“The pelican feeding its young from a self-inflicted wound in its own breast is accepted as an appropriate symbol of both sacrifice and resurrection. To the Christian Mystic the pelican signifies Christ, who saved humanity (the baby birds) through the sacrifice of His own blood. The pelican may also be considered as representative of the Sun, whose rays (blood) are the life of the seven philosophical planets depicted as the pelican’s brood. In the Mysteries, the pelican represents the resurrection of the candidate from the dead. The mother bird signifies those divine institutions which passes the secret doctrine, which is the spiritual life of man.” “It was the ancient belief that three days after the father pelican had killed his own young, the mother resurrected them by wounding herself and permitting her blood to flow over their bodies. In Masonic symbolism the blood of the pelican stands for the Secret Work by which man is ‘raised’ from the slavery of ignorance to the condition of freedom conferred by wisdom. As the Rose Croix degree is based upon Rosicrucian and Hermetic symbolism, it follows that the pelican represents one of the vessels in which the experiments of alchemy are performed, and its blood that mysterious tincture by which the base metals (the young baby birds) are transmuted into spiritual gold.” “Both the rose and the pelican signify the highest expression of human and divine affection. The love of the mother bird for her young typifies the emotion of the Creator for those creatures which He fashioned during the Seven Sacred Days. The word, ‘Rose’ is a simple anagram, for from the rearrangement of its letters is derived the word ‘Eros’ — the name of the Greek god of love.”

— Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages

“The single horn of the unicorn may represent the pineal gland, or third eye, which is the spiritual cognition center in the brain. The unicorn was adopted by the Mysteries as a symbol of the illumined spiritual nature of the initiate, the horn with which it defends itself being the flaming sword of the spiritual doctrine against, which nothing can prevail." 

- Manly P. Hall

“The sun rises in the east, and in the east is the place for the Worshipful Master. As the sun is the source of all light and warmth, so should the Worshipful Master enliven and warm the brethren to their work. Among the ancient Egyptians the sun was the symbol of divine providence. The hierophants of the Mysteries were adorned with many insignia emblematic of solar power. The sunbursts of gilt embroidery on the back of the vestments of the Catholic priesthood signify that the priest is also an emissary and representative of Sol Invictus.”

Dictionary of Symbolical Masonry by George Oliver, D.D.

Hanukah and Kabbalah: 

Hanukah is considered a special holiday by Kabbalists because the meaning of it is directly connected to the rebuilding of the inner temple.

Spiritually, the temple signifies the place where Creator and creature bond.

The destruction of the temple is a breaking of the bond between the two. That bond is what Kabbalists are trying to rebuild. 

There are two phases to the corrections. In the first, the human must learn how to rise above his egocentric nature and attain a tool (called vessel of bestowal) with which to bond with the spiritual world. This is the correction phase.

After that comes the receiving phase, when the human might receive tremendous pleasures using the newly acquired tool.

A thirsty man, holding in his hand a broken glass, must first repair the glass before he can fill it up and drink from it. He who feels the detachment from spirituality must first mend his bond with the Creator before he can receive the offered goods.

Thus Hanukah marks and celebrates the attainment of the vessels of bestowal.

“Your light is seen. Your heart is known. Your soul is cherished by more people than you might imagine. If you knew how many others have been touched in wonderful ways by you, you would be astonished. If you knew how many people feel so much for you, you would be shocked. You are far more wonderful than you think you are. Rest with that. Rest easy with that. Breathe again. You are doing fine. More than fine. Better than fine. You’re doing great. So relax. And love yourself today.”

— Neale Donald Walsch 


The Philosophical Background for Masonic Symbolism

From: Talismans Cabalistiques Magiques 1704

grands secrete des Panettes 1704

Image from Talismans, Cabalistiques, Magiques, grands secretes des Planettes (1704).

This manuscript is held in Cultural Collections in the Library of the University of Newcastle, Australia. Many of these illustrations are redrawn by hand from Renaissance texts of magic.