Well, we know that they use them to form an arch over a visiting dignitary when escorting him into the lodge, but what other uses are there.
It was suggested at one Lodge practice that the wands could be left behind when conducting the Candidate as, they just get in the way, and as DofC, very foolishly, I was inclined to agree.
But everything in the Masonic Ritual has a reason or a hidden meaning that we have to root out in order to understand WHY we do what we do.
On the South coast of England, in the county of Sussex, near the Town of Wilmington, there is carved into the hillside, the figure of a man with his arms outstretched, and in each hand he holds an asherah or staff.
The figure is 70 meters high which is approx 125 Feet. Nobody knows who carved it there, but it is known to be several thousand years old.
The word ASHERAH is the name given to the wooden staff, approx 6’ in length, which was carried by the attendants to the high priests in ancient times and was the insignia of their office.
These wooden staffs were named for the Goddess Asherah who was the mother of the twins SHACHAR and SHALEM who were respectively the God of Dawn and the God of Dusk, the significance of which will become apparent later.
The word DEACON is a derivation from a Greek word, which in translation means “attendant”
So two Deacons, with wands, are the equivalent of two deacons with asherahs
In the Junior Warden lecture it states that a Masonic Lodge is situated due East & West for three reasons.
1st. “The sun rises in the East and sets in the West”. Remember Shachar and Shalem the Gods of dawn and dusk, sunrise/sunset, there is a connection here.
2nd. We’ll put that one aside as it has no significance here.
3rd.” The tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Jerusalem were so situated”.
We’ll take the tabernacle of Moses because he and his followers were always on the move, and it provides a great example of the use of the asherah.
All holy or sacred buildings, at that time, were situated due East and West and the tabernacle of Moses was no different except that Moses and his followers were on the move for over 40.years.
So the tabernacle, which was of course a TENT, had to be dismantled and re-erected every time they moved, and at the re-building it had to be situated due East & West.
To do this Moses and his two attendants would go to the chosen site where the tabernacle was to be erected just before dawn, accompanied by the heavy gang who would do the erecting.
Moses would then choose the spot where the altar was to be and instruct one of the attendants to place his asherah on that spot.
When the sun rose above the horizon, the rays from the sun would strike the asherah and send a long thin shadow toward the West.
The other attendant would then place his asherah on the other end of the shadow and that would designate the center line of the proposed tabernacle.
The heavy gang would then move in and erect the tabernacle with the altar at the East end and the entrance at the West end.
Obviously the magnetic compass had not been invented at that time so all holy and sacred buildings had to be set out with the aid of two asherahs and King Solomon’s Temple was no different.
And so the asherah, being the very first tool or implement to be made use of at the building of the Temple, makes them of extreme importance, from a Masonic historical point of view, and as such, SHOULD or even MUST should be carried at all times as the insignia of the office of Deacons and in particular when conducting a candidate.
And that my Brethren is WHY the deacons carry wands.
W.Bro. Bill Douglas, Kenilworth Lodge #29, Grand Lodge of Alberta. Canada.