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, October 22, 2007

Chain Of Union

Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Symbols are something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance. In Freemasonry, we have the Compass, the Square, the Level, the Plumb and so on, visible, physical symbols of philosophical principles and elements.

There are also symbols that are enacted, for instance the due guards and signs by which we can recognize each other. There is another type of enacted symbol, the Chain of Union.

Generally, it is formed at closing a lodge, and usually only in the first-degree. Some do it immediately before the closing, others after, and some as a part of the ritual of initiation where is it done in an evocative manner: Immediately after closing the works, the novice is placed “between the pillars” where he is able to see the formation of the chain. After it is formed, by order of the master, the circle is opened towards the West so the candidate, crossing the threshold, is welcomed into and becomes an integral part of it. The chain is closed, locked “with force and vigor,” having assimilated the new ring in an almost organic way.(1)

To form the chain, the brethren descend to the level, and assemble in a circular shape around the altar or tracing board in the center of the lodge. If the lodge wears gloves, the brethren should remove them, then standing shoulder to shoulder, they should stand with heels together, their feet forming the angle of a square, their toe tips touching that of the brother on each side.

The brethren should cross their arms over their chest, right arm over the left joining hands with those of his neighbors so the right hand takes the neighbors left, with the right hand covering and the left hand supporting.

The brethren should rest their chin on their chest, close their eyes and concentrate on the intent of the Worshipful Master, remaining silent and meditative. The master says: so mote it be, and the brethren raise and drop their arms in unison three times, then release the hands to break the chain and release the joined will of the brethren.

The chain of union reminds us of the indissoluble chain of sincere affection which unites us all, the high and low, the rich and the poor into one society or band of brothers. The Chain of Union also represents the knotted cord that runs around the temple walls. It indicates that we are all links belonging to the same chain.

This practice has seemingly fallen into disuse in many jurisdictions, and is one that symbolically unites us, physically, psychically, morally, and masonically.

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


(1) Chain of Union, Giovanni Lombardo, Lodgeroom International Magazine, June 2006, pp 7


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Gio's Lodgeroom International Magazine article on this subject. It's not something we do in my Lodge and have never seen it in Scotland.

We always Mxxx, Axx and Pxxx on the L, P, and S. I see this as haveing the same significance.

giovanni lombardo said...

So doing we form a magnetic field which let our energies be exchanged with the universe's ones.

Ut unum sint (so that they become one thing)

Cliff Porter said...

The chain of union does well to remind us of the all the spiritual transmission of energy, transmission being a perception much like duality.

terryfollins said...

It's all about a Brotherhood, strong in God, Family and Community.

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