Ashlar – a building block. A “rough ashlar” is one that has merely been excavated from a quarry. A “perfect ashlar” is one that has been squared and polished, and thus made fit for a builder’s use. Speculative Masons take the ashlar as a symbol for their minds and consciences.

Builder’s Art – The art of architecture and stonemasonry is relied upon as the source of the allegorical methods and symbolic tools applied in the art of Speculative Freemasonry. The term also alludes to the designs and handiwork of the Grand Architect of the Universe (G.A.O.T.U.).

Brought to Light – a term used in Masonic degree rituals to describe the moment when a candidate has his hoodwink (blindfold) removed, with implications of a more profound enlightenment. Also see “Enlightenment”.

Celestial Temple – also the Celestial Lodge or the “House not made with hands”. These are names by which Masons typically refer to that transcendent realm which awaits them after death, and/or an archetype of social and fraternal perfection.. However, due to the nonsectarian nature of Masonry, some Masons may interpret it differently, and even as a state of consciousness that is available to us here and now.

Contemplation – In its popular usage, contemplation refers to a careful consideration of some thing or idea. However, a more accurate use of the word is based upon its Latin roots com (with), and templum (temple). In this context, contemplation is properly understood as a devoted concentration on spiritual matters. The ritual of Masonry refers directly to this meaning when it says Speculative Masonry “leads the contemplative to view with reverence and admiration the glorious works of creation, and inspires him with the most exalted ideas of the perfections of his Divine Creator.”

Craft – another term for Masonry, which implies that there are certain skills to be learned and developed within a system of apprenticeship and mastery.

Enlightenment – In Zen, definitions of this term are understood to be inadequate, but it refers to the direct and conscious realization of the essential nature of being, which concepts alone cannot attain. In common Western usage the term is somewhat synonymous with illumination, revelation and epiphany. Some authorities suggest that gnosis is the Western term most compatible with the meaning of enlightenment in Zen.

Entered Apprentice (EA) – an initate of the first degree in Masonry. EAs are charged to work primarily at improving their moral character. The tools of an EA include the 24-inch guage and common gavel.

Fellowcraft (FC) – also a Fellow Craft, or craftsman, is a Mason who has been passed to the second degree of Masonry. FCs are charged to continue their moral improvement, while also advised to improve their minds through the study, at least allegorically, of the classic seven liberal arts and sciences, especially geometry. The tools of FCs include the plumb, square and level.

Grand Architect of the Universe (G.A.O.T.U.) – also Great or Supreme Architect etc. This is a term used by Masons to refer to the Supreme Being, which Masonic ritual also refers to as the Creator, Deity, and God. Masons are required to profess a belief in a Supreme Being, but according to Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723 every Mason has the right to maintain his own beliefs and religion. Therefore every great religion of humanity is represented within the fraternity of Masonry.

Hiram Abif – According to Masonic myth, Grand Master Hiram Abif was the son of a widow sent to King Solomon to serve as the Chief Architect and artificer of Solomon’s Temple. In Masonic legend it is said that three FCs unjustly desired to know the secret Word of a Master Mason, and that they murdered Hiram when he refused to give it to them. In Masonry he is associated with the Pillar of Beauty, the South of the Lodge, and the office of Junior Warden.

Intuition – the power or faculty of attaining direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought or inference. Contrary to common usage, true intuition is not guesswork, hunches, or suppositions based upon surface appearances.

King Hiram of Tyre – According to Masonic myth, King Hiram supplied many of the workers and materials necessary for building King Solomon’s Temple. In Masonry this Grand Master is associated with the Pillar of Strength, the West of the Lodge, and the office of Senior Warden.

King Solomon – Noted in the Bible as the son of King David and the builder of the Temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon was legendary for his wisdom in serving the people of Israel, and many believe that he authored the books of Proverbs and the Song of Songs. In Masonry this Grand Master is associated wih the Pillar of Wisdom, the East of the Lodge, and the office of Worshipful Master.

Koan – a short tale used in Zen as a catalyst for enlightenment. See the essay, “What is a Koan?”.

Light – The symbolism of light has many philosophical, psychological and spiritual implications. Every Mason of every degree claims that light is what he seeks, and Masonry promises to deliver it in some measure, though it also instructs its members that further light must be sought beyond the traditional instructions and explanations of its ritual. In this context, Masonry alludes to the light of insight and understanding. An important Masonic reference to light regards its prominence in the act of creation, as recorded in the first chapter of Genesis.

Masonry – an ancient nonsectarian fraternity with initiatory ritual and symbolism based upon legends about the building of King Solomon’s Temple. See the essay, “What is Speculative Freemasonry?”.

Master Mason (MM) – one who has been raised to the third degree of Masonry, also called the “Sublime Degree”. MMs are charged to continue the work they began as EAs and FCs, but also to act as agents of brotherly love and to seek the Lost Word. The tools of MMs include all the instruments of Masonry, but especially the trowel.

Master Mason’s Word – also known as the Lost Word or True Word. According to Masonic myth, this word was a Masonic secret originally known only to the ancient three Grand Masters: King Solomon, King Hiram of Tyre, and Hiram Abif. Strangely, when Hiram Abif was murdered King Solomon lamented that the Word was lost, though he also declared that a key to the Word might be found on or near Hiram’s body. King Solomon made provisions for a “Substitute Word” to be used until future Masons could recover the True Word.

Meditation – various methods of focusing or shifting consciousness. See the essay, “What is Meditation?”.

Worshipful Master (WM) – also called Venerable Master, or Master of the Lodge, is the chief officer of a lodge. He is called “worshipful” because of all lodge members he is the one who should be most reverant, humble and aware of his need for illumination from the G.A.O.T.U..

Zen – properly, a sect of Mahayana Buddhism that seeks enlightenment through meditation. See the essay, “What is Zen?”.