V.W. Bro. Harold W. Hughes
- Q. Where were you prepared to be made a freemason?
- A. In my heart.
- Q. And where next?
- A. In a convenient room adjoining the lodge.
In some parts of Europe, it has been said, an experienced Master Mason is appointed sponsor or God-Father to a candidate; and lodges of instruction are held in which the petitioner is taught something of the history and principles of the Order. This seems like a wise custom.
Most of us, I think, stepped into the First Degree without the slightest inkling of what it was all about, with the consequences that we were too bewildered to know whether to laugh or cry. And how often it happens that a candidate passes from one degree to another as rapidly as he can learn the work. Moving all the while in too great haste to comprehend the slightest rudiments of the great ideas and teachings that are dramatically pointed out to him.
To be prepared in the heart means that within one's own mind and feelings, he is experiencing the meaning of that which he does and sees; if a candidate is hustled along too rapidly to be able to have any such understanding of the degrees, how can it be said that he is duly and truly prepared to be a Master Mason
The Ritual itself is wise in this connection because it recognizes the fact that a man must be prepared in his heart as well as in the preparation room.
Being in Masonic ignorance, a seeker after light, and a representative of the natural untaught man, it is fitting that the candidate be made to walk in darkness by wearing the hoodwink which has been well described as a "symbol of secrecy, silence and darkness, in which the mysteries of our art should be preserved from the unhallowed gaze of the profane.
The use of the blindfold goes far back among secret societies, even to the Ancient Mysteries. Our own use of the devise is in harmony with these old customs and ideas. The purpose of the hoodwink is not to conceal something from the candidate, for it has another significance; it symbolizes the fact that the candidate is yet in darkness. Being in darkness, the candidates expected to prepare his innermost mind for those revelations that will be made to him after the hoodwink is removed.
Freemasonry does not create something too fine and good for this rough world; it reveals something that is much a part of the world as roughness itself. In other words, it removes the hoodwink of jealousy, hatred and unkindness and all the other myriad forms of unbrotherliness in order that a man may see and know how good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.