Entered Apprentice and the Signs
S THE Entered Apprentice lodge represents a ground plan of the
temple of the sun, it must relate chiefly to physical functions and the
physical plane of life. One of the objects early brought to the attention
of the candidate, not merely in the Entered Apprentice degree, butalso in those higher, is the common gavel. What, then, did the common gavel signify
to the Original Masons?
Tradition informs us that the ancients summed up the whole of existence, past,
present, and future, in one word. This ineffable name, in the Bible translated as
Jehovah, was expressed in Hebrew by the four letters, Jod-He-Vau-He. Elsewhere a
sphinx of four-fold form was used to express the same idea. Rendered into English it
signifies that there is but One Principle, but One Law, but One agent, and but One
Word. The One Principle is symbolized by the form of the common gavel.
This common gavel, which is the first implement used in a Masonic lodge, derived its
form astrologically by removing one of the four bars that divide the universe into four
quadrants by the cross formed from the intersection of the equinoctial colure with the
solstitial colure. The removal of one arm of the cross leaves the ancient Tau Cross,
which has been used universally as the sign of the linga, which is reverenced today by
hundreds of millions in India alone with no thought of shame; for it is the symbol of
The gavel, inherited from a past that placed no shame on man’s body and its holy
natural functions, due to its form, is the symbol of the Universal Creative Principle;
the supreme attribute of Deity. Its form, it is true, is phallic; but merely because the
ancient sages used the physical object the import of which is most easily recognized
to represent universal principles. This gavel is the sledge with which Vulcan shaped
the instruments of war. It is likewise the mighty hammer with which Thor forged his
powerful thunderbolts. To be more explicit, every force and movement in the
universe contains the expression of this One Principle.
That such is the case might be illustrated by analyzing any movement or energy with
which we are familiar. A few examples will probably suffice for our purpose. But to
understand the One Universal Principle, symbolized by the form of the common
gavel, we must recognize the One Universal Law. This great cosmic law, that
governs every conceivable action, is the Law of Sex.
As I look about me in search of examples, the first thing I observe is the fire in the
grate that warms my room. Now chemistry teaches me that relative to each other
atoms are sexed. These atoms that exhibit the widest difference in polarity, are more
strongly sexed; experience the strongest attraction toward each other. Where
opportunity is favorable the result of this attraction is the marriage between atoms. If
the difference in sex is small, but little attraction is manifested, and the result of this
chemical marriage, as the old alchemists would call it, is a feeble offspring. But if the
difference in sex is great, as in the case between the oxygen in the atmosphere and the
carbon fuel in my grate, the attraction is violent, and the product of the union is
energetic. The heat and light radiated by the fire in front of me, according to the
alchemist’s view, is but the energy radiated by the intensity of the sexual
combination of atoms of carbon with atoms of oxygen.
If next I contemplate my own actions, I discern them also to be the result of Chemical
Marriages. Muscular movement is due to the combustion of fuel within the body of
an animal. Furthermore, actions not chemical are quite as much due to the law of sex.
The earth is held in its orbit about the sun, which I see through my window, by the
equilibrium of masculine centrifugal force and feminine centripetal force. And every
mechanical force may in like manner be shown to result from the union, or tendency
toward union, of a positive and a negative factor.
Etheric energies, of which electricity is the best recognized example, are so
commonly regarded as the interaction of positive and negative forces that extensive
comment would be superfluous. Everyone is aware that it is the attraction of the
feminine polarity for the masculine polarity that causes the electric current to speed
along the wires, perhaps performing much work on the way. And mental action also,
as a perusal of Course 5, Esoteric Psychology reveals, is quite as much due to the
attraction and union of factors of different polarity within the mind. All mechanical
force, all chemical activity, all etheric energy, and all mental effort; in fact, all action
in the universe, is due to sex.
Now the modern reader is all too apt to narrow the meaning of the word sex, and limit
it to the more obvious examples. But it was the object of the Ancient Masons to
discover the comparatively few principles that pervade all nature, yet manifest in
diverse forms. Sex, to them, then, was a principle that pertains to inanimate objects,
as well as to those animate. It divides the universe into two qualities, one positive and
controlling, and the other negative and receptive. The positive, controlling, creative
half of the universe is symbolized by the form of the common gavel.
Of course, nothing is created in the sense that something is made from nothing.
Substance of some kind, energy of some form, and intelligence in some degree, have
always existed (see Course 3, Spiritual Alchemy). The exercise of the creative
attribute on the part of man, then, is the utilization of energies already in existence. It
is the turning of them into different channels of expression.
Not only is energy universal, but the ancient Masters taught that intelligence is
universal also. When Camille Flammarion, after a half century of psychic research,
says that intelligence is always present wherever there is an organism through which
it can express, he states the same general idea. Anyone, I believe, who has much
experience with psychic phenomena in its various phases will concur in this, that if
the means be at hand through which intelligence may readily express, there is always
an intelligent force present to take advantage of the opportunity. That is, intelligence,
like substance and energy, is a universal attribute.
The Source of Will Power
–The one universal principle, or energy, when directed by intelligence, becomes
Will. Man’s only source of will power lies in his ability to receive energy and then
persistently direct it into channels of his own choosing. Lower species of animals
also transmit universal energies. But they have a texture and organization that
permits only the less complex vibrations to express through them; while man, whose
substance is more refined and highly organized, receives, utilizes and again projects
in manners of his own selection, finer and more potent rates of energy.
Man thus is capable of transmitting the one universal principle in a manner of which
lower animals are incapable. Man also uses a gavel in his work of building. He uses it
with force and directs it intelligently to the accomplishment of a predetermined
purpose. The gavel, then, while by its form typical of virility and creative energy, has
come to have an added significance. It signifies that energy is directed by
intelligence. And as energy directed by intelligence persistently to a predetermined
end is will, the gavel has come to be recognized by its use as the symbol of the human
If we are in doubt as to the relation between the significance of the form of the gavel
as indicating sexual virility, and the significance of its use as indicating will, a little
observation will reveal the association. Those animals, for instance, that in the full
vigor of their sexual life are energetic, alert, and combative, when altered by man
become dull, listless, lazy, and cowardly. The bull is the lord and protector of his
herd, while the steer is a lazy coward. The stallion is high spirited and independent,
while the gelding is meek and submissive. The cock energetically scratches to
provide food for this flock, while the capon cares for nothing but ease. And if we look
to the most attractive and the most successful among our human acquaintances, we
find they are without exception markedly feminine women and strongly masculine
The gavel being the first implement of Masonry indicates that the Ancient Masons
believed the first thing the candidate should do is to cultivate his will power. In fact,
the continued use of the gavel even in the higher lodges indicates their opinion that
the culture and use of the will is necessary on all planes of existence. How, then, may
the will be cultivated?
We often hear the remark that a certain person could do a specific thing if he but
willed to do so. This no doubt is sometimes true, but as it is often the case that the
person is notoriously weak and wavering in will, how can he exercise that which he
does not possess? It is as great a fallacy to think that all men can use their wills
successfully, as it is to think that all men can, without previous practice or
experience, play a good game of golf. To play a decent game of golf requires long and
arduous practice; and to use the will successfully requires at least as persistent
This brings us back to the one universal principle symbolized by the form of the
gavel. Energy is universal. It is present in the sunshine we feel, in the food we eat, in
the air we breathe, and as still finer currents that radiated from the stars flow through
our astral bodies. That we may be energetic, physically, mentally, or spiritually,
requires that we tap some existing source of energy and adapt it to our needs. The
energy used in spiritual activity, quite as much as that used in physical effort, requires
that we first receive energy from some outside source. One cannot exercise a spiritual
force unless one has at hand a supply of energy of such refinement as to be spiritual.
Electrical Source of Energy to beUsed by the Will
–The first thing, then, in the exercise of will power is to have at hand an adequate
supply of energy. The kind of energy consumed in the exercise of will on the physical
plane is etheric (electric) energy. It is the kind of energy that constitutes the nerve
currents, the kind that is recognized as personal magnetism. The source of this
electric energy–and how the physical cells, acting as miniature batteries–generate
it, is explained in full detail in Course 5, Esoteric Psychology, Chapter 9. It is present,
associated with the human body in normal quantities in all healthy persons. Well
sexed persons have an abundant supply of it, but under sexed persons are deficient in
it; for the former are recognized to be magnetic, while the latter are always deficient
in personal magnetism, that is, in etheric energy. A normal healthy sexual nature, as
the gavel suggests, seems to be requisite for a normal supply of etheric energy.
The amount of this energy may be greatly increased, and the amount thus available
for the use of the will greatly augmented, by tension exercises and by rhythmic
breathing. Rhythmic breathing, while the mind is firmly fixed on indrawing and
utilizing the imponderable forces from the atmosphere, is the method most
commonly employed to supply the requisite amount of etheric energy for unusual
efforts of the will. It was the method employed by the Ancient Masons, and has for
centuries been thus employed by the Hindu Yogis. The latter term the invisible
electromagnetic energy so obtained, prana. Instead of being subtracted from the
atmosphere, in reality it is chiefly generated in the nervous system. But from
whatever source it is obtained, or whatever the method employed to secure it, man
can only exercise will power on the physical plane when supplied with it, on the same
principle that a motor will only run when supplied with electricity.
There is still another important consideration in connection with this etheric energy.
It has a wide range of vibratory rates. Some are of high frequency and very fine and
powerful, and some are of low frequency, coarse and of less power. And like other
energies, the higher the frequency, that is, the finer they are, the more powerful they
become. This seems to be a general law, that the higher an energy is in rate of
vibration, the more powerful it is, providing its energy is properly utilized.
This brings us to another observation of the old Magi. They held that in strict ratio
and proportion to the refinement of substance is it vitalized by spirit. That is, the more
refined an organism, the higher the frequency of vibrations it will transmit. And as
the higher rates of energy are more powerful, the more refined the organism, the
more capable it becomes to exercise a powerful influence on other organisms and
things. In other words, other things being equal, the higher refined organism is
capable of exercising a stronger will power than one more gross.
Intelligence, like energy, being a universal attribute, we perceive why it is that often
persons of small cranial capacity have more intelligence than those of larger
capacity. Their whole physical make-up is finer, and more complex in texture; hence
they are capable of receiving and transmitting finer forces than those less refined.
Fine rates of energy, true spiritual powers, can find no point of contact in a gross
body. Therefore, for spiritual power, and also for will power, there should be a
progressive refinement of the body.
The Proper Culture of the Will
–The mere transmission of energy, even if refined, however, does not constitute
will power. Will power, as indicated by the use of the gavel, is energy directed
persistently to some purpose.
How then can we develop will power? How can we develop the first implement of a
Mason? Only by practice. There is no other way. One learns to play golf or tennis by
keeping doggedly at it, and one develops will power in the same way. In the first
place, to avoid discouragement, one should never attempt doing something until
careful reflection has shown that it is both possible and advisable. But once having
come to a decision to do something, it should be carried through to complete
accomplishment in spite of all obstacles. This system should be tried at first on the
inconsequential things, as one in golf first tries the easier strokes. Little by little, the
plan should be enlarged to embrace larger undertakings, until finally the exercise of a
powerful will becomes a permanent habit in the life.
Such a development of the will is, therefore, according to the ancient sages, the first
implement of a Mason. Any person will find such an implement most useful. But to
one who intends to practice magic it is quite indispensable. All the asceticism,
self-torture, harsh discipline, and self-mortification of the oriental fakirs and certain
of the yogis has for its sole object the building up of an inflexible will. Once a thing is
decided upon it is always carried through in spite of obstacles, pain, or sorrow. Yet a
useful and normal life affords quite as much opportunity for rigid will development.
The habit and mood of inflexible will in time becomes so impressed upon the astral
organization, or unconscious mind, that all energies are focused to the
accomplishment of the desired result. Therefore, in the practice of magic, when a
thought is formulated and projected by such a person, all the etheric energy available
is concentrated in the projection of the thought, and the astral form of the person
continues, even after the matter is no longer present in objective consciousness, to
utilize every effort to bring the formulated event to pass.
Nothing worth while, either in magic or in more prosaic endeavor, can be
accomplished without the development of a strong will. In this development, as we
have seen, there are three factors. There must be an energy supply. Such energy is
available to the naturally virile person who practices dynamic breathing for the
purpose of generating etheric energy. This energy supply must be of high frequency.
That it may be so the body is refined through careful diet, through high aspirations,
and through the cultivation of pure and lofty emotions.
This energy must be directed with an inflexible purpose. Such inflexibility may be
gained through practice with the normal affairs of life. To use the methods of oriental
ascetics is to develop the will at the expense of the divine soul. The divine soul is built
up by the nobler impulses and finer emotions. To crush all feeling from the life is to
starve and perhaps destroy the immortal part of one’s nature. Cold intellect alone is
not high enough in vibration to penetrate the higher spiritual realms. The animal soul,
like any animal, yields to firm treatment, but if treated harshly it either becomes
savage and vengeful, or loses all heart and becomes a quailing coward. It should be
transmuted until all its energies are utilized by the divine soul, not beaten or slain.
People, animals, and the animal soul of man, all respond to kind yet firm treatment.
Every man, according to the Ancient Masons, has a definite constructive work in the
world. When this work is discerned, the culture of his will requires the absolute
adherence to carefully weighed resolutions that have been formed irrespective of
impulse and momentary desire, having for their end progress toward the One Great
Aim of the individual’s life; and the vitalization of the organism with energy
sufficient in quality and quantity to carry out the dictates of these resolutions.
Significance of the 12-inch Gaugeand the 24-inch Rule
–Now in Modern Masonry, as well as in that more ancient, we find closely
associated with the common gavel the 12-inch gauge and the 24-inch rule. The
factors that gauge the tone quality of the forces reaching man and expressing through
his organism are the twelve zodiacal signs. They are the chief gauges of his life,
character, and efforts. The sign the sun is in at birth is the gauge of his individuality,
the sign the moon is in at birth is the gauge of his mentality, and the sign on the
ascendant at his birth is the gauge of his personality. They gauge his thoughts, his
speech, his actions, and the events which enter his life. They gauge the strength and
the harmony of the influence of such planets as may be within their bounds.
But the particular department of life influenced by each zodiacal sign, by each
section of the twelve-inch gauge, must be ascertained by the application of the
24-inch rule. This rule embraces the 24 hours of the day. All the zodiacal signs rise,
culminate, and set, within the limit of this 24-inch rule. Only by determining the time
of an event, or of a birth only by applying the 24-inch rule–can the astrological
influences affecting it be learned. Furthermore, this rule of 24 sections measures out
to man the time when each of the important events of his life will take place; for each
24-hour cycle after birth, according to the most approved astrological practice,
actually releases forces that bring to pass the major events that transpire during the
corresponding year of life.
The 24-inch rule, then, is the 24-hour day, during which the signs of the zodiac,
bearing with them all the planets, rise and set. By its proper use as a time measuring
instrument the exact position of all the signs and planets at any moment of time may
be known. Such a chart, erected for the moment of birth, is the best possible road map
to a successful life, and to the goal of complete initiation.
As to the 12-inch gauge, each section is one of the consonants of celestial language.
The observations of the Ancient Masons convinced them that Solomon’s Temple
was actually divided into twelve such equal sections. They consequently sought for
those things on earth, and within their own bodies, that vibrate to the same tone
quality as each of these signs. Having selected some familiar object on earth that best
summarized the influence of a zodiacal sign on human life, they traced the outlines of
this object in its appropriate place among the stars. And then, at a later date, to
express the same thing quickly in writing, the object’s form was merely greatly
abbreviated and conventionalized. Let us, therefore, trace this process with each
section of the 12-inch gauge.
Origin of the Aries Symbol
In the Ram the Ancient Masons discerned the primitive fighting instinct, the desire
for leadership, the headstrong aggressiveness, the fiery temper, and the impetuosity,
that they observed in people born when Aries is the ruling sign. These people are
ambitious, intrepid, despotic, often quarrelsome, pugnacious, and passionate. Yet in
their work of construction or destruction they are noted for creative power and
original thought, always using their brains in all they do. The Ram also is combative,
and uses its head in offensive work. Thus the Ram, typical of the influence of Aries,
which rules the head of man, was given first place in the arch of Solomon’s Temple.
To denote the Ram in writing they used a conventional form of the face of a sheep
surmounted by its curling horns.
Origin of the Taurus Symbol
–Those born under the influence of the sign Taurus are careful, plodding, and
self-reliant. They are quiet and thoughtful, patiently awaiting for plans to mature.
Remarkable for endurance, industry, and application, they sometimes become sullen
and reserved. They are virile, with strong procreative instincts, are slow to anger, yet
when once aroused are furious and violent; are warm friends and relentless foes. The
sages of old noted similar qualities in the Bull, a similarity that can be observed also
today, and they chose the Bull to occupy second place among the starry
constellations in the sky. The Bull is remarkable for the strength of his neck, and the
sign Taurus is found to rule the neck and throat of man. The Bull was denoted in
writing by the conventionalized face of a bull with the two horns readily recognized.
Origin of the Gemini Symbol
–Duality is the most marked characteristic of those born under the third division of
the zodiac. They have both intuition and reason well developed, are fond of all kinds
of knowledge, are restless, changeable, energetic, enterprising, and good teachers.
They are dexterous and quickly acquire skill with their hands, often following more
than one occupation at the same time. Their chief difficulty is to concentrate their
energies long enough in one channel to make it a great success. This marked duality
led the ancients to picture the sign Gemini in the sky as the Twins, Castor and Pollux.
Gemini rules the hands and arms in the body of man, and to express the Twins
quickly in writing two perpendicular marks were used.
Origin of the Cancer Symbol
People born under the sign Cancer are tenacious, sensitive to their surroundings,
retiring, timid, and desirous of carrying out their own ideas in their own way. They
are mediumistic, possess good reflective powers, and are true conservers of force. In
these things they are like the crab, and further, when the sun in its annual journey
enters this first of the watery signs it starts back toward the south from the north,
suggesting the backward method of locomotion common to the crab. So the Crab,
influenced by the tides and the moon as are Cancer people by their moods, was
selected to represent the sign Cancer. Water is the mother and nourisher that carries
food to the united sperm and germ enabling them to grow. The sign Cancer also rules
the home and family, the sperm and germ moving toward union well showing the
foundation of domestic ties. Cancer rules the breasts and stomach of man. And to
represent this chief of the domestic signs quickly in writing, the Wise Ones used the
claws of the crab as emblems of the two cells moving toward each other.
Origin of the Leo Symbol
–Those born under the sign Leo are marked for their courage, for the strength of the
physical constitution, and for recuperative power. They are honest, fearless,
magnanimous, generous to their friends, impulsive, passionate, faithful,
sympathetic, and ambitious. They are lovers of their offspring and will defend them
regardless of cost; are majestic, proud, and become natural rulers of others. Their
ideas are usually on a large scale, seldom stooping to pettiness or meanness. These
qualities were also discerned in the lion, therefore, the Masons of Old traced a lion in
the sky to mark the fifth division of the zodiac. Leo, ruler of the heart in man, is the
sign ruled by the sun, which is typical of creative power. And because the deadly
cobra has the power of raising itself and expanding its hood in fancied resemblance to
the procreative organ, it was, and is, venerated in many countries of the world as
sacred to the sun. Therefore, to represent the sign briefly, in writing, the cobra, much
conventionalized, was used.
Origin of the Virgo Symbol
–Virgo people are thoughtful, serious, contemplative, modest, ingenious, careful,
cautious, and industrious. They often become scholars and scientists, repositories of
information, with the ability to assimilate experience in such a way as to yield a rich
harvest of knowledge. They are thus always ready to suggest improvements in
existing methods. To the Ancient Masons, the human body is the womb of the
universe, from which after its period of gestation, through the travail of death, the son
of God is born into the spiritual world. Death to them was but the freeing of the soul
from the restricting envelope of matter, a passing from darkness into light. This is the
mystery of the immaculate conception: Man, as the uterus of Isis, is impregnated
with the Holy Spirit, to develop within himself Christ Consciousness. When this
mystical atonement is made he can truly say: “I and the Father are One.” In the sky
this thought is depicted as a gleaning maid, immaculate and pure. She holds in her
hands two ears of wheat, typifying the harvest of love and wisdom which constitutes
the mission of the soul gestating in human form. This harvest well expresses the
discriminative function of the bowels, that part of the human anatomy ruled by
Virgo, and also the discriminative powers of Virgo people. It was expressed
hieroglyphically by a sheaf of wheat.
Origin of the Libra Symbol
–Those who are ruled by the sign Libra are lovers of peace and harmony, are
amiable, even tempered, affectionate, sympathetic, and inclined toward marriage.
They are fond of art, refined pleasures, and amusements, dislike unclean work
intensely, have a deep love of justice, and feel the need of a companion to share their
lot in life. For a moment they are easily carried away by their emotions, but quickly
regain their balance. This mental equilibrium, and the instinct for justice, was
pictured in the sky by the Scales. Libra rules the veins, the internal sexual organs, and
the reproductive fluids in man. It is the sign of marriage, and was represented in
writing briefly by the union of a feminine, or crooked, line, with a masculine, or
Origin of the Scorpio Symbol
–Those born under the sign Scorpio have strong sexual desires and possess an
inexhaustible fund of ideas. They are thoughtful, contemplative, ingenious,
scientific; and where others are concerned can be cold, calculating, unsympathetic,
deceitful, and cruel. Suspicious, determined, secretive, energetic, shrewd, they
possess fine mechanical ability, and often have a strong life-giving magnetism that
enables them to become successful healers as well as good surgeons. The intensity of
the sexual nature, the subtlety, cruelty, fighting instincts, and underhanded methods
by which they attack opponents, suggested to the minds of the Ancient Masons the
Scorpion, whose chief weapon of offense is the least suspected part of his anatomy, at
the end of his tail. Scorpio rules the external sexual organs in the anatomy of man.
Like Virgo people, those ruled by Scorpio are harvesters of knowledge, but unlike
Virgo people, whose sheaf of wheat is closed at the bottom to indicate conservation,
the sheaf denoting Scorpio is left open at the bottom to indicate wasteful expenditure
of precious energy. And to indicate the retaliating pangs of remorse for such loss, as
well as to suggest the Scorpion, in denoting the sign briefly in writing the sheaf of
wheat was provided with a scorpion’s tail.
Origin of the Sagittarius Symbol
–The Centaur, half animal and half man, was chosen by the Sages of Old to picture
in the sky the sign Sagittarius. It well represents the dual nature of those born under
this sign; for their animal propensities are strong, yet they are also well supplied with
the higher, nobler, more generous impulses. The body and legs of a horse indicate
restlessness, physical activity, and migratory tendencies; while the upper and human
part indicates conservatism, self control, and executive ability. They are free,
energetic, ambitious of worldly position, are loyal, patriotic, and charitable to others.
Their love of hunting and all outdoor sports is shown by the full drawn bow, which
also expresses retribution; for Sagittarius people are quick to fight for the rights of
others. They are prompt and decisive in action, can command others, are frank and
candid, and when they speak their remarks go straight to the mark like an arrow to the
bull’s eye. Sagittarius rules the thighs, which are the seat of man’s locomotion. To
write the sign quickly, the arrow from the archer’s bow was used.
Origin of the Capricorn Symbol
–Those born under the sign Capricorn are quiet, thoughtful, reserved, serious,
economical, prudent, cautious, good reasoners, decidedly practical, and ambitious of
wealth and position. They are born diplomats, and quick to see and use the
weaknesses of others for their own advantage. Thus as a goat ascends a mountain,
taking advantage of every possible foothold, so these people climb to their ambitions
by grasping every possible opportunity, great or small, to advance themselves.
Suppliantly they bow to the reigning authority, seeking by sundry and devious ways
to gain the good will of others, that they may partake in power, much as the goat must
bend his knees and devise many a clever method to crop the foliage among the
precipitous rocks of his upland pastures. These people are patient and persistent, and
by concentrated effort and skillful maneuvering butt their way through, or climb their
way around, all but insurmountable obstacles. In the body of man Capricorn rules the
knees. It is pictured in the sky as the Goat. And to write it quickly a twisted devious
line was used, twisted to suggest the spiraled horns of the goat, but in its pattern a still
better representation of the circuitous path by which goats and people reach the
heights of material ambition.
Origin of the Aquarius Symbol
The chief characteristics of those born under the sign Aquarius are the predominance
of humanitarian instincts and the desire for a scientific verification of all theories.
This intellectual trend is represented by the Man of the zodiac, while the sympathies
and emotions that bind him to his fellowman are pictured by water flowing from the
urn. It is the baptismal urn, the water representing the pure emotions that prompt man
to reform and lead a new life. These people are kind, amiable, witty, fond of
refinement and society, and are keen students of human nature. As Leo is symbolized
hieroglyphically by one serpent, Aquarius, where Reason and Intuition balance,
where man and woman have learned the significance of sex, have partaken of the tree
of knowledge of good and evil, was anciently symbolized by two serpents moving in
opposite directions. Aquarius rules the legs of man. It is written briefly as two wavy
lines, a conventionalized form for the two serpents, and also suggesting the water that
flows from the Waterbearer’s urn.
Origin of the Pisces Symbol
–Pisces people are amiable, very sympathetic, kind, neat, and particular, yet are
often timid and lacking in self-confidence. They are greatly influenced by their
environment, are restless, emotional, highly imaginative, and capable of high
intellectual development. In their ideals they are utopian. They long for universal
brotherhood, for the highest expression of love, and for peace on earth good will to
men. Sensitive, mediumistic, capable of psychic lucidity, romantic and lovers of
mystery, they are apt to become too negative and dreamy to practice their ideals.
They take an interest in psychic investigation, have a strong desire for the ideal in
marriage, and when this ideal is not realized become restless and discontented.
Pisces rules the feet of man. Fish, due to their reproductive ability, are ancient
symbols of sex, and water is the symbol of the emotions. To represent the ideal love
and marriage for which Pisces people long–that union referred to in the Bible as the
tree of life and in the Kabala as the Holy Shekinah, or perfect way of nuptials–the
Ancient Masons placed in the sky two fish and united them by a cord of love. To write
the sign quickly they used two crescents, symbolizing two souls, likewise united by a
Significance of the Signs in the E.A. Degree
Now having defined the 12-inch gauge, let us revert to the first implement of a
Mason, the common gavel. In the Entered Apprentice lodge the Master gives one rap
with his gavel. The Master, as has previously been explained, represents the human
ego. The gavel represents the human will. The table, against which the gavel is
struck, is a plane surface, and thus represents a plane, any plane, of existence upon
which the soul may sojourn. One blow on the table, of course, represents the first
plane, that is, the physical plane. Two raps signify the second plane, that is, the astral
realm. Three raps indicate the third or spiritual plane. But in the E. A. degree but one
rap is necessary, because the mysteries of this degree all pertain primarily to the
physical plane. In fact, if we are to be able to check our information concerning other
planes of existence adequately, we must first thoroughly understand all the laws and
facts, in so far as possible, relative to the physical plane. How can we understand
higher mathematics unless we first learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide?
Therefore, the Ancient Masons insisted that the candidate should, before
investigating higher realms, thoroughly understand his physical functions and the
physical plane of life.
As soon as the lodge is opened, the Master asks the Junior Warden, representing the
planet Mercury, if all are E. A. Masons in the South. The South is the place where all
the planets reach their highest position. He then asks the Senior Warden,
representing the Moon, if all are E. A. Masons in the West. The West is where all the
planets sink from sight beneath the horizon. Having been answered in the
affirmative, he, representing the Sun, then vouches for those in the East. The east is
where all the planets rise into view. But the North is left unmentioned, for to us of the
northern hemisphere there are no planets to our north. The North, where water
freezes, is the symbol of crystallization and of strictly material motives. These latter
are left unmentioned, for material achievement based on purely material motives,
has no part to play in soul advancement.
The Junior Deacon, representing the planet Venus, is next called up to the Master,
and gives a sign by which he may be identified. It is quite fitting that Venus, the
planet of love and affection, should be the one to give this sign. It consists of placing
the open fingers of the right hand upon the open fingers of the left hand.
Venus, in astrology, rules the sign Libra, the sign that governs both marriage and
open enemies. Therefore, it is quite fitting also that the Master should appoint Venus,
the Junior Deacon, to station outside the door, the Tyler with drawn sword. This door
is the barrier between the seeming and the real, the exoteric appearances and the
esoteric verity. Venus, the planet of love, affection, and marriage, knocks three times
on the inside of this door, signifying the esoteric and real knowledge concerning
marriage as applied to all three planes. The Tyler, symbolizing man’s thoughts, then
answers by three knocks on the outside of the door, signifying those exoteric and
unworthy opinions about marriage on all three planes that guard the real truth from
Finally, the Junior Deacon knocks once and is answered by one rap, indicating that in
the Entered Apprentice degree the candidate is expected to master the laws
governing physical marriage only. That the study of such laws, and the attempt to
apply them in the production of a nobler race of mankind, as well as the attempt to
apply them in the elevation of the soul to higher states of spiritual attainment, was one
of the chief objects of the Ancient Masons in the E.A. degree is plainly shown by the
sign given by the Junior Deacon to the Master. Five is, and as far back as such things
can be traced always has been, the symbol of man or woman alone. The five fingers
of the right hand represent man, the five of the left hand represent woman. The right
and the left hand joined, in universal symbolism, represents the marriage of man and
Contrast of Ancient Masonry Teachings With Those of Present Day Orient
–However moderns may regard marriage, the Ancient Sages attached no sense of
shame, immorality, or degradation to it. They looked upon it as one of life’s noblest
privileges, and by deep study sought to learn how through it better offspring might be
brought into the world; how the noblest sentiments possible to man might be
strengthened, how life might be prolonged, disease avoided, and a greater amount of
happiness brought into the world.
If we are to believe tradition they in a measure succeeded in all these things. The
Bible gives repeated accounts of man living far beyond the allotted three score and
ten years. But irrespective of the literal veracity of these stories, the Ancient Sages
believed that their lives were prolonged and that they attained higher powers through
their understanding of love in the sacred precincts of marriage.
Nowhere are these teachings and beliefs more plain to discern than in Ancient
Masonry. But let no one be led astray by the thought that any so-called sex practices
were taught. Neither was asceticism and celibacy taught. The Sages of Chaldea, the
Priesthood of Egypt, and the Ancient Masons, were married people. They believed in
marriage, believed it was a holy and sacred institution, believed in purity, in
kindness, in love. In India, it is true, asceticism developed, and also sex-magic such
as is found among the Tantrics today. But I find no hint of such extremes in Ancient
Dozens of sects flourish today throughout America teaching suppression of the love
nature. Other dozens of sects, usually as sworn-to-secrecy inner circles of cults, teach
sex practices as the means of gaining supernormal powers. If the teachings of the
Ancient Masons, as revealed by their symbolism, are true, both these ideas are a
delusion and a snare. In fact, it is my belief that if those doctrines were permitted full
public discussion they would soon have no adherents, because the medical
profession alone would present such an array of actual pathological cases caused by
such ideas that it would discourage others. Such beliefs thrive on secrecy.
If I may be pardoned for mentioning personal observations, I may say that I have
been in occult work since 1898, and have contacted, directly or indirectly, most of the
cults, colonies, and beliefs of any consequence throughout the world. In that time I
have known of centers and colonies devoted to some special sex practices, but while I
have known of many cases of physical and mental derangement to result, up to the
present day I have not known of a single person that has been in any way benefitted.
Also, I have known of many centers and cults that teach repression, and while I have
observed much psychism to result from this, it has always been an unreliable and
often obnoxious form of psychism.
Such personal remarks are relevant because to explain Ancient Masonry it is
impossible to avoid reference to sex; and a plain statement may prevent hasty
conclusions. The teachings of Ancient Masonry in such regards are very simple, very
plain, and such that they would be endorsed by medical men of high standing, quite
coincide with the legal requirements of our land, and set a high moral code. Their
doctrines relative to sex are concerned with marriage, and teach man not to starve his
animal nature, but to transmute the animal into the divine. They teach man how he
can cease being a brute and become an angel.
Oriental doctrines which are in all essential respects the very opposite of those of
Ancient Masonry are prevalent today. First of all, they advocate that the individual
shall eat only the most negative of foods. Yet his ability to control himself and to
exercise will power, depends upon, not the volume of electricity generated in his
body and nervous systems, but upon its voltage, or potential. As explained fully in
Course 5, Esoteric Psychology, Chapter 9, it is the protein molecules of the body
which are able to release the high-frequency energy of the lightning which fixed the
nitrogen that plant life took from the soil. And most people cannot thus release high
potential enough or in any manner develop high voltage in the gray matter of their
brains, while living on the negative foods advocated in this Oriental training.
The action of the endocrine secretions of the gonads on the nervous system is to cause
it to generate electrical charges in greater volume. Celibacy, therefore, tends to have
the effect of charging the individual with much surplus electromagnetic, or etheric
Rhythmic breathing also is advocated, and exercises prescribed which tend to
generate still greater excesses of etheric energy.
Thus sex repression and dynamic breathing are employed to generate a great excess
of etheric energy which floods the system; but, because of the diet and the practices in
meditation, no ability to control this low potential etheric excess is developed. On the
contrary, the dreamy fantasy kind of thinking called meditation is cultivated, which
breaks down whatever power the individual already had to direct his thoughts
concisely and clearly into channels of control.
As a perusal of Course 5, Esoteric Psychology, Chapter 9 will make plain, control of
one’s thoughts or control of one’s body depends upon being able to mobilize in the
brain cells used for such control, an electrical energy not merely strong enough to
gain recognition, but with a potential sufficiently high that it can overcome, and
displace, other electrical energies which compete with it.
If the brain cells employed for control can not acquire a higher electrical potential
than potentials generated in other regions of the body–in the sympathetic nervous
system, for instance–it can not control, but is controlled by, these electrical energies
thus elsewhere generated. Yet the various meditations and concentrations employed
in the Oriental teachings mentioned, have as a direct result the discouragement of
positive clear cut intellectual thinking, and they break down the power of the brain to
generate electrical energies high enough in voltage to exercise control. Instead the
control comes from the sympathetic nervous system.
Etheric energy, having a velocity when in motion approximately that of light, is the
bridge between the physical world and the astral world. According to Einstein’s
General Theory of Relativity, no material thing can have a velocity greater than light.
Therefore, that which has a velocity greater than about 186,284 miles per second no
longer belongs to the physical, but is an object on the astral plane.
And an excess of this boundary line etheric energy makes it easy for motions from the
physical plane to be communicated to the astral plane, or for motions on the astral
plane to be communicated to the physical. The excess of etheric energy developed by
breathing and sex repression, therefore, is favorable for enabling astral entities,
either in the flesh or on the astral plane, to contact the individual and use him and his
electrical forces to produce phenomena, to impress him with their wishes, or to exert
an influence upon others at a distance.
But the training has been careful to discourage, both by the negative diet and the
mental exercises, the development of ability on the part of the individual to use these
etheric energies he generates. The whole system is designed to develop volumes of
low potential electrical energy such as most readily can be used by a distant Mahatma
in the flesh, or by some astral entity, in spite of any attempted resistance on the part of
the poor dupe thus trained; when he realizes that he is being controlled for purposes
about which he knows nothing.
Instead of the opposite process, which the Ancient Masons taught, in which pains are
taken to develop Intellect and Will, so that the individual always may be master of
himself, this Oriental training furnishes plastic individuals quite incapable of
directing their own forces, but who generate great quantities of etheric energy which
can, and is, used, whether or not there is consent, by cunning and dominant minds
working from the inner plane for their own selfish purposes.