Three, five, and seven
3 5 7
Number 164 – February 01, 2010
“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than to polish.” Anne Bradstreet, 1612-1672, British Puritan Poet
This publication, while it is printed with the permission of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of A.F. & A. M. of Minnesota, contains the writings and opinions of Ed Halpaus and is not in any way the opinion of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.
“Nothing destroys authority more than the unequal and untimely interchange of power stretched too far and relaxed too much.” Francis Bacon, 1561-1626, British Philosopher, Essayist, Statesman
Dear Masonic Student – I am thinking of trying to send out these Masonic Education Pieces in other languages for our Brethren who speak and read other than English. I’d like to try Spanish and French to begin with: If you or a new subscriber would like to receive these Masonic Education pieces in another language please send me an email telling me what language you would like. I will try to do it and see how it goes. – Thanks, Ed
Please see the Philalethes Feast and Forum information at the bottom of this issue of T.F.S.
Stewards, Deacons, and Wardens
Every once in a while questions come up about the Rods of the Deacons and Stewards, as well as about the Columns of the Wardens in Speculative Masonry. Questions come up too about the great brazen pillars Boaz and Jachin.
All of these questions are related is one way or another. A few years ago I wrote an article on the Rods and Columns, but when I went to find it, it couldn’t be located; however, I did find my notes for the article, so I thought it would be quicker to begin to answer some of these questions again than to continue my search for the old article. My wife tells me I should compile as many of these old articles as I can for a book; “at least,” she says, “it will make it easier for you to locate some of the articles you keep looking for.” It’s a good idea.
Questions arise about why the wardens have their columns, which they dispose in certain ways? What do those columns represent? Why white and black rods for the Stewards and Deacons, and how should they be carried? How should the pillars of Jachin and Boaz be disposed in Lodge, which one is which?
Those questions come up from time to time when I visit a Lodge, and they come up every once in a while by email and telephone. Looking into the answers to these questions and into the information you will run across while doing your research is very relaxing, and enjoyable. Cracking the books while in a comfortable chair and room with a nice beverage is a great way to spend some quality time. As we begin on this journey I will mention some books that you may have, or that you can easily find in a book store, or library; they might be found in your Lodge library: By the way some of the best money a Lodge can invest in its future is to continue to add to its Masonic Library; it doesn’t take a large amount of dollars to have a growing library. Finding and buying used books is one of the best ways to build up a library. A great source for used books is Brother Harold Davidson, Librarian of the Philalethes Society, and Founder of the Billings Masonic Library: In addition to him being a great guy, he is a very knowledgeable Mason who has used books for sale – he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A fine place to begin a search into answers to questions is in Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia. In my opinion every Lodge should purchase a copy of this book for their library, even if it’s a one book library; the Lodge Education Officer can put it to good use. Coil’s tells us “The two Wardens’ columns, it is possible but is not certain that these represent Jachin and Boaz.”
Jones, in his ‘Freemasons Guide and Compendium’ says; “it seems that Jachin and Boaz do not stand like sentinels in English Lodges, for the two columns were formerly given more prominence by being placed on either side of the entry way, so that one must pass between them to enter the Lodge.”
Jones also says he is of the opinion that the two Wardens’ Columns took the place of the larger columns which were abandoned. And, evidently, in English Lodges the two Wardens’ Columns are all that is left of the three great pillars. Well if that’s true they couldn’t represent Jachin and Boaz, they must be Strength and Beauty, Doric & Corinthian. But why then do the Wardens Columns have round globe-like features on their tops? (Possibly the Lodges in England are not shaped like ours in the U.S.)
Again Coils: “Early rituals (1730) spoke of “Three Grand Pillars” which supported the Mason’s Lodge, and represented the first three Grand Masters. In the 18th century [the pillars] stood before, to the side, or behind, the Master and one was similarly placed with respect to each warden.” I have been in one Lodge where the pedestals for each of the three principle officers were representations of each of the Grand Pillars.
In Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry it says this about the Senior Warden: “He represents the column of Strength. He has placed before him, and carries in all processions, a column, which is the representative of the right-hand pillar that stood at the porch of King Solomon’s Temple. The Junior Warden has a similar column, which represents the left hand pillar.”
Ah, this helps to answer the question about which pillar is on the left and which is on the right; it is the left and right as you are facing East. But an easier way for me to remember the right and left pillar is by left being on the ‘north, and right being on the ‘south.’ The pillar Boaz is placed on the ‘North’ side, and the pillar Jachin is placed on the ‘South’ side in the Lodge Room; far enough apart to pass between them; this passing is important.
Another question that comes up about the columns is, which globe is to be placed on which pillar. The answer to this question is not very well known, but it is not difficult to find the answer: The pillar Jachin supports the Celestial Globe in the symbolic Masonic Lodge because, Jachin was of the priestly line, (See 1 Chronicles 24:17): The pillars, in addition to other symbolism, also symbolize church and state: Boaz was the ancestor of the kingly line of David, so the pillar Boaz is topped with the Terrestrial globe. There are some Lodges that have the pillars and thus the globes reversed; when this happens the Brethren witnessing the Middle Chamber Lecture in the second degree are receiving information about the pillars a bit skewed and not exactly correct according to Freemasonry or the Holy Bible (The Great Light of Masonry).
Getting back to the columns disposed on the Wardens pedestals; the Wardens Columns, and the Deacons Rods are related. The Rod or staff is an emblem of power, and as with the Wardens Columns they are a Badge of Office, when a King carries it, it is called a scepter, but when carried by an inferior officer it becomes a rod, verge, or staff: At one time the Deacons, Stewards, and Marshal of a Lodge all carried Rods. The Rod or Staff in addition to being an emblem of power and authority is a symbol of protection. “Thy Rod and thy staff they comfort me.” In the Military the Rod became a “Baton” in the hands of the Marshal, and the Baton was adopted by Freemasonry as the badge of office for the Marshal of the Lodge.
Smith’s edition of the Pennsylvania ‘Ahiman Rezon,’ which is quoted in many sources, refers to a procession in 1778 where the Wardens carried ‘wands tipped with gold,’ and also the Wardens Columns. At the time of Webb’s Monitor, published in 1797, and as shown in Preston’s ‘Illustrations of Masonry,’ the Deacons received the Columns as the badges of their office. A short time later, meaning soon after 1804, but most likely before 1807, the Columns were transferred to the Wardens and Rods were given to the Deacons. According to Mackey’s Encyclopedia – after 1822 all the “Monitors” referred to the Columns for the Wardens and the Rods for the Deacons. So after about 1822 the columns were everywhere recognized as the insignia for the Wardens, and the Rods, Wands, or Staves, as belonging to the Deacons.
Here is an explanation as to why they are white, “the Steward’s Rod is an imitation if the White Staff borne by the Lord High Steward of the King’s household.” That’s a real simple explanation as to why Freemasonry adopted the White Rods for the Lodge Stewards.
The Rod is the badge or ensign of the office of the Stewards of the Lodge, or of the Grand Stewards in the Grand Lodge, on the top of which is the same insignia as is the Stewards Jewel and the same system of Jewels and Rod Tops follows for the Deacons as well.
The first formal account of the Stewards and their White Rods is found in the Book of Constitutions from 1738. On June 24, 1724, is recorded, the Stewards were walking “Two and two abreast with white rods.” The use of the White Rods comes from the political usages of England, where the Steward of the King’s household was appointed by the delivery of a staff, the breaking of which dissolved the office. In those times, going back to the reign of Edward the 4th, at least, the “White Staff” was the proper insignia for both the office of Steward and Treasurer. In 1792 Preston wrote about the “Grand Treasurer with his staff.” In America the custom of the Treasurer carrying a Rod has been abandoned. However, the custom was derived from the old custom of the Treasurer of the King’s household to carry a staff as the ensign of authority.
In the old “customary books” we are told that the Steward or Treasurer of the household received the White Rod as a badge of office from the King himself. The King would present the Rods with these words: “Tennez le baston de nostre maison.” (Receive the Staff of our house.)”
An interesting comment in Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry is this about the Deacons of a Lodge. “The proper Badge or Ensign of office of a Deacon, which he should always carry with him in the discharge of the duties of his office, is a Blue Rod surmounted by a pine-cone.”
Over time the color of the Deacons Rods, at least here in America, became Black. In the two-volume set of the “New Century Dictionary,” this is from the beginning of the last century, (the 1900’s,) not our New Century. Under the meanings and examples of the word “Black” I saw two words “Black Rod,” and this is what it says about the Black Rods: “The chief gentleman usher of the Lord Chamberlain’s department of the English Royal household; also usher of the Order of the Garter, whose principal duty is attendance on the House of Lords, in which he is responsible for the maintenance of order (named with reference to the Black Rod he carries); a similar official in British colonial legislatures.”
Since the duties of the Deacon’s are to carry messages from the Senior Warden and orders from the Master about the Lodge, the Pine-cone was replaced with a Square and Compass as the top-piece of the Deacons Rod. Inside the Square & Compass of the Junior Deacon is a representation of the Moon and of the Sun for the Senior Deacon. As mentioned above the same S&C with the Moon or Sun is in the Jewels of the Deacons, which they wear because it alludes to the Three Lesser Lights, and why the Senior Warden is in the West and the Master is in the East.
Regarding the use and carrying of the Rods by the Stewards and Deacons: Basically the Deacons and Stewards pick up their Rods when they are called upon to carry out the duties of their office; however, there are exceptions. The best place to learn more about this is in “Lodges for Instruction,” which are carried out by the Board of Custodians, or Grand Lecturers; different jurisdictions have different titles for our Brethren who are certified proficient enough in the work to instruct the rest of us.
As far as carrying the Rods is concerned, in my jurisdiction, the rods are to be carried in a 23 ½° angle when walking, grounded straight up and down while standing; the 23 1/2° is emblematic of the axis of the earth.
The Wardens Columns represent the pillars at the porch of King Solomon’s temple, Jachin and Boaz. If one would inspect the Columns in some Lodges we might find that in addition to Globes being represented on the Wardens Columns there are also Lilies, Network and Pomegranates depicted in the carvings of the wood. While the Columns of Doric, (representing Strength,) would be quite plain, and the Corinthian, (being the most beautiful of the 5 orders,) would have two rows of leaves and eight volutes sustaining the abacus, and it wouldn’t look like an orb, or globe. But that is assuming that the Warden’s Columns are an accurate depiction of what they represent – in the more modern production of the columns it would seem to me that they would be turned out on a lathe for a faster, simpler product, and thus be much plainer. I think that the appearance of the Warden’s columns will vary from Lodge to Lodge.
“Authority is not power; that’s coercion. Authority is not knowledge; that’s persuasion, or seduction. Authority is simply that the author has the right to make a statement and to be heard.” Herman Kahn
Words to live by: “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority and don’t interfere.” Ronald Reagan, Fortieth President of the USA.
From volumes of Sacred Law:
“For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him. Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? No man has power [authority] over the wind to contain it, so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.” Ecclesiastes 8:6-8 Tanakh NIV
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17:18 New Testament
“And (further) their Prophet [Samuel] said to them: “A Sign of his authority is that there shall come to you the Ark of the covenant, with (an assurance) therein of security from your Lord, and the relics left by the family of Moses and the family of Aaron, carried by angels. In this is a symbol for you if ye indeed have faith.” Qur’an 002:248 Yusuf Ali Translation
Please remember: if you would like to participate in the latest Masonic Monday Question, please go to http://www.lodgebuilder.org and click on the Lodge Education forum. When you have an answer send it to email@example.com the Masonic Monday Question for the week of 02/01/10 is: What is the significance of the termination of the names of the assassins?
“Those who enjoy responsibility usually get it; those who merely like exercising authority usually lose it.” Malcolm S. Forbes, 1919-1990, American Publisher, Businessman
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“You can delegate authority, but you can never delegate responsibility for delegating a task to someone else. If you picked the right man, fine, but if you picked the wrong man, the responsibility is yours — not his.” Richard E Krafve
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With “Brotherly Love”,
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Seek to mentor a Brother Mason:
It’s good for him, it’s good for you, and it’s good for Freemasonry!
Another essential book to have in a two book library.
In some Lodges you will find astrological signs ‘carved’ into the pillar Jachin.
If your Lodge has columns like tat for your Wardens they should be well cared for; they are rare and hard to replace.
The Annual Feast and Forum of the Philalethes Society is coming up before too long in Minneapolis; March 5th & 6th at the Park Plaza Hotel in Bloomington, MN. There is still time to register and get rooms at a great price. Just tell them you’re with The Philalethes. To register go to https://freemasonry.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=49&Itemid=69 Be sure to scroll down the entire two pages; the hotel info is at the bottom, the room rate is $89 and the phone number is 952-831-3131. The Philalethes Feast and Forum will be a Masonic gathering you will be very pleased to be a part of.
Three Five Seven: Papers for Lodge Education
Grand Lodge Education Officer