SYMBOLISM OF THE FELLOW CRAFT DEGREE    
 
Preparation before the degree  
 
Symbolism in the second degree starts with the candidate proving that he is worthy of advancement. It means that you are satisfying the brethren in the lodge that you have served your apprenticeship and you are ready to present your masterpiece for evaluation. Once you have presented your work you move on to a new phase in learning. The opportunity for learning and growth presented in the second degree gives a clear message that Masonry is a progressive science. It expresses an active progression form one stage of life to another. Life is not static there is always more to learn and to prepare for in each stage.  
 
The name of the degree “Fellowcraft” is used in its finer meaning as in fellow-man or fellow citizen; that is, one who belongs to a certain group of fellowship. The final part of the name of the degree, “craft,” is simply an abbreviation of craftsman. It means skilled workman, one who is beyond his apprenticeship, a “fellow” among “craftsmen”.  
 
The candidate is prepared to enter the lodge in a manner somewhat similar to the former degree. He is admitted into the lodge in the proper form but is immediately introduced to a changed emphasis in his Masonic outlook.  The Divine title G.G.O.T.U. expresses the idea of law and order in the universe, which possess a basic harmony in all its parts and relationships.  
 
Receiving and Obligation
The brother is received on the angle of square pressing his naked R.B.  Why? The R.B. is nearest the right hand, the hand necessary to the craftsman for all his work in building. The area of building something new is now opened to the brother; therefore the words of warning that were given when he was received as candidate in the E.A. are changed to words of instruction in this Fellowcraft degree. He learns that instruction is needed as a first lesson in his new area of living.  
 
The obligation in the F.C. degree shows the need of your fellowman. More important is the fact that the candidate cannot think of himself as an individual but rather a small part of a much greater whole.  
 
Old Testament References
 
As the work of the degree unfolds, references are made to Scriptures in the Old Testament. They are important to the teachings of the degree. The H.S. or S. of S. was used by Joshua when he prayed to the Lord for success in battle. It was used by Moses when he came down from the mount to hail the children of Israel to attend to what he had to say. In both case, the purpose of the gesture was not to achieve historical accuracy but to show the constant presence of God with His strengthening Spirit for those who lift their heart and hands in reverent obedience to the Deity. The use of the sign by K.S. when laid the foundation stone of the temple is not Scriptural but it does express sincerity of devotion and of prayer for Divine blessing. 
 
The story of Jephthah is another reference to Scripture in the Old Testament. The word shibboleth is found recoded in the Book of Judges and is said to mean plenty. The word also means “stream in flood” for where there was water in Palestine there was always a plentiful harvest. Its symbolic representation in the lodge is an “ear of corn beside a stream of water” both symbols of abundance and plenty and by association is a natural one.  
 
These Scriptural references emphasize the importance of the V.O.S.L. They, in a sense, have to do with leaders who advance the cause of God’s people.  They looked to God as all Masons should for aid in labours. Even Jephthah’s test word is a recognition that all the blessings of life come from God. Through these references and stories, the F.C. is taught a lesson that recognition of God and dependence upon Him for success in all endeavours is conduct that is required of a Mason.  
 
Working Tools
 
The working tools used by the F.C. are the S., the L. and the P.R. These are also known as the “movable jewels” and are worn by the Master and his Wardens. The W. Ts. of the F.C., are used for the more advanced work of inspection and testing.  There is a repeated reference to the square in the degree and appears to have several meanings; 1) to keep within due bounds with all mankind, 2) virtue in all transactions, 3) morality – “acting on the square” mean you “are telling the truth’. Acting on the square is acting by a definite standard that is established by the G.G.O.T U.
 
The level is to prove horizontals, to see that every stone is laid correctly. The level reminds the Mason that all men are essentially equal. It is a symbol of equality and points to the equality of your brethren before God. Each one has the same responsibilities and rights, but not necessarily the same skills and abilities. The level relates to mutual respect and understanding where the brethren work together in peace and harmony.
 
The plumb rule is used to test perpendiculars. A wall will not stand unless it is straight. It teaches a Mason that he must lead an upright life or he is of no value to his fellowman or to the Fraternity.  The freemason who follows the quest for truth will understand the symbolism of the plumb rule. It stands for rightness, an upright life before God and men. It is the standard by which to test all morality and that standard is not to be swayed to greatly in any direction.  By understanding the symbol of the plumb rule the Mason puts into practice the meaning of the other two working tools.  
 
The working tools of the operative Mason have particular meaning for the speculative Mason. They become symbols of proper conduct for the F.C. in the lodge, in the home and in the community. The Supreme Architect wants work that is square, level and plumb. You, the F.C. are symbolically and factually a builder, a builder of that Spiritual Temple not made with hands.
(References: The Book of the Work; The V.O.S.L.; Penetrating The Veil by David C. Bradley; The Craft and Its Symbols by Allen E. Roberts.)
The Two Great Pillars
 
At the porchway or entrance to the Temple were placed two great pillars. In Israelitish thinking they were often led by either a pillar of fire or a pillar of smoke in their wilderness journey. In each of the pillars they saw God’s presence as a guide and direction. Their symbolic presence at the porchway was a constant reminder to them and is also a constant reminder to us as Masons, of God’s ever present guidance that we must seek.  
 
These pillars were given names. That on the left was called B., meaning “in him is strength,” that is, “in God is strength” the source of might and power. The pillar on the right was J., meaning “firmness” or “he (God) will establish.” The two names together denote stability.  The ritual gives added meaning by saying that the two words together signify, “In strength shall this house be established.” These words make a true beginning for the Mason: through faith in God he shall be strong to build his life.
 
The globes on top of the pillars stand for the universality of Freemasonry. The pillars are adorned with lily-work symbolizes whiteness or purity (peace), pomegranates symbolize plenty and the net-work denotes unity.
 
There is an additional lesson in the pillars. The candidate as a learner passed these pillars of his own free will and accord, but it is important that you pass them with the understanding that exercising raw power without control does not bring stability. If you accept the implications of passing between the pillars, that is, recognizing God as the source and inspirer of strength you have the right to proceed. You are now ready to climb the winding stairs.  
 
 
The Winding Stairs and the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences
 
The winding stairs is mentioned only in passing and the lessons taught by it must be gleaned from the candidate symbolically climbing the stairs. It points out to the candidate that the way to knowledge and the way to better things in life are not straight, direct, nor effortless. Selfimprovement is the object of passing the pillars and climbing the stairs. As you move upward you attempt to reach wisdom and an improvement in character.    The winding stairs consists of three, five and seven or more steps. Masonry does not recognize that any power resides in numbers but it does make extensive use of them as symbols. Most common is the number three. It relates to the Deity. The equilateral triangle (three sides) with Yod in the centre is a symbol of the Deity to the Jewish people. To the Christian three it represents the Trinity. The three-sided triangle containing the all Seeing Eye is familiar in Masonry. The three steps further remind Masons that every properly constituted lodge is ruled by three officers, the W.M. and his Wardens, who are representative of S.K.I., H.K.T. and H.AB.
 
The next section of the winding stairs comprises of five steps. Five was an ancient symbol of life. There were five golden candle sticks and golden tables in on the south side of K.S.T. and five on the north side (1 Kings 7:49: 2 Chronicles 4:7 & 8). The five pointed star guided the Wise men to Bethlehem. Five fingers of the hand are said to express activity and creativity. Knowledge of the universe comes from the five senses and some rituals outside of our jurisdiction make an association to the five senses. To the Fellowcraft five is the number that holds a lodge. Five also alludes to the five orders of architecture. To the Mason these noble orders of architecture symbolize that there are many plans that a man can follow to build the Spiritual Temple but the bottom line is he must choose wisely and choose properly.
 
The seven arts and sciences were originally called “liberal” because they were studies deemed appropriate for a free man. They include Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy. The first three have to do with communications. And if properly understood help make communications effective which is indeed important to Masonry. They are important to the Order both internally and externally.  
 
The remaining four liberal arts and sciences are within the area of exact sciences. Arithmetic is the science of numbers, measurement, and their relationships to one another. Geometry is the science of form, the form which things have and through which they can be recognized and understood. Music is the science of sound, with its own law or arrangement. Music often expresses what words cannot say. Astronomy is the science of arithmetic and geometry applied to the universe. Masonry has the absorbing task of understanding and using the universe around us, for the lodge room is the world, resting under the canopy of heaven and at the centre of the four cardinal points of the compass. The Freemason has an important role to play in the universe as an instrument of God’s creation.
 
The winding stairs also teaches us another important lesson. As one ascends the winding stairs the view ahead is not clear and it suggests that the journey may be difficult and dangerous. The Mosaic pavement, in the E.A. degree pointed out that there are uncertainties in life and much of life is facing opposites. It is like life in general, we cannot see what is in store for us. The concepts and ideas associated with the numbers three, five and seven as well as the winding stairs instruct the candidate to build well and to have faith in the unfailing help of Almighty God.
 
Conclusion  
 
The final charge to the newly passed candidate restates the lessons of the degree. The importance of what man is within, rather than what he seems to be to the outside world teaches the Mason to increase in knowledge and virtue. Masonry is at the same time, an art and a science and expresses the spirit of man as well as measuring his virtues binding life together in a whole. The importance of truth is set out for the F.C. by the title used for the Deity: the G.G.O.T.U.   
 
The Mason is expected to demonstrate the Golden Rule at all times showing brotherhood and good will. Supporting these landmarks in daily living is the essence of true Masonry.
(References: The Book of the Work; The V.O.S.L.; Penetrating The Veil by David C. Bradley; The Craft and Its Symbols by Allen E. Roberts.)
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Brethren,

Your Grand Lodge is very pleased to announce the release of a   pdf Privacy Policy (106 KB) that Protects the Personal Information of our members and applicants.

In the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Canada in the Province of Ontario and its constituent Lodges, we have always been sensitive to privacy issues and to the on-going trust our members place in us.

This policy is issued by the Grand Lodge Communication Committee under the authority of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Canada in the Province of Ontario to provide direction on the necessity to protect and manage the personal information of our members and applicants.

This policy is being posted on both the private and the public portions of our Grand Lodge website. By the one we inform the members of the jurisdiction that such a policy is in place for their protection and by the other we demonstrate to the public the professional manner in which we conduct our business while protecting individual privacy.

In addition to publishing this policy, our Grand Lodge has appointed a Privacy Officer who may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Policy Statement

In accordance with Grand Lodge’s desire to protect the privacy of personal information, the Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge, its Districts and Constituent Lodges, shall take all measures necessary to protect and manage the personal information of our members and applicants.

Please note – A set of best practices are being developed to assist the Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge, its Districts and Constituent Lodges in administering and applying this Privacy Policy within their areas of governance. 

pdf GL PRIVACY POLICY PRINCIPLES & BEST PRACTICES Ver 4 (February 2018) (171 KB)

 

Welcome to the Members Area
This month featuring the Organization Chart of Grand Lodge

Our Purpose

Making Good Men Better.

Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Its members share a common goal of helping each other become better men. Its body of knowledge and system of ethics is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to improve himself while being devoted to his family, faith, country, and fraternity.

Its roots go back centuries and its members are diverse: high profile leaders, physicians, construction workers, farmers…and maybe you.

Ancient…and modern.

We’re united by three ancient and fundamental principles—brotherly love, charity and truth—that are made relevant to the 21st century through the personal development, good works and social connections available to our members in the 550+ lodges across Ontario.

Great benefits…for you and the world.

Freemasonry offers much to its members—the opportunity to grow, the chance to make a difference and the means to build a better world for our children. It offers the chance to socialize and work with men who have the same values and ideals.

We strengthen and improve our character by learning and practicing basic virtues of fraternal love, charity, and truth. Our principles extend far beyond our interactions with each other, and we strive to apply them to our daily lives.

And there’s so much more.

It's easy to learn about Masons—starting with the pages of this website. Need more details? Looking for a Mason in your community to share his personal perspective? Send an email, call or drop by your local Masonic lodge.

Who are Masons?

Masons are spiritual and moral men who choose to associate with groups of like-minded individuals for mutual benefit. What they find in Freemasonry is a disciplined and systematic course of self-improvement based on the Golden Rule: always do to others what you would like them to do to you.

There are 3.2 million masons across the world and more than 40,000 in Ontario.


Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, colour or creed.

Masons are spiritual and moral people, but there’s no room for discussion of sectarian religion or partisan politics in freemasonry. Members are free to follow their own path, as long as it fits with the ethical principles of integrity and virtue symbolized by the square and compasses—the icon most commonly associated with Masonry.

Masonry stresses the principles of kindness and consideration at home, honesty in business, courtesy towards others, dependability in one’s work, compassion for the less fortunate and being a good citizen of the world. Masonry recognizes that each man has obligations to his family, his work, his religious beliefs, his community and himself - these must take priority and Masonry does not interfere with his ability to meet these obligations.

Masons participate in three progressive degrees, each one teaching an important lesson through the use of symbols. The degrees help a Mason think about the big questions: Where did I come from? What am I doing here? And what comes next?

A lodge is not a building…it’s the men that form it.

The foundation of the Masonic family is the Masonic lodge. It is here that Masonry teaches its lessons: kindness in the home, honesty in business, courtesy in society, fairness in work, concern for the unfortunate and respect for one another. Most lodges are clearly signed and located on main streets in communities small and large across the globe.

With over 550 Lodges in Ontario, there should be a lodge that meets in a location near you.

Masonry is not a secret society…we’re happy to share what we know.

Any information about Masons can be found at a well-stocked bookstore or local library. Masonic buildings are clearly marked and listed in the phonebook and members often identify themselves by wearing Masonic jewelry.

The so-called Masonic “Secrets” are confined to modes of recognition by which a visitor can prove himself to be a Mason and thereby become eligible to enter a lodge in which he was otherwise not known.

The Extended Masonic Family.

A Mason can choose to broaden and deepen his experience of Masonry by participating in other branches of the Masonic family:

the Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shriners and Knights Templar.

Masonry is for men…but it’s a family affair.

Women, girls and boys who share Masonic values are welcome to participate in the many social and charitable events hosted by lodges. But there are affiliate organizations for those looking for ways to become formally involved. Young men can join DeMolay, young women can join the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls and Job's Daughters International.

What do Masons do?

Masonry is first and foremost a fraternity rather than a service organization, social club or benevolent society. However, charity in the form of helping other people, is considered to be a cornerstone of the fraternity.

Community Involvement:

Masons Community Involvement

Masons are encouraged to be actively involved in their communities. Some of the community outreach programs that Masons are actively involved with are listed below:

The Masonic Foundation of Ontario, a public charity registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, supports hearing research, a bursary program for university and college students, autism services, prostate cancer research and alcohol and drug awareness programs in elementary and high schools.

The Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario sponsors the MasoniCh.I.P. child identification program. And we’re not above bleeding for a cause—every year, Ontario Masons support the Canadian Blood Services donor program with approximately 35,000 donations.

Shriners operate the largest network of hospitals in North America providing free care for burned and orthopaedically impaired children. The Scottish Rite Masons maintain a network of some 150 childhood language disorder clinics, centres and programs.

Individual districts support their own charitable projects.

Want to learn more about Masonry At Work?

Why become a Mason?

Masonry offers the opportunity to make each man better through its teachings, his Masonic associations and a philosophy that has served the social needs of men for centuries, by promoting:

  • Tradition: when you become a Mason, you become part of ancient tradition that spans centuries. From the original stonemasons that produced some of the most majestic architectural wonders of Europe to modern day Masons who participate in numerous charitable foundations, you’ll feel connected to a vital, growing and spiritually uplifting organization of moral men;
  • Self Improvement: learning portions of the Ritual and participating in the Degree stimulates the mind and, coupled with committee work and lodge management, presents the opportunity to develop leadership and organizational skills, build self-discipline through commitment, poise and self-confidence, and strengthen presentation and public speaking proficiencies;
  • Sense of Accomplishment: participating in lodge projects, be they charitable or social in nature, provides the opportunity to contribute, work with others and enjoy the success of effort well expended;
  • Fellowship - Belonging to a Like-minded Group: the modern work environment has reduced or eliminated social association with co-workers; joining with lodge members in a fraternal atmosphere can substitute for that former workplace fellowship lost;
  • A Break from the Workaday Routine: Masonry brings together in lodge men of diverse backgrounds, where the daily pressures of a career can be left outside the door and where fellowship is the common theme.

These attributes are summarized in the tenets, or fundamental principles of Ancient Freemasonry: Brotherly Love; Relief; and Truth. If these values address your needs, Masonry welcomes you.

How can I join?

To find out more or to be contacted by a local lodge member, please complete the information below. Our response may take some time depending on your interest. We may use any of the options you provide (email, phone or surface mail) to contact you

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