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The Beehive

Today in Masonic History we discuss the Beehive.

The Beehive is a masonic symbol that is quite often seen on collages of masonic imagery.

The Beehive often brings to mind a well organized group of insects working together for a common goal. The term generally associated with it is Industry. Not in the modern sense of massive machines working to stamp out multiple like items, but in the more ancient sense of a group of individuals working to create something.

To our ancient operative brothers who came from the guilds of the middle-ages, Industry in the old meaning was how things were accomplished without modern heavy machinery. Individuals were assigned specific tasks based on their skill level. Some might simply be carrying stone or other materials to the more experienced brothers who would then fashion the proper piece for the structure. Others still put their skills to planning how the structure would be put together and what tasks the afore mentioned experienced brothers would be doing to help complete the structure. No one group was the linchpin to the project or structure, yet all were critical to make the project a success.

Fast forward to the arrival of speculative masonry and you have a hive of a new kind. Still you have a structure that requires workers on all levels to make the hive (in this case hive is a synonym for lodge) function and be successful. More experienced brothers in the craft share their knowledge with newer "workers" in the hive. All the while realizing that they have their own task in the hive to do their part to make the hive function properly and to succeed with the projects at hand. There is also the leader of the hive, in the case of a Masonic lodge the Worshipful Master, who reads the plans and guides the workers at all levels to a successful project.

Whether you are talking about our ancient operative brothers or the modern hive (lodge), the end goal is still the same. A group of individuals working together for a common goal, the success of any one individual is important since it helps the larger structure of the hive succeed. Even with that opportunity for individual success and growth we still see the need for the overall structure of the hive to succeed. The hive must succeed otherwise the individual accomplishment has a reduced meaning, possibly even making the individual success meaningless. The idea for the hive is to assemble those who can best work together and best agree on the common goal of the hive.

It is through this concept of Industry that our ancient operative brothers were able to create grand cathedrals and other enduring structures. It is also how modern Freemasonry makes successful lodges, some enduring for hundreds of years.