HTWSSTKS

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by GKA, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. GKA

    GKA Premium Member

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    I have been researching this sequence of eight letters and cannot find any information beyond that which is common knowledge ( I know the meaning )
    Here is what I have found so far;
    Thomas Smith Webb (1771-1819) is known for his work in promoting the York Rite and refining that ritual, He was made a Mason, Blue Lodge, in 1793.
    Now according to Robert H Brown, in his work "Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy" dated 1882, Webb invented the Keystone symbol, ref pp 86, Brown even suggest that Webb added two of his initials to the original sequence which, according to Brown, was only six letters, HTSTKS, ref pp 87.
    There is a big problem with this explanation, Webb was made a master mason in 1793, George Washington was presented an apron by La Fayette in or around 1784, this apron reflects the eight letter sequence at the top, HTWSSTKS.
    What Brown asserts as fact cannot be true. So, where did this sequence originate? Where did Brown get the information that it was originally only six letters, HTSTKS? and if he made it up, why would he do so?
    Does this allude to some greater mystery surrounding the York Rite?
     
  2. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    The explanation comes in the degree work of the Y.R. after Blue Lodge
     
  3. GKA

    GKA Premium Member

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    Thank you for the info, I am well aware of the degree and ritual work/explanation, I am researching its history and what aspect was contributed by Thomas Webb
     
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  4. BroBill

    BroBill Site Benefactor Site Benefactor

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    Sorry for mis-reading your post. I'd be very interested in the results of your research if you publish!

    S&F
    Bro. Bill
     
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  5. GKA

    GKA Premium Member

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    Robert Brown also states that there is no record of the Keystone symbol prior to the work of Webb, around 1799, and he believes that Webb invented the Keystone symbol, Perhaps for the reason alluded to?
     
  6. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    Not all the rituals have as much of the ancient mystery school feel to them as the first 3 degrees. At some point, the ritualists of the day began to formulate their own, with varying degrees of success catching on. It would not surprise me to learn that Webb put the polish on the ritual concerning the keystone, but I would strongly suspect that it had been alluded to previously in perhaps more obscure ritual that has not survived history, although I could be wrong. I've also seen the 8 letter combinations, but with a different meaning. I'm guessing this may have been a by-product of the 19th century ritual changes in response to the many exposes of the day. Maybe the addition of 2 letters was also a by-product of either the expose response changes or even the merging of the moderns and ancients.
     
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  7. GKA

    GKA Premium Member

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    The only reference I can find that Webb added two letters, which just happen to match his initials, comes from Robert Brown, which must be false because the eight letter sequence is found on the Apron given to George Washington in 1784, ten years before Webb was made a Mason.
     

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