(From the ‘Pocket Encyclopedia of Masonic Symbols’
Published by the Masonic Service Association January 1953)
In Symbolic Masonry they are white, black and blue. White in all ages and among all peoples has always stood for purity, innocence, sinlessness; black in the same places and times has been the color of death and sorrow. No symbolism beyond what has been universal is to be found in the Masonic use of black and white.
One theory as to blue, mentioned so often in the Bible, and being the color of the “blue vault of heaven”, is that “the starry-decked canopy” was adopted Masonically as an emblem of universality and limitlessness. Another is that the blue was adopted by the first Grand Lodge (after having first adopted white) as the especial color for its principal officers. Attempts have been made to trace the use of blue to the blued steel which was supposed to contrast with the yellow brass on early compasses, but this seems somewhat far-fetched.
Some believe that blue, the color of the ribbon in the Most Noble Order of the Garter, was adopted by early Masons in order to add to Freemasonry some of the dignity which surrounded that decoration (and which is referred to in the familiar apron charge) “more honorable than the Star and Garter.”
Whatever the reason for the adoption of the color, its use is now universal and “Blue Lodge” and “Blue Masonry” are terms understood throughout the civilized world.
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