The Royal Arch and It’s Hidden Meaning
George H. Steinmetz
According to ancient philosophies there are three methods of acquiring knowledge. They are Experimentation, which is the material method like science, Observation which is the mental like philosophy and finally Experience which is spiritual like religion. When applied to Freemasonry the Entered Apprentice would be your experimentation or physical degree, Fellowcraft would be your observation or philosophical degree and Master Mason would be your experience or spiritual degree. The Royal Arch is a continuation of the spiritual degree. In this degree right angles, horizontals and perpendiculars are not stressed instead acute angles are featured and the Keystone is prominent.
A proper keystone is a stone of thirty degrees which is one twelfth of a circle. Two keystones together will contain a sixty-degree angle which will form an equilateral triangle. The equilateral triangle is the symbol of Deity and His image, the perfect spiritual man. Therefore, the compass is opened to sixty degrees and when a cross piece is placed at the opening you have an equilateral triangle. It is believed that one keystone represents one half but when together with another keystone the equilateral triangle is complete Deity and the perfect spiritual man.
The “principle secrets” of the this degree are only divulged to those have recognized his three attributes of Body, Soul, and Spirit once they have been “squared.” This is done under a living arch or keystone because all REGULAR arches contain a keystone and over or upon a triangle. The principle secret of Royal Arch Masonry is that the physical and mental are but passing phases of man’s evolution toward perfection. If he be in the image and likeness of his creator, he is essentially a spiritual being.