Among all the Masonic symbols, two stand out and possess a remarkable originality that is perhaps not sufficiently highlighted.
The terrestrial and celestial globes (image opposite: 19th century lithograph - London) that we see especially in the emulation rite are the only symbols that testify to the concern of the founders of Freemasonry to take into account a scientific advance and the universalism of our approach.
If the symbols of biblical origin are numerous, if the companionship of other symbols is proven, if the occultist inspiration is found in multiple passages of the rituals, the reference to a major scientific discovery (the Copernican revolution) and the universalism of Masonic thought is found only in these two symbols that are the terrestrial and celestial globes.
In the Emulation Rite, it is mentioned in these terms:
"At the Building of King Solomon's Temple, the Fellow Crafts who had to go into the Middle Chamber of the Temple to receive their Specie, arrived there by way of a Porch, at the entrance of which their attention was particularly arrested by two great pillars. These pillars were adorned with two Chapiters which were further adorned with spheres on which were delineated maps of the Celestial and Terrestrial globes, which point out that Masonry is Universal..." (source : YASHA BERESINER - http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/beresiner4a.html)
They are also sometimes seen on small columns placed on the desks of the overseers, one of which, in Doric style, supporting a celestial globe, placed on the plateau of the First Overseer, and the other, in Corinthian style, placed on the plateau of the Second Overseer, which supports a terrestrial globe . Before the opening of the lodge works, the first column (Jakin) is lying down, the second (Boaz) is erected (source http://www.gadlu.info/miscellanea-macionica-pourquoi-des-colonnes-et-des-colonnettes-dans-le-temple.html#dy37DmOooFTDmSO2.99).
In the ancient and accepted Scottish rite, it is in the second degree that they are mentioned without further explanation.
Just as the starry vault is a biblical symbol that testifies to the ancient and archaic belief (in the vulgar sense) in a flat earth topped by a sky occupied by divine power, so the terrestrial and celestial globes are a testimony to the scientific knowledge of the time about the shape of our planet and its place in the universe.
Let us recall that in the 16th century, heliocentrism, which had already been evoked by Greek and Arab researchers, is a heretical thought and that the beginnings of freemasonry date back to the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th. A certain assurance was needed to include two symbols of a scientific modernity that many religious still contested!
This audacity shows us how much the path traced by the creators of Freemasonry deserves to be explored while the ease of a certain form of idolatry encourages us to cultivate a fixed pastism without adaptation to our own modernity.