FREEMASONRY AND THE ZODIAC 2
W.Bro. J.D. BLAKELEY, M.Sc., F.R.I.C., P.M., LODGE No. 5184
THE CIRCLE OF THE ZODIAC
We are taught that 'the Circle is an emblem of eternity for, as it has neither beginning nor end ....', and we have seen already that the zero (the circle) comprehends all the numbers, so that it is not surprising that the signs of the Zodiac should be arranged in circular form. In Fig. 2, we found the correct locations for the signs and the corresponding twelve Tribes. Now it will be profitable for us to extend our consideration of the symbolism, by inserting the appropriate Hebrew letters and equivalent numbers against each one. (see fig. 5.) As with other symbolic equivalents, various interpretations have been given by different writers but, for this Paper, the equivalents given by Paul F. Case in his book - The Tarot have been selected as the probable correct ones and, to complete the picture, the equivalent Tarot cards are given; we shall consider them later. The equivalents can be set down in tabular form as follows:
Sign of Zodiac Hebrew Letter Equiv. Number Tarot Card Aries He 5 Emperor Taurus Vau 6 Hierophant Gemini Zain 7 Lovers Cancer Cheth 8 Chariot Leo Teth 9 Strength Virgo Yodh 10 Hermit Libra Lamed 30 Justice Scorpio Nun 50 Death Sagittarius Samekh 60 Temperance Capricornus Ayin 70 Devil Aquarius Tzaddi 90 Star Pisces Quoph 100 Moon
You will see that the circle is now orientated due East and West, with the sign Leo in the East, and Aquarius in the West. Each of the two signs has the number 9, the number of the perfect man after which he returns to the Monad, the ten. It is of interest also to reflect that, when we observe the two numbers from the West, that of Aquarius appears as 6. These numbers are of occult significance for, when the number 9, the perfect man, is considered in the three worlds - material, mental and spiritual - the result is still 9, i.e. 9 + 9 + 9 = 27 = 9. But when its mirror image, the number 6, is considered similarly it becomes 9, i.e. 6 + 6 + 6 = 18 = 9. "As above, so below ". Most of you will be familiar with the words of the Book of Revelation, xiii, 18, "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath wit, count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred, three score and six ". It is indeed, for it is the number of Aquarius, the Waterman when viewed from the wrong direction, i.e. from that of material incarnation, the West. We have the same meaning in the myth of the man chained in a cave with his back to the fight who, seeing the shadows on the far wall believes that they are real, whereas he is unable to turn round to see the sunlight streaming in through the mouth of the cave. And notice also that 6 is the number of the letter Vau, which we have placed against Taurus, the sign of the physical body. The two letters for the signs at extreme East and West, when written in the English style, are "Teth" for Leo and "Tzaddi" for Aquarius. Both commence with the letter "T" and, as written on our circle the one is a mirror image of the other, reminding us of the Tau cross and the Master's level - the pickaxe on the one hand, and the crow and the shovel on the other. And does not the position of the crow point out that straight and undeviating line leading from the West to the East? I would venture to suggest that meditation on the meaning of the Sphinx would yield some valuable rewards. That great silent watcher and witness, with the body of a lion and the head of a human being is looking from the West towards the East, from Aquarius (the Man) to Leo (the Lion). Is it too great a coincidence that we have here the symbol of the fall of Man from his pristine glory in the East (Leo) to his incarceration in the West (Aquarius) and, through Initiation turning his face once more towards the East on the path of his long journey home? "Bro. J.W. Whence come you? The E. Whither directing your course? The W. What inducement have you to leave the E. and go to the W? To seek for that which was lost". And later: " Bro. J.W. Whence come you? The W. whither we have been in search of the genuine secrets of a M.M." Is it not probable also that the two P.s, the symbols of the two columns of the planets reaching from the Sun to Saturn and back again to the Sun, have exactly the same meaning as the ladder, rising from the V.S.L. towards the blazing star in the Heavens, with Angels ascending and descending? If you will examine the T.B. of the 1st degree, you will find that, as in our circle of the Zodiac, the Sun is above the ladder to the left and the Moon correspondingly to the right.
Will you allow me to quote a passage of literature to you? It is this: "And after I had wandered afar throughout this hoary land of Egypt and witnessed divers curious things, I turned my steps homeward to my good friends who sit in eternal meditation on the edge of the Libyan Desert. Tell me, O wise Sphinx! I cried, whither I may go to rest my tired feet, which seem to have walked enow along the dusty road of life? And the Sphinx made response: 'Ask thy question of the One whose lonely child I am, whose womb brought me forth to endure the sorrowful buffetings of this world. For I am man himself, and yonder is my Mother, Earth. Ask her! 'So I trod a little farther and came to the Great Pyramid. And I went inside the dark passage and crawled down into the deep bowels of the earth, into the dismal subterranean vault itself. And I uttered the pass-words of greeting, according to my instructions from the 7th verse of the 64th Chapter of the most ancient book in all Egypt: 'Hail! Lord of the Shrine Which Standeth in the Middle of the Earth!' Thereupon I sat down on the rocky floor and plunged my mind into its own native quietude, patiently waiting for an answer. When at last the Great One, the Master of the Divine House, made his appearance, I begged him to lead me into the presence of She who is called The Mistress of the Hidden Temple, who is none other than the Living Soul of Our Earth. And the Master yielded to my strong entreaty and conducted me through a secret door into the Temple which lieth hid hereabouts. The Divine Mother received me most graciously, yet remained seated at a distance, and bade me state my request. To her I repeated my enquiry: 'Tell me, O Mistress of the Hidden Temple, whither I may go to rest my tired feet, which seem to have walked enow the dusty road of life?' She gazed long and earnestly into my eyes before she spoke forth in answer: 'Seven ways are open before thee, O Seeker, Seven steps await to be mounted by the man who would enter into my secret chamber. Seven lessons must be learnt by those of thy human race who would see my face unveiled. Not till thou hast travelled all the ways, climbed all the steps, and mastered all the lessons canst thou hope to find rest for thy feet or peace for thy soul!'" These words are not mine, they are written by Paul Brunton in an Epilogue to his book - A Search in Secret Egypt, but I would ask you to think earnestly on them when looking at our circle of the Zodiac. In our own words: "... they passed up the winding staircase consisting of three, five, seven or more steps ...". In our zodiacal circle we have the three (the 1 + 2 of the twelve), the five ordinary planets, and the seven when the Sun and the Moon are added to the former five. We know that the five "Noble Orders of Architecture" refer to the five Races of humanity which have contributed in bringing us to our present stage of evolution, the present Root Race being the fifth one, and that the whole of them are seven. We are told that the latter also "have allusion to the seven liberal Arts and Sciences, namely, Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy ". In ancient Greece, the science of Mathematics included all the following:
Arithmetic - having reference to the laws of numbers.
Geometry - having reference to the laws of plane and solid figures.
Astronomy - (including Astrology) - having reference to the laws of planetary motions and their spiritual and magnetic influences.
Music - this included Harmony, Rhythm, and Poetry; the latter also comprehended the history of the world.
Grammar, Rhetoric and Logic refer to means of expression, i.e., the Arts, so that we have the division of the seven into three Arts and four Sciences, the former being linked with the triangle of the Spirit and the latter with the square of Matter.
In the ancient teachings, there were seven Virtues associated with the planets, and also their opposites - the seven deadly sins. It is of value to note that the ancient name for the sign Leo was ARIEH, and that for Aquarius was DELI; the letter Aleph represents the number I and the letter Daleth represents the number 4. Here, again, we have the 1 + 4 = 5, - the Monad and the Square, and the total five the number of our present humanity: " ... And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men". (St. Mark, vi, 44.)
Our ascent to the mystical East is by the ladder of Jacob, the ladder which was set up on Earth (Aquarius) and reached up to Heaven (Leo). In our Ritual we ask: "What is a square?" And the answer comes clearly: "An angle of 90 degrees or the fourth part of a Circle". It is indeed, for it is the four of Aquarius (Dell), the sign of man, the sign of Tzaddi of number 90, and the reflection of Teth of the East, having the number 9 - the number of perfect man. In ancient Egypt, the symbol for the planet Saturn was a square and, hence, we see the portrayal of certain of their Gods as seated on a square, or cubic stone, denoting that they had subdued the forces of Saturn - the forces of materialism, the domination of Father Time. A similar meaning is attached to the symbol of "riding the goat", this animal being associated with materialism, whether creative or destructive.
In Transaction No. 8, we saw that there are three principal modes of development for mankind, but that the third of them is of a five-fold nature. The three principal ones are:
Power, Rule, or Strength - represented by The Sun Love, and Wisdom - represented by The Moon. Activity, or Beauty - represented by The Planets.
The latter, the Activity or Beauty aspect, manifests in five different ways:
(a) Tact, or Adaptability - represented by Mercury. (b) Beauty, or Harmony - represented by Venus. (c) Knowledge, or Science - represented by Mars. (d) Devotion - represented by Jupiter. (e) Order. Ceremonial, Business - represented by Saturn.
These are the great Rays which are pouring down on our Humanity, and each of us is seeking Truth along the line of least resistance, the Ray to which he, personally, vibrates in sympathy. Each of us is a wireless receiving set, capable of receiving all the Rays to some extent, but responding most readily to one particular wavelength and, just as everything in Nature absorbs light of certain wavelengths but reflects others, so do we behave in response to a particular Ray. Our senses tell us that a certain material is red in colour but, in reality, what we are looking at is a material which absorbs all the colours of white light with the exception of the red rays, which are reflected to our eyes. Can we not hope, at least that, while our normal behaviour reflects the particular Ray with which we are associated, we are absorbing and growing also through the influence of each of those other Rays which we do not reflect? For example, we associate the qualities of Mars, the God of Strife, with the qualifies of energy, determination, daring, and creation, but each child of Mars must also grow strong in the qualities of Love, Devotion, Tact, Harmony, and Order before he can ascend from his own first rung of the ladder of human progress.
In our Second Degree, we are taught that the way of progress is "as if ascending a winding staircase", and you will remember that this winding staircase ascends counter clockwise, i.e., in a direction of rotation opposite to that of the Sun. Our normal progress in the Lodge is with the Sun, i.e., clockwise, indicating that we are working in harmony with the exoteric laws of our earth planet, the laws which we call material order; but, when spiritual progress is involved, our direction must be opposite to that of the world, for the material things are but a mirror image of the spiritual world and what, to the Initiate, is wisdom strength and beauty, will appear to be but foolishness in the eyes of those without the inner sight. Not without good reason did the seaming "Man Know Thyself " appear over the portals of the Temples of Initiation for, until we can view ourselves from the right perspective, how can we know anything of those great cosmic laws which govern, not only this tiny planet which we call Earth, but also those vast worlds, both seen and unseen, about which our boasted modern knowledge knows little or nothing at all. In our age, we are witnessing something of those immense forces which, one by one, are being revealed to man and, as usual with our inverted Aquarian man, they are being tested first as potential forces of destruction. The Ray of Mars, of scientific knowledge, is sill beating down upon our human race with almost uncontrolled violence; it is the fifth of the great Rays and is appropriate to our fifth great Race but, on the way of return, the next great sign of our Zodiac is governed by Venus, the planet of beauty and harmony, and our great religious and philosophical systems are, each one, pointing the way for us to ascend the next rung of this great ladder of Life, calling us to pass from the baleful and fiery influence of Mars, of material and scientific knowledge, into the soothing influence of Venus, the "bright morning star whose rising brings peace and salvation to the faithful and obedient of the human race". But is there not also the opposite urge for us, what we may call the force of the evil one - the power of Abaddon, the Destroyer - seeking to persuade us to journey round the circle in the opposite direction, to pass from scientific knowledge to the inverted ray of Devotion, not devotion to things of the spirit but devotion to Mammon, to the overwhelming power of matter, to the forces of the big battalions and regimentations, the various "-isms" of our modern world? If we use our reasoning powers, the natural direction of progress is towards Jupiter and devotion to group causes, with the intention of passing to the influence of Saturn and Law, Order and Ceremonial - the letter of the law, and to the ceremonial where word perfection and business perfection are the aims and ideals. But true progress lies in the reverse direction, and the whole of our Masonic teaching is calling us to desert the unreal and to turn our hearts and minds to the real. "From the unreal lead me to the real, from the mortal bring me to immortality".
In the symbolism of our great Order, it is the third of our G.M.s who is the active builder, the layer of those plans and designs for the guidance of the expert workman. He is represented by the P. of beauty, the spirit of Venus, and he is put before us as the great exemplar. "The brethren will take notice........ one of the brightest characters recorded in the annals of Freemasonry . ..". In other words, but identical in meaning, the great Christian Exemplar said: "A new commandment I give unto you - that ye love one another". Or again: "If a man love not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" Likewise, from the sayings of the Buddha: " When men speak evil of ye, thus must ye train yourselves - Our hearts shall be unwavering, no evil word will we send forth, but compassionate of others' welfare will we abide, of kindly heart, without resentment: And that man who thus speaks will we suffuse with thoughts accompanied by love, and so abide: And, making that our standpoint, we will suffuse the whole world with loving thoughts, far-reaching, wide-spreading, boundless, free from hate, free from ill-will, and so abide. Thus, brethren must ye train yourselves." Further, from the sayings of Muhammad: "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured ". Are not these principles the foundation of our whole Masonic structure? But they are more even than that - they are a part of the laws of the cosmos, the laws of our Divine Creator, whose children we are and through whom, therefore, we are all Brothers.
According to tradition, the seven wonders of the world were constructed by Initiates to perpetuate the arcana of the Mysteries. They were symbolic structures and were placed in selected locations, but the real purpose of their erection was sensed only by the initiated. A description of them is given by Manly P. Hall in his book: Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy. According to this description, they represented the seven sacred planets, as follows:
1. The Colossus of Rhodes, a gigantic brass statue about 109 ft. in height, with its crown of solar rays and upraised torch, represented the Sun Man of the Mysteries, the Universal Saviour. (109 = The Monad + Number of Perfect Man = 1 + 9 = 10.)
2. The Temple of Diana at Ephesus was constructed of marble and its roof was supported by 127 columns, each 60 feet high. It was designed as a miniature of the universe and was dedicated to the Moon, the occult symbol of generation. (127 = 10 and 60 X 127 = 7620 = 15)
3. The Great Pyramid was supreme amongst the temples of the Mysteries and its astronomical precision is still remarkable. The date of its erection is lost in the mists of antiquity but an age of 70,000 years is quite possible. It is the monument of Mercury, the messenger of the Gods, the universal symbol of wisdom, whose emblem was, at one time, carried by the deacons of our Lodges.
4. The Gardens of Semiranis at Babylon - more commonly known as the Hanging Gardens - stood within the palace grounds of Nebuchadnezzar, near to the River Euphrates (the mystical "fruitful river"). They rose in a terrace-like pyramid on top of which was a reservoir for watering them. They symbolised the planes of the invisible world, and were consecrated to Venus as the goddess of love and beauty.
5. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was erected in memory of King Mausolus. The building was 114 ft. long and 92 ft. wide, and was divided into five major sections (the senses) and surmounted by a pyramid (the spiritual nature of man) which rose in 24 steps (compare our 24 inch gauge). It was sacred to the planet Mars. (114 X 92 = 10488 = 21).
6. The Statue of Zeus, at Olympia, was supposed to have borne in one hand a globe supporting a figure of the goddess of Victory and, in the other, a sceptre surmounted by an eagle. The head was heavily bearded and crowned with an olive wreath. The statue was dedicated to the planet Jupiter.
7. The traditional seventh wonder was the Pharos, or lighthouse, of Alexandria, (but Eliphas Levi substitutes the Temple of King Solomon in his writings). Fires lighted on top of it could be seen for many miles out at sea and it was intended as a guide for mariners. Being the tallest of all the wonders, it was assigned to Saturn, the Father of the Gods and the true illuminator of all humanity.
This is not the place to deal in detail with the symbolism of these seven wonders but reflection will show that they are closely linked with the symbolism of our zodiacal circle. It is particularly appropriate that the symbol of the Sun (The Colossus of Rhodes), and that of Saturn (The Pharos, or its alternative - The Temple of King Solomon, having a nearly similar import) should both be associated with light; the former represents the zodiacal sign of Leo, the sign of regal dignity and power; the latter represents Aquarius, the water-man, the soul passing through its period of experience in the human body which, through initiation, it must learn to subdue and thence rise by slow, toiling steps. always seeking for re-union with that glorious light of the East. the light of the perfect spirit. Is it merely a coincidence that the numerical value of Alpha "A" in Alexandria should be I and that of "RHO" in Rhodes should be 100, or that the words Pharos and Sol-onion should both be so intimately connected with light?
We have seen earlier that the four Cardinal signs can be linked with the four Cardinal Virtues of Plato. These are all phases of action and, similarly, Virtues are associated with the Fixed and the Mutable signs; but those linked with Fixed signs are ideals of feeling rather than of action, while those linked with the Mutable signs are essentially of mental nature. The exact correspondences vary slightly, but the following are taken from a small book by C.E.O. Carter, entitled The Zodiac and the Soul:
|MUTABLE||Gemini—Understanding||Virgo—Modesty||Sagittarius—Generosity||Pisces—Sympathy and Charity|
It will be seen that the positive signs tend to be associated with virtues which are out-going whereas the negative signs are linked with virtues which are in-drawn; they correspond respectively with electric and magnetic forces. The mutable signs are the interpreters of the other signs and, therefore, can be considered as double-duty or bipolar signs.
In astrology, it is usual to look on the signs from Aries to Libra as influencing the formation of the personality, while those beyond Libra are considered as guiding the formation of the individuality, i.e., the first six are concerned with the acquisition of experience, whereas the last six are concerned with the gradual discarding of unwanted acquisitions as a result of the experience gained during the earlier stages. Thus, the circle of the Zodiac is, in essence, a chart connected with the passage of the soul from its initial descent into the manifest world until its withdrawal from this cycle of experience to a higher plane. But the path is a rough one, being composed of hills and valleys (the positive and negative signs), and so our Ritual says: "Before our ancient brethren had such convenient places to meet in as we enjoy, where did they assemble?" - "On the hills, and lowest vales, even in the valley of Jehosophat or some such secret place". The word Jehosophat means "Judgment of the Lord" and the valley is what we call "this sublunary abode", the vale of tears, the valley of trial and testing for the soul making its uphill journey from West to East. And so our floors are furnished with mosaic work, "... to remind us of the uncertainty of all earthly things. Today we may tread the flowery meads of prosperity; tomorrow we may totter on the uneven paths of weakness, temptation, and adversity ... Then while our feet tread on this mosaic work, let our ideas recur to the original which we copy; and let us act as the dictates of right reason shall prompt us, to cultivate harmony, practise charity, and Eve in peace with all men ". (1st Lecture).
THE MYSTICAL JOURNEY
We have seen that the circle of the Zodiac is really a symbol of various influences which affect, not only the cosmos and that part of it which we are pleased to call our world, but also the essential being of each one of us. We can think of them as rays, or astrological forces, or the influences of the beasts of the Zodiac but, whatever they are, the fact that it is possible to discern different astrological types, even though very imperfectly, indicates that we are dealing with something that is very real. Not only docs the circle of the Zodiac represent the way of descent and the way of return for humanity as a whole, but it also tells us something about the individual human being - the individual "I". We know that the man of Aries will behave differently than will the man of Leo, and both of them will be entirely at variance in behaviour with the man of, say, Scorpio. There is something fundamentally different in their make-up, and when we sometimes say in joke - "it's just the nature of the beast" - we may even be uttering deeper words of wisdom than we know.
In the book by Joseph Campbell entitled: The Hero with a Thousand Faces, we are shown that the ancient stories of the Heroes in traditional mythology all tend to follow a certain pattern, which the Author calls the "Mono-myth". He shows that the mythological hero, setting forth from his common- day hut or castle, is lured, carried away, or else voluntarily proceeds to the threshold of adventure where he meets a shadowy presence (the guardian of the threshold) whom either he defeats (or conciliates) or, alternatively, who defeats him. In the former case he proceeds alive into the kingdom of the dark or, in the latter case, he descends into death. Beyond the threshold, the hero journeys through a world of unfamiliar yet strongly intimate forces, some of which threaten him (trials) and some of which give him magical aid (helpers). When he arrives at the nadir of the mythological round, he undergoes a supreme ordeal and either gains his reward or steals the boon which he wishes to gain; in each case, it represents an expansion of consciousness and, therefore, of being (illumination or transfiguration). The final journey is that of return; if the powers have blessed the hero he sets forth now under their protection (emissary) or, if not, he flees and is pursued. At the return threshold the transcendental powers must remain behind and the hero re-emerges from the kingdom of the dead (return, resurrection); the boon which he brings with him is an elixir for the world. Finally, in many myths, the hero disappears from sight, e.g., is carried into the air or across the waters.
You will be able to follow many of the mystery systems by this pattern, and we need mention only one - the story of Jason and the Argonauts. Jason was the son of Aeson, the King of Iolcus from whom the kingdom was stolen by Pelias - half brother of the king. For safety, the young Jason was sent to the mountains where he was cared for by a centaur (Cheiron). Before setting out to become a hero, he made three promises to Cheiron: To aid those who are feeble and in distress, to respect the aged, and to keep his solemn promises at all costs. His first obstacle was in the lowlands where a mountain torrent barred his passage and he had to carry an old woman across; she turned out to be Hera, the goddess wife of Zeus. On arriving at Iolcus he was sent to bring back the Golden Fleece in order to save the people from evil dreams. After many dangers and trials, he arrived at Colchis with his companions but he had to undertake three more dangerous tasks before he was allowed to approach the fleece, which was nailed to an oak tree in a grove sacred to Ares; the tree was guarded by a dragon. The story relates how the fleece was taken and how the Argonauts fled, accompanied by Medea, the daughter of the King of Colchis, who later married Jason but finally destroyed all those related to him with the exception of his father, who was restored to youth. Finally, Jason became a weary and saddened man, but the people of Iolcus were at peace.
This myth is of value because it helps us to understand something of the pattern of our Craft system. We have seen in fig. 6 that the threshold of adventure must be crossed twice - once near to the start of the journey and again towards the end on the way of return. These two thresholds are shown by the arrangement of the planets in Fig. 3* and they are located to the West (the Bridge of Capricorn) and to the East (from the Moon to the Sun). It is significant that, in the myth of the Argonauts, Jason was first in the care of the centaur (Sagittarius) and that he encountered the dangerous mountain torrent in the lowlands (Saturn). After many difficulties and dangers, but also with many helpers, he reached the place where the Golden Fleece was nailed to a tree in the grove of Ares and, with the aid of Medea he overcame the main trials (Aries - Taurus barrier), and then journeyed through many further dangers until he brought the fleece back to Iolcus to give peace to the people there, but only after he had lost all his loved ones except his father (Cancer - Leo threshold). Finally comes the period of withdrawal (Virgo - Scorpio).
* (See Part 1)
You will notice that the mystical journey starts in the North West, exactly as does our Craft journey. The ceremony of Initiation represents the crossing of the bridge of Capricorn (the bridge of Saturn) - from the place of darkness to that of the feeble light of the setting sun. Gradually, as trials are overcome, with the assistance of the J.D., the aspirant passes to the second degree where the secrets of nature and the principles of intellectual truths are unfolded to view and he is permitted to extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of nature and science. This is the degree of life when it passes towards the hour of high twelve, the stage of the journey when we need the services of the great physician to heal the bruises and wounds received during the buffetings of this transitory life, when the very intensity of the sun only serves to throw darker shadows on those obstacles which under our journey, when so often we are compelled to call out: "Father, why hast thou forsaken me?" And then comes that last and greatest trial when all that has seemed to us solid and tangible becomes of little avail. We have come from the temple of humanity in the West, the place of the Water-man and we have made our way to the South entrance where the opposition seems too much for our feeble strength. Having failed in the place of material light we have thought that we can perhaps escape through the place of material darkness but, here again, we have found that we cannot pass that way so long as we retain our physical bodies and worldly possessions, and finally we stagger towards the bridge of return where the guardian of the threshold is posted. We no longer have visible assistance, for the S.D. cannot help us and we must cross that bridge alone, leaving behind the companions of our former toils, when only our faith and hope can guide us, and when even our physical being seems to have been discarded. The crab does not release its victim easily and we require the help of the lion's paw to carry us safely across the threshold. Looking back we realise that the companions of our former toils are still with us, but they now have a new significance; we have learned to think anew, it is as though we had passed to another plane which is similar and still so unlike what we had seen during our earlier sojourn; our values are different and our consciousness has expanded; the C.T. is no longer a vertical symbol of climbing - it has become a life-line with the assistance of which we can clearly discern those objects we had before so imperfectly discovered. Now we know that the dim morning star really is a Sun of high intensity and that its former dimness was only an optical illusion, an illusion of our senses, because of our distance from it - a distance measured not in miles but in degrees of our awareness. What formerly appeared to be two ashlars now appear as the A. of incense, and what formerly we called the beasts of the field (the signs of the Zodiac) we now find to be columns of banners pointing the way of return. You will remember the duties of the guardian of the porchway in G.L.: "To give due report of all approaching brethren, and to see that they are properly clothed and ranged under their respective banners". "And do you find them so placed?". Let us hope that the reply can come with confidence that the approaching brethren, i.e., those who are on the way of return, really are going forward in proper formation, each in his due station in life and each prepared to help along those who are less favourably placed.
"Now, as Christian went on his way, he came to a little ascent, which was cast up on purpose, that pilgrims might see before them. Up there, therefore, Christian went and, looking forward, he saw Faithful before him upon his journey.... At this, Christian was somewhat moved, and putting to all his strength, he quickly got up with Faithful, and did also overrun him; so the last was first. Then did Christian vain-gloriously smile, because he had gotten the start of his brother: but not taking good heed to his feet, he suddenly stumbled and fell, and could not rise again until Faithful came up to help him." (Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.)
But there is still a further stage on the journey; after Leo comes the sign of Virgo, the re-born virgin spirit bearing the ears of corn, the harvest of the mystical journey. All material ties have been left behind, we have learned our lesson in the hard and bitter school of experience, we have suffered grievous wounds and we have been buffeted by the storms of life, but we have also known the joys of success and happiness brought to us by friendly helpers; we have passed through the examination in the great school of life and we have gathered our harvest; some have gained first class honours, some have only just passed, and others are still puzzling over some of the questions on the examination paper, but each of us has made some progress; none of it has been in vain, and we are now due for a period of stock-taking, a period of contemplation, assessment and refreshment before the next stage of the journey: the ears of corn will wither and die unless they are planted again. We have traced the journey from the end of Winter, through Spring and Summer, and now Winter is approaching again and the seed must rest in the ground until its life is called forth again. Even so must the weary Soul be called for a period of refreshment after labour so that it must pass through the balance between manifestation and non-manifestation - the balance of Libra, before it passes from sight into what to us appears as the darkness of the North. Are we not inclined to regard the call to refreshment - what we call death - as the sting of the Scorpion, but are we not also taught that the Scorpion is really an Eagle, and the Soul takes wing into that boundless and unexplored expanse above, and may we then truly say of our journey: "It is well finished, admit us to the G.L. above, where the divisions of time shall cease, and the glories of an endless Eternity burst upon our view". But remember also that Sagittarius follows Scorpio and, again he attempts to shoot his arrows into the sky; the hero is ready for new worlds to conquer and, once more, whether on this plane or on a higher one we know not, he sets off from the place of darkness, in a state of helpless indigence, bringing with him only the tongue of good report and a reliance on the companions of his former toils.
"There is the path of light, of fire and day, The path of the moon's bright fortnight and the six months' journey Of the sun to the North: The knower of Brahman who takes this path goes to Brahman: He does not return.
"There is the path of night and smoke, The path of the moon's dark fortnight and the six months' journey Of the sun to the South: The yogi who takes this path will reach the lunar light, (*) This path leads back to human birth, at last.
"These two paths, the bright and the dark, may be said to have existed in this world of change from a time without any beginning. By the one, a man goes to the place of no return. By the other, he comes back to human birth. No yogi who knows these two paths is ever mis-led." The Bhagavad-Gita. Chapt. VIII. * Astral Light.
The Zodiac of ancient Scandinavian mythology commenced with the sign of Sagittarius, the Archer, so that we are justified in assuming that it was a mystical and esoteric Zodiac rather than a true sidereal one. Also, we have seen earlier that the Tribe of Benjamin is ascribed to the sign of Sagittarius. Benjamin was the "baby" of the family of Jacob, and the word means metaphorically, "the son of the Gods"; it is fitting that it should be applied to the Soul at the start of a new cycle of experience in the mystical journey, after a period of well-earned rest. The Standard of Benjamin bore the device of a Wolf, and Jacob described him as - "a wolf that ravineth": if, as we are taught, the Soul descends into incarnation because of the magnetic attraction which physical matter holds for it, we can truly say that it descends of its own free will and accord and that, having lost the memory of its royal origin, it is prepared to devour everything, whether it be knowledge, wisdom, food, or merely the fruit of the tree of life. Even so does the human babe lack that discrimination which can only come as the reward of experience. We are taught that the soul cannot make progress during the period of rest - when the Lodge is called from labour to refreshment - and so it is fitting that this period of rest is placed symbolically in the North, the place of darkness, and we say: for the night cometh when no man can work ...."
From this arrangement we see that the sign of Libra represents the balance between manifestation and withdrawal, between labour and refreshment. It is a cardinal sign and so is the first point of the triangle, leading in direct connection to the sign of Aquarius, the Waterman. So also must the call from labour to refreshment warn us to keep within hail so as to come on "in due time", when the knocks of the great J.W. shall summon us for a further cycle of work. And just as Libra is the balance before rest, so must its opposite sign, Aries, be the balance before the period of maximum activity - the period just before the symbol of the sun at its meridian. This is the representation of the time when the hero reaches dry land, the period which we call "the sand of the sea,.... where the tide regularly ebbs and flows ...". Each of the three preceding signs, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces, has been connected with water representing the period when we cannot see any well trodden path ahead when, like Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress, we feel that we shall be overcome in the Slough of Despond unless we have the assistance of the Helper for, as Christian was told, " ...as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together and settle in this place ...". This is the place of our early darkness when our journey is made with erratic steps, when we must stumble and fall without me help of be J.D., and when we do not know which direction is E. and which is W. You will remember that the symbol of the sign of Pisces is two fish swimming in opposite directions, and the penalty for failure at this stage is that the T. of good report shall remain at the edge of the sea, without the possibility of making further progress. This sign, therefore, represents the beginning of a new experience on land and it is fitting that, in so many mystical systems, the first point of Aries should be taken to represent the Vernal Equinox, when there is the promise of the Summer ahead in the Northern Hemisphere; when, for the first time, the days will become longer than the nights; when there is the promise that Nature will once more awaken from its Winter sleep. But, as the sign of Libra is associated with Venus, the Goddess of Love, so is Aries associated with Mars, the God of Strife, the up-hill struggle on the climb to the Mount of Zion, the city of Jerusalem which was built on a hill. The first, or Holy L., was holden at the foot of the mount, the second, or Sacred L., in the B. of the mount, and the third or G. & R. L. at Jerusalem on the summit of the mount. According to some ancient traditions, it was unlucky to perambulate with the left hand towards the centre, i.e. counter-clockwise, and so it is if we are concerned with immediate well-being. The way of ascent, as Christian found, is beset with dangers and difficulties, and the man who dares to think and act contrary to the opinions of the popular world about him will find the going very rough; indeed he is likely to encounter far more critics than friends, and so me are taught that we cannot seek initiation in the presence of m. & m.s. for, if any of those are found, the ceremony thus far must be repeated; there was no sound of metallic tool heard in the building of the temple of K.S.
Certain information suggests that the four mystical elements of ancient esoteric teaching were different from those at present recognised, we speak of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, but the early mystical elements probably were Water, Air, Fire and Pure Spirit. Water and Air are forms of matter, varying in density, Fire and Pure Spirit are non-material, so that the four together represent the gradual refinement of the Soul in its mystical journey, from the fluid density of Water, through the more rarefied density of Air, through the transmutation by Fire, to the final condition of Pure Spirit in the mystical East. This arrangement is different from that which is normally adopted in zodiacal symbolism but only because it is referring to an entirely different plane of thought.
Confirmation concerning the symbolism of our mystical journey comes from another source. You will remember that the Argonauts were led by Jason, but this name is merely the Graeco-Roman form of Jehoshua and we read in the V.S.L. Numbers xiii, 16- "These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea, the son of Nun, Jehoshua." Now we have seen in Fig. 5 that the Hebrew letter Nun is ascribed to the sign of Scorpio, so that the son of Nun, i.e. the one who follows immediately after Nun, is Jehoshua, who is identical with Jason the pupil of the Centaur, Sagittarius. Moreover, it was Jehoshua who led the Children of Israel over the River Jordan into the promised land, and the meaning of the word is: " Jehovah is Salvation ".
In the book of Joshua, x, 12, we read: "Then spake Joshua to the Lord ... and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ajalon". The word Gibeon means "pertaining to a hill", so that here again we have reference to the hills and the valleys, the positive sign of Leo being represented as the hill and the negative sign of Cancer as the valley.
THE TAROT SYMBOLS
In Fig. 5 we have placed certain of the Major Trumps of the Tarot pack against the signs of the Zodiac, and it will be convenient to follow the mystical journey according to their symbolism, starring from the sign of Sagittarius - the hero setting out on the mystical quest. The Tarot equivalent for this sign is "Temperance" and the Hebrew letter Samekh. Wrath is the quality associated with Samekh, but the correct rendering of the meaning is "quivering" or "vibration", so that we have the symbolism of the stirring of the soul after its period of rest and at the commencement of a new cycle of experience. In the foreground of this card is a pool of water and, rising from it, is an up-hill path, with a crown above the summit; this is the path of return to the mystical East, the crown of attainment in the sign of Leo, the apex of the triangle of Fire. The number of the card is XIV = 5, the number of the senses of man.
The next sign, Capricorn, is given Tarot Card No. XV, "The Devil". The word Devil is the English for the Latin Diabolus, which means Adversary. The figure has the head of a goat and, between his horns, is a white inverted pentagram (again the number 5). The inverted pentagram suggests the reversal of true understanding of man's place in the cosmos; in fact, we are taught that the mistaken estimate of man's powers and possibilities is all that keeps anyone in bondage. All mystics agree that the most dangerous time, when the greatest opposition is encountered, is in the early stages of the quest, when the inner powers are operating but feebly, and when doubts and despondency can seem so real. This is the time when the dangers of rashly attempting to rush forward are equally dangerous to an attempt at retreat, for we are unable to discern any landmarks.
Now comes the sign of Aquarius, and the Tarot Card No. XVII, "The Star". The corresponding Hebrew letter Tzaddi means "fish hook", signifying that which draws the fish out of the water. The star appears to give only feeble light to the aspirant on the path, but we know that it really is a sun at a great distance; so is the great light of the East now seen as but feebly in the far distance. The number of the card XVII reduces to 8, which is the number of the Card, "Strength," the card of Leo, again pointing out that the Tau cross is merely an inversion of the Master's level; and the Star points to the same symbolism for it has 8 points. On this card also are seven smaller stars, reminding us of the seven steps in the ascent to the East, the seven chakras, and the seven planets. The sign of Aquarius is represented by two wavy lines, the alchemical symbol of dissolution, showing that the soul is now fully immersed in the waters of cosmic mind-stuff, but our view is "upside-down".
The next sign is Pisces, with the card No. XVIII, "The Moon". The light becomes stronger, and apparently nearer, but this is not the predominant wish of our hearts for it is but reflected light from that sun which still is far distant. The pool is the great deep, the cosmic mind-stuff, and we see what looks remarkably like a scorpion rising from the water. Above, there are 18 Yodhs, referring to the descent of the life-force from above into the conditions of corporeal existence; the 18 can be reduced to the number 9, indicating that we are still dealing with the water-man, now on the first rung of the ladder of ascent. The path on the card, rising and falling, has been worn by the feet of those who have travelled before us; it passes between a wolf and a dog, the one wild and the other domesticated, and it also passes between two towers of stone, our two Pillars. The path rises and falls (the positive and negative signs) but it is rising continually although the final end is hidden from view. This is the end of a phase of the journey and the aspirant is now set firmly on the path of ascent.
We come to Card No. IV, "The Emperor". The title means: "He who sets in order" and, at this stage, the hero has crossed the seas and is in a position to demand that which he is seeking. The figure is wearing armour, indicating that, while he is well protected, he is still encased and therefore limited in movement. The mountains in the distance are forbidding heights and they appear to be wild and barren; he would find it a difficult task to climb them while still encumbered with the metallic outer covering. In his right hand, he is holding a sceptre in the form of an Ankh cross, denoting that he is on the pathway to life, but the orb in his left hand is the sign of temporal power. At this stage. the aspirant is ruler over his material being and he is, to all external appearance a just and upright Mason.
Card No. V is the "Hierophant". The figure is still in the form of an Emperor but, the emblems of temporal power have been transmuted to those of spiritual enlightenment. The Hebrew letter Vau is similar in use to the English conjunction "and" so that the stage of attainment is a link - a step to Transfiguration. The power of the figure is derived from a development of the inner sense of hearing, the guidance of the still small voice, the knowledge of the higher aspects of reality which is conveyed by the silent "inner voice". The clothing of metal has been left behind, and the keys are those to the higher mysteries. The crown is ornamented with three rows of trefoils, the top row having 3, the second row 5, and the third row 7 - these are our steps towards the East, and the total is 15. But each trefoil has three petals, making 45 in all (the number 9 of the perfect man).
In Card No. VI, "The Lovers", the sun has become a powerful light and the picture is dominated by the angel Raphael, the Divine Physician. He has now taken charge of the pairs of opposites, the sub- conscious or intuitional mind represented by the Woman, and the rational or reasoning mind represented by the Man. All the outer covering has been shed, whether it be the mental armour of the Emperor or the colourful robes of the Hierophant, and both types of consciousness are free. The Woman is looking upwards to the angel, indicating that Divine guidance comes through the subconscious, or rather the super-conscious mind. The top of the hill is sill in the background, but the outline is now smooth, and the whole indication of the picture is one of harmony and peace; if the Man and the Woman cannot see the sun, it is only because the Angel is shielding them from its intense rays.
In Card No. VII, "The Chariot", the aspirant has harnessed the pairs of opposites, and they are now able to carry him forward to the celestial city, shown in the background. The Hebrew letter "Cheth" means a fence, an enclosure, and this is the high wall in the picture. The aspirant is covered by a starry canopy, denoting astral light, and he is crowned with three golden pentagrams, this time with the single point at the top, representing mental dominion; the three pentagrams share 15 points between them. The charioteer has an air of authority, showing that his dominion is a result of blending the powers of self-consciousness with those of sub-consciousness; he is fully prepared for the encounter with the "guardian of the threshold" - "that last and greatest trial ... participation of the secrets." You will notice the three taus on his breastplate, but they are not yet combined to form the single triple tau.
And at last, in Card No. VIII, we arrive at the sign of Leo, the lion of Judah. The Hebrew letter Teth means a serpent but it is the serpent power of the occultist, the power of Kundalini, the apex of the triangle of Fire; it is the consuming fire which would burn our very bodies to ashes and would transmute base matter to pure gold. There is no sign of a crown of metal or of the need for metallic armour - those have been left behind and their place has been taken by mystical roses; the chain to material things is now one of beauty, according to the laws of nature over which full supremacy has been gained. Only at this stage can we compel the wisdom of the East, represented by the Lion, to divulge to us its secrets even as the mouth of the bon is opened by the woman of the card. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Chapt. XXII, we have these words: "I rise out of the egg in the hidden land. May my mouth be given unto me that I may speak therewith in the presence of the great God, the lord of Tuat (the underworld) ... may I, Osiris, the scribe Ani, victorious, have a portion with him who is on the top of the Steps. According to the desire of my heart, I have come from the Pool of Fire, and I have quenched the fire." This is the supreme initiation, the attainment of true Mastership, when the agony of crossing the threshold was so great that the perspiration on the forehead of the potential Master was such that it could have been caused by heat, and when the surrounding spiritual light was so intense that it seemed like material darkness. This is a new land, where the walled city of the previous card has given way to a glimpse of the vast expanse of Eternity, and the five physical senses have become the five points of fellowship: a sense of unity with nature itself.
And, having attained the summit of the pathway to the East, having attained to mastership, we are reminded that "humility in each is an essential qualification". Having passed through the sign of strength, Leo, we come to Virgo - represented by Card No. IX, "The Hermit". The Virgin carries the ears of corn, the symbol of life, the great mystery of the Elusinian rites. In Psalm 126 there is the same symbolism: "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him". The Hermit stands on top of snowy heights bearing, in his right hand, the light of interlaced triangles, the light from his own personal altar of incense; his staff is held loosely in his left hand for he is no longer climbing. At this stage, the outer fine clothing has been left behind with the money and metallic substances, and we shall know even as we are known. We read that: "By their fruits ye shall know them", and "may our labours ... bear the fruits of wisdom, sanctity and love..". So it is that the ears of corn signify the fruits of our sojourn in this sub-lunary abode, and by the quality of those fruits shall our success or failure in this life be assessed.
In the Book of the Dead, there is a plate showing the soul of the deceased being weighed in the great balance against the feather of Truth, and so the next Card is No. XI, "Justice", represented in the Zodiac by Libra, "the balance". The figure is the Guardian of the M. Chamber, where each F.C. goes to receive his wages - well knowing that he is justly entitled to them - whether they be good or bad. This is the symbol of the great Law which we call Karma; "As a man sows, so shall he reap ". The Hebrew letter ascribed to this sign is Lamed which we find in association with AB, the Father.
And finally, when the labours of the evening are ended comes the knock of the grand S.W., after "having seen that every brother has had his due", and the mystical Lodge is closed. Then comes the night, "when no man can work", and we are called to pause for a while. The V.S.L. says that "the last enemy to be overcome is death". The forces of change which result in physical death are dreaded only because we misunderstand and fear them. Death, like every other event in the life of the human being, is a manifestation of the Law, and right understanding never will be ours until fear of death itself has been overcome by right interpretation of the phenomena of physical dissolution and change. When rightly understood, the scorpion of death becomes the eagle of spiritual achievement, and the soul takes wing into that boundless and unexplored expanse, and then may we truly hear the G.A.O.T.U. say: "It is well finished", and may we then be admitted into the G.L. above where divisions of time shall cease, and a glorious eternity shall burst open to view. The Card for this sign is No. XIII, "Death", and how often does the popular world associate the number 13 with misfortune and evil. When Ageless Wisdom declares that all things work together for good in them that love God, it is stating one of the fundamental laws of our life. Love is the fruit of understanding and, when we understand that the One Life finds expression in the order of the heavens, and in the Zodiac, working always towards the liberation of mankind, we progress towards a recognition of the infinite beauty of the order, of which we are each a part. Perfect love casteth out fear, and with the advent of this deeper understanding conies freedom from fear, both of life and of death. The Hebrew letter ascribed to this sign is Nun, the name of the father of Jehoshua (Jason), the great leader of the army of Israel after the passing of Moses, the law-giver. The number corresponding to the letter is 50. The Jewel of a P.M. relates to the theory of Pythagoras which states that the square on the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the adjacent sides; the simplest right angled triangle is one having sides in the ratio of 3: 4, 5 and, if we determine the squares of the sides and add them together, we obtain the result:-
3 (^2) + 4 (^2) = 5 (^2) or 9 + 16 + 25 = 50 Now also 3 + 4 + 5 = 12
Those who have ears to hear. let them hear!
There is one particularly interesting passage in the "Manual of Discipline" which forms a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, of recent discovery. It is this:
"During the periods I shall chant the Ordinance, At the entrance of the seasons (which corresponds) to the days of the new moon, (By reason of) the agreement of the circuit of the latter, With the bonds that link the former (months) one to another: (To wit) as they (months) renew themselves and grow In virtue of the supreme sanctity of the sign N, In virtue of the Key of His eternal mercies."
From: The Jewish Sect of the Qumran and the Essenes. By A. Dupont-Sommer.
In this book, the Author appears to be uncertain about the meaning of the passage "In virtue of the supreme sanctity of the sign N", but it seems probable that we have the key in our circle of the Zodiac; it refers to the sign of Scorpio, the sign of withdrawal after the cycle of manifestation. Philo (De Vita Cont. 65) summarises the doctrine of the pentecontad (the number 50) in these words: "The most sacred of numbers and the most deeply rooted in nature, being formed from the square of the right-angle triangle, which is the principle from which the universe springs."
The sanctity of the number 50 applied also to the Jubilee Year, which occurred every fifty years. In the book of Leviticus, xxv, we read: ".. And yee shall hallow that yeere, even the fiftieth yeere, and proclaim libertie in the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be the Jubile unto you, and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and every man shall return unto his family." Here again we have the period of rest at the end of a cycle of work, which even was to be extended to the crops of the fields, for the passage continues: "This fiftieth yeere shall be a yeere of Jubile unto you: ye shall not sowe, neither reape that which groweth of itself, neither gather the grapes thereof that are left unlaboured." Thus we have an important reference to the great cosmic law that all growth in manifestation proceeds in what may be likened to wave formation, i.e. a period of progression, followed by a period of regression, and then by a period of rest; or a period Of intense activity, then a period of gradual withdrawal, to be followed by a period of rest. It is for this reason that the call-off from labour to refreshment should be made in the first degree even when work has been in the second or third degrees immediately prior to the break.
THE CRAFT CYCLE
I want to suggest to you that the journey through the Craft degrees can be traced faithfully in the cycle of the Zodiac. Let us follow our Candidate step by step through his progress in our Rituals, starting from the period of obscuration as represented by the sign of Scorpio; we shall call the period of passage through a sign by the name of the appropriate sign, and that of the passage from one sign to the next as the crossing of a barrier although the barrier in this case is essentially an elevation of consciousness rather than any material obstruction.
Sagittarius - The preliminary stage - the interviews and the preparation. "Where were you first prepared to be made a M?" - "In my H."
Barrier - Admission through the door of the L. Note that the arrow of Sagittarius is pointed towards Scorpio, as the P. is presented to the n.l.b. of the Candidate.
Capricorn - Early portion of the 1st degree. This is the period of spiritual darkness and the Tarot card for this sign is "The Devil". This is the period of doubts, torment and fear.
Barrier - The restoration to L.
Aquarius - The second portion of the 1st degree. Note that the Tarot card is the "Star" - the feeble light from distant suns.
Barrier - Entrance to the 2nd degree.
Pisces - Early portion of 2nd degree. The Tarot card is the "Moon" - the light is stronger and the source is nearer though we see but reflected light.
Barrier - Ascent of W.S. Note that, in the exoteric Zodiac, this is the end of one cycle and the commencement of the next, it is also the period of change from Winter to Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It represents the beginning of growth of the ear of corn when watered by the outpouring of the Divine Spirit.
Aries - The second portion of the 2nd degree. The ascent has brought us from the waters (fish) to dry land (ram).
Barrier - Entrance to the 3rd degree. The change is from the Tarot card of "The Emperor" (temporal power) to "The Hierophant" (spiritual power).
Taurus - Early portion of the 3rd degree. This is the sign of the South, the period of "high twelve" when the sun is at its meridian, but the full power of the spiritual sun may appear but darkness to the physical senses as the pillar of cloud proved darkness to Pharaoh and his followers. Note also that the pillar of cloud was merely complementary to the pillar of fire.
Barrier - R. to a re-union with the Cs. of former toils.
Gemini - The second portion of the 3rd degree. The Tarot card is "The Lovers". The figures are shown naked - the traditional symbol of birth - but note that they are adult figures, indicating that we are not dealing with material birth: this is the mystical, or "virgin", birth about which we know so much and yet so little.
Barrier - Installation as Master of the Lodge.
Cancer - Rule as Master of the Lodge. The sign is governed by the Moon, the source of reflected light. showing that the rule is by virtue of power "in me vested" from a higher authority.
Barrier - Exaltation to R.A. The change is signified by the change of colour from the silver of the moon to the gold of the sun.
LEO - The R.A. degree. Note that, on the Tarot card "Strength", the female figure (intuition) is dressed in a plain white robe. It is significant that the R.A. degree should be included so obviously for we are told that "Ancient Freemasonry consists of three degrees only, including the H.R.A."
Barrier - Investiture as a Grand Officer.
Virgo - Rank as Grand Officer. The figure of Virgo bears a sheaf of corn, evidence of the fruits of spiritual progress. With precisely the same meaning, the collars of Grand Officers are richly decorated with sheaves of corn.
Barrier - The call to render account of Stewardship. The entrance to the M.C. of the Temple.
Libra - The reckoning before the G.A.O.T.U. who shall pay to each his due wages according to the law of Karma. And each one of us will receive those wages well knowing that we are justly entitled to them, whether or not the medicine be pleasant and palatable, for then our eyes will be opened and we shall know even as we ourselves are known. This is the period of examination for admission to the "G.L. Above" where the world's great A. lives and reigns for ever.
Barrier - The entrance to the period of non-manifestation.
Scorpio - The period of withdrawal for assimilation of the lessons learnt during the journey, and of the verdict of the G.A. This is the period of preparation for the next stage of the journey, whether it be on this planet called earth or on an entirely different plane of existence.
Before we leave our study of the paths of the mystical journey, let us return to the arrangement of the twelve Tribes of Israel round the Ark of the Covenant. We have found that certain of those paths represent profound mystical experiences and we can tabulate four of them as follows :
Path of Zodiac Corresponding Tribes Mystical Experience
Sagittarius Benjamin Admission to Lodge to Capricorn........ to Zabulon Taurus Ephraim R. to re-union with comps. to Gemini... ....... to Manasseh .... of former toils. Gemini Manasseh to Cancer .......... to Issachar ..... Installation as Master of Lodge. Cancer Issachar Exaltation to R.A. to Leo..... to Judah
In Fig. 7 these paths are traced as broken lines to form a well-defined pattern, and notice that two of them pass through the Ark - the path of the Tau cross and the path of the Master's level. Let us, with all humility, remember those glorious words of our Ritual :....... by which means alone we hope to pass through the ark of our redemption, into .... into the presence of Him who is the great I AM, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
We have traced the path of our mystical journey through the pattern of the stars and through the symbolism of our Order from the Scorpion of Incarnation, over the hills and through the valleys until, at the end of the road, we are borne on eagles wings into the presence of Him who is the great "I AM", the source of all light and life. The Book is set open in the skies, but only those who have the eyes to see may read from its pages.
Let us conclude with those very appropriate words from Emerson:
"Teach me your mood, O patient stars! Who climb each night the ancient sky, Leaving on space no shade, no scars, No trace of age, no fear to die."
PEACE TO ALL BEINGS
The following books have been consulted:
1. An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy. By Manly P. Hall. (Pub. H.S. Crocker Co., San Francisco.)
2. A Garden of Pomegranates. By Israel Regardie. (Pub. Rider & Co., London.)
3. The Meaning of the Zodiac. By F.J. Mott. (Pub. Integration Publishing Co., New York.)
4. Oedipus AEgypdacus. By Athanasius Kircher. (Pub. Rome 1652.)
5. The Tarot. By Paul F. Case, (Pub. Macoy, New York.)
6. Zodiacs, Old and New. By Cyril Fagan. (Pub. Anscombe, New York.)
7. The Zodiac and the Soul. By G.E.O. Carter. (Pub. Theosophical Publishing Co., London.)
8. Zodiacal Influences from Seed to Flower. By Ethel Bret Harte. (Pub. Theosophical Publishing Co., London.)
9. The Royal Art of Astrology. By Robt. Eisler. (Pub. Herbert Joseph Ltd., London.)
10. Transactions Nos. 8 and 44, Dormer Masonic Study Circle.