a look at the pythagorean theory

Every Master Mason worth his salt, has at least looked at the Pythagorean Theorem, or commonly called, The Forty-Seven Problem of Euclid.  The geometric equation is known to those Master Masons who study Freemasonry from a semi-deep perspective, and know that in any right triangle, the sum square of the hypotenuse, or a2 + b2 = c2.

Many Master Masons find no meaning to this formula, other than it sounds good unless you are an architect or building contractor, or any one that has to work with geometry.  The equation is one that seemingly has no philosophical lesson for the Mason, and consequently, many questions about the theorem remain unanswered.  I personally believe that every symbol, every emblem, every phrase, every movement in Freemasonry, has some meaning, other than “sounding good.”

We know that in building a roof, a carpenter that know right angles, horizontals and perpendiculars, can cut his rafters on the ground and make them fit together, form his roof, with the pitch determined on the ground or in his head or whatever.  Phythagoras spent many hours searching for the answer of the almost perfect measurements of the Pyramid from a geometric point of view, while all the time, the answers could have possibly been found in the religious works of the Jews and certainly, the Egyptians who built the Great Pyramid in the first place.  The late Professor George Howard James, formerly on the staff of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, wrote in his book, Stolen Legacy, that the Greeks, under Alexander, stole religious ideas from Egypt, took them to Greece and called them Philosophy.  This brought in the “Golden Age of Greece.”  It is hard to imagine a barbaric country like Macedonia become such a philosophical nation in such short order, all the while persecuting those men like Socrates and Aristotle for venturing forth ideas of the Egyptians on people that were still worshipping idol gods.

In the Book of Exodus, we find answers to the questions Pythagoras was looking for.  The so-called mystical numbers that he supposedly discovered were given to Moses on Mount Sinai when God gave Moses not only the law, but a “pattern of life.”  It is hard for the finite mind to accept the idea that this formula could be used years before Moses came on the scene and manifested in the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza.  It is a monument to man, a guide to understanding the pattern of all living things, a blueprint to all stately ideas that have come down through the ages.  The numbers are:  3, 4 and 5, the pattern of life.

Exodus 27:1 tells us this:  “And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare:  and the height thereof shall be three cubits (emphasis added).”

The numbers 3, 4 and 5 are interesting in themselves, as the first two numbers give us the cardinal number seven (7), the number of a perfect and just Lodge.  The latter two, gives us three times three or nine (9); and the sum total give us the ‘number of the people’ twelve (12).  However, let us go back to the theorem itself first, and then we will deal with the numbers.

The Pyramid is an example of those numbers, for when you face it on one side, you see an equilateral triangle, or three sided figure; but it sits on a base of a square or four sided figure, and when you count the points of the pyramid, including the apex, you get five.  When it is bisected though, the philosophical meaning almost leaps out at you, if you but remember Jacob’s ladder and what he saw.

The base is the individual Mason, lying in a dead level, lifeless, but created in God’s own image.  After God breaths the “breath of life” man was raised to a “living perpendicular (living soul).”  The Mithraic ladder shows it to be a ‘step ladder’ rather than a common one, and that gives us the hypotenuse, or “angels ascending and descending.”  Man’s two beings ascend at man’s final earthly resting place, for his soul ascends to God who gave it, while his body returns to the dust from which it was formed, as it were, “being divested of all worldly goods and honors.”

The base is also you, the individual Mason, coming forth into the world, making your way “through this veil of tears” seeking ways to make your fortune, your spot in this vast world.  You are in a “dead level” lifeless, for the Spirit of God is not in you.  Then He breathes into your nostrils the Breath of Life, and you are “raised from that dead level to a living perpendicular.”

Now that you are “upright” you must set goals for yourself, bringing forth that part of God that is found in all Masons, “a desire to succeed.”  Therefore, the perpendicular becomes the measurement of your goals, lofty or lowly, all men and Masons must have them.  Some set them, others see them set by circumstance, or others.  No matter, the Mason lives by his wits, his experience, his responsibilities.  How long man has to reach his goal is not in man’s pervue, for God Himself has set “bounds from which man cannot turn.”

How you reach your goal is called by Masons, “your usual avocation” and you find it measured by the same gauge that governs any other man, a twenty-four day that we further divide into three equal parts of eight hours each, Man has no other time than the same twenty four hours that is given to all.  Your usual avocations, no matter the area, as long as they are honest, become the hypotenuse.  The sum total of your success is equal to the sum totals of your basic ideals (base), plus the sum total of your goal setting, and how hard you work at them.

Consider the following:

  • 3 – Solomon’s Temple had 3 cavities in it:  Outer porch, Holy Place and Most Holy Place (Sanctum Sanctorum or Holy of Holies).  Your local place of worship has 3 places or cavities:  vestibule, sanctuary and pulpit area.  The human body has 3 cavities in it:  Abdominal (vestibule or outer porch), chest (sanctuary or Holy Place), and brain (Holy of Holies or Pulpit area).

All people enter the vestibule or outer porch; all food enter the abdominal cavity.  There, a decision is made on whether the food will become a part of the body; whether the entrants will become a part of the service, or whether the people at the temple are qualified to go further.  Women, no!  Any other than from the tribe of Levi, No!

If the answer is yes, then food turns to blood, entrants turn to congregations, and the Levites turn to the priests for service in the temple.  In the Lodge, the candidate is given questions as to his intentions and a cabletow is placed around his body at some point.  The decision is his alone.  As the food that is not amenable to the body has a trap door (anus), and the temple entrant has a tribal hindrance, so then the candidate has an opportunity to leave the confines of the preparation room, before he can observe that which he will not understand.

  • 4 – Solomon’s Temple was built with 4 corners; most churches are square with 4 corners.  Man has 4 corners (limbs).  As the corners give harmony and shape, so does man’s ‘corners’ give mobility.
  • 5 – At the temple, measurements are divisible by 5.  Man’s extremities are 5.  Wise virgins are 5.

Consider then:

  • 3 – Attributes of God:  Creator, Sustainer, Comforter (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).  Workings of God (Genesis 1:1,2,3).  Great tenants of God and Freemasonry (Wisdom, Strength and Beauty).  Family of God and Man:  Father, Mother and Child.  Life of Man:  Youth, Manhood and Old Age.  Theologian Virtues:  Faith, Hope and Charity.
  • 4 – Foursquare Altar (Exodus 27:1); Foursquare Breastplate (Jachin) (Exodus 39:8), Foursquare City of God (Revelations 21:16).  Four cardinal virtues for man:  Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude and Justice.  Four squares equal 1 cross, whether Swatsika, Greek (Passion) or Crucifixion.
  • 5 – Star of promise (Eastern Star); Star of Fellowship (5 points).  Relationships between father, son, brother, friend and ruler.

In conclusion my brethren, look for a higher level of understanding when studying this thing we call Freemasonry, for in it, you will find the so-called secrets of life.  In this thing of ours (Freemasonry) you must be raised, resurrected and ascended.