Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DC Trip Day %

A Visit to the Freemason's Temple of the Scottish Rite

We made a friend outside Safeway.  His name was Dave.  He told us that if we headed just a few blocks over to this temple and mention that Dave sent me, we'd get a free tour. 

He was true to his promise.

Here it is. My first impression of this building was, "Oh great.  Another Neoclassical structure.  More columns.  More marble.  Big whoop."  But it turns out there's more to this building than meets the eye.  This is a temple for the Freemasons society, a service organization that dates back hundreds of years.  George Washington was a Freemason, along with the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith.  On this tour, I learned a lot about the values and truths that Freemasons hold dear, as well as some of the symbolism, practices, and history of the Freemasons. 

I was initially captivated by the Sphinxes outside the temple...

My brother, Nathan, getting a breather before we go back into the No Air Conditioning.

A candid shot of my other family members in the lobby.

Allen Pike was one of the founders of the Scottish Rite (I believe.  Either that or he instigated the construction of the temple).  I just really liked this quote.

This chair is very special.  I forget what the name of the person is called, but he sits here and guards outside the temple room.  Back in the day, Freemason rituals had to be guarded and protected from enemies.  This important guard role required a special sword, which is still implemented today (though more for traditional purposes than for actual protective use).  "Know thyself."  What an interesting thing to put on a guard's chair.

Inside the temple, there was very heavy decoration.  Rich purple curtains, gold statuaries, and an incredible organ. 

The two-headed eagle; a very powerful symbol in Freemason culture.  The number 33 is also important.  There are 33 rays of light surrounding this eagle.  There are in fact 33 columns surrounding the whole building.  In Freemason hierarchy, the highest degree a person can attain is 33.  It's the ultimate goal of a mason. 

A number of different religious canons sit in the middle of the room, representing the many faiths that are practiced by Freemasons.  The only real religious qualification you need to become a Freemason is a belief in a higher power, a creator and controller of the universe.  

Ellen, sitting in the throne.  

Nathan, next to a sweet organ!

Ionic columns at their finest. 

Remember that guardian sword I was talking about?  Here it is.  With a nifty little scepter. 

I love these tables.  They designed the legs specifically for the steps in this room.  Pretty sweet. 

The "Pillars of Light" chamber.  Anyone who has donated over a million dollars to the Freemasons' society gets a little column in one of the chamber slots.  There was a lot of phenomenal stained glass (as you can see) and I had to play around with my brother's "serious poses."

He's quite photogenic, you know. 

Ellen joins in on picture fun. 

I told him to point.  

Someone had a lot of time on their hands and collected coins from all the Freemason districts across the country and beyond.  They were donated to the temple and are now placed underneath the glass tops of seven or eight giant tables.

As before mentioned, George Washington was a Freemason.  Here, in this picture, he is erecting the cornerstone for the capital building in his traditional Masonic garb.  

Heads of the Masonic community get a lot of interesting gifts, and they are often displayed here at the temple for visitors.  There was a whole room devoted to American Historical artifacts. This one, to me, is especially precious.  It's a flag from the Korean war.  American soldiers stationed there used scraps of whatever they could find to construct for themselves the American colors.  This flag was saved from being burned after the war.  Despite its ragged looks, I think there is a lot of power in this flag.  It shows devotion and sacrifice.  I was happy it was kept alive.

Listening to:  TRYING to listen to Lady Gaga on Kat103
Things Going On Today:  First day back at work.
Blessings:  Fingers.
Learned:  My record number can be found on my temple recommend.


  1. We didn't go on many tours, per se. Mostly we just looked ourselves. This tour wasn't usually free, but I think the matching t-shirts won Dave over and he set up a free one for us.