by Midnight Freemason Contributor
By J.E. Frey, 32°
Part 1: Working Tools of the Mind and Body
My Brethren, during the ceremonies of our initiation we dedicate ourselves to mysteries in many ways yet to be reveled to us. I hope each Mason personally found it a very humbling experience, to subject your will into the trust of your unknown brothers. Your faith being well founded and your trust in a stranger’s hands you begin your journey into the darkness of yourself. This feeling resonated with the Apprentice being a “bearer of burden” putting his trust into his brother’s hands to be lowered into the quarries of darkness to cut the stone which would become the spark of creation.
But the subjection of your will and your personal sacrifice to live up to the standards of the fraternity will not be in vain. Your gift for such dedication and zeal earn you the privilege and opportunity to now wield the working tools of life. These working tools are presented to the Mason at each degree to show how he can specifically build a moral character, but their meaning is steeped with deeper mysteries then we are enlightened upon.
The first working tool the Apprentice receives is referred to the “Common Gavel” which is said to derive its shape from a gable, or a corner of a foundation, where a corner stone would be laid. The word gavel is derived from the German word Gipfel, which refers to the peak or summit of a mountain. (Mackey,1921) So it can be safe to associate that the gavel has a direct correlation to the idea of the ashlar are a reflection of it both being of a steep design as opposed to a blunt hammer. The gavel is given to remove the rough corners of the rough ashlar, which the Apprentice brings up from the quarry. The Gavel removes all undesired natural material from the stone. These undesired parts are symbolic for the negative aspects of our psyche. In Jungian psychoanalytic psychology the first step in the psychological process of individuation is to face what is known as the shadow archetype accepting the aspects of yourself you do not wish for society to recognize about you. Psychologically the gavel works the same way, we morally must recognize the negative aspects of ourselves and accept that we must have a willingness to change.
|Kingston Parish Church|
The idea of the Gavel is given as a symbol of force of power that initiates the act of creation. “It’s a powerful instrument. When used for power alone it can be destructive. But power that is channeled toward good purposes will result in constructive achievement.” (Allan Roberts, 1971) This shows the Apprentice that the force within him is choice, or will. Will is important concept that has been pondered by both theologians and philosophers alike.
Will is the ability of the individual Mason to affect his environment around him for the better. This force is how the Mason must engage in change of himself for the betterment of society. This force is his first tool to shape society by influence and justice. In the tradition of Masonry the force of the people is liberty. But as the society we build is liberated from oppression and the tyrant, it remains the individual duty of the Mason to enlighten his people through intellectual leadership.
“The blind Force of the people is a Force that must be economized, and also managed... It must be regulated by Intellect. Intellect is to the people and the people's Force, what the slender needle of the compass is to the ship--its soul…Thought is a force, and philosophy should be an energy, finding its aim and its effects in the amelioration of mankind… The FORCE of the people, or the popular will, in action and exerted, symbolized by the GAVEL, regulated and guided by and acting within the limits of LAW and ORDER, symbolized by the TWENTY-FOUR-INCH RULE, has for its fruit LIBERTY, EQUALITY, and FRATERNITY,--liberty regulated by law; equality of rights in the eye of the law; brotherhood with its duties and obligations as well as its benefits.” (Albert Pike, 1871)
So it is almost placed upon the Apprentice to be a guardian to remain vigil that the motivations of the unjust do not rise and pollute the good reason of society. We are to realize that we must subject our will to the will of the people aiding in civic society and representing the intellect that must guide the force of the people.
The 24-inch gauge is given to the Apprentice as the symbol of the intellect that must measure and determine which aspects must be removed to create form. It is symbolic for structuring our selves, mainly structuring our force into three equal parts, eight for the service of God, eight for usual vocation, and eight for rest and relaxation. This is symbolic of the formation of our will, or an intellectual birth if you will. Once we as the Apprentice becomes conscious of his ability to structure his potential force he may give that energy form thus creating a change toward a more perfect state.
James E Frey, 32° is a Past Sovereign Prince and current librarian of Valley of Danville AASR. Founder of the R.E.B.I.S Research Society he sits on two Blue Lodge Education committees as well as a guest lecturer on Occultism and Esoteric studies in masonry. He is also a Member of the Oak Lawn York Rite, Medinah Shriners, and Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti. He also works as a counselor with emotionally and behaviorally challenged children.
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