Talk:Masonic ritual and symbolism

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Considering the first sentence states that no standard ritual exists, what can possibly be said here that is accurate? First of all "ritual" refers not to "the rituals that Freemasons practice during their meetings" (nice attempt to show religious leanings, though) but in fact refers to the fact that the text is standardized within a jurisdiction. The second paragraph onwards you're off talking about symbols, which aren't ritual. After that tangent we get:

"While the philosophical aspects of Freemasonry tend to be discussed in Lodges of Instruction or Research, and sometimes informal groups, Freemasons, and others, frequently publish — to varying degrees of competence — studies that are available to the public. Any mason may speculate on the symbols and purpose of Freemasonry, and indeed all masons are required to some extent to speculate on masonic meaning as a condition of advancing through the degrees." - again, you're implying a standard. Lodges of Research are often not philosophical at all, but historical, and not every jurisdiction has them. speculation is by no means required.

Then back to symbols again, which are still not ritual. Severe conflation and inaccuracy, but not surprising. MSJapan (talk) 20:16, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

With the exception of the one sentence intro it's a complete copy of the section on Masonic info in the Freemasonry article. JASpencer (talk) 20:20, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Your point? That section is labeled clearly as a combination of ritual and symbolism. This is not. Note that the first thing wrong with the article is what you added to it. That should tell you something right there. MSJapan (talk) 20:23, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Moving it does not solve the content inaccuracies. Since this article now has the same title as the main article section, it's even more of a fork than it was before. MSJapan (talk) 20:40, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

keep this in one place?[edit]

There is discussion at my talkpage regarding this - should it stay there or be copied here for others to comment? LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:06, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I've just suggested on your talk page that we should move it here. Otherwise there's going to be some serious admin shopping. JASpencer (talk) 21:12, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Additions and corrections[edit]

Yikes, there are a lot of errors in this article (many of which comes from cutting and pasting bits and pieces from the main Freemasonry article and thus losing context). I have tried to correct the most glaring problems ... but I am sure more can be done. That said, I do have to ask why this article is needed? It does not really say anything that is not already (and more succinctly) said in the main Freemasonry article. Blueboar (talk) 22:36, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

So that it can be expanded beyond the necesary space limitations - Freemasonry is at 74 KB already. Masonic rituals are mentioned throughout literature (for example Pierre's initiation in War and Peace) and have a notability all of their own and a wider cultural relevance. JASpencer (talk) 22:52, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm... to what extent are actual rituals discussed in these cultural works? (I have not read War and Peace, so I don't know the answer to that.) If the reference is a passing mention that Freemasons have a ritual, then it is essentially trivia. If the book discusses the rituals in more detail then you definitely have a point. OK, I will cut you some slack and see where you take the article and how you expand things. :>) Blueboar (talk) 23:20, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Tolstoy generally talks about the philosophy of Freemasonry in War and Peace. I searched the Project Gutenberg text, and Part V, Chap. III-IV has some supposedly initiatory stuff, but it's not even close to reality conceptually - it's a mish-mash of esoterica from all sorts of places. Even what's recognizable is maybe 50% right. In Chapter V, Pierre's rumination on the Square's symbolism isn't accurate, and is pulling from some other esoterica. Philosophically, it speaks highly of Freemasonry, though: Part V, Chapter XII, Pierre talks about what saved him: "Freemasonry! No, don't smile. Freemasonry is not a religious ceremonial sect, as I thought it was: Freemasonry is the best expression of the best, the eternal, aspects of humanity. nd he began to explain Freemasonry as he understood it to Prince Andrew. He said that Freemasonry is the teaching of Christianity freed from the bonds of State and Church, a teaching of equality, brotherhood, and love." From there on out, when it appears, it's all philosophical or later, criticism of the aristocratic members for not living up to the ideals set forth by the "Order" (as it is called). Tolstoy's rumination on different types of Masons is a statement made by Pierre. MSJapan (talk) 01:40, 26 August 2008 (UTC)


JAS - it's really not appropriate to be putting in speculative content that has no citation. What could a concern over the integration of Chinese folk belief have to do with England in the 1700s (which had multiple fully institutionalized churches), and how is it appropriately contemporaneous when the dispute lasted for >100 years? It's not important what you think the point of something is - it doesn't make it right. This grasping at straws to create/justify a "controversy" section is not good. The burden of proof is on you to find the information, not for you to make things up and have other people find it. MSJapan (talk) 16:01, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

MSJ, I did not add that last paragraph in. It was added by someone who (I assume) was trying to back up Blueboar's point about Christian Freemasons. I don't fully understand it (I have no idea what the Chinese Rites controversy has to do with this, and I can only see an incidental link to Andrew Michael Ramsay) but I wanted to let them try to put in more detail before deleting it. It's considered good manners (the link may help). Another hint - read the edit history first. JASpencer (talk) 16:15, 31 August 2008 (UTC) Note, here's the edit history. JASpencer (talk) 16:17, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, it's gone now anyway. What sort of quote do you want from de Hoyos & Morris? It's 192 pages not counting the appendix, so an individual quote only applies to what's in the chapter in question; the only thing that would be indicative of the purpose of the entire book is stuff off the back jacket or the TOC, which can be verified very easily by Google or Amazon. MSJapan (talk) 21:02, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
A quote from them saying that their purpose was to refute Christian critics, otherwise it's the equivalent of a review. JASpencer (talk) 21:09, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
Frippery ?
Holy Mackerel ! Really.
 ;) Lunarian (talk) 11:01, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

It's back[edit]

My sources:

  • Étiemble: L'Europe Chinoise Vol I De l'Empire romain à Leibniz ISBN 2-07-071206-0
  • Mungello, David E.: Leibniz and Confucianism, University Press of Hawaii ISBN 0-8248-0545-3
  • Henderson: Chevalier Ramsay chapter XIV 'Ramsay the Freemason'
[1] testifies to the appropriate contemporarity of the fascination for things chinese in England. While the language is humoristic the reference is topical in relation to Masonry and Jesuit orientalism.

Lunarian (talk) 18:52, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Why? Because the Gormogons attacked Freemasonry in a letter? Other than that, there's nothing indicating that there's any connection between generic Orientalism and Freemasonry. So, what point are you trying to make, and is it OR or SYN? MSJapan (talk) 20:10, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
It's definitely OR (I guess), to talk about SYNientalism would be taking it a bit to far, even for me.
It's about the history of tolerance, MSJapan.
When you look closely at the strange chinoiserie of the Gormogon article (1724) you will see it mentioned a.o. that the Czar of Muscovy enter'd into the Hon. Society ( of which Confucius is said to be the oecumenical volgee ). Why the Czar of Muscovy of all places and people. This refered -for people in the know- to Leibniz, who explained the importance of the treaty of Nertchinsk (1689) for the propagation of christianity in China in his preface to his Novissima Sinica... (Leipzig, 1697). A book of prime importance to the debate on Chinese Rites among the philosphers of his time.(see op. cit. part V: Short description of the voyage in China undertaken by the Moscovian embassy in 1693, 1694, and 1695, communicated by M. Brand etc ;part VI Letters from Nipchou on the treaty of Nertchinsk......)
Leibniz became famous (if he was not already) for his oecumenism during the debate this book initiated. (cf for example his letter to Bourget Juli 2, 1710 : In the Chinese controversy that agitates Rome for the moment I side with the Jesuits ...) Remarkeable enough for someone known as a protestant.
If there is one hallmark of Freemasonry its exactly this kind of tolerance. This is well illustrated in the career of the Freemason Andrew Michael Ramsay who had once been Mme Guyon's secretary.
Remember, MSJapan, you should know. You are the expert.
Modern Masonry as James Anderson constitutionalised (1723) was fertilised in the soil of that tollerance, of which the Rosicrucian Society was an earlier fase (ref Frances Yates The Rosicrucian Enlightenment.) Leibniz had started his career of philosopher as a secratary to a Rosicrucian society.
On the matter of christian symbolism and masonic ritual, or in reverse chistian ritual (Rome) and masonic symbolism the input of Andrew Ramsay was significant. Both he and Cardinal Fleury were catholics -one a freemason, the other an oponent of Freemasonry- both christians, presumeably. It was Fleury's rejection of Ramsay's Discourse pronounced at the reception of Freemasons 1737 that led to the interdiction of Freemasonry in France.
" The account left by Gessau of his talk with Ramsay on Freemasonry during his visit to France in 1741 affords some further information. Ramsay let him see the Discourse, and gave him to understand that he had been anxious to clear away from Masonic ceremonial a great deal that had become meaningless, and had discussed the possibility of an international conference with a view to restoring the primitive ceremonial. Such a reforming assembly he might have contrived to hold in Paris but for Fleury's polite but firm opposition. "
Henderson in Chevalier Ramsay: chptr XIV Ramsay the Freemason.
In other words, had Fleury accepted Freemasonry, Church and Masonry would have debated on related ritual. This was impossible because of the stance taken by Rome over the significance of ritual in relation to European christianity in China.

Lunarian (talk) 08:27, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Your purposeful absurdity is the majority of the problem with both making your point and assuming good faith. I'm talking about whether your point was original research or synthesis, both prohibited by policy, and you start talking about spelling. The real issue is that you are trying to relate unrelated things.
You make an assumption that Ramsay had an effect on ritual (which he did not, aside from the assertion that Freemasonry was descended from the Templars). Leibniz has nothing to do with this other than having his name mentioned in a letter that no one really took seriously. There's no proof of a Rosicrucian connection to Freemasonry - the links are speculative. I also don't know why you assume Masonic ritual is anything like Church ritual, because it demonstrably isn't, so I don't know what common talking points you expected in your hypothetical conclusion of what might have happened. Even if the material was relevant (which it hasn't demonstrated itself to be), Wikipedia doesn't do hypotheses. MSJapan (talk) 13:57, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
About what you say here on Ramsay, Brother, he did not, aside from...
Do you mean that by asserting that Freemasonry descended from Templars he did have an effect on ritual ?
So, did he or did he not ? You are not very clear.
You also need to quote the letter about Leibniz.
Here's what: we will exchange quotes.
If I were in London, I would have a poster hung on my door: Bureau d'adresse pour la Chine...
1696, Leibniz to Burnett de Kemney (as quoted in Gerhardt, G.W.Leibniz Die Philosophischen Schriften, III, pg 174)
Now, over to you again.
Lunarian (talk) 22:38, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, one would assume the Templar Orders in Masonry would not have come about without the assertion of a link (which Ramsay apparently provided). That would then be a possible inspiration for the ritual, but would not affect the content, and again, one would need to be able to find where someone said that this was definitely the case. I would also add that there's no real proof that one necessarily led to the other - having looked into some of the higher degrees' history, they're syncretic and tend to change, even in relatively recent times; researchers hesitate to make solid claims without definite documentary evidence. The same applies here, so let me ask you this: what does that quote you give above have to do with Masonic ritual and symbolism? MSJapan (talk) 02:44, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
That quote is there for speculative purposes
Since you are neither speculative nor operative you may disregard it ad libidum.
Meanwhile I'll throw in another one:
" Edita doctrina Sapientium templa serena "
Leibniz to de Rémond Januari,3 1714 (in Friedrich Heer Leibniz: Auswhal... Fischer Bücherei, November 1958)
But addressing myself specificly to you I would like to ask you what you take the content of the ritual to be: that what is summarized in the invocation ?
Would that not be speculative for each accepted creed seperately ?
Speculative as in reflected in a mirror...
When it comes to reflect on Freemasonry I prefer the mirror upheld by Leibniz who was not a Freemason to the one you, who advertise yourself as one, brandish in the name of the prohibitive policy of Wikipedia.
Au plaisir de vous croiser,
Lunarian (talk) 12:04, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
Lunarian, perhaps I am misinterpreting your comment, but wikipedia is not the place for specutlation... Please see WP:No original research. Let's stick to known facts. Blueboar (talk) 12:45, 4 September 2008 (UTC)


What do they actually do? what kind of rituals?

They sing "All Around My Hat" by Steeleye Span, dressed in brass diving helmets and Hula Skirts, while pogoing in a stately manner... apparently. LessHeard vanU (talk) 23:09, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

You would not want to know.
Lunarian (talk) 23:21, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Do they have mass orgies like in Eyes Wide Shut?

They don't celebrate Mass... are you confusing this with Catholicism? LessHeard vanU (talk) 10:51, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

LOL no! i meant mass as in big/large etc etc

I am more worried about Wiki ritual being violated here. Not signing ones comments I mean. He is watching.
Lunarian (talk) 11:18, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I thought everyone knew that mass orgies are better when done spontaniously and in free form. They don't lend themselves to being ritualized. So... sorry to disappoint, but no. No mass orgies in the Masonic rituals. It really is more like an interactive play... Just spoken words and a bit of floor work (ie who walks to where in the room, and when.) Blueboar (talk) 12:38, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

A Daily Advancement[edit]

About facts on symbolism...
In The pocket history of Freemasonry (...) ISBN 0-09-174708-2 pg 296 I read:
Other Masonic Degrees:
It will be sufficient to list the following regular Orders, Rites and Degrees which the keen American freemason will not overlook:
The Red Cross of Constantine
The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests
The Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis
The Knights Beneficent of the Holy City
(...)in America, the ruling bodies are in nearly every case in fraternal communion with their counterparts in the Old Word.
pg 299 Masonic Research and literature
on pleasant little periodicals (...) All these papers include articles designed to assist the brother wishing to make his daily advancement. More specifically directed to this last purpose are the lodges who have dedicated themselves to research. The ' Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees and the Societas Rosicruciana have excellent annual booklets.
Of course there is no proof of a connection between Roscrucians and Freemasonry nor is a daily advancement formal indoctrination, it rather depends on the ...speculative talents of the student.
But why am I telling you all this ?
I should appologize. Your amateur study of history combined with your preference for editing Wiki on Freemasonry must make you emminently aware of Frances Yates' The Rosicrucian Enlightenment ISBN 0-415-26769-2 with its excellent chapter (15) on Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry where she writes:
The first printed reference to 'Accepted Masons' is found in a Masonic pamphlet of 1676, as follows:
To give notice, that the Modern Green-ribboned Caball, together with the Ancient Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross; the Hermetick Adepti and the company of Accepted Masons intend all to dine together on the 31 of November next ...
After giving many more examples a.o. the initiation of the grade Rose Cross within Freemasonry she writes:
This would seem like an acceptance, within masonic tradition itself-though very late (i.e 1750)- of the idea of a connection between Rosicrucianism and masonry.
I guess this is what you get for failing to take MSJapan ( and should I add yourself ?) as sole reference for masonic information.
PS: Elias Ashmole also plays a mirky role in this flagrant conspiracy against editing in good faith
Haha, I laugh when I see myself so beautyfully reflected in this mirror. :D !
Lunarian (talk) 15:29, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Is there a point to this? Blueboar (talk) 02:43, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
In a previous discussion on this page your notice reads: " no original research let's stick to facts."
A fact is not necessarely something you alone are able to assess.
original research applies to unpublished sources
Lunarian (talk) 10:01, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I still don't see your point. I don't think anyone is denying that many early Freemasons were interested in Rosicrucian ideas (or that many Rosicrucians were interested in Freemasonry). To me it is sort of like saying that Issac Newton was not only a scientist but also dabbled in alchemy. In conducting both scientific and alchemical experiments, he was searching for the same goal... but with different methods.
The fact that there is overlap in membership between the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians or that they held a dinner together does not really tell us a lot. Similar goals (the search for enlightenment)... different methods. In any case, if are you trying to say that there is a direct connection between the Rosecrusians and Freemasonry because of all these points you raise, you are in the realm of OR. You are drawing your own conclusions by tieing together disperate facts. Blueboar (talk) 13:40, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Are you by any chance MSJapan himself?
Same difference of selective blindness, though.
Lunarian (talk) 14:39, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Lunarian: read WP:SYNTHESIS and WP:OR before you decide to make further comments and you might see from where the issues are arising. Second of all, Wikipedia talk pages are for improvement of articles, not random tangential discussions. Every other editor involved here has asked you to clarify your statements (including JASpencer). None of us have any idea what you are trying to do, and since you never explain adequately, your actions are instead very disruptive. Your methodology is unacceptable per Wikipedia policy, and if you don't like it, simply stop editing. If you cannot state your point clearly with reliable sources that clearly support your clearly-made point, then your point is not usable. MSJapan (talk) 14:49, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I'd also point out that the "regular Orders, Rites and Degrees which the keen American freemason will not overlook" are now invitational bodies with either a religious restriction (MSRICF) or a requirement to have done something else first (RCC, HRAKTP), aside from the fact that one needs to be asked to join. I believe the Knights of the Benevolent City are defunct. Your "AMD and Societas booklet" quote has nothing to do with the first three degrees of Freemasonry, and is in fact nonsense - it says nothing. Francis Yates? Big deal. The ritual of the first three degrees uses nothing mentioned in that quote, so it is irrelevant to the article at hand. The rest of your material, again, is speculative, and Wikipedia does not do speculation, and furthermore, doesn't exactly address the topic of the article. MSJapan (talk) 15:00, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Order of Knights Beneficent of the Holy City of Jerusalem still exists, [2], although I have only seen them at the annual Masonic Week activities in DC.--Vidkun (talk) 15:25, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Hey ! MSJapan ! Even as we speak !
The coincidence !
Care to compare notes on disruptiveness ?
(see: Les Neuf Soeurs)
Lunarian (talk) 15:15, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
PS: If this were about the Knights of the Benevolent City I would ask you to cite your source. I am looking forward to what you will add to the article at hand.
Lunarian (talk) 15:15, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Hey Vidkun,
Your edit reads as though it preceeded mine.
I was adressing MSJapan about the source.
Thank you for giving a light.
Much appreciated
Lunarian (talk) 15:35, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, based on the time stamp, Lunarian, and the way I indented further in than the comment to which I was replying (which is a standard practice I'm not seeing from you, making you statements hard to track, conversation flow-wise) my edit looks like a reply to MSJapan.--Vidkun (talk) 15:39, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I stand corrected Vidkun,
Lunarian (talk) 15:44, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
In any case... I am still confused as to what you are trying to say. Are you trying to draw a direct link between the Rosecricians and the Freemasons? or are you trying to say something else? Blueboar (talk) 21:46, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually I was thinking of starting to edit on Freemasonry.
I have since explored some of the fine expertise involved...
Wikipedia, indeed !
PS: This does not mean I am going to be told to like it or get lost
Lunarian (talk) 22:15, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Lunarian, I am trying to engage you constructively here... please, do you have a point to all this? If so, what is it? Blueboar (talk) 22:23, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I translate this from: Dictionnaire de la franc-maçonerie Daniel Ligou, 2006 Presse Universitaire France ISBN 2-13-055094-0:
s.v. Rose-Croix:
(...) It is towards the middle of the XVIIth century, that on English territory there starts to develop, from operative freemasonry, modern speculative freemasonry that may be considered, for reason of the contributions of Robert Fludd and Elias Ashmole, as a continuation and a reenhancement of Rose-Cross. But in 1723, the Anderson Constitutions, insisting much more on the social ideal of tolerance than on the mystical ideal, mark the doctrinal rupture between the new Freemasonry and the Rose-Cross (op.cit. pg 1056)
(...)as multiple and flagrant the points of convergance between Freemasonry an Rose-Cross are, it is important to note with Paul Arnold that it is still much more in the mentality, general orientation of research, attitude towards life and thought that it convenes to perceive a link between the mystical order of 1614 and nascent Freemasonry: the idea of brotherhood, dissinterested mutual aid, absolute tolerance with a background of christianity very outspoken at the time, a metaphysical curiosity tinted with alchemy, cabalism, recours to traditional symbolism of the alchemists (...) in short a spiritual ambient to which are joined reforming and social preoccupations- wholy spiritual at the start and which Freemasonry pulled ever more unto the secular stage (...) the organisation of the lodges, above all the high degrees, has in essence been loaned from operative lodges enriched with the input of Rose-Cross
[Paul Arnold (1912-1975),Architect, Counselor of the Order of the Grand Orient ( in dict. cit.)]
An example of the above quothed inspiration would be the use of the sacred word INRI read in the ritual of the 18th degree of The Antient an Accepted Scottish Rite - Sovereign Prince Rose Croix - as Igne Natura Renovatur Integrat, which reflects the alchemical symbolism already extant in the Reflexion Chamber (? Chambre de Réflexion, Blue lodge) in the formula V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (dict. cit s.v.) which the Dictionnaire (pg 24) links to Rose-Cross s.v. Alchemie.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: Visita Interiora Terrae, Rectificandoque Invenies Occultam Lapidem i.e. Visit the interior of the earth and by rectifying you will find the occult stone...
It is fair to point out that once the masonic acceptance of the 18th degree as such (circa 1750)is discussed in the Dictionnaire ... the attested affiliation from any modern rosicrucian organisation is denied.
Need also to be stated that the Dictionnaire... is the work of some 150 contributors under the direction of Daniel Ligou.
It is hard to see how this article on Masonic ritual and symbolism is ever going to expand without mentioning the essential, taken hostage as it is by what seems to steadely develop into a rather crudely stated POV by MSJapan.
Lunarian (talk) 12:47, 12 September 2008 (UTC)11:59, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
PS: A respected french researcher Serge Hutin has translated the passage from Robert Fludd Tractatus théologico-philosophicus, Oppenheim 1619 relative to the voyage into the middle of the earth in his succinct Histoire des Rose Croix (Le Courrier du Livre, 1971) (op.cit. pg 114)
Incidentally a source on the state of the art of influence in the mid XVIIth century of Rose-Cross on English thought would be B.J.T. Dobbs "The Foundation of Newton's Alchemy, or a search for the Green Lion" Cambridge University Press, 1975 ISBN 0-521-27381-1. Especially pp 54-59 created in part with the use of the material added to the subject by Frances Yates. (Dobbs explains her reserve against Yates' conclusion on a point relative to Newton in particular, but accepts the validity of her work as an historian)
The Green Lion is mentioned by Serge Hutin in the above cited work (pg 126) in relation to Rosicrucian thought i.g. Practica Leonis Viridis, d.i. der Rechte und whare Fussteig zur dem Königlichen Chymischen Hochzeit Fratr. F.R.C. etc...
Lunarian (talk) 12:25, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
You still seem to think that this is some sort of speculative article, and that is the fundamental problem. At the root of it, there is no proof of a link between Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, and the Scottish Rite degrees have nothing to do with the Craft degree symbolism that is supposedly the basis of this article. Simply put, you wish to state speculation and fanciful notions as solid fact on which to incorporate other speculation and fanciful notions as fact, and that is simply not appropriate. you also have yet to make a clear point - lines of quotes with no apparent logic behind it does not help to support whatever position it is you are trying to take. MSJapan (talk) 13:29, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem with Lunerian discussing speculation here on the talk page... I would have a problem with his/her puting it in the article. Lunerian, the problem with your speculation is that it ignores what is known about the developement of masonic ritual... it looks at elements of the "higher degrees" and assumes that they have always been a part of Freemasonry, when in fact they are relatively new additions. We can trace the rituals of the first two degrees back to at least 1500 (through various Masonic catechisms, the Old Charges and documents such as Regis Poem). Until the invention of the 3rd degree in the 1730s, those two degrees were all there was to Freemasonry. Certainly, in the mid 1600s, at the time that men like Ashmole, Fludd or Newton joined the freaternity, that was all there was. Just two degrees. Neither of which had any tie to Rosecrucianism
This was still the case when Anderson wrote his constitutions... so the assertion that "Anderson's Constitutions mark the doctrinal rupture between the new Freemasonry and the Rose-Cross" just does not make any sense. ALL of the "higher degrees" (including the 3rd degree) were invented and incoprorated into the broader masonic framework after this speculated rupture occured.
Now... Let's take a look at how the higher degrees got into the mix. It actually happened in France and not England. When Freemasonry was introduced into France, it was quite popular. However, it seemed that the French were not all that satisfied with just two degrees (and a bit later three) degrees. They started to invent more degrees.... a lot more degrees. In the mid to late 1700s there was something of a cottage industry in inventing Masonic degrees and then lumping them into various Rites. Literally hundreds of degrees were invented, offered in hundreds of Rites. To attract members, the inventors of these degrees and rites took inspiration from just about anything that would excite prospective members. Some claimed to offer "secrets" handed down from the Egyptians ("All things Egyptian" being all the rage in France at the time, this was popular), others used "Oriental" themes (less popular, but more exotic). Probably the most successful was the theme of "Knighthood", first proposed by Chevalier de Ramsey in his famous oration. Given this explosion of borrowings and inventiveness, I think it quite likely that some of these degrees borrowed Rosecrucian themes, either intentionally or unintentionally. But it is important to remember that all of these are inventions... and have very little if any true connection to the original Freemasonry.
There is a common logical flaw made by most writers and accademics who study the Rosecrucian and Hermetic influence on Freemasonry. They assume that the Freemasonry they see today was the same as it was in the 1700s. It wasn't. There may well be Rosecrucian elements in some of the higher degrees (in fact, I think there definitely are)... but they are late additions. Elements that were grafted onto the original core of Freemasonry, and grafted at a date significantly later than is commonly thought. Instead of a direct link between Rosecrucianism and Freemasonry, the connection is actually an indirect link. Rosecrucian symbolism and philosophy that survived long after the initial Rosecrucian movement ended... and eventually found a place in Masonry. Blueboar (talk) 15:08, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Blueboar, for taking time to adress the issue.
A pity though that you give no sources.
It would make the discussion that more interesting in preparation of serious editing. As it stands it is your word against the Dictionnaire...
Personally I appreciate your comment.
( so, just one small source perhaps ?)
 :D ! Lunarian (talk) 19:56, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Sure... to start you off, how about "Freemasonry in Context" By Art DeHoyos and S. Brent Morris... also "A History of British Freemasonry" by Andrew Prescott Blueboar (talk) 22:49, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, great !
I like it where Andrew Prescott says: Freemasonry can not be explained by Freemasonry. For that reason it is perhaps more urgent that we establish a framework of interpretation... documentary historians such as me are often dismisive of historians who focus on the wider shape of history, but it is only when we contemplate an institution where no such shape has been proposed that we realise the fundamental importance of such frameworks for all aspects of historical study...
My like becomes glee when he says: There are hints that Schaw also sought to interest members of lodges in the new esoteric and philosophical developments, such as the 'art of memory'...
The Art of Memory !... Frances Yates again.
It's not me who is going to say Big deal !
 :D ! Lunarian (talk) 10:40, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
Is there a term for taking comments that seem to support an argument out of context.... ah yes... I believe it is called "cherry picking". Schaw being interested in esoteric and philisophical developements is not evidence of a direct link between the Rosecrucians and Freemasonry. An indirect link, perhaps, but not a direct one. Blueboar (talk) 12:44, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

arbitrary break[edit]

At least we agree on this:
It is declared and pronounced that pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees an no more, viz those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft, and the Master Mason, including the supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch. But this article is not intended to prevent any Lodge or Chapter from holding a Meeting in any of the Degrees of Orders of Chivalry, according to the constitutions of the said Orders. Pick, Knight and Smyth in The Pocket History of Freemasonry add : The final sentence has for a long time been ommitted from the reprint of the Article in the Book of Constitutions.
The subject as you have gathered is the Union of Antients and Moderns in 1813 which I believe still defines the outlook of United Grand Lodge of England ?
Three degrees. The first of which has in well known versions of its initiation ritual the display of the formula V.I.T.R.I.O.L. in the Cabinet of Reflexion. A formula related to an influence of Rosicrucians, as explained in the Dictionnaire... of Daniel Ligou.
Better an indirect link than no connection at all.
Lunarian (talk) 19:32, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
No, the Constitution of 1813 does not define the outlook of UGLE; it's been modified on many occasions since then. You're clearly not reading your own quotes, either - the chivalric degrees have nothing to do with the Craft degrees that are the subject of this article. I would also, by the way, like to see your sources where VITRIOL is used in the first three degrees, because I can't get a single relevant hit on it that supports that statement. MSJapan (talk) 21:54, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
As a Mason from New York, I can certainly tell you that I don't agree that the Royal Arch is part of Masonry... The constitutions of my Masonic Jurisdiction date to 1787, and don't mention of the Royal Arch at all, and specifically say that you may not hold any other degree other than the first three. Sorry, pay the man to try again. Blueboar (talk) 23:08, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
So much for Wikipedia and POV.
The article is in capable hands, so I leave you to it.
Pick, Knight and Smyth are only Quatuor Coronati and Daniel Ligou... well let us not mention him.
I am glad you both said as much as you did. It gives a fair picture.
Over to friends,
Lunarian (talk) 09:40, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
Oh yes, MSJapan, by the way...
You might look at:
Au revoir,
Lunarian (talk) 10:10, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
Again, I fail to see the point you are trying to make, because the link supports my earlier assertion. I quote: Most of the Brethren who received their initiations in Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa will be acquainted with the Chamber of Reflection. It is used in the first degree in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the French Rite, the Brazilian Rite and other rites derived from the ones just mentioned, which was exactly my point - note that the article even points out that the usage is nowhere near universal even in the countries that use it, and as I've been saying for well over a week now, the scope of this article does not cover this sort of material. It does not talk about any derived rites whatsoever, and the article also makes clear that it is part of a Chamber of Reflection that isn't in the degree proper (where all the other symbols do appear).
Most importantly, Lunarian, why are you totally incapable of stating an argument or giving an answer to a direct question in your own words? I have yet to get an answer from you as to what your point is with all this. It's certainly not improving the article, and it is wasting everyone's time. MSJapan (talk) 13:40, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
We need to recapitulate, MSJapan...
Are you not glad I provided the link - that you were unable to find - and that supports your earlier assertions ?
What exactly was your point again ? That the Chamber of Reflection is used in the first degree, a craft degree by the way, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite ? I tought that was my point.
Plus, buddy, you would not want to hear my answer to your direct question in my own words.
I'll stick to endless citation if need be to clear a path for decent editing.
So, if the first degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is a Craft degree ( that is the 1st degree, the one mentioned in the link -not the 4th of the Rite which is the 1st of the Higher Degrees ) how does it come its symbolism can not be mentioned here ?
Because of its reflection on Rose Cross ?
Because of your point of view on the historical connection discussed earlier ?
A point of view is not decent editing, giving sources is.
That is what I do, that is what you do not
I can accept that you fail to see the significance of historical detail.
I can not accept that one should just have to swallow your self styled expertise and stop editing altogether.
You have a problem with the connection between Rose Cross (1614 ) and Freemasonry ( pre constitutional). That is partly why you deleted my edit, other details you were not capable of evaluating.
I have so far mentioned the sources I have at hand ( and will do so again), you did not.
While we are at it, and this is an article on Masonic symbolism and ritual, again I ask you: Why does the symbolism of the first craft degree as expressed by Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite has no place here ? (talk) 01:05, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, forgot to log in, Lunarian (talk) 01:06, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to close out this thread after this, but, there are numerous objections to your points, mostly related to the fact that the scope of this article addresses Craft Masonry. The Scottish Rite version of the degree is precisely that; a degree related to and administered by the Scottish Rite. It has been indicated by the source that this degree differs greatly from the Craft version(s) and is also not widely practiced, yet you want to include it like it's a common and fundamental underpinning of Freemasonry throughout the world. If you want sources, go read Emulation ritual - there is no Chamber involved.
The Rose Cross connection is also spurious - as stated by sources, it is speculation. Again, this is related to a Scottish Rite degree, not Craft Masonry, but you would portray it as if it were fundamental to Freemasonry throughout the world. In short, you have sources, but no understanding of the sources aside from the ability to pull out the very specific pieces that relate to what you want to prove, rather than taking the source as a whole. That is synthesis, and is against Wikipedia policy. You have also not shown that there is a point to this discussion; we've had quote after quote after quote, with no indication of how it relates to the article. This discussion has been wholly fruitless, and i would suggest you go find a forum someplace if you wish to continue on in this manner. MSJapan (talk) 03:43, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Not wholly fruitless.
Some sources were mentioned regardless of your selective preference for trouble vision.
As such: Dictionnaire...Daniel Ligou (2006) s.v. Cabinet de Réflexion:
In the Emulation Rite the 'Chamber' is very simple, it is but a room contiguous to the lodge where the candidate is installed and left to meditate (...) It is recommanded to the lodge that an "Expierienced brother" is designated to go and talk to him, to prepare him, dissipate his apprehensions and explain the gravity of the ceremonie that is going to follow. In fact the initiation only begins with the entry of the recepiandary in the Temple. On the other hand, in the French Rite as well as in different Scottish Rites, the initiation begins when the recipiandary penetrates into the Chamber of Reflexion.
The subject is still the degree of entered apprentice
It is only fair to ask you, before discontinuing the thread, if you want to explicitly state that the other version, the one opposed to your point of view is not good masonic practice.
Lunarian (talk) 10:11, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
I wish to add that, in the present case, the abilty to pull out the very specific pieces that relate to what you want to prove would be analysis. The indications of the sources are there. Reference is clear.
Lunarian (talk) 10:34, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

I need to outdent and address something by MSJapan: The Scottish Rite version of the degree is precisely that; a degree related to and administered by the Scottish Rite. I'm sorry, as we have seen in Louisiana in the USA, and other UGLE recognized bodies (Grand Orient of Brazil), the SR version of the Craft degrees ARE worked in Craft Lodges in other places. Emulation and the "York" Preston-Webb Craft degrees are not the only version of the Craft degrees that are worked commonly, nor are they the only ones allowed in so-called regular Masonry.--Vidkun (talk) 12:38, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Folks, we are getting sidetracked. This talk page is for discussing the article. It isn't the place to conduct debates on Masonic history or symbolism... Lunerian, please get to the point. Either propose some language to go into the article or end the discussion. Blueboar (talk) 13:27, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
No side track at all
This is the article on masonic ritual and symbolism
Discussion proves necessary to adress POV
Lunarian (talk) 11:17, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Question, are you trying to address my POV, or the POV of the article? If the former, then I see no reason to continue the discussion, as this is not the correct venue to attempt that. If the latter, then we need to have a clear idea of what you think needs to be included in the article to address that issue. So again, please state briefly and clearly what you think needs to be included in the article. Blueboar (talk) 12:34, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Answer, its about the POV of the article.
I would wish a variety of symbols to be adressed.
Question, is the ritual of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite version of the degree of Entered Apprentice going to be included ?
Lunarian (talk) 22:35, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
That depends on what you mean by "included". We can certainly mention it if appropriate. However, I do think we should avoid getting bogged down by discussing the specifics of any one particular Rite or ritual in detail... especially one that is not that common. (The majority of US Grand Lodges use some variant of the Preston or Webb Rituals, the majority in England use Emulation Ritual, as do most of the jurisdictions that trace their origins to UGLE... and there are a multitude of seperate Rites in in Europe, each with their own rituals.) I also need to ask which "ritual of the Ancient and Accepted Stottish Rite" you are talking about... the French Rite Ecossais? Pike's rituals of the 1850s? The current SJ version? That used by the Northern Jurisdiction?... they are all slightly different, and so anything you say about one may not be accurate when applied to another. This is why the article needs to discuss things in generalities... there is simply too much variation to get into details.
With that in mind... I really think the answer to your question depends on what you want to say about the A&ASR version... so what do you want to say? Blueboar (talk) 14:28, 18 September 2008 (UTC)


I am not sure we should discuss the Volume of Sacred Law in this article. It isn't really a masonic symbol... It is a masonic term for a concrete physical object (ie the Bible, Koran, Torah or other holy book, as is appropriate for the individual lodge or candidate). (To be very technical, the VSL is part of the lodge's "furnishings", along with the lodge's warrent/charter/dispensation). Blueboar (talk) 22:02, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

It's also used in the Lodge's ritual. But you're probably right and the ritual and symbolism need to be split into different articles. JASpencer (talk) 19:36, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the term does appear in the ritual... so do the terms "door", "hand", "ballot box", "commitee"... should we mention these terms as well? (come to think of it, in US lodges the term "United States of America" is used in the ritual, I guess this means we should include a paragraph about that... my this is going to be a long article). Blueboar (talk) 20:53, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I see, so is it not really central in the ritual? JASpencer (talk) 21:28, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Which version of the ritual have you got?
ALR (talk) 21:49, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
One would question the need for a duplicate of the article on the VSL being repeated here, particularly with the absurb reductionism that has been discussed many times before related to the non-existence of a Masonic Bible.
ALR (talk) 22:03, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Fine cut it down. But if, for example, it is used in obligations, (or oath taking for those of us who are cowans) shouldn't it be mentioned? JASpencer (talk) 22:14, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
To answer your question on the centrality of the VSL... The VSL plays a central role in Freemasonry (since God is central to Freemasonry), but it isn't central to the ritual of Freemasonry. Nor is it a "Masonic symbol". I don't have a problem with a passing mention of the VSL in the context of discussing the obligations (which are part of the ritual). Blueboar (talk) 22:47, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Quite stunning determination to keep it in there somehow.
ALR (talk) 22:55, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
In the right context, it is appropriate to talk about all sorts of things, the VSL is amoung them. Out of context, no. That is really the key here... context is so important when discussing Freemasonry. Blueboar (talk) 23:00, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Frankly, no, it's not that important. Bibles are used in all sorts of rather commonplace "obligations", like political inaugurations and courtroom testimony, so that function isn't unique to Freemasonry, nor did it start with Freemasonry. Speaking of, those examples are as much "ritual" as Freemasonry is, too. That bears some thinking about in general, doesn't it? I don't want to get off track, but the point I'm making here is that the VSL serves the same purpose in Lodge as it does in any other context where it is used in the same manner. The hangup here is that the term is apparently something exciting/nefarious/whatever, and it really isn't; it's just semantics, like saying "The Good Book", "Holy Scriptures", "The Five Books of Moses", "The Old Testament", "The New Testament", "The Gospels", etc. It's just different words for parts of the same thing. MSJapan (talk) 02:47, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
In the Emulation Rite the Volume is described as the principal of Three Great Lights. Not real, actual lights one would imagine. Symbolic ? Again one would feel oneself allowed to imagine so, the initiation symbolising the progress from darkness to light.
On the Sacred Volume as a tool in operative masonry one would be tickled -if one were me- to present Panofsky's translation of Abott Suger's reports of his work as a builder on the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis (1140 - 1145 C.E.). Wholly speculative of course -although the reference to light is central to his aesthetics of symbolism. Sorry, I am only interrupting.
Nothing at all to do with your Freemasonry ...probably.
Lunarian (talk) 11:30, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Context, context, context... Lunerian has things backwards... The "Three Great Lights" is a symbolic term... the point is that the VSL is one of the things that term is symbolic of. To illustrate using another example, the beehive is a symbol of industry (mentioned in some rituals, but hardly unique to Masonry) ... it would be incorrect to say that "industry" was a Masonic symbol. Blueboar (talk) 13:13, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Symbols vs. Emblems[edit]

I think it might be helfpul in our discussions to clarify some terms... Freemasonry does not actually have "symbols"... it has "emblems". An emblem often has a symbolic meaning... the rose (not a masonic emblem), for example, is is symbolic of secrecy. But emblems can also be "symbolic" without any meaning ... the emblem of the White House that appears behind US government officials at press conferences for example. In these cases, the emblem is "symbolic" of the actual object it depicts... the emblem of the White House is "symbolic" of the White House itself.

Freemasonry has many emblems associated with it... Some of these emblems are common to iconography in general, and (given Freemasonry's origins) Christian iconography in particular... These are not unique to Masonry, and actually pre-date it. The Hourglass is an emblem that is symbolic of Time, the Beehive is an emblem that is symbolic of Industry, etc. While they are mentioned in some rituals and depicted on Masonic trestle boards, I don't think we can really call these emblems "Masonic". Other emblems originated with Freemasonry, and have entered use in the wider world through Freemasonry... using the Level as a symbol for equality is a good example. A few emblems are unique to Masonry... using a white apron as an emblem of innocence comes to mind (although that usage is based upon Christian symbolism, as a proper Masonic Apron is made of lambskin, and the lamb has long been emblematic of innocence.)

The VSL is one of those things that, when depicted as an emblem, is symbolic of itself. It does not have any special meaning or symbolism... at least none that is unique to Masonry. Blueboar (talk) 14:45, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

So is it utterly irrelevant in ritual? JASpencer (talk) 22:29, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
In wikipedia's kitchen it goes: symbolism is the applied use of symbols: iconic representations that carry particular conventional meanings i.e. Symbolism see also Emblem
What is particularly conventional in Freemasonry, the symbolic craft degrees, would be explained through initiation I gather. The initiate in the Emulation Rite is visually confronted, ritually,with three emblems which in casu symbolise the Greater Light(s): Volume of Sacred Law, Square, Compass. If he goes home with only the emblemmatic reference he may as well have been initiated in a brotherhood of printers of geometric books, for all he knows. That's maybe why here in particular the conventional meaning needs to be stressed. The icon is not a mere emblem, it's a symbol...
Lunarian (talk) 10:32, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Lunarian... go back and read the source again, because you are making statements that do not match what it says. In Emulation ritual the initiate is not "confronted" with emblems which sybolize the Greater Lights... he is shown the Three Great Lights (ie the VSL, Square and Compasses) themselves. Now, the Square and the Compasses do have emblematic meaning beyond being tools used by stone masons... meanings that are explained in the ritual. The VSL, however, does not have any emblematic meaning beyond being a religious text. It has no meaning beyond the "conventional". Blueboar (talk) 15:03, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
It has no meaning beyond the symbolic. Symbol for the source from which the unifying light emmanates.
What the postulant is shown is different from what he sees, a book, a compass, a square. The fact that he is initiated as to their meaning turns the emblems into symbols.
Maybe this is why one of my other sources (the source of your headaches :D! ) says this:
'Emblems : the term masonic emblems may be used in the sens of symbols. For instance, square and compass are emblems. The use of of that term, outside the world of the profane, seems to us highly debatable.
Daniel Ligou again...Dictionnaire de la franc-maçonnerie ISBN 2-13-055094-0
The question would now be if you are not treating a general public as profane by your insistance on the emblematic character of Freemasonry. I guess that would be pushing POV, since you have no knowledge of their ethical code a priori.
On an other level the question is simple though. Just cite your source that says that " Freemasons do not actually have symbols ..." while explaining the issue in the article. This would be very interesting for the general public to know.
Lunarian (talk) 09:29, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
You may want to read up on the subtle differences between symbols and emblems... see: Emblem#Distinction: emblem and symbol. Freemasonry talks a lot about emblems ... it does not talk much about symbols (In fact, having checked my jurisdicion's ritual, neither the word "symbol" nor the word "symbolic" is used... not once... while there are multiple references to "emblems" and their "embematic" meanings.) Blueboar (talk) 01:55, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
A little more detail perhaps ?
Your source can not be verified.
See also:Symbol, and Ernst Cassirer are about as subtle on the difference. They are not sources on Freemasonry.
Lunarian (talk) 10:50, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Freemasonry For Dummies[edit]

This link was removed under some policy pretext. The link is specific and usefull. It is the searchpage of the Masonic Quarterly.Type in the word symbol and 88 articles on masonic symbolism become instantly and freely accesible.
Are we morons that do not know how to use this.
Please be reasonable.
Lunarian (talk) 22:10, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Please stop making personal attacks, when someone does something with which you disagree. Learn to follow the wikipedia policies, and make sure what you add follows them, and it won't be removed.--Vidkun (talk) 22:21, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
This is not a personal attack and you well know it.
What is it this article on masonic ritual and symbolism is so anxious to avoid about the content it proposes ?
The link is free of spam, non profit, to the point...
At your service,
Lunarian (talk) 22:37, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Calling people morons, suggesting they are unreasonable, those are personal attacks, and you should well know it. As for your link, it is a link to, in effect, search engine results pages. Look at the link WP:LINKSTOAVOID and you'll see that's discouraged.--Vidkun (talk) 22:42, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
The search results are restricted to Masonic Quarterly.
It also says links to avoid, not to forbid.
Maybe we should use some household sofistry on this.
Lunarian (talk) 22:51, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Lunerian, you are confusing me... What are you trying to link to? The first link you posted ( comes up with nothing more than a banner for MQ magazine, and an empty search window. No information at all. Your restricted link ( is not much better. It is the table of content page of a particular edition of the magazine... but that table of content page does not discuss anything related to masonic ritual or symbolism, except that it contains a further link under the title of "Education: Events : Understanding the symbols of the craft". Following that link, I come to an article on the meaning of the term "slipshod". Now, I suppose that the term "slipshod" might concievably fall under this article's topic... but as usual, if we were to discuss it we would have to include the caviat that this term, while apparently common in England, isn't commonly used in the US or other jurisdictions.
Also, that link is far too specific to be used as a general reference on the subject of Masonic ritual and symbolism in general. Blueboar (talk) 23:36, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
You should have used the link as it was posted.
But thanks for the household sofistry, it's what I asked for.
Lunarian (talk) 00:13, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I did use the link as it was posted... both of them. And it is a pleasure to to give you what you ask for. Blueboar (talk) 02:16, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Redirect to Freemasonry[edit]

The recent AfD was closed with the comment: "The result was no consensus. Whether the article should remain stand-alone or be merged or redirected to the section of freemasonry is a matter for talk pages."... So let's discuss on the talk pages. At the AfD there were seven solid arguments stating that this should be merged/redirected back to the relevant section of the Freemasonry article... They all echoed eachother in stating that there is an inherant problem with this article; it is going to be impossible to expand this article, since there are too many jurisdictional variations. If we try to expand and discuss specifics, we will have to have 20 paragraphs of caviats explaining all the differences and variations... what ever we talk about may be accurate for the ritual and symbolism in this lodge, but it isn't quite accurate when talking about the ritual and symbolism in that lodge, and is completely different from the practices of this other lodge, etc. I do not see a way around this. This means that we can only talk about the topic in the very broad terms we already include. And that is a direct cut and paste from Freemasonry. So this article is redundant. Blueboar (talk) 21:04, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Christian heresy is not merged into Christianity even though most of the heresies have a heresy that directly contradicts them, so variety is not an argument. There are plenty of records of Masonic ceremony (particularly initiations) in works from War and Peave to the Simpsons. JASpencer (talk) 21:16, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Apples and oranges... we are not talking about the Christian heresy article ... we are talking about this article. But you do raise another important problem that limits any efforts to expand this article ... verification. War and Peace and the Simpsons are not reliable sources. Yet another reason to merge/redirect. Blueboar (talk) 22:08, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
They are reliable sources for its place in popular culture. The other question is, what do you find so hard to understand about the point that just because something is varied it does not make it incapable of an article? JASpencer (talk) 09:04, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

I have a question. Why was this article merged when other article of the same nature reached the same consensus? Masonic Landmarks was put up for deletion and reached a "No Consensus" as was Masonic ritual and symbolism. I don't get it. Zef (talk) 23:52, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

The difference is that during the AfD discussions for Masonic Landmarks only one commenting editor expressed the opinion that the article should be merged/redirected, while at the AfD discussions for Masonic ritual and symbolism a clear majority of the commenting editors expressed the opinion that it should be merged/redirected. In other words, while in both cases there was "No Consensus" on the question of deleting... in this case there was a clear indication on what to do afterwards that was not present in the other case. Blueboar (talk) 01:53, 5 October 2008 (UTC)


Yes, this one line sub-section is accurate and sourced... but I think it is very trivial information. It's certainly too trivial to be highlighted by having an entire sub-heading devoted to it... WP:UNDUE? Blueboar (talk) 19:31, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Oh... and it should be plural anyway... there is more than one handshake. Blueboar (talk) 19:31, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
To deny it any mention seems bizarre. The article I linked to - masonic handshake does indeed make it clear that there are more than one. It would be great if you could improve that article Blueboar, given your knowledge of them. The masons are exceedingly well known for their funny handshakes, so some mention seems highly desirable. DuncanHill (talk) 19:38, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Then you should have found sources indicating that they are not handshakes. They aren't even referred to as such in the ritual exposures. MSJapan (talk) 20:21, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
@MSJapan: - I'm not sure either what you mean or who you were addressing. Neither Blueboar nor myself said they weren't handshakes. DuncanHill (talk) 20:23, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Doesn't matter - we're not sourcing an article solely to a POV website. Redirected back here. If we can't say anything materially useful about it other than one line and pop culture reference, it shouldn't have its own section. MSJapan (talk) 20:30, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Are you a Freemason too? I never said it shouldn't have its own section - I said it should be mentioned. DuncanHill (talk) 20:32, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't know the publisher, Fair Winds Press, to know whether it is considered much, and I haven't looked for any reviews, if there are any, but the 2011 book "The secret power of Masonic symbols," by Robert Lomas might be useful to some degree for this article. John Carter (talk) 22:58, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
No, but it's not the press. That's Robert Lomas of Knight & Lomas, who aren't considered RS by us or any legitimiate scholar. Their research is shoddy - they have a bad habit of making an assumption in Chapter X and then using it as the entire basis of Chapter X+1. Let's put it this way - their conclusion on the origins of Freemasonry was that it's a Venus-worshipping cult, and absolutely nobody buys into it. They also did a lot of work with ritual in England to try to prove some sort of point, but utterly failed to account for the fact that UGLE never mandated a standard, so there's no chartable progression between one and the other. I'm even leery about that Secret Societies encyclopedia, because I know it has errors, but that's the problem with the topic in general - perceived secrecy leads to speculation, even when there's plenty of public info otherwise. MSJapan (talk) 23:12, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm leery of a lot of encyclopedias myself. Hell, Encyclopedia Britannica has errors and reasonable questions about weight concerns. I remember seeing their article on Roman Catholicism had more bibliography sources for the history of that church in England than for the entire southern hemisphere combined. But WP:TRUTH might enter into this, like it does with a lot of articles relating to the Jehovah's Witnesses and other groups which have maybe inadequate independent coverage in RS's. In such cases, I guess, maybe the ALA "Guide to Reference" website might indicate somewhere some of the reference books related to this broad topic area which are considered by librarians, including academic and specialist librarians in their number, the most reliable or useful reference books out there. If anything from them is relevant, like in some other articles, adding something to the effect of "According to [source], ..." Personally, like with a lot of other topic areas, I'd love to see all the articles and subarticles relating to a given topic in the reference works, their relative length and where applicable position of their specific subsection in the main article, and try to average them out based on an averaging of them all, taking into account implicit and explicit biases and that sort of thing. But getting the raw data together first is needed for that, and in a lot of areas we still don't even have that available. John Carter (talk) 23:32, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Could we get back to the point... yes, Masons have handshakes (although MSJapan is correct in noting that they are not called "handshakes"... they are called "grips" or "tokens")... that fact is hardly a secret. But it's extremely trivial information. It's like noting that Masons have dues cards to identify each other. I don't think such trivial information needs to be mentioned... but I don't strongly object to mentioning it. However, I definitely don't think it needs to be highlighted by giving it its own sub-header. That makes it appear as if the handshakes are in some way important when they really are not. There is a reason why few sources discuss them... they really are not important. Blueboar (talk) 01:14, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Regarding the question of a separate section, I agree. Regarding whether or not it is trivial, I don't know. It certainly might be. However, it is also, so far as I can determine (from what I've seen, anyway), something that is possibly more frequently mentioned and in some ways highlighted than a lot of other aspects of ritual, for good, bad, or indifferent, and that probably enters into it as well, if only in regards to saying that it has received considerable outside attention, at least superficially more than many other topics. The "Grips" article I mentioned above runs to what looks like over 1/2 column in the source mentioned (closer to 2/3), which is rather longer than a lot of the main articles on smaller groups visible on the same two page spread. Ideally, I guess, the first step would be determining as much as possible what material should be included in this article, and then determining proportional weight, The "Perceived secrecy of Freemasonry" section might reasonably include it, although I personally wonder whether "Perceived" is really called for in that section title, as it seems to be rather obviously biased (perceived by whom?0 and prejudicially casting a judgement on the material in that section even before that material is presented. A reorganized section, discussing the "secrets" not related to the rituals, including the grip, and any others might be a better structure. John Carter (talk) 01:25, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
I am actually thinking that we need to do a much broader re-write for the entire article... At the moment, the article is a very disjointed hodgepodge of seemingly unconnected bits of information. It needs some structure. What I would suggest is that we start with an outline of what occurs in a "typical" Masonic meeting (realizing that jurisdictional differences make "typical" hard to define). If I remember correctly, John Robinson's book A Pilgrim's Path contains such an outline, so that would be a solid source upon which to base the section. Such a section would put any discussion of the ritual and symbolism into some degree of context.
I am going in to the library next week, so I can check the source. I'll let you all know what I find. Blueboar (talk) 02:58, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
You might also like to check out MacNulty's Freemasonry - symbols, secrets significance. My problem with the article is the absence of any reference to the Continental rite. The only section addressing the non-homogeniety of ritual is unreferenced. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 23:46, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
I've got that, but I didn't feel it broke any new ground. I'll try to find it along with all the other stuff I should have and can't find. MSJapan (talk) 23:51, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, wasn't thinking new ground - more like putty/filler. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 01:21, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
To the extent that the basic structure of a "typical meeting" is different between different groups of Masons, we could (of course) cover that. Blueboar (talk) 11:13, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Well... It turns out that I mis-remembered after all. A Pilgrim's Path does contain a good explanation of the Hiramic drama (in the context of debunking some of the more silly anti-masonic myths about it), but it does not contain a general outline of the rest of the ritual... so it is not a source for what occurs in a typical meeting.
Sigh... Back to square one. While A Pilgrim's Path turned out to be a dead end, I know I have seen a reliable outline that was published... I just have to figure out which book I saw it in. Time to hit the library. Blueboar (talk) 13:03, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Pigpen cypher[edit]

Is there a source for saying that Freemasons actually used the pigpen cypher? Blueboar (talk) 11:51, 30 October 2017 (UTC)

Dummies has one [3]. My 2nd grader's homework also mentioned it just last month, which gave me a bit of a laugh. PeRshGo (talk) 16:09, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
Yeah... I learned the cypher as a child too. So much for "secrets".
Thanks for the citation. Blueboar (talk) 16:38, 30 October 2017 (UTC)