The Fellowcraft's Journey Towards Geometer
By Brother Marius Redelinghuys
Presented 16 February 2017 at Lodge De Goede Verwachting
As an Apprentice we are introduced to the Creator as the Grand Architect of the Universe, with the wisdom to design the world and the plans for it. As Fellowcraft we meet the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, a conceptualisation of the Supreme Being as a geometer, indeed, Geometer, being concerned with geometry and questions of shape, size, relative position of figures, and the properties of space.
As Freemasons generally, and Fellowcraft in particular, we too are concerned with these questions in the building of the Temple. Indeed, the Fellowcraft is cautioned that this “name will signify little if your acts do not make you worthy of it”. We are exhorted to not only possess the wisdom to design and merely contemplate knowledge, and that “action is our duty in this Life”.
Being concerned with geometry, being geometers ourselves, we must actively measure the shape, size, relative position of figures, and the properties of space in our lives, and, more importantly, act on it. We must correct what is wrong, fit in what belongs, and produce what is proper.
We are concerned not only with knowing and contemplating what is good, right and proper in the Grand Design, but ensuring that this is reflected in our daily lives, in our communities, and in the world more broadly.
Geometry has a rich history, rooted in many of the ancient cultures from which our Order draws inspiration – from Ancient Egypt, Babylon, India and Greece to medieval Islam and Christianity, where the study of geometry, in the latter, was linked to God through to the Renaissance and the modern era.
There is also richsymbolism to be drawn from the five postulates of Euclidian geometry, the number five being significant to the labours of the Fellowcraft and what could be considered his five duties, signified by the five journeys performed and the mystical value of the number five symbolising an active life.
The first duty being the execution of our design, and supplementing our powers where inadequate with that of the chisel and the mallet. The second duty of the Fellowcraft is to regulate his work and measure our time wisely, enabling us to test those measurements against our Grand Design. The third duty of the Fellowcraft is to exercise his strength and great power, supplemented by the Lever, to put in place what is good and to remove that which is not. The fourth duty of the Fellowcraft is to test his work, with the assistance of the Square and its right angles, making sure that there are no deviations from the Grand Design and our duties. Finally, the fifth duty of the Fellowcraft, is continuous practice in order to near perfection in the performance of our work and our duties.
The five fingers of the Hamsa, the palm-shaped amulet with its origins in and a continued feature of Middle Eastern and North African cultures, from Babylonia and Egypt (where it is associated with Isis and the Eye of Horus) and Jewish and Islamic culture, is equally significant.
Not only are the five fingers associated with the five senses through which we praise and do the work of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, but it is also a reminder of the everwatchful Eye of Conscience and that which is good, from which we cannot escape. It is further a sign of protection from that which is not good, and also represents blessings, power and strength. It is through our hands that we labour, that we use our tools, and that we perform our duties.
The teachings of the Fellowcraft Degree therefore urge, indeed require of us, to labour, to put knowledge into action. It requires of us, as conveyed in the parable of the Sower, to measure and discern the objectives and targets of our labours, to measure and understand the proper place of every man and our duties toward him in the Mosaic Floor of Life, in a similar manner that the Tessellated Border reminds us of our proper and most fit place as Brethren and of the Order in society, endeavouring always to avoid irregularities that would make us unsuitable for this position.
In putting these teachings into action and in performing our duties diligently, we as Freemasons, and Fellowcraft in particular, undertake the journey towards perfection, to become a geometer in the image of the Grand Geometrician of the Universe, while never exalting ourselves above Him, misconceiving our own interests or accruing unto ourselves more than our proper place within the Tessellated Border.
The essence of the Fellowcraft degree is duty and practice in being a Light in the World and promoting what is good in our five-fold responsibility towards the Supreme Being, our family, in our professions, towards our fellow man, and towards our Brethren.