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Masonic Symbols

Speculative


The Latin specere meant to see, to look about; specula was a watchtower, so called because from it one could look about over a wide territory. It came to be used metaphorically of the mental habit of noting all the aspects of a subject; also, as applied to theo-retical knowledge as opposed to practical skill. “Speculative Masonry” was knowledge of the science, or theory, of building; “Operative Masonry,” trained skill in putting that knowledge into practice. ‘When Operative Masonry was dropped out of the Craft in the eighteenth century, only the speculative ele-ments remained and these became the basis of our present Fraternity. It is for this reason that we continue to describe it as Speculative Masonry. The word has nothing to do with philosophical speculation, or with theorizing merely for its own sake.

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