It is a tradition in Royal Arch Masonry that we use the left hand on many occasions, The penal sign, for taking wine and carrying our sword. But why. The Babylon answer lies back with our ancient brethren who returned from Babylon and started to rebuild the Walls of the city of Jerusalem. It is said that they had their trowel in their right hand with which to rebuild the city walls, whilst their left was free; with which to fight. (The sword therefore would have been buckled to their right side) and it is from this legend that we in respect to them wear our sash upon left shoulder to hang on the right side symbolically to hold our sword. The building of the city walls was of such importance that to put down one’s trowel was not allowed. This is why we use the left hand for the penal sign, the hand signifying the sword. As for taking wine, when a stranger approached how should one greet him, by laying down one’s trowel and shaking his hand whist holding a sword in the left? Not a very friendly welcome. Would it not be better to put down one’s sword and to drink his health with the left?
by William “Ray” Fischer
The Acacia tree is found in the area known as Palestine during ancient times, today it is found all over Africa. Acacia looks like the mulberry tree, can grow to well over one hundred feet high and is a hard wood. The gum obtained from it is known as Arabic.
Acacia is a sacred Hebrew wood known in the scripture as “Shittah.” The ark of the covenant was made from it.
Acacia is part of our initiation as Master Masons and represents the immortality of the soul, as the soul lives on after our bodies have been put to rest.
Acacia can be a bush, tree, or a grove of trees. If you cut it down it grows back, if you burn it, it grows back. If you try to dig it up and leave one root it will grow back. Acacia can live through floods, droughts, and bad soil conditions. There is little doubt to the reason Acacia is our symbol of immortality.
by Rudyard Kipling
“ONCE in so often,” King Solomon said,
Watching his quarrymen drill the stone,
“We will curb our garlic and wine and bread
And banquet together beneath my Throne,
And all Brethren shall come to that mess
As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.”
“Send a swift shallop to Hiram of Tyre, Felling and floating our beautiful trees, Say that the Brethren and I desire Talk with our Brethren who use the seas. And we shall be happy to meet them at mess As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.”
“Carry this message to Hiram Abif- Excellent master of forge and mine :- I and the Brethren would like it if He and the Brethren will come to dine (Garments from Bozrah or morning-dress) As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.”
“God gave the Cedar their place- Also the Bramble, the Fig and the Thorn- But that is no reason to black a man’s face Because he is not what he hasn’t been born. And, as touching the Temple, I hold and profess We are Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.”
So it was ordered and so it was done, And the hewers of wood and the Masons of Mark, With foc’sle hands of Sidon run And Navy Lords from the ROYAL ARK, Came and sat down and were merry at mess As Fellow-Craftsmen-no more and no less.
The Quarries are hotter than Hiram’s forge, No one is safe from the dog-whip’s reach. It’s mostly snowing up Lebanon gorge, And it’s always blowing off Joppa beach;
But once in so often, the messenger brings Solomon’s mandate : “Forget these things! Brother to Beggars and Fellow to Kings, Companion of Princes-forget these things! Fellow-Craftsmen, forget these things!”