The Masonic Astronomy of the Gateway Arch - Part 3
Mundane Astrology
The Knepf's Snake-eye
by Ed Kohout

Astro-historical Perspective of the
Construction and Design of the Gateway Arch

Photos courtesy of and © Robert F. Arteaga, JNEM.

The First Settlement called St. Louis

The Gateway Arch commemorates the history and development of the Louisiana Territory.  The story of Saint Louis, and the very land that the Gateway Arch now occupies, begins on February 14, 1764, when a landing party of 30 employees of Maxent, Laclède and Company of New Orleans permanently established a small village and trading post under the direction of Pierre Laclède's.  Construction of the village began promplty on February 15.  This event, and the astrology thereof, play an important part in the history and development of the city, region, and ultimately the Western USA.

Laclède had designs on this tract of coastline on the Mississippi in the summer of 1763, when the French governor of Louisiana, Jean Jacques D'Abbadie, granted trading monopolies in certain areas to several merchants, hoping to stimulate trade and restore prosperity.  Economic rebuilding was necessary after the Seven Years' War with England, which resulted in the Treaty of Paris (1763) between England, France, and Spain.  France ceeded the Illinois country east of the Mississippi to the English in this treaty, and Laclède was aware that his new post would be useful as defensive bastion as well as a population center.

Laclède spent much of that intervening time obtaining merchandise and recruiting settlers.  Some time in December, he and his scout, a young man named Auguste Chouteau, decided on their final site by marking some trees with the intent to return later.1  Chouteau, in his Narrative of the Founding of St. Louis, prophetically stated that the site "might become, hereafter, one of the finest its locality and central position."

Chouteau returned on the 14th of February to begin erecting the settlement.  Laclède arrived in April, and then named the village St. Louis in honor of King Louis XV of France, whose patron saint was Louis IX.

February 14, known best today as Valentine's Day, is a date that is prevalent in American History.  Two western states were incorporated on this date: Oregon in 1859 and Arizona in 1912.  In 1764, it was the date that the Sun aligned with the fixed star iota Aquarii, with both bodies conjunct ecliptically at sunrise:

Sun rising conjunct iota Aquarii
Wheel showing sun rising conjunct iota Aquarii
Figures 1 & 2  The Sun and iota Aquarii align on the day that Laclède's party encamps on the land that will eventually become the JNEM.

Iota Aquarii was shown to be the star that was prominent in the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence, as it was occulted by Luna on both June 7 and July 4.  Regulus, Graffias, the Pleiades and iota Aquarii are near the ecliptic, ~90° from one another, and form the Masonic square of the ecliptic.  If we see an important event coinciding with planetary alignments to these stars, it suggests that there may be a Masonic connection to that event. In this case, there is no direct link with Laclède to Freemasonry, but we do know that the precursor to Scottish Rite Freemasonry was imported from France to New Orleans in 1763; this order of Masonry being under the umbrella of the 1717 Grand Lodge of England.  The February 14/15 date is agreeable to the astrological symbolry of the Masonic brotherhood, but also the 17th anniversary of the legandary (but perhaps mythical) document that established the Arras, France chapter of Rose Croix.3  To coroborate this thinking, a careful study of the history of St. Louis and the Memorial is necessary.

Genesis of the JNEM

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial was the vision of one Luther Ely Smith, who presented the idea to St. Louis' mayor, Bernard F. Dickmann in 1933.  Smith wanted to erect a memorial to Jefferson presumably for a number of reasons, including revitalizing the downtown area, economic stimulation, and attracting tourism.  The idea was met with optimism by the community, and in 1934, the vision became a reality when Smith was chosen as chairman of the JNEMA, which is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association.  

The First Federal Legislation

The project was annointed by the Federal Government on June 15, 1934, when President Roosevelt signed legislation that created the "United States Territorial Expansion Memorial Commission."  The legislation also granted 20 million dollars to help fund two-thirds of the project's predicted cost, and created a board of supervisors to monitor the development.  This legislation was signed on a day when the Sun co-culminated with Orion, specifically the belt-star Alnitak:

Sun co-culminating with Alnitak for creation of USTEMC
Figure 3  Exemplifying the concept of the celestial arch, the Sun co-culminates with Orion on the date FDR signed the bill creating the USTEMC.

This use of Orion in this manner is commonplace in Masonic astrological parlance. The Continental Congress authorized an official design for the flag on June 14, 1777, and President Wilson created "Flag Day" in 1916, and thus the first official flag day also finds the Sun co-culminating with Orion:

Sun co-culminates with Orion on the first official Flag Day
Figure 4  A skymap showing the Sun co-culminating with the belt of Orion on the first official Flag Day.

Recently, on July 29, we saw Bush using a similar technique in a signing ceremony for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  We also find Orion culminating when the President gives the annual State of the Union Address to Congress, and in the chart for the first boundary stone of Washington D.C.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Executive Order

FDR signed this document on December 21, 1935, and the astrological data is outlined in a Part 1.

Winner of Architectural Competition Announced

Eero Saarinen was awarded $50,000.00 on February 18, 1948, by the JNEMA, after considering 172 entries by leading architects from around the USA.  Three crucial Masonic astrological elements are apparent on this date.

In the early morning of February 18 at 12:18 AM, Mars co-culminated with Regulus over the JNEM:

Mars and Regulus co-culminate over St. Louis on Feb. 18, 1948.
Figure 5  Mars and Regulus co-culminate over St. Louis on Feb. 18, 1948.

One hour later, at 1:18 AM, the Moon co-sets with the Pleiades:

Luna co-setting with the Pleiades over St. Louis on Feb 18, 1948.
Figure 6  Luna co-setting with the Pleiades over St. Louis on Feb 18, 1948.

Later that day, at high noon, the Sun co-culminated with iota Aquarii:

Sun co-culminates with iota Aquarii over St. Louis on Feb 18, 1948.
Figure 7  Sun co-culminates with iota Aquarii over St. Louis on Feb 18, 1948.

On this date, we find three of four Masonic Square stars aligned with planets in a T-square:

Feb 18 T-square astrology wheel
Figure 8  Chart showing the T-square of February 18, 1948.

Triple Tau
Triple Tau
The T-square of astrology and the "Triple Tau" of Royal Arch Masonry have similar roots.  The emphasis is on the number of 90° angles (remembering that St. Louis sits near the longitude of 90° West) in the "T" shape, or Tau, the 19th letter in the Greek alphabet.  "Being placed in the centre of a triangle and circle, both emblems of the Deity, it would appear that it was originally intended to typify the sacred name, as the author probably of eternal life; being tripled in the Christian system, because of the life to come, according to the light of revelation, is superior to the elysium of the heathen; or perhaps in allusion to the three heavens mentioned by St. Paul.  It has been referred to the three great lights of Masonry, expressible for the creative, preserving, and destroying power of God."4

Macoy fails to take the symbolism further by pointing out the nature of the square and triangle within a circle, somewhat similar to the basic square and compass of Masonry, resemble the basic tenant of astrology: 3 x 4 = 12.  The zodiac's signs are categorized with triplicities (cardinal, fixed, mutable) and quadriplicities (fire, earth, air, water), set in a way that no two signs have a similar combo of the two.

The Triple Tau of Royal Arch Masonry is symbolically connected to the Gateway Arch through number symbolism.  Recalling that the Arch is as tall as it is wide, we can inscribe an equilateral triangle within the Arch by connecting the apex (capstone) and both bases.  The eight angles within the triple tau total 720°, a harmonic of the pentagram discussed in Part 2 which was found to be the angular offset of the Arch from the cardinal directions:

Figure 9  72° angle of the Arch.

The figure of "72" appears again in the Capstone section below.

Construction of the Arch

Like any other construction project, the Gateway Arch was built in stages.  The Arch also boasts some unique construction milestones, such as the placement of the final section -- its version of a "capstone," and also the completion of the tram that takes visitors to the top, with the first public passenger.

From this, we can reconstruct the astronomical data needed to help us determine if indeed there were Masonic influences involved in this project.  Dates and times of the construction of the Arch are listed on the Internet at this site:


After relocating the railroad that runs through the grounds, actual construction of the Memorial began on February 11, 1961, when excavations for the Visitor's Center and the foundations of the Arch. Part 2 showed that the rising Sun at the Arch on October 31 (or November 1) rises at such an angle that it is perpendicular to the Arch. This is also true of February 11, where the rising sun's azimuth is ~107°33', and 90° separated from the Arch's offset of ~17°47'.

Azimuths squaring the Arch
Figure 10  Map showing the "T" of the Halloween rising Sun.

Sun and Moon @ Arch on Feb 11, 1961
Figure 11  Skymap highlighting the alignments of the Sun's azimuth and the Moon's ingress.

Of special importance is the circumstances of the same three planets that aligned with the Masonic square in the Saarinen chart above, Sun, Moon, and Mars. On this day at sunrise (Sun on ASC, cardinal east) we find the Moon and Mars in opposition along the Cancer/Capricorn axis -- the very axis that defines the Royal Arch of Heaven as explained in Part 1.

Sun Moon and Mars align on cardinal points.
Figure 12  The Sun, Moon, and Mars align on cardinal points.

The next astrology bi-wheel shows that this sunrise on the day of the Arch's official start of construction of the Arch interacts uniquely to a chart for Roosevelt's December 21, 1935 dedication adjusted so that the POF (ASC - SUN + MOON) is exactly conjunct Mars, which is in a 90° aspect to Moon:

Bi-wheel of Dec 21 1935 and Feb 11 1961.
Figure 13  Square of the Moon to the Part of Fortune to Mars.

The Foundation

The foundation concrete began flowing on June 17, 1962.  On this day a full moon at 0.999 phase rose over St. Louis, meaning that the Moon and Sun were on the ASC and DSC simultaneously, suggesting yet another arch motif in a classic astrology wheel:

Full moon rising conjunct GC
Figure 14  Full Moon rising conjunct the Galactic Center on June 17, 1962.

Luna is also conjunct the Galactic Center, located at 26º20' tropical Sagittarius; naturally, the Sun is exactly opposite this point at 26º20' Gemini, or the Galactic "Anti-center," and thus another symboilic allusion to the base of an arch, but this time a galactic one.  We will find that Luna again conjoins the Galactic Center when the keystone is inserted 1,229 days later.

The Cornerstone

The Gateway Arch has a cornerstone, but it does not lie in the corner, and it is not a stone.  Instead, the first of the 142 steel sections placed on the foundation serves as the de facto cornerstone of this monument.  It was placed on February 12, 1963, and is the base of the south leg.  February 12 is near the date that the Sun rises perpendicularly to the Arch, as shown above.  We find another remarkable mundane square as well.  Venus co-culminates with Vega as the Moon sets as it crosses Azimuth 270°:

Mundo square of Vega, Venus, and Luna
Figure 15  The mundane square of Vega, Venus, and the Moon on February 12, 1963.

A chart drawn for the Arch with 0º Capricorn culminant reveals the Part of Fortune conjunct Zubenelgenubi in constellational Libra, which is the star that balances the scales of Libra - a triangular formation related to the symbolry of the Royal Arch shown above, but more directly of the Scottish Rite symbol of the scales.  Luna is in constellational Virgo, conjunct Vindeamatrix.

The Keystone

Classical arches had keystones, resulting in an odd number of courses, or layers of stone, in the arch.  The Gateway Arch is dissimilar from that design, however, with an even with 71, and a total of 142 segments.  Therefore, there is no "keystone" as in the traditional sense, however, we can envision a symbolic place where the keystone would normally be installed, the 72nd course, to be the keystone.  The 142nd and final section of the Arch was hoisted into place on October 28, 1965, in the morning.

On this date, the Moon returned to a conjunction with the Galactic Center, just as it had been on the date of the foundation.

BUT, the real punch line to this entire plan is the midpoint in time of both the February 12 cornerstone and the October 28 keystone: June 21, 1964.  Just as the center of the Royal Arch is the astrological sign of Cancer, so is the center of the Gateway Arch's assembly the Cancer ingress of 1964.

The Cancer ingress of the Sun for the Gateway Arch looks like this, with Mars rising:

Mars rising over the Arch at the 1964 Cancer ingress
Figure 16  Cancer ingress of 1964 with Mars rising over St. Louis.

This ingress relocated to London finds Jupiter culminating:

Jupiter cumlinating over London at Cancer ingress of 1964
Figure 17  Cancer ingress of 1964 with Jupiter culminating over London.

The Dedication

On May 25, 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphery addressed the dedication of the Monument.  This ceremony's Jupiter conjoined and Venus squared the original Saarinen Mars (conjunct Regulus) from 1948:

Biwheel of Saarinen and Dedication charts
Figure 18  1968 Jupiter conjoins 1948 Mars.

Part 4 will complete the series, and focus on last year's ligting ceremony.

Part 2
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1 Primm, James Neal, Lion of the Valley, Saint Louis, Misssouri, Pruett Publishing Company, Boulder, Colorado, 1981, p. 9.
2 Ibid, pp. 10 - 11.
3 Van Buren Voorhis, Harold, The Story of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., Richmond, VA, 1965, p. 2.
4 Macoy, Robert, A Dictionary of Freemasonry, New York Masonic Publishing Co., 1869, p. 682.

Copyright © 2002 Edward Kohout.