The Freemasons are a group with roots that trace back to the Middle Ages and the Knights Templar and the sword was the prime weapon of choice for a knight of those times, as it gave the knight a well-crafted and durable weapon to fight with. The sword’s design is also highly symbolic, as the shape of the sword matches the Christian crucifix.
The Masons are a traditional organization and use rituals and rites to maintain that tradition. A prominent feature in those rituals is that of the sword, as both a representation as a weapon, a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion, and a symbol of protection. During lodge meetings, for instance, there is a Brother Mason who’s job it is to guard the door with a drawn sword. He is called the Tyler and his responsibility is to ensure that only those who are permitted may enter the next room. Masonic swords are often objects that the Lodge takes a lot of pride in keeping and maintaining, as they are highly visible symbols of the Freemasons.
The swords that the Mason’s use come from a wide variety of places. Many swords used within Lodges are traditional heirlooms passed from Mason to Mason, to be used in the rites and rituals of the lodge. Some Lodges purchase new swords every so often or receive them as donations.
Wherever the sword may come from, they always are items of beautiful and elegant craftsmanship. Swords may have precious metals worked into the hilts (handles) of the swords, as well as the blades. There may be illustrations that adorn the blade or other parts of the sword, depicting Masonic symbols, words and designs. Precious and semi-precious stones are often used to adorn the sword, increasing the worth and the beauty of the sword. Lodges may differ in what they require of the Ceremonial weapons, and Masonic swords can have a wide variety of materials, sizes, designs, and colors.
The swords are usually based on traditional patterns, however some groups, such as the Shriners (who use symbols from the Middle East) use ceremonial weapons like the curved scimitar, which resembles a large saber. Other Lodges may embrace the traditional look of the Knights Templar more than others, and may use ceremonial swords with images and symbols that are similar to what the Knights Templar would have had. This differs from Lodge to Lodge.
The swords may be able to be sharpened, but due to safety concerns, as well as possible damage to the craftsmanship of the weapons, the swords remain unsharpened in order to maintain the beauty of the piece, instead of having full functionality. A typical sword from the Middle Ages was a weapons to be used in battle, and many ceremonial pieces lack the tough construction of battle swords, as ceremonial weapons are able to look more beautiful and elegant than the swords that were used as actual weapons. The swords are weapons, and Masonic lodges ensure that they conform to local laws involving weapons such as swords.
A sword within a Masonic lodge is typically not a cheap replica of a weapon. The swords are often beautiful and elegant works of art that often do not come cheaply. The weapons are similar to the ceremonial swords that are used by the United States armed forces, such as the Marine’s dress uniform swords. The weapons are used most often in the rituals of the Masons, such as initiations and the Lodge’s meetings, but may also be used for parades or even to display at the Masonic lodge for both Lodge visitors and Masons.