The Tracing Board of the Entered Apprentice
A marvelous Work of Architecture of an Entered Apprentice from the R:L: Octacílio Schüler Sobrinho n.º 105, Oriente de Águas Mornas/SC, Brasil (free adaptation)
When in we come across with the Tracing Board of the Apprentice, we perceive immediately that it is about the ideal representation of a Masonic Lodge, with all the elevated knowledge and instruments of work that compose the Degree of Entered Apprentice, which send us to the times of the Operative Masonry and the construction of the Great Temples of Humanity, such as the Solomon Temple.
We inherit, in such a way, the old knowledge of our operative ancestors through the symbols of its secret science and its magnificent art of building, that today orient the speculative and philosophical Masonry.
Although today we are a Society of Free-Thinkers in search of Virtue, Truth and Perfection, we are however and above all masons and the symbols that we still inherit of our ancestors constitute the body and the soul of Sublime Order: each symbol appearing in the Panel of Entered Apprentice has a deep and universal meaning, much more eloquent that words, much more old than any philosophy. Every Lodge, therefore, is a Temple as a whole and in its details symbolic, an evidence of nature, that gave to Man the model for the first temples build for the Glory of the Diety.
The organization of the Temple of Solomon, the symbolic ornaments that had represented its main adornments, everything had for reference the Universe, as it was perceived by the highest initiated of Antiquity.
The proper concept “Masonry” is symbolic. The similarity of the development of the human character and the spiritual evolution through the symbolism of the art to construct and polish the Rough Stone is something that may be found in any Ancient culture. To ignore such teachings would be to ignore the proper end of our works and efforts. To search to impose definitions to every symbol present in the Panel would be perhaps an offence to all the grandiosity of our doctrine, as an offense to the Free-Thinking spirit that we fight for, because it could easily become a dogma and an absolute truth.
Meanwhile, it is recurrent to admit that all science has its symbols and that many times they speak for itself, alone; but the transmission of knowledge through the language is also indispensable for our development. Many times the Masters that instruct us, never to explain or unveil those symbols but to guide us in the search of the truth hidden in their meanings.
Thus, the Panel of the Apprentice is the esoteric, historical and philosophical synthesis of the First Degree; It is the mystery that was hidden for centuries and from profane generations, being the connector link between the three stages of Time: the past represented by the remembrance of our operative ancestors, and its advanced scientific knowledge; the present, for our arduous and daily work for the construction of a solid moral building and also to conciliate the knowledge of the passed generations with the current generation in our Lodges and at the end the future, represented by the most elevated human ideals that Freemasonry looks to guide with its Light and Knowledge.
All the instruments of Work of the Entered Apprentice are illustrations, therefore, of instruments of transformation of the Nature and the environment. This, in its material and absolutely profane interpretation; on the other hand, they are elements through study and meditation would take us to major moral and spiritual transformations. Some, for its nature, ask for its development, the Force. Others, more necessary and delicate, require Wisdom and Knowledge for its correct handling.
However, all these devices, lead us through the effort and dedication to the Beauty and the Perfection, representing Man who, in its path, had left the dark caves of its original nature, rude and coarse, to inhabit the Enlightned Temples, symmetrical and harmonical of the eternal and sacred Masonic Science.
Mohamad Ghaleb Birani, EA, A:.R:.L:.S:. Octacílio Schüler Sobrinho n.º 105, Oriente de Águas Mornas/SC, Brasil