In the Second Degree, the celestial and terrestrial globes have been adopted as symbols of the universal extension of the Order, and as suggestive of the universal claims of brotherly love. The symbol is a very ancient one, and is to be found in the religious systems of many countries. Among the Mexicans the globe was the symbol of universal power. But the Masonic symbol appears to have been derived from, or at least to have an allusion to, the Egyptian symbol of the winged globe. There is nothing more common among the Egyptian monuments than the symbol of a globe supported on each side by a serpent, and accompanied with wings extended wide beyond them, occupying nearly the whole of the entablature above the entrance of many of their temples. We are thus reminded of the globes on the pillars at the entrance of the Temple of Solomon. The winged globe, as the symbol of Kneph, the Creator Sun, an Egyptian myth of a god having the body of a man and the head of a ram, was adopted by the Egyptians as their national device, as the Lion is that of England, or the Eagle of the United States. In Isaiah (xvi i, 1) where the authorized version of King James s Bible has "Woe to the land shadowing with wings," Lowth, after Bochart, translates, "Ho! to the land of the winged cymbal," supposing the Hebrew xxx to mean the sistrum, which was a round instrument, consisting of a broad rim of metal, having rods passing through it, and some of which, extending beyond the sides, would, says Bishop Lowth, have the appearance of wings, and be expressed by the same Hebrew word. But Rosellini translates the passage differently, and says, " Ho, land of the winged globe." Dudley, in his Naology (page 18), says that the knowledge of the spherical figure of the earth was familiar to the Egyptians in the early ages, in which some of their temples were constructed. Of the round figure described above, he says that although it be called a globe, an egg, the symbol of the world was perhaps intended; and he thinks that if the globes of the Egyptian entablatures, were closely examined, they would perhaps be found of an oval shape, figurative of the creation, and not bearing any reference to the form of the world.
The interpretation of the Masonic globes, as a symbol of the universality of Freemasonry, would very well agree with the idea of the Egyptian symbol referring to the extent of creation. That the globes on the pillars, placed like the Egyptian symbol before the temple, were a representation of the celestial and terrestrial globes, is a very modern idea. In the passage of the Book of Kings, whence Freemasonry has derived its ritualistic description, it is said (First Icings vii, 16), "And he made two chapters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars.`' In some Masonic instructions it is said that "the pillars were surmounted by two pomels or globes." Now pomel, xxxxx, is the very word employed by Rabbi Solomon in his commentary on this passage, a word which signifies a globe or spherical bodice The Masonic globes were really the chapiters described in the Book of Kings.
Again it is said (First Kings vii, 92), "Upon the top of the pillars was lily work." We now know that the plant here called the lily was really the lotus, or the Egyptian water-lily. But among the Egyptians the lotus was a symbol of the universe; and hence, although the Freemasons in their lectures have changed the expanded flower of the lotus, which crowned the chapiter and surmounted each pillar of the porch, into a globe, they have retained the interpretation of universality. The Egyptian globe or egg and lotus or lily and the Masonic globe are all symbols of something universal, and the Masonic idea has only restricted by a natural impulse the idea to the universality of the Order and its benign influences. But in Brother Mackey's opinion it is a pity that Masonic ritualists did not preserve the Egyptian and Scriptural symbol of the lotus surrounding a ball or sphere, and omit the more modern figures of globes celestial and terrestrial.
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Just wanted to say that I got the ring - and it's the most beautiful ring I've seen. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Brother Ofotsu, Upper Marlboro, MD
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