The Pillars (Six Orders)

adapted by V.W. Bro. Norman McEvoy from a paper written by R W Bro. C. Rae Haldane-Wilsone Senior Grand Warden Grand Lodge of Manitoba 1995

1. The pillars ( the six orders )
When we were given the Entered Apprentice lecture by the Junior Warden we were informed of the Three Great Pillars that support a Masonic Lodge – (Wisdom, Strength and Beauty), which are represented in the annals of Freemasonry by the three kings who bore sway at the building and dedication of the Temple at Jerusalem –
Solomon -King of Israel, for his wisdom in the design of the temple,
Hiram – King of Tyre, for his support in men and materials,
and Hiram Abif -the artificer, for his adorning the same.
As there are no known noble orders of architecture by those names they are known competitively as Doric, Ionic and Corinthian.

In the Fellow-craft Degree we were taught that there are Two Great Pillars at the entrance or porch way to the Temple. The one on the left was called Boaz and the one on the right was called Jachin.   The one on the left denotes in strength, while the one on the right denotes God Will Establish and, when conjoined with that on the right – Stability.

Scripture, (1 Kings Ch 7 Verse 21 & II Chronicles Ch 3 Verse 17)-teach us that the
directions, left and right are determined as if one is looking outwards of the temple, towards the east, the right being on the south and the left being on the north of the entrance to the temple. These pillars were adorned with two chapiters, enriched with net-work, lily-work and pomegranates. They were placed at the porchway or entrance of the temple as a memorial to the children of Israel to moralize upon. This is accepted in our teachings that there are reasons for all the imports and descriptions of our pillars and their locations in Freemasonry.

Let me describe what pillars are:-

Pillar : is a column, or columnar mass or upright body &/or  A supporter or one who or that which sustains or upholds.
The pillars in the Fellow-craft lecture were formed hollow, made of molten brass and cast on the plains of the Jordan, in the clay grounds between Succoth and Zaradatha.

2. The order:
The order: is a combination of many parts, not just the column, or the pillar itself as it includes, the column, plus the base and the entablature ( the part that is supported).

Two prominent orders seem to emerge from the Greek and Roman orders: the Greek was
supportive and the Roman was decorative. And while simplicity and refinement is the Greek order then lavishness is displayed in the Roman order. The Romans adopted the three Greek orders, made use of the Tuscan and invented the Composite order.

This explanation leads us to the five noble orders of architecture:
Tuscan : its origin is lost in antiquity but it is seven times its diameters in height.
Doric : is the oldest and simplest in design, has no base includes few flutes and is six times it’s diameter in height.
Ionic : this order seems to be slender with the 24 flutes and the column of eight times it’s
diameter in height, the most distinguished characteristics are the carved scrolls which appear on the top and hang down from the capital, and have volutes ( a further decoration at the front of the capital
Corinthian is similar to the ionic with a bell-shaped capital deeply carved with foliage
(acanthus leaves {acanthus} which are large spiny leaves from the Mediterranean region
(prickly leaves ) and volutes frequently added, usually ten times it’s diameters in height.
Composite: this is made up of those of other orders and are very ornate in character
exhibiting leaves ( volutes ) having been lavishly displayed in triumphantal arches by the
Romans and is normally ten times it’s diameters in height.

Now these are. touched upon in the Fellow-craft lecture of the Senior Warden, but were
not explained in detail.

3. Representations
It should be noted, that the Doric represents the Worshipful Master in the eternal
strength of morality.
The Ionic, represents the Senior Warden in the wisdom of brotherly love.
The Corinthian, represents the Junior Warden in the beauty of relief in manhood and;
The Composite, represents the everlasting truth of eternity.

The hidden pillar of Freemasonry is the pillar of society
It has been stated that a Freemason is a pillar of society. And one must wonder at this, due to the period of unrest and instability that now surrounds us. Much of this may also be attributed to poor and selfish leadership, decaying morality and decreasing participation by many in the community at large.

There are three questions that come to mind:
Are Freemasons pillars of society ?
If not – why not ? and ….
Should they be ‘?

There are a small percentage of present day Freemasons, who could be considered to be
actively engaged in our Lodge programs, and when we renew our vows and principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth – there is no reason why we should not be promoting Freemasonry.
The lack of understandings and misinterpretations about Freemasonry start by the non attendance at our Lodge meetings, where we can refresh & add to our knowledge and learning.

4. Many are afraid of ridicule and criticism if they voice an opinion, and therefore they drift into the background, out of sight. This frequently starts right in our Lodge rooms but we should try to stop this drift, as our aim is to make good men better, and in order to achieve that we must learn to conquer our short comings and mistakes, and pass that attitude on to others in a very positive way.

Why should a Freemason be a pillar of society ?
If the tenets of Freemasonry, which are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth are to be practiced as they should,  then a Freemason will eventually, by definition, become a pillar of society.

Some principles that have withstood the test of time:

Relief: providing it without question when the need is there.
Truth: being at all times, truthful in what we do or say.
Temperance: by practising moderation and not overindulgence.
Fortitude: being prepared to stand up to our own convictions.
Prudence: being careful and not reckless in our actions.
Justice: judge with candour, admonish with firmness and reprehend with mercy.

Upright masons do not stand on the sidelines and criticize, they put into practice those virtues, get involved with their lodge, their community, and their world, so that work may be done from the inside. with happiness & a smile.
If you can impress, rather than depress, then you will become a pillar.
A pillar is not only of grandeur but may be only an ordinary hitching post – it’s there, it’s strong and it is available.

My brethren, the genuine Freemason is a pillar of society. And a little effort will refresh
the memory, and an unstinting charity will reshape the soul and the coming “out in the open” will enhance the Freemason’s stature.

There are many Freemasons who have achieved respect in their communities, have
weathered the storms of life and the tenets and principles of Freemasonry have been their greatest sources of strength. When things look bleak, the possibilities are greatest and those Freemasons who dedicate themselves, will either find or make opportunities, and be a part in what is going on.

Brethren – Freemasonry is the hidden pillar of society.
Therefore.:. A Freemason symbolizes the sixth pillar.

Webster dictionary..
The Work 1993
1 Kings Chapter 7 Verse 21
II Chronicles Chapter 3 Verse 17

I have had some concerns in sharing this paper in “The Educator” in that, in my opinion, it could easily be seen as negative, however, I am quite certain that was not the intent of the author.
I recall “The Praeto Principle” or better known as the 80%=20% Rule.
Simply stated, it suggests that 20% create 80% of our issues.
My view is, at times, we spend too much time & effort on the 20% rather than celebrating with the 80%. Personally, I LOVE my Freemasonry and the 80% or better men that I am proud to call my Brothers (Pillars) & Pray for the remainder.

Have a wonderful day & God Bless