Saturday, May 16, 2009


In Ancient Craft Masonry, wisdom is symbolized by the east, the place of light, being represented by the pillar that supports the Lodge and by the Worshipful Master. It is also referred to King Solomon, the symbolical founder of the Order. In Masonic architecture the ionic column, distinguished for the skill in its construction, as it combines the beauty of the Corinthian and the strength of the Doric, is adopted as the representative of wisdom.

King Solomon has been adopted in Speculative Masonry as the type of representative of wisdom, in accordance with the character which has been given to him in the First Book of kings (iv.30-32): "Solomon's wisdom exceeded the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan and Ezrahite, and Heman and Chalcol and Dardam, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about."

In all the Oriental philosophies a conspicuous place has been given to wisdom. In the book called the Wisdom of Solomon, (vii. 7, 8,) but supposed to be the production of a Hellenistic Jew, it is said: "I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her before sceptres and thrones , and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her." And farther on in the same book, (vii.25-27,) she is described as the breadth of the power of God(archives), and a pure influence [emanation] flowing from the glory of the Almighty, ....the brighness of the everlastinglight, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness."

The Kabbalists made Chochma, or Wisdom, the second of the ten Sephiroth, placing it next to the Crown. They called it a male potency, and the third of the Sephiroth, Binah, or Intelligence, female these two Sephiroth, with Keter, or the Crown, formed the first triad, and their union produced the Intellectual World.

The Gnostics also had theur doctrine of Wisdom, whom they called Achamoth, They said she was feminine; styled her Mother, and said that she produced all things through the Father.

The Oriental doctrine of Wisdom was, that it is a Divine Power standing between the Creator and the creaion, and acting as His agent. "Jehovah." says Solomon, (Proverbs iii.19,) "by wisdom hath founded the earth." hence wisdom, in this philosophy,answers to the idea of vivifying spirit brooding over and impregnating the elements of the chaotic world. In short, the world is but the outward manifestation of the spirit of wisdom.

The idea so universally diffused throughout the East, is said to have been adopted into the secret doctrine of the Templars, who are supposed to have borrowed much from the Basilideans, the Manicheans, and the Gnostics. From them it is easily passed over to the high degrees of Masonry, which were founded on the Templar theory. Hence, in the great decoration of the thirty-third degree of the Scottish Rite, the points of the triple triangle are inscribed with the letters S.A.P.I.E.N.T.I.A., or Wisdom.

It is not difficult now to see how this word Wisdom came to take so prominent a part in the symbolism of Ancient Masonry, and how it was expressly appropiated to King Solomon. As wisdom, in the philosophy of the East was the creative energy, - the architect so to speak of the world, as the emantion of the Supreme Architect, - so Solomon was the architect of the Temple, the symbol of the world(humanity). He was to the typical world or temple what wisdom was to the great world of the dreation. Hence wisdom was apropriatly referred to him and the Master of the Lodge, who is the representative of Solomon. Wisdom is always placed in the east of the Lodge, because thence emanate light all light, and and knowledge, and truth(the Sun& where the plan started).

Encyclopedia of Freemasonry 1894