Glossary

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

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Alphabetically Arranged with Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References

Naked - unclothed

In Scriptural symbology, nakedness denoted sin, and clothing, protection.  But the symbolism of Freemasonry on this subject is different.  There, to be "neither naked or clothed" is to make no claim through worldly wealth or honors to preferment in Freemasonry, where nothing but internal merit, which is unaffected by the outward appearance of the body, is a recommendation for admission.  Nakedness a symbol of poverty and of lack in claims for preferment... Jas. 2:15 - Rev. 3:17

Naphtali - my wrestling

The fifth son of Jacob, and the tenth point of the ancient English Lectures, referring to the investiture of the lambskin.  Symbolizing this point when Moses said, "Oh Naphtali" satisfied with favor and full of the blessings of the Lord, possess thou the west and the south.  Gen. 49:21 - Deut. 33:23

Nazareth - a branch

This is the city of Galilee in which Jesus Christ spent his childhood and much of his life; hence he was often called Jesus of Nazareth, or the Nazarene.  In the Rose Croix, Nazareth is a significant word; Jesus is designated as "Our Master of Nazareth" to designate the origin and nature of the dogmas of the Order.  Matt. 2:23 -  Luke 1:16.27 - Matt. 21:11

Nebuchadnezzer

Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Chaldeans, a nomadic race, who descended from their homes in the Caucasian mountains and overwhelmed the countries of Southern Asia.  He was the founder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and among his conquests was the Jewish nation of Judah.  The Jewish king Jehoiakim was slain, his son Jehoiachin was made a petty king in his place; after a reign of three years he was displaced by his uncle Zedekiah.  Zedekiah distinguished himself by vice and hypocritical rebellions against Nebuchadnezzar, until the Chaldeans laid siege of Jerusalem for eighteen months, leveled it to the ground, pillaged and utterly destroyed the Temple, and carried captive to Babylon the inhabitants of the Judean Kingdom.  These events are commemorated in the first section of the Royal Arch Degree.  2 Kings 24 and 25th Chapters.

Neophyte

Greek, meaning newly planted.  In the primitive church, it signified one who had recently abandoned Judaism or Paganism and embraced Christianity; and in the Roman Church those recently admitted into its communion are still so called.  Hence it has also been applied to the young disciple of any art or science.  In Freemasonry the newly initiated and uninstructed candidate is sometimes so designated.

Neoplatonism

A philosophical school, established at Alexandria in Egypt, which added to the theosophic theories of Plato many mystical doctrines borrowed from the East.  The principal disciples of this school were Philo-Judaeus, Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, and Julian the Apostate.  Much of the symbolic teaching of the advanced Degrees of Freemasonry has been derived from the school of Neoplatonists, especially from the writings of Iamblichus and Philo-Judaeus.

Nevada silver

A stainless metal alloy with the appearance of silver.

Ne Varietur

Latin, meaning Lest it should be changed.  These words refer to the Masonic usage of requiring a Brother, when he receives a Certificate from a Lodge, to affix his name, in his own handwriting, in the margin, as a precautionary measure, which enables distant Brethren, by a comparison of the handwriting, to recognize the true and original owner of the Certificate, and to detect any imposter who may surreptitiously have obtained one.

Nickel plate

Nickel transferred to the surface of another metal, usually brass, by electrolysis.

Nickel silver

A silver-white alloy consisting principally of copper, zinc and nickel.  Since 1914 known as nickel silver.  Also called German silver.

Niello

Deep-line engraving on gold or silver with the lines filled with a mixture of copper, lead and sulphur in borax, fired and polished, forming a type of black enamel.

Noachidę

The descendants of Noah.  A term applied to Freemasons on the theory, derived from the "legend of the Craft," that Noah was the Father and founder of the Masonic system of theology.  And hence the Freemasons claim to be his descendants, because in times past they preserved the pure principles of his religion amid the corruption of surrounding faiths. 

Nodders

Ceramic figures with counterbalanced heads pivoted by inserting a metal pin through the neck, that fits into depressions below the inside of the body top. The head is suspended by the pins in the depressions, with enough  weight below the pins (sometimes a spring), so that the head swings back and forth.  Apparently originated in Europe about 1850, and still being produced today, mostly in plastic, in Japan.  EXAMPLE

North

The north is Masonically called a place of darkness.  The sun in his progress through the ecliptic never reaches farther than 23°28' north of the equator.  A wall being erected on any part of the earth farther north than that, will therefore, at meridian, receive the rays of the sun only on its south side, while the north as a symbol of darkness will be entirely in shadow at the hour of meridian.

Northeast Corner

Masonic legend and ritual recognize the northeast corner as the proper place for laying the corner-stone in an edifice; symbolically this corner represents the beginning of the laying of the corner-stone of the spiritual superstructure which every true Mason must build.  Here, in the Northeast Corner, ceremonies and instructions, the initiate commences the moral and intellectual task of erecting a spiritual temple in his heart.  The corner-stone is emblematic of a "well-tried, true, and trusty" Masonic character which he begins now to build -- the squareness of its surface, emblematic of morality; its cubical form, emblematic of firmness and stability of character; the peculiar finish and fineness of the material, emblematic of virtue and holiness.  In consecrated language of symbolism the newly admitted Apprentice is instructed in a life of integrity and stability of conduct, of truthfulness and uprightness of character, and of purity and holiness in all human relations.  Isa. 30:18-21 -  Matt. 7:13,14 - 1 Cor. 3:16-17 -  St. Mark 12:10

N.S.

Abbreviation for Nickel Silver.  

Numbers

The symbolism which is derived from numbers was common to the Pythagoreans, the Cabalists, the Gnostics, and all mystical associations.  Of all superstitions, it is the oldest and the most generally diffused.  Allusions are to found to it in all the systems of religion; the Jewish Scriptures, for instance, abound in it, and the Christian shows a share of its influence.  It is not, therefore, surprising that the most predominate of all symbolism in Freemasonry is that of numbers.  The doctrine of numbers as symbols is most familiar to us because it formed the fundamental idea of the philosophy of Pythagoras.  Yet it was not original with him, since he brought his theories from Egypt and the East, where his numerical symbolism had always prevailed.  Iamblichus tells us (On the Pythagorean Life, 28) that Pythagoras himself admitted that he had received the doctrine of numbers from Orpheus, who taught that numbers were the most provident beginning of all things in heaven, earth, and the intermediate space, and the root of the perpetuity of Divine beings, of the gods and of demons.  From the disciples of Pythagoras we learn, for he himself taught only orally, and left no writings, that his theory was that numbers contain the elements of all things, and even of the sciences.  Numbers are the invisible covering of beings as the body is the visible one.  They are the primary causes upon which the whole system of the universe rests; and he who knows these numbers knows at the same time the laws through which nature exists.

Numeration By Letters

There is a Cabalistical process especially used in the Hebrew language, but sometimes applied to other languages, or instance, to the Greek, by which a mystical meaning of a word is deduced from the numerical value of the words which it is composed, each letter of the alphabet being equivalent to a number.

Numismatics

The science, study, or collecting of coins, orders, decorations, medals, paper money, and similar objects.  Phaleristics is a category or subset of numismatics.

 

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