It is only necessary to remind the well-informed Freemason of the fourteen days of burial mentioned in the legend of the Third Degree. Now, this period of fourteen was not in the opinion of Masonic symbolists, an arbitrary selection, but was intended to refer to or symbolize the fourteen days of lunary darkness, or decreasing light, which intervene between the full moon and its continued decrease until the end of the lunar month. In the Egyptian mysteries, the body of Osiris is said to have been cut into fourteen pieces by Typhon, and thrown into the Nile. Plutarch, speaking of this in his treatise on Isis and Osiris, thus explains the symbolism of the number fourteen, which comprises the Masonic idea: The body of Osiris was cut into fourteen pieces; that is, into as many parts as there are days between the full moon. The moon, at the end of fourteen days, enters Taurus, and becomes united to the sun, from whom she collects fire upon her disk during the fourteen days which follow. She is then found every month in conjunction with him in the superior parts of the signs. The equinoctial year finishes at the moment when the sun and moon are found united with Orion, or the star of Orus a constellation placed under Taurus, which unites itself to the Neomenia of spring. The moon renews herself in Taurus. and a few days afterward is seen, in the form of a crescent in the following sign. that is, Gemini, the home of Mercury. Then Orion. united to the sun in the attitude of a formidable warrior, precipitates Scorpio. His rival, into the shades of night, for he sets every time Orion appears above the horizon. The day becomes lengthened, and the germs of evil are by degrees destroyed. It is thus that the poet Nonnus pictures to us Typhon conquered at the end of winter, wizen the sun arrives in Taurus, and when Orion mounts into the heavens with him. The first few lines of this article. Fourteen, prompted a discussion in the Builder of November, 1927 (page 35 ), and in the Sandusky Masonic Bulletin, December 1927 (page 149), relative to fourteen or fifteen days of burial. The former quotes Prichard of 1730 in favor of fifteen; that several Masonic Jurisdictions in the United States prefer fifteen as the number; that Webb and Cross so taught; that England has no definite period but mentions a considerate time; that Doctor Mackey was probably right in assuming an astronomical significance--the lunar period between the full and the new moon--but the fifteenth day is nevertheless the first day of the new moon. Doctor Merz in she Bulletin, however, quotes Fellows in favor of fourteen days, mentions the Great Pyramid and its latitude as providing that fourteen days before the Vernal Equinox, the sun would cease to east a shadow at noon and would not again cast it for fourteen days after the autumnal Equinox, and that the significant conformity of the legends of Osiris and of Hiram deserves favor. The Builder suggests further that altogether too many alterations in the ritual have been made in the interests of schemes of interpretation and of superficial consistency, that the thing to do is to discover the oldest available wording and then try to assign a meaning to it, the first duty being to preserve the tradition, a conclusion in which Doctor Merz and the rest of us will join cordially with Brother Meekren (see Fifteen).
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