Great Seal myths debunked

February 12, 2008

The familiar emblem of the United States which can also be found on the back of the $1 bill will be disrobed of its myths and symbolisms made popular by novels, conspiracy theorists and films such as the National Treasure franchise. From the all-seeing eye, to the pyramid and Latin phrases, the seal's keepers will inaugarate a new exhibition to commemorate its 225th anniversary and hope to dispel rumors and educate Americans about the real meaning of the symbols.

Among the exhibit's highlights will be the discussion of such myths and legends:

-That known Masons like the first U.S. president, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin had no role in designing the final seal, which uses elements of traditional heraldry, such as the unfinished pyramid to symbolize a work in progress, arrows for war and an olive branch for peace. Masons share some of those symbols, but they have never been exclusively the domain of the order.

-That the phrase "Novus Ordo Seculorum" below the Roman numerals for 1776 at the base of the pyramid translates as "A New Order of the Ages" that began with independence and does not imply the United States will be the lynchpin of a sinister "New World Order."

-That the words "Annuit Coeptis" ("Providence favors") and the eye of providence that hovers over the pyramid refer to unexpected interventions of fate that assisted the colonists in creating a new country.

-That the references to 13 refer to the number of colonies that formed the original United States.

-That the Seal proves the domination of the United States by a powerful, quasi-religious cult. The Ancient Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is a perennial favorite of conspiracy theorists as some Founding Fathers were Masons and the Seal uses several Masonic symbols.

-That the Seal draws on Satanism or polytheistic ritual to promote a universal new world order under which Earth would be ruled by a single omnipotent government.

-That repeated references to 13 — the number of steps in the unfinished pyramid, stars in the constellation over the eagle's head, arrows in the eagle's claw, stripes on the eagle's shield, letters in the phrase "Annuit Coeptis" — demonstrate the power of 13 American families.

-That there are two seals: one in which the eagle's head faces the arrows for times of war and another in which the eagle's head faces the olive branch for times of peace.



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