The Masonic Skirret

The skirret is a measure—one that is to ensure the foundation of a building is straight by laying down the string as a marker. It is related, symbolically, to the 24-inch gauge and the plumb rule, but has a specific connotation to the Third Degree. The main subject of the Third Degree is one’s mortality and immortality. The skirret represents the foundation of the way of life we are to follow as laid down to us by our Creator—keeping it on the straight and narrow, so to speak, using our Masonic principles. The other two tools of the degree follow naturally, and all three are interrelated. The pencil bears a relationship to the All-Seeing Eye of the Second Degree closing ceremony. But the pencil reminds us that not only does the Eye of the Almighty observe whether (and how) we follow the conduct symbolised by the skirret, He remembers what He observes. And the compasses symbolise what fate He has in store for us at the final hour, according what he has recorded (symbolised by the pencil) of our behaviour (symbolised by the skirret) throughout our existence in this Earthly life, during which we are to work with the tools of the other degrees and follow the principles of Freemasonry. Thus all three are symbols of our belief in the Creator and of an individual Mason’s religious faith.

We should allow the skirret, therefore, to remind us to start building our character on a proper foundation—namely, the many virtues of behaviour found in the Masonic ceremonies, and in the Holy Word of the Almighty. And we should allow this tool to remind us why we should do so—the end of our life shall end some day, and we should prepare now for what comes next.




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