in order to be admitted to the Fellowcraft degree, the Apprentice Mason must
make five journeys; because the Fellowcraft Mason must undertake a long journey
in order to better understand himself and the world around him and because each
journey must start at the beginning of the road, let us turn our gaze to the
Blazing Star and follow the path it opens on the way to Knowledge and true
Blazing Star, the five-pointed pentacle, first reminds us that the Fellowcraft
degree is intimately linked to the number 5 and that the number 5 is itself
intimately linked to the Star.
the degree ceremony (known as “l’augmentation
de salaire” or “increase in salary” in the GLNF AASR), the future
Fellowcraft makes five symbolic journeys, his awareness of the five senses is
heightened and he is educated in the five orders of classical architecture. He
is consecrated as a Fellowcraft by five blows from the Worshipful Master’s
gavel on his flaming sword. Henceforth, the Fellowcraft climbs five stairs to
reach the doors of the Temple, he seeks entry by five distinct knocks, he enters
making five regular steps and, in recompense for his untiring work from midday
to midnight, his symbolic age is now five.
Finally, according to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, in the
Second degree the Blazing Star is lit in the East, replacing the Shining Delta.
It sits thus above the Worshipful Master’s throne and illuminates the Temple
with its fivefold power.
In order to draw this mystic pentacle, one must use the golden section –
revered by the sages of antiquity. To calculate this, crudely, one can even
divide 5 (the Fellowcraft’s number) by 3 (the Apprentice’s number) and thus
obtain the Divine Proportion : 1,618. Greek sculptors considered this
Proportion as the most harmonious of all and it was used as such in their
representations of the human body. By application of the Golden Section, Man
became for them a symbol of harmony. In Vitruvius' “De Architectura” it is said that the proportions of a building
should by in harmony with those of the human body and Vitruvius used the Golden
Section to set what he considered to be the measurements of the “ideal
human”. One of the most striking illustrations of this “harmonious body”
is found in the famous “Vitruvian Man”, where Leonardo da Vinci places Man,
like a five pointed star, within a circle. We should remember that for
Pythagoras’ adepts, the circle represented the kingdom of the spirit. If the
body, assimilated with the Star, is the height of physical or terrestrial
harmony, then the five pointed Star, as a pentacle drawn according to the
precepts of the Golden Section, is that of celestial or spiritual harmony.
in the East with the letter G in its centre, radiating light, the five pointed
Star is the permanent manifestation in a Fellowcraft Lodge of the pentacle drawn
in chalk in a single smooth motion by he who aspires to be passed to the second
With each line he draws, the Mason wakes within himself the five elements
which figure so prominently in hermetic teachings : Earth, Water, Air, Fire
and, finally, Ether. The Blazing Star, just like the five-petalled rose, evokes
the awakening of the fifth element, Ether, which had until then remained dormant
in the hollow depths of the heart.
Star is therefore comparable to Man. It could even be suggested that it is the
mirror of Man, for as the Emerald Tablet teaches us: that which is below is like
that which is above, the microcosm is the reflection of the macrocosm. The Bible
states that Man was made in the image of God. When Pontius Pilate presented
Jesus to the masses he cried “Ecce Homo”,
“Behold the Man”. Christ on Earth,
the Son of Man, was indeed the earthly reflection of God the Father, the
« G » enthroned in the heart of the Blazing Star.
letter “G” can also symbolise “Geometry”, the foundation of all science,
or even “Gravitation”, “Generation”, “Genius” or “Gnosis”. If
gravitation is the primordial force which controls movement and balance in
matter, for Freemasons it is also a symbol of the love and affection which
brings hearts together and maintains them in close fraternal union. Generation,
derived from the power to engender, is the vital force which ensures life’s
sustainability and its evolution towards “the ideal”, which pushes the Mason
to continually strive to better himself. Genius, as a superior form of human,
intelligence, inspires the enlightened Man to tirelessly seek knowledge and it
finds its expression in intellectual, moral and artistic creativity. Through his
work each day, the Freemason employs his “genius” to serve the principles of
our Order. Finally, Gnosis represents Sacred Knowledge ; that which the
Apprentice struggles to find in the shadows and which the Fellowcraft seeks in
the outside world.. One could perhaps say that the Blazing Star is the synthesis
of all these sciences and that the letter “G”, shining out from the Star’s
centre, signifies the correct application of those sciences.
if one admits that the Blazing Star represents the Absolute, the Universe, the
macrocosm, with at its heart the letter “G”, symbol of Sacred Geometry and
of God G\A\O\T\U\,it also
represents Man, the Initiate, the Freemason whose heart is illuminated by the
Great Architect’s Light..
It is said in the Bible (Exodus 34,29) :
wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him”.
When Moses climbed to the summit of Mount Sinai, he spiritually made the
opposite journey and descended into the most profound depths of his being. That
is where he attained the supreme initiation, where he glimpsed the Truth and
became, physically, blazing. God, through his living fire, purified Moses whose
face – the vehicle of his expression – was illuminated. The Star’s blaze
thus symbolises the Initiate. And just as the Star’s radiance bathes the
Initiate in the light of Truth, the Freemason, radiating in turn with the light
of Knowledge, should strive to shine and serve as an example or a guide in the
for a moment the words of St Peter in his Second Epistle: “until the day dawn, and the day
star arise in your hearts”. This is a beautiful image of the
Fellowcraft’s quest, as he advances surrounded by darkness which dissipates
little by little and who, in the course of his journey to the centre of the
Earth, is not blinded by shadow but, on the contrary, perceives more light.
Like the Three Kings who followed the path of a star shining in the heavens to
find the infant Jesus, he who is Light made flesh, the Fellowcraft must follow
the Blazing Star, the emblem of divine Light, the star arising in his heart and
which will guide him in his initiatic quest.
is what the Fellowcraft is reminded of before departing on his first journey
beyond the Lodge, when it is asked : “Has
he etched in his heart the pattern of the Blazing Star, his guide?”. The
Senior Warden then replies “The
Fellowcraft has etched the Blazing Star, emblem of those eternal laws which
illuminate the consciences of all Masons. During his journey he will know how to
recognise them and immerse himself in their teachings. He will meditate on the
letter G, the eternal principle of all existence”. It is only after he has
drawn the Blazing Star that the Fellowcraft may begin his journey with, in his
ear, one final piece of advice whispered by the Worshipful Master : “Go,
and may the Blazing Star light your path!”.
Blazing Star marked with the letter G is therefore the symbol which transforms
the Freemason into a new Percival in quest of the Grail and of his material and
spiritual place in the Universe. But the Fellowcraft is far from a modern day
Galahad. He will not find the Grail because his journey has not yet ended and
his eyes are not yet strong enough to withstand the full radiance of true Light.
The Grail, symbol of divine perfection and of the conquest of that perfection
which is hidden deep within the soul, cannot be conquered brutally or
materially. It can only be reached by a transformation of the Spirit and the
Heart. The letter G in the centre of the Blazing Star could then also signify
“Grail”. The Philosopher’s Stone, true Light, true Knowledge of oneself
and of the Gods: such is the Grail, the Heart of the Temple that each Mason
It is the quest for
this Grail which may lead to the transmutation of Lead into Gold, of the Profane
into an Initiate.
By etching the Blazing Star, the Mason unites the microcosm and the
macrocosm. He transforms himself into an athanor and, by opening wide his five
senses to the Truths which are hidden in the depths of his soul, he awakens the
Ether. Thus, through the operation of Ether and the four purifying elements, he
opens his heart’s eye and may see the Blazing Star rise within him. This is
when the Fellowcraft knows that he can stray from the Apprentice’s line in his
journey of discovery into the outside world. But he also knows that he must
return to the Rule and continue to follow the path towards the Star. By doing
so, the Fellowcraft accomplishes a further stage in his internal alchemy,
allowing him to grow (as both a Man and a Mason), to clearly see the ashlar that
he tirelessly polishes and to take a new step on the path towards true self
knowledge and accomplishing the Great Work.
me Brethren, prove me by the Square. Ask
me if I am a Fellowcraft, and I will give you only one reply : “I
have seen the Blazing Star !”.
Jules Boucher, La Symbolique Maçonnique
Irène Mainguy, La Symbolique Maçonnique du Troisième Millénaire
My thanks to the anonymous author of a paper on the same subject which provided me with numerous thought provoking ideas and inspirations (http://reveil.anicien.free.fr/page21.htm).