Addendum: The post is left completely as-was but I finally received confirmation that the trowel has always been a triangle gouge trowel.
One of the interesting pieces of the Masonic lore is how the temple is constructed. Here again we look at the floor play during the initiation (which I’m not sharing on the blog) and the position of the officers. Specifically a reference is made to the fact that the construction of the temple did not involve the sound of iron tools. This is actually fascinating unto itself since iron has long since had connotations for banishing and warding spaces since antiquity. It is the metal of Mars. It can be made to be magnetic but forged and heated, it loses that property. Furthermore the godform – not being named – appears in Masonic lore but specifically as a means to an end.
I know what the Masonic brothers are going to say – “But the trowel is made of metal!” – the modern incarnation of the thing is yes. However what we call a trowel today is actually what we now call a float for the trowel in antiquity. My gut feeling is that the trowel was replaced with the modern gouge trowel because it looked too similar to the tracing board – I’ve asked around for confirmation but this remains as speculation so don’t take this as masonic canon. It’s also entirely possible that the trowel is supposed to look like a square and compass with the middle filled in to represent religious dogma being the filler of the temple to build a frame to hold mysticism.
The square and compass have a particular station in masonry – they are in fact made of metal. However the square and compass would never have made a noise because their use is to measure things in the world of forms – the world of ideas as they are applied to the physical world. Additionally the square and compass are made from silver (lunar) and gold (solar). AND ITS NOT HARD TO SEE WHAT CROWLEY (and by proxy Gardner) WOULD READ INTO IT JUST SAYIN’.
What I do want to talk about is that nothing in the masonic hall makes a sound of iron, including the gavel. This is significant because the entire mythos revolves around the construction of the temple. It would seem then that build a temple without iron tools wouldn’t work too well. There would be no crucibles with which to melt precious metals, nor would there be any hammers to set precious stones, nor could stones be hewn. Yes there is an allegory for the social functions of masonry whereby rough stones are ground against smooth ones until they mate perfectly. But all that aside, what the ritual is really hinting at is that the temple construction is entirely nonphysical. We’re not literally building a temple in the masonic hall (but it would be cool), we’re building a temple of our brethren while we build the temple within us.
The exterior expression of this idea is that the masonic officers stand in certain positions on the floor. Conspicuously, not all those positions are occupied by a person and then one represents death. Examined from above, each officer in the lodge represents a degree, or entrance into the temple. When filled out with the auxiliary positions, the figure becomes a square or sort of a C shape. When simply represented by degree officers, the figure becomes a triangle. Also the lodge in masonry is absolutely a solar lodge. The measure is the measure of the day (sunrise, noon, sunset), and the measure of the moon through the month (waning, waxing, full light or dark).
Now into wild, wild speculation territory, since we know about the role of the sun and the moon and the officer, what if all the officers in masonry represent the planets? The line of thinking here is largely from the Gnostic Mass and my experience may be colored by visiting our local grand lodge and keeping an eye on whats present (and whats not). The experience for the candidate is alchemical, while the lodge mythos is terrestrial, but the presentation of the mythos is really operating on the celestial plane. I tried googling for this and the problem with joining a really popular occult order is everyone wants to tell me about 9/11 and the Grey Aliens and shockingly there’s not a lot of good information here even from the normal wanderings of Manly P Hall. If there is, please do point me to it. Also my blue lodge has enough esoteric masons to count on one hand unless I am not aware of them yet.
For the following, I am well aware of the phrase “the sun, the moon, and the worshipful master” but since I already declared wild speculation meanderings… If we have the sun (the WM) and the moon (Sr Warden – sitting opposite), Jr Decon (mercury), Chaplin (Venus), Treasurer (Jupiter), Secretary (Saturn), Tiler (Mars)… It turns out this is already apparently mapped to a thing and I’m late to the party: http://dcsymbols.com/officers/officers.htm
However my map is slightly different. YMMV. The celestial portions of the thing are actually quite interesting because I hadn’t seen the ratios represented until now. Also if you have a chance to take a tour of a grand lodge, pay special attention to the ratios the rooms are built with…