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This article has no meaning

March 18, 2008 Leave a comment

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur because of all the family visiting, people to transport to and from airports, phone calls, and the assorted arrangements that one makes when a family member dies.

I visited my grandmother at the hospice section of the hospital where she had been checked in. She was tired, but alert; we joked about the advances in hospital technology since she had been a nurse in the 1940s. She offered me a cookie, and after an hour or so decided that she wanted to take a nap. Less than a week later she was moved to a nursing home. My wife and I drove out to visit, but she was sleeping. I stayed away for the next few days, having come down with one of those flus that’s been making the rounds. Three days later, she passed away.

She was 95 years old. She died peacefully in her sleep, in a warm room surrounded by trashy romance novels, jigsaw puzzles, and loving family members. We should all be so fortunate.

But that’s not what I’m writing about.

The funeral was almost a week later. In any group of people in which I am present, you’d come out pretty well if you had bet on me to be the one person who wasn’t following the directions. I pulled into the visitor’s parking at the funeral home, which means that I never signed in for the automobile procession, had my name logged in, etc. As it happens, this allowed me to be the first to leave the funeral home and head for the church, several blocks away. I took a turn, drove halfway down the block and something out of the corner of my eye made me slam on the brakes.

If you were the soccer mom in the minivan behind me, I’m really sorry about that.

bookeye.jpgI had happened to catch sight of the familiar square and compasses on a sign as I drove down the street; I was surprised because I hadn’t known that there was a lodge in this town. Just a few weeks earlier I had been at a lodge in the next town, in a huge, old building. This lodge, just across the river, was a complete contrast. A small, unassuming building in a residential neighborhood, with the S&C prominently displayed. I’ll have to stop in sometime.

But that’s not what I’m writing about, either.

I pulled into a side parking lot of the church, and waited in the cold for the hearse to show up. After the family had gathered, we opened the back of the car and brought the casket out to trolley and wheeled it through the outer doors of the church and waited while the other family members filed past the casket and into the pews. We then wheeled the casket up toward the sanctuary.

It has been some years since I’ve been to a Roman Catholic service, probably since before I joined the fraternity. The church was done in the architecture more common after the 1960s – open and airy, almost giving the impression that the services were taking place outdoors. But it was the imagery on the crucifix – an ornate cross carried by one of the assistants – that caught my eye.

The crucifixes that I remember seeing when I was younger tended to be thin strips of wood, supporting a small sculpture of the crucified Jesus. This version was made of wide sections, with Jesus painted in the typical crucified manner: arms outstretched, head hanging down, blood on his side.

mas-skull2.jpgBut that’s not what caught my eye. I had never seen – or at least, had never noticed – imagery around a crucifix. This one had at the bottom (under the picture of the cross itself) a skull atop what appeared to be a small pile of bones. While Connecticut Masonry does not use the skull and coffin in the ritual, it’s certainly familiar to any Mason who has seen pictures from other jurisdictions.

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sd-staff.gifLooking up, I saw on the left side of the cross-piece a stylized picture of a crescent moon. This was matched on the opposite side by a stylized picture of the sun, complete with a number of radiant streamers. Both of these pictures would have been immediately recognizable to any Mason in Connecticut who has ever carried a Deacon’s staff. The likeness was unmistakable.

 

But there’s more.

triangle.gifAt the very top of the cross was a large equilateral triangle. Inside the triangle was a dove, poised head downward. The wings, however, were partially outstretched and bisected the upper sides of the triangle, passing, or perhaps, breaking through the sides. The wings angled upward in such a way that if you had drawn a line from wingtip to the head and up to the other wingtip, you would have an angle approximating 90º.large10272lg.jpg

Just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, at some point in the service I leaned over to my 12 year old daughter. “Check out the symbols around the cross by the casket,” I whispered.

It took her about three seconds. “That’s a Mason thing, isn’t it?” she whispered back.

Okay, so it wasn’t just my imagination – the setup had vaguely Masonic undertones.

tria-conjuncta-in-uno-1811-large02.gifAs I listened to the priest describe the significance of the white shroud, the flowers, and the various other items around the area, my mind drifted off to wonder how our two organizations managed to develop the symbols that they did, and why we had similar – though not necessarily identical – explanations for them. It led me to wonder if the semiotics – the underlying symbology itself – wasn’t based on some deeper or older meanings, meanings of which we may be currently unaware. Or perhaps, meaninngs which have passed the threshold of awareness because they are such a basic part of our cultural memes.

But that’s not really what I’m writing about.

img_0087.jpgDriving from the church to the cemetery, we passed a well-known local landmark; a statue of one of our Revolutionary War heroes mounted on a horse with one foot raised. I reflected on the folklore which suggests that one foot raised means that the subject was wounded in battle, while two legs off the ground meant that he was killed in battle.

The service at the cemetery was very brief, perhaps owing to the raw, damp weather and the forecast of snow. Several of the family members tossed rose petals into the grave.

My sister rode with me on the way back home, and we passed another well-known local statue of a famous area resident who had lived until a ripe, old age in a nearby city. He was on a horse with both legs off the ground.

But that’s not what I’m writing about.

toasteroven_panasonic.jpgMy sister stayed with us overnight in order to better catch an early flight out. Although we had eaten in the afternoon, we decided to have a little snack. She put some bread into our new Italian-designed toaster-broiler-convection oven. She spent some minutes fumbling with the buttons, until I showed her the combination that would work: the one that looked like a stylized sliced section of a loaf and the other one that had wavy lines, presumably to represent heat. Very easy to follow, if you know what you’re looking for.

Sis doesn’t get out to Connecticut all that often, so we spent some time chatting, trying to catch up with each other’s lives. She’s less active with her church than she used to be, but has been spending a lot of time building up her side business as a photographer. I, of course, have been working a lot and when I’m not with my family, I’m usually doing something in my capacity as the District Grand Lecturer, which I explained was the guy in the area that tried to help the lodges in my area maintain the integrity of our ancient ceremonies that we have performed since time immemorial. I went on to explain that each ceremony has specific significance to it and teaches certain lessons in morality and natural philosophy. I also explained that while most states are similar in ritual, other countries have ceremonies and forms that are virtually unrecognizable to us – although, of course, we’re all still brothers… and in some cases, even sisters.

At that point I had to stop explaining so we could get some pizza.

But that’s not what I’m trying to write about.

The next day I dropped her off at the airport. On the way, I noticed the sign for the local Machinists and Aerospaceiam_gear_run1.gif Workers Union. There’s something familiar about it, isn’t there?

Anyway, I continued on my way to work, put in a full day, and then headed down to lodge right from the office. Just as I was pulling into the parking lot, a light blinked on in the dashboard of my new truck. I’d never seen this light before, and had no idea what it meant. I parked the car and opened up the manual in the glove box to see if I could figure out what it was, but I couldn’t find it.

I hope it wasn’t anything important.dashlight.jpg

Turning the Keys with Dr. Robert Lomas

March 9, 2008 Leave a comment

Few modern Masonic authors can generate the kind interest that follows Dr. Robert Lomas. Beginning with “The Hiram Key” and followed up by another half dozen books on the history and symbolism of the Craft, Dr. Lomas has offered up some interesting – and controversial – theories and ideas about the evolution of symbology and the meaning of the symbolic language underlying Masonic rituals and ceremonies.

On Sunday, March 9th, he called us from his home in England and joined Bro. Heath Armbruster of Saskatchewan, Canada for the second The Working Tools podcast. Masonic Media Mogul Cory Sigler (of The Working Tools magazine and social networking site), Justin Budreau (Masonic web designer) and I had a fascinating two hour conversation with Dr. Lomas on topics ranging from the Kirkwall Scroll, to Masonic symbols, to the evolution of symbolism, to Sir Robert Moray, to the inconveniences of tele-presentations. Chris Hodapp joined us partway into the program, asking his usual insightful questions.

Bros. Lomas and Armbruster worked together to create an interesting DVD on the history of Masonic symbolism which they are selling in order to raise money for several Masonic charities. Dr. Lomas gave several lectures which were compiled into a presentation for The DVD, which is selling for $15 Canadian. Anyone interested can contact Bro. Heath at lomasdvd@kinghiram104.com for more details. If the 2 hours Dr. Lomas spent with us is any indication, it will be an excellent addition to any Masonic library.

We should point out that Dr. Lomas, himself, has just published a new book called Turning the Templar Key in which he discusses the meaning of the rituals and ceremonies of the Knights Templar and relates them to modern Freemasonry.

The Talkshoe format worked flawlessly, allowing five or six of us to talk to each other by telephone from various countries and time zones. We were joined by about a hundred real-time listeners, a dozen or so of whom registered in order to use the IM feature. Many of them had excellent comments and questions, some of which were addressed by Dr. Lomas himself.

You can listen to the show (Episode 2), or download the MP3 file for your iPod or other player at The Working Tools channel.

Secret Sauce

January 29, 2008 1 comment

“So, what’s your secret recipe for this great tomato sauce?”

I heard this from at least 8 or 9 people on Saturday night, when my wife and I served up 65 pounds of ziti and 480 meatballs, all covered in almost 25 gallons of our home-made tomato sauce. No, I don’t have a big family; this is a now annual fund-raising dinner to help out the confirmation class of the First Congregational Church in downtown Southington.

I know, I know – you came here to read about Freemasonry, not about my cooking skills. I’m getting to that part.

My wife and I had started cooking the sauce a week previously, using the 8 burner stove and large pots available in the church kitchen. I’m sure that the church meeting hapll must have smelled like an Italian restaurant by the end of the week, and by 5:30 pm – a good half hour before the advertised time – because people were ready to stampede lining up to get good seats. We started serving at a quarter to six, and didn’t get a lull until well after 7:00, at which time I was able to walk around, fishing for compliments asking for feedback for the next year. And that’s when I noticed something: even though I told people what I put in my sauce, everybody acted as if I were being cagey about the answer. But that certainly was not the case; I’m usually more than happy to tell people what my own recipes are, and in fact, I’m going to tell you right here how I make tomato sauce.

Yeah, yeah, I know – you’re waiting for the part about Freemasonry. It’s coming, really.

A word of caution: if you’re the type of person who enjoys “recipes” that include such syrupy metaphors as “Add a cup of courage, a teaspoon of tolerance, stir with passion, and serve with L O V E“, then get thee hence! This blog is a NO GLURGE ZONE. Sure, those cutesy sayings were funny the first six or seven hundred times I heard them, but enough already. The 70s are over, and those little naked kids with the big eyes and hearts over their heads are has-beens. Deal with it.

Yes, yes, I’m getting to the part about Freemasonry. Really.

Now, I take a dim view of people who refuse to share good recipe. I don’t care if your great-great-grandmother carried it in her boot when she came from the old country, or if you just discovered it while messing about in the kitchen. In my opinion, the kind of people who won’t share their recipes are merely feeding their egos while they feed you a meal. When they invite you to dinner, it’s either to brag or to play the “I’ve got a secret” game and are, in essence, saying “Hey, I’ve got this really great thing and I’m only going to let you have a little taste in order that I might feel special. But don’t worry; come back next year and I’ll let you have another little taste, just so you can remember how special this is.”

Even more odious are those that purport to give you the recipe, but hold back a key step or ingredient, thereby making you think that you are stupid for not being able to follow directions. A pox on all of them.

What? Oh, yeah – the Freemasonry part. Sorry.

When the first few people asked what I put in my sauce, I told them “A hell of a lot of tomatoes.” It was funny at the time, and very true – we bought over two dozen of those large restaurant sized cans at the local warehouse store, along with salad for 200 people, dressing, grated Parmesan, and sundry other items. We started by sauteing several bulbs – that’s bulbs, not cloves – of crushed garlic in olive oil. Once the smell started wafting through the church hall (I should point out that I did this during one of the services in order to remind people of the upcoming dinner) I added a few scoops of the crushed tomatoes, and some of the typical Italian spices: oregano, parsley, basil, and a bit of fennel seed. I let this cook for a good thirty minutes, and then put some into each one of the five large pots. This served as a base, to which we added the rest of the canned tomatoes. One pot we reserved as a marinara sauce, and to the others we added some cooked ground beef (left over from the Rally Day picnic in September), and some minced and cooked Italian sausages, both of which had been cooked and minced previously in order to save time. We cooked the sauce for about six hours that day, and then came back for a few hours mid-week, and put them on again first thing Saturday morning so that they had another good eight hours to simmer. Usually I put some red wine in the sauce to counter the bitter taste from the tomatoes, but after a few people had concerns about sensitivities to the sulfites in the wine, this year I opted to add some sugar and salt.

I have to say that this was one of the best batches of sauce that I’ve made in a few years. Even my wife will attest that this year it was particularly good, and the compliments from the hungry crowd was certainly a testament to how it turned out.

Yes, yes – I’m coming to the Freemasonry part directly.

I told every person who asked me exactly what I used in the sauce – which, as you can see, are just regular Italian spices. Every person had the same reaction: If I’m just using regular spices and ingredients that you normally find in sauce, then why did this batch come out so well? Certainly I’m leaving out a crucial step, a secret ingredient, a particular item that made this come out better, right? After all, you can’t just throw some tomatoes and spices in a pan and expect it to come out like that, right? Right?

Apparently, my sauce admirers miss the essential point.

They had the list of ingredients that I use, and I even gave them some little tips. And while in theory there might be some small differences between brands of tomatoes or spices, in practice I’ve never noticed any significant difference.

So, what is the point of all this?

The raw tomatoes contain a lot of water, which needs to cook off. In that process, the heat breaks down certain proteins and acids, releasing certain chemicals, and causing others to bond. Five gallons of sauce in a pot takes hours to get up to the proper temperature, with constant stirring to prevent the bottom from burning and tainting the rest of the sauce. The heat also breaks down the chemicals in the spices, and the stirring allows the flavor to gently infuse throughout the pot of warm liquid. Eventually, the acids break down and dissipate, and the sauce itself tastes of the fragrant basil and oregano, perhaps mixed with the spicy saltiness of the sausage.

The secret, you see, is not the ingredients at all. It’s the time.

Those people who are accustomed to opening a jar of grocery-bought sauce simply can not conceive of the investment of time that one must make to cook a good, home-made tomato sauce. Despite the stereotype of old Italian ladies standing at a stove all day, few people really understand that it’s the process of cooking that makes the difference between a rich, thick, savory sauce and a thin, slightly bitter one. Too often we try to make up for the lack of flavor by adding extra garlic, salt, basil, or other spices. But these serve merely to cover up the fact that the sauce itself is a hastily prepared affair.

Even the cooking shows on television offer up tips on how to make good tomato sauce, especially tailored for busy people who only have an hour or so. And now question about it, some of those sauces are tasty. But they’re not the same; indeed, if I may be so bold, they’re not even in the same class.

Let me make this clear: In sauce making, as with so many other things in life, there is no substitute for the investment of one’s time. It is only through the lengthy process of cooking that the unwanted and unnecessary ingredients break down, and are replaced by the desirable aromas and textures. It is only through time that certain agents can be make their way around the large vat of liquid, moving here and there until the gentle stirring combines them with other agents to produce something delightful to the senses. And certainly, the larger the pot, the more time is needed.

Time.

Speaking of which, it looks as if I’ve run out. It appears that I’m just not going to get around to discussing Freemasonry, doesn’t it?

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Jesus, the stonemason

December 17, 2007 2 comments

This article is by Bro. John White, a freelance writer living in Connecticut. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him on the committee that produced the old Square & Compasses magazine, a quarterly publication which has been replaced by the Connecticut Freemason. The local newspaper, the Waterbury Republican-American often publishes Bro. White’s pieces on the Op-Ed pages. The following was published in 12/17/07 edition of that newspaper. I found it interesting, and thought that some of my regular readers might enjoy this.

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Jesus, the stonemason, born in a cave?

 

The story of Jesus is so deeply ingrained in the received knowledge of our culture that questioning any part of it may seem like heresy to some.

However, in one of his letters to the early church, St. Peter admonished members to “make every effort to supplement your faith … with knowledge” (II Peter 1:5, RSV). That should be borne in mind with regard to scholarly concerns being raised about Jesus’s birth and occupation which stem from what may be mistranslations in the Bible.

According to John Tiffany, writing in The Barnes Review (November/December 2006), some historians are saying Jesus was not born in a stable as conventionally believed, and likewise he was not a carpenter. Tiffany’s article, “New Revelations on the Life of Jesus,” draws upon various disciplines, primarily archaeology and linguistics, to present a different view of these matters. It is available on line at www.barnesreview.org/html/nov2006lead.html.

Our accepted notion that the birthplace of Jesus was a wooden structure comes from the art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Tiffany says. The artists who created the images drew from their experience in Europe and apparently were ignorant of life in Palestine at the time of Jesus.

Europe was a woodworking culture and animals were kept in barns. In Palestine, however, the primary construction material was stone. Caves were numerous there, and people used them as living quarters. Even today, many houses in Bethlehem are built in front of caves, just as they were in Jesus’ day.

Typically, the caves were two-level spaces in which people used the upper level for living quarters and the lower level to shelter their animals, where their rising body heat would help to warm the upper level when the weather was cold.

Many linguists, Tiffany says, now believe there may have been confusion about the words for “inn” and “second level.” Consequently, translation errors were made. A European-style inn would house guests in upper rooms away from the common area on the first floor; the guests’ animals would be stabled in a barn.

But dwelling caves in the Holy Land would have mangers placed along the lower-level cave walls for the animals. So the phrase “no room at the inn” may have meant no room in the upper level of a dwelling cave where Joseph and Mary sought shelter. Instead, they may have been offered use of the lower level where livestock lived and fed from mangers.

According to this line of thinking, then, Jesus was born in a cave, not a wooden European-style stable. Two extrabiblical texts, the Gnostic Gospel of James and the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, say exactly that, Tiffany points out. As for Jesus’ profession, Tiffany says it is more likely he was a mason than a carpenter. The same goes for Joseph.

Translation errors are again said to be the source of the confusion. The Greek term tectone or tekton, which is translated as “carpenter,” actually means “artisan” and refers to a skilled craftsman whose medium might be metal, stone or wood. In the Middle East at the time of Jesus, wood was scarce but stone was plentiful. Since European building focused more on woodworking and carpentry, a cultural bias led to the choice of “carpenter” rather than “stonemason.”

Tiffany concludes by saying it’s possible Jesus was a woodworker, but the words used to describe him have a broader meaning than one particular vocation. Despite tradition, he says, a translation as “stonemason” may have more evidence to back it up.

John White is an author and freelance writer who lives in Cheshire.

The Geometry of Art and Life

October 30, 2007 2 comments

My friend Dave Edman joined Friendship Lodge some years before I did; he struck up a conversation with the owner of a local antiques shop, and remembering that his grandfather was in the Craft, became interested in joining a lodge in Southington. He spent the next few years telling me that it was a great bunch of guys and that I should join. Let’s not consider that to be recruiting; rather, it’s more that as a long-time friend he thought it would be something that I’d enjoy.

Anyway, Dave, always interested in esoterica, wrote a paper shortly after joining that was posted on the old lodge website. We were talking about it during the Statewide Open House (an event in which WB Dave was heavily involved, including being the pointman for the article in the Hartford Advocate), and he wondered if some of my readers might be interested. I figured that even though there’s nothing in here about konspiracies, black helicopters, the Denver Airport, or Zeta-Reticulans, perhaps some people might enjoy it anyway.

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The Geometry of Art and Life

Whereas Freemasonry has little documented evidence of its origins prior to the early 18th century, there is a skein of proof in stone, that put to the test of logic, indicates that the fraternity could indeed have origins back to the time of Egypt.

Logical premises must be acknowledged to outline the limits of the argument. First, that ancient architectural wisdom found to be economically useful would be jealously guarded, and that its prevailing use and dissemination would be determined by the limits of wealth and commerce. The Art of Architecture would therefore be secret to a degree and would only burgeon at times of economic prosperity when an organized system of government generated the excess capital necessary for great public works. Western culture has a continuous line of empire echoing back, from the Gothic-Christian era to the Greco-Roman and finally the Phoenician-Egyptian. So it is certainly possible that a body of growing architectural knowledge could have accumulated and been passed on. Therefore, the geometric symmetry in design must resonate in harmonic analysis of the great monuments in all these eras. In other words, the designs of some of these buildings must have common blueprints and shared themes. This indeed proves to be the case.

The Great Pyramid and the tomb of Rameses show a sublime proportioning theme. Oriented due north and south, as was commonly determined by the “arpedonapts,” the ritual land surveyors, with controlling circle, pole and minimum shadow, the magnificent structure is still considered one of the great wonders of the ancient world. The mathematical and geometrical proportion known as “the golden section” is strongly projected in its construction. Known as “phi” and equal to 1.618, called simply “the section” by the Greeks as reported by Proclus in “On Euclid” and considered by Kepler, in “Mystericum Cosmographicum” in the 16th century, “a gem; one of the 2 treasures of geometry,” Pythagoras’ theorem being the other. The golden section is within the pentagram, geometrically found in every line with its intersects, and was therefore employed as a secret sign of brotherhood by the Pythagoreans, as Lucian writes in “On Slips of Greeting.” Along with the Monad, 1, from which all springs, the decad, Yod, 10, transcribed as “G” in the Roman, 5 the pentad was most sacred. The Great Pyramid triangle, with 1, being base edge to base center, phi being the hypotenuse with angle of 51º50′, and square of phi, apex capstone to base center, is the only right triangle, or triangle of equity, whose sides are in geometric progression. The Tomb of Rameses includes Phi within its geometric plan, using the golden rectangle, another extension of the phi theme. At any rate, suffice it to say that the Egyptians utilized the section phi. We know that Pythagoras traveled there in his search of philosophy and may have been an initiate long before the Alexandrian school brought together learned men from all over the civilized west.

The Pythagorean viewpoint of reality naturally led to number mysticism which could easily have been transmitted mouth to ear through the cabala, in operative and speculative masonry, and Christian mysticism. So closely were the geometric secrets of the pentagram held and the constructions derived from it, that it is written by Iamblicus in his “Life of Pythagoras” that Hippasus, a Pythagorean, upon publishing the construction of the sphere of 12 pentagons, the dodecahedron, perished by shipwreck for his impiety, was given credit for its discovery, whereas it really belonged to Pythagoras. Founded in Sicily and Calabria around 500 BC the brotherhood and school with its several degrees had great influence throughout Magna Graecia, to such extent that many of the Greek philosophers such as Plato were said to be initiates. Even Greek vases often have phi as a governing design principle. The Parthenon is a virtual study in design using the golden section.

Plato articulated the esoteric schools creeds, in Timaeus he writes, that “It was then that all these kinds of things thus established received their shapes from the Ordering One, through the action of ideas and numbers. “That the vision that the universe is a harmoniously ordered whole, that analogy and symmetry, proportion and ratio govern the cosmos or order is much worked out by Plato and the Pythagoreans. The whole development of European and western Architecture with theme, “as above, so below,” micro and macro cosmos with temple and savior perhaps linking the two, is borne out in the geometry of the so called divine proportion phi.

On to the Roman empire, reaching even into England with its language, commerce and grand planned cities. The practical secrets of building were transmitted by the corporations of stonemasons from the Roman “Collegia Opificum” through the monastic architectural shops of the Benedictine Carolingians, to the secular guild craftsmen of the Gothic age. Adding cement to the secrets of design , new heights in building were achieved. The Pantheon of Rome again resounds with the use of phi in its construction.

Gothic designers added the cruciform theme, which of course speaks to the sacrifice of the Anointed One. The predominant leitmotif of dividing a circle into 5, 10, or 20 parts automatically introduces the Pythagorean secret of the golden section. In Gothic plans especially the majority of standard church or cathedrals can be set within the fundamental Master diagram. An explosion of building occurred with great experimentation, Moslem closed arches and new techniques of ribbing and groining literally raised the roofs. The stonemasons guild halls flourished with libraries for teaching apprentices, journeymen and fellows rising to the level of their potential, some becoming design Masters. The Lodges at Strassbourg and elsewhere gave out marks to second degree companions at the end of their probationary period, which remained for life their password; and they had to be able to prove the mark with underlying lattice when questioned at other lodges. These master marks and their proof never shows the pentagram, pentagon or decagon, and were not secret; and yet their proof was supposed to be close held. These marks did in fact get full use throughout cathedrals in Europe on keystones.

The oldest Masonic documents from England suggest that King Athelstan established the first guild of Masons at York. The Cooke manuscript in the British Museum (a copy circa 1430 of an earlier document) quotes Pythagoras and Hermes as having revealed the secrets of Euclidean Geometry to the human race and the same document obliges the mason to silence regarding the secrets of his craft. So it does appears that our friend Peter Gower was indeed Pythagoras as suggested in Mack’s Encyclopedia. It seems that the secrets of the sacred geometry kept winking in and out of view throughout the long western history, and this was logical too, as given the tumultuous times, groups of craftsman scholars, and monastic brotherhoods bound to silence would have largely been out of the struggles of power and public attention. These closed lodges would have been a magnet for people who desired the privileges afforded the journeyman stonemason. Throughout the 19th century architects and archaeologists tried to find the keys for the beautiful proportions of the Greek and Gothic monuments, to find builder rules and canons of proportion. The secret of the Greek symmetry and Gothic harmonic composition resides in the Pythagorean pentagram and belies the import of the decad which denominates the golden section which we find way back in the Great Pyramid and in nature from the logarithms of the sea shell to the proportions of the human body. Take a measure from your feet to your belly , then a measure to the head. By means and extremes compare this to the numbers 1 and 1.618. Look at the joints of the fingers, see the divine proportion, a ratio found only in organic growth.

 

If you care to learn more about this, acquire the book “The Geometry of Art and Life” by Matila Ghyka, from which this article is largely taken.

Bro. Dave Edman
2/14/00

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