The Candidate

In all ancient rites and mysteries the participants in which were received by initiation, the greatest care was always exercised with respect to certain details, which if not properly’ carried out might mar or invalidate the entire ceremony.

The true significance of all initiation has ever been that of a spiritual rebirth. The sacred Agrouchada of the Hindu says, “The first birth is merely the advent into material life; the second birth is the entrance to a spiritual life.”

The newly initiated into the first degree of Brahmanism was called douidja, which means “twice born.” The very word initiate indicates that the candidate is at least symbolically in the same situation as if he had had no previous existence. He is to be ushered into an altogether new world.

In ancient initiations the extremity of humility was expressed by the rent garments of contrition for past offenses in the life about to be blotted out, the bosom offered to the executioner’s sword, and the attitude of a captive.

The most curious customs perhaps had to do with what might be termed the complete preparation of the candidate against the influences that had affected his previous career. During the multitude of centuries in the course of which astrology was thought to play the strongest part in human affairs, every circumstance affecting the welfare of humanity was deemed to have its rise in one or another of the planets, or perhaps in a lucky or evil combination of several. The science of medicine rose entirely from this curious belief in planetary affinities. The ancient physician diagnosed his patient’s malady according to the diseases listed under the latter’s unlucky stars and tried to cure it by application of substances designated as governed by those planets favorable to him. The same idea governed the individual with reference to articles carried upon his person. The superstitious carried various charms and amulets intended to draw favorable planetary influences to his aid, and was just as careful to avoid substances that might produce a contrary effect.

In the ordering of the candidate for initiation into the ancient mysteries this belief played an important part. The candidate might carry upon his person nothing that would invite the attention of occult planetary powers through the mysterious tie that bound them to terrestrial objects.

The lists of plants, flowers, minerals, metals, and other things that were subject to these mysterious influences were long and complicated. Gold linked him with the sun, which incited to the besetting sin of intellectual pride; silver drew upon him the fickle qualities of the Moon copper, sacred to Venus, provoked lust, and iron, the metal of Stars, quarrelsomeness ; tin, tyranny and oppression, the qualities of Jupiter ; lead, sloth and indolence, belonging to Saturn ; while mercury or quicksilver was responsible for dishonesty and covetousness . Therefore a key or a coin, and above all a sword, was likely to bring confusion upon the whole mysterious operation of regeneration.

Above all were enjoined upon the candidate the three sacred virtues, which by the Jain sects in India are still called “the three jewels,” represented by three circles, “right belief,” “right knowledge,” and “right conduct.” In order to reach the spiritual plane, in which the soul is entirely freed from the bonds of matter, these were the chief necessities, and the person who clung to them would certainly go higher until he reached the state of liberation.

To the ancient candidate were also recommended “the three successive steps which open the soul to free and unobstructed activity and communication on both the psychic and the spiritual planes. The first was to still the ego and empty the mind of every bias and standard of self and sense. The second consisted, when this passive state had been induced, in fixing and holding the attention upon the specific object about which the truth was desired.

Thirdly, the foregoing two steps having been taken, the individual was to stand firmly and persistently in the receptive and listening attitude for the immediate revelation of the truth, in the full expectation of getting it. This receptive state and expectant attitude opened the consciousness to “the psychic vibrations that write unerringly .their story on the receptive mind.”

the candidate

Contents – The Beginning of Masonry
Previous – The Lodge Room Floor
Next – Whom Does the Candidate Represent