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Alphabetically Arranged with Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References


This is another name for the Promised Land of Israel, or for the Holy Land, situated on the coast of the Mediterranean, extending from Lebanon on the north to the borders of Egypt on the south, and extending east to the deserts of Syria.  It was conquered from the Canaanites by the Hebrews in 1450 B.C. and became the national land of this people for fifteen centuries, even though it was subjugated by the Assyrians, and the Babylonians during certain periods of that time, and became subjugated to Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Romans during the last few centuries of this period.  The division of the country into two Israelitish nations in 975 B.C. and the subsequent destruction of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria, left only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, or the Kingdom of Judah, for the perpetuation of Jewish history.  With the Holy Land, especially with the building of King Solomon's Temple and its successor, Zerubbabel's Temple, the mythical, and much of the authentic, history of Freemasonry has been closely connected.  From the wars of the Crusaders in Palestine, the order of Knights Templar had its origin.  Although the principles of Freemasonry have swayed men from the beginning of time, and fraternal Orders of a similar character most probably existed from time immemorial, Freemasonry as we have it today quite certainly had its beginnings at the building of King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. 

Papier maché

Paper pulp mixed with glue, chalk and sand, then compressed in a mold. It is then japanned usually black, but also in other colors. It may be painted, or inlaid with pearl shell and pewter. T he popularity of the material reached its height in the early years of Queen Victoria, but had died out by late in the 19th century.

Parallel Lines

In every well-regulated Lodge there is found a point within a circle, which circle is imbordered by two perpendicular parallel lines.  These lines are representative of St. John the Baptist and St, John the Evangelist, the two great patrons of Freemasonry to whom our Lodges are dedicated, and who are said to have been "perfect parallels in Christianity as well as Freemasonry."  

Parrot Mason

This is a facetious name sometimes given to a Mason who commits to memory and repeats in perfect rote the catechetical questions and answers on the Degree work of the Lodge, but neither seeks nor learns anything of the real meaning and teachings of Freemasonry.  In reality, he is a poor specimen of a real Mason.

Paschal Feast

This is the feast celebrated by the Jews in commemoration of the Passover, better known as the Passover Feast.  Christians observe the Feast of Easter in celebration of the Resurrection of Christ as the successor to the old Jewish Passover.  The Paschal Feast, called also the Mystic Banquet, is kept by all princes of the Rose Croix.  Ex. 12:3-28 -  Deut. 16:1-8 -  1 Cor. 5:7


A candidate, on receiving the Second Degree, is said to be "passed as a Fellow Craft."  It alludes to his having passed through the porch to the Middle Chamber of the Temple, the place in which Fellow-Crafts received their wages.


A legal document describing a device or process that displays some new and previously unrecorded aspects of manufacture or production. When accepted by an appropriately appointed national government body, the document provides for a specified period of time protection to the patentee against the device or process being copied by another person or company, within the realm of the appointed body, without prior consent. Regulations and other factors vary from country to country.  ARTICLE


Diplomas or Certificates of the advanced Degrees in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite are called Patents


In the phrase "time, patience, and perseverance will enable us to accomplish all things, and perhaps at last to find the true Master's Word," Masons are certainly encouraged to the practice of this noble virtue, with the assurance of reward. 


Soft luster on bronze caused by tiny scratches, natural ageing and handling that comes with daily use. Usually associated with brass and bronze items.  May be the result of atmospheric conditions and/or handling, or may be artificially induced (a chemical treatment to enhance the appearance of an item).  Darkens the surface, providing a rich color.  Note:  It should not be cleaned off.


The spirit of Freemasonry is antagonistic to war.  Its tendency is to unite all men in one brotherhood, whose ties must necessarily be weakened by all dissension.  Hence, as Brother Albert Pike says, "Freemasonry is the great Peace Society of the world.  Wherever it exists, it struggles to prevent international difficulties and disputes, and to bind republics, kingdoms, and empires together in one great band of peace and amity."  Isa. 2:4 -  Psalms 46:9 -  Luke 2:1-20 -  1 Tim. 2:2

Pebble Jewelry

Scottish jewelry (usually silver) set with stones native to Scotland.  Very popular during the Victorian era.


Belonging to the breast; from the Latin pectus, meaning the breast.  The heart has always been considered the seat of fortitude and courage, and hence by this word is suggested to the Freemason certain symbolic instructions in relation to the virtue of fortitude.  In Freemasonry, the word is appropriated to one of the Perfect Points of Entrance.


Belonging to the feet, from the Latin word pedes, meaning the feet.  The just man is he who, firmly planting his feet on the principles of right, is as immoveable as a rock, and can be thrust from his upright position neither by the allurements of flattery, nor the frowns of arbitrary power.  Hence by this word is suggested to the Freemason certain symbolic instructions in relation to the virtue of justice.  


The pelican feeding her young with her blood is a prominent symbol of the Eighteenth or Rose Croix Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and was adopted as such from the fact that the pelican, in ancient Christian art, was considered as the emblem of the Savior.  Now this symbolism of the pelican, as a representative of the Savior, is almost universally supposed to be derived from the common belief that the pelican feeds her young with her blood, as the Savior shed his blood for mankind; and hence the bird is always represented as sitting on her nest, and surrounded by her brood of young ones, who are dipping their bills into a wound in their mother's breast.  But this is not the exact idea of the symbolism, which really refers to the resurrection, and is, in this point of view, more applicable to Christ, as well as to the Masonic Degree of which the resurrection is a doctrine.  In an ancient Bestiarium, or Natural History, in the Royal Library at Brussels, cited by Larwood and Hotten in a recent work on the History of Signboards, this statement is made:  "The pelican is very fond of his young ones, and when they are born and begin to grow, they rebel in their nest against their parent, and strike him with their wings flying about him, and beat him so much till they wound him in his eyes.  Then the father strikes and kills them.  And the mother is of such a nature that she comes back to the nest on the third day, and sits down upon her dead young ones, and opens her side with her bill and pours her blood over them, and so resuscitates them from death; for the young ones, by their instinct, receive the blood as soon as it comes out of the mother, and drink it."  Dr. Mackey believed the true theory of the pelican is, that by restoring her young ones to life by her blood, she symbolizes the resurrection.  The old symbologists said, that the male pelican, who destroyed his young, represents the serpent, or evil principle, which brought death unto the world; while the mother, who resuscitates them, is the representative of the Son of Man of whom it is declared, "except ye drink of His blood, ye have no life in you."   Hence the pelican is very appropriately a symbol of Freemasonry, whose great object it is to teach by symbolism the doctrine of the resurrection, and especially in that sublime Degree of the Scottish Rite wherein, the old Temple being destroyed and the old Word being Lost, a new temple and a new word spring forth -- all of which is but the great allegory of the destruction by death and the resurrection to eternal life.  EXAMPLE`


The term is employed in the Mark Master Degree in the phrase, "A penny a day is the wages of the Mark Master."  This coin represents the Roman denarius, commonly used in New Testament times as the "wages of a common laborer."   In the Masonic ritual it is simply a symbol of adequate reward for faithful service or labor.  The impact in the use of the Saviour's parable is that a laborer has no right of complaint when his employer remunerates him in full, according to a previous agreement or contract.  A day's wages in parable of Jesus... Matt. 20:2-13

Perfect Ashlar

What is the symbolism of the perfect ashlar?  A stone of a true square, which can only be tried by the square and compasses.  This represents the mind of a man at the close of life, after a well-regulated career of piety and virtue, which can only be tried by the square of God's Word, and the compasses of an approving conscience.  Job 1:1  -  Gen. 6:9


In a geometrical sense, that which is upright or erect, leaning neither one way or another.  In a figurative and symbolic sense, it conveys the signification of Justice, Fortitude, Prudence, and Temperance.  Justice, that leans to no side but that of Truth; Fortitude, that yields to no adverse attack; Prudence that ever pursues the straight path of integrity; and Temperance that swerves not for appetite nor passion.

Personal Merit

All preferment among Masons is grounded upon real worth and personal merit only, that so the Lord may be well served, the Brethren not put to shame, nor the Royal Craft despised.  Therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by seniority, but for his merit.

Petition for Initiation

According to American usage any person who is desirous of initiation into the mysteries of Freemasonry must apply to the Lodge nearest to his place of residence, by means of a petition signed by himself, and recommended by at least two members of the Lodge to which he applies.  A petition, when read, becomes the property of the Lodge and cannot be withdrawn.  1 John 5:15


An alloy with tin as its chief component.  Because pewter is inexpensive and easy to pour, it is primarily used for cast pieces such as mugs and plates.  EXAMPLE


The branch of numismatics devoted to the science, study, and collecting of the insignia of orders, decorations, and medals.  The term originated in Czechoslovakia around 1937 and is derived from phalera, a Roman military decoration.  The term is more widely used in Europe than in the U.S..  A Phalerist is a person knowledgeable in phaleristics.

Philosophy of Masonry

What is the philosophical basis of Masonry?  Involves the history of its origin, an inquiry into the ideas that lie at its base, an investigation of its peculiar form, an analytical study of its several degrees, and a development of the ideas which are illustrated by its ritualistic emblems, myths and veiled allegories and which speak through its sublime system of symbols.  Acts 17:16-21


The old mythological legend of the Phoenix is a familiar one. The bird was described as of the size of an eagle, with a head finely crested, a body covered with beautiful plumage, and eyes sparkling like stars. She was said to live six hundred years in the wilderness, when she built for herself a funeral pile of aromatic woods, which she ignited with the fanning of her wings, and emerged from the flames with a new life. Hence the phoenix has been adopted universally as a symbol of immortality. Higgins (Anacalypsis, ii., 441) says that the phoenix is the symbol of an ever-revolving solar cycle of six hundred and eight years, and refers to the Phoenician word phen, which signifies a cycle. Aumont, the first Grand Master of the Templars after the martyrdom of DeMolay, and called the "Restorer of the Order," took, it is said, for his seal, a phoenix brooding on the flames, with the motto, "Ardet ut vivat" - She burns that she may live. The phoenix was adopted at a very early period as a Christian symbol, and several representations of it have been found in the catacombs. Its ancient legend, doubtless, caused it to be accepted as a symbol of Jesus Christ's resurrection and immortality.

Philo Judeus

A Jewish philosopher of the school of Alexandria, who was born about 30 years before Christ.  Philo adopted to their full extent the mystical doctrines of his school, and taught that the Hebrew Scriptures contained, in a system of allegories, the real source of all religious and philosophical knowledge, the true meaning of which was to be excluded from the vulgar, to whom the literal signification alone was to be made known.  Whoever, says he, has meditated on philosophy, has purified himself by virtue, and elevated himself by a contemplative life to God and the intellectual world, receiving their inspiration, thus pierces the gross envelope of the letter, and is initiated into the mysteries of which the literal instruction is but a faint image.  A fact, a figure, a word, a rite or custom, veils the profoundest truths, to be interpreted only by him who has the true key of science.  Such symbolic views were eagerly seized by the early inventors of the advanced, philosophical Degrees of Freemasonry, who have made frequent use of the esoteric philosophy of Philo in the construction of their Masonic system.

Philosopher's Stone

It was the doctrine of the Alchemists, that there was a certain mineral, the discovery of which was the object of their art, because, being mixed with the baser metals, it would transmute these into gold.  This mineral, known only to the adepts, they called Lapis Philosophrum, or the philosopher's stone.  Hitchcock, who wrote a book in 1857 on Alchemy and the Alchemists, to maintain the proposition that Alchemy was a symbolic science, that its subject was Man, and its object the perfection of man, asserts that the philosopher's stone was a symbol of man.  He quotes the old Hermetic philosopher, Issac Holland, as saying that "though a man be poor, yet he may very well attain unto it--the work of perfection--and may be employed in making the philosopher's stone."  If this interpretation be correct, then the philosopher's stone of the Alchemists, and the spiritual temple of the Freemasons are identical symbols.


An instrument used to loosen the soil and prepare it for digging.  It is one of the Working Tools of a Royal Arch Mason, and symbolically teaches him to loosen from his heart the hold of evil habits.


Hand or machine cutting through the thickness of a sheet of metal.


A pilgrim, from the Italian pelegrino, and that from the Latin peregrinus, signifying a traveler, denotes one who visits holy places from a principle of devotion.  In the Middle Ages, Europe was filled with pilgrims repairing to Palestine to pay their veneration to the numerous spots consecrated in the annals of Holy Writ, more especially to the sepulcher of our Lord.  In the eleventh century, the Turks, whose bigoted devotion to their own creed was only equaled by their hatred of every other form of faith, but more especially of Christianity, having obtained possession of Syria, the pilrim no longer found safety in his pious journey.  He who would then visit the sepulcher of his Lord must be prepared to encounter the hostile attacks of ferocious Saracens, and the Pilgrim Penitent, laying aside his peaceful garb, his staff and russet cloak, was compelled to assume the sword and coat of mail and become a Pilgrim Warrior.  This story of the Crusades is beautifully told by John J. Robinson in his book "Born in Blood."

Pillars of Enoch

The outer pillars of the temple are called the "Pillars of Enoch".  Enoch, fearing that the principles of the Arts and Sciences might be lost, erected two pillars, the one of marble to withstand fire, the other of brass to resist water.  On each he engraved all the knowledge which he feared would be lost.  The globes are symbols of unity, peace and plenty.  These pillars also support the "Rainbow" which is sometimes associated with the Holy Royal Arch.  It is also called the "Arch of Heaven", symbolic of the architectural arch.

Pillars of the Porch

Here are the "Pillars of the Porch" of King Solomon's Temple... King Solomon did not simply erect them as ornaments to the temple, but memorials of God's repeated promises of support to His people of Israel.  Boaz, the name of the left pillar means "in strength", the right pillar Jachin means "God will establish", which signifies when combined, the message "In strength, God will establish His house in Israel".  And thus were the Jews, in passing through the porch to the temple, daily reminded of the abundant promises of God, and inspired with confidence in His protection and gratitude for His many acts of kindness to His chosen people.  The globe on the left pillar represents "Earth", that on the right, "Heaven".  As supports for the porch these pillars were exceedingly strong, circular in form. made of bronze, the thickness of the walls of these shafts being three inches, 18 feet in circumference and 6 feet in diameter.  Each of these pillars was 27 1/2 feet in height and their chapiters of lily work extended the elevation 7 1/2 feet, making a total height of 35 Feet.  The chapiter were highly decorated with various ornamentations.


A decorative technique used on tortoise shell using fine inlaid gold in lines or points.  Popular from the mid 17th century until Edwardian time.

Pitcher Be Broken At The Fountain

With reference to the pitcher, what is the allegorical significance?  Recorded in the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes we find this expression.  And refers to the great vein which carries the blood to the right ventricle of the heart, here called the fountain.  Eccles. 12:6

Pit marks

Minute holes usually found on lead or soft metal.


To make smooth or plain. Oval-faced planishing hammers are used to conceal hammer marks used in forming a piece.

Plans and Designs

The plans and designs on the Tressel-Board of the Master, by which the building is erected, are, in Speculative Freemasonry, symbolically referred to the moral plans and designs of life by which we are to construct our spiritual temple, and in the direction of which we are to be instructed by some recognized Divine authority.


A numismatic item that is square or rectangular in shape.  A plaque might be uniface, portable or nonportable.  EXAMPLE


The "Plumb" is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to try perpendiculars, the "Square" to square their work, and the "Level" to prove horizontals, but we, as Free and Accepted Masons are taught to use them for more noble and glorious purposes.  The "Plumb" admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man, squaring our actions by the Square of Virtue, ever remembering that we are traveling upon the Level of Time, toward "that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns."  The divine requirement for uprightness and rectitude in all walks of life... Prov. 4:25-27 -  Deut. 5:32 -  Deut. 28:14

Points of Entrance, Perfect

In the earliest lectures these were called "Principal Points."  The designation of them a "Perfect Points of Entrance" was of a later date.  They are described in both the English and American systems.  Their specific names, and their allusion to the four cardinal virtues, are the same in both; but the verbal explanations differ, although not substantially.  They are so called because they refer to four important points of initiation.  The Guttural refers to the entrance upon the penal responsibilities; the Pectoral, to the entrance into the Lodge; the Manual, to the entrance on the covenant; and the Pedal, to the entrance on the instruction in the northeast.

Points of Fellowship, Five

There are duties owing by every Freemason to his Brethren, which, form their symbolic allusion to certain points of the body, and from the lesson of brotherly love which they teach, are called the Five Points of Fellowship.  They are symbolically illustrated in the Third Degree, and have been summed up by Dr. Oliver as "assisting a Brother in distress, supporting him in his virtuous undertakings, praying for his welfare, keeping inviolate his secrets, and vindicating his reputation as well in his absence as in his presence."

Point within a Circle

This is a symbol of great interest and importance, and brings us into close connection with the early symbolism of the solar orb and the universe, which was predominant in the ancient sun-worship.  The lectures of Freemasonry give what modern Monitors have made an exoteric explanation of the symbol, in telling us that the point represents an individual brother, the circle the boundary line of his duty to God and man, and the two perpendicular parallel lines the patron saint of the Order--St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.  But that was not always its symbolic signification, we may collect from the true history of its connection with the phallus of the Ancient Mysteries.  The phallus was among the Egyptians the symbol of fecundity, expressed by the male generative principle.  It was communicated from the rites of Osiris to the religious festivals of Greece.  Among the Asiatics the same emblem, under the name of lingam, was, in connection with the female principle, worshiped as the symbols of the Great Father and Mother, or producing causes of the human race, after their destruction by the deluge.  Here, then, was the first outline of the point within a circle, representing the principle of fecundity, and doubtless the symbol, connected with a different history, that, namely, of Osiris, was transmitted by the Indian philosophers to Egypt, and to the other nations, who derived, as is elsewhere shown, all their rites from the East.


A round knob; a term applied to the globes or balls on the top of the pillars which stood at the porch of Solomon's Temple.  It was introduced into the Masonic lectures from Scriptural language.  The two pommels of the chapiters is in Second Chronicles 4:13.  It is, however, an architectural term, thus defined by Parker (Glossary of Architecture, page 365):  "Pommel denotes generally any ornament of a globular form."


A highly vitrified ware.  Hard paste porcelain is made with kaolin and other ingredients; soft paste porcelain with bone ash plus other materials.  Some porcelains are thin and translucent, others are thicker and opaque.

Pot of Incense

Is an emblem of a pure heart, which is always an acceptable sacrifice to the Deity; and, as this glows with fervent heat, so should our hearts continually glow with gratitude to the great and beneficent Author of our existence, for the manifold blessings and comforts we enjoy.  

Pot of Manna

Among the Articles laid up in the Ark of the Covenant by Aaron was a pot of manna.  Manna has been considered a symbol of life; not the transitory, but the enduring one of a future world.  Hence the Pot of Manna, Aaron's Rod that budded anew, and the Book of the Law, which teaches Divine Truth, all found together, are appropriately considered as symbols of that eternal life which it is the design of the Royal Arch Degree to teach.  EXAMPLE


Freemasonry is a religious institution, and hence its regulations inculcate the use of prayer "as a proper tribute of gratitude," to borrow from the language of Preston, "to the beneficent Author of Life."  Hence it is of indispensable obligation that a Lodge, a Chapter, or any other Masonic Body, should be both opened and closed with prayer.

Prayer at Closing

Supreme Architect of the Universe, accept our humble thanks for the many mercies and blessings which they bounty has conferred on us, and especially for this friendly and social intercourse.  Pardon, we beseech thee, whatever thou has seen amiss in us since we have been together; and continue to us thy presence, protection and blessing.  Make us sensible of the renewed obligations we are under to love thee, and as we are about to separate, and return to our respected places of abode, wilt thou be pleased so to influence our hearts and minds, that we may each one of us practice, out of the Lodge, those great moral duties which are inculcated in it, and with reverence study and obey the laws which thou hast given us in thy Holy Word.--Amen.  Response by the brethren.--So mote it be.

Prayer at Opening

Most holy and glorious Lord God, the Great Architect of the Universe, the giver of all good gifts and graces.  Thou hast promised that, "where two or three are gathered together in thy name, thou wilt be in their midst and bless them."  In they name we have assembled, and in thy name we desire to proceed in all our doings.  Grant that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us--so harmonize and enrich our hearts with thine own Love and goodness--that the Lodge at this time may humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign forever before thy throne.  Amen   Response by the brethren.--So mote it be.

Prayer Used at Initiation

Vouchsafe thine aid, Almighty Father of the Universe, to this our present convention; and grant that this candidate for Masonry may dedicate and devote his life to thy service, and become a true and faithful brother among us.  Endue him with a competency of thy divine Wisdom, that by the influence of the pure principles of our art he may be better enabled to display the beauties of holiness, to the honor of thy holy name.  Amen  Response by the brethren.--So mote it be.

Preparation of the Candidate

According to Jewish literature and traditions, great care was taken of the personal condition of every Israelite who entered the Temple for Divine Worship.  The Talmud lays down the following requirements:  "No man shall go into the Temple with his staff, nor with shoes on his feet, nor with his outer garment, nor with money tied up in his purse."  The ceremonial usages in Freemasonry have remarkable coincidences with this old Jewish custom.  But it must be remembered that the preparation of the candidate for his entrance into Masonry is entirely symbolic, and full of signification.  This preparation can not be altered, abridged, or added to in any of its details, because of its esoteric design.  Preparation for the different degrees vary, and the symbolisms are, of course, different.  1 Kings 8:61 -  2 Chr. 30:9-27 -  Psalms 15:1-5

Pressed glass

Molten glass dropped into a two, three or four piece mold and pressed by a plunger into the depressions in the mold. Usually distinguished by the raised lines left by the joins in the mold.  EXAMPLE

Presentation Piece

An item presented to recipients by a superior ranking official.  In Freemasonry, many presentations are made west of the Altar in the Lodge room by the Worshipful Master, and in some cases, the Grand Master.


In primitive times and among the patriarchs of Israel, the father was the priest of his family, and offered prayer and sacrifice for his household.  It was only when religion took on ecclesiastical forms that a separate caste known as "priests" became necessary.  Thus religions of various kinds had their sacerdotal class, just as did the Hebrews.  But Masonry has reserved in its religious ceremonies, as in many of its other usages, the patriarchal spirit and practice; and in this particular follows the New Testament pattern of regarding Jesus Christ as High Priest.  In the Blue Lodges, the Worshipful Master, like the father in primitive families, offers up prayer and serves at the altar; or when expediency requires it he appoints a brother of the Lodge to act as Chaplain.

Prince of Jerusalem

This was the Sixteenth Degree of the Rite of Perfection, whence it was transferred to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, in the same numerical position.  It is founded on certain legendary incidents which took place during the building of the Second Temple, when the Jews were so hindered by the opposing surrounding nations in their work that an ambassage was sent to king Darius to implore his favor and protection, which was accordingly obtained.  The legend which is developed in this Rite is sustained by historical data given by Josephus, even though Ezra refers only to the oppositions encountered and to Darius's intervention.


At the installation of the officers of a Lodge, or any other Masonic body, and especially a Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter, proclamation is made in a Lodge or Chapter by the installing officer, and in a Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter by the Grand Marshall.  Proclamation is also made on some other occasions, and on such occasions the Grand Marshall performs the duty.


The necessity that anyone who devotes himself to the acquisition of a science should become proficient in its elementary instructions before he can expect to grasp and comprehend its higher branches, is so almost self-evident as to need no argument.  The ritual of all the Symbolic degrees, and, indeed, of the higher degrees, and that too in all rites, makes the imperative demand of every candidate whether he has made suitable proficiency in the preceding degree, an affirmative answer to which is required before the rites of initiation can be proceeded with.  This answer is, according to the ritual, that "he has."


The chronological order of collections in which a particular item has resided.  A synonymous term is pedigree.


Prudence is the true guide to human understanding, and consists in judging and determining with propriety what is to be said or done upon all our occasions, what dangers we should endeavor to avoid, and how to act in all our difficulties.  2 Chron. 2:12

Pseudo hallmarks

Devices used to suggest English hallmarks.

Public Ceremonies

A few Masonic Ceremonies may be conducted in public; they include, the burial of a deceased brother, the laying of cornerstones of public buildings or of Masonic halls, the dedications of Masonic halls, and the installation of officers.

Punch marks

Hallmarks made with a hardened and tempered steel punch.

Purging the Lodge

An old expression or the ceremony of ascertaining the Masonic right to be present when a Lodge is opened.


In the Ancient Mysteries purity of heart and life was an essential prerequisite to initiation, because by initiation the aspirant was brought to a knowledge of God, to know whom was not permitted to the impure.  For, says Origen (Cont. Cel., vi.), "a defiled heart cannot see God, but he must be pure who desires to obtain a proper view of a pure Being."  And in the same spirit the Divine Master says:  "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."  But "to see God" is a Hebraism, signifying to possess him, to be spiritually in communion with him, to know his true character.  Now to acquire this knowledge of God, symbolized by the knowledge of his Name, is the great object of Masonic, as it was of all ancient initiation; and hence the candidate in Masonry is required to be pure, for "he only can stand in the holy place who hath clean hands and a pure heart."


Designs created by burning a surface (usually of leather or wood) with a hot tool.  EXAMPLE


One of the most celebrated of Grecian philosophers, and the founder of what has been called the Italic School, was born at Samos in the period of 586-69 B.C., the year 582 being favored as the probable one of his birth.  Educated as an athlete, he subsequently abandoned that profession and devoted himself to the study of philosophy.  He traveled through Egypt, Chaldea, and Asia Minor, and is said to have submitted to the initiations in those countries for the purpose of acquiring knowledge.  On his return to Europe, he established his celebrated school at Cortona, a Dorian Colony in the south of Italy, about 529 B.C., much resembling that subsequently adopted by the Freemasons.  His school soon acquired such a reputation that disciples flocked to him from all parts of Greece and Italy.  Pythagoras taught as the principle dogma of his philosophy the system of metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls.  He taught the mystical power of numbers, and much of the symbolism on that subject which we now posses is derived from what has been left to us by his disciples, for of his own writings there is nothing extant.  He was also a geometrician, and is regarded as having been the inventor of several problems, the most important of which is that now known as the forty-seventh problem of Euclid.  He was also a proficient in music, and is said to have demonstrated the mathematical relations of musical intervals, and to have invented a number of musical instruments.  Disdaining the vanity and dogmatism of the ancient sages, he contented himself with proclaiming that he was simply a seeker after knowledge, not its possessor, and to him is attributed the introduction of the word philosopher, or lover of wisdom, as the only title of which he would assume.  After the lawless destruction of his school at Crotona, he fled to the Locrians, who refused to receive him, when he repaired to Metapontum, and sought an asylum from his enemies in the temple of the Muses, where traditions says that he died of starvation at near the end of the 6th or the beginning of the fifth century.  Some claim the date to be 506 B.C., when he was about seventy-six years old.


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