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Symbolism

  The jewel of the Royal Arch

There are many jewels in Freemasonry, but that one of the Real Arch is considered, for good reasons and for the rich symbolism, the most important. It is an essential part of the clothing of a companion, as prescribed in the art. 82 of the Regulation of the Royal Arch. It is worn on the left chest (not hanging from a collar or pinned to a scarf) and will have a tricolor ribbon (blue, light blue and crimson) for members of the Grand Chapter and the Provincial Chapters, a crimson ribbon for the Principal Companions and a white one for other Companions.

In the Regulations there is no explanation of the jewel, but you can find some reference in the Symbolic Reading, where the five regular Platonic bodies are explained. The jewel has its own peculiarity: it is made up of two interlaced triangles, a clear metaphor of the dual nature of Freemasonry and its teachings, as well as the spiritual and material nature of man.

This is exemplified in the opening and closing ceremony of the Chapter.

 

 

The Principal Companions stand in a triangle, with the left hands forming a triangle on which the Book of the Sacred Law is placed, and with the right hands form another triangle on the Book of the Sacred Law: in this way they connect the spiritual world with the material one. At the beginning of the last century, before the union of Antients and Moderns, Freemasonry was essentially Christian either in content or in the rituals, especially the Royal Arch. Today the Royal Arch is essentially spiritual and some Chapters, although they meet on Sunday, their meetings are not in the hours set up for religious services.

The two triangles were also an emblem adopted by early Christians to signify the dual nature of the One, man and God. Some vestiges of the ancient Christian connotation of the Royal Arch Degree remain even today, for example in the chapter, there are 3 Principals, 3 Sojourners, 3 are the syllables of the word, and 3 great Lights and 3 lesser ones.

At the center of the two interlaced triangles is placed a sun. But this sun, within a triangle, it is not the same sun of Freemasonry, described as a luminary of nature. It is, insteas, the symbol of the Divinity. The triangles and the sun are limited in two concentric circles: the inner circle is an emblem of the Divinity and its Omnipresence, while the exterior one of Eternity. At the bottom, out of the two concentric circles, there is a small circle, representing eternity. It is placed in a triple Tau, as stated in the Mystical Reading, it alludes to the Divinity.

The triple tau has always been the emblem of the Royal Arch and it is on the Jewel, on the band and on the apron of the Companions, that is three times three.

In our initiation into Freemasonry, the Guardian has knocked on the door three times. The meaning of knock is: "Ask and you shall receive", "Seek and you will find", "Knock, and it shall be opened." The same knocks were repeated on the shoulder of the S.W. and J.W., always three times three, as predicting the Holy Royal Arch and its triple triad.

The triple tau of the Royal Arch is the completion of the spiritual journey of the Candidate in Freemasonry and the three regular steps. On the installed Worshipful Master Apron there are three separate tau, and their union will be in the Royal Arch and this will lead to Divinity. An interpretation of the 18th century considers the triple tau as a "T" superimposed on an "H", referring to Templum Hierosolymae, the Temple of King Solomon. Around the circle containing the triple tau, there is a cartouche and on its back it is written "Exalted" with two empty spaces nearby where the name and number of the Chapter are engraved.

A triple triad in Latin is inscribed in concentric circles:

DEO, REGI, FRATIBUS, HONOR, FIDELITAS, BENEVOLENTIA
and you can read

DEO HONOR
Honor God
REGI FIDELITAS

Loyalty to the King
FRATIBUS BENEVOLENTIA

Love for the Brethren


On the back of the interlaced triangles there is another double triad:
"Concordia, Verità, Pace" on the first
"Saggezza, Potenza, Bellezza" on the other

 

The allusion is not to the Wisdom of King Solomon, neither to the power of King Hiram nor to the beauty of Hira Abiff but to the Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of the True and Living God Most High.

These divine attributes are always mentioned at the opening and closing of the Chapter of Royal Arch.

On the scroll around the circle in which the triple Tau is inscribed you can read "Nil nisi clavis Deest", “You can find nothing without the key." A similar concept is also expressed in the inscription between the two concentric circles: "Si talia jungere possis sit tibi SCIRE SA TIS" "If you are able to combine these things, you know a lot."

Reviewing the two interlaced triangles, from the back, there is another double triad, but that one of the second triangle is incomplete.

On the triangle with the apex at the top, the spiritual one, we read: "We found it." The same phrase is repeated on the other two sides in greek and latin. On the triangle with the top down, the material one, there is a free space on the base and on the sides the inscription: "Cultor Dei, Civis Mundi".

On the certificate of the Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch, as on that one of the Grand Lodge and on the jewel of the Royal Arch there is a space to write the name of the Companion. Once you enter the name, the sentence can be read like this: "X. y., Cultor Dei, Civis Mundi". In English: "X. Y. is a worshiper of God, a citizen of the world" and associating it with the sentence of the spiritual triangle "and he has found the key."

Thousand and eight hundred years ago, Clement of Alexandria wrote that:
"all truth is veiled in enigmatic fairy tales, legends and allegories".
Freemasonry is full of allegories, but the most important one is the research of the "Word."

 

The Word is not the Holy and Mystical name, but it is hidden in it and leads us, for centuries, in the same direction: "The Will or the law of God." The Companion that thinks he has found the key to discover the Holy and Mystical name should reflect and remember that it is not enough to say "Lord, Lord", but rather "to do God’s Will." The teaching of Masonry is that the keystone is hidden beneath the waste material.

In the Book of the Sacred Law, the Gospel of John Chapter I reads: "In the beginning was the Word." This is the key of the allegory and the Companion that understood the word is worthy of having his name engraved on the Jewel. "If you understand this, you know a lot," because the Word, the God’s Will, contains all the precepts, the teachings, the principles of Freemasonry. Happy is the mason who found the word and try to understand the full meaning, he found the stone of time and tries to use it in the construction of his temple.

Freemasonry is an ancient corporation, but in the beginning "there was the Word of God" and in "it there is the Power."