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Archive for the ‘University of North Carolina’ Category

I never did finish my popcorn.  When a movie fails to deliver even the popcorn seems stale.  National Treasure: Book of Secrets seems to carefully sidestep the murky issues surrounding the Lincoln assassination and the accelerated return from exile of Albert Pike.  I went out the turnstile with an unease surrounding the quest for unending clues.

Just when you want to put the popcorn down, something happens.

In the most recent issue of the Scottish Rite Journal a question is asked:

“Is there a university laid out like a Masonic Lodge”?

I grabbed for popcorn.

The University of North Carolina appears to be fashioned off the interior of a Masonic Lodge, at least in it earliest form.  For two hundred years students have walked in and around the structures in question and no doubt failed to understand the significance.

The Scottish Rite Journal tells us that the buildings in question form a little design with the famous North Carolina cupola as the centerpiece.  Old South, Old East, and Old West complete the Masonic presentation.  It appears that the three buildings mentioned stand in perfect alignment to each other and to the Old Well.  Together they form an exact lineup of the three principal officers and altar of a Masonic Lodge.  The fact that there is no building in the north, only an empty park, further suggests to the Scottish Rite Journal that the early architects built this configuration as a symbol of the Lodge.  It makes sense.  In Masonic lore and thought, the north is considered a place of darkness and void.

The Old Well, which would be a symbol of the Masonic altar to the Great Archtect of the Universe, is kind of a big deal on campus.  It is often used as the symbol on the university itself. The Scottish Rite suggests to us that this well, which was used to give water to the early campus, is the altar itself.  It seems fitting that the architects used the well symbolically, as Freemasonry is thought to give its abundance of knowledge to a devoid and thirsty world.

The Old Well itself is actually fashioned after the Temple of Love in Versailles.  In its original French form it was dedicated to the deity of love, Eros, or Cupid.  Even this dash into pagan thought seems consistent with Masonry as the various male deities of antiquity are seen as diverse symbols of the one, unapproachable deity.  In this form it is just taking the form and function of Eros.

All of this wouldn’t be especially noteworthy, except to Masons and maybe followers of Western magical systems.  The reason is simple.  It is called sacred geometry.  Sacred geometry forms the basis of almost all Western magical tradtions, including Freemasonry.

A certain Hermes Trimegistus articulated the concept of sacred geometry as a metaphysical philosophy, which in turn gave rise to future occult thought.  He postulated that energy of the spiritual world is attracted or focused by use of certain geometric patterns.  Although this wasn’t entirely a new idea, he coined a certain phrase, which stuck.  In the book Emerald Tablet he states, “that which is below corresponds to that which is above, and that which is above, corresponds to that which is below, to accomplish miracles of the one thing.”  This phrase was revolutionary.  It is how magical theory is practiced and experienced by many.

An easily recognizable example of sacred geometry is the pentagram, a five-pointed star.  It can be drawn with a point up, or a point down.  It is usually drawn in one continuous line and itself mimics the movement of the planet Venus in its travels across the universe. When a pentagram, or other geometric figure is drawn, occultists believe it focuses spiritual energy. In this case what is above, Venus,  is as that which is below, the symbol.  It can create something.

His phrase is often shortened to “as above, so below”, or the opposite.  An attempt is made to align the below with the above thus creating change or energy.  This is probably why some people do crop circles.  I don’t really think they are done by space aliens.  Manipulating one level is thought to affect another level.  One could say that something budging in the celestial world, because of a drawn symbol, should reverberate down here on Main Street.

The Masons seem to use sacred geometry in a lot of their ritual work.  One can find pentagrams, triangles, stars of Solomon, among dozens and dozens of others.  Connecting the interior of a Masonic Lodge to the initial buildings of a university, and the celestial world, should create a spark. 

And so the Old Well may not be just an old well.  Old South may not just be old south.  The well fashioned off the Temple of Love in Versailles holds in its original form a statue of Cupid cutting a bow from the club of Hercules.  Maybe it is all about refinement. 

When I naturally think of water, as a Christian, I do not think of Cupid or Eros.  My mind turns to Jesus.  I remember the book of John telling me that Jesus alone gives living water. Water that leads to eternal life does not come from a pagan deity, but from Him.  I have found this to be true in my life.

Who really knows what the original designers had in mind at the University of North Carolina. But I agree with the authors of the Scottish Rite Journal; it is striking. 

Popcorn anyone?

http://www.scottishrite.org/ee.php?/journal/articles/current_interest_freemasonry_q_a/

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/arch/17thc/Versailles06.jpg

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