Lodges, almost universally, all over the world, meet, except on special occasions, at night. In some large cities, as New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Lodges have been established of Brethren whose occupations prevent their assemblage at other than the daytime, hence these are usually called Daylight Lodges. In this selection of the hours of night and darkness for initiation, the usual coincidence will be found between the ceremonies of Freemasonry and those of the Ancient Mysteries, showing their derivation from common origin. Justin says that at Eleusis, Triptolemus invented the art of sowing corn, and that, in honor of this invention, the nights were consecrated to initiation. The application is, however, rather abstruse. In the Bacchae of Euripides (Act in, line 485), that author introduces the god Bacchus, the supposed inventor of the Dionysian Mysteries, as replying to the question of King Pentheus in the following words: Pentheus. By night or day, these sacred rites perform'st thou? Bacchus. Mostly by night, for venerable is darkness;
In all the other Mysteries the same reason was assigned for nocturnal celebrations, since night and darkness have something solemn and August in them which is disposed to fill the mind with sacred awe. Hence black, as an emblem of darkness and night, was considered as the color appropriate to the mycteria. In the Masteries of Hindustan, the candidate for initiation, having been duly prepared by previous purification, was led at the dead of night to the gloomy cavern, in which the mystic rites were performed.
The same period of darkness was adopted for the celebration of the Mysteries of Mithras, in Persia Among the Druids of Britain and Gaul, the principal annual initiation commenced at low twelve, or midnight of the eve of May-Day. In short, it is indisputable that the initiations in all the Ancient Mysteries were nocturnal in their character.
The reason given by the ancients for this selection of night as the time for initiation, is equally applicable to the system of Freemasonry. "Darkness," says Brother Oliver, "was an emblem of death, and death was a prelude to resurrection. It will be at once seen, therefore, in what manner the doctrine of the resurrection was inculcated and exemplified in these remarkable institutions." Death and the resurrection were the doctrines taught in the Ancient Mysteries;
and night and darkness were necessary to add to the sacred awe and reverence which these doctrines ought always to inspire in the rational and contemplative mind. The same doctrines form the very groundwork of Freemasonry; and as the Master Mason, to use the language of Hutchinson, "represents a man saved from the grave of iniquity and raised to the faith of salvation," darkness and night are the appropriate accompaniments to the solemn ceremonies which demonstrate this profession.
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