“There is only one dogma in Magic, and it is this: The visible is the manifestation of the invisible, or in other terms, the perfect word, in things appreciable and visible, bears an exact proportion to the things which are inappreciable by our senses and unseen by our eyes.”
“Much has been said of the loneliness of wisdom, and how much the Truth seeker becomes a pilgrim wandering from star to star. To the ignorant, the wise man is lonely because he abides in distant heights of the mind. But the wise man himself does not feel lonely. Wisdom brings him nearer to life; closer to the heart of the world than the foolish man can ever be. Bookishness may lead to loneliness, and scholarship may end in a battle of beliefs, but the wise man gazing off into space sees not an emptiness, but a space full of life, truth, and law.”
Rise early, that by habit it may become familiar, agreeable, healthy, and profitable. It may, for a while, be irksome to do this, but that will wear off; and the practice will produce a rich harvest forever thereafter; whether in public or private walks of life.
First of all, thanks to @marypsue for listening to my ramblings and giving some feedback about this a few days ago and to @eregyrn-falls for talking about Alex’s Q&A, which reminded me to write it up and post it.
Warning: this is going to be long. Sorry.
One of the things that I’ve always hoped would get an explanation from Alex (but possibly never will?) is the meaning behind the symbol on Stan’s fez/the Cipher Wheel.
First, a bit of a tangent, but I hope a productive one: in GF fanfic, a common issue when Bill and Stan appear together in a fic is that we never canonically heard Bill’s nickname for Stan (assuming he would have given Stan one, which, given Bill’s character, seems like a safe bet). Fic authors usually get around this by having Bill call Stan “Fez,” which makes sense given that’s where his symbol is and it’s a pretty distinctive element of his appearance.
But Bill doesn’t call Dipper “ballcap,” or Mabel “sweater,” or Soos “t-shirt,” even though that’s where their symbols are found. Their nicknames are based on what the symbol IS, and the symbols (at least roughly?) represent who they are as characters.
So, ultimately, thinking about what Bill’s nickname for Stan might be sort of helps clarify what Stan’s symbol might mean vis-à-vis his character. Ahem. Back to the symbol.
The clearest direct mention of the symbol is in Journal 3, when Ford writes that Stan’s fez is from Filbrick’s membership in the “Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel.” It’s totally possible this is all there is to it, it’s a funny fish symbol. Alex’s old DeviantArt account is reportedly holymackerel, so it’s possible it’s just something he thought was funny and that’s that.
But, we all know how much Alex loves to misdirect people – almost as much as he likes to have multiple layers of mysteries and meaning in GF. So I think it’s more likely this is just a superficial meaning for Stan’s symbol.
Looking at the symbol, there could be a few different interpretations, so I’ll present the three most interesting ones I came up with, in order of what I think is the likelihood it’s the real meaning of the symbol.
First, another look at the symbol as it appears on the fez:
Now what if we do this:
Looks like an eye, right? Just one eye?
The least likely theory is that the symbol has something to do with Stan’s character being connected to Bill’s in some way. It’s a cool interpretation, considering how important the idea of the “beast with just one eye” was, and the fact that, as Mr. Mystery, Stan wore an eyepatch (and so had just one eye visible). If you’re a subscriber to the Same Coin theory, this interpretation might work for that.
I personally don’t think this is it, though. So let’s turn the symbol this way:
Notice the symbol in canon art is always represented with these proportions. Now what does it look like? A bit like the portal casting a shadow? Who lived (figuratively and literally) in the shadow of the portal for 30 years? Yeah.
Stan, with his long-standing self-esteem and self-worth issues, saw himself as just “part of a dynamic duo,” essentially Ford’s shadow, not capable of accomplishing anything on his own. So, this interpretation is a little more likely to me, and I headcanon that Bill’s nickname for Stan would be something like “Shadow,” because it’s not only thematically appropriate, it’s snide and hurtful.
But this still doesn’t seem like it’d be an appropriate symbol for Stan’s character. After all, reductively thinking of him as Ford’s shadow would only represent most people’s (and his own self-) perception of Stan in the first (admittedly long) part of his character arc. So what represents the culmination of his character arc?
Let’s turn the symbol one more time:
Well, first of all, there are some similar-looking symbols in the history museum in SotBE:
And on the ur-Cipher Wheel in Mabelcorn:
I personally don’t think it’s related to the symbol that’s similar to the Freemason symbol, because that seems on-the-nose and superficial to be on a secret society fez (though a cute reference), and more related to Dipper’s character than Stan’s. I think the other symbol gives a clue as to its meaning, since it’s also incredibly similar to Stan’s symbol’s shape.
…what legendary bird is often represented in this shape? And the shape on the fez? Wings upraised in a circular shape?
So…my best guess is that this is a simplified, stylized version of one of the best symbols for Stan’s character: a phoenix. The imagery of Stan burning is present throughout the series, and of course, Stan is literally immolated and reborn in the finale. I absolutely headcanon that this is what Stan’s symbol really means. (But I don’t think Bill would ever call Stan “Phoenix,” do you?)
All this is just speculation, though. You’d have to have actually been in the writer’s room (or Alex’s brain), or have done a lot of research into ancient symbols (in so many cultures and historical contexts, seriously – Egyptian symbolism, indigenous American tribal symbolism, secret society symbolism, alchemy symbols, etc) to suss out what everything related to Stan and his symbol (the flag/banners for the Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel, the first symbol in comparison to the second symbol – both work for the Phoenix symbolism, the color symbolism in the series, etc) might mean.
Masonic labor is purely a labor of love. He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed. The wages of a Mason are earned and paid in their dealings with one another; sympathy that begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason.
The Ouroboros or Uroboros (/jʊərɵˈbɒrəs/; /ɔːˈrɒbɔrəs/, from the Greek οὐροβόρος ὄφις tail-devouring snake) is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.
According to the Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky the Ouroboros symbolizes:
(1) Eternity, such as in Hinduism where the great serpent Ananta-Shesha, who some portray as having seven heads and others as being thousand-headed, represents Eternity and Infinity itself.
(2) The never-ending cycle of evolution within the Eternity
(3) The “circle of necessity” of the Egyptians or the numerous reincarnations of the soul throughout its cyclic evolutionary journey, periodically casting off its temporary body just as the serpent periodically casts off its skin.
(4) Wisdom, the serpent having always been the chief symbol of wisdom in all nations throughout history and revered as such in all the religions and philosophies of the world except theological Christianity. Yet Christ himself is recorded as using the ancient symbolism, which was perfectly known throughout the Middle East, when saying “Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” In Sanskrit the word “naga,” meaning serpent, is also a synonym for “initiate,” one who has been initiated into the Mysteries of the Esoteric Wisdom.
(5) The circle is also the ancient symbol of perfection.
“Freemasonry is the continuation of very ancient secret societies and brotherhoods.
The Masonic square was found in many temples, and also appears in the great pyramid.
It is said that it was used symbolically for squaring conduct, perfecting of the personality. To build on the square was to build for ever, according to the teachings of ancient Egypt; and in the Egyptian Hall of Judgement Osiris is seen seated on the square while judging the dead.
Thus in the macrocosm, the square came to symbolize the foundation of eternal law, that reflected in the four bodies of man; and the columns - were the symbols of the aspects of the law: Osiris, Father ; Isis - feminine aspect; and Horus - the as a star of Monad - at the culmination of the ladder.
The two pillars at initiation, there supposed to stand at the entrance to the other world, and the various experiences through which the candidate passed were intended to symbolize those which would come to him when he passed out of this physical world into the next stage.
In the Lodge room is symbolized a temple of humanity, and as such it may be taken to symbolize a man lying upon his back.
In this position the three great supports correspond to important centers in the human body. : 1.head, two part of the brain; the sun and the moon are the symbols of divine, of origin - East.
All the western nations look to the east as the source of their wisdom.
3 corresponds to the heart, anciently regarded as the seat of the affections.
Middle column 2 correspond to to the generative organs, symbols of strength and virility, the solar plexus.; reflection of deity in matter.
The three powers of consciousness appearing in man as the spiritual will, the intuitional love and the higher intelligence, which are the root of all human will, love and thought.
The three columns, as a divine aspects, representing wisdom, strength and beauty, were stated to stand round God’s throne, which was the altar itself, which signify love.
Divine Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, or Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are one Universal God in whom everything exists, whether it be animate or inanimate, for there is nothing but That.
But in Their separate appearances, the Holy Ghost is the maker or builder of the outer world, - objectivity; and the Son is the life in all beings, the “light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world”- subjectivity.
The pillars also represent once more the two great laws of progress, karma and dharma, the former providing the environment or material world, and the latter the direction of the self within - ” the ladder"; by the union or harmonious working of these two laws a man may attain the stability and strength required for the occult path to become a blazing Star.“
Everybody really knows what to do to have his life filled with joy. What is it? Quit hating people; start loving them. Quit being mad at people; start liking them. Quit doing wrong; quit being filled with fear. Quit thinking about yourself and go out and do something for other people. Everybody knows what you have to do to be happy. But the wisdom of the test lies in the final words: ‘If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’
The Freemasons are a worldwide fraternal organization that’s been around for centuries. Its first Grand Lodge was official founded in England in 1717. While technically all members are sworn to secrecy, some are more well-known than others. Here’s a few of the musically-inclined Freemasons. Some will probably surprise you!