Digital Series #1 – Give me the Secrets of a Master Mason!

Good evening my brothers. While the majority of us are now in isolation and unable to meet. It dawned on me that we should get together digitally and share knowledge/light. So with the first in our series please enjoy a paper by Wor. M.D. a past master in Southern California. -Matt McColm, Master NV864

“Give me the secrets of a master mason” – A case for Sacred Geometry and the evolution of the Soul

Many in the fraternity have heard the almost universal complaint that, “there must be something more” to masonry than the repetition of the Blue Lodge ritual degree work and the reading of the minutes at a stated meeting. Some of us have even had the feeling that the “Work” is being parroted and performed in almost drone-like fashion. Rather than a criticism of the sincere efforts made by brethren to instill and to inculcate the spirit of masonry and its revered degrees to new men, it is more of an observation that I have made on many occasions.

Continue reading “Digital Series #1 – Give me the Secrets of a Master Mason!”

King Solomon’s Lodge – Astrological and Esoteric Symbols – Wor. Mark Doubleday, PM

King Solomon’s Lodge – Astrological and Esoteric Symbols

Ancient Masonry / Elbert Benjamin aka C.C. Zain 

Based on Richardson’s Monitor of Freemasonry, 1860

Slide-Solomon’s Temple

The foundation stones in modern masonry are not only the principals of Faith, Hope and Charity, but also the use of the craft to re-build the initiate into a more compassionate, understanding and giving man. Using a euphemism often heard about masonry, we call it the art of “Making Good Men Better”. I like to refer to masonry as “A Finishing School for Men”.

 But deeper still is the art of re-forming and re-molding a man’s soul, the “Enlightenment” of his Spirit and the practice of those qualities that bring a man closer to humanity and Deity. In our fraternity the ultimate symbol we use to exemplify this is the Temple of King Solomon. Today we are going to see some explanations of our ancient symbols that, to my experience are seldom discussed.

Original Masons

Who were the original masons? Starting with Sumerians in the Euphrates river valley, followed by the Semites and then their fusion into the Chaldeans we have had come down to us the word “igma” meaning wise or holy. The word “igma” transformed and became “mag”, coming from the Assyrian branch of the language of these peoples. Eventually this transformed yet again into the more easily recognizable name of “Magi”. Consequently this is where we get the words, Magic, Imagination and Mason. 


These Magi of the East were considered Wise-Men, but they were mental and spiritual builders, not builders of physical things. So that when they built “there was not heard the sound of ax, hammer or any tool of iron in the house”. Their labor was wrought in imagery of thought or what we call “imagination”, coming from the same root word that the word “mason” comes from. The original Masons were Magi of Egypt and Chaldea and were the “Magicians” or “Wise-Men” as their named implied. 

You will notice that I used a slide of Sufis, who are Islamic mystics. My studies have led me to believe that the Sufis are the inheritors of the ancient Magi traditions.


Slide-King Solomon’s Temple

For our purposes in masonry, we use a representation of King Solomon’s Temple to exemplify the physical and spiritual bodies of man. “Masonic Tradition” informs us that Masonic Brethren labored in the erection of this temple, and that during its building there was not heard the sound of ax, hammer or any tool of iron. I don’t believe that the metaphor is lost on any of us. We may surmise that the temple they built was a temple of the mind and spirit.

Slide-GMKS Temple

We could argue about the physical existence of Solomon’s temple, but I don’t believe any of us thinks for one minute that masons are building an actual temple when we enter into a Masonic lodge. I think we can all agree that we are using the metaphorical King Solomon’s Temple as a framework whereby we are constructing a new man on top of our old selves.

To that point, I am going to demonstrate how our Masonic King Solomon’s Temple is an actual physical and metaphysical framework upon which we build ourselves into better men and more spiritually actualized men.

The name Solomon can be understood as a compound word with multiple layers and meanings. “Sol” is the Latin name for the Greek sun god Phoebus, “Om” is the Hindu name for Deity, and “On” is, according to Old Testament translations, the name of an ancient Egyptian city, where the Egyptians worshiped “Atum” and “Ra”, their Sun Gods, later named Heliopolis by the Greeks after Alexander and Ptolemy conquered Egypt. It may seem a bit of a stretch, but when put altogether we get “Sol-Om-On who is the “Grand Master” in our masonic ritual and a fitting representation of the “Sun” or “Sol”. 


Our Masonic Temple is described as a mansion of the sun, a representation of our Solar system, our physical and spiritual bodies and a representation of the universe as represented as a microcosm.

 It is also a roadmap showing the path of initiation, from the basest of men to the most enlightened. The Ancient Masons used their collective observations of nature to instruct other men on how to elevate or “Raise” themselves above the other lower life forms.

The ancient “Magi” or “Masons” did exactly this when they chose to use a sacred space like a temple as the foundation to building better men. They used a structure that exactly imitated nature and also revealed the underlying framework that all of nature is built on, and in so doing revealed the nature of that creation and the foundation of the original and true religion.

Slide- “As Above, So Below”

“As Above, So Below” 

The meaning of religion; religio can be separated as (re) = to go back, and (ligio) or  (ligature) = to tie -to connect, or to bind. Thus religio or religion is to tie back or to reconnect. So religion ties us back to our roots, and the Ancient “Masons” or “Magi” used religion to bring man back to his roots or foundations. Those foundations were in the very stars that birthed all life. Therefore the original and true religion was the “Religion of the Stars”.

Ancient man learned through simple observation that day followed night and after many successions these days became seasons. This taught them the best times to hunt, fish and plant. Because of this they naturally became observers of time and keen astronomers. The most adept of these men became the “Watchers of Horus” or the watchers of hours. They became the initiates of the mysteries and the priests, the Ancient “Masons” and “Magi”. 

Slide – Astrological Man

By using observations that covered immense frames of time these Ancient “Masons” or “Magi” began to detect and ascertain patterns in people and circumstances in the world which correlated to different celestial combinations in the heavens. These celestial patterns seemed to have some influence and impact on people and circumstances.  Even if the evidence was only circumstantial and coincidental, it was none the less apparent.

This system of “observation” then evolved into the “Sacred Science of Astrology”.

It was by this methodology that the Ancient “Masons”, the “Magi” began to ascribe details and influences to different parts of the canopy of heaven to their counterparts on earth. This was the work of building the “Temple of the Sun”, “that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”. 


In doing this they described the heavens in terms they easily recognized and understood and they used animals, from which we derived the word Zodiac, and objects they understood to describe the constellations and their correspondences to every aspect of life on earth and in our bodies.

 By this process they were able to identify every part of man and man’s life and ascribe it to a part of the heavens and the constellations. So when they built their temples they were copies of themselves and the observable universe that they understood. Every part connected and corresponded to every other part. 

Slide – “As Above, So Below”

 So the Temple of Solomon that we have inherited is the same temple that the Ancient “Masons” or “Magi” constructed, and it is an exact copy of the observable universe and our bodies. 

The Temple of Solomon is a perfect design and reveals the Will of Deity. Through thorough observation and understanding we can apply the lessons taught and discern that Divine Will and apply it to our lives, to better ourselves and better serve others. We practice the Religion of the Stars when we practice the Masonic lessons taught to us by the Grand Master of King Solomon’s Temple.

Quote from C.C. Zain

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

Slide – The Two Pillars

The Two Pillars:

Describe Polarity / The One Great Law of the Universe. This One Law manifests as centripetal and centrifugal forces/Repulsion and Attraction/Spirit and Matter

Right Pillar is called Jachin: He that Strengthens/ the Royal Sun returning from the Southern Declination and rising above the eastern horizon which brings renewed strength after winter/ which is the Male Influence.

The Left Pillar is called Boaz: Source of Strength/ It represents the passive and inert North. It is the Left Side of the Gateway of the Rising Sun which attracts the sun northward, while feminine in nature by its attractive power.

The Ever-Active Masculine, Jachin seeking that source of Strength becomes the Strengthener.

The Ancient “Masons” and “Magi” used the obvious when ascribing male attributes to the Sun and feminine attributes as the Moon, as Solar worship has always had sex worship intertwined within it precepts. This was done in recognition of the most sacred of deific attributes, the power of Life, the Creative Ability. The Sun is the source of all power and the Moon is the Mother of Manifestation.

Boaz in our ritual signifies “Strength” and Jachin signifies “to Establish”. 

Slide – The Plumb

The Masculine Symbol/ the Plumb/ Electric:

Embodying the representation of the Sun exerting its greatest power vertically, the Plumb is the symbol of the masculine principle in nature. Abbreviated it is the Vertical Line. The Plumb is the Jewel of the Junior Warden, who stands in the South, which represents the “Sun at Meridian Height”.

Slide – The Level

The Feminine Symbol/ the Level/ Magnetic:

The Horizontal is said to represent the passive, negative or inert principal. The Level is the symbol that embodies this and can also be represented as the Horizontal Line. The Level is the Jewel of the Senior Warden, who stands in the West, where the “Sun sets at the close of Day”.

Slide – The Cross

The Symbol of Union/ The Cross /Earth:

The Earth is the considered the Womb of Nature, the point where the electric rays of the Sun meet and are embraced by the magnetic rays of the Moon and this is represented by the Cross. In the Lodge this place would be represented by the Altar, where the Book of Law is placed and where the obligations are taken.

Slide – Symbols Combined

All of these symbols combined:

The basic symbols of the vertical line, the horizontal line, the cross, sun and the moon embodies all of the mundane and esoteric symbols needed to exemplify a vast array of celestial influences imparted on the world, man and all of earth’s creatures. 

Slide – Astrological Square

Astrological Significance of the Square:

The angles which the rays of the Sun, Moon and Planets meet the Earth were found to have an influence upon life and mundane affairs. In astrological calculations it is necessary to take and make measurements. The most basic is “Declination” which is a measure of an angle in respect to the plane of the Ecliptic, giving “Celestial Latitudes”.

The other important measurement is that of the angles of Longitude or “Aspects” of the Planets from one another. The Ancient “Masons” or “Magi” used Euclid’s Square to make these measurements, because it is used to calculate angles in 1 plane of geometry.

Slide – The Square

“The Square being an instrument suited to the measurement of plane surfaces embodies the idea of a Vertical Line, or Positive Force, meeting a Horizontal Line, or Negative Force at an angle which is measured in a single plane.” C.C. Zain

Squares in Astrology signify forces in conflict to one another; typically this is interpreted as male in influence. Thus the Square represents a male force.

Slide – Astrological Compass

Astrological Significance of the Compass:

To trace curved orbits of planets and their “Inclination” to one another we use the Compass. Due to the fact that the Sun, Moon and the planets travel (as observed from Earth) along different paths along the Celestial Equator this creates what is termed a “Declination” from one another.

“…the Compass, being an instrument used to draw circles, embodies the idea of a Male force meeting a Female force at an angle, this angle being measured in different planes. The “Right” leg of the compass indicates a Male force and the “Left” leg indicates a Female force. Thus, when the compass is seen with the right leg superimposed at their juncture, it indicates masculine supremacy; while when the left leg is uppermost, the feminine principle is shown to be dominant.” C.C. Zain

Slide – Different Representations of the Square and Compass

Different Representations of the Square and Compass:

As a result of the ever changing aspects and angles of the planets, the Sun and the Moon, the vertical rays of these bodies form spiral paths upon the surface of the Earth. The celestial bodies coming together in different combinations and angles, creates lines of force that impact the planet and its inhabitants. The Ancient Magi began to understand this and secreted this knowledge away in their rituals and through the ages some of this knowledge has found its way into our modern lodges, but to find it takes diligent search and questioning.  


Slide – Spiral

The word ‘Spiral” and the word “Spirit” derived from the Latin word “Spira” meaning, to breath. 

“From the spiral motion of the orbs, which, as I have previously indicated, causes the succession of the seasons and the various results which follow, comes forth all terrestrial life manifestations.” C.C. Zain

Slide – 3rd Arcanum – Gimel

“In Ancient Masonry this union (the Square and Compass) of zodiacal motion and the declination was symbolized by the union of the compass and the square. Additionally to indicate the germination of physical life generated by this motion there was added another symbol, the “S”, the symbol of the serpent which typified the generative act. Later the 3rd letter of the Hebrew alphabet was used, Gimel. It is the hieroglyph for the zodiacal sign Libra, the Scales. It symbolic meaning is exemplified in the 3rd Arcanum of the Egyptian Tarot and is represented by a pregnant woman.” C.C. Zain

Slide – Orphic Egg – Gimel

Slide – Squares & Compasses

The Square placed below the Compass is typical of purely physical union of sexes. In astrology inharmonious aspects all constitute a portion the square or 90 degrees. – Semisquare (45) – Square (90) – Sesquisquare (135) and Double Square or Opposition (180). The right Angle is a symbol of discord and strife. In Masonry this typifies the Entered Apprentice Degree.

“The Compass placed above the Square is typical of the higher union of souls in which reciprocal love is the chief factor, and which thought of gain form no part.” C.C. Zain

In Masonry this typifies the Master Mason Degree.

The male and female arms of the Compass should make an angle of 60 degrees. In astrology this is referred to as a “Sextile” (*). The “Sextile” is used to denote harmony and joy and the benefic aspects related to it are the Semisextile (30) – Sextile (*, 60) – Double Sextile or Trine (120).


Slide – Footprint of King Solomon’s Temple

The Footprint of King Solomon’s Temple and Key to the 32 Degrees of Masonry:

12 Zodiacal Signs are equivalent to 12 letters of the divine alphabet. They are the consonants used in the language of the stars. The 10 planets are the equivalent to the vowels. In addition the ancients ascribed numeric value to characters of the alphabet, so they held that 10 completed one whole cycle. This gave the Ancient Masons 32 kinds of material to work with in determining astrological influences. All of these symbols were determined to have specific natures and qualities and so also had terrestrial correspondences. The emblems that were chosen to express these qualities and correspondences were not chosen arbitrarily, but every care was taken to so that they may be expressed in a simple notation. The symbols chosen were designed to clearly express the import of the individuality and the influence of each heavenly orb.

Slide – Planets

Each of these symbols holds different keys to the mundane and the esoteric and have a relation to the here and now and the hereafter with regard to the development of the soul. Our ancient brethren used these symbols to mark important developments in human character and the attainment of immortality. Today we call them astrological symbols and for the most part their true meaning has been disregarded out of ignorance or perverted for gain, so that the true essence of their import has been lost to only a few. 

Slide- Planets – Modern Symbols

Slides – Planets – Hermetic Symbols

Slide – Modern & Hermetic Planets

The hopes of the Ancient “Masons” and “Magi” were that because of the universality of the symbols they used, they would be able to be understood by the astute observer of nature in any age, even if the collapse of civilizations should over take the original craftsmen. So the study of Ancient Masonry becomes a study of symbols. 

The symbol of the crescent symbolizes the soul, the cross signifies matter and the circle signifies spirit. By the various arrangements of these symbols we can be discerned the character of the planetary signs. Further, by knowing in which signs they reside, the houses where they fall, and the aspects they have to one another, we can begin to measure and observe their influence in the various areas of life where they impinge.


Slide – Hermes

Masons are told over and over that craft is full of symbols and that each of us is given to our own interpretation. I have argued that this is a disservice to our newly initiated brothers. It becomes incumbent on those of us who study more deeply to guide and mentor our brothers, so that they may gain a better understanding of the themselves, the craft and the debt they owe to the Great Architect for development of their own spirits, and to our Ancient Brethren who worked so hard under the burden of ignorance from their peers and under the pain of persecution and death to bring this knowledge to us.

Once a clear foundation is established and the principals are learned there is no fate that cannot be governed through proper observation and preparation. We are the Masters of our own Fates, if we use the tools and take responsibility for our own spiritual development.

Slide – The Two Keys of Knowledge: The Gold and Silver Keys:

“Occultism is the science of hidden forces, and the art of subjecting such forces to human control.” C.C. Zain

King Solomon’s Temple has two sets of doors; the outer doors and a second set of two doors that lead to its oracle. The door on the right is only opened with the Gold Key. The door on the left is opened by the Silver Key. These keys when turned right to left in the outer doors must be turned left to right to unlock the inner doors to the oracle.

Astronomy is the “Written Law” and the “Golden Key”, which is Astrology, is the key used to interpret the “Written Law”. The “Golden Key” unlocks the door of positive knowledge in King Solomon’s Temple.

The “Oral Law” was formulated by the Ancient “Masons” and “Magi”, and constructed in such a manner that it is incomprehensible to the vulgar and uninitiated. The “Silver Key” to the “Oral Law” is the Sacred Tarot, or Book of Thoth.

The “Golden Key” and the “Silver Key” have a duplicate correspondence, albeit one has a masculine and positive force, while the other has a female and passive force.

 “At the death of Moses the sun was eclipsed and the Written Law lost its splendor, and at the death of David the moon diminished and the Oral Law was tarnished.” Zohar


Slide – Tarot – The Royal Path

In addition to the hieroglyphs and symbols used to display the signs, planets and numbers there was an esoteric interpretation developed and these were engraved on separate tablets. In ancient Egypt these 32 tablets were called the Royal Path of Life, from “Tar” meaning the “Path” and “Ro” meaning “Royal”. What we today call the “Tarot”. 

 “Each of these tablets relates to a distinct potency of the human soul, and to one of the essential steps that the neophyte must take to reach the climax of human possibilities and become and exalted adept, heir of the Angels, who may realize while yet in the flesh his “Self-Conscious Immortality”.” C.C. Zain

Slide – 1st Degree Esoterica:

Entered Apprentice and the Planets:

The ground floor of the Grand Master King Solomon’s Lodge is actually a depiction of the earth taken from an astrological perspective, with King Sol in the sky above and the walls of heaven coming down on all sides to meet the visible horizon.

 The lodge room is situated facing due east and west and the north is always considered to be in shadow. All of the mundane houses of an astrological chart are represented and so too are the celestial globes.

When opening a Lodge of Entered Apprentices there must be present a Past Master and at least six apprentices. Each apprentice is an officer and each of them represents a planet and the influences that they impart.

Slide – Primary Celestial Symbols:

The Sun: Drawn as the circle circumscribing the dot. Symbolizes the vital, creative and positive attributes in nature, and its vibrations are electric and rule the vital force in man. It is the Father of all in the solar system.

The Moon: Drawn as the Crescent. Its energy nourishes and is reflective of the Sun’s energy and it rules the magnetic currents in life. It represents the formative attributes of the astral world. The moon gives form to all life and she is considered the Mother of all manifestation within the solar system.

The Earth: Drawn as the Cross circumscribed by the Circle. It is the place where active forces meet and cross one another. It is negative and mediumistic, and has no power of its own. It is the matrix where the other forces develop. It is the place where electric and Magnetic forces meet at cross purposes and this is signified by abrupt angles, discord and inertia.

The disc of the Sun is the symbol of Spirit, the Crescent the symbol of the Soul, and the Cross is the symbol of the Body. In astrology the Sun rules Individuality, the Moon rules Mentality and the Ascendant rules the Personality.

Slide – Officers and Planets: Saturn – Treasurer

The Treasurer symbolizes by the planet Saturn, which is symbolized by the Crescent surmounted by the Cross of Matter. This signifies that emotions and aspirations are subservient to material and self-centered ambitions.

 Saturn is connected to coldness and contraction and concreteness. He typifies the Blue Ray of the solar spectrum and rules over the bones, teeth and the spleen in the human body.

Saturn is well placed in the northeast of the Lodge in a place of coldness, misery and death. The treasurer and the physical body correspond to Saturn and is said represent man’s material form.

Slide – Jupiter – Secretary

The Secretary symbolizes the Cross of matter surmounted by the Crescent of the Soul, which is the reverse of the symbol of Saturn. Jupiter expresses warmth, noble aspirations, generosity and good will toward all. He is representative of the Purple Ray of the solar spectrum and rules over the liver and the arterial system of the body.

Jupiter corresponds well to the etheric body and so corresponds to the Secretary of the lodge who sits to the left of the Master (Southeast) near his warmth and radiance.

Slide – Venus – Junior Deacon

The Junior Deacon symbolizes the planet Venus and is depicted by the Circle of Spirit surmounting the Cross of Matter. Venus is indicative of grace, blind love, art and beauty in all its forms. She is mirthful and pleasure seeking and because reason is absent she exhibits little moral power.

Venus typifies the Yellow Ray of the solar spectrum and rules over the internal sex functions and the venus system in the body. As the Sun/Sol is in the East and exemplifies male energy, Venus sits in the south (benefic) and west (feminine) of the lodge and she corresponds to man’s astral form.


Slide – Mars – Senior Deacon

The Senior Deacon symbolizes the planet Mars and is drawn in reverse of the symbol of Venus, with the Circle of Spirit surmounted by the Cross of Matter. His is driven by passion, force, destruction and is emblematic of war.

Mars is representative of the Red Ray of the solar spectrum and rules over the muscles and external sexual organs. He can be cruel, selfish and coarse and he corresponds to man’s animal soul.

Mars is positive and malefic and he sits in the east and the north of lodge. Mars/Senior Deacon is not as far north as the Treasurer and is recognized as less malefic than Saturn/Treasurer.

Slide – Mercury – Junior Warden

The Junior Warden symbolizes the planet Mercury and is drawn with the Crescent of the Soul surmounting the Circle of Spirit and this is surmounting the Cross of Matter. This indicates that soul and spirit have triumphed over sensation. Mercury natives are studious, conversant, and seekers of knowledge. He is the messenger of the gods.

Mercury expresses the Violet Ray of the solar spectrum and rules over the tongue, brain and the nervous system of the human body. The spiritual body is ruled by Mercury.

Mercury/Junior Warden represents the convertibility of sex and he sits midway between the East (male) and the West (female) and displays a benefic disposition.

In masonry he is exemplified by Hiram Abiff, the Chief Architect of the Work.

Slide – Moon – Senior Warden

The Senior Warden symbolizes the Moon and is drawn in the shape of the Crescent. It signifies the dominance of the emotional, plastic and enfolding qualities and she clothes the ideals of her more positive lord, the Sun. 

She is the mould of all that is, ever was, ever will be and expresses the formative powers of the astral world. Luna is the goddess Isis.

The Moon expresses the Green Ray of the solar spectrum and rules over the breasts, stomach and fluidic systems in the human body.

The Moon/Senior Warden corresponds to the divine soul of man’s multiple constitution. The West is where this potent feminine energy sits opposing the Master’s male energy in the West. 

In masonry he is exemplified by Hiram, King of Tyre, who supported the Most Excellent King Solomon with masons and materials, and paid their wages if any be due.

Slide – Sun – Worshipful Master

The Worshipful Master is symbolized by the Sun and is drawn in the shape of the Circle of Spirit, which has a dot in the Center of the disc. The Dot in the center of the Circle of Spirit denotes the limitless possibilities and powers.

Remember, “from a point to a line, from line to a superfice, and from a superfice to a solid.”

The Sun is the Father of all life, the controlling potency and source of all energy in the solar system. He is proud, majestic, combative, self-confident, magnanimous, kind and benign. The Sun is the Egyptian Osiris.

The sun corresponds to the Orange Ray of the solar spectrum and rules over the heart of man. The Sun/Worshipful Master corresponds to the ego in man’s hermetic constitution. Being seated in the East he is the Great Benefic Force.

In masonry he is exemplified as the most Excellent King Solomon, the son of King David, who fulfilled the promise made by God to David that the Holy House would be built.

Slide – The Cross – The Candidate

The Candidate is symbolized by the Cross within the Circle and represents the entity/place where the forces of the Seven Planets/Officers are imparted. 

The initiate enters the lodge for instruction and under the influence and tutelage of the Planets/Officers is exposed to the experiences whereby he can raise his energy to create the “Perfected Man” and begin to build his Spiritual Body.

Slide – Why 7 Brothers?

Why 7 Must Be Present to Open an Apprentice Lodge:

“The lodge room being a ground plan of Solomon’s Temple indicates the material plane where all receive their first human initiation – where they encounter the tests and trials of everyday life.” C.C. Zain

“Man being a sevenfold creature, being incomplete and incompetent when any part of the seven are absent, so the lodge room, typifying man on the physical plane also is incomplete and incompetent unless the seven officers are all present.” C.C. Zain

To be capable of success in developing his Spiritual Body, the man/initiate shall be possessed of his seven constituent factors (spiritual factors), just as he needs all of his physical organs to successfully function on the physical plane.

Slide – The Charter

To open a Lodge of Entered Apprentices the Lodge must possess a charter or warrant from the Grand Lodge. 

“Man, therefore as a copy of the Apprentice Lodge with its seven members, also must act under a warrant, or charter, from the Grand Lodge of the Solar System. The warrant, or “Chart of Birth”, is a map of the soul’s need for expression, and outlines unerringly the course it should follow. The “Chart(er)” indicates just the work the candidate must perform to make progress and receive initiation within the Lodge of Life.

It is only when man becomes familiar with the  his chart and conforms his life and efforts to its mandates that he is able to escape the disapproval, and the consequent pain and suffering, from the Grand Stellar Lodge. It is only when he conforms his life to the music of the spheres as sounded at his birth, and either avoids the discords then sounded, or transmutes them into harmonies, that he lives to his best and reaches the highest degree of soul intuition.” C.C. Zain


The Core Teachings of Ancient Masonry Belie their Antiquity:

Reading and understanding of ancient history and archeology indicate that many of the fundamentals of the Craft originated from an even more remote past and was transplanted in several places and dispersed over many thousands of years. There are just too many coincidences spread out over many cultures that indicate an ancient forerunner. Regardless of epoch or place on the planet the fundamentals of Ancient Masonry have been spread all over the globe. 

At the foundation are these common indicators. The principal and chief tenets of these spiritual doctrines where embodied in huge monuments of stone. More details of the spiritual wisdom were set forth in those symbolical pictographs which we call constellations. Deeper explanations were passed to us in tracings on plates that came down to us through Egypt in Egyptian Tarot. Many of the ancient doctrines were passed to us through the allegorical stories in the various myths, sacred books and texts from all over the world and many of these were preserved in the ritual and symbolism of Masonry.

The explanations traced on the tarot cards and in the constellations sets forth how the signs and planets influence human life and destiny. They give practical instruction in a wide variety of matters, and place emphasis on things different than those given most attention in Masonry.

Foundational in the ancient teachings is the assurance of a life here-after and the instructions which give great details on building a spiritual form for happy and successful survival on the higher planes of existence.

Throughout our ritual there is a persistent emphasis on love and the domestic relation as the instruments through which the highest, noblest and most spiritual qualities possible to mankind can be developed; qualities that build the spiritual body and insure harmonious and self-conscious immortality

MD/ aka Tom O’Bedlam revised 4-25-2019

Documents from today’s lecture:

Masonic Principles

King Solomon’s Lodge – Astrological and Esoteric Symbols

The Three Great Lights of Masonry: The Book of the Law, Square and Compasses

The Three Great Lights of Masonry: The Book of the Law, Square and Compasses

We are first introduced to the Three Great Lights when we are kneeling at the altar in the 1st degree. The Senior Deacon removes the hoodwink and the Worshipful Master motions to the open Bible, the Square and Compasses superimposed upon the Volume of the Sacred Law.

The Volume of the Sacred Law used in our lodges represents “Light”, but not just any light. It does not denote any specific religious sect’s “Light” or knowledge, as some would allege “Light” to be. Some have described masonic  “Light” as specifically being knowledge, but knowledge without context, experience and judicious and wise application is useless at best and dangerous at the worst.

Continue reading “The Three Great Lights of Masonry: The Book of the Law, Square and Compasses”

What is Freemasonry?

What is Freemasonry?
W.˙. Mark Doubleday
Novus Veteris Lodge No. 864
Short Talk – 12/16/2017


Freemasonry has been described as “a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.”

When I first heard freemasonry described in this fashion I was really confused and frustrated. Firstly, because it further obscured the lessons and the message that the degrees of masonry conceal, and secondly it sounded like a dodge and obfuscation to avoid answering the question about what freemasonry is.

My initial response to this rhetorical answer was, “What in the world does that mean?”

That answer is more confusing than helpful, yet we have all probably heard it more than once. So, let’s take this answer apart and try to figure it out.

Continue reading “What is Freemasonry?”

Holy Feast Days of the Fall and Christmas Season

Holy Feast Days of the Fall and Christmas Season
Mark Doubleday
November 18, 2017
Novus Veteris Lodge No. 864

Novus Veteris: Holy Feast Days of the Autumn and Christmas Season

To continue the theme that I began when I was asked to become the Historian, as an appointed officer of the newly organized and lately constituted Novus Veteris Lodge #864, I thought it appropriate to introduce some of the other celebrations and feasts that may or may not be familiar to the brethren.

Many have important ties to early Celtic and Anglo-Saxon peoples and predate the modern church and masonry. However, it is important to the theme that these celebrations be discussed because of their obvious importance to our shared heritage among our shared religious and cultural beliefs and the foundations of craft masonry.

Harvest Festival: August 1st

In England, prior to Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church the “Harvest Festival” was celebrated at the beginning of the harvest season on August 1st and was called “Lammas”, meaning “Loaf Mass”. Local farmers would make loafs of bread from the wheat crop and give them to their local church. At the beginning of the harvest, the locals would appoint a strong and respected man from the community or village and would be their “Lord of the Harvest”. The end of the harvest would be celebrated with a large meal called a “Harvest Meal”. Even though the celebration was basically abandoned after Henry VIII many communities still retained the practice into the 19th century. Some communities still enjoy the practice.

The Feast of Tishri:

The Feast of Tishri (Tishrei), although not celebrated specifically by Blue Lodge Masons, is celebrated in the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite and is closely related to the 14th Degree of the Perfect Elu. For those of you unfamiliar with the Scottish Rite I will be careful not to divulge particulars of the degree, but I will explain the religious and historical significance of the feast.

Before the Babylonian captivity of the Hebrew people the month which has become known as “Tishri” was known as “Ethanim”. The word “Tishrei” is of Babylonian origin and comes from the Babylonian month called “Tisritum”, which has an Akkadian root, “tasritu” meaning “Beginning” from the word “surru”, which means to “begin”.

In the Gregorian calendar it is the month of autumn, from mid-September through mid-October. The ancient Kingdom of Judah used the month of “Tishrei” as the beginning of the civil calendar for the year, whereas the ancient Kingdom of Israel used the ecclesiastical calendar that started in the month of “Nisan”, which, in the Gregorian calendar would be equivalent to the mid-March through mid-April. Interestingly the Jewish people measure their “Epochs” using “Tishrei” for their calculations. For example the “1 Tishrei” is circa “3760 bc”, and is the year Adam and Eve were created, according to the Talmud.

The historical background of the feast of Tishri is found in the book of Leviticus, when God commanded Moses to gather the “fruit of the land” on the 15th day of the civil calendar so that the people could keep a feast unto the Lord or the “Feast of the Tabernacles”. Leviticus 23:34

In the Torah in Leviticus 23:39 it states: Mark, on the 15th day of the 7 month, when you have gathered in the yield of your land, you shall observe the festival of the Lord [to last] 7 days: a complete rest on the 1st day , and a complete rest on the 8th day… Leviticus 23:42 it continues: you shall live in booths 7 days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, 43: in order that the future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I the Lord your God.

In the Lamsa Bible, which is translated from the Aramaic texts, the translation shows the word “booth” to be translated as “huts”.

After the exodus and as the People of Israel were led through the wilderness it was decreed by God to Moses, that a 7 day feast be celebrated, and it was to be held during the Festival of Succoth (sukkahs/shelters), when the people would “shelter” themselves in remembrance and celebration that they had been rescued by God from Egypt and “sheltered” under His Protection. The People were instructed to celebrate this feast in perpetuity in the month of Tishri in commemoration and celebration of this gift from God.

The Feast of Tishri is celebrated either during September or October. For the Scottish Rite the celebration is in remembrance of the completion the Temple by King Solomon. It is primarily a celebration of the gifts of the harvest given to us by God, and of fraternity and peaceful concord among all men, which was the epitome of King Solomon’s teachings and reign, and which illustrates the essence of all masonic teaching and practices.

The harvest is a time of celebration and thanksgiving and it is a time to prepare for the barren and difficult time ahead. Communities would gather to share the bounty and resources of their harvests, pray and worship together in thanksgiving and prepare themselves for the depravations that winter can bring.

We share the same challenges and hopes of our brothers and fellows in the fraternity. The autumn of the year is the time of working together to gather the bounty and to celebrate and share our part of the harvest with others and to thank God for his gifts and our sustenance.


The Feast of Saint Andrew: November 30th

Often celebrated on November 30th, it is considered the end of the Church Year and marks the beginning of Advent. It usually begins on the Sunday closest to November 30th, and is often remembered by the saying:

“St. Andrew the King, Three weeks and three days before Christmas begins”

Saint Andrew was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee and was a fisherman and a disciple of Saint John the Baptist and the brother of Peter. He exclaimed to Peter, “We have found the Messiah!” He and his brother Peter (The Rock) were the first disciples to follow Jesus, although he was not consider as part of Jesus inner circle he nonetheless was deeply devoted to Christ and had great love of the Cross.

The story of his martyrdom is collected from the apocryphal Acts which lack a historical foundation. After the Pentecost he is thought to have taken up the apostolate in faraway lands, and is claimed that he was crucified on the saltire cross and hung upside down on the southern Greek isle of Patras after he was ordered to sacrifice to the pagan gods and refused. This cross has hence been named Saint Andrews Cross.

When Andrew was led to the place of martyrdom, on beholding the cross from a distance he cried out: “O good Cross, so long desired and now set up for my longing soul I confident and rejoicing come to you; exultingly receive me, a disciple of Him who hung on you.” Forthwith he was nailed to the cross. For two days he hung there alive, unceasingly proclaiming the doctrine of Christ until he passed on to Him whose likeness in death he had so vehemently desired. –The legendary account of our saint’s martyrdom has this value: it presents to us the mysticism of the Cross of later times.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch / Catholic

In the Orthodox Church weddings were not allowed during Advent and Christmas and St. Andrew is known as the patron of unmarried maidens and spinsters and there are many marriage relate superstitions connected to the saint. In the Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland and Russia there is a superstitious belief that the day is suitable for magic that will reveal a young women’s future husband or that binds a future husband to her.

This Saint’s day is not prominent in the most jurisdictions in the United States, but here are many lessons to be learned by his faith in Christ and his sacrifice to his beliefs. In the Scottish Rite we exemplify the 29th Degree, the Knights of Saint Andrew which teaches toleration of others, even when you do not share their beliefs.

Now, the lessons to be gleaned from this degree and their relation to the Holy Saint Andrew may appear obscure. But, let us look carefully at this most humble servant and follower of Christ to find the lessons.

Although he was not considered by church historians to be part of Christ’s inner circle, he was one of Christ’s first adherents and faithful to the end. In the apocryphal account of his martyrdom he calmed the crowds who could have rioted to set him free. He begged them to let him suffer his fate and he continued to preach the Gospel of Christ until he passed.

The celebrations and feasts of our forefathers were used to weave the community into a cohesive and useful fabric that nurtured and supported one another. Building upon each other’s efforts they were able to thrive and grow into the modern world we have inherited. They shared the bounty of their knowledge, experience and work, and in so doing, they shared the understanding that they could better support their communities by being useful parts of each other’s lives.

The common beliefs and values that these early communities shared are the very foundation upon which masonry has built its communal edifice. The masonic values and principals we espouse are the fruit of the harvest of these ancient people’s beliefs and practices.

It has been my endeavor throughout this year to present the some faucets of the ancient truths and precepts that form the foundation of our shared masonic journey. The world is in dire need of the principals, precepts and practices we hold dear in the craft.

We have a duty and are obligated to use our intelligence, wisdom, experience and wealth to change the world and make it a better place to live for all mankind. Our forefathers and the adepts and wise men and women from our past sacrificed everything to gift us this time and place in history.

We are obligated on our knees, hands on the Great Lights, and sworn to the Most High to defend and protect, not only our brothers in the craft but the entire world and mankind. Let every man here take the lessons learned in the sacred space of Solomon’s temple, and practice them every moment of their lives with all of mankind. With toleration and compassion and steadfastness in our hearts we will continue to build the world in a manner that will be blessed by God.



Give me the secrets of a Master Mason!

“Give me the secrets of a Master Mason!”

A case for Sacred Geometry and the evolution of the Soul

Many  in the fraternity have heard the almost universal complaint that, “there must be something more” to masonry than the repetition of the Blue Lodge ritual degree work and the reading of the minutes at a stated meeting. Some of us have even had the feeling that the “Work” is being parroted and performed in almost drone-like fashion. Rather than a criticism of the sincere efforts made by brethren to instill and to inculcate the spirit of masonry and its revered degrees to new men, it is more of an observation that I have made on many occasions.

The speed with which we move a candidate, and or, a new brother through to the next step is often done at a dizzying pace. It confuses and frustrates the men whom we are attempting to educate. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that we are often missing the mark when we move candidates and brothers along so quickly.

Inevitably the questions come from new brothers and initiates.

Continue reading “Give me the secrets of a Master Mason!”

“Feasts and Solstices and the “Lodge of the Holy Saints John at Jerusalem”

“Feasts and Solstices and the “Lodge of the Holy Saints John at Jerusalem”

Mark Doubleday
Novus Veteris Lodge

(Slide/Ancient Jerusalem)

Whence Came You?

In masonry we have two of Christendom’s most revered and venerated saints as our patrons. They are, St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, and in almost every lodge in our jurisdiction of California you will see a representation of these most Holy Saints depicted standing side by side of the “Circle and the Point” with Parallel Vertical Lines placed on either side of this device, surmounted by the Holy Bible, an enigmatic and powerful symbol, upon which one may reflect for many hours, days and years.

The layers of symbolism embedded in this emblem are representative of the many layers of subtlety and wisdom that our fraternal forefathers crafted into our degrees. Fore, it is only through degrees that we begin to pull back the veils of ignorance and through diligence and perseverance the scales of darkness are lifted from our eyes as we build our own temples by practicing masonic principals and virtues in all our affairs.

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The Celebration of “Calling Back the Sun”


In consequence of the establishment and consecration of this new lodge, Novus Veteris, and in praise and thanks giving of having the privilege and opportunity to serve as a founding member of this august assembly, I have determined to dedicate my contributions to this endeavor with short pieces dedicated to the holy and sacred purpose of instruction of various feasts, celebrations and observances of the many venerated sacred systems and holy bodies dedicated to peace, fraternity and most holy Light.

Your Humble Servant,
Mark Doubleday

At the winter solstice, 3 days before Christmas, the sun passes from Sagittarius, the Archer, to its lowest position of the tomb of winter, and the earth is captive, bound by frost in the hands of the evil forces of the underworld, where she can bring forth no fruit. To indicate this, the Hopi Indians kidnap, after the manner of Pluto in Greek mythology after his abduction of Persephone, a maiden and take her beneath the earth where the initiates are assembled in the kiva.

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