Friday, December 11, 2015

‘Two interlaced deltas enclosing a protractor’

I searched through The Magpie photo archives hoping to find a shot of an Assistant Grand Lecturer wearing the apron of his office to illustrate this excerpt from the new issue of The Empire State Mason Magazine, and found Yves! Anyway, in the back of the book, Bro. Richard Kessler, the Right Worshipful Grand Lecturer, has a regular column titled, appropriately, “From the Grand Lecturer,” where this time he addresses three common questions. The first is: “Does the insignia on the Assistant Grand Lecturer apron have any significance in our ritual?”

Before I transcribe his answer, let me try to explain the design of the apron of the Very Worshipful brethren who wear it: No purple or gold, but a blue trim around a white background upon which lie a black equilateral triangle interlaced with a white equilateral triangle, forming a six-point star, within which is a protractor with its straight edge horizontal and its curved side above. Got it?

RW Kessler’s reply:

It does. The following is the symbology which has been used by Grand Lecturers in our jurisdiction: The Seal of Solomon or Shield of David is a hexagonal figure consisting of two interlaced triangles. The creates a six-pointed star. Upon it was inscribed one of the sacred names of God, from which inscription it was to derive its talismanic powers. These powers were reputed to be very extensive. It was called the Sacred Delta by the Ancients and was known as the symbol of the Great Architect of the Universe and also as the element of important ceremonies.

Magpie file photo
VW Bro. Yves Etienne
at Shakespeare 750
on September 2, 2010.
The interlocking triangles, or deltas, enclosing the protractor designate the Grand Lecturer or Assistant Grand Lecturer and are explained as follows: The two triangles, one white and the other black, interlacing, exemplify the mingling of opposing forces in nature: darkness and light, falsehood and truth, ignorance and wisdom, evil and good. They also are symbolic of the union of the body and soul. The protractor in the center of the two triangles is a symbol of wisdom and truth, and is emblematic of precision and perfection, which we hope for, both in our ritual and our lives. The emblem symbolizes one endowed with knowledge, who strives to overcome ignorance with wisdom, speak truth, and bring Masonic Light to the Craft.

If I’m not mistaken, this apron design and the office of Very Worshipful Assistant Grand Lecturer were devised in the 1990s with the goal of imparting to the brethren not only ritual instruction, but also the meanings of ritual elements and symbols. In 2015 the focus has been the Entered Apprentice Degree, and the results are conversations about the meaning of Masonry. Imagine that. The first time I saw one of these aprons, I assumed it was the apron of some crazy lodge at Masonic Hall that provided its brethren Masonic instruction with alchemical or other esoteric influences. You see all kinds of aprons at Masonic Hall.

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