Review of Freemasonry

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by Bro C:.D:.
Loge No. 499 "La Rose de Corail"
Grande Loge Nationale Française

“Because 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 Light.” These words introduce the subject of this paper which aims to touch on the symbolism of the Blazing Star through the study of its meaning in the Fellowcraft degree of the AASR. By meditating on this important symbol, the Fellowcraft Mason will better understand the meaning of the degree, together with his place in the Lodge and in the outside world. He will also be able to spiritually prepare himself to be raised a Master Mason. The Blazing Star is thus a guide for the Fellowcraft who emerges from the shadows of apprenticeship and sets out along the long path towards the Light.

Because 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 Light.


The 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.


During 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.


Placed 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 degree.


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.


This 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.


The 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.


Thus, 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) :


Moses 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 outside world.


Remember 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.


This 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!”.


The 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 builds  T\T\G\O\T\G\A\O\T\U\. 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.


Try 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 (

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