Other writers identify the Blazing Star with Sirius, the most just before the sun, each year, gave the ancient Egyptians warning of the approaching inundation of the Nile; hence they compared it to a faithful dog, whose bark gives warning of approaching danger, and named it Sothis, Anubis, and Thotes, the barker, or monitor. This brilliant and beautiful-star thus early became known "dog-star". The Egyptians deified it under the name of Anubis, and this god was emblematically represented by the figure of a man with a head of a dog.
Both these explanations show the masonic Blazing Star to be an astronomical emblem. The latter is probably the more correct, as it appertains to the Egyptian Mysteries.
The Rite of Circumambulation
Q. To what this masonic rite allude?
A. The word "circumambulation" is derived from two Latin words (circum, around, and ambulare, to walk), and therefore means to walk around, that is, around the altar, or some sacred shrine. The rite of circumambulation formed a leading part of the ceremonies of the Mysteries, and of solar worship in all countries. This rite had a direct solar allusion, as it was always performed from right to left in imitation of the apparent course of the sun from east to west by way of the south. In the Mysteries of India the candidate went thus about the altar three times, and, whenever he arrived in the south, was taught to exclaim, "I copy the example of the sun, and follow his benevolent path!" This sacred march was generally, in all the Mysteries, accompanied by the singing or chanting of an ode or hymn to the sun-god. Among the Druids it partook of the nature of a mystic dance. The candidate, in performing the rite of circumambulation, it will be seen, represented the sun, or rather the personified sun, or sun-god, which he continued to do through the entire ceremony, from the moment of his introduction up to his symbolical death—Euresis and raising or restoration to life. Dr. Mackey says, in his "Symbolism of Freemasonry," Chapter XXI, that "the masonic rite of circumambulation strictly agrees with the ancient one," and that, as the circumambulation is made around the lodge just as the sun was supposed to move around the earth, we are brought back to the original symbolism" of the sun's apparent course about the earth.
The direct derivation of this masonic rite from the solar mysteries of the ancients is too plain to be for a moment denied; and it is absurd to suppose that any such rite could have been invented by the traveling operative masonic associations of the middle ages. And this absurdity will attach to the whole ceremony of which this rite is but a part (in fact, almost the initial step), for the same solar significance characterizes the whole ritual, all parts of which are in perfect harmony with the symbolism admitted to be connected with the rite of circu-
mambulation. If Freemasonry, therefore, originated with the traveling masons of the middle ages, they must have borrowed these solar ceremonies from some far more ancient source, or association, to which those who instituted modern Freemasonry belonged. Had they invented a ritual, its ceremonies would never have had any such solar significance or symbolism: a symbolism which has no harmony or correspondence with the rules and principles of architecture. On the other hand, if, for peculiar reasons, these operative masons and architects really became the last and sole custodians of the rites and ceremonies of the ancient mysteries, we can quite easily see how they have been handed down to us in a more or less corrupted form by them.
What those circumstances were that thus connected the architects of the middle ages with the ancient mysteries will be treated of more at length in subsequent pages; and the link which thus united the temple builders of Egypt, Greece, and Rome with the cathedral-builders of Europe under the reign of Christianity will be pointed out.
Q. Whence was the square, as a masonic emblem, derived?
A. It is a general impression, among masons and others, that the square, or right angle, as an emblem, was derived wholly from operative masonry, and is but one of the working tools of a mechanical art adopted as an emblem by speculative masons. This idea is countenanced by Cross in his "American Chart," who says, "The square is an instrument made use of by operative masons to square their work," and then proceeds to moralize upon it. This idea has also found its way into all the monitors. The square, or right angle, as an emblem is, however, geometrical and not mechanical in its origin, and dates back to the ancient Egyptians, in whose solemn processions the Stolistes carried the cubit of justice, by which perpendiculars, right angles, and squares might be laid out, its form being
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