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Masonic Symbolism, context, and visual literacy

edited March 12 in Library

So I think the time has come for a series of posts on interpretation of Symbols. Before starting I want to say that I'm forever indebted from the author of for publishing his notes about the Norman Hall of the Philadelphia Masonic Temple, cause that's what got me started researching Coral Castle and freemasonry and its symbolism many years ago.

The goal of this tutorial is to provide, only through the analysis of symbols, a suggestion about:
  • the connection between Freemasonry and religion (mostly Christianity but also Judaism & Islam)
  • the role of the Bible in Masonic work.
Requirements: No books about masonic symbolism will be used (guess why).

After following through the notes, you will be able to understand the symbolism in the attached image, which allegedly contains "all the secrets of freemasonry fair for everyone to read and see".

Note: I'm not a freemason.


  • The Tendrils / Acanthus / Rinceaux


    This decorative element carries the name of parts of a
    plant, the Vitis, (that is grapevines, fig. A0) from which
    it derives.
    In art and architecture it is otherwise called "Rinceau" or "Arabesque" when it's used on Temple fronts, simas, and capitals of romanesque structures and columns.  It seems to have made its first appearance (at least in this form, and in the western world) in ancient Greece where it accompanied another decorative motive, that of "Open and closed Palmettos" (fig. A1).

    The Norman Hall, in Philadelphia's Masonic Temple, contains symbolism that has to do with magnetism - this has first been established by J. Stride of The ceiling and the walls are full of tendrils (fig. A2).

    The history of Freemasonry is known to be interwoven with that of religion since the beginning of time: monotheism has first appeared in Egypt, and the amount of Egyptian elements in Masonic "culture" and art is staggering. Christian Cathedrals (of any confession), Monasteries, and Jewish temples have a lot of symbolic elements in common with the Lodges, and even today entire religions germinate within the circles of Masonic Lodges (Jeovah Witnesses, Mormons, Scientology, etc.), and one of the artistic elements that seems to have accompanied "the builders" (Freemasons) throughout the centuries in the construction of cathedrals, monasteries (fig. A3), temples, and mosques (fig. A4) seems to be the tendrils. Actually, not only they are omnipresent but they also have very relevant positions like in fig. A6. Why is this?


    The tendrils are omnipresent in visual arts because, as
    John DePew pointed out earlier than anyone (I think), they
    represent "the blueprints of magnetic energy". John DePew
    never really expanded a full discourse on what he meant,
    but his visual work is remarkable. A simple guess on what
    he meant is that tendril-like shapes are really everywhere
    in the natural world: in the shape of a thumb (once you
    extend it), in the shape of your spine, in the body of
    your dog (the dog is a highly magnetic animal), the shape
    of your eyebrows, the shape of the Collarbone (or
    Clavicle, which means "little key" - alchemy 101 anyone?),
    and a million other things. In the area of music the
    tendrils appear in string instruments like the Harp or the
    ancient Cithara, or otherwise they're carved as holes in
    the soundbox of bowed string instruments like the Violin,
    where they're called "F-holes".

    In art the tendrils tend to appear on flat surfaces
    or lines that meet at an angle

    Seeing them between surfaces that meet at 90°
    over an arch is very common. When the surfaces/lines have
    a gap in the middle, the tendrils are often seeing going
    against one another as if they two forces going against
    other while they swirl (read: magnetic current) (fig. A5),
    while when the surfaces are separated by a gap or are on
    either side of an artifact (usually a circle) the tendrils
    act as standalone decorative elements instead (fig. A7,

    Continues to part 2...















  • ...part2

    Often the gap between the surfaces (or the spot where surfaces meet) and where the Tendrils seem to run to meet each other (but sometimes they are omitted) is exalted or filled by various
    decorative elements:

    • royal symbols: the shield of a royal family for example, or emblem of a society (fig. A8, A9) or a crown (fig. A20,  A21).
    • sacred symbols: the lamb of God (A12), a cross (fig. A10, A11)
    • other geometric symbols: a star (usually 6-pointed or 8-pointed), a star of david, a more or less stylized flower or fleur de lis (fig. A13, A14 or A6 let's see if you can find it) or a circle, or wheel (fig. A30 behind the face of Mary, around the wheel, and on the throne)
    • cosmic symbols: shapes that look like analemmas all tied together (fig. A8 in the bottom row, A16)
    • water symbols: a shell (fig. A15)
    • fantasy or astrological symbols: gargoyles, dragons (fig. A17), a serpent, or a lion (fig. A18) often depicted having a Tendril for tail (or a serpent/scorpion's tail)
    • other magnetic animals: a turkey (thanksgiving anyone?) (fig. A19)

    Sometimes some symbols merge into other symbols: for example the analemma-like shapes seem to describe the shell which sits under the arch where the two Tendrils run, and is actually split in two parts: the two sides of
    the shell part and the tendrils appear to be part of the shell so as to suggest that they have a relationship with water (fig. A15).

    It's also important to notice that often there is a ribbon that ties the tendrils together (fig. A20, A21, A22, A28).

    A note on the crown

    The meaning of the crown in the context of a Cathedral (fig. A20) is easily deduced (kingdom of god etc.) but it's otherwise necessary to say, at the cost of giving an anticipation, that in fig. A21 the crown represents the Sun: this is suggested by the fact that the ribbon that keeps together the tendrils resembles the path that the Sun follows during a day (moving over an arch from East to West with a brief movement to the South at

    Observations on the Ribbon

    The ribbon appears to be:

    • loosely tied and gently falls below the gap-area(remember that the gap-area is usually an arch): this ribbon is usually made of leaves (fig. A12, A13), red fruits, or otherwise of textile usually of red color.
    • tightly tied in the spot where the Tendrils meet (fig A10, A22, A23, A24, A27, A26, A28).

    A note on fig. A25

    this is a photo from the Norman Hall of Philadelphia's Masonic Temple. The whole Norman Hall has motives made of tendrils and in  this particular figure the tendrils seem to describe a space that's delimited by four flowers.
    At the center of such space there is a another flower seemingly blooming.

    A note on fig. A22, A26 and A27

    Fig. A22 is from the Norman Hall of Pennsylvania Masonic
    Temple. Fig 26 and 27, the terracotta plates, are from
    some museum (can't remember which one) on the Etruscan
    civilization. They all contain tendrils. However, the
    terracotta plates have also another framed image (beside
    the tendrils) portraying what seem to be four droplets
    of water
    or four lances that press into a
    point. As they press into a point, at the center of the
    space there is a shape that resembles the blooming flower
    of fig. A25 which is also from the Norman Hall.

    continues to part 3...


















  • edited March 12
    ...part 3


    Could it be that the tendrils of fig. A27 and A26 are
    related to fig. A25 ? Something that suggests a
    relationship is the use of colors: both images seem to use
    two colors, red and blue, in an alternate and
    regular fashion between the shapes that make up the
    drawing. Blue and red are the colors that are
    conventionally used to represent North and South. Could it
    be that those droplet-like shapes that are converging into
    a point are actually magnets? And could it be that in fig.
    A27 and A26 the tendrils are also magnets or represent
    magnetic fields in some way?  If they were, perhaps
    the number of droplets that are enclosed in the tendrils
    could be significant. The terracotta plates from the
    Etruscans really look like a "rosetta-stone" of the
    symbolism of the tendrils: it's seems that they have to do
    with magnetism. They actually look like Q-magnets
    (fig. A31, A32) and another similar layout of magnets with
    same poles all squashed together (fig. A33). Link:

    Could it be that Etruscans not only knew Q-magnets and their
    characteristics, but also they knew what actually happens
    inside the space where the magnetic fields meet? Suppose for
    a minute that a magnetic field was divided in certain
    sections, like light (of the rainbow) is divided in 7
    colors. Could it be that the Etruscans knew exactly how many
    N/S individual magnets there are in each field that is
    generated when two magnets are squashed together?

    A note on fig. A29

    Fig. A29 represents a Flywheel (just like the wheel in
    fig. A30), and that will be the object of the next post.
    In the figure we can see the opened and closed palmettos
    possibly symbolizing the NN-SS-NN patterns of the
    flywheel, and tendrils on the side that run towards each
    other creating a shell, so there is water at the two sides
    of the flywheel. Try to go to these coordinates with
    Google Maps and study the layout of the satellite image:
    41.9107° N, 12.4764° E, that's the place where fig. A13 is
    from. In the next po posts I'll tackle also masonic
    symbols embedded in urban architecture.




  • edited March 12

    The flywheel

    This a known element from Ed's work.
    I'll try to touch all the topics necessary for a (presumably) correct understanding of the machine.

    About the flywheel we know the following:
    • the magnets are alternate NN-SS-NN with like poles squashed

    • on the wheel there is a rim on it which descibes the shape of a clover, so to speak, with 4 bolts that have square heads and mark a square on the wheel.

    • the wheel is concave and has holes in it as if it has to (temporarily) contain a liquid.

    • next to the wheel there is a pole

    Masonic design

    First off, since we have established the connection between Freemasonry and Ed's work it's worth checking out Philadelphia's Masonic Temple for clues:

    • the alternate pattern of "circles and squares" on the outer rim matches the NN-SS-NN pattern of magnets

    • the green and brown squares within the circle match the clover shape of the flywheel

    • the green square inside the circle matches the position with the 4 square head bolts

    • the gavel and chisel (which you should remember from the "Masonic man" illustration) confirm the masonic fingerprint
    • the four corners of the outer square are occupied by two lines joined together (remember this for the end)

    Flowers, palmettos, birds

    This image matches the flywheel the NN-SS-NN alternate pattern, however there is an important detail:

    • the alternate pattern of NN-SS-NN magnets is represented by open & closed flowers.
    • the open & closed flowers (which look like palmettos) are connected by a series of ear-shaped yellow lines that end with curls (as in fig. A24, just strip the leaves off to see them).
      Also, the frame of the "Masonic Man" illustration is comprised of those curls. They are magnets. Join the dots to reveal a picture in the
    • in fig. G4 (it's called "Tutankamun's Alabaster" and allegedly portrays the Egyptian god Hapi uniting upper Egypt with lower Egypt during the Nile's floods) notice how tall the flowers and the vase are (like Ed's sweet 16). Also notice the open & closed flowers, like the open & closed flowers & palmettos (as in fig. G3, A29, and G5, G6 below).

    Notice that there is a bird on top of the vase.

    Continued to part 2...





  • edited March 12
    ...part 2

    Circles, edges, tendrils, shells

    • in fig. G5 the wheel has 2 outer rims. One carries a wave
      and the other (the outer rim) carries a pattern of
      leaves similar to the loose ribbon (as in fig. A12 and A13).
    • in fig. G6. the flywheel is inside a circle of open
      and closed palmettos
      and tendrils on either
      side converge to generate a shell (as in fig.
    • in fig. G7 the design of leaves that go around the flywheel
      substitutes the converging tendrils, and the shells are
      substituted by two semicircles that look like half of the
    • in fig. G8, inside the circle, three chairs are
      aligned as an edge
      (as in fig. G9).
    • in fig. G10 the circle holds 3 Fleur de Lis (Fleur de Lis = 2
      tendrils tied by a ribbon = Q-magnet).
    • in fig. G10 still, notice also the wave/energy pattern in the
      circle, and the H-points on the outer circle.
    • in fig. G11 there is a flywheel withe alternate patterns (to
      the right of the cross).
    Continues to part 3...








  • edited March 12
    ...part 3

    The Bible (fig. G12)

    • the flywheel is designed with ear-shaped magnets (fig. G12)
    • at the top there is a bird (an eagle or falcon) with wings held at an angle (α, Α) as in fig. A6 the sima, or G4 or the triangles in "Masonic man".
    • at the bottom there are two serpents whose tails touch each other (ω, Ω) as the tendrils in fig. G16.
    • winged disc and serpents in fig. G13, G14 and G15 (notice the ribbon in G15)
    • in fig. G13 the disc is an eye (could the iris be full of magnets?)

    The chakra, the hip bone, more on circles

    • the line of the circle is broken by a gap (there's a slice with a different pattern) (fig. G17 or fig. G19) (Ptolemy anyone?)
    • in fig. G18 the circle described by hip bone is cut where the Sacrum connects. In that circle the bladder sits (water).
    • alternate NN-SS-NN pattern, tendrils, and triangles in fig. G16 (East gate of Sanchi Stupa, India)
    • alternate pattern NN-SS-NN in fig. G17 (dharmachakra from the 8th century, the wheel of life, Thailand)
    • alternate pattern NN-SS-NN and tendrils (crab within the wheel) in fig G.27 (two mesoamerican deities infuse life back again into a dead person)

    Continues to part 4...









  • edited March 12
    Part 4...

    Misc observations & clues

    • in fig. G20 the dome and the bell tower are Ed's flywheel and
      the pole
    • in fig. G21 the flywheel/Jesus is next to the arch,
      with red & blue spikes, and 4
      are around it (the creatures of St. John's
      vision, which are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio/Eagle, Aquarius). The
      Dendera Zodiac (fig. G26) has a similar layout. Also Notice the
      tendrils/leaves across the arch has an alternate pattern.
    • in fig. G22 the square has 4 burned corners/holes
    • in fig G21 the dome is surrounded by four
      . Likewise in fig. G23 the man stands
      on a square base. In fig. G2 the stained glass has four corners.
      The hip bone in fig. G18 has two big tips and two small tips
      (hint: Winter/Summer, Fall/Spring). Same as a Cosmati
    • in fig. G23 the man (Enoch) holds a jar with a dragon in it
      and three flowers come out of it. A bell
      is in the back. The base touches the water
      which flows between two doors. Fig. G28 completes the picture.
    • in fig. G24 (Surp Kevork, Aleppo): grapes on a cross.
    • in fig. G11 the western Orthodox Cross has 2
      lines above and one oblique in the middle (North & South
      meet in a magnet oblique from East-West - check the Gates at
      Coral Castle).
    • in fig. G11 the cross sits over an arch (as in fig. A10, A11),
      and below it there is a window with a spinning pattern
    • in fig. G25 notice Isis (Mary) holding the child (Horus /
      Jesus) and the circle enclosed in the horns of the bull (like in
      the Moon Fountain is enclosed in the horns/crescents). Hats of
      Egyptian gods have to do with magnetism/electricity as
      (partially) suggested by the awesome


    how can the same artifacts and shapes appear in a Greek-Roman
    floor mosaic,
    on two carpets very far from each other (Russia, France), on
    Buddhist/Hindu monuments of
    the 2th and 8th century, on the face of a Monastery in Kosovo
    (that's a UNESCO World Heritage site), on an Armenian monument
    in Syria, and in one of the oldest temples in Egypt? And in the
    old art of south america, just like the architecture of
    Cathedrals, or arcane drawings too, or even in a Bible and in religions that still carry notions about the body's energy/spirit system.

    There is surely something universal and timeless about these
    shapes. It's not just about electricity.









  • The checkered floor

    This is such a no brainer, but just for the sake of completeness...

    It appears literally everywhere: in lodges (fig. F1), cathedrals
    (fig. F2), mosques (under the carpets, duhh), and ancient temples
    (fig. F3). It represents "the duality of the world" (yeah right) and
    also magnetism: just lay down & connect a bunch magnets on a
    flat surface and see. Obvious.

    But if all matter/space is made of individual N/S magnets like Ed
    says, would it be possible to isolate one (not the higgs boson,
    lol!)? And since all the symbols suggest that we're looking for an energy that has three streams, how to go about assembling it?

    The floor comes in aid: lay down a square frame (or a circle) of
    tiles all on the same sides. What happens to the space within? Can
    you imagine it in 3D?

    Individual magnets that are trapped within closed spaces
    automatically change their orientation to match with their neighbors
    (as the tablet in fig. A27). Also, the individual magnets that enter the iron
    (or a stone?) from separate streams recombine naturally with
    their neighbors. Rotating.

    Try to imagine 3 wheels rotating next to each other. Wouldn't they
    produce friction? Now look back at the floor of the "Masonic Man"
    illustration. Do new meanings emerge?

    Can you slay the bull like Mithras now, or canst thou unbind the sweet
    influence of the Pleiades?




  • The Column and the Arch (PMH)


    • in fig. C1 (Philly Temple), special tendrils whose meaning I'll expose later.
    • in fig. C2 (the Trajan column 40-tons-each slabs): rotation, ribbons connect the angles at the base.
    • in fig. C3 (Commodus, son of Trajan) the sphere of fixed stars with the zodiac belt at the base, the horns with tendrils/grapes (Cornucopia/Taurus) wrap the waist enclosing two eagles with wings tied by a ribbon. Also a lion's skin/head (Mithras) and the lion's paws (Roarrrr, lol) are tied on his chest. He holds a club that recalls the myth of Hercules.
    • in fig. C4:
      • right side:  tendrils at the base, column with a rotating pattern
      • left side: tendrils in the rotating pattern, while the base:
        • the Bull (Mithras & the bull, Moon fountain, Isis with horns, Shells on two sides of the Flywheel etc.)
        • the Bird (Eagle/Falcon - Scorpio)
        • the Sun (Horus, Mithras, Attis, Jesus, yadda yadda)
        • the Crescent with the star (Islam anyone?)
    • in fig. C5 rotating tendrils pattern
    • in fig C6 shells with a reference to Q-magnets/squashed fields.
    • in fig. C9 columns connected by crouching Lions and double-headed eagles
    • in fig. C8, C9, C10 all archs use the same patterns
    • in fig. C11 and C12 the ribbons connect 3 special points on the arch (check fig. A30). Notice the two squares with 45° offset.
    • in fig. C13 a summary by nature: the dental arch is developed first in the fetus. Also the roundness of the jawbone relates to the rise of canine teeth (fig. C14).
      fig. C14 summarizes all the elements.
    • fig. C15 and C16 (Pythagoras) display the proportions between the "Spheres" and Earth's size (Pi/Tau). The waves meet at the sphere of Sol (G). Possibly at Saturn's too?
    • fig. C18 and C19 (below the Earth) display the Y-shape with which Ed portrayed himself in ABIEH's "At work"


    Manly P. Hall in his "The secret teachings of all ages" tells about the Y-shape: "the famous Pythagorean Υ signified the power of choice and was used in the Mysteries as emblematic of the Forking of the Ways. The central stem separated into two parts, one branching to the right and the other to the left. The branch to the right was called Divine Wisdom and the one to the left Earthly Wisdom." Ed says that when magnets come out of the metal (or another source) part of them goes into Earth and part into space (N & S?). Also, it seems that light runs over the arms of a Y-shaped frame that arrive to the East & West of Earth. Maybe I should try with wood.... Anyway, since this is Symbolism 101 tutorial I'll leave up to you to research all the other connections. One last note: to understand the Royal Arch symbolism just refer Mithraism.

    Happy decoding.


















  • Wow! Nice posts! I gotta go through this tomorrow on a desktop PC. On mobile it’s all too small to read and see anything.

    Very nice. Thanxs
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