We are told in the E:.A:. 1° that since the time ov the Saints John " there is represented in every regular and well governed Lodge, a certain Point within a Circle, embordered with two perpendicular parallel lines.
We are taught in Geometry ( or Masonry ) that a point is simply a location, without either length, breath, or thickness. It has no dimention. It does not exist. It is in fact Nothing. It is Infinity in smallness. It cannot be observed by any ov the senses, yet we know that it must exist, because it was " In the Beginning" ov Geometery and all processes in that science started from it. " All things made through HIM, and without HIM was not anything made ". We can only become aware ov the Point when it becomes a Creator, by movement ( " upon the face ov the waters " ) to become a line, which line moves to form a surface, which surface moves to become a solid. The point within the Circle is a world wide symbol ov the Sun.
The point is as inveisable as G~d in invisable, but, by a singular substance, we have a symbol or visable sign ov this Divine Presence in the Dot " · ", which we usually see in the center ov the Circle ov HIS Universe. The very word "dot" is a vestige ov the Hebrew letter " Yod " It is the very first letter in HIS divine and Holy Name
On the Royal Arch ov Heaven itself, It will be noted that the sun crosses the Celestrial Equator twice in a yearly circuit, at two opposite points, distant 180° from each other and in time six months.The point where the sun crosses in the spring while coming north, is called the Vernal Equinox, which occurs on the 21st ov March; the other, where it crosses six monthes afterward, coming south, is called the Autumnal Equinox, and occurs on the 23rd ov September. At these periods the days and nights are equall, and that is the reason why they are called equinoctial points, from the Latin words Æquus = Equal, and Nox = Night.
Now imagine another great circle running thru the summer solstice and another thru the winter solstice, each being parallel to the Celestial Equator and therefore parallel to each other. Where the planes ov these circles cut the earth are formed what we call the Tropics ov Cancer and Capricorn, which are delineated on all globes and maps, the Tropic ov Cancer passing thru Mexico and North Africa, and the Tropic ov Capricorn passing thru South America, southern Africa, and Australia.
A person standing on the earth and looking toward the sun will find- although they are invisable to the eye in the daytime- that the sun is apparently among a certain group ov stars at a particular time. It is found that there are twelve separate and distince groups ov these stars, called constellations, thus to be found along the path ov the sun. They extend about 8° on each side ov the ecliptic. This belt ov stars 16° in width is divided into twelve equal parts ov 30° each, denoting the particular place which the sun occupies during each ov the twelve months ov the year.
These twelve constellations are ranged in their apparent places around the great zodiacal circle as follows: :
Aries was the first constellation in the zodiac. Aries is assigned to Gad
The constelation ov the Bull is next to Aries in the zodiac, and is one ov the most celebrated and splended. The famous stars called the Pleiades are in Taurus, and near it is the magnificent constellation Orion. In it, too, is the bright star Aldebaran, which was formerly much used by navigators and is related to the symbolism ov the Royal Arch Degree, refering to the Ox, and anciently marked the Vernal Equinox. The mighty sun-star Sirus, thedeified Sothis or Anubis ov the Egyptians, the Dog Star, Our Masonic Blazing Star, also appears in this constellation. Before the time ov Abraham, or over 4000 years ago, it adornd and marked the vernal equinox. Taurus is ascribed to Joseph.
The next constellation, the twins, are found the brightest stars, Castor and Pollux. It is assigned to Benjamin.
Caner, the crab, is compossed ov small stars ov no specail importance. It is assigned to Issachar.
Leo, the Lion, is another celebrated and beautiful constellation. It is easily known by five or six bright stars situated in the neck and head ov the lion, and arranged in the form ov a sickle. On ov these stars is the bright star Regulus, which is situated almost exactly in the ecliptic. It was, therefore, ov great use to navigators in determining the longitude at sea. At the building ov King Solomon's Temple, it was much nearer the summer solstice than it is now. It is worthy to note that this sign is attributed to the tribe Judah.
Virgo is the Beautiful Virgin ov the zodiac. She is represented holding a spear ov ripe corn, that is, wheat, in her left hand, marked by the beautiful star called Spica. ( In Masonic form, she holds the sprig ov Acacia ). The star Spica apparently lies within the path ov the moon and was ov great use to navigator.This constellation is attributed to Naphtali.
Libra, the Scales, or Balance, was anciently represented by the figure ov a man or woman holding a pair ov scales. This constellation was formerly at the autumnal equinox and when the sun entered its stars the days and nights were equal, or, balanced. This sign is ascriged to Asher.
The sign ov Scorpio has some resembalance to that creature. In Hebrew zodiac it is refered to Dan. The brilliant red star Antares in Scorpio refers to the Celestial Vulture, or Eagle, on Our Royal Arch Banners, and aciently marked the autumnal equinox.
The Archer is represented by a monster, half horse, half man, in the act ov shooting an arrow.
The Goat is composed ov 15 visable stars, most ov them small. It was called by the ancient oriental nations the southern gate to the sun.
Aquarius, the Water-Bearer, represents Reuben. It contains the large star Fomalhaut, used by navigators, anciently marking the winter solstice and represented on Royal Arch banners by the figure ov a man.
The Fishes are represented by two fishes joined at a considerable distance by a loose cord, and are ascribed to Simeon.A Masonic Lodge is situated due East and West because the sun, apparently rises in the East, and sets in the West. Likewise, the Lodges covering is nothing less than the " clouded canopy, or starry-decked Heavens " refers to the sun and its postion in the Heavens. Its lights in the East, South, and West are refered directly to the sun in our modern ritual and cerimonies. The whole Lodge, therefore, is symbolic ov the Earth illuminated by the Sun shinning from the East, South, and West; covered by by day with a "cloudy canopy" and by night by "the starry-decked Heavens". The Lodge, when revealed to the entering Mason, discovers to him a representation ov the world.
Masons are instructed to travel East in search ov Light, or toward the Great Architect, symbolized by the rising sun.
King Solomons Temple is also referred to in Our ritual as symbolic ov that " Temple not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens ". All ancient temples were originally dedicated to the worship ov the sun and other celestial orbs, whose circuit in the Heavens each year was symbolically represented in the details ov their constrution and ornaments. The word " temple " is from " tempus " meaning time.Frequent reference has been made to what is known as " precession ov the equinoxes ". That is a name that is given to a gradual change ov place that is going on constantly ov the point where the sun each year crosses the Celestial Equator. The zodiac has four principal points : the two solsticial and the two equinoctial points, which, dividing the circle ov the zodiac into four equal parts, are properly designated in these diagrams. These points were marked anciently by the stars Fomalhaut, Aldebaran, Regulus, and Antares, as has been remarked to be ov intrest to Royal Arch Masons, they having represented these stars by their images upon the Chapter Banners ov the four Veilsmen. But these stars do not now mark these points, for the sun has been found to have crossed the equator in a different place each year. As complees the annual circuit ov the zodiac, it crosses the equator at a point a small distance back ov the place on the ecliptic where it did so the previous year-in consequence ov which the equinoctial point is annually falling back at a uniform rate. If placing the equinoctial points and compair the two great circles ov the celestial equator and the ecliptic to two great intersecting hoops, and imagine the hoop repressenting the ecliptic being slowly turned around its center toward Cancer, within the circle ov the Celestial Equator, which remains fixed, the contact between the two hoops being maintained, and no change in the angle at which they intersect each other, we shall gain a clear idea ov the effect produced by this phenomenon. The point Aries would then slowly advance above the equator untill the point Pisces was at the intersection ov the two circles. The Fishes would then be on the equinox, which is now the case, since approxamitly during the birth ov Jesus Christ, hence, Ichthus [The Fish]. In time, this motion being continued, the Water-Bearer will occupy that place, and so on...
The point where the sun crossed the equator was once in the constellation ov Aries, but the long progress ov the centuries the place ov the sun's crossing has fallen back 30° from the 1° ov that constellation, so that the vernal equinox is now really in the constellation Pisces, the Fishes; or in other words, the sun enters the stars ov the constellation Pisces on March 21st, and not those ov the constellation Aries, as it did 22 centuries ago, as we are informed by the ancient astronomer Hipparchus. The place, however, where the sun crosses the Celestial Equator has continued to be, ans still is, and will continue to be, marked by the sign ov Aries, so that the sign ov Aries now marks the place in the zodiac ov the constellation ov the Fishes. The signs and the constellations are therefore no longer in the same places. Hence, in order to make ourfigure ov the zodiac strickly correct, the sign Aries should be placed against the contellation Pisces. The sign Pisces against the constellation Gemini. The sign Gemini against the constellation Cancer, and so sround the entire circle.
This precession ov the equinoxes is still going on, but the four cardinal points ov the zodiac will always continue to be marked by the signs Aries and Cancer, and Libra and Capricorn without regaurd to the constellations which the sun actually enters at those periods. It is by this means that astronomers are able to register upon the face ov the Heavens this apparent moment ov the stars. This precession rate motion has been determined by long continued observations, and is a little more than 50¼ seconds ov a Degree each year. It therefore takes the equinoctial point about 2140 years to fall back an entire sign, or 30°. In 25,791 years ( about 26,000 years ) it will make a complete revolution ov the whole circle ov the zodiac belt. This period is called the Great Platonic Year, because that philosopher taught that after it had elapsed the world would begin anew.
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