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Featured in Soul Light #26

With all the controversy catalyzed by the enormously popular The DaVinci Code and its revelations of secret, metaphysical societies to which DaVinci, Isaac Newton and other famous visionaries of the time belonged, we thought might be useful as we approach America’s Independence Day to explore the metaphysical backgrounds and secret societies of our Founding Fathers.  Here are excerpts from extensive research we did  for our 1994 book on Spiritual Politics:

The Deeper, Secret Roots of America's Founding
© 1994 Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson

The most intriguing hint about the secret, metaphysical dimensions of the founding of America is not actually hidden at all--in fact it can be seen in millions of places today--on every one dollar bill, which displays the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. Here is the All Seeing Eye of God or Spirit, placed above a pyramid--a symbol representing spiritual vision that is found in many secret societies, including the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons.

The pyramid was used by some ancient cultures, such as the Egyptian and the Mayan, as an initiation chamber. The All-Seeing Eye seems to be placed as a capstone at the top of the pyramid. If you stand at the base of the pyramid, there are many different viewpoints, depending on which of the four sides you are  standing on and looking out from. But at the top, all the viewpoints unite, because there we see with the Eye of Spirit. What an important message for us today!  The various religious and political groups stand at the base of each side of the pyramid, fighting for their limited view, when they need to climb higher to see the more inclusive, higher vision from the top—the radiant Eye of Spirit.

The reverse of the Great Seal was minted in 1789 but it wasn’t used until 1933 when President Roosevelt put it on the dollar bill at the urging of Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace, who was a follower of Nicholas Roerich, founder of the Agni Yoga Society.  The first Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin to design this Seal, and major revisions were added by Charles Thomson and William Barton. The United States is the only country today with a two-sided national seal. Isn’t it time to pay more attention to what’s on the reverse of this Seal?  It’s a powerful symbol of the soul of America.

Several intriguing Latin phrases can also be found on the Great Seal and the dollar bill: Annuit Coeptus ("God Fa­vors our Undertakings") and Novus Ordo Seclorum ("The New Order of the Ages"), as our Founding Fathers were visionaries planning for a new age. E Pluribus Unum ("Out of Many, One") not only reflects the unity of the original thirteen states, but on a deeper level reflects the One Life, the Divine Presence, which pervades all life and creates unity in diversity.

The eagle on the front side of the Seal represents spiritual vision as the eagle is the only creature which looks directly into the sun. In one foot the eagle holds a sheaf of arrows, symbol of war, and in the other the olive branch of peace. Unlike in traditional heraldry, the bird looks to the West, to peace, rather than to the East and to war.

The number thirteen is used thirteen times in the Great Seal--in the number of stars, clouds around the stars, stripes, arrows, leaves and berries in the olive branches, feathers in the tail, layers of stones in the pyramid, number of letters in E Pluribus Unum and in Annuit Coeptus, and the number of letters (three times thirteen) in the title: "The Coat of Arms of the United States of America."

Thirteen is not only the number of the original colonies, but more significantly is the number of transformation, as it adds the catalyzing number one to the completed cy­cle of the magical twelve—for example, the twelve disciples plus Christ, the twelve signs of the zodiac plus the sun, the twelve knights of the round table plus King Arthur. For better or worse, the United States has had a major trans­forming role in the world--sometimes positively, as with her exportation of democracy, and sometimes negatively, as with her exportation of an exces­sively materialistic life-style.

Francis Bacon

The seeds for America's founding were planted much earlier by the wise initiates of many cultures, from ancient Egypt and Greece to latter-day England and France. Francis Bacon wrote of America before its founding as "the new Atlantis” in his book by that name. He was also a member of the company that founded colonies in Virginia and the Caro­linas.

Bacon, known as the "Father of Modern Science," is thought by many researchers to be the founder of modern Freemasonry and the head of the Rosicrucian Order, a secret metaphysical society which taught the inner laws of nature, spiritual principles for self-transformation, and keys for creating a better world.

George Washington

The role of Divine guidance in America's founding was acknowledged by George Washington himself in his first inaugural address: "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of Providential agency."[1]

Washington believed he was constantly guided by higher sources in direct­ing his troops to outsmart the British. He was often called clairvoyant be­cause it seemed he could look into the future and predict troop movements with amazing accuracy. According to a report by Anthony Sherman, who was with Washington at Valley Forge where the incident occurred, Washington had a vision of an Angelic presence. He was shown the birth, progress, and destiny of the United States in three great crises where enemies within and without challenged the Union, but it persevered. He was told that "while the stars remain and the heavens send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the Republic last. The whole world united shall never be able to prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land, and the Union."[2]

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

There are many intriguing hints that Thomas Jefferson was a Rosicrucian (the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross) as evidenced by a secret code he used that was known only to high initiates of the order and the fact that he designed the building of the University of Virginia in a pattern relating to a Kabbalistic metaphysical design. [3]  Letters on display at Jefferson's home at Monticello in Virginia also indicate that he was a vegetarian like the Rosicrucians of the time.

John Adams's forebears in England were said to belong to a sect of English Druids called the Dragons, which also included Sir Walter Raleigh and John Dee, Queen Elizabeth's astrologer. The Dragons sought to renew the ancient wisdom of earth energies and studied the astrological procession of the equi­noxes.[4]

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin published an astrological ephemeris in his Poor Richard's Almanac and wrote an epitaph that seems to suggest he believed in reincarnation: "The Body of B. Franklin, Printer ... lies here, food for worms, but the work shall not be lost; for it will appear once more, in a new and more elegant Edition, Revised and corrected by the author."

Franklin also published the books of Johann Conrad Biessel, who founded Ephrata in Pennsylvania, the first Rosicrucian community in the New World. Franklin visited there frequently and brought gifts.[5] This commu­nity was a focus for the spreading of the Ageless Wisdom in America, and after its disbanding, most of its metaphysical library passed into Franklin's keeping.[6] George Washington was also a friend of the community and re­leased a prisoner at the request of one of its leaders, Peter Miller.[7]

In addition, Franklin spoke of the "Father of Lights," as the Rosicrucians do, and his speech to the Continental Congress reflects other Rosicrucian themes: "God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” [8]  Some researchers believe that Franklin himself was secretly a Rosicrucian.[9]

The Freemasons

At least fifty out of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Indepen­dence, including John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, were Freemasons. Franklin and Jefferson had both been ini­tiated into a French Masonic lodge, and Washington was initiated into the Masonic Lodge of Fredericksburg, VA.[10]  At the time of America's founding, the Masonic lodges were very different from the social clubs they’ve become today.  They had a strong metaphysical orientation, which developed common values and purposes among members, as well as deep bonds of loy­alty. The tradi­tional secrecy preserved in Masonic lodges allowed members to communicate and organize the American Revolution with little fear of exposure. Several significant non-American contributors to the revolution were also Masons, such as the Marquis de Lafayette of France 

The Boston Tea Party was the work of the Masons of the St. Andrews Lodge while tak­ing a "recess."[11] Paul Revere began his famous ride after he left an adjourned meeting of a Masonic lodge.[12] Through the lodges of the Freemasons, the ideas of such Age of Enlightenment thinkers as John Locke, David Hume, Francois Ma­rie Arouet (Voltaire), and Jean Jacques Rousseau became widely dissemi­nated in the new colonies.[13] The structure of the U.S. Constitution was based on Masonic ideals, and the federalism created by the Constitution is identical to the federalism of the Grand Lodge system of Masonic govern­ment created in 1723,[14] as well as to that of the Iroquois Confederacy.

The cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building was laid in a Masonic ceremony, with George Washington presiding as Grand Master. Masonic architects also laid out the city of Washington, D.C., in a meta­physical design to make the best use of the earth energies-called "ley lines," or "dragon lines," for creating healing or harmony. The original de­sign of Pierre-Charles L’Enfant was later modified by Washington and Jefferson to produce the specifically octagonal patterns incorporating the particular cross used by the Masonic Templars.[15]

Just as ancient sites such as Stonehenge are aligned to the positions of the sun and moon, the same is true of the Washington Monument. For example, a line of sight for the winter solstice can be established from the top of the monument to the southeast, down Virginia Avenue. Since the physical pattern of Washington is based on sacred architecture, could it not inspire future leaders to base policies on sacred principles of governance based on the Ageless Wisdom?

The Future

The metaphysical traditions studied by our Founding Fathers enlightened their efforts to create a new government, and were the deeper, secret source of their wisdom and inspiration. Today this ageless wisdom is no longer secret and is widely available. Could knowledge of the metaphysical sciences help enlighten our efforts today to create a better world?  Could it help us learn to actually embody “E Pluribus Unum”—“Out of Many, One” by creating a true unity in diversity?  And most importantly, can we allow the All Seeing Eye of Spirit to guide our national life as our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) did?

[1] Norman Cousins, In God We Trust (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1958), p. 66.

[2] Wesley Bramshaw, “Washington’s Dream”, National Tribune, Vol. 4, No. 12, December, 1880.

[3] Robert Hieronimus, America’s Secret Destiny (Rochester, VT:  Destiny Books, 1989) p. 39; also Spencer Lewis, Rosicrucian Questions and Answers: A Complete History, (San Jose, CA:   AMORC Publishing), p. 165.

[4] Andrew Rothovius, "The Adams Family and the Grail Tradition," East/West Magazine, May and June 1977.

[5] Julius F. Sache, “The German Sectarians of Pennsylvania” in The Franklin Papers, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1966), pp. 323-325.

[6] Corinne Heline, America’s Invisible Guidance, (Los Angeles, CA: New Age Press, 1949) p. 16.

[7] E. G. Alderfer, The Ephrata Commune (Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburg Press: 1985)

[8] Hieronimus, op. cit., p. 37.

[9] Spencer Lewis, op. cit., p. 165.

[10] Ronald E. Heaton, The Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers (Silver Spring, MD: Masonic Service Association, 1965).

[11] Sidney Morse, Freemasonry in the American Revolution (Washington, DC: Masonic Service Association, 1924), p. 51.

[12] Morse, op. cit., p. 58.

[13] Michael Baigent and Richard Leight, The Temple and the Lodge (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1989); p. 211.

[14] H. C. Clausen, Masons Who Helped Shape Our Nation (Washington, DC: Masonic Service Association, 1976), p. 82.

[15] Baigent and Leigh, op. cit., p. 262.


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