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Chapter 7
Lodge Emblems
HE EMBLEMS of Masonry, no less than the pictured starry
constellations, the designs of the tarot cards, and the allegorical
stories of the world's sacred books, bespeak an ancient language
whose terms are intelligible to peoples widely separated both in space and time. It is
the language of the unconscious mind, the language even to a small degree
understood by the creatures of the wild as well as by man, the language which derives
from common associations, and which, therefore, is the language of dreams.
In this peculiar transmission of ideas it is assumed that people have had certain
experiences in common, and that, therefore, the Law of Association will readily
suggest to them the outstanding qualities of things seen or heard. It is assumed that
people the world over who have had any experience with horses are familiar with the
idea that horses commonly are used to carry riders to their destination. This
association of ideas is then made use of to suggest by means of a horse that which
carries man to his goal. Horses thus become the symbol of thoughts, and especially of
thoughts which are expressed, and thus is derived part of the symbol of Sagittarius,
which is natural ruler of the house of expressed thought in a chart of birth.
That which is seen and experienced in dreams is not without significance. All of
it--except that which consists of witnessing some actual event, past, present or
future--is a portrayal to the consciousness in this language of symbolism, which
derived its terms from Association of experiences and ideas, of something of
significance to the mind of the individual.
But the significance of the symbolism of dreams is far more complicated than the
symbolism we here consider, not because the meaning of the symbols is more
difficult to discern, but because in the dream state we are more or less conscious of
the astral plane in which there are new properties present as if it embraced still
another dimension.
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In dreams, for instance, there are images derived from sensory stimuli, there are
fantasy images induced by desire, and desire may cause condensation or expansion
of the symbolism. On the astral plane, and in dreams, not only objects, but people's
thoughts may be seen as definite images. And occurrences that happen on various
astral levels may be witnessed, as contrasted with events on a single level that may be
witnessed on the earth.
But this is only the beginning of the possible multitude of things that it is possible to
see in sleep, or on the astral plane; for, due to the lack of restriction of time, space and
gravitation, it is possible to witness one's own past experiences and thoughts, and
one's probability line of future experiences and thoughts as if they were realities in
the now, and to witness other people's past experiences and thoughts, and their
probability lines of future experiences and thoughts as if they were happening in the
now.
Thus the problem confronting us in discerning the significance of things seen in sleep
or on the astral plane, is not so much that of interpreting the symbolism, as it is in
untangling the past and future from the present, discriminating that which is merely a
thought from that which represents an occurrence involving individuals, and in
otherwise unscrambling images and impressions and giving each its proper place.
The infant taken on a drive through a great city has the same difficulty. But with
experience and training the infant grows to recognize the relative value and
significance of its impressions. And man also, in due course of time if he trains
himself diligently, can while still on the physical plane, learn properly to appraise
what he sees in dreams, and what he sees without dreaming on the astral plane.
The Masonic Lodgeroom
--It is said that the Masonic lodgeroom is as long as from east to west; as wide as
from north to south; as high as from the surface of the earth to the highest heaven; and
as deep as from the surface of the earth to the earth's center. Only one thing has such
dimensions. That thing is the universe as mapped by the Mundane Houses of a
horoscope. Therefore, the lodgeroom is the universe considered from the point on the
earth where the candidate stands (see Course 2, Astrological Signatures, Chapter 3).
From east to west is considered the length, and north and south the width, because the
planets in their orbits about this celestial lodge move fewer degrees north and south
than they move east and west. The limit of their movement by declination--the north
and south movement--is less than 60 degrees; but they move through the zodiac, and
also by their diurnal travel about the earth from east to west, the entire circle of 360
degrees. The third dimension of a horoscope is always considered to reach from the
center of the earth beneath the observer's feet to the zenith directly over his head.
From the standpoint of astrology it would be difficult to give a better definition of the
dimensions of the stellar universe than this one formulated by the Ancient Masons.
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The Three Pillars
It is further asserted that there are three columns, or pillars, that support the lodge.
These are the equinoctial colure, the solstitial colure, and the meridian. They are the
support of the lodge because the lodge is the vault of heaven and all calculations
relating to it are referred to one or more of these three lines, or pillars. Thus the
celestial longitude of a stellar body is always calculated as so many degrees, or hours,
from one end of the equinoctial colure, which is called the first point of Aries.
Celestial latitude is reckoned as so many degrees north or south of the ecliptic; the
ecliptic being a circle passing over both ends of the equinoctial colure, and also over
both ends of the solstitial colure; the latter line, or pillar, being necessary to
determine the plane of the ecliptic. Yet astronomical calculations to be of value on
the earth must not stop with defining the position of a celestial body in terms of
latitude and longitude, but must designate the position with reference to a given spot
on the earth. This third necessary element is calculated from the third Masonic pillar,
the meridian. Thus if we say a planet is 12 degrees of Sagittarius, has 3 degrees south
latitude, and that 9 degrees of Sagittarius is on the meridian, its position is completely
defined. Without these three elements precise definition of celestial positions is
impossible. Therefore, the Meridian, the Solstitial Colure, and the Equinoctial
Colure, are truly the supports of the celestial lodge.
When the sun rests upon the equinoctial colure the days and nights are equal,
masculine and feminine forces are united by the colure in equilibrium, as pictured in
the zodiac by the Scales of Libra, the zodiacal sign of marriage. And because proper
marriage is considered a constructive function, the Ancient Masons named the pillar
Wisdom.
When the sun rests upon the top, or northern end, of the solstitial colure, the days are
longest and the masculine forces are dominant; when it rests upon the bottom, or
southern end of the solstitial colure, the nights are longest and feminine forces are
dominant. Because that man is strongest who is dominantly masculine, and that
woman is strongest who is dominantly feminine, the Ancient Masons named this
pillar Strength.
When the sun rests upon the meridian it is noon and there is the maximum sunshine
for that day. This light makes more plainly visible the innumerable beauties of
nature. Because of this the Ancient Masons named this pillar Beauty.
Furthermore, to make the identity of the lodge unmistakable, Masons assert that it
has a clouded canopy, or starry decked heaven, where all good Masons hope to
arrive.
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The Northeast Corner
--Any complete map of this lodgeroom divides it into the Mundane Houses
commonly employed in erecting a birth-chart. Such a map, or birth-chart, has the
directions well defined, each house ruling certain departments of life. The First
House of the celestial map, the place where the sun is each day at dawn when it
awakens the sleepy world into a fresh period of activity, in natal astrology rules birth.
This house of birth is the northeast portion of the birth-chart. Therefore, in absolute
conformity to astrological correspondences, when the candidate for the E.A. degree,
that is, the candidate for initiation on the physical plane, has been reinvested with his
clothing he is placed in the northeast corner of the lodgeroom and caused to stand
upright like a man. He represents the soul that has evolved far enough to be born into
human form. He also, by his position in the house of birth, indicates that through the
knowledge imparted to him in initiation, he has been reborn and is now ready to
commence a new life. Even as the sun after its daily birth ascends to a vertical
position, so does the candidate stand upright like a man, by his position indicating the
will to strive for higher things.
Not only is the First House, or northeast corner, of a celestial chart, the house of birth
of man, but it marks the birth, or commencement, of each new enterprise. This
explains why, "The first stone in every Masonic edifice is, or ought to be, placed at
the northeast corner, that being the place where an E.A. Mason receives his first
instructions to build his future Masonic edifice upon."
No Metal Tool Was Heard
--In the building of the original Masonic edifice, Solomon's Temple, the sound of
ax, hammer, or other tool of metal, was not heard: "All the stones were hewed,
squared, and numbered in the quarries where they were raised; all the timbers felled
and prepared in the forests of Lebanon, and carried down to Joppa on floats, and
taken thence up to Jerusalem, and set up with wooden malls, prepared for that
purpose; which, when complete, every part thereof fitted with the exact nicety, that it
had more resemblance of the handiworkmanship of the Supreme Architect of the
universe, than of human hands."
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Because inorganic substances possess the lowest degree of life expressed on the
earth they symbolize human experiences that are viewed solely from the standpoint
of material loss or gain. But organic substances, possessing a higher degree of life,
and a more complex organization, symbolize human experiences that are viewed
from the standpoint of spiritual alchemy, from the standpoint of their effect upon
character. Tools composed of inorganic substance, then, represent such mental
activities as are concerned with the physical welfare; and an edifice built with
metallic tools signifies an environment that has been constructed through selfish
ambition. Such an edifice is bound, sooner or later, to fall into decay.
But the temple built upon true spiritual principles, built upon a recognition that the
important function of each experience is its effect upon the character, does not decay;
but becomes a glorious and permanent habitation for the immortal soul. Nor is this
entirely figurative; for it is the attitude toward events, and the motive behind actions,
that determine whether states of consciousness are evolved of sufficient intensity,
and of such polarity that they combine, to affect spiritual substances. Only mental
factors of proper intensity affect the spiritual body and have power to organize it as a
vehicle for the immortal soul (see Course 3, Spiritual Alchemy, Chapter 4).
Because thoughts prompted by material motives have not intensity of vibration
sufficient to affect the spiritual body, in the construction of Solomon's Temple, the
spiritual body, the sound of no metal tool--thoughts based upon purely material
motives--was heard. And the malls of wood were specially prepared because it takes
special preparation and training to give the thoughts the viewpoint and spirituality
that they may be used to build up the spiritual body.
The stones indicate the external experiences of mankind. They were hewed, squared,
and numbered in the quarries where they were raised. That is, they were classified as
the various sciences. The timbers, being of organic substance, represent the
experiences of life that organize the character. They have their origin in the forests of
Lebanon, the material plane. But they are floated by the emotional reactions toward
them to Joppa, the astral plane. And from thence--if fit for the purpose, if of
sufficient spirituality--up to Jerusalem, the spiritual plane.
And the spiritual body of man--organized by constructive thoughts that are largely
motivated by the desire to benefit society, yet based upon a wide variety of
experiences that are viewed as opportunities to build character--because it
corresponds in its various parts to the universe--is a microcosm--resembles,
therefore, the handiwork of Deity.
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Three Movable Jewels
--Now the three movable jewels of a lodge are, the rough ashlar, the perfect ashlar,
and the trestleboard. The rough ashlar represents man's character unmodified by
spiritual aspirations and occult training. The perfect ashlar represents man's
character after it has been perfected by applying the keen chisel of discrimination,
driven by the hammer of will and intellect; and after it has been polished by persistent
aspirations to be of greatest possible service to mankind. It thus becomes fit to be
used in the construction of the permanent, or spiritual, human edifice.
The trestleboard is man's consciousness, where the soul drafts the plans for the
actions of life.
Ornaments
--The ornaments of the lodge are: the checkered pavement, or mosaic; the blazing
star in its center; and the indented tassel, or beautiful tessellated border that
surrounds the pavement.
The blazing star has five points, and is thus the symbol of man. The one point above
the other four indicates that man's head is uppermost, that his intellect has dominion
over the four elementary realms, and should have dominion over the instincts of the
flesh. In the heavens above, this Masonic star is Polaris, the Pole Star, which, because
apparently it is the only point in the sky that does not move--for it represents the
extension of the earth's axis--has throughout the ages been the emblem of that other
thing which changes not, Truth. "Upon this rock will I build my church." Had it
actually been founded on this rock the church need not have changed. The King,
Cepheus--a word meaning rock--among the constellations, rests his foot on the
Polar Star, which is a part of the constellation. This--Truth--is not merely the Rock
of Ages, but it is also, "The rock that is higher than I," a recognition not merely of the
permanence of truth, but that it is the highest religion. Therefore, when it is said that
this star should appear conspicuously in the conduct of every Mason, we are
informed that a conspicuous feature of Masonic conduct is adherence to Truth.
About this star, which on earth represents man and in the sky represents Polaris, is a
mosaic of black and white checks. The movement of the planets through the zodiac
causes their rays to converge to form squares, trines, sextiles, semi-squares, and
other geometrical figures. The influence of some of these is harmonious,
corresponding to the white checks. The influence of others is discordant,
corresponding to the black checks. These checks, therefore, considered as planetary
influences converging on man's astral body in regular geometrical patterns, attract to
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man, through stimulating certain unconscious trains of thought, periods of good
fortune and periods of adverse fortune. That is, they well represent not only the
geometrical designs of the birth-chart, which predisposes him to certain experiences,
but they also represent the progressed aspects which add energy and thus bring
certain types of events to him at times that may be predetermined.
The recognition of these influences, symbolized by the checkered pavements, is
important; but of still more importance is the advice given, that brethren may walk
together upon this pavement without stumbling. In other words, adverse planetary
influences cannot be avoided, but it is quite possible to avoid the adverse events that
are threatened by planetary positions; and because mental vibrations may be
reinforced by emotion, and because planetary influence operates through stimulating
discordant mental states, that which can be used to engender specific constructive
emotions may be used to annul adverse planetary influence. The Ancient Masons
counseled, for this purpose, harmonies engendered through close cooperation.
Chalk, Charcoal and Clay
--The next thought requires some preliminary explanation. Life in association with
the earth is embraced in seven stages, the seventh stage of consciousness summing
up the other six and providing a point of transition to higher spheres. The incarnating
soul first undergoes experiences in the mineral realm, then a cycle of experience on
the astral plane where the mineral experiences are reorganized to fit it for vegetable
life. It then incarnates repeatedly in the vegetable kingdom; following which it
undergoes another cycle in the astral, gestating these experiences before incarnating
as an animal. The fifth stage is its various incarnations in the animal kingdom; the
sixth being a cycle in the astral realm where it synthesizes these experiences to a
point where human incarnation is possible.
Now when the Senior Warden (corresponding to the soul) in the E.A. degree is asked
whom he served, he answers, "My Master," meaning, the ego. When asked how long,
he replies, "Six days." These six days are the six states through which the soul serves
the ego, the six states from the mineral up to the point where human incarnation is
possible. It thus represents the labors of the impersonal soul, impelled by the ego, to
reach the human plane and thus come into possession of self-consciousness.
To the question with what he served him he replies, with Freedom, Fervency, and
Zeal, and that these are present in Chalk, Charcoal, and Clay. That is, charcoal, which
is used for fuel, is a symbol of fire, and hence of the fervency of creative energy. Clay
is igneous rock that has been eroded by ice, and thus represents the union of fire and
water, male and female principles, and it is stated that nothing is more zealous than
clay to bring forth. Chalk is chiefly composed of the minute shells of Foraminifera,
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being deposited in the shallow water of the sea. It is thus of animal origin, and well
symbolizes the offspring, or life, resulting from the union of male and female
principles. And in addition, its common use as a means of facilitating expression
suggests the freedom with which the soul, in its evolutionary ascent, expressed itself
through incarnating in one form of life after another.
When the state of man is reached, from the lowest human state up to the perfect man,
or adept, there is another series of seven states. These states are indicated in the F.C.
degree where it is said that the Masons working on Solomon's Temple wrought six
days, but on the seventh day they rested. That is, in perfecting the human temple,
seven states of consciousness are developed (see Course 3, Spiritual Alchemy,
Chapter 5 for detailed discussion of these states of consciousness). The ego only
becomes incarnated and the man perfect when the seventh state of manhood is
reached. He is then a Master Mason, has developed seven states of consciousness,
and is at the point of transition where he is ready to function on the spiritual plane of
life.
Furthermore, in the spiritual realms there is still another series of seven states by
which man passes from spiritual life into angelic form. These are also each marked
by a definite development of consciousness. In the seventh state of the spiritual
world, due to the permanent union of the two souls that are the expression of one
divine ego, the angelic form is attained and the next step is transition to the celestial
sphere.
The Red Sea
--The statement is made that the lodgeroom is situated due east and west, not only
because it is a model of Solomon's Temple, but also because Moses, after conducting
the Children of Israel through the Red Sea, by divine command, erected a tabernacle
to God, and placed it due east and west, which was to commemorate to the latest
posterity that miraculous east wind that wrought their mighty deliverance.
Now red is the color ruled by the planet Mars, and a sea typifies the emotions. The
Red Sea, therefore, symbolizes a condition of sensuality. Sensations, by those who
listen to the dictates of the divine soul, are utilized to build a fit tabernacle to God; but
to those less worthy they become a snare, and such persons are flooded and drowned
in the sea of their own animal propensities. Wind symbolizes aspirations, and the east
is the region of light. Therefore, the candidate is informed that through aspiration for
spiritual wisdom he may cross the sea of sensuality dry shod, but that those who
foolishly enter this sea with unworthy motives are doomed to destruction.
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Dimensions and Ornaments of the
Columns
--In the F.C. degree we also have a complete description of the two columns, Jachin
and Boaz. On the earth Jachin is the region of heat and warmth, the South; but
because it is summer when the sun is in the northern half of the zodiac, Jachin in the
sky is the northern section of the zodiac. Likewise, Boaz, on earth is the region of
cold, the North; but in the sky represents the southern half of the zodiac; for it is
coldest when the sun is so situated. These columns are said to be eighteen cubits high,
twelve in circumference, and four in diameter; they are adorned with two large
chapiters, one on each, and, so the description continues, these chapiters are
ornamented with net-work, lily-work, and pomegranates.
That is, the Ancient Masons, as do modern astrologers, considered the zodiac as a
belt about the heavens extending 9 degrees each side of the sun's apparent annual
path, or 18 degrees high. As there are twelve signs in the zodiacal belt, they are 12 in
circumference. The belt is further divided into four quadrants, each quadrant
representing the station of the sun during one of the four seasons. It is thus 4 in
diameter. And the two halves of the zodiac, representing the sun's station during
summer and winter, show Jachin and Boaz united.
These pillars, or sections of the zodiac, are surmounted and adorned by the various
starry constellations, the northern constellations forming one chapiter, and the
southern constellations forming another. These constellations, as any star map will
show, are a net-work of lines connecting various stars. Their exalted and spiritual
meaning can only be read by those of pure heart, symbolized by the lily; and as
indicated by the pomegranate, which is mostly seeds, their interpretations are the
seeds of all valuable esoteric knowledge. In human life these two chapiters signify
those crowning attributes by which true men and true women differ. The net-work
signifies the noble ties that bind together man and woman, the lily-work the purity of
their relations, and the pomegranates the fruitfulness of their endeavors on all planes
of action when thus united by an exalted love.
The Globes on the Columns
--On these columns are two globes, one on each. They are balls containing on their
convex surfaces all the maps and charts of the celestial and terrestrial bodies. In
composition they are molten, or cast, brass; and were cast on the banks of the River
Jordan, in clay ground between Succoth and Zaradatha, where King Solomon
ordered these and all other holy vessels to be cast. They were four inches, or a hand's
breadth, thick, and were cast hollow the better to withstand inundations and
conflagrations. They were the Archives of Masonry, and contained the constitution,
rolls, and records.
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The two globes are the celestial sphere, or globe mapping the constellations, and the
terrestrial sphere, or globe mapping the earth. For astrological purposes it is
necessary to map the heavens at any instant of time in reference to any specific point
on the surface of the earth. The latitude and longitude of birth must be known before a
birth-chart may be erected, and the longitude and declination of the planets must be
calculated. The former data are obtained from a map of the earth, or terrestrial globe,
and the latter data are obtained from a map of the heavens, or the celestial globe. The
whole of Masonry, as well as the whole of human life, is contained within these two
spheres; for they symbolize astrology. They are Archives of Masonry in which the
records are kept written in the divine language of celestial correspondence.
The River Jordan represents the boundary between the physical world and the astral
world; between Succoth and Zaradatha. On the banks of the River these globes were
cast; and because the various planetary energies that stimulate man converge, or
unite, on the earth at the point where he stands; that is, the astral vibrations from both
heaven and earth meet where he stands to influence him, these spheres are said to be
cast in clay-ground; the latter being the symbol of united forces. These forces that
converge in man's astral body are from the heaven and from the earth, thus being
positive and negative like brass which is a union of two metals, and they are ever on
the move, fluxing like the molten brass to which they are compared.
The celestial globe is divided into four quadrants, and by the law of correspondence
the terrestrial globe has also four natural quadrants.
They are thus four in thickness. And to indicate that they have an influence over
man's life and destiny they are said to be a hand's breadth in thickness. The hand is
not only the symbol of work done, of the executive attribute, but because of its five
fingers it also symbolizes man. The inundations and conflagrations which threaten
these precious maps, which threaten this knowledge of the religion of sky and earth,
which alone constitutes the true constitution, rolls and records of Ancient Masonry,
are the unreasoning emotions and violent passions of man.
The Long Winding Staircase
--The long winding Masonic stairway, which it is said has three, five, seven, or more
steps, refers to the annual journey of the sun. At the winter solstice, for three days
before its birth on Christmas, the sun is stationary, moving neither north or south.
Then as there are 365 days in a year, and only 360 degrees in the sun's annual cycle, it
was customary in ancient times to cross off five days after Christmas. These days
were given over to a festival in honor of the sun's birth in the manger of the Goat,
Capricorn. And because the sun is then in the sign ruled by Saturn, the festival period
was called the Saturnalia. Following these five days, there were yet another seven
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days before the ephiphany, on which the new born sun was said to first put in an
appearance; just as Jesus was said to be twelve years of age before appearing in
learned discussion. These seven days, or Masonic steps, in practical magic, are of
great importance; for at this time of the year the magnetic forces are peculiarly
susceptible and plastic to the will of man.
In human life, according to numerology, the three steps symbolize marriage, the five
steps represent intelligence, or enlightenment, and the seven steps the perfect union
of body, soul, and spirit with body, soul, and spirit to triumph over physical
limitations.
In the F.C. Degree the candidate is admitted into the middle chamber of the temple
for the sake of the letter G. G in Ancient Masonry stands for generation, and this
ceremony indicates that because the candidate has mastered the mysteries of
generation, he is now ready for initiation into the mysteries of regeneration.
Emblems of the Master Mason's degree are of two kinds. Those of the first class are:
The Bee-Hive, the Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tyler's sword which points
at a naked Heart, the All-Seeing Eye, the Anchor, the Ark, the Forty-Seventh
Problem of Euclid, the Hour-Glass, the Scythe, and the Three Steps on the Master's
Carpet.
Bee-Hive
--The Bee-Hive is a triple emblem. The hive proper denotes man's physical body.
The honeycomb signifies that which is interior to the physical, the astral body. And
the honey is symbolical of the spiritual body, which is composed of the choicest
nectars and aromas of earthly experience. The bee, which makes the honey, is
symbol of industry and creative energy. Both its warlike spirit and its constructive
ability indicate that it is ruled by the planet Mars. It thus typifies constructive ability,
not merely to multiply the species, but through taking a constructive attitude toward
all events of life to gather material experiences and build up the physical form and the
astral body to a higher state of perfection, and to incorporate the finer essences, the
higher emotions, into the spiritual body of man. As the bee exercises industry and
prudence in gathering honey while it may, storing it for use during the long winter, so
should man industriously gather experiences, and through a constructive attitude
toward them store them properly to serve as spiritual nourishment when the summer
of physical life is supplanted by the icy winter of death.
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Book of Constitutions
--The Book of the Constitutions symbolizes the Oral Law. The Sword is but an
inverted cross; and history proclaims that those who have most ardently adored the
cross have been those who most readily took up the sword. Perhaps it was the
realization that this would be the case that inspired the great teacher of Peace on Earth
to say, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." As a cross is the symbol of matter, so
also is a sword, with the added implication of dire affliction. It thus becomes also a
menace and a threat of retribution. As the Tyler is man's objective consciousness, or
reason, his sword guarding the Book of Constitutions represents the consciousness
that any violation of the Oral Law will be followed by unfailing punishment.
The All-Seeing Eye
--The All-Seeing Eye typifies the omniscience of Deity, and the limitless powers of
the soul to gain knowledge. It also conveys the thought that though there are times
when all is dark and dreary for the neophyte, yet he is ever watched over by friendly
unseen intelligences, who but await opportunity to convey to him words of comfort
and wisdom.
The Anchor
--The Anchor combines in its form the solar circle of spirit, the cross of earth, and
the lunar crescent of soul. The ring above, indicates that the body and soul,
represented by the cross and crescent, are under the dominion and control of the ego.
The crescent and the circle are united by the cross, indicating spirit and soul united in
one physical form.
The Anchor thus also symbolizes the Lost Word, Jod-He-Vau-He, which embraces
all possibilities within the universe. The circle represents the positive divine fire, the
one principle, the creative Jod, or alchemical sulphur. The crescent signifies the
receptive plastic water, the feminine He, the alchemical mercury, the universal law
of sex. The cross of the anchor represents the union of the two, the Vau, the
manifestation of the divine Word, alchemical salt. The figure as a whole represents
the product of the union, the final He, the whole divine truth, alchemical azoth. That
is, the universe as it now exists is the result of evolution brought about by the union of
positive and negative forces; and by correspondence the evolution of the human soul
may be facilitated by the application of the truths concerning cooperation.
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The Ark
--To explain the symbolism of the Ark we must refer to the biblical version of
Noah's experiences. Noah, the central figure of the story, represents the central
figure of our solar system, and in the human constitution the ego. The Ark was built
in three stories, corresponding celestially to Mundane Houses, Zodiacal Signs, and
Starry Constellations; in man to the physical body, the astral body, and the spiritual
body, in which the ego functions.
Besides his own family, which is represented in the heavens by the various planets,
and in man by his component parts, Noah took into the Ark specimens of every living
thing upon the earth. The latter are depicted in the heavens by the numerous objects
and animals that make up the starry constellations, and are represented in man by the
various vestigial structures and animal traits that he has inherited from the lower
forms of life that are his physical ancestors.
The ego, clouded by the emotions of the physical body, cannot manifest its full glory;
nor when the winter rains set in can the sun, hidden by clouds, be seen. These
represent the flood. The rains, representing sensualism, shot through with the
lightning of passion, tend to destroy all life. But those that dedicate their lives to some
noble and unselfish work are safe from sensualism, and even as the sun reappears
after triumphing over the storms of winter, they arrive triumphantly at a safe haven.
The sensual waters, after a time, are assuaged by the wind of higher aspirations, the
gentle zephyrs of spring. The raven, bird of ill omen, is sacred to the planet Saturn,
the ruler of the sign Capricorn, through which the sun passes when the winter rains
are most severe. It is sent out, but returns not. Selfishness and craft, denoted by this
Saturnine bird, will bring no good tidings to the ego, nor will such motives bring rest
and content amid the swirling waters of desire. Like the raven, they pass to and fro
over the tides of sensation, ever seeking, but not finding, rest and shelter.
The dove is sacred to Venus, the planet of love, the planet ruling the spring sign
Taurus. It is sent out once over the turbulent waters of sensation, signifying the action
of love upon the plane of generation. But no tidings of much worth are brought to the
ego. In the heavens this represents the first action of the sun in spring drying the earth.
The second going forth of the dove is the action of love on the plane of regeneration.
This brings the tidings of future tranquility and peace, as symbolized by the olive
leaf. It also represents in the heavens the growing verdure of spring, under the
warmth of the sun. The third time the dove is sent forth represents the
accomplishment of the full mission, the complete transmutation of sensations into
spiritual emotions. The sun transformed the season of rain into a season of gorgeous
bloom.
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The golden egg of Braham, the oriental type of the ark, is said to have burst. The
shells formed continents, the white became the oceans, and the yolk produced, first
vegetable life, then animal life, and finally man. This is the egg of the Orphic
Mysteries from which the sun bursts with power to triplicate himself. It is really the
earth, functioning as the womb of the universe, from which will be born, after its
period of gestation, the divine man. Even Noah was imprisoned nine months in the
Ark before the tops of the mountains could be seen. Each human soul is ushered into
physical life after such a nine months imprisonment. Furthermore, after birth, the
body of man becomes the ark in which human life develops; and only at death is it
freed from this prison that tosses on the tide of turbulent desire, to enter a brighter
world of infinitely more glorious possibilities. The Ark, therefore, will be seen in its
various aspects as the symbol of Gestation.
The Forty-Seventh Problem of
Euclid
--One of the most important symbols of Masonry is the Forty-Seventh Problem of
Euclid. The principles illustrated by it form the foundation of numbers, geometry,
and mathematical symbolism. It represents perfectly the Tetragrammaton and the
operation of divine law. It is the problem of the right angle triangle. The three sides
represent the divine trinity, and the trine as a whole represents the unity of God. The
perpendicular line forming one side of the triangle is the Masonic Plumb,
corresponding kabalistically to the masculine letter Jod, also to Osiris of Egypt, and
to God the Father.
Now nature manifests herself in every septenary by means of three active principles,
and four passive forms. The vertical side is consequently divided into three parts
representing the three active principles. The number three expresses action, and
these three divisions correspond to the three strongest positions of the sun; on the
Ascendant, on the Mid-heaven, and on the Descendant. It also corresponds in
astrology to the three qualities and the three degrees of emanation, into which the
zodiacal signs are divided. Likewise it corresponds to the three active portions of the
human constitution; the ego, the divine soul, and the animal soul.
The horizontal side of the triangle is the Masonic Level, corresponding kabalistically
to the feminine letter He, also to Isis of Egypt, and to the Virgin Mary of later times. It
is divided into four sections to designate the four forms by which the three active
principles always manifest. All material things have four relative states--three
dimensions and position--and express the active qualities of attraction, repulsion,
and motion. The attractive power is represented by gravitation. The repulsive power
is illustrated by the cohesion which enables it by repelling other substances to keep
its own identity without yielding to their gravitational attraction and fusing with
them into a homogeneous mass. Motion is denoted by the change of relative position
of every object in the universe.
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The number four expresses realization, and corresponds astrologically to the four
quadrants of the heavens, and to the four triplicities into which the zodiac is divided.
In man it corresponds to the four forms of his constitution; spiritual body, astral body,
etheric body, and physical form.
The union of 3 with 4, of a plumb with a level, gives us a Masonic Square of 7, which,
properly interpreted reveals the Lost Word of the Master. To become that word,
however, it must relinquish the square aspect, and be transformed into two interlaced
trines having as a common center the 7th point. As the triangle is presented, however,
the third factor of the figure is the meeting point of the 3 and 4, of Sun and Moon, of
active and passive, of Jod and He. This right angle is the key to the solution of
Euclid's problem, even as it is the symbol of the solution of man's. Astrologically it
is the meeting point of planetary energies on the earth, corresponding to the Vau of
the word, to the Overshadowing Intelligence of Egypt, to the Holy Ghost of
Christianity, to vibration in the natural world, and in human life to union.
Mathematical evolution means the multiplication of a number by itself. The
evolution of man is accomplished through the union of the 3 principles with the 4
elements. Their multiplication gives the number of the signs of the zodiac through
which the impersonal soul must successively pass, and their union produces 7, the
number of component parts of man's constitution.
Evolve the side 3, and the side 4--that is, multiply each by itself--and the sum of
these two is equal to the evolution of the third side. This third side, the evolution of
which results from the evolution of principles and elements, has the number 5, the
symbol of man. This demonstrates, according to the Ancient Hermetic System of
Numbers, the evolution of man.
This hypotenuse is the fourth factor of the figure, the product of the union of
masculine and feminine forces. It represents, therefore, the climax of evolution on
the physical plane. The area of the figure is 6, signifying temptation. This leads to the
union of 3 and 4 to evolve man, symbolized by 5, who possesses a 7-fold constitution.
The hypotenuse corresponds to the life resulting from the union of solar and lunar
rays upon the earth. It also corresponds in man to intellect, kabalistically to the final
He of the divine word, to the Egyptian Horus, and in modern religion to the Son of
God.
The figure of the 47th problem of Euclid (see illustration at front of chapter)
therefore, by its three sides, representing man's principles, and his forms, expresses
the cycle of life. This cycle indicates the struggle by the area, 6, which must express
through the sides, the sum of which is 12, the number of the zodiacal signs under the
influence of which all evolution expresses. By adding together the evolved
sides--each side multiplied by itself--we have the number 50, typifying the number
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of steps that lead man to adeptship, that evolve man into superman. It is said that
Moses was able successfully to take 49 of these steps, but failing in the last he was
denied entrance into the promised land. He could see this land of plenty, he had the
wisdom to see this final step, but was unable to take it. This, perhaps, was not so much
the fault of Moses as that of the times in which he lived.
Incense
--Incense, which is used at times in Masonic rites, has a practical use in ceremonial
magic. All magical work comes under definite planetary vibration, and the forces
brought into play also, if the ceremony is to be successful, should come under similar
planetary influences. Astral beings, and unseen intelligences of all kinds, degrees,
and grades, which sometimes are invoked in magical work, correspond likewise to
definite planetary rulership. The nature of the work at hand being ascertained, and its
astrological correspondences determined, that incense is used having a like
astrological rulership. Its function is dual. Primarily, because odors are the most
etheric of material substances, they tend strongly to stimulate the nervous system.
Such stimulation causes the generation of electrical energies which tend to
strengthen and build up the etheric forces. Secondarily, if chosen with due respect to
their astrological vibrations, they act as agents by which man is more easily placed in
rapport with invisible entities having astrological vibrations similar to those of the
incense.
Symbolically considered, incense represents man's thoughts, and the pot in which it
burns represents his body. The fires of passion, or those of aspiration, kindle our
thoughts. These, in turn, become burnt offerings either to our lower or to our higher
nature. If man's thoughts are kindly and noble they tend to build up his spiritual body;
but if they are ignoble and selfish they rise no higher than the astral plane and there
distort and disfigure the astral body. When Abel, corresponding astrologically to the
moon, and in man to the divine soul, sacrificed his animal passions and creative
desires upon the altar, they became an acceptable sacrifice unto the Law. But Cain,
corresponding astrologically to Mars, and in man to the animal soul, hoped to
propitiate the Law by offers of the fruits of the earth, by offering to buy his way with
material things. But the Law of spiritual construction accepts only the highest
thoughts and aspirations. These, which incense symbolizes, become a "sweet savor"
which build for the ego the spiritual form.
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The Scythe
--This is the emblem of the planet Saturn, the ruler of old age and dissolution. It thus
symbolizes the harvest of earthly endeavors and the end of life; announcing that the
purpose of life is the production of spiritual food. Whatsoever is sown will be reaped,
the tares as well as the wheat. The crescent blade symbolizes the soul, the handle
represents the material body. The function of the soul thus expresses as a means of
garnering the harvest of experience in matter. The soul moves on, harvesting as it
goes, the end of one life being the beginning of another. Death forces the expiation of
every evil, adjusts all apparent inequalities, and in the spheres of the disembodied the
keen blade becomes the sword of conscience. Death is the great leveler.