Mundane Astrology
The Knepf's Snake-eye

Rosslyn Chapel and the Masonic Legacy
Part 2

Astrological Alignments of Note in 1446

Spica and the Equinox

According to Masonic tradition, temples are to be laid out on an east-west axis, with the entrance on the west and the altar in the east. Rosslyn is no exception, and it platted exactly east-west. Theoretically, the equinoxes provide a sunrise that is exactly east, what we know as 90 Azimuth. (The best date for this would have been September 14, when the first shadows cast by the Sun would be directly west. The reason that the 21st was not the best day in 1446 was due to the fault in the Julian calendar that allowed a slight drift in the equinoxes from their original dates of March 25 and September 24.) Observations would also have been required on the previous solstical dates of Christmas and St. John's Day, December 25 and June 24, respectively.

The obvious place to start is with a star chart for Spica transiting the meridian on Sep. 21 of 1446. Here we can see that there is a new moon in Virgo, and that the Moon culminates only 115 seconds sooner than does Spica:

Luna transits Rosslyn meridian Se-21-46: 12:31:01 PM GMT
Spica transitis Rosslyn meridian Se-21-46: 12:33:56 PM GMT

 Figure 2-1  Luna/Spica conjunction over Rosslyn on the date of the laying of the foundation stone.

 Figure 2-2  This view shows that as Luna culminates, Mars' ecliptical longitude rises simultaneously.

 Figure 2-3  An astrology wheel depicting the above graphic.

Mars and Virgo

Is Mars central to the Rosslyn chart? The answer to this requires some background on the imprortance of quarter-date festivals and how they relate to human gestation (in this case reflecting the immaculate conception), which averages about nine months. If someone is born on the 21st of September, the conception would have happened on or about December 21, the winter solstice. Jesus' (Sol's) birthday comes 9 months after the Spring solstice, thus symbolizing the return of life on the Earth. Thus, what is conceived on the fall equinox births on the summer solstice -- (calendrically symbolized as) St. John the Baptist's Day -- the most revered day in Freemasonry.

Starting from the previous September 21 of 1445, we see that there is a Mars/Jupiter conjunction in early constellational Leo. From this point, we can trace Mars' track for the next year, up to September 21, 1446. We find that Mars went through a retrograde cycle as it passed through constellational Virgo, stationing in the figure both retrograde and direct, making three conjuncitons with Spica, and also crossing its own south node as well, as shown in this next graphic:

 Figure 2-4  The track of Mars through Virgo in 1445 and 1446.

In all, Mars spends nearly nine months (early November 1445 through July 1446) transiting the stars of Virgo, suggesting again the concept of incubation.

 Figure 2-5  Mars positions showing the nine-month span of its transit through Virgo.

Furthermore, we can identify the dates and positions of Mars and plot them on this track:

 Figure 2-6  Details of Mars' trek.

  • Conjunction to Spica #1:  January 15 1445/6
  • Conjunction to Spica #2:  March 14 1446
  • Conjunction to Spica #3:  June 25 1446
  • Station Rx:               February 14 1445/6
  • Opposition to Sun:        March 24 1445/6
  • Station Direct:           May 4 1446
  • Passes own South Node:    May 31 1446

On Christmas of 1445, two Mars-like events are evident. First is Luna co-culminating with the fixed star Antares, the alpha of Scorpio, which literally translates as "rival of Mars":

 Figure 2-7  

We can also see Mars in Virgo on the point where it returns to later when retrograde:

 Figure 2-8  

Mars, Luminaries, and St. John's Day

On June 24, St. John's Day, three planets are aligned with stars revered in Masonry:

  • Mars conjunct Spica
  • Jupiter conjunct Regulus
  • Saturn conjunct Asellus Australis

This while a new moon occurs occurs in Gemini, as seen in the next graphic:

 Figure 2-9  A new moon in Gemini on June 24, St. John's Day, is accompanied by three other important fixed star conjuncitons.

This particular lunation, already "special" by forming on St. John's Day, is tightly conjunct by azimuth over the sacred spot of Giza:

 Figure 2-10  The St. John's Day lunation over Giza.

This lunation is exact to an amazing 13 seconds of time, as is depicted in the closeup sky chart, centered on the local Zenith:

Sun culminates @   11:58:15
Moon culminates @  11:58:28

 Figure 2-11  Closeup of the last image showing how close the conjunction is by azimuth.

Mars' South Node

Further evidence of a Mars connection is Mars' south node. As stated above, Mars crosses its own south node before making its third conjunction with Spica on May 31 @ the tropical longitude of 638' Libra. This degree is indeed being transited on the 21st of September for the foundation stone ceremony, as is shown in the next two graphics:

 Figure 2-12  The Sun on September 21, 1446, is conjunct the degree on the ecliptic where Mars conjoined its own south node on May 31.

 Figure 2-13  This astrology wheel shows the above conjunction more closely.

The next and final part will discuss some current developments at Rosslyn that shares symbolism with the above.

Part 3
Part 1
Mundane Astrology

Copyright 2003 Ed Kohout.  All Rights Reserved.