Category Archives: Washington Monument

Photo Tour: Return to The Washington Monument

We’ve reached the final stop on Julie O’Connor’s Magical, Mystical, Masonic Photo Tour of Washington, DC.

View from the base of the Washington Monument (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

It is the end of Chapter 128. Mal’akh is dead and Peter Solomon has decided it is time to show Robert Langdon the true location of the Lost Word. Peter begins by taking a blindfolded Langdon to the top of the Washington Monument:

Robert Langdon stood mesmerized at the glass portal, absorbing the power of the landscape below him. Having ascended unknowingly hundreds of feet in the air, he was now admiring one of the most spectacular vistas he had ever seen.

The shining dome of the US Capitol rose like a mountain at the east end of the National Mall. On either side of the building, two parallel lines of light stretched towards him . . . the illuminated facades of the Smithsonian museums . . . beacons of art, history, science, culture.

A ground-level view of the White House at night with the Washington Monument in the background (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

Langdon is 555 feet in the air. Below, deep underground, is the cornerstone of the Washington Monument, which holds the Lost Word–the Bible.

As we have previously discussed, the cornerstone of the Washington Monument contains much more than just a bible. But for Dan Brown, the key to understanding the Ancient Mysteries is the idea that hidden within religious texts, the authors are “quietly whispering the exact same message…Know ye not that ye are gods.” (A theme we discuss in detail here.)

Following his epiphany at the Washington Monument, Langdon returns to the Capitol where he meets Katherine. Together they ascend to a circular catwalk close to the Rotunda ceiling. There, they are instructed to wait until an appointed time, when they may use a special key to open a small metal door. In the meantime, Langdon and Katherine examine Brumidi’s Apotheosis of Washington (covered here on our photo tour).

Finally, the hour arrives. Langdon walks through the door and finds himself on a skywalk that encircles the Capitol Dome. Standing outside, at dawn, he and Katherine watch the sun rise over the city. Meanwhile, Langdon’s gaze is drawn to the Washington Monument.

He thought about the great circumpunct, and how it had been embedded in the circular plaza beneath the monument at the crossroads of America. Langdon thought suddenly of the little stone box Peter had entrusted to him. The cube, he now realized, had unhinged and opened to form the same exact geometrical form–a cross with a circumpunct at its center. Langdon had to laugh. Even that little box was hinting at this crossroads.

Circumpunct at the Washington Monument (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

But the circumpunct quickly becomes a distraction for the main event, the sun’s ascent over the tip of the Washington Monument itself.

“Robert, look” Katherine pointed to the top of the monument.
Langdon lifted his gaze but saw nothing.
Then, staring more intently, he glimpsed it.
Across the Mall, a tiny speck of golden sunlight was glinting off the highest tip of the towering obelisk. The shining pinpoint grew quickly brighter, more radiant, gleaming on the capstone’s aluminum peak. Langdon watched in wonder as the light transformed into a beacon that hovered above the shadowed city. He pictured the tiny engraving on the east-facing side of the aluminum tip and realized to his amazement that the first ray of sunlight to hit the nation’s capital, every single day, did so by illuminating two words:
Laus Deo.

The Sun and the Washington Monument (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

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 :: Washington Monument

The Washington Monument at sunset. (© Julie O'Connor, 2009)

Day Two of Julie O’Connor’s Magical, Mystical, Masonic Photo Tour of Washington, DC, takes us to the Washington Monument. The monument makes a number of appearances in The Lost Symbol, but we first glimpse it through Robert Langdon’s eyes from the seat of a Falcon 2000EX corporate jet, as he flies into Washington:

Outside the window, the sun had set, but Langdon could still make out the slender silhouette of the world’s largest obelisk, rising on the horizon like the spire of an ancient gnomon. The 555-foot marble-faced obelisk marked this nation’s heart. All around the spire, the meticulous geometry of streets and monuments radiated outwards.

Chapter 1, The Lost Symbol.

Some Lost Symbol/Washington Monument trivia (spoiler alert! Read on only if you have finished The Lost Symbol):

  • Intriguingly, the Washington Monument’s height—555 feet—is mentioned specifically four different times in The Lost Symbol, including the first reference.
  • The “lost” cornerstone of the Washington Monument referred to so often in The Lost Symbol is actually huge and, appropriately, used underground in the construction of the monument. It is true that its exact location is no longer known, but it is undoubtedly underground at the base of the Monument. Sealed in its time capsule is not just the Bible that is the centerpiece of The Lost Symbol, but numerous other documents and artifacts collected in 1848 (when the cornerstone was laid) to reflect American life and society at the time. A small sampling of what’s in there (via Snopes) besides the Holy Word of the Bible includes: Constitution of the United States and Declaration of Independence; a portrait of Washington; a map of the city of Washington; all the coins of the United States, from the eagle to the half-dime inclusive; the Constitution and General Laws of the Great Council of the Improved Order of Red Men of the District of Columbia; Appleton’s Railroad and Steamboat Companion; Copies of the Union Magazine, National Magazine, Godey’s Lady’s Book, Graham’s Magazine, and Columbian Magazine, for July, 1848; Harper’s Illustrated Catalogue; and the Annual Report of the Comptroller of the State of New York, January 5, 1848.