When we look around us we can see that everything is related to something larger. A child belongs to a family, a family to a social group, a social group to a country, a country to our planet Earth, Earth to our Solar system, our Solar system to a Galaxy the Milky Way in our case the Milky Way to a local group of galaxies, the local group of galaxies to a local super cluster, and the local super cluster to the known Universe.
As the child is under the influence of his family, so the family is under the influence of the social group and so on, until we can tie the child to the Universe. We are under the influence not only of our earthly environment but also of the celestial bodies that surround us.
Astronomy, formerly synonymous with Astrology, is the science that treats of the celestial bodies, of their positions, magnitudes, motions, distances, constitution, physical conditions, mutual relations, history, and destiny.
Astrology is derived from two Greek words, astra, a star, and logos, logic or reason. It means the doctrine and law as shown by the stars or planets. Until the late seventeenth century, Astronomy and Astrology were not two different sciences but only one. Today Astronomy represents the outer expression and Astrology the subjective part, dealing with the influence of the life on Earth and its inhabitants.
The Ancient Schools of Mysteries taught a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. Morality is related to or acts upon the mind, character, or will. So Morality is the link between our actions and our mind. But as we have just seen, our mind is under the influence not only of our immediate surroundings, but also of the whole Universe.
"As Above, So Below" is one of the most important universal laws. It teaches us that as part of the Universe, we are not only under its influence, but also under its laws. To rightly act or to relate to our mind, character, or will, we need to know and understand the laws that regulate the Universe.
The ancients become acquainted with the changes in the skies and through those changes, they learned the concept of time, which helped them to develop their agriculture, critical for their survival.
The word Temple is derived from the Latin word Tempus meaning time. This is an indication that in ancient times the Temples were places not only to worship the Deity, but also, concealed in their structures, the basic instruments of time measurement.
In King Solomon's Temple - as in all the Ancient Temples, the Porch or entrance of the Temple was in the East, and there were two pillars, one located at each side of the principal door. One pillar marked the Northeast corner and the other the Southeast corner. In the Egyptian Temples, they placed the Winged Sun on the top of the main entrance.
The importance of the Northeast corner was that it was used to mark the Summer Solstice, one of the most important solar festivals celebrated in all ancient nations. As the Temples always faced the East so as to catch the rays of the rising sun, the cornerstone, if properly aligned with the point where the sun rose, would be the measurement instrument to determine this event. The same applies to the Southeast corner where there will be a point aligned with the point where the sun rises at the Winter Solstice.
Then, if you trace a line from the point where the sun rises at the Winter Solstice, crossing the Southeast corner, and another line from the point where the sun rises at the Summer Solstice, crossing the Northeast corner, both lines will intersect at a point situated in the center of a double cube structure. This, of course, varies according to the latitude where one is situated, but is valid for places like Egypt, Greece, Babylon, and others of equivalent latitude.
If in the Northeast corner as well as in the Southeast corner you have two columns, as in the ancient Temples, the shadow of the column at the Summer Solstice will be a line that will pass through the center of the building. And the same will happen at the Winter Solstice with the Southeast corner.
Finally, if in such a structure, double-cube shaped, you have a checkered floor designed in such a way that the lines correspond to the line formed by the shadow of the Northeast column at Summer Solstice, you have a very precise instrument with which to measure not only the Solstices and the Equinoxes, the day when the sun will rise directly in front of the entrance, but also the length of the year, the Moon cycles, and other cycles.
The Solstices mark the days when the sun starts to move South or North, indicating the increasing or decreasing of the day's length.
A person to be initiated in the Mysteries, standing in the Northeast corner of the Lodge or Temple, marks the Summer Solstice, when the days begin to decrease.
This is the moment when we all change course, when we start our inward journey, when our pursuits switch from the outer to the inner. The Initiated begins to develop his subjective characteristics at the expense of his objective characteristics.
Furthermore, the Initiated will be standing in the Southeast corner of the Lodge, marks the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, when the days start to grow again. After the Initiated has reached his deepest level of consciousness, he is asked to return to the objective world, but now with a different understanding; thus may he win some of the hidden secrets of Nature.
Today the direction of most Temples is inverted -- we advance from the West, the place of darkness, to the East, the place of light. This, of course, assumes that at some point we went to the West from the East and now are returning.
In ancient times, the Lodges were basically an instrument to measure time and the seasons. Through those measurements our ancestors learned to understand cycles and apply them not only for their survival but also to improve themselves.
We can safely say that the beginning of knowledge was Astrology, where Man was taught how to live in harmony with nature, to procreate, to breed his animals, and eventually to attain a safe environment where he could start to develop his awareness. As time passed, the teachings became more and more involved with the inner aspect of life and we became speculative rather than operative.
The Ancient Mysteries were not organizations that provided or transmitted knowledge of any kind but rather a place where the appropriate conditions were given to those who were proper and fit to start a process of self-transformation. Today, as in ancient times, organizations like Co-Masonry, provide the same conditions for self-development.
Evolution and consciousness are two very closely related concepts. While evolution is a process of opening out what is contained or implied in ourselves, consciousness is the awareness of something within us.
The interpretation of the Astrological chart describes our psychological make-up or acquired nature. It gives us the necessary tools to know ourselves and to recognize what we really are, so we can integrate our inner and outer world. Through this integration, we can start the path of self-development and reach the fullness of our potentialities.
"Though Destiny may be written in the stars, it is a mission of the divine soul to raise the human soul above the circle of necessity.