The reason to approach the review in 2 parts is that in the aftermath of National Treasure
Key points brought up in the book start at the very prologue in the Quote from Manly P. Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages
In The Lost Symbol, Pike gets a quick mention, but the Scottish Rite’s deep resonance with the ancient mystery schools was very clear and it is my supposition that those who are attracted to the fraternity following this book will come with those things in mind, and in coming, they will want to talk about and find resonance with the fraternity.
So, to the question, is the symbolism right, did Brown get the symbolic connections remotely correct, or did he tap into the wide field of myths and supposition that exists at the foot of the “Masonic pyramid?” Often, that answer is an individual one, that many tend to think totally out of line with what the modern fraternity represents. It is more social than esoteric, the symbols are just that symbolic, and no further reading need be made into them. Or even harsher, that the symbols were important in the past, but today they are meaningless. I think the answer lies in the school of Masonic thought that you find yourself in.
Some of the Key texts that Brown refers to are the Kybalion, written by br. Paul Foster Case under the pseudonym the Three Mystics, The New Atlantis, mentioned above, by Francis Bacon , a mere 6 years following the founding of the “new world” and the landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620. He also references Albrecht Durer, the prolific artist of the Renaissance who created many images, including Melencolia I, often seen as the height of the Christian Mysticism in art, as it depicts the confounded and pondering mystic and the materials of his practice. Each of these are bits and pieces outside the sphere of the three degrees, but still factor large (or should) in the study of Freemasonry.
One element that Brown focuses on is the alchemical symbol of gold, something in Masonic circles is referenced to as the point within the circle, what Brown calls the circumpunct, that all Masons recognize as being flanked by the Holy Saint John’s and crowned with the Volume of the Sacred Law.
The individual symbols are not so much the concern from the book, but the level of readiness over the ease of disregarding them and the discussion of their meaning. Is the lodge room ready to talk symbolism and its speculative nature? Are you, reading this now, ready to dialog with an interested party on the symbolism even on a surface level?
The Lost Symbol will ultimately be a good opportunity for Freemasonry to shine and inspire those new to its doors to seek out more. But it will definitely require us to be on point and be able to answer the questions put forth by those newcomers. Brown mentioned it at the end of his book, the words on the back of the tylers chair at the House of the Temple, “Know Thy Self”, but I would add, in knowing our self, we will know the divine.