In order to properly understand what is to follow, some knowledge of the leading facts of astronomy is required. The nature of the zodiac, and its division into signs and constellations; the phenomena attending the yearly passage of the sun among the stars; the solstitial and equinoctial points, and the "precession of the equinoxes," and its effect upon the relative position of the signs and constellations of the zodiac—as well as several other particulars of astronomy—must be known by the reader, in order that he may fully understand the astronomical allegory about to be unfolded and illustrated.
It has, therefore, been thought necessary to write an introductory chapter, giving a brief and popular exposition of the matters above enumerated. All technical terms will be discarded, as far as possible, and such as are used from absolute necessity will be defined. No attempt will be made to give a cause or philosophy of solar or sidereal movements—the sole object being to bring clearly before the mind the apparent annual path of the sun in the zodiac, and such other celestial phenomena as are required to properly understand the allegorical application which is to be made of the facts of astronomy to the masonic traditions, legends, emblems, and symbols. This chapter will serve to call the particular attention of those who are proficient in science to certain particular astronomical facts bearing directly upon our subject, and it is hoped will also contain enough to sufficiently instruct those who may have grown rusty in or never acquired a knowledge of the motions of the celestial bodies.
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