by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners
A recent road trip to Salt Lake City, Utah with my girlfriend, Lisa, and youngest son, Spencer, took us from east-central Illinois to several cities, National Parks, and National Monuments on the way. In order to get to Craters of the Moon National Monument, one would find themselves traveling through Arco, Idaho. Arco's claim to fame is that it is the first city in the world to be powered by Atomic power. Arco was powered briefly (for about 1 hour) by the Experimental Breeder Reactor (EBR-1) at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commissions National Reactor Testing Station, about 20 miles from Arco.
Home of Arco Lodge #48
As luck would have it, right across from the City of Arco City Office, there stood a Masonic Temple, which is (assuming my research is correct) is home to Arco Lodge #48 of the Grand Lodge of Idaho, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, which would give it by default the distinction of being the very first Masonic Temple powered by Atomic power. I thought that this was a very important and historic fact given our ritual's connection to light.
This being said, I find it fascinating that one of the symbols that we are taught about in the First Degree, the point within the circle or the circumpunct, bears a striking resemblance to a Hydrogen atom. Illinois ritual states:
"Lodges in ancient times were dedicated to King Solomon, he being our first Most Excellent Grand Master; in modern times to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist - two eminent Christian patrons of Freemasonry; and since their time there has been represented, in every regular and well furnished lodge, a certain point within a circle, embordered by two perpendicular parallel lines, representing St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. On top of the circle rests the book of Holy Scriptures; the point represents an individual brother, the circle the boundary line of his duty. In going round this circle we necessarily touch on the two parallel lines, as well as on the book of Holy Scriptures; and while a Mason keeps himself circumscribed within their precepts, it is impossible that he should materially err."
The idea of keeping one's self within due bounds is personally a lesson that I consider to be a building block of the ideals of Freemasonry. I look to that image above and it reminds me to contemplate keeping myself grounded. As I look at it, I see not only myself and the length of my cable-tow but myself and my place in the world as well as my place in the macrocosm. Should it be any surprise to us as Freemasons, that in following the hermetic principle of: "As above, So below", that our bodies should also be made up of Hydrogen on the microcosmic level? Hydrogen is one of the elements that is a building block of life.
Hydrogen is also electrically neutral. Is the circumpunct not trying to keep us as Freemasons neutral (grounded) by reminding us to keep ourselves within those due bounds? I refuse to believe that this is by accident. As such, I believe that the Great Architect on his trestle board designed the Hydrogen atom as such to be not only one of the building blocks of life but also to teach us a fundamental lesson about how to act as Freemasons. That is pretty powerful (pun intended) when you think about it.
WB Darin A. Lahners is our co-managing Editor. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). You can reach him by email at email@example.com.
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