The Cable Tow
How many of us have given serious consideration to the significance of the Cable Tow used in Freemasonry? It has both physical and spiritual symbolism. Its origin and definition are uncertain and the word probably comes from either a Hebrew or German word meaning “ a Pledge of the Body”. This definition becomes more significant as one obligation follows another.
An intriguing definition of the Cable Tow, is given by Carl Claudy in his book, “An Introduction to Freemasonry” and I quote
“It is symbolic of the life cord by which the embryo receives life from the mother. It is the symbolic cord by which the Masonic infant is attached to his Mother Lodge. As soon as the infant is born, the physical cord is severed, but never the knife was ground which cut the spiritual cord which ties a man to his mother”
To a sailor the cable tow has a measurement of length, which has 600 Feet. This length has no relationship to Freemasonry. In our ritual we hear the phrase “a cable’s length from shore” such allusions are symbolic of the binding covenant into which the mason has entered. In the early 1700’s every brother was expected to attend his lodge if within the length of his cable tow. This distance was set at three miles, which was all he was expected to walk.
In Masonry the physical restraint of the cable tow indicates that the Candidate is in submission to the Master of the Lodge. In early Roman times citizens appeared before their monarchs with a rope around their neck to indicate their loyalty to him. The cable tow is removed from the candidate as soon as he assumes the spiritual bond of his obligation. However, never the means has been made, by which, to cut the obligation, which binds a man spiritually to his Mother Lodge, and to the Craft. Expulsion does not relieve the Mason from his obligation; if the Brother is unaffiliated it does not dissolve the tie; demitting and joining another Lodge cannot make the new Lodge his Mother Lodge.
So what then is the length of a Cable Tow? Who can define the length of a spiritual tie?
Physically, it translates into “ if within reasonable possibility”
Each Brother must decide for himself the length of his Cable Tow.
Adapted from a paper, written by W.Bro.Barry.D.Thom. Lodge Mackay #1129 S.C. Bay Roberts. Nfld. Nov 2004.
On a less serious note, I have some things” That Make You Go HMMM” to share with you
- When I was young we used to go “Skinny Dipping” now I just go “Chunky Dunkin”
- Why is it that people say they “Slept like a Baby” when babies wake up every two hours.
- If a deaf person goes to court, is it still called a “Hearing”
- Stress is when you wake up screaming and then you realize “You haven’t fallen asleep”
- Why is it that our children can’t read a Bible in school, but they can in Prison.
- Finally. Wouldn’t it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply press
“CTRL ALT DELETE” and start all over again.