The Masonic apron is one of the most iconic symbols in Freemasonry. It is the first gift that a Brother Mason is presented with after taking their obligation. We are taught that the apron was used by our ancient, operative Brothers who labored in the quarry and served a practical use at that time. In modern Speculative Masonry, it serves a different, symbolic purpose and is to be worn in the lodge setting and is to be placed upon our lifeless physical body as we prepare to move into the next stage of our existence.
We are taught that it is the most noble badge of a Mason and that it should never become soiled or impure and is made of white lambskin. The color and substance of the apron is symbolic of the purity and innocence that we are expected to live in harmony with as a Mason. Much of the symbolism of the apron is explained to the new Brother Mason in the form of a lecture. However, as with all Masonic symbolism, there is more to it than is originally explained.
The apron is worn in a different manors, depending on which degree the candidate is receiving. Each one is distinct and different and is explained as such in the lectures. One of the more esoteric aspects of apron symbolism is the shapes that the apron consists of. The apron has gone through various incarnation over time, but has mostly consisted of a square with a triangular flap. This is significant in itself as the apron consists of two of the most simplistic, yet important geometric shapes that are used by operative builders. These shapes are also incredibly important in all Masonic teaching. The triangle and square appear time and time again throughout all Masonic symbolism and philosophy.
The serious student of esotericism will also note that the apron is representative of the Pythagorean theorem, which Masons (both operative and speculative) hold dear to their hearts. The triangular flap has three points, the square of the main covering has four points, and when combined, there are five points. These are the four corner points of the square and the point of the triangle as it lays upon the square. This is 3, 4, 5 of the Pythagorean theorem.
The apron is also used to subdue our passions. As the apron is worn at the waist and extends downward over the sex organs, it is a reminder that we must control our lower, sexual nature and not let it rule over us in our daily lives. It is imperative to the spiritual seeker to learn to subdue this lower, animal nature to purify the soul. It is also the location of the Root Chakra that we must all learn to overcome to advance on our spiritual path.
There are many more aspects to the Masonic Apron that can be studied and meditated upon. Check out the following links for further information, and while you’re there, check out some of the other great articles that they each have to offer. Enjoy!