"The jewel worn in this degree is a pair of compasses with a rose on either side and surmounted by a



celestial crown. The points of the compasses are extended on the  

segment of a circle with a cross between them.


Beneath the cross is the heraldic emblem known as a "pelican in its piety" and on the reverse a white eagle with its wings extended as if rising in the air."


The ritual then gives an explanation of the jewel and its symbolism pertaining to this degree. I have often sat in chapter and contemplated the 18° jewel, particularly the design of each individual element and its heraldic tradition.


We all recognise the importance of the compasses in Masonry, but at what angle do the points rest on the segment of a circle and has this a particular meaning.

  Boucher writes,  

"In Masonic tradition the angle between the two arms of the compasses is an indication of the

  potential grades of knowledge.  
  Forty-five degrees is equivalent of the eighth, sixty degrees of the sixth and ninety degrees  
  of the fourth. By restricting the angle of the opening to ninety degrees, Masons show that there are limits of knowledge which man should not pass. Ninety degrees is the angle of the square and the square as we know, is the equivalent of matter, while the compasses are symbols of the spirit and of its power over matter. An angle of opening of forty-five degrees shows this control is not fully exercised, while at ninety degrees the two powers are fully  balanced and the compasses have become a true square.  

The relative positioning of the compasses to the square also symbolise the different situations the mason is in respect to spiritual and material forces. If the square is set over the compasses, matter controls spirit; if the compasses are placed over the square, this indicates spiritual control; and lastly if the angle of the opening of the compasses coincides with the right angle of the square, this is harmonization on the highest plane."


The compasses on the 18° jewel are set at 45°, resting on the segment of a circle fully exposed, symbolising spiritual control.


The celestial crown is constructed from what is known as a Scottish antique crown, or in England an eastern crown. It is fundamentally a coronet with eight rays, of which five are visible to the view, it is the addition of stars to these five rays that create the celestial crown.


Our jewel varies, some designs with five stars, others seven. To be in accord with John's revelation the seven stars would be correct, ie; seven stars displayed, with five to the rear and hidden, a total of twelve stars.


The rose is described as an emblem of secrecy and silence and also as a mystical reference to our Saviour in the Song of Solomon,


"I am the rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys" begins the second canticle of the Song of Solomon. An attempt to describe something of magnificent beauty; of perfection, and of an ethereal quality. As beautiful as our Saviour Himself.

  Through the ages the rose has become adopted as an emblem of secrecy and silence, taking  
  its rise from classical mythology when rose garlands were worn at Bacchanalian revels in the  belief that they would moderate drunkenness and loose talk.  
  In the European countries, especially England, it become custom for Inns and public places to decorate the ceilings of private areas with a rose pattern to indicate the confidentiality of the staff. Any action or spoken word "sub-rosa" was most private and not to be revealed under any circumstances.  

The form of the cross varies widely and my research indicates that this item alone is worthy of a future talk,


The cross on the face and obverse sides of the jewel is the Latin crux immissa with its bar horizontal to and high on the upright and is traditionally the cross of Christ, The addition of three horizontal bars to the base signifies the Calvary cross as displayed on the black or reverse side of the red collar,


The Latin Cross only appears in our ritual during the first point; on the jewel; the reverse collar, and on the altar, The cross displayed on the Altar frontal in the Red Room is the Greek Cross.


The Pelican with its curious heraldic representation may be considered as an instance of the application of an existing bird to an entirely fanciful creation.

  Heraldically it is usually depicted with the head and body of an eagle, with wings  
  elevated and the neck embowed pecking with its beak at its breast. The term for  

this is "vulning" itself, and it is known as "in its piety" when standing in this position above its nest and brood of young.


An early Christian legend is unclear whether the female pelican killed her young, or whether the chicks were killed by a serpent. Nevertheless the female was reported to mourn them for three days. After this she stabbed her own chest and resuscitated them with her own blood.


There is however a deeper reason:, as a water fowl, the pelican is a symbol of the moist humour which ancient physical science believed disappeared under water during the growing heat of the sun, only to reappear in winter. The pelican was thus taken for an image of Christ's death and resurrection. Its standing as a Christian symbol is also based upon the wound in its heart from which flowed water and blood, life giving draughts.


The pelican thus symbolises self-sacrifice and devotion, and to Christians it represents Christ, who shed his own blood for mankind and was raised from the dead after three days.
"I bare you on eagles wings and bought you unto myself' Again, the eagle is a subject one could expand to a complete paper, however, I will concentrate on the emblem mounted on the jewel.


The, eagle sometimes called erne, holds the predominant position among birds in heraldry that the lion has among beasts.


As an amoral emblem, it is normally displayed ie; when the body is affronted with the head turned and wings and legs spread out on each side, the wing tips either upwards, or as in the case of our jewel downwards. Usually the head is turned to the right or dexter, on our jewel it is turned to left or sinister, possibly a direct challenge to the forces of evil.


The eagle is the crowning glory of a bird symbolism which is that of a higher spiritual state and hence of Angels as biblical reference so often bears witness.


Psalm 103.5 is a reference to the traditional Hebrew idea that the eagle could burn its wings in the solar fire and plummet into the ocean to re-appear with a new pair. It became a motif of Christian baptismal symbolism.


The pseudo Dionysus the Areapagite explains why eagles stand for Angels since: The representation of the eagle represents the

  kingly, and the soaring, and swift in flight, and quickness and wariness, and agility, and cleverness in search of nourishment which makes strong; and the unimpeded, straight and unflinching gaze toward the bounteous and brilliant splendour of the divine rays of the sun, with the robust endurance of its unusual powers.  

The origin of the Roman custom of releasing an eagle from the pyre of Emperors came from the belief that the eagle soaring toward the sun with open eyes was capable of carrying the souls to heaven. The eagle staring at the sun is also a symbol of direct perception, of mental enlightenment.


The background of the jewel between the arms of the compasses is irradiated, a representation of spiritual enlightenment.


Thus, it may be said sub rosa to the celestial crown of the jewel are the emblems of; spiritual strength; spiritual enlightenment;

  redemption; resurrection; and the true jewel of the degree, the Saviour Himself.  
  "Hidden truths known only to the Perfect Mason"  


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