The apron is the basic badge of the speculative Mason. It is the first symbol explained to a candidate, the first gift given by the lodge, and is the first evidence of admission into the lodge.
It indicates a disposition of innocence of the heart. As a badge it is more honorable than any ever devised by kings, because, while the latter can be prostituted by the caprice of princes, innocence is innate and cannot be adopted.
The apron has long appeared as a symbol of station, pride, honor and preference. In the mysteries of the Persians, the candidates were invested with a white apron. Among the great priests and kings it was a badge and symbol of authority. The Romans wore it during the hour of sacrifice. Among the Israelites the priests wore an “ephod,” which was a girdle with an apron front as an investiture of the priesthood. It was a part of the religious ceremonies of many nations, including Greece, Rome, Egypt and Palestine.
The apron is perhaps the oldest of all symbols. After the fall in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve made for themselves aprons of leaves, and the apron has since been used as a symbol of profound truths. One example, which should induce you to seek for the further and deeper significations of this symbol, is as follows:
Pulling up the bib you see a triangle with the point upward and a square. The square symbolizes matter, physical matter, the earth and the appetites and passions that belong to the physical body. The equilateral triangle symbolizes God.
This signifies the search for the wisdom to effect the spiritual over the material, the psychic over the sensual, and how to conform your life by the practices of morality honesty, charity, brotherly love, relief, truth, purity in heart and thought, so that the body may be a fit dwelling place for the spark from the divine fire that God placed there at your birth.
Compiled by Jack R. Levitt
Past Grand Master of California