So you’ve read Dan Brown’s thriller The Lost Symbol, or you want to read it, but first you’d like to know what the lost symbol of the title is? Don’t even glance at the next paragraph, because it contains the answer. Stop now if you prefer to read all 509 pages.
In fact, I fibbed. To keep you from inadvertently reading the answer, I have quoted the so-called secret teachings of all ages in the front matter of The Lost Symbol: “To live in this world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.”
On the last page of the book, Robert Langdon realizes that the lost symbol is God, standing for limitless human potential. Earlier, his mentor Peter Solomon had shown him that the hidden Masonic message was a sort of surveyor’s metes and bounds map of Washington, D.C.
The Lost Word was to be found in a Masonic cornerstone down a winding stairwell deep beneath a pyramid inscribed with the Latin phrase Laus Deo – Praise God.
That pyramid exists and is the capstone of the Washington Monument. 555 feet below, down a square spiral staircase is a copy of the Bible, The Word, encased in the monument’s cornerstone. Dan Brown explains that all Holy books, from the Bible, to the Koran, the Torah, and the Hindu Vedas contain the lost symbol: God.
God is a symbol for the fundamental Ancient Mystery, namely that all human minds are not only created in the likeness of the great creator-mind, but also the unlimited nature of the mind makes us creators, or gods as well.
As a red herring to throw us off the track, an actual symbol, a circle surrounding a dot (or circumpunct) is falsely given as the lost symbol. This ancient glyph often represents our Sun, or God. In fact, viewed from above, the Washington Monument appears as a dot in a circular plaza. In the early chapters of the book Professor Langdon even mentions that he belongs to a secret cult which meets on the pagan day of the Egyptian sun god Ra. He is teasing his students by referring to Holy Communion on Sunday.
You may actually find you enjoy the story even more on second reading, especially knowing what our hero Robert Langdon is struggling to see right before his eyes.