Upon a recent viewing of the movie, The Da Vinci Code, I discovered something that had alluded me up until now. Dr. Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) was discussing the symbol of the sacred feminine with Sir Leigh Teabing (played by Ian McKellen). The feminine V which was presented reminded me very much of the Square displayed proudly daily on my Masonic Ring, which is intersected by a compass, with the Letter G in the middle. Is this accidental? Or like other symbols in Freemasonry – is there a hidden meaning to be found?
In Albert Mackey’s “The Symbolism of Freemasonry: Illustrating and Explaining its Science and Philosophy, Its Legends, Myths and Symbols.”, he explains: “All the deities of pagan antiquity, however numerous they may be, can always be reduced to the two different forms of the generative principle—the active, or male, and the passive, or female. Hence the gods were always arranged in pairs, as Jupiter and Juno, Bacchus and Venus, Osiris and Isis.
But the ancients went farther. Believing that the procreative and productive powers of nature might be conceived to exist in the same individual, they made the older of their deities hermaphrodite, (having both male and female genitalia) and used the term man-virgin, to denote the union of the two sexes in the same divine person.”
Even in ancient Babylonian myth and early Hebrew myth, El , “God” – the supreme god of the Sumerians) and Yahweh shared the same consort, Asherah. According to Ronald L. Ecker, in his book “And Adam Knew Eve”:
“In the Bible her name often appears as ha asherah, meaning "the" asherah. In such instances the reference is not to the goddess but to a symbol of her, an object (in the plural asherim) that was apparently a sacred pole, tree, or group of trees (hence the translation "groves") at Israelite sanctuaries or "high places" as well as by altars of Baal. The erecting of asherim was among the "evil" deeds of kings like Ahab and Manasseh, and cutting the things down was a regular chore of "right" kings like Hezekiah and Josiah.
The presence of Asherah or her symbol at places where Yahweh, the biblical God of the Hebrews, was worshipped raises the question of whether the Canaanite goddess was considered also to be the consort of Yahweh.
We know from references to,
"the sons of God" (Gen. 6:1-4; Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7)
"the host of heaven" (1 Kings 22:19)
"angels" (Gen. 19:1; Ps. 103:20)
God’s statement "Let us make man in our image" (Gen. 1:26),
...that Yahweh was not alone in his heaven.
We know also that Yahweh supplanted the Canaanite El to the extent that God’s other names in the Hebrew Bible include El, El Elyon ("God Most High"), El Shaddai ("God Almighty"), and the (originally) plural form Elohim (as in Gen. 1:1).”
But the Square and Compass isn’t the only symbol within Freemasonry that refers to this idea. If we go back to Mackey’s "The Symbolism of Freemasonry: Illustrating and Explaining Its Science and Philosophy, Its Legends, Myths and Symbols..”:
“Now, this hermaphrodism of the Supreme Divinity was again supposed to be represented by the sun, which was the male generative energy, and by nature, or the universe, which was the female prolific principle. And this union was symbolized in different ways, but principally by the point within a circle, the point indicating the sun, and the circle the universe, invigorated and fertilized by his generative rays. And in some of the Indian cave-temples, this allusion was made more manifest by the inscription of the signs of the zodiac on the circle.”
But the two perpendicular parallel lines remain to be explained. Everyone is familiar with the very recent interpretation, that they represent the two Saints John, the Baptist and the Evangelist. But this modern exposition must be abandoned, if we desire to obtain the true ancient signification.
In the first place, we must call to mind the fact that, at two particular points of his course, the sun is found in the zodiacal signs of Cancer (June) and Capricorn (December).
These points are astronomically distinguished as the summer and winter solstice. When the sun is in these points, he has reached his greatest northern and southern declination, (a gradual falling off from a higher state) and produces the most evident effects on the temperature of the seasons, and on the length of the days and nights.
These points, if we suppose the circle to represent the sun's apparent course, will be indicated by the points where the parallel lines touch the circle, or, in other words, the parallels will indicate the limits of the sun's extreme northern and southern declination, when he arrives at the solstitial points of Cancer and Capricorn.
But the days when the sun reaches these points are, respectively, the 21st of June and the 22d of December, and this will account for their subsequent application to the two Saints John, whose anniversaries have been placed by the church near those days.”
Is it so far-fetched then to imagine that our mysteries then refer to the Great Architect of the Universe as being similar? Isn’t it possible that the ‘G’ within the Square and Compass refers to this more ancient understanding of the creator as encompassing both the Masculine and Feminine?
Before your blood begins boiling, I want to point out that this wouldn’t be the only place in Freemasonry where we have symbols that refer to genitalia. As this isn’t a tiled page, I would just point out that all Master Masons should know what this refers to within our rituals. However, it also has a further allusion which should be clear to everyone in the context of this article. Yes my brothers, it is sublimely referring to the act of creation.