Glossary

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Alphabetically Arranged with Cyclopedic Meanings and Bible References

Wages Of A Master Mason

The operative Mason, in ancient times, received, as compensation for his labor, corn, wine, and oil--the products of the earth--or whatever would contribute to his physical comfort and support.  His labor being material, his wages were outward and material.  The Free and Accepted Mason, on the other hand, performs a moral work, and hence his reward is interior and spiritual.  The enlightened brother finds his reward in the grand and gratifying results of his studies, and in the joyful results of his Masonic deeds EXAMPLE  Biblical records of expenditures in the erection of the Temple, of payments for wages, and of gifts to the workmen... 1 Kings 5:10,11 -  2 Chr. 2:10

Walking Sticks (and Canes)

Made to hold a variety of items, such as a sword, snuff, smoking pipes, cigarettes, lights. fishing poles, dice, cosmetics, guns, telescopes, whistles, sirens, a tripod, camera, seats, musical instruments, etc.  Known collectively as "gadget canes".  They were patented in Britain, Germany and about a dozen in the United States.  EXAMPLE

Wardens

In every Symbolic Lodge, there are three principal officers, namely, a Master, a Senior Warden, and a Junior Warden. This rule has existed ever since the revival, and for some time previous to that event, and is so universal that it has been considered as one of the landmarks. It exists in every country and in every Rite The titles of the officers may be different in different languages, but their functions as presiding over the Lodge in a tripartite division of duties, are everywhere the same. The German Masons call the two Wardens erste and zweite Aufseher; the French, premier and second Surveillant; the Spanish, primer and segundo Vigilante; and the Italians, primo and secondo Sorvegliante.

In the various Rites, the positions of these officers vary. In the American Rite, the Senior Warden sits in the West and the Junior in the South. In the French and Scottish Rites, both Wardens are in the West, the Senior in the Northwest and the Junior in the Southwest; but in all, the triangular position of the three officers relatively to each other is preserved; for a triangle being formed within the square of the Lodge, the Master and Wardens will each occupy one of the three points.

Warrant of Constitution

The Document which authorizes or gives a Warrant to certain persons therein named to organize and constitute a Lodge, Chapter, or other Masonic Body, and which ends usually with the formula, "for which this shall be your sufficient Warrant "

The practice of granting Warrants for the Constitution of Lodges, dates only from the period of the Revival of Freemasonry in 1717 Previous to that period "a sufficient number of brethren," says Preston (Illustrations, edition of 1792, page 248), "met together within a certain district, had ample power to make Masons, and discharge every duty of Masonry without a Warrant of Constitution".   But in 1717 a regulation was adopted "that the privilege of assembling as Masons, which had been hitherto unlimited, should be vested in certain Lodges or assemblies of Masons convened in certain places; and that every Lodge to be hereafter Convened, except the four old Lodges at this time existing, should be legally authorized to act by a Warrant from the Grand Master, for the time being, granted to certain individuals by petition, with the Consent and approbation of the Grand Lodge in communication; and that without such Warrant no Lodge should be hereafter deemed regular or Constitutional".

Washington, George

Born at Bridges Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia, February 22, 1732, of the present calendar, but February 11, 1731/2 of the birth record and on December 14, 1799, he died at Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia, about fifteen miles from Washington, District of Columbia. At sixteen he became surveyor on the estate of Lord Fairfax, then joined the army and later was on the staff of General Braddock.

Delegate to First and Second Continental Congresses. Unanimously chosen in 1775 as Commander-in-Chief of Colonial Army and his Yorktown campaign ended the war on October 19, 1781, with the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his British Army. Washington presided at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia, May, 1787, for the framing of the Constitution, and then was elected President, and in 1792 reelected, refusing a third term. He was recalled from his retirement in 1798 to again serve as Commander-in- Chief but the prospect of war with France did not materialize.

The Oath of office as President of the United States was administered on April 30, 1789, New York City, to General Washington, by Brother Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of the State of New York, and who was also the Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons.

The name of Washington occupies a prominent place in Masonic biography, not perhaps so much because of any services he has done to the Institution either as a worker or a writer, but because the fact of his connection with the Craft is a source of pride to every American Freemason, at least, who can thus call the "Father of his Country" a Brother. There is also another reason. While the friends of the Institution have felt that the adhesion to it of a man so eminent for virtue was a proof of its moral and religious character, the opponents of Freemasonry, being forced to admit the conclusion, have sought to deny the premises, and, even if compelled to admit the fact of Washington's initiation, have persistently asserted that he never took any interest in it, disapproved of its spirit, and at an early period of his life abandoned it. The truth of history requires that these misstatements should be met by a brief recital of his Masonic career.

Washington was initiated, in 1752, in the Lodge at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the records of that Lodge, still in existence, present the following entries on the subject. The first entry is thus: "Nov. 4th. 1752. This evening Mr. George Washington was initiated as an entered Apprentice", receipt of the entrance fee, amounting to £2 3s., was acknowledged, F.C. and M.M. March :3 and August 4, 1753.

On March 3 in the following year, "Mr. George Washington" is recorded as having been passed a Fellow Craft; and on August 4, same year, 1753, the record of the transactions of the evening states that "Mr. George Washington," and others whose names are mentioned, have been raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.

Curiously enough each of the days when Washington attended Lodge was Saturday, the dates already mentioned falling on that day, and he was last in the Lodge at Fredericksburg on Saturday, January 4, 1755. Brother Franklin Stearns, Past Master of Fredericksburg Lodge, says that Washington paid his fees November 6, 1752 and that no further fees appearing in this connection he has arrived at the conclusion that £2 3s was paid for all three Degrees.

Washington's Masonic Aprons - See Apron Lecture & George Washington as a Freemason

Washington, George National Masonic Memorial - Click here

Watch chain

A gold or silver chain with a bar to pass through a button hole in the vest (waistcoat in Britain), to secure the chain, and one or two chains terminating in spring clips, to hold a watch and some other device, often a Masonic FOB.  One spring clip would hold the watch, placed in one vest pocket, the other spring clip the second object, placed in a second vest pocket.  Also called "Vest chain", "Dickens", "Waldorf", "Wellington", "Pony", "Albert" and "Edward".  EXAMPLE

Wayfaring Man

A term used in the legend of the Third Degree to denote the person met near the port of Joppa by certain persons sent out on a search by King Solomon. The part of the legend which introduces the Wayfaring Man, and his interview with the Fellow Crafts, was probably introduced into the American system by Webb, or found by him in the older ceremonies practiced in the United States. It is not in the old English instructions of the eighteenth century, nor is the circumstance detailed in the present English lecture. A wayfaring man is defined by Phillips as "one accustomed to travel on the road." The expression is becoming obsolete in ordinary language, but it is preserved in Scripture-"he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city" (Judges xix, 17)-and in Freemasonry, both of which still retain many words long since disused elsewhere.

West

Although the West, as one of the four Cardinal Points, holds an honorable position as the station of the Senior Warden, and of the pillar of Strength that supports the Lodge, yet, being the place of the sun's setting and opposed to the East, the recognized place of light, it, in Masonic symbolism, represents the place of darkness and ignorance.

The old tradition, that in primeval times all human wisdom was confined to the eastern part of the world, and that those who had wandered toward the West were obliged to return to the East in search of the knowledge of their ancestors, is not confined to Freemasonry.

Creuzer (Symbolic) speaks of an ancient and highly instructed Body of Priests in the East, from whom all knowledge, under the veil of symbols, was communicated to the Greeks and other unenlightened nations of the West.

And in the Legend of the Craft, contained in the old Masonic Constitutions, there is always a reference to the emigration of the Freemasons from Egypt eastward to the "land of behest," or Jerusalem. Hence, in the modern symbolism of Speculative Freemasonry, it is said that the Freemason during his advancement is Traveling from the West to the East in search of light.

Wheel Broken At The Cistern

In the twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes we find this expression, alluding to the infirmities of old age.  By the wheel is meant the great artery that receives the blood from the left ventricle of the heart here designated as the cistern.  Eccles. 12:6

"Whence Came You?"

Daily this question is asked by Masons without the slightest thought as to its real meaning. It is fitting that the answer we make to it in the lodge is well nigh unintelligible, for it is about as intelligible as any ever given it or as probably ever will be given it. Who can answer the question "Whence came you?" Who has ever answered it ? Who will ever answer it ? Equally baffling and profound is that companion question, familiar in some jurisdictions, "Whither art thou bound?" Equally an enigma is the answer we give it. Simple as these questions appear, they search every nook and cranny and sound every depth of every philosophy, every mythology, every theology, and every religion that has ever been propounded anywhere by anybody at any time to explain human life. They allude to the problems of the origin and destiny of mankind; they lie at the foundation of all the thinking and of all the activities of man except such as are concerned with the purely utilitarian question "What shall we eat and wherewithal shall we be clothed?" All our better impulses, all our loftier aspirations, all our faiths, all our longing for and striving after a nobler state of existence, either in this or a future life, are but attempts to answer these two questions. They are the supreme questions which men have been asking themselves and each other ever since men were able to think and to talk, and they are the questions which men will continue to ask oftenest and most anxiously until the time when we are promised that we shall know even as we are known. It is thus that study and reflection bring out the beauty and the profound significance of the simplest of Masonic formulae. --Bro. O. D. Street, Alabama.

White

As found in all the ancient mysteries, white is emblematic of purity and innocence.  Throughout Masonry this symbolism is maintained and in many instances deductions from the use of white in Hebrew religious customs and rites are made.  Biblical uses of white as emblematic of purity and innocence... Isa. 1:18 -  Dan. 12:10 -  Matt. 28:3

White metal

An alloy usually containing two or more of the following elements - tin, copper, lead, antimony and bismuth. The color depends on whether lead or tin predominates: the more tin the whiter the color. The name is often used when referring to Britannia metal, pewter and spelter, from which white metal is impossible to differentiate.

White Shrine of Jerusalem, Order of

Founded by Charles D. Magee, at Chicago, Illinois, in 1894. The Order comprises both men and women, who must be members in good standing of the Order of the Eastern Star. The White Shrine was not recognized, however, as a branch of the Order of the Eastern Star.  During the term of her office as Most Worthy Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, 1892 to 1895, Mrs. Mary C. Snedden refused her approval and this position was endorsed by the General Grand Chapter in 1895 and in 1898 Resolutions were adopted as follows:  Resolved, that there are no Degrees connected in any way or manner with our Order other than those provided for and taught in our Ritual. Any member willfully representing to any one that there are Side Degrees or Higher Degrees, or any Degrees other than those taught and provided for by our Ritual, shall he guilty of conduct unbecoming a member of the Order, and upon conviction thereof, shall be suspended or expelled from the Order.

White Stone

This stone is a token of alliance and friendship, a symbol of a covenant involving mutual enforcement of these principles.  In the Mark Master Degree the white stone with a new name engraved upon it is presented to the candidate with the symbolic meaning of the covenant assumed.  He is assured that in the future, in circumstances of danger or distress, he will secure the kind and fraternal assistance signified from all upon whom the same token has been bestowed.  The "White Stone" of Scripture... Rev. 2:17

Whizzing

The polishing of a numismatic item in an attempt to improve its appearance and salability to the uninformed.  A form of alteration that is misleading and actually lowers the value of the item.

Widow's Son

In Ancient Craft Masonry, the title applied to Hiram the architect of the Temple, because he is said, in the first Book of Kings (vu, 14) to have been "a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali." The Adonhiramite Freemasons have a tradition which Chapron gives (Nécessaire Maçonnique, page 101) in the following words: "The Freemasons call themselves the widow's sons, because, after the death of our respectable Master, the Freemasons took care of his mother, whose children they called themselves, because Adonhiram had always considered them as his Brethren. But the French Freemasons subsequently changed the myth and called themselves Sons of the Widow, and for this reason.

'As the wife of Hiram remained a widow after her husband was murdered, the Freemasons, who regard themselves as the descendants of Hiram, called themselves Sons of the Widow."' But this myth is a pure invention, and is without the Scriptural foundation of the York myth, which makes Hiram himself the widow's son. But in French Freemasonry the term Son of the Widow is synonymous with Freemason.

The claim has often been made that the adherents of the exiled House of Stuart, seeking to organize a system of political Freemasonry by which they hoped to secure the restoration of the family to the throne of England, transferred to Charles II the tradition of Hiram Abif betrayed by his followers, and called him the Widow's Son, because he was the son of Henrietta Maria, the widow of Charles I. For the same reason they presumably subsequently applied the phrase to his brother, James II.

Winding Stairs

In the First Book of Kings 6:8 it is said: "The door for the Middle Chamber was in the right side of the house; and they went up with winding stairs into the Middle Chamber, and out of the middle into the third."  From this passage the Freemasons of the eighteenth century adopted the symbol of the Winding Stairs, and introduced it into the Fellow Craft's Degree, where it has ever since remained, in the American Rite.  The candidate, then, in the Second Degree of Freemasonry represents a man starting forward on the journey of life, with the great task before him of self-improvement.  For the faithful performance of this task, a reward is promised, which reward consists in the development of all his intellectual faculties, the moral and spiritual elevation of his character, and the acquisition of Truth and knowledge.

Wine

One of the elements of Masonic consecration, and, as a symbol of the inward refreshment of a good conscience is intended, under the name of the Wine of Refreshment, to remind us of the eternal refreshments which the good are to receive in the future life for the faithful performance of duty in the present.

Wisdom

In Ancient Craft Masonry, Wisdom is symbolized by the East, the place of light, being represented by the pillar that there supports the Lodge and by the Worshipful Master. It is also referred to King Solomon, the symbolical founder of the Order. In Masonic architecture the Ionic column, distinguished for the skill in its construction, as it combines the beauty of the Corinthian and the strength of the Doric, is adopted as the representative of Wisdom. King Solomon has been adopted in Speculative Freemasonry as the type or representative of Wisdom, in accordance with the character which has been given to him in the First Book of Kings (iv, 30-2): "Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman and Chalcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about."

In all the Oriental philosophies a conspicuous place has been given to Wisdom. In the book balled the Wisdom of Solomon (vu, 74), but supposed to be the production of a Hellenistic Jew, it is said: "I called upon God, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her before scepters and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her." And farther on in the same book (vii, 287) she is described as "the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence (emanation) flowing from the glory of the Almighty, .... the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror, of the power of God, and the image of His goodness."

The Cabalists made the Hebrew Chochma, or Wisdom, the second of the ten Sephiroth, placing it next to the Crown. They called it a male potency, and the third of the Sephiroth, Binah, are, or Intelligent, female. These two Sephiroth, with Keter, or the Crown, formed the first triad, and their union produced the Intellectual World.

The Gnostics also had their doctrine of Wisdom, whom they called Achamoth. They said she was feminine; styled her Mother, and said that she produced all things through the Father.

The Oriental doctrine of Wisdom was, that it is a Divine Power standing between the Creator and the creation, and acting as His agent. "The Lord," says Solomon (Proverbs iii, 19) "by wisdom hath founded the earth." Hence Wisdom, in this philosophy, answers to the idea of a vivifying spirit brooding over and impregnating the elements of the chaotic world In short, the world is but the outward manifestation of the spirit of Wisdom. This idea, so universally diffused throughout the East, is said to have been adopted into the secret doctrine of the Templars, who are supposed to have borrowed much from the Basilideans, the Manicheans, and the Gnostics. From them it easily passed over to the advanced Degrees of Freemasonry, which were founded on the Templar theory.

Hence, in the great decoration of the Thirty-third Degree of the Scottish Rite, the points of the triple triangle are inscribed with the letters S.A.P.I.E.N.T.I.A., the Latin for Wisdom.

Bezaleel (Exodus xxxi, 3) was filled "with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship," and this has ever been the ideal condition of a Craftsman. From first to last the Scripture, the Great Light, urges the dominating value of Wisdom, from the Pentateuch to Revelation, the allusions are frequent and emphatic. Especially in such pertinent and suggestive references as in Second Chronicles (I, 7-12) do we find that the desire by Solomon for Wisdom and understanding was rewarded by material possessions as well as these leading spiritual gifts.

It is not difficult now to see how this word Wisdom came to take so prominent a part in the symbolism of Ancient Freemasonry, and how it was expressly appropriated to King Solomon. As Wisdom, in the philosophy of the East, was the creative energy-the architect, so to speak, of the world, as the emanation of the Supreme Architect-so Solomon was the architect of the Temple, the symbol of the world. He was to the typical world or Temple what Wisdom was to the great world of the creation. Hence Wisdom is appropriately referred to him and to the Master of the Lodge, who is the representative of Solomon. Wisdom is always placed in the East of the Lodge, because thence emanate all light, and knowledge, and truth.

Word

In its chief use and most profound meaning the WORD is synonymous with Truth.  The search for the WORD is in reality the search for Divine Truth.  In the mysteries of Freemasonry, as anciently pursued, there was most probably a hidden, probably not conceived, sense in which the WORD really represented the preincarnate Christ, declared after his incarnation to be the WORD by divine inspiration.  Divine Truth, the WORD or the preincarnate Christ, and the Christ in his redemptive office, the source of light and life... Deut. 8:3-6 -  Deut. 30:11_14 -  John 1:1-5 -  1 Pet. 1-2

Word, Lost

The mythical history of Freemasonry informs us that there once existed a Word of surpassing value, and claiming a profound veneration; that this Word was known to but few; that it was at length lost; and that a temporary substitute for it was adopted. But as the very philosophy of Freemasonry teaches us that there can be no death without a resurrection-no decay without a subsequent restoration-on the same principle it follows that the loss of the Word must suppose its eventual recovery.

Now, this it is, precisely, that constitutes the myth of the Lost Word and the search for it. No matter what was the Word, no matter how it was lost, nor why a substitute was provided, nor when nor where it was recovered. These are all points of subsidiary importance, necessary, it is true, for knowing the legendary history, but not necessary for understanding the symbolism. The only term of the myth that is to be regarded in the study of its interpretation, is the abstract idea of a word lost and afterward recovered.

The Word, therefore, may be conceived to be the symbol of Dianne Truth; and all its modifications- the loss, the substitution, and the recovery-are but component parts of the mythical symbol which represents a search after truth. In a general sense, the Word itself being then the symbol of Divine Truth, the narrative of its loss and the search for its recovery becomes a mythical symbol of the decay and 1088 of the true religion among the ancient nations, at and after the dispersion on the Plains of Shinar, and of the attempts of the wise men, the philosophers, and priests, to find and retain it in their secret mysteries and initiations, which have hence been designated as the Spurious Freemasonry of Antiquity.

But there is a special or individual, as well as a general interpretation, and in this special or individual interpretation the Word, with its accompanying myth of a loss, a substitute, and a recovery, becomes a symbol of the personal progress of a candidate from his first initiation to the completion of his course, when he receives a full development of the mysteries.

Word, Sacred

A term applied to the chief or most prominent word of a Degree, to indicate its peculiarly sacred character, in contradistinction to a password, which is simply intended as a mode of recognition.  It is sometimes ignorantly corrupted into "secret word."  All significant words in Freemasonry are secret.  Only certain words are sacred.

Work

The idea behind this noble old word is one that has powerfully appealed to all European peoples and is found in nearly every European language. The Greek ergon meant work, organ on. was the instrument by which work was done; from this source we have energy, organ, erg, and it appears in combination in such words as metallurgy.  To work means to put forth effort in order to accomplish something; play is also a putting forth of effort, but in that case the effort is its own end, and is done for its own sake. Work has an end beyond itself. The official ritual of the Lodge is called the Standard Work; it came to be so called by analogy, the ritual of Speculative Masonry corresponding to the daily labor of the Operative Masons.

Working Die

The die used to strike the final product as distinguished from a master die or a hub.

Working Tools

In each of the Degrees of Freemasonry, certain implements of the Operative Art are consecrated to the Speculative Science, and adopted to teach as symbols lessons of morality. With these the Speculative Freemason is taught to erect his spiritual Temple, as his Operative predecessors with the same implements so constructed their material Temples. Thus they are known as Working Tools of the Degree. They vary but very slightly in the various Rites, but the same symbolism is preserved. The principal Working-Tools of the Operative Art that have been adopted as symbols in the Speculative Science, confined, however, to Ancient Craft Masonry, and not used in the higher Degrees, are the Twenty-four-inch Gage, Common Gavel, Square, Level, Plumb, Skirret, Compasses, Pencil, Trowel, Mallet, Pickax, Crow, and Shovel.  EXAMPLE

Workmen on the Temple

In calculating the number of workmen employed in the construction of the Temple, including those employed in the forest of Lebanon and in the quarries in the vicinity of the Temple itself, one can not be absolutely positive.  The figures given in the Scriptures and by Josephus are not in agreement in some particulars, and Masonic traditions are given slightly varying conclusions by authoritative writers.  One authority places the total number including the 70,000 laborers who were not classified as Masons, at 183,600; another at 186,600.  Biblical records of the workmen employed in the construction of Solomon's Temple... 1 Kings 5:13,14 -  2 Chr. 2:2 -  2 Chr. 2:17,18

World

The Lodge is said to be a symbol of the world.  Its form--an oblong square, whose greatest length is from east to west--represents the shape of the inhabited world according to the theory of the ancients.  The "clouded canopy," or the "starry-decked covering" of the Lodge, is referred to the sky.  The sun, which enlightens and and governs the world at morning, noon, and evening, is represented by the three superior officers.  And, lastly, the Craft, laboring in the work of the Lodge, present a similitude to the inhabitants of the world engaged in the toils of life.  While the Lodge is adopted as a copy of the Temple, not less universal is that doctrine which makes it a symbol of the world.

Worshipful Master

He who has attained the third degree in Freemasonry is a Master; and hence they do not work in the so-called high degrees, has attained the summit of his profession.  None but Fellow Crafts who have been found worthy can obtain this degree.  As a Master Mason he has a voice in all the consultations of the officers of the lodge, and he may, if possessed of sufficient Masonic skill, be appointed to any office in the Lodge, even that of Worshipful Master.  This is the highest preferment a Mason can obtain in St. John's Masonry, through the three degrees of which every candidate for the Past Master's degree must have passed.  If there are any members in the lodge who have the higher degrees, they can also be elected Worshipful Master, but although it is by no means necessary to possess those degrees to enable a brother to be elected by his brother Master Masons for one year.  The greatest care and caution ought to be used by the brethren at this election to prevent the lodge being injured by the election of an improper person.  He must also be well acquainted with the Order, its doctrines, its secrets, its history, and constitution, and must possess the power of communicating his own reflection upon all these subjects, in a clear, comprehensive form, to the brethren.

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