Good and evil typically appear as opposites to us today.
Evil being defined as the absence of good.
But in reality, we wouldn't know what good is without having first experience evil.
It's a delicate balance between the two seemingly "opposite" forces. And in ancient cultures, it was understood that good and evil were apart of the same reality and their coexistence was dependent upon each other in an endless struggle that keeps them in balance.
This conceptual difference was reflected in the different ways of viewing the devil/demon, personified as Mesopotamia's Pazuzu, which guarded the balance of chaos (pictured above to the left).
To the Babylonians, Sumerians, Akkadians, and Assyrians... Pazuzu was the southwest wind, known for bringing famine during dry seasons, locusts during rainy seasons, and was one of the Seven "Evil Demons," being the messenger of pests and disease.
But also, paradoxically, aside from being called the "Master of Chaos" was called a "Spirit Helper," providing help in the most dangerous, chaotic, and hostile times.
Because of this, his image was used as an amulet to protect their wearers against his main "enemy" and "wife," Lamashtu, an awful goddess (cannibalistic in nature) that would "devour" newborns and their mothers during child birth.
Although Pazuzu is, himself, an evil spirit, he drives away other evil spirits, therefore protecting humans against plagues and misfortunes... only releasing the amount in which we as humans can handle.
This paradox is a great way to understand the vision of an "imperfect world," the fragile balance in the Universe maintaining a "battleground" between the forces of Chaos and the forces of Order. All seen by the American Eagle carrying a bundle of arrows and an olive branch. This is how the "Mysteries" taught.
Back to America's "Bold Eagle" Symbolism...
On the left is the bird's head from the first official Great Seal of the United States (1782), and next to it the Great Seal of 1902.
The Egyptians occasionally represented the Bennu (phoenix) as having the body of a man and the wings of a bird (pictured to the right). This biform, creature had a tuft of feathers upon its head and its arms were upraised in an attitude of prayer.
As the Bennu (phoenix) was the symbol of regeneration, the tuft of feathers on the back of its head might well symbolize the activity of the Pineal gland, or third eye, since the occult function of which was apparently well understood by the ancient priestcraft.
And while it makes sense that an eagle reminiscent of the Bennu (phoenix) should be used to represent a new country rising out of an old one...
Benjamin Franklin did not agree to the use of the eagle.
He explained in a letter to his daughter:
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perch’d on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish,... the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him."
In the first part of this letter, Franklin described the problems with a ruling aristocracy. Franklin saw the eagle as an avian aristocrat: classy-looking, but unconcerned with helping the helpless.
Seen as an exalted eagle, rather than its true form of a lowly scorpion or serpent.
Unfortunately, today it seems that most people (leaders and nations) that have used an eagle end up turning out to be better represented by the violent, ego-driven "serpent" persona... as history alludes to...
Tribe of Dan: Eagle or Scorpion?
The emblem of the tribe of Dan was the serpent, in fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:17:
”Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.” However, the prince of the tribe of Dan replaced the serpent with an eagle.“
Here Dan was given the symbol of Scorpio, which, in the ancient Egyptian zodiac was a snake.
However, when the time came to "hoist" the symbol of the snake, Ahiezer refused and chose instead the symbol of an eagle. According to Unger’s Bible Dictionary:
"Dan’s position in the journey was on the north of the Tabernacle, with Asher and Naphtali. The standard of the tribe was of white and red, and the crest upon it, an eagle, the great foe to serpents, which had been chosen by the leader instead of a serpent, because Jacob had compared Dan to a serpent. Ahiezer substituted the eagle, the destroyer of serpents, as he shrank from carrying an adder upon his flag. It may prove worthwhile to consider the possible connection to the tribe of Dan whenever an eagle is used as the symbol of subsequent leaders or nations." (127:117)
As explained in "Gospel Zodiac," Jesus personifies the sun passing through the twelve constellations of the Zodiac. The story takes place when the sun is in Scorpio. We are told Judas plotted with the chief priests and elders to arrest the man Judas identified as Jesus by "kissing" him.
"While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him."
And he came up to Jesus at once and said, "Hail, Master!" And he kissed him." (Matthew 26:47-49)
In the image below, as the sun exits Libra, it enters into the waiting arms of Scorpio to be "kissed" by Scorpio's bite.
Judas was then removed as being one of the disciples (constellations) and replaced with a 13th. Two possibilities then lied with the higher symbol of the 8th zodiac sign in all estoeric traditions... Either to live as an eagle or scorpion, symbolizing the choice we have to make on a daily basis to either "break the cycle" or "continue the cycle" of "good" or "evil."
Why Scorpio was considered "Bad?"
A scorpion was called by the ancients a "backbiter," being the symbol of "deceit and perversion."
Looking at the time of year that Scorpio was associated with, we can begin to understand why so much negativity was given towards it.
Its presence used to signify the beginning of Fall (Oct. 24 - Nov. 22)... the time when trees lost their leaves and humans could no longer spend excessive time outdoors. The "winter blues" automatically come to mind. Thus, it's clear how "death" and "regeneration" became synonymous with the Holiday / celebration of Halloween during this same time.
Now, let's take a look at the final Great Seal design first published in 1787, in The Columbian magazine.
Now, many people point out that since Freemasonry uses the "All-Seeing Eye" or "Eye of Providence" as a symbol, that they must have influenced the US Great Seal.
It's fair to note however, that while today the "Eye of Providence" is a common Masonic motif, this was not "officially" the case during the 1770's and 1780's (the decades when the Great Seal was being designed and approved).
According to David Barrett, a Masonic researcher, the Eye seems to have been used "only sporadically" by the Masons in those decades, and was not fully adopted as a "common" Masonic symbol until 1797... 21 years after the first committee proposed using it and 15 years after it was officially adopted by the United States.
The Eye of Providence was, on the other hand, a fairly common Christian motif throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and was commonly used as such in Europe as well as America throughout the 18th century.
One thing's for sure and that's symbols do not have a singular or exclusive meaning, interpretation, or use. Based on their cultural context at the time, they're given a new life and purpose.
While all of these entities meant to represent "God," the "Divine," etc. this by itself could not constitute a direct connection or that the Masons were somehow involved with the design.
While Benjamin Franklin was a Mason, he was the only one apart of the four Great Seal committees that was definitively known to be a member... and his ideas were not adopted.
Of the four artists whose ideas were adopted, neither Charles Thomson, Pierre Du Simitière nor William Barton were Masons... and while Francis Hopkinson has been alleged to have had Masonic connections, there is no "firm" evidence to support the claim.