Marking Our Temple

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Aaron Gardner, 32ยบ, MPS

After one is exalted to the most sublime degree of the Royal Arch, a candidate is asked to leave his mark in the book (Traditionally this is done after the Mark Master degree). Very similar to the degrees preceding in which the candidate writes his name in the log of newly raised Master Masons. It is taught throughout the craft of Freemasonry, starting at the very beginning of the first degree that a Freemason must be vigilant of his mark. No, we aren’t talking about the mark Operative Masons use; instead, we are referring to the mark a Freemason will make on the world around him. The marks made within the Royal Arch Book of Marks is a symbolic representation of who the candidate was/is. It is a unique symbol only to that candidate. If my mark were to be drawn on a piece of paper, it is no doubt that brothers of my Royal Arch Chapter, Waukegan Chapter No. 41 under the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Illinois, will know that mark to be mine (hopefully, that is if Companion Johnson recorded it after my departure; a story for another time, perhaps).

Being that my mark is special to me, it reminds me of one characteristic that is, yet again, unique to myself. My thumbprint. During my entrance into the United States Army, I had to submit my finger prints to ensure that I was not on any national based list of criminals, terrorist, etc… After doing so, they permitted me to have a security clearance, gave me a firearm and told me what to do for the last 10 years of my life. After returning to the civilian world I was then submitted to another array of fingerprint analyses for the various police departments I was applying for. My unique mark is all over the country in various forms on many different databases. Needless to say, they they know I am not a criminal. They also haven’t found anybody in the country’s database with the same thumbprint. Like I said, it’s my unique mark on my temple… My body. 

In a recent trip to Philadelphia with my school’s clown troupe (another story for another time), I had the strict pleasure of visiting the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. I have been invited to speak at various lodges across Pennsylvania, and traveled clear across the state multiple times, without stopping in and seeing this beautiful master piece [Grand Lodge PA]. I have a lot of stories to tell about this specific Grand Lodges, like the evident flaw in it’s building, and I will tell these stories in due time. However, I would like to keep this on track of one thing that jumped out to me the most. Uniqueness. In the Grand Lodge there are many beautiful rooms with extrinsic and intrinsic value, deep rooted history, and a pure feeling of reverence that rushes over you. Yet, one room stands out the most. 

It’s not even a room as it is a corridor. This long narrow hall displays beautiful architecture of the Virtues that cement our brotherhood of man, as you walk the black and white checkered floor toward a gorgeous stained glass. In the top of the glass you can see a number of Masonic symbols; from the Sun in the left corner, the Moon in the right, Solomon’s Seal in beneath the Sun, Pythagoras’ theory across from that, and the All Seeing Eye above the Volume of Sacred Law. It is a magnificent piece that would wow anyone passing by the building. But, yet again, it isn’t the most interesting piece of the building. In that corridor sit’s this most beautiful stained glass artwork and is outshone by the little strip of paint along the edge of the wall. Circles painted in decoration, and if you look closely the unique mark of every builder that helped complete the temple— Their thumb print. 

Even if the builders weren’t Freemasons, their mark will live forever with that building. It makes me ponder, where have I left my mark? Will someone find it one day and it be in good nature, or will it bring negative thoughts about who I was as a man? We leave our mark everywhere we go, with everyone we meet, and everything we do. Can we hold proud that our mark is a part of building something beautiful; something that we built with our own two hands, a life others may look toward as guidance in their own conquests?


Bro. Aaron Gardner, an American Soldier who just recently transitioned into the Reserves after 8 years serving the Active Duty Army. He dedicates the majority of his free time to Freemasonry with his constant studies, writing and traveling from lodge to lodge to learn as much as he can regarding Freemasonry. He likes to relate his everyday life to the Craft and anything he finds he wants to spread to the world. It is his passion to study people, religion, history and Freemasonry. When he isn't working as a Soldier he is dedicating his time to the amazing and supportive Emily, writing about Freemasonry and writing his very own novel. His blog page is Celestial Brotherhood.

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