I will plant cedars, acacia trees, and myrtle trees in the desert,
and the olive tree; I will put the fir tree in the desert, and the
pine, and boxwood together: “
The symbolism of the acacia, or evergreen tree, is well known as a symbol of the Masonic Lodge throughout Freemasonry. It was planted to mark the burial site of a celebrated artist important to Masonic teachings. The Funeral Master uses an evergreen twig during each Masonic funeral ceremony. The acacia wood that was supposedly used by the children of Israel in the construction of the Tabernacle of Moses, as well as the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, is a species of acacia. Being a thorny tamarisk, it also grew around the corpse of Osiris in Egyptian legend and constituted the crown of thorns crushed to the forehead of the Christ during his Passion. In all these events, the acacia represented immortality, for its tenacity of life. Without a doubt, the tamarisk was extraordinarily difficult to kill.
The ancients identified the acacia with the most sensitive plant known as mimosa. A Coptic legend informs us that the mimosa was the first of all trees and shrubs to actually worship Christ. In fact, some of the early Christian fathers used the tree to symbolize the Christ. As such, the ancients intended to convey the notion that trees, plants, and shrubs lived and breathed life forms animated with Divine Light.
Trees are often mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as in the writings of so-called pagans. As examples, we find messages about creation hidden with symbols such as the Tree of Life, which represents the point of balance or spiritual equilibrium, and the Tree of Knowledge, which represents the polarity in the form of good and evil. Moses heard the voice of God emanating from a burning bush. Buddha received his enlightenment while under the bodhi tree and the consecrated rod of Hermes was nothing more than a type of tree.
Philosophers and priests were often called trees. The very name of the Druids supposedly means “the men of the oaks”. Initiates into certain Syrian mysteries were called “cedars.” In fact, the famous “cedars of Lebanon” described in the First Degree of Masonry were initiated sages who constituted the true supports of the Temple of King Solomon. If one listens carefully to the First Degree lessons, he will hear that the three pillars of the lodge symbolically represent the Venerable Master, the Senior Watchers, and the Lesser – originally regarded as three exceptionally wise and talented men who spiritually led the Incoming Apprentices, Companions. and Teachers, or supervisors of the work.
Unlike symbolizing specific people, Freemasonry uses acacia to represent certain principles of spirituality that all people should aspire to achieve. First, it is the emblem of the vernal equinox or annual resurrection of the sun from the death of winter. Second, it signifies purity and innocence, traits also embodied in the legendary character Hiram Abif. Third, it typifies human immortality and the regeneration of life. The evergreen tree represents that immortal part of man that survives the destruction of the physical body and will never, never, never die. Finally, it is the revered emblem of the ancient Egyptian mysteries, to which Freemasonry owes much of its foundation.
The legend of Hiram Abif is generously drawn from the Egyptian mystery ritual of the murder and resurrection of Osiris. As such, the acacia twig also represents the resurrection of Hiram for all Masons. In Egyptian legend, the chest containing the body of Osiris, who was brutally murdered by Typhon, was dragged ashore and lodged in the roots of a tamarisk or acacia tree. The tamarisk became a mighty tree that encloses the body of the slain god. Some writers have theorized that this legend is the basis on which the story about the acacia twig left in Hiram’s tomb was based. Others have also claimed that the current Christmas tree is a continuation of the evergreen mystery.
Among the Masons, the essential lesson taught by the acacia concerns the permanence of the human soul. The issue of permanence is encompassed in the various theologies and philosophies that arise from the notion of resurrection. Today, certain religions teach that when a human being dies, eventually both his soul and his material body continue in a heavenly environment. Other religions hold that only the soul continues to live. Most accept the argument that souls always were and always will be living organisms. Regardless of which interpretation one chooses regarding the afterlife, Freemasonry attaches equally important meaning to this life.
For centuries, men have asked the same question: what is the purpose of human life? Hundreds of thousands have joined Freemasonry over the years in hopes of getting an answer, but have learned that the trade returns them to their churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship to seek more knowledge. As a candidate goes through the degrees of Masonry, he is informed that true knowledge will never be found in one place. A man must search everywhere there is knowledge to understand his relationship with the Great Architect.
During that search, it is as if the inquiring mind will sooner or later stumble upon the teachings of Origen, who lived, wrote and instructed between AD 185 and AD 254. In a period of Christian history, Origen was considered the most accurate. . of all the interpreters on the human soul. Although he was later dismissed by the Church as a heretic, he originally taught that souls repeat themselves in material incarnation, a teaching now called reincarnation. Origen believed that every human being contained a spark of the Creator that had no beginning and no end. In his literary work entitled De Principils, Origen wrote: “Every soul … comes to this world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defeats of the previous life. Its place in this world as a designated vessel to honor or dishonor, is determined by your past merits or demerits. Your work in this world determines your place in the world that follows. “
Without accepting or rejecting reincarnation, Freemasonry makes a similar demand to its members about how each should live the life they have been given. Freemasons are called to live spiritually strong lives; not lives weakened by self-centeredness. When Pike wrote that every man had a job to do, he challenged every Mason not only to make the best of his circumstances, but to do it by serving others. Pray for others, feed the hungry, give the poor generous love for your neighbor, and provide spiritual growth for your family; it is these that Masonry instills in the hearts and souls of the honorable members of the Office.
Acacia reminds us that while our lives are not limited by time, our material existence is controlled by time. No one knows how long you have, but you must know that time is running out. If a good job is to be done in this life, it must be done today, because tomorrow is in God’s hands. As we breathe, stand, walk, and talk, we can do something to improve the lot of our brothers. When the time is up, that work will be done by those who were left behind and we ourselves will not give more. Although life will always continue beyond man’s earthly existence, man’s love, giving, and sharing with others will cease when he returns to earth and his soul to God, who gave it.