Double-headed Eagle (Eagle of Lagash)

The double-headed eagle is the emblem of the thirty second and thirty-third (and highest) degrees of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. There exist a multitude explanations of the meaning of the two-headed eagle, from the mundane (it’s a heraldic device) to the fantastic (it’s the devil, I tell you!). In fact, the eagle is a symbol of the theurgic process undertaken by the masonic initiate- a symbol of a completed alchemical process.

In the Hermetic Alchemical doctrine on which many Masonic symbols are based, the eagle is a sign of Scorpio, and is emblematic of transformation- the lowly, crawling scorpion remade into the soaring creature of air. Alchemically, the eagle was a symbol of purified sulfur, and was used in alchemical images to portray the ascending spirit. The double heads are often emblematic of the reconciliation of matter and spirit. Other elements in the Masonic eagle reinforce the alchemical symbolism- a sword representing heavenly fire, and the crown of spiritual attainment.

The Masonic eagle is often referred to as the “Eagle of Lagash,” after one of the oldest uses of the emblem, in the ancient Sumerian city of Lagash. The two faced eagle was popularized in Europe by the Emperor Charlemagne, and the symbol was adopted formally into Freemasonry in the mid-eighteenth century, by the Council of Emperors of the East and West. At that time, the device was commonly used to depict the uniting of two bodies into one; this was probably a factor in the decision to use the eagle symbol.

An ancient Hittite Eagle

A variation on the Masonic Eagle by JA Knapp

Related Symbols:

Skull and Bones (crossbones)

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Bjorn Bjorseth January 15, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Hi iv stumbled upon a medaljon of some sort with a two headed eagle on on side and to me looks like an aztec head on the other side can you help me identify best regards from bjørn bjørseth

Jennifer July 15, 2018 at 11:50 pm

Hi, we’d need a picture first :)

David Macalister April 12, 2017 at 6:26 pm

Hi,I recently purchased a small medal which I think is Masonic?
It is in the form of a crusifix with a double headed eagle holding a sword in both claws.
There is a small shield on its chest with two numbers within the last being the number 2.on the reverse side is a small tablet bearing a disk with capital letters around it.
These letters are (in no particular order ! ) S T K S H T W S.
The eagle is set on a black background set in each arm of the crusifix , the whole medal is made of yellow metal likely to be brass.
Can you identify please.
David Macalister.

Jennifer April 23, 2017 at 4:15 pm

That is definitely Masonic, the letters are an anagram for the motto: Hiram, Tyrian, Widow’s Son, Sendeth To King Solomon. You can read about the symbolism here:

Ulusol Turk December 3, 2016 at 6:36 am

Also, It was first used in Turkish mythology and flags.

sharon jobson August 15, 2014 at 6:00 am

Hello , I have a turkey claw or eagle claw with a small ring on one of the claws, it also has what I think is a Scottish thistle on the base of the clasp. I have had physics tell me it I a talisman? Could you please help me with this. It was passed down to me from stepfather who was a Sykes.
Yours hopefully Sharon Jobson.

aeneas July 23, 2011 at 1:36 am

There’s absolutely no double-headed eagle at Lagash!

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