October 2013 Regional Orient Membership Ambassador Message

posted May 30, 2015, 1:56 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 30, 2015, 1:57 PM ]
Today the All-Seeing Eye is viewed as a symbol of God's omniscience, which is the 
interpretation offered by Albert Mackey during the 1870's in Mackey’s Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Volume 1. The Eye first appeared as part of the standard iconography of Freemasons in 1797.  In that context this symbol represents the All-Seeing eye of God and is a reminder that a Mason's thoughts and deeds are always observed by the Great Architect of the Universe. 
However, some Masonic scholars believe that, during the long, formative period of Masonic ritual prior to the late eighteenth century, the All-Seeing Eye was not viewed a religious symbol at all.  During that era, Freemasons were a Brotherhood and, as a fraternity carrying on the traditions of the building craft, had no consciousness of standing in the tradition of religion. Therefore, the All-Seeing Eye could very well have symbolized many different things. One possible interpretation is that the Eye meant the sun or sunrise, as in the phrase "All-seeing sun" used by Shakespeare. The All-Seeing Eye also might have meant that wherever a Mason may go, he is still a Mason and, therefore, the eye of the Craft is upon him.  Other possible interpretations include the All-Seeing Eye as a symbol of enlightenment, wisdom or intelligence.
I prefer to think of the All Seeing Eye as a symbol of both Divine omnipresence and the Fraternity's omniscience in the sense that we should never lose sight of a Brother Scottish Rite Mason once he becomes a member, even if he does not attend Lodge or moves away. 

Ill. Durward C. Ayre 33° , MC,  Regional Orient Membership Ambassador for the Valleys of San Jose, 
Fresno and San Francisco in California