L'Enfant Plan for Washington DCWhat follows is a tale woven from strange threads; ancient symbols, secret Masonic texts, enlightenment ideals, and the African American Hero, Benjamin Banneker…

It begins with a curious fact that most citizens have never noticed: the White House was constructed to sit at the base of a mile wide pentagram, bounded by a pentagon positioned at the center of a 100 sq mile diamond. Three points of the pentagram are traffic circles surrounding small parks, one point is the Historical Society and the Southernmost point is the White House itself.

Below I have assembled screen shots from Google Earth which show, from above, the layout of the streets of our Capital City.

Click for the White House Placemark in Google Earth: white-house.kmz
(requires Google Earth to open)

Before assuming nefarious intentions, it’s instructive to understand that the pentagram did not take on its modern satanic symbolism until the advent of horror films. Surprising to many moderns is the notion that the pentagram was also once understood by some to be a Christian symbol of Liberation and by ancients, a symbol of Intelligence and Liberty.

George Washington and Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the French city planner hired to design the capital city, were both Freemasons.  Freemasonry has a rich history of preserving ancient symbology. So an inquiry into one of the crafts oft quoted texts may provide some illumination into the possible meaning behind our capital’s geometry.

The pentagram is explained in two ways in “Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry” (published in 1871):

In one instance it claims that the biblical Magi (or “three kings”) were astrologer-priests of the Zoroastrian religion and were following the path of the “Blazing Star” which was the planet Venus. The pentagram, or 5 pointed star is the symbol of the planet Venus because of the astronomical observation that Venus draws a pentagram path across the night sky every eight years. So, in this regard, the Magi followed Venus, along the the path of the “blazing star” which led them to the Christ child, in a manger in Bethlehem. Their path was one of spiritual liberation.

“Morals and Dogma” is an imposing and controversial tome which takes its reader (presumably a new initiate) on long, deep treks through history, connecting the dots of the divergent religious traditions in an effort to show them all to be varied appearances of a similar path. Another passage explains that in the ancient Hermetic tradition of the “Minerva Mundi”, the pentagram is the symbol which enables Mankind to attain independence, and through Intelligence, to separate Liberty from necessity.

Click to enlarge: Path of Venus or page images from “Morals and Dogma”:
path-of-venus pentagram-as-christian-p841-842 pentagram-sign-of-intelligence-p790

As you may have noticed in the Washington DC  images above, the star is incomplete. It lacks one leg. Perhaps this was intended as well:

benjaminbanneker1Benjamin Banneker was the self-educated, son of an African slave. He was an African American astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, almanac author and farmer and was appointed to attend Pierre Charles L’Enfant in surveying the capital. Banneker had become known for his intelligence when at 21 he constructed the first clock ever built on American soil.  What’s more, he accomplished this with no tools other than a his knife and without any formal knowledge of clock making.

When L’Enfant was dismissed from the Capital project for budgetary reasons, he returned to France, taking all of his city plans with him. Banneker then recreated the entire plan for the Capital City from memory and was hailed as the “Man who saved Washington”.

Banneker had also been friends with Thomas Jefferson. He had become deeply disturbed by Jefferson’s purchase of slaves. The following excerpt is from a letter written to Jefferson by Benjamin Banneker in 1791:

“…Sir, how pitiable is it to reflect, that although you were so fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of Mankind, and of his equal and impartial distribution of these rights and privileges, which he hath conferred upon them, that you should at the same time counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that you should at the same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves.”

Jefferson responded later the same year:

“Nobody wishes more than I do, to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of the other colors of men; and that the appearance of the want of them, is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa and America.”

Less than a year later, Andrew Ellicott was appointed surveyor in order to complete L’Enfant work on the Capital City. Ellicott relied upon Benjamin Banneker to reconstruct our Capital City, block by block,  from the plans faithfully recorded in his amazing mind.  I can’t help but wonder if  perhaps it was Banneker who removed one leg from that “blazing star”, that ancient symbol of Liberty and Intelligence. Perhaps he felt that a land of illusive liberties was better betokened by a broken star.

Watch the path of Venus on YouTube
Benjamin Banneker on About.com
Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry