From a Latin word meaning both gashing and atonement. A religious rite practiced by the ancients, and performed before any act of devotion It consisted in washing the hands, and sometimes the whole body, in lustral or consecrated water. It was intended as a symbol of the internal purification of the heart. It was a ceremony preparatory to initiation in all the Ancient Mysteries. The ceremony is practiced with the same symbolic import in some of the advanced Degrees of Freemasonry. So strong was the idea of a connection between lustration and initiation, that in the low Latin of the Middle Ages lustrare meant to initiate. Thus Du Cange (Glossarium) cites the expression "lustrare religione Christianorum" as signifying "to initiate into the Christian religion."
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