I was looking around yesterday to find out that Dan Brown of The DaVinci Code is pursuing a new book based on tenets and symbols of Freemasonry. I love this stuff. Love. Coincidentally, I was reading this lightweight "special" magazine (playing hooky from my required reading) that US News and World Report has put out on cults and secret organizations (they lump the masons, the mormons and Jonestown all together which makes my brain ache)). Pretty lightweight, but interesting that they feel this offbeat stuff has legs for a larger group of people. However, it did perk my memory and interest in freemason symbology again...and am thinking this would be a supreme body of work... I mean, they have the ALL SEEING EYE! There are angels, and temples and beehives. There is this gorpy, high victorian approach (read from the same tradition from which the Museum of Jurassic Technology has sprung) that all the work, the aprons and the portraits portray.
Maybe a thesis with Hartford? This thing could go someplace...
Some symbols include:
The All Seeing Eye: Belongs to the Great Architect, the omniscient deity acknowledged by all Masons.
Sun, Moon and Stars: The first two symbolize an ideal balance of opposites: Seven Stars are the Pleiades- seven is a sacred number for Jews, a symbol of immortality.
Beehive: Symbol of industry; also represnts Freemasons' efforts to gain wisdom and understanding as most of the work is done on the interior.
Temple: Place of divine mysteries and a symbol of human art and technology; the spiritual reconstruction of the emple (inside oneself) is the end-purpose of all the Craft degrees.
Royal Arch: Together with the keystone and the cornerstone, a symbol of the rebuilding of the temple.
Compass and Square: Represent the convergence of matter and spirit; orf earthly and spiritual responsibilities. They form a hexagram,the union of earth with the heavens.
Two pillares with terrestrial and celestial spheres: Part of a lodge official's insignia of office. They recall the two pillars crafted by Hiram Abiff for Solomon's Temple.
Angels: Symbols of the perpetual watchfulness of the Great Architect.
Ionic, Doric and Corinthian Orders of Architecture: The pillars of wisdom ,strength and beauty. They also represent the three principal officers of the lodge.
G can mean either God, Great Architect or geometry.
Coffin: Recalls Hiram Abiff;s death and redemption.
My friend Tina is all over this stuff and has a collector friend. I may give her a call to see if I could link up with this friend to get the wheels moving. Rich slice.