I was checking out an old non-denominational cemetery looking for unusual gravestones and symbols on tombstones. Always of interest are the Masonic symbols. This cemetery has numerous headstones etched with them. One symbol might take a bystander aback, like the gravestone pictured above. Some stones have pentagrams!
Pentagrams are widely recognized as occult, Wiccan or pagan symbols. When the upper point is aimed upward, it is considered positive. If it is used as a symbol of diabolic intent, then the point is aimed downwards. On some stones are these downward pointed pentagrams. To the casual observer, there would appear to be satanic symbols in the cemetery.
However, all is not as it might first appear. Around this pentagram are the letters OES. This stands for the Order of the Eastern Star. It is a Masonic fraternal organization where both men and woman may join. This is apparent in the tombstone pictured above, where both spouses have their own symbol. The husband has the traditional Masonic symbol of the compass and level. The wife has the pentagram with the letters O E S in the rays of the pentagram. Unlike the diabolic inverse pentagram, this pentagram symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem, the “star in the east” which appeared at the birth of Christ. Here the ray points down towards the birth site of the Christ child in Bethlehem.
Another intriguing tombstone (pictured below) has the same Masonic symbols representing the husband and wife. But underneath is a rare sight. It is a plaque stating “IN HOC SIGNO VINCES”. The meaning is “with your standard you shall have victory”. It shows a cross tilted in a crown. This symbol is associated with the Knights Templar Freemason organization. This organization differed from most other Masonic associations in that they required belief in Christianity and not just a Supreme Being.
Images of pentagrams and Knights Templar conspiracy theories give some religious folk reason to scorn Masons. I think this comes from a misunderstanding of what they are all about. Or more likely, some religion people don’t want any competition from any fraternal organization that is non-denominational. Such institutions might encourage people to think for themselves and we can’t have that happening, can we?