Making the Heritage of the Past "Real" in the Present Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein (Click on images to see a larger picture.) On the back of the U.S. dollar bill are two pictures; they are part of the iconographic history of the United States. The first picture is an eagle, the symbol of the country, with thirteen arrows in one claw and an olive branch with thirteen leaves in the other claw, signifying that this nation will be strong in war and strong in peace. The other picture is of a pyramid, a replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza, except that it has 13 levels, and the capstone is separated from the body by an all-seeing eye. These two pictures are the front and the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. The eagle side of the Great Seal was cast almost immediately after the two pictures were designed; the reverse of the Great Seal has never yet been cast, although there is a movement afoot in Washington, D.C. to get it cast. It’s pretty clear why the choice of the eagle was made: a strong representation of the power of the nation with an acknowledgment of its heritage in the 13 original colonies/states of the union. It’s not so clear why our Founding Fathers chose a pyramid with an all-seeing eye as the reverse picture. What is not generally taught in history books is that the vast majority of the Founding Fathers of the United States were Freemasons.  Freemasonry is a “secret society” that even today limits its membership and controls the dissemination of its “secret” information.  However, if we’re to understand what these early architects of our nation saw as their relationship to Egypt, we have to recognize this Masonic connection.  Three of the studies of the early Freemasons were astrology, geometry, and architecture. As a society, they held a belief that they were inheritors of a wisdom tradition that could be traced back through the Knights Templar, to the stone masons who built the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages, to the building of the Temple of Solomon, which itself supposedly had a connection with the culture and wisdom tradition of ancient Egypt and the Temple of Isis. Also, when we get to our examination of astrology from the ancient world, we’ll see the eagle again as the representation for Scorpio transcendent. Fifty-one of 55 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons, as were the majority of the developers of the U.S. Constitution. George Washington was a Freemason master of several lodges.  Pierre de l’Enfant, architect of the District of Columbia, was a Freemason.  The architectural design of Washington, D.C. is Neoclassical, i.e., based in part on the style of ancient Greece, and various buildings from the early part of our history are filled with iconographic representations of the perfected forms of classical Greek gods and goddesses as well as symbols out of astrology, especially the Capitol Building. But the connection the builders apparently saw to the past goes back even further, to what they believed was a great “mystery school” in ancient Egypt. George Washington with Masonic regalia. Let me note here that it doesn’t matter whether there really was a great mystery school in ancient Egypt—the Founding Fathers apparently believed in it, and that’s what mattered in their making the Great Pyramid their choice for the reverse of the seal. According to Sir Francis Bacon, who was a contemporary of and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I of England, the New World that had just been “discovered” by Christopher Columbus was to be a “New Atlantis.” America was supposed to have been named for a 16th century mapmaker named Amerigo Vespucci, though it has recently come to light that the ancient Mandaeans of Iraq believed there was a land beyond the Atlantic Ocean that was under a star they called Merika, so perhaps there is an alternative source for the name. In any case, this land was only just opening up to exploration by the English during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. According to legend, Atlantis was a continent in the Atlantic that would have predated by several thousand years all the Western civilizations hitherto discovered; it supposedly had the highest form of culture, politics, technology, and spirituality ever known. The only references we have to any actual existence of Atlantis in the surviving literature of the ancient world is in the writings of Plato, in which he said it once lay “beyond the Pillars of Hercules,” meaning beyond the Straits of Gibraltar in the Atlantic Ocean, and that it sank because of a great explosion/earthquake. What Bacon seems to have meant by his referring to America as the new Atlantis was presumably that the New World would become the ground upon which a civilization could be built that would rival Atlantis. Egypt was, according to the secret tradition, supposed to have been the inheritor of the remnants of that civilization. In any case, this vision of a perfect society was a part of the heritage of the Founding Fathers of our own country and a strong belief they carried. Also part of their heritage may have been a knowledge of the energy lines of the earth, known by modern dowsers as “ley lines,” and known in earlier times as “dragon” or “serpent” energy.  It has been  demonstrated by researchers that all the sacred sites of Europe, whether pagan stone circles or Christian churches, and including Stonehenge and Chartres Cathedral, are built on a series of straight lines. Some researchers have tried to demonstrate that all these lines run to the Great Pyramid at Giza, though proofs of this seem to be stretching mathematical accuracy. But what we’re really interested in is what the people who built various sacred sites on straight lines believed they were doing. So—why would builders of sacred circles or churches put their structures on energy lines? The best and most logical guess is that the builders of ancient stone circles and the stone masons of the Middle Ages were onto something about the power of a piece of architecture that’s built on a line of force in the earth. So perhaps it was to move those who entered that structure to some higher experience of enlightenment or spirituality. We know for comparison that Native Americans generally built their Medicine Wheels, which are a form of stone circle, and the Mound Builders generally built their mounds, on sites that had hidden springs, which supposedly had the power to heighten the energy of those who visited the sites. The Serpent Mound in Ohio is an example. And another reason seems to be that these earthly lines of power were also good places for doing astronomy, because most of the sacred sites have turned out to be observatories of the heavens. In any case, it is worth noting that the Founding Fathers seem to have been aware of this wisdom tradition, and that they believed it had its roots at least as far back as Egypt.  Also a part of the iconography of the dollar bill that dates back to Egypt is the all-seeing eye.  The Eye of Ra, the great sun god of Egypt, is everywhere in the iconography of ancient Egypt.  And the eye is also associated with Horus, who was the son of the god Osiris and the goddess Isis; the mythology of the time says that when Osiris was killed and his body dismembered (later to be reassembled by Isis, after which he became the ruler of the Egyptian underworld), Horus took his place as the ruler of the upper world.  More about this is discussed below.  (The Temple of Isis was said to be a parallel of the Temple of Solomon, being represented by a similar common formulary of dual pillars, representing opposite forces/polarities/flows of life energy—symbolic of the dualism humans experience on the earth plane). The two slogans on the dollar bill are in Latin.  They are “Annuit Coeptus,” meaning “He has prospered our undertaking,” suggesting that God is on the side of those establishing this new nation; and “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” meaning “A New Order of Ages,” suggesting that the founders believed they were establishing a society and political structure that would be a model for the rest of the world. There is a tradition that the United States will never achieve its destiny of being the spiritual leader of the world until the reverse of the Great Seal has been cast. For some reason Congress has consistently voted not to cast the reverse of the seal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, however, initiate the movement to put both sides of the seal on the dollar bill, which is why you see it there at present. FDR was also a Freemason. So another point that should be made early on is that we have exoteric history, and esoteric history. The exoteric history is what is written in the history books, and revised from time to time, with elements added or deleted, depending on how each era wants the “truth” to be represented, depending on how much of the truth the writers desire to present, and of course always depending on the current political power and which side of the facts they want to make known.  Libraries—and people!—have been burned in many historic periods so that truths that were popular in one era will not be passed on to another era whose political structure is the result of a pendulum swing in another direction. The esoteric history is a record of the “inner” life and wisdom of a people or culture; this inner life may not be represented by an official state religion; it may or may not be described in history books; and it may or may not be accessible to students and teachers of history and culture. The notes on this web site are intended to present glimpses into some of the esoteric history as well as of the literary and cultural history, if only to help students and other readers maintain open minds.   For more information on megalithic monuments and other sacred sites from the ancient world and on the American metaphysical legend, see the following: Devereux, Paul. Secrets of Ancient and Sacred Places. London: Blandford Press, 1992. Hieronimus, Robert, Ph.D. America’s Secret Destiny: Spiritual Vision and the Founding of a Nation. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1989. Krajenke, Robert Wm. The Psychic Side of the American Dream. Virginia Beach, Virginia: A.R.E. Press, 1976. Michel, John.  The New View over Atlantis.  San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1983. Mohen, Jean-Pierre. Megaliths: Stones of Memory. Dorie B. and David J. Baker, translators. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily