The official description of Freemasonry in old English, which Freemasons still use today, is ‘A peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. ’ Translated into modern text that might read ‘A unique moral code, taught figuratively with the help of imagery.
Freemasonry is a system of symbol and allegory. By using such symbols, it conveys specific meanings or lessons that each recipient can apply to his personal life and spiritual development. Although we often are not consciously aware of them, we are surrounded by symbols; our lives are structured by symbols in almost every way. The ways we stand, walk, eat, shake hands, smile, sit, dress, and so on, are all symbolic. Freemasonry uses a particular set of symbols to express its ideas and ideals.
The skull and bones, or specifically the skull (or death’s head) is actually a symbol to remind us of mortality, as it is the ultimate equalizer of men and woman of all rank, as none can avoid its inevitability. This is more a means to remind us that no matter our station in life, rich or poor, we are all subject to the same fate, and that our goal should be to make this world better for everyone. All Masons should always strive for our noble endeavor, of spreading brotherly love, relief, and truth.
The hourglass similarly reminds us of the swift passage of time, so as not to delay. The temple of Solomon has many meanings within Masonry; most significantly it represents the Temple built to hold the laws of God to man in the Judaic tradition. Though its use implies a religious connotation, its application is universal and serves as an allegory to a deeper meaning.
Please visit the Masonic Traveler on YouTube for more interesting videos with regard to Freemasonry and symbolism or visit their website at freemasoninformation.com
Please view this video to see an interesting lecture on The Philosophical Background of Masonic Symbolism. Here.