As the lodge is an essay to depict the glories of a Temple in miniature, so was the Temple, in its complete form, an attempt to epitomize the magnificence of a universe and display, in dimensions capable of being grasped by the finite mind of man, those infinite splendors which attest the plan of the Creator.
To the ancient Seer, the universe stood as a concrete visible edifice with limits, bounds, and dimensions. That which he did not see had no existence, and consequently, as a realm of nothingness, beyond the region of the fixed stars, was accepted as perfectly reasonable ; for out of that same “nothing” had not the tangible universe been achieved in “six day!”
The vast number of measures and dimensions with which Holy Writ is crowded, nay the very association of square and compasses with the sacred volume upon our altar, are testimony of what men once believed concerning the limited and measurable character of the universal Temple, made comprehensible by geometry.
The earthly Temple was the means given by which man, the lesser universe, a creature connected by invisible cords with and swayed by every superior power enthroned in the Cosmos, with God as Ruler, both above and below, might duly comprehend his importance in the scale of creation and realize that he was himself no less the Temple of the Holy Spirit than the heavens above were the Temple of Almighty God. Thus it transpires that the expression relating to a “Lodge on High” is not without meaning; for every station, character, and ritualistic action of the terrestrial Masonic lodge has its counterpart in the heavens.
It is surprising also with what fidelity to astronomy this similitude has been achieved by the makers of Masonry, and we should be powerless to account for it did we not know of the chief part played by astronomy and what Kepler called “her foolish little daughter, Astrology,” in the mysticism of a bygone age.
To us the terms “East, West, North, and South” are all based upon the relation of the earth to sun ; but the cardinal points of the heavens are fixed points and have been so ever since the signs of the Lion, Eagle, Man, and Bull were called ” the columns supporting the four corners of the universe,” by the ancient Egyptians.
These are respectively the celestial East, South, West, and North. Naturally the Master’s station is in the “house” of the sun, Leo, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” At his right is the sign of Cancer, which is the astrological “House of the Moon,” and as the moon shines with borrowed light, that is to say, stores up “the gold of the sun;” to give it forth at night, this is the natural station of the Treasurer. To the left of the solar Master is Virgo, “day house” of Mercury, who to the ancient Egyptians was Thoth, the secretary of the gods, or as we should say, “the recording angel.” This is still the station of the lodge Secretary. Sirius the Dog Star, as Anubis, made a very creditable Senior Deacon.
The peculiar relation of the candidate to the Junior Warden is known to the initiate. The candidate seeks to escape from the dominion of Mars, whose “night house” is Aries the Lamb, the month that the ancient Hebrews called Abib, in which the year started upon its course. When Mars is not “domiciled” in Aries, his place is in Scorpio (the Eagle sign) in the south, his “day house.” There is a touch of “esoteric Buddhism” here too; for, to the Hindu philosopher, Mars represented Kama, the “desire body” of man, the seat of passions and lusts of the flesh. This unruly element was symbolized as a warrior, sword in hand, prepared to slay the higher promptings of man’s better nature. The profound secret of initiation is the subjection of this lower personality and its raising to the sublime degree of master of self instead of its slave. Hence the work of regeneration requires that the man governed by Mars be divested of his sword, that he may not undo the efforts exerted in his behalf by unruliness.
Directly on the other side of the celestial pole, from Leo in the direction of the sign of Aquarius the Waterman, which is the celestial West, is found the constellation Hercules, whose foot rests upon the head of Draconis, the old serpent of death, the ultimate enemy to be conquered. Hercules was to the Tyriana the king of the city, Melkarth, their Chur-Om, or as the Hebrews called him, King Hiram. Hercules, between Leo in the East and Aquarius in the West, stands between the pillars of the solstices. The whole western semicircle of the heavens between Scorpio and Aries is the domain of the three planets of the winter months, A, O, and M, which letters represent: Saturn, Mars and Jupiter, whom the Hindus called Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.
Above Taurus and in the direction of the pole lies the celestial domain of Ethiopia, reined over by King Cepheus and Queen Cassaiopeia, while moored at no great distance lies the good ship Argo Navis, never known to take an unqualified passenger.
Each station of the Zodiac, corresponding to one of the months of our year, has further consideration as a Fellowcraft in the rearing of the Temple of Life, while in the multitude of the fixed stars, each, according to the ancient astrologer, a helpful factor in some part of the “Great Work,” if there are not at least 80,000, we shall have to ask the Secretary to read their names again.