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eternity.” Hence “the world terrestrial” and “the world celestial” on our representations of the
pillars, in denoting universality mean that the principles of our Order are not founded upon mere
earthly conditions and transient truths, but rest upon Divine and limitless foundations, coexistent
with the whole cosmos and its creator. We are taught of the “All Seeing Eye whom the Sun, Moon
and Stars obey and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions.”
In this astronomical reference is, oddly enough, a potent argument, both for the extreme care in
the transmission of ritual unchanged from mouth to ear, and the urgent necessity of curbing well-
intentioned brethren who wish to “improve” the ritual.

The word “revolution” in this paragraph (it is so printed in the earliest Webb monitors) fixes it as
a comparatively modern conception. Tycho Brahe, progenitor of the modern maker and user of
fine instruments among astronomers, whose discoveries have left an indelible impress on
astronomy, made no attempt to consider comets as orbital bodies. Galileo thought them
“emanations of the atmosphere.” Not until the seventeenth century was well underway did a few
daring spirits suggest that these celestial portents of evil, these terribly heavenly demons which
had inspired terror in the hearts of men for uncounted generations, were actually parts of the solar
system, and that many if not most of them were periodic, actually returning again and again; in
other words, that they revolved about the sun.

Obviously, then, this passage of our ritual cannot have come down to us by a “word of mouth”
transmission from an epoch earlier than that in which men first commenced to believe that a comet
was not an augury of evil but a part of the solar system. The so-called “lunar lodges” have far
more a practical than an astronomical basis. In the early days of Masonry, both in England and in
this country, many if not most lodges, met on dates fixed in advance, but according to the time
when the moon was full; not because the moon “Governed” the night, but because it illuminated
the traveler’s path! In days when roads were but muddy paths between town and hamlet, when
any journey was hazardous and on black nights dangerous in the extreme, the natural illumination
of the moon, making the road easy to find and the depredations of highwaymen the more difficult,
was a matter of some moment! One final curious derivation of a Masonic symbol from the heavens
and we are through. The symbol universally associated with the Stewards of a Masonic lodge is
the cornucopia.

According to the mythology of the Greeks, which go back to the very dawn of civilization, the
God Zeus was nourished in infancy from the milk of a goat, Amalthea. In gratitude, the God
placed Amalthea forever in the heavens as a constellation, but first gave one of Amalthea’s horns
to his nurses with the assurance that it would forever pour for them whatever they desired! The
“horn of plenty,” or the cornucopia, is thus a symbol of abundance. The goat from which it came
may be found by the curious among the constellations under the name of Capricorn. The “Tropic
of Capricorn” of our school days is the southern limit of the swing of the sun on the path which
marks the ecliptic, on which it inclines first its north and then its south pole towards our luminary.
Hence there is a connection, not the less direct for being tenuous, between out Stewards, their
symbol, the lights in the lodge, the “place of darkness” and Solomon’s Temple.

Of such curious links and interesting bypaths is the study of astronomy and its connection with
Freemasonry, the more beautiful when we see eye to eye with the Psalmist in the Great Light; “The
Heavens Declare the Glory of God and the Firmament Sheweth His Handiwork.”

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