Monday, November 2, 2009

Masonic Tools - Symbols Of Transformation

The designs below are inspired by bronze castings inlaid in a travertine marble floor at a masonic temple in Trenton, New Jersey. I am attracted to them for the richness of their physical and symbolic history. The tools are at once ancient, having been used in their current form for thousands of years, and current as they are very much in use on today's construction sites.  They serve as the link betwen the hand of the mason and the physical form of the simple tradesman's dwelling as well the form and volumes of the edifice housing timeless religious and civic ceremony. Over the centuries these tools have enabled the construction of buildings that reference sacred proportions, terrestrial landmarks and celestial events enabling buidlings that are a link to the greater universe. 

At a personal level, the Order of Freemasonry incorporates these tools as symbols of guiding principals as we seek to build our spiritual lives referencing the universal values of love and compassion.  In the designs below I have combined an ancient orienting geometric armature that references terrestrial and celestial landmarks, derived from the Tara Brooch, with the actual image of the tools themselves.  I feel it is fitting that the age-old mason's  tools be joined with this equally ancient and powerful orienting geometry.

The trowel spreads the bonding agent of  mortar from one piece of masonry to another.  It is considered a symbol of the spreading of the mortar of universal love that bonds one person to another.

The hammer or gavel is used to break off the corners of rough stone to fit it for the builder's use.  The hammer is a symbol of divesting our consciences of the impurities of life, thereby preparing our bodies as living stones for a spiritual building.

As the plumb or level tool confirms the right alignment of the building stone to our planet's gravfitational force, the plumb is also a symbol of the individual's right alignment with values of compassion and love.

The compass and square symbolize God as the architect of the universe. Together they represent the convergence of matter and spirit.

The panels as designed, incorporate the golden mean proportion of 1:1.618. The height of each panel is uniformly 44 3/4 inches.

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