After the ceremony of French Brethren’s annual Installation in 2018 I.P.M. Bro. James Hall was asked to accept the presentation of a miner’s Lamp for the Brethren of Lodge Ballater to be placed on display in open Lodge at every meeting.
The miner’s lamp comes from the colliery museum in La Grand’ Combe, a former coal mine on the outskirts of Alės. The “Puits Ricard” as it is known was the deepest mine in the Alės basin. The shaft, was sunk in 1935 and was closed in 1978 after 43 years in use, and it was 801 meters deep. The former pit buildings have been retained and are now a museum.
The lamp, a replica, (it has never been used) carries the number 447 (Purely by chance). It is symbolic if Integrity, Patience, Order and Initiation.
If you add up the numbers 4+4+7, you get 15. The same number of steps in the winding staircase, as explained in the second degree tracing board. It’s also the total number of steps a candidate will take towards the altar during his initiation, passing and raising. It is a journey towards the Light, not just of Masonic knowledge but that of one’s own spirituality.
In the third degree the number 15 relates to the three lodges of “trusty” Fellowcrafts who were selected to search for Hiram Abif after his disappearance.
It also relates to the two most important letters of the “Tetragramme” or Hebrew name of God, which is formed from four Hebrew letters Yod, He, Vav and He. The first two Letters, Yod and He are the 10th and 5th Letters of the Hebrew alphabet respectively, which added together = 15.
In our working of the third degree ceremony, after the candidate is symbolically Killed, he is surrounded by a triangle of 5 Brethren -
We therefore have three elements -
“Let there be Light“ comes from the book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 3. In freemasonry it is symbolic of a Candidates journey around the Lodge from his entry in a state of darkness, and his being returned to material light after being obligated. The journey from Darkness to Light (from ignorance to enlightenment) is repeated in all three degrees of the Craft masonry, as well as in the Royal Arch degree and should serve as a reminder to all masons that their journey of discovery is not finished, but ongoing.
If, following the death of Hiram Abif the genuine secrets of a Master mason! were lost, and replaced with certain substituted ones:
What were the genuine ones and where can they be found? King Solomun and Hiram King of Tyre knew what they were. Did they leave any clues? If so where should we look?
In English (and French) masonry the Royal Arch is not considered as over and above the three craft degrees, but as a complement to the 3rd degree.
Perhaps Matthew Chapter 7, verse 7 might help.