Question: Why Is a Masonic Lodge called a “Blue Lodge”?
“BLUE LODGE”: Several definitions found are as follows:
- “When a man enters the Masons, he joins a Blue Lodge, the basic organization of Masonry. Members of Blue Lodges may hold three degrees.” [World Book Encyclopedia]
- “The basic organization of Freemasonry, in which members earn the three degrees required to become a Master Mason.* [World Book Dictionary]
- “A Symbolic Lodge, in which the first three degrees of Masonry are conferred, is so called from the colour of Its, decorations.” [Albert G. Mackay: Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, revised edition]
- “BLUE DEGREES”: are defined as ‘the first three degrees of Freemasonry so-called from the blue colour which is peculiar to them.” [Albert G. Mackay Encyclopedia of Freemasonry]
In the area of Heraldry, Blue signifies Piety and Sincerity; In Religious Symbolism ‘Blu& is the symbol of heaven, and signifies truth.
“Universally,” says Bernard E. Jones, author of “Freemasons’ Guide and Compendium, “blue denotes Immortality, eternity, chastity, fidelity; pale blue, in particular, represents prudence and goodness. He further gives his explanation of why ‘blue’ was elected as the governing color by which Freemasonry would be known: “in freemasonry blue is the emblem of universal. brotherhood and friendship and “instructs us that in the mind of a mason those virtues should be as extensive as the blue arch of Heaven Itself”.,
Blue was not always the predominant color by which Freemasonry was known. In fact, until 1731, white was the color of Masonic regalia, when Grand Lodge adopted these rules on Masonic clothing: ‑ the three senior Grand Officers (Grand Master, his Deputy, and Grand Wardens) and those of similar Past Rank, shall wear their jewels pendant to blue Ribbons, and White Leather Aprons lined with blue silk. (Grand Stewards to have red Silk lined aprons).
‑ “that all Masters and Wardens of Lodges may wear their Aprons lined with White Silk and their respective Jewels with plain White Ribbons but of no other Colour whatsoever.”
Those with imagination might well allege that “blue” came into Masonry because:
- from ancient Biblical times ‘blue’ has been associated with Truth, with the Deity, and with wisdom and hope;
- from the Hebrew, and Old Testament, ‘blue’, (or the Hebrew derivation) meant ‘perfection’; and that in ancient days the most solemn oaths were sworn on blue altars;
- ‘blue’, being the colour of the sky, alludes to all celestial attributes;
- ‘blue’ being the colour of the ocean, and of mountain streams, of lakes of good drinking water, Is emblematic of ‘purity;
- the Chinese represented blue as the symbol of the Deity;
- the Hindu’s hold that their God Vishnu, was represented by a celestial blue’;
- among the medieval Christians blue’ was sometimes considered as an emblem of immortality;
This author, being more pragmatic, has come to the following conclusion of why ‘blue’ is the predominate colour attributed to the first three degrees of Masonry, and which entitles Masonic Lodges to be termed as *Blue Lodges*:
- that the ‘Order of the Garter was considered to be the highest, oldest, and most famous Order of Knighthood in existence in Great Britain. The emblem of the Order is a dark blue garter edged in gold, and historically today known as “Garter Blue”.
- the Freemasons, in adopting the color of ‘Garter Blue’ attempted to add to their dignity and the prestige of Grand Lodge officers;
- Two early Grand Masters, John, 2nd Duke of Montagu (K.G. 1718, Grand Master 1721) and Charles, 2nd Duke of Richmond (Grand Master 1724‑5, K.G. 1726), themselves being Knights of the Garter might, and probably did, offer the choice of ‘Garter Blue. to be Worn by Grand Lodge Officers.
When “The Most Noble Order of the Garter” was founded by King Edward III In 1348 its colour was light blue, but In 1714 this light blue was changed to the present dark blue, which colouration In England, is known as Oxford blue, or *garter blue”, and the official colour of Masonic regalia worn by senior Grand Lodge Officers. Light blue, also described as Cambridge blue, or azure blue, or sky blue, by contrast, was deliberately chosen [says Bernard E. Jones] for private lodge clothing, to contrast with, and mark the difference from, the deep blue of Grand Lodge clothing.
Within the Grand Lodge of Alberta, the Grand Master, and all present and past Grand Lodge officers with the exception of Grand Stewards, wear regalia of dark, or ‘garter blue color. At the Lodge level, similar to those in England, the Worshipful Masters apron, Past Masters’ and Master Masons’ aprons are all sky blue (light blue) in color, and similarly lined. Thus, today, in our Alberta Masonic system, a Lodge conferring the first three degrees of Freemasonry, with historic pride, is entitled to be called, and be known as, a “Blue Lodge”.
Harry J. Noble, P.M.,
Britannia Lodge No. 18,
Bernard E. Jones: Freemasons’ Guide and Compendium, revised edition.
Albert G. Mackey: Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry, 1924 edition.
Grand Lodge, 1717 ‑ 1967 ‑ United Grand Lodge of England, 1967.
** In Alberta the Ancient York Rite uses the term “Blue Lodge”, while the Canadian Rite uses the term “Craft Lodge”.