Posts tagged as:

celestial symbols

The keystone is a significant symbol in the York Rite of Freemasonry, where it figures in the unfolding symbolic tale of Hiram the builder. In masonic lore, Hiram is the inventor of the keystone, and its significance is lost upon his assassination. The ritual narrative centered around this stone recalls the biblical “stone the builders refused,” as the uninitiated, not knowing the purpose of the oddly-shaped stone, consign it to the rubbish heap. It is only rediscovered when King Solomon inquires after its whereabouts.

The letters inscribed are short for the coded phrase: “Hiram The Widows Son Sent to King Solomon,” an obvious cipher, the meaning of which is likely lost.

In masonry, the keystone is the stone that holds together a stone arch. The oddly-shaped keystone is a feat of early engineering, allowing builders to incorporate windows, doorways, and other building elements to a building without sacrificing strength.  The main benefit of this innovation is to allow for much more natural light in a structure.

Symbolically, the stone is the last placed, completing the arch created by the pillars Jachim and Boaz. It is analogous to coagulation in the alchemical process, an emblem of completion.  Astrologically, the keystone represents the summer solstice- the sun entering the sign of Cancer at its highest point in the northern sky, as illustrated below:

Arches, from 3rd century home church at Dura Europa

Arches, from 3rd century home church at Dura Europa

Related Symbols:

Skull and Bones (crossbones) Vitruvian Man Ashlar

Related resources:

{ 4 comments }

This emblem, commonly recognized as the symbol of the Islamic faith, has actually acquired its association to the faith by association, rather than intent. The star and crescent symbol itself is very ancient, dating back to early Sumerian civilization, where it was associated with the sun God and moon Goddess (one early appearance dates to 2100 BCE), and later, with Goddesses Tanit and even Diana. The symbol remained in near constant use, and was eventually adopted into the battle-standard of the Ottoman Dynasty, who are mainly responsible for its association with Islam. As the Dynasty was also the political head of the faith, it was inevitable that their emblem would be associated with Islam as well. It should be noted that there is no mention of such a symbol in the Koran, the Holy book of Islam, nor is there any relationship between the crescent and star and the Prophet (whose flag was black and white, inscribed “Nasr um min Allah,” “with the help of Allah.”)

Sumerian star and crescent

Today, the star and crescent is widely accepted as a symbol of the Islamic faith, and is used in decorative arts, jewelry, and national flags- much like the cross in Christian countries. It is associated with the use of the moon to time festivals. The star and crescent however, is not accepted by all Muslims- many Muslims consider it un-Islamic and even blasphemous.

Related symbols:

{ 0 comments }