The Secret Star in the Maranatha Puzzle

On May 3rd, 2011, a guest article was posted on Andrew Gough’s Arcadia website which revealed the hidden Key of the Maranatha puzzle.  Written by Duncan Burden it demonstrated how a Star could be found in the two paintings which are believed specified in the peculiar message deciphered from the Grand Parchment.

Proof of this late 1800’s secret scroll discovery in a hollow column, suggesting a possible Masonic connection, by the then Rennes le Chateau village Priest, Berenger Sauniere, is extremely lacking.  However, the facts the two paintings contain this star is not.  For some, the geometry may not be exact, or for others it may be considered merely coincidental, but the star is in fact there.  And for myself, I find it intriguing.

The Star seemingly symbolizes a secret understanding which was known by Poussin and Teniers; and one they veiled in their works.  From what I deduce by reading the TimeMonk article, the belief the Star conveys a powerful message, and yet is hinted at by a parchment that has been considered a hoax, was contradictory to the creators of the Maranatha puzzle.  How could a hoax reveal a genuine secret?  How could ‘hoaxers’ know to include in the Grand Parchment the names of Master artists who supposedly concealed a knowledge, if they didn’t at least know ‘something’?

But this article doesn’t want to try to determine if the PoS exists or even if the parchments were copies of originals and the makers knew the secrets they held.  Not today.  It will share only part of my thoughts on the possible significance of the Star.

Some of you know I love the verse of Proverbs 3:5; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. I have referred to it many times in the past on this site.  I have felt the ‘leaning Key’, tilted hexagram, or Star that was drawn in the old Masters’ paintings, and could be found in the Maranatha puzzle images, connected to this Word about ‘leaning on God’s understanding and not our own’, in some way. I also felt the release date of the Key, May 3, (3:5 in UK) was significant and could have hinted towards this Proverbs verse.

Recently, I reread a book listed in the Maranatha Bibliography called Templar Gold by Patrick Byrne.  The book was brought back to my attention by a friend.  This got me to browse through it again, and I am sure many can relate to how when rereading a book, various things take on new meaning or are seen in a whole new light.  Things not noticed upon first glance, now almost blind you.

Whether the following is right or wrong for the Maranatha puzzle, you can decide, but I personally love the notion of it.  For me, it supports things I had discovered in the puzzle book and felt strongly about.  I had liked a ‘secret point’ and had found a message applying such.  I felt this led to another verse in the Bible. Sure, it could be unintentional.  I am not saying it is the final or correct solution, but a path I followed.

In the book, Templar Gold (originally entitled The Long Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, 1997), Byrne includes a section of Masonic Ritual which relates to the finding of the lost secrets of Freemasonry.  I feel these ‘lost secrets’ could directly connect to the Lost Word and Key in Maranatha.  It is as follows:

“Master: Where do you hope to find them?
Senior Warden: With the Center
Master: What is a Center?
Junior Warden:  A point within a Circle, from which every point in the circumference is equidistant.
Master: Why with a Center?
Senior Warden: That being a point from which a master mason cannot err.”

The ‘point’ to where a master mason cannot err?  For me, that seems like the point where God’s Will is known.  If following God’s Will or understanding, I don’t feel a person can err.  This also reminds me of the Maranatha puzzle clue; “Crossed Fingers not only bring good fortune, but the point to where it is.”   Is the point to where it is ‘with a Center’, the balance point of X and/or reference to RLC angels with ‘In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’; a Trinity.

In the TimeMonk article, Burden referred to the ‘geometric curiosity’ of the Key utilizing the same center point of the square, circle, and triangle as a representation of the Trinity.

Additionally, I wonder if the above segment relates to the 2010 Maranatha Clue of “Masters who know are simply why they are called Masters.”  And since the Key itself has been confirmed, and made from incorporating a common center point, couldn’t knowing this point be the meaning behind the phrase on the back of the original 2005 puzzle book:  “Encoded by the Masters who knew, Written by the Masters who know.”  Did the ‘masters’ know the ‘lost secrets’, of not only freemasonry, but of Poussin and even other past Masters?

Some puzzlers may remember the Maranatha Key was said to be associated with a Masonic Ritual.  I find it noteworthy this section of Byrne’s book goes on to speak about the Jewel.  When Burden shared the Key on the Arcadia site, which includes the three primary shapes, he mentions how the Jewel and the shape of the hexagram were vital elements to Freemasonry.

As I stated, the leaning Key could relate to ‘leaning on God’s understanding or receiving God’s Will’.  To go back to the words in the Ritual of, ‘Where do you hope to find them (the lost secrets of freemasonry)’?  The answer is ‘with the center.’  If we find this point in center of a circle, we are told in the TimeMonk article “the process (to create the tilted hexagram) could be completed no matter what shape one started with.”  The ‘hexagram’ or lost ‘Jewel’ could be found by ‘knowing the point within the circle’.

Upon finding this point within the circle, and ‘finding the Jewel’ (creating the Star), a seeker uses the three most basic shapes of Geometry; the circle, square, and triangle. In Sacred Geometry these are considered the primary building blocks of creation. The finding of the Jewel could be seen to represent a connection and knowledge of God, the Creator, and Grand Architect. And with this ‘find’, does it not show the Jewel (and holder of) leaning on possibly God’s point or his Will?

At times, I had likened this to ‘God’s Heart’.  There are spots in the puzzle where ‘God’s Heart’ could be considered to be found.  One is a play on position in the text.  There are two words of God in the pigpen text.  The center, or the heart (as the heart is often equated to center), of these two words would symbolize ‘God’s Heart.’  It is position 1027.  Luke 10:27 says, “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.”  A person could be seen completely leaning/resting on God.  Interestingly enough, the next verse states, ‘you have answered correctly.’

To move away from the puzzle book, and into the church of Rennes le Chateau, I find the large bas relief located there could support some of the thoughts on this.  The parchment that led to the discovery of the ‘star’ was said to be discovered in a hollow column.  The assumed column is included in this image and may hint the knowledge was released. The same scene incorporates a mysterious figure who is ‘leaning’ and perhaps alludes to such knowledge.

I also like how the phrase below the bas relief says (translated); “Come to me, all who suffer, and I will relieve your pain.”  This is similar to the Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  My version, ‘Lean on me’.

There are other instances of ‘stars’ that I feel support the significance of the star to suggest the knowing of  God’s Will or understanding and are related to the mystery. Some examples are that the Magi ‘followed a star’, and Sauniere was known to have a curious image of the Magi with the star in his belongings.  There is the fact Nicolas Flamel made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.  This links to a star, as well.  The word Compostela is rumored to derive its name from ‘Campus Stellae’ or ‘Field of the Star’.   I also like the mention of stars in Fulcanelli’s book, Le Mystere des Cathedrales.  Each of these is an article on its own.

One may still feel, So what; that’s the secret Key? A star? That’s the meaing of the Key?  No, it may not be, but it is one for me.

I am sure all of us have experienced hardships.  I feel one of the most testing for a parent is facing the death or severe illness with and of a child. To be brief, we (my husband and I) are so blessed to have overcome such an instance in 2011 and I honestly feel a miracle occurred.  Our oldest daughter was given a diagnosis of syringomyelia which involves a cyst (syrinx) within the spinal cord that can destroy it and life over time. Although a MRI shows what some specialists still consider a syrinx, healing has happened.

I share the above because although it was a time of much fear and many tears, it was also of many prayers for healing and understanding.  And all I can say is how I felt during that time was, ‘Nothing is wanting but the Key’; The Key representing knowing God, His Will, and His Understanding.

Of course, even in the greatest moments of life, one can still desire the same.



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9 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    Why with a Center?

    That being a point from which a master mason cannot err.

    Another thing that you might not have thought about is that the word center could also be some reference to Centaur (half man, half horse). And the word “err” could be some reference to Cupid (Ere) who shoots his arrows much like Centaurs do. A circle with a dot in the center of it also represents the understanding for a target (for which the arrow is shot). The dot represents the Bullseye (or bulls eye) all depending on whether whoever wrote this was as warped as I am. Ha Ha!

  2. Nate Beck says:

    Haha, good one Mark. I love word games :). There’s nothing like phonetic kabbala to keep things interesting is there?

  3. Nate Beck says:


    I recently re-visited and re-read this article and I really regret not expressing before how great i think this article is. Now I think it’s even greater!

    Now that my understanding of Freemasonry and the Maranatha puzzle has increased, I find that my understanding is finally catching up with yours.

    You point out many things here that I had not considered before and would like to implement your ideas here in my upcoming project. I’ll email you later. Thanks!

  4. Nate Beck says:

    Also, the story that the Rennes church altar pillar was hollow and that’s where Sauniere found his secret documents derives from a Masonic source. The pillars Jachin and Boaz in front of Solomon’s temple were hollow (Jeremiah 52:21), and, according to Masonic lore, this is where secret documents were kept.

    This is consistent with the legends recorded by Flavius Josephus and the nine arches of Enoch in Judaic legend. The idea of the Sacred Center, being the center or heart of the pillar or Temple, is present here as well.

  5. Maria Rigel says:

    The clue “Crossed Fingers not only bring good fortune, but the point to where it is.” is simply indicating that following where the fingers/hands of people in the images of the puzzle point to is a good idea, and the point where that line crosses with some other clearly indicated line is often an important point.

    A master mason cannot err from a center because masons work with centered circles. It’s saying that whatever you do, work with centered circles.

    I’d agree that people cannot err if they’re following God’s Will, but that’s rather philosophical. I consider it the attitude of last resort. If you really don’t know what to do, think that God’s Will doesn’t fail, wait and see.

  6. Maria Rigel says:

    I just thought I’d say, if people are on a quest for the Holy Grail hoping it will help them to cope/resolve their personal crises, I wouldn’t count on it. It might or might not help, I don’t know, but there are certainly much quicker ways of finding help for any personal issues.

  7. Maria Rigel says:

    I can see why people would think that the star that Duncan showed was found in a very gimmicky way, and the geometry may not be exact but he just made it fit somehow. What is actually happening here is that the painting has some hidden sacred geometry that Duncan cannot reveal because of his oaths. It’s a pretty complex figure that is normally derived from two others. So what he did was reverse-engineer one of the parent figures, that is already fairly public knowledge.

    I’m reluctant to reveal the figure because I can’t help but assume that it’s been kept secret for good reasons. But to prove that there is some truly exact sacred geometry in the painting, and that it’s definitely deliberate, I will tell how to find in it the simplest figure of sacred geometry.

    1. Draw a line from the bottom of the staff in the middle (partially hidden by the crouching shepherd) to the top of the staff, and then continue it a bit further. You will notice that the line cuts across the crouching shepherd’s neck, as if “killing” him. This happens often when a line is part of an important figure of sacred geometry. You will also notice that the line goes through the left eye of the shepherd to the left. Again, this usually indicates sacred geometry.

    2. Draw a line from the top of the staff to the left, to the top of the staff in the middle, and all the way to the tassel in the golden sandal of the shepherdess. You’ll notice that the line cuts across the neck of the shepherd to the left, and goes through the eye of the crouching shepherd. It also cuts across the wrist of the crouching shepherd where it bends.

    3. Draw a line from the elbow of the crouching shepherd to the tip of the pointing finger, and extend it in both directions. You’ll see that the line starts at the knee of the crouching shepherd that touches the ground, and it ends in a fork of the small branches of the trees at the top right corner, along the way cutting across the neck of the shepherdess and hitting too many points that are clearly marked (like corners of tunics) to be any sort of coincidence.

    The figure you will find is the same that is referred to in the Maranatha clue “So did those feet in ancient times walk where they buried their burning gold! So did they lay their mantle down for a King to raise it as his standard!”

  8. Maria Rigel says:

    Another clarification: The figure that Duncan showed in the painting is in the Maranatha puzzle, but it’s rotated.

  9. Maria Rigel says:

    Can somebody tell me what are the “RLC angels”?

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