Category Archives: Strict Observance

Sparrowhawk

On what Feddersen (F/20) describes as a “plan of the lodge in the Scottish degree” (from France) we see a bird (a dove?) in the East, a pelican in the North, a lion in the middle, an ape in the South and a fox in the west. He also says that the fox should be accompanied by a drum, the monkey with a yoke, the lion with crossed swords and the pelican with scales. That does not quite explain if the lion/crossed swords refers to a function or an element in the ritual.

Nettelbladt (Geschichte der freimaurerischen Systeme in England, Frankreich und Deutschland (1879)) describes the image above in connection with the German Strikte Observanz and calls the bird a “Sperber”, sparrowhawk. Also the ritual of the SO speaks about “sparrowhawk” which is swift and without confusion.

Hiram

On some tracing boards, you see Hiram laying in his grave. The above is a “Scots Master” degree of the Strikte Observanz from around 1770. It seems that SO derived systems, such as the Rectified Scottish Rite also use this tracing board.

Hiram as a character plays a big role in “craft” degrees, the “Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite” and other Masonic systems.

Note the animals in the corners. A lion, a monkey, a fox and a dove.

Alchemy

Clearly alchemical symbols are not common in Freemasonry. An exception is the ‘room of contemplation’, also ‘room of preparation’ or ‘dark room’. This is a fairly common practice for European initiations. After French usage the room is often adorned with alchemical symbolism and symbols of mortality. Bread, salt, the symbol of sulphur, the anagram VITRIOL, etc.

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Lion

On what Feddersen (F20) describes as a “plan of the lodge in the Scottish degree” (from France) we see a dove or sparrowhawk in the East, a pelican in the North, a lion in the middle, an ape in the South and a fox in the west. He also says that the fox should be accompanied by a drum, the monkey with a yoke, the lion with crossed swords and the pelican with scales. That does not quite explain if the lion/crossed swords refers to a function or an element in the ritual.

Also see this Scots Master tracing board where the lion is replaced by Hiram, but the other animals are the same.

It seems that the image was already used in the Strikte Observanz as the degree of “Scots Master” describes these very animals. The lion is a reference to “fearlessness” and “calm steadfastness”, but also “dominance” is mentioned.

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Monkey

On what Feddersen (F/20) describes as a “plan of the lodge in the Scottish degree” (from France) we see a dove / sparrowhawk in the East, a pelican in the North, a lion in the middle, an ape in the South and a fox in the west. He also says that the fox should be accompanied by a drum, the monkey with a yoke, the lion with crossed swords and the pelican with scales. That does not quite explain if the lion/crossed swords refers to a function or an element in the ritual.

Also see this Scots Master tracing board which has the same animals, except the lion.

Both images are from the Strikte Observanz. The ritual connects the monkey to sneakiness, but also has more positive characteristics for the animal.

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Fox

On what Feddersen describes as a “plan of the lodge in the Scottish degree” (from France) we see a dove in the East, a pelican in the North, a lion in the middle, an ape in the South and a fox in the west. He also says that the fox should be accompanied by a drum, the monkey with a yoke, the lion with crossed swords and the pelican with scales. That does not quite explain if the lion/crossed swords refers to a function or an element in the ritual.

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Pelican

A Pelican feeding its children with its own blood in front of a Rose Cross. This is a typical image of the 18th degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (“Knight Rose Croix”). It can also be found in the “4th Order” of the French Rite higher degrees and the 18th degree of Memphis-Misraim (“Knight Rose Croix”).

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Broken Column

The image shows a broken column with the text “Adhuc Stat!” (“It stands still”) on a First Degree “Orient Board” of the French Rectified Scottish Rite. The same image was used in the Strict Observance.

The broken column/pillar sometimes refers to the destroyed Temple of King Solomon. In some lodges lectures are given from behind a broken column. The broken column has a general grave symbolism of an ended life. Sometimes a weeping lady (virgin) stands next to the pillar (often with a man behind her representing time). The latter image is sometimes a reference to the passing of Hiram.

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