The Matthews Monument at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Friday, July 27, 2012

Nowhere to Hide

Sorry for the delay, knee-deep in schoolwork and nearing the finish line.

Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

The all-seeing eye is an ancient symbol, tracing back to the Egyptians and the Eye of Horus.  Horus is one of Egypt’s most ancient and important deities and was associated with the Pharaoh in his lifetime, and then when he died, he became associated with the god Orisis.  Horus is most often depicted as a falcon-headed man, and the hieroglyph  G5 means Horus.  The Eye of Horus is an Egyptian symbol of protection, both for this life and the afterlife.
   Eye of Horus

The concept of an all-seeing eye also relates to the concept of a “third eye,” said to be located in the brow chakra (meaning right between your two other eyes, but it sits at a 90-degree angle to your other eyes, expanding up your forehead).  Hindus and Christian mystics feel the third eye is the gateway to a person’s inner realms and higher consciousness, and practice learning to “see” with this eye, into their minds.  I learned about this years ago when I was exploring Wicca and other “fringe” religions, and for 20 years now, I never, ever smack myself in the forehead, for fear of poking my third eye out.  

The all-seeing eye that is found on 19th century gravestones is almost always associated with a fraternal society, either the Masons or the Odd Fellows.  More about Independent Order of Odd Fellows  Both of these fraternities required their members to believe in a higher power, a God of some sort, although they did not espouse belief in any particular brand of religion.  The all-seeing eye represents the concept of God, always watching, seeing everything and protecting humankind.  This “Eye of Providence” is probably right now in your very wallet, as in 1782, it was adopted as part of the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States.  Get a dollar bill and turn it over; at the top of the pyramid, there it is.  This seems to give the Masonic-conspiracy-theorists ammunition that the Founding Fathers were part of a Masonic cult that created and controlled the United States government.  But the use of the all-seeing eye did not appear in Masonic iconography until 1797.   So there.

For Masons, God is called the Great Architect of the Universe, and their depiction of the Architect as the all-seeing eye can also have it surrounded by clouds and/or rays of the sun, symbolizing the glory of the Creator.  I have noticed that this can also be found on the Odd Fellows’ tombstones as well.  

I really love the ironwork with the all-seeing eye, and hope to someday research the company or companies who manufactured it.  I would also like to know who designed it as well.  So keep in mind that if the all-seeing eye truly exists, all of your thoughts and deeds are being monitored and recorded.  And that is either comforting to you, or makes you want to go underground and live in a cave.  Enjoy.

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Masonic Symbol, Overfield Cemetery, Meshoppen, PA

New Hanover Lutheran Cemetery, Gilbertsville, PA

Laurel Cemetery, White Haven, PA

Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

Odd Fellows Symbol, Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis, NY

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Odd Fellows Symbol, Odd Fellows Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Odd Fellows Symbol, Odd Fellows Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Odd Fellows Symbol, Stroudsburg Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA

There's that mysterious crown again, with Odd Fellows in the middle and the Order United American Mechanics on the right, Stroudsburg Cemetery, Stroudsburg, PA

Odd Fellows Symbol (a higher level denoted by the shepherd's hooks), Union Cemetery, Blakely, PA

Nice Odd Fellows Symbol, West Long Branch United Methodist Cemetery, West Long Branch, NJ

Odd Fellows Symbol, Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Montgomery Cemetery, Norristown, PA

St. Luke Episcopal Cemetery, Newtown, PA

Odd Fellows Encampment Symbol (another higher level), Montrose Cemetery, Montrose, PA 

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

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