Arithmetical, Geometrical And Masonic Symbolism
Bro. Leslie S. Weatherstone
"You are now expected to extend your researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and science." (Masonic Ritual)
In the Ancient Temples of Initiation it was the custom among the Hierophants of the Mysteries, to impart to the Neophyes, guidance and instruction of those things Occult and Spiritual, by means of the Law of Analogy, indeed it can be truly said, that, not only the Hierophants of the Mysteries, but every Great Master and Teacher of Humanity has made use of this method of instruction. Freemasonry is no exception to this rule, for the whole Masonic System, when interpreted in the light of the esoteric doctrine is analogous to the constitution of Man, his seven principles, his evolution and ultimate destiny.
Analogy is one of the Seven Laws of the Cosmos, and through the operation of this Law we can trace a perfect agreement or exact correspondence between all forms of manifestation, it is the guiding Law in Nature, the only true Ardiadne's thread that can lead us, through the intricate windings of her domain, towards her primal and final mysteries.
Having formulated the Law by which the demonstration is doomed to be valid, an endeavour will be made to show that the manifestation of the creative energy on the physical plane of phenomena does conform to a particular order of progression; this is true of all things, from the creation of the smallest particle, to that of a Universe. That this order of progression builds itself according to definite geometrical form in relation to number will show the importance of the statement in the Second Section of the Second Lecture, that Geometry, the fifth and noblest of the sciences, is the basis on which the superstructure of Freemasonry is erected. It is further stated in the catechism with which this Second Section commences, that Geometry is the science by which we ascertain the contents of bodies unmeasured by comparing them with those already measured and that its proper subjects are magnitude and extension, or a regular progression of science from a point to a line, a line to a superficies and a superficies to a solid. This series of definitions is no doubt familiar to many Students, they are to be found in the 1st. Book of Euclid under the heading, except be it noted, the last definition, — a superficies to a solid, — which does not appear until the XI Book, wherein are described the definitions of the five Platonic Solids.
Now this process of evolution has been mentioned many times in this Study Circle, and has often been depicted by symbols in diagrammatic form. The recent Transaction Paper "Evolutionary Symbolism" showed a diagram illustrating this symbolism, and many students, although fully prepared to accept these statements as fact, may have thought that as this is a natural process in Nature, could it not be scientifically demonstrated whereby the truth of such statements could be ascertained. The answer is, — that it is possible within certain limits, and in order that we may completely understand the "modus operandi," it is necessary that a description be given of the apparatus to be employed.
If, therefore, we are to demonstrate by analogy a natural cosmic process, it is essential that we employ as the motive power a natural cosmic force, one that is possessed of intelligence to s sufficient degree that will enable it to act entirely of its "own free will and accord," otherwise if this were not the case, it is obvious that any external influence or action on the part of the operator, would immediately render the demonstration null and void.
It is particularly fortunate, that we have ready to hand a cosmic force, named by science as Magnetism. This Magnetic force or energy, is of an Occult nature, for it cannot be detected by any of the five avenues of the senses, yet we know it to exist by the observance of certain phenomena, which take the form of exerting an influence upon objects of a like nature, external to itself. That this influence is capable of developing unlimited power, is evidenced by the fact that, in its material form, science has harnessed it to the wheels of nearly every branch of industry.
Now it is well known that Magnetism exhibits the properties of polarity, that is to say, it is both positive and negative or male and female, which are incapable of separation, for if a magnet, one end of which is positive and the other end negative, be cut in half it will be found that two magnets will be the result, each having a dual polarity exactly the same as before the division took place. The inherent force of Magnetism takes the form of attraction and replusion, or like and dislike, or we can use another term which is more significant to the Masonic student and equally synonymous, Love and Hate, and it is this dynamic power which enables us to build point by point the beautiful geometrical symbols, which are forms or expressions in manifestation of the creative energy.
It would perhaps be useful if the Brethren were given a visible demonstration of the nature of this force in order that they may more readily formulate an idea as to its conception, and for this purpose we will take a bar magnet over which a piece of white paper is placed, and so on it will be gently sprinkled a small amount of iron fillings. It will be seen that the particles of iron take up their positions in the lines of magnetic force until a number of perfectly concentric rings, in ever widening circles are built up, each pole of the magnet being a potential or "point within a circle from which every part of the circumference is equidistant." It is a fact also that this magnetic force is not confined solely to metals, for this power of attraction can be exhibited by widely different substances, such as, — glass, vulcanite, celluloid, amber etc. and does in fact exist in all physical matter and although it may lie dormant in many instances, the means by which it may be galvanised into activity being the sole key required to produce the phenomenon.
In order that the regular progression of geometric form may be built up, it is necessary to have a number of entities, or separate centres of this force, each being identical in every respect, yet every individual centre must be given compete freedom of movement in order that it may act entirely of its "own free will and accord" and be "uninfluenced by any unworthy motive" on the part of the demonstrator. This apparently difficult task is in fact quite simple, and it is achieved by obtaining a number of magnetised needles, to which are attached small pieces of cork. The needles supported by the corks, are then floated on the surface of a bowl of water, this gives them perfect of movement in a plane of two dimensions, which is sufficient for the purpose.
If therefore, we float on the water a number of these needles a curious thing happens: it will be noted that they travel outwards in all directions in an endeavour to escape from each others' company. Now if they are to work for us in the building of the geometric symbols, in other words to be the "builders" or "fellowcrafts" in our demonstration, it is obvious that something is missing, something that will draw them to "the Centre" in order that they may become a unity of perfect love and harmony. This "something" to which we have referred is the absence of a HIGHER POWER. This "loss" must therefore be "found" or restored before we can proceed. If we now suspend a bar magnet over the middle of the bowl of a greater potential than they themselves possess, it will be found that they are attracted towards the centre in spite of the individual dislike for one another which they previously showed. This is a perfect analogy for the Lesser made in the "Image" or likeness of the Greater being drawn or attracted thereto. It is here, also, that we have a direct correspondence with that of Man, for the natural uninitiated man in whom the "vital and Immortal Principle" at his centre lies dormant, is not conscious of any Higher Power: he is concerned only with the assertion of the self, and material acquisitiveness: he is bent upon securing all that he can from this world, and is not interested in his fellow-men, except in so far as they may serve his purpose. Such an individual doe snot find himself a centre of attraction and tends to isolate himself from the heart of humanity. The Initiated man in whom the Divine Consciousness has been awakened, however, is one to whom a higher power and law have become revealed, and the more that he is drawn towards that power, the greater is his desire to help his less advanced fellows, and by exercising of that First Grand Principle, Brotherly Love, becomes, as it were, a centre of magnetic attraction, whereby all those who come within the field of its influence, are irresistibly drawn towards that "centre" which unites them in a common bond of friendship. It is the manifestation within the Craft of this influence or force, which is known as the "Mystic Tie," and that it can be detected by many Brethren who are sufficiently sensitive to its vibrations, is a fact which not a few will confirm. The more that the Principle of Brotherly Love is practised, not only within the Lodge, but also without, the greater will that Power be generated.
It is necessary at this stage to give an explanation with regard to the relation between Number and Form. It is perhaps unfortunate that Number has come to be considered in the minds of most people as indicating solely a definition of quantity, whereas the ancient Philosophers, saw in Number a greater and more profound significance. The numerals of Pythagoras were hieroglyphical symbols by means whereof he explained all ideas concerning the nature of things. He taught that there is a mysterious connection between the Gods and Numbers, on which the science of Arithmancy is based, that the soul is a world that is self-moving, and contains in itself, and is, the quaternary, the Tetraktys or perfect cube. This symbolism of the cube is portrayed in the Rough and Perfect Ashlars, and their significance is too well known to need explanation.
It was taught in the Schools of the Mysteries, that all beings, from the first divine emanation, or God manifested, down to the lowest atomic existence, have their particular number which distinguishes each of them and becomes the source of their attributes and qualities, as of their destiny, and modern science gives confirmation to this fact by having numbered the various elements according to their atomic weights, the numeration is based upon the number of electrons and protons which constitutes each particular element. By example, hydrogen, the lightest of the gases and therefore the most tenuous of physical matter, is given the number 1 in the atomic scale, hence it becomes the unit of measurement whereby all other elements are compared and given their numbers accordingly. That there is a distinct relation between number and form will perhaps be better understood if we take as an example the number 3 which has always been associated with the triangle, which purely geometrical figure has had great honour shown it by every nation, from time immemorial, and for this reason, — in geometry a straight line cannot represent an absolutely perfect figure, any more than can two straight lines. Three straight lines, on the other hand, produce by their junction a triangle, or the first absolutely perfect figure. Therefore, it is symbolized from the first and to this day the Eternal — the first perfection. The word for Diety in Latin as in French, begins with D, in Greek the delta or triangle, whose three sides symbolised the Trinity, or divine nature. In the same manner the number 4 is associated with the quaternary, the square, and symbolises Matter. As we proceed with the demonstration attention will be drawn to the relation between each geometrical symbol and the number which constitutes its form or foundation, and it will be noticed that as the number of magnetic needles is increased, so is there a corresponding change in the geometrical form, until a certain figure is reached, when there is a cessation of this outward growth, which gives place to a growth from within, and attention is particularly drawn to the change which takes place at this stage of development, for in like manner, it bears witness to a natural process which takes place within the constitution of man. — There comes a time in the evolution of every human being when he feels that urge from within, an awakening of the divine consciousness resident "at the centre" or innermost part of our souls, wherein lie buried and hidden the genuine secrets of our being. This stage is one of great importance, for it will now be realized that it will be possible to witness, not only the growth of the outer form of the geometrical symbols, which by analogy we may call the external or physical body, but also the development of the inner form which is its internal or spiritual counterpart. This inner development, is one, which in all processes in Nature, lies hidden and concealed, and as each geometric figure is built up by the magnetic needles, an endeavour will be made to give an interpretation of both inner and outer formation as the progression proceeds.
As mentioned earlier it will be necessary to create a higher power or potential at the centre of the area of operation, and it matters not whether this potential is placed above or below, for its influence will be precisely the same. This is in keeping with the Hermetic aphorism "As above, so below," for the power must be considered as being "WITH THE CENTRE," and not situated with regard to any specific position in space. It would be advisable to mention that the magnetic needles will, from here onwards, be referred to as "magnetic centres," as it is not desired that the mind shall create a picture of physical metallic objects, but that it shall consider them as being centres of vital energy or life principle, in other words, we must be "divested of all metallic substances," if we are to comprehend those things which are of the Spirit.
Having at some length prepared the necessary foundation for what you are about to witness, we will now begin the demonstration.
It must be considered that there exists at the centre of the bowl of water pure potential, as yet, unmanifest, and therefore unseen, but by placing one of the magnetic centres in the bowl, it will be noticed that it floats slowly towards the centre where it comes to rest, thereby bringing the subjective potential into objectivity. This constitutes the centre or "point within the circle," which in accordance with the definition of Euclid has no magnitude, neither length, breadth, or depth.
It is Unity or the Monad expressed by the figure 1, symbolises the Omnipotent Diety, the "oneness" of Divine Purpose, the beginning of all things, the singleness yet boundless of the Godhead. It represents the pinnacle or highest point, the focus of the circumference, the hub of the universe and the single parent of the whole of creation. The universal symbol which conveys this idea is a point within a circle, and it is interesting to note that he who aspires to a participation in our Mysteries, is admitted at the door of the Lodge, on the p. of an s., i., which is the very start of his journey on the path of Initiation.
We will now place another magnetic centre in the bowl, and it will be noticed that this is also drawn towards the one that is already there, but instead of joining together, number 1 moves away from the oncoming number 2, and they finally come to rest, with a space between, over the centre that was formerly occupied by number 1.
If we now draw an imaginary line between these two magnetic centre, we have "a line," which is second in the order of progression, and must be imagined as having length only, without breadth or depth, — this is duality, the number 2 or the Duad as it was called by the Pythagoreans, it represents both diversity and equality or Justice. The idea of diversity originates from the conception of two opposites, such as night and day, good and evil, love and hate etc. Yet at the same time for the sake of Justice and equality, two sides of a question must always be heard, while the existence of such things as Brotherhood and Love must necessarily be dependent upon the presence of two persons.
Thus the Duad stands for balance, harmony, concord and sympathy, its symbol is the circle bisected through its centre and constitutes the 1st. dimension. In the Craft the Law of Opposites or Duality is symbolised by the two pillars B. and J. and it is only by the equilibrating or balancing of the two forces that we are able to obtain stability. It is interesting to note that in former times these two pillars were exhibited in Lodge, and are still used to-day in some Lodges, situated in the West entrance, and it is significant that the Candidate for Initiation, on being admitted on the p...t, passes immediately between these two pillars before he steps foot on the chequered floorwork of the Lodge.
A third Magnetic Centre is now added, and it takes up its position with the other two, in the form of an equilateral triangle, this is the Ternary, the number 3, or the Triad, and constitutes the Superfices.
From time immemorial the triangle has always been considered a sacred symbol, for in all ages it has been thought of as portraying the three-fold aspect of Deity, while in the Craft the references to number 3 are almost too numerous to mention. The tripartite aspect of nearly all things in connection with Freemasonry determines that it is its basic or foundation number, and it is in fact the first perfect geometric figure. To mention only a few examples there are...
Three Grand Masters at the building of the Temple. Three Degrees. Three K...ks. Three Grand Principles. Three Principle Officers. Three Assistant Officers. Three Greater L...ts. Three Lesser L...ts. Three W.Ts. in each Degree.
Let us put another Magnetic Centre in the bowl, and it will be seen that as it approaches the triangle, the four centres arrange themselves into a perfect square.
This is the Quaternary, the number 4, or the Tetrad, it represents the solid, for it must be understood that in a demonstration of this nature which takes place on a plane of two dimensions, that is impossible to construct a solid of three dimensional form, and the square therefore, must be imagined as representing a cube. It is the symbol of primordial matter, and the ancient Greek philosophers considered it to be the root of all things, as representing the four elements, — Fire, Air, Earth and Water. It is interesting to note that Pythagoras referred to the Deity as the Tetrad, or the "four sacred letters" which were called the Tetraktys. The name of God was Zeus in Greek, and it may be noted that the word God is represented by four letters in many other languages, — Dieu in French, Gott in German, Godt in Dutch, Godh in Danish, Goth in Swedish, Deus in Latin, Idio in Italian, Dios in Spanish and Deva in Sanskrit, and we have our own name Lord, whilst there is also our English word Good which is synonymous with God. That there is a higher as well as a lower aspect of the Quaternary is symbolised in the Lodge by the Rough and Perfect Ashlars and also the square of the Masonic Apron, the flap of which is raised in the First Degree denoting the over- shadowing of the Spirit, symbolised by the triangle, but which is lowered subsequently, and with the addition of external adornments, indicates the presence of the indwelling Spirit.
Having with the aid of the demonstration shown how all the geometrical figures of a progressive symbolism are evolved, viz. From a point to a line, — from a line to a superficies, — from a superficies to a solid, which represents our present three dimensional world, let us continue with the building up of the geometric symbols on the plane of two dimensions. It is proposed, therefore, that we continue to add Magnetic Centres, and it will be interesting to note the different geometrical symbols that are formed as each additional one is added.
It must of course be realized that this further series of symbols does not refer to stages in dimensional form, but rather to one of degree in the spiritual growth or development in Man, and of the various steps or stages on the path of Initiation incidental to the attainment thereof.
We will now add the fifth of the Magnetic Centres, and it will be seen as it joins the square, that the whole will arrange in the form of a Pentagon, but not, be it noted, a perfect regular pentagon, and the reason for this will be understood later as we proceed.
This is the Pentacle, the number 5 or the Pentad. It was regarded by the followers of Pythagoras as the symbol of health, and among the ancient philosophers the Pentacle or Pentalpha, as it was sometimes called, was considered as the symbol of Man, the reason being that there are five extensions or projections from the main trunk or body, i.e. two arms, two legs and the head, and at the extremities of which are a further five points, while the seat of the five senses, through which Man contacts the outer or physical world is situated in the head.
We now come to number 6 of the Magnetic Centres, and it is here that perhaps one of the most important and significant phases in the development of the symbolism is shown to us, for it is at this stage that there manifests a centre point within what may now be considered the outer or external form, and attention is drawn to the fact that up to number five there was a change in the geometrical design, but the addition of number six does not produce a further change, the geometrical figure remaining the same, a Pentacle or Pentagon, with the addition of a point at its centre.
The meaning of this very beautiful symbolism will be understood, when it is remembered that we said that the Pentacle stood for the symbol of Man, for it indicated the dual aspect of Man, the unregenerate and the regenerate, or in other words the uninitiated and the Initiated Man, and this is why in the Ritual it is said that "five can hold a lodge," that is to say, the five senses will enable Man, (the Lodge) to function rationally on the physical plane of phenomena, — with the addition of two further senses or powers. It will be understood therefore, that the uninitiated man is he who is represented in our geometrical figure by the Pentacle without the point at the centre, whereas the Initiated man, indicated by the manifesting of the point within, is he in whom the divine consciousness," the vital and immortal principle" at his centre, has become awakened, and as its gradual development takes place, so does it bring about a corresponding change in the outward form of his daily life and contact. In like manner as the cycle of manifestation begins to evolve at the centre of our geometrical figure, so there is a corresponding change in the outward form, which tends towards a more beautiful and symmetrical design.
We know that five is the number which is associated with the Second Degree, for our advancement towards the E, is by five s...ps, as though ascending a winding staircase, and in the Fifth Section of the Second Lecture, we are informed that this staircase led directly tot he Middle Chamber of the Temple, symbolised in our geometrical figure by "the point" in the middle of the Pentacle (the symbol of Man), for it is not duly recorded in the V. of the S.L. 1 Corinthians, chap 3, v. 16. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" It should be noted that in the Closing of the Second Degree, we have a direct confirmation of this fact, that the Spiritual consciousness in man does awaken at a particular degree or stage of development, for the W.M. asks the J.W. "In this position (state or condition of advancement) what have you discovered?" and the answer is "A S...d S...l." "Where situated Bro. S.W.?" — "In the c..e of the b..g." — "To who m doe sit allude?" — T.G.G.O.T.U.
Let us now put the seventh of our Magnetic Centres in the bowl, and the geometrical figure that it describes is perhaps best known of all, it is the interlaced triangles with a point at the centre, and in this form it has always been recognised among nations in all ages as a most sacred symbol.
Pythagoras viewed it as the symbol of creation, the Egyptians as that of the union of Fire and Water (or generation), the Essenes saw in it the Seal of the Master, the Jews the Shield of David, the Hindus the Sign of Vishnu (to this day), and even in Russia and Poland and the double triangle is regarded as a powerful talisman. Now this symbol is one which denotes perfect equilibrium, the Union of Spirit and Matter, and now we come to what may be considered as the most important and significant feature in this demonstration. The whole Mystery of this very profound symbol lies in the hidden point at its centre, for it is a fact that the interlaced triangles are very seldom depicted with the centre point disclosed. Let it here be said that contemplation upon the double triangle should never be considered without the point at the centre, for the Hexagon is not a figure of six point, but one of SEVEN, it is "with the centre" that the other six points are held in perfect equilibrium. In order to substantiate the truth of this statement, we will proceed to give the necessary proof by removing the central Magnetic point from the bowl. It will be seen that one of the remaining six Magnetic Centres, immediately moves forward to the centre to replace the one that has been withdrawn. Now it is a curious fact that this does not happen with the Pentacle, for if the centre point is removed from this figure, nothing unusual occurs, except that there is a slight closing inwards of the five points, but the geometrical figure remains the same.
What is it, that we are able to deduce from this symbolism? It is that the number six will not remain in a state of harmony, equilibrium or balance as a co-ordinated whole or a unit, but that it requires the addition of another one, the seventh, at its centre to give it the necessary stability. The interlaced triangles are in fact a symbol of B. and J. conjoined, for only by the equilibrating of Spirit and Matter, thereby making them a Unity, will the House of God be established in strength for ever.
With regard to the mysterious power of the number six, the V. of the S.L. makes reference to it in Rev. ch. 13 v. 18 where it states that, — "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred three score and six" (6 6 6). Seven therefore, is the number which sustains, binds or holds together, whereas, six is the number of disintegration, destruction or TRANSMUTATION, just as the cube, which is six sided, as a solid figure, is perfectly balanced around its centre, but when opened out, i.e. when its centre is removed, it forms the cross, that Cross of Matter, upon which must be transmuted the desires, passions and prejudices of our lower nature, and it will be found that it is impossible to make of it a perfect equal armed cross, one arm is always longer than the other three, and therefore the figure is unbalanced.
We will now add the eighth Magnetic Centre, and it will be noticed that for the first time we have a dual centre, six points which constitute the external form and two points in the centre.
Now in order to understand this symbol, it will be necessary to assign the various geometrical figures that have been formed to the Degrees to which they belong, they are as follows.....
It will be noticed that the symbol which admits the Candidate has a very important significance, for he is admitted on that which forms the last symbol of the preceding Degree, in other words, he starts his advancement in the higher Degree in precisely the same stage as he left off in the lower. In the process of Initiation there are no breaks of continuity, the unfolding of the consciousness is slow and gradual.
Now that which ranks above the Degree of a Master Mason is known as the Installed Master, and it is to this that number eight belongs, for when a Master Elect is Installed into the Chair of K.S. he then becomes, for the first time, a Ruler in the Craft, and rules in the Craft Lodge in Earth, — the Mother Lodge of our Initiatory birth, — as the direct representative of the Archtypal Lodge above, so often referred to as the Grand Lodge above; it is for this reason that we find two points or centres within. This dual aspect of the centre will be more clearly understood when we come to number nine, for it will then be seen that they have become re-orientated through "an angle of ninety degrees, or the fourth part of the circle."
A careful study of this geometric symbol will disclose the fact that here we have two interlaced Tetrahedra, the two centre points being directly responsible for this formation, two interlaced tetrahedra generate not only the cube, but also the Octahedron which is of particular interest at this stage, for we are now dealing with eight Magnetic Centres, and the occult interpretation of the Octahedron is that it symbolises the mind, which is the "Link" between the Higher and Lower Self, the upright pyramid denoting the downpouring of the wisdom of the higher self, and the lower or inverted pyramid the outpouring or rising aspirations of the lower self towards the higher. This symbolism is sometimes shown in another form with the apexes joined "at the centre," and is often to be found portrayed under the symbol of the hour-glass.
The appropriateness of the eight-sided regular figure, the Octahedron, as representing the mental principle appeals at once by virtue of its double pyramid appearance. No figure could more aptly indicate the dual character of mind — the higher and lower — a duality, yet a unity.
It will be noted that the outer form of the symbol is still composed of six Magnetic Centres or points, it has not yet assumed that number which is deemed to make a Lodge perfect, for it is not until Number 9, the last of the numerals is reached, that this state of perfection is attained. We can readily understand why this is so when it is realised that Nine is the number associated with the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem, for it is the attainment to this — the Supreme Degree in Freemasonry — which is the completion of the Candidates quest on the path of Initiation.
Let use now add the ninth Magnetic Centre, and it will be noticed that, for the first time, we have seven points in the outer or external form with two points within.
A study of this symbol will reveal certain interesting features. It is the conjoining or union of the interlaced triangles, and the pentacle with the point at its centre. It will be remembered that we said the former was the symbol of perfect equilibrium, and the latter was the symbol of Man in whom the "vital and immortal principle at his "centre" had become awakened. The significance therefore, of the interlacing of these two heomtric symbols will be realised, when attention is drawn to the fact that the highest point of the Pentacle (symbolising the seat of the Intelligence in Man) touches the centre of the interlaced triangles, while the lowest point of the latter touches the centre of the former, truly a perfect symbol of at-one-ment. To the Masonic student however, the most interesting feature is that these nine Magnetic Centres, which have now assumed an ovoid or egg-shaped formation, give a clear diagrammatic sketch of the H.R.A. A great deal more could be said of this most interesting design and its correspondence with the Supreme Degree, but it will at once be appreciated that it would not be prudent to discuss it in detail, without the risk of disclosing that which would amount to a violation of obligations; but in the light of what has been said with regard to the interpretation of the various symbols, a careful study should enable Companions of the Order to see a little more clearly through the veil of allegory and symbolism, especially with regard to the V.
We have now passed through the whole series of numbers from one to nine, Number 10, therefore, is the completion of the cycle or circle and the start of another on a higher plane of consciousness. It is not proposed that we should continue further, for this would take us into the realms of the Spirit; but in order that we may complete the cycle, and thereby witness the start of another, we will add our final Magnetic Centre.
This new cycle commences with an outer circle of seven points (the number of perfection), with the Divine Trinity, symbolised by the equilateral triangle at the centre, truly a perfect symbol of balance and harmony — as perfect without as it is perfect within — and here we are reminded of "The Seven Spirits before the Throne" as recorded in the Book of Revelation; but many will know it as the "Sacred Shrine" — the goal of all true Freemasons — for as we follow the Mystical Quest in search of that which is lost, we slowly advance towards that goal, as if climbing, step by step, a tree of geometrical symbolism. From the very "point" of our admission to the Mysteries, we climb slowly but surely, until at last we reach "the heights," when suddenly the veil is lifted, and we gaze upon the "Sacred Symbol" with awe and reverence.
In order that we may form a mental picture of what has taken place, let us examine the diagram of the "Geometric Tree of Symbolism." Some explanation is perhaps needed with regard to the s..ps as it will be noticed that only seven are indicated throughout. This will be understood when it is realised that there are only seven fundamental s..ps, since the process of Initiation conforms to a septenary scale, just as Man is a seven principled being, they are not, as it is so often thought, three, five, seven and so on. We start with three, but in the Second Degree the five is really the recapitulation of the first three with two more added, just as in the Third Degree, up to its completion, it is two more added to the former three and two, for we must remember that the Candidate is distinctly told that his degree of advancement is from W. to E. in other words, from start to finish. There is no rushing or jumping into anything with regard to Spiritual advancement, it must be a gradual process or opening out from "the centre," and must necessarily be so, by virtue of the dynamic power that is generated, it is for this reason that the Candidate repeats, by "regular progression," the number of the s..ps taken in the former Degrees. Similarly, a Lodge must always be opened in the First Degree and then gradually opened up to the Superior Degree, so also, on entering Lodge for the first time, must all the s..ns be given up to the Degree in which it is opened, for it is seldom realised that the power is also resident in the s..ns, therefore when they are given in a slovenly manner the effective result is negligible. Referring again to the diagram, it will be noticed in the M.M. Degree that only one of the additional s..ps have been taken, for as the Degree has not been completed the Candidate cannot have taken both of them, it is in the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem — the completion of the Third Degree — where he takes his last and final s..p.
The above explanation should make it quite clear that advancement towards the "Sacred Shrine" is, as distinctly indicated, by THREE, TWO and TWO, that is, by SEVEN s..ps in all.
The remainder of the diagram is self-explanatory, and needs no further comment except that each symbol marks a definite stage in the unfolding of the consciousness of the Candidate on the path of Initiation, and the Student should work out for himself their correspondences with those of the various Degrees.
In conclusion it should be remembered that this demonstration is an analogy whereby we are able to draw a correspondence between physical phenomena, and those realities and truths which underlie the mysteries of life and form.
If in the search for Truth, Man succeeds in becoming the Master of his lower nature, by "dying" to his lower self, thereby destroying, or rather transmutting all selfishness and personality, he will "know himself" as he is behind the veil of physical illusion; he will soon stand beyond all pain, beyond all the wear and tear of change, and will be free from the trials and tribulations of this World. Such a man will be physically of Matter, he will move surrounded by Matter, and yet he will be beyond and outside it. All this may be achieved by the cultivation of that Magnetic Power, the development of unselfish universal Brotherly Love, — the Love of all Humanity.