involves planning and building “stuff” around the house and yard. Of course, whenever we build something, we have
to plan and buy our materials, but then comes the work.
When I was a young man in the 1960’s I spent some time working for a friend of mine’s father who was a bricklayer and I was his “Mason tender”. The need to work not only fast but accurately was something I was not used to, but boy did I learn. Now that I am older and wiser (I think wiser) I remember his words to me that mean a lot more now.
“Tom, when building a wall, make sure it is STRAIGHT, SQUARE, PLUMB AND LEVEL” !!!
In hindsight, perhaps this was a precursor and I never knew it. I have talked about the Plumb Line in an earlier piece, perhaps it is time to discuss how we make things straight and square. The basic tool to use for this is of course the builders square.
Masons make full use of the Square in many of our symbolic tools. It is the Square that is a major working tool of our profession. But we need to remember that back in the operative mason, years and years ago, many squares were made of wood and they had a tendency to become out of square and needed to be constantly brought back to “square”. How the devil did they do that?
Well, builders were and are still, well versed in geometry (surprised huh?). OK, but how? Now comes the use of the
compasses. If we can draw a circle, we can make a square, anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Here is what they did: Use
the compasses and draw a circle.
Draw a straight line crossing through the center of the circle and touching opposite
sides of the circle (line AB). Then draw two more lines (AC and AB), one starting at each and of where the line through circle intersects the lines. Bring the two new lines together on the circle and you will have ninety degrees or a square.
As you can see, you can draw the lines anywhere as long as they touch the circle, such as intersect “D” and another line intersection at “E”. The angle is still and will always be 90 degrees.
constant basis. Now in our Speculative of educational nature of Masonry, we use the compasses to “Keep us within due bounds of all Mankind” regarding moral behavior and it keeps us square within the “Square of Virtue”. Sometimes the young Mason may ask what exactly is meant by virtue? From the dictionary:
vir·tue [vur-choo] noun
1. moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
2. conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
3. chastity; virginity: to lose one's virtue.
4. a particular moral excellence. Compare cardinal virtues, natural virtue, theological virtue.
5. a good or admirable quality or property: the virtue of knowing one's weaknesses.
As a seasoned one who is still becoming a Mason, I have found that is necessary to continue to use the Compass to keep my Square at 90 degrees allowing me to keep me upright in my behavior. Always be with the right people and act according to goodness. We are all humans with all the trials that go with it.
The need for constant inward review and thought are needed, but we do have the tools to keep us morally Square with the use of the Plumb Line, Compasses and the Square. Next month the Level.