Greetings Friends & Companions,
This month, one year ago we packed up our regalia and headed out to Belleville to put on the Mark Master Mason Degree, the first in a set of degrees we would confer there. We had a lot of fun and made three new Mark Master Masons that day. Those Mark Masters have gone on in the York Rite and this year we’re conferring another Mark Master Mason degree in February here in Ann Arbor. On February 20th at Calvary United Methodist Church with a meal starting at 6:30pm and us opening at 7:00pm we will be conferring the Mark Master Mason Degree on a brother from Olive Lodge No. 158. We will be catching him up with Brother Blackburn who has already received the Mark Master Degree and will be able to participate in the festivities. This should be a great evening and I invite all who can attend. Also the day before the degree, Zion Lodge No. 1 is holding their annual wreath laying at DeLue’s “George Washington as Master Mason” at Mariner’s Church in Detroit. They will be meeting up at the Renaissance Center at 2pm. All Masons are invited so I’ll try to be there and I hope to see some of you there as well.
In addition to the usual announcements I’d like to take a little time to talk about an object not unfamiliar to the Royal Arch Mason, the Arc of the Covenant, and more specifically the Cherubim that adorn it. The prophet Ezekiel describes Cherubim as a tetrad of living creatures covered in eyes and resembling living fire, with each cherub having four faces: a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. They are said to have the stature and hands of a man, feet of a calf, and four wings each. Two of the wings extended upward, meeting above and sustaining the throne of God; while the other two stretched downward and covered the creatures themselves. Images of Cherubim were a common feature in the architecture of King Solomon’s time and Bazaleel and Aholiab no doubt made many for the First Temple. The significance of such creatures is widely debated with explanations ranging from the theological to the philosophical, but what I’d like to bring up today is a potential astronomical and perhaps astrological connection.
In depth research on the subject is slim, and I certainly haven’t made my mind up on the matter but housed at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem is an Ivory carving of a Cherub that has been described as a miniature map of the stars.
This particular Cherub, dated to around 8th or 9th century BC, was thought to have once been part of a throne’s ivory inlay and represented some of the finest ivory carving of the era. Though beautiful to look at there is a belief that perhaps there is more to this Cherub than meets the eye. What may have spurred on the idea that this carving was not just a simple royal affectation comes from the concept of the wheel within a wheel described in the Inaugural vision found in Ezekiel chapter one, and the various circular designs that can be easily found when looking at the Cherub. These circles if properly drawn are said to give us a map of the night sky from the time of Ezekiel and serve as an astronomical and astrological chart.
One such believer of this theory, Mr. H. Peter Aleff has done the compasswork and has overlaid these circles both over an image of the Cherub, and over the night sky as the northern night sky would have appeared from a rough idea Ezekiel’s location and time, and the way they sync not only is an indicator of the location of various stars but apparent magnitude as well. An interesting theory to say the least and not only explains the astrological significance of the animals that make up the Cherub but the Maimonidite theory that Angels such as the Cherub allegorically represent scientific truth which further backs up the belief that men like Ezekiel were not only prophets but students of the advanced arts and sciences. I could go into this subject more deeply but I just wanted to provide a little food for thought this February making sure that we’re ever mindful to deeply investigate and understand the symbols around us, and though like the Arc and adorning Cherubim we may have a symbol or tool resting on our shoulders a deeper meaning may await us if continue our search for light.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s article and hope if at all possible you will join us for our Mark Master Mason degree this month, and help our brothers at Zion Lodge honor our worth companion.
Brandon Mullins, HP