The Masonic Trowel

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The Masonic Legend is voluminous, circumstantial, even trivial, and seemingly far-fetched and fantastic to the uninitiated who fail to see the important hidden meaning underlying every word; but we will give only such fragments as have a bearing upon our main subject and the explanation necessary to link them together.

The events which led up to the conspiracy against the Grand Master, Hiram Abiff, mentioned in our last chapter, and which culminated in his murder, commenced with the arrival of the Queen of Sheba who had been attracted to the court of Solomon by tales of his wonderful wisdom and of the splendor of the temple he was engaged in building. She is said to have come laden with gorgeous gifts and it is stated that at first she was much impressed with the wisdom of Solomon. But even the Bible, which is written from the standpoint of the Jehovistic Hierarchies, hints that she saw at the court of Solomon one that was fairer than he, and there the Bible narrative leaves her. Her marriage with Solomon was never consummated or the name of Mason would have faded from memory long ere the present day and humanity at large would now be docile children of the dominant church, without free will, choice or prerogative. Nor could she be permitted to wed Hiram, who represented the temporal power, or Religion would have been stamped out; she must wait for the bridegroom who shall embody within himself the combined good qualities of Solomon and Hiram, but who is purified from their weaknesses. For the Queen of Sheba is the COMPOSITE SOUL OF HUMANITY, and at the consummation of the work of our evolutionary era she will be the bride, while Christ, whom Paul called a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, will fill the dual office of both spiritual and temporal head, where He will be both king and priest, to the eternal welfare of mankind at large who are now in bondage either to church or state but waiting, whether they realize it or not, for the day of emancipation, symbolically represented as the Millennium, when there will be a wonderful city, a new Jerusalem, A CITY OF PEACE. And the earlier this amalgamation can be brought about, the better for humanity. Therefore, an attempt was made at the time and is the place which is said in the Legend to be the scene of Solomon's and Hiram's love episode. There the two Initiatory Orders met for the consummation of a definite work of amalgamation symbolically called THE MOLTEN SEA, a work which was then attempted for the first time. It could not have been wrought at any earlier period, for man was not sufficiently advanced. At that time, however, it seemed as if the united efforts of the two schools might accomplish the task, and had it not been for the desire of each to oust the other from the affections of the symbolic Queen of Sheba, the soul of humanity, they might have succeeded, an equitable union between Church and State might have been effected and human evolution might have been greatly furthered. But both Church and State were jealous of their particular prerogative; the Church would only amalgamate upon condition that she retain all her ancient power over mankind, and take in addition those of the temporal government. The State was selfish in a similar manner and the Queen of Sheba, humanity at large, is still unwed. The Masonic Legend tells the story of the attempt and its failure as follows:

When the Queen of Sheba had been shown the gorgeous palace of Solomon and had bestowed her choice gifts of gold and wrought work, she asked also to be shown the great Temple which was nearing completion. She marveled much at the magnitude of the work but wondered at the seeming absence of workmen, and the stillness about the place. And she therefore requested Solomon to call the workmen that she might see who had wrought this wonder; but though the servants of Solomon at the palace obeyed the slightest wish of the monarch, and although he had been appointed by the God Jehovah to build the temple, these workmen were not subject to his authority; they only yielded obedience to one who had "THE WORD" and "THE SIGN." Therefore no one appeared at the call of Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba could not escape the conclusion that this marvelous miracle was wrought by another and one who was greater than Solomon. And so she insisted on knowing and seeing this KING OF CRAFTS and his wonderful workmen, much to the chagrin of Solomon, who felt that he had fallen in her estimation.

The temple of Solomon is our Solar Universe which forms the great school of life for our evolving humanity; the broad lines of its history, past, present and future, are written in the stars, its main outlines being discernible to anyone of average intelligence. In the Microcosmic scheme, the temple of Solomon is also the body of man wherein the individualized spirit or ego is evolving, as God is in the great universe. Work on the true temple, as we are told in 2nd Corinthians, fifth chapter, is wrought by invisible forces working in silence, building the temple without sound of hammer. As the temple of Solomon was visible in all its glory to the Queen of Sheba, so the evidence of the toil of these invisible forces is easily perceived, both in the universe and in man, but they themselves keep in the background and work without ostentation; they hide from all who have not the right to see them or to command them. The relation of these nature forces to the work they do in the universe may perhaps be better understood when we use an illustration: Let us suppose that a carpenter wishes to build a house wherein to live. He selects a place whereon to build and brings the materials thither, then with the tools of his trade he commences to lay the foundation. Gradually the walls are put up, the roof put on, the inside completed and the structure finished. During all the time while he is working, a dog, which is an intelligent spirit belonging to another and later life-wave of evolution, watches his actions and the whole process of construction and sees the house gradually take shape and reach completion. But it lacks the proper understanding of what he is doing and of what is the ultimate purpose in his mind. Let us now suppose that the dog were unable to see the carpenter or to hear the noise made by his hammer and other tools. Then it would be in the same relation to this builder, as humanity at large is to the Architect of the Universe and the forces which work under His command. For the dog would then see only the materials coming together slowly and taking shape, finally forming a finished structure. Humanity also sees the silent growth of plant, of beast and of bird, but is unable to understand what causes this physical growth and the changes in the visible universe, for it does not see the immense army of invisible workmen who are silently toiling in the soundless silence to bring about these results. Nor do they respond to the call of anyone who has not the sign and the word of power, no matter how high his standing or station in the world.

The Churchman always emphasizes the necessity of faith, while the Statesman emphasizes, and places his reliance on, WORK. But when faith flowers into work we reach the highest ideal of expression. Humanity may, and does, admire lofty sentiment and brilliant oratory; but when a Lincoln unbinds the shackles of a downtrodden race or when a Luther revolts in behalf of the fettered spirits of humanity and secures religious freedom for them, the outward action of these emancipators reveals a beauty of soul never discernible in those who soar in cloudland, but fear to soil their hands by actual work in the temple of humanity. The latter are not true temple-builders and would be unable to gain inspiration from the sight of that wonderful temple described by Manson in "The Servant in the House." The author calls him "Man-son;" this may mean that he regards him as the Son of Man, but it may also be that he meant Mason, for the Servant in the House was also a temple-builder. It is wonderful what insight the author of the play must have had when he planned the scene where his servant, the workman in love with his work, tells the worldly minded Churchman, who is full of platitudes and as vile as a whited sepulcher, of the temple which he, the workman, built. This conception is a mystic gem and we append it for the reader's meditation:

"I am afraid you may not consider it an altogether substantial concern. It has to be seen in a certain way, under certain conditions. SOME PEOPLE NEVER SEE IT AT ALL. You must understand this is no dead pile of stones and unmeaning timber; IT IS A LIVING THING.

"When you enter it you hear a sound--a sound as of some mighty poem chanted. Listen long enough and you will hear that it is made up of the beating of human hearts, of the nameless music of men's souls, that is, if you have ears. If you have eyes you will presently see the church itself, a looming mystery of many shapes and shadows leaping sheer from floor to dome, the WORK OF NO ORDINARY BUILDER.

"The pillars of it go up like the brawny trunks of heroes; the sweet human flesh of men and women is molded about its bulwarks, strong, impregnable. The faces of little children laugh out from every cornerstone; the terrible spans and arches of it are the joined hands of comrades; and up in the heights and spaces are inscribed the numberless musings of all the dreamers in the world.

It is yet building, building and built upon. Sometimes the work goes forward in deep darkness, sometimes in blinding light, now beneath the burden of unutterable anguish, now to the tune of great laughter and heroic shoutings like the cry of thunder. Sometimes in the silence of the night time one may hear the tiny hammerings of the comrades at work in the dome--THE COMRADES THAT HAVE GONE ALOFT."

It is such a temple that the Mystic Mason is building. He endeavors to WORK on the temple of Humanity at large, but since "when the rose adorns itself, it adorns the garden," he aims also to cultivate his own spiritual powers, as foreshadowed in THE MOLTEN SEA.

Solomon had already sued for the hand of the Queen of Sheba, and had been accepted, so, feeling that the meeting with Hiram Abiff might change her affections, he endeavored to consummate their marriage before granting her wish to meet the Grand Master. But the Queen was obstinate, she sensed the grandeur of the Master Workman whose skill had wrought the marvelous Temple and she felt intuitively drawn towards this man of action, as she had never been moved by the wisdom of Solomon, which only found verbal expression in flowery speeches and high ideals which he was unable to carry into realization. Therefore the reluctance of Solomon to let her meet Hiram Abiff made the Queen all the more anxious and importunate, so that at last Solomon was forced to accede to her request, and he grudgingly sent for the Grand Master. When Hiram Abiff appeared, and Solomon saw the love light kindle in the eyes of the Queen of Sheba, jealousy and hatred took root in his heart; he was, however, too wise to betray his feelings. But from that moment the plan of reconciliation and amalgamation of the Sons of Seth and the Sons of Cain which had been mapped out by the divine Hierarchies was doomed to failure, wrecked upon the rocks of jealousy and self-seeking.

The Queen of Sheba, according to the Masonic Legend, then requested Hiram Abiff to show her the workmen on the Temple. The Grand Master struck a nearby ROCK with his HAMMER so that the fire sparks flew, and at the sign of FIRE coupled with the work of power, the toilers of the Temple flocked around their Master in a great multitude, which no one could count, all ready and anxious to do his bidding. And this spectacle so impressed the Queen of Sheba with the wonderful power of this man that she determined to jilt Solomon and win the heart of Hiram Abiff. In other words, Humanity, when its eyes are opened to the impotence of the Churchmen, the Sons of Seth, who are themselves dependent upon divine favor, and when it sees the power and potency of the rulers of temporal fame is then ready to rush to them, and leave the spiritual for the material. This from the Microcosmic angle of matter.

From the Cosmic angle or view point we note again that Solomon's Temple is the Solar Universe and Hiram Abiff, the Grand Master, is the Sun which travels around the twelve signs of the Zodiac, enacting there the mystic drama of the Masonic Legend. At the Vernal Equinox the Sun leaves the WATERY SIGN OF PISCES, which is also feminine and docile, for the belligerent, martial, energetic, FIERY SIGN ARIES, the ram or lamb, where it is exalted in power. It fills the universe with a creative fire which is immediately seized upon by the innumerable billions of nature spirits who therewith build the Temple of the coming year in forest and fen. The forces of fecundation applied to the countless seeds slumbering in the ground causes them to germinate and fill the earth with luxuriant vegetation while the group spirit mate the beasts and birds in their charge so that they may bring forth and increase sufficiently to keep the fauna of our planet at normal. According to the Masonic Legend, Hiram Abiff, the Grand Master, used a hammer to call his workmen, and it is significant that the symbol of the sign Aries, where this wonderful creative activity commences, is shaped like a double ram's horn, which also resembles a hammer. It is also worthy of notice that in the ancient Norse Mythology, the Vanir or water deities are said to have been conquered by the Assir, or fire gods. The hammer wherewith the Norse God Thor struck fire from the sky finds its counterpart in the thunderbolt of Jove; like Hiram, the Assir belong to the Hierarchy of Fire, the Lucifer Spirits, THE SONS OF CAIN, striving for positive Mastership through individual effort, and therefore upholding the MALE ideal, which is diametrically opposite to that of the hierarchy which works in the plastic element Water. In the present day Temples of the latter Order, magic water stands at the door, and all who enter are required to apply this lethal liquid to the point in the forehead where the Spirit resides; their reason is drowned in dictums and dogmas, and the FEMALE ideal is worshipped in the Virgin Mary. Faith is the prime factor in their salvation, the attitude of unquestioning childlike obedience being cultivated.

It is different in the Temple of the other Order; when the candidate enters there, "poor," "naked" and "blind," he is asked at once what he is seeking, and when he answers "LIGHT," it is the duty of the Master to give what he asks and make him a PHREE MESSEN--a Child of Light. It is his duty also to teach him to work, and A MALE IDEAL, HIRAM ABIFF, the Master Workman, is presented for emulation. He is taught to be always ready to give a reason for his faith. As he qualifies in the work, he rises step by step, and at each degree more light is given. There are 3x3 degrees in the lesser Mysteries; when the candidate has passed the 9th Arch, he is in the Holy of Holies, which forms the gate to greater fields beyond the scope of Masonry. For further elucidation of that subject the student is referred to the chapters on Initiation, Volcanic Eruption and the number 9 in the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception.

Advancement and promotion in Mystic Masonry is not dependent on favor; it cannot be given till it has been earned and the candidate has stored in himself the power to rise, any more than a pistol can be fired till it has been loaded. INITIATION IS MERELY LIKE PULLING THE TRIGGER, and consists in showing the candidate how to use the power latent within himself.

There were some among the workmen on the Temple who thought they ought to be promoted to a higher degree, but who had not the power within; therefore Hiram Abiff could not initiate them, and as they were unable to see that the lack was in themselves, they felt provoked at Hiram, as over-ambitious candidates of today feel slighted and stamp a spiritual teacher a fraud who is unable to give them immediate illumination and induction into the invisible, while they are still eating of the "flesh-pots of Egypt," and unwilling to sacrifice themselves upon the altar of self-denial. The dissatisfied among Hiram's men entered into a conspiracy to spoil his great Masterpiece, the Molten Sea.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014