We have interacted with symbols used in Freemasonry at one point in our lives. Most of us are probably ignorant about what they mean. Many of such symbols trace their origin from age-old practices.
The early freemasons and stonemasons used many of these symbols in conjunction with trading tools. Some of the most popular tools include trowel gauge, compass, square, mallets, and masonic aprons.
The presentation of God as an authoritative figure who does not rule forcefully is the cornerstone influencing masonic philosophy. Freedom and the rule of law that is so naturally experienced would be unknown if freewill was suppressed. One is granted the freedom to either believe or not to believe in the authority of God.
The authority of God in the universe is imitated by the master of the freemasons lodge. One of the things taught to a Masonic student in training is that the east is the master’s station while that of the senior and junior wardens is the west and south respectively.
At his inauguration, the lodge master is entrusted with a Masonic gavel by the installing officer. The gavel is to be an emblem of his authority. The authority conferred to him through the gavel can be used for acts of good or evil as he chooses. The masonic philosophy on authority is that it should be meted out forbearingly rather than forcefully. This is based on King Solomon in the Bible, whom the Freemasons call the best grandmaster.
The common gavel, which is used by stonemasons, has one pointed end. It is used to smoothen edges on stones and bricks. The Masonic gavel, on the other hand, is used as a symbol for chipping the superficial undesirable vices away from the heart.
The master of the lodge understands that they serve as a representation of God’s divine authority which is meant to exercise restraint. The sceptre symbolized by the gavel serves as a reminder of the same to the master. When a master lacks self-control and exercises his authority through force, he is deemed to have failed in his mandate.
A master who exercises restraint symbolically grants the brethren freedom to feel the loving guidance of their deity. The master who chooses to honour the sceptre and its implication honours the free will of the people.
When a Masonic candidate is under training, he is also encouraged to learn through the compass. The student is supposed to exercise restraint on his passions and desires when interacting with other people, more so, fellow masons.
The general intention of freemasonry teachings is to teach the students on how to live and interact with others peacefully through restraint of the natural unregenerate man.