In some Masonic Rites a mystical age is appropriated to each degree, and the initiate who has received the degree is said to be of such an age. Thus, the age of an Entered Apprentice is said to be three years ; that of a Fellow Craft, five; and that of a Master Mason, seven. These ages are not arbitrarily selected, but have a reference to the mystical value of numbers and their relation to the different degrees.
Thus, three is the symbol of peace and concord, and has been called in the Pythagorean system the number of perfect harmony, and is appropriated to that degree, which is the initiation into an Order whose fundamental principles are harmony and brotherly love. Five is the symbol of active life, the union of the female principle two and the male principle three, and refers in this way to the active duties of man as a denizen of the world, which constitutes the symbolism of the Fellow Craft's Degree ; and seven, as a venerable and perfect number, is symbolic of that perfection which is supposed to be attained in the Master's Degree. In a way similar to this, all the ages of the other degrees are symbolically and mystically explained.
The Masonic ages are---and it will thus be seen that they are all mystic numbers-3, 5, 7, 9, 15, 27, 63, 81.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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