This visible connection between the constellation Leo and the return of the sun to his place of power and glory, at the summit of the Royal Arch of heaven, was the principal reason why that constellation was held in such high esteem and reverence by the ancients. The astrologers distinguished Leo as the "sole house of the sun," and taught that the world was created when the sun was in that sign.
The lion was adored in the East and the West by the Egyptians and the Mexicans. The chief Druid of Britain was styled a lion. The national banner of the ancient Persians bore the device of the sun in Leo. A lion couchant with the sun rising at his back was sculptured on their palaces.
("Signs and Symbols" of Dr. Oliver, who seems, however, to have entirely overlooked the true reason for this widespread adoration of the lion.)
The ancient device of the Persians is an astronomical allegory. It might well be adopted as an astro-masonic emblem by us.
After the sun leaves Leo, the days begin to grow unequivocally shorter as the sun declines toward the autumnal equinox, to be again slain by the three autumnal months, lie dead through the three winter ones, and be raised again by the three vernal ones. Each year the great tragedy is repeated, and the glorious resurrection takes place.
Thus, as long as this allegory is remembered, the leading truths of astronomy will be perpetuated, and the sublime doctrine of the immortal nature of man, and other great moral lessons they are thus made to teach, will be illustrated and preserved.
The diagram on page 92 is intended, by a figure of the zodiac, to illustrate the yearly progress of the sun among the twelve signs, with especial reference to the allegory of his death and return to life, as explained in the preceding pages. In this figure of the zodiac the vernal equinox is represented as being somewhere between the constellations Aries and Taurus, and the summer solstice between Cancer and Leo. Such was the case at the period of the building of King Solomon's temple, and for a long period before that; only, the farther back we go in time, the nearer Leo will be to the summer solstice, in consequence of the precession of the equinoxes, as has been explained in a preceding chapter.
In order to fully illustrate the allegory by means of the diagram, bring the image of the sun, on the white circle, to the summer solstice, immediately under the key-stone, and figure of the personified sun-god, at the top of the grey circle; then slowly turn the white circle toward the autumnal equinox, so that the image of the sun in the white circle will pass successively by the constellations from Leo to the winter solstice at the bottom of the grey circle. This closes the first part of the allegory. Continue to turn the white circle until the vernal equinox is reached, and then on through Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer H, and 23), until the point of the sun's exaltation is once more attained. This will give a correct representation of the annual passage of the sun among the twelve signs of the zodiac as it actually appears in nature, and also illustrate the whole course of the solar allegory.
The following is a poetic version of the second part of the solar allegory:
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