In Scriptural symbology, the cedar-tree, says Wemyss (Symbolic Language of Scripture), was the symbol of eternity, because its substance never decays nor rots.
Hence, the Ark of the Covenant was made of cedar; and those are said to utter things worthy of cedar who write that which no time ought to obliterate.
The Cedars af Lebanan are frequently referred to in the legends of Freemasonry, especially in the advanced Degrees; not, however, on account of any symbolical signification, but rather because of the use made of them by Solomon and Zerubbabel in the construction of their respective Temples.
Phillott (Smith’s Bible Dictionary) thus describes the grove so Celebrated in Scriptural and Masonic history:
“The grove of trees known as the Cedars of Lebanon consists of about four hundred trees, standing quite alone in a depression of the mountain with no trees near, about six thousand four hundred feet above the sea, and three thousand below the summit.
– Source: Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
Tall Cedars Of Lebanon Of North America
Reprinted with permission of the Supreme Forest Office
The Tall Cedars of Lebanon, a Masonic-related organization, was first chartered in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1902 and its governing body, the Supreme Forest, became incorporated in 1903. In all, 200 Forests have been chartered, of which about 102 Forests are currently active.
In keeping with the principles that are woven into all Masonic organizations, the Tall Cedars enjoy a ritual of rare beauty and dramatic meaning which is taken from the Bible, in I Kings, II Chronicles, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The Forests present The Prologue and Royal Court, which depicts the building of King Solomon’s Temple. They also offer many social activities for the enjoyment of both the Tall Cedar and his family. A typical Forest activity list can include these units: Clowns, Chanters, Band, Bowling Leagues, RV club, Golfers, Cedarettes/Rangerettes, Antique Car Units, Camping Club, etc.
In 1951 the Tall Cedar Foundation was formed and was the first organization to provide assistance to The Muscular Dystrophy Association in its search for the cause of muscular dystrophy and related neuro-muscular diseases. Through various projects, the Tall Cedars have raised over $14 million for MDA. A check is presented during The Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon each year. The Forests also provide members to answer the telephones in the local telethons. In 1977 the Tall Cedars began to sponsor fellowship grants to teach qualified physicians to diagnose and treat these neuro-muscular diseases.
Tall Cedars also participate in many civic projects. These include Masonic projects such as their support for the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1983, a Tall Cedars Room was dedicated at the top of the Memorial. The room represents King Solomon’s Temple. It is built with the same kinds of materials that were used in the original structure, for which King Hiram of Tyre provided wood from the tall cedar trees of Lebanon.
The Supreme Forest awards three $1,000 Scholarships. To qualify the recipient must be a member in good standing of a Job’s Daughters Bethel, a Rainbow Assembly, or Demolay Chapter in a state where a Tall Cedar Forest exists, or be the son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter of a Tall Cedar in good standing.
The Tall Cedars fund the Masonic Services Association newsletter “Emessay Notes.” which is received by all Grand Lodge officers and heads of Appendant and Coordinate Masonic organizations.
Members of local Forests also take part in the Masonic Service Association Hospital Visitation Program, visiting veterans in hospitals and nursing homes. They provide entertainment for patients in hospitals and convalescent homes for Masons and non-Masons, sharing the friendship that is fostered in the Forest.
Membership is open to all Master Masons in good standing. It provides an opportunity for a Master Mason to extend his Masonic education and also to have a fuller Masonic life, enjoying the fellowship of others in this less serious aspect of Masonry; thus our creed “Fun, Frolic & Fellowship”.
– Source: Supreme Forest Office
I’ve heard of the Cedars of Lebanon before but it was fascinating to read more about them. I’m a tree arborist by trade so work around trees all the time, but I never cedar trees had such a symbolic past in humanity. Very cool stuff!
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