True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Number Three

One of the mysteries of Freemasonry is the incessant occurrence of the number three. From the very first step in Masonry (Three Distinct Knocks at the door) to the Three Step gesture offered Three times at a grave by two men and a third, the number three is scattered throughout Freemasonry.

How many threes can you think of off the top of your head? If you are a Master Mason, the number is staggering. Of course, it’s not just Freemasonry where the number three appears.

The trinity or triune god is just one example of a significant three outside the lodge. So, seeing as the number appears so many times, have you ever stopped to wonder: What is so special about the number three? Well, I want to share with you my thoughts on it. I hope it stimulates you to think about other “threes” and why they are so prevalent. I want to start small and build up, so lets start with math.

  • Three is the third whole number excluding zero.
  • Three is the sum of the first three whole numbers.
  • In the first three numbers, 0, 1, 2 all of the others are synthesized.
  • From the union of oneness and duality (which is its reflection), that is, from triad, proceed all of the other numbers, and from this primordial triangle all figures derive.
  • A triangle, with three sides, is the first closed a two dimensional object.
  • RNA has a triplet codon system.
  • DNA has a triplet codon system.
  • Human chromosomes can present trisomy. We are hard-wired for the number three.
  • 3 mammalian Germ layers: Endoderm- Mesoderm- Ectoderm 3
  • principal stages of glucose respiration: Glycolysis~ Krebs cycle~ Electron transport chain.

As a symbol, it has particular power. We find the triad in all cultures to represent mystical power.

  • There are three main Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Holy Trinity in Christian doctrine (or trinity in general), is God both as a single being and three persons: the Father, the Son and the Spirit. This is also known as Tripartite division.
  • Jesus rose from the dead on the third day.
  • The Wise Men who visited Jesus after His birth left Him three gifts.
  • Three Wise Men
  • In Muslim devotional rites, certain formulas are repeated three times, and others thirty-three times
  • A devout Muslim tries to make a pilgrimage to all three holy cities in Islam: Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem

So, we are surrounded in life by the number three, its encoded in our genetic code, and permeates all levels of our culture. It should not be surprising at all then, that we should see it in our gentle craft.
Now let’s look at a few examples of three in masonry.

  • Three Grand Masters
  • Three Principle Officers
  • Three Great Supports of Masonry
  • Three Great Lights of Masonry
  • Three Distinct Knocks
  • Three Degrees
  • Three Orders of Architecture
  • Precious Jewels of a Fellowcraft.
  • Wages of a Fellowcraft Mason.
  • The Villains
  • The Deacons Raps
This is but a short list of the more obvious. How many more can you find?

So, what are we being taught in lodge by the number three? As we can see, the number three shows us there are at least sets of answers, from the outer portico, to the middle chamber, to the sanctum sanctorum.
I will not try to answer the question, but it is something that all Masons should contemplate… at least three times.

May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons, may brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us.


Anonymous said...

When Masonry was instituted in 1717, there was only two degrees.
It was when hermeticists decided to intertwine hermetics into masonry that the 3rd degree was created, and then much more hemretic symbology was added.

The proof of number 3 being so intertwined into masonry, shows it spwaned from Hermeticists, not just operative workmen.
Good article brother

Unknown said...

tres faciunt collegium

Three (judges) form a court

Matt said...

Check out this video...

There are a lot of 3's in it

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