This collection of essays by five notable Masonic scholars, discuses the single most important symbol that Freemasonry has. It covers the antiquity as well as the esoteric symbolism of our most valued vestiture and what is often overlooked by those outside of the fraternity: a simple, square, white, lambskin apron.
Brother Mackey examines the importance of having a temple within the realm of Freemasonry, with specific attention being paid to the symbolism of King Solomon's temple and the working tools a mason uses when building. He also covers the symbolism behind those tools. He compares the physical temple with the spiritual temple of man, which every mason is attempting to erect. He discusses the trestle-board as well as the rough and perfect ashlars and the ancient mysteries.
"Not worth listening"
The landmarks of Freemasonry have existed from time immemorial; however, Albert Mackey was the first Mason to collect them all together and explicitly define them for the greater benefit of the fraternity. Here he outlines what the 25 landmarks are, which bind together all Masonic lodges across the globe. These aren't opinions but instead they are the intellectual and philosophical foundations of our organization and something that every Mason should be familiar with and ready to defend.
Brother Mackey sets out to dispel the notion that George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, was anything but a Freemason. He provides ample documentary evidence to support what now has become a common claim. But Mackey goes beyond simply showing us proof that Washington's masonic initiation took place; he shows us that George was a Mason in his heart.
Brother Mackey discusses this rich and elaborate mythology within masonry, the inclusion into our mysteries of which is based off of a single mention in the Book of Kings. The explores the symbolism of advancement from a lower to a higher place, the movement from darkness to light and other such masonic allegories associated with the winding staircase. He also discusses the porch, the number of steps, Pythagoras, and more.
Mackey examines the popular belief among scholars of his day that the rites of Freemasonry are remnants of ancient Druids ceremonies, or that at the very least the ceremonies of the two share a common origin, such as the pagan mysteries, travelling Buddhists, or perhaps the Phoenicians. In doing so, he gives an excellent history lesson on who the Druids were and what their initiation ceremonies were like.
Brother Mackey examines the symbolism of the corner-stone as it relates to operative and, perhaps more importantly, speculative masonry. He explores the corner-stone as a symbol for the spiritual aspect of the mason himself, with attention being paid to the northeast corner of the lodge room and the entered apprentice degree. He also discusses the symbol of a square as well as corn, wine, and oil.
Brother Mackey outlines a brief history of why we, as Freemasons, consider operative and speculative masonry to be interconnected even though on the surface they don't appear to be. He discusses symbolism being handed down by generations of priests as well as the erection of King Solomon's temple and our role in all of it.