A comparison between theology and
Freemasonry is worth a mention here.
A Freemason’s darkness indicates only
a helpfulness to emphasise the worth of
knowledge. In a Freemason’s Lodge it is not
used to emphasise a moral regeneration.
A candidate for Freemasonry is
already a moral individual or he would
not be an Initiate! Interestingly, there
is a particularly appropriate extract from
Isaiah which exclaims:
“I will give thee the treasures of darkness and
hidden riches of secret places”
The “treasures of darkness” are those which
the Initiate receives whilst he is in darkness;
the hidden riches of secret places he receives
later in the ceremony when he is permitted to
kneel in “the secret places” of Freemasonry.
Without darkness he could neither see
nor appreciate the light. The darkness of
unseeing eyes is in itself a treasure in that it
teaches the lesson of dependence upon
others – of friendly hands, of the eventual
unveiling to come – and the unforgettable
anticipation of new knowledge.
A further reference to the scriptures is
interesting when before the unveiling there
is “darkness on the face of the deep”. This
darkness is fully emphasised in the degree.
“The spirit of God moved upon the face
of the waters” … Here we all can recall –
that never-to-be-forgotten moment
when it is only by a knowledge of – and
a dependence upon The Great Architect of
the Universe – that illumination is possible.
By this we mean Masonic illumination.
This can only be described as the very heart
of Freemasonry. Here is the great and
solemn explanation of the hoodwink:
It is such a profoundly important moment
in the life of a Freemason when, as an
Entered Apprentice, he is given such
a precious possession to have all his life.
- The anticipation of knowledge to come;
- Its removal – a reminder of the treasures
- Its revelation of the hidden riches of
Doctor Oliver, an eminent Masonic
historian, had this to say about the subject:
The temporary blindness of the hoodwink is
symbolic of the deprivation of moral and intellectual
light. Therefore the Masonic candidate represents
one immersed in intellectual darkness, groping
in the search for that Divine light and truth which
are the objectives of our Fraternity.
William Preston, maybe the best known
authority upon these matters, describes
in his Illustrations of Masonry published
in 1772 what is described as the sense of
sight; he wrote:
SEEING is that sense by which we distinguish
objects, and are enabled in an instant of time
without change of place or situation, to view armies
in battle, array, figures of the most stately structure
and all the agreeable variety displayed in the
landscape of Nature.
By this sense find we our way in the pathless
ocean, traverse the globe of this planet earth,
determine its figures and dimensions and delineate
any region or quarter of it. By it we measure
the planetary orbs, and make new discoveries
in the sphere of the fixed stars.
Nay, more – by it we perceive the tempers
and dispositions, the passions and affections
of our fellow creatures, when they wish most to
conceal them. Although the tongue may be taught
to lie and dissemble; countenance will display
the hypocrisy to the discerning eye.
In fine, the rays of light which administer
to this sense are the most astonishing parts of the
inanimate creation, and render the eye a peculiar
object of admiration.
Besides the symbolism of the hoodwink,
there are two psychological reasons for
depriving the candidate temporarily of his
sight. First, man has only a certain amount of
power to receive impressions. If this power is
divided between the eye and the ear and the
sense of touch, the deprivation of one sense
will increase the strength of the remaining
senses. The blindfold will therefore increase
and emphasise the words which the Initiate
hears, which means that he will pay more
attention to the spoken words of the ritual.
Second, a candidate is more impressed
when he is “part of the action”.
The more that he becomes part of it the
greater the impression is made upon him.
Hoodwinking the candidate singles him
out from his fellows. In fact, for a time,
he is put into a different situation from the
people around him. He is immediately made
to feel dependant upon a friend. He can no
longer defend himself. He has to put his trust
in his fellows.
Above all, he is directed to “safely rise
and follow his leader with a firm but humble
confidence, for where the name of God
is invoked, no danger will ensue”.
There you have it! There is a power
for good in the darkness induced by the
temporary withdrawal of sight. Let no man
who has worn the hoodwink ever forget
that for all mankind.
“It is only after darkness falls – that man can see
With acknowledgement to MSANA Ref: 08/57
Ray Hollins is the author of A Daily Advancement
In Masonic Knowledge: One Hundred Short Talks
on the Craft.
For further information contact The Freemason Ltd
on 0870 922 0352 or go to www.masonicshortalks.com
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