Before the Candidate is allowed to see any thing, when he is examined as to his motives, we are careful to ascertain whether he is prompted by a general desire of knowledge; for (the darkness he is in being designed as a preparation for what is coming) we want him to ponder over certain truths and thereby assist him in evoking the inner vision.
 It is while the Initiate is at the P., in a very strange position, and after he has declared "the predominant wish of his heart," that the veil - the symbol of his ignorance - drops, and the light comes; but, as we know, with us the posture of the body is at times "an emblem of the mind," and in this particular instance, that which the Ritual prescribes is full of meaning: the Initiate comes not merely as a Seeker but as a Supplicant who is anxious to learn.
When again he stands up, he becomes conscious of a change that has taken place in himself, and this feeling of his is echoed by the W.M. as he greets him: "Rise, newly obl. . d B. among . . ."
And now follows a series of discoveries, for besides the physical light that lightens up the scene, a new sort of light has been kindled within him by which he is able to discern the symbolic character of practically everything around him, and to perceive that he himself has become an integral part of the quaint tableau. The W.M. observes: "You now stand to all external appearance a just and upright Free Mason." And this is true enough, for every upright on level ground produces a perfect S. with its angle of 90°, and that S.  stands for our Rule of conduct. It is only when we live up to our own Masonic principles that we are "acting on the S.," and that is why we apply it to neck and breast, to temple and forehead, that we teach him to form it with hands and feet, with arms and knees. Then, too, the W.M. calls the attention of the Initiate to three objects laid on the P. and to three prominent individuals present who are described as our Greater and Lesser Lights respectively. It sounds odd, but just as in nature it is possible for an opaque body to become luminous, so, too, in Freemasonry our mystic light may be radiated not only by living persons, but also by the material things we handle.
The so-called "Lesser Lights" are associated with certain luminaries of the sky which we personify, as the Sun, the Moon, and a certain "Master-star" which is not expressly identified, but which appears to be Polaris, for Polaris presides over the midnight sky, being the pivot around which the whole of the heavens revolve. And in the Lodge, the Brethren representing those celestial orbs are distinguished by the tapers that are burning by their side.
 We know that the light - all light - has dynamic power, but it is surprising to hear that our "Greater Lights" are not living men, but certain emblems, called on one occasion "the furniture of the Lodge." Still, there is nothing unreasonable in this, for though the emblems be inanimate things, their mystic significance is more fixed, more illuminative, and more striking than the light that shines out of human lives, which at the best is variable and uncertain. Even in the case of Brethren occupying the highest offices, their character is liable to change, for either the better or the worse, since they are the children of circumstance like everybody else. Still, every officer may be said to diffuse Masonic Light, more or less effectively, in at least three ways:
(1) By the functions he discharges;
(2) By the example he affords to the Brethren;
(3) By the instruction he imparts to others.
Indeed, everyone of us may reflect some of the light received for the benefit of those around us, in the everyday life; and the Ritual encourages us to hope that whatever our shortcomings, after the vicissitudes of this mortal  life, we shall ascend to a higher plane, there "to shine as the stars for ever and ever." Figuratively speaking, the Greater Lights may be said to come into operation as follows: -
(1) The V. of the S.L. is a permanent light
which has been lighted by the G.A.O.T.U. for the entire world;
(2) The S. is the light which the ideal Freemason is supposed
to keep burning, and consequently it has always been the distinctive
badge of an Installed Master; (3) The C.'s are the light everyone
of us (even the humblest Brother) gives out in our attempts to
carry the principles of the Order into practice.
Back to The Apocalypse Of Freemasonry [ Previous ] [ Next ]