(Excerpted from United Symbolism of America by Robert R. Hieronimus, Ph.D.)
Freemasons did not officially use the all-seeing eye as one of their symbols until several decades after the approval of the U.S. Great Seal.18 Likewise the pyramid. It’s more a case of the Great Seal influencing the Masons to adopt these symbols than the Masons influencing the symbols used in the Great Seal. Masons do not usually depict their all-seeing eye encased in a triangle, but rather floating alone among clouds, just as a lot of Christians do. Masons have long admired pyramids as incredible structures built by ancient stone masons, but they did not become popular on regalia until after the adoption of the Great Seal. Masonic symbolism and popular American symbolism run parallel sometimes, choosing as they did from the same pool, but the pyramid-with-the-eye-in-the-triangle-above-it is not a Masonic symbol. It was not an Illuminati symbol. It was not an Egyptian, Phoenician, Babylonian or any other kind of symbol. It was designed by an American, and a non-Mason, Charles Thomson. The reverse of the Great Seal is an American symbol.
Fundamentalist-conspiratorialists see a similarity between the U.S. Great Seal and contemporary corporate logos as “proof” of an Illuminati or Freemasonic world domination conspiracy. The popularity of eyes in corporate logos is probably due more to the logo designers wanting you to think about vision and far sightedness than they do about the all-seeing eye of God (or Satan, for that matter). I’m convinced that the popularity of circles and triangles in corporate logos is because these are basic shapes that resemble so many things in our world, including the letters in our alphabet that are very often incorporated as part of a company’s graphic designs.
This may seem obvious to you now, but if you ever come across a documentary or a website demonstrating how similar are the symbols used by secret societies and corporate logos, it can tend to suck you in. When in doubt, always look for the sources behind the claim. The fundamentalist-conspiratorialists who attack the reverse of the Great Seal and call it a template for the Illuminati to reveal themselves through corporate logos usually rely heavily on the writings of Nesta H. Webster, William Guy Carr, Texe Marrs and David Icke, all of whom in turn list The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as one of their own main sources.… While the nature of symbolic interpretations is that several differing layers can all be correct at the same time, any correlations must first pass the test of historical accuracy.The Owl on the Dollar and the Bohemian Grove
When the reverse of the Great Seal became erroneously linked to the Freemasons, it began to develop a pseudo-history that has twisted all its positive interpretations around to suit the anti-Masons’ agenda. Because of its placement on the dollar bill, every element of this intricately beautiful design has been scoured. Every millimeter of the eagle side of the Great Seal, every letter and every angle has been interpreted as “proof” that an ultimate secret society is in control of everything and everyone. They discovered you can draw a hexagram over the reverse of the Great Seal on the dollar bill, and the letters at five of the points would spell out “Mason” (they also spell out “No Sam” or “So Man” or “O Mans”). A great fuss is made over a tiny corner of the webbing in the background of the bill’s design and how various junctures look like spiders or owls. These symbols are then given their most nefarious meanings as if there is only one level interpretation possible. See the illustration where the webbing hits the top left of the border around the numeral “1” in the top right corner on the front of the dollar bill and perhaps you will also see the “owl” or “spider”. It is unlikely that this “owl” is anything other than a trick of the eyes at a point where the spirograph pattern of the background webbing joins together. But if Weeks had intended this pattern to be an owl, it’s much more likely that he would have seen it as a symbol of wisdom, which is the most commonly accepted interpretation of an owl. Fundamentalist-conspiratorialists, however, have constructed a complicated scheme based on this tiny mark on the dollar bill. By digging deeply, they found some symbolic meanings of the owl that match their preconceived evil interpretations. The one they like the best links this tiny “owl” on the dollar to the mascot of the Bohemian Grove, a summer camp for the elite and powerful in California. According to eyewitness accounts by journalists who have infiltrated the Bohemian Grove retreats,6 the activities during the two-week camp are nothing more than an attempt to bond the attendees in a spirit of exclusive togetherness. Their opening ceremonies are rather bizarre, however, apparently cobbled together from many different traditions. It began back in 1872 as a “spoof of ceremonies”7 to encourage participants to put aside their thoughts and concerns about business.