History and Meaning of the Lodge Seal
Many Lodges have a Seal which is utilised for creating an embossment on paper, or some other medium.
The original purpose was to authenticate a document, a wrapper for one such as a modern envelope, or the cover of a container or package holding valuables or other objects. The seal-making device is referred to as the seal matrix or die.
Historically, the majority of seals were circular in design, although ovals, triangles, shield-shapes and other patterns are also known. The design generally comprised a graphic emblem surrounded by a text, known as the legend, running around the perimeter.
The legend most often consisted merely of the words "The seal of [the name of the owner]", either in Latin or in the local vernacular language.
The Lodge Seal of Craigantlet Lodge of Friendship No. 486 was formed when the Lodge was sitting at Crawfordsburn before moving to Holywood in 1967.
Depicted within the seal is the majestic waterfall at Crawfordsburn, together with the surrounding craggy rock face. You will also notice a sheaf of corn, which not only is an acknowledgement to a number of foundation members in 1920 who were local farmers, but to its Masonic significance.
In Freemasonry, the Sheaf of Corn is a symbol mostly connected with the dedication, constitution and consecration of a new lodge and in the laying of cornerstones. At those times, the Masonic Sheaf of Corn represents the fruit of our labours, our sacrifices and all we have done to deserve them.
The Sheaf of Corn represented the "coin of the realm" to our ancient brethren, the people of Israel. While we are paid in cash today,... corn, wine and oil were the wages of the fruits of their labours.
Most Masonic scholars believe that the Masonic Sheaf of Corn in our Masonic ritual actually represents the more generic term, meaning "grain", in general. This is why you sometimes hear mention of the Masonic Sheaf of Wheat, the Masonic Sheaf of Barley or the Masonic Sheaf of Grain used somewhat interchangeably.
Our Lodge Seal is still regularly used today for a number of duties including embossing minutes, formal letters and certificates.