Ask a Freemason Questions and Answers Find a Lodge Near You
   
1 of 2
1
The Master Mason Due Guard
Posted: 17 May 2011 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]  
Newcomer
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2011-05-17

As I went through the degrees I was taught the due guard and sign for each degree.

I was recently asked how the due guard was came to be and the meaning behind it.

I have found articles that state the due guard is an American tradition and only the sign is given in other countries.

Does anyone have or know of any literature or documentation which tells us how the due guard came about and why?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4014
Joined  2007-09-27

Hey Stephen,

There isn’t really any knowledge of exactly what “due guard” means.  Certainly those words have no meaning in our language as they actually apply to Masonry. 

Mackey attributes it to be a due form of recognition, meaning to observe that this person is acting in reference to their obligation, such as one would “duly guard” the individual. 

However, I’ve also heard of other theories. 

Knight and Lomas have a pretty deep theory about it, but you’d have to read the Hiram Key series of books to see where they are coming from on that.

Robinson in “Born in Blood” suggests that it originates from the French “Geste du Garde” or “Protective Gesture”.  That book is another good read and interesting set of theories on Masonic origin.

At any rate, I don’t think anyone is saying the due guard and sign are a particularly American invention.  Perhaps the usage if the term has become more common in Masonic lodges, but pretty much all theories on the origin of the word go further back, and I’ve read enough writing from non-American authors to know that the “due guard” is certainly not an American Masonic invention.

Unfortunatly right now all we have are theories as to where the term comes from, but of course their meaning makes perfect sense.

 Signature 

Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Senior Deacon, Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Aleppo Temple

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  677
Joined  2009-11-18

As Bro. Dan has noted, we don’t really know for sure where or when the due guards of the three degrees originated, or if they are peculiarly American. Following is a little bit that may shed some light.

As I have noted a few times in the Forum, the Maryland working is that of the National Masonic Convention held in Baltimore May 8 to 17, 1843, known as the Baltimore Convention 1843. This was a meeting of representatives of all the Grand Lodges then existing in the USA except for PA and KY (who declined to attend), TN (delegate unable to attend), and LA which used French rites. The purpose of the convention was to decide on a uniform working of the masonic degrees and standardisation of various rules concerning the recognition and admission of visitors from a different jurisdiction. Each delegation exemplified or carefully described their own working, after which, discussions were held to arrive at a mutually agreeable form of work. At the end, a standard working was agreed on and approved by all. Maryland is the only jurisdiction which still practices the Baltimore Convention working unchanged. Thus, we have a genuine representation of how the masonic work was done in most places in that era when Masonry had begun to recover from the disaster of the Morgan incident.

In MD, the due guard and sign, in each of the three degrees, are inseparable; each is given together, due guard first. The only exception is at the end of the Middle Chamber part of the FC degree where the candidate arrives at the Outer and Inner Doors, where the DG is given by itself at the one and the sign by itself at the other. Any officer or member called on by the WM, or wishing to address the WM (and the lodge) gives the DG and sign and drops it. However, in some places, notably Virginia, any member addressing the WM must give the DG and hold it until he finishes speaking, after which he gives the sign.

The DG is unknown in the Emulation working, the most widely used work worldwide. In that work, only the sign is used, and it is often held in its starting position until “cut”, or completed. This partial use, or splitting of the sign, is somewhat similar to our use of the DG preceding the sign.

As we all know, the DG requires, and allows, an additional symbolic signification in addition to the sign.

 Signature 

Liberty Pickering Lodge #219, Baltimore MD
Druid RA Chapter #28, Baltimore
Hiram Council #5 R&SM;, Baltimore
Monumental Commandery #3, Baltimore
Harrisburg Consistory AASR, Harrisburg, PA

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  204
Joined  2009-05-19
Dan Madore - 17 May 2011 08:24 AM

Knight and Lomas have a pretty deep theory about it, but you’d have to read the Hiram Key series of books to see where they are coming from on that.

Mr Bob , Mr Dan , I would like to ask , are Knight & lomas books , regarding masonic education , considered good for masonic student ??
Thanks
LOJ.

 Signature 

The man who dosent read good books has no advantage over the man how cant read them. ( Mark Twain – American Freemason) .
أســد الأردن

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  937
Joined  2011-03-20

Here is an excerpt from the Freemason’s Guide & Compendium by Bernard E Jones that may assist:

Still surviving in a very few English lodges, in most Irish lodges, and in
lodges throughout the U.S.A. is the Due Guard, which was no doubt in
use in the English lodges of the early eighteenth century, and is very
likely to have been inspired by, or borrowed from, operative practice.
Lodges in the American system appear to lay as much emphasis in their
ceremonies on the Due Guard as they do on the sign or signs of the
degree.
In general, the Due Guard relates to the attitude of the Candidate at
the time of taking the Obligation in any one of the degrees. It is a sign in
itself, but its real purpose can be compared with that of the keeper-ring,
which serves as a protection against the loss of the wedding ring. The Due
Guard is just that-a keeper, a protection against the accidental loss or
betrayal of the real sign of the degree, because any invitation to give that
sign is immediately countered by a demand for the Due Guard. Thus,
without the Due Guard from one Brother, the sign of the degree will not
be vouchsafed by another. Every separate rite in the American system
appears to have its own individual Due Guard, although in the Irish
system the Due Guard is only known in the First and Third of the Craft
Degrees, an indication, perhaps, that both of the Due Guards belonged
originally to the old First and Second Degrees before their rearrangement
and the addition of the Third.
The old French term Dieu for ‘God’ was known in early English
literature, and there may be a relation between the two terms, although it
seems that the word ‘Due’ is used in a most obvious way as meaning Correct,’
‘proper,’ in the sense of the term ‘due form.’ The Oxford
Dictionary of English Proverbs (1935) gives a number of references. We
are told, for example, that a ‘beck’ or ‘beck’ (a ‘bow’ or a ‘nod’) is as
good as a ‘Dieu Gard,’ and that the old French dieu vous garde (‘God
keep you’) was a polite salutation of the year 1538. ‘Dieugard’
(sometimes spelt ‘Dew Guard’) was Middle English for the same
salutation.

 Signature 

Mike Martin
Click here for Mersey Lodge No.5434
Click here to chat about UK Freemasonry
Click here to view my Masonic watch fobs

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  937
Joined  2011-03-20
lion of jordan - 17 May 2011 04:26 PM

are Knight & lomas books , regarding masonic education , considered good for masonic student ??

LoJ,
No,their books are not of any use for Masonic education. They are interesting to read but contain very little Masonic substance at all.

I would recommend something like “The Lodge & the Craft” by Rollin C Blackmer long before I would suggest Knight and Lomas to anyone, Mason or not.

 Signature 

Mike Martin
Click here for Mersey Lodge No.5434
Click here to chat about UK Freemasonry
Click here to view my Masonic watch fobs

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  204
Joined  2009-05-19

Thank you sir.

 Signature 

The man who dosent read good books has no advantage over the man how cant read them. ( Mark Twain – American Freemason) .
أســد الأردن

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Moderator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4014
Joined  2007-09-27
lion of jordan - 17 May 2011 04:26 PM
Dan Madore - 17 May 2011 08:24 AM

Knight and Lomas have a pretty deep theory about it, but you’d have to read the Hiram Key series of books to see where they are coming from on that.

Mr Bob , Mr Dan , I would like to ask , are Knight & lomas books , regarding masonic education , considered good for masonic student ??
Thanks
LOJ.

Definitely NOT.  In fact, I disagree with a lot of their theories, but it is still very interesting to read their ideas.

 Signature 

Dan

Past Master, Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Boston, MA
Senior Deacon, Friendship Lodge A.F.&A.M. - Wilmington, MA
32° Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Valley of Boston
Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Aleppo Temple

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  170
Joined  2011-04-04
Mike Martin - 17 May 2011 04:45 PM

Here is an excerpt from the Freemason’s Guide & Compendium by Bernard E Jones that may assist:

Still surviving in a very few English lodges, in most Irish lodges, and in
lodges throughout the U.S.A. is the Due Guard, which was no doubt in
use in the English lodges of the early eighteenth century, and is very
likely to have been inspired by, or borrowed from, operative practice.
Lodges in the American system appear to lay as much emphasis in their
ceremonies on the Due Guard as they do on the sign or signs of the
degree.
In general, the Due Guard relates to the attitude of the Candidate at
the time of taking the Obligation in any one of the degrees. It is a sign in
itself, but its real purpose can be compared with that of the keeper-ring,
which serves as a protection against the loss of the wedding ring. The Due
Guard is just that-a keeper, a protection against the accidental loss or
betrayal of the real sign of the degree, because any invitation to give that
sign is immediately countered by a demand for the Due Guard. Thus,
without the Due Guard from one Brother, the sign of the degree will not
be vouchsafed by another. Every separate rite in the American system
appears to have its own individual Due Guard, although in the Irish
system the Due Guard is only known in the First and Third of the Craft
Degrees, an indication, perhaps, that both of the Due Guards belonged
originally to the old First and Second Degrees before their rearrangement
and the addition of the Third.
The old French term Dieu for ‘God’ was known in early English
literature, and there may be a relation between the two terms, although it
seems that the word ‘Due’ is used in a most obvious way as meaning Correct,’
‘proper,’ in the sense of the term ‘due form.’ The Oxford
Dictionary of English Proverbs (1935) gives a number of references. We
are told, for example, that a ‘beck’ or ‘beck’ (a ‘bow’ or a ‘nod’) is as
good as a ‘Dieu Gard,’ and that the old French dieu vous garde (‘God
keep you’) was a polite salutation of the year 1538. ‘Dieugard’
(sometimes spelt ‘Dew Guard’) was Middle English for the same
salutation.

Very interesting information.

That’s basically how I view the due guard - as an added layer of security, especially in the past, that an unknown Brother was actually a Freemason. Since due guards allude to the position of the candidate when taking the obligations, the Brother who gave an improper due guard would have been suspect of not having been through the degrees. In California, both the due guard and the sign are completed before addressing the WM or before the VSL when leaving an open lodge.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  404
Joined  2011-03-17

In NJ, the Due Guards and signs are used when opening and closing the Lodge and also when entering or retiring from the Lodge Room. When addressing or answering the Worshipful Master, only the sign is used.

 Signature 

Jay Mathis
Past Master
Tuckerton Lodge # 4 F&AM;
Tuckerton, NJ

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2011 09:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2079
Joined  2008-01-21

The presentation of the DG/PS varies from GL to GL. In Europe, a “composite” sign is given in the FC degree.

 Signature 

Charles E. Martin
Alexandria, Virginia

My blog about Masonry in Afghanistan and Iraq:
(Send me a PM)

Bowling Green Lodge #73, Bowling Green, KY (Grand Lodge of KY, F.&A.M.;)
Macedonian Lodge, Quincy Mass. (Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, F.&A.M.;)
Alexandria, VA Scottish Rite Bodies, A.A.S.R. (Southern Jurisdiction, USA)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2011 01:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  937
Joined  2011-03-20

Despite B. Jones’ assertion, in 17 years of visiting English Lodges I have only seen the Due Guard given at meetings of Lodge Quatuor Coronati and then only when American Freemasons have been present to do so.

 Signature 

Mike Martin
Click here for Mersey Lodge No.5434
Click here to chat about UK Freemasonry
Click here to view my Masonic watch fobs

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 May 2011 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  68
Joined  2011-02-13

Hmmm…Interesting, just shows how little I know about International Freemasonry.  Here in Nevada, we use the DG and Sign.  I think when visiting California, at one point, the DG is given by itself during the opening.  Something I wasn’t used to doing, but I was able to follow along.  How many lodges or jurisdictions “Attend to give the signs and observe the east?”

 Signature 

Kevin Kelly, PM
Fernley Lodge #34, F.&A.M.
Fernley, NV

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 May 2011 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  404
Joined  2011-03-17
KevinK37 - 21 May 2011 12:10 PM

  How many lodges or jurisdictions “Attend to give the signs and observe the east?”

NJ - Yes

 Signature 

Jay Mathis
Past Master
Tuckerton Lodge # 4 F&AM;
Tuckerton, NJ

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 June 2011 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
Newcomer
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2011-06-07

In AZ, the Due Guards and signs are used when opening and closing of the Lodge, when entering or retiring from the Lodge Room as well as when addressing or answering the Worshipful Master.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 June 2011 11:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  109
Joined  2011-04-03
Jay Mathis - 21 May 2011 03:45 PM
KevinK37 - 21 May 2011 12:10 PM

  How many lodges or jurisdictions “Attend to give the signs and observe the east?”

NJ - Yes

CA - Due Guards and Signs only, not the steps

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
‹‹ Masonic teachings.      FC was awesome ››

© 2007 - 2011 The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.

Page rendered in 0.5781 seconds.