Respect labor for its own sake, and do work.
If one finds for himself esteem in his labors, does
the prestige associated with his labors matter?
The cedars of Lebanon, carpenter' tools:
saw, plane and axe.
The Twenty-second Degree
"Knight Royal Axe, Prince of Libanus"
~ Summary ~
Work is the mission of man. We should respect our
labor for its own sake, and do our work. Manual
and mental work complete one another; thus, one
who works in either manual or mental labor should
not try to exploit, or oppress the other. A Mason
must be a person who makes no distinction in the
nature and kind of work in which his brother is
The apron is white, lined and bordered with purple. In the middle is embroidered a round table, on which are mathematical instruments and unrolled plans. On the flap is a serpent with three heads, denoting idleness, the body from which issues the three vices symbolized by the heads: drunkenness, impurity and gaming. By these vices many youths have been lost and many great nations have sunk into ignoble imbecility and shameful bondage.
The order is a broad rainbow-colored ribbon, lined with purple. It is worn as a collar or may be worn as a sash, from right to left.
The jewel, suspended from the collar, is a gold axe and handle, the symbol of the great agent of civilization and improvement. Troops armed with this weapon have conquered barbarism. Under its blow the primeval forests disappear; the early farmer displaces the wild hunter; to the rude barbarism of the early ages succeed settled society, laws and all the arts that refine and elevate mankind. The axe is nobler than the sword. Masonry hews at those mighty trees, intolerance, bigotry, superstition, uncharitableness and idleness, thereby letting in the light of truth and reason upon the human mind, which these vices have darkened for centuries. The letters on the top are the initials of Noah and Solomon; those on the handle, of Libanus and Tsidunian; those on one side of the blade, of Adonirum, Kuros, Darius, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah and Azra; and those on the other side, of Shem, Kham, Yapheth, Moses, Aholiab and Betselal. These names represent the various places and persons significant in the use of the cedars of Lebanon for 'Holy Enterprises'; examples include Noah's Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, Solomon's Temple, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple by Zerubbabel.
"Despite the mention of King Solomon's Temple in this degree, we are not returning to the Hiramic Legend. The time is the Middle Ages, for the candidate comes dressed as a German (or Prussian) Knight, a crusader in the Holy Land. He has traveled to Mount Libanus (or Lebanon) to obtain the degree of Prince of Libanus.
According to the ritual, this degree was learned by the Crusaders from the Druses (or Druzes), an Islamic sect inhabiting the area. The Druse are a mystical group characterized by an eclectic system of doctrines and by a remarkable cohesion and loyalty among its members. They permit no conversion, either from or to their religion, and no intermarriage. While very little is known about the Druse, because of their secrecy, it is believed a number of groups accepted this religious system but only the Druse of Lebanon survive. Their religious doctrines appear to be an amalgamation of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Gnosticism and other beliefs prevalent about 1000 A.D.. They have various degrees of initiation recognizing the elite or 'knowers' who participate fully and have access to all the Druse religious doctrines. Simplicity of attire, self-denial, temperance and irreproachable moral conduct are prerequisites to join this group of elites.
This degree explains that the Druse perpetuated an institution originating in Rome about 700 B.C. called Colleges of Artificers which are simply described as operative of artisans, such as carpenters or goldsmiths. Parallels between these Colleges and Freemasonry exist which have caused some scholars to trace the roots of Masonry to them.
Although only a legend, the ritual further suggests that the Colleges of Rome may have been derived from the ancient people who inhabited the Mount Lebanon area and supplied cedar for the building of Noah's Ark, the Ark of the Covenant and Solomon's Temple. This legend accounts for bodies of this degree being called Colleges, the events in the drama and much of its symbolism." (A Bridge To Light, pp186-187)
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This Website was last updated on November 23, 2012