The Masonic eye of Providence has a semi circular glory below the eye. Sometimes the eye is enclosed in a triangle.
Regardless of what one might think of Freemasonry and its secret society, it is an organization that has historically been ‘put through the ringer’ by some governments, churches and groups whose motives for or against the freemasons are not clear. Conspiracy theories are plentiful, in regards to freemason activities, including those that call it a cover for evil. In contrast to Catholic grievances of rationalism and naturalism, the Protestants are one such group that have on occasion accused freemasonry of mysticism, occultism, even Satanism. Part 3 of the legend of the eye will try to stay clear of this ‘muck throwing’, however we will need to cover some of it and then relate it to what we know of freemasonry with the all seeing eye.
The all seeing eye is one of the emblems very commonly associated in the public’s imagination with Freemasonry. The eye first became visible as part of the standard iconography of the Freemasons in the late eighteenth century. It is believed that the symbol was borrowed from the Christian use of the eye in religious art during the renaissance. Typically, the masonic eye of providence represents the all seeing eye of God and is a reminder to many masons that their thoughts and deeds are always observed by God, who is referred to in Masonry as the Great Architect of the Universe.
Is the great architect God ? Science and in particularly geometry and astronomy was associated directly to the divine for most medieval scholars.
The Masonic square and compass.
The symbol or letter ‘G’ in the Masonic Square and Compass stands for geometry, which is the basis of Freemasonry origins. It is also often interpreted as the initial of God or the Grand Architect of the Universe. The letter G is used to avoid any specific depiction of a deity so that all masons, regardless of their own religious leanings, may show reverence to the ‘Great Architect’. Therefore, within the lodge, the G is used to unify, not divide. In those countries where the language doesn’t begin the word God with the letter G, the all seeing eye is often substituted in place of the G and often with a triangle or pyramid.
The All Seeing Eye appears on the top of this Masonic tracing board, which depicts the various emblems and symbols of Freemasonry. Tracing boards are often used as a teaching aid during lectures to explain to new members the masonic degrees or levels.
The all seeing eye or eye in the pyramid is often mentioned as ‘evidence’ and proof of the sinister nature of groups that use it as a symbol of world domination or as a “New World Order”. Many conspiracists, some of these found on pages of the internet, say that the masons are planning a hostile takeover themselves or are being led by the illuminati.
The original illumanati founded in 1776 in Germany by a law professor called Adam Weisahaupt, functioned both as a network of spies and a mystic occult order. Its expressed purpose was to deeply shock and uproot religion and many of Europe’s monarchies. The public face of the Bavarian illuminati, preached good will and brotherhood for all men and submitted to the world that religion and nation borders were obstacles to world peace and the brotherhood of humanity. Some rejected invitations to join the illuminati who saw the organization in a much more sinister light. Details of this are found in some accounts written in the late 18th century that highlight how the illuminati had begun to infiltrate and recruit from masonic lodges throughout mainland Europe. Many of these so called new recruits were rarely masons by profession, some individuals joined to simply gain knowledge of an occult nature. With the encouragement of the Roman Catholic Church, the group was permanently disbanded in 1785. Some claim that the group some years later reformed and are presently amongst us whoever they are ?
Sadly, Freemasons are sometimes counted amongst the gullible who repeat the tale of the eye in the pyramid as a symbol of conspiracy or “New World Order”. Some stupidly boast these untruths. One of the most famous conspiracy theories about the all seeing eye is that the Great Seal of the United States of America (which is also found on the $1 bill) is a Masonic emblem and hidden symbol of the occult. Well, in truth there is no evidence of this, the reverse of the ‘Great Seal’ does bear an unfinished pyramid with an eye in a triangle surrounded by a glory, but that’s where the conspiracy should stops.
The reverse of The Great Seal of the United States which bears an unfinished pyramid and the all seeing eye. Adopted in 1782.
It is important to note that contrary to popular belief, the Great Seal was not created by the Freemasons. While Benjamin Franklin was a Freemason, he was the only Freemason in the company of men who sat on the various committees that helped design the Great Seal. His ideas were not adopted, but of the four men whose ideas were adopted, neither of them were Masons. It was at the committee stages that the ideas of the all seeing eye and unfinished pyramid gained acceptance. The eye within the triangle was adopted, as previous mentioned, from the Christians use of the eye to represent God throughout the Renaissance, long before the Freemasons. Futhermore, no records connecting Freemasonry with the symbol exists until 1797 nor is the symbol in any way linked to the Bavarian illuminati (as mentioned above).
Finally, conjecture about the motto on the reverse of the Great Seal has also been misunderstood forever it seems too. Above the floating eye is the words in latin Annuit Coeptis, which translates to “He (God) has approved or favoured our undertaking.” Beneath it are the words Novus Ordo Seclorum, which translates as “a new order of the ages.” It does not refer to “a new world order”, as many would like us to believe !
Efforts will continue to be made to convince the public that the Great Seal or the all seeing eye are Mason inventions, there is no doubt about that. We will leave it to the reader to make up his or her own mind. Please join us next time as we continue our series on The Legend of the Eye.