The Masonic Beehive and The Freemason’s Apron
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The Masonic Beehive
The masonic Beehive is an emblem or symbol, along with several others are explained in detail to the Master Mason after going through his third degree ritual.
It is told to the newly Master Mason that it is an emblem of industry and that it recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings, from the highest seraph in heaven to the lowest reptile of the dust.
It further teaches the Master Mason, that as we came into the world rational and intelligent beings, so should we be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them without injury to ourselves.
Is this all that it could represent? I believe there is a higher representation that the beehive emulates that is more spiritual in nature and thus not as widely talked about in lodges. C.C. Zain in his book Ancient Masonry states “The hive proper denotes man’s physical body. The honeycomb signifies that which is interior to the physical, the astral body.
And the honey is symbolical of the spiritual body, which is composed of the choicest nectars and aromas of earthly experience.” Therefore Zain states that the beehive represents the physical and spiritual nature of mankind. Could there be some relation to the beehive in religions around the world? Yes there is.
In Hindu myth and iconography, the bee surmounting a triangle is a symbol of Shiva. Sometimes there is a blue bee on Krishna’s forehead. Yogic writings compare the sound of a bumble bee to that of the hum emitted by the lowest chakra of the body. There are coins from Ephesus from the 5th century B.C. that have a queen bee as a emblem of the Great Mother.
Bees and beehives definitely have some ancient roots. Offering an explanation to why it is important is the hard question. Why should someone care so much about the emblem of the beehive. The answer is that it is a representation and reminder of the full nature of mankind.
It reminds us that we have a spiritual side that has to be met with spiritual knowledge and guidance. Whether that is obtained from a church, synagogue, mosque or some other place a person will not be complete without fulfilling this duty to him or herself.
Each part of one’s self has to be met. Just like food is used as nourishment for the body, spiritual knowledge is required for one’s spirit. The beehive shows us not only that industry is important but meeting the needs for each of our parts will make us whole.
The Freemason’s Apron
Aprons may be the best-known symbol of Freemasons. When the fraternity was established in the 1700s in England and America, its founders looked to the traditions and tools of actual stonemasons to develop their rituals and philosophy.
Masonic aprons evolved from the protective work aprons that stonemasons wore during the 1600s and 1700s. When he joins the lodge, each Freemason receives a white lambskin apron, to symbolize innocence. As the candidate moves through the degrees of Freemasonry, how he wears the apron changes to signify rank and responsibility.
Initially, working men’s aprons were made from animal skin, so early Freemasons shaped their symbolic aprons the same way. Over time, Masonic and fraternal aprons developed standard shapes: square or rounded bodies with triangular or rounded flaps.
The Freemason’s apron is considered an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Freemason. It is presented to Freemasons to remind them to act in a purity of life so that one day when they stand before the great white throne, the record of their life and actions will be as pure and spotless as the fair emblem they wear around their waste.
Masonic aprons may contain many symbols on them that allude to different teachings in Freemasonry. Along with the Square and Compass, you may find an all-seeing eye representing Gods constant sight on all that happens in our life. You may also find a beehive which represents industry.
Just as the bees of the beehive are industrious in their nature, Freemasons are taught to be industrious in their life with their good works towards mankind. Other symbols may include an ark, a piece of chalk, a casket, or a picture of a sun all of which have their allusions.
Freemasons at the end of their journey on earth typically are buried with their aprons upon their casket or burnt with them if in a cremation. This is to represent the purity of life that hopefully was shared by the Freemason.
It represents his dedication to his fraternity and his commitment to God. The Freemason hopes that the pure actions taken on this side of the world will cause him to enter into the gates and city of our God.