Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice

January 25, 2004|By Michael Pakenham

The Secret Symbols of the Dollar Bill: The Hidden Magic and Meaning, by David Ovason. HarperCollins. 208 pages. $18.95.

Even for those of us who look upon astrology and other mysticisms as blathering balderdash, there is fascination in ostensibly magical symbolism that manages to reign enduringly in public view. There are no more dramatically evident examples of that than the ornamental bits and pieces of the Great Seal of the United States and thus of the dollar bill, whose design is derived from the seal. Designed under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, among other Founding Fathers, the original seal's, and later the dollar's, iconography are deeply rooted in Freemasonry. David Ovason, an astrologer, is a serious scholar of mysticism and author of number of books including The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital. This volume is intricately documented and clearly written. Perhaps more for trivial pursuits purposes than spiritual guidance, readers who love puzzles and archaic art will find it as delightful as I did.

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