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 SECRET KNOWLEDGE: the Vesica Piscis. by Bro. Kevin L. Gest In this article the author talks about his new book: THE SECRETS OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE.

W. Bro Gest joined a Sussex based lodge in 1986 and was the Master in 1993. Since then, he has held almost every office in the lodge, and presented the 2nd degree TB continuously for 10 years. He received his Provincial honours in 2001, and in the same year, published a paper about the Sussex Masonic Centre which was the starting point that triggered writing the book The Secrets of Solomon’s Temple. He has delivered several talks to lodges in Sussex and London since 1995 on a diverse range of Masonic subjects, all based on his own original research and enquiry. His current role is as Charity Steward in his Lodge, and to fill a vacancy that occurred, is also Senior Warden – again. He is also a member of Royal Arch Chapter.

Well before the development of sophisticated arithmetic compilations, geometry was an important tool for solving the types of problems that today we solve easily as a consequence of our mathematical understanding. It was realised by our ancestors that three geometric figures -the square, circle and the triangle -formed the foundation of nearly all their particular problem solving. The circle was the most revered of all the geometric symbols, being a line which had no definable beginning and therefore no end, and as such represented infinity. The centre of the circle was the most revered point, being that from which every part of the circumference was equidistant, the centre of creation and therefore infinite in its power. In addition the easiest of the three symbols to construct was the circle. A peg could be hammered into the ground, a length of cord or material loosely tied to the stake at one end and a stick at the other, and then whilst holding the cord or material taut, one could scratch a circle in the ground by walking around the stake. However it was derived, the circumference of the circle could then be used to establish the four faces of a square.

The principles of geometry were recorded in a series of theorems expounded by the Greek mathematician Euclid around 300 BCE. One of the first principles he alludes to is a process of dividing a straight line into two equal parts. This is done by taking the line, AB, and drawing two circles of equal diameter, one circle at each end of the line, so that they overlap.

Drawing a vertical line between the points C & D will bisect the line AB into two equal lengths. This concept can be taken one stage further when the circles, both of equal diameter, are drawn such that the circumference of one circle touches the centre of the other circle. This geometric pattern was well known to the ancients and has been passed down to us with the title Vesica Piscis. The resultant area where the two circles overlap is known as the Vesica.

It produces some interesting characteristics. For example, it is possible from this use of the two circles to determine an angle of 30° and 60°. This is shown in the diagram below

through the points where the 60° is defined by the points ACB. The bold line at an angle represents the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle, CBA. Thus, the opposite angle, BAC, is 30°. By turning this simple relationship into a rectangle (as shown by the dotted lines) and bisecting the angles with a pair of compasses, it is possible to create the angles 15°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75° and 90°. Thus, with a simple pair of compasses and a straight edge, eg 24 inch gauge, our ancestors were able to determine the primary geometric angles regularly used.

This simple geometric structure immediately lends itself to the construction of another important figure -the equilateral triangle.

So, our ancestors, through their knowledge of geometry, were able to produce, with considerable accuracy, the three most common geometric forms in their construction armoury -the circle, the square and the equilateral triangle -the latter two being derived from the basic form -the circle. Thus, the circle became a highly regarded geometric device. But, more importantly, it was the point at the centre of the circle which was most revered, for no circle could be constructed without it.

And, as the circle became the form for the origins of so much other geometry, which in turn provided the basis for the construction of many of the temples, palaces and significant buildings of ancient times, so this point within the circle was seen as the centre from which all creation emanated. One can imagine how, through their knowledge of the interlinked macro-cosmos, and a belief that God had designed and implemented every last element of it himself, our ancestors believed that He must have used the same geometric principles. So, too, it can be imagined that the centre of the circle, infinite in the wisdom and knowledge that could be derived from it, was revered as God himself.

The vesica, or central area of the interlocked circles, was treated not only with reverence but as a sacred entity. It was an area from which so much else, geometrically, could be created. With their knowledge of the macro-cosmos, it was not lost on our ancestors that the shape was not dissimilar to that of the female vulva, the origins of intelligent form -the origins of all of us. It thus represented the geometry of life.

The book can be ordered at Lewis Masonic.