“And it came to pass the seventh time, when
the priests blew their trumpets, Joshua said
to the people, shout; for the Lord has given you the city.

Joseph. 6:16

As an indication that they are duly and truly prepared to be initiated, approved, and raised in the first three Masonic degrees, candidates for Masonry must turn the Lodge around. Also known as wandering, the candidate’s travels during the degree is one of the most important ritual tasks to be performed. Hymns and prayers taken from passages of the Holy Scriptures are recited. Depending on whether he is being initiated as an Entered Apprentice, passed to the degree of Fellowship, or raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, the candidate’s wanderings become more and more extensive. It is fair to ask why this tradition is followed and what it symbolizes.

The scripture quoted above is from the book of Joshua and refers to the circumambulation of the priests before the collapse of the walls of Jericho. Since mere blasts of the trumpet are not likely to cause the stone to crumble, either the trumpet symbolizes a much more powerful force or the whole episode is intended to convey a wiser and more serious truth.

In his recent book, Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark, Laurence Gardner hypothesizes that the trumpet represented a powerful fusion force emanating from the Ark of the Covenant. While that may be true, there is currently no way to confirm or deny that possibility. However, since the Old Testament, as well as the entirety of the Holy Bible, are alphabetized with allegorical accounts, it is equally likely that Freemasonry, which has been around longer than Mr. Gardner wrote, adopted the allegorical meaning as the basis for the current wandering of the candidates in the masonic lodges.

During the ancient rites of Deity worship, designated holy men solemnly moved around the sacred objects in a circular fashion. Such movement was an integral part of the ritual used by Hindus and Buddhists. In Islam, the circumambulation is used during holy services in Mecca. In each, the movement was intended to represent man’s spiritual transition from daily life to spiritual perfection. That transition was to be made in stages as each man came closer in his life and education to the spiritual energy of Deity.

This ancient custom is preserved in Masonry, but its meaning has generally been forgotten. In some Masonic organizations today there is a tension between those Brethren who wish to follow the esoteric lessons taught by the Craft and those Brethren who prefer a strict adherence to Masonic ritual, which has evolved over at least the last two centuries. Some in the esoteric camp say that rigid adherence to ritual neglects the most important principles of ancient sacred philosophy. Certain adherents to the “ritual only” camp believe that Freemasonry is practiced in its purest form by working towards “word perfect” ritualistic performance. In the classical hermetic tradition, both are equally right and wrong.

It is dangerous to work in Freemasonry under the belief that adherence to Masonic ritual is not Freemasonry and therefore should be relegated to the dustbin of relics from the past. It is no less dangerous to ignore the fact that Masonic ritual enjoys a sacred connection with the religions and philosophies of the past. Most of the time, if one carefully examines the Masonic past, he will discover that there is a sacred union between the approved ritual and the esoteric knowledge that it purports to convey. Indeed, a Mason may discover new joys in attending ritual performances once he learns more about the rich sacred past.

The candidate’s travels, or wandering about the lodge room, are intended to symbolize the state of spiritual attainment associated with the help of each of the first three degrees of Freemasonry. As an Entered Apprentice, the newly initiated Mason learns to humbly submit to the fact that he knows little, if anything, about what the Craft teaches. In his state of ignorance, the initiated candidate is presented with the tools of learning which, when studied under the guidance of more experienced brethren, will eventually illuminate his spirit. A Fellow is presumed to have mastered the rudiments of Masonic symbolism and is at least knowledgeable about the fact that Masonry uses symbols to impart wise and serious truths. His spirit is in need of solid nourishment, and therefore the candidate is led to the study of the liberal arts and sciences, which he is expected to read and understand through the prism of the spirituality inculcated by Masonry. While he continues to need spiritual nourishment, the Master Mason is expected to take the lessons he has learned and offer them usefully to the community in which he resides by living the spiritual life he has been taught. The wandering symbolizes not only the spiritual state of the candidate, but also the three stages of preparation necessary before the world can hope to benefit from that spirituality.

In ancient religious practices, wandering was believed to be a necessary precedent for invoking the presence of the Deity. This once ubiquitous practice survives today in several of the occult cultures and has fallen out of general favour. Masonry does not employ wandering in the hope that it will magically make God appear, for the Craft understands and teaches that the Great Architect is always present. The purpose of today is to provide the candidate and the brothers with a ritual practice that focuses the mind on that presence and instills an attitude of prayer throughout the performance of the ritual.

Freemasons all over the world are very interested in discovering the roots and origins of the Craft. University professors across Europe, as well as elsewhere, are researching historical archives inspecting new information and re-examining existing material in the hope that one day they will be able to state with certainty where Freemasonry came from. Those roots and origins are most likely not easily discovered without first understanding that Freemasonry is about man’s relationship with God.

Since time immemorial, man has wondered about the existence of God. The fraternity of Freemasons is made up of men who have decided that He exists and who openly profess His faith in His existence. A man cannot become a Mason without believing in the Supreme Being. Although he already has faith in God before joining the Office, a candidate may not have a very developed idea of ​​what that means for him, his family, his friends and his country. While Freemasonry does not teach that man about the existence of God, it does teach him how God relates to his creations and how we, who are created in his image, can benefit those with whom we come in contact. every day.

What is stated here can be tested by you in the framework of your own lodge. The next time you are sitting in a log room and watching the ritual walk, be quiet and allow God to speak to your heart throughout the performance. There will be plenty of time to talk to the member sitting next to you after the performance is over. Consider the stages of your own spiritual development and try to identify your spiritual strengths and weaknesses. Then work really hard to improve your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses. If you try this exercise in the lodge on a regular basis, you will most likely find that you are practicing real Masonry, and in doing so you will also discover the basis of the origins of the Craft to which it belongs.

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