Online Store Directory
Spiritual Meditations and Exercises
Who We Are and What We Teach
Brotherhood of Light Lessons: Course Books on Astrology, Alchemy and Tarot
Calendar of Activities
Astrological Sunday Services
Church of Light TV
Serial Lesson 8
From Course IV, Ancient Masonry, Chapter 3
Original Copyright 1938, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2010, The Church of Light
Subheaders: The Source of Will Power Electrical Source of Energy to be Used by the Will The Proper Culture of the Will Significance of the 12-inch Gauge and the 24-inch Rule Origin of the Aries Symbol Origin of the Taurus Symbol Origin of the Gemini Symbol Origin of the Cancer Symbol Origin of the Leo Symbol Origin of the Virgo Symbol Origin of the Libra Symbol Origin of the Scorpio Symbol Origin of the Sagittarius Symbol Origin of the Capricorn Symbol Origin of the Aquarius Symbol Origin of the Pisces Symbol Significance of the Signs in the E. A. Degree Contrast of Ancient Masonry TeachingsWith Those of Present Day Orient
Birth Charts: James Branch Cabell Chart Leopold Stokowski Chart
Entered Apprentice and the Signs
AS THE Entered Apprentice lodge represents a ground plan of the temple of the sun, it must relate chiefly to physical functions and the physical plane of life. One of the objects early brought to the attention of the candidate, not merely in the Entered Apprentice degree, but also in those higher, is the common gavel. What, then, did the common gavel signify to the Original Masons?
Tradition informs us that the ancients summed up the whole of existence, past, present, and future, in one word. This ineffable name, in the Bible translated as Jehovah, was expressed in Hebrew by the four letters, Jod-He-Vau-He. Elsewhere a sphinx of fourfold form was used to express the same idea. Rendered into English it signifies that there is but One Principle, but One Law, but One agent, and but One Word. The One Principle is symbolized by the form of the common gavel.
This common gavel, which is the first implement used in a Masonic lodge, derived its form astrologically by removing one of the four bars that divide the universe into four quadrants by the cross formed from the intersection of the equinoctial colure with the solstitial colure. The removal of one arm of the cross leaves the ancient Tau Cross, which has been used universally as the sign of the linga, which is reverenced today by hundreds of millions in India alone with no thought of shame; for it is the symbol of masculine virility.
The gavel, inherited from a past that placed no shame on man’s body and its holy natural functions, due to its form, is the symbol of the Universal Creative Principle; the supreme attribute of Deity. Its form, it is true, is phallic; but merely because the ancient sages used the physical object the import of which is most easily recognized to represent universal principles. This gavel is the sledge with which Vulcan shaped the instruments of war. It is likewise the mighty hammer with which Thor forged his powerful thunderbolts. To be more explicit, every force and movement in the universe contains the expression of this One Principle.
That such is the case might be illustrated by analyzing any movement or energy with which we are familiar. A few examples will probably suffice for our purpose. But to understand the One Universal Principle, symbolized by the form of the common gavel, we must recognize the One Universal Law. This great cosmic law that governs every conceivable action, is the Law of Sex.
As I look about me in search of examples, the first thing I observe is the fire in the grate that warms my room. Now chemistry teaches me that relative to each other atoms are sexed. These atoms that exhibit the widest difference in polarity, are more strongly sexed; experience the strongest attraction toward each other. Where opportunity is favorable the result of this attraction is the marriage between atoms. If the difference in sex is small, but little attraction is manifested, and the result of this chemical marriage, as the old alchemists would call it, is a feeble offspring. But if the difference in sex is great, as in the case between the oxygen in the atmosphere and the carbon fuel in my grate, the attraction is violent, and the product of the union is energetic. The heat and light radiated by the fire in front of me, according to the alchemist’s view, is but the energy radiated by the intensity of the sexual combination of atoms of carbon with atoms of oxygen.
If next I contemplate my own actions, I discern them also to be the result of Chemical Marriages. Muscular movement is due to the combustion of fuel within the body of an animal. Furthermore, actions not chemical are quite as much due to the law of sex. The earth is held in its orbit about the sun, which I see through my window, by the equilibrium of masculine centrifugal force and feminine centripetal force. And every mechanical force may in like manner be shown to result from the union, or tendency toward union, of a positive and a negative factor.
Etheric energies, of which electricity is the best recognized example, are so commonly regarded as the interaction of positive and negative forces that extensive comment would be superfluous. Everyone is aware that it is the attraction of the feminine polarity for the masculine polarity that causes the electric current to speed along the wires, perhaps performing much work on the way. And mental action also, as a perusal of Course 5, Esoteric Psychology reveals, is quite as much due to the attraction and union of factors of different polarity within the mind. All mechanical force, all chemical activity, all etheric energy, and all mental effort; in fact, all action in the universe, is due to sex.
Now the modern reader is all too apt to narrow the meaning of the word sex, and limit it to the more obvious examples. But it was the object of the Ancient Masons to discover the comparatively few principles that pervade all nature, yet manifest in diverse forms. Sex, to them, then, was a principle that pertains to inanimate objects, as well as to those animate. It divides the universe into two qualities, one positive and controlling, and the other negative and receptive. The positive, controlling, creative half of the universe is symbolized by the form of the common gavel.
Of course, nothing is created in the sense that something is made from nothing. Substance of some kind, energy of some form, and intelligence in some degree, have always existed (see Course 3, Spiritual Alchemy). The exercise of the creative attribute on the part of man, then, is the utilization of energies already in existence. It is the turning of them into different channels of expression.
Not only is energy universal, but the ancient Masters taught that intelligence is universal also. When Camille Flammarion, after a half century of psychic research, says that intelligence is always present wherever there is an organism through which it can express, he states the same general idea. Anyone, I believe, who has much experience with psychic phenomena in its various phases will concur in this, that if the means be at hand through which intelligence may readily express, there is always an intelligent force present to take advantage of the opportunity. That is, intelligence, like substance and energy, is a universal attribute.
The Source of Will Power
The one universal principle, or energy, when directed by intelligence, becomes Will. Man’s only source of will power lies in his ability to receive energy and then persistently direct it into channels of his own choosing. Lower species of animals also transmit universal energies. But they have a texture and organization that permits only the less complex vibrations to express through them; while man, whose substance is more refined and highly organized, receives, utilizes and again projects in manners of his own selection, finer and more potent rates of energy.
Man thus is capable of transmitting the one universal principle in a manner of which lower animals are incapable. Man also uses a gavel in his work of building. He uses it with force and directs it intelligently to the accomplishment of a predetermined purpose. The gavel, then, while by its form typical of virility and creative energy, has come to have an added significance. It signifies that energy is directed by intelligence. And as energy directed by intelligence persistently to a predetermined end is will, the gavel has come to be recognized by its use as the symbol of the human will.
If we are in doubt as to the relation between the significance of the form of the gavel as indicating sexual virility, and the significance of its use as indicating will, a little observation will reveal the association. Those animals, for instance, that in the full vigor of their sexual life are energetic, alert, and combative, when altered by man become dull, listless, lazy, and cowardly. The bull is the lord and protector of his herd, while the steer is a lazy coward. The stallion is high spirited and independent, while the gelding is meek and submissive. The cock energetically scratches to provide food for this flock, while the capon cares for nothing but ease. And if we look to the most attractive and the most successful among our human acquaintances, we find they are without exception markedly feminine women and strongly masculine men.
The gavel being the first implement of Masonry indicates that the Ancient Masons believed the first thing the candidate should do is to cultivate his will power. In fact, the continued use of the gavel even in the higher lodges indicates their opinion that the culture and use of the will is necessary on all planes of existence. How, then, may the will be cultivated?
We often hear the remark that a certain person could do a specific thing if he but willed to do so. This no doubt is sometimes true, but as it is often the case that the person is notoriously weak and wavering in will, how can he exercise that which he does not possess? It is as great a fallacy to think that all men can use their wills successfully, as it is to think that all men can, without previous practice or experience, play a good game of golf. To play a decent game of golf requires long and arduous practice; and to use the will successfully requires at least as persistent training.
This brings us back to the one universal principle symbolized by the form of the gavel. Energy is universal. It is present in the sunshine we feel, in the food we eat, in the air we breathe, and as still finer currents that radiated from the stars flow through our astral bodies. That we may be energetic, physically, mentally, or spiritually, requires that we tap some existing source of energy and adapt it to our needs. The energy used in spiritual activity, quite as much as that used in physical effort, requires that we first receive energy from some outside source. One cannot exercise a spiritual force unless one has at hand a supply of energy of such refinement as to be spiritual.
Electrical Source of Energy to be Used by the Will
The first thing, then, in the exercise of will power is to have at hand an adequate supply of energy. The kind of energy consumed in the exercise of will on the physical plane is etheric (electric) energy. It is the kind of energy that constitutes the nerve currents, the kind that is recognized as personal magnetism. The source of this electric energy—and how the physical cells, acting as miniature batteries—generate it, is explained in full detail in Course 5, Esoteric Psychology, Chapter 9 (Serial Lesson 64). It is present, associated with the human body in normal quantities in all healthy persons. Well-sexed persons have an abundant supply of it, but under sexed persons are deficient in it; for the former are recognized to be magnetic, while the latter are always deficient in personal magnetism, that is, in etheric energy. A normal healthy sexual nature, as the gavel suggests, seems to be requisite for a normal supply of etheric energy.
The amount of this energy may be greatly increased, and the amount thus available for the use of the will greatly augmented, by tension exercises and by rhythmic breathing. Rhythmic breathing, while the mind is firmly fixed on indrawing and utilizing the imponderable forces from the atmosphere, is the method most commonly employed to supply the requisite amount of etheric energy for unusual efforts of the will. It was the method employed by the Ancient Masons, and has for centuries been thus employed by the Hindu Yogis. The latter term the invisible electromagnetic energy so obtained, prana. Instead of being subtracted from the atmosphere, in reality it is chiefly generated in the nervous system. But from whatever source it is obtained, or whatever the method employed to secure it, man can only exercise will power on the physical plane when supplied with it, on the same principle that a motor will only run when supplied with electricity.
There is still another important consideration in connection with this etheric energy. It has a wide range of vibratory rates. Some are of high frequency and very fine and powerful, and some are of low frequency, coarse and of less power. And like other energies, the higher the frequency, that is, the finer they are, the more powerful they become. This seems to be a general law, that the higher an energy is in rate of vibration, the more powerful it is, providing its energy is properly utilized.
This brings us to another observation of the old Magi. They held that in strict ratio and proportion to the refinement of substance is it vitalized by spirit. That is, the more refined an organism, the higher the frequency of vibrations it will transmit. And as the higher rates of energy are more powerful, the more refined the organism, the more capable it becomes to exercise a powerful influence on other organisms and things. In other words, other things being equal, the higher refined organism is capable of exercising a stronger will power than one more gross.
Intelligence, like energy, being a universal attribute, we perceive why it is that often persons of small cranial capacity have more intelligence than those of larger capacity. Their whole physical make-up is finer, and more complex in texture; hence they are capable of receiving and transmitting finer forces than those less refined. Fine rates of energy, true spiritual powers, can find no point of contact in a gross body. Therefore, for spiritual power, and also for will power, there should be a progressive refinement of the body.
The Proper Culture of the Will
The mere transmission of energy, even if refined, however, does not constitute will power. Will power, as indicated by the use of the gavel, is energy directed persistently to some purpose.
How then can we develop will power? How can we develop the first implement of a Mason? Only by practice. There is no other way. One learns to play golf or tennis by keeping doggedly at it, and one develops will power in the same way. In the first place, to avoid discouragement, one should never attempt doing something until careful reflection has shown that it is both possible and advisable. But once having come to a decision to do something, it should be carried through to complete accomplishment in spite of all obstacles. This system should be tried at first on the inconsequential things, as one in golf first tries the easier strokes. Little by little, the plan should be enlarged to embrace larger undertakings, until finally the exercise of a powerful will becomes a permanent habit in the life.
Such a development of the will is, therefore, according to the ancient sages, the first implement of a Mason. Any person will find such an implement most useful. But to one who intends to practice magic it is quite indispensable. All the asceticism, self-torture, harsh discipline, and self-mortification of the oriental fakirs and certain of the yogis has for its sole object the building up of an inflexible will. Once a thing is decided upon it is always carried through in spite of obstacles, pain, or sorrow. Yet a useful and normal life affords quite as much opportunity for rigid will development.
The habit and mood of inflexible will in time becomes so impressed upon the astral organization, or unconscious mind, that all energies are focused to the accomplishment of the desired result. Therefore, in the practice of magic, when a thought is formulated and projected by such a person, all the etheric energy available is concentrated in the projection of the thought, and the astral form of the person continues, even after the matter is no longer present in objective consciousness, to utilize every effort to bring the formulated event to pass.
Nothing worthwhile, either in magic or in more prosaic endeavor, can be accomplished without the development of a strong will. In this development, as we have seen, there are three factors. There must be an energy supply. Such energy is available to the naturally virile person who practices dynamic breathing for the purpose of generating etheric energy. This energy supply must be of high frequency. That it may be so the body is refined through careful diet, through high aspirations, and through the cultivation of pure and lofty emotions.
This energy must be directed with an inflexible purpose. Such inflexibility may be gained through practice with the normal affairs of life. To use the methods of oriental ascetics is to develop the will at the expense of the divine soul. The divine soul is built up by the nobler impulses and finer emotions. To crush all feeling from the life is to starve and perhaps destroy the immortal part of one’s nature. Cold intellect alone is not high enough in vibration to penetrate the higher spiritual realms. The animal soul, like any animal, yields to firm treatment, but if treated harshly it either becomes savage and vengeful, or loses all heart and becomes a quailing coward. It should be transmuted until all its energies are utilized by the divine soul, not beaten or slain. People, animals, and the animal soul of man, all respond to kind yet firm treatment.
Every man, according to the Ancient Masons, has a definite constructive work in the world. When this work is discerned, the culture of his will requires the absolute adherence to carefully weighed resolutions that have been formed irrespective of impulse and momentary desire, having for their end progress toward the One Great Aim of the individual’s life; and the vitalization of the organism with energy sufficient in quality and quantity to carry out the dictates of these resolutions.
Significance of the 12-inch Gauge and the 24-inch Rule
Now in Modern Masonry, as well as in that more ancient, we find closely associated with the common gavel the 12-inch gauge and the 24-inch rule. The factors that gauge the tone quality of the forces reaching man and expressing through his organism are the twelve zodiacal signs. They are the chief gauges of his life, character, and efforts. The sign the sun is in at birth is the gauge of his individuality, the sign the moon is in at birth is the gauge of his mentality, and the sign on the ascendant at his birth is the gauge of his personality. They gauge his thoughts, his speech, his actions, and the events which enter his life. They gauge the strength and the harmony of the influence of such planets as may be within their bounds.
But the particular department of life influenced by each zodiacal sign, by each section of the twelve-inch gauge, must be ascertained by the application of the 24-inch rule. This rule embraces the 24 hours of the day. All the zodiacal signs rise, culminate, and set, within the limit of this 24-inch rule. Only by determining the time of an event, or of a birth only by applying the 24-inch rule—can the astrological influences affecting it be learned. Furthermore, this rule of 24 sections measures out to man the time when each of the important events of his life will take place; for each 24-hour cycle after birth, according to the most approved astrological practice, actually releases forces that bring to pass the major events that transpire during the corresponding year of life.
The 24-inch rule, then, is the 24-hour day, during which the signs of the zodiac, bearing with them all the planets, rise and set. By its proper use as a time measuring instrument the exact position of all the signs and planets at any moment of time may be known. Such a chart, erected for the moment of birth, is the best possible road map to a successful life, and to the goal of complete initiation.
As to the 12-inch gauge, each section is one of the consonants of celestial language. The observations of the Ancient Masons convinced them that Solomon’s Temple was actually divided into twelve such equal sections. They consequently sought for those things on earth, and within their own bodies, that vibrate to the same tone quality as each of these signs. Having selected some familiar object on earth that best summarized the influence of a zodiacal sign on human life, they traced the outlines of this object in its appropriate place among the stars. And then, at a later date, to express the same thing quickly in writing, the object’s form was merely greatly abbreviated and conventionalized. Let us, therefore, trace this process with each section of the 12-inch gauge.
Origin of the Aries Symbol
In the Ram the Ancient Masons discerned the primitive fighting instinct, the desire for leadership, the headstrong aggressiveness, the fiery temper, and the impetuosity, that they observed in people born when Aries is the ruling sign. These people are ambitious, intrepid, despotic, often quarrelsome, pugnacious, and passionate. Yet in their work of construction or destruction they are noted for creative power and original thought, always using their brains in all they do. The Ram also is combative, and uses its head in offensive work. Thus the Ram, typical of the influence of Aries, which rules the head of man, was given first place in the arch of Solomon’s Temple. To denote the Ram in writing they used a conventional form of the face of a sheep surmounted by its curling horns.
Origin of the Taurus Symbol
Those born under the influence of the sign Taurus are careful, plodding, and self-reliant. They are quiet and thoughtful, patiently awaiting for plans to mature. Remarkable for endurance, industry, and application, they sometimes become sullen and reserved. They are virile, with strong procreative instincts, are slow to anger, yet when once aroused are furious and violent; are warm friends and relentless foes. The sages of old noted similar qualities in the Bull, a similarity that can be observed also today, and they chose the Bull to occupy second place among the starry constellations in the sky. The Bull is remarkable for the strength of his neck, and the sign Taurus is found to rule the neck and throat of man. The Bull was denoted in writing by the conventionalized face of a bull with the two horns readily recognized.
Origin of the Gemini Symbol
Duality is the most marked characteristic of those born under the third division of the zodiac. They have both intuition and reason well developed, are fond of all kinds of knowledge, are restless, changeable, energetic, enterprising, and good teachers. They are dexterous and quickly acquire skill with their hands, often following more than one occupation at the same time. Their chief difficulty is to concentrate their energies long enough in one channel to make it a great success. This marked duality led the ancients to picture the sign Gemini in the sky as the Twins, Castor and Pollux. Gemini rules the hands and arms in the body of man, and to express the Twins quickly in writing two perpendicular marks were used.
Origin of the Cancer Symbol
People born under the sign Cancer are tenacious, sensitive to their surroundings, retiring, timid, and desirous of carrying out their own ideas in their own way. They are mediumistic, possess good reflective powers, and are true conservers of force. In these things they are like the crab, and further, when the sun in its annual journey enters this first of the watery signs it starts back toward the south from the north, suggesting the backward method of locomotion common to the crab. So the Crab, influenced by the tides and the moon as are Cancer people by their moods, was selected to represent the sign Cancer. Water is the mother and nourisher that carries food to the united sperm and germ enabling them to grow. The sign Cancer also rules the home and family, the sperm and germ moving toward union well showing the foundation of domestic ties. Cancer rules the breasts and stomach of man. And to represent this chief of the domestic signs quickly in writing, the Wise Ones used the claws of the crab as emblems of the two cells moving toward each other.
Origin of the Leo Symbol
Those born under the sign Leo are marked for their courage, for the strength of the physical constitution, and for recuperative power. They are honest, fearless, magnanimous, generous to their friends, impulsive, passionate, faithful, sympathetic, and ambitious. They are lovers of their offspring and will defend them regardless of cost; are majestic, proud, and become natural rulers of others. Their ideas are usually on a large scale, seldom stooping to pettiness or meanness. These qualities were also discerned in the lion, therefore, the Masons of Old traced a lion in the sky to mark the fifth division of the zodiac. Leo, ruler of the heart in man, is the sign ruled by the sun, which is typical of creative power. And because the deadly cobra has the power of raising itself and expanding its hood in fancied resemblance to the procreative organ, it was, and is, venerated in many countries of the world as sacred to the sun. Therefore, to represent the sign briefly, in writing, the cobra, much conventionalized, was used.
Origin of the Virgo Symbol
Virgo people are thoughtful, serious, contemplative, modest, ingenious, careful, cautious, and industrious. They often become scholars and scientists, repositories of information, with the ability to assimilate experience in such a way as to yield a rich harvest of knowledge. They are thus always ready to suggest improvements in existing methods. To the Ancient Masons, the human body is the womb of the universe, from which after its period of gestation, through the travail of death, the son of God is born into the spiritual world. Death to them was but the freeing of the soul from the restricting envelope of matter, a passing from darkness into light. This is the mystery of the immaculate conception: Man, as the uterus of Isis, is impregnated with the Holy Spirit, to develop within himself Christ Consciousness. When this mystical atonement is made he can truly say: “I and the Father are One.” In the sky this thought is depicted as a gleaning maid, immaculate and pure. She holds in her hands two ears of wheat, typifying the harvest of love and wisdom which constitutes the mission of the soul gestating in human form. This harvest well expresses the discriminative function of the bowels, that part of the human anatomy ruled by Virgo, and also the discriminative powers of Virgo people. It was expressed hieroglyphically by a sheaf of wheat.
Origin of the Libra Symbol
Those who are ruled by the sign Libra are lovers of peace and harmony, are amiable, even tempered, affectionate, sympathetic, and inclined toward marriage. They are fond of art, refined pleasures, and amusements, dislike unclean work intensely, have a deep love of justice, and feel the need of a companion to share their lot in life. For a moment they are easily carried away by their emotions, but quickly regain their balance. This mental equilibrium, and the instinct for justice, was pictured in the sky by the Scales. Libra rules the veins, the internal sexual organs, and the reproductive fluids in man. It is the sign of marriage, and was represented in writing briefly by the union of a feminine, or crooked, line, with a masculine, or straight, line.
Origin of the Scorpio Symbol
Those born under the sign Scorpio have strong sexual desires and possess an inexhaustible fund of ideas. They are thoughtful, contemplative, ingenious, scientific; and where others are concerned can be cold, calculating, unsympathetic, deceitful, and cruel. Suspicious, determined, secretive, energetic, shrewd, they possess fine mechanical ability, and often have a strong life-giving magnetism that enables them to become successful healers as well as good surgeons. The intensity of the sexual nature, the subtlety, cruelty, fighting instincts, and underhanded methods by which they attack opponents, suggested to the minds of the Ancient Masons the Scorpion, whose chief weapon of offense is the least suspected part of his anatomy, at the end of his tail. Scorpio rules the external sexual organs in the anatomy of man. Like Virgo people, those ruled by Scorpio are harvesters of knowledge, but unlike Virgo people, whose sheaf of wheat is closed at the bottom to indicate conservation, the sheaf denoting Scorpio is left open at the bottom to indicate wasteful expenditure of precious energy. And to indicate the retaliating pangs of remorse for such loss, as well as to suggest the Scorpion, in denoting the sign briefly in writing the sheaf of wheat was provided with a scorpion’s tail.
Origin of the Sagittarius Symbol
The Centaur, half animal and half man, was chosen by the Sages of Old to picture in the sky the sign Sagittarius. It well represents the dual nature of those born under this sign; for their animal propensities are strong, yet they are also well supplied with the higher, nobler, more generous impulses. The body and legs of a horse indicate restlessness, physical activity, and migratory tendencies; while the upper and human part indicates conservatism, self control, and executive ability. They are free, energetic, ambitious of worldly position, are loyal, patriotic, and charitable to others. Their love of hunting and all outdoor sports is shown by the full drawn bow, which also expresses retribution; for Sagittarius people are quick to fight for the rights of others. They are prompt and decisive in action, can command others, are frank and candid, and when they speak their remarks go straight to the mark like an arrow to the bull’s eye. Sagittarius rules the thighs, which are the seat of man’s locomotion. To write the sign quickly, the arrow from the archer’s bow was used.
Origin of the Capricorn Symbol
Those born under the sign Capricorn are quiet, thoughtful, reserved, serious, economical, prudent, cautious, good reasoners, decidedly practical, and ambitious of wealth and position. They are born diplomats, and quick to see and use the weaknesses of others for their own advantage. Thus as a goat ascends a mountain, taking advantage of every possible foothold, so these people climb to their ambitions by grasping every possible opportunity, great or small, to advance themselves. Suppliantly they bow to the reigning authority, seeking by sundry and devious ways to gain the good will of others, that they may partake in power, much as the goat must bend his knees and devise many a clever method to crop the foliage among the precipitous rocks of his upland pastures. These people are patient and persistent, and by concentrated effort and skillful maneuvering butt their way through, or climb their way around, all but insurmountable obstacles. In the body of man Capricorn rules the knees. It is pictured in the sky as the Goat. And to write it quickly a twisted devious line was used, twisted to suggest the spiraled horns of the goat, but in its pattern a still better representation of the circuitous path by which goats and people reach the heights of material ambition.
Origin of the Aquarius Symbol
The chief characteristics of those born under the sign Aquarius are the predominance of humanitarian instincts and the desire for a scientific verification of all theories. This intellectual trend is represented by the Man of the zodiac, while the sympathies and emotions that bind him to his fellowman are pictured by water flowing from the urn. It is the baptismal urn, the water representing the pure emotions that prompt man to reform and lead a new life. These people are kind, amiable, witty, fond of refinement and society, and are keen students of human nature. As Leo is symbolized hieroglyphically by one serpent, Aquarius, where Reason and Intuition balance, where man and woman have learned the significance of sex, have partaken of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was anciently symbolized by two serpents moving in opposite directions. Aquarius rules the legs of man. It is written briefly as two wavy lines, a conventionalized form for the two serpents, and also suggesting the water that flows from the Waterbearer’s urn.
Origin of the Pisces Symbol
Pisces people are amiable, very sympathetic, kind, neat, and particular, yet are often timid and lacking in self-confidence. They are greatly influenced by their environment, are restless, emotional, highly imaginative, and capable of high intellectual development. In their ideals they are utopian. They long for universal brotherhood, for the highest expression of love, and for peace on earth good will to men. Sensitive, mediumistic, capable of psychic lucidity, romantic and lovers of mystery, they are apt to become too negative and dreamy to practice their ideals. They take an interest in psychic investigation, have a strong desire for the ideal in marriage, and when this ideal is not realized become restless and discontented. Pisces rules the feet of man. Fish, due to their reproductive ability, are ancient symbols of sex, and water is the symbol of the emotions. To represent the ideal love and marriage for which Pisces people long—that union referred to in the Bible as the tree of life and in the Kabala as the Holy Shekinah, or perfect way of nuptials—the Ancient Masons placed in the sky two fish and united them by a cord of love. To write the sign quickly they used two crescents, symbolizing two souls, likewise united by a connecting line.
Significance of the Signs in the E. A. Degree
Now having defined the 12-inch gauge, let us revert to the first implement of a Mason, the common gavel. In the Entered Apprentice lodge the Master gives one rap with his gavel. The Master, as has previously been explained, represents the human ego. The gavel represents the human will. The table, against which the gavel is struck, is a plane surface, and thus represents a plane, any plane, of existence upon which the soul may sojourn. One blow on the table, of course, represents the first plane, that is, the physical plane. Two raps signify the second plane, that is, the astral realm. Three raps indicate the third or spiritual plane. But in the E. A. degree but one rap is necessary, because the mysteries of this degree all pertain primarily to the physical plane. In fact, if we are to be able to check our information concerning other planes of existence adequately, we must first thoroughly understand all the laws and facts, in so far as possible, relative to the physical plane. How can we understand higher mathematics unless we first learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide? Therefore, the Ancient Masons insisted that the candidate should, before investigating higher realms, thoroughly understand his physical functions and the physical plane of life.
As soon as the lodge is opened, the Master asks the Junior Warden, representing the planet Mercury, if all are E. A. Masons in the South. The South is the place where all the planets reach their highest position. He then asks the Senior Warden, representing the Moon, if all are E. A. Masons in the West. The West is where all the planets sink from sight beneath the horizon. Having been answered in the affirmative, he, representing the Sun, then vouches for those in the East. The east is where all the planets rise into view. But the North is left unmentioned, for to us of the northern hemisphere there are no planets to our north. The North, where water freezes, is the symbol of crystallization and of strictly material motives. These latter are left unmentioned, for material achievement based on purely material motives, has no part to play in soul advancement.
The Junior Deacon, representing the planet Venus, is next called up to the Master, and gives a sign by which he may be identified. It is quite fitting that Venus, the planet of love and affection, should be the one to give this sign. It consists of placing the open fingers of the right hand upon the open fingers of the left hand.
Venus, in astrology, rules the sign Libra, the sign that governs both marriage and open enemies. Therefore, it is quite fitting also that the Master should appoint Venus, the Junior Deacon, to station outside the door, the Tyler with drawn sword. This door is the barrier between the seeming and the real, the exoteric appearances and the esoteric verity. Venus, the planet of love, affection, and marriage, knocks three times on the inside of this door, signifying the esoteric and real knowledge concerning marriage as applied to all three planes. The Tyler, symbolizing man’s thoughts, then answers by three knocks on the outside of the door, signifying those exoteric and unworthy opinions about marriage on all three planes that guard the real truth from the uninitiated.
Finally, the Junior Deacon knocks once and is answered by one rap, indicating that in the Entered Apprentice degree the candidate is expected to master the laws governing physical marriage only. That the study of such laws, and the attempt to apply them in the production of a nobler race of mankind, as well as the attempt to apply them in the elevation of the soul to higher states of spiritual attainment, was one of the chief objects of the Ancient Masons in the E.A. degree is plainly shown by the sign given by the Junior Deacon to the Master. Five is, and as far back as such things can be traced always has been, the symbol of man or woman alone. The five fingers of the right hand represent man, the five of the left hand represent woman. The right and the left hand joined, in universal symbolism, represents the marriage of man and woman.
Contrast of Ancient Masonry Teachings With Those of Present Day Orient
However moderns may regard marriage, the Ancient Sages attached no sense of shame, immorality, or degradation to it. They looked upon it as one of life’s noblest privileges, and by deep study sought to learn how through it better offspring might be brought into the world; how the noblest sentiments possible to man might be strengthened, how life might be prolonged, disease avoided, and a greater amount of happiness brought into the world.
If we are to believe tradition they in a measure succeeded in all these things. The Bible gives repeated accounts of man living far beyond the allotted three score and ten years. But irrespective of the literal veracity of these stories, the Ancient Sages believed that their lives were prolonged and that they attained higher powers through their understanding of love in the sacred precincts of marriage.
Nowhere are these teachings and beliefs more plain to discern than in Ancient Masonry. But let no one be led astray by the thought that any so-called sex practices were taught. Neither was asceticism and celibacy taught. The Sages of Chaldea, the Priesthood of Egypt, and the Ancient Masons, were married people. They believed in marriage, believed it was a holy and sacred institution, believed in purity, in kindness, in love. In India, it is true, asceticism developed, and also sex-magic such as is found among the Tantrics today. But I find no hint of such extremes in Ancient Masonry.
Dozens of sects flourish today throughout America teaching suppression of the love nature. Other dozens of sects, usually as sworn-to-secrecy inner circles of cults, teach sex practices as the means of gaining supernormal powers. If the teachings of the Ancient Masons, as revealed by their symbolism, are true, both these ideas are a delusion and a snare. In fact, it is my belief that if those doctrines were permitted full public discussion they would soon have no adherents, because the medical profession alone would present such an array of actual pathological cases caused by such ideas that it would discourage others. Such beliefs thrive on secrecy.
If I may be pardoned for mentioning personal observations, I may say that I have been in occult work since 1898, and have contacted, directly or indirectly, most of the cults, colonies, and beliefs of any consequence throughout the world. In that time I have known of centers and colonies devoted to some special sex practices, but while I have known of many cases of physical and mental derangement to result, up to the present day I have not known of a single person that has been in any way benefitted. Also, I have known of many centers and cults that teach repression, and while I have observed much psychism to result from this, it has always been an unreliable and often obnoxious form of psychism.
Such personal remarks are relevant because to explain Ancient Masonry it is impossible to avoid reference to sex; and a plain statement may prevent hasty conclusions. The teachings of Ancient Masonry in such regards are very simple, very plain, and such that they would be endorsed by medical men of high standing, quite coincide with the legal requirements of our land, and set a high moral code. Their doctrines relative to sex are concerned with marriage, and teach man not to starve his animal nature, but to transmute the animal into the divine. They teach man how he can cease being a brute and become an angel.
Oriental doctrines which are in all essential respects the very opposite of those of Ancient Masonry are prevalent today. First of all, they advocate that the individual shall eat only the most negative of foods. Yet his ability to control himself and to exercise will power, depends upon, not the volume of electricity generated in his body and nervous systems, but upon its voltage, or potential. As explained fully in Course 5, Esoteric Psychology, Chapter 9 (Serial Lesson 64), it is the protein molecules of the body which are able to release the high-frequency energy of the lightning which fixed the nitrogen that plant life took from the soil. And most people cannot thus release high potential enough or in any manner develop high voltage in the gray matter of their brains, while living on the negative foods advocated in this Oriental training.
The action of the endocrine secretions of the gonads on the nervous system is to cause it to generate electrical charges in greater volume. Celibacy, therefore, tends to have the effect of charging the individual with much surplus electromagnetic, or etheric energy.
Rhythmic breathing also is advocated, and exercises prescribed which tend to generate still greater excesses of etheric energy.
Thus sex repression and dynamic breathing are employed to generate a great excess of etheric energy which floods the system; but, because of the diet and the practices in meditation, no ability to control this low potential etheric excess is developed. On the contrary, the dreamy fantasy kind of thinking called meditation is cultivated, which breaks down whatever power the individual already had to direct his thoughts concisely and clearly into channels of control.
As a perusal of Course 5, Esoteric Psychology, Chapter 9 (Serial Lesson 64) will make plain, control of one’s thoughts or control of one’s body depends upon being able to mobilize in the brain cells used for such control, an electrical energy not merely strong enough to gain recognition, but with a potential sufficiently high that it can overcome, and displace, other electrical energies which compete with it.
If the brain cells employed for control cannot acquire a higher electrical potential than potentials generated in other regions of the body—in the sympathetic nervous system, for instance—it cannot control, but is controlled by, these electrical energies thus elsewhere generated. Yet the various meditations and concentrations employed in the Oriental teachings mentioned, have as a direct result the discouragement of positive clear-cut intellectual thinking, and they break down the power of the brain to generate electrical energies high enough in voltage to exercise control. Instead the control comes from the sympathetic nervous system.
Etheric energy, having a velocity when in motion approximately that of light, is the bridge between the physical world and the astral world. According to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, no material thing can have a velocity greater than light. Therefore, that which has a velocity greater than about 186,284 miles per second no longer belongs to the physical, but is an object on the astral plane.
And an excess of this boundary-line etheric energy makes it easy for motions from the physical plane to be communicated to the astral plane, or for motions on the astral plane to be communicated to the physical. The excess of etheric energy developed by breathing and sex repression, therefore, is favorable for enabling astral entities, either in the flesh or on the astral plane, to contact the individual and use him and his electrical forces to produce phenomena, to impress him with their wishes, or to exert an influence upon others at a distance.
But the training has been careful to discourage, both by the negative diet and the mental exercises, the development of ability on the part of the individual to use these etheric energies he generates. The whole system is designed to develop volumes of low potential electrical energy such as most readily can be used by a distant Mahatma in the flesh, or by some astral entity, in spite of any attempted resistance on the part of the poor dupe thus trained; when he realizes that he is being controlled for purposes about which he knows nothing.
Instead of the opposite process, which the Ancient Masons taught, in which pains are taken to develop Intellect and Will, so that the individual always may be master of himself, this Oriental training furnishes plastic individuals quite incapable of directing their own forces, but who generate great quantities of etheric energy which can, and is, used, whether or not there is consent, by cunning and dominant minds working from the inner plane for their own selfish purposes.
James Branch Cabell Chart
April 14, 1879, 6:30 a.m. L.M.T, 77W27, 37N32
Data from Mr. Cabell personally
1896, instructor of French and Greek: Sun semisextile Saturn p, ruler of ninth (teaching).
1898, worked in pressroom of Richmond, Va., Times: Mars conjunction Jupiter r, semisextile Moon r, ruler of third (newspapers).
1902, started contributing short stories to magazines: Mercury sextile Venus p, then moved to other aspects.
1920, wrote Beyond Life: Mercury conjunction Neptune p.
1922, wrote Jurgen: Venus semisquare Uranus r (very unconventional).
Leopold Stokowski Chart
April 18, 1887, 4:00 a.m., 2E20, 48N50
Data from Stokowski personally
1905, conductor at St. Bartholomew’s in New York: Sun sextile Saturn r.
1908, conductor of orchestra concerts in London: Mercury opposition Jupiter p (journey and public), semisextile Venus r.
1909, conductor Cincinnati symphony: Mars sextile Saturn r (responsibility), Venus semisextile Neptune r (symphony).
1912, conductor of the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra which (1938) he continues successfully to be: Mars sextile Saturn p, Venus trine Jupiter r in seventh (public), Venus sextile Mars r.