CHAMBER OF REFLECTION
“Permit your coronary heart therefore be excellent with the
Lord our God, to walk in his statutes and
to keep His commandments…”
1 Kings 8:61
According to Jewish literature and traditions, great treatment was taken of the private affliction of each individual Israelite who entered the Temple for Divine worship. The Talmud dictated the subsequent requirements: “No gentleman shall go into the Temple with his team or with his sneakers on his feet, or with his outer garment, or with funds tied up in his purse.” Masonry has adopted portions of this historic Jewish personalized with regards to the preparing of the applicant for entry into a lodge.
While not Jewish in its origin, the Chamber of Reflection, which has been integrated into a candidate’s planning in some American lodges, is an up-to-date model of the historical cave of initiation. Yet, it likewise serves to put together the prospect for entry into holy ground. Typically, the chamber is a modest space lit only by a candle that casts feeble light on a amount of ornaments, including a human skull, human bones, a lump of bread, a flask of h2o, an hourglass, a saucer made up of salt and one more containing sulphur. The prospect is seated inside of by himself to silently contemplate the holy significance of his meant Masonic journey.
Seated at a table, the candidate must publish a philosophical will that will later on be read aloud in lodge. In buy to compose that will, the prospect must search his soul for his genuine inner thoughts about existence, dying and the transformation of the self from its materials mother nature to its non secular future. It should occur as no surprise that the symbols positioned inside the chamber derive primarily from alchemy – the science and philosophy of metamorphosis.
Alchemists believed that salt which is extracted from sea water by the method of evaporation constitutes the aspect of fire delivered by h2o. Sulphur is to the human overall body what the Sunlight is to the earth. The coupling of salt and sulphur symbolizes daily life and dying, or mild and darkness nourishing a single a further. Therefore, though the typical prospect for Masonic levels is not totally educated about either alchemy, or the symbols it employs, it is meant that he meditate upon this kind of esoteric issues as the evolution and continuity of all existence, as nicely as the reality that the transformation from product daily life to spiritual existence is a subject of private working experience. Every single and each and every human being will dwell, die and dwell once more, but nobody can completely respect how that will experience until eventually it really transpires.
For Masons, the time passed in the Chamber of Reflection symbolizes the trials of existence. The initial lesson to be acquired is that nothing is intrinsically fantastic or negative. Folks are dependable for earning matters improved or worse relying on how they carry out them selves. As a result, the initial lesson relates to the relevance of accepting responsibility for one’s have actions.
The hourglass asks the applicant to mirror on the irreversibility of the passage of time. Product lifestyle is on a continuing development toward decay and there is important small time obtainable to take part in the enhancement of the spirit. The bread denotes the transformation from the raw to the completely cooked – from uncooked wheat to the bread which is match for human consumption. A Mason is not valuable to the planet in which he lives simply due to the fact he has been initiated into the Buy. Rather, he have to put together himself by research and the application of the know-how that he acquires, if he is ever to reward culture and mankind. The flask of water signifies fertility, or regeneration, of which lustration, or baptism is also a symbol. The regeneration stated in this symbolism is not that of the resurrection of the spirit and soul, but of the resurrection to moral and virtuous residing of the product physique. Regeneration of the spirit and soul benefits the personal, while renewal of the resolve to stay will gains some others. Most religions educate that except a person renews his material existence to the executing of very good will work, he will not fully get ready himself for eternal everyday living.
It is necessary for the applicant to realize that Masonry does not teach that great functions achieves salvation of the spirit and soul. Relatively, religions variously teach that lesson. Freemasonry instructs upon how a daily life really should be lived – how the “functions” of 1 human lifestyle basically replicate on the “faith” that a single holds. Therefore, the journey for which the Chamber of Reflection prepares the candidate is the journey toward far better dwelling, not salvation which can only appear by the grace of God – by no means by man’s possess works and deeds.
The human skull that is positioned in the chamber is supposed to remind the prospect that death is the terrific leveler. No man might escape its grasp and no gentleman can definitely know how it feels to be lifeless until eventually he himself has knowledgeable death. The cranium is also meant to educate the applicant that death is also a source of daily life. As vegetable and animal everyday living dies to be eaten by human existence, the reality that demise contributes to lifetime is profoundly illustrated. As a great person dies, his deeds continue to be and contribute to the welfare of people who continue to are living. The converse is true of a bad person. When his poor deeds die with him, the influence of those deeds may well dwell extended after he has handed away. The classes acquired in Masonry enable the member to make it a lot more likely that his individual dying will be a source of daily life to other people – not a supply of grief and torment.
The symbols arranged in the Chamber of Reflection are also supposed to inculcate in the head of the novitiate the importance of distinguishing in between that which is genuine and that which is fantasy. When male attaches to that which is serious, he frees himself from the phantoms that so speedily established light and darkness into opposition. A lot more often than not, evil perform is the consequence of a bewildered imagination. In Hitler’s twisted fantasy, the Jew was liable for the ills of his modern society. A serial murderer regularly fantasizes that getting lifetime viciously and violently delivers enjoyment.
Energy is the fruit of contradictory forces which resist just about every other. It possibly gets to be beneficial strength, or adverse electrical power relying on no matter if or not the dark aspect of existence results in being much too too much. Light does not constantly shine in a man’s soul any extra than it normally illuminates the earth. For about twelve out of each and every 20-4 hrs in every single working day, darkness prevails. In man’s lifestyle he does not always appreciate good health – for at least a several times, his entire body is ill. It is not a concern of how to get rid of darkness, for that is opposite to the legislation of Character. Alternatively, it is a matter of what to do when surrounded by the dim that dictates no matter if or not constructive electrical power will finally prevail.
In preparation for the Masonic journey, no matter if or not that journey commences with a interval of personal contemplation in the Chamber of Reflection, a applicant ought to be led to reflect on in which he is in his personal everyday living, in which he needs to be when his life on earth ends and how he should most effective achieve the journey involving those two factors. Numerous lodges in America have stopped training this important lesson at the outset of a candidate’s Masonic vocation. Candidates are most often merely “ready” by the manner of their attire, which is ultimately stated just after the journey has begun. Very little if everything is mentioned about what it suggests to pursue Masonry, or why that pursuit is meaningful to person and society until right after a person or far more levels are conferred on the applicant.
Is it probable that by re-instituting the essential symbolism of the Chamber of Reflection into the workings of each and every Masonic lodge that some who depart the Craft soon after a incredibly short journey would keep on their pursuit? Is it significant to teach a prospect what is predicted of him ahead of he receives Masonic degrees? Symbolism is a way of showing how words and phrases make images and how all those photos become features of myths, imaginary tales which have the ring of fact simply because they operate alongside winding paths that lead from needs to concepts to actions. For the reason that Masonry communicates its smart and really serious truths by the symbols that have been picked in the course of time, it is very possible really significant that a prospect for degrees respect the meditation necessary of him before he ever embarks upon his Masonic journey.
For a lot of Masons, the pursuit of expertise and knowledge is a continuing course of action of analyze, software, critique of what has formerly been researched and even further software of new lessons discovered. This process is reliable with the exhortation commonly uttered in Masonic lodges – “assemble what has been scattered and reconcile what seems to be contradictory.” Each individual of us has knowledge the want to each conform and to be diverse. We have also skilled believing and disbelief certainty and question and order and chaos. These of us who are in a position to read through this writing have nevertheless to knowledge the change between what we know as life and dying, and irrespective of whether or not there is any difference at all.
If in your Masonic occupation you had been not permitted the prospect to contemplate within a Chamber of Reflection before you acquired your levels, you may well do so now by bowing your head and featuring a prayer to the Fantastic Architect for understanding about where you are in your lifestyle, how you obtained there and how you shall journey to the stop of your life. As in all Masonic matters, the choice is yours to make. As is also true in all Masonic issues, no gentleman ought to ever enter upon any great or critical enterprise without having initially invoking the blessing of God.