The record of the 1877 proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Washington includes a report presented by Bro. T. M. Reed, for the special committee appointed to procure a Grand Lodge Banner, and Jewels and Aprons for the Grand Lecturer and Grand Chaplain:
To M. W. Grand Lodge of Washington:
The special committee appointed near the close of our last Annual Grand Communication, and authorized to procure a Grand Lodge Banner, having suitable design and inscriptions, for the use of this Grand Lodge, and also, to procure suitable Regalia and Jewels for the offices of Grand Lecturer and Grand Chaplain, respectively report that they have discharged the duties assigned them. Before purchasing the Banner your committee corresponded with various Masonic furnishing establishments in the East, and one of our members made it a special point while on a recent visit to San Francisco, and the Atlantic cities, to elicit such information as would aid the committee in the choice of a Banner of such style, quality and price, as would meet the desires and be alike creditable and pleasing to the Grand Lodge. Your committee flatter themselves they have succeeded, and feel assured the result of their labors will be satisfactory to the Grand Lodge. The Banner cost $150, to which add Express charges of $15.30 making a total of $165.30. It was manufactured at the well known establishment of J. D. Caldwell & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. The description of the Banner is as follows: Size 56×40 inches; double white silk ground; ornamented by blue top skirt, differing in style on either side; on front side, painted Grand Lodge Seal, solid gold device and lettering in back, the corners embellished and ornamented with appropriate scroll designs – blue on top skirting border, the word “ALKI” our Territorial motto. Reverse side – white silk ground blue top skirt, painted on body of Banner a large shield representing the lion, the ox, the man and the eagle, the shield encircled by a wreath of variegated colors. The words “Grand Lodge of Washington” encircling the whole device on reverse side. Two and a half inch gold fringe, with gold tassels around the margin of Banner and skirting; metal top piece, jointed staff, roller, gold cord and tassels, &c.
The Jewels and Regalia cost $34, including Express charges, bill for which, including the Banner, are herewith presented, the whole having been paid by the Grand Secretary, and charged in his incidental expense account.
J. R. Hayden,
P. A. Preston,
T. M. Reed,
Today’s Grand Standard retains many of the features described on the 1877 Banner.
The Grand Standard of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, F&AM of Washington measures approximately 25” wide and 42” long, and is rich in both color and Masonic symbolism. The rod upon which it is carried is nearly 94” long, inclusive of the 8” brass spear point at the top.
The art and science of devising, displaying, and granting armorial insignia and of tracing and recording genealogies is referred to as heraldry. The primary mechanism to display the heraldic devices is on an escutcheon or shield.iModern heraldry often adds a motto displayed on a ribbon.
Dexter and sinister are terms, which refer to the specific locations on a shield bearing a coat of arms. Dexter (Latin for “right”) refers to the right from the viewpoint of the bearer of the shield. Sinister (Latin for “left”) refers to the left from the viewpoint of the bearer.ii Similarly, chief and base refer to the top and bottom of the shield, respectively.
The obverse of the Grand Standard is a field of white, bearing the name GRAND LODGE OF WASHINGTON, a shield, a laurel wreath, and the square & compasses. Across the top of the obverse is a purple bib emblazoned with the word “ALKI”.
The shield of the Grand Standard consists of a lion on a field of red (Dexter Chief), an ox on a field of blue (Sinister Chief) an eagle on a field of white (Sinister Base), and a man on a field of blue (Dexter Base).
Royal Arch Masonry tradition teaches us that the symbols on the shield are representative of the “Four Living Creatures”, or the four principal tribes of Israel; Judah (the Lion, representing strength), Ephraim (the Ox, representing patience), Reuben (the Eagle, representing swiftness), and Dan (the Man, representing intelligence).iii
We read in the Volume of Sacred Law about the four living creatures in Ezekiel 1:5-11 and again in Revelation 4:7.
The colored fields upon which the symbols are placed also have Masonic meaning; red is representative of the regeneration of life, blue represents the vault of heaven and is a symbol of universal friendship and benevolence, and white represents purity and innocence.iv (York Rite tradition would have the Man on a field of purple, which is described as an emblem of union consisting of blue and crimson.)
The laurel is an emblem of achievement; and the laurel crown in Freemasonry is given to him who has made a conquest over his passions.v
The square represents morality, and teaches us to regulate our actions and harmonize our conduct by the principles of morality and virtue.
The Compasses represents virtue, and teach us to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions within due bounds.
The motto, “Alki”, is a Chinook word meaning “by and by”. [“Alki” is also the Washington State Motto. Washington was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889, some 30 years after the Grand Lodge of Washington was established.]
Purple is in Freemasonry a symbol of fraternal union, because, being compounded of blue, the color of the Ancient Craft, and red, which is that of the Royal Arch, it is intended to signify the close connection and harmony which should ever exist between those two portions of the Masonic system. It may be observed that this allusion to the union and harmony between blue and red Masonry is singularly carried out in the Hebrew word, which signifies purple.This word, which is argamun, is derived from ragam, or rehem, one of whose significations is “a friend.”vi
The perimeter of the Standard is trimmed in gold fringe. The color gold represents light emerging from darkness, and wisdom.vii
The reverse of the Grand Standard is a field of white, bearing the seal of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington, crossed swords, and additional decorations presumed as ornamental. Across the top of the reverse is a purple bib emblazoned with the All-Seeing Eye.
Gordon Johnson, Grand Standard Bearer
The seal of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge F&AM of Washington which consists of:
- Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons
- All-Seeing Eye (representative of the Great Architect of the Universe), under which is inscribed “Love”.
- A Seaman holding an anchor (which is a symbol of hope) and an orchid (which is a symbol of strength), and the phrase “Exitus Acta Probat”, which means the outcome justifies the deed [Dexter].
- A mosaic pavement (emblematical of human life) with three columns (which represent wisdom, strength, and beauty), three steps (which represent the three degrees of Masonry and the three principal stages of human life), the 47th problem of Euclid (inspiring Masons to be lovers of the arts and sciences), sun, moon, and comet (which perform their revolutions under the watchful care of the All-Seeing Eye) [Sinister].
- Square and Compasses, under which is inscribed “In God is our Trust” and “Dec. 8, 5858” (Date on which our Grand Lodge was established).
- Washington Territory
References from Volume of Sacred Law:
Ezekiel 1: 5 and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, 6 but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, 9 and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. 10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces.
Revelation 4:7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.