The Circumpunct

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

In the First Degree ritual, Freemasons are taught about the point within a circle or the circumpunct.  The uncyphered Illinois ritual states: "Lodges in ancient times were dedicated to King Solomon, he being our first Most Excellent Grand Master; in modern times to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist - two eminent Christian patrons of Freemasonry; and since their time there has been represented, in every regular and well furnished lodge, a certain point within a circle, embordered by two perpendicular parallel lines, representing St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.  On top of the circle rests the book of Holy Scriptures; the point represents an individual brother, the circle the boundary line of his duty. In going round this circle we necessarily touch on the two parallel lines, as well as on the book of Holy Scriptures; and while a Mason keeps himself circumscribed within their precepts, it is impossible that he should materially err."  What is not told to you, is that the point within the circle has further allusions.

The ancient alchemical symbol for gold was often represented by the point within the circle.  In Astrology, the Sun is also represented by the point within the circle. Pythagoras, who we are taught was the inventor of the 47th problem of Euclid, was "In his travels through Asia, Africa, and Europe, was initiated into several orders of Priesthood, and is said to have been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.  This wise philosopher enriched his mind abundantly in a general knowledge of things, more especially in geometry, or Masonry. On this subject he drew out many problems and theorems; and among the most distinguished he erected this, when, in the joy of his heart, he exclaimed, Eureka! signifying in the Grecian language, I have found it; and upon the discovery of which he is said to have sacrificed a hecatomb."  What we are not told is that Pythagoras used this symbol to represent the Monad.  

The Monad represented to Pythagoras the point of the beginning of creation, the Supreme Being, divinity or the totality of all things.  It symbolizes an idea of cosmic consciousness, a consciousness that experiences itself and learns from itself by observation and experience of the micro and macro, as well as the macro and micro.  The idea of the Monad parallels that which is above Kether, which is the topmost sephirot of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah.

Prior to Creation, there was only the infinite Or Ein Sof filling all existence. When it arose in G-d's Will to create worlds and emanate the emanated ... He contracted (in Hebrew "tzimtzum") Himself in the point at the center, in the very center of His light. He restricted that light, distancing it to the sides surrounding the central point, so that there remained a void, a hollow empty space, away from the central point ... After this tzimtzum ... He drew down from the Or Ein Sof a single straight line [of light] from His light surrounding [the void] from above to below [into the void], and it chained down descending into that void. ... In the space of that void He emanated, created, formed and made all the worlds.

-Etz Chaim, Arizal, Heichal A"K, anaf 2

The Zohar states that Kether is the most hidden of all things. According to Arthur Green in his work, Guide to the Zohar, it represents the primal stirrings of intent in the Ein Soph (Infinity) or the arousal of desire to come forth into the various states of being.  Kether is associated with the name that God gives to Moses, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh which is commonly translated as "I am that I am" in Exodus 3:14 in the King James Version of the Old Testament. "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."  However, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh can also be translated as: "I am who I am," "I will become what I choose to become," "I am what I am," "I will be what I will be," "I create what(ever) I create," or "I am the Existing One."  As Kether is the first emanation, the Zohar makes it clear that "the supernal crown (keter elyon) is the crown of kingdom (keter malchut)." Meaning that the first, highest emanation of the Divine- Kether is linked to the last Malchut, a concept which was summarized by Hermes Trismegistus:  "As above, so below; as below, so above."

It is probably not an accident that the name of God is revealed in Exodus 3:14.  Pi is defined as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.  It is most commonly rounded to 3.14, although its decimal representation never ends nor does it settle into a permanently repeating pattern.  As God is infinite and eternal, so is the numeric representation of Pi.  

To close, I will use a story that I ran across while researching this article (that had no attributable source) to illustrate my last point.  The story goes: 
I had a professor once who had asked the class to draw the best representation of God. There were some students who drew Christ, others an old man in a chair, and then there were some that drew the Hindu gods. In the end, all he did was draw a circle on the board with a dot in the center.“This is God, the circumpunct is perhaps the most perfect symbol to represent God. The circle,” His finger traced the circle on the board. “represents the all-encompassing power and infinite limitlessness of God. While the dot,” He pointed to the center of the circle “Represents our place within God, we are part of God. The circumpunct represents the perfect union of the divine and the created. The dot can represent anything within the omnipotent divinity of God.” He walked around the room in a circle then stood in the center. “Or it can also represent the self. The circle can mean the body, or the conscious self, while the dot can represent our subconscious or super-conscious.”


WB Darin A. Lahners is our co-managing Editor.  He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). You can reach him by email at 

1 comment:

  1. >>> It is probably not an accident that the name of God is revealed in Exodus 3:14. Pi is defined as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It is most commonly rounded to 3.14, although its decimal representation never ends nor does it settle into a permanently repeating pattern. As God is infinite and eternal, so is the numeric representation of Pi. <<< This one bothers me. The chapter numbering comes about late in the game. According to, "The chapters of the Bible are usually credited to a 13th-century British scholar named Stephen Langton, who eventually became the Catholic archbishop of Canterbury. Langton is better known for his involvement in the conflict over the creation of the Magna Carta. The verses of the Bible are generally credited to a sixteenth-century French printer named Robert Estienne (better known as Stephanus, the Latinized version of his surname)."

    The Hebrews divided the five books of moses up into roughly 50 portions, called Parshiot (sing: Parsha) in order to read one each week. I'd have to do research to determine when this took place.

    Numerology can prove or disprove anything.

    Other than that, a fine article.


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