As always, I direct the serious student of Masonry to HPH Bromwell's book ' Restoration of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry' as the book to read to learn about the work of the Craft.
The restoration that Bromwell speaks of refers to the existence of an ancient system of geometry and symbolic ritual that has fallen into disuse due to a lack of people who understand the system; what John Michell called 'a living canon of proportion, formed after the perfect model of the cosmos'. He points to the (supposed) state of the understanding of astronomical facts in 1600 when Bruno was burned at the stake for proclaiming the sun to be the center of the system.
Actually, we don't know whether the people who burned Bruno didn't know better, or if they knew but didn't want the 'common man' to have that knowledge; but if you read older writings you will see that the ancients had a pretty good understanding of the facts, but that this knowledge was some how 'lost', just like lost passwords that we read about. It’s a sociological fact, meanings changes and get lost. Then again, sometimes they get supressed.
At one point Michell says that,
"monuments all over the world were designed in accordance with one scheme of proportion in units of measure which are every where the same ... founded on principles of which we are now ignorant".
Michell speaks repeatedly about 'the collapse of the former ancient world order and the loss of the ancient canon of proportion on which it was founded'. Here in, I intend to introduce you to the basis of that system of proportion, which is not lost to modern Masonry for those who know where to look. I will show how the system relates to the geometry of the lodge floor, and point to modern examples that reflect the patterns in the Lodge.
G - nosticism
You will recall that one of the main themes in the Kaballah is the preservation and transmission of knowledge, which is played out in stories of 'loss and recovery', like the Enoch legend of the Royal Arch. The other main Kaballistic theme is the journey of the soul, seen as an exile and return, as in the Tree of Life.
Bromwell suggests that 1717 was not the beginning of Masonry for all time, but was the beginning of an attempt at the restoration of the ritual and symbolry of World Masonry. Joseph Campbell describes (modern speculative) Masonry as "a scholarly attempt to reconstruct an order of initiation that would result in spiritual revelation". That is the Gnostic component of the Craft.
As John Michell puts it -
"The tradition of the kabbalists and gnostics is not merely a collection of facts or beliefs jealously guarded by masonic and other hermetic groups, but consists of a method whereby certain incommunicable knowledge can be gained through a course of study in preparation for induced moments of perception, in which aspects of the hidden universe stand out clear and orderly to the inner mind... Revelation comes to those who invoke it through intense studies and a lively curiosity of mind."
But what Bromwell is talking about is the actual work of the Craft, what we will call the ‘floor work’; which is all geometry and astronomy related. In his book, he explains the ritual, its physical connections to the lodge room, and its symbolic geometric and mathematic relationship to the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, the Hebrew camp in the desert, the breast plate of the Priest, the Temple, the Holy of the Holies, Ezekiel’s descriptions, and the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21; all of which are closely related.
The key is that the three degrees are symbolic representation of stations of the sun. The first degree is the June Solstice, the second is the December Solstice and the third degree pertains to the equinoxes and the equator, and equilibrium, balance etc.
The idea is of a continuous approach to ‘the light’ which is symbolized as the rising sun. Watching the sun for a year we see that it is at its farthest from the Equator to the north in June, to the south in December, and due east in March and September. Left, right and center as they say. By the way, a lot of the vernacular shows that it has inherited from Masonic phraseology, like 'on the level'.
Bromwell shows how the floors of the three degrees are developed astronomically, then relates that to the Bible proportions showing that it is part of the same system. I have shown that St. Peter’s Basilica and the Rose Cross Lamen are derived from this pattern. As are so-called ‘magic circle’. In all cases the model is the earth in the cosmos, so that all are oriented to the cardinal directions.
I repeat. The Masonic Symbolic Floor (seen above) reflects the essential template for THE TEMPLE.
James Frazer, in ‘The Golden Bough’, points out that while rituals stay the same for long times, the legends that surround them change, and ‘the old meanings’ get lost. The Real Meanings. Such is the case here. It's hard to tell how many Masons even suspect the meanings of the movements of the officers in the ritual. By that, I mean the astronomical details.
I wouldn’t blame them if they didn't. I studied Bromwell’s book for four years before I ‘got it’. But when I did a lot of other things made sense. In particular, magic circles. Lodge work is the template of ceremonial sympathetic astronomical magic. What a modern magician calls a 'magic circle' is this without astronomy. Astronomy is an essential part of the Masonic system.
I contend that Michell is correct when he suggests
Having said that, and pointing to Michell's admitted ignorance of the astronomical and geometric principles upon which the system is based, I will assert that Michell was not qualified to speak in any but the most general terms about the subject. Michell never got to the nitty-gritty of the system because he didn't understand the details of it, which I will present here.
Bromwell notes that in depictions of the ‘form and situation’ of the cosmos (mandalas), the Earth, the central element, is represented by a square, while the heavens are represented by a circle. Enoch’s Nine Arches are the planetary spheres, and nine concentric circles. Each circle has a square inscribed inside of it. The center most square is the Earth. The outer most circle is the circle of the heavens (Nuit). Hindus make square astrology charts still.
Reading Bromwell, it doesn’t take long to think about tile work on sacred buildings (masonry = architectural geometry at one level). Then there is the duality depicted in the ‘back and white’ floor pattern and we are back to dualistic gnosticism. Astromomy dictates two floor patterns. One is sets of lines parallel to the equator, latitude lines. The square tile has one face in the north, one in the East, south and west.
Masonically ‘orienting’ something entails aligning it to the cardinal directions. We can also do this with corners of oblique squares (like the so-called baseball diamond or boxing ring). This tile is rotated 45 degrees from the one above. The figure of two overlapping squares is very popular in World Masonry. Both St Peter’s (below) and the Dome of the Rock (above) share this form.
The Rose Cross Lamen (below)
Looking closely at the Rose Cross Lamen, we note the four symbols for the elements (circled) in the four cardinal directions. Compare that layout with the one of St Peter's above it. Below we see these two images merged, and below that a magic circle which is actually a protective square.
Square of Pegasus
Consider the square of stars in the Pegasus constellation. They very nearly form a 15 degree square in the sky. The constellation is located near the vernal equinox point of the sun, so you can't see it then; but if you look at it at the autumnal equinox, it is opposite to the Sun. That is, in the spring, the Pegasus accompanies the Sun across the sky. As it comes over the Eastern horizon, it rises with the point up (oblique square). At the meridian it's lines are parallel to long and lat lines, and it is oblique again as it sets.
[Robert Graves suggested in 'The White Goddess' that the Solar Year was symbolized by a horse.]
Peter Tompkins, in 'Secrets of the Great Pyramid', compares general notions about measuring and mapping the Earth and the sky (symbolized by the terrestrial and celestial globes of Masonry) to those of measuring and mapping the sky. In his notes on ancient measures in that book, Livio Stecchini suggests that just as the ancients began a land survey by marking a square of a standard dimension, then measure of from that. Cuneiform texts call this basic surveying square 'iku'.
Procession - Initiatory Theater - Ceremonial Magic
That brings me to something that Bromwell states about the Masonic notion of ‘approaching the light’ and the idea of a procession. Architecturally, The TEMPLE experience is designed to represent the movement from a mundane to a more and more sacred space. It is processional theater. In Solomon’s Temple there was an outer court, the Holy place and the Holy of Holies. Concerning the Divine Order of things, Bromwell states that
"Masonry follows the order itself by beginning at the lowest and outmost and ascending and penetrating by the higher and inner to the highest and inmost".
In Solomon's Temple the Ark was in the holiest place. Other cultures substitute something else, but we see a similar pattern world-wide. The Egyptians liked long open avenues lined by columns and sphinx that brought you to a closed in space, what architect Paul Rudolph called the A-B effect, where you move from one kind of space to another- horizontal to vertical, for instance. The same ideas are used in city architecture.
Conceptually, the approach in Masonry is ‘to the light’, which is represented Masonically as the rising Sun. The place of the Worshipful Master is in the East, and as such is approached from the West past the altar on the center. Cathedrals usually share this same theater of the approach to the sunrise. Remember sunrise services at Easter? If you were in a cathedral facing due East at East-er at sunrise and their was a window in the East, the Sun would be rising there.
The Journey of the Soul
Short note to introduce the notion that the Mysteries surrounding ancient Masonry were more than just astronomy. While geometry and astronomy went hand in hand as far as the 'measure' of the orderly universe, they were connected through legends to what we call 'the soul's journey'.
The equilateral triangle represents the sky God (whose representative is the Sun, just stepping in for a bit), and the square represents mother Earth, who are separated from one another and would like to get back together.
The letter He is drawn like this (above). "And Adam called his wife e-v-e because she was the mother of all living." (Genesis 2:20) Fulcanelli tells us that the cathedral appears to be based on the alchemical science which investigates the transformations of the original substance, elementary matter (L. from 'mater' for 'mother'). The Virgin Mother, stripped of her symbolic veil is (like Isis) the personification of that primitive substance.
You will notice that it is an open square. Or a 'square' and a rule. The Tetragrammaton, the four letter name of God in Hebrew looks like this (below), reading from the top down. Man in God's image, both male and female He made them. Note that the head is male and the body is female.
So, a basic part of the whole ‘mystery’ as they put it, is the mystery of birth and the journey of the soul, and it has to involve sexual metaphors. The Alpha, like the letter Tau, besides being an architect's working tool, were phallic images. Omega on the other hand was a feminine version of that. Here we see the lower case and upper case letter Omega in Greek. As you can see, the upper case version is a womb in a protective square. Compare to the architectural forms above.
Note that as three denotes divinity while four denotes material matters, the four letter name is not a name of the Transcendent God concealed from comprehension. It is rather a name to designate the revealed nature of God. The Earthly representative so to speak. The Greeks substituted a three letter name for the Hebrew's four letter name, IAO. Unlike the Hebrew names which were not to be spoken, the Greeks sang theirs out.
I Am The Alpha And Omega
Some architectural ‘vistas’ or procession spaces are large, while some are not so. Some depict the sensation of climbing to the top of a high place. But not all cosmologies entail the central mountain component, others advance to a protowomb center point. Others utilize columns or trees. In the case of the House of the Temple in Washington DC, we can see that a ‘mountain’ was the model, just as we suspect that the pyramids were mountains to ‘the people’ but scale models of the globe to priests.
Speaking of scale, Bromwell notes again and again that the measurements in the Bible that we read pertaining to ‘sacred objects’ are more for the purposes of scale and ratios. The Tabernacle’s measurements were half those Solomon’s Temple, but the size of the Ark remained the same. The ratio of the volume of the Tabernacle to the Temple was 1:8. Conceptually we have the ‘foundation stone’ on the center, surrounded by the floor of the holiest area, surrounded by the Tabernacle, and the Temple; then the ‘cities’ that we see in Ezekiel and in Revelation 21.
But what does all that mean you are asking?
In a passage in Bromwell’s book he refers to the direction of procession. He is discussing ideas about which way the Tabernacle was ‘open’ to, from which direction one entered. He suggests that Masonically the motion is from the West to the East, as the Sun on the opposite side of the Earth from ‘a viewer’. ‘Journey to the East’ by Hermann Hesse is a veiled story about a league of people on a journey to the East. Hesse liked women apparently and allowed them into HIS TEMPLE.
Then he says, "besides, what if the approach was from the East to the West?" The Bible says that the Glory of the Lord (Shekinah) came into the Temple from the East, and that, for that reason, the East facing gate should be kept closed; to be opened only at new moons and on the sabbath. If the Masonic Light is in the East then an aproach from the East to the West would represent worship of the forces of darkness. The West traditonally represents the notion of death to ‘the people’, but to the Hermeticists sundown represent Birth.
Hebrews, Muslims and Egyptians begin their day at sun down because that represents the soul entering a body to them. The dark of night represents the soul in the body or underworld. Sunrise, death, is the symbolic release of the Sun's soul from the Demons of Darkness which had swallowed it at sundown. You can see the parallel to the idea of sowing a seed in the ground. The year begins in these culture at the September Equinox when the Sun moves below the equator. It's a northern hemisphere mythology that sees the southern hemisphere as an underworld.
Theta is the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is very similar to the Egyptian symbol for the Sun, a point in a circle. Remember that ellipses have two focii (focal points), and that the earth is not really a sphere but a flattened oblate spheroid. It's flat at the top and bulges at the equator a little.
Teitan (or Titan) was a Greek solar figure whose number was 666. Saturn was worshipped by the Romans as an offspring of the Sun, and ruled the Titans before the Olympians were in power.
Now tell me what that says about St Peter’s Bascilica in Rome with its long processional avenue entering from the East. Bromwell never mentions this, but undoubtably had it in mind when he wrote that. Looking at the Jefferson Memorial (based on the Pantheon in Rome and oriented to the North like it) we see that the direction of approach is to the South, where the Sun is exalted at noon, in the northern hemisphere that is.
You can tell the Jefferson Memorial was designed to be above 23.5 degrees North, because it is oriented south to the sun at noon. South of 23.5 degrees South you would look to the North for the noon Sun.
The Masonic Lodge Floor Explained
As to the floor of the Masonic Lodge, we begin by looking at a theoretical Lodge room designed by a working architect, intended to reflect the form and situations of the ritual, as well as the astronomical forms on the Earth. Remember that architectural structures have a thickness, as in thickness of walls. In terms of measurements, interior measurements pertain to inner things, while outer ones to outer things; just as a wall is a border to both the street and to the room. Also carpets, floors and surface areas in the Bible are conceived of with a border which symbolizes one realm encompassing another. The general form is the Earth encased in the heavens, as seen above. The border here represents the heavens.
One of the main things that are depicted in the Lodge are astronomical lines such as the equator, the tropics and the artic circles. If you study symbolism much you will notice that Mercury figures largely in Masonic Symbolism, and while most people think that the connection is mythological, it is really astronomical.
In terms of viewing the Sun on the horizon in the East throughout the year, we know that it moves from 23.5 degrees North of due East (viewed at the equator) in June to 23.5 degree South of there in December. The moon’s 18.6 year cycle takes it 28.5 degrees North and South; five degrees further than the Sun. Mercury, being the most eccentric of the planets ranges more than seven degrees further than the Sun, to just 30+ degrees.
In ancient Greece, (under the name Hermes) he was protector of merchants and travelers, associated with fertility, luck, roads and borders. The word herm (herma) indicates a a square or rectangular pillar of stone which was used as boundary markers on roads and borders. (We are reminded of Jacob's Pillar.) Today we call these 'survey monuments', and we bury them flush with the ground. Mercury represents boundaries and limits, and can be seen as the guide of the Sun as well as the soul.
Below we see a representation of the inferior and superior conjunctions of Mercury and the Sun, through out the year.
This means that at the equator, a hexagram on the ground indicates Mercury’s range on the horizon. The Moon’s range is inside of that, and the Sun’s range is inside of that. Note that we can use overlapping circles (blue) to produce an inscribed hexgram, the corners of which point to 30 degrees North and South. The paths of all the visible planets, the Sun and the Moon fall within this arc, with Mercury being the widest.
Using overlapping circles in the other direction (purple), we see the arctic circle indicated.
The Great Pyramid is located at 30 Degrees North Latitude
Here the North is at the top and the 'E' indicates both the East and the equator. The parallel lines of the hexagram are halting or limiting lines for Mercury. The hexagam itself represents the Sun and the six classical planets. Adding the stars at the 'top' and the Earth at the bottom, conceptually gives us a total of nine spheres, arcs, arks or arches as we see in the Enoch story.
According to the Greek legend, probably borrowed from a neighbor, the soul comes from and returns to the stars (heavens, Milky Way) via these seven planetary spheres; the order of descent being from Saturn to Jupiter to Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. The Earth was the 'sublunar' plane.
To review, we see that the hexagram represents Mercury's range and the 30 degree lines on the floor, as well as being a symbol for the solar system. It is also made of two equilateral triangles which symbolize Divinity in it's hidden or concealed aspect, Jah. The right triangle symbolizes Divinity as revealed in it's works, He Vau He or Eve, the Shekinah. We see this figure on the Rose Cross.
Other astronomical lines of importance are the tropics (marking the Sun's range) and the arctic circles. Note the square centering between the lines of the tropics formed by two pair of parallel lines; one pair horizontal and one pair vertical.
Elevation Plan of the Pantheon in Rome
Besides the equilateral triangle, the most important geometric figures are the circle, also a symbol of transcendent divinity; the square made with four right angles and the same number of degrees as the circle; the 45-45-90 triangle - which is the only right isosceles triangle that comprises the square, and the 30-60-90 triangle that is half an equilateral triangle. The diagonals of the square below mark the circle at 45 degrees of latitude.
Pantheon Floor Plan (below)
The sigil for Mercury (below)
Note that the horizontal (latitude) lines at 23.5 degrees are called the tropics and they represent the North and South limits of the Sun's apparent daily position when watched over a year's time. The pair of vertical lines indicate the limits of the 47 (2 x 23.5) degree mutation circle of the Earth's axis. This is the Master's Square on the center.
Here (above) we see two hemispheres of the Earth being depicted. The two circles touching are, of course, the hemispheres. The outer circles are the circle of the heavens in two hemispheres. Note especially how the overlap of the outer circles matches the width of the square determined by the lines of the tropics.
This is Bromwell's version of the Earth bordered by the celestial sphere with all the astromical lines portrayed, including the apparent path of the Sun as seen from the Earth. But the ritual not only includes how it looks as seen from the Earth, but how it looks from three different perspectives. Let me show you...
Remember that since the Sun never gets above 24 degrees on the earth, people North of there always look to the South to see the Sun at noon; while people over 24 degrees South of the equator always have to look North for the Sun at noon. At the equator the Sun is North half the time and South half the time.
The first degree corresponds to the Northern view, the second degree to the Southern view, and the master's degree to the middle view. The first degree also pertains to the June Solstice, the Sun's most northerly point, the northeast, and the left, as that is where the NE is looking East into the sunrise. The second degree pertains to the December Soltice, the southeast and the right. The master's degree pertains to the equator and the equinoxes.
At the equinox at the equator there are 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. We find that the symbolic floor of the Master's Degree is composed of 25 stones; 24 around a cubic foundation stone. The master's floor represents the square generated by the tropics in the top image. Bromwell suggests that this is the configuration of the stones on the breastplate of the Hebrew priest, as well as the layout of the Hebrew camp in the desert.
Below we see a circular version of this idea portrayed on a wall in the position of a rose window of a cathedral. It's Arthur's Round Table, featuring 24 alternating black and white spaces around a center circle. Note the emblem of the Sun at the top. It's hard to tell how many concentric circles are being depicted.
In the image above we see that the horizontal centerline is the equator. Beyond that are marked the tropics at 23.5 and the range of Mecury at 30. Remember that Mercury has the most eccentric orbit, and wanders 30+ degrees from the equator. The Moon's range of 28 degrees falls between the lines of these two, and is depicted by circles. If we wanted to, we could depict the area containing all the planets' paths by a rectangle 60 degrees tall and 360 degrees wide. Connecting the ends would produce a cylinder like this (below).
Consider the Spinning Tibetan Prayer Wheel
The 1:6 ratio reminds us of a human ratio and looks like a coffin. Also Noah's Ark is described as being 300x50x30. That is also 6:1, and 10:1. If we multiply or divide all the terms of a ratio by the same number you get the same ratio; that's how proportions work. So, dividing by five and multiplying by 6 we get 360x60x36. It is not the same numbers but it is the same ratio. Remember that the dimension of Solomon's Temple were twice those of the Tabernacle (60x20x30 vs 30x10x15) but that the size of the Ark of the Covenant did not change.
Bromwell points out that Bible dimensions are intended to portray volumes and important ratios (proportions). The Holy of Holies and new Jerusalem are both cubes. The Holy Place in the Temple is a double cube. Altars are square, like the breastplate of the priest, and the sanctuary in Ezekiel's oblation. The word 'triangle' is not in the Bible, and circle is mentioned just once. Just as with the prayer wheels, it's not the size that matters, but the form and proportions.
The top view of Noah's Ark plan would be a 360 by 60 rectangle like the one above, or our cylinder. The magic square of the Sun has 36 squares arranged in 6 rows and 6 columns, each of which features one of the first 36 numbers. The total of these numbers is 666. Square six is the square of the Sun. The zodiac belt is 18 degrees wide, and animals (zoo) in the ark were 'zoodiac' signs.
As Mercury's orbit is 30 degrees, the angle of the hexagram, associated with the Sun and seven planets, we see that Noah had seven passengers with him in the ark. Including Noah makes eight which brings us to double squares again. Remember that the Great Pyramid marks 30 degrees on the globe for us. That is, the GP is at 30 degrees North, half the radius from the equator to the pole. That is part of what is depicted in the diagram of the Lodge floor at the top, as well as the prayer wheel and the story of the Ark.
. . .
As Bromwell puts it, there are two classes of persons disinclined to believe that the Founders of the Lodge had the true form of the Earth in mind when they adopted this system of representation that was put into practice in the Degrees. One class claims that all the ceremonies, forms and symbols have been introduced in recent times, because they believe that prior to 'the revival' Masonry was nothing more than a guild or association of operative (working) mechanics.
Another class of persons who hesitate to attribute knowledge of the true form of the Earth to the 'original Founders of Masonry', believe that the Lodge was an ancient institution and that the surface of the Earth was the symbolic ground floor with the heavenly bodies revolving around it, but also believe that the ancients had no knowledge of the spherical form of the Earth; that the discovery of its spheroid shape is one of the achievements of intellectual progress.
We are told that nutation was only recently discovered - "The nutation of a planet happens because the tidal forces which cause the precession of the equinoxes vary over time so that the speed of precession is not constant. It was discovered in 1728 by the English astronomer James Bradley, but was not explained until 20 years later."
The fact that the Earth is not an exact sphere, that it bulges at the equator, is the cause of the precession of the axis, nutation etc. Bromwell demonstrates that the combinations of circles, triangle and square on the Lodge floor provide the illustrations for equator, the tropics, 30 degrees (Mercury's Range, where the pyramid is located), 45 degrees, the arctic circle at 66 degrees and the poles. Comparing with the Sri Yantra we see the same lines. We see them in mandalas, Temples, the Stonehenge, and other sacred buildings modeled on the stone astronomical viewing circle.
This appears to put to rest the notion that the rituals of the Masonic Lodge and Temple have originated since 1717. Also the notion that the ancients didn't understand the solar system. The fact is that the ancients did understand the form of the system and they depicted it every way that they could without writing. Then when writing came along, the stories continued to get passed along, but the oral interpretations that went along with them were not so wide spread. People don't know how to interpret what they are seeing without some hints. But once you get several of the pieces, many architectural forms make more sense.
The implication is that The basic form was the stone circle used as an observatory. Crossing square lines mark the cardinal directions on a circle that denotes the horizon. Looking East, the sunrise moves from center to left to center to right. We mark its range. We note that the Moon ranges wide than this, and Mercury even wider. We note that Jupiter (king of the planets after having deposed his father Saturn and the Teitans) takes 12 years to orbit the sky. Jupiter's wife is Juno = Hera in Greek. Heracles is Hera's sun. The 12 labors of Hercules are the 12 years that it takes Jupiter to orbit the sun. The year was similarly divided. Jupiter's Period would be 12 years of 12 months each. Jupiter rules Sagittarius as in white horse/man bow crown.
Astrologically, Jupiter is the Grand Benefic. Saturn the Grand Malefic. Jupiter is at sphere four on the TOL, its magic square is four by four. Magic circles are really magic squares, in honor of Jupiter, who compliments Venus, the other benefic. Mercury is the other malefic (jester). Venus as Isis, Eve, Shekinah etc are represented by a square or a cube. While the Shekinah is a cubic stone that 'descends' from heaven (Our Father), Venus springs full grown from the forehead of her Father - a viewed astronomical event written as a birth legend. Rev 12 and the stars of heaven fell to earth.
The circle took on ritual significance (so kids wouldn't move the medicine man's stones) and a canon of measure was developed. The scale would run from the size of Our King to the size of the Heavenly King, via seven planetary spheres. Mercury the wanderer (most erratic) is also the one that supplies the bounds and limits for the seven spheres.
Adding sympathetic magic, we get a ceremony that imitates the perceived order of the cosmos (as seen from the earth). The lodge and the actors are symbolic figures. Whatever else people try to add to the ritual, the basic form is an oriented square (cardinal directions), enclosed by a circle, enclosed by another square and so on, until you have nine spheres (Enoch). The center square is the cubic foundation stone of the lodge floor (for scale purposes).
In short, after you symbolically set up the square and a circle, the poles and the equator, all the action takes place between the West and the East, from 30 degree North to 30 degrees South. Don't go beyond there during this please.
Everything under the sun is in tune,but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
One big clue is that processions and ambulations and circumambulations are meant to imitate the sun and the planets in their paths. The floor area is the surface of globe, and in that area you have the equator, 30 and 23 degrees defined at least. In Masonry the three degrees are stations of the sun. So-called magic ceremonies desrcibe the movements to be taken, but I doubt if many understand the Masonic origins of their craft, or the astronomical ideas involved, or if a 'magic circle' even had limiting lines marked on it.
The prayer wheel is a 3D magic circle, a physical manifestation of the phrase "turning the wheel of Dharma", which relates to circumambulations. It is all imitation of the 'work' that is going on in the universe, and the natural order of things, as is the floor work in the lodge. You can imagine that church ritual is Masonic as well, ie astronomical in origin.
The Sanskrit term Dharma means one's righteous duty, or a virtuous path, and you see prayer wheels in all sizes, but they are all similar in the forms that they portray.
A Virtuous Path
. . .
An Organized Spiritual Technology
John Michell tells us that (his) evidence points to the existence of a former civilization based on the manipulation of certain natural elements, and of an organized spiritual technology controlled by priests. Of course, he is talking about magic here. He claims that it entailed building structures shaped in accordance with principles unrecognized by modern science. He was not a Mason or an architect. I am showing you those shapes here BTW, so they are not that unknown. He writes that the rituals in these buildings should be synchronized with the seasons, etc.
Next he throws us a curve ball by saying that every Temple was aligned and proportioned according to the deity or aspect of the cosmos that it is intended to represent. I suggest that this puts makes his study the temples of the Greek and Roman polytheists, not the Temple of the One God. We are looking for a universal mold here. Other than that he has assembled all the elements of the system; temple as scale model of the cosmos, the four cardianl directions, the elements, the seasons, the planets.
"Numbers were especially employed that had reference to the Deity, represented his attributes, or figured in the frame-work of the world in time and space and formed more or less the basis of that framework. These (numbers) were universally regarded as sacred, being the expressions of order and intelligence, the utternace of Divinity Himself".
According to Michell, the Temple was designed to attract or evoke the gods, and each was framed to include symbolic references to the appropriate deity. He would have needed to tweak that a little to include Hebrew and Masonic Temples. The use of symbolic numbers was a type of science no longer recognized, but not beyond recovery (restoration ala Bromwell) according to Michell.
Then he makes the mistake of suggesting that the idea is to somehow manipulate these natural forces? Once again, Michell gets it wrong.
Dharma as a path is of course, the journey of life, and is compared poetically to the motions of the planets. Whether one's path is virtuous or not depends on one's intention's, his will and how he directs it. But no matter our intentions, our experience is bounded by a world around us. Muslims call it 'surrender", but the idea is the same as righteous duty. It entails the limiting outside forces, work and sanctity. Hasidism and alchemy sanctitfy daily life by making every action a sacrament, consciously directing their intentions.
Righteous duty implies limited freedom, and work done freely, as in the term Freemason.
We are reminded of the Sema, the dance ritual of the Sufis, where in humans conceptually join the choreography of the cosmos. Jalaluddin Rumi, the founder of the Mevlevi Order in the thirteenth century says that the dancing dervishes represent the solar system and the planets that revolve around the Sun. In the video that is linked to you will note the tilt of the dancers heads that represents the axis tilt, and the dyed fleece in the end of the dance area, which represents the Sun (like the golden fleece did). Notice especially that the fleece is on the end (like the Worshipful Master) and not on the center.
While Michell contends that the ancients were able to recognize and control the forces in nature by means of a secret elemental science, the focus of which was the inocation of the spirit of 'revelation and ecstacy', I suggest that the aim of the ritual was the imitation of Nature and the invocation of Harmony.