Masonic Etiquette – Part 7
Masonic Etiquette Continues!
This Evening we will cover Jewels, The Master’s Hat…and the Marshall!
Jewels ~ In most rituals in the world, the jewels are six in number: three movable and three immovable. The immovable jewels, as we remember from the Entered Apprentice Degree, are the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses. The movable jewels are the square, level and plumb rule, called movable because they are worn by the Master and Wardens.
The Treasurer, Secretary, Marshal, Deacons, Stewards and Tyler, like other officers, then pass theirs on to their successors when they come to the end of their term of office. We know these jewels and their symbolic import from their significations as the working tools in the Second or Fellowcraft degree. Yet as jewels, the qualities and virtues attributed to them here are far more intricate and arresting:
The Level; worn by the Senior Warden reminds us that we travel along the Level of time. Time moves on. (As we age it moves even more quickly! – reminds me of the cartoon clock spinning! I’m starting to use mine as a fan.) An hour ago, I just graduated High School. 30 minutes ago my children got Married and had children of their own. 10 minutes ago I retired from my working career. If we look at our behaviours, while travelling on the level of time, we wonder…were we “On the Level” with all we met? The Level signifies fair and honest conduct as well.
The plumb; worn by the Junior Warden, which, like Jacob’s Ladder, connects heaven and earth, is the criterion of rectitude and truth. It teaches us to walk justly and uprightly before God and man. In operative Masonry, it sways left and right til it settles in the middle. Haven’t we all swayed some in our lives? It is said that the plumb is a rule which claims our attention as that Masonic emblem most deserving to be studied for the moral advantages it can impart to our lives.
The Square; worn by the Worshipful Master, teaches us … to harmonize our conduct in this life, To Square our actions – so as to render us acceptable to that Divine Being from whom all goodness springs.
Next are the Deacons’ and Stewards’…
The Senior Deacon wears the Sun, The Junior Deacon The Moon… most noticeably from The three lesser lights. As the sun rules the day, and the Moon governs the night…the duties of the deacons are obvious, but their stations represent continuity of life and the passage of time, industrious labor, and rest at night. The Stewards’ jewels are the horn of plenty, as they serve the Craft, either by food and drink, care of the Lodge, or attention to detail. The Jewels are essential and honored. They are significant reminders in Freemasonry of all our ideals, and should be treated with respect, courtesy and care of handling.
Next is the Worshipful…
Master’s Hat ~From an etiquette standpoint, throughout history, a head covering denotes several things. It signifies honor and respect, formality, and distinguished behaviors. The Master’s hat is an emblem of rank. It distinguishes him as the Just Presiding Officer and head of the Lodge, and signifies that due honor be accorded him. It is not to be whimsical, attract attention out of oddity, or be by any means common. It must be black, wholly in good taste, and appropriate to an office of distinction.
The words Top Hat, were designated, in history, to the “Top” dignitaries at diplomatic and State affairs, and lesser officers wore hats lower in height, as a sign of respect. The wearing of a hat while presiding in the East…is NOT optional, at all affairs of the Lodge, including Open Installation of Officers, and is removed for prayer, The Obligations to show deference to their importance and authority, and when the Grand Master is present in person.
Marshal ~ In Masonic Etiquette, the Office of Marshal, is an appointed Officer, usually a Past Master, and is accorded respect and honor as one who has served the Lodge in every capacity. It should never be considered a “Ceremonial” position. He’s NOT the new Sheriff in town – He’s the Old one! He’s “The Guy” who has ‘Been There-Done That’ – and done it very well.
His charge reads: “The good order of the Lodge depends upon your skill, care, and assiduity (diligence). You should always be near to execute the orders of the Worshipful Master.” He presides over the “Good Order” of the lodge, as well as all the processions. He understands that the conducting of all processions properly, will greatly enhance the dignity, orderliness, and beauty of all work in the Craft.
He introduces and / or accompanies visiting dignitaries such as Grand Line Officers, and lends his advice to keep processions from looking like a straggle! He’s The Worshipful Master’s Sergeant at Arms! ( he does, after all, have a Billy club…er…baton!)
Worshipful master, this concludes my presentation for this evening, and I will “Marshal the courage to “straggle” back to my seat.
Thank You Worshipful master!