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 reasoning behind freemasonry hinged on the Bible’s view of God as an authoritative figure who allows free will. If authority was to be wielded forcefully, the rule of law and freedom would be elusive. One is granted the freedom to either believe or not to believe in the authority of God.
In the freemason world, the master of the lodge stands for the same authority as God in the universe. During a ritual in a Masonic degree, a candidate is informed that the Master is stationed on the east always, while the senior and junior wardens are stationed at the west and south respectively.
One of the tools handed to the lodge master during his official installation by the installing officer is the Masonic gavel. The gavel is to be an emblem of his authority. However, he can choose to use the authority positively or negatively. The general point is that true authority in the Masonic empire is wielded by the sceptre rather than the weapon. King Solomon referred to as the best grandmaster by the freemason, is seen as the father figure of Freemasonry.
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 is used figuratively in the same way as a signifier of chipping away the uncontrolled nature of man.
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 symbol of the gavel is a further illustration of the restraint to be exercised by the master, in order to rule effectively. The ruler who fails in this call is the one who forcefully exercises his leadership thus showing lack of restraint.
The controlled exercise of authority by the master is meant to give his subjects a taste of God’s loving guidance. The mindful master understands the implication behind the sceptre in the gavel and thus inhibits his natural man, who is naturally bent to be impulsive.
In training, a Masonic student is also educated about the message in the compass. In their dealing with other men, particularly other masons, they are to keep their passions and desires at bay.
The many teachings in Freemasonry through different symbols are meant to teach the learner to exercise restraint in many issues of life so as to live in harmony with all people.