This is part of the ‘pass word’ section of each of the three degrees often referred to by the public anti Masonic lobby as the Masonic ‘secrets’;. The only part of the ceremony which Freemasons, in respect of its traditional meaning, prefer not to divulge. This is not for nefarious purposes. This is due to the historical significance of the action which we respect in line with what it meant hundreds of years ago when it was based on historical working practice. Perhaps even earlier, as no one really knows and some say even back to the time of building the pyramids when such knowledge was closely guarded and when there were no examination boards and paper qualifications. So ask yourself. How did a stone mason, hundreds of years ago, prove the level of work he was capable of if he moved to another site, or job, many miles away from where he was known?
To enable this system to work, a simple universal system of passwords and handshakes were devised. At certain stages of a seven year apprenticeship, after proving competence at each level, he would have gone through various ceremonies during each of which he would have been given a password, which, he was warned, in the most blood curling way, he should not divulge on the pain of terrible consequences if he told anyone. The fact that it was known by thousands of workers proves it was nothing more than a password. It could not have been a secret, as it was known to all those in the fraternity who had achieved that level of competence. Now these young apprentices lived in a time of fear of the unknown; ghosts, apparitions, witches, wizards and ducking stools.
Times when one destroyed ones hair or nail clippings in case a witch got them and cast a spell. These apprentices were young and impressionable and often afraid to walk across a grave yard at night. Arriving at his new job he would be able to communicate the grip/handshake/password/secret, so that the Master mason in charge knew what he was capable of. It was regarded as closely ‘guarded’. If it became general knowledge then the whole of the ‘competence’ structure would have been void and useless.
All the working guilds of the time had a similar structure, but it has really only survived through Freemasonry.
We respect the traditions of an ancient craft and protect what is no more than a password. It is not a secret, as it is known too many. No different to the security code, known to all employees or members of that group, to permit them to enter a building.
There are many suppositions of how freemasonry started, and we can address that on the FAQ and other pages. The only thing this site will not disclose is what is referred to as ‘the secrets’ of Freemasonry. Why you ask. Well, because there are none, there are only pass words.