Pike realigned a previous lesson about the double nature of God, and in doing so assigned its meaning comparatively to the square and compass, “The Hermaphroditic figure is the Symbol of the double nature anciently assigned to the Deity, as Generator and Producer… As the Sun was male, so the Moon was female… The Compass, therefore, is the Hermetic Symbol of the Creative Deity, and the Square of the productive Earth or Universe.” Enjoy this most fascinating lesson from our Master sage Albert Pike:
Return now, with us, to the Degrees of the Blue Masonry, and for your last lesson, receive the explanation of one of their Symbols.
You see upon the altar of those Degrees the SQUARE and the COMPASS, and you remember how they lay upon the altar in each Degree.
The SQUARE is an instrument adapted for plane surfaces only, and therefore appropriate to Geometry, or measurement of the Earth, which appears to be, and was by the Ancients supposed to be, a plane. The COMPASS is an instrument that has relation to spheres and spherical surfaces, and is adapted to spherical trigonometry, or that branch of mathematics which deals with the Heavens and the orbits of the planetary bodies.
The SQUARE, therefore, is a natural and appropriate Symbol of this Earth and the things that belong to it, are of it, or concern it. The Compass is an equally natural and appropriate Symbol of the Heavens, and of all celestial things and celestial natures.
You see at the beginning of this reading, an old Hermetic Symbol, copied from the “MATERIA PRIMA” of Valentinus, printed at Franckfurt, in 1613, with a treatise entitled “AZOTH.” Upon it you see a Triangle upon a Square, both of these contained in a circle; and above this, standing upon a dragon, a human body, with two arms only, but two heads, one male and the other female. By the side of the male head is the Sun, and by that of the female head, the Moon, the crescent within the circle of the full moon. And the hand on the male side holds a Compass, and that on the female side, a Square.
The Heavens and the Earth were personified as Deities, even among the Aryan Ancestors of the European nations of the Hindus, Zends, Bactrians, and Persians; and the Rig Veda Sanhita contains hymns addressed to them as gods. They were deified also among the Phœnicians; and among the Greeks OURANOS and GEA, Heaven and Earth, were sung as the most ancient of the Deities, by Hesiod.
It is the great, fertile, beautiful MOTHER, Earth, that produces, with limitless profusion of beneficence, everything that ministers to the needs, to the comfort, and to the luxury of man. From her teeming and inexhaustible bosom come the fruits, the grain, the flowers, in their season. From it comes all that feeds the animals which serve man as laborers and for food. She, in the fair Springtime, is green with abundant grass, and the trees spring from her soil, and from her teeming vitality take their wealth of green leaves. In her womb are found the useful and valuable minerals; hers are the seas the swarm with life; hers the rivers that furnish food and irrigation, and the mountains that send down the streams which swell into these rivers; hers the forests that feed the sacred fires for the sacrifices, and blaze upon the domestic hearths. The EARTH, therefore, the great PRODUCER, was always represented as a female, as the MOTHER,–Great, Bounteous, Beneficent Mother Earth.
On the other hand, it is the light and heat of the Sun in the Heavens, and the rains that seem to come from them, that in the Springtime make fruitful this bountifully-producing Earth, that restore life and warmth to her veins, chilled by Winter, set running free her streams, and beget, as it were, that greenness and that abundance of which she is so prolific. As the procreative and generative agents, the Heavens and the Sun have always been regarded as male; as the generators that fructify the Earth and cause it to produce.
The Hermaphroditic figure is the Symbol of the double nature anciently assigned to the Deity, as Generator and Producer, as BRAHM and MAYA among the Aryans, Osiris and Isis among the Egyptians. As the Sun was male, so the Moon was female; and Isis was both the sister and the wife of Osiris. The Compass, therefore, is the Hermetic Symbol of the Creative Deity, and the Square of the productive Earth or Universe.
From the Heavens come the spiritual and immortal portion of man; from the Earth his material and mortal portion. The Hebrew Genesis says that YEHOUAH formed man of the dust of the Earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Through the seven planetary spheres, represented by the Mystic Ladder of the Mithriac Initiations, and it by that which Jacob saw in his dream (not with three, but with seven steps), the Souls, emanating from the Deity, descended, to be united to their human bodies; and through those seven spheres they must re-ascend, to return to their origin and home in the bosom of the Deity.
The COMPASS, therefore, as the Symbol of the Heavens, represents the spiritual, intellectual, and moral portion of this double nature of Humanity; and the SQUARE, as the Symbol of the Earth, its material, sensual, and baser portion.
“Truth and Intelligence,” said one of the Ancient Indian Sects of Philosophers, “are the Eternal attributes of God, not of the individual Soul, which is susceptible both of knowledge and ignorance, of pleasure and pain; therefore God and the individual Soul are distinct:” and this expression of the ancient Nyaya Philosophers, in regard to Truth, has been handed down to us through the long succession of ages, in the lessons of Freemasonry, wherein we read, that “Truth is a Divine Attribute, and the foundation of every virtue.”
“While embodied in matter,” they said, “the Soul is in a state of imprisonment, and is under the influence of evil passions; but having, by intense study, arrived at the knowledge of the elements and principles of Nature, it attains unto the place of TIE ETERNAL; in which state of happiness, its individuality does not cease” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 850-852).
Next Month’s Article on GnosisMasonry:
Pike wrote, “What, in fact, is a despot, spiritual or temporal, but a crowned anarchist?”
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