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Victorian Lodge of Research


Short Papers Series

Is Freemasonry a Total Moral Philosophy?

By RWBro JDF Black, PDGM

This series of lectures, each of variable duration, is based on a lecture given in The Victorian Lodge of Research, No 2181 of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria. It is designed to provide Freemasons with an interpretation of the real significance of the Degrees of Craft Masonry. The references at the end of each lecture are designed to validate the basis on which the interpretations are made and are intended to encourage members of the Craft to use them to develop interpretations of their own if they are not satisfied with those I present.

My interpretations are based on the current UGLV Ritual and on the concept that Freemasonry is a “System of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”.

In each lecture passages of our ritual that contain anomalies are located and are used to identify the allegory they conceal.

By separating the lecture into different parts, an opportunity is provided for brethren to absorb the concepts I present more readily than if they were presented as a single lecture.

The first part of the series defines an allegory and identifies anomalies in the ceremony associated with the opening of the lodge. Those anomalies are used to propose an allegory that would give greater significance to that ceremony than a literal interpretation of the ritual might suggest.

The second part extends the concept to the First Degree ceremony by using the anomalies therein to identify an allegoric connection between the moral temple we are to construct in our lives and that magnificent temple constructed by King Solomon.

The third part locates a number of anomalies in the Second Degree Tracing Board lecture and uses them to indicate that in an allegoric sense, we are the pillars to be used as archives to Masonry.

The fourth part of the series looks at the Third Degree ceremony. It refutes a commonly held belief that the third Degree ceremony is concerned with the concept of resurrection from mortality to immortality and substitutes an allegoric interpretation as to the identity of Hiram Abiff and proposes the location of his final resting place.

The final part of the series defines the questions that need to be answered before we can legitimately claim that the allegories in each case are compatible and can therefore be united to indicate that Freemasonry is a total system of morality, independent of but not divorced from religion.


12006, J D F, PDGM, “Is Freemasonry a Total Moral Philosophy?” Masonic Reflections, 218 Transactions for 2006, Volume 20:85-103.

Masonic Square and CompassesMasonic Square and CompassesMasonic Square and Compasses

Is Freemasonry a Total Moral Philosophy?

By RWBro. JDF Black, PDGM

Paper in five parts

^ Introduction | > Part One | > Part Two | > Part Three | > Part Four | > Part Five


Masonic Square and CompassesMasonic Square and CompassesMasonic Square and Compasses