“Long before the introduction of idolatry into religion, the early priests caused the statue of a man to be placed in the sanctuary of the temple. This human figure symbolized the Divine Power in all its intricate manifestations. … The statue may have opened, thus showing the relative positions of the organs, bones, muscles, nerves, and other parts. After ages of research, the manikin became a mass of intricate hieroglyphs and symbolic figures. Every part had its secret meaning. The measurements formed a basic standard by means of which it was possible to measure all parts of the cosmos. It was a glorious composite emblem of all the knowledge possessed by the sages and hierophants. … The philosophers of antiquity realized that man himself was the key to the riddle of life.” ~Manly P. Hall
When I tried to find images of this temple man with a Google search, I didn’t find anything that appeared to be what Mr. Hall is talking about. Nevertheless, I believe him because Mr. Hall always did his research and never made things up.
So this statue of a man in ancient temples and mystery schools represented many things. It was the microcosm to the macrocosm of the universe. It was a representation of creation. Most of all, it represented the link between the spiritual worlds and the physical as that is what man is. No other life form on Earth serves that purpose.
Divine Temple Man
Mr. Hall says this Temple Man represented the “Divine Power in all its intricate manifestations.” He does not elaborate, so we don’t know exactly how it does that. We have to figure it out ourselves.
One important thing is that we must not jump to the conclusion, as so many have, that if man represents the divine, then God must look like us. That is just nonsense. God is pure spirit, pure Light, and bear no resemblance whatsoever to physical man. Only our souls are image of God. It is therefore reasonable to assume that understanding the meaning of the temple man statue required studying it on a spiritual level as well as physical.
Temple Man Meanings
We are told that this temple man was likely covered with Hieroglyphs to help one understand its meaning. Without examples of them, we don’t know what those meanings are. One thing we can do is look up the symbolism associated with the human body, various parts of it, and gestures or poses of the body. Of course I am talking about spiritual symbolism, not the kind known as “body language”. So lets take a look at a few examples.
The Human Body
The Hindu writings refer to the physical body as “deha” or “deham”. This is interpreted as mean that the body protects the real Self, the spiritual self. It protects and assists the Self as it finds its way back to The Abode of Brahman found in the Sun.
The Human Hand
The hand is an important symbol. It can represent helping others and helping ourselves. It is also a protective symbol. In some well-known artworks of ancient Egypt, the rays of the sand are terminated with human hands representing that the divine Light coming from the spiritual sun is an aid, a “hand”, to man in spiritual development.
The eye of temple man is another part with much symbolic meaning. We have the “Eye of Providence” or all-seeing Eye that is usually shown surrounded by rays of light as if it were a miniature sun. The Eye of Horus represented protection, but an evil eye could cause harm.
Temple Man’s Purpose
That is just a small amount of the symbolism that is associated with the human body and its parts, and the ancients may have had others that have been forgotten with time. The most important thing to know about the Temple Man statues of the ancients is that it dis not represent a god to be worshiped, but a learning tool for studying our relationship with God and the cosmos.