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Coffin

In the Ancient Mysteries the aspirant could not claim a participation in the highest secrets until he had been placed in the Pastos, a bed or coffin. The placing him in the coffin was called the symbolical death of the mysteries, and his deliverance was termed a raising from the dead. "The mind,'' says an ancient writer, quoted by Stobaeus, "is affected in death just as it is in the initiation into the mysteries. And word answers to word, as well as thing to thing; for is to die, and to be initiated." The coffin in Freemasonry is found on tracing boards of the early part of the eighteenth century, and has always constituted a part of the symbolism of the Third Degree, where the reference is precisely the same as that of the Pastos in the Ancient Mysteries.

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