Symbolism of Washington, DC - excerpt


Symbolism of Washington, DC (the Anatomy of a Fish excerpt)


The following is excerpted from the detailed article entitled

“Symbolism of Washington, DC



The Geographical Symbolism of The District of Columbia


In this Chapter, I want to explore the symbolism of the original geographical "Diamond" shaped perimeter of Washington, DC and the Mall area within the District that represents a fish. 


For the purposes of clarity, Washington, DC is the Capital of the United States and the Mall area is identified as the geographical area located within Washington that includes the Capitol Building, White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and various other buildings and monuments. 


The Mall area is located within the imagery of a Fish that is cradled between the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers located within the boundaries of Washington, DC.  The symbolism of the "fish" that identifies the Mall area lying geographically within the enclosures of the city spiritually connects Washington, DC to many different nations and their different deities.  We will begin with the connection to ancient Nineveh.


In Biblical times Nineveh, like Washington DC, was also represented by the picture of a fish inside the enclosure of a city.  According to The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia, "The name of Nineveh is written Ninua and Nina in the cuneiform inscriptions.  A popular etymology connected it with the Assyrian nunu, 'fish,' at a very early date, since the name is ideographically represented by the picture of a fish inside the enclosure of a city".[1]


Pictured below is a map of the Mall – Central Area of the District of Columbia.[2] As can be seen from this map, the Mall area of D. C., like ancient Nineveh, is represented by the picture or image of a fish inside the enclosure of a city.    



The Mall of the District of Columbia

A Fish Inside The Enclosure Of A City


It’s obvious that the representation of a fish was not just happenstance.  Needless to say, this is just another example to the degree of secrecy that George Washington and the Freemasons operated to serve their own appetites.  If the boundaries of a fish are not just a fluke, then that leads us to believe that there was something of paramount significance in “spiritually” connecting the symbolism of a fish to the District of Columbia. 


I found it remarkable that the White House, the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial and several other buildings all correspond to the anatomy of a fish.    However, what’s more important is the spiritual significance of the symbolism of a fish.  And, in this section, both will be detailed.  (see the full article: Symbolism of Washington, DC)


It is obvious that those who were given the position of authority to determine the boundaries of our Nation’s Capitol purposely and knowingly chose to establish the boundaries of the mall within the shape of a fish. 


Given their lack of documentation on particular subjects, it is evident that their intent was for the symbolism to remain hidden not only from the public, but also from many of the Freemasons as well.  What was it they were conveying, yet hiding, not only about our Nation’s Capitol, but about themselves as well? 


Not everyone who uses symbols is using the symbols to hide behind.  Symbols are also used by people in general, not just those who are trying to conceal a hidden message.  Some people just like symbols.  That's one of the reasons why principalities can hide behind symbols.  One person can view symbols as art, while to another the same symbol is idolatry. 


Given that some may say that symbols are open to interpretation, I would like to share some "clearly identifiable" or "distinctive" symbolism concerning the Washington, D. C. Mall that could not just have been coincidental.


Two interesting pieces of symbolism are hidden within the layout of the mall area:  "fish and Masonic trademarks".  First, the mall area of the city is in the unmistakable form of a fish (see figure below).  Not only does the area resemble a fish, but the placement of all the buildings and monuments are strategically located according to the anatomical functions of a fish.  (Notations are superimposed over the above referenced map to show the location of various monuments and buildings)



The Washington, DC Mall Area with Annotations


Starting at the top of the fish and proceeding clockwise, we find externally a dorsal fin, caudal fin or tail, gills, and a head.  Internally are the heart and reproductive organs.  On top of the fish is the dorsal fin.  This is the part of the fish that lends stability in swimming.  The dorsal fin is where the White House, the executive branch of government, is located and the White House like the dorsal fin lends stability to the legislative branch of our government. 


The tail of the fish, also called the caudal fin, is the main propelling fin of the fish.  This is the location of the U.S. Capitol that houses Congress, the legislative branch of government, and like the caudal fin, the legislative branch of our government is what propels America. 


Representative of the gills, the breathing apparatus that takes water in and extracts oxygen for the fish, is the Tidal Basin.  Just as the gills of a fish are located slightly behind the eye, the Tidal Basin is located slightly behind the eye on the map.  And, the water in the Tidal Basin functions in the same manner as the water that goes in and out of the gills.


At the head of the fish where the brain is located is the Lincoln Memorial.  The Lincoln Memorial was designed to architecturally resemble the ancient Greek Parthenon in Athens, which was the shrine for the Greek goddess Athena, sometimes called the mind of god.  Just as Athena was the mind of a pagan god and was born at the head of the river, Lincoln’s Memorial was built in the head or mind of the fish with the head located on the Potomac River.


  Athena was also the goddess of wisdom and war, two characteristics of Lincoln’s presidency.   Importantly, Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States, a number that is extremely significant to Freemasonry.


Two internal organs are also represented.  The heart of a fish is located near and directly behind the gills of the fish.  This is the location of the Jefferson Memorial.  Jefferson was instrumental in authoring the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, particularly the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights.  More than anything else, these documents represent the “heart” of the American experience. 


Finally, the reproductive organs of the fish are found on the bottom of the fish near the tail, but extending diagonally inward to the center of the fish.  This is the exact location of the Washington Monument, an obelisk that is an ancient symbol of sun worship found in many ancient civilizations, including Babylon and Egypt.  The sun was the giver of life to plants and man; in this context, the obelisk was also the phallic symbol of reproductive significance.  George Washington, of course, is affectionately known as the “father of our country” and his phallic symbol is right where it should be.


This examination only scratches the surface of the fish symbolism.  For example, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica as well as some other historians, “L’Enfant’s ideas for a capital city were based not on 13 colonies with 3,000,000 inhabitants but on a republic ultimately having 50 states and 500,000,000 citizens.” [3]


As a “timely” point of interest, according to the Census Bureau’s “Population Clock”, as of Tuesday, October 17, 2006, the United States population reached the 300 million mark at 7:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.[4]   The 300 million mark is only 200 million shy of L’Enfant’s 500,000,000 estimate which no doubt will eventually be realized.


Given L’Enfant’s vision in 1790 of 50 states it’s interesting that a fish has 50 or 51 scales that make up the lateral line of a fish.  The lateral line of a fish, which extends from the top of the gills to the tail, just so happens to correspond to the location of the Mall with its straight line extending from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol.  Furthermore, the lateral line of most fish consists of 49 to 53 scales, but the most common are 50 or 51.  Again, it just so happens that America has 50 states and with the addition of the District of Columbia the total is 51. 


In the tail of the fish is Capitol Hill, an ancient “high place” where the Algonquian Indians used to hold their tribal councils.  The Capitol grounds are in the shape of a goat’s head, symbolic of Satan.  In Masonic symbolism, they intended the nation to be propelled (caudal fin) by Satan, not God.  And the list goes on.


Freemasons often use one symbol to convey more than one idea (or spirit) while at the same time achieving a particular objective that involves multiple concepts or beliefs.  And so it was with the image of the fish. 


Spiritually, the fish is symbolic of: 1) Leviathan, a large sea monster or serpent, 2) the fish-god Dagon, and 3) Rahab, all of which are referenced in the Bible.  While they are not the main ruling spirit, Leviathan, Rahab and Dagon, are three of the ruling principalities over the city of Washington, DC. 


Dagon, the fish deity, was an object of idolatry worshiped by the Philistines, 1 Samuel 5. 


Leviathan is referenced in Job 41, Psalm 74 and Isaiah 27.  Leviathan not only means "twisted," or "coiled", Leviathan also means to cause to lend and borrow.  Leviathan is a large sea animal and this spirit is also identified as a dragon or serpent as well.  Whether a large fish or serpent, the Leviathan is symbolic of a powerful enemy opposed to righteousness.   


Rahab means to be proud and arrogant and is a poetical reference to Egypt in Psalm  87:4; 89:10; and Isaiah 51:9.  Rahab was symbolic of a dragon or a large sea monster. 


People in DC Compared to Fish

Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of Treasury from 1795 to 1800 even compared the residents of D. C. to bad fish.  "Many Congressmen turned up their noses and wondered how long it would take to write off a bad experiment in capital location and begin again.  Oliver Wolcott, the Secretary of the Treasury, possibly noting the absence of any source of taxes, observed that 'the people are poor, and as far as I can judge, they live like fishes, by eating each other,'" [5]



© Gwen Thomas, October, 2006





Addresses Delivered in the Auditorium of the United States Chamber of Commerce Building, Washington, D.C., at Meetings Held to discuss the Development of the National Capital. Development of the United States Capital.  U.S. Government Printing Office, 1930


Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe Edition 2003 CD-ROM/DVD. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1994-2002


Fallows, Samuel ed. Bible Encyclopaedia and Scriptural Dictionary. Chicago: Howard-Severance Company, 1922


Ohlemacher, Stephen. U.S. Population Hits 300 Million Mark”. Washington Post on the Web, 17 October 2006, <>


Weisberger, Bernard. The District of Columbia. NY: Time-Life Books, 1968




[1]  Rev. Samuel Fallows, The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia, Volume II, p. 1238-1239


[2]  Addresses Delivered, et al, Development of the United States Capital, p.92


[3]  Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003, Washington: Physical and Human Geography: Character of the City: The Incomplete City”


[4]  Stephen Ohlemacher, U.S. Population Hits 300 Million Mark”,, 17 October 2006


[5]  Bernard Weisberger, The District of Columbia, p.35