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Serial Lesson 12
From Course IV, Ancient Masonry, Chapter 7
Original Copyright 1939, Elbert Benjamine (a.k.a. C. C. Zain)
Copyright 2010, The Church of Light
Subheadings: The Masonic Lodge Room The Three Pillars The Northeast Corner No Metal Tool Was Heard Three Movable Jewels Ornaments Chalk, Charcoal and Clay The Red Sea Dimensions and Ornaments of the Columns The Globes on the Columns The Long Winding Staircase Bee-Hive Book of Constitutions The All-Seeing Eye The Anchor The Ark The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid Incense The Scythe
Birth Charts: W. H. Chaney Chart John Leslie (Jackie) Coogan Chart
THE EMBLEMS of Masonry, no less than the pictured starry constellations, the designs of the tarot cards, and the allegorical stories of the world’s sacred books, bespeak an ancient language whose terms are intelligible to peoples widely separated both in space and time. It is the language of the unconscious mind, the language even to a small degree understood by the creatures of the wild as well as by man, the language which derives from common associations, and which, therefore, is the language of dreams.
In this peculiar transmission of ideas it is assumed that people have had certain experiences in common, and that, therefore, the Law of Association will readily suggest to them the outstanding qualities of things seen or heard. It is assumed that people the world over who have had any experience with horses are familiar with the idea that horses commonly are used to carry riders to their destination. This association of ideas is then made use of to suggest by means of a horse that which carries man to his goal. Horses thus become the symbol of thoughts, and especially of thoughts which are expressed, and thus is derived part of the symbol of Sagittarius, which is natural ruler of the house of expressed thought in a chart of birth.
That which is seen and experienced in dreams is not without significance. All of it—except that which consists of witnessing some actual event, past, present or future—is a portrayal to the consciousness in this language of symbolism, which derived its terms from Association of experiences and ideas, of something of significance to the mind of the individual.
But the significance of the symbolism of dreams is far more complicated than the symbolism we here consider, not because the meaning of the symbols is more difficult to discern, but because in the dream state we are more or less conscious of the astral plane in which there are new properties present as if it embraced still another dimension.
In dreams, for instance, there are images derived from sensory stimuli, there are fantasy images induced by desire, and desire may cause condensation or expansion of the symbolism. On the astral plane, and in dreams, not only objects, but people’s thoughts may be seen as definite images. And occurrences that happen on various astral levels may be witnessed, as contrasted with events on a single level that may be witnessed on the earth.
But this is only the beginning of the possible multitude of things that it is possible to see in sleep, or on the astral plane; for, due to the lack of restriction of time, space and gravitation, it is possible to witness one’s own past experiences and thoughts, and one’s probability line of future experiences and thoughts as if they were realities in the now, and to witness other people’s past experiences and thoughts, and their probability lines of future experiences and thoughts as if they were happening in the now.
Thus the problem confronting us in discerning the significance of things seen in sleep or on the astral plane, is not so much that of interpreting the symbolism, as it is in untangling the past and future from the present, discriminating that which is merely a thought from that which represents an occurrence involving individuals, and in otherwise unscrambling images and impressions and giving each its proper place. The infant taken on a drive through a great city has the same difficulty. But with experience and training the infant grows to recognize the relative value and significance of its impressions. And man also, in due course of time if he trains himself diligently, can while still on the physical plane, learn properly to appraise what he sees in dreams, and what he sees without dreaming on the astral plane.
The Masonic Lodge Room
It is said that the Masonic lodge room is as long as from east to west; as wide as from north to south; as high as from the surface of the earth to the highest heaven; and as deep as from the surface of the earth to the earth’s center. Only one thing has such dimensions. That thing is the universe as mapped by the Mundane Houses of a horoscope. Therefore, the lodge room is the universe considered from the point on the earth where the candidate stands (see Course 2, Astrological Signatures, Chapter 3 - Serial Lesson 47).
From east to west is considered the length, and north and south the width, because the planets in their orbits about this celestial lodge move fewer degrees north and south than they move east and west. The limit of their movement by declination—the north and south movement—is less than 60 degrees; but they move through the zodiac, and also by their diurnal travel about the earth from east to west, the entire circle of 360 degrees. The third dimension of a horoscope is always considered to reach from the center of the earth beneath the observer’s feet to the zenith directly over his head. From the standpoint of astrology it would be difficult to give a better definition of the dimensions of the stellar universe than this one formulated by the Ancient Masons.
The Three Pillars
It is further asserted that there are three columns, or pillars, that support the lodge. These are the equinoctial colure, the solstitial colure, and the meridian. They are the support of the lodge because the lodge is the vault of heaven and all calculations relating to it are referred to one or more of these three lines, or pillars. Thus the celestial longitude of a stellar body is always calculated as so many degrees, or hours, from one end of the equinoctial colure, which is called the first point of Aries. Celestial latitude is reckoned as so many degrees north or south of the ecliptic; the ecliptic being a circle passing over both ends of the equinoctial colure, and also over both ends of the solstitial colure; the latter line, or pillar, being necessary to determine the plane of the ecliptic. Yet astronomical calculations to be of value on the earth must not stop with defining the position of a celestial body in terms of latitude and longitude, but must designate the position with reference to a given spot on the earth. This third necessary element is calculated from the third Masonic pillar, the meridian. Thus if we say a planet is 12 degrees of Sagittarius, has 3 degrees south latitude, and that 9 degrees of Sagittarius is on the meridian, its position is completely defined. Without these three elements precise definition of celestial positions is impossible. Therefore, the Meridian, the Solstitial Colure, and the Equinoctial Colure, are truly the supports of the celestial lodge.
When the sun rests upon the equinoctial colure the days and nights are equal, masculine and feminine forces are united by the colure in equilibrium, as pictured in the zodiac by the Scales of Libra, the zodiacal sign of marriage. And because proper marriage is considered a constructive function, the Ancient Masons named the pillar Wisdom.
When the sun rests upon the top, or northern end, of the solstitial colure, the days are longest and the masculine forces are dominant; when it rests upon the bottom, or southern end of the solstitial colure, the nights are longest and feminine forces are dominant. Because that man is strongest who is dominantly masculine, and that woman is strongest who is dominantly feminine, the Ancient Masons named this pillar Strength.
When the sun rests upon the meridian it is noon and there is the maximum sunshine for that day. This light makes more plainly visible the innumerable beauties of nature. Because of this the Ancient Masons named this pillar Beauty.
Furthermore, to make the identity of the lodge unmistakable, Masons assert that it has a clouded canopy, or starry decked heaven, where all good Masons hope to arrive.
The Northeast Corner
Any complete map of this lodge room divides it into the Mundane Houses commonly employed in erecting a birth chart. Such a map, or birth chart, has the directions well defined, each house ruling certain departments of life. The First House of the celestial map, the place where the sun is each day at dawn when it awakens the sleepy world into a fresh period of activity, in natal astrology rules birth. This house of birth is the northeast portion of the birth chart. Therefore, in absolute conformity to astrological correspondences, when the candidate for the E.A. degree, that is, the candidate for initiation on the physical plane, has been reinvested with his clothing he is placed in the northeast corner of the lodge room and caused to stand upright like a man. He represents the soul that has evolved far enough to be born into human form. He also, by his position in the house of birth, indicates that through the knowledge imparted to him in initiation, he has been reborn and is now ready to commence a new life. Even as the sun after its daily birth ascends to a vertical position, so does the candidate stand upright like a man, by his position indicating the will to strive for higher things.
Not only is the First House, or northeast corner, of a celestial chart, the house of birth of man, but it marks the birth, or commencement, of each new enterprise. This explains why, “The first stone in every Masonic edifice is, or ought to be, placed at the northeast corner, that being the place where an E.A. Mason receives his first instructions to build his future Masonic edifice upon.”
No Metal Tool Was Heard
In the building of the original Masonic edifice, Solomon’s Temple, the sound of ax, hammer, or other tool of metal, was not heard: “All the stones were hewed, squared, and numbered in the quarries where they were raised; all the timbers felled and prepared in the forests of Lebanon, and carried down to Joppa on floats, and taken thence up to Jerusalem, and set up with wooden malls, prepared for that purpose; which, when complete, every part thereof fitted with the exact nicety, that it had more resemblance of the handy workmanship of the Supreme Architect of the universe, than of human hands.”
Because inorganic substances possess the lowest degree of life expressed on the earth, they symbolize human experiences that are viewed solely from the standpoint of material loss or gain. But organic substances, possessing a higher degree of life, and a more complex organization, symbolize human experiences that are viewed from the standpoint of spiritual alchemy, from the standpoint of their effect upon character. Tools composed of inorganic substance, then, represent such mental activities as are concerned with the physical welfare; and an edifice built with metallic tools signifies an environment that has been constructed through selfish ambition. Such an edifice is bound, sooner or later, to fall into decay.
But the temple built upon true spiritual principles, built upon a recognition that the important function of each experience is its effect upon the character, does not decay; but becomes a glorious and permanent habitation for the immortal soul. Nor is this entirely figurative; for it is the attitude toward events, and the motive behind actions, that determine whether states of consciousness are evolved of sufficient intensity, and of such polarity that they combine, to affect spiritual substances. Only mental factors of proper intensity affect the spiritual body and have power to organize it as a vehicle for the immortal soul (see Course 3, Spiritual Alchemy, Chapter 4 - Serial Lesson 52).
Because thoughts prompted by material motives have not intensity of vibration sufficient to affect the spiritual body, in the construction of Solomon’s Temple, the spiritual body, the sound of no metal tool—thoughts based upon purely material motives—was heard. And the malls of wood were specially prepared because it takes special preparation and training to give the thoughts the viewpoint and spirituality that they may be used to build up the spiritual body.
The stones indicate the external experiences of mankind. They were hewed, squared, and numbered in the quarries where they were raised. That is, they were classified as the various sciences. The timbers, being of organic substance, represent the experiences of life that organize the character. They have their origin in the forests of Lebanon, the material plane. But they are floated by the emotional reactions toward them to Joppa, the astral plane. And from thence—if fit for the purpose, if of sufficient spirituality—up to Jerusalem, the spiritual plane.
And the spiritual body of man—organized by constructive thoughts that are largely motivated by the desire to benefit society, yet based upon a wide variety of experiences that are viewed as opportunities to build character—because it corresponds in its various parts to the universe—is a microcosm—resembles, therefore, the handiwork of Deity.
Three Movable Jewels
Now the three movable jewels of a lodge are, the rough ashlar, the perfect ashlar, and the trestle board. The rough ashlar represents man’s character unmodified by spiritual aspirations and occult training. The perfect ashlar represents man’s character after it has been perfected by applying the keen chisel of discrimination, driven by the hammer of will and intellect; and after it has been polished by persistent aspirations to be of greatest possible service to mankind. It thus becomes fit to be used in the construction of the permanent, or spiritual, human edifice.
The trestle board is man’s consciousness, where the soul drafts the plans for the actions of life.
The ornaments of the lodge are: the checkered pavement, or mosaic; the blazing star in its center; and the indented tassel, or beautiful tessellated border that surrounds the pavement.
The blazing star has five points, and is thus the symbol of man. The one point above the other four indicates that man’s head is uppermost, that his intellect has dominion over the four elementary realms, and should have dominion over the instincts of the flesh. In the heavens above, this Masonic star is Polaris, the Pole Star, which, because apparently it is the only point in the sky that does not move—for it represents the extension of the earth’s axis—has throughout the ages been the emblem of that other thing which changes not, Truth. “Upon this rock will I build my church.” Had it actually been founded on this rock the church need not have changed. The King, Cepheus—a word meaning rock—among the constellations, rests his foot on the Polar Star, which is a part of the constellation. This—Truth—is not merely the Rock of Ages, but it is also, “The rock that is higher than I,” a recognition not merely of the permanence of truth, but that it is the highest religion. Therefore, when it is said that this star should appear conspicuously in the conduct of every Mason, we are informed that a conspicuous feature of Masonic conduct is adherence to Truth.
About this star, which on earth represents man and in the sky represents Polaris, is a mosaic of black and white checks. The movement of the planets through the zodiac causes their rays to converge to form squares, trines, sextiles, semisquares, and other geometrical figures. The influence of some of these is harmonious, corresponding to the white checks. The influence of others is discordant, corresponding to the black checks. These checks, therefore, considered as planetary influences converging on man’s astral body in regular geometrical patterns, attract to man, through stimulating certain unconscious trains of thought, periods of good fortune and periods of adverse fortune. That is, they well represent not only the geometrical designs of the birth chart, which predisposes him to certain experiences, but they also represent the progressed aspects which add energy and thus bring certain types of events to him at times that may be predetermined.
The recognition of these influences, symbolized by the checkered pavements, is important; but of still more importance is the advice given, that brethren may walk together upon this pavement without stumbling. In other words, adverse planetary influences cannot be avoided, but it is quite possible to avoid the adverse events that are threatened by planetary positions; and because mental vibrations may be reinforced by emotion, and because planetary influence operates through stimulating discordant mental states, that which can be used to engender specific constructive emotions may be used to annul adverse planetary influence. The Ancient Masons counseled, for this purpose, harmonies engendered through close cooperation.
Chalk, Charcoal and Clay
The next thought requires some preliminary explanation. Life in association with the earth is embraced in seven stages, the seventh stage of consciousness summing up the other six and providing a point of transition to higher spheres. The incarnating soul first undergoes experiences in the mineral realm, then a cycle of experience on the astral plane where the mineral experiences are reorganized to fit it for vegetable life. It then incarnates repeatedly in the vegetable kingdom; following which it undergoes another cycle in the astral, gestating these experiences before incarnating as an animal. The fifth stage is its various incarnations in the animal kingdom; the sixth being a cycle in the astral realm where it synthesizes these experiences to a point where human incarnation is possible.
Now when the Senior Warden (corresponding to the soul) in the E.A. degree is asked whom he served, he answers, “My Master,” meaning, the ego. When asked how long, he replies, “Six days.” These six days are the six states through which the soul serves the ego, the six states from the mineral up to the point where human incarnation is possible. It thus represents the labors of the impersonal soul, impelled by the ego, to reach the human plane and thus come into possession of self-consciousness.
To the question with what he served him he replies, with Freedom, Fervency, and Zeal, and that these are present in Chalk, Charcoal, and Clay. That is, charcoal, which is used for fuel, is a symbol of fire, and hence of the fervency of creative energy. Clay is igneous rock that has been eroded by ice, and thus represents the union of fire and water, male and female principles, and it is stated that nothing is more zealous than clay to bring forth. Chalk is chiefly composed of the minute shells of Foraminifera, being deposited in the shallow water of the sea. It is thus of animal origin, and well symbolizes the offspring, or life, resulting from the union of male and female principles. And in addition, its common use as a means of facilitating expression suggests the freedom with which the soul, in its evolutionary ascent, expressed itself through incarnating in one form of life after another.
When the state of man is reached, from the lowest human state up to the perfect man, or adept, there is another series of seven states. These states are indicated in the F.C. degree where it is said that the Masons working on Solomon’s Temple wrought six days, but on the seventh day they rested. That is, in perfecting the human temple, seven states of consciousness are developed (see Course 3, Spiritual Alchemy, Chapter 5 - Serial Lesson 53 for detailed discussion of these states of consciousness). The ego only becomes incarnated and the man perfect when the seventh state of manhood is reached. He is then a Master Mason, has developed seven states of consciousness, and is at the point of transition where he is ready to function on the spiritual plane of life.
Furthermore, in the spiritual realms there is still another series of seven states by which man passes from spiritual life into angelic form. These are also each marked by a definite development of consciousness. In the seventh state of the spiritual world, due to the permanent union of the two souls that are the expression of one divine ego, the angelic form is attained and the next step is transition to the celestial sphere.
The Red Sea
The statement is made that the lodge room is situated due east and west, not only because it is a model of Solomon’s Temple, but also because Moses, after conducting the Children of Israel through the Red Sea, by divine command, erected a tabernacle to God, and placed it due east and west, which was to commemorate to the latest posterity that miraculous east wind that wrought their mighty deliverance.
Now red is the color ruled by the planet Mars, and a sea typifies the emotions. The Red Sea, therefore, symbolizes a condition of sensuality. Sensations, by those who listen to the dictates of the divine soul, are utilized to build a fit tabernacle to God; but to those less worthy they become a snare, and such persons are flooded and drowned in the sea of their own animal propensities. Wind symbolizes aspirations, and the east is the region of light. Therefore, the candidate is informed that through aspiration for spiritual wisdom he may cross the sea of sensuality dry shod, but that those who foolishly enter this sea with unworthy motives are doomed to destruction.
Dimensions and Ornaments of the Columns
In the F.C. degree we also have a complete description of the two columns, Jachin and Boaz. On the earth Jachin is the region of heat and warmth, the South; but because it is summer when the sun is in the northern half of the zodiac, Jachin in the sky is the northern section of the zodiac. Likewise, Boaz, on earth is the region of cold, the North; but in the sky represents the southern half of the zodiac; for it is coldest when the sun is so situated. These columns are said to be eighteen cubits high, twelve in circumference, and four in diameter; they are adorned with two large chapiters, one on each, and, so the description continues, these chapiters are ornamented with net-work, lily-work, and pomegranates.
That is, the Ancient Masons, as do modern astrologers, considered the zodiac as a belt about the heavens extending 9 degrees each side of the sun’s apparent annual path, or 18 degrees high. As there are twelve signs in the zodiacal belt, they are 12 in circumference. The belt is further divided into four quadrants, each quadrant representing the station of the sun during one of the four seasons. It is thus four in diameter. And the two halves of the zodiac, representing the sun’s station during summer and winter, show Jachin and Boaz united.
These pillars, or sections of the zodiac, are surmounted and adorned by the various starry constellations, the northern constellations forming one chapiter, and the southern constellations forming another. These constellations, as any star map will show, are a network of lines connecting various stars. Their exalted and spiritual meaning can only be read by those of pure heart, symbolized by the lily; and as indicated by the pomegranate, which is mostly seeds, their interpretations are the seeds of all valuable esoteric knowledge. In human life these two chapiters signify those crowning attributes by which true men and true women differ. The network signifies the noble ties that bind together man and woman, the lily-work the purity of their relations, and the pomegranates the fruitfulness of their endeavors on all planes of action when thus united by an exalted love.
The Globes on the Columns
On these columns are two globes, one on each. They are balls containing on their convex surfaces all the maps and charts of the celestial and terrestrial bodies. In composition they are molten, or cast, brass; and were cast on the banks of the River Jordan, in clay ground between Succoth and Zaradatha, where King Solomon ordered these and all other holy vessels to be cast. They were four inches, or a hand’s breadth, thick, and were cast hollow the better to withstand inundations and conflagrations. They were the Archives of Masonry, and contained the constitution, rolls, and records.
The two globes are the celestial sphere, or globe mapping the constellations, and the terrestrial sphere, or globe mapping the earth. For astrological purposes it is necessary to map the heavens at any instant of time in reference to any specific point on the surface of the earth. The latitude and longitude of birth must be known before a birth chart may be erected, and the longitude and declination of the planets must be calculated. The former data are obtained from a map of the earth, or terrestrial globe, and the latter data are obtained from a map of the heavens, or the celestial globe. The whole of Masonry, as well as the whole of human life, is contained within these two spheres; for they symbolize astrology. They are Archives of Masonry in which the records are kept written in the divine language of celestial correspondence.
The River Jordan represents the boundary between the physical world and the astral world; between Succoth and Zaradatha. On the banks of the River these globes were cast; and because the various planetary energies that stimulate man converge, or unite, on the earth at the point where he stands; that is, the astral vibrations from both heaven and earth meet where he stands to influence him, these spheres are said to be cast in clay-ground; the latter being the symbol of united forces. These forces that converge in man’s astral body are from the heaven and from the earth, thus being positive and negative like brass which is a union of two metals, and they are ever on the move, fluxing like the molten brass to which they are compared.
The celestial globe is divided into four quadrants, and by the law of correspondence the terrestrial globe has also four natural quadrants.
They are thus four in thickness. And to indicate that they have an influence over man’s life and destiny they are said to be a hand’s breadth in thickness. The hand is not only the symbol of work done, of the executive attribute, but because of its five fingers it also symbolizes man. The inundations and conflagrations which threaten these precious maps, which threaten this knowledge of the religion of sky and earth, which alone constitutes the true constitution, rolls and records of Ancient Masonry, are the unreasoning emotions and violent passions of man.
The Long Winding Staircase
The long winding Masonic stairway, which it is said has three, five, seven, or more steps, refers to the annual journey of the sun. At the winter solstice, for three days before its birth on Christmas, the sun is stationary, moving neither north nor south. Then as there are 365 days in a year, and only 360 degrees in the sun’s annual cycle, it was customary in ancient times to cross off five days after Christmas. These days were given over to a festival in honor of the sun’s birth in the manger of the Goat, Capricorn. And because the sun is then in the sign ruled by Saturn, the festival period was called the Saturnalia. Following these five days, there were yet another seven days before the ephiphany, on which the new born sun was said to first put in an appearance; just as Jesus was said to be twelve years of age before appearing in learned discussion. These seven days, or Masonic steps, in practical magic, are of great importance; for at this time of the year the magnetic forces are peculiarly susceptible and plastic to the will of man.
In human life, according to numerology, the three steps symbolize marriage, the five steps represent intelligence, or enlightenment, and the seven steps the perfect union of body, soul, and spirit with body, soul, and spirit to triumph over physical limitations.
In the F.C. Degree the candidate is admitted into the middle chamber of the temple for the sake of the letter G. G in Ancient Masonry stands for generation, and this ceremony indicates that because the candidate has mastered the mysteries of generation, he is now ready for initiation into the mysteries of regeneration.
Emblems of the Master Mason’s degree are of two kinds. Those of the first class are: The Bee-Hive, the Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tyler’s sword which points at a naked Heart, the All-Seeing Eye, the Anchor, the Ark, the Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid, the Hour-Glass, the Scythe, and the Three Steps on the Master’s Carpet.
The Bee-Hive is a triple emblem. The hive proper denotes man’s physical body. The honeycomb signifies that which is interior to the physical, the astral body. And the honey is symbolical of the spiritual body, which is composed of the choicest nectars and aromas of earthly experience. The bee, which makes the honey, is symbol of industry and creative energy. Both its warlike spirit and its constructive ability indicate that it is ruled by the planet Mars. It thus typifies constructive ability, not merely to multiply the species, but through taking a constructive attitude toward all events of life to gather material experiences and build up the physical form and the astral body to a higher state of perfection, and to incorporate the finer essences, the higher emotions, into the spiritual body of man. As the bee exercises industry and prudence in gathering honey while it may, storing it for use during the long winter, so should man industriously gather experiences, and through a constructive attitude toward them store them properly to serve as spiritual nourishment when the summer of physical life is supplanted by the icy winter of death.
Book of Constitutions
The Book of the Constitutions symbolizes the Oral Law. The Sword is but an inverted cross; and history proclaims that those who have most ardently adored the cross have been those who most readily took up the sword. Perhaps it was the realization that this would be the case that inspired the great teacher of Peace on Earth to say, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” As a cross is the symbol of matter, so also is a sword, with the added implication of dire affliction. It thus becomes also a menace and a threat of retribution. As the Tyler is man’s objective consciousness, or reason, his sword guarding the Book of Constitutions represents the consciousness that any violation of the Oral Law will be followed by unfailing punishment.
The All-Seeing Eye
The All-Seeing Eye typifies the omniscience of Deity, and the limitless powers of the soul to gain knowledge. It also conveys the thought that though there are times when all is dark and dreary for the neophyte, yet he is ever watched over by friendly unseen intelligences, who but await opportunity to convey to him words of comfort and wisdom.
The Anchor combines in its form the solar circle of spirit, the cross of earth, and the lunar crescent of soul. The ring above, indicates that the body and soul, represented by the cross and crescent, are under the dominion and control of the ego. The crescent and the circle are united by the cross, indicating spirit and soul united in one physical form.
The Anchor thus also symbolizes the Lost Word, Jod-He-Vau-He, which embraces all possibilities within the universe. The circle represents the positive divine fire, the one principle, the creative Jod, or alchemical sulphur. The crescent signifies the receptive plastic water, the feminine He, the alchemical mercury, the universal law of sex. The cross of the anchor represents the union of the two, the Vau, the manifestation of the divine Word, alchemical salt. The figure as a whole represents the product of the union, the final He, the whole divine truth, alchemical azoth. That is, the universe as it now exists is the result of evolution brought about by the union of positive and negative forces; and by correspondence the evolution of the human soul may be facilitated by the application of the truths concerning cooperation.
To explain the symbolism of the Ark we must refer to the biblical version of Noah’s experiences. Noah, the central figure of the story, represents the central figure of our solar system, and in the human constitution the ego. The Ark was built in three stories, corresponding celestially to Mundane Houses, Zodiacal Signs, and Starry Constellations; in man to the physical body, the astral body, and the spiritual body, in which the ego functions.
Besides his own family, which is represented in the heavens by the various planets, and in man by his component parts, Noah took into the Ark specimens of every living thing upon the earth. The latter are depicted in the heavens by the numerous objects and animals that make up the starry constellations, and are represented in man by the various vestigial structures and animal traits that he has inherited from the lower forms of life that are his physical ancestors.
The ego, clouded by the emotions of the physical body, cannot manifest its full glory; nor when the winter rains set in can the sun, hidden by clouds, be seen. These represent the flood. The rains, representing sensualism, shot through with the lightning of passion, tend to destroy all life. But those that dedicate their lives to some noble and unselfish work are safe from sensualism, and even as the sun reappears after triumphing over the storms of winter, they arrive triumphantly at a safe haven. The sensual waters, after a time, are assuaged by the wind of higher aspirations, the gentle zephyrs of spring. The raven, bird of ill omen, is sacred to the planet Saturn, the ruler of the sign Capricorn, through which the sun passes when the winter rains are most severe. It is sent out, but returns not. Selfishness and craft, denoted by this Saturnine bird, will bring no good tidings to the ego, nor will such motives bring rest and content amid the swirling waters of desire. Like the raven, they pass to and fro over the tides of sensation, ever seeking, but not finding, rest and shelter.
The dove is sacred to Venus, the planet of love, the planet ruling the spring sign Taurus. It is sent out once over the turbulent waters of sensation, signifying the action of love upon the plane of generation. But no tidings of much worth are brought to the ego. In the heavens this represents the first action of the sun in spring drying the earth. The second going forth of the dove is the action of love on the plane of regeneration. This brings the tidings of future tranquility and peace, as symbolized by the olive leaf. It also represents in the heavens the growing verdure of spring, under the warmth of the sun. The third time the dove is sent forth represents the accomplishment of the full mission, the complete transmutation of sensations into spiritual emotions. The sun transformed the season of rain into a season of gorgeous bloom.
The golden egg of Braham, the oriental type of the ark, is said to have burst. The shells formed continents, the white became the oceans, and the yolk produced, first vegetable life, then animal life, and finally man. This is the egg of the Orphic Mysteries from which the sun bursts with power to triplicate himself. It is really the earth, functioning as the womb of the universe, from which will be born, after its period of gestation, the divine man. Even Noah was imprisoned nine months in the Ark before the tops of the mountains could be seen. Each human soul is ushered into physical life after such a nine months imprisonment. Furthermore, after birth, the body of man becomes the ark in which human life develops; and only at death is it freed from this prison that tosses on the tide of turbulent desire, to enter a brighter world of infinitely more glorious possibilities. The Ark, therefore, will be seen in its various aspects as the symbol of Gestation.
The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid
One of the most important symbols of Masonry is the Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid. The principles illustrated by it form the foundation of numbers, geometry, and mathematical symbolism. It represents perfectly the Tetragrammaton and the operation of divine law. It is the problem of the right angle triangle. The three sides represent the divine trinity, and the trine as a whole represents the unity of God. The perpendicular line forming one side of the triangle is the Masonic Plumb, corresponding kabalistically to the masculine letter Jod, also to Osiris of Egypt, and to God the Father.
Now nature manifests herself in every septenary by means of three active principles, and four passive forms. The vertical side is consequently divided into three parts representing the three active principles. The number three expresses action, and these three divisions correspond to the three strongest positions of the sun; on the Ascendant, on the Midheaven, and on the Descendant. It also corresponds in astrology to the three qualities and the three degrees of emanation, into which the zodiacal signs are divided. Likewise it corresponds to the three active portions of the human constitution; the ego, the divine soul, and the animal soul.
The horizontal side of the triangle is the Masonic Level, corresponding kabalistically to the feminine letter He, also to Isis of Egypt, and to the Virgin Mary of later times. It is divided into four sections to designate the four forms by which the three active principles always manifest. All material things have four relative states—three dimensions and position—and express the active qualities of attraction, repulsion, and motion. The attractive power is represented by gravitation. The repulsive power is illustrated by the cohesion which enables it by repelling other substances to keep its own identity without yielding to their gravitational attraction and fusing with them into a homogeneous mass. Motion is denoted by the change of relative position of every object in the universe.
The number four expresses realization, and corresponds astrologically to the four quadrants of the heavens, and to the four triplicities into which the zodiac is divided. In man it corresponds to the four forms of his constitution; spiritual body, astral body, etheric body, and physical form.
The union of 3 with 4, of a plumb with a level, gives us a Masonic Square of 7, which, properly interpreted reveals the Lost Word of the Master. To become that word, however, it must relinquish the square aspect, and be transformed into two interlaced trines having as a common center the 7th point. As the triangle is presented, however, the third factor of the figure is the meeting point of the 3 and 4, of Sun and Moon, of active and passive, of Jod and He. This right angle is the key to the solution of Euclid’s problem, even as it is the symbol of the solution of man’s. Astrologically it is the meeting point of planetary energies on the earth, corresponding to the Vau of the word, to the Overshadowing Intelligence of Egypt, to the Holy Ghost of Christianity, to vibration in the natural world, and in human life to union.
Mathematical evolution means the multiplication of a number by itself. The evolution of man is accomplished through the union of the 3 principles with the 4 elements. Their multiplication gives the number of the signs of the zodiac through which the impersonal soul must successively pass, and their union produces 7, the number of component parts of man’s constitution.
Evolve the side 3, and the side 4—that is, multiply each by itself—and the sum of these two is equal to the evolution of the third side. This third side, the evolution of which results from the evolution of principles and elements, has the number 5, the symbol of man. This demonstrates, according to the Ancient Hermetic System of Numbers, the evolution of man.
This hypotenuse is the fourth factor of the figure, the product of the union of masculine and feminine forces. It represents, therefore, the climax of evolution on the physical plane. The area of the figure is 6, signifying temptation. This leads to the union of 3 and 4 to evolve man, symbolized by 5, who possesses a 7-fold constitution. The hypotenuse corresponds to the life resulting from the union of solar and lunar rays upon the earth. It also corresponds in man to intellect, kabalistically to the final He of the divine word, to the Egyptian Horus, and in modern religion to the Son of God.
The figure of the 47th problem of Euclid (see illustration page ) therefore, by its three sides, representing man’s principles, and his forms, expresses the cycle of life. This cycle indicates the struggle by the area, 6, which must express through the sides, the sum of which is 12, the number of the zodiacal signs under the influence of which all evolution expresses. By adding together the evolved sides—each side multiplied by itself—we have the number 50, typifying the number of steps that lead man to adeptship, that evolve man into superman. It is said that Moses was able successfully to take 49 of these steps, but failing in the last he was denied entrance into the promised land. He could see this land of plenty, he had the wisdom to see this final step, but was unable to take it. This, perhaps, was not so much the fault of Moses as that of the times in which he lived.
Incense, which is used at times in Masonic rites, has a practical use in ceremonial magic. All magical work comes under definite planetary vibration, and the forces brought into play also, if the ceremony is to be successful, should come under similar planetary influences. Astral beings, and unseen intelligences of all kinds, degrees, and grades, which sometimes are invoked in magical work, correspond likewise to definite planetary rulership. The nature of the work at hand being ascertained, and its astrological correspondences determined, that incense is used having a like astrological rulership. Its function is dual. Primarily, because odors are the most etheric of material substances, they tend strongly to stimulate the nervous system. Such stimulation causes the generation of electrical energies which tend to strengthen and build up the etheric forces. Secondarily, if chosen with due respect to their astrological vibrations, they act as agents by which man is more easily placed in rapport with invisible entities having astrological vibrations similar to those of the incense.
Symbolically considered, incense represents man’s thoughts,and the pot in which it burns represents his body. The fires of passion, or those of aspiration, kindle our thoughts. These, in turn, become burnt offerings either to our lower or to our higher nature. If man’s thoughts are kindly and noble they tend to build up his spiritual body; but if they are ignoble and selfish they rise no higher than the astral plane and there distort and disfigure the astral body. When Abel, corresponding astrologically to the moon, and in man to the divine soul, sacrificed his animal passions and creative desires upon the altar, they became an acceptable sacrifice unto the Law. But Cain, corresponding astrologically to Mars, and in man to the animal soul, hoped to propitiate the Law by offers of the fruits of the earth, by offering to buy his way with material things. But the Law of spiritual construction accepts only the highest thoughts and aspirations. These, which incense symbolizes, become a “sweet savor” which build for the ego the spiritual form.
This is the emblem of the planet Saturn, the ruler of old age and dissolution. It thus symbolizes the harvest of earthly endeavors and the end of life; announcing that the purpose of life is the production of spiritual food. Whatsoever is sown will be reaped, the tares as well as the wheat. The crescent blade symbolizes the soul, the handle represents the material body. The function of the soul thus expresses as a means of garnering the harvest of experience in matter. The soul moves on, harvesting as it goes, the end of one life being the beginning of another. Death forces the expiation of every evil, adjusts all apparent inequalities, and in the spheres of the disembodied the keen blade becomes the sword of conscience. Death is the great leveler.
W. H. Chaney Chart
January 13, 1821, 11:31 p.m., 44N19, 69W47
Data given in his Primer of Astrology
1830, father died: Mars semisextile Uranus r
1840, deserted from Navy: Sun semisquare Pluto r, Mars sextile Saturn r.
1866, engaged to write book against astrology, but became converted and started lecturing for it: Mercury sextile Sun r, Venus semisquare Uranus p.
1877, published set of 77 year ephemerides: Sun conjunction Jupiter r, Venus sextile Uranus p.
1890, published his Primer of Astrology: Sun square Uranus p, Mercury conjunction Jupiter p.
John Leslie (Jackie)Coogan Chart
October 26, 1914, 2:45 a.m. PST, 34N04, 118W15
Data furnished by mother
1919, gained fame playing the part of the KID in a Charlie Chaplin film: Sun square Uranus r in 5th, Mercury conjunction Mars p.
1925, left the movies for ten years: Sun square Jupiter r, Venus sextile Jupiter r.
1937, vaudeville tour: Venus conjunction Venus r.
1938, May 15, sued, without avail, mother and stepfather for an accounting of money he had earned: Venus (court) conjunction Venus, Mercury in second, square Uranus r.