Masonic Symbolism

The Masculine Journey

The Legend of Hiram Abiff





James Shaw & Tom McKenney, Huntington House Inc., Lafayette, LA, 1988, Appendix B, pp. 142-144.


Masonry is, according to its own philosophers, a system of pure religion expressed in symbols, one which cannot be understood without a knowledge of the true meaning of them. This makes a proper understanding of those symbols terribly important. For the Christian Mason, accepting and guarding those symbols and their "secrets" with his physical life at stake, he must understand them to know that he is doing right.

For the many zealous Masons, trusting their obedience to their obligations to gain them entrance into that "Celestial Lodge Above," those for whom "the Lodge is a good enough religion," the correct understanding of these symbols is the key (they believe) to their eternal destiny. They are trusting in the teachings of the Lodge concerning these symbols with their eternal redemption, or damnation, at stake.

Herein lies the most terrible manifestation of Masonic morality, that philosophy of the elite, which makes whatever they do "right" because it is they (the elite) who do it. Having established and taught the sincere but deceived masses of Masons (the Blue Lodge Masons) that everything depends upon their proper understanding of the symbols of Masonry, they have then deliberately deceived them as to the true meaning of those symbols. Hear the arrogant words of Albert Pike, Supreme Pontiff of Universal Freemasonry, that preeminent Masonic authority:

"The Blue Degrees are but the court or portico (porch) of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine that he understands them… their true explication (explanation and understanding) is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry (those of the 32nd and 33rd Degrees)." (Morals and Dogma, page 819).



Since the true meaning of Masonic symbols (and thus, the true meaning of Masonry itself) is to be known only by the Prince Adepts of Masonry, we must hear what they say concerning them. They (Albert Pike, Albert Mackey, J. D. Buck, Daniel Sickles and others) teach that Masonry is a revival of the Ancient Mysteries (the mystery religions of Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Rome and Greece).

These Ancient religions had two meanings, or interpretations. One was the apparent (exoteric) meaning, known to the uninitiated, ignorant masses; the other (esoteric) meaning was the true meaning, entirely different, known only to a small, elite group, initiated into their secrets and secret rituals of worship. These mystery religions were forms of nature-worship, more specifically and most commonly the worship of the Sun as source and giver of life to the Earth. Since Ancient times, this worship of the Sun (and of the Moon, stars and of nature in general) has been sexual in its outworkings and rituals. Since the Sun’s rays, penetrating the Earth and bringing about new life, have been central to such worship, the phallus, the male ‘generative principle,’ has been worshipped and the rituals climaxed with sexual union in the mystery religions of Isis and Osiris, Tammuz, Baal, etc. (1) In summary, then, since the Ancient Mysteries (especially those of Egypt) are in fact the Old Religion of which Freemasonry is a revival, the symbols of Masonry should be expected to be phallic in true meaning. This, in very fact, is the case. A thorough treatment of this unpleasant reality is beyond the scope of this brief summary; however, some examples, with references to the Masonic authorities, will suffice to illustrate this astonishing fact.

a. The Square and Compass

Blue Lodge Masons are taught that the Square is to remind them that they must be "square" in their dealings with all men, i.e., to be honest. The Compass, they are taught, is to teach them to "circumscribe their passions," i.e. to control their desires and to be temperate. The real meaning of these "great lights," however, is sexual. The Square represents the female (passive) generative principle, the earth, and the baser, sensual nature; and the Compass represents the male (active) generative principle, the sun/heavens, and the higher, spiritual nature. The Compass, arranged above the Square, symbolizes the (male) Sun, impregnating the passive (female) Earth with its life-producing rays. The true meanings, then are two-fold: the earthly (human) representations are of the man and his phallus, and the woman with her receptive cteis (vagina). The cosmic meaning is that of the active Sun (deity, the Sun-god) from above, imparting life into the passive Earth, (deity, the earth/fertility goddess) below and producing new life (2)

b. The Letter "G"

The Blue Lodge Mason is taught that the "G" in the Masonic symbol represents God. Later on, he is told that it also represents "deity." Later still, he is told that it represents "geometry." In reality, this letter represents the "generative principle," the Sun-god and, thus, the worshipped phallus, the male "generative principle…" In its position (along with the Square and Compass) on the east wall over the chair (throne) of the Worshipful Master, it is the representation of the Sun, thus of the Sun-god, Osiris. Its earthly meaning, then, is of the sacred phallus; its cosmic meaning is of the Sun, worshipped since antiquity by pagans while facing the East. (See c, below).

c. The "G" and the "YOD"

The English letter "G" in Masonic symbolism is inseparable from, and identical with, the Hebrew letter "YOD." This "YOD" is the symbol on the Scottish Rite ring. "YOD" represents deity in general (its cosmic meaning), and the worshipped phallus in particular (its earthly meaning). Albert Pike wrote that the "G" displayed in English speaking lodges is merely a corruption of the "YOD" (with which it should be replaced), and that "the mysterious YOD of the Kabala" is the "image of the Kabalistic Phallus." (3) The "Kabalah" he refers to here is a medieval book of the occult, a highly mystical and magical interpretation of the Bible, (4) and important sourcebook for sorcerers and magicians. (5)

d. The Point Within a Circle

The Masons of the Blue Lodge are taught that the Point within a Circle represents the individual Mason (the Point), contained and restricted by the boundary line of his duty (the Circle). Its real meaning, however, is that of the phallus, positioned within the female generative principle (sex organ), the climactic act of Sun-god worship. (6)

Dr. Albert Mackey, already quoted herein, also writes in his classic work "Symbolism of Freemasonry," page 352, "Phallus, a representation of the virile member which was venerated as a religious symbol… It was one of the modifications of sun worship, and was a symbol of the fecundating power of that luminary. The Masonic point within a circle is undoubtedly of phallic origin."

e. The Vertical Lines

The two vertical lines touching the sides of the circle are represented to the Blue Lodge Mason as "the Holy Saints John." By this is meant John the Baptist and John the Apostle. In reality, the two vertical lines represent the Summer and Winter Solstices, the shortest and longest nights of the year, respectively. These nights are, and have been since antiquity, important periods for pagan worship.

Concerning these two lines, Albert Mackey has written ("Symbolism of Freemasonry," page 352), "The lines touching the circle in the symbol of the point within a circle are said to represent St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, but they really refer to the solstitial points, Cancer and Capricorn, in the Zodiac."

f. The Bible

The Bible, only one of the "Three Great Lights" of Masonry (along with the Square and Compass), is represented to Blue Lodge Masons as symbolizing truth. In reality, the Bible may be replaced with the Koran, the Book of the Law, The Hindu scriptures or any other "holy book," depending on the preferences of the men in the Lodge. In most American Lodges, the members are told that all the Masonic system and its rituals are "based on the Bible." Such, however is not the case. In Chase's "Digest of Masonic Law," pages 207-209, it is clearly written that "Masonry has nothing whatever to do with the Bible," and that "it is not founded upon the Bible, for if it were it would not be Masonry, it would be something else."

Albert Pike, in writing on the subject of Masonry's source-book said, "Masonry is a search after light. That search leads us directly back, as you see, to the Kabalah." (Morals and Dogma, page 741). The Kabalah, then, seems to be the actual sourcebook of Masonry and the Bible merely (as it is spoken of in the ritual) a piece of the "furniture" of the Lodge.

NOTE: For more information concerning Masonic symbols and their true meanings, see McQuaig, C.F., "The Masonic Report," Answer Books and Tapes, Norcross, GA, 1976; Storms, E.M., "Should a Christian Be a Mason?," New Puritan Library, Fletcher NC 1980; and Mackey, Albert G., "Symbolism of Freemasonry," Charles T. Powner Co., Chicago 1975.


  1. "Phallus: a representation of the virile member (male sex organ) which was venerated as a religious symbol very universally… by the ancients. It was one of the modifications of Sun-worship, and was a symbol of the fecundating (impregnating) power of that luminary. The Masonic point within a circle is undoubtedly of phallic origin." (Mackey, Albert G., "Symbolism of Freemasonry," p. 352)
  2. Pike, Albert, "Morals and Dogma," pp. 11, 839, 850, 851.
  3. Pike, Albert, "Morals and Dogma," pp. 5, 757, 758, 771, 772.
  4. Cabala (Kabalah) is a medieval and modern system of theosophy, mysticism and thaumatology (magic), "Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary." P. 53.
  5. Baskin, Wade, "The Sorcerer's Handbook," New York, Philosophical Library, 1974.

"These two divinities… were commonly symbolized by the generative parts of man and woman… The Phallus and Cteis (vagina), emblems of generation and production, and which, as such, appeared in the Mysteries. The Indian Lingam was the union of both, as were the Boat and Mast, and the Point within the Circle… Pike Albert, "Morals and Dogma," p. 401.



by Robert Hicks



We apologize for the offensive content of this material, the inclusion of which was sorely debated; however Masculine Journey is still published and sold as a Christian book and therefore requires examination by Christians.


Chapter 3 ~

The Phallic Male - Zakar: The Mysterious Taskmaster

The Phallus as the Organ of Gender Discrimination

The second word used for man or male is the Hebrew word zakar, which is usually translated as "male" in opposition to woman. (1) This word is used eighty-two times in the Old Testament, but when the Semitic roots for the word are examined, the primary verbal idea is "to be sharp, or pointed." (2) Now, the connotation is not that of being a "sharp" dresser or such. The meaning has to do with the male protrusion, hence the male penis or phallus. When Arabic (also a Semitic language using the same three consonantal bases for words) is consulted, the word for male (dakar) and the word for penis is the same word. (3) In other words, the Scriptures root male identity and sexuality firmly in anatomy, rather than psychology or sociology. Male identity, as determined by modern psychology, says, "You are a male if you feel like one." Sociology might say, "You are a male if you do the kinds of things that the given culture says you should do to be considered male." Obviously, in this rapidly changing culture mixed with the garden variety of pop psychologies, male identity can mean virtually anything.

The Bible simply defines manhood by the phallus, the very way the doctor did when my son was born. I am a male, whether I feel like it or not, or whether I ever do anything considered masculine by the culture in which I am living. This is the fixed point on the male journey that roots my identity as a man in something that will never change. Yes, sex-change operations take place, but they only illustrate the complete rebellion and perversion of the concept. The entirety of the Scriptures reflect the simple twofold division of the entire human and animal kingdom into male (zakar) and female (neqevah). The female term likewise has anatomical overtones in meaning, namely having the ideas of being "bored through, and pierced." (4) This roots the essential identity of both sexes in the equipment they show up with at birth. Such equipment we know has been developing differently from the time of conception.

On the day my son, Graham, was born, he did not know what it meant to be phallic. This awareness, with all its associated ideas and problems, came later with puberty. But for now let me continue to address how the Scriptures use this word zakar.

The Phallus as Determiner of Religious Service

The feminist era has made all gender differentiation into political discrimination. Therefore, when some feminists read the Bible all they see is the sexual discrimination that they believe dominated the biblical writers' instruction. However, the Bible says only what it says, and often what we see in it is what we want to see. It is very easy to view the Bible through the cultural or political glasses that we have already embraced as correct. Therefore, we go to the Bible to justify our own political or theological correctness. And we make our modern agendas lord, rather than going to the Bible and seeking to understand its message in a radically different time and place. There are many things in the Bible that seem unfair, but the reason they seem unfair is because modern standards of fairness differ radically from what we read in the Bible. The real question I need to ask myself as a Bible reader is, "Where did I get my current standards for fairness?" We get them through the agency of our modern cultural perspectives and influences. Therefore, the fact that spiritual service in the Old Testament was regulated by gender seems offensive to modern readers. I can't answer why this is so or what it really means to the church today, but I do know there are differences. So what are the differences?

First, the celebrative animal offerings made during Israel's feasts were made on the basis of gender. Heads of households on Passover were to bring a male lamb (Exodus 12:5). For a guilt offering only a female sheep or goat was allowed (Leviticus 5:6). Peace offerings could be either male or female (3:1,6), while all freewill offerings had to be male (22:19). Why? I have no idea! No reason is given in the text for the differences. But what it does reveal is that each individual was required to worship God in specific ways. I don't believe there was any preference toward maleness or femaleness in this system. However, some feminists have noted that only the male was required to bring a sacrifice (Exodus 23:17, 34:23; Deut 16:16). This is true. It was also true that only males could be priests (Exodus 28:1; Lev. 8:1-3). Furthermore, only males could be killed in mass murder and used as cannon fodder in war, while women and children were often allowed to live (Deut. 20:13-14). (5) Men also got to pay far more money than women for making the same vows (Lev. 27:3,5-6).

These differences seem just as unfair to me as a man when I view them through the lens of my modern "enlightened" society. Why should I as a man have to pay more money than a woman for making the same religious vow? Or why should I have to risk my own life in warfare, when at least women have the option of being servants of the winning army and staying alive? These stipulations do not seem fair. One can view these differences as one would examine the bark of trees while missing what is going on in the forest. Even though I don't know exactly why these differences exist -- since no explanation is given -- it is my generalization that what it says about the phallic male is that there is no conflict between sexuality and spirituality. We are called and addressed by God in terminology that describes who and what we are -- zakar, phallic males.

Possessing a penis places unique requirements upon men before God in how they are to worship Him. We are called to worship God as phallic kinds of guys, not as some sort of androgynous, neutered nonmales, or the feminized males so popular in many feminist-enlightened churches. We are told by God to worship Him in accordance with what we are, phallic men.

The Phallus as the Symbol of Dedication and Connection

Years ago we moved our family to the beautiful isle of Hawaii. Like all newcomers we toured the outer islands and took in the ancient Hawaiian culture. On one occasion I remember staring at various ancient artifacts. As my wife noticed the same statue I was looking at, she questioned, "Why is it so large?" Her question was not related to the size of the statue but the size of its protruding phallus. I laughed and answered, "Nothing ever changes." Feminine puzzlement appeared on her face as she quickly moved to the next display. I could tell she really didn’t understand what I was getting at. To me there was very little difference between this Hawaiian idol/image and the artifacts that are sold regularly in "adult" bookstores. I'm sure some day archaeologists will dig up the adult toys from our current society and view them as elements of our religious worship. They will be right, because that's precisely what they are and always have been. The phallus has always been the symbol of religious devotion and dedication. Professor George Elder notes,

"Phallus, like all great religious symbols, points to a mysterious divine reality that cannot be apprehended otherwise. In this case, however, the mystery seems to surround the symbol itself. . . . It is not as a flaccid member that this symbol is important to religion, but as an erect organ." (6)

The Hawaiian phallus was, of course, as described!

The first thing we learn about the phallus in the bible is that it is the male organ that is singled out as the unique site for the first wound and bloodletting a man will face -- circumcision (Gen. 17:10, 14). Some have debated whether this first circumcision was nothing more than a bloodletting done by Zipporah, Moses' wife, on her own son, in order to appease God's wrath against Moses (Exodus 4:25). Whatever the origin, the ceremony became a male marker for both the child's dedication to God and his being linked to the community of Israel. It was also a symbolic recognition of God's faithfulness in the provision of male offspring who could, in turn, produce more offspring to continue the covenant. Circumcision, placed upon the organ of regeneration, created both a symbolic and physical wound that was a daily reminder to the boy and man of who he was. Every Israelite, when looking at himself naked, was reminded of how different he was from the Gentiles and for what purpose. In this sense, his sexuality took on spiritual significance. Every time he used his penis, he was making a spiritual statement about who he was and who he worshiped and why. It has always been this way, for every Jew in every culture!

In modern culture the phallus has been separated from spiritual categories. In some of the religious circles I have traveled in, men and women view the phallus as a spiritual liability. Women sort of tolerate or joke about the phallus functions in men, and in the church it is a rare cleric who gives any clarification to men on how the phallus should be understood and used. The silence says as much as the overt messages. The phallus is not a spiritual subject to be discussed alongside God, the Church and more "spiritual" doctrines.

This division of sexuality and spirituality is rather recent in the history of religious experience. In most pagan societies, sexuality is seen as an important aspect of uniting the spiritual with the physical and with the worship of gods and goddesses. In may cities, sacred prostitutes "served" at the temples in order to be the mediatrix between the gods and humans. One writer notes,

"The 'heiros gamos,' the sacred prostitute was the votary chosen to embody the goddess. She was the goddess' fertile womb, her passion and her erotic nature. In the union with the god, embodied by the reigning monarch, she assured the fertility and well-being of the land and the people. . . she did not make love in order to obtain admiration or devotion from the man who came to her, for often she remained veiled and anonymous; her raison d'Ítre was to worship the goddess in lovemaking, thereby bringing the goddess love into the human sphere. In this union -- the union of masculine and feminine, spiritual and physical -- the personal was transcended and the divine entered in. As the embodiment of the goddess in the mystical union of the sacred marriage, the sacred prostitute aroused the male and was the receptacle for his passion . . . . The sacred prostitute was the holy vessel wherein chthonic and spiritual forces united." (7)

Now certainly I am not suggesting that true sexuality and spirituality should be untied in this way. After all, this was what the Apostle Paul was trying to straighten out in the Corinthian church because some of the believers were apparently still having intercourse with sacred prostitutes (I Cor. 6:15-20). In order to correct this perversion, he encourages the cultivation of a sexual relationship in marriage as a prevention from this abundant "sacred sex." Apparently, even the married couples had become abstinent as an overreaction to the Corinthian extremes and had thrown the sexual relationship totally out of marriage. To this problem, Paul tells them to "stop depriving themselves," and to recultivate the sexual area of their marriage lest they be severely tempted by the culture (or Satan). In similar fashion the Church has been reacting and overreacting on the relation of sexuality to spirituality ever since.

Current Christianity cannot openly deal with or talk about the male phallus in its full sexuality or fantasy. Much of the original manuscript for my book Uneasy Manhood, on the subject of men's sexuality, was edited out because it was too frank and honest, even about a Christian man's sexuality. On the other hand, modern psychology has become so sexually oriented that if a client is holding back anything of a sexual nature, he is viewed as one who has not fully disclosed, or is not being clinically honest, or must be manifesting psychological denial about his sexuality. At the same time, most secular therapists have not given much attention tot he adjacent spiritual issues that surround a full understanding of the phallus. Thus, they deal with sexual addictions and dysfunctions without considering the larger and deeper connections that might relate to issues of worship, spiritual bondage, or demonic activity. Monick observes this oversight by both psychology and the Church. He writes,

"People are uneasy with the correlation of sexuality and religion. Christianity, especially has separated the two in a way that would make them appear to be irreconcilable. Psychiatry continues the disjuncture, emphasizing it with pathological labels. The church elevates religion, devaluing sexuality. Psychiatry does the opposite -- elevating sexuality and devaluing religion. The union of sexuality and religion is like and electrical connection. Wrong joining leads to disaster. No joining produces no energy. Proper joining holds promise." (8)

A scriptural theology of sexuality joins them properly. I believe until the church sees men for what they are, phallic males with all their inherent spiritual tensions, it will not begin to reach men where they are living. Without proper teaching on the phallus, men will carry around in the psyches a spiritual god-hunger so mysterious and powerful that when driven underground, it will seek spiritual fulfillment only in the secrecy of motel rooms, adult videos, and in the bragging and joking about sexual exploits in athletic locker rooms. For many men in our culture, the secrecy has driven them to gay bars, topless nightclubs, and endless affairs. This sexual energy, which is essentially spiritual, takes place under the cover of darkness, perhaps because the Church has not shed enough light on the spiritual nature of our sexuality. Therefore, our sexual compulsions, addictions, and aberrations have become our expressions of worship -- worship of a false god.

Chapter 8 - A New Male Journey

Seeing Jesus as the Voice of God

The second most often-asked question I get at men's retreats is, "Where does Jesus fit into all this?' Well, He fits very nicely as the One who moves us on from one stage to the next. He is the only One who can genuinely empathize with where we are because He also has experienced the same stages on the masculine journey (Heb. 4:15). Jesus, of course, was the second Adam (Rom. 5:14), and as the second Adam was very much human, He experienced the full range of human emotional and physical life, yet did not sin. But the Hebrews passage affirms for us that He was sincerely tempted to sin. I believe He was truly tempted without compromising His deity.

Jesus was very much zakar, phallic. As much as the feminists try to ignore this issue, Jesus was very much masculine, and masculine means being male, and being male means having a penis. There's no way around it. some in church history could not tolerate the exposure of the Son of God's genitalia. Therefore, you will never find a portrait of the crucifixion of Jesus with penis exposed, even though it was a common Roman custom to crucify criminals naked. Even the gospel writers tell us that Jesus outward garment was torn into four pieces, leaving the inner tunic, which was then gambled for intact (John 19:23-24). That left nothing. No underpants. Nothing. And I seriously doubt that the soldiers would have wrapped a towel around Him for the sake of the portrait!

I believe Jesus was phallic with all the inherent phallic passions we experience as men. But it was never recorded that Jesus had sexual relations with a woman. He may have thought about it as the movie Last Temptation of Christ portrays, but even in this movie He did not give in to the temptation and remained true to his messianic course. If temptation means anything, it means Christ was tempted in every way as we are. That would mean not only heterosexual temptation but also homosexual temptation! I have found this insight to be very helpful for gay men struggling with their sexuality.

THE MASCULINE JOURNEY, Robert Hicks, NavPress, 1993

Pp. pp. 47-55; 180-181.


  1. William L. Holladay, ed., A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1971), p. 89.
  2. See Brown, Driver and Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament; and G. Johannes Botterwick and Helmer Ringgren, ed., Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), pp. 82-87.
  3. Botterwick and Ringgren, p. 83.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Women were killed in the conquest of Canaan, but it seems this was not the intent of what was declared in Deuteronomy.
  6. Quoted in Eugene Monick, "Phallos and Religious Experience," in Keith Thompson, ed., To Be a Man: in Search of the Deep Masculine (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1991), p. 127.
  7. Nancy Qualls-Corbett, The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine (Toronto: Inner City Books, 1988), pp. 39-40.
  8. Monick, p. 127.



(The Egyptian Connection)



Jim Shaw & Tom McKenney

Appendix D

The heart of Freemasonry is the Blue Lodge with its three degrees. The climactic degree (and the final one for most Masons) in the Blue Lodge is the Third, or Master Mason Degree. The heart of the Master Mason Degree, the thing that gives it both meaning and substance, is without any doubt the reenactment of the Legend of Hiram Abiff. It is this central figure in the legend, this Hiram the "Widow's Son," the "Tyrian Architect," this 'First Grand Master' who is impersonated by every man who is initiated as a Master Mason. It is Hiram who is at the very heart of the foundation of all of Masonry. His true identity and nature become, then, matters of extreme significance. Just who -- and what -- was this man, Hiram Abiff?

1. The Masonic Tradition

According to the Masonic legend, Hiram Abiff was a man of Tyre, the son of a widow, and the chief architect of the Temple built by King Solomon. He was the central character in the building of the Temple and one of three leading characters along with King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre. Hiram Abiff, Masonry teaches, was the only one on Earth who knew "the secrets of a Master Mason," including the most important secret of all, the "Grand Masonic Word," the name of God (the "ineffable name"). Since, in occult lore, knowing the name of a spirit is a key to having its power, there was a very great power in knowing this word. Knowing the other "secrets of a Master Mason" would enable the masons/workmen working on the Temple project to go out on their own, working as Master Masons and earning Master Mason's wages."

This Hiram had promised to reveal the "secrets of a Master Mason," including the name of God ("Grand Masonic Word"), upon completion of the Temple, and to make the workmen Master Masons, able then to go out on their own as masters (they were, as yet, only "fellowcraft" Masons). One day Hiram went, as was his custom, into the unfinished Holy of Holies at noon ("High Twelve") to worship and to draw up the work plans (on his "trestleboard") for the workmen to follow the next day. The workmen were outside the Temple for their lunch break ("…the craft were called from labor to refreshment…")

As Hiram was leaving the Temple he was accosted by three "ruffians," in succession, who demanded that they be given the secrets immediately (without waiting for the Temple to be completed). He was handled roughly by the first ruffian (Jubela), but escaped. Accosted and handled roughly by the second ruffian (Jubelo), he again refused to divulge the secrets and again escaped. The third ruffian (Jubelum) then accosted him and, when Hiram again refused to divulge the secrets, killed him with a blow to the forehead with a setting maul. The body was hastily concealed under some rubbish in the Temple until midnight ("low twelve") when it was taken out to the brow of a hill and buried. The grave was marked by a branch of Acacia (an evergreen tree common in the Middle East), and the three ruffians attempted to escape the country. Denied passage on a ship out of the country, they retreated into the hills to hide. Meanwhile, back at the Temple, it was noticed that Hiram was missing and King Solomon was notified. Solomon immediately ordered a search in and about the Temple with no success. At this point 12 "fellowcrafts" reported to the King that they and three others (the three "ruffians") had conspired to extort the secrets of Hiram Abiff but they had repented and refused to go through with the murderous plan. They reported that it was those other three who had murdered Grand Master Hiram and King Solomon then sent them out in groups of three to search in all directions.

After questioning the sea captain who had refused the murderers passage, three of the searchers then followed the murderers' path and discovered the grave with its Acacia at the head. Digging down and recognizing the body, they reported back to Solomon. Solomon sent them back to locate the grave, positively identify the body as Hiram and to attempt to raise it from the grave with the grip of an Entered Apprentice. They relocated the grave but were unable to raise the body because decomposition had caused the flesh to cleave to the bone.

Reporting back to Solomon, they were told to return to the grave and attempt to raise the body with the grip of a Fellowcraft. When this failed because the skin slipped away, they reported back to Solomon who, himself, went to the grave and raised the body up with the grip of a Master Mason, the "Strong Grip of a Lion's Paw." Hiram was not only brought up out of the grave, but restored to life. The first word he spoke was the replacement for the "Grand Masonic Word" lost at his death and that word is the one passed down to Master Masons to this day. (1) This, then, is the Masonic legend of Hiram Abiff, and most Blue Lodge Masons believe that it is a factual, scriptural and historical account. It is generally believed, in spite of the fact that the Masonic authorities and writers of doctrine agree that it is not only a myth, unsupported by facts, but acknowledge that it is but a retelling of Isis and Osiris.

2. The Bible Record

Does the Bible record such as person as Hiram Abiff? Definitely not, although part of his identity is taken from the Bible. The Scriptures record two men named Hiram concerning the building of the Temple by King Solomon; one is Hiram, King of Tyre, who was supportive of Solomon and who provided materials and workmen for the project. The other Hiram, called "a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali," was a worker in brass, not the architect of the entire Temple. He made the brass pillars, the brass lavers, shovels and basins. The Scriptures record that this Hiram, the widows son, completed all the work that he had come to do on the Temple. Presumably, he then returned to his home in Tyre, safe and sound (there is no indication in the Bible of anything to the contrary). (2) Concerning the Masonic claim that Hiram, the widow's son, was chief architect of the Temple, the Bible is clear in establishing that he was no such thing. The Bible reveals that God, Himself, was the designer and architect of the Temple, that He gave the plans in minute detail to David and that David gave them to Solomon, (3) along with most of the materials. To claim that anyone but God was the Chief Architect of the Temple is unfounded and, I believe, blasphemous.

3. The Egyptian Connection

It is the consensus of opinion among Masonic authorities, philosophers and writers of doctrine that the legend of Hiram Abiff is merely the Masonic version of a much older legend, that of Isis and Osiris, basis of the Egyptian Mysteries. The following is a brief summary of that legend, and a comparison with the Masonic legend of Hiram Abiff. This comparison is supported, beyond doubt, by the conclusions of the Masonic authorities.

a. The legend of Isis and Osiris

Osiris, both King of the Egyptians and their god, went on a long journey to bless neighboring nations with his knowledge of arts and sciences. His jealous brother, Typhon (god of Winter) conspired to murder him, steal his kingdom and did so. Isis, sister and wife of Osiris and his queen (as well as Egypt's Moon-goddess) set out on a search for the body, making inquiries of all she met.

After certain adventures, she found the body with an Acacia tree at the head of the coffin. Returning home, she secretly buried the body, intending to give it proper burial as soon as arrangements were made. Typhon, by treachery, stole the body, cut it up into 14 pieces and hid them in as many places. Isis then made a second search and located all the pieces but one; the one missing and lost part was the phallus.

She made a substitute phallus, consecrated it, and it became a sacred substitute, and object of worship.

This, in extremely abbreviated form, is the Egyptian legend of Isis and Osiris. It is without doubt, the basis for the Masonic legend of Hiram Abiff. To support this "Egyptian connection," let's consider two things: a brief comparison of key elements in both stories and the conclusions of the Masonic authorities in Masonic source-writings.

b. A Brief Comparison of the Legends of Hiram Abiff and Osiris

The fundamental similarity between the two stories may be seen in many respects; the following are some of the most important:

(1) Both men went to foreign lands to share their knowledge of arts and sciences.

(2) In both legends there is a precious thing possessed: Hiram has the secret word; Osiris has the kingdom.

(3) In both legends there is a wicked conspiracy by evil men to seize the precious thing.

(4) In both legends there is a struggle and a murder of the virtuous leader.

(5) Both are murdered by their brothers (Osiris by Typhon; Hiram by Jubelum, his brother Mason).

(6) Both bodies are buried hastily, with the intention of a later, deliberate burial.

(7) Locations of the bodies are both marked by Acacia at the head.

(8) In both legends, there are two separate searches for the bodies.

(9) In both legends there is a loss of something precious: in Hiram's death, the secret word is lost; in Osiris' death, the phallus is lost.

(10) In both there is a substitution for the precious thing that has been lost; concerning Hiram it is the substitute for the secret word; concerning Osiris it is the substitute phallus.

c. Conclusions of the Masonic Authorities

A few statements from the most authoritative Masonic writers will suffice to express the doctrinal consensus:

(1) "The legend and traditions of Hiram Abiff form the consummation of the connecting link between Freemasonry and the Ancient Mysteries." (Pierson, "Traditions of Freemasonry," p. 159)

(2) "We readily recognize in Hiram Abiff the Osiris of the Egyptians…" (Pierson, p. 240)

(3) "Osiris and the Tyrian Architect (Hiram Abiff) are one and the same." (Sickles, Daniel, "Freemason's Guide." p. 236)

(4) "That part of the rite (Master Mason initiation) which is connected with the legend of the Tyrian Artist (Hiram Abiff)…should be studied as a myth and not as a fact…outside of Masonic tradition there is no proof that an event such as is related in connection with the "Temple Builder" ever transpired and, besides, the ceremony is older by more than a thousand years than the age of Solomon… It is thoroughly Egyptian." (Sickles, Daniel, "The Ahiman Rezon," p. 195)

(5) It (the Legend of Hiram Abiff) is thoroughly Egyptian, and is closely allied to the Supreme Rite (highest degree) of the Isianic Mysteries (Mystery religion of Isis and Osiris)." (Mackey, Albert, "Lexicon of Freemasonry," p. 195)


Thus, it seems clear, the Hiram Abiff of Freemasonry is not an historical character and certainly not a biblical one. Rather, he actually represents Osiris, the Egyptian Sun-god, and the reenactment of the Legend of Hiram Abiff is actually the reenactment of the legend of Isis and Osiris.

Thus, each sincere man who is initiated into the Third (Master Mason) Degree of Masonry impersonates Osiris, the Sun-god of Egypt, and enters into his life of good deeds, his death, his burial and is "raised" in his resurrection from the dead. With this understood, it is then easy to understand the statement in the Kentucky Monitor (handbook for all Blue Lodge Masonry in the Grand Lodge of Kentucky) that, while the Christian's Messiah is called Jesus, the Mason's Messiah is called Hiram (Kentucky Monitor, "the Spirit of Masonry," xv).

(1) It puzzles me that no one has questioned the necessity for a "substitute" for the lost Grand Masonic Word. If it was lost at the death of Hiram because only he knew it, then why, when Hiram was raised back to life, didn't Solomon just ask him what the real, original one was? All Solomon needed to do was say something like, "Hiram…praise the Lord that you are no longer dead! Now what was that word all this fuss has been about?"

(2) I Kings 7:13-47

(3) I Chronicles 17;1-15; 22:11-29:9 (especially 28:19)


A Sacred Assembly

Masonic Foundations of the United States