Jim Tresner, 33
Purity, zeal, hope for the future. White, red and green. Those themes and colors resonate throughout the Scottish Rite.
PURITY is of many kinds--personal integrity, a focus on things of the spirit rather than the flesh, a moral refusal to exploit others.
ZEAL can be the earnest dedication of the cloistered scholar determined to find the truth no matter where it lies or the unswerving opposition of the lover of freedom to all forms of intolerance.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE may be the individual’s hope of the afterlife, the belief that this world can be made better and more compassionate, or a commitment to leave for future generations at least as much as was left to us.
The colors of the 8th Degree apron (pictured above) represent purity (white), bordered by hope or regeneration (green), and lined with zeal (red). On the apron is a nine-pointed star, which symbolizes the Divine truth God revealed to the first men. This is the first appearance in the Scottish Rite Degrees of the symbol which will become the Triple Interlaced Triangle of the 32nd Degree. Above the star is the balance, again symbolizing both equilibrium and justice, major keys in understanding the path to Divine truth. On the flap is an equilateral triangle, symbol of Deity, containing at each of its corners Phoenician letters which mean, apex letter, S for the Hebrew words shekinah, the divine presence; left, the letter B for Ben-Khurim, meaning son of nobles or freeborn; and, right, the letter A for Ahad, meaning The One, our only God.
The cordon is red or crimson, and the jewel hangs from it by a green ribbon. The jewel is a triangle or delta of gold. One side contains the Phoenician word for “nobles” or “freeborn” which Pike tells us is intended to indicate the sons of Hiram. The other side has Samaritan letters which are interpreted to mean “One God, Source of all things.” Thus the jewel reinforces the theme of the Degree, for Hiram was a worker, and his sons, noble and freeborn, work not because they are forced to, but from zeal, from a love of accomplishment.
Work is central to the Degree. One lesson is that a man cannot make real progress in Masonry without study. The Degree further teaches us that great undertakings are cooperative efforts. The Degree also teaches the valuable lesson that knowledge is easily lost unless it is carefully preserved and passed on to future generations. We have an obligation to teach, just as surely as we have an obligation to learn. And all of us have something of value to teach.
For information on obtaining color photographic prints of all the Scottish Rite Degree paintings by Bro. Robert H. White, 32, (8th Degree pictured above) contact Bro. Bruce A. Dehlin, K. D. Enterprises, 10114 Farmington Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030-2049. Fax 703-591-6026 Tel 703-591-5318. For a color poster of all the Degree paintings ($20.00 unframed), send checks payable to The Supreme Council, 33, S.J., USA to: Grand Executive Director’s Office, 1733 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-3103.