Important symbols in the Masonic Tracing Board:
- The All Seeing Eye
- Jacob’s Ladder
- The Sun
- The Moon and Stars
- Checkered Floor
- The Square
- Masonry Rocks
- The Three Columns
Let’s go through the most important of these symbols as they pertain and try to interpret what they might encode in regards to SPLHCB and the Beatles. In order to not bog down the blog with too much information, I recommend familiarizing yourself with detailed explanations of the Masonic symbolism represented in the Masonic tracing boards, and you can do that here and here.
The “All Seeing Eye” or blazing star of glory is a representation of God or “The Grand Architect”. In this representation, we see that the eye is directly above Paul McCartney’s head. Exactly in the place of the hand which adorns him on the cover already. The hand heralding McCartney’s head has long been said to represent the Hand of Mysteries. To which Manly P Hall describes:
“The hand of the Mysteries controlled in the establishment of the new government, for the signature of the Mysteries may still be seen on the Great Seal of the United States of America. The signature of the Mysteries is the ‘apotheosis’ of man.” – Manly P. Hall Secret Teachings of All Ages
The Hand of the Mysteries goes by many other names, including the Hand of the Philosopher, Hand of the Master Mason, and the Emblematic Hand of Mysteries. On each finger you will find a unique symbol. The thumb has a crown, the index with a star, the middle finger with a sun, the ring finger with a lantern, and the pinky with a key.
In ancient mythology, the symbol of the right hand had always signified power and Jupiter. To sit at the right hand of God, had meant to wield the divine power of God on earth. Apollo was the god of light, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more. He was the favorite son of Jupiter, father of gods and men, and he sat at the right hand of his father. Apollo C Vermouth was an alias Paul McCartney used around this time while working on “Urban Spaceman” with the Bonzo Doo Dah Band. We see many references to Paul as Apollo as we have seen above, and as we will see in further examples below. (See what I did there?? 🙂 )
Jacob’s Ladder is ascending from Ringo’s head, the top of the ladder is said to be representative of man’s ascension. Ringo is the only member of the band which uses an alias, Ringo Starr could also be a play on words for “Ring of Stars” which is symbolic in its own right, and featured in this depiction with 7 stars encircling the moon. Curious name choice in my humble opinion. Jacob’s ladder on the Masonic tracing board is thought to symbolize man’s ascent into heaven. In the Mithraic mysteries the seven-runged ladder is said to have been a symbol of the ascent of the soul to perfection. Each of the rungs was termed a gate/door, and the `Handbuch’ declares that the aspirants had to pass through a dark and winding cavern. [Ringo’s birthdate being 7/7, and his and the Beatles success began in a Cavern- The Cavern Club of course]. Notice too that it appears as if Ringo is holding the key… Ringo’s true name of course being Richard StarKey.
Oddly enough, another legend associated with Jacob’s ladder is the Pillow Stone in which Jacob is said to have had his vision of angels ascending and descending the ladder. This Pillow Stone is also referred to the “Stone of Scone” and the “Coronation Stone” as well. Every English monarch since King Edward I has been crowned atop this stone. More information here. No doubt the concept of Jacob’s ladder is an important, and ancient concept. On the whole, Jacob’s ladder in Freemasonry seems to represent Faith, Hope and Charity; or, as it is declared, Faith in God, Charity to all men, and Hope in Immortality.
The Checkered Floor is symbolic of duality. The struggle between good and evil, dark and light etc. The individual squares are not of importance, the entire floor is the symbol. The Checkered tiles in this instance are atop the Hyacinths that spell out the word “Beatles” at the foot of the band. Hyacinths are a representation of Apollo once again. From Wikipedia:
Hyacinth or Hyacinthus (in Greek, Ὑάκινθος, Hyakinthos) is a divine hero from Greek mythology. His cult at Amyclae, southwest of Sparta, dates from the Mycenaean era. The sanctuary (temenos) grew up around his burial mound (tumulus), located in the Classical period at the feet of Apollo‘s statue. The literary myths serve to link him to local cults, and to identify him with Apollo.
In the literary myth, Hyacinth was a beautiful youth and lover of the god Apollo, though he was also admired by West Wind, Zephyr. Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing the discus. Hyacinth ran to catch it to impress Apollo, was struck by the discus as it fell to the ground, and died. A twist in the tale makes the wind god Zephyrus responsible for the death of Hyacinth. His beauty caused a feud between Zephyrus and Apollo. Jealous that Hyacinth preferred the radiant archery god Apollo, Zephyrus blew Apollo’s discus off course, so as to injure and kill Hyacinth. When he died, Apollo did not allow Hades to claim the youth; rather, he made a flower, the hyacinth, from his spilled blood. According to Ovid’s account, the tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower’s petals with the sign of his grief.
The Three Columns in the masonic tracing board are highly symbolic. They represent Wisdom, Beauty and Strength. In the mysteries of India the three qualities, Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, considered as represented by three hierophants, one in the East, one in the West, and one in the South. This formation of three pillars is often referred to “the rule of 3” or “triad/trinity” which nearly every civilization since the dawn of history has recognized in their spiritual/religious belief systems.
A lodge is supported by three great pillars denominated Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, for there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings.
The Beauty Pillar is akin to Marlene Dietrich in this example, and I think that fits quite nicely for Miss Dietrich.
The Strength Pillar is akin to John here, for most of the time with the Beatles prior to the Sgt. Pepper era, John was the strength of the band. The rock that kept the band together, the leader and the one the other boys ultimately looked up to. This all seemed to change later on, with Yoko’s influence, but that’s for another time. This pillar has also been compared symbolically to St. John (how convenient).
Just a note of insight and further clarification here- the Pillar motif vs. the SPLHCB cover has been done before by quite a few researchers. Mainly, the claim points to the twin pillars as being represented by Diana Dors (Diana the goddess of the moon) and Sonny Liston (Sonny=Sun) and this particular symbolism also lines up nicely. To read more about the other Masonic influences proposed on the Sgt. Pepper cover go here
Please continue to part III