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Masonic Symbolism Book – Grip Of The Lion’s Paw
“Judah is a lion’s cub; you have risen from the beast, my son;
In the blessing of the nation that was announced on Judah and the nation of which he was the founder, the word lion cub represents power. Therefore, the symbol on the flag of the tribe of Judah was a lion. The same symbolism is found in the Masonic tradition and has enjoyed several philosophical and theological interpretations.
For our Christian brothers, the words “Lion of the tribe of Judah” refer to the Messiah, who is said to have brought light and immortal life to the world. For our Jewish brothers, Judah was the fourth son of the patriarch Jacob and represents the fourth principle that was discussed in the old Freemasons. Both kings David and Solomon are also said to have come from the tribe of Judah. However, there is an ancient use of the lion that may be applicable to Masonic mysteries.
Followers who passed the Mithraic teachings were called Lions and were marked on their foreheads with the Egyptian cross, or ankh. In all aspects of the Mithraic tradition it was created by Mithra as the Sun God, who came to earth to offer himself as a human sacrifice and his death to give eternal life to people. After initiation, the disciple was hailed as one who had risen from the grave and was allowed to study the Persian mysteries that originated with Zarathustra.
Although it was popularized by the Romans with the belief that at least the Emperor of Rome was established in the system, the Rites of Mithra were from Persia and later moved to Southern Europe. “Mithra” is the Zend-Avesta name for the sun and he resides within that orb. Mithra was male and female and, as a god, represented the “feminine principle.” The term has recently been popularized in Dan Brown’s fictional novel The Da Vinci Code. However, unlike representing the Holy Grail, as Mary Magdalene did in Brown’s work, the female side of Mithra represented Nature while the male side represented the sun that bathed Nature so that plants and animals could grow. With this understanding it is easy to understand the connection between Freemasonry and the Rites of Mithra.
In the Masonic allegory, Masons are taught that sacred Pythagorean geometry connects man to nature by teaching him about its most hidden places; how things in nature are interconnected; and that innumerable worlds surround the human race which the Great Architect of the Universe has harmonized through the laws of nature. It has been rightly said that the study of nature introduced man to the study of symmetry and order which led to the discovery of every useful skill. Freemasonry also teaches that a Great Intelligence pervades the universe and is described in the book of Revelation as the Sea of Glass.
The Masonic Symbolism Book Rites of Mithra also gave Freemasonry the symbol of the lesser lights, i.e. the sun, the moon and Mercury (later replaced by the Master of the lodge). That allegory is intended to describe the natural order of rulership – as the sun rules the day and the moon rules the night, so the Worshipful Master, with equal stability, must rule and govern the abode. However, even with such abundant evidence of Mithraic influence on Freemasonry, what is the significance of the capture of the lion?
Those initiated into the Mithraic mysteries passed through three important stages. In the first degree, the chosen one was taught about his spiritual personality which should be shown through self-control. In the second degree, the candidate was instructed that he represents the mediator between good and evil, light and darkness and was sent to the black hole to fight against the monsters of passion. Finally, in the third degree, he was given a hat with the design of the zodiac, including the sign of Leo, which represents the lion. The chosen one is said to have risen from the grave with the power generated from the sun’s influence on Leo – or the powerful grip of the lion’s paw. While some Mithraic symbols are found in Masonic symbolism, the possibility that this symbol originated in those traditions cannot be ignored. However, even so, what is the symbolic significance of the Masons?
Mithra came from the teachings of Zarathrustra which taught that good and evil existed side by side in the world. Masons are taught by one of its “decorations” that human existence is determined by good and evil. Real-life events prove this to be the case – the battle between good and evil was well illustrated during World War II, and during other well-known conflicts. Mithraic traditions also teach that in the end good will triumph over evil, as shown by the power of the sun rising each day in the east. It is said that this huge orb is able to rise due to the power of Leoni living in its path – the grip of the lion’s hawk!
When Freemasons go through the three degrees necessary to achieve the position of Master Mason, they know very well that the Craft wants them to participate in exercises that make them direct – good soldiers for good in the struggle between good. and evil, light and darkness. Figuratively rising from the grave of guilt, the candidate is finally recognized as ready enough to set a good example for the rest of the world. Whether they are using the tools as effectively as Master Masons in past generations is up to each individual. He can choose good or bad, light or darkness; and thereby creates a temple in which the Great Builder of the Universe will dwell, or a grave into which evil will be thrown.
A Freemason who knows why he was resurrected will never, never die. He was not raised by lies and deceit – he was raised by the strength of a lion.
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