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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is The Eye And Pyramid A Masonic Symbol

Is The Eye And Pyramid A Masonic Symbol Cover No.

Of the four men involved in designing the USA seal in 1776, only Benjamin Franklin was a freemason, and he contributed nothing of a masonic nature to the committee’s proposed design for a seal. The committeemen were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, with Pierre Du Simitiere as artist and consultant.

Du Simitiere, the committee’s consultant, and a non-mason, contributed several major design features that made their way into the ultimate design of the seal: "the shield, E Pluribus Unum, MDCCLXXVI, and the eye of providence in a triangle."

Congress declined the first committee’s suggestions as well as those of its 1780 committee. Francis Hopkinson, consultant to the second (1782) committee, used an unfinished pyramid in his design. Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, and William Barton, artist and consultant, borrowed from earlier designs and sketched what at length became the United States Seal. None of the final designers of the seal—William Baron, Charles Thomson, Sir John Prestwick—were freemasons.

"The single eye was a well-established artistic convention for an 'omniscient Ubiquitous Deity' in the medallic art of the Renaissance. In 1614 the frontispiece of The History of the World by Sir Walter Raleigh showed an eye in a cloud labeled "Providentia" overlooking a globe. Du Simitiere, who suggested using the symbol, collected art books and was familiar with the artistic and ornamental devices used in Renaissance art."

The all-seeing eye of God is noted several times in the Christian Bible:

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
Ezekiel 20:17 Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.

The misinterpretation of the seal as a masonic emblem may have been first introduced a century later in 1884. Harvard professor, Eliot Charles Norton (1827-1908), wrote that the reverse was "practically incapable of effective treatment; it can hardly, (however artistically treated by the designer), look otherwise than as a dull emblem of a masonic fraternity."4
The first "official" use and definition of the all-seeing eye as a masonic symbol seems to have come in 1797 with The Freemasons Monitor of Thomas Smith Webb — 14 years after Congress adopted the design for the Seal: "...and although our thoughts, words and actions, may be hidden from the eyes of man yet that All-Seeing Eye, whom the Sun Moon and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits."

The eye inside of an equilateral triangle, point up or down, has often appeared in Christian art. "It is often placed high above the alter as in the Pfarrkirche at Grmunden am Traunsee (1626) and the Fisherman’s church at Traunkirchen, while it appears over the doorway of the church of the monastery of St. Florian near Linz."

Neither the eye nor the pyramid have ever been uniquely masonic symbols, although a few Grand Lodge jurisdictions incorporate them into their seals. The combining of the eye of providence overlooking an unfinished pyramid is a uniquely American, not masonic, icon. While the all-seeing eye appears on early embroidered masonic aprons and such items as pitchers, there are no available documents showing the all-seeing eye associated with freemasonry prior to 1797 and none at all related to the Bavarian Illuminati, with or without the pyramid.

While the eye and pyramid icon is clearly not masonic nor derived from any real-world usage other than the American Great Seal, conspiracy theorists are quick to point out that it, or variations of a circle inside a triangle, often appears in corporate logos. In popular fiction a stylized eye and pyramid, or some version of a single eye, is a common visual shorthand for power, secrecy, conspiracy or control. The intent of the creators of films and television programmes, in utilizing these icons, can only be a matter of conjecture. It is quite probable that conspiracy theorists and the visual arts are simply feeding off each other.

As an example, the otherwise credible author Gerald Suster (d. 2001) repeatedly, and without citation, in his history of the Hell-Fire Club asserts that the eye and pyramid are both Illuminati and masonic symbols.7 A number of conspiracy theorists, such as Jordan Maxwell, have claimed that the eye and pyramid symbol is printed in Bavarian Illuminati texts "until recently" on display in the British Museum. No citations or references are given, although mention is also sometimes made to UFOs and extraterrestrials. The dust jacket illustration for the 1972 hardcover edition of None Dare Call it Conspiracy includes the eye and pyramid symbol. Passing mention is made inside to the Illuminati, but no mention is made to the seal. And in 2005 the movie, National Treasure described the unfinished pyramid and all-seeing eye as symbols of the Knights Templar.

Recommended reading (pdf e-books):

Joseph Fort Newton - The Builders A Story And Study Of Masonary
Louis Claude De Saint Martin - Man His True Nature And Ministry