Presentation on theme: "The Point Within The Circle Power In Simplicity Doug McCollough, MM St. Mark's Lodge #7, PHA."— Presentation transcript:
The Point Within The Circle Power In Simplicity Doug McCollough, MM St. Mark's Lodge #7, PHA
There are 5 core symbolic meanings The Point Within The Circle can be explained/understood: 1.Symbolically 2.Geometrically 3.Astronomically 4.Masonically 5.Historically Obviously there are any number of interpretations, or combinations of interpretations. The symbol is both sophisticated and Primordial. This is simply a proposal for interpretation.
Symbolically Sexual: It is a phallic symbol. A symbol of the possibility of self- generation. The two forms of the generative principle in ancient religion - Active, Male - Passive, Female Creation: Early Creation concepts drew no distinction between sexuality and interpretation of divinity. Generation. Creation.
Geometrically "...no matter in which direction you drawn the lines from A and C, provided they are exactly joined at the circumference of the circle, they will form a right angle or a perfect square, and, therefore, you can form an infinite number of right angles within the circle, every one of which will be a perfect square, and thus is accomplished the "Knowledge of the Square." This is revered within the Craft, because it appears to be clear evidence of a link between Operative and Speculative. In Operative, a Master would need to know how to check the work of an Apprentice. He would need to keep that information secret to protect the Craft wages, and he would need to pass that knowledge with simple, memorable analogies. (Square, Circle, Point, etc.)
Geometrically Continued The concept is that a Master not only knows how to "use" working tools, he knows how to "make" working tools. A Master can pass on to another the "knowledge" of how to produce tools necessary to "meet brethren on the square", thereby enabling him to make "Master's wages"... HOW does one do this? Herein lies the value of the symbol, which imparts knowledge. The fact that it is memorable thanks to numerous other symbolic interpretations just makes it easier, and shows the priority of this symbol among so many others to an Operative and early speculative Master Mason.
Astronomically The Solstices and Equinoxes are not only connected with various cultural and religious practices, for an "Engineer" or "Architect" of antiquity, this knowledge means knowing the seasons, temperatures, growing seasons, floods (Nile), phases of the sun and moon, etc. A "day" is divisible into quartiles. There is a moment where the sun is "highest", and a moment where the sun is "lowest". That this time could be considered "circular" in measurement is clear. A "year" is divisible into quartiles. There is a "longest" day of the year, and a "shortest" day of the year. This simple knowledge allows for the measurement of time according to predictable measures.
Astronomically, Continued An Operative Master Mason needs to be able to measure time, such that a project can be managed. Wages, Workers, Building, all require this knowledge. One needs to know how to measure a day, and how to measure a year. Ritual references the activity of the Craft at High Noon, and at rest and refreshment. Consider the responsibilities of the JW, SW, and WM in relation to their Lodge positions, as well as the points in time their positions would represent if a 24 hour clock (gauge?), or a 12 month Calendar.
Clock 12:00 AM The rebirth of the Sun. The beginning of a 24 hour cycle. The Sun rises in the... The position of the WM. 12:00 Noon. The "heat of the day". Workers to be called from labor to refreshment. Also the moment when GMHA retired to pray. South is hottest? 6:00. End of the work day. Sun set. Death and dying. The sun sets in the... 3:00 AM. Dark, Cold. The North. The darkest place. The lowest point of the day in terms of the presence of the Sun.
Calendar Spring Birth of the year, Rebirth. Aries, Ram, symbol of springing forth Vernal (Spring) Equinox, Easter. Summer Heat. Longest day of the year. Cancer, Crab, "69" Summer Solstice, St. John the Baptist Feast Day(s) Fall/Autumn Cool. End of the Year. Harvest. Death, Dying Libra, "The Scales", resembles a setting sun Autumnal Equinox The Jewish Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox. The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day are approximately equally long.
Calendar, Continued Winter End of the Year. Cold. Dark. Shortest day of the year. Death and Rebirth Capricorn, Sea Goat Winter Solstice, St. John the Evangelist Feast Day Hanukkah: also known as the Festival of Lights is an eight- day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE The Equinoxes (moments when the day and night are equal to each other) are represented by the top and bottom positions of the symbol. The Solstices (moments when day and night are furthest apart) are represented by the points where the parallel perpendicular lines intersect the circle.
Masonically The Individual Brother, The Altar, The VSL. The boundary from within which a Mason cannot materially err. The boundary representing a Mason's duty to God and fellow man. The control of the passions. The Holy Saints John Consider also: The positions of the lights, the sun and the universe, position of brethren at key moments, "After 3 days..."
Historically This does not refer strictly to "history". Just to a number of interesting ways the symbol is used. As previously stated, this symbol is primordial. It is probably one of the earliest symbols intended to convey a thought. Elsewhere, I may discuss the point (unum) being used by Pythagorus to symbolize "One". Or parallels with "Alpha and Omega". The circle on top of the three lines symbolizing fertility/fecundity or eternal life, or the "x" within the circle. These may be derivatives, and who can say which was the earlier. Symbolism can at least potentially describe things the original thinker could not have proven, but may have been able to symbolize simply because of "innate" truth.
Conclusion Obviously, the symbol of the Point Within The Circle precedes Freemasonry, and possibly the organization of religion. While the importance of the symbol within Craft Masonry is deep and interesting, I find deeper and more interesting "how" it got there, and why. The explanation of the symbol can be summed up in Freemasonry in a single sentence. But, why? Why parallel lines? Why the positions they occupy? How deep does this one symbol go into the craft? We can easily see the WM, SW, JW. What about the 3 lights? The VSL? The circumambulation during raising? Raising itself?. When we combine operative masonry, astronomy, geometry, philosophy, and ethics successfully in a single symbol, we recognize great power exists in simple forms.