Officers of the Lodge – Deacons

Who are the Deacons ? – The most important aspect of communication is not only to listen but to hear. Hear both what is and what isn’t being said.


This is a 3 of 6 part tutorial series on the Officers of the Lodge

Each part published monthly in The Square

Lodge Officers:  The Tyler, Inner Guard, Deacons, Junior Warden, Senior Warden, Worshipful Master

The Deacons – Communication

Communication is defined as “transferring information to produce greater understanding”.

It is about verbal and non-verbal communicators. Do not listen just to reply listen to understand. That means listening with all your senses.

Ask questions if in doubt about the message(s) being given or being received. When giving information use straight talking with emotional control.

In my notes on the Tyler or Outer Guard I wrote, “look into a person’s eyes as you will see a reflection of their soul.

Examine their body language for it is there that you will see their intention”. Listen to the type of words they use and how they use them, their tone, as that will give an insight to their frame of mind and their attitude.

Use your intuition, your sixth sense, without being prejudice. Above all, be cautious.

Remember that communication is two way. What messages are you giving off both verbal and non-verbal. A simple act can change a situation from volatile to peaceful, for example just the removal of sunglasses so your eyes can be seen can make all the difference.

Remember the times when your parents would just give you “that look” without saying anything, which meant you were on notice to behave.

What a powerful piece of non-verbal communication. When communicating use all your senses both inner and outer.

The Communication Process

For communication to take place there must be a sender, a medium and a receiver. The sender encodes the message by using words, symbols or gestures.

In Lodge all three mediums are used repeatedly. The message is the result of the encoding and takes the form of either verbal or non-verbal communication. A word, a grip a sign.

The message is then sent through the chosen medium. The receiver then decodes the message into meaningful information.

The noise is anything that can distort the message, language barriers, emotions and attitudes.

Finally, feedback allows the sender to determine whether the message has been received and understood.

It is the role of the Deacons to ensure the message is fully understood at each of the three pedestals.

The Deacons

Continuing with the work of W L Wilmshurst as relating to his book “The Meaning of Masonry” the Deacons are the messengers between the Worshipful Master (Your spirit. Experience and wisdom) and the Senior Warden (Your soul. Your reasoning and intellectual faculties) and between the Senior Warden and the Junior Warden (Your mind. Your spiritual consciousness).

To make informed decisions the message(s) given and received must be accurate not only in content but also in intent. The messages passed between your Principal Officers (Spirit, Soul and Mind) must be such for your “guards” to be able to preserve your integrity.

The Wands

deacons wands: the dove (left) or the figure of Mercury (right)
IMAGE CREDIT:  The Square Magazine

In our Lodges the Deacons carry wands and on those wands are representations of messengers. They are either doves or the figure of Mercury.

A dove is the symbol of wisdom. A pair of doves symbolises peace, fidelity and love and in Christian iconography a dove symbolises the Holy Spirit.

In Genesis 8; 6-12 we find the story of Noah and the dove whom he sent to find land and came back with an olive branch.

A wonderful piece of non-verbal communication and interpretation, the meaning being the waters must be subsiding and land must be close by.

In early Freemasonry Masons were known as the sons of Noah as it was the Noah story that was used in the ritual.

The ritual was later changed to the story of Hiram. I do not consider it a coincidence that there are two doves in our lodges, one on each of the Deacon’s wands.

Prior to the union of the Antients and the Moderns the Roman God Mercury was on the wands. Mercury was the god of translators and interpreters and a messenger of ALL the Gods, which would seem extremely appropriate.


In our Lodges the Deacons lead the Candidates to positions where communication takes place and assists in that communication to ensure the meaning is fully understood.

Communication from the “Spirit” emphasised and re-enforced by the “Mind” and the “Soul” in the first instance in darkness to sharpen both the inner and outer senses and in the second and third instances to enable all the senses to be used to fully understand what is being communicated.

The message is clear: the sincerity of Brotherly Love, the altruism of Relief and the fulfilment of Truth.

continue reading next chapter
Officers of the Lodge - Junior Warden

The Meaning of Masonry – W. L. Wilmshurst, 1920.

Freemason’s Guide and Compendium – Bernard E. Jones, 1950 

Bible. – Genesis 8; 6-12

Cambridge Dictionary –

Lodge of Union No. 38 (UGLE) Ritual Book



Article by: Stephen J. Goulding

Stephen was initiated into Freemasonry in 1978 in Tylney Lodge No. 5856 (UGLE). He was Master in 1989 & 2004.

He was Master of the Lodge of Union 38 (UGLE) in 2018. He is also a PZ in the Holy Royal Arch and PM in the Mark Degree.

Stephen served 30 years in the Metropolitan Police Service (London, England) before going into education in 2000, where he became a college lecturer and a mentor for both the college and the University of Greenwich (London, England). Now retired, he teaches Tai Chi and Qigong in the community.

Facebook: Steve Goulding-Tai Chi West Sussex–Chi at Chi


The Meaning of Masonry


Although the Freemasons number over six million members worldwide, they are a very secretive organization. the general public today thinks of them as a social fraternity like the Rotary Club, but that is hardly the whole truth.

By mysterious coincidence, it seems, many Masons have been major figures in modern history. many of the Founding Fathers of the United States—including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere—were Freemasons.

Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian freedom fighter, was also one, as were the composers Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and writers François Marie Arouet de Voltaire and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

The Meaning of Masonry explores the beliefs behind the order, its cryptic rites and symbols, and uncovers its ultimate purpose.


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