If after watching one of Disney?s National Treasure films, you surfed the web for ?hidden meanings in American symbols,? you might be shocked at what you found. Most other writers, beside myself, who are speculating on American symbolism say that the nefarious Illuminati-Mason Satan-worshipers are in control of world events. If you?ve seen their compelling slideshows where they flip through hundreds of corporate logos resembling the eye in the triangle over the pyramid, you can imagine how gullible people everywhere now believe America?s Founding Fathers were Satanists.
When I began to assemble my new book, The United Symbolism of America: Deciphering Hidden Meanings in America's Most Familiar Art, Architecture and Logos (published by New Page Books in April 2008), I was surprised to discover this entirely new genre in conspiracy theories. Having made a lifetime of defending and collecting American symbols, I felt it necessary to deflate this smear campaign against American symbolism, believing as I do that a healthy, collective, national symbolism is key to the well-being of any society.
I also enjoyed taking a closer look at some of our best-known myths and legends and revealing the historical hits and misses behind them. For example, Betsy Ross did not design the flag, the Liberty Bell did not crack on July 4th 1776, and the eagle on the Great Seal never turned its head to face the arrows, but always toward peace.
I also take the examination a bit deeper and analyze the symbolic meaning of the red, white and blue in the flag, the torch in the right hand of the Statue of Liberty, and the astrological symbolism in the architecture of Washington, D.C., plus a great deal more.
The Great Seal, the Illuminati and the Freemasons
I take particular offense when I see the misuse and misrepresentation of the pyramid and the eye in the triangle. There is a contemporary conspiracy theory, growing like wildfire with the Internet, based entirely on misinformation surrounding this seal. It goes like this: there is a mysterious group of ?them,? often called the Illuminati, but known by many names, controlling the world behind the scenes. They like to sprinkle eyes and triangles and pentagrams all over the place in logos and public designs as clues to their existence.
This theory can be toppled quite literally, by kicking out just one leg: the connection between the reverse of the Great Seal and the Freemasons or the Illuminati. It is not there, and it was never intended to be there. The pyramid with the eye in the triangle above it is not a Masonic symbol. It was not an Illuminati symbol. It was not an Egyptian, Phoenician, Babylonian or any other kind of symbol. It was designed by an American, and a non-Mason, Charles Thomson. The reverse of the Great Seal is an American symbol.
The only connection between the Freemasons and the reverse of the Great Seal is the 1935 dollar bill, a connection which is all part of the public record with nothing conspiratorial about it. The radiant eye in the triangle was approved for our nation?s Great Seal by the 1782 Congress because there was a consensus belief among them that God played an active role in the founding of this new country. They wanted to honor Divine Providence in the seal. Masonic symbolism and popular American symbolism run parallel sometimes, choosing as they have from the same pool, but Freemasons did not officially use the all-seeing eye as one of their symbols until several decades after the approval of the U.S. Great Seal. Likewise the pyramid. It?s more a case of the Great Seal influencing the Masons to adopt these symbols than the Masons influencing the symbols used in the Great Seal. Masons do not usually depict their all-seeing eye encased in a triangle, but rather floating alone among clouds, just as you?ll see in a lot of Christian churches. Masons have long admired pyramids as incredible structures built by ancient stone masons, obviously, but pyramids did not become a popular symbol on Masonic regalia until after the adoption of the Great Seal.
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