Friday, 11 January 2008

Chapter Eight - Mason Tracing Boards

[From the book Freemasonry by W. Kirk MacNulty]

The picture above is of a first degree Mason Tracing Board. On the floor we see usual Freemason symbols like the uncarved and carved stone. Which is all about self-development. Then we have two plumb bobs and square leaning against a pillar pointing upwards. These all can be interpreted as phallic symbols. Then coming off the floor we have a ladder, which Masons tell us is Jacob’s ladder from the Bible. At the base of the ladder we have the Compass and square symbol laying on the spine of a book. This is the only feminine symbol on the floor. This suggests that on the ground floor Freemasonry is very patriarchal, but when we attempt to climb up Jacob’s ladder we encounter the feminine. In the Bible story Jacob’s ladder had angel going up and down it. In this image we do have three women on the ladder but strangely these women do not have wings, as you would expect an angel to have in a symbolic drawing. There are three of them, so it gives us a strong clue that they might be the triple Goddesses again. Halfway up the ladder we see a key hanging from the ladder, probably suggesting the Goddesses are the key to understanding Freemasonry.

In the picture there are also three pillars. The pillar on the right with the moon symbol above it is longer than the other pillars and is better carved than the other two. If we accept for this picture the feminine is the moon then it would suggest that the feminine is more important than the masculine. In Freemasonry there is the symbol of the uncarved block whom is a apprentice Mason. Then we have the carved block whom is a master Mason. The symbolism of the carved and uncarved pillars suggests that the masculine is uncarved and the feminine is carved. Suggesting a man has to become feminine to be a master Mason. But it is far more complex than this. The ladders with the Goddesses on it are pointing towards the masculine sun instead of the feminine moon. So it could mean it might be a feminine sun and masculine moon. As pointed out before there once used to be Sun Goddesses and moon gods. Though for first-degree initiates, such concepts may be too far ahead of them.

So what this can suggest is that for a woman Mason she has to go from the base of the feminine pillar to the top of the masculine pillar. While for a male Mason he is the uncarved stone at the masculine pillar but when he moves towards the feminine pillar he becomes carved or developed. So this picture suggests for a secret Female Mason to develop more spiritually she has to become more masculine and for a male Mason he has to become more feminine. Why this is so is very complex and can be explain in the book Gospel of the Goddess, written by Pamela Suffield and myself.

The only other symbols in the image are that the moon has seven stars around it. These are the seven moving bodies that can be seen with the naked eye. In other words they are the planets, moon and sun that were used in astrology before the invention of the telescope and more planets were discovered. The base of the picture we have a W probably meaning west while on top we have a E probably meaning East. So the candidate is encouraged to look to the east for wisdom. Which is of interest as the two major religions of the Far East are Hinduism and Buddhism and both religions still worship Goddesses. As well as Taoism which like Freemasonry worships a hidden Goddess.

At the top of the central pillar we have again the Eye Symbol, representing the Great Mother, which is commonplace on many Freemasonry Symbolic drawings. The fact that the Great Mother is above the central pillar suggests that the apprentice Mason has to learn the spiritual lessons of both being masculine and feminine to reach the Great Mother.

On the floor we have black and white squares, which are always present on the floors of Freemason lodges, or Churches built by Freemasons or even on the caps of British policeman. If we turn this shape at an angle we get a diamond shape, which we can see within the Compass and Square symbols, that as previously mentioned becomes the shape of the vagina.

[From the book Freemasonry by W. Kirk MacNulty]

The painting above is the Masonic Tracing Board for the third degree initiation. Which is a bit of a downer as we see here a coffin. This only makes sense in eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, as it would be about the death of the ego. In the middle of the coffin we have a doorway, a doorway can also be seen as another vagina symbol. In much the same way that the Ancient peoples saw cave openings as sacred for the same reason. Another explanation it that is about a doorway to a new world, and if you believe in life after death then off course it would be. People like spiritualists believe that we never die and we only step from one world to another. In pagan mythology Gods like Pluto were the gods of death or the underworld. But in more ancient times were death Goddesses like the Sumerian Goddess Ereshkigal.

One of the most ancient writings ever discovered was of the Sumerian story of the Goddess Inanna. She goes to visit her Sister the Goddess Ereshkigal who is the Goddess of the Netherworld. To do this she goes though a dance of the seven veils where she is stripped of her clothing, position and rank. Then completely naked she stands before Ereshkigal who insults her and condemn her to death. In some versions she is left to die on a meat hook and other versions she is placed in a coffin. So the coffin in this image could be the coffin of Inanna. Meanwhile without Inanna the world above is turned into a wasteland. In seems without Inanna the gods have taken over and were mismanaging the upper world. Then Enki the god of wisdom comes down to the Netherworld and rescues Inanna and restores her to her rightful place as Goddess and ruler of the upper world. And the world is saved.

When Christianity was first introduced the Celts Mary Magdalene came for a while the Goddess of Death as shown on the next page. So again we see the symbolism of a hidden Goddess.

At her feet we can see a skull and she stands at the entrance of a cave representing the gateway to death. The idea being that we come from the Great Mother and return to her. This is why in ancient times they buried people on their side with their knees against their chest in a foetal position. We all come into this world as a foetal in the belly of our mothers, so it was logical for the ancient we return that way. So the bodies are taken through a vagina shaped cave entrance, because we were born through a vagina. Then the bodies are placed in Mother Earth.

In ancient Egypt all corpses were buried with their heads facing west, when Christianity started in Egypt this was changed and all Christians buried their dead facing east. Around the coffin are the four compass points, with west at the head of the coffin. So this is a clear message that this is a pre-Christian pagan burial. Around the coffin there is a headstone and urn, the urn goes back to ancient Egyptian times. When the body was mummified the organs were taken out of the body and put into an urn near the body. It can also be an urn to hold the ashes of a burnt body. Today we accept cremation of bodies as normal but up until the being of the 20th century the Christian Church opposed it because pagans practised cremation. Also there are three pieces of foliage from trees. The ancient Goddess religions held trees to be sacred, and some early Christians became saints by cutting down sacred trees and groves. Inside the coffin we have other Goddess symbols, the number five. Five is the number of the Pentagram, which I will discuss later in the book. Five is also the number of balance as it is halfway between ten and one. This is backed up by plumb bobs also in the coffin for plumb bobs to work you have to balance them in the middle.

The only other thing of interest in the coffin is the skull and cross bones. In popular literature a black flag with a skull and cross bones on it is the flag of a pirate. In the initiation of a new Master Mason he is told that his degree, "will make you a brother to pirates and corsairs". A pirate is an outlaw or criminal, but he is also a rich outlaw. Only a rich person could buy and finance a pirate ship and for this reason many pirates in the past were funded by rich merchants. Of course this funding would be completely secret, so this gives an insight to the unknown past of the Freemasons. The skull and cross bones flag was also the battle flag of the Knights Templar ships. When the Knights Templar was destroyed 1312 the Templar navy managed to escape, so did some of them turn pirates to survive?

Freemasons became public in 1717 only after they were sure that Britain would never again become a Roman Catholic country. Which was still possible up until then, while the Stuart family could still claim the English throne. Since then their most determined enemy has been the Roman Catholic Church. In the 18th and 19th century Freemasonry was banned in Roman Catholic countries and some Freemasonry Catholics were even arrested and tortured and hanged in Portugal and Spain. When Freemasonry became well known in France in the eighteenth century, the police on the orders of Cardinal Fleury rounded up the mason members. But the French government became embarrassed when so many respected members of the government were discovered to be Freemasons. Pope Clement XII in 1738 forbade all Catholics to become Freemasons on threat of excommunication. Two years later, membership of a lodge was punishable by death in the Papal States. Protestants have had no problems with Freemasonry, even to the extent that the Church of England has allowed Freemasons to conduct rituals in their churches. Which is in itself a surprise. In one of symbols of Freemasonry there is a Christian Cross with entwined around it a snake, which has been put on a stained glass window of Norwich Cathedral. Now this should in theory be blasphemy to a Christian, because the snake was the creature who tempted Adam and Eve, and was Satan in disguise. So to have Satan embracing the Cross is an anti-Christian symbol. The snake is an old Goddess symbol, and was seen to represent wisdom. Snake tubes have been found by archaeologists in ancient Goddess Temples, as well as carvings of Priestesses holding snakes in their hands, as seen at the end of the chapter. Also the symbol of the cross goes back to pre-Christian times and was used in ancient matriarchal religions. Probably both the cross and snake were phallic symbols.

[Drawing by Kathy Jones, from her book, The Ancient British Goddess. Showing the Virgin Mary in a vagina shaped tomb, taking on the role of the Goddess Ereshkigal.]

If we accept that the snake is a phallic symbol the fact that the Priestess holds on to the snakes and raises them in triumph shows her power over the masculine. What is also interesting about this statue is that she wears an apron similar to what Freemasons do. They claim they do this because this is what working Masons use. But perhaps there may be another explanation for this. Priests today wear long dresses because once all male priests used to dress up in drag to make themselves look like priestesses. This is because in ancient times it was only women who could be holy people. So when men started to become priests they had to make themselves look like holy women to be acceptable to the people. Even to the extent of wearing false breasts and cutting off their penises. So the apron may have been another tradition going back to the age when only holy people were women.

What is also interesting is that she is bare breast. Perhaps in the past a women’s breast were as sign of status and pride. It was only in the patriarchal age that there was a demand that women cover their breast, probably because of the status and power that women’s breast once signified.

If Freemasonry has found complete acceptance with Protestants, this does suggest that when it was still a completely secret society one of its purposes was to oppose Roman Catholicism and help the Protestant cause. In both Holland and England during the sixteen century, both countries were threatened by Spanish conquest that wanted to restore the Roman Catholic faith to these countries. Both countries fought back with privately funded warships captained by people like Drake and Hawkins whom the Spanish claimed were pirates. So it does suggest that many of these ships were financed and perhaps even manned by Freemasons, in an effort to curb Roman Catholic power. Perhaps for hundreds of years Freemasons were carrying on a secret war against Roman Catholic countries, and were financing pirates like Captain Morgan to attack Roman Catholic ships and colonies.

The skull and cross bones have also a very ancient connection. In Catal Höyük and other Neolithic civilizations it was discovered that when people died they were left in the open for scavengers to eat the flesh and then some of the bones were buried in the floors of the house. Which raised a controversial point because it was found that only the bones of women were buried in the homes while the bones of men were thrown in a communal grave.

It also has been suggested that Freemason financed the first English settlements in North America. The reason might be is that had they had not done so, the Roman Catholic Spanish might of taken over North America as well as South America. This might make sense of why Freemasonry later became so strong in the USA.

[This statue of a priestess from the Minoan civilization on ancient Crete, note the apron, which is similar to that of Freemason’s aprons.]