Q. In every lodge may be seen "a certain point within a circle embordered by two parallel lines." Have masons lost the true meaning of this emblem?
Q. What does this emblem signify?
A. The astronomical signification of this emblem is so apparent that it seems to have forced itself upon the attention of many intelligent masons. Dr. Oliver, in his Dictionary, says:
The symbol of a point within a circle has sometimes been invested with an astronomical reference. Thus it said that the point in the circle represents the Supreme Being, the circle indicates the annual circuit of the sun, and the parallel lines mark out the solstices, within which that circuit is limited. And they deduce from this hypothesis this corollary: that the mason, by subjecting himself to due bounds, in imitation of that glorious luminary, will not wander from the path of duty.
This explanation is concurred in by Dr. Mackey, not withstanding his disapproval of the astronomical theory. It is, however, far more reasonable than the explanation given in the lecture appertaining to this degree, but is not in all respects correct. It is true that the circle represents the ecliptic or annual path of the sun, but the "point within the circle" does not represent the Supreme Being, but the earth, around which, as a center, the sun appears to annually revolve among the stars of the zodiac. The parallel lines are the tropics of Cancer (2>) and Capricorn (X)o). The summer solstice is on the 21st of June, and the winter solstice on the 21st of December. These are the solstitial points, always marked by two parallel lines representing the tropics, as may be seen on any terrestrial globe or map. These two dates, as we have remarked in the answer to the previous question, have been said to be the respective birthdays of St. John the Baptist and St. John the
Evangelist, but there is no authentic history to substantiate the assertion.
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