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skull and crossbones

Backwoodslion

Registered User
Could someone tell me the meaning of the skull and crossbones in masonry. I see it I'm a lot of symbols and was wondering what the meaning behind it is. I have heard thinks like it reminds that we are dying and to live the best you can while you are still alive and things like that.

Many Thanks,

Joshua
 
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Mike Martin

Eternal Apprentice
Premium Member
You have already supplied the answer to your own question.

The skull and crossbones is not a specifically Masonic symbol and we use the normal meaning of the "memento mori" as a reminder of the inevitability of death.
 

dfreybur

Premium Member
California does not use the symbol. A few jurisdictions use it in a later degree. You already get its meaning.
 

dfreybur

Premium Member
So you know why we don't use it?

That's a matter of history and lineage. It's not a matter of why we stopped using it because jurisdictions in our lineage never have used it. It's a matter of why should we import it from foreign jurisdictions not in our direct lineage.

The jurisdictions that sponsored the lodges that formed the Grand Lodge of California didn't use it and so on in an unbroken line to the Antients, the Moderns and the GLs of Scotland and Ireland. The jurisdictions that do use the symbol tend to descend from mainland Europe. If you're anywhere near either of the French speaking lodges in California, after you've completed your degrees you could try attending them and seeing if they use it. Those two lodges are authorized to conduct their first degree in a form that descends from the mainland of Europe.
 

phulseapple

Premium Member
Could someone tell me the meaning of the skull and crossbones in masonry. I see it I'm a lot of symbols and was wondering what the meaning behind it is. I have heard thinks like it reminds that we are dying and to live the best you can while you are still alive and things like that.

Many Thanks,

Joshua
As has been indicated, not all jurisdictions use this. Here in NY, my lodge does use it, but only as part of a particular event that we do. The meaning behind it is similar to what you have stated, but goes a little further. It is used to represent something and you might be surprised what that something is. I won't say what it is, I want you to think about it for a while.
 

BryanMaloney

Premium Member

johnny-depp-pirates-of-the-caribbean.jpg


Are you telling me the rum is all gone?
 

Pscyclepath

Premium Member
Wasn't the skull and cross bones also the banner of the fleet of the Knights Templar?

The banner of the Knights Templar was the "Beauseant"... a square banner where the top half was black, and the bottom half white. Among the symbolists, it is generally accepted that the banner reflects the duality of the world. There is a dark, evil, and bitterly frightening side; yet, there is a beautiful, pleasant, and glorious side as well. The black is on top because in this world of sin and transgressions, evil seems to hold sway. However, underneath, the good is ever present and will, in the fullness of time, correct every form of error and bring to justice those who have committed vile and impious acts toward God and toward man. The banner, thus interpreted, was bright and beautiful to friends of Christ, but dark and dreadful to His enemies.
 

jwardl

Registered User
Wasn't the skull and cross bones also the banner of the fleet of the Knights Templar?
Not the banner, as such, but it's my understanding that it was a symbol they used. To them, it represented eternal life.

A brother in my lodge has done some research, btw, indicating that the "navy" of the Knights Templar, after the Knights were disbanded, may have become the first pirates -- hence, the Jolly Roger. Interesting thought...
 

Warrior1256

Site Benefactor
Not the banner, as such, but it's my understanding that it was a symbol they used. To them, it represented eternal life.

A brother in my lodge has done some research, btw, indicating that the "navy" of the Knights Templar, after the Knights were disbanded, may have become the first pirates -- hence, the Jolly Roger. Interesting thought...
Great info, thank you brother.
 

JamestheJust

Registered User
Wasn't the skull and cross bones also the banner of the fleet of the Knights Templar?

I have certainly read that and of course the Templar fleet disappeared - quite possibly to prey upon the shipping of those countries that suppressed the Templars.

Based on the widespread use of crossings in ritual, the esoteric meaning may be: "death is a portal". Thus those fighting were urged to have no fear of death - as was the case in Glastonbury which was eventually bypassed by the Romans who left it unconquered.

So since death is a portal, it is no great step to decide to take no prisoners and that seems to be general meaning in the pirate context.

I should also note that the crossed leg bones is a constant symbol in Mithraic representations and dates back to Osiris (raised husband of the Widow Isis) and beyond to Horus (Hiram) the Elder.
 
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