Κυριακή, 6 Ιανουαρίου 2013


The Masonic Marianne

By Philip Carter, Fri, 26 June 2009, Victorian Lodge of Research, (218, V.C.)

First published in Pondering Freemasonry, Transactions of the Victorian Lodge of Research, No. 218,
Vol. 23 - 2009, Published by the lodge (Editor, W.Bro. Jean-Michel David), ISBN 0-9590836-4-2



Leo Zanelli in, A Pragmatic Masonic History, cautions against attempting to only trace one historical thread when seeking to comprehend our origins. He states:

What is needed now, is to concentrate on the three distinct divisions of masonic ritual – the first two degrees; the third; and the Royal Arch – and work out the history of each as a separate entity. In that way we may start to unravel the complex structure that is Freemasonry. To attempt to imagine the first, second, third and Royal Arch as an integral whole historically, is inaccurate and will only tend to confuse – unless you prefer fairy tales…
Tonight I begin with that part of our history connected with the establishment of the Third Degree, sometime in the early 1720’s. There and then, at a time when there had been recent religious turmoil and the possibility of more, we find a theme stressing tolerance underlying the newly created third degree and complementing Anderson’s Ancient Charge “Concerning God and Religion.”

The theme invoked the Biblical example of the persecution of devotees of the Hebrew goddess Asherah, (represented by a “pillar” signifying stability1). This is not a time-immemorial theme: as a Craft tradition, it can be traced no earlier than the 1720’s. The most likely suspect for its creation is John Theophilus Desaguliers, the third Grand Master, who wrote much of our ritual and who was said by Albert Mackey to be the Father of Modern Speculative Masonry2.

Continental Freemasons enthusiastically picked-up the theme and continued its unfolding. Meanwhile their English Brethren appear to have become distracted by the rivalry between the Moderns and the Antients, and by the latter’s Royal Arch degree (which, at first, conflicted with the earlier Asherah theme). With the help of some significant images, we will trace that theme from its introduction in London, evidently by Desaguliers and his fellow Calvinists, to France and over to America.

1. Deduced from Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, #833 & #842 and Charles Fillmore’s, Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, n.d., Unity School of Christianity, pp. 69/71 (Asher, Asherah, Asherim & Ashteroth) and pp.594/5 (Sheba — etymologically related).

2. Mackey, Albert Gallatin, 1917 (org. 1874), Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences, McClure Publishing, Philadelphia, p.240

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 26, 2011, 7:30pm



For what we do presage is not in grosse, For we are brethren of the Rosie Crosse;
We have the Mason Word and second sight, Things for to come we can foretell aright.

This vain-glorious boast was published in 1638, less than a century before the reorganisation of the first two degrees (which were the only degrees with which Premier Grand Lodge had begun) and the subsequent creation of the third degree. After the early 1720s, its members would have been less confident in asserting what they had or knew about the Mason Word as, among their many innovations of the new trigradal system, was the introduction, at least to the Craft, of the notion of the lost Word.

From then on they were told they would only be entrusted with substituted secrets in the Third Degree and were instructed to search for that which was lost — the genuine secrets of a Master Mason.

Typically, this search for the genuine secrets, especially the lost Word, came to be seen by many as an allegory of the human condition, as we search for some ineffable, existential purpose and meaning in our lives. However, as with many of our symbols, there can be more than one meaning. Indeed, it has been said, "It is a poor symbol which means only one thing."2


I suggest the reorganisation of the first two degrees established a simple pattern indicating what was hidden in the third, the key to which is the word “stability” and a phrase we have each committed to memory:

In strength will I establish this Mine House that it stand fast for ever.

Please consider: What if “stability” had significance in its own right, rather than simply having a debatable conjoined significance (if that was all, bothering to mention it seems somewhat tangential )? What if what was common to the genuine secrets communicated in the first two degrees was also common to the third? What if there was an object, sometimes described as a pillar, with a meaningfully derived name, signifying in this case “stability,” associated with K.S.T.? — There was!


1. Henry Adamson, The Muses' Threnodie (Edinburgh, 1638).

2. Quote attributed to Carl Claudy, but may be earlier.

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 26, 2011, 7:43pm



Beginning with our Ritual: We proceeded from the porch, past our ancient J.W., ascending a W.S., past our ancient S.W., to the middle chamber. Turning now to the V.S.L.: had we entered the Sanctum Sanctorum of King Solomon’s Temple, we would have found a graven, pillar-like cult image, called an "ashera," so named after the Hebrew goddess Asherah and signifying "stability," (and presumably we would have also found our ancient W.M.). The worship of Asherah remained part of the state religion from before the time attributed to Solomon, until shortly before the destruction of his temple. The late and acclaimed Professor Joseph Campbell describes this general situation as follows (pp.95/101). Referring to II Kings, Chapters 22 to 25, he wrote1:

It is hard to imagine how it might have been stated more clearly that until the eighteenth year of the reign of King Josiah of Judah neither kings nor people had paid any attention whatsoever to the law of Moses, which, indeed, they had not even known. They had been devoted to the normal deities of the nuclear Near East, with all the usual cults which are described clearly enough in this passage to be recognised. King Solomon himself, the son of David, had built sanctuaries to the gods and had placed their images in his temple.

Solomon's Idolatry, Frans Francken II, Flemish, 1622

As well as in regular, well-formed temples, such as Solomon’s, Asherah was worshipped on high hills and in low vales2 & 3. Her worship was joyfully led by the Kadoshim priesthood (meaning “Holy Ones”), chosen, or rather elected, from among the people (instead of being an hereditary priesthood)4, and involved such things as raising pillars, burning incense, baking cakes, pouring libations and, allegedly, some sacramental sex (blood sacrifices and burnt offerings were the province of her male consort). When the new monotheistic religion was imposed, her groves were destroyed and her “Holy Ones” were slaughtered and disposed of in ways which approximate features of our Ancient Penalties5.

In the early eighteenth century, the Wars of Religion were still fresh in the memories of our founding Brethren, a disproportionate number of whom were Calvinists. Calvinists were advocates of translating the Bible from the original languages into vernacular tongues and, given their own history of persecution, one can well imagine them reading of the fate of the devout Kadoshim and empathizing with their fate6.


Ancient Brethren Meeting on High Hills and in Low Vales
(Sectional Lectures)

1. Campbell, Joseph, 1976, ‘Gods and Heroes of the Levant: 1500-500 B.C.’, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology, Penguin, London.

2. Sectional Lectures 1:5
Q. Before our ancient brethren had the advantage of such regular, well-formed, constituted Lodges as we now enjoy, where did they assemble?
A. On high hills and low vales, even in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and many other secret places.

3. Please consider how some Ancient and Accepted Rite governing bodies describe their jurisdictions as “Valleys.”

4. E.G., I Kings 12:31 & II Kings 17:32.

5. Asherah was a patron of artisans and among her epithets were 'Merciful One, who dead to life raises!’ and ‘She who builds.’ However, one cannot be sure these were known in the 1720’s.

6. The religion was long dead, so they could not have been proselytizing on its behalf. Rather, it seems they saw in it a timeless allegory to serve as a reminder of the immorality of religious intolerance.

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 26, 2011, 7:56pm


Place de la Nation

Note the chariot drawn by lions (signifying the Great Mother, e.g. Cybele)
and the artisan with hammer and apron among her supporters
(also note how the statuary is framed by the two pillars in the background)


Given the involvement of Desaguliers and a disproportionate number of his fellow Huguenot émigrés, together with other Calvinists, such as Anderson, and bearing in mind the Auld Alliance between France and Scotland, the ritual changes wrought in 1720s might even be seen as a joint French and Scottish project, which happened to have been held on English soil.

While enduringly imprinted on the new ritual, enthusiasm for the Asherah theme appears to have waned in England after Desaguliers active, masonic involvement there had lapsed (the last record of him attending Grand Lodge was in 17411). Perhaps using an allegory of a religion which, despite being long dead, had been condemned as an abomination in the Bible, offended the sentiments of some Brethren. Perhaps the English were distracted by the rise of the Antients’ Grand Lodge and the subsequent controversy over their Royal Arch Degree (which originally featured Josiah, who had been depicted in the Bible as the main persecutor of the Kadoshim).

Whatever the case, while we find what may be faint traces of awareness of the theme lingering on in England until early last century, we now need to look across the Channel to Desaguliers’ homeland, France.

There we find his countrymen in the oldest Continental Grant Lodge, the Grand Orient of France, founded in 1733, when the new trigradal system was still fresh. They continued to unfold the theme of Asherah’s third pillar. Indeed, their enthusiasm for the theme may have contributed to its loss of favour in England, with growing Francophobia in the wake of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, anything perceived as “French” was considered suspect.

Indeed, after 1877, when UGLE withdrew recognition, purportedly because of the Grand Orient’s application of Laïcité, or positive secularism, we find other UGLE grievances which hadn’t previously been seen as major problems, being raised to further justify their decision. These grievances included allegation of excessive involvement in politics; the long participation of women in France; and the proliferation of degrees2 (which, for pure ancient masonry, UGLE, in a fit of numerical dyslexia, now insisted consisted of not only the original two, but all three of the three Craft degrees and no more, including two others!?).

1. Albert Mackey’s Encyclopedia, 1917, p.242.

2. Among these degrees was that of Grand Elect Knight Kadosh, which became the Thirtieth in the Ancient and Accepted Rite. Therein the word “Kadosh” is explained as meaning “holy,” in obvious preference to the Biblical translators’ choice of meaning, being “sodomites,” in relation to Asherah’s priesthood.


Le génie du compagnonnage faisant le tour di globe,
print, 19th century, Bibliothèque nationale de France

(Note the chariot drawn by lions with three dignitaries and the goddess)

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 27, 2011, 6:59pm




Returning to France we find the figure of Marianne, as an official icon of the Republic, symbolizing the spirit of liberty and reason. Whereas here we might expect to find a portrait of H.M. the Queen in our public buildings, in France one would expect busts of Marianne, usually distinguished by a liberty cap.


The liberty cap, technically known as a pileus or Phrygian cap1, denotes freedom principally because in ancient Rome it was worn by freed slaves. In France it became an emblem of the Revolution. Marianne’s association with both liberty and “reason” invokes the notion of liberty through the application of reason.


Marianne represented the ideal of French womanhood and her representation changed with the times to maintain freshness and relevance. Accordingly, there were competitions to select the latest and most suitable model. However, oft times real humans disappoint and scandals have meant that real life models need no longer apply. Once, the models were installed as living images.


Liberty (Marianne) Leading the People
by Eugene Delacroix, 1830

1. The Pileus, Liberty Cap or Phrygian Cap: http://www.languedoc-france.info/06141204_libertycap.htm

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 27, 2011, 7:07pm



In Women of the French Revolution, Linda Kelly tells us1:

At the same time that women on grounds of morals or expediency, were being forced back into private life, a chosen few were offered a symbolic public role. As goddesses of Reason, in the newly instituted state religion of that name, they presided over festivals all over France. The Jacobin government, while denying women the right of political expression, had no objection to placing them on an official pedestal…

Notre Dame was taken over as a Temple of Reason, and a festival to inaugurate the new cult was planned for 20 Brumaire (November 10). The Temple required its tutelary deity, a living figure — since a statue might recall the Virgin Mary — who could be changed from festival to festival. The chosen goddesses, it was decreed, were to be chosen among persons "whose character renders beauty respectable and whose severity of morals and manners repulses license". It was an ideal not always realised; festivals of Reason, more often than not, degenerated into saturnalia.

The opening festival took place as planned in Notre Dame. The cathedral had been stripped of its religious ornaments, and a Temple of Philosophy erected in the aisle. The goddess of Reason, a well known actress, Mademoiselle Maillard, dressed in white with a long blue cloak and scarlet cap of liberty, was carried in procession to the Temple and enthroned to the strains of the "Ça ira" and "Marseillaise". "Chaste ceremony, sad, dry and boring," commented Michelet in his Femmes de la Révolution.

Descriptions of the event varied from ones of dignified celebrations by supporters of the revolution to ones of bawdy farce by its opponents.


1. Linda Kelly, 1987, Women of the French Revolution, Hamish Hamilton, London, pp.128/9)

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 27, 2011, 7:20pm



Freemasonry in France is particularly aligned to the ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, as personified by Marianne. Indeed, the Masonic Marianne is regarded as a particular expression of the French Masonic spirit.
Upon viewing a selection of significant images, she may also seem to embody the Asherah theme created in the 1720’s.



For instance, this image, published as the frontispiece to The Masonic Universe, (c. 1800) with the authorization of the Grand Orient of France reveals a wealth of detail current in France at the time. Some points to especially note are:

  • An elaboration of the grieving widow / ‘virgin’ theme;
  • Unveiling signifies Isis, whom none but initiates may see unveiled and from whom, the author suggests, Asherah was derived;
  • Pointing to a pyramid indicates an Egyptian association or origin;
  • Mirror, symbolizes the ancient motto, ‘Know thy Self’;
  • Reflected light cast upon the world, (as does the moon), shows the figure to be the ‘Light Bringer’ and ‘Light of the World’;
  • Seated on a lion, a theophany of Asherah;
  • Between two broken columns, evokes the ruins of Solomon’s Temple, bearing in mind the Freemasonic context of the illustration;
  • The figure herself thereby represents the lost or rejected third pillar; revealed by Kronos (time) and Athena (wisdom).
Of interest here is the connection with a popular Masonic emblem, known simply as “The Monument.” All its component parts are of ancient origin — However, their composition in this monument is relatively recent in masonic terms. Bro. Jeremy Cross claims to have created it in 1819 and featured it on his True Masonic Chart, engraved by Amos Doolittle. Despite this admitted innovation, it has acquired a time-immemorial reputation in the U.S. and has found its way into their rituals.

1. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité (Hymne à la Maçonnerie Française) http://chansmac.ifrance.com/docs/libegfrat.html

2. Frontispiece to The Masonic Universe, General Revue of the Progress and Acquisitions of the Human Spirit, In All the Branches of Masonic Knowledge, History, Literature, Poetry, Biography and Bibliography, under the auspices of the friends of Masonry, With Special Authorization from the Grand Orient of France, by a Society of Freemasons Directed by César Moreau of Marseilles. At the Head Office in Paris, With Lemoine, Bookseller, No. 24 Vendome Place, 5837, circa 1857. Printing press of A. Belin, 55 Saint Anne St. http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/art/frontispiece.html

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 27, 2011, 7:27pm



In the Preston-Webb ritual or “American Rite,” we find mention of a significant monument. This ritual states:

They carried the body to the Temple and buried it in due form, and Masonic tradition informs us that a monument was erected to his memory, on which was delineated a beautiful Virgin weeping over a broken column; before her lay a book, open; in her right hand a sprig of acacia; in her left, an urn; and behind her stood Time with his fingers unfolding and counting the ringlets of her hair.

The broken column denotes the untimely death of our Grand Master Hiram Abiff; the beautiful virgin weeping, the temple unfinished; the book open before her, that his virtues lie on perpetual record; the sprig of acacia in her right hand, the timely discovery of his body; the urn in her left, that his ashes were then safely deposited to perpetuate the remembrance of so distinguished a character; Time unfolding the ringlets of her hair, that time, patience and perseverance will accomplish all things.

The apron now shown, clearly has the broken pillar of The Monument completing a set of three. For what it's worth, Pike's take on The Monument is to be found in his Morals and Dogma, under "Prince of the Tabernacle"2:
Blue Masonry, ignorant of its import, still retains among its emblems one of a woman weeping over a broken column, holding in her hand a branch of acacia, myrtle, or tamarisk, while Time, we are told, stands behind her combing out the ringlets of her hair. We need not repeat the vapid and trivial explanation there given, of this representation of Isis, weeping at Byblos, over the column torn from the palace of the King, that contained the body of Osiris, while Horus, the God of Time, pours ambrosia on her hair.

1. Jeremy Ladd Cross designed this Master Mason’s apron from the 1820s. “Jeremy Ladd Cross and the Symbols of Freemasonry,” The Scottish Rite Journal of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A. http://www.srmason-sj.org/web/journal-files/Issues/may-jun05/callowaycross.html

2. Albert Pike, Morals & Dogma, Supreme Council 33° Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 1871, pp.378/9


  • A popular Masonic motif, especially in the U.S.A.
  • Features a woman with a broken column, arguably signifying the fate of the asherim
  • Kronos (time) is featured, reminiscent of the hope of a Master Mason that time and circumstance should restore the genuine secrets.
  • The woman’s loose hair (often held and thereby emphasised by Kronos) signifies a maiden (virgin), although she is usually connected with Masonic widows. This may allude to the widow of the harvest sacrifice becoming the bride of his successor.*
  • She holds aloft a sprig of acacia, associated with the initial, indecent internment of Hiram Abiff and also associated with the branch which, in a vision, Ezekiel saw each participant holding to their nose, in the temple (Ezekiel 8:17).

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 28, 2011, 7:17pm



Such elaborate imagery may suit some: Others may find the column and maiden sufficient unto themselves, or even combined as one, as shown here, where we have a female personification of Freemasonry surmounted by a five-pointed star. The letters on the two pillars show them to be those associated with the first and second degrees, while she stands on a pedestal bearing the initials ‘M’ and ‘B,’ signifying the word of a Master Mason and revealing her to be the pillar properly belonging to that degree. At the base of the pedestal are a hammer and a shattered chain, signifying her liberation, together with a broken demonic mask, suggesting her true nature is no longer concealed by a false visage. One hooded figure with his back turned to her, holds a stiletto and is carrying rosary beads, suggesting a ‘Silas’ type character (the fanatical monk in Dan Brown's, The Da Vinci Code).

The text accompanying the image roughly translates as:

It relieves their misfortune and dries the tears of: widows, children and the old and homeless. From it comes the Light, and, esteeming its judgment, the slave appeals for mercy.
Bearing in mind the title of this illustration, Freemasonry Helping Humanity, and the accompanying words, 'From it comes the Light,' we may find these sentiments are akin to those of Emma Lazarus, as expressed in The New Colossus, associated with the statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, a.k.a., The Statue of Liberty.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!


French Rite apron

1. La Maçonnerie Secourant L’Humanité ("Masonry Helping Humanity"), Augustin M. lith., Lith. Fourquemin, Paris, chez Kiener, Place Maubert, 41. Courtesy: The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 28, 2011, 7:18pm



Before we consider the Statue of Liberty, we would do well to consider its synonymous, elder sister, atop the US Capitol Building. In this illustration we see an artist’s impression of a prototype surrounded by an assembly of Masons. Note the Capitol building in the background and the letters ‘M’ and ‘B’ on the pedestal. At the Phoenix Masonry site1, we are told:

The Statue of Freedom was created as the crowning feature of the new cast-iron dome of the United States Capitol authorized by Congress in 1855. Freemason Thomas U. Walter, the Architect of the Capitol, first designed the dome with a classical figure of Liberty at the top.

Thomas Crawford, an American sculptor, was working in Rome on another neoclassical sculpture for the Capitol. Montgomery C. Meigs, the Superintendent of Construction, asked Crawford to design a statue to surmount the Dome. In discussing a subject for the statue, Meigs wrote to the sculptor: "We have too many Washingtons, we have America in the pediment. Victories and Liberties are rather pagan emblems, but a Liberty I fear is the best we can get." A month later, Crawford had sketched his first design for "Freedom triumphant in War and Peace," a figure wearing a wreath of wheat and laurel and holding an olive branch and the shield of the United States.


Elsewhere2 we discover:
The statue was originally topped by a liberty cap but Jefferson Davis (who later became the President of the Confederacy) was in charge of the construction and refused to allow the statue to wear a hat. He told the sculptor to either remove the hat or he would give the commission to someone else. Davis was a scholar of ancient Rome and he knew that only freed slaves (in Rome) wore these hats and he didn't want to have a freed slave on top of the Capitol Dome. So the American eagle helmet replaced the hat when the sculpture was made.

Thus, in the passions surrounding the issues of slavery and emancipation, prior to the American Civil War, Marianne, Lady Liberty lost her cap! (At least in the U.S.). Albeit, the cap alone had crept in on the Seal of the U.S. Senate. Previously, instances of Marianne sans cap were not uncommon and other iconography, not least being their titles, served to identify the depicted figures.

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 28, 2011, 7:20pm


Liberty Englightening the World (Statue of Liberty)
Dedicated on 28 October (first day of the six days of Isia,
a festival of Isis
, celebrating her search for and recovery of Osiris) 1886


Of all the symbols illustrating feminine iconography in a "Masonic" form, undoubtedly the most conspicuous is The Statue of Liberty. Presented by the citizens of France to the citizens of the United States, to celebrate the centenary of American independence. It may, more particularly, be seen as a Masonic project.

Celebrating the ideal of Liberty, (i.e., Free, as in Free-masonry), which, especially within France and together with Equality and Fraternity, are considered to be particularly aligned with Freemasonry, the statue is officially called Liberty Enlightening the World. As such, it follows ancient images of the goddess as lightbearer or Lucifera (originally a complementary rather than a diabolical appellation), as depicted in Classical images and, more particularly, as the patron goddess of the New World, Columbia (as depicted on the Columbia Pictures emblem).


We read that1, during the Masonic ceremony commencing work on the pedestal, the G.M., M.W. Bro. William A. Brodie, posed a question: 'Why call upon the Masonic Fraternity to lay the cornerstone of such a structure as is here to be erected?' His answer, which is as true today as it was then, was: 'No institution has done more to promote liberty and to free men from the trammels and chains of ignorance and tyranny than has Freemasonry.'

On the same occasion, despite being a project devised and driven by Freemasons on both continents, Deputy G.M., R.W. Bro. Lawrence, in his address felt he needed to encompass those beyond the Craft in the great work, declaring: 'As Masons, we cannot appropriate to ourselves alone the lessons which this monument will teach. Not only to us, but to all men will it appeal.'

Upon completion and to the strains of La Marseillaise and Hail Columbia, Brother Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the skilled craftsman to whose genius the work owed its being, in an act reminiscent of the unveiling of a goddess in the Ancient Mysteries, unveiled the statue, revealing at once his mother's face (the model), the Masonic Marianne, the goddesses Columbia and Asherah and the Light-bearer, as Liberty Enlightening the World. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, stands a prototype in Paris (pictured) forever facing the statue in New York.


The text of the commemorative plaque in New York reads:
At this site on August 5, 1884, the cornerstone of the pedestal of the statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World” was laid with ceremony by William A. Brodie, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York. Grand Lodge Members, representatives of the United States and French governments, Army and Navy officers, members of foreign legations, and distinguished citizens were present. This plaque is dedicated by the Masons of New York in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of that historic event.
Others are not blind to the masonic significance. Thus we read of it2 as The Statue of Liberty — A Masonic Goddess from Top to Bottom and our opponents tell us it celebrates the Masonic cult of liberty3; something few Masons would deny. However, to our opponents ours is the wrong sort of liberty, one which condones following any self-indulgent whim: but then, they would say that wouldn’t they? In this they forget that ours is first and foremost a peculiar system of morality and our freedom is one which prioritizes obedience to strict conscience rather than to external conventions and imposed authorities.

Re: The Masonic Marianne
Post by tamrin on Mar 28, 2011, 7:29pm


A Brother once exclaimed, “The ‘Anties’ got it right for all the wrong reasons!” In libels one usually finds a grain of truth. Thus, when opponents point out links to “pagan” deities in our ceremonials and iconographies, we need to do more than simply contradict them: We need to show how we apply that symbolism. We are not going to satisfy everyone. Instead we need to be true to ourselves.

The Statue of Liberty was perhaps the last, great monumental expression of the Asherah theme. Perhaps, the centrality of such female iconography was seen as an embarrassment in an institution whose exclusion of women was increasingly at odds with its purported inclusive principles and with the standards and expectations of the wider community (the Queen of Sheba had also become increasingly marginalized in Masonic accounts, despite being the person most closely associated with King Solomon in popular accounts). Whatever the cause for her allegorically lost secrets becoming really lost or forgotten, her place and the import of her name was established in strength, in the peculiar system of our Craft degrees: May she stand fast forever.