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TRIANGLE

A three sided polygon, beign the first enclosed shape possible with

straight lines. The Triangle is important in Masonry due to its

connection to the sacred number three and also because it has long

represented the concept of the Deity in geometrical form.

- Source: MasonicDictionary.com

Articles On The Triangle On This Page

Mackey's Encyclopedia Article

1919 The Builder Article

TRIANGLE

There is no symbol more important in its

significance, more various in its

application, or more generally diffused

throughout the whole system of

Freemasonry, than the triangle. An

examination of it, therefore, cannot fail to

be interesting to the Masonic student.

The equilateral triangle appears to have

been adopted by nearly all the nations of

antiquity as a symbol of the Deity, in some

of his forms or emanations, and hence, probably, the prevailing

influence of this symbol was carried into the Jewish system, where the

Yod within the triangle was made to represent the Tetragrammaton, or

sacred name of God.

The equilateral triangle, says Brother D. W. Nash (Freemasons

Magazine iv, page 294), "viewed in the light of the doctrines of those

who gave it currency as a divine symbol, represents the Great First

Cause, the Creator and Container of all things, as one and indivisible,

manifesting Himself in an infinity of forms and attributes in this

visible universe." Among the Egyptians, the darkness through which

the candidate for initiation was made to pass was symbolized by the

trowel, an important Masonic implement, which, in their system of

hieroglyphics, has the form of a triangle. The equilateral triangle they

considered as the most perfect of figures, and a representative of the

great principle of animated existence, each of its sides referring to one

of the three departments of creation, the animal, vegetable, and

mineral.

The equilateral triangle is to be found scattered throughout the

Masonic system. It forms in the Royal Arch the figure within which the

jewels of the officers are suspended. It is in the Ineffable Degrees the

sacred Delta, everywhere presenting itself as the symbol of the Grand

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Architect of the Universe. In Ancient Craft Masonry, it is constantly

exhibited as the element of important ceremonies. The seats of the

principal officers are arranged in a triangular form, the three Lesser

Lights have the same situation, and the Square and Compasses form,

by their union on the greater light, two triangles meeting at their bases.

In short, the equilateral triangle may be considered as one of the most

constant forms of Masonic symbolism.

The right-angled triangle

is another form of this

figure which is deserving

of attention. Among the

Egyptians, it was the

symbol of universal

nature; the base

representing Osiris, or the

male principle; the

perpendicular, Isis, or the

female principle; and the

hypotenuse, Horus, their

son, or the product of the

male and female

principle.

This symbol was received by Pythagoras from the Egyptians during his

long sojourn in that country, and with it he also learned the peculiar

property it possessed, namely, that the sum of the squares of the two

shorter sides is equal to the square of the longest side-symbolically

expressed by the formula, that the product of Osiris and Isis is Horus.

This figure has been adopted in the Third Degree of Freemasonry, and

will be there recognized as the Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid (see

Forty-seventh Problem).

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

THE TRIANGLE

By Bro. Harold A. Kingsbury, Massachusetts

While the Triangle is seldom directly called to the Mason's attention

there are but few of the symbols used in Masonry which are so

frequently placed before the Craftsman for him to recognize and to

contemplate if he but will. The presentations of this symbol are,

however, generally unemphasized and more or less veiled because that

is the way of Masonry with respect to its first-rate symbols, i.e., the

Cube, Point within the Circle, Square, Apron, etc., as distinguished

from its second-rate symbols, the Beehive, Ark and Anchor, etc. And

these repeated and partially concealed presentations are made with the

design that the Mason will have aroused in him a Spirit of Inquiry and,

so, will turn his attention to the symbol and, by his Masonic

Craftsmanship, bring himself to a knowledge of its history and to an

understanding of its symbolic significance.

The Triangle appears in Masonry in two forms, the Right Triangle, i.e.,

that Triangle which has one of its angles a right angle, ninety degrees,

or the one-fourth part of a Circle, and the Equilateral Triangle, i.e., that

Triangle which has all its sides equal, each to the other, and, of course,

has each of its angles equal to sixty degrees. Although these two

Triangles have, symbolically and historically, certain features in

common, for example, both were used as symbols by the Egyptians and

both present the significant number Three, yet their symbolic

suggestions are in many respects so different that they may, not

improperly, be considered as distinct symbols.

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THE RIGHT TRIANGLE

Of all the references to this Symbol this is obviously not the place to

speak, but any Mason can profitably occupy himself in discovering

them. A few examples of the exoteric presentations and references to it

are: the Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid; the Square of the Square and

Compass, which Square, when a third, and completing side is supplied,

presents the Right Triangle; the stations of the Three Principal Officers

of the Lodge, together with the Altar, which define two Right Triangles;

and the Altar together with the Three Lesser Lights, which, when those

Lights are placed, as in some jurisdictions, at the stations of the Three

Principal Officers, rather than, as in other jurisdictions, about the Altar,

mark out two Right Triangles. Various other examples could be cited,

as there are many, but to do so would but defeat one of the principles

of Masonry the Mason must learn of Masonry by his own effort.

The Right Triangle is to the Mason, as it was to the ancient Egyptians,

the symbol of Universal Nature. The Egyptians, long prior to

Pythagoras, the statement in the Monitor notwithsanding, knew of this

symbol and of those peculiar properties set forth in the statement of

the Forty-Seventh Problem, "In any right triangle the square (A in the

figure) of the side (hypotenuse) opposite the right angle is equal to the

sum of the square (B and C) of the sides (legs) making the right angle."

And the Egyptians, making use of these properties for purposes of

symbolism, considered one leg as symbolizing Osiris, the Male,

considered the other leg as symbolizing Isis, the Female, and

considered the hypotenuse as symbolizing Horus, the Son and product

of Isis and Osiris. Thus, plainly, the Right Triangle presents to the

Mason, for his most earnest and devout consideration, God's Great

Handiwork Universal Nature.

Moreover, this symbol, in calling attention to Osiris and Isis, points out

to the Mason the probable Raurea of an important Legend and teaches

him that that Legend is but another and, so far as the specific character

of its incidents are concerned, relatively "up to date" version of a

world-old legend told and retold to us, as to the ancient Egyptians, by

the rising, sinking, and rerising Sun and by the Procession of the

Seasons.

Again, the Right Triangle, in calling attention to the Forty- Seventh

Problem and, more particularly, to the graphical representation of that

Problem (as in the figure), brings up for contemplation one of the

oldest and most widespread symbols in the world the Swastika (heavy

lines in the figure). Here, then, is presented to the Mason a symbol in

the study of whose history he can profitably spend many hours,

learning of its occurrence in Egypt, Persia, China, Japan, India, Europe

and America; of the Burial Mound at Baharahat, India, dating from the

third century B.C. and having its surrounding wall in the form of an

immense swastika over one hundred feet in diameter; of the swastika's

proud position as "that ancient Aryan symbol which was probably the

first to be made with a definite intention and a consecutive meaning"

(Enc. Brit. 4 641a), etc., etc.

THE EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE

This symbol, while perhaps more emphatically presented to the Royal

Arch Mason than to the Master Mason is, nevertheless, a possession of

the Master Mason and one that, however unobtrusive the references to

it may be, is by no means absent from the Master's Lodge. Exoterically

the Equilateral Triangle is presented by the Compass of the Square and

Compass as, when that symbol is opened to the extent of sixty degrees

(as it should be) and a third, and connecting, side, connecting the ends

of the legs, is supplied, we have presented the Equilateral Triangle.

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Again, when the Three Lesser Lights are placed about the Altar they

define the Equilateral Triangle.

From time immemorial the Equilateral Triangle has been preeminently

the symbol for Deity. For the Triangle is the primary figure from which

all others are built up and the Equilateral Triangle, being wholly

symmetrical, is the one perfect Triangle and thus clearly becomes the

symbol for that Perfect Being in which all things find their beginning

This Symbol is so completely appropriated to the purpose of a symbol

for Deity and Perfection that to here treat of its various other, and

decidedly minor, symbolic significances would but obscure its

pre-eminent symbolic meaning.

In conclusion, then, the Triangle, in the two forms here discussed,

teaches the Mason that far more lies in Masonic symbolism and in

Masonic instruction than appears upon the surface; causes him to

contemplate Universal Nature; points out the probable source of an

important symbolic Legend; draws his attention to what is probably,

the world's oldest symbol, and fixes his attention upon Deity and

Perfection. Is not the study of Masonic symbolism worth the while?

- Source: The Builder - February 1919

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Masonic Magazine The Lodge Room Freemason Info Templar History Stephen Dafoe

MasonicDictionary.com is 2005 - 2007 Stephen A. Dafoe.

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