Category Archives: US Capitol

A Visual Tour of The Lost Symbol

For many fans of The Lost Symbol, Washington DC will never quite look the same again.

During the past few months, we have highlighted some of the magnificent and unusual locations Dan Brown used in his latest novel in a regular feature, called Julie O’Connor’s Magical, Mystical, Masonic Photo Tour of Washington, DC.

We will complete the tour in the weeks ahead. But for now, we would like to share an encyclopedic photo slideshow, composed of Julie’s images, that provides a total, visual immersion in the world of The Lost Symbol.

Highlights include the House of the Temple, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Rotunda, the Capitol Visitor’s Center, the National Cathedral, the Library of Congress, the George Washington Masonic Memorial, and the US Botanical Gardens. The music, by the way, is taken from Mozart’s Masonic compositions.

Buy Secrets of The Lost Symbol or download it as an e-book.

Secrets of The Lost Symbol Videos

If you look in the righthand sidebar of the blog you will notice that we now have four videos of Secrets of The Lost Symbol co-editor Dan Burstein discussing Dan Brown’s novel and our book.

In An Introduction to Secrets of The Lost Symbol, Dan talks generally about Secrets of The Lost Symbol and about the coded messages and hidden comment buried on the Lost Symbol cover.

In Washington DC and the Freemasons, he talks about Washington sites covered in Secrets of the Lost Symbol, such as the House of the Temple, the Capitol Rotunda, the Library of Congress, the Washington Monument, the George Washington National Masonic Memorial and the National Cathedral.

In Codes on the Lost Symbol Cover, he reveals and explains more of the codes hidden on The Lost Symbol jacket and inside the book, as well as exploring the meaning of a few of Dan Brown’s characters’ names.

Finally, in Contributors, Dan talks through the more than three-dozen expert contributors to Secrets of The Lost Symbol, highlighting some of our interviews and essays that shed new light on Freemaonsry, noetics and the ways in which The Lost Symbol connects with religion and spirituality today.

Buy Secrets of The Lost Symbol or download it as an e-book.

Photo Tour :: Capitol Rotunda

Statue of George Washington, Capitol Rotunda. (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

It’s Day Four of Julie O’Connor’s Magical, Mystical, Masonic Photo Tour of Washington, DC. We’ re now at page 83, standing in the Capitol Rotunda, as Robert Langdon describes to CIA security chief Inoue Sato how the founders of Washington, D.C. modeled the nation’s capital–its architecture and landmarks–on Rome:

Now, centuries later, despite America’s separation of church and state, this state-sponsored Rotunda glistened with ancient religious symbolism. There were over a dozen different gods in the Rotunda–more than the original Pantheon in Rome. Of course, the Roman Pantheon had been converted to Christianity in 609 . . . but this pantheon was never converted; vestiges of its true history still remained in plain view.

Langdon goes on to explain that the Rotunda was designed as a tribute to Rome’s Temple of Vesta. And that there was once a hole in the floor that looked down upon a “sacred fire of enlightenment” that could be tended by a “sisterhood of virgins.”

Brown is correct. There once was, indeed, a hole in the middle of the Rotunda. But during our research for Secrets of The Lost Symbol, we discovered that the hole was probably created for an altogether different purpose.

The statue you can see in the photograph above is of George Washington. But once, there was a much more controversial statue of Washington in this room. It is the statue of Washington as Zeus (mentioned on page 87 of The Lost Symbol), bare-chested, holding a sword, and pointing towards heaven.

That statue, perhaps unsurprisingly, was something of a laughing stock in its day. It was unveiled in the Rotunda in 1841. But it was so controversial that it was soon moved into the Capitol Crypt.

During our research into Secrets of The Lost Symbol, Pam Scott, an architectural historian with DC Office of Planning, told us that when the statue was moved into the crypt, in 1842, a small hole was created in the center of the Rotunda so that people could peer down on it.

Eventually, Washington as Zeus was moved to the Smithsonian Institution (you can see it today in the National Museum of American History) and the hole was covered up.

The flame theory, like many of DC’s conspiracies, springs from an overactive imagination.

But there’s even more to this room than Roman gods and vestal virgins. As Langdon explains, there are symbols of the Ancient Mysteries, too.

We’ll save that for tomorrow.

Pre-order your hard copy of Secrets of The Lost Symbol today or download it now as an e-book.

Photo Tour :: US Capitol Visitor Center

The Dome of the Capitol viewed from the US Capitol Visitor Center. (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

The US Capitol Visitor Center. (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

Day Three of Julie O’Connor’s Magical, Mystical, Masonic Photo Tour of Washington, DC, and we find ourselves looking up through the glass of the recently renovated US Capitol Visitor Center at the dome of the Capitol Building.

The new security checkpoint for tourists entering the Capitol Building is located deep within the recently completed subterranean visitor center, beneath a magnificent glass skylight that frames the Capitol Dome. Newly hired security guard Alfonso Nuñez carefully studied the male visitor now approaching his checkpoint.

Chapter 4, The Lost Symbol.

A few interesting facts about the Capitol Visitor Center and its relation to The Lost Symbol:

  • Throughout its history, and until quite recently, visitors to the U.S. Capitol could enter the building directly. After 9/11, a more secure visitor’s entrance was planned. It was under construction from 2002-2008, and opened only about a year before The Lost Symbol was published. The Capitol Visitor’s Center was deliberately placed underground in order not to block the magnificent approach view of the Capitol Dome. Most details in The Lost Symbol appear to come from the 2003-6 period, when Dan Brown seems to have written much of the basic text of the book. The reference to the Visitor’s Center is one of a handful of allusions to 2008-9 realities that appear to have come from a more recent round of editorial updates to the book.
  • The Capitol Visitor’s Center really does connect the Capitol building to the Library of Congress through a very long tunnel, just as Dan Brown describes in The Lost Symbol. The use of the tunnel between the two buildings in The Lost Symbol is reminiscent of Brown’s use of “Il Passetto” in Angels & Demons. Il Passetto connects the Vatican with Castel Saint’ Angelo, both of which were important scenes of action in Angels & Demons, just as the Capitol and the Library of Congress are in The Lost Symbol.
  • According to some Washingtonians, the biggest running joke in The Lost Symbol starts in this scene where security guard Alfonso Nuñez is watching the Washington Redskins in an NFC playoff game. One wag has called the idea of the Redskins in the playoffs as proof positive that this is a work of fiction.

Mirroring The Lost Symbol

Lynne McTaggart and Marilyn Schlitz are not the only people to have spotted themselves, or at least aspects of their work, in The Lost Symbol. William Henry, an author and “investigative mythologist,” has noted more than a few similarities between Dan Brown’s storyline and his own writing. In an email to Secrets of The Lost Symbol, he explains some of his thoughts:

In my presentation, “The American Rite” (recorded November, 2008), I proposed the following about the U.S. Capitol (with helpful insights from researchers Arion Love and Dr. Mark Gray). First, the U.S. Capitol is a temple, a sacred space. In fact, the U.S. Capitol is a portal or stargate. The Dome of the Capitol is a model of the human head (‘dome’ is slang for head). The key to achieving higher spiritual consciousness is encoded in The Apotheosis of George Washington, painted by Constantino Brumidi in the eye of the Dome in 1865. In order to achieve the man-god status or higher consciousness portrayed by George Washington in the painting the pineal gland in the human brain must be activated. The secretions from the pineal transform (metamorphose or transfigure) one into a being of light. Then, we can go ‘through the stargate’. I concluded my presentation by inviting viewers to join me in the Rotunda of the Capitol, to lie on our backs, and to declare positive statements to get this ‘Liberty Bell’ (really our pineal gland) ringing, thereby ‘opening’ the Apotheosis stargate. It is the right of Americans to transform ourselves into gods, I said. Accessing this higher consciousness by lying on our backs in the Rotunda is the American Rite. These concepts were elaborated upon in my book, Freedom’s Gate, co-authored with Dr. Mark Gray, and published in August 1, 2009.

Viewers of “The American Rite,” and readers of “Freedom’s Gate,” recognize these elements in “The Lost Symbol”. Robert Langdon seeks the lost portal in the Capitol and even lies on his back as he ‘journeys’ through the Apotheosis stargate, just as I did. Dr. Gray and I would like “Lost Symbol” readers to know that what Dan Brown says about the Capitol is true. It is a temple of ascension or a portal. The key to higher consciousness is encoded in the Apotheosis. The activated pineal gland produces the light body. In “Freedom’s Gate” we lay out the facts behind these elements and reveal, for the first time ever, the profound meaning of the spiritual imagery and artwork of the Capitol. You’ll discover there’s a lot more secret symbolism in the Capitol than made it into “The Lost Symbol.”

How is it possible that our book and Dan Brown’s book has the same new message about the Capitol and the Apotheosis of George Washington that has never been told before? How is it that all three of us (Dan, Mark and I) tapped into this higher consciousness encoded in the Capitol and published books about it (one fiction, the other non-fiction) at the same time? “The Lost Symbol’s” Dr. Katherine Solomon would propose Noetic science as an answer. Noetic science says there’s a global consciousness that we’re all connected into. It may even be encoded in our DNA. “Freedom’s Gate” is PROOF of this consciousness. I call it ‘stargate metaphysics’. In fact, Dr. Gray and I may be the living embodiments of the Noetic concepts put forth by Mr. Brown.

All this leads to an important question. Was an ‘alarm clock’ set in the Capitol 1865 to awaken Americans and the people of the world in 2008-2009 to the fact that the U.S. Capitol is a portal and the Apotheosis encodes the key to higher consciousness? I believe so. I believe it is also time for the collective consciousness of Mr. Brown’s readers to engage in a world-wide discussion of themes and factual elements of “The Lost Symbol.” It’s time to awaken and rise to the occasion of our times. Like an alarm clock stops automatically if left unattended it’s time we follow “The Lost Symbol” that leads to Freedom’s Gate, the U.S. Capitol. Its time we lie on our back and tap into the higher consciousness of the Apotheosis stargate!