- Plato, The Republic, VII, 52.
Almost a decade ago I was asked by a would-be Freemason to design a tattoo for him. His plan was to have something Masonic inked on him immediately after his Raising. I wanted it to be meaningful for him. This was the result.
Unfortunately, he did not continue his Masonic studies and never had the tattoo done. We screen-printed the design on a small number of shirts which sold out right away. Despite many request to bring it back, we never got to it- until now!
The 2nd Edition shirt features a large print on the front, and a print of a smaller winged version of the artwork on the back with a Greek encryption which translates to "Let no one ignorant of geometry enter"- a phrase that was engraved at the door of Plato's Academy, the school he had founded in Athens.
The design is a collage of various public domain outworks sourced mainly from Wikipedia and from prints of old engravings. My goal was to produce a cohesive piece out of putting together different parts. The main theme is Sacred Geometry. The various parts that make up the artwork are as follow:
The "Flower of Life" is the modern new age name given to the "Seven Overlapping Circles", a geometric pattern of repeating and overlapping circles of equal radii in two-dimensional space. The Flower of Life drawings above taken from Codex Atlaticus by Leonardo da Vinci. I created my own colorful version of this pattern and used it as packaging for the FraternalTies Masonic leather sneakers.
The Eye of Providence (or the all-seeing eye of God) is a symbol showing an eye often surrounded by rays of light or a glory and usually enclosed by a triangle. It represents the eye of God watching over humanity.
The winged discs have a long history in the art and culture of the ancient Near and Middle East. In the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish, Anshar (also spelled Anšar), which means "Whole Heaven", is a primordial god. His consort is Kishar which means "Whole Earth". Did you get that? Whole Heaven + Whole Earth. Spiritual + Material. As Above, So Below. In Neo-Assyrian times, a human bust is added to the disk. The resulting symbol is called Faravahar. It symbolizes good thoughts, good words and good deeds, which are the basic tenets and principles of Zoroastrianism. Image source: Faravahar relief in Persepolis By Napishtim.
Although usually remembered today as a philosopher, Plato was also one of ancient Greece’s most important patrons of mathematics. Inspired by Pythagoras, he founded his Academy in Athens in 387 BCE, where he stressed mathematics as a way of understanding more about reality. In particular, he was convinced that geometry was the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe. The sign above the Academy entrance read: “Let no-one ignorant of geometry enter here”. Source
In alchemic and Hermetic traditions, suns are used to symbolize a variety of concepts, much like the sun in astrology. Suns can correspond to gold, citrinitas, generative masculine principles, imagery of "the king", or Apollo, the fiery spirit or sulfur, the divine spark in man, nobility, or incorruptibility. Astrologically speaking, the Moon is associated with a person's emotional make-up, unconscious habits, rhythms, memories, moods and their ability to react and adapt to those around them. It is also associated with the mother, maternal instincts or the urge to nurture, the home, the need for security and the past, especially early experiences and childhood.
Geometers have studied the Platonic solids for thousands of years. They are named for the ancient Greek philosopher Plato who hypothesized in his dialogue, the Timaeus, that the classical elements were made of these regular solids.
The two pillars can be found in the symbolic traditions of many religious traditions and esoteric Orders.
Working tools in every age, are the hallmark which attest to the degree of skill attained by any society or nation. Over the millenniums of time, in more cases than not, only the working tools remain, long after the people have disappeared. Archeologists now unearth these tools and from them, they can with remarkable accuracy, reconstruct the civilization of that day. The tools of the man designate his skills, his work, his knowledge and his dreams. We as Freemasons probably realize better than most, the significance of the tools found, for we can trace the achievements of the toolmakers by the tools they made and used. Read more
In operative Freemasonry, the rough ashlar represents a rough, unprepared or undressed stone. In speculative Freemasonry, a rough ashlar is an allegory to the uninitiated Freemason prior to his discovering enlightenment. Operatively, the Perfect ashlar represents the dressed stone (after it has been made uniform and smoothed) by use of the working tools, the common gavel, (mallet) and chisel. Speculatively, a Perfect Ashlar is an allegory to a Freemason who, through Masonic education, works to achieve an upstanding life and diligently strives to obtain enlightenment. Source
The Square and Compasses is the single most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. Both the square and compasses are architect's tools and are used in Masonic ritual as emblems to teach symbolic lessons. I personally believe that developing a good understanding of both tools will lead us to achieve "impossible" things. That's what squaring the circle is all about! :-)
The essence of the Pythagorean Theorem (also called the 47th Problem of Euclid) is about the importance of establishing an architecturally true (correct) foundation based on use of the square. Read more
Pentagrams were used symbolically in ancient Greece and Babylonia, and are used today as a symbol of faith by many Wiccans, akin to the use of the cross by Christians and the Star of David by the Jews. The pentagram has magical associations. Many people who practice Neopagan faiths wear jewelry incorporating the symbol. Christians once commonly used the pentagram to represent the five wounds of Jesus. The pentagram has associations with Freemasonry and is also used as a symbol by other belief systems. Source
Skull and Crossbones
Memento mori (Latin: "remember that you have to die") is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. It is related to the ars moriendi ("The Art of Dying") and similar Western literature. Memento mori has been an important part of ascetic disciplines as a means of perfecting the character by cultivating detachment and other virtues, and by turning the attention towards the immortality of the soul and the afterlife. Artwork by Philips Gijsels
"Throughout history, the circumpunct has been all things to all people—it is the sun god Ra, alchemical gold, the all-seeing eye, the singularity point before the Big Bang..." - Robert Langdon, The Lost Symbol
It is believed that the acacia tree first became associated with immortality due to an Egyptian myth about Osiris. In the legend, Osiris is tricked into a box that is thrown into the Nile. It eventually washed ashore near an acacia tree which rapidly grew around the box. The tree was turned into a column by a local king, which Isis was eventually given. Source
The Masonic cipher is a geometric simple substitution cipher, which exchanges letters for symbols which are fragments of a grid.