The Master's Square
You will recall that in the desert, the Ark of the Covenant resided in the Tabernacle (a big tent, see Exodus 25) that was at the center of the Hebrew camp (Numbers Ch 2). The altar for the Tabernacle is described as five cubits by five cubits, foursquare, and three cubits tall. Here we see the altar from the House of the Temple on a square floor, flanked by a row of twelve seats on each side. Four and twenty elders around the throne (Rev 4:4) Note how the bordered area around the altar creates a 3x3 grid on the black floor. (The altar itself is probably 1/25th of the black floor.)
The four standards bear the images of a bull, man, lion and eagle which are symbolic of Taurus, Aquarius, Leo and Scorpio, the so-called fixed zodiac signs. These are the four creatures of Ezekiel 1:10 and Revelation 4:7 which also relate to the four Apostles, the seasons, the elements and the guardians of the four directions.
See Genesis 49 where Jacob describes each of his twelve sons to get clues about which tribes or sons are which zodiac signs. For instance, 'Judah is a lion's whelp'. Aquarius is the water bearer, and we see Reuben described as 'unstable as water'. Note that Judah is in the east, the place of the rising sun. Leo rules the sun. Think of the grip of the lion's paw. Did I forget to mention that Temples and Lodges are traditionally conceptualized as symbolic of the world, the natural order of things?
The Hebrew camp is usually depicted like this (below). Note that this image has the approach to the Tabernacle being from the east, with the Ark in the west.
In more than one place this layout is compared to a city with 12 gates, and is described as having three gates in the east, three in the south, west and north (See the oblation in Ez 48:31 and new Jerusalem in Rev 21:12) . Remember that in Ezekiel and the Revelation we see a description of the city that surrounds the Ark in the Holy Place in the Temple. At the center of the Hebrew land lay an area called the oblation (meaning offering), the sacred area. At the center of that was the sanctuary. At the center of that the Temple. At the center of that the Foundation Stone.
HPH Bromwell suggested this arrangement (above) for the desert camp arrangement, based on the symbolic floor' of the Master's Degree, in his book 'Restoration of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry', which I highly recommend. I suggest the layout below for the tribes based on their astrological attributes.
We can presume that the descriptions of all these symbolic boxes-within-boxes are inter-related and part of one biblical geometric scheme, which may correspond to a universal architectural canon, as some have suggested. Herein I would like to contrast Bromwell's approach to this subject to those of writers John Mitchell and Nicholas Mann; the difference being that Bromwell was a Past Master of a Lodge who was researching how to restore the ancient knowledge and the ritual that accompanied it, while the other two write 'popular' books.
The equal-armed square is called the Master's Square,
Below is the 'no words' proof for the isoceles right triangle of the pythagorean theorem. Once you know what to look for its easier to find. The area of the square of the hypotnuse is equal to the area of the two oblique squares. Each of the oblique squares contains one black and one white square. The big square contains one whole square, four half squares and four quarter squares, for a total of four.
The hypotenuse of the right triangle is a diameter of a circle, being the diagonal of a rectangle or square inscribed therein. Here the inner circle is 1 D wide, while the outer one is 2 D wide. Regular squares corner on black while the oblique ones corner on white. The square around the inner circle is half the size of the one around the outer circle.
The breastplate of Aaron is described as foursquare and 'doubled', with four rows of stones(Ex 28:15) that represent the tribes , and is usually depicted like his:
Note that the arrangement above does not account for the sanctuary at the center (Ez 48:10). (temenos = df. A sacred enclosure surrounding a temple or other holy place.) The stones are described as being in four rows of three each. [Note also how the corners of the stones in the foursquare grid fall on the centers of stones in the five square grid.]
Bromwell's Ephod (above) reflects the positions of 12 centers of stones. He suggests that it is logical to presume that if the stones are intended to represent the tribes and the zodiac signs, and since the tribes are described as camping around the Tabernacle, that breastplate would reflect this. The oblique squares represent the sun and moon, and the whole thing is the pythagorean theorem proof.