Modern First-Degree Masonic Tracing Board

Modern Third-Degree Masonic Tracing Board. 2006
Digital illustration
Gregory B. Stewart

book, The Apprentice, Freemasonry, Masonic
The Apprentice

This work is a modern representation of the Masonic First-Degree Tracing Boards of old. It is filled with metaphor and symbolism, fluent to all Apprentice Masons.

Tracing boards are visual mnemonics created to illustrate the meanings and principals of Freemasonry as taught within the degrees. The symbolism is very Western, but the symbolism has been adapted for the modern mason.

In the image there are many symbolic cues. In adapting this piece, the most significant change is the replacing of the Holy Bible with the major religious symbols of the world. These symbols of faith, in my opinion, represent the modern Freemason.

What this work represents visually is the journey through which the a neophyte becomes an apprentice mason. On that journey, he is introduced to the three Graces, the allegorical ladder, and the idea of the pillars, crowned here with the sun, moon and blazing star in the canopy of the heavens. 

Since this work was originally created it has appeared in a number of locations around the world including as murals, covers to esoteric works and emblems of fraternal societies. It strikes a cord for many at a deep level, capturing the essence of initiation into Freemasonry.  

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