Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library
Since the symbolism of the Craft comprises a developmental psychology, it envisages that the step to the Second Degree proceeds naturally as a result of progress in the First. This natural maturation which relates to the gradual emergence of the Self is indicated in Masonic symbolism by likening the newly made Fellowcraft to a ripened Ear of Corn. The Apprentice who is in control of the lower part of his psyche and whose Junior Warden/Self has become active has matured to a state in which he is ready to examine the more interior aspects of his psychological processes.

Work at this level occurs in a part of the psyche which the Craft refers to as the Middle Chamber; it is in many ways similar to what jung called the personal unconscious and to what is traditionally known as the soul. The general approach to the work of the Fellowcraft is set out on the Second Degree Tracing Board which is an interior view and gives the impression of entering more deeply into the Temple. The Second Degree Board is a detailed drawing of a part of the First; specifically, of the Point with in-a-circle bounded by two parallel lines and the jacob's Ladder. The two parallel lines are shown in the Second Degree as the two pillars (here identified as complementary or opposite by association with the Pillars of Cloud and Fire from Exodus and by the terrestrial and celestial spheres surmounting them), while the Ladder is replaced on the Second Degree Tracing Board by the Winding Staircase. Like the Ladder on the First Degree Board, the Staircase extends in the East‑West direction and defines the 'dimension of consciousness' from materiality to Divinity. The person who wishes to practice the Craft as a Mystery is expected to ascend through these various levels of consciousness which the symbol describes. On the First Degree Tracing Board we saw the Ladder divided into 'three principal rounds', corresponding to the Three Degrees of the Craft and describing three principal levels of psychological consciousness relating to body, soul and spirit. The Winding Staircase serves a similar function but communicates more complex ideas and presents them in greater detail.

The Staircase is among the most complicated of the Craft's symbols and a consideration of all its implications is beyond our scope. In the most general terms the Winding Staircase defines seven 'levels of consciousness', from consciousness of the physical body at the bottom to consciousness of the Spirit and Divinity at the top. By summarising a large body of ritual and lecture, we can say that the Stairs assign a step or level of consciousness to he each of the seven Officers of the Lodge; and with each of these it associates a great deal of Classical literature relating to the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Classical Schools of Architecture. It also associates the three Principal Officers of the Lodge with the Three Grand Masters who presided at the building of King Solomon's Temple ‑ Solomon, King of Israel, who conceived the project; Hiram, King of Tyre, who provided the materials; and Hiram Abiff, the Principal Architect. This connection will be of real significance when we consider the Masonic Legend in the Third Degree. In this way the seven Officers of the lodge are seen to represent seven levels or stages on the East‑West 'dimension of consciousness', while the staircase symbolism points to a body of literature which provides information and instruction about each level.

Strictly speaking, a state of consciousness cannot be described ‑ it must be experienced; but we can catch a very incomplete glimpse of the idea the Craft tries to communicate about each of these levels of consciousness by considering each Officer of the Lodge in the context of one of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Tyler or Outer Guard is associated with Grammar, the Art which sets out strict rules for structuring ideas in order that they can be communicated and recorded in the physical world. The Tyler represents that part of the psyche which is in intimate contact with the physical body through the central nervous system. It is a'guard' in that it protects the psyche from being overwhelmed by stimuli from the physical world.

Inner Guard is associated with Logic, the Art which teaches rules for rational analysis; highly structured. but entirely psychological. It represents what contemporary psychology refers to as the ego, the habit‑following executive of day‑to‑day psychological activity which is distinguished by its capacity to form mental images. it is a 'guard' in the sense that it provides the personae that enable tile psyc he to relate to the world.

Junior Deacon is associated with Rhetoric, the Art which teaches persuasive and writing by invoking the feelings of the reader. The junior Deacon represents the psychological level of feelings and moods, a careful examination of which gives a clue to events which h are occurring in the unconscious. in the Classical world Rhetoric Also contains instruction in the, art of memory; and the Junior Deacon, representing a level of awareness near the threshold of ordinary consciousness, relates to the capacity to recall events from memory.

Senior Deacon is associated with the Science of Arithmetic, a subject used for training in the manipulation and representation of abstract ideas. The Senior Deacon represents the level of Awakening. To be 'awake' in this sense is to be present in the moment, to be aware of events as they occur both in the world and within one's own psyche, to understand their implication, and to see the threats and opportunities they imply.

Junior Warden is associated with the Science of Geometry, as the Second lecture puts it, ‘a Science whereby we find out the contents of bodies unmeasured by comparing them with those already measured'. The Junior Warden is similar to the Self, as the, term is somewhat obtuse Masonic definition of geometry quoted above begins to take On greater meaning when one recognises that it alludes to the old principle of' as above so below'. in the process of Masonic labour the Self is expected to emerge into consciousness and then to find out the contents of the unconscious by the observation of day‑to‑day experience.

Senior Warden is associated with the Science of Music, which had a much broader and more mystical connotation to the Renaissance scholar than it does to today. As a Science, music is based largely on the ratios between the frequencies of each note, on the manner in which time is structured, and upon tile way these are combined to produce specific effects. The Senior Warden can be seen to represent the level of the soul; and the association with Music suggest tile soul's task of maintaining a harmonious relationship among all the components of the psyche.

Worshipful Master is associated with the Science of Astronomy (which certainly meant Astrology to the framers of the symbolic structure). As the observation of the heavens was thought to reveal the intentions of the Deity, Astronomy suggests a level of consciousness which can see at a broad, transpersonal scale, and can perceive the intent of the Divine Plan. The level of consciousness represented by the Worshipful Master is in intimate contact with the Spirit in a manner Analogous to the Tyler's relationship to the physical body.

In this way the Second Tracing Board and its associated ritual define (in symbolic terms) seven 'levels of consciousness' within the psyche which, developed and brought to mature functioning, comprise a conscious connec tion between Divinity and the physical world. The Winding Staircase is flanked by two columns. We have already noted that these two columns are complementary ‑‑ active and passive; and the fact that they are introduced in the Second Degree relates them in some to the personal unconscious. They are said to be made of brass, cast in the clay ground ‑ characteristics which relate them to the physical world, and to be hollow to contain the archives of the Craft. Taken together these record, stored in the personal unconscious, and relating to events ill the physical World, suggest that the columns are a representation of an individual's memory organised in such a way that memories which constrain and inhibit are found in one place while those which enliven and move to action are found in another. By introducing this idea in the Second Degree, in connection with the Middle Chamber of the soul, the symbolism indicates that the memories referred to are of a particular sort, quite deep in the unconscious, not ordinarily accessible but available when one works at that level of consciousness. We are, of course, drawing a parallel with the super ego/ego ideal as described by Freud or with the emotional and intellectual complexes identified by lung ‑ in this case classified into active and constraining groups. The memories such as those stored in the two columns in the Second Degree are known to have a profound, though unconscious, effect on individuals and society alike. At the individual level they compel and circumscribe a person's behaviour, while at the social level they define the society's concepts of morality. Circumscribed behaviour of this sort is useful (even essential) to enable an individual to fit into a family and its immediate social circle, particularly during childhood,‑ but adult behaviour which is thus circumscribed is often unrewarding, frequently unproductive, and sometimes actually harmful. Likewise, social groups which have defined their morality in this way have, throughout history, generally found themselves in serious conflicts with other similar groups, conflicts which have generally led to much grief and bloodshed. The presence of these two columns of memory in the Second Degree suggests that as ' the individual climbing the Winding Staircase of consciousness begins to work at the level of the Middle Chamber or soul, the information stored in these archives becomes available to him. As he brings these long repressed memories into consciousness and examines them for what they are, he can permit the emotional charge they carry to dissipate. Then they become ordinary memories, available for reference, but no longer having the power to force or prevent behaviour. Instead, the individual achieves a greater freedom of action, for as he discards the compulsions and constraints of the super ego and the ego ideal he also discards the constraints of conventional morality. He then requires more fundamental criteria to guide his behaviour, which brings us to the consideration of the Working Tools of a Fellowcraft Freemason. Working tools, which come in sets of three, are used in the practical application of the Rule of Three at the level of each degree. In contrast to the Apprentice's tools of action, the Fellowcraft's tools ‑‑ the Square, the Level and the Plumb‑rule ‑ are tools of testing; and each tests against some absolute criterion. It is a characteristic which makes them well suited to represent standards of morality ‑ the principal concern of the Second Degree. The Level measures against the criterion of horizontal; and in noting its passive, quiescent, sombre quality we can assign to it the psychological function of 'judgement'. The use of a single word to describe the function of the Level is obviously an oversimplification adopted for convenience; the tool actually represents a cluster of related concepts such as constraint, containment, confinement, rigour, discipline, defence, decisiveness and support. In a similar way the aspiring, vertical orientation of the Plumb‑rule corresponds to the concepts of giving, forgiving, generosity, licence, and dissipation which can be summarised with the single quality of 'mercy'. From the nature of the ideas which we have associated with each tool we can see that neither is good or bad in itself. Each is what it is; and a life governed by an excess of either ‑unremitting discipline or unrestrained licence ‑‑ is equally likely to produce serious difficulties. In practice, moral behaviour consists of maintaining the proper balance between the 'just' Level and the 'merciful' Plumb‑rule; and the individual's capacity to maintain this balance consciously is represented by the third of the Working Tools, the Square, which in fact defines the relationship between the Level and the Plumb‑rule. In this way the Craft indicates that as a person matures he frees himself from the somewhat arbitrary psychological constraints imposed by his upbringing and his society and must look instead for the permissive and restraining standards of morality which reside within his own soul. These he must learn to work with, apply to his daily life, and keep in balance. The process of examining one's repressed memories can be, and generally is, difficult and painful. Usually there are excellent reasons why the material which must be examined has been excluded from consciousness, and recalling it often requires much personal courage. It is the hardest kind of work; it is a process to which the term 'Masonic Labour' can truly be applied; and it often requires the loving support of a close and trusted friend. It is in this context that we can begin to understand the bond of brotherly love and mutual trust which Freemasonry seeks to establish among its members. By contrast, the actual experience of emerging from the restraint of the material stored in the two side pillars and taking possession of one's own standards of morality is usually one of joyful liberation. For the first time one is really free to choose; and a person who has worked at the level of the Fellowcraft and has come to terms with the compelling and constraining material in his unconscious can lay claim to genuine free will. But there is genuine risk here too; free will is a truly dangerous thing. If the process of psychological growth is seen only as the discarding of compulsion and conventional standards of right and wrong and the replacing of them with one's personal standards of morality, the person working at the level of the Fellowcraft becomes an entirely free agent, responsible to no one but himself. Because such a situation can lead easily to self‑indulgent and opportunistic behaviour it is at this point that Freemasonry and the schools of psychology based on the scientific paradigm of the twentieth century diverge sharply. From the viewpoint of Freemasonry there is much more to this process than simply the acquisition of free will ‑ important though that is. There are other things to be considered, and these are introduced by a variety of symbols present in the Middle Chamber. The most immediately relevant of these symbols is the second of the Immovable jewels: the Perfect Ashlar. The Rough Ashlar, as we have seen, represented the Apprentice and alludes to his responsibility to shape and refine himself as an individual, but the Perfect Ashlar does not represent the Fellowcraft. It is made available in the Middle Chamber 'for the Craftsmen to try their tools on'. This important symbol reminds the individual that, although lie is now free to make his own moral judgements, he is expected to calibrate his personal standards of morality against the standards provided for him by the Deity within his own soul. The idea seems to be that there is a body of psychological law which, in spite of appearance, is as stringent as [lie Laws of Physics. Historically these psychological laws have been found in the principles upon which codes of morality have been based; and this is one of the reasons why Masonry so frequently refers its members to the Scriptures. Of course, a human being is free to ignore the criteria of morality represented by the Perfect Ashlar, if he chooses; and the Craft outlines the implications of doing so by reference to the subject of Wages. At the building of King Solomon's Temple the Fellowcraft Freemasons were said to have gone to the Middle Chamber to receive their wages which they did 'without scruple or diffidence', because they knew themselves to be entitled to them and because of 'the great reliance they placed in their employers'. Applying this to everyday activity suggests that the experiences of life are one's wages. The presence of the paymaster in the Middle Chamber of the soul indicates that one is given what one deserves not as a Divine reward or punishment, but by the working out of some principle which operates at the level of the soul. Furthermore, it says that the paymaster is fair, which implies first that the situation in which we find ourselves is the one we deserve (actually the working out of the natural process which we are called upon to observe and understand); and that if we wish to change our situation, we have the ability to do so by changing the way in which we live and act. The idea is by no means original to the Craft; for Christian cultures it is contained in St Paul's dictum, 'As ye sow, so shall ye reap', and in the East it is found in the elaborate doctrines of karma. It is of fundamental importance as a warning to the newly passed Fellowcraft that he should restrain himself in the exercise of the freedom of choice which characterises his level of consciousness. More important, it is the key to human freedom, since it emphasises that the individual can and does determine his experience by exercising choice in each situation. It is the first step toward forgiving others, because a person who accepts responsibility for his own situation does not blame his problems on others. Thus wages represent not so much reward for merit and punishment for error, as harmonious experience for living within the psychological/moral law and difficult experience for trying to live outside it. The last, and most important, of the symbols to be found in the Middle Chamber is the letter 'G' or, in some versions of the symbolism, an All Seeing Eye'. The letter'G' is the initial of the Deity ‑ not a representation of the Deity Itself, but the initial of Its name. Its presence in a place which symbolises the soul conveys two ideas: first, that one's actions are 'observed', or'recorcled', or in some way incorporated into the fabric of existence with their inevitable consequences for good or ill. Second, it is a representation of the Blazing Star we saw at the top of jacob's Ladder in the First Degree, but here we find it 'in the Centre of the building.' Its presence tells us that in operating at the level of one's soul, one can become aware of the presence of the Deity and orientate one's actions and aspirations toward it. With this capacity to sense the Divine presence the Fellowcraft is able to set aside the attitude of Faith which had guided him as an Apprentice and assume a positive outlook of Hope, for he is now able to glimpse his goal as he pursues the labours which will prepare him for the next step of his development. The psychological processes of labour in the Second Degree are difficult and painful. Nonetheless, if the individual perseveres, he finds himself in the state of the mature Fellowcraft, in possession of himself, conscious of his standards of morality, and able to exercise his will freely. The ability to do.