These three signs are therefore emblematically represented by a ladder of three principal rounds, by means of which the sun climbs up from the point of his lowest southern declination to the vernal equinox and the "seven stars" in Taurus. The foregoing is the emblem of the masonic ladder as generally represented (see Monitors).
The diagram following will show how perfectly the explanation of its meaning, as given above, agrees with all the facts of astronomy, and how significant and beautiful the emblem is when thus considered.
The emblematic meaning now attached to the masonic ladder, which refers it to the one "Jacob saw in his vision," is neither lost nor sacrificed, even if we admit the probable origin of the emblem in that of the ancient mysteries. Its symbolism is, however, thus made more extended and impressive, so that we gain rather than lose by so referring it.
The initiation into all the ancient mysteries, it will be remembered, was a drama founded upon the astronomical allegory of the death and resurrection of the sun, and was intended to, and did, impress upon the mind of the candidate, in the strongest manner possible, the two great doctrines of the unity of God and the immortality of man.
These are today the two great fundamental principles of Freemasonry, and are illustrated and taught in a similar manner in the ritual of the third degree.
The solar allegory and emblems of the ancient mysteries have, however, a twofold meaning:
1. Being founded, as before stated, on the passage of the sun among the twelve constellations of the zodiac—his overthrow by the three autumnal months, his return to life at the
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