Dan Brown has created much interest in Freemasonry, not least with his
latest book The Lost Symbol.
page was inspired at least in part by the writer himself, you may have
recognised certain symbols of the bee hive and Square that led to this page.
Following this release of the Lost Symbol Dan Brown was cordially
invited to a dinner at a Masonic Lodge in the Southern Jurisdiction of
America, this was his reply......
Coinciding with the rise of Speculative Freemasonry in
England came the birth of the landscape garden. Many of the foremost garden
designers of the day were Freemasons, so it is not surprising that they
utilized a vast vocabulary of masonic symbols in their creations.
For masonic garden designers, architecture and garden
ornament were just as important as the planning of the garden itself - indeed
the two were inseparable.
Great "gardens of allusion", as they came to be known were
created at Castle Howard in Yorkshire; Strawberry Hill near London,
home of Horace Walpole (1717-1797) the 18th century writer and English Member
of Parliament; Stowe House in Buckinghamshire; and at the philosopher
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's (1712-1778) home in Ermenonville, France.
Circular rotundas began to feature in garden architecture -
these temple-like buildings had various masonic and allegorical properties
attributed to them.
made an appearance, along with pyramids, obelisks and other features
influenced by the Egyptians.
These were also an expression of masonic traditions, notably
the notion of a direct link between the Craft and the ancient Egyptian
One of the famous 'inventors' of the English landscape style
was William Kent, (1685-1748), who for instance, placed a stepped-pyramid over
the central block of the Temple of British Worthies he erected at Stowe,
setting a bust of Mercury within its oval niche. Mercury was an important
figure in masonic legend. His earlier name had been Hermes Trismegistus and he
was linked with Euclid, Pythagoras and the supposed Egyptian foundation of the
The German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a prominent
Freemason who made the creation of a new garden and its buildings along the
masonic lines a major theme in one of his novels - Die Wahlverwandtschafte n -
(1809). The text has plenty of masonic imagery, with a reference to "lime
mortar" in which the stones are to be embedded. Lime mortar was important in
Goethe's day because of its binding force. The parallel, as he pointed out, is
the way in which law acts as a social cement within human society.
Funerary gardens, as they were so called, began to be
designed along the same lines. Probably the grandest and most influential of
them all is the great cemetery of Pere-Lachaise, Paris, created by French
Freemason Alexandre-Theodore Brongniart (1739-1813) and opened in 1804. In the
cemetery, dignified classical tombs lined the avenues, each of which had its
own distinctive planting of limes, chestnuts, poplars and above all, acacias.
The acacia has long been esteemed as a sacred tree and acacias are extremely
important in masonic context. Not only did the plant have historic Egyptian
associations, but in masonic symbolism is a token of the immortality of the
Lilies have also long been associated with Freemasonry - the
capitals of the two pillars of K S T were decorated with them. White asphodel
lily grows to a height of between 50 and 120 cm. The plain stem is supported
by fleshy, thickened roots. The leaves, which originate from the base of the
stem, are gutter-shaped and glaucous (i.e. covered by a waxy coating).
White flowers with six elongated petals are produced between April and June.
White asphodel is commonly found in meadows and heathland of central Spain,
southwest France, and along the southern Alps to the western Balkans up to an
altitude of 2,000 m. It is also found on the continent Africa, mainly in
Libyan territory. Soils with a high lime content are preferred.
Just as the Vitruvian concept of architecture studies became
a fundamental tenet of Freemasonry, so too did the notion of garden design as
a further expression of masonic principles. Enthusiasm for the new
art of gardening was not confined to England - it spread to France, Germany
and other parts of Europe, just as ideas and ideals of Freemasonry itself were
Such gardens, it was felt could play their part in bringing
about a new golden age of increasing social harmony and perfection. This was a
prime masonic ambition. The idea was to shape the landscape to expound moral
If you should wish to create something a little different or
meaningful in your own garden, give us a call to arrange a free consultation.