The first time I heard about Freemasonry was in 2001 when I was 16 years old. My father showed me an article about it and asked if I knew anything about Masonry and he then told me that he was a Freemason. This particular day marked my journey toward Masonry. Eleven years later, I was initiated in London in the Lodge International Concord, Le Droit Humain.
It has always been easier for me to express my thoughts using famous analogy. I found that my journey as a Mason was similar to the one described in the myth of the Cavern from Plato.
In the myth of the cavern, men are in a cavern (which represents the realm of becoming) facing a wall. They can only see the shades of objects, which are projected thanks to a light coming from behind them, a fire. One day, one of the men manages to break his chains and becomes free to go outside to finally receive the true light and discover the real world (the realm of being). He is at first blinded by the power of the supreme light, the sun. Then he becomes used to it and to the real world. He then discovers the worlds of real forms and their true meanings. Later, he goes back to free his peers once he has a fuller understanding of the forms that he is discovering.
Men are imprisoned by their chains which represent the prejudices and superficial understanding of life. As they are facing the wall, they only see the shades of objects, which are a superficial vision of what the world is really like. As a profane, we already know that Masonry is about symbolism. We have all seen the Square and the Compasses as being the most common symbolic objects representing Freemasonry. Their symbolic meaning will only appear after the profane has received the light and will have had time to reflect on them in order to truly understand them and embrace their meanings.
I found myself embarked on a journey that has helped to develop and improve me as a human being, a citizen of the world. It was important for me to understand that although guided by my brethren, the path that I chose to take was my own and while I was shown the light, it was up to me to make sense of these symbols because I was now able to ‘see’.
The journey of a Freemason is essential in finding their inner self throughout the significance of the symbols and with the help of their brethren who unchained them from the cavern.
It will not be an easy one and Freemasons will need perseverance in order to be able to see without being blinded. One day, they will themselves be the one showing the way to a candidate as the first man out the cavern came back to free his brethren and show them the light.
International Concord N°977