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Codex I, The Pillars
We are introduced, in the Fellow Craft lecture, to King Solomon’s Temple. On our way to the Middle Chamber we are taught of the first sight we behold, the two pillars. Drawn to scale, and written in ‘Masonic code’ are the proportions of the pillars. They are adorned with the globes Terrestrial and Celestial, denoting Freemasonry universally. The descriptions of the lily, network and pomegranate are also written in Masonic code. At top right, you see above the globe Celestial is “Polaris?”; the globe was drawn in such a way as to point toward that star because it gives direction, which is what we are taught as Freemasons. The codex also contains a vanishing point, a dimensionless line which ends at infinity and is involved in the science of perspective.
“After passing the pillars we next arrive at a flight of winding stairs…” In Masonic code in this print is the discussion from the lecture regarding the flight of winding stairs. The artist designed his own version of the stairway, borrowing from many works including one by Michelangelo. The stairs lead to the outer door of the Middle Chamber, which begins with a gothic arch and leads to a Roman arch, designed with a pointed fifth. On each side of the stairway we find two sculptures denoting Operative and Speculative Masonry. Speculative on the left stands thoughtful in age, holding parchments contemplating life while Operative stands on the right, in youth, ready to work holding the plumb and 24 inch gauge. The Flower of Life enters the codex as it was used by da Vinci in representing platonic solids, phi and the golden ratio and has an important link to sacred geometry in Freemasonry.
In what may be the most visually involved piece of the series, the last codex is emblazoned in Latin with the phrase, “Let learning be cherished where liberty has arisen,” we are taught, toward the end of the Fellow Craft degree that geometry is the foundation of architecture and the root of mathematics. We see the five orders of architecture along with the artist’s notes on them; the dimensions of architecture are explained visually; much like da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man we see notes of the degree written by the artist backwards; we see the artist’s own version of the square and compasses under the watchful eye of the Great Architect of the Universe over the large Flower of Life; and tucked away in the print we find the Fibonacci sequence which has applications in nature and mathematics. This is truly a stunning representation of some of the major elements of this degree.