Symbolism & Speculation
From “Leaves of Georgia Masonry”
Grand Lodge of Georgia
Symbolism is the key to all mysteries, to all ancient and modern religions, to all esoteric knowledge.
Without and understanding of the meaning of symbols, one will never be able to appreciate the beauty of life, or understand what his own religion is trying to teach him. But as knowledge of the meaning of symbols comes to him, he becomes more and more a free man, or initiate.
Words are inadequate to carry or convey spiritual truths, for all the words have a material origin, and originally, a material meaning.
Masonry does not use words to convey the deeper spiritual truths, it uses symbols, generally simple figures whose beginnings are hidden in the mystic past and whose first users are unknown, perhaps unknowable.
In the old Symbols of Masonry, few in number and bare of meaning to the uninitiated and ignorant, the ancient Masters concealed the Hold Doctrine and the Master’s Word, yet expressed them in so plain a manner that the most humble seeker can find them.
Modern stupidity has attempted to add many new Symbols to Masonry, and to explain all the old symbols in mere words. These explanations challenge the admiration of the wise by their triteness and banality, and awake the pity of the understanding by their lack of knowledge.
Study the Symbols of Masonry, and dig deep in the rubbish of the Temple for the great truths buried there. They are well worth your digging and search. But the study of symbols, without practically applying them to your life, is a mere intellectual exercise that will result in more trouble than profit to you, if you merely seek to understand without living up to them.
As soon as you learn what is meant by a Symbol, you must make it a part of your life, let it be the rule and guide of your heart, drink it as water from a pure stream, feed your soul upon it, and you will grow in knowledge of a deeper meaning, while your soul will reach further upward toward the stars and the Divine knowledge they typify. For wisdom is a growth of the soul, and the reward of labour and effort, not to be bought except by its equal value in sacrifice.
Each time you have progressed, if you look back, you have had to lay upon the altar of sacrifice, something that represented the labour of your hands and heart, symbolizing that you would repay by labour for your brethren and humanity the benefit you had been freely given.
The design of the Masonic institution is to make men wiser and better and consequently happier. It lays down in its symbolic instruction the principles of morality, those secret springs that have inspired the lofty lives of the truly great.
He who obeys the Masonic precepts will not need to consult the opinions of friends of the public, he will find in his own breast an unerring monitor upon which he can always rely.
The student desiring to learn what these principles are must be willing to live them.
Wisdom is a growth of the Soul. Moral principles are worthless until they have been made alive and driven deep into the interior recesses of the soul by practice.
Knowledge is worthless unless it can be put to use. If you are not willing to live your Masonry, do not seek to know your secret mysteries. Such knowledge carries with it the responsibility of use and obedience; and this responsibility cannot be evaded. ”
I do not know for certain when this was written, however, my source was published in 1976 so it probably over 50 years old.
I mention this because, in my opinion, the comments made are as accurate today as they were then.
How can we, after discovering the truths of Freemasonry, not employ those truths in our daily lives and still call ourselves Freemasons. Of course that is a challenge, but what of value has ever been accomplished without effort and sacrifice.