The Double Headed Eagle represents many things to many peopled cultures over thousands of years. Its interesting to note that secret societies over this period have also chosen the symbol. We personally have no god but we do have ancient African Guardians watching over us...We found this symbol on a church in Hackney on Mare Street, alongside an old, well kept cemetery (though burials stopped here decades ago even though there's plenty of room). We'll cover the cemetery in another post...
Here's what some folks say about the Double Headed Eagle...
'One of the most prevalent emblems of the Scottish Rite is that of the Double-Headed Eagle. Mentioned briefly in comparison to the white-lambskin apron of the Craft Lodge, the symbol of the double-headed eagle is perhaps one of the most ancient emblems in Scottish Rite, having been represented for thousands of years in many of the worlds cultures. What is the significance of this symbol such that it has found its way into the mythology and symbolism of so many cultures over time? As a symbol, the image embodies many layers of meaning, each of which are significant. The eagle itself has always represented such ideas as nobility and just rulership.
The large wings are protective, while the razor sharp talons inflict punishment to evil. The noble white head indicates just and aristocratic ruler. Strength, courage, foresight and immorality have all been associated with this image. What, however, of the double headed eagle? Something in this image speaks to humanity at a primal, archetypal level. As a symbol, it is capable of transcending language, race, history, time itself – and presenting to the mind a presence of transformation and the eternal truth of man’s real nature. In order to understand this symbol we will necessarily have to venture into the recesses of the secret chambers of our hearts, the true sanctum sanctorum or secret shrine of the Divine. At the portico to the temple of Apollo at Delphi were said to be inscribed in gold letters the words GNOTHI SEUTON meaning “Know Thyself.” The symbol of the double-headed eagle will be found to harkens back to this simple instruction of the Greek sage Pythagoras; an instruction which is the gateway to Light and Truth, and the perfected nature of man when elevated to the highest.
Bro. Gregory H. Peters 32°'
'Originally a Byzantine symbol, the double-headed eagle was adopted by the Russian tsars as their own. One eagle head represents the East and the other represents the West. The horseman in the middle has been described as St. George. The orb and scepter are grasped in the eagle's claws. Above the eagle's heads is the crown. Now the double-headed eagle is on the coat of arms of the Russian Federation. The double-headed eagle you see here is the modern version; the double-headed eagle insignia that was used by the Tsars had some slight differences... Russian Imperial Double-Headed Eagle'
'The double-headed eagle first originated in the mighty Sumerian city of Lagash. From cylinders taken from the ruins of this ancient city, the double-headed eagle seems to have been known to the kings of the time as the Storm Bird. From the Sumerians this symbol passed to the men of Akkad, from whom it was brought to the Emperors of the East and West by the Crusades. Charlemagne first made use of the double-headed eagle when he became head of the German Empire, the two heads denoting the union of Rome and Germany, in AD 802. Long used as the insigne of a Scottish Rite Mason, the "Double Headed Eagle of Lagash" is now the accepted emblem in North America of the 32 Degree. It is the oldest crest in the world. It was a symbol of power more than two thousand years before the building of King Solomon's Temple. No other heraldic bearing, no other emblematic device of today can boast such antiquity.
There seem to be some who believe that the double-headed eagle may have been a Masonic symbol as early as the twelfth century, but, it probably was first known to Freemasonry in 1758, upon the establishment of the Council of Emperors of the East and West in Paris. This was a part of the Rite of Perfection, a rite of twenty-five degrees, from which was evolved a large part of the present system of Scottish Rite. The successors today of the council of Emperors of the East and West, are the various Supreme Councils of the Thirty-third Degree throughout the world. They have inherited the insignia of the personal emblem of Frederick the Great, First Sovereign Grand commander, who conferred upon the rite the right to use in 1786; at which time seven additional Degrees were "Adopted" making thirty-two "Ancient" and "Accepted" Degrees to which was added a governing Degree, the 33rd. The double headed eagle of Lagash is a white and black eagle. The head, neck, legs and tips of the wings are white, while the body and wings are black. Its wings are extended, yet drooping; in its claws is a naked sword, one talon of the right claw clutching the hilt of the steel serpentine shaped blade, the left claw grasping the blade... Scottish Rite of Canada'
"The Double Headed Eagle of Lagash" is the oldest Royal Crest in the World... No emblematic device of today can boast of such antiquity. Its origin has been traced to the ancient city of Lagash. It was in use a thousand years before the Exodus from Egypt and more than two thousand years before the building of "King Solomon's Temple." "As time rolled on, it passed from the Sumerians to the men of Akkad, from the men of Akkad to the Hittites, from the denizens of Asia Minor to the Seljukian Sultans from whom it was brought by the Crusaders to the Emperors of the East and West, whose successors were the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs." "In recent excavations, the city-emblem of Lagash was disclosed also as a lion headed eagle sinking his claws into the bodies of two lions standing back to back. This is evidently a variant of the other eagle symbol".
"The city of Lagash is in Sumer in Southern Babylonia, between the Euphrates and the Tigris and near the modern Shatra in Iraq, Lagash had a calendar of twelve lunar months, a system of weights and measures, a banking and accounting system and was a center of art, literature, military and political power, five thousand years before Christ". "In 102 B.C. the Roman Consul Marius decreed that the Eagle be displayed as a symbol of Imperial Rome. Later, as a world power, Rome used the Double-Headed Eagle, one head facing the East the other facing the West, symbolizing the universality and unity of the Empire. The Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire continued its use and the symbol was adopted later in Germany during the halcyon days of conquest and imperial power". So far as is known, the Double-Headed Eagle was first used in Freemasonry in 1758 by a Masonic Body in Paris - the Emperors of the East and West. During a brief period the Masonic Emperors of the East and West controlled the advanced degrees then in use and became a precursor of the "Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite". The Latin caption under the Double-Headed Eagle - "Spes Mea in Deo Est" translated is "My Hope Is In God"... Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry'