Monday, June 11, 2007

Benjamin Franklin's Mysterious SunFire


This intersection marks the most profound secret of Washington, D.C., according to the book "The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C." by David Ovason.

Ovason says interesting things about Washington, D.C. reflecting the constellation, in particular regarding the celestial triangle of the Capitol, the White Hose and the Washington Monument, and hence, the Federal Triangle:

The interesting thing is that this stellar triangle was evidently intended to remain invisible. It is a stellar figure that we know is there, yet which remains hidden from our sight. Below on the earth, its equivalent form, the Federal Triangle, is plainly visible, with Pennsylvania Avenue as its longest side. Since the Constitution Avenue line of the Federal Triangle represents the ecliptic, the implication is that Pennsylvania Avenue was intended by L’Enfant and Ellicott as a sacred route, with its celestial equivalent as invisible pathway in the skies.

Perhaps it is clear now why the symbol makers and architects of Washington, D.C. concentrated their efforts on zodiacal symbols which reflect so deeply the arcane nature of the stellar Virgin? Perhaps it is clear now why the idea of an earthly triangle – encapsulated in the phrase Federal Triangle – should reflect this stellar form on the earth plane?

From the very beginning, the city was intended to celebrate the mystery of Virgo – of the Egyptian Isis, the Grecian Ceres and the Christian Virgin. This truth – and this truth alone – explains the structure of the city, and the enormous power of its stellar symbolism. Washington, D.C., is far more then a city of zodiacs – it’s a city which was built to celebrate a massive cosmic symbolism, expressed in stars. Its the main buildings – Capitol, White House and Washington Monument – mark on the Earth the annual renewal of that magical pyrotechnic display in the skys, which occurs on the days around August 10. (page 344)

From whatever direction one approaches the history of Washington, D.C., the processional avenue of L’Enfant seems always to find its way into the story, and the tale is usually linked with Masons. If we glance at the history of the capital from the viewpoint of, say, sculpture, we find a seamless fabric which joins together generations of artists through almost two centuries. And, this is a fabric woven in the vicinity of Pennsylvania Avenue, oriented to the squares drawn on the original map along D Street, as though some planner had forgotten about what L’Enfant had indicated on his map.

Today, the Old Post Office is set back from is the beaux arts building that once housed the most influential newspapers in the city, the Washington Evening Star, its fa├žade still looking down onto the statute of Benjamin Franklin, who occupies the triangular-shaped declivity in Pennsylvania Avenue. It is entirely fitting that this building, so intimately linked with a setting star, should look onto one of the most influential of early American Masons, one who had knowledge of the stars and was a keen astronomer. The sculpture, commissioned of Jacques Jouvenal as a gift to the city by the newspaper proprietor Stilson Hutchins, was designed to look onto Pennsylvania Avenue from 10th Street [It now sits on the south-eastern corner of that Avenue & 12th Street], because in those days the avenue was flanked by printers and newspapers: within a stones throw was the largest litho printer in the United States. Now the printers and newspaper have fled in the wake of threatened and actual development, leaving Franklin, displaced from his original symbolism, raising his right hand as though astonished in their disappearance. Nonetheless, there seems to be a destiny even in accidents, [the statue was relocated to its current location in 1982] and this placing of a Mason on one side, and a building named after an evening star, is propitious.

The Evening Star departed its famous building in 1955, leaving only its stellar name in metallic and lapidary inscriptions overlooking the Pennsylvania frontage. The reception hall of the newspaper has been revamped in modern times, but it is possible that a meaningful symbolism has survived from earlier days. In its marble floor is a huge sunburst, or starburst pattern. The five splendid radiants throw their beams out toward this magical avenue, as though he were part of the profound secret of Washington, D.C. [emphasis added] (pp 311-312)

Does the state of Franklin, on its pedestal below the campanile, hold up its hand in amazement of this solar wonder? (page 344)

This is the same Benjamin Franklin statute that faces diagonally across the intersection of  Penn and 12th NW.

If one were to draw a line from the door of the lobby of The Evening Star to this Franklin statute, its mirror line goes towards the northeast rear corner of this Covington & Burling building- built 1979-1981, opened one year before the Franklin statute's relocation accross the intersection.

His upheld hand points into this building, as do his eyes.


 
 
 


 
Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 12th Street NW


 
 
 
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue
 
Ovason discusses The Evening Star building that sits to Ben’s right (3’o clock); but he altogether ignores the identity of the building that Ben directly faces.