Connecting the Dots
NOTE: If you’re one of the millions who read the Langdon Series looking for the Masonic Secret and walked away disappointed, this essay is for you. I will show that the key to finding the Code is to identify, evaluate, and then connect all the legitimate clues that Dan Brown scattered throughout his five novels.
In the following excerpt from The Lost Symbol, Dan, through Robert Langdon, openly acknowledges that some of his “Grail fanatic” readers concluded that there was more to the story than what is revealed in The Da Vinci Code:
“Langdon: “What do you want from me?”
“Mal’akh: “It’s simple. You have been given access to something quite ancient. And tonight you will share it with me.”
Langdon: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Mal’akh: “No? You pretend not to understand the ancient secrets that have been entrusted to you?”
“Langdon felt a sudden sinking sensation, now guessing what this was probably about. Ancient secrets. He had not uttered a word to anyone about his experiences in Paris several years earlier, but Grail fanatics had followed the media coverage closely, some connecting the dots and believing Langdon was now privy to secret information regarding the Holy Grail – perhaps even its location.” Ch. 9, The Lost Symbol
The above exchange between Langdon and Mal’akh has four critical data points:
A: it identifies The Lost Symbol as an extension of The Da Vinci Code.
B: it moves the search for the Grail from Europe to the United States.
C: it confirms that some “Grail fanatics” had succeeded in “connecting the dots,” or clues in The Da Vinci Code, and they all pointed to Robert Langdon.
D: It suggests that Robert Langdon, i.e., Carl Sagan, was “given” or “entrusted” with knowledge of the Grail and its location by men so high up in the Masonic hierarchy that they don’t openly identify as Masons.
In The Lost Symbol, the number of “dots” is dramatically expanded, to the point that, if successfully connected to the “dots” in The Da Vinci Code, the Grail and its location are fully revealed.
But this doesn’t mean that it’s easy. There are different kinds of dots, some more meaningful than others. Then, of course, there are the bogus dots, false leads that lure novice sleuths into rabbit holes and dead ends.
To analogize, imagine you have a pencil with a large eraser. The first thing you want to do is identify all the dots, large and small, true and false. Next, you want to identify and erase the false dots. Finally, you want to enlarge the most important dots so they stand out from those of lesser importance.
And one more thing: You want to identify and erase all the historical trivia and non-relevant intrigue and sexuality that occupies the bulk of both books – not an easy task.
In this essay Molly and I identify three memes, or dots, in The Lost Symbol, that shed important light on what the Grail is and where it is located.
Connecting the Dots
The following three phrases in The Lost Symbol are repeated, and emphasized by italics and context:
“The secret is how to die.”
“All is known at the 33rd degree.”
“As above, so below.”
Don: Molly, today we’re isolating three clues, or dots, that I’ve identified in The Lost Symbol. In mystery novels, things that are repeated are usually repeated for a reason. Let’s look at them one at a time and then try to connect them.
Molly: Sounds like fun! Let’s put on our Sherlock Holmes hats and get after it.
Don: Slow down, Sherlock! The Langdon Series is less about entertainment and more about discovering a secret that offers hope to individuals feeling lost and bewildered about the meaning and purpose of life. The Masons could have made it easy by disclosing the Secret whole cloth, but they didn’t. Finding it requires hard work and perseverance. In choosing the mystery genre as his vehicle for disclosure, Dan Brown is encouraging readers to think deeply about the mystery of life, to look into a mirror and ask the question: What’s it all about?
Molly: And the Masonic Secret answers this question?
Don: You got it!
What’s it all about, Alphie?
The secret is how to die
The meaning of this enigmatic phrase, the first sentence in the Prologue of The Lost Symbol, is that to become a Mason one must demonstrate an ability to introspect, to think deeply about life and death. Why are we here? As Dionne questioned in her song to Alphie: “What’s it all about? Is it just for the moment we live?” The above meme answers Dionne’s questions. There is a Secret kept within the Masonic Brotherhood that is the key to a fulfilling life and immortality, and it all begins with the first three Degrees.
The starting point of Freemasonry is initiation into the First Degree, the Entered Apprentice Degree. The following excerpts are from The Craft, by John Dickie, 2020.
“A man in an apron wielding a drawn sword makes you surrender your money, keys, phone – all the metalwork that anchors your feet to the world outside. He blindfolds you. You feel your right sleeve being rolled up, and the left leg of your trousers, so as to expose the knee. Your arm is taken from the left sleeve of your shirt, this leaving your breast naked. A slipknot loop of rope is placed over your head.
You step forward. Your life as a Freemason has begun.”
Next comes the Second Degree:
“In the Second (or Fellow Craft) Degree ceremony, the candidate is prepared by having his right knee and right breast bared – the opposite of the First Degree.”
“The moral messages are just as simple as the First Degree, albeit slightly different: the candidate is told that, as well as being a decent fellow, he ought to try to find out about the world.”
Then comes the Third Degree, the Master Mason Degree, what John Dickie calls: “the most important of the three.” He writes:
“It is much longer than the previous two, and its thematic subject matter is death.”
The Third Degree is the symbolization the death of the initiate, when he is lowered into the earth.
Molly: I don’t get it. How can death be the beginning? Isn’t death the end?
Don: The Masonic ritual of symbolic death corresponds to water baptism in the New Testament, when a believer’s body, head to toe, is lowered down into water. As a Baptist minister, I’ve dunked dozens of people, most in the nearby Deschutes River, that, I might add, runs extremely cold even in the summer! I often used the following Scripture in the ceremony:
“Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3&4
Molly: But in the Masonic ritual, there is no up, it’s all down.
Don: This is where the symbolism gets a little tricky. Going down is the symbolic death of the old man, coming up represents the new man risen in Christ. But, like a bloodsucking leach, the old man hangs on, meaning that from that point until natural death, the newly initiated Mason is faced with daily choices: will he feed the new man and continue to learn and grow, and starve the old man, or will it be the reverse?
Molly: Sounds like a recipe for schizophrenic insanity.
Don: Not a bad analogy, which is why the Apostle Paul encouraged his disciples to “die daily.”
“I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31
Molly, we’ll talk more about the warfare between the flesh and the spirit in future essays, but for now we have two more dots to talk about.
“All is known at the 33rd degree.”
“The first thing to know is that in order to get to the 33rd degree, one first must get the 3rd and highest degree in Masonry, which is the Master Mason. Only after that one can continue his journey.” Masonic website.
Don: Molly, the 33rd Degree is conferred on men who value philosophical thought and personal introspection.
Molly: If that’s true, can I assume that 33rd degree Masons know everything, including what the Grail is and where it’s located?
Don: No, you can’t. Brown makes this clear in the following excerpt:
“Three weeks ago, in a dark ritual witnessed by America’s most influential men, Mal’akh had ascended to the thirty-third degree, the highest echelon of the world’s oldest surviving brotherhood. Despite Mal’akh’s new rank, the brethren had told him nothing. Nor will they, he knew. That was not how it worked. There were circles within circles . . . brotherhoods within brotherhoods. Even if Mal’akh waited years, he might never earn their ultimate trust.” From: Ch. 2, The Lost Symbol.
Molly: So, who’s in the inner circle of the inner circle?
Don: According to The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol, it’s four men, the Grand Master and his three attendants, whose identities are kept secret.
Molly: So these are the only four guys on Earth who know what the Grail is and where it’s located?
Don: That was true in the past, but towards the end of the last century, before the new millennium, these four men, whoever they were, initiated a process intended to publicly disclose the Secret in “allegory, myths, and symbols.
Molly: You’re referring to the Langdon Series.
Don: Right. Their plan was that by disclosing the Grail discreetly rather than directly, the “worthy” and only the “worthy” would successfully connect the dots and learn the secret of the Grail.
Molly: And no one did?
Don: I’m not sure. There might have been a few people who read the novels, successfully connected the dots and found the Grail and then chose to honor the Masonic custom of keeping it a secret.
Molly: And you’re violating that trust.
Don: Not really. I found the Grail decades before the Langdon Series was written – with no help from the Masons. I think that excludes me from any obligation to honor Masonic secrecy.
Molly: I agree, you’re off the hook, though Masonic big shots might not see it that way. Now, what about the third dot?
AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
It’s clear that this meme is a complement to the two previously addressed. By connecting these three dots, astute readers can better grasp the full meaning and scope of what the Masonic Secret is all about.
Don: Molly, this phrase introduces the concept of “above” and “below.” Got any idea what it’s referring to?
Molly: Well, I suppose it means Heaven and Earth.
Don: That’s close. Actually, what it’s about is what the Bible calls the Kingdom of God.
Molly: I’m assuming that the Kingdom of God is above, so, if it’s up there, how can it be down here?
Don: Dan Brown explains it well in the following excerpt:
“As you know, the legend speaks of a pyramid rising so high that God Himself can reach out and touch it.”
“I can see your dilemma, Professor. However, both the Ancient Mysteries and Masonic philosophy celebrate the potentiality of God within each of us. Symbolically speaking, one could claim that anything within reach of an enlightened man . . . is within reach of God.”
Langdon felt unswayed by the wordplay.
“Even the Bible concurs,” Bellamy said. “If we accept, as Genesis tells us, that ‘God created man in his own image,’ then we also must accept what this implies – that mankind was not created inferior to God. In Luke 17:20 we are told, “The kingdom of God is within you.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know any Christians who consider themselves God’s equal.”
“Of course not,” Bellamy said, his tone hardening. “Because most Christians want it both ways. They want to be able to proudly declare they are believers in the Bible and yet simply ignore those parts they find too difficult or too inconvenient to believe.” Ch. 49, The Lost Symbol
Molly: I get it, but I have a question. If the Kingdom of God is within a person, shouldn’t he or she know everything that God knows?
Don: That comes at the Apotheosis, at the moment of death, when the shackles of the Old Man fall off and individuals indwelt by the Spirit of God are fully assimilated into the Singularity.
Molly: But one sentence in this excerpt doesn’t make any sense. Brown says that anything within reach of an enlightened man is within reach of God. Isn’t that backwards? Shouldn’t it say that anything within reach of God is within reach of an enlightened man?
Don: Very perceptive. This is one of what the Bible calls “the mysteries of godliness.” When a person accepts God into their life, God doesn’t expect them to instantly rise to His level. Laying aside His full glory, God meets them where they are at, and, from that base point, they begin their life journey as a “new creation.”
Beginning with baby steps, we grow in Christ from infancy to full maturity, a transformation process completed at death, at the Apotheosis. Throughout the entire journey, God limits Himself to our limitations even as He helps us reach our full potential. But, let’s face it, potentials differ. If you’re your IQ is 120, it stays at 120. It doesn’t jump to 180 at your conversion. God doesn’t hold anyone to what is unachievable. The bottom line is that all of us come into this world flawed:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
If one hopes for immortality, somewhere along the line he has to begin the journey. He has to decide: Will I bury my pride, die to myself, and let Christ rule in my life? Or does he stay on his egocentric path and hope it all works out?
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:11
Jesus Christ, the Son, is the Singleton. Yahweh is the Father, Sofia is the Mother. The Kingdom of God is the Singularity.
The secret is how to die - all is known at the 33rd degree - as above, so below.
It's all about connecting the dots.