense
of sweet peace and moral uplift when they are in each other's company. Or it may be
all three of these. It is not, however, on any plane, a union of sexual organs; it is a
complete blend. At least in so far as I am able to interpret it, this is the regeneration of
The Ephraimites, who are stated to be a stubborn, rebellious people, represent those
who through asceticism crush out the finer qualities, and renounce association with,
or thought of, the opposite sex. The Jordan is the boundary between the physical and
the higher astral plane--the region of earth-bound spirits--which those who have
crushed out the feminine part of themselves are unable to cross.
The 42,000 who perished--4 plus 2 equal 6, and 6 represents forces in a state of
unbalance--signify not only those unbalanced through asceticism, but because 6 is
also the number of Venus, the love planet, it applies to those who are unwise in union.
This unbalance of energy is the cause of immeasurable misery; for one of the
psychological laws of great importance relating to physical and to higher unions
alike, is that there must be a balance in intensity, and complete expression by both.
Lack of complete expression by one results in the release of mental forces lacking in
proper stability and equilibrium, and the one failing completely to express develops
the symptoms well known to psychoanalysis as the incompletion complex, which
may result in a variety of troubles. It would seem that the 42,000 who perished are
mentioned as a warning that the best results, either on the physical or on higher
planes, are obtained when there is complete co-operation.
The River Jordan Is the Dense
Separating the Physical from the
--Velocities which are less than those approximating that of light belong to the
physical plane. Velocities which are in excess of those approximating light belong to
the astral plane. But the velocities of etheric substance, such as radiations, light and
electromagnetic waves belong to a transition region. And energy from one plane
(bank of the Jordan) can be transmitted to the other plane (other bank of the Jordan)
only through first communicating its motions to this belt of etheric rates having
approximately the velocity of light.
Vibrations of the ether may be of comparatively low-frequency or high-frequency.
Vibrations of physical substance can be produced of far higher frequency than the
lower frequencies of electromagnetic waves. Likewise, etheric vibrations can be
produced which are far higher than the more commonly encountered astral
frequencies (not to be confused with velocities). But most of the etheric frequencies
set in motion by thoughts are on the animal level of existence, and thus communicate
their energies to the level of the astral plane which contains animals, other
intelligences, and discarnate human beings whose motives and feelings are those
common to animals.
Shrewdness, intelligence and knowledge, or lack of them, is no gauge of the
vibratory level of a person or creature on earth, or of a person or creature in the astral
realm. Some of the brainiest men of earth are the greatest scoundrels. And animals
which have an intelligence no greater than limited instinct, survive on the astral plane
after their physical deaths, and occupy the vibratory level corresponding to their
feelings and motives.
In other words, intelligent human beings dominated by the animal propensities,
regardless of their cunning, may still be beasts of prey in their basic vibratory rate,
and when they pass to the next life occupy a vibratory level on which beasts of prey
also are to be encountered. Not that they necessarily associate with such beasts; but
they and the beasts occupy the same stratum, even as men and beasts are both to be
encountered on the earth.
On earth the struggle for survival is so intense, that a large portion of the thoughts of
men, and a large portion of their emotions and feelings, relate to the animal level of
existence. Only a portion of the thoughts of humanity are accompanied by feelings of
tenderness, are actuated by willing self-sacrifice for the welfare of another, are
charged with noble sentiment, or lift the soul in aspiration, and thus set up etheric
vibrations on a higher-than-animal level. And only etheric vibrations of a
higher-than-animal level can impart their motions, and thus make the contact with,
an astral level above that where animals and discarnate souls with animal-like
Thus it is about the earth there is a dense belt of etheric energy the vibrations of which
have been set in motion by the feelings of animals, and the thoughts and feelings of
men when they were actuated by animal propensities. Most of these men have a far
higher basic vibratory rate, and when they pass from earth life consequently will
move to a much higher level. But their temporary bursts of passion, their momentary
greeds, and their transitory periods of base selfishness, radiate etheric vibrations on a
corresponding low vibratory level.
And astral entities that permanently reside, due to their basic vibratory rates, on a
similar vibratory level, find it easy to use the energies of this dense etheric belt to
influence those still on earth who become negative.
As this Lower-Pluto astral realm, where motives are still those of the beasts,
possesses velocities exceeding those of light; space, time and gravitation do not
restrict as they do on earth. Consequently ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) can be
exercised on this level. More spiritual types of information can be acquired only on
more spiritual levels of the astral world. Yet information of value, especially that
relating to the affairs of earth, can be acquired in the Lower-Pluto realm.
However, this dense belt, where lower astral levels and the etheric energies derived
from the animal thoughts of men and the emotions of animals so closely blend as to
make it difficult to determine just where the astral begins and the ether leaves off, is a
poor place to tarry. Many of the denizens of this River Jordan are dangerous.
Consequently either in contacting the inner planes through EXTENSION OF
CONSCIOUSNESS, or in ASTRAL TRAVEL, it is wise quickly to pass through this
etheric-lower-astral belt. To do this, the etheric vibrations at the time must be of
sufficient potential to carry the consciousness through to the astral plane, and of a
vibratory frequency higher than this River Jordan Belt. One who has developed
sufficient electrical potential and a high vibratory rate--can pronounce the
password, Shibboleth--can pop through this belt so swiftly as not to notice it is there,
just as one can turn the dial on a radio from one program, past a frequency over which
one knows a disagreeable program is being broadcast, and to a desirable program
with no perceptible interference.
Preparing the Candidate
--In preparing the candidate for initiation into the Fellowcraft degree, all his
clothing is removed except his shirt. This is symbolical of the astral raiment in which
the soul functions after it leaves the physical body. He is then provided with a pair of
woolen drawers, still typifying creative energy, but as they are no longer red they
indicate that he has overcome and transmuted his purely animal and physical desires.
Instead of his left breast being bare, his right is now bared, indicating that instead of
selfish and physical desires and emotions he is actuated by unselfish aspirations.
The right foot and right arm are bare, showing by the former that he has arrived at
right understanding, and by the latter that his present work is largely upon the
positive, or astral, plane. His left foot and left arm are yet clad, indicating that he is yet
hampered both in understanding and in execution by physical requirements. And the
right eye is blindfolded to signify that he is yet unable to perceive higher truths, while
the left eye is uncovered to show that through experience he has learned properly to
view the things of the physical world.
The candidate approaches his new initiation by giving two knocks upon the door of
the lodge, which signifies his intention to seek admittance to the second, or astral,
plane. This rapping is called the Alarm, and arouses the brethren within. Such a
neophyte attempting to enter the astral plane not only arouses those friendly to his
visit, but also may arouse certain classes of astral beings who have a violent antipathy
to man. There is, therefore, cause for alarm, both to the neophyte and to his brethren
and teachers on the inner plane, when he attempts first to enter voluntarily the astral
realms. In addition to the positive electrical potential and high vibratory rate assured
by the password, his only other sure protection is to possess a soul radiating
unselfishness; one purified of sensuality and grossness. Against such a purified soul
the fiends of hell may rage in vain.
At this point he must give the password. This password, Shibboleth, indicates that he
at least has made some progress in regeneration. He is then called upon to enter the
lodge--the astral plane--in the name of the Lord (law). That is, he is asked to enter it
in obedience to the various laws governing voluntary travel on the astral plane. As he
enters the room the angle of a square is pressed against his naked right breast. The
square is the symbol of physical union, and the right breast of spiritual aspirations.
This signifies that the candidate at this stage, while aspiring to regeneration, has not
yet discarded more physical union. He realizes that his physical organism has
adapted itself to its present mode of life over a long period of habit forming, on his
own part, and on the part of innumerable ancestors from whom his physical body is
inherited. To suspend or suppress any natural function is a violent shock to the astral
body that will usually react unfavorably on the physical body also. The animal soul is
not to be destroyed, but transformed, and this is usually a gradual process of training.
Eastern mystics say to kill out desire, but they really mean its transmutation, not its
death. Desire is one of the finest steeds, but it is yet wild and unbroken. A horse can be
killed with a knife. So may desire be slain with the will. A horse can be tethered,
starved, and beaten. Desire can be treated likewise. It is true that an unbroken mount
may unseat and if unchecked even destroy his rider. But if ridden with skill, curbed
and guided, the rider will travel many, many times as far as a man without a mount.
If the animal part of man is fought, starved, and otherwise mistreated, it will not have
the strength to carry the soul to higher realms. But if treated kindly, yet firmly, its
wildness will disappear, and it will become gentle. It will then be desire no longer,
but aspiration, the trusty mount of the soul. Had desire been killed there would have
been no aspiration, for they are one and the same in different stages of development.
Entering the astral plane with the square against the right breast is quite different
from entering the physical world with the point of the compass pressing against the
left breast, as in the E.A. degree. The latter is called Torture; for it indicates that the
physical desires, symbolized by the left breast, must be made subservient to the law
of higher union, in order that birth on the physical plane may be accomplished under
the best of circumstances.
Entering the Astral Plane
--Entering the lodgeroom the Fellowcraft candidate is led twice around the room,
indicating that he has evolved through one plane, the physical, and is now evolving
on the next, or astral plane. He is then led first to the Junior Warden (spiritual body),
then to the Senior Warden (divine soul), and finally to the Worshipful Master (ego).
This is to indicate the members of the higher trinity of his constitution which
influence his progress on the astral plane. While being conducted around the room,
representing his astral evolution as mentioned, the Master reads the following
passages, which consist of the seventh and eighth verses of the seventh chapter of
Amos: "Thus he shewed me; and behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a
plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what
seest thou? And I said a plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline
in the midst of my people Israel. I will not again pass them by anymore."
The number 7--this is the seventh chapter of Amos--as applied to human life
signifies the perfect nuptial union; and the number 8 signifies death. The word Lord,
here, as elsewhere, is interpreted by initiates to mean Law. The wall, by its horizontal
position, symbolizes the feminine principle. This principle is here signified to be a
foundation and a protection. The plumbline, by its position, signifies the masculine
principle. The hand signifies human work. That the Lord will not pass by them
anymore, indicates that the law is changeless. Israel signifies a chosen people.
Therefore, these verses as here applied may be interpreted as the changeless law that
love lies at the foundation of all, and that those who are chosen to defy death work in
accordance to this law.
The candidate is next led to the west--the material plane--and instructed to
approach the east, the place of light--the spiritual plane, by advancing upon two
upright steps to the second step. The first step has been explained in the E.A. degree
to symbolize the will to understand the mysteries of generation. The oblong square of
that degree is made by the heel of the right foot being placed in the hollow of the left
foot. This is the first step. The two steps are taken by stepping off first with the left
foot and then with the right and bringing the heel of the left foot into the hollow of the
right. On the astral the feminine, emotional, becomes the more positive in its effects.
That is, woman more naturally acts from the subjective, or astral plane; and man
more naturally from the physical. The left foot within the hollow of the right, then,
indicates the will--shown by the standing position--to understand the mysteries of
The candidate now kneels on his right knee before the altar, making his left knee form
a square. The left arm is held horizontal as far as the elbow, the forearm vertical to it
making another square. The elbow also rests upon a square. He is required to take the
oath of a F.C. Mason in this position. In this degree the right knee is suppliant,
indicating the subservience of masculine forces to feminine upon the astral plane;
being the reverse of the symbol of the E.A. degree. The left arm forming the upper
square denotes that the feminine, or subjective, forces are employed in execution
upon the astral plane. The square supporting the arm that symbolizes execution
imparts the information that its strength at this stage of initiation is sustained by
After the oath has been taken the Bible is kissed twice. This indicates willingness to
abide by the laws of union on both planes as taught to him by his instructors. The
moment of transition from the physical to the astral plane is signified by the bandage
being lowered until it covers both eyes. This typifies the momentary
unconsciousness that takes place as the astral body separates itself from the physical.
The magnetic union that assists in generating the force necessary for this volitional
transition is shown by the brethren forming on the square. They stretch forth their
hands to assist the new brother, as a token of the service rendered by union, and also
to represent the unseen helpers who respond to the devout aspirations of the worthy
neophyte who obeys the law of progress. Then the Master says, "And God said, Let
there be light, and there was light." Whereupon the bandage is snatched from the
candidate's eyes and the brethren give the grand shock as in the E.A. degree, the
meaning of which has previously been given. Thus is the soul in "search of more
light" awakened to the new truths of a different plane of existence.
The candidate's attention is next called to the fact that in the E.A. degree, or on the
physical plane, both points of the compass are beneath the square, while in the
present degree one point of the compass is elevated above the square as they lie upon
the altar. He is also informed that while he now possesses more light upon Masonry,
he yet remains in darkness regarding one material point. This conveys the idea that he
has partly removed the shackles of sense and seeming by obedience to the laws of
both generation and regeneration, but has not yet entirely freed himself from material
The one point of the compass beneath the square symbolizes that the higher laws of
union are yet in a measure subservient to demands for physical expression. The one
point of the compass above the square indicates that the neophyte has partially
overcome the physical impulses and made them obedient to the laws of regenerate
union. This is typical of the transitional stage between the purely physical life and the
truly spiritual life. It represents a stage of growth in the candidate's development,
usually of long duration, in which the demands of both natures must be heeded, and
physical requirements gradually eliminated by being transmuted into those spiritual.
These symbols of the present state of his unfoldment are upon the altar, indicating
that he should approach the mysteries of his creative nature in a reverent manner, and
make them the altar of his most devout prayers and unselfish aspirations.
Strengthening the Rapport
Between the Soul and the Ego
--To represent the strengthening of the rapport between the soul and the ego, due to
living a life of greater spirituality, the cable-tow in the F.C. degree is placed twice
around the neck. This is the region ruled by the planet of love. No longer is the
cable-tow passed under the arm as in the E.A. degree, and it is passed twice around
instead of once. The higher love, and its importance in spiritual progress is thus
Significance of Grips and
--The sign of a F.C. Mason is made by taking hold of the left breast with the right
hand as though to tear a piece out of it, then the hand is drawn with the fingers partly
closed, quickly to the right and dropped to the side. The breast is the seat of emotion,
and the right breast indicates the higher aspirations and longings. The left breast
symbolizes the more physical emotions; and as the region of the heart, ruled by the
sun, is also the center of vital life.
The hand grasping the left breast as if to convey a portion of it to the right breast,
signifies that the material emotions are to be transmuted into those more spiritual,
and that the life is to be transferred to a higher plane. The hand dropping
perpendicular at the side indicates that the creative life is to be raised to the region of
the breast. In the E.A. degree the sign is made from the pharyngeal plexus, the seat of
amative desires, the region ruled by Venus; and the hands are open to indicate
repulsion. In the F.C. degree, however, the sign is made at the cardiacal plexus, the
seat of emotion; and the hand is partly closed, indicating an attractive force that binds
man and woman more securely together. It is thus representative of the attraction
between man and woman resulting from congeniality in temperament and the
harmonies aroused through sympathetic emotional response, rather than the
attraction of a more physical nature.
In giving the due-guard the left arm is raised until that part between the shoulder and
the elbow is horizontal, and the forearm is vertical to it. It symbolizes the union of
husband and wife upon the astral plane. The horizontal part typifies woman, the
vertical represents man; and the elevated position indicates them on a plane above the
physical. It being the left arm indicates it is the negative, or astral plane. The sign and
due-guard are given together to symbolize that the raising of the energies from the
plane of generation to the plane of regeneration results in union in the astral realm.
The name of the pass-grip of a F.C. Mason is Shibboleth. It is given in the following
manner: The right hands are clasped as in shaking hands, and each presses his thumb
between the base of the first and second fingers of the other's hand. The thumb in
palmistry denotes will. The first finger is ruled by Jupiter, and governs the feeling of
fellowship. The second finger is ruled by Saturn, and has dominion over labor and
secrecy. In giving this grip the Master says, "I now present you with my right hand in
token of brotherly love and confidence." The pressure of the will finger is made
between the finger of brotherly love and the finger of caution, thus denoting the will
to be both benevolent and silent.
The real grip of a F.C. Mason is made in shaking hands by pressing the thumb on the
base of the second finger where it joins the hand. The thumb is crooked in such a
manner as to stick the nail into the joint of the other. As the second finger is the Saturn
finger, the grip signifies; the will to labor diligently and in silence. The pressure of
the thumb nail is symbolical of the painfulness of the endeavors that lead to any
worthwhile realization. "Sloth is the eighth deadly sin," and the Masons of all ages
have realized the paramount value of work; and as their ideas often differed widely
from those held by a reigning authority who had power to deprive them of life and
liberty, discretion imposed silence.
The name of the grip is Jachin. Jachin is the right pillar of Solomon's Temple, and in
the cosmic lodge signifies the Northern half of the ecliptic. While the sun passes
through this half of its annual cycle the days are longer than the nights, producing the
genial warmth of summer. In humanity Jachin represents the virile powers of man,
and in the individual the positive and executive attributes. Its more specific
significance is phallic, typifying the creative principle. As every plane of existence is
negative to the plane interior to it, the physical world being moulded by the astral, the
astral may be termed the world of Jachin, that is, the world of creative action.
When the grip has been given, the Worshipful Master says, "Arise, brother Jachin,
from a square to a perpendicular; go and salute the Junior and the Senior Wardens,
and convince them you have been regularly passed into the degree of Fellowcraft."
This speech intimates both the method of transit, and the passage, from the physical
plane, Boaz, to the astral plane, Jachin. From the square, or co-operation, by which
the force is generated, to the perpendicular, or attribute by which it is positively
directed, the neophyte ascends to the astral, or region of Jachin. This brings him more
closely in touch with his spiritual body and divine soul, which are symbolized by the
The candidate is told that at the building of Solomon's Temple the workmen were
distinguished by the manner in which they wore their aprons. Then an apron is tied on
him in a fashion to denote that he belongs to the F.C. degree. The significance and
correspondence of the apron were given in chapter 5. It is tied on in the same manner
in the F.C. degree as in the E.A. degree, except that one corner is turned up and tucked
under the apron strings. As the square covering the Libra-Scorpio region typifies
their purely physical functions, a portion of this square being raised in the form of a
triangle indicates a partial transmutation has taken place. It thus symbolizes that to
enter the F.C. degree it is assumed that a portion of the physical energies have been
transmuted into etheric energies of such refinement that they are potent to affect
results on the astral plane.
The Master then says, "As you are now dressed, it is necessary you should have the
tools to work with." Thereupon, the candidate is presented with a plumb, a square,
and a level. The significance of these tools has been previously explained, and it only
remains to be added that they are here presented to the F.C. in exemplification of the
Hermetic Axiom: "As it is below, so it is above, as on the earth, so in the sky;"
indicating that progress on the astral is made by methods analogous to those
employed on the physical plane.
Thus at death man passes to the astral plane, permanently leaving behind him the
physical body and the etheric body, which correspond to the planets Saturn and
Jupiter, and in the lodge to the Treasurer and Secretary. The physical body and
etheric body then gradually disintegrate, and man functions on the astral plane with a
I have already mentioned two dangerous extremes that the Ancient Masons warn
against: forced celibacy in the hope of gaining selfish ends, and sex practices for
selfish aims. Either extreme, according to these Ancient Masonic teachings, is
dangerous; and as bearing this out, we find that practically all the mystical manias of
history have arisen among forced celibates, or were accompanied by orgies of
licentiousness. Where love and marriage are given their rightful place there is little
danger of fanaticism.
Jewels and Check-Words
--Therefore, to admonish the neophyte not to jump to hasty conclusions in regard to
these and other matters, the Entered Apprentice was given three jewels: A listening
ear, a silent tongue, and a faithful heart. The listening ear indicates that strict
attention should be paid to all instructions from within as well as to those from
without. The silent tongue signifies that the voice of the silence may be heard only
when external thoughts and sensations are inhibited. The faithful heart reveals that
there should be strict obedience to the mandates received from within, and
perseverance and discipline in its execution.
These three jewels have correspondences above and below. Thus in natal astrology
an individual's mental capacity is gauged by the moon; and the moon also rules the
quality of receptivity, which is symbolized by the listening ear. It corresponds to the
divine soul, from whence proceeds the voice of the silence. In natal astrology the
mental expression, the inactivity of which is symbolized by the silent tongue, is ruled
by Mercury. Mercury rules speech, and corresponds to the spiritual body. The sun in
natal astrology indicates the individuality, and rules the heart of man. It corresponds
to the ego. True faith is from the inner recesses, and a faithful heart results when the
actions are governed by the ego.
The Entered Apprentice was also given two check-words and a new name. The first
is called the Grand Master's check-word. It is TRUTH. Thus before accepting any
practice or accepting any doctrine, the Mason should exhaust every means to prove
its verity. This check against error is as indispensable to the adept as to the acolyte, to
the Grand Master as to the E.A. Hence it is called the Grand Master's check-word.
The second word is UNION. This emphasizes the importance of co-operation
between husband and wife. Such intelligent co-operation is a check against
The new name assigned the E.A. is CAUTION. Caution is most necessary; for
impatience and hasty conclusions in regard to the use of the forces revealed by
Masonic Symbolism is very dangerous. Strength lies in Union; but unwise union
leads to disaster. To leave the physical and "travel in foreign countries" opens the
door to knowledge, but to depart without due preparation may mean inability to
return. Hence while the candidate still is concerned with the physical plane he is
given the name Caution.
In the Fellowcraft degree also, the candidate is given three precious jewels. They are
Faith, Hope, and Charity. Faith to follow unhesitatingly the dictates of the inner
voice. Hope to buoy up the soul during its period of anguish while in spiritual travail.
Charity towards those who perceive not the light and struggle yet in outer darkness.
When the F.C. has finished the first stage of his initiation, as outlined, he is led back
to the outer room to be reinvested with his clothing, even as he returns to his physical
raiment after his first pilgrimage into the spheres of the astral.
Lights, Points and Dedications
--The ritual states that there are three lights in the lodge; one in the east, one in the
west, and one in the south; but that being a true representation of King Solomon's
Temple there is none in the north. This means that the sun rises in the east, culminates
in the south, and sets in the west; at which stations it can be plainly seen. But when it
is at the nadir, or northern point, at midnight, it is hidden from view, and
consequently no light is apparent in the north of the lodge.
It is asked to whom the Ancient Masons dedicated their lodges. The answer is given,
"to King Solomon." But Modern Masons dedicate their lodges to St. John the Baptist
and to St. John the Evangel, "Because they were the two most eminent Christian
patrons of Masonry, and since their time, in every well regulated and governed lodge,
there has been a certain point within the circle, which circle is bounded on the east
and west by two perpendicular parallel lines, representing the anniversary of John the
Baptist and John the Evangelist, who were perfect parallels, as well in Masonry as in
Christianity; on the vertex of which rests the Book of the Holy Scriptures supporting
Jacob's ladder, which is said to reach the watery clouds; and passing round the circle,
we naturally touch on both these perpendicular parallel lines, as well as the Book of
the Holy Scriptures; and while a Mason keeps himself thus circumscribed, he can not
Masonry applies the correspondences existing between the soul and the stars. In
astrology the heavens are measured in three different planes. The Mundane Houses
correspond to the physical realm, and to the E.A. degree of Masonry. The Zodiacal
Signs correspond to the astral plane, and to the F.C. degree of Masonry. And the
Constellations correspond to the spiritual world, for, like the Master Mason's degree,
their realm of influence pertains strictly to man's spiritual nature.
The point within the circle is the world upon which we live, which is bounded by the
circle of the zodiac. The two parallel lines are formed by the solstitial colure, cutting
the zodiacal circle at opposite points; one point being where the sun reaches its
greatest northern declination, and the other point being where the sun reaches its
greatest southern declination. When the sun is at either of these two points and rises
or sets, these lines are east and west from the observer, and actually bound by lines
running north and south, what may be seen of the zodiacal circle. The sun reaches one
of these lines when it passes into the watery sign Cancer on the 22nd of June. That is,
the Son of God is immersed in a watery sign on that day, and two days later, June
24th, is the day given by the Church to St. John the Baptist.
Evangel, means to bring good news; and after the sun has gone to its extreme
southern point, giving the least light and heat of any time in the year, it is certainly
good news when he is observed to turn back to be resurrected from his wintry tomb.
He reaches this latter line on December 23rd, and soon thereafter is seen moving
north again, bringing the tidings of another period of warmth and growth. Therefore,
even as the opposite point, where he first begins to submerge, was dedicated to St.
John the Baptist, so this point, where he begins to emerge, is dedicated to St. John the
Evangelist; and the day given to St. John the Evangelist by the Church is four days
after this line is crossed, or the 27th of December.
These two points, because easily determined by observation, are important points in
all Masonic reckoning, and are thus also the supports of the Oral Law which has its
foundation in astro-traditions. Hence the Bible, symbol of the Oral Law, rests upon
them. And above the Bible, reaching to the watery clouds is Jacob's ladder. This
ladder symbolizes the involutionary descent and evolutionary ascent of the soul,
each rung being a form of life in which it lives, yet ever within the zodiacal circle and
under the influence of planetary forces. The watery clouds above, that is, water and
air, symbolize the emotions and aspirations that have led the soul upward on its
The two lines where the solstitial colure cuts the ecliptic, are perpendicular to this
zodiacal circle, and the sun cannot travel around the zodiac without touching both;
nor can it do so without making an impress upon the Oral Law. Neither can man
travel the orbit of his life without being influenced by the astrological energies
bounded by these lines, nor without, if he is a Mason, coming in contact with the Oral
Law as handed down by the Magi from the past. And he who can conform his efforts
to the boundary of his possibilities as shown by the stars, and adapt his life to the Oral
Law as handed down by the sages, will be as free from error and the chain of blind
fatality, as it is possible for man to be. No truer guide exists than that circumscribed
by the zodiac as mapped in the jeweled canopy of heaven.