[Square & Compasses]

Letter of the month: July 2004

[US Great Seal a/k/ 'Eye in Pyramid']

[Web-master's note: The author of this letter wrote back to request "if you would please remove my name and email address from all sections of your letter, and make them anonymous that would be much appreciated." Done. Can't really blame him, can you?.]

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 13:53:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Anonymous Writer-Guy
Subject: The Great Seal
To: dryfoo@mit.edu

Dear Mr. Dryfoos,

I noticed an article on your site concerning the Great Seal. In it the position that it has nothing to do with masonry is vigorously defended. If this is the case, then please explain the following strange phenomenon:

When you draw a straight line from the A in Annuit to the S in Coeptis, when you draw another straight line from the S in Coeptis to the first O in Ordo, and when you draw another straight line from the A in Annuit to the O in Ordo, the pyramid as you can see becomes a Star of David, a kabbalistic, occultic, and popular masonic emblem.

Once this is completed, take the letters at each point of the star (except that part where the Great Eye is, since there is no letter at the end of that point). Moving clockwise you have SMONA. When you rearrange the letters you have MASON.

Now do you really expect me or anyone else to believe that this is not a MASONIC SYMBOL?

Thank you for your attention.

From: dryfoo@MIT.EDU
To: Anonymous Writer-Guy
Subject: Re: The Great Seal
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 20:27:17 -0400

Dear Mr. Anonymous Writer-Guy,

Thank you for your amazing observations!

} Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 13:53:52 -0700 (PDT) } From: Anonymous Writer-Guy <anonymous-writer-guy@whoopdedoo.com> } Subject: The Great Seal } } Dear Mr. Dryfoos, } } I noticed an article on your site concerning the Great } Seal. In it the position that it has nothing to do } with masonry is vigorously defended. If this is the } case, then please explain the following strange } phenomenon: } } When you draw a straight line from the A in Annuit to } the S in Coeptis, when you draw another straight line } from the S in Coeptis to the first O in Ordo, and when } you draw another straight line from the A in Annuit to } the O in Ordo, the pyramid as you can see becomes a } Star of David, a kabbalistic, occultic, and popular } masonic emblem.

This is a remarkable observation. A less insightful person would instead notice that:

  1. Graphic designers often try to distribute the printed words in their design symmetrically with respect to the vertical axis, to give the overall image a feeling of "balance". Hence the first and last letters of the top words should and ought to be at the same horizontal level. Thus, of course, the line between them should be perfectly horizontal with respect to the design.

    You can find the same remarkable effect in the badges of the Lawrence Massachusetts Police and the Alameda California Sheriff, which I have attached. In particular, look carefully at the Lawrence emblem: a line from the P in "Police" to the final T in "Department" and another line from that T to the C in "Lawrence" and yet another line from the C back to the P in "Police" will give you that same astonishing EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE ! And if you take those three letters PTC, they anagram to "PCT" -- which is the police abbreviation of "Precinct"! Mere co-incidence? I think not!!

  2. One would actually get an BETTER image if one used the final "O" in "Ordo", rather than the initial one, as it is closer to the all-important vertical axis/centerline.
  3. If one draws a horizontal line segment, and then specifies another point vertically exactly below its midpoint, then one automatically gets an inverted isoceles triangle, and depending on the vertical distance (which depends on the length of the top phrase, remember?) that triangle could become an actual equilateral one as it does in this case!
  4. Not having a ruler handy, I used the tip of my red 0.9mm Pentel mechanical pencil to compare the distances of the three sides of the above triangle. Amazingly enough, the distance between the letters matched EXACTLY the length from the end of the metal tip-end to the thin black line (where the red plastic tip guard unscrews). And, if you notice "Pentel" has the root "pent" which is Greek root for the number 5, and the pencil is made in Japan, which has FIVE LETTERS -- and 5 is a very significant number in Freemasonry: the 5 Human Senses (not counting thermoception, proprioception, equilibrioception, etc.) the 5 Orders in Architecture (not counting Corporate Modern, Deco, Bauhaus, Hindu, Moghul, Gothic, Romanesque, etc) and so forth!
  5. The completion of the design from equilateral triangle to Star of David relies on reading the Pyramid as a second congruent equilateral triangle. Please measure carefully (I recommend using either a small ruler or a red 0.9mm Pentel mechanical pencil) and you will find that it is neither.

    I would ascribe the immediate recognition of these non-symmetric, non-equal triangles -- as if they were the two conjoined equilaterals of a Star of David -- to the Power of Human Pattern Perception. If I may, this is a concept I most strongly recommend to you for further study.

  6. Oh, and the six-pointed star or Star of David, is not particularly a Masonic emblem either, if I may inject a little bit of logic at this point.
} Once this is completed, take the letters at each point } of the star (except that part where the Great Eye is, } since there is no letter at the end of that point). } Moving clockwise you have SMONA. When you rearrange } the letters you have MASON.

You are almost entirely correct. But let me point out:

  1. There IS indeed a letter above the Great Eye. Look up, up, outside the frame of the Seal and you will see the H in the "The" in the "United States of America".

    (By the way: Notice that in the previous sentence I was especially careful to leave a space between the "the" and the "H" and the "H" and the "in" and the "in" and the "the" and the "the" and the ""The"" and the ""The"" and the "in"!)

  2. If you include that "H" you get (moving clockwise from the "A") AHSMON, which is anagrammatically "Ham Son" -- which of course refers to the Biblical descendents of Noah through his son Ham, which in folklore is widely considered to be the Black Races of Africa and their descendents.
  3. This of course indicates that the Great Seal is actually a Symbol of the "Prince Hall" (Black) branch of Masonry. The original African Lodge No. 1, was founded by Prince Hall and his African-descended brethren on July 3, 1775. Notice that this is precisely "A Year and A Day" (the traditional folkloric waiting period) before the foundation date of July 4 1776 of the USA, commemorated as the "MDCCLXXVI" on the very base of the Pyramid in the Great Seal! Co-incidence? I think not!
} Now do you really expect me or anyone else to believe } that this is not a MASONIC SYMBOL?

That is, of course, a two-part question.

  1. Do I expect other people to believe that the Great Seal of the United States is not a masonic symbol, or as you put it "not a MASONIC SYMBOL". Yes, of course I do. The evidence presented in that article is both clear and persuasive.
  2. Do I expect you to believe it's not a "MASONIC SYMBOL" ?? Of course not. But that's your problem, not mine. You're the one who has to wonder if I'm making all this stuff up to hide the "truth" and that if I am (because I'm a Mason, remember?) then how could you believe anything I tell you anyway? You're the one having the epistemological dilemma, not me.

Oh, and besides which, that's not how "MASONIC SYMBOLS" work, anyway. Some examples of a "masonic symbol" would be:

  • the builder's square, a symbol of accuracy and rightness, and also of fairness and reciprocity in human relations; as in the sayings "a square deal", "fair and square", "on the square" and so on, not to mention "the right angle",
  • architect's or geometer's compasses, which is a symbol of self-restraint and appropriate personal boundaries,
  • the chisel or the stone gavel, a symbol of self-improvement by removal of the excessive, the blemished, the unfit in each person's life and habits.

Those are how Masonic symbols work (and they're not secret either). Our symbols are for indicating, representing, and teaching spiritual lessons.

What would even be the point of using a secret symbol that most people could not even understand? Do you imagine that Masons are just a society of powerful gloaters who have nothing better to do than get a secret thrill looking at their own dollar bills? It's not like the symbol gives us power over all the money, nor permission to take other people's dollar bills just because they have "our" symbol on them. Although, if you think it does, please feel free to send all of your dollar bills to me at my post office box. I'll be sure to send you an Official Masonic Receipt.

Finally, please notice that if you take the same symbol and draw a straight line from T in "ANNUIT" to the O in "SECLORUM" to the I in "COEPTIS"to the D in "ORDO" to the I in "ANNUIT", you will get a pair of scalene triangles, resembling a schematic "butterfly" image, indicating:

  1. the "Butterfly Effect" -- known in Chaos Theory mathematics, a new and secret branch of mathematics known only to Masons, of course. Also sometimes described as "exteme sensitivity to initial conditions". Jeff Goldblum (a Jew and therefore necessarily a Mason, right?) explains this effect in the movie Jurassic Park.
  2. Further, the letters TOIDI can be anagrammed, to a result that you are invited to find for yourself.
} Thank you for your attention.

And I thank you for writing with such an interesting question! For your further entertainment, I am sure you would be fascinated by the theories of Dr. Louis Farrakhan regarding the esoteric arrangement of the city streets and monuments of Washington DC.

best wishes,


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| Gary L. Dryfoos <dryfoo@mit.edu>| Ocean Lodge AF&AM, Saugus, MA (PM)
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