Square & Compasses


Papers Written by Perfect Union No. 10 Members

The Form of the Symbolic Lodge – Texas Style
by Richard A. Vickery III
(Article in the Texas Mason Magazine, Volume XXIII, Issue 3, Fall 2014)

As a Mason in any part of your journey you are constantly talked to hear about the forms of the symbolic lodge. It is part of our culture and something that we always hear about in our lectures, but really what is “The form of the symbolic lodge”. In the Texas monitor on page 24, only contains a picture, above the picture are the words “The Form of the Symbolic Lodge”. Little else is given as an explanation to this picture, beyond what we are told in the Entered Apprentice Mason’s degree, but if you look at the picture there is more to the story.

At the top of the lodge labeled “east” it shows, had two pillars with the label’s TR Cancer and TR Capricorn. This alludes to the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, each lie at the 23.5 degrees latitude. Whereas the Tropic of Cancer lies at the 23.5 degrees north of the equator, and the Tropic of Capricorn lies at the 23.5 degrees south of the equatori. If you study the diagram further you see that the lines from the two tropics continue from east to west. This is to show and mark both the summer and winter solstice, or as we as Masons recognize them to be St. John the Baptist 24th of June (summer) and St John the Evangelist 27th of December (Winter). This also illustrates the various positions of the sun as the earth rotates in a yearly cycle.

You will notice that in the middle of the parallelogram you will notice the words “Vernal Equinox”, which is in reference to the March Equinox (21 March). In the Abrahamic tradition, Jewish Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox; Christian churches calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox. A Masonic perspective some have postulated that the equinox is the measuring of our point within a circle, the plubmline finally resting at 0ii. This is a time for Masons to reflect on the renewal and changing states within their lives.

Next we come to the parallel lines of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist. It isn’t surprising that these two would be so intertwined with Freemasonry. St. John the Baptist, described as an intellectual, and esoteric in spirit. While St. John the Evangelist was described as somewhat fanatical and rigid in his faithiii. Between the Patron Saints John lies our effort in all of our laudable pursuits, both within and of the Craft. The dedication to the St John’s has been since time immemorial, the earliest Masonic documents speak of the Saints and of “The Lodge of Saints John at Jerusalem”iv.
ii http://www.freemasoninformation.com/2010/03/the-masonic-equinox/
iii Holy Bible
ivThe Saints John of Freemasonry, Samuel Steelman, Southern California Lodge of Research

Past Master Brett Laird Doyle

The article CAPTAIN PETER F. TUMLINSON:TEXIAN RANGER AND MASON on this site is under copyright © 2005 by Brett Laird Doyle, Past Master, Perfect Union Lodge No. 10, full member of the Texas Lodge of Research, and active member of the American Lodge of Research.

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