On March 25 and April 1 the 25 Masonic Districts conferred the three Degrees of Freemasonry on over 1400 candidates as part of the Grand Master’s classes. I offer my thanks to all the Brethren that had a part in making these two days truly great for Freemasonry in Ohio.
These new Brethren have just begun their Masonic journey. They will attend their Lodges at least once before the statewide observance of the 300th anniversary of the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England on June 24, 2017, St. John the Baptist Day.
Additionally, Grand Master Kaylor has announced that if they learn and individually complete the minimum Master Mason proficiency examination in Lodge before September 29, 2017 , they will receive his challenge coin.
A wide range of candidate numbers were reported by the Districts, from a high of 182 in the 2nd District to a low of eight in the smallest. Gibson Lodge No. 301 had 36 candidates registered. All the candidates received very good degree work, and fraternal comradery was enjoyed by all who attended the 24 locations around Ohio on those dates.
While I personally believe in the infallibility of our Divine Creator, and understand that the above explanation satisfies many Brothers perfectly well, I endeavored to try and find the source of this particular phrase, in the hopes of discovering, perhaps, why it was chosen.
One of the first conversations I had with Worshipful Brother Chad Simpson was about these lines. “The Grand Lodge of New Jersey was so perplexed by this question,” Chad wrote to me in a late-night conversation, “that they actually removed the word perpendicular from the ritual.” I was fascinated. Could it be that Masonry was dipping into the mystical voodoo math that my high-school teacher had mentioned? Probably not, but I was still interested in finding why those two words were chosen.
Modern calculus began to be standardized in the 17th century and is often accredited to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Isaac Newton (which of these two men did it first is a matter of debate). At that time, certain geometric patterns and concepts went by several terms. Among these terms was that of the word “tangent,” which is a derivative of the Latin tangere, which means “to touch.” In this time, however, it was often said that a line which was tangent to a circle was “perpendicular to it,” because a line drawn from the diameter of that circle to the line would be a right angle.
It is my belief, therefore, that the description of “perpendicular parallel lines” is a specific and intentional use; it describes in two alliterative terms that these two lines are not only parallel to each other, but that they sit at opposite ends of a circle which is perpendicular to them with respect to its diameter. However, as the term “tangent” became the standard among geometricians, the use of “perpendicular” in this way became far less common. Today, it is usually said that a line is perpendicular to the circle’s radius, which has a far less poetic alliteration than that used commonly in ritual work.
Altogether, with all its parts united this emblem teaches us about relationship and connection with one another: while in our own circle we will touch on only so many people and places, there are many others who are likewise connected to the Craft that are outside of where we touch. But they are nevertheless connected solidly to everything we do. It is, like many symbols of Masonry, a symbol of unity and connection to Brothers near and far. The simplicity of the image, and the many meanings found in our work, makes it among my favorite symbols of Masonry because it puts most in plainest possible terms some of the most basic concepts of our art.