Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions|
Section 2, version 2.9
1. Why do freemasons use the satanic pentagram?
From the Greek, "pente", meaning five and "gramma", a letter; the pentagram is a five pointed figure formed by producing the sides of a pentagon both ways to their point of intersection, so as to form a five-pointed star. It has no specifically satanic origin or meaning and no connection to Freemasonry per se.
Freemasonry has traditionally been associated with Pythagoras, and among Pythagoreans, the pentagram was a symbol of health and knowledge; the pentagram is consequently associated with initiation, as it is in masonic iconography.
The pentagram (also called pentacle, pentalpha, pentacle, pentagle, or pentangle) is thought by some occultists to trace its esoteric significance to an astronomical observance of the pattern of Venus' conjunctions with the Sun and has had many meanings in many cultures through the ages. It is only from the fact that it forms the outlines of the five-pointed star to represent the "Five Points of Fellowship", and that it was associated with Pythagoras, that it has any masonic significance. Although the pentagram can be seen as a representation of the golden ratio, whether this was part of Freemasonrys alleged "secret teachings" or is simply a modern interpolation is a topic of some controversy. The pentagram has no relationship to the Blazing Star, which has no specified number of points.
The use of a pentagram or five-pointed star in some Grand Lodge seals and banners as well as on the collar of office worn by the Masters of lodges and Grand Masters of Grand Lodges is of interest to students of masonic history and art. But its absence from the ritual and lessons of Freemasonry point out that its value is ornamental and any symbolic value is a matter of personal interpretation or opinion.
Those who would freeze the angle of the compasses in the masonic square and compasses at 72° to equate it with the pentagram, ignore the many representations which set the angle at anywhere between 45° and 80° and, in some older examples, at 90°.
"The Medieval Freemason considered it a symbol of deep wisdom, and it is found among the architectural ornaments of most of the ecclesiastical edifices of the Middle Ages." 1 Éliphas Lévi claimed, with no justification or historical precedent, that one point upward represents the good principle and one downward, the evil. 2
The pentalpha seems to have been widely used in Christianity, and may even be found in certain Gnostic sects. It is commonly known as the "Star of Bethlehem," the "Star of the East," or "Star of Solomon," and is a symbol of Divine guidance.
From a symbol for health or healing, It was appropriated in the mediaeval period as a charm to ward off demons, evil spirits and witches, which seems to be the root source of its common association with modern wicca and satanism.
1.Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Albert G. Mackey. Richmond, Virginia: 1966. p. 763.
2.Dogma and Ritual of High Magic ii, Éliphas Lévi. p. 55.
2. Are freemasons satanists or luciferians?
Few masonic writers will say freemasons are luciferians; none will say they are satanists. Nineteenth century writers such as Albert G. Mackey and Albert Pike use the term "luciferian" to denote a spirit of enquiry and a search for knowledge, wisdom and truth; not as a form of worship or quest for salvation. The terms "lucifer" and "luciferian" do not appear in any recognized ritual or lecture of Freemasonry (See Section VIII, Subsection 3.)
3. Is the eye and pyramid a masonic symbol?
Of the four men involved in designing the USA seal in 1776, only Benjamin Franklin was a freemason, and he contributed nothing of a masonic nature to the committees proposed design for a seal. The committeemen were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, with Pierre Du Simitiere as artist and consultant.1
Du Simitiere, the committees consultant, and a non-mason, contributed several major design features that made their way into the ultimate design of the seal: "the shield, E Pluribus Unum, MDCCLXXVI, and the eye of providence in a triangle."2
Congress declined the first committees suggestions as well as those of its 1780 committee. Francis Hopkinson, consultant to the second (1782) committee, used an unfinished pyramid in his design. Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, and William Barton, artist and consultant, borrowed from earlier designs and sketched what at length became the United States Seal. None of the final designers of the sealWilliam Baron, Charles Thomson, Sir John Prestwickwere freemasons.
"The single eye was a well-established artistic convention for an 'omniscient Ubiquitous Deity' in the medallic art of the Renaissance. In 1614 the frontispiece of The History of the World by Sir Walter Raleigh showed an eye in a cloud labeled "Providentia" overlooking a globe. Du Simitiere, who suggested using the symbol, collected art books and was familiar with the artistic and ornamental devices used in Renaissance art."3
The all-seeing eye of God is noted several times in the Christian Bible:
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
Ezekiel 20:17 Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.
The misinterpretation of the seal as a masonic emblem may have been first introduced a century later in 1884. Harvard professor, Eliot Charles Norton (1827-1908), wrote that the reverse was "practically incapable of effective treatment; it can hardly, (however artistically treated by the designer), look otherwise than as a dull emblem of a masonic fraternity."4
The first "official" use and definition of the all-seeing eye as a masonic symbol seems to have come in 1797 with The Freemasons Monitor of Thomas Smith Webb 14 years after Congress adopted the design for the Seal: "...and although our thoughts, words and actions, may be hidden from the eyes of man yet that All-Seeing Eye, whom the Sun Moon and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits."5
The eye inside of an equilateral triangle, point up or down, has often appeared in Christian art. "It is often placed high above the alter as in the Pfarrkirche at Grmunden am Traunsee (1626) and the Fishermans church at Traunkirchen, while it appears over the doorway of the church of the monastery of St. Florian near Linz." 6
Neither the eye nor the pyramid have ever been uniquely masonic symbols, although a few Grand Lodge jurisdictions incorporate them into their seals. The combining of the eye of providence overlooking an unfinished pyramid is a uniquely American, not masonic, icon. While the all-seeing eye appears on early embroidered masonic aprons and such items as pitchers, there are no available documents showing the all-seeing eye associated with freemasonry prior to 1797 and none at all related to the Bavarian Illuminati, with or without the pyramid.
While the eye and pyramid icon is clearly not masonic nor derived from any real-world usage other than the American Great Seal, conspiracy theorists are quick to point out that it, or variations of a circle inside a triangle, often appears in corporate logos. In popular fiction a stylized eye and pyramid, or some version of a single eye, is a common visual shorthand for power, secrecy, conspiracy or control. The intent of the creators of films and television programmes, in utilizing these icons, can only be a matter of conjecture. It is quite probable that conspiracy theorists and the visual arts are simply feeding off each other.
As an example, the otherwise credible author Gerald Suster (1951-2001) repeatedly, and without citation, in his history of the Hell-Fire Club asserts that the eye and pyramid are both Illuminati and masonic symbols.7 A number of conspiracy theorists, such as Jordan Maxwell, have claimed that the eye and pyramid symbol is printed in Bavarian Illuminati texts "until recently" on display in the British Museum. No citations or references are given, although me ntion is also sometimes made to UFOs and extraterrestrials. The dust jacket illustration for the 1972 hardcover edition of None Dare Call it Conspiracy includes the eye and pyramid symbol. Passing mention is made inside to the Illuminati, but no mention is made to the seal. And in 2005 the movie, National Treasure described the unfinished pyramid and all-seeing eye as symbols of the Knights Templar.
Excerpted, in part, from The Eye in the Pyramid by: S. Brent Morris in a Masonic Service Association Short Talk Bulletin.
1.Robert Hieronimus, Americas Secret Destiny (Rochester, Vt.: Destiny Books. 1989), p. 48.
2.Patterson and Dougall in Hieronimus. p. 48.
3.Hieronimus. p. 81.
4.Hieronimus. p. 57. prob. source: The history of the seal of the United States, United States. Dept. of State. Washington, D.C., Dept. of state, 1909. 72 p. front., plates (partly col.) 26 cm. LCCN: 09035613
5.Thomas Smith Webb, The Freemasons Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry (Salem, Mass.: Cushing and Appleton, 1821), p. 66.
6.Symbols, Signs and their meaning and uses in design Arnold Whittick. London: Leonard Hill, 1971. ISBN 0 249 44028 8. [p. 239.] Fig. 43 (c) Symbolic eye from painted bedhead, 1843; also on wardrobe, 1748, in the Kasererbrau Hotel, Salzburg. The eye is set in a triangle with the suns rays is a common symbol in Renaissance churches in Austria. [p. 242.] Also see Eugène Goblet Count D'Alviellas La Migration des Symboles Paris: 1891; eng trans. intro. by Sir G. Birdwood, London: 1894.
7.The Hell-Fire Friars, Gerald Suster. London : Robson Books, 2000. ISBN: 1 86105 345 2. pp. 162, 167, 209.