Page 9 - Education Programs
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                                                Grand Lodge of Texas: January 2002

Symbols are described as the universal language because they represent an idea or message in a
way that is understood by all without using words, in written or verbal form, that are different in
the various languages. Webster’s Dictionary defines a symbol as something that stands for or
suggests something else by reason of relationship or association. In Freemasonry, a symbol might
be thought of as an act or a material object that represents a basic moral truth or lesson.

Symbolism is a part of everyday life. The driver of an automobile is constantly seeing symbols on
road signs that indicate road conditions and provide instructions for safe driving. These symbols
are universally adopted and used throughout the world. Mathematical symbols are encountered on
a daily basis and each signifies some particular mathematical operation such as addition,
subtraction, or multiplication. One also is reminded of justice when a blindfolded figure holding
scales is observed. The list could go on and on. Symbols are so common that we soon forget to
recognize the symbols and see in our mind’s eye the concept being symbolized.

The flag of the United States of America is an excellent example of symbolism. When asked what
the flag represents, many people would immediately respond that the flag represents the United
States, its government, and its people. Others would say the flag represents the freedom and
opportunity this country provides its citizens. While these responses are correct, the US flag takes
on a much deeper meaning when one carefully considers the symbolism of this red, white and blue
piece of cloth.

The thirteen stripes represent the thirteen original colonies while the stars represent the current
fifty states of our country. The red is symbolic of the blood shed to create and preserve our country
throughout its history. The white on the flag represents purity and the concept of freedom for all
men while the blue represents fidelity to the highest principles of behavior and conduct upon which
this country was founded. The patriot might see the flag as a symbol of loyalty and the glorious
past of our country and others as a symbol of freedom of speech or religion. There is no limit to
what one can find in this great symbol, as each person will look upon the flag from a unique and
personal perspective.

The ritualistic ceremonies of the three Masonic Degrees are the foundation of the world’s oldest
and largest fraternity. In these ceremonies are contained the philosophy and lessons of
Freemasonry, and each stone in the foundation is a symbol of one kind or another. Many of the
symbols are called to the attention of the new member through the conferral of the degrees, but
there is much to the ceremonies that escapes our detection at the time. As a result, the careful study
of the ceremonies is an enlightening journey that brings to our attention additional symbols and
allows each of us to further refine our Masonic experience.

In fact, there is no limit to what one may find in any Masonic symbol. Our background and
experience help or hinder us in defining a particular symbol for ourselves. No one can write
everything there is to be known about a particular symbol. One can only state his personal views
of a particular Masonic symbol and then it only represents his perception of the meaning of the

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