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Solomon's scales of justice
by Athos A. Altomonte

Notes on the logical analysis of symbols

Before we study a symbol of ancient wisdom, we should consider that it is not easy to establish exactly who created it first, for several reasons. It would be a big mistake to rushingly establish the limits of its (apparent) meanings, without finding the prime cause of its origins.

The study is even more difficult if we consider that every symbol of ancient wisdom is layered with exoteric implications given by the ‘formal meanings' added during the time after their creation. These implications are characterized by the promiscuous uses of exoteric cultures that have hidden the original meaning of the symbol.

Therefore the Adept knows too well that the symbol is not an image of culture but the clue of an old idea.

Arbitrary uses have hidden in popular imagery the ‘prime idea' that precious symbols were destined to contain and transmit. The initiatory intentions of old creators have often been confused by the ideologies of the people who interpreted them at a later stage.

This is made clear by the fact that the same symbols can be found in different cultures , which ‘use' them but give them dissimilar exterior meanings.

I want to highlight that they are dissimilar only exteriorly, because despite any ‘disguise', the inner value of the symbol keeps talking its ‘silent language'. It transmits its message to those who are ready to ‘understand it'.

Many symbols have reached us thanks to the ‘exoteric word of mouth'. This is a good thing but the result is that they have been polluted by improper meanings. They are inaccurate compared to the idea that ‘inspired' their exterior form, which is not important for itself because it is only the container of the idea. Therefore the concept must be bared from its container.

Here it is the symbol as a dual representation of form and concept; in order interpreted it we must proceed on two parallel but different paths. We must distinguish between the will of the creator and the intention of the last ‘user' of the symbol. This distinction will lead the researcher to understand the historical journey of the symbol and to find the thought of its first author. The latter is what some Initiates call the Restoration of the Ancient Mysteries.

This process brings the correct distinction between the ‘user' of the symbol and the ‘author' of the idea. This is true for the meanings of words as well as for symbols.

This shouldn't surprise us, because they have a common origin. Indeed, any ‘sign, color, stroke, note and word' are nothing but precipitations of an idea that appears in the matter.

We will now see an example of analysis of a symbol; we will refer to a work done by two Esonet's researchers that relates to the original manuscript of an ancient ritual.

Solomon's Scales of Justice

In the manuscript of the Ritual, ‘ starting from the 7 th degree (Knight of the Black Eagle and Rose and Cross) we find (and even more in the following degrees) Solomon's Scales of Justice .

It is quite peculiar that in the original manuscript there is a sketch of the compiler; he seems to have ‘copied' the symbol of Solomon's Scales of Justice from another book, ‘cleaned' it and put it in the text.

The Scales, according to the Ritual, is an ‘operative' instrument; I think it was used to ‘measure' the elements of the compost.

The final drawing enclosed to the manuscript is very accurate. The lines are perfect and there is great care in its dimensions.

Well, then, I have ‘assessed the dimensions' of each part of the drawing. The reason is that since the image has been drawn with such care, I think that there is a precise relation between the parts of Solomon's Scales of Justice . Therefore the dimensional analysis of the parts, viz. the relation between them, should lead to significant ‘numbers' that were perhaps used to measure the composts.

Fine, but what is the starting ‘point'? I supposed that the lower side was the unit (1) and from this assumption I have drawn the size of the other parts. Then I assumed the lower side =3, =4 and =5 units (the sides of the Pythagorean triangle) and the lower side = 1,618….'

At this point we will stop, leaving the two researchers to their work. It is obvious that to follow their reasoning we need to have some experience in the ‘Science of Numbers'. Nevertheless we can study some of the meanings.

The initiatory virtue of the Number is strongly connected to the ‘Sacred Geometry'.

The Value of the Number is the meaning that ‘animates it' and that can be used to realize the principles of sacred Geometry. The latter originates from the interaction between exterior form and inner space of the symbol. The possibility to understand the ‘sonority' that it contains depends on the ability to recognize the meanings of the inner space of a symbol.

The sonorities of inner spaces, included those of the human being, correspond to the Laws of Harmonics (from Pythagoras to Hans Kaiser); the denomination of ‘Sonorous Forms' (see) originates from this.

As biblical metaphors remind us, the Laws of Harmonics are the fundament of every cosmic form in manifestation: ‘at the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God'.

There are other ways of dealing with a symbol. One of the best is anamnesis (see the recollection of Plato's idea). As the hermetic rule suggests, the key of correspondences is hidden in the analogy.

In this case the analogy is in the term ‘scale'. Let's remember some of the most famous.

In the initiatory Doctrine the Scales are the Union between the light of intelligence and the afflatus of the heart. It is an ‘instrument' used by the Initiate to give ‘weight and measure' to every thought, deed and action given or received. Therefore the exoteric virtue of the Scales is Balance, whilst its esoteric virtue is Union.

In esotericism the scales is used by the Initiate to give ‘a name' to every heavy or subtle element that permeates his habitat.

In mysticism the scales represents divine justice, that judges deeds and ‘weighs' the destinies of righteous and unrighteous men.

In astrology the scales is the symbol of Saturn-Chronos, a God that judges by dispensing times and measures. The axis of the scales is the Axis of the World from the seven stars of the Ursa Major, corresponding to the seven Pleiades (seven sisters or seven brides).

In actual fact it is said that like our seven energetic centers are connected to the seven (sacred) planets of the solar system, our solar system as well is connected to seven other systems; likewise our galaxy is connected to seven other galaxies. Finally, our universe is concomitant with seven other universes. As we know, though, there are seven ‘exoteric centers' to each form and twelve esoteric ones (see the Sephirothic Tree). This concept could open an extraordinarily wide horizon to the researcher.

On the physical plane the scales represents first of all the balance of Natural Forces and ‘all the things that were born to be united'.

In hermeticism and alchemy the scales represent the ‘science of correspondences' between corporeal and spiritual universe, between heaven and earth.

In Islamic esotericism it is called Mizan . It is the ‘Scales of letters' that establishes the connections between thought, letters and language. That is the union between language (see sound) and its essence (see idea). Once this is understood the supreme Wisdom is reached.

Knowledge is an exact science and each of its elements is weighed on the scales of wisdom. ‘Listen, son, learn wisdom and make your heart attentive. I will teach you knowledge weighed on the scales and I will let you know an exact science'. Ecclesiastes

In every exoteric culture the Scales is a symbol of justice and balance. If it is associated to the Sword it is a symbol of Law: dura lex sed lex (harsh law, fair law) Latin said.

In conclusion, in this case where the name of king Solomon accompanies the word ‘Scales', I think that this ‘fact of justice' can comment itself.

This article comes from Esotericism Readings

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