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The Ceremony of Initiation
Analysis and Commentary
W. L. Wilmshurst
P.M., P.A.G.D.C. (England) and P.P.G.W. (West Yorks.)
J. M. Watkins, 21 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London, W.C 2.
A Note upon the Frontispiece.
The picture forming the Frontispiece to these pages not only depicts the Sign of Silence, but is a symbolic illustration of one who has attained complete Initiation and Illumination.
The beautified arched design framing the figure is know as the Vesica Piscis. “This mysterious figure (says Dr. Oliver, the well-known Masonic authority) possessed an unabounded influence on the details of sacred architecture, and constituted the great and enduring secret of our ancient brethren.” It formed the geometrical basis of the great Christian cathedrals, and was the womb-shaped symbol of Initiation and of Candidates being thereby brought to spiritual re-birth.
The aureole or solar imbus round the head typifies the Candidate’s attainment of spiritual consciousness; the “Sun” at the centre of his personal system has fully risen above his mental horizon and illuminated his mind.
His clothing, a white inner tunic surmounted by a black cloak, typifies the separation of light and darkness in himself. The darkness of his outward mind and nature is dispelled by the light and purity of the soul within. This is the result of his following the secret path of Initiation in regard to which the Sign of Silence or Sign of the Child attaches.
The above was formerly the first sign imparted to and use by every Candidate for the Mysteries. By the Egyptians it was called the Sign of Horos. and by the Greeks the Sign of Harpocrates. i.e. Har the child; “the child” being the title given to the new Initate. As the above illustration shows (from the Museum of St. Mark. Firenze,) the Sign then became used by Christian Initiates. Hear; See; Keep Silence, is the Motto of the United Grand Lodge of England.
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