It is, let us say, the month of May. The tulips are a little past their best, but if you look straight into the flower there is an amazing symmetry. There are six bi-lobal petals, three outer and three inner. Within these we can see six stamens surrounding a trilobal stigma, the whole forming an intricate symmetrical pattern.
Humans and insects react in different ways. Many people find this object supremely beautiful. It engages your senses; it is aes-thetically pleasing. We could ponder it all the day long. But in the framework of evolutionary success, the tulip has no need of our appreciation. What the tulip does need, is for the insect, or perhaps many insects, to find it appealing also – its colour, its symmetry – so that they may enter the flower, collect pollen from the stamens and deposit it on the stigma, fertilising it, so that the tulip flower, when its apparent beauty has passed, may create new seeds in order to propagate its species. Strange then, that both insects and humans are attracted by this same beauty.
In Darwinian terms, what has happened over many millennia is that this tulip has evolved, by natural selection, to its greatest power of attracting insects, thereby ensuring the survival of its species. This tulip, in modern parlance, is ‘the one most likely to succeed’.
But there is another aspect. Think again about the numbers – 3 + 3 = 6. Part of what attracts me is the correlation between the tulip and the Hexalpha, Solomon’s seal, one equilateral triangle superimposed on another, or 3 + 3 = 6. These triangles are interlaced so that they are inextricable, signifying the oneness of God and Man, the ‘as above, so below’ principle we call it, after the teaching of Hermes Trismegistus.
But there’s another dimension. The whole thing reminds us of our prayer:
‘… assisted by the secrets of this our Masonic Art, he may
display the beauty of Divine Humanity and co-operate with
the Supreme Will in evolution.’
The tulip has managed, over almost immeasurable time and in tune with the cosmos, to evolve into the beautiful flower it is today. We, here, earthbound creatures as we are, are being enjoined to co-operate with the Supreme Will in evolution. What evolution? Certainly we are not back to Darwin, so where and what is this evolution which, in co-operation with the Supreme Will, we are to engage?
I sought guidance from a Freemason much wiser than me. The reply he gave was so direct and meaningful that it acted as a ray of light, a sort of damascene conversion. He said this:
For me, cooperation with the Supreme Will in evolution means working with the supreme power, divine consciousness, or whatever term is used, in order to help progress the development of the life force. The life force starts in the mineral kingdom, passes to and through the vegetable and animal kingdoms, ending (on this dimension) with the human kingdom. It is solely to do with the development of the human spirit in so understanding the universe and so developing and expanding consciousness as to realise that the life force is simply the life force of the universe – being one and the same as the creator. The soul or spirit of each human being is part of that oneness, in a physical incarnation specifically designed to provide the potential for evolution – that elusive state of perfection. Our minds are often too small to comprehend the enormity of what lies behind the universe nor to truly understand eternity.
‘Being one and the same as the creator’ – another way of looking at the hexalpha. Symmetry, harmony, is all around us; we simply need to tune in.