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THE SPINNING WHEEL

Among the nations of ancient times, recorded history leads us to believe, spinning was distinctively a woman's occupation. The tools used were primitive, but most early spinners were highly skilled craftsmen. Woolen and linen cloth were made for wool and flax. Camel hair and goat's hair were spun for sack cloth. Wheelspinning was unknow. The fibers were drawn from the distaff and twisted into thread by means of the spindle. (Exodus 35:25,26 and Proverbs 31:19)

The story of spinning is interwoven with the history of man. Wherever traces of early man was found, there also has been evidence of spun thread or spinning implements. The first attempt of the spinning process consisted of twisting animal fibers with suitable plant materials. Many of the earliest methods and tools are still in use to this day, especially the various drop spindles and such types as the India and Navajo spindles. This consisted of a stick from nine to fifteen inches long. It had a notch at one end for catching the thread, and a stone or baked clay bowl called a whorl, to help make the spindle spin like a top. The Ancient Egyptians used such spindles to make thread for fine cloth. They spun cotton from combed rolls. Wool or flax fibers were wound around a stick called a distaff, which was used to hold the flax or wool.

The spinning wheel used in Europe as far back as the 1200's, was the first device to give the spindle a spinning movement. The principle was the same as the hand spindle. A band or small belt connected to a large wheel passed over a groove in the spindle and turned it. A foot pedal turned the wheel. A distaff carried the material to be spun. The material was drawn off the distaff by hand. The Fineness of the thread depended on the speed with which the twisting thread was drawn. For very fine thread, two spinnings were necessary.

In the early days of setting up our Order and of choosing sacred tenets, great care and Divine guidance was executed so that Adoptive Masonry would contain some of the most sublime sentiments known to humanity. A system that would appeal to the highest and moblest aim of life, yet bearing a precaution of relief from the monotony of the endless repetion of the degrees. The story of spinning interwoven with the history of man, the connection of spinning and the purpose for the use of the flax drying on the the roof of Rahab, as stated in the 2nd Chapter of the Book of Joshua, gives us a reasurring understanding of why the spinning wheel was chosen as the indentifying emblem of The Heroines of Jericho.

We have been told that Rahab was a harlot. The flax drying on the roof leads us to believe that she was also an industrious woman also.

It is written in Proverbs 31:19, "She puts her hand to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle".

Proverbs 31:10-31, has been called, "A Tribute to a Virtuous Woman".



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Our Symbol - The Spinning Wheel

From research I have done, it would appear that the spinning wheel is a symbol of wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

Here are some key phrases from the Bible verses I have found.

From the Book of Exodus, in 28:3...all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they make AAron's garments... Exodus 31:3 - And I have called him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge..., in verse 6, it says...and in the hearts of all that are wise heartd I have put wisdom Exodus 35:10 - And every wise hearted among you shall come and make all that the Lord hath commanded. Exodus 35:25 - And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands,... Exodus 35:31 - And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge... Proverbs 31:19 - She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hand hold the distaff.

In Webster's Dictionary, distaff means a staff for holding flax,or wool in spinning. I Kings 7:14 - ...he was filled with wisdom and understanding.

More verses are - II Chron. 2:14, Isiah 28:6 and Prov. 31:22 and 24.

Of course there are many verses dealing with wisdom in the Bible. From taking just one word, SPIN, this is what I got. So far, I can only conclude that our use of the Spinning Wheel can only mean, wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

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