Browse the Encyclopedia by clicking on any of the letters below.

A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G  |  H  |  I  |  J  |  K  |  L  |  M

  N  |  O  |  P  |  Q  |  R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  V  |  W  |  X  |  Y |  Z


The Hebrew letter is vau. The twenty-second letter in the English alphabet, of the Hebrew, numerical value of six . Its definition, a nail, which in form it represents, and as a Divine name connected with it is Vezio, cum splendore or with brilliancy, the V and O in Hebrew being equal. As a Roman numeral its value is five



Every Masonic officer is elected and installed to hold his office for the time for which he has been elected, and until his successor shall be installed This is in the nature of a contract between the officer and the Lodge, Chapter, or other Body which has elected him, and to its terms he signifies his assent in the most Solemn manner at the time of his installation. It follows from this that to resign the office would be on his part to violate his contract Vacancies in office, there fore, can only occur by death . Even a removal from the Jurisdiction, with the intention of permanent absence, will not vacate a Masonic office, because the person removing might change his intention, and return For the reasons why neither resignation nor removal can vacate an office (see Succession to the Chair).



Found in the Fourth Degree of the French Rite of Adoption



The vale or valle or vally was introduced at an early period into the symbolism of Freemasonry. A catechism of the beginning of the eighteenth century says that "the Lodge stands upon holy ground, or the highest hill or lowest vale, or in the vale of Jehoshaphat, or any other secret place." And Browne, who in the beginning of the nineteenth century gave a correct version of the Prestonian lectures, says that "our ancient Brethren met on the highest hills, the lowest dales, even in the valley of Jehoshaphat, or some such secret place."

Hutchinson (see Spirit of Masonry, page 94) has dilated on this Subject, but with a mistaken view of the true import of the symbol. He says: " We place the spiritual Lodge in the vale of Jehoshaphat, implying thereby that the principles of Masonry are derived from the knowledge of God, and are established in the judgment of the Lord." And he adds: "The highest hills and lowest valleys were from the earliest times esteemed sacred, and it was supposed the spirit of God was peculiarly diffusive in those places . " It is true that worship in high places was an ancient idolatrous usage.

But there is no evidence that the superstition extended to valleys. Hutchinson's subsequent reference to the Druidical and Oriental worship in groves has no bearing on the subject, for groves are not necessarily valleys. The particular reference to the valley of Jehoshaphat would seem in that case to carry an allusion to the peculiar sanctity of that, spot, as meaning, in the original, the valley of the judgment of God. But the fact is that the old Freemasons did not derive their idea that the Lodge was situated in a valley from any idolatrous practice of the ancients.

Valleys in our Freemasonry, is a symbol of secrecy. And although we are not disposed to believe that the use of the word in this sense was borrowed from any meaning which it had in Hebrew, yet it is a singular coincidence that the Hebrew word for valley, gnemeth, Signifies also deep, or, as Bate (Critica Hebraea) defines it, "whatever lies remote from sight, as counsels and designs which are deep or close." This very word is used in Job (xii, 22) where it is said that God "discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death."

The Lodge, therefore, is said to he placed in a valley because, the valley being the symbol of secrecy, it is intended to indicate the secrecy in which the acts of the Lodge should be concealed. And this interpretation agrees precisely with what is said in the passages already cited, where the Lodge is said to stand in the lowest vale "or any secret place." It is Supported also by the present instructions in the United States. the ideas of which at least Webb derived from Preston. It is there taught that our ancient brethren met on the highest hills and lowest vales, the better to observe the approach of cowans and eavesdroppers, and to guard against surprise (see Valley).



The worth German or Scandinavian hall of the gods.



In the Capitular Degrees of the French Rite, this word is used instead of Orient, to designate the seat of the Chapter. Thus on such a Body a document would be dated from the Valley of Paris, instead of the Orient of Paris. The word, says the Dictionaire Masonnique, is often incorrectly employed to designate the South and North sides or the Lodge, where the expression should be "the column of the South" and "the column of the North." Thus, a Warden will address the Brethren of his valley, instead of the Brethren of his column The valley includes the whole Lodge or Chapter; the columns are its divisions (see Vale ).



Born 1799, died Jamlary 28, 1881. A native of Albany, New York State, and descendant of the well-known old Knickerbocker family, whose name he bore. He had held various positions ire Craft Massonry, but in 1824 he became prominent in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, to which he devoted himself for the remainder of his life, becoming an Inspector General on June 17, 1845. Brother Van Rensselaer commanded the Supreme Council that rebelled against the ruling of Edward A. Raymond, and thus was formed another Supreme Body in the Northern States, whose difficulties were finally overcome as were all schisms of every nature of the Ancient and Accepted ,Scottish Rite, on May 17, 1867. Brother Van, as he was familiarly termed, resided during the last thirty y ears of his life in the West, and died in California, an outlying suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. One more Sincerely devoted to the cause of Freemasons, and without a day of relenting earnestness, will not in time be found (see Red Cross of Rome and Constantine)



A French physician and Masonic writer, who was born at Manosques, in France, October 24, 1769. He was intended by his parents for the Church, and entered the Seminary of Marseilles for the purpose of pursuing his ecclesiastical studies. At the commencement of the revolution he left the School and joined the army, where, however, he remained only eighteen months.

He then applied himself to the study of medicine, and pursued the practice of the profession during the rest of his life, acquiring an extensive reputation as a physician.

He was elected a member of several medical societies, to whose transactions he contributed several valuable essays. He is said to have introduced to the profession the use of the Digitalis purpurea (dried leaves of the foxglove plant) as à remedial agent, especially in diseases of the heart.

He was initiated into Freemasonry about the year 1811, and thenceforth took an active part in the Institution.

He presided in the Lodge, Chapter, and Areopagus of the Sept Ecossais Réunis, meaning in French the Seven Reunited Scottish, with great zeal and devotion; was in 1819 elected ,Secretary-General of the Grand Orient, and in 1827 President of the College of Rites He attained the Thirty-third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and was a warm advocate of Scottish Freemasonry. But his zeal was tempered by his judgment, and he did not hesitate to denounce the errors that had crept into the system, an impartiality of criticism which greatly surprised Ragon.

His principal Masonic worlds are Essai historique sur l'institution du RitEcossais, or HistoricalEssay on the Institution of the Scottish Rite, Paris, 1827, and a valuable historical contribution to Freemasonry entitled Cours complet de la Maçonnerie, ou Histoire générale de Initiation depuis son Origine jusque'à son institution en France, or Complete Course of Masonry, or General History of Initiation since its Origin up to its Institution in France, Paris, 1832. In private life, Vassal was distinguished for his kind heart and benevolent disposition. The Lodge of Sept Ecossais Reunis presented him a medal in 1830 as a recognition of his active labors in Freemasonry. He died May 4, 1840, at Paris.



Wrote Famine and Confession of the Fraternity of R. C., and other similar books. Pen name was Eugenius Philalethes.



The French title is Voute d'ancier. The French Freemasons so call the Arch of Steel, which see.



As a symbol, the Secret Vault does not present itself in the first Degrees of Freemasonry. It is found only in the advanced Degrees, Such as the Royal Arch of all the Rites, where it plays an important part. Doctor Oliver, in his Historical Landmarks (volume ii, page 434), gives, while referring to the building of the second Temple, the following general detail of the Masonic legend of this vault:

The foundations of the Temple were opened, and cleared from the accumulation of rubbish, that a level might be procured for the commencement of the building. While engaged in excavations for this purpose, three fortunate Sojourners are said to have discovered our ancient Stone of Foundation, which had been deposited in the secret crypt by Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, to prevent the communication of ineffable secrets to profane or unworthy persons.

The discovery having been communicated to the Prince, Prophet, and Priest of the Jews, the stone was adopted as the chief corner-stone of the re-edified building, and thus became in a new and more expressive sense, the type of a more excellent Dispensation. An avenue was also accidentally discovered, supported by seven pairs of pillars, perfect and entire, which, from their situation, had escaped the fury of the flames that had consumed the Temple, and the desolation of war that had destroyed the city.

The Secret Vault, which had been built by Solomon as a secure depository for certain secrets that would inevitably have been lost without some such expedient for their preservation, communicated by a subterranean avenue with the king's palace; but at the destruction of Jerusalem the entrance having been closed by the rubbish of falling buildings, it had been discovered by the appearance of a keystone amongst the foundations of the Sanctum Sanctorum. A careful inspection was then made, and the invaluable secrets were placed in safe custody.

To support this legend, there is no historical evidence and no authority except that of the Talmudic writers. It is clearly a mythical symbol, and as such we must accept it. We cannot altogether reject it, because it is so ultimately and so extensively connected with the symbolism of the Lost and the Recovered Word, that if we reject the theory of the Secret Vault, we must abandon all of that Symbolism and with it the whole of the science of Masonic symbolism. Fortunately, there is ample evidence in the present appearance of Jerusalem and its subterranean topography, to remove from any tacit and, as it were, conventional assent to the theory, features of absurdity or impossibility.

Considered simply an historical question, there can be no doubt of the existence of immense vaults beneath the superstructure of the original Temple of Solomon. Prime, Robinson, and other writers who in recent times have described the topography of Jerusalem, speak of the existence of these structures, which they visited and, in some instances, carefully examined. After the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, the Roman Emperor Hadrian erected on the site of the House of the Lord a Temple of Venus, which in its turn was destroyed, and the place subsequently became a depository of all manner of filth. But the Calif Omar, after his conquest of Jerusalem, sought out the ancient site, and, having caused it to be cleansed of its impurities, he directed a Mosque to be erected on the rock which rises in the center of the mountain.

Fifty years afterward the Sultan Abd-el-Meluk displaced the edifice of Omar, and erected that splendid building which remains to this day, and is still incorrectly called by Christians the Mosque of Omar, but known to Mussulmans as Elkubbet-es-Sukrah, or the Dome of the Rock. This is supposed to occupy the exact site of the original Solomonic Temple, and is viewed with equal reverence by Jews and Mohammedans, the former of whom, says Prime, (Tent Life in the holy Land, page 183), "have a faith that the ark is within its bosom now."

Bartlett (Walks about Jerusalem, page 170), in describing a vault beneath this Mosque of Omar, says: "Beneath the dome, at the southeast angle of the Temple wall, conspicuous from all points a small subterraneous place of prayer, forming the entrance to the extensive vaults which support the level platform of the mosque above."

Doctor Barclay (City of the Great Ring) describes in many places of his interesting topography of Jerusalem, the vaults and subterranean chambers which are to be found beneath the site of the old Temple.

Conformable with this historical amount is the Talmudical legend, in which the Jewish Rabbis state that, in preparing the foundations of the Temple, the workmen discovered a subterranean vault sustained by seven arches, rising from as many pairs of pillars. This vault escaped notice at the destruction of Jerusalem, in consequence of its being filled with rubbish. The legend adds that Josiah, foreseeing the destruction of the Temple, commanded the Levites to deposit the Ark of the Covenant in this vault, where it was found by some of the workmen of Zerubbabel at the building of the second Temple. In the earliest ages, the cave or vault was deemed sacred. The first worship was in cave temples, which were either natural or formed by art to resemble the excavations of nature.

Of such great extent was this practice of subterranean worship by the nations of antiquity, that many of the forms of heathen temples, as well as the naves, aisles, and chancels of churches subsequently built for Christian worship, are said to owe their origin to the religious use of caves.

From this, too, arose the fact, that the initiation into the ancient mysteries was almost always performed in subterranean edifices; and when the place of initiation, as in some of the Egyptian temples, was really above ground, it was so constructed as to give to the neophyte the appearance, in its approaches and its internal structure, of a vault. As the great doctrine taught in the mysteries was the resurrection from the dead—as to die and to be initiated were synonymous terms—it was deemed proper that there should be some formal resemblance between a descent into the grave and a descent into the place of initiation.

Happy is the man," says the Greek poet Pindar, "who descends beneath the hollow earth having beheld these Mysteries for he knows the end as well as the divine origin of life"; and in a like spirit Sophocles exclaims, "Thrice happy are they who descend to the shades below after having beheld the sacred Rites for they alone have life in Hades, while all others suffer there every kind of evil."

The vault was, therefore, in the ancient Mysteries, symbolic of the grave; for initiation was Symbolic of death, where alone Divine Truth is to be found. The Freemasons have adopted the same idea. They teach that death is but the beginning of life; that if the first or evanescent Temple of our transitory life be on the surface, we must descend into the secret vault of death before we can find that sacred deposit of truth which is to adorn our Second Temple of eternal life. It is in this sense of an entrance through the grave into eternal life that we are to view the symbolism of the secret vault. Like every other myth and allegory of Freemasonry, the historical relation may be true or it may be false; it may be founded on fact or be the invention of imagination; the lesson is still there, and the symbolism teaches it exclusive of the history.


V. D. S. A.

Initials of a phrase in French, Zeus Dieu Saint Amour, Which may be understood as God wills holy love. Four words supposed to be repeated by the Fratres of the Temple during certain pauses in the ceremonies. P. D. E. P. refers to the Latin motto Pro Deo et Patria, meaning For God and Country.



The Hebrew word. That is, the second Adar. A month intercalated by the Jews every few years between Adar and Nisan, so as to reconcile the computation by solar and lunar time. It commences sometimes in February and sometimes in March.



A Sanskrit word meaning Limb of the Veda. A collection of Sanskrit works on the grammar, lexicography, chronology, and ritual of the Vedic text. They are older than the Upanishads, and are placed among the Great Shasters, though not among the Sruti.



The most ancient of the religious writings of the Indian Aryans, and now constituting the sacred canon of the Hindus, being to them what the Bible is to the Christians, or the Koran to the Mohammedans. The word Veda denotes in Sanskrit, the language in which these books are written, wisdom or knowledge and comes from the verb Veda, which, like the Greek signifies "I know". The German Weiss and the English wit came from the same root. There are four collections of these writings, each of which is called a Veda, namely, the Rig-Veda, the Yazur-Veda, the Sama-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda; but the first only is the real Veda, the others being but commentaries on it, as the Talmud is upon the Old Testament.

The Rig-Veda is divided into two parts: the Mantras or hymns, which are all matrical, and the Brahmanes. which are in prose, and consist of ritualistic directions concerning the employment of the hymns, find the method of sacrifice. The other Vedas consist also of hymns and prayers; but they are borrowed, for the most part, from the Rig-Veda. The Vedas, then, are the Hindu canon of Scripture—his Book of the Law; and to the Hindu Freemason they are his Trestle-Board, just as the Bible is to the Christian Freemason.

The religion of the Vedas is apparently an adoration of the visible powers of nature, such as the sun, the sky, the dawn, and the fire, and, in general, the eternal powers of light. The supreme divinity was the sky, called Varuna, whence the Greeks got their Ouranas; and next was the sun, Called sometimes Savitar, the progenitor, and sometimes Mitra, the loving one, Whence the Persian Mithras. Side by side with these was Agni, meaning fire, whence the Latin ignis, who was the divinity coming most directly in approximation with man on earth, and soaring upward as the flame to the heavenly goals.

But in this nature-worship the Vedas frequently betray an inward spirit groping after the infinite and the eternal, and an anxious search for the Divine Name, which was to be reverenced just as the Hebrew aspired after the unutterable Tetragrammaton. Bunsen (God in History, book iii, chapter 7) calls this "the desire—the yearning after the nameless Deity, who nowhere manifests himself in the Indian pantheon of the Vedas—the voice of humanity groping after God." One of the most sublime of the Veda hymns (Rig-Veda, book x, hymn 121) ends each strophe with the solemn question: "Who is the god to whom we shall offer our sacrifice?" This is the question which every religion asks; the Search after the All-Father is the labor of all men who are seeking Divine Truth and Light.

The Semitic, like the Aryan poet in the same longing spirit for the knowledge of God, exclaims, "Oh that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to His seat." It is the great object of all Masonic labor, which thus shows its true religious character and design.

The Vedas have not exercised any direct influence on the Symbolism of Freemasonry. But, as the oldest Aryan faith, they became infused into the subsequent religious systems of the race, and through the Zend Avesta of the Zoroastrians, the Mysteries of Mithras, the doctrines of the Neo-platonists, and the school of Pythagoras, mixed with the Semitic doctrines of the Bible and the Talmud, they have cropped out in the mysticisrn of the Gnostics and the Secret Societies of the Middle Ages, and have shown some of their spirit in the religious philosophy and the symbolism of Speculative Freemasonry. To the Masonic scholar, the study of the Vedic hymns is therefore interesting, and not altogether fruitless in its results. The writings of Bunsen, of Muir, of Cox, and especially of Max Müller, will furnish ample materials for the study.



See Westphalia, Secret 'I'ribunals of


See Grotto



Three officers in a Royal Arch Chapter of the American Rite, Whose duty it is to protect and defend the Veils off the Tabernacle, for which purpose they are presented with a sword. The jewel of their office is a sword within a triangle, and they bear each a banner, which is respectively blue, purple, and scarlet. The title of Grand Master appears to be a misnomer. It would have been better to have styled them Masters or (guardians. In the English system, the three Sojourners act in this capacity, which is a violation of all the facts of history, and completely changes the symbolism.



A rite performed as part of the Ritual of the Royal Arch Degree. In England this particular portion of the ceremony has generally been discontinued although it is still used in other countries.



Neither the construction nor the symbolism of the veils in the Royal Arch Tabernacle is derived from that of the Sinaitic. In the Sinaitic Tabernacle there were no veils of separation between the different parts, except the one white one that hung before the most holy place. The decorations of the Tabernacle were curtains, like modern tapestry, interwoven with many colors; no curtain being wholly of one color, and not running across the apartment, but covering its sides and roof. The exterior form of the Royal Areh Tabernacle was taken from that of Moses, but the interior decoration from a passage of Josephus not properly understood.

Josephus has been greatly used by the fabricators of advanced Degrees of Freemasonry not only for their ideas of symbolism, but for the suggestion of their legends. In the Second Book of Chronicles (in, 14) it is said that Solomon "made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubim thereon." This description evidently alludes to the single veil, which, like that of the Sinaitic Tabernacle, was placed before the entrance of the Holy of Holies. It by no means resembles the four separate and equidistant veils of the Masonic Tabernacle.

But Josephus had said (Antiquities, book viii chapter iii, 3) that the King "also had veils of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and the brightest and softest linen, with the most curious flowers svrougllt upon them, which were to be drawn before these doors." To this description—which is a very inaccurate Qne, which refers, too, to the interior of the first Temple, and not to the supposed Tabernacle subsequently erected near its ruins, and which, besides, has no Biblical authority for its support—we must trace the ideas, even as to the order of the veils, which the inventors of the Masonic Tabernacle adopted in their construction of it. That Tabernacle cannot be recognized as historically correct, but must be considered, like the three doors of the Temple in the Symbolic Degrees, simply as a symbol. But this does not at all diminish its value.

The symbolism of the veils must be considered in two aspects: first, in reference to the symbolism of the veils as a whole, and next, as to the symbolism of each veil separately.

As a whole, the four veils, constituting four divisions of the Tabernacle, present obstacles to the neophyte in his advance to the most holy place where the Grand Council sits. Now he is seeking to advance to that sacred spot that he may there receive his spiritual illumination, and be invested with a knowledge of the true Divine Name. But Masonically, this Divine Name is itself but a symbol of Truth, iche object, as has been often said, of all a Freemason's search and labor. The passage through the veils is, therefore, a symbo],of the trials and difficulties that are eneountered and must be overcome in the search for and the acquisition of Truth.
This is the general symbolism; but we lose sight of it, in a great degree, when we come to the interpretation of the symbolism of each veil independently of the others, for this principally symbolizes the various virtues and affections that should characterize the Freemason. Yet the two symbolisms are really eonnected, for the virtues symbolized are those which should distinguish everyone engaged in the Divine Search.

The symbolism, according to the system adopted in the American Rite, refers to the colors of the veils and to the miraculous signs of Moses, which are described in Exodus as having been shown by him to prove his mission as the messenger of Jehovah.

Blue is a symbol of universal friendship and benevolence. It is the appropriate color of the Symbolic Degrees, the possession of which is the first step in the progress of the search for truth to be now instituted. The Mosaic sign of the serpent was the symbol among the ancients of resurrection to life, because the serpent by casting his skin, is supposed continually to renew his youth. It is the symbol here of the loss and the recovery of the Word.

Purple is a symbol here of union, and refers to the intimate connection of Ancient Craft and Royal Arch Masonry. Hence it is the appropriate color of the intermediate Degrees, which must be passed through in the prosecution of the search. The Mosaic sign refers to the restoration of the leprous hand to health. Here again, in this representation of a diseased limb restored to health, we have a repetition of the allusion to the loos and the recovery of the Word; the Word itself being but a symbol of Divine Truth, the search for which constitutes the whole Science of Freemasonry, and the symbolism of which pervades the whole system of initiation from the first to the last Degree.

Scarlet is a symbol of fervency and zeal, and is appropriated to the Royal Arch Degree because it is by these qualities that the neophyte, now so far advanced in his progress, must expect to be successful in his search. The Mosaic sign of changing water into blood bears the same symbolic reference to a change for the better—from a lower to a higher state—from the elemental water in which there is no life to the blood which is the life itself—from darkness to light. The progress is still onward to the recovery of that which had been lost, but which is yet to be found.

White is a symbol of purity, and is peculiarly appropriate to remind the neophyte, who is now almost at the close of his search, that it is only by purity of life that he can expect to be found worthy of the reception of Divine Truth. "Blessed," says the Great Teacher, "are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." The Mosaic signs now cease, for they have taught their lesson; and the aspirant is invested with the Signet of Truth, to assure him that, having endured all trials and overcome all obstacles, he is at length entitled to receive the reward for which he has been seeking; for the Signet of Zerubbabel is a royal signet, which confers power and authority on him who possesses it.

And so we now see that the Symbolism of the Veils however viewed, whether collectively or separately represents the laborious, but at last successful, search for Divine Truth.



The title of the Worshipful Master in a French Lodge



The Twentieth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (see Graced Master of all Symbolic Lodges). The Dictionnaire Masonnique says that this Degree was formerly conferred on those Brethren in France who, in receiving it, obtained the right to organize Lodges, and to act as Masters or Venerables for life, an abuse that was subsequently abolished by the Grand Orient. Ragon and Vassal both make the same statement. It may be true, but they furnish no documentary
evidence of the fact.



The French title is Venerable Parfait. A Degree in the collection of Viany



A republic of South America. Lodges are reported to have been instituted in Venezuela by the Grand Orient of Spain during the years prior to 1824. At that time, however, a Lodge, Logia de la Concordia Venezolana, No. 792, was opened at Angostura but was taken off the register on June 4, 1862. In 1824 also the formation of a Provincial Grand Lodge was authorized by Scotland. At Caracas Joseph Cerneau opened a Grand Lodge and a Supreme Council. In 1827 an edict against secret societies caused all the Lodges, save one, to stop work.

In 1838 the Craft revived. The National Grand Lodge of Venezuela and a Grand Orient were organized. They joined forces on January 12, 1865, as the National Grand Orient of Venezuela comprising four Bodies, Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter, Grand Consistory and Supreme Council. This Grand Orient continued work until August 18, 1916, when it dissolved voluntarily. A Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite was then formed and a Grand Lodge of the United States of Venezuela founded at Caracas. Each stated that it was entirely separate from the other, but by many this was not altogether credited and the doubt was the cause of the formation of several other Grand Bodies.

According to Brother Oliver Day Street, in 1918 seven Lodges seceded and formed the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the Craft working north of the Orinoco. In November, 1919, three Lodges, namely, Asila de la Paz, Home of Peace, No. 13; Virtud y Order, No. 22, and Union No. 49, established the Grand Lodge of the East. This was installed February 9, 1920, and reorganized m January 9, 1921, and controls the Lodges south of the Orinoco and the Federal States east of the Republic.



A word used in the advanced Degrees. Barruel, Robison, and the other detractors of Freemasonry, have sought to find in this word a proof of the vindictive character of the Institution. "In the degree of Kadosh," says Barruel (Memoires ii, page 310), "the asssassin of Adoniram becomes the King, who must be slain to avenge the Grand Master Molay and the Order of Masons, who are the succesors of the Templars." No calumny was ever fabricated with so little pretension to truth for its foundation. The reference is altogether historical; it is the record of the punishment which followed a crime, not an incentive to revenge.

The word Nekam is used in Freemasonry in precisely the same sense in which it is employed by the Prophet Jeremiah (1, 15) when he speaks of nikemvat Jehovah, the vengeance of the Lord—the punishment which God will infliet on evil-doers. The word is used symbolically to express the universally recognized doctrine that crime will inevitably be followed by its penal consequences. It is the dogma of all true religions; for if virtue and vice entailed the same result, there would be no incentive to the one and no restraint from the other.



Established at Potsdam, Germany, on May 19, 1861, this Association of German Freemasons was organized to labor for the development and promotion of Masonic ideals, to further the demands of Masonic Knowledge, encourage the activity of Lodges, and exercise benevolence and charity. Any member of a recognized Masonic Lodge could become a member on application and by payment of the yearly subscription he receives the journal, Zwanglosen Mitteilungen, every second month. This progressive Body has been a popular enterprise whose interests were judiciously fostered for many years by the President, Dr. Diedrich Bischoff, and the Secretary in Charge, Dr. J. C. Schwabe, both of Leipzig, Germany (see Union of German Freemasons).



An officer ill a Council of Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, whose duties are similar to those of a Senior Deacon in a Symbolic Lodge.



The Latin for Truth, a significant word in Templar Freemasonry (see Truth).



A Charter was issued November 10, 1781, for a Lodge to be instituted at Springfield, Vermont, but as meetings were held instead at Charlestown, New Hampshire, a plan was evolved to divide into two Lodges. A second Charter was applied for and granted February 2, 1788, to Faithful Lodge at Charlestown. The first Lodge then moved to Springfield and on May 14, 1795, it received permission to hold its meetings for the future at Windsor. September 19, 1831, work ceased owing to the Anti Masonic excitement until January 10, 1850, when the Lodge was revived and its present Charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of Vermont.

On January 30, 1799, a Warrant was issued for a Mark Master Masons Lodge at Bennington. March 25, 1805, a Dispensation was granted to Jerusalem Chapter at Vergennes and a Charter on February 5, 1806. The General Grand Chapter on January 9,1806, recognized the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Vermont as a constituent Body. The last communication of this Grand Lodge was held in 1832 and, owing to the Morgan trouble, there was too much opposition to the Craft for it to be reorganized until 1847. The first Council in Vermont was established by Companion Cross at Windsor, July 5, 1817. The Charter dated August 13, l817, still exists and is claimed by Companion Drummond to be that of the first permanent Body of Select Masters. A reorganization of this and the other Councils in Vermont took place in 1849 after the cessation of the Anti Masonic movement, and four of them organized a Grand Council, August 10, 1854, which in 1877 united with the General Grand Council.

Vermont Encampment at Windsor was chartered February23, 1821. On June 1, 1824, Sir Henry Fowle, Deputy General Grand Master, issued a Warrant for the formation of the Grand Encamps ment of Vermont which was constituted on June 17. On Oetober 12, 1831, the last session was held. At the time there were four constituent Commanderies, namely, Vermont; Green Mountain, No. 2; Mount Calvary, No. 3, and La Fayette. In December, 1850, authority for a Grand Commandery of Vermont was given to three Commanderies: Mount Calvary, LaFayette, and Burlington, and it was revived January 14, 1852.

The Haswell Lodge of Perfection, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, was chartered at Burlington on June 17, 1870. The Joseph W. Roby Council of Princes of Jerusalem and the Delta Chapter of Rose Croix were granted Charters on November 13, 1873, and the Vermont Consistory on August 19, 1874.


A French litterateur and Masonic writer, who was in 1821 the Venerable of the Lodge la Parfaite Humanité, or Perfect Humanity, at Montpellier. He wrote an Essai sur l'Histoire de la Franche-Maçonnerie, depais son étublissement jusqu.'à nos jours, or Essay on the History of Freemasonry since its Establishment up to our days, Paris, 1813; and Le Parfait Maçon ou Répertoire complet de la Maçonnerie Symbolique, or The Perfect Mason or Complete Repository of Symbolic Masonry. This work was published at Montpellier, in 1820, in six numbers, of which the sixth was republished the next year, with the title of Apologie des Maçons. It contained a calm and rational refutation of several works which had been written against Freemasonry. Vernhes became an active disciple of the Rite of Mizraim, and published in 1822, at Paris, a defense of it and an examination of the various Rites then practised in France.



The Abbé Vertot was born at the Chateau de Bennelot, in Normandy, in 1665. In 1715 the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta appointed him the Historiographer of that Order, and provided him with the Commandery of Santenay. Vertot discharged the duties of his office by Meriting his well-known work entitled History of the Knights Hospitaler of Saint John of Jerusalem, afterwards Knights of Rhodes, and now Knights of Malta, which was published at Paris, in 1726, in four volumes. It has since passed through a great number of editions, and been translated into many languages. Of this work, to which the Abbé principally owes his fame, although he was also the author of many other histories, French critics complain that the style is languishing, and less pure and natural than that of his other writings.

Notwithstanding that it has been the basis of almost all subsequent histories of the Order, the judgment of the literary world is, that it needs exactitude in many of its details, and is too much influences by the personal prejudices of the author. The Abbé Vertot died in 1735.



The fish rvas among primitive Christians a symbol of Jesus (see Fish). the Vesica Piscis, signifying literally the airbladder of a fish, but, as some suppose being the rough outline of a fish, was adopted as an abbreviated form of that symbol. In some old manuscripts it is used as a representation of the lateral wound of our Lord. As a symbol, it was frequently employed as a church decoration by the Freemasons of the Middle Ages. The seals of all colleges, abbeys, and other religious communities, as well as of ecclesiastical persons, were invariably made of this shape. Hence, in reference to the religious character of the Institution, it has been suggested that the seals of Masonic Lodges should also have that form, instead of the circular one now used.



These utensils for the service of the First Temple, were almost numberless, according to Josephus. He gives the accompanying list of them:
.................................................... Gold................................... Silver Vessels
.................................................. 20,000.....................................40,000 Candlesticks
.................................................... 4,000...................................... 8,000 Wine cups
.................................................. 80,000............................................... Goblets
.................................................. 10,000.................................... 20,000 Measures
.................................................. 20,000.................................... 40,000 Dishes
.................................................. 80,000...................................160,000 Censers
.................................................. 20,000.....................................50,000
..................................................--------- ..................................----------
............................................... 234,000.................................. 318,000
Vestments for the priests ..........................................................21,000
Musical instruments................................................................600,000
Stoles of silver for the Levites ............................................... 200,000



The vessels and vestments were always protected by a Hierophylax or Guardian.



Associations of Freemasons "who, as such, have borne the burden and heat of the day" for at least twenty-one years' active service—in the State of Conneetieut, thirty years. A number of these Societies exist in the United States, their objects being largely of a social nature, to set an example to the younger Freemasons, and to keep a watchful eye on the comfort of those whose years are becoming numbered. The assemblies are stated or casual, but in all cases annual for a Table Lodge. These Associations perpetuate friendship, cultivate the social virtues, and collate and preserve the histories and biographies of their members.



A war-flag. In classical Latin, Vezillum meant a Rag consisting of a piece of cloth fixed on a frame or cross-tree, as contradistinguished from a signum, or standard, which was simply a pole with the image of an eagle, horse, or some other device on the top. Among the pretended relies of the Order of the Temple is one called Me drapeau de guerre, en laine blanche, à quatre raies noires; that is, the standard of war, of white linen, unth four black rays; and in the Statutes of the Order, the Vexillum Belli is described as being albo nigroque palatum, or pales of petite anti black, which is the same thing couched in the technical language of heraldry.

This is incorrect. The only war-flag of the ancient Knights Templar was the Beauseant. Addison, on the title-page of his Temple Church, gives what he says is "the war-banner of the Order of the Temple," and which is, as in the illustration, the Beauseant bearing in the center the blood-red Ternplar Cross Some of the Masonic Templars, those of Scotland for example, have both a Beaucenifer or Beauseant Bearer, and a Bearer of the Vexillum Belli. The difference in that instance would appear to be that the Beauseant is the plain white and black flag, and the Vexillum Belli is the same flag charged with the red cross.



A Masonic writer of Tuscany, and one of the founders there of the Philosphic Scottish Rite. He was the author of many discourses, dissertations, and didactic essays on Masonic subjects. He is, however, best known as the collector of a large number of manuscript Degrees and cahiers or rituals, several of which have been referred to in this work.



The name of the second officer in a Conclave of the Red Cross of Rome anal Constantine.



A state of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Grand Lodge of England established Australia Felix Lodge (helix being the Latin for fruitful and lucky) at Melbourne by Warrant dated April 2, 1841. The Lodge was constituted, however, in March 1840. The Craft at once took a firm hold and the Lodge is now No. 1 on the register of the Grand Lodge of Victoria. Scotch and Irish Lodges were planted in 1843 and 1847. Numerous others began work during the next three decades and a Provincial Grand Master, the Hon. J. E. Murray, was appointed.

In 1886 the Scotch, Irish, and English Jurisdictions controlled about 120 Lodges, all united under one Provincial Grand Master. A proposal in 1864 that Victoria should have a Grand Lodge of its own was strongly opposed by the Grand Lodge of England. The suggestion was dropped until 1876 and again until 1883 when a few of the Lodgeg combined to carry it to a successful issue. A Convention of delegates was held and the Masonic Union of Victoria was formed on April 27. In the following June more Lodges approved the scheme and the Grand Lodge of Victoria was founded July 2, 1883. Brother Coppin was elected Grand Master and before the end of his first year of offiee it had been recognized by 17 other Grand Lodges Those Lodges which remained faithful to the authorities in England, Scotland and Ireland united under one Provincial Grand Master, Sir. W. J. Clarke On March 21, 1889, the regular Grand Lodge of Victoria was constituted and suceeecled in uniting all the conflicting elements in the Colony.




For over sixty years reigned as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India. Born 1819; the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, who was Past Grand Master of Freemasons in England. before twenty years of age Victoria was crowned Queen and during her long and glorious reign she gave unstintingly of her time, interest and personal funds to the various benevolent activities of English Freemasonry. Her death occurred in 1901, when she was succeeded by her son, Edward VII, born 1841, and who became Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, in 1874. During Victoria's reign she seas named the Patroness or Protectress of the Masonic Order.



In 1748, the year after the alleged creation of the Chapter of Arras by the Young Pretender, Charles Edward, a new Rite, in favor of the cause of the Stuarts, was established at Toulouse by, as it is said, Sir Samuel Lockhart, one of the Aides-de-Camp of the Prince. It was called the Raite of Vielle-Bru, or Faithful Scottish Masons. It Consisted of nine Degrees, divided into three chapters as follows:

First Chapter,
1, 2, 3. The Symbolic Degrees;
4. Secret Master.
Second Chapter,
5, 6, 7, 8. Four Elu Degrees, based on the Templar System.
Third Chapter,
9. Scientific Freemasonry.
The head of the Rite was a Council of Menatzchim.
In 1804 the Rite was refused a recognition by the Grand Orient of France, because it presented no moral or scientific object, and because the Charter which it claimed to have from Prince Charles Edward was not proved to be authentic It continued to exist in the South of France until the year 1812, when, being again rejected by the Grand Orient, it fell into decay.



See Austria Hungary and Czecho-Slovakia



He was born in Languedoc in 1653, and was shot by one of his relatives, on the high road between Lyons and Paris, in l675. The Abbé Villars is celebrated as the author of She Count de Gabalis, or Conversations on the Secret Sciences, published in two volumes, at Paris, in 1670.

In this work the author's design was, under the form of a romance, to unveil some of the Cabalistie mysteries of Rosicrucianism. It has passed through many editions, and has been translated into English as well as into other languages.



A Latin term that is in French, Vaincre ou Mourir, meaning Conquer or die. The motto of the Degree of Perfect Elect Freemason, the first of the Elus according to the Clermond or Templar system of Freemasonry.


Book by Brother Neil, 1810



A distinguished lecturer on Freemasonry, and teacher of the ritual in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. His field of labors was principally confined to the Southern States, and he taught his system for some time with great success in North and South Carolina. There were, however, stains upon his eharaeter, and he was eventually expelled by the Grand Lodge of the former State. He died at Shakertown, Kentucky, in July, 1833. Vinton published at Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1816, a volumes containing Selections of Masonic, Sentimental and Humorous songs, under the title of The Masonic Minstrel. Of this rather trifling work no less than twelve thousand copies were sold by subscription.

To Vinton's poetic genius we are indebted for that beautiful dirge commencing, Solemn strikes the funeral chime which became in almost all the Lodges of the United States a part of the ritualistic ceremonies of the Sublime Degree, and has been sung over the graves of thousands of departed Brethren. This contribution should preserve the memory of Vinton among the Craft, and in some measure atone for his faults, whatever they may have been. The words of this poem are appended as follows:

Solemn strikes the funeral chime
Notes of our departing time
As we journey here belowThrough a pilgrimage of woe.

Mortals, now indulge a tear
For mortality is here!
See how wide her trophics wave
O'er the slumbers of the grave!

Here another guest we bring!
Seraphs of celestial wing,
To our fun'ral altar come,
Waft our friend and brother home.

Thee, enlarged, thy souI shall see
What was veiled in mystery;
Heavenly glories of the place
Show his Maker face to face.

Lord of all! below—above—
Fill our hearts with truth and love
When dissolves our earthly tie
Take us to Thy Lodge on high.



This is not a Masonic color, except in some of the advanced Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, where it is a symbol of mourning, and thus becomes one of the decorations of a Sorrow Lodge. Portal (Couleurs Symboliques, page 236) says that this color was adopted for mourning by persons of high rank. And Gampini (Vetera Monumenta) states that violet was the mark of grief, especially among Kings and Cardinals. In Christian art, the Savior is clothed in a purple robe during His passion; and it is the color appropriated, says Court de Gebelin (Monde primetif viii, page 201), to martyrs, because, like their Divine Master, they undergo the punishment of the Passion. Prevost (Histoire des Voltages vi, page 152) says that in China violet is the color of mourning.

Among that people blue is appropriated to the dead and red to the living, because with them red represents the vital heat, and blue, immortality; and hence, says Portal, violet, which is made by an equal admixture of blue and red, is a symbol of the resurrection to eternal life. Such an idea is peculiarly appropriate to the use of violet in the advanced Degrees of Freemasonry as a symbol of mourning. It would be equally appropriate in the first Degrees, for everywhere in Freemasonry we are taught to mourn not as those who have no hope. Our grief for the dead is that of those who believe in the immortal life. The red symbol of life is tinged with the blue of immortality, and thus we would wear the violet as our mourning to declare our trust in the resurrection.



A group of some hundred islands belonging to the Leewat Islands in the West Indies. In 1760 the "Ancient" Grand Lodge of England authorized a Lodge on Virgin Gorda Island known as Virgin Gorda Lodge, No. 82. Another was granted authority in l763 at Tortola and it third was chartered by the "Moderns'' in 1765 At the Union of 1813 however, not one of the three was placed on the Register.

Brother John Ryan was appointed Provincial Grand Master in 1777. Lodges were also chartered in these Islands by the Grand Lodges of Scotland, Pennsylvania, Denmark, France and Colon.



Mention of Freemasonry in Virginia occurs in the Freemason's Pocket Companion by Auld and Smellie, published in 1765. Two Lodges are mentioned therein; Royal Exchange, No. 172, at Norfolk, and No. 204, in Yorktown, and they are said to have met "1st Thursday, Dec. 1733" and "lst and 3d Wednesday; (from Aug. 1, 1755" respectively. It has been said that the cartier date is a mistake for 1753, hut probably 1733 is correct. Records also show that Norfolk Lodge was chartered on June l, 1741, for the same place and to hold its meetings at the same times as Royal Exchange Lodge. It is therefore probable that Norfolk Lodge was instituted in place of Royal Exchange Lodge. At the instigation of Williamshurg Lodge, No. 6, a Convention was held on May 6, 1777, to arrange the formation of 3 Grand Lodge of Virginia. On October 13, 1778, the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons was Constituted and John Blair was elected Grand Master.

The meetings were held in Williamsburg until 1784, when the Grand Lodge removed to Richmond. That same year, General LaFayette visited Washington at Mount Vernon and took with him as a present an apron worked by Madame LaFayette herself. This apron is now in the possession of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

Royal Arch Degrees were probably worked first in Virginia under the Lodge Charters. Some think that Brother Joseph Myers introduced the system when he settled in Richmond and began the Holy Royal Arch of the .Ancient and Accepted Rite which was taught in the State until 1820, when the English Degree was adopted. Brother John Dove said that substitutes had been in constant use since 1792 without evil results. It is therefore certain that Royal Arch Masonry was practiced in Virginia at that date. From 1820 until 1841 the Council Degrees were under the control of a Grand Council. December 17, 1841, by general agreement, they came under the Grand Chapter.

The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Virginia was established May 1, 1808, following a suggestion from a Convention of the "Grand United Chapter of Excellent and Super Excellent Masons of Norfolk."

The new Chapter had no connection with the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States. At the annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter of Maryland in 1827 Grand High Priest J. K. Stapleton introduced the subject of the granting of the Select Degree independent of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter. Circulars were sent out to the Grand Chapters and South Carolina in her reply mentioned a Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem, established February 20, 1788, by Brothers Joseph Myers, Barend M. Spitzes, and A. Forst, and that the first named before his return to Europe had handed on his knowledge of the Degrees in the Cities of Virgillia and Maryland. In 1817 Companion Jeremy L. Cross established a Council of Select Masters in Richmond in December. The Grand Council of Virginia, formed in December, 1820, failed to flourish during the decade 1829-39, the time of the Morgan excitements In I841 it was dissolved and the degrees were once again under the control of the Chapters.

The first Ecampment to be constituted in Virginia was Richmond, chattered May 5, 1823. No Dispensation had been issued. On September 17, 1847, this Charter and those of two other Encampments were annulled. This left Wheeling, No. 1, chartered ,September 16, 1841, the first existing Encampment of Virginia. There was, however, according to a memorial from Virginia to the 18th Triennial Convocation in 1871, an Encampment at Winchester as early as 1812 which worked under the protection of the Lodge there.

The Richmond Encampment was also established at an early date and continued its work without a Charter until 1823. Sir J. G. Hankins, Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Virginia states that either Jeremy L. Cross or Jarnes Cushman proclaimed the Winchester body as the Grand Encampment of Virginia in 1823. It did not last very long and probably when it ceased to exist authority over the Encampments in the State reverted to the General Grand Encampment. In 1845 it was resolved to form a new one but the consent of the General Grand Encampment was not obtained, which was somewhat irregular. In 1871, however, application to withdraw from the General Grand Encampment was refused.

On December 18, 1874, the McDaniel Lodge of Perfection, No. 3, was granted a Charter at Norfolk. At Richmond three other bellies of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern .Jurisdiction, were chartered: Pelican Chapter of Rose Croix, No. 9, April 10, 1884; Saint Omar Council of Kadosh No. 1, May 22, 1889, and Dalcho Consistory, No. 1, at Richmond, September 6, 1889.


See Weeping Virgin


This Latin motto By Virtue and Silelwee, and Gloria in E:rcelsis Deo, meaning Glory to God in the Highest, are of the Royal Order of Scotland.


See Puranas



In a Circular published March 18, 1775, by the Grand Orient of France, reference is made to two divisions of the Order, namely, Visible and Invisible Masonry. Did we not know something of the Masonic contentions then existing in France between the Lodges and the supreme authority, we should hardly comprehend the meaning intended to be conveyed by these words. By Invisible Masonry they denoted that Body of intelligent and virtuous Freemasons who, irrespective of any connection with dogmatic authorities, constituted "a Mysterious and Invisible, Society of the True Sons of Lights who, Scattered over the two hemispheres, were engaged, with one heart and soul, in doing everything for the glory of the Grand Architect and the good of their fellow-men. By Visible Masonry they meant the congregation of Freemasons into Lodges, which were often affected by the contagious vices of the age in which they lived.

The former is perfect; the latter continually needs purification. The words were originally
invented to effect a particular purpose, and bring the recusant or nonconforming Lodges of France into their Obedience. But they might be advantageously preserved, in the technical language of Freemasonry, for a more general and permanent object. Invisible Freemasonry would then indicate the abstract spirit of Freemasonry as it has always existed, while Visible Freemasonry would refer to the concrete form which it assumes in Lodge and Chapter organizations, and in different Rites and systems.

The latter would be like the Material Church, or Church Militant; the former like the Spiritual Church, or Church Triumphant. Such terms might be found convenient to Masonic scholars and writers.



The visit of a Grand Master, accompanied by his Grand Officers, to a subordinate Lodge, to inspect its condition, is called a Grand Visitation. There is no allusion to anything of the kind in the Old Constitutions, because there was no organization of the Order before the eighteenth century that made such an inspection necessary. But immediately after the Revival in 1717, it was found expedient, in consequence of the growth of Lodges in London, to provide for some form of visitation and inspection. So, in the very first of the Thirty-nine General Regulations, adopted in 1721, it is declared that "the Grand Master or his Deputy hath authority and right not only to be present in any true Lodge, but also to preside wherever he is, with the Master of the Lodge on his left hand, and to order his Grand Wardens to attend him, who are not to act in any particular Lodges as Wardens, but in his presence and at his command; because there the Grand Master may command the Wardens of that Lodge, or any other Brethren he pleaseth, to attend and act as his Wardens pro tempore" (Constitutions, 1723, page 58).

In compliance with this old regulation, whenever the Grand Master, accompanied by his Wardens and other officers, visits a Lodge in his Jurisdiction, for the purpose of inspecting its condition, the Master and officers of the Lodge thus visited surrender their seats to the Grand Master and the Grand Officers.

Grand Visitations are among the oldest usages of Freemasonry since the revival period. In the United States of America they are not now so frequently practiced, in consequence of the extensive territory in which the Lodges are scattered, and the difficulty of collecting at one point all the Grand Officers, many of whom generally reside at great distances apart. Still, where it can be done, the practice of Grand Visitations should never be neglected. The power of visitation for inspection is confined to the Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master and those holding official proxies for the purpose.

The Grand Wardens possess no such prerogative. The Master must always tender the Gavel and the Chair to the Grand or Deputy Grand Master when either of them informally visits a Lodge; for the Grand Master and, in his absence, the Deputy have the right to preside in all Lodges where they may be present. But this privilege does not extend to the Grand Wardens.



Every Brother from abroad, or from any other Lodge, when he visits a Lodge, must be received with welcome and treated witch hospitality. He must be clothed, that is to say, Furnished with an Apron, and, if the Lodge uses them as every Lodge should, with Gloves, and, if a Past Master, with the jewel of his rank. He must be directed to a seat, and the utmost courtesy extended to him. If of distinguished rank in the Order, the honors due to that rank must be paid to him.

This hospitable and courteous spirit is derived from the ancient customs of the Craft, and is inculcated in all the Old Constitutions. Thus, in the Lansdowne Manuscript, it is directed "that every Mason receive or cherish strange Fellows when they come over the Country, and sett them on work, if they will work, as the manner is; that is to say, if the Mason have any mold stone in his place on work; and if he have none, the Mason shall refresh him with money unto the next Lodge." A similar regulation is found in all the other manuscripts of the Operative Masons; and from them the usage has descended to their speculative successors. At all Lodge banquets it is of obligation that a toast or sentiment shall be emphasized "to the Visiting Brethren." To neglect this would be a great breach of decorum.

The English Constitutions (Rule 149) state that "the Master and Wardens of a Lodge are enjoined to visit other Lodges as often as they conveniently can, in order that the same usages and customs may be observed throughout the Craft, and a good understanding cultivated amongst Freemasons."



Every affiliated Freemason in good standing has a right to visit any other Lodge, wherever it may be, as often as it may suit his pleasure or convenience; and this is called, in Masonic law, the Right of Visit. It is one of the most important of all Masonic privileges, because it is based on the principle of the identity of the Masonic Institution as one universal family, and is the exponent of that well-known maxim that "in every clime a Freemason may find a home, and in every land a Brother." It has been so long and so universally admitted, that we have not hesitated to rank it among the landmarks of the Order.

The admitted doctrine on this subject is, that the right of visit is one of the positive rights of every Freemason, because Lodges are justly considered as only divisions for convenience of the universal Masonic family. The right may, of course, be lost, or forfeited on special occasions, by various circumstances; but any Master who shall refuse admission to a Freemason in good standing, who knocks at the door of his Lodge, is expected to furnish some good and satisfactory reason for thus violating a Masonic right. If the admission of the applicant, whether a member or visitor, would, in his opinion, be attended with injurious consequences, such, for instance, as impairing the harmony of the Lodge, a Master would then, we presume, be justified in refusing admission.

Out without the existence of some such good reason, Masonic jurists have always decided that the right of visitation is absolute and positive, and inures to every Freemason in his travels throughout the world (see this subject discussed in its fullest extent in Doctor Mackey's revised Jurisprudence of Freemasonry).



The representative deity of darkness in Vedie mythology, and the antagonist of Indra, as the personified light. Vitra also represents ignorance, superstition, fanaticism, and intolerance, the opponents of Freemasonry.



"Vivat! vivat! vivat!" is the acclamation which accompanies the honors in the French Rite. Bazot (Manuel, page 165) says it is "the Cry of joy of Freemasons of the French Rite." Vivat" is a Latin word, and signifies, literally, "May he live"; but it has been domiciliated in French, and Boiste (Dictionnaire Universel) defines it as "a Cry of applause which expresses the wish for the preservation of anyone " The French Freemasons say, "he was received with the triple vivat," to denote that "He was received with the highest honors of the lodge."



A distinguished Masonic writer of Germany, who was born in 1753. He was at one time co-rector of the Sebastian School at Altdorf, and afterward First Professor of Theology and Ecclesiastical Counselor at Erlangen. In 1785 he published at Nuremberg, in three volumes, his Briefe die Freimaurerei betreffende or, Letters concerning Freemasonry. The first volume treats of the Knights Templar; the second, of the Ancient Mysteries; and the third, of Freemasonry. This was, says Gloss, the first earnest attempt made in Germany to trace Freemasonry to a true, historical origin. Vogel's theory was this, that the Speculative Freemasons descended from the Operatives or Stone Masons of the Middle Ages. The abundant evidence that more recent documentary researches have produced was then wanting, and the views or Vogel did not make that impression to which they were entitled. He has, however, the credit of having opened the way, after the Abbé Grandidier, for those who have followed him in the same field. He also delivered before the Lodges of Nuremberg, several Discourses on the Design, Character, and Origin of Freemasonry which were published in one volume, at Berlin, in 1791.



A Doctor of Medicine, and Professor and Senator at Dresden. He was a member of the advanced Degrees of the Rite of Strict Observance, where his Order name was Eques à Falcone or Knight of the Falcon. In 1788 he attacked Starck's Rite of the Clerks of Strict Observance, and published an essay on the subject, in the year 1788, in the Acta Historico-Ecclesiastica of Weimar. Voigt exposed the Roman Catholic tendencies of the new system, and averred that its object was "to cite and command spirits, to find the philosopher's stone, and to establish the reign of the millennium." His development of the Cabalistic character of the Rite made a deep impression on the Masonic world, and was one of the most effective attacks upon it made by its antagonists of the old Strict Observance.



Those who worship Vishnu, in white garments, and abstain from animal food. Believers in the third member of the Trimurti according to Hindu mythology, in him who was believed to be the preserver of the world, and who had undergone ten Avatars or incarnations, to wit, a bird, tortoise, wild boar, andro-lion, etc., of which the deity Krishna was the eighth incarnation in this line of Vishnu, and in which form he was supposed to be the son of Devanaguy and reared by the shepherd Nanda.



His full name was Jean Frangois Marie A rouet de Voltaire. This French philosopher, historian, dramatist, and man of letters adopted the name of François Marie Arouet de Voltaire though only the first words were his by baptism, the father, a notary, being François Arouet. Whence the name of Voltaire was derived has been the cause of many perplexing speculations. One of the most famous of French writers, he was born at Châtenay, near Sceaux, November 21, 1694. His early life was loose and varied.

In 1728 he became infatuated with a Madame du Chatelet his literary works cover some ninety volumes. In 1743, the French government despatched him on a mission to Frederick the Great, by whom he was held in high favor, and in 1750, at the request of the King, he made his residence in Berlin, but five years later they quarreled, and Voltaire moved to Ferney, Switzerland. His literary talent was most varied, and in invective he had no equal. During his exile in England he imbibed deistical theories, which marked his life. He was charged with atheism. Voltaire was easily misunderstood. While he attacked the fashionable atheism of his time, as well as Christianity, his real fight, broadly slashing as it was, and never any too courteously outlined or defined, was probably against all persecution and oppression by any and all pampered orthodoxy. He was initiated in the Lodge of the Nine Sisters, at Paris, April 7, 1778.

Benjamin Franklin and others distinguished in Freemasonry were members of this famous Lodge. Franklin at the time of Voltaire's initiation was a visitor only but subsequently became Worshipful master of the Lodge (see Nine Sisters, Lodge of the). Voltaire's death, on May 30, 1778, gave rise to a memorable Lodge of Sorrow, which was held on the succeeding November 28.



Born November 15, l730; died November 28, 1794. Famous General, who came to America from Prussia through the influence of Benjamin Franklin in 1777 to train and organize troops of the American Revolution. He brought with him his Masonic affiliation credentials with the rank of Past Master, to Holland Lodge, and also became a member of Trinity Lodge No. 10, both of New York City (see New Age, November, 1924; History of Freemasonry in the State of New York, Ossian Lang, pages 75, 81; Masonry in the Formation of our Government—1761-1799, Philip A. Roth, page 81; Builder, volume ii, page 21).



Voting in Lodges viva voce, or by "aye" and "nay," is a modern innovation in America. During the Grand Mastership of the Earl of Loudoun, on April 6, 1736, the Grand Lodge of England, on the motion of Deputy Grand Master Ward, adopted "a new Regulation of ten rules for explaining what concerned the decency of Assemblies and Communications." The tenth of these rules is in the following words: "The opinions or votes of the members are always to be signified by each holding up one of his hands; which uplifted hands the Grand Wardens are to count, unless the number of hands be so unequal as to render the counting useless. Nor should any other kind of division be ever admitted among Masons" (Constitutions, 1738, page 178). The usual mode of putting the question is for the presiding officer to say: "So many as are in favor avid signify the same by the usual sign of the Order," and then, when those votes have been counted to say: "So many as are of a contrary opinion will signify the same by the same sign." The votes are now counted by the Senior Deacon in a subordinate Lodge, and by the Senior Grand Deacon in a Grand Lodge, it having been found inconvenient for the Grand Wardens to perform that duty. The number of votes on each side is communicated by the Deacon to the presiding officer, who announces the result. The same method of voting should be observed in all Masonic Bodies.



Formerly, all members of the Craft, even Entered Apprentices, were permitted to vote. This was distinctly prescribed in the last of the Thirty-nine General Regulations adopted in 1721 (Constitutions, 1723, page 70). But the numerical strength of the Order, which was then in the First Degree, having now passed over to the Third, the modern rule in the United States of America, but not in England, is that the right of voting shall be restricted to Master Masons. A Master Mason may, therefore, speak and vote on all questions, except in trials where he is himself concerned as accuser or defendant.

Yet by special regulation of his Lodge he may be prevented from voting on ordinary questions where his dues for a certain period—generally twelve months— have not been paid; and such a regulation exists in almost every Lodge. But no local by-law can deprive a member, who has not been suspended, from voting on the ballot for the admission of Candidates, because the sixth regulation of 1721 distinctly requires that each member present on such occasion shall give his consent before the candidate can be admitted (see the above edition of the Constitutions, page 59).

And if a member were deprived by any by-law of the Lodge in consequence of non-payment of his dues, of the right of expressing his Consent or dissent, the ancient regulation would be violated, and a candidate might be admitted without the unanimous Consent of all the members present. And this rule is so rigidly enforced, that on a ballot for initiation no member Can he excused from voting. He must assume the responsibility of casting his vote, lest it should afterward be said that the candidate was not admitted by unanimous consent.



It is a rule in Freemasonry, that a Lodge may dispense with the examination of a visitor, if any Brother present will vouch that he possesses the necessary qualifications.. This is an important prerogative that every Freemason is entitled to exercise; and yet it is one which may so materially affect the well-being of the whole Fraternity, since, by its injudicious use, impostors might be introduced among the faithful, that it should be controlled by the most stringent regulations.
To vouch for one is to bear witness for him, and in witnessing to truth, every Caution should be observed, lest falsehood may Cunningly assume its garb. The brother who vouches should know to a Certainty that the one for whom he vouches is really what he Claims to be. He should know this, not from a casual conversation, nor a loose and careless inquiry, but from Strict Trial, due examination, or lawful information. These are the three requisites which the instructions have laid down as essentially necessary to authorize the act of vouching. Let us inquire into the import of each.

1. Strait Trial. By this is meant that every question is to be asked, and every answer demanded, which is necessary to convince the examiner that the party examined is acquainted with what he ought to know, to entitle him to the appellation of a brother. Nothing is to be taken for granted— categorical answers must be returned to all that it is deemed important to be asked; no forgetfulness is to be excused; nor is the want of memory to be considered as a valid reason for the want of knowledge. The Freemason who is so unmindful of his obligations as to have forgotten the instructions he has received, must pay the penalty of his Carelessness, and be deprived of his contemplated visit to that Society whose secret modes of recognition he has so little valued as not to have treasured them in his memory. The strict trial refers to the matter which is sought to be obtained by inquiry. While there are some things which may safely be passed over in the investigation of one who confesses himself to be "rusty," because they are details which require much study to acquire and constant practice to retain, there are still other things of great importance which must be rigidly demanded.

2. Due Examination. If strict trial refers to the matter, due examination alludes to the mode of investigation. This must be conducted with all the necessary forms and antecedent Cautions. Inquiries should be made as to the time and place of initiation as a preliminary step, the Tiler's oath of Course never being admitted. Then the good old rule of "commencing at the beginning" should be pursued. Let everything go on in regular course; not is it to be supposed that the information sought was originally received Whatever be the suspicions of imposture, let no expression of those suspicions be made until the final degree for rejection is uttered. And let that decree be uttered in general terms, such as, "I am not satisfied," or "I do not recognize you," and not in more specific language, such as, "You did not answer this inquire ," or "You are ignorant on that point." The candidate for examination is only entitled to know that he has not Complied generally with the requisitions of his examiner. To descend to particulars is always improper, and often dangerous. Above all, never ask what the lawyers Call "leading questions," which include in themselves the answer, nor in any way aid the memory, or prompt the forgetfulness of the party examined, by the slightest hints.

3. Lawful Information. This authority for vouching is dependent on what has been already described. For no Freemason Can lawfully give information of another's qualifications unless he has himself actually tested him But it is not every Freemason who is competent to give lawful information. Ignorant or unskillful brethren cannot do so, because they are incapable of discovering truth or of detecting error.

A "rusty Freemason" should never attempt to examine a stranger, and Certainly, lf he does, his opinion as to the result is worth nothing. If the information given is on the ground that the party who is vouched for has been seen sitting in a Lodge, Care must be taken to inquire if it was a "just and legally Constituted Lodge of Master Masons." A person may forget from the lapse of time, and vouch for a stranger as a Master Mason, whets the Lodge in which he saw him was only opened in the first or Second degree Information given by letter, or through a third party, is irregular. The person giving information, the one receiving it, and the one of whom it is given, should all be present at the time, for otherwise there would be no certainty of identity.

The information must be positive, not founded on belief or opinion, but derived from a legitimate source . And, furthermore, it must not have been received casually, but for the very purpose of being used for Masonic purposes. For one to say to another, in the course of a desultory conversation, "A. B. is a Freemason," is not sufficient.. He may not be speaking with due caution, under the expectation that his words will be considered of weight. He must say something to this effect, "I know this man to be a Master Mason, for such or such reasons, and you may safely recognize him as such.'' This alone will insure the necessary care and proper observance of prudence.

Lastly, never should an unjustifiable delicacy weaken the rigor of these rules. For the wisest and most evident reasons, that merciful maxim of the law, which says that it is better that ninety-nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should be punished, is with us reversed; so that in Freemasonry it is better that ninety anal nine true men Should be turned away from the door of a Lodge, than that one Cowan should be admitted.



The French Freemasons thus call some of the proofs and trials to which a candidate is subjected in the course of initiation into any of the degrees. In the French Rite, the voyages in the Symbolic Degrees are three in the first, five in the second and seven in the third. Their Symbolic designs are briefly explained by Ragon (Cours des Initiations; pages 90, 132) and Renoir (La Franche-Maçonnerie, page 263): The voyages of the Entered Apprentice are now, as they were in the Ancient Mysteries, the symbol of the life of man. Those of the Fellow-Craft are emblematic of labor in the search of knowledge Those of the Master Mason are Symbolic of the pursuit of crime, the wandering life of the criminal, and his vain attempts to escape remorse and punishment. It will be evident that the ceremonies in all the Rites of Freemasonry, although under a different name, lead to the same Symbolic results.





Museum Home Page     Phoenixmasonry Home Page

Copyrighted © 1999 - 2019   Phoenixmasonry, Inc.      The Fine Print