Symbolism of the Anchor
The anchor is first seen in the third degree lecture, where we are taught that it is a symbol of a well-grounded hope. As the anchor was often a seaman’s last resort in stormy weather, it was frequently connected with hope. Being made of a solid body, the anchor was also identified with firmness, solidity, tranquility and faithfulness. The anchor remains firm and steady amidst the stormy waters, symbolizing the stable part of a human being, that quality which enables us to keep a clear mind amid the confusion of sensation, emotion and the general “storms” of life. Therefore the anchor keeps us steady in the storms of temptation, affliction, and persecution.
Indeed St. Paul mentions that “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). Christ is sometimes referred to as the anchor in the sea of life. This usage in Christianity can also be seen in the usage of the anchor in pictures of Saints, including St. Clement of Rome, St. Nicholas of Myra - patron saint of sailors, and John of Nepomucene - patron saint of confessors.
Also of importance is the fact that the red and white flowers the Acacia tree produce were seen as symbols of birth and death.
A sprig of Acacia is at times placed in graves, or on caskets, at Masonic funerals. The Acacia is also seen on the 14thDegree cordon.