Category Archives: York Rite

Triangle and Crossed Swords

The “Missouri Masonic Family” tree below shows the bewildering number of rites and degrees in America. As a branch to the York Rite (left) there are three degrees that appear to have crossed swords in a triangle without a star as emblem: Super Excellent Master, Secret Master, Royal Master. To the right you see the same image, but within a star which says “Knight Masons” below.

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Triangle and Compasses

The “Missouri Masonic Family” tree below shows the bewildering number of rites and degrees in America. As a branch to the York Rite there is an order simply called “Allied Masonic Degrees”.

The square is also sometimes replaced by a triangle in French and German Freemasonry. It also happens that there is both a square and compasses and a triangle.

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Cipher

There are many different ciphers in use in the various systems of Freemasonry. The “pigpen” above is the most common, but there are many, many more. There are even books with a different cipher for ever degree, such as can be seen in the material of the Gold- und Rosencreutzer. Here are a few varieties for you.

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Ark of the Covenant

An old Masonic symbol that nowadays is mostly part of systems of additional degrees such as the York Rite (“Royal Arch” degree) and the Royal Arch.

The Ark of the covenant is -of course- a symbol of the covenant of the Jews with their God.

Interestingly, the image can also be found on an image (of a tracing board) of the oldest known ‘high degree’ ritual from 1747. See here.

The other ‘ark-like’ image is the table with showbread.

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Compasses and Protractor

A “Past Master” is a Freemason who has been Worshipful Master of a lodge. Some “craft” lodges have the emblem above for the Past Master. Later “Past Master” became part of systems of additional degrees, such as the York Rite and the French Rite higher degrees (2nd order). The sun in the middle is not always part of the Past Master symbol. The fifth degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (“Perfect Master”) also has this symbol without the sun. In the rite of Memphis-Misraim the Compasses and Protractor with sun are the emblem of the 14th degree (“Grand Elect”).

Interestingly, the image can also be found on an image (of a tracing board) of the oldest known ‘high degree’ ritual from 1747. See here.

Anchor

Like the Ark no longer a very current symbol in “craft” / “symbolic” / “blue” degrees, but it can stil be found on tracing boards sometimes. It also appears in some additional degrees, such as the Ark Mariners. Usually signifies “hope”.

Ark

The symbol used to be fairly current in “craft” degrees, but later started to mostly appear only in adoption rituals or in additional degrees such as Ark Mariners (it is also the emblem of the Provincial there). Especially when combined with a rainbow, the change is big that you are looking at (Royal) Ark Mariner symbolism. The Ark also seems to still be part of York Rite symbolism.

The meaning is often a reference to the story of Noah‘s ark, but in some Memphis-Misraim texts it explicitly says that the ark is the soul tossed about on the waters of vice.

Interestingly, the image can also be found on an image (of a tracing board) of the oldest known ‘high degree’ ritual from 1747. See here.