What Does “On the Level” Mean in Freemasonry?

In Freemasonry, symbols and phrases carry profound meanings, transcending mere words to embody the core principles and values of the fraternity.

Among these, the term “on the level” holds a special place, encapsulating the ideals of equality, integrity, and honesty that Freemasons strive to live by.

This article delves into the significance of this phrase, exploring its historical roots, symbolic meaning, and how it shapes the conduct of Masons in both the lodge and the wider world.

the meaning of being on the level in Freemasonry

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Historical and Symbolic Significance

The phrase “on the level” is derived from one of the fundamental tools of stonemasonry: the level.

Historically used in masonry and construction to ensure surfaces are perfectly horizontal, the level in Freemasonry transcends its practical use to convey a deeper symbolic meaning.

It teaches Masons the importance of equality, reminding them that despite the inevitable hierarchies and differences in the profane world, within the walls of the lodge, all members stand as equals.

This concept is not merely a symbolic gesture but a foundational principle of the fraternity.

From its earliest days, Freemasonry has championed the idea of universal brotherhood, where men of diverse backgrounds, professions, and social standings come together under a common banner of ethical living, mutual respect, and personal development.

Equality Among Members

The practical application of being “on the level” within Freemasonry is most visible in the lodge’s democratic structure and operations.

No matter a member’s status outside or within the lodge, each brother is afforded the same respect and voice.

This principle ensures that the lodge operates as a space where all members can contribute and grow, free from the prejudices and divisions that often plague society at large.

Moreover, the concept extends to the Masonic obligations of support and aid among brothers.

The level reminds Masons that they are to assist and support each other in times of need, reinforcing the bonds of brotherhood that are central to the Masonic ethos.

Ethical Conduct and Personal Integrity

Being “on the level” also serves as a moral compass for Freemasons, guiding their conduct both within the lodge and in their daily lives.

It is a reminder and a call to honesty, transparency, and fairness in all dealings, urging Masons to embody the principles of the fraternity in every action and interaction.

This commitment to ethical living is not confined to the personal realm; it also informs the Masonic approach to community service and philanthropy.

Masons are encouraged to extend their ethical principles to their broader communities, engaging in charitable activities and initiatives that reflect the fraternity’s commitment to uplifting and supporting those in need.

The Ritual and Educational Context

The importance of being “on the level” is reinforced through Masonic rituals and education.

New initiates are introduced to the concept early in their Masonic journey, with the symbolism of the level playing a prominent role in the lessons imparted during degree ceremonies.

These rituals serve not only to educate but to continually remind Masons of their commitment to the values the level represents.

In Masonic education and discourse, the phrase is frequently explored in depth, encouraging members to reflect on its implications for their personal growth and their interactions with others.

Through this ongoing engagement, the principle of equality and integrity becomes a living part of the Masonic identity.

Beyond the Lodge

The influence of being “on the level” extends far beyond the lodge, shaping how Masons interact with the world at large.

In their personal and professional lives, Masons are expected to apply the principles of fairness, honesty, and respect that the level symbolizes, striving to be exemplary citizens and human beings.

In the realm of interpersonal relationships, this means engaging with others with a spirit of openness and integrity, embodying the Masonic values in every aspect of life.

The principle also underpins the Masonic commitment to community service, driving Masons to actively contribute to the welfare of their communities and to aid those in need.

Masonic Letters
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To be “on the level” is to embody the heart and soul of Freemasonry, representing a principle that binds Masons together, uniting them in a shared commitment to live by the highest ethical standards.

This “quote” is more than a symbolic phrase; it is a way of life that guides Masons in their personal development, their interactions with each other, and their engagement with the wider world.

As Freemasons, we are continually reminded of the importance of being “on the level” – not just within the confines of the lodge but in every aspect of our lives.

It challenges us to be better men, to treat all with fairness and respect, and to strive for a world where the principles of brotherhood, equality, and integrity prevail.

In embracing the true meaning of being “on the level,” we not only honor our Masonic heritage but also contribute to building a more just and compassionate society.

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