Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Masonic Temple

The Masonic Temple

Having determined that the original ("operative") Masons were the Magi, and that they were mental builders, let us inquire into the nature of the edifice upon which these wisest of all men bestowed so much constructive effort. Tradition informs us that the Masonic Brethren laboured in the erection of Solomon’s Temple. Sol is the Latin name of the Sun-God, Phoebus. Om is the Hindu name of Deity. On is the Sun-God of Heliopolis, Egypt. And while combining these words from different languages undoubtedly is far-fetched, yet nevertheless, as will be shown in detail later, Sol-Om-On certainly represents the Grand Master of the Universe, whose most fitting symbol is the majestic and all-commanding Sun, from Whom comes all Life, Love, Energy, and Power. The Masonic Temple thus is the mansion of the Sun; the universe itself; a spangled canopy of blue, so situated and so arranged as to prove the most suitable lodge room for the initiation of the candidate: the Human Soul.

But how? We are led to inquire, could any body of men, howsoever wise, work to build the jewelled mansion of the Sun, seeing that the very stars shining at their birth sang before the dawn of life upon the earth, and will join in the funeral requiem when the world is cold and gray, wrapped in the icy mantle of death? Certainly no earthly hands ever placed those blazing diamonds in the sky.

In what manner, then, could the early Masons have assisted in the construction of the Temple? Now remembering that Mason and Imagination are derived from the same root-word, a little light begins to dawn upon our perplexity. The early Mason was not a worker in stone, but a mental builder, in whose work Imagination played the most important part.

With the first glimmer of intelligence, man’s mind, elevating itself above those of lower forms of life, must have been attracted to celestial phenomena. He watched the blazing orb of day peep over the eastern rim of the world, then soaring upward traverse the azure arch, and later sink, declining into the darkening west. He learned that night followed day, and that day followed night; necessity teaching him to start his labours with the rising Sun, and to seek shelter at the approach of night. Thus became he an observer of time.

Still wider experience brought the conviction that there was an orderly succession of the seasons. The rains of winter were followed by the droughts of summer. Cold followed heat, and heat followed cold. To the huntsman these were periods when game was scarce or plentiful, and he must learn to obtain enough food in the times of abundance to nourish him during those of famine. And how eagerly he looked forward to the return of the more fruitful days, and thus he became an observer of seasons.

As a herdsman, our early forefathers watched the shortening and the lengthening of the days; and when the Sun in its annual pilgrimage entered a certain cluster of stars, he knew from experience that the green grass soon would be starting on the mountain side, and he drove his flocks from the valley to those more luxurious pastures. So, also, the farmer learned to till the ground and sow his grain when certain stars rose with the morning sun. The time of harvest was at hand when certain other groups were seen, and winter’s bleak scarcity was heralded by the wending southward of the orb of the day. Thus, early man became the astronomer, his sustenance depending in great measure upon his ability to interpret, upon climate and the denizens of the earth, the effects of celestial phenomena.

Having seen what powerful influences were exerted by the heavenly bodies upon all things external to himself, it was only natural that those studiously inclined should wish to ascertain their influence upon man himself. As a general rule, it was found that people born in the spring, just after the days and nights became of equal length, were more energetic and had more initiative than people born at some other times of the year. People born with the same group of stars rising upon the horizon were observed to possess characteristics in common. Likewise, the portion of the heavens occupied by the Moon was found to influence the brain capacity. From these observations, covering immense periods of time, whose aim was to ascertain the relation existing between man and the stars, arose the sublime science of Astrology. Astronomy was studied, and observations were carefully and systematically recorded, only as factors in determining the effects of celestial influence upon man-kind. And as a factor necessary in the study of astronomy, there was developed the science of Mathematics.
Astrology Also is a Sacred Science

Astrology was not studied merely as a means whereby man might profit materially, but as a Sacred Science. The material universe, even as man’s physical body is his material expression, was considered to be the manifestation of an All-Wise Intelligence. Man manifests his will through acts; so were the heavenly motions thought to be manifestations of the Will of Deity.

As year rolled into year, and century into century, a class of men developed who were peculiarly fitted by natural endowments to pursue the study of the starry heavens and formulate the result of their observations of celestial and mundane phenomena into a scientific system. These were the Magi, the original Masons. Just as at the same time a distinct military class separated itself from the mass of the people by virtue of their superior physical prowess, their love of power, their aggressiveness and disregard of all save might, and became the temporal rulers of the people – the Kings and their immediate associates – so, by virtue of their superior mental and spiritual endowments, the Masons, as a class, separated from the populace and become the sages, philosophers, scientists, the spiritual advisers and priests; dictators in matters religious.

And as persistent culture developed mighty warriors, so the rigid discipline from childhood to which the priests were subjected developed mental and spiritual giants whose keen minds and lucid soul faculties penetrated the innermost recesses of nature. These Masons early perceived a sympathetic relation existing between the organism of man and the fiery points in the firmament above, a definite correspondence between certain sections of Solomon’s Temple and the human body. They found that there are certain principles pervading nature that express themselves in the influence of the stars, on the earth, in the sea, in the air, and in the body of man-kind.

Slowly, by degrees, and with infinite patience, these correspondences were sought out between the things representing a given principle on the earth and that portion of the celestial sphere having the same influence. As these correspondences were ascertained it became the duty of the Mason to inscribe them in the sky, that their meaning might not be lost to future generations.

In this work of building the Temple of the Sun, his imagination played an important part. With it he wove the fanciful pictures among the stars; for often the actual outlines of the constellations bears no resemblance to the animals or objects they are designed to represent. They do, however, invariably signify an influence in mundane affairs well denoted by the things so pictured. To be more precise, the signs of the zodiac and the decanates of the zodiac, of the same names as the constellations have such influences; for the constellations but picture the various reactions of sections of the zodiac. Thus, gem by gem, that which was found imbedded in the soul of man had its corresponding jewel added to the dome above; the whole being formulated by the early Masons into the famed Science of the Soul and the Stars.
How King Solomon’s Temple Was Built

Astrology was studied not merely for its material profit, but also as a religion. The early Mason cast about for an explanation of the visible universe. In his experience he had found no higher type of active agent than the mind. It was the one thing in his experience that could voluntarily create. The mind of man could build a house in imagination, then cause its construction of wood and stone. Yet what was finite mind? It was an invisible, intangible cause about which he could only think in abstract terms; an unknowable director of human actions.

Having found each visible portion of man, each organ and each physical function, to have a correspondence in the sky, what was more natural than to conclude that there must also be a correspondence to his invisible estate! And as finite mind is the most potent of all agents to create below, it logically follows that Infinite Mind is the most potent creative agent in the whole universe. Carrying this line of reasoning a step further, he was forced to conclude that as man is composed of an invisible mind and a visible body, so God likewise has an invisible and a visible domain; the invisible portion being Infinite Mind and the visible portion being the Material Universe, infinite both in extent and in complexity.

Being convinced that the universe, including man, is the result of creative design, it became the endeavour of the Magi to fathom its purport, or at least so much of it as relates to man, that he might conform his life and efforts harmoniously to that purpose. Man’s actions are symbolic of his will and purpose. Thus was it legitimate to conclude that God’s Will is revealed in the movements of nature to those who have sufficient penetration to grasp the meaning of their symbology.

Therefore, the early Masons sought out the correspondences in nature, and built their pictured symbols in the sky, as the Temple of Solomon, Grand Architect of the Universe. And this grand edifice, erected by the Ancient Masons; is of most perfect design, revealing as it does to the discerning, the Will of Deity; for what wiser thing could man do than to imitate the building of this ancient structure, and build for his own indwelling soul a mansion as perfect in its proportions, and as harmonious in its arrangements, as the Temple of King Solomon!

In time the Mason, as a priest, became only an interpreter of the ideas symbolically built into the Temple by his wiser forefathers. The word “religion” is derived from the Latin “re” (back), and “ligare” (to bind), and means literally, to bind back. This, then, became the work of later Masons; to collect truths discovered in times past and bind them together in such a manner that they might be preserved for future generations. These truths, in their symbolic form, are found woven more or less into all important religion the world has ever known. The earliest religions were purely astronomical, and it is safe to say that every important religion that ever has been entertained by the mind of man has had an astrological foundation.

Man’s body is not the real man/woman, nor is the material universe God. The real man is the invisible controlling ego, and God is the invisible and unknowable Infinite Mind that directs and controls the mighty Cosmos. The Ancient Masons ever sought to find a fitting symbol to represent each principle and function of nature, and to build it into the Temple. What more fitting symbol could be found to represent the Infinite Ego, the true King, than the glorious orb of day!

Sol, therefore, was elected as the symbol of the controlling power of the universe – Deity – it being recognized by those of inner vision that the physical orb was but the external covering for the grander and more ethereal Spiritual Sun Who stands exactly in the same relation to the Solar System as does the human ego to its body. Thus originated Solar Worship, one of the most ancient forms of religion.

To the mind of the Ancient Mason, the physical Sun, the centre of our system, from which the earth receives the requisite grade of force necessary for every terrestrial manifestation of power, organic and inorganic, vital and physical; was but the emblem of the Spiritual Sun which exerts that degree of celestial energy, which in matter becomes occult force, and in man becomes Will and Mental Power.

from Ancient Masonry

by C.C. Zain

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