The Summerhouse in Washington DC is a place that even many of the most enthusiastic visitors never get to see and it is likely that a good percentage of those who live in Washington are also unaware of its existence. In comparison with the 'big' attractions, such as the Washington Monument, the Capitol or the Lincoln Memorial, the Summerhouse is tiny and almost insignificant. Nevertheless, it is one of the most important and informative structures to have been built in this most remarkable city - mainly because it proves conclusively that Washington DC is and always has been the City of the Stars and that the whole place was planned to conform to a carefully and elaborately planned cosmic pattern. Whether you believe us or not please read on.
This graphic shows the Capitol building from above and also shows the location of the Summerhouse within the Capitol Grounds. It occupies that tiny triangle at the end of the arrow. The sides of the triangle are only around 90 feet and the Summerhouse itself measures only around 25 feet in any direction. It might be suggested by some that the Summerhouse is little more than a 'folly' - the parting thought of a landscape architect who wished to leave those working at the Capitol somewhere whimsical and pleasant to pass on the lunch time. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. According to tradition the planning and building of the Capitol Grounds Summerhouse came about so that people could find somewhere to get a drink of fresh water on hot days as well as putting their feet up for a few minutes. The structure amply served these purposes but it did and does a lot more in addition that you won't find detailed in any book or on any website apart from this one.
This is a copy of the original design of the Capitol Grounds Summerhouse. It was the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, a Landscape Architect who had been hired in 1874 to redesign and beautify the land around the Capitol. The Summerhouse represented just a tiny part of Olmsted's work across more than a decade. He had originally planned for two Summerhouses but more about that later. The hexagonal Summerhouse has three entrances which all open onto a central area which contains a fountain that was originally a drinking fountain. This was fed by a spring that runs through the Capitol grounds. One entrance to the Summerhouse faces roughly southwest, another east of north and the third roughly south east. It might be considered that the southwest entrance is the most important because opposite this there is a break in the row of seats on the eastern wall. This is occupied from about waist level by a metal grill covering an elliptical opening, through which can be seen a small but delightful grotto with running water. It is the seats either side of this metal grill that turn out to be the most significant in terms of what the Summerhouse 'does'.
It was Janet that first noticed the Summerhouse, whilst on a research trip to Washington DC with her husband, the writer, geologist and TV presenter Scott Wolter. We had all visited Washington DC on many occasions before and at the time Janet noticed the Summerhouse our book, America - Nation of the Goddess was almost complete and ready to go to our publisher. At first Alan was not as inspired by the Summerhouse as Janet was, but Janet is persistent when she latches onto something she instinctively knows to be important, so together we began to look more closely at this strange little structure. What we hit upon first turned out to be the most complex but the most fascinating aspect of the Summerhouse. This was the series of three pairs of what we came to call 'Slots' that are to be found on either side of each entrance of the Summerhouse. What they turned out to have been created to do is little short of incredible but we are going to save that information for a little later, because it takes some study and thinking about. In the meantime, we are going to deal with what we came to realize were the most obvious uses for which the Summerhouse was quite clearly designed - but which we only noticed a little later.
The picture on the right is of Stonehenge, probably the most famous Megalithic standing stone circle in the world. It is to be found in the South of England on Salisbury Plain. Like all stone circles and stone alignments from the Megalithic period in Western Europe, which date back in some cases to 3,000 BCE it is now more or less universally recognized that Stonehenge was erected with solar alignments in mind. Our ancient ancestors seem to have been deeply interested in locating the exact place on the eastern and western horizons where the sun, moon and planets could be expected to rise or set at any given time throughout the year. The stone circles and outlying stones allowed important rising and setting points to be viewed at crucial times - building up a reservoir of knowledge that was of use to both hunter gatherers and farmers. It was almost certainly also the case that in the rising and setting points of the sun, moon and planets our ancient ancestors saw a spiritual significance that was the precursor to modern religions.
Take a look at the graphic on the left. This shows how simple sighting points work. Let us suppose that you are standing on a level surface and looking towards the eastern horizon. You want to mark the rising point of the sun on the horizon on the day of midsummer solstice, which occurs around June 21st so that you can find it again whenever you want in any future year. Let us assume you have worked out the day of the midsummer solstice. What you have to do now is to have a place to stand before dawn on that morning (which will be marked and will always be the same place - the observation point) and you need a marker such as a standing stone between yourself and the sun as it rises on the horizon. Once you have arranged this you will know in future that when the sun rises above the standing stone as you see it from the Observation Point, the day MUST be the midsummer solstice because although the sun always rises 'somewhere' in the east it travels along the eastern horizon throughout the year. In the northern hemisphere the sun rises north of east at midsummer and south of east at midwinter. Once you have marked the point on the horizon where midsummer sunrise happens, you will then be in a good position to know exactly what time of year it is. This was essential knowledge both to those who tracked the migratory habits of wild animals or those planting and harvesting crops.. The same system can of course be used to track the setting sun, by simply facing in the opposite direction, towards the west.
A Modern Megalithic Structure
The first task that the Summerhouse achieves is to mark the point on the western horizon where the midwinter sun sets around December 21st. As in the example above an observation point is required and this is the western entrance to the Summerhouse. In place of a standing stone to use as a sighting point, the individuals who planned this part of Washington DC included a monument - but a monument of a very special nature, to act as the sighting point. Anyone standing at the entrance of the Summerhouse on December 21st in the late afternoon would be able to see the sun set right over the top of the Peace Monument and they would know that this was the time of what is known as the Winter Solstice - in other words midwinter. Anyone might reasonably ask the question "How do we know that this happening did not simply come about by chance?" It's a good question and the answer is that we know because of the nature of the Peace Monument and also the fact that there were originally meant to be 'two' Summerhouses, one in the north and one in the south. First of all we will deal with the Peace Monument.
The Extraordinary Peace Monument
This is a picture of the Peace Monument. The Peace Monument was created between 1877 and 1878 (at almost the same time as the Summerhouse) and it was designed to commemorate the sailors who gave their lives during the American Civil War (At least that is 'part' of what it was designed for.) The monument is 44 feet in height and is made of marble. On the west side of the Monument can be seen two Goddesses at the highest point. They represent Grief, who is crying, and another Goddess who is referred to as History, who is writing in a book. Further down is a third Goddess who is known as Victory. On the other side of the Monument is yet another Goddess, this one known as Peace. She can be seen below. The way this Monument was designed is very telling and in particular extremely Freemasonic in nature. We have learned over the years that wherever Freemasonry is involved there is always more than one way to look at a situation or an object. There is no doubt that the Peace Monument first and foremost commemorates those brave individuals who gave their life to the cause of freedom but that is far from being the end of the story.
To those who understand the sort of symbolism that humanity has been using in an almost global sense for literally thousands of years, the Peace Monument has a very important story to tell. The statues facing west are all associated with death, grieving and war. West represents that part of the sky where the sun, moon, planets and stars all set - in other words they 'die'. However, on the east side of the monument we find the statue that is named Peace. This Goddess is shown surrounded by the fruits of Nature. She is extremely beautiful and scantily clad, as if to reflect the summer and good weather. Also associated with her are aspects of work and useful production. This side of the monument therefore symbolises hope, life, birth and endeavour. Once again this reflects extremely ancient thinking because the east is the place where the sun, moon, planets and stars are 'born' each day. It is the cardinal point that represents life and hope, as surely as the West signifies death and corruption. The evidence that is offered by the Peace Monument shows conclusively and without the slightest doubt that it is by no means an arbitrary structure. The artist knew very well what he was doing, or else was encouraged by those who commissioned the monument to create it in a very definite way. The math, geometry and astronomy incorporated into the Peace Monument and the position it occupies further 'insists' that it is intended to serve a very important purpose in addition to being a simple war memorial.
The Mechanics of Sunset in Washington DC
When the City of Washington DC was planned at the end of the 18th century, it could have occupied just about any place within the States that were a part of the new free United States at that time. We have shown time and again that there was in fact nothing arbitrary about the location chosen by General and President George Washington and those who assisted him in the planning of this magnificent adventure. How far the sun travels up and down the east and west horizon throughout the year in any particular location is governed by the latitude of that place, in other words how many degrees north or south of the equator it happens to be. The meticulous planning that went into the location for Washington DC placed it at a very special latitude. This means that the Sun travels exactly 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south of east and 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south of west throughout any year. This does not happen everywhere and the symmetry it creates in terms of observing the sky is unique to the latitude of Washington DC. Midwinter sunset in Washington DC takes place at 240 degrees. The site line that runs from the west entrance of the Summerhouse and through the Peace Monument is 239 degrees - for a very important reason. The height of the Peace Monument was very carefully planned at 44 feet so that when it is seen from the west entrance of the Summerhouse, the top of monument will stand more or less level with the visible horizon. This means that when the sun sets on the evening of the midwinter solstice the orb of the sun will set directly behind the Peace Monument There is a very important reason for this. In the picture above we have recreated the effect on a table top, using scale measures. Although we have not yet been able to capture this happening in the real world because of weather conditions, the math says categorically that this is what anyone standing at the entrance of the Summerhouse and looking at the Peace Monument on the early evening of December 21st would see if the sky was clear. But why is this important?
Points to Remember
This is a picture taken by Scott and Janet of the view from the Summerhouse facing west. Only a part of the original photograph is shown here, in order to emphasise the Peace Monument. When the monument was first constructed in the 1870's the top of it would have been level with or just slightly above the western horizon as seen from the Summerhouse western entrance. The site behind the monument is today occupied by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. As a result it is now impossible for the setting sun to touch the absolute top of the Peace Monument as it once did. However, we do not see even this situation as being arbitrary. Once one understands the Venus families - that group of highly influential people that has been responsible for the planning of Washington DC and indeed many other cities in the United States, the words 'accidental' or 'arbitrary' cease to be significant. In other words the placement of the National Museum of the American Indian on this site was almost certainly intended and carefully planned as we will explain later.
The Winter Solstice
To cultures from all over the Earth and for thousands of years the night of the Winter Solstice has been of critical importance. In many of the very oldest religions the midwinter period brought great worry and stress. The weather was getting colder and colder, with nature at a low ebb and food in short supply. If the sun kept traveling south at dawn beyond the day of the Winter Solstice (around December 21st these days) then nothing would grow again and humanity would be doomed. Our ancient ancestors equated this to the lives of deities and in particular to the Great Goddess, who in their minds represented the very Earth itself. They considered that the sun represented the God, just as the Earth was the Goddess and it seemed to them that unless the God in the form of the Sun had 'communion', in other words mated with the Earth Goddess, eternal darkness and starvation would surely follow. These same cultures considered that the God who was the consort of the Earth and who took on the persona of the sun, died each year at the time of the Winter Solstice but that the communion between the Goddess and the Old God that took place on the night of the midwinter solstice meant the conception of the New God, who would be born the following Spring, ensuring the fertility of the Earth for another year. . To the left is a picture of Attis, one of the dying and reborn Gods of the Ancient world, of which there were many. Note the Phrygian cap he wears (otherwise known as the Liberty Cap). Readers of our book 'America - Nation of the Goddess' will encounter this symbol time and again.
The 'Other' Summerhouse
How can we know for sure that all of this was intended in Washington DC? Could it all be the most outrageous coincidence? The answer is a very emphatic no because we can be sure that it was the intention of those who put the Summerhouse where it is and who built the Peace Monument to also celebrate the 'other' solstice, the one that takes place at midsummer. We know this is the case because in the original conception for the Capitol grounds there was to be not one but two summerhouses. The aerial graphic on the left shows where the Southern Summerhouse was going to stand. The only reason it was never built was because some members of Congress (who clearly were not in on the plan,) did not care for the design of the Northern Summerhouse and therefore refused to grant funds for its southern counterpart. However, this did not prevent those who 'were' in the know from creating a further monument that would mean a view of the midsummer sunset from the southern location. This is the structure known as the Garfield Monument, which stands in memory of President James A Garfield, the 20th President of the free United States who was assassinated whilst in office. This monument would have been particularly appropriate for the midsummer sunset spectacle, not least of all because President Garfield was a prominent and enthusiastic Freemason. As we have pointed out repeatedly, at its heart Freemasonry contains many of the attributes of ancient religion, including a veneration for both midwinter and midsummer sunrise and sunset. The thinly disguised Freemasonic version of the dying and reborn God of the sun is known as Hiram Abiff, a semi-legendary character who in Freemasonic ritual (to those who truly understand it) represents the dying God of the Sun. Had the Southern Summerhouse been completed, from its entrance on the evening of June 21st the same sort of spectacle as takes place at the midwinter setting would have been played out, only this time the sun would have stood behind the Garfield monument, emphasising the sacrifice of Brother James A Garfield, as both a representative of Hiram Abiff and the dying and reborn sun.
The National Museum of the American Indian
Of all the buildings that could be involved in the Midwinter Sunset spectacle seen from the Summerhouse, no structure could have been more important than that of the National Museum of the American Indian. Through our own work and that of many of our associates, including of course Scott Wolter but also to a great extent William Mann, a close association between the group we call the Venus families and Indigenous American peoples has been highlighted repeatedly. This association goes far back in time, long before the generally accepted era of European settlement in North America. Through their representatives as far back as the 12th century the Venus families established strong ties with the Native peoples, co-operating and intermarrying. The series of disasters that fell upon indigenous American people at the time of mass European settlement had nothing at all to do with the Venus families, who must have viewed such events with great sorrow. This makes the placement of the National Museum of the American Indian on this specific site all the more appropriate and also very telling. The building is directly 'involved' in the midwinter sunset as seen from the Summerhouse. The upper and most elevated statues on the Peace Monument that face the museum are specifically History and Grief, both of which could not be more appropriate to the disasters that overtook so many Native peoples. The fact that these statues are on the west side of the monument also tells its own tale about misery, dislocation and death. However, on the east side of the Peace Monument and therefore showing to anyone looking at the Peace Monument from the Summerhouse is the Goddess 'Peace' herself, an appropriate gesture from a modern American nation that increasingly regrets the catastrophes of the past involving North America's indigenous population. Once again we see no coincidence in this and feel certain that Venus family influence must have been present to ensure that the National Museum of the American Indian occupied the site it does.
The 'Key' to Washington DC
We came to understand that this tiny building, which is completely overshadowed by some of the most amazing structures to be seen anywhere in the world, was just as important as any of them and even more significant than many. We have started to describe the Summerhouse as the 'Key' to Washington DC because it encapsulates so much of what the City is about in an astronomical and geometric sense. The Summerhouse offers its own particular clues about its true purpose and some of these, like the slots, are spelled out in the very fabric of the building. However, there is one particular clue that is very evident, once one realizes how much the Summerhouse has in common with other important solar structures, such as the Washington Monument. In the photograph on the left a very chilly winter Janet can be seen sitting on one of the seats at the western end of the Summerhouse. Behind her, picked out in the brickwork, is the shape of an obelisk. Not only does this connect directly to the Washington Monument in terms of its shape, it also acts as an instruction as to where an observer should sit whilst making observations from the Summerhouse. The unique design of the Summerhouse may have yet more to tell us about this extraordinary building and could introduce us to further observations which are written into this beautiful little pavilion.
The Tip of an Iceberg
As if all of this was not extraordinary enough we had already known for some time that the existing Summerhouse has another use, which is even more remarkable than the deliberately created midwinter Sun phenomenon. This represents one of the deepest secrets of Washington DC and we were staggered when we found it. The Summerhouse was specifically designed to offer the calibration of a sacred measurement upon which the whole footprint of Washington DC was created and is still being created to the present day. It is now our great pleasure to be able to reveal this information to anyone who is sufficiently interested to look at it and who will take the short steps necessary to understand its true significance in displaying a Washington DC that few people are even aware exists.