"...so far interwoven with religion...”
Lately I’ve been contemplating the symbolism of the nine pointed star. In Masonry it is usually created by three perfect triangles interposed over each other. It is a part of the jewel of the Thirty-Third degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite as well as the jewel of the Royal Order of Scotland and is portrayed in many other places in Freemasonry. It is a major emblem of the Bahá’í faith. It symbolizes many things, completeness, unity, balance, perfection, the Trinity of Trinities, Deity, and companionship with Deity.
One of the things the nine pointed star is symbolic of for Christians, is the Fruit of the Spirit as written by Paul in his letter to the Galatians when he said,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
“God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”Now I know some will say that this pretty overtly religious for a Masonic subject. I agree. It is religious, but it is not dogmatic nor proselytic. I believe Paul’s letters and thus the nine pointed star alludes to a couple of universal truths hinted at in the ritual of our fraternity. One, that there is a “Supreme Intelligence that pervades an animates all nature and that can never, no never, die.” And two, that there ought to be a goal to the work we do in learning to subdue our passions and improve ourselves in Masonry-- the work we do on our own rough ashlars. For me the Supreme Intelligence pervading each of us certainly sounds like the Holy Spirit that I believe resides in me. And the Fruit of the Spirit are certainly gifts we all hope our Masonic work bears. If we as Freemasons can exhibit love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our interactions with others; imagine how much better the world would be.
I recognize that, as the Galatians in Paul’s letter, I’ll never be justified through the law. The immortality of my soul is a gift of the Grace of God. For me obtaining the Fruit of the Spirit will be a constant struggle as I battle to surrender my will to the Spirit in residing in me. But it is a worthy goal--the worthy goal.
As I have contemplated the meaning of Masonry over the years, I began to make this part of my daily prayer to God and the Spirit, “More of you and less of me.” If I can surrender and allow the Spirit to lead me, then might I might I bear those fruit. This is religious. But might it also be the goal of Masonry, the object of our esoteric search? Might manifesting the gold of these spiritual gifts, no matter our religion, be the only alchemy that matters?
Brian L. Pettice, 33° is a Past Master of Anchor Lodge No. 980 and plural member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 38 in Danville, IL and an Honorary Member of a couple of others. He is also an active member of both the York and Scottish Rites. He cherishes the Brothers that have become Friends over the years and is thankful for the opportunities Freemasonry gives and has given him to examine and improve himself, to meet people he might not otherwise have had chance to meet, and to do things he might not otherwise have had chance to do. He is employed as an electrician at the University of Illinois and lives near Alvin, IL with his wife Janet and their son Aidan. He looks forward to sharing the joy the fraternity brings him with others. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org