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Symbols The Tau And The Triple Tau

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Triangle Triple TauThe tau itself, one of the two most important symbols in Royal Arch masonry, is the Greek letter T, the nineteenth letter in the Greek alphabet, a letter which takes the same form in many different alphabets, including the English. It was in ancient days regarded as the mark or symbol of life, whereas another Greek letter, ‘theta’ ?  or T, the eighth letter in the Greek alphabet and corresponding to the English sound ‘th,’ was regarded as the symbol of death. Three taus came together to form the triple tau, but they did not do this in ancient days-not earlier, as a matter of fact, than somewhere about 1820.

An Early Form of Cross

The tau is an extremely early form of cross. In shape it is the simple T. It is often called St Anthony’s Cross because the saint was martyred on a cross of that simple form, but long before then it had been the anticipatory cross or type cross of the pre-Christian Scriptures. It is not known as a simple Cross in the Craft, Royal Arch or Mark Masonry, but is so recognized in certain of the additional degrees.

Figure 1
1 The Freemason’s Book of the Royal Arch, Bernard E. Jones p. 233

Figure 2

Figure 3

 
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