We have interacted with symbols used in Freemasonry at one point in our lives. A good number of us have no insight into their hidden messages. Nearly all those symbols were used in ancient times.
Many Masonic symbols are associated with tools of trade used by the pioneer freemasons and the middle age stonemasons. 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. 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.
The master of a freemasons lodge represents the same authority. Masonic teachings for the student depict the east as the direction where the master is always station while the west and south are directions for the senior and junior wardens respectively.
One of the tools handed to the lodge master during his official installation by the installing officer is the Masonic gavel. He is then told that it is an emblem of his authority. However, he can choose to use the authority positively or negatively. 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. In a similar figurative way, the Masonic gavel is used as a pointer to the act of doing away with the unregenerate nature of man.
The implication of the Masonic gavel is that the bearer does not replace divine authority but rather, restrains his own will in order to be used as a conduit for the order of divine authority. 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 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 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.