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Serial Lesson 6

From Course IV, Ancient Masonry, Chapter 1

Original Copyright 1938, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2010, The Church of Light

To purchase the print book Ancient Masonry click here


Subheadings:  The First Masons   The Masonic Temple   Astrology is a Sacred Science   How King Solomon's Temple Was Built   Why Two Pillars Were Erected   The Masculine Symbol   The Feminine Symbol   The Symbol of Union   Astrological Significance of the Square   Astrological Significance of the Compass   Where the Ritual Places Emphasis   Astrological Significance of the United Square and Compass

Birth Charts:  Governor Frank Murphy Chart    George Westinghouse Chart

Chapter 1

Ancient Masonry Introduction

FOR MANY YEARS it has been my desire to place before students a concise exposition of those occult principles which form the framework about which are woven the symbolism and ritual of Modern Freemasonry.

The antiquity of its venerable emblems is unquestionable, and it is now generally accepted by Freemasons and occult students alike, that they conceal mystic verities. These rites and pictorial representations that have seemed significant to an important nucleus in the social system of every ancient nation boasting even a degree of civilization, are so widely disseminated that their remnants may be found in remote Tartary and Tibet, among the almond-eyed children of the Flowery Kingdom and Japan, on the slopes of the snow-capped Himalayas, beside the turbid Ganges, amid the desert sands that cover the buried cities of Gobi, and by the revered Tigris and Euphrates. They are found also at the foot of Caucasian passes, by the shores of the Red Sea, in the fertile valley of the Nile, and amid the ruins of classic Greece and Rome, ancient Gaul and primitive Ireland and, crossing the restless expanse where the wide Atlantic rolls, we confront the same hoary emblems in Peru, in the Mississippi Valley, and in the Yucatan.

Certainly the most enlightened inhabitants of our globe, even in what we are egotistic enough to call the barbaric ages, did not spend so much time and energy elaborating and preserving a will-o’-the-wisp devoid of meaning and significance! This divine symbolic language, which has successfully weathered the cataclysms of nature, that has been preserved though all else contemporary crumbled into ruins and returned to the dust from whence it came; the very memory of whose originators is lost in the dim night of time; which of all the childhood possessions of the human race, alone has escaped the Lethean waters of oblivion; though subsequently it may have degenerated into empty soulless forms, hieroglyphics uninterpretable; it is preposterous to suppose had no substance in truth, no foundation in fact, no correspondence in the starlit realms of Urania.

The Ancient Secret Doctrine, now preserved in the symbolic forms of Masonry, gave to the old pagodas of China their peculiar shape. It commanded the erection of the eight-volved tower of Babel on Shinar’s plain, prompted the laborious building of the pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, constituted the motive force that scattered huge lithic monuments over the fair face of Europe, and bade the construction of elaborate temples that yet remain but partly discovered amid the tangled vegetation of the American tropics. Consequently, whatever our opinion of the truth or falsity of its tenets, we cannot doubt that it conveyed ideas of moment to the minds of our remote forefathers.

Through the varied web of human history, woven from the odds and ends of half-forgotten traditions, runs an unbroken strand of gold. Nations have risen and fallen, empires have been welded and severed again, continents have been lifted and then submerged; yet through all time since man has made his home upon this mundane sphere, the golden thread of Masonic Symbolism has stretched unsevered through the warp and woof of racial destiny. There have been periods when the glittering strand has almost been lost to view amid the coarser fabric woven by statecraft and priestcraft; but ever it reappeared, scintillating in the foreground of evolutionary progress. Again and again has it strengthened the tone of human moral fiber in times of national decadence, again and again has it constituted the power behind the throne, a lifeline at critical periods to which a superior few could cling and struggle for racial advancement; working silently, secretly, yet effectively.

Modern savants may, or may not, according to the bias of their minds, place confidence in the verity of the esoteric teachings held by the most spiritual of our early progenitors, such as are elaborated and preserved in symbolic rites and hieroglyphics; but no student worthy of the name will fail to investigate ideas which, perhaps more than any others, have shaped the course of man’s intellectual and spiritual development, and have ever constituted the mold of his noblest endeavors.

He who would become the possessor of true knowledge must never rest content with theories only, but must be able to prove or disprove them in nature’s laboratory. And where a set of ideas has been held by a number of men, or such ideas have exerted an important influence in mundane affairs, if he proves them erroneous his task is but partly completed; for he has yet to ascertain why those opinions were held, why they seemed plausible to others, and in what proportions the false and the true are intermingled. It is most difficult for men to formulate a conception that has not some slight foundation of fact upon which to rest.

Masonic symbolism being the garment worn by a doctrine which has exerted so powerful an influence in human affairs, a mantle still preserved by Freemasons—an organization whose motive is lofty and whose practical endeavors are far-reaching and beneficent—it behooves all students of philosophy and religion to investigate these ancient forms and tenets, to trace them to their original source, and finally, to compare them with Mother Nature.

Yet not until we know the meaning attached to these symbols by the originators are we capable of testing their truth or falsity. And not until we have placed them under the microscope of the soul, and illuminated them by the sunlight of reason and the x-ray of intuition—making at the same time careful comparisons with Nature—are we warranted in passing judgment upon the truth or falsity of the Secret Doctrine they clothe.

A much repeated, and too oft unheeded admonition in Masonry is: “Study the Book of Nature brother, it bears the stamp of Deity.”

Such wise counsel is alone sufficient to mark the integrity of the august body in whose ritual it appears, making a wide distinction between its underlying principles and those of many another religious or social body. These others all too often curtail original investigation, and cramp and shackle their members by imposing a belief in some individual, or company of them, who poses as the special interpreter of the Will of Deity.

Yet in times past, as the history of his activities amply proves, the Masonic Brother has had to pay dearly for the privilege of being Free to build the edifice of his soul conformable to the dictates of his reason and the promptings of his conscience. His option of being a Freemason has sometimes been purchased with his life’s blood; for the oppressors of humanity have ever feared and hated those whom they could neither cajole nor bribe into servility, and who resisted all temptation knowingly to become enlisted in an unjust cause.

If Masonic Symbolism is of such paramount importance, the casual thinker will ask, why is it that others have not ere now drunk at the fountain of its enlightenment and offered the cup of its virtues to the whole parched world.

In a measure this has been done, but in a measure only. The labors of Albert Pike are of great value, and those of such worthies as Oliver and Mackey should not be slighted. But the investigator who would discover the conceptions originally underlying Masonry and make them public is confronted with peculiarly obstinate difficulties. Chief among these obstacles is the circumstance that only one having developed his psychic senses and thus able to read from the scroll preserved in the astral light can trace the origin of these prehistoric emblems. And having traced them to their source, their meaning will still remain opaque, or at best but translucent, unless by virtue of having passed his Initiation in the astral spaces, he is firmly grounded in the fundamental principles of the Mission of the Soul.

Once he has discovered their meaning, his difficulties are not yet ended; for the ignorance and prejudice of his race may make their exposition unadvisable. Some church may be in power with whose pet tenets his revelations of Nature’s mysteries may conflict, and thus precipitate upon his head the wrath of the clergy. Yet again, he may be hemmed in by obligations that prevent him from revealing what he has learned, or, as happened to one member of the Brotherhood of Light who was also a high degree Freemason—Brother Henry Melville, in the publication of his valuable masonic work, “Veritas,” he may be uncomprehended and misunderstood.

The writer of the present series of lessons has cultivated his soul faculties and speaks from the vantage ground of Initiation. Free from his body he has sent his soul through the wide spaces in search of the precious jewels of wisdom, seldom returning without some treasure; and he has studied the Tablets of Aeth, and read from the records of racial memory preserved in the astral light. In these Masonic lessons, however, he claims no originality. He is merely acting as amanuensis, writing down, and imperfectly, facts that are the common property of the venerable order of which he has the honor at present to be the president on this external panel. Not only so, but it is through the permission of the body, The Brotherhood of Light, that he is able to speak, and by them he is limited within what is considered the bounds of discretion.

This work will not be rejected, as was that of Melville, because the time now is ripe for it. Yet it must not be considered the last word upon the subject, as the time even now restricts and curtails what it is wise to place before the public.

In preparing these lessons, there has been some hesitancy as to the best method to employ to convey the basic truths incorporated in Masonry to the mind of the student, and at the same time not seem presumptuously to be treading upon ground held inviolable by the Masonic Fraternity. It is far from the purpose of the author to reveal any secrets of the Brethren to the outside world, or to attempt any so-called exposé of the methods used in their lodge rooms. Whatever the faults of individual members may be, I have a genuine respect for the Order, and brand as travesties the accusations of their enemies; for if true to their principles, there can be no more exalted souls upon this planet than are to be found among Freemasons.

Let it be understood, therefore, that I am not trying to teach Modern Freemasonry. I am teaching Ancient Masonry, upon which all the rites and usages of Modern Freemasonry rest. My object in no wise includes revealing such matters as Modern Freemasons desire should remain secret. Instead, it is to expound the occult principles and spiritual ideas originally associated with Masonic symbols, usages, and gestures, in such a manner that the public will understand these all-important doctrines; and to enable the Modern Freemason instantly to perceive the esoteric and spiritual significance, not only of his symbols, but of everything he does in the lodge room.

With this in view, I have selected a little book that is not so recent in its usages as to enable an unworthy person to gain entrance to a modern working Masonic Lodge and successfully pass himself off as a high-degree Mason; yet which is nonetheless Masonic in character. It is to be found in public libraries and upon the shelves of important book stores. It is entitled Richardson’s Masonic Monitor, and was used for guidance by members of the Fraternity a generation or two ago, containing as it does a detailed description of the rites of initiation into the different degrees of the Fraternity, and picturing some of the ancient emblems of the Lodge.

As this work is easily accessible to the reading public, I deem it will be considered no breach of propriety to cite as a textbook to those who would sufficiently familiarize themselves with Masonic ritual, and I have taken the liberty to use it as a background for these lessons. This will serve a double purpose: First, it will enable us consistently to follow the symbolism of Modern Freemasonry and draw our comparisons between it and Ancient Masonry in a manner intelligible to students; the Masonic Brethren in particular. Secondly, it will enable me to check my work and keep it within the bounds and reasonable limits of what I consider wise to make public, and what I feel confident the Masonic Brethren will have no reason for desiring me to keep secret.

As I have said, my object is to teach Ancient Masonry, not Modern Freemasonry. And I trust in no case to trespass upon the private property of the Modern Fraternity. If, unwittingly, I do overstep the bounds, I plead as my excuse the desire to give those capable of appreciating and using them, truths of utmost importance to humanity, potent for good, vital to human uplift. And I implicitly rely upon the broad mantle of charity, which the Masonic Brethren are more ready to extend than others, to cover any transgression.

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The First Masons

The first problem that naturally confronts us in our present quest is: Who were the original Masons?

Here etymology comes to the rescue. The old Sumerians who lived in the valley of the Euphrates, and who were succeeded by the Semites, the fusion between the two producing the famed Chaldeans, used the word “imga” meaning wise, holy, and learned, to denote their wisest sages, priests and philosophers. The Semites, who succeeded the older race, transformed the work “imga” into “mag” to suit their articulation. From this root-word, “mag” belonging to the Assyrian branch of the great Semitic race, has come to us through various transformations the words: Mason, Magic, and Imagination. Therefore, in whatever era of the dim prehistoric past the first Masons lived, it follows from the very meaning of the word that they were the wisest, holiest, most revered of men.

A mason now is considered to be a builder—one who constructs. Likewise were those Wise Men of the East; but in their work the sound of neither hammer nor saw was heard; for they were mental builders. Their labor was construction wrought by the imagery of thought, as the word imagination, coming from the same root as does the word mason, clearly implies. Magic is the skillful use of the imaginative faculty, and the original Masons undoubtedly were magicians. The Magi of Egypt, Chaldea, and even more ancient times unquestionably were Masons.

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The Masonic Temple

Having determined that the original Masons were the Magi, and that they were mental builders, let us inquire into the nature of the edifice upon which these wisest of all men bestowed so much constructive effort. Tradition informs us that the Masonic Brethren labored in the erection of Solomon’s Temple. Sol is the Latin name of the sun-god, Phoebus. Om is the Hindu name of Deity. On is the sun-god of Heliopolis, Egypt. And while combining these words from different languages undoubtedly is far-fetched, yet nevertheless, as will be shown in detail later, Sol-Om-On certainly represents the Grand Master of the Universe, whose most fitting symbol is the majestic and all-commanding Sun, from Whom comes all Life, Love, Energy, and Power. The Masonic Temple thus is the mansion of the Sun; the universe itself; a spangled canopy of blue, so situated and so arranged as to prove the most suitable lodge room for the initiation of the candidate: the Human Soul.

But how? We are led to inquire, could anybody of men, howsoever wise, work to build the jeweled mansion of the Sun, seeing that the very stars shining at their birth sang before the dawn of life upon the earth, and will join in the funeral requiem when the world is cold and gray, wrapped in the icy mantle of death? Certainly no earthly hands ever placed those blazing diamonds in the sky.

In what manner, then, could the early Masons have assisted in the construction of the Temple? Now remembering that Mason and Imagination are derived from the same root-word, a little light begins to dawn upon our perplexity. The early Mason was not a worker in stone, but a mental builder, in whose work Imagination played the most important part.

With the first glimmer of intelligence, man’s mind, elevating itself above those of lower forms of life, must have been attracted to celestial phenomena. He watched the blazing orb of day peep over the eastern rim of the world, then soaring upward traverse the azure arch, and later sink, declining into the darkening west. He learned that night followed day, and that day followed night; necessity teaching him to start his labors with the rising Sun, and to seek shelter at the approach of night. Thus became he an observer of time.

Still wider experience brought the conviction that there was an orderly succession of the seasons. The rains of winter were followed by the droughts of summer. Cold followed heat, and heat followed cold. To the huntsman these were periods when game was scarce or plentiful, and he must learn to obtain enough food in the times of abundance to nourish him during those of famine. And how eagerly he looked forward to the return of the more fruitful days, and thus he became an observer of seasons.

As a herdsman, our early forefather watched the shortening and the lengthening of the days; and when the Sun in its annual pilgrimage entered a certain cluster of starts, he knew from experience that the green grass soon would be starting on the mountain side, and he drove his flocks from the valley to those more luxurious pastures. So, also, the farmer learned to till the ground and sow his grain when certain starts rose with the morning sun. The time of harvest was at hand when certain other groups were seen, and winter’s bleak scarcity was heralded by the wending southward of the orb of day. Thus, early man became the astronomer, his sustenance depending in great measure upon his ability to interpret, upon climate and the denizens of the earth, the effects of celestial phenomena.

Having seen what powerful influences were exerted by the heavenly bodies upon all things external to himself, it was only natural that those studiously inclined should wish to ascertain their influence upon man himself. As a general rule, it was found that people born in the spring, just after the days and nights became of equal length, were more energetic and had more initiative than people born at some other times of the year. People born with the same group of stars rising upon the horizon were observed to possess characteristics in common. Likewise, the portion of the heavens occupied by the Moon was found to influence the brain capacity. From these observations, covering immense periods of time, whose aim was to ascertain the relation existing between man and the stars, arose the sublime science of Astrology. Astronomy was studied, and observations were carefully and systematically recorded, only as factors in determining the effects of celestial influence upon man. And as a factor necessary in the study of astronomy, there was developed the science of Mathematics.

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Astrology Also is a Sacred Science

Astrology was not studied merely as a means whereby man might profit materially, but as a Sacred Science. The material universe, even as man’s physical body is his material expression, was considered to be the manifestation of an All-Wise Intelligence. Man manifests his will through acts; so were the heavenly motions thought to be manifestations of the Will of Deity.

As year rolled into year, and century into century, a class of men developed who were peculiarly fitted by natural endowments to pursue the study of the starry heavens and formulate the result of their observations of celestial and mundane phenomena into a scientific system. These were the Magi, the original Masons. Just as at the same time a distinct military class separated itself from the mass of the people by virtue of their superior physical prowess, their love of power, their aggressiveness and disregard of all save might, and became the temporal rulers of the people—the Kings and their immediate associates—so, by virtue of their superior mental and spiritual endowments, the Masons, as a class, separated from the populace and become the sages, philosophers, scientists, the spiritual advisers and priests; dictators in matters religious.

And as persistent culture developed mighty warriors, so the rigid discipline from childhood to which the priests were subjected developed mental and spiritual giants whose keen minds and lucid soul faculties penetrated the innermost recesses of nature. These Masons early perceived a sympathetic relation existing between the organism of man and the fiery points in the firmament above, a definite correspondence between certain sections of Solomon’s Temple and the human body. They found that there are certain principles pervading nature that express themselves in the influence of the stars, on the earth, in the sea, in the air, and in the body of man.

Slowly, by degrees, and with infinite patience, these correspondences were sought out between the things representing a given principle on the earth and that portion of the celestial sphere having the same influence. As these correspondences were ascertained, it became the duty of the Mason to inscribe them in the sky, that their meaning might not be lost to future generations.

In this work of building the Temple of the Sun, his imagination played an important part. With it he wove fanciful pictures among the stars; for often the actual outlines of the constellations bears no resemblance to the animals or objects they are designed to represent. They do, however, invariably signify an influence in mundane affairs well denoted by the things so pictured. To be more precise, the signs of the zodiac and the decanates of the zodiac, of the same names as the constellations have such influences; for the constellations but picture the various reactions of sections of the zodiac. Thus, gem by gem, that which was found imbedded in the soul of man had its corresponding jewel added to the dome above; the whole being formulated by the early Masons into the famed Science of the Soul and the Stars.

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How King Solomon’s Temple Was Built

Astrology was studied not merely for its material profit, but also as a religion. The early Mason cast about for an explanation of the visible universe. In his experience he had found no higher type of active agent than the mind. It was the one thing in his experience that could voluntarily create. The mind of man could build a house in imagination, then cause its construction of wood and stone. Yet what was finite mind? It was an invisible, intangible cause about which he could only think in abstract terms; an unknowable director of human actions.

Having found each visible portion of man, each organ and each physical function, to have a correspondence in the sky, what was more natural than to conclude that there must also be a correspondence to his invisible estate! And as finite mind is the most potent of all agents to create below, it logically follows that Infinite Mind is the most potent creative agent in the whole universe. Carrying this line of reasoning a step further, he was forced to conclude that as man is composed of an invisible mind and a visible body, so God likewise has an invisible and a visible domain; the invisible portion being Infinite Mind and the visible portion being the Material Universe, infinite both in extent and in complexity.

Being convinced that the universe, including man, is the result of creative design, it became the endeavor of the Magi to fathom its purport, or at least so much of it as relates to man, that he might conform his life and efforts harmoniously to that purpose. Man’s actions are symbolic of his will and purpose. Thus was it legitimate to conclude that God’s Will is revealed in the movements of nature to those who have sufficient penetration to grasp the meaning of their symbology.

Therefore, the early Masons sought out the correspondences in nature, and built their pictured symbols into the sky, as the Temple of Solomon, Grand Architect of the Universe. And this grand edifice, erected by the Ancient Masons; is of most perfect design, revealing as it does to the discerning, the Will of Deity; for what wiser thing could man do than to imitate the building of this ancient structure, and build for his own indwelling soul a mansion as perfect in its proportions, and as harmonious in its arrangements, as the Temple of King Solomon!

In time the Mason, as a priest, became only an interpreter of the ideas symbolically built into the Temple by his wiser forefathers. The word “religion” is derived from the Latin “re” (back), and “ligare” (to bind), and means literally, to bind back. This, then, became the work of later Masons: to collect truths discovered in times past and bind them together in such a manner that they might be preserved for future generations. These truths, in their symbolic form, are found woven more or less into all important religion the world has ever known. The earliest religions were purely astronomical, and it is safe to say that every important religion that ever has been entertained by the mind of man has had an astrological foundation.

Man’s body is not the real man, nor is the material universe God. The real man is the invisible controlling ego, and God is the invisible and unknowable Infinite Mind that directs and controls the mighty Cosmos. The Ancient Masons ever sought to find a fitting symbol to represent each principle and function of nature, and to build it into the Temple. What more fitting symbol could be found to represent the Infinite Ego, the true King, than the glorious orb of day!

Sol, therefore, was elected as the symbol of the controlling power of the universe—Deity—it being recognized by those of inner vision that the physical orb was but the external covering for the grander and more ethereal Spiritual Sun Who stands exactly in the same relation to the Solar System as does the human ego to its body. Thus originated Solar Worship, one of the most ancient forms of religion.

To the mind of the Ancient Mason, the physical Sun, the center of our system, from which the earth receives the requisite grade of force necessary for every terrestrial manifestation of power, organic and inorganic, vital and physical; was but the emblem of the Spiritual Sun which exerts that degree of celestial energy, which in matter becomes occult force, and in man becomes Will and Mental Power.

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Why Two Pillars Were Erected

The studious mind cannot fail to perceive all nature to be divided into attributes: the one positive, the other negative; the one active, the other receptive. Polarity, or Sex, is the One Great Law of the Universe. This One Law manifests as centrifugal and centripetal forces, as repulsion and attraction as spirit and matter. Life in all its infinitely varied forms is but the interaction between positive and negative forces, there being no life apart from sex. Where sex manifests in greatest perfection, there life most abounds. The fire seen when the flint strikes steel is sexual energy; so is the heat of vegetable life. Passion is the prime mover of the animal kingdom. Man destitute of virility soon succumbs. Man’s and woman’s possibilities, according to the teachings of the Ancient Masons, when harmoniously united are only limited by their sexual powers, and the ability to control and wisely direct them.

The Ancient Masons, realizing that life depends upon these two attributes, wisely erected two columns in the porch of the Temple; one on either side of the great Eastern Gateway. The pillar on the right is called in Hebrew, Jachin, meaning: “He that Strengthens.” And it is the Royal Sun returning from the right, or southern, declination, and rising through the eastern horizon that brings renewed strength after the winter season.

The pillar on the left is called, Boaz, meaning: “Source of Strength.” It represents the passive and inert north. It is the left side of the Gateway of the rising Sun, which attracts the Sun northward. Truly, the feminine in nature by its attractive power is the Source of Strength, Boaz; and the ever-active masculine, Jachin, seeking that source of strength becomes the Strengthener.

Tracing backward the history of man’s religious beliefs, we find interwoven with solar worship, sex worship, which in its original conception was pure, being the recognition of the mighty power of sex as the most sacred attribute of Deity—Creative Ability.

Serpent worship, another important ancient religion arose from sex worship and solar worship, the serpent being considered sacred to the Sun, and revered on account of its reproductive significance. Solar religion, Sex worship, and Serpent worship, thus had their foundations directly in Astrology.

The builders of Solomon’s Temple, ever seeking to embody their discoveries of natural principles in most appropriate symbology, turned to the sky for some object whose quality was pronouncedly virile, creative, fecundative, and masculine. The Sun thus became the symbol of masculine creative energy, the Father of the Universe. And the Moon, typifying the feminine, fructifying principle, became the nourishing Mother. Further, it will be found today, even as then, in starry science, that the Sun is the source of all power, and the Moon is the Mother of its manifestation.

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The Masculine Symbol

Turning to the earth, it was found that the Sun exerts its greatest power when its rays fall vertically. Thus, in choosing some common implement of labor by which to express this masculine creative energy implied by the vertical Sun, the Plumb was selected as the embodiment of that idea. Therefore is the Masonic Plumb the symbol of the masculine principle in nature; the vertical line being used as an abbreviation of the same symbol.

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The Feminine Symbol

The plumb and vertical line having been chosen to represent the positive element, it was natural that the level and horizontal line should be chosen as the most suitable emblems of the passive, negative, inert principle.

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The Symbol of Union

The earth being considered as the womb of nature; the point where the masculine, electric rays of the Sun are embraced by the feminine, magnetic, rays of the Moon; it was represented by the union of the vertical line and the horizontal line; by a cross.

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Astrological Significance of the Square

The angle at which the rays of the Sun, Moon and Planets meet were found to have an influence upon life and mundane affairs. Thus in astrological calculations it is necessary to measure and record these angles. And it is found that two different sets of measurements must be taken.

The first set is measured entirely in the plane of the Ecliptic, regardless of the latitude of the orbs. In this manner, the Celestial Longitudes of the heavenly bodies are found. With the exception of “Parallel of Declination,” those most potent influences upon mundane life for good and evil called in astrological terminology “Aspects,” are due to the angles formed by the difference in longitude between the orbs. So, as these angles are measured entirely within one plane, the Ancient Masons, seeking to indicate this measurement, selected Euclid’s Square.

The square, being an instrument suited to the measurement of plane surfaces, embodies the idea of a vertical line, or positive force, meeting a horizontal line, or negative force at an angle which is measured in a single plane. And in practical astrology this is the first step, for the zodiacal positions of the Sun, Moon and planets are found, and their aspects calculated, as if they all moved in the plane of the Ecliptic. Strange as it may seem to the uninitiated, with but one exception, it is these aspects, disregarding latitude, that are found potent in the affairs of life.

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Astrological Significance of the Compass

But as a matter of fact, the Sun, Moon and planets do not move in the same plane, but describe orbits that are inclined to one another. To trace such curved orbits and measure their inclination to each other, another implement is required—the Compass. Owing to the fact that the planes of their orbits are at an inclination to each other, the Sun, Moon and planets at different points in their journeys form different angles to the Celestial Equator. This angle at any given time is called the planet’s Declination. Orbs having the same Declination either north or south of the Celestial Equator form an aspect called “Parallel of Declination,” and are found to Intensify the influence of each other, and thus exert a very powerful influence in the affairs of life.

The Compass, being an instrument used to draw circles, embodies the idea of a male force meeting a female force at an angle, this angle being measured in different planes. The right hand of man is the executive, so the right leg of the compass was taken to signify the positive force. The left hand of man is receptive, so the left leg of the compass was taken to represent a negative force. Thus when the compass is seen with the right leg superimposed at their juncture, it indicates masculine supremacy; while when the left leg is uppermost, the feminine principle is shown to be dominant.

Each year, the Sun apparently performs a pilgrimage through the 360 degrees of the zodiac, and in longer or shorter periods the Moon and planets make a similar journey. At the same time, owing to the obliquity of the Ecliptic when considering the Sun, and to the angle of inclination of their orbits when considering the planets—the various inclinations of their orbits to one another that I have just mentioned, and particularly their inclination to the plane of the earth’s equator—the vertical rays of these orbs form a spiral path upon the surface of the earth. Thus as the earth turns upon its axis each day, one day following another, the Sun apparently moves north in summer and south in winter, its vertical rays falling each day a little north or a little south of their former path. This is the cause of the Seasons.

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Where the Ritual Places Emphasis

Early in this lesson I traced the word Mason back to the early inhabitants of the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, yet the world wide dissemination of the doctrines taught by Ancient Masonry makes it certain that these teachings had their origin in times still more remote. Expressed in forms which convince they were but modifications of an identical original, they were fully developed at the very beginning of the seven ancient centers of civilization—Egypt, India, Crete, Peru, Mexico, China and, as I have indicated, Chaldea.

We may be sure, therefore, that these ideas had their origin in a single region of dispersal. And as there is ample scientific evidence now that both Atlantis and Mu—the former in the Atlantic and the latter in the Pacific—once had an existence, there is little reason to doubt that these ancient continents each was inhabited, as legend holds, by several races, one of which had reached a high degree of scientific knowledge and spiritual attainment. Thus from a still more ancient region which became submerged beneath the waves, was the Secret Doctrine embodied in Ancient Masonry carried by the colonists from that land before it sank, to other shores. And when the old continent of Atlantis, which perhaps in turn had derived much of its insight from the Pacific land of Mu, finally sank, its spiritual ideas already were thriftily growing in each of the mentioned seven centers of civilization where colonists had planted them.

The four chief tenets of these spiritual doctrines were embodied in huge monuments of stone that yet, because succeeding peoples have been powerless to destroy them, are to be found in numbers in many important areas of the globe. More details of the spiritual wisdom were set forth in those symbolical pictographs which we call the constellations, traced by the Ancient Masons in the sky. Still further explanations, also in the language of symbolical pictograph, were traced upon plates, and come down to us through Egypt in the Egyptian tarot cards. Many of the doctrines also found their way as allegorical stories in the various sacred books of the world; and many also, as this series of lessons will make certain, were preserved in the ritual and symbolism of later Masonry.

The explanations traced by the Ancient Masons on the tarot cards and in the constellations among the stars set forth at great length how the signs and planets influence human life and destiny. They give practical instructions in a wide variety of matters, and place emphasis on things different than those given most attention in Masonry.

The Ancient Masonic ritual and its symbols, while acknowledging that the planets in their courses have an influence on human life, and that knowledge is an essential to human progress—two of the chief doctrines preserved in the monuments of stone—more strongly emphasize the other two of the outstanding doctrines preserved in the huge lithic monuments they left. Throughout, the attention is called to assurances that life persists after the dissolution of the physical, and instructions are given in much detail relative to building a spiritual form for happy and successful survival, not merely on the astral plane, but in realms still higher which are truly spiritual.

And throughout there is persistent emphasis on love and the domestic relation as instruments through which the highest, noblest and most spiritual qualities possible to mankind can be developed; qualities which build the spiritual body and insure harmonious and self-conscious immortality.

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Astrological Significance of United Square and Compass

Now the word Spiral and the word Spirit are both derived from the Latin word “spira,” meaning, to breathe. The spiral, indeed, is the breath of life. From this spiral motion of the orbs, which, as I previously indicated, causes the succession of the seasons and the various results which follow, comes forth all terrestrial life manifestations. The spiral return of the Sun in spring banishes the ice and snow of winter and germinates the dormant seeds of vegetation. Later it warms them with its genial rays into luxuriant foliage, grains and fruits, and these in turn become the support of higher forms of life.

In Ancient Masonry this union of zodiacal motion and declination was symbolized by the union of the compass and the square. And to indicate the germination of physical life generated by this motion an additional symbol was placed in the center between them. A serpent in the form of the letter S was originally used; typifying the generative act. Later, the third Hebrew letter, Gimel, was used with the same significance. This letter is the hieroglyph for the zodiacal sign Libra. Its symbolical meaning is exemplified in the third Arcanum of the Egyptian Tarot. This picture represents a pregnant woman. The Sun is surrounding her head, the Moon is at her feet, and there are twelve stars that represent the twelve zodiacal signs that rule over the processes of gestation. By its form, the symbol of the sign Libra also suggests union resulting in pregnancy. At the present time, the English equivalent of the Hebrew, Gimel, the letter G, is placed in the center of the joined compass and square.

Remembering that the Ancient Masons, building the Temple of Solomon, erected it as a model for the building of the human tenement, and that each truth represented above has its corresponding truth relating to man and his possibilities, we now search for the terrestrial meaning of the joined compass and square.

The square placed below is typical of the purely physical union of the sexes. In astrology, the inharmonious aspects each constitute a portion of the square, or angle of 90 degrees—Semisquare, Square, Sesquisquare, and Double Square, or Opposition—and the right angle has been used from time immemorial as the symbol of discord and strife. It becomes a fitting emblem, therefore, of man and woman when united from purely selfish and carnal motives; and it thus represents the result of the ignorance so prevalent in the present-day matrimonial system.

The compass placed above is typical of that higher union of souls in which reciprocal love is the chief factor, and in which thought of gain form no part. The angle formed by the male and female portions of the compass is less than a right angle, and should approximate 60 degrees, the astrological sextile. The benefic astrological aspects each constitute a portion of the sextile—Semisextile, Sextile, and Double Sextile or Trine. The sextile is used to denote harmony and joy. It is a fitting symbol of the union of those rare individuals “whom God hath joined together.”

The Letter G, typifies the Generation of offspring as the result of physical union. But in order that these progeny shall be endowed with soundness of body and mind, and thus become a blessing to their parents and the human race, the Ancient Masons taught that there must be a higher union in addition to the physical, as indicated by the compass above; and the Spiritual as well as Physical Laws must be obeyed.

The union of the compass and the square form a diamond, the hardest and most precious of stones. With the G in the center, it is the diamond in the rough. When ground and polished it becomes the priceless jewel of the soul. Only by removing the G does it become a diamond without blemish. The God within then becomes manifest, a condition symbolically represented by the Hebrew letters Jod-He-Vau-He within the compass and square.

“Search then,” said the Ancient Masons, “to remove the G, that the diamond may be clear and reflect the light of the Divine Sun in the full glory of the Holy Shekinah.” This perfect condition is fittingly symbolized in Ancient Masonry by the Hebrew letter Shin in the compass and square and between the positive and the negative halves of the Divine Word. Shin, corresponding to the Twenty-first Egyptian Tarot, indicates the completion of the Great Work, the full realization of the Holy Shekinah on all three planes of being.

“Yet remember,” said the Ancient Masons, “that before the polished jewel there must be the stone in the rough, nor reject it because of the G. Accept it as it is found, but seek ye to learn the laws of workmanship governing its transformation from an unsightly pebble into a shining gem.”

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Governor Frank Murphy Chart

April 13, 1893, 3:00 p.m. 82W40, 43N49

1917, Captain in World War, was assigned to defend doughboys AWL: Mars in ninth (court) semisquare Jupiter.

1932, had been a judge in Detroit, won fame as a Conciliator put up energetic fight in first election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mars square Saturn p, Venus trine Saturn p.

1933, made Governor General of Philippine Islands: Venus conjunction Pluto r, Mercury (tenth) sextile Moon r.

1936, resigned Philippine job to fight for Roosevelt’s reelection: Mars square Saturn p, Mercury semisextile Sun r.

Jan. 1, 1937, inaugurated Governor of Michigan: Sun trine Saturn p.

George Westinghouse Chart

October 6, 1846, 11:20 a.m., 74W20, 42N45

1856, father moved factory and family: Mars sesquisquare Neptune r.

1862, enlisted in war: Venus conjunction Mars p.

1864, December 1, examination, Acting Third Assistant Engineer on Muscoota: Mars (9th) trine Jupiter r (ruling 1st).

1865, home (Uranus) again and to school: Mercury inconjunct Uranus r

1869, April 13, first air brake patent, organized Westinghouse Airbrake Co.: Venus in tenth, opposition Pluto r, trine Saturn r.

1884, bored well for gas and promoted company: Mercury trine Uranus p

1893, furnished electric lights for World’s Fair: Venus square Saturn p, inconjunct Pluto r, Mars semisextile Mars r

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