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POINT WITHIN A CIRCLE.
POINT WITHIN A CIRCLE. SUPL.
This is a symbol of great interest and importance, and brings us into close connection with the early symbolism of the solar orb and the universe, which was predominant in the ancient sun-worship. The lectures of Freemasonry give what modern Monitors have made an exoteric explanation of the symbol, in telling us that the point represents an individual Brother, the circle the boundary line of his duty to God and man, and the two perpendicular parallel lines the patron saints of the Order—Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist.
But that this was not always its symbolic signification, we may collect from the true history of its connection with the phallus of the Ancient Mysteries
The phallus was unong the Egyptians the symbol of fecundity, expressed by the male generative principle. It was communicated from the Rites of Osiris to the religious festivals of Greece. Among the Asiatics the same emblem, under the name of Miriam, was, in connection with the female principle, worshiped as the symbols of the Great Father and Mother, or producing causes of the human race, after their destruction by the deluge.
On this subject, Captain Wilford (Asiatic Researches) remarks "that it was believed in India, that, at the general deluge, everything was involved in the common destruction except the male and female principles, or organs of generation, which were destined to produce a new race, and to repeople the earth when the waters had subsided from its surface. The female principle, symbolized by the moon, assumed the form of a lunette or crescent; while the male principle, symbolized by the sun, assuming the form of the lingam, placed himself erect in the center of the lunette, like the mast of a ship.
The two principles, in this united form, floated on the surface of the waters during the period of their prevalence on the earth; and thus became the progenitors of a new race of men." Here, then, was the first outline of the point within a circle, representing the principle of fecundity, and doubtless the symbol, connected with a different history, that, namely, of Osiris, was transmitted by the Indian philosophers to Egypt, and to the other nations, who derived, as is elsewhere shown, all their rites from the East.
It was in deference to this symbolism that, as Godfrey Higgins remarks (Anecalypsis ii, page 306), circular temples were in the very earliest ages universally erected in cyclar numbers to do honor to the Deity.
In India, stone circles, or rather their ruins, are everywhere found; among the oldest of which, according to Moore (Pancheon, page 242) is that of Dipaldiana, and whose execution will compete with that of the Greeks. In the oldest monuments of the Druids we find, as at Stonehenge and Avebury, the circle of stones. In fact, all the temples of the Druids were circular, with a single stone erected in the center. A Druidical monument in Pembrokeshire, called Y Cromlech, is described as consisting of several rude stones pitched on end in a circular order, and in the midst of the circle a vast stone placed on several pillars. Near Keswick, in Cumberland, says Doctor Oliver (Signs and Symbols, page 174) is another specimen of this Druidical symbol. On a hill stands a circle of forty stones placed perpendicularly, Of about five feet and a half in height, and one stone in the center of greater altitude.
Among the Scandinavians, the hall of Odin con tained twelve seats, disposed in the form of a circlers for the principal gods, with an elevated seat in the center for Odin. Scandinavian monuments of this form are still to be found in Scania, Zealand, and Jutland. But it is useless to multiply examples of the prevalence of this symbol among the ancients. Now let us apply this knowledge to the Masonic symbol.
We have seen that the phallus and the point within a circle come from the same source, and must have been identical in signification. But the phallus was the symbol of fecundity, or the male generative principle, which by the ancients was supposed to be the sun, they looking to the creature and not to the Creator, because by the sun's heat and light the earth is made prolific, and its productions are brought to maturity. The point within the circle was then originally the svmbol of the sun; and as the lingam of India stood in the center of the lunette, so it stands within the center of the Universe, typified by the circle, impregnating and vivifying it with its heat. And thus the astronomers have been led to adopt the same figure as their symbol of the sun.
Now it is admitted that the Lodge represents the world or the universe, and the Master and Wardens within it represent the sun in three positions. Thus we arrive at the true interpretation of the Masonic symbolism of the point within the circle. It is the same thing, but under a different form, as the Master and Wardens of a Lodge. The Master and Wardens are symbols of the sun, the Lodge of the universe, or world, just as the point is the symbol of the same sun, and the surrounding circle of the universe.
To the above observations by Doctor Mackey, Brother Charles T. McClenachan adds these two paragraphs:
An addition to the above may be given, by referring to one of the oldest symbols among the Egyptians, and found upon their monuments, which was a circle centered by an A U M, supported by two erect parallel serpents; the circle being expressive of the collective people of the world, protected by the parallel attributes, the Power and Wisdom of the Creator. The Alpha and Omega, or the W.ll representing the Egyptian omnipotent God, surrounded by His creation, having for a boundary no other limit than what may come within his boundless scope, his Wisdom and Power. At times this circle is represented by the Ananta (a Sanskrit word meaning eternity), a serpent with its tail in its mouth. The parallel serpents were of the cobra species.
It has been suggestively said that the Masonic symbol refers to the circuits or circumambulation of the initiate about the sacred Altar, which supports the three Great Lights as a central point, while the Brethren stand in two parallel lines.
POINT WITHIN A CIRCLE.Supl.
As knowledge of the customs of gilds, fraternities, churches, and of popular customs in the Middle Ages is increased it becomes ever more evident that the two Sts. John Days were in everybody's mind the two fixed points of the year, and that where we measure time in our minds from New Year's Day (St. John the Evangelist's Day was equivalent to it) they measured it from two extremes, one the shortest day in winter, the other the longest day in summer.
The early prominence of these two Days in Masonic customs need not there fore mean that the days were chosen for their religious significance; it rather may mean that they were chosen for their convenience as a calendar. It is doubt ful if Masons ever thought of the Sts. John as their Patron Saints until a late period; from the records of the Mason Companies (as noted on another page in this Supplement), some of them took St. Thomas as their Patron.
The Monitorial Lectures make it plain that the two Parallel Lines represent the Sts. John Evangelist and Baptist, not in their theological significance but in their sense as a calendar; the days named after those, Saints, rather than the Saints themselves, are denoted.
Since those days were the two extremes of the year, the sun is correctly represented as swinging in its circuit between them, for it cannot move south this side of the fixed point of the day named for the Evangelist nor go north beyond the fixed point of the day represented by the Baptist. The two days are the limits of its circle, therefore the circle is shone set between the lines. The Point Within the Cirele represents the year, a year of work, a year out of a man's life; at least it does if the history of its use is a true guide to its symbolic meaning. To follow that guide is not to narrow the symbolism down to a mere fact in the calendar, but is to canalize it, and to hold it fast to its Masonic meaning, lest commentators wander off into regions that have no connection with Freemasonry.
Lodges were held in Poland quite early in the eighteenth century, but the Bull of pope Clement XII in 1739 stopped all activities. In 1742, however, a Lodge was again at work in Volhynien and others soon revived. The Three Brothers Lodge was opened at Warsaw in 1766 by Count Augustus Moszynski and on June 24, 1769, it was declared a Grand Lodge. In 1770 Brother Moszynski was recognized by England as Provincial Grand Master for Poland. In 1772 owing to political affairs Masonic doings ceased. By 1780 however there were again three Lodges at work. The Good Shepherd Lodge reorganized as Catherine of the Polar Star, was in August, 1780, granted a Warrant as a Provincial Grand Lodge -' England with Count Hulsen as presiding officer. ()n March 4, 1784, it became an independent Grand Orient of Poland with Brother Andrew Mocranowski as Grand Master.
Activities again ceased in 1789 but were resumed in 1810. Eleven years later the Lodges were again closed by order of Czar Alexander. The freedom of action brought about in Masonic affairs during the World vVar encouraged the promotion of Lodges and a Grand Lodge was formed on October 1, 1921, independently of the Grand Lodge of Italy which had taken the preliminary steps at organization on September 11, 1920.
Brother Oliver Day Street, in his Report on Correspondence to the Grand Lodge of Alabama, 1922, ays, "The Grand Lodge of Poland with seat at Warsaw, has been recently organized, but we possess little mformation concerning it. A brief item in the Fellowship Forum of March 17, 1922, says that it bids fair to become the center of a vigorous Masonic movement in Central Europe."
A Supreme Council of Poland, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, was established in 1922 under the sponsorship of the Supreme Councils of Switzersnd, Netherlands, and Italy.
There is no charge more frequently made against Freemasonry than that of its tendency to revolution, and conspiracy, and to political organizations which may affect the peace of society or interfere with the rights of governments. It was the substance of all Barruel's and Robison's accusations, that the Jacobinism of France and Germany was nurtured in the Lodges of those countries; it was the theme of all the denunciations of the anti-Masons of America, that the Order was seeking a political ascendancy and an undue influence over the government; it has been the unjust accusation of every enemy of the Institution in all times past, that its object and aim is the possession of power and control in the affairs of state. It is in vain that history records no instance of this unlawful connection between Freemasonry and politics; it is in vain that the libeler is directed to the Ancient Constitutions of the Order, which expressly forbid such connection; the libel is still written, and Freemasonry is again and again condemned as a political club.
POLITICS AND MASONRY.
The first Book of Constitutions of Freemasonry (1723) has as its second part The Charges of a Free-Mason, which begins on page 49. The second of these charges is "Of the Civil Magistrate Supreme and Subordinate."
The paragraph consists of two long sentences, but both are nothing more than an elaboration of the opening clause of the first of the two: "A Mason is a peaceable Subject of the Civil Powers ...." The elaboration of this straightforward, unambiguous statement makes clear what the new Grand Lodge had in mind; there are Mayors, it said, with their council in towns and cities, Sheriffs with their staffs in the counties; each of these "magistrates" is charged to enforce the ordinances of the town or laws of the realm governing gilds, associations, assemblies of craftsmen; Masons do not rebel against these magistrates or make trouble for them; they keep the peace.
It did not occur to the Freemasons then, as it had never occurred to their Masonic forebears, that they were living under a "political system"; that other political systems were possible; that a different political system might be better than the one they had; they did not discuss such questions, or debate them, or propagandize their members in support of one system as against another. Such abstract and general political theories as democracy, monarchy, feudalism, republicanism, communism had never crossed their minds.
Throughout the Middle Ages theologians and philosophers might theorize about "the prince" or raise abstract questions. At a later time Coke, Bacon, Blackstone, Mr. Locke could discuss the merits of a constitutional system as against personal monarchy. But craftsmen knew nothing of such subjects, took their rulers and laws for granted, and raised no questions except on such matters of practical detail as their rights to hold assemblies, the carelessness of Royal Administrators, the scale of wages, etc.
Is Freemasonry democratic, republican, monarchic, etc.? Neither the words nor the ideas denoted by the words are found anywhere in the customs, rules and regulations, Constitutions, Landmarks, or the Ritual. The Craft has never interested itself in political philosophies, creeds, crusades; and does not now, because, like theology, they lie outside its province. Don't make trouble for magistrates; don't indulge in street brawls; don't hold illegal assemblies; be peaceable and law-abiding, this was as far as the Masons went; they did not even inelude such non-partisan, universal words as patriotism and citizenship in their Ritual.
The Craft began in a period of unadulterated feudalism, when a Lord owned the land, or a portion of it, and the men, women, fields, animals, and everything on it.
To be free was an exceptional status which the lord granted, and almost always for a consideration, and this freedom was granted to a man, a town, a eorporatiOnw a body of men, a trade by means of a charter or dispensation.
Men not freed or manumitted were the private property of the lord, and could be bought and sold with the land. Feudalism was never banished in toto (Hungary still has it), but broke up one portion at a time, here and then there, now and then, piecemeal. It was succeeded by a dynastic system of personal rulers. A country, or county, or estate, or principality, or "crown" belonged to its ruler; if he married a woman possessing the crown of another "country," perhaps across the sea, he became ruler of both. He could divide countries among his sons. In Italy and France cities belonged to lords, and a great center like Venice, or Genoa, or Florence might belong to one "kingdom" today, another tomorrow because of a marriage.
This dynastic system gave way, piecemeal, to the national system; there came into existence countries with permanent boundaries, and in the process many lords and dynasties were swallowed up by one lord and he became king of a country: and his family was the only royal dynasty.
The power of these personal dynastic rulers was eaten into by the ever-increasing powers, first, of their own counsellors and under-lords, second, by the citizens at large represented by committees-of-the-whole called parliaments. The United States was the first country to adopt the last named exclusively, and to abandon the old barbaric notion that a man can "own" a country and a people, and the Medieval notion that any one man can rule and govern a people. The proof that Freemasonry is wholly non-political is furnished by the fact that it has perpetuated itself and preserved its own Landmarks unaltered in each and every one of these political systems; and the corollary fact that as a fraternity it has never taken part in overthrowing one system in favor of another. Its members can espouse any political theory or party they wish, can be monarchists, or communists, but they cannot act or speak in such matters in the name of Masonry or commit the Craft to any political dogma.
The American Revolution was in reality two revolutions: the military revolution for political independence was brought successfully to an end with the surrender of Yorktown; the social revolution, by which the titles, classes, privileges, etc., of the old aristocracy were abolished, came to its final end in the administration of Andrew Jackson.
In the American way of life a man counts as one, never more or less than one; he is a citizen by virtue of birth (or naturalization), and no one man can be less or more of a citizen than another; each one is free to attend school, walk the streets, work, speak, think; his government deals with him solely as a man; it has never required that he belong to any given party, religion, or class.
This is not a political system, but the absence of one, and absent because none is needed. The country is not governed according to a theory; the names "democratic" or "republican," etc., and if properly defined, are mere verbal labels, and mean nothing. A man is an American; there is no requirement for him to be anything additional. But he is "American" only because he lives in the country called America. It is because a man himself, any man, and by virtue of his nature, must thus count aS one man, be dealt with as a man and in no other capacity, that America has its way of life, and for no other reason; we did not at a people begin by adopting some particular political theory or program, and then set about putting it into practice. Men in any country can have the same way of life for and of themselves without thinking of it as borrowed from America, because it is not American but belongs to man as man.
Freemasonry fitted happily into this way of life, though it had, as an organization, nothing to do with making it (there were as many Masons on one side in the Revolution as on the other); the only point at which it chanced to correspond beforehand with the American way was its ancient Landmark of treating each candidate solely on his merits as a man, of compelling him to meet his fellows on the level, and of forcing him to leave his privileges, titles, etc., outside; but it did this not because it had adopted the theory called "democracy"—a word which, like socialism, may mean anything—but because its members were workers engaged in the same work together.
In the paragraphs on RELIGION ONLY FREEMAS0NRY elsewhere in this Supplement it is stated that Freemasonry never had a theology of its own because Masonry was the art of architecture, and that art, like the other arts and sciences, can never be altered by any theology, church, or religion but is self-same everywhere and always. The same fact is true of Masonry and politics. The principles, formulas, and tools of architecture were the same in feudal Europe as in "democratic" America. If Hitler and Stalin had any need to solve the Forty-seventh Proposition of Euclid they both had to solve it in the same way, because geometry is irrelevant to political regimes. So is astronomy, geology, farming, navigation, music, chemistry, physics, etc.; an automobile cannot be fascist, communist, democratic any more than it can be Jewish, Christian, or Buddhist.
Politics are of highest importance inside their own province; outside it they have no say about anything. Freemasonry stands outside that province. Such Lodges in Europe, especially in Italy and under the Grand Orient of France, as went into politics went out of Masonry in the act of doing so; and the Grand Bodies of more than ninety per cent of the world's Masonry proclaimed the fact by withdrawing fraternal recognition. When the Duke of Wharton tried to bring the young Mother Grand Lodge over to his political crowd of Jacobites the Grand Lodge put him out. If the National Association of Mathematicians were told by one of their members that henceforth mathematics must be Republican, or Protestant, or Anti-Semitic, they would do the same thing and for the same reason. Even the form of organization of a Lodge, its rules of order, its order of business, its regulations, its offices, its etiquette, cannot be described by any one of the labels used by politicians; it is uniquely Masonry's own; as the way of life in America can only be described as American, so with it; its way can only be described as Masonic.
Note. Apropos of what was said above about the second. or social, revolution, so many Americans refused to give up the usages of aristocracy that, under the name of United Empire Loyalists, 35,000 of them moved up to Nova Scotia. and 15,000 moved up into Ontario, most of them—and not always voluntarily!—in the years 1783-4; and still later so many moved up from Vermont that in the War of 1812 the majority of Vermonters refused to enlist in a war against Canada, because they had relatives there. Martha Washington herself was socially a Tory— to her a " democrat " meant very much what " bolshevist " was to mean a century and a half later. A Washington D. C. daily newspaper referred to Mrs. Dolly Madisor; the President's wife, as "Her Majesty."
A significant word in the advanced Degrees, which means altogether separated, in allusion to the disunited condition of the Masonic Order at the time, divided as it was into various and conflieting rites. The word is corrupted from palcol, and is derived from the Hebrew radical pal, which, as Gesenius says, everywhere implies separation, and the adverbial kol, meaning Wholly, altogether.
Ranulf Higden, a monk of Chester, wrote, about 1350, under this title a Latin ehronicle, which was translated into English in 1387 by John Trevisa, and published by William Caxton, in 1482, as The Polychronico7t; "conteynyag the Berynges and Dedes of many Tymes." Another edition was published, though, perhaps, it was the pane book with a new title by Wynkyn de Woorde.
in 1485, as Policronicon, in which booke ben comprysed bryefy many wonderful hystoryes, Englished by one Trevisa, vicarye of Barkley, etc., a copy of which sold in 1857 for £37. There was another translation in the same century by an unknown author. The two translations made the book familiar to the English public, with whom it was at one time a favorite work. It was much used by the compiler or compilers of the Old Constitutions now known as the Cooke Manuscripts Indeed, there is very little doubt that the writers of the old Masonic records borrowed from the Polychronicon many of their early legends of Freemasonry. In 1865 there was published at London, under the authority of the Master of the Rolls, an edition of the original Latin chronicle, with both the English translations, that of Trevisa and that of the unknown writer.
The pomegranate, as a symbol, was known to and highly esteemed by the nations of antiquity. In the description of the pillars which stood at the porch of the Temple (see First Kings via, 15), it is said that the artificer "made two chapiters of molten brass to set upon the tops of the pillars." Now the Hebrew word caphtorim, which has been translated chapiters and for which, in Amos (ix, 1), the word lintel has been incorrectly substituted, though the marginal reading corrects the error, signifies an artifical large pomegranate or globe. The original meaning is not preserved in the Septuagint, which has nor in the Vulgate, which uses sphaerula, both meaning simply a round ball. But Josephus, in his Ardiquities, has kept to the literal Hebrew.
It was customary to place such ornaments upon the tops or heads of columns, and in other situations. The skirt of Aaron's robe was ordered to be decorated with golden bells and pomegranates, and they were among the ornaments fixed upon the golden candelabra. There seems, therefore, to have been attached to this fruit some mystic signification, to which it is indebted for the veneration thus paid to it. If so, this mystic meaning should be traced into Spurious Freemasonry; for there, after all, if there be any antiquity in our Order, we shall find the parallel of all its rites and ceremonies.
The Syrians at Damascus worshiped an idol which they called Rimmon. This was the same idol that was worshiped by Shaman before his conversion; as recorded in the Second Book of Kings. The learned have not been able to agree as to 'he nature of this idol, whether he was a representation of Helios or the Sun, the god of the Phenicians, or of Venus, or according to Grotius, in his Commentary on the passage in Kings, of Saturn, or what, according to Statius, Feems more probable, of Jupiter Cassius. But it is sufficient for the present purpose to know that Rimmon is the Hebrew and Syriac for pomegranate.
Cumberland, the learned Bishop of Peterborough (Origines gerLtium antiquissimae, or Attempts for discovering the Times of the First Planting of Nations, page 60), quotes Achilles Statius, a converted Pagan, and Bishop of Alexandria, as saying that on Mount Cassius, which Bochart places between Canaan and Egypt, there was a temple wherein Jupiter's image held a pomegranate in his hand, which Statius goes on to say, "had a mystical meaning." Sanconiathon thinks this temple was built by the descendants of the Cabiri. Cumberland attempts to explain this mystery thus: "Agreeably hereunto I guess that the pomegranate in the hand of Jupiter or Juno, because, when it is opened, it discloses a great number of seeds, signified only, that those deities were, being long-lived, the parents of a great many children, and families that soon grew into nations, which they planted in large possessions, when the world was newly begun to be peopled, by giving them laws and other useful inventions to make their lives comfortable."
Pausanias (Corinthiaca, page 59) says he saw, not far from the ruins of Mycenae, an image of Juno holding in one hand a scepter, and in the other a pomegranate; but he likewise declines assigning any explanation of the emblem, merely declaring that it was a Greek expression meaning a forbidden mystery. That is, one which was forbidden by the Cabiri to be divulged.
In the Festival of the Thesmophoria, observed in honor of the goddess Ceres, it was held unlawful for the celebrants who were women to eat the pomegranate. Clemens Alexandrinus assigns as a reason, that it was supposed that this fruit sprang from the blood of Bacchus.
Bryant (Analysis of Ancient Mythology in, page 237) says that the Ark was looked upon as the mother of mankind, and on this account it was figured under the semblance of a pomegranate; for as this fruit abounds with seeds, it was thought no improper emblem of the Ark, which contained the rudiments of the future world. In fact, few plants had among the ancients a more mythical history than the pomegranate.
From the Hebrews, who used it mystically at the Temple, it passed over to the Freemasons, who adopted it as the symbol of plenty, for which it is well adapted by its swelling and seed-abounding fruit.
A round knob; a term applied to the globes or balls on the top of the pillars which stood at the porch of Solomon's Temple. It was introduced into the Masonic lectures from Scriptural language. The two pommels of the chapiters is in Second Chronicles (iv, 13). It is, however, an architectural term, thus defined by Parker (Glossary of Architecture, page 365): ''Pommel denotes generally any ornament of a globular form.''
This in French means the Green Apple. An androgynous (of both sexes) Order instituted in Germany in 1780, and afterwards introduced into France as we are told by Thory (Acta Latomorum i, page 333).
See Bridge Builders.
See Bridge Builders.
In addition to what has been said of this word in the article on the Bridge Builders of the middle Ages, the following from Athanase Coquerel, in a recent essay entitled The Rise and Decline of the Romish Church, will be interesting.
What is the meaning of pontiff? Pontiff means bridge maker, bridge builder. Why are they called in that way? Here is the explanation of the fact:
In the very first year of the existence of Rome, at a time of which we have a very fabulous history and but few existing monuments, the little town of Rome, not built on seven hills, as is generally supposed—there are eleven of them now, then there were within the town less than seven even—that little town had a great deal to fear from an enemy which should take one of the hills that were out of town—the Janiculum—because the Janiculum is higher than the others, and from that hill an enemy could very easily throw stones, fire, or any means of destruction into the town.
The Januculum was Heparated from the town by the Tiber. Then the first necessity for the defense of that little town of Rome was to have a bridge.
They had built a wooden bridge over the Tiber and a great point of interest to the town was, that this bridge should be kept always in good order, so that at any moment troops could pass over. Then, with the special genius of the Romans, of which we have other instances, they ordained, curiously enough, that the men who were a corporation, to take care of that bridge shouid be sacred; that their function. necessary to the defense of the town, should be considered holy; that thev should be priests, and the highest of them was called the High Bridge Maker. So it happened that there was in Rome a Corporation of Bridge Makers— pontifices—of whom the head was the most sacred of all Romans; because in those days his life and the life of his companions was deemed necessary to the safety of the town.
Thus it is that the title of Pontifex Maximus, assumed by the Pope of Rome, literally means the Grand Bridge Builder (see Bridge Builders of the Middle Ages).
See Grand Pontiff.
POOR FELLOW SOLDIERS OF JESUS CHRIST.
This title is in Latin Pauperes commilitones Jesu Christi. This was the title first assumed by the Knights Templar.
The spirit or essence of Brahma in the Indian religious system.
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