Understanding Skulls and Freemasonry

Today’s topic is Skulls and Freemasonry. Let me tell you I asked everybody for questions and I sure have quite a pile of them now so let’s get to the one that was the most asked the question is what’s up with the creepy skull on your desk?

What does the skull in the background represent?

Does it tie to Freemasonry?

Well that’s just two of the questions I’ve received about the skull on the desk back there.

I’ve gotten a whole bunch more but I think two was enough to cover my desk.

So, the skull you’ll hear a lot of people refer to it simply with the phrase memento mori and I’m gonna skip past any technical definitions and jump straight to what I feel is the point. The point here is I could die in five seconds while writing this article right here right now.

 As a way to remember that as a way to keep that on my mind.

Related: 41 Myths Of Freemasonry

Understanding Skulls and Freemasonry

The Relationship between Skulls and Freemasonry

Freemasonry at times has a skull symbol it’s not a very common symbol, I am NOT a historian, I like to read and I like to research things but I can’t tell you when it was ever first used in masonry and how long it’s been used and if it was used more in the past and it’s faded away and now it’s coming back I don’t know.

What I know is that it means something to me and it’s on my desk so I’m going to share to you what it means to me it is simply that thing that reminds us that because we could die at any moment we need to be living our lives in a way that we are really accomplishing what we mean to accomplish.

We are living our lives in a way that if we were to die right this instant we would be satisfied with how we have lived our lives.

Now I think you can parse that out into a whole bunch of different things I think you can parse that out specifically with Freemasonry I would start with morality.

Am I living my life in a good way do I feel like if I passed away right now and stood before my Creator that maybe I haven’t been perfect I know I haven’t been and I doubt you have either but could I stand there and say I really gave it a go, I purposely tried and made efforts and when I recognized issues I changed them.

So, by keeping the thought of our own mortality on our mind it can help kind of pull us back and rein us in and say hey this isn’t necessarily something that’s going to happen 30, 40, 50, or 60 years from now this is something that could happen at any moment.

So, don’t think that you’re going to live wild and free today because you’ve got all these decades ahead of you to live a virtuous and moral life you need to be doing it now because you don’t know when you’re going to be called.

I think that’s probably the biggest a most important thing to consider but I think there’s a lot of other things too you know are we being industrious, are we making something out of our lives, are we doing something useful, improving ourselves, improving the situation around us, like taking care of our families, improving the situation of our children, whatever the case may be are we reaching out further than that, are we trying to have an impact on society and humanity in general.

Now to me that’s a big part of where my membership in the fraternity comes in that I want to try to have a bigger impact than just what I can do inside the walls of my house or inside the walls of my office at work. To do that it certainly feels like you can accomplish more if you are banded with people of the like mind and are working toward the same purpose.

By being in Freemasonry I feel like I am around those men and we can strive to work on a more human scale than just an individual scale. That’s really what it boils down to that’s what the creepy skull is about it’s to remind me every time and I walk past it numerous times a day.

It keeps that thought on the mind of am I doing the right thing?

Am I making the right choices?

Right now if I died right this instant would I be happy with the things I’ve done with my life?

There you are, one creepy skull memento mori and you can decide whether or not it actually has something to do with Freemasonry.


If you have a ritualistic purpose for using the skull in your jurisdiction not something that you wish your Grand Lodge did or you wish your jurisdiction did, I’m saying it actually gets used, even if you can’t tell me what it’s used for, give me a YES, down in the comments below.

I’m curious, this is a discussion in and around Freemasonry that’s been going on for heaven knows how long, about the use of the skull.

Some people absolutely abhor it, some people absolutely love it, and some people could care less whether it’s there or not.

Let me know is it something that in your three degrees, you’re symbolic Lodge degrees, Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, Master Mason, would you ever see the skull because it is a prescribed portion of ritual, not just because the Secretary of your Lodge decide to put a skull desk and nobody’s ever said anything to him about it I want to know is it’s something that is supposed to be there because ritual says.

by Bro. Andre M. Noble

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