Chamber Of Reflection
In Freemasonry, the chamber of reflection (also called, the room of reflection, reflection cabinet or meditation cabinet) is the place where part of the initiation process takes place. It is used as a test of isolation during which the recipient is invited to perform some introspection. This is facilitated by the presence of symbolic objects and evocative sentences which may differ slightly depending on the rites. This phase of isolation generally begins the initiation ritual that a layman experiences when he enters a Masonic course.
Chamber Of Reflection
Isolation is an age-old practice in initiation rituals. For example, Manding tribes send the young recipient into seclusion in the forest to confront the kankurang. The reflective practice is seen by some historians as a legacy of alchemical traditions and esoteric treatises. The claim is further supported by the fact that the kankurang is the only place where the young person can learn the art of initiation. The assertion is further based on the stripping of the metals offered to the candidate mason and pertaining to alchemical transmutation but also on the three hermetic principles arranged in the place: salt, sulfur and mercury. The influence would have given birth, in 1750, to the "Rituel alchimique secret du grade de vrai franc-maçon académicien" in English "Secret alchemical ritual of the grade of true Freemason academician" created by Antoine-Joseph Pernety founder of the lodge Illuminés of Avignon. This ritual included all the evocations now present in the reflection room. Finally, the meditation room has been considered by some authors and psychoanalysts as the modern form of the ancient initiatory hut or cavern.
In the 1860, "Rituel de l'Apprenti Maçon" from French Freemason Jean-Marie Ragon, the Chamber of reflection is thus described; "... It is a dark place impenetrable to the rays of the day and lit by a sepulchral lamp. The walls are painted black with funerary emblems in order to bring to meditation the recipient who will have to go through the four elements of the ancients and undergo his first ordeal, that of the EARTH in which he is supposed to be to remind him of his last resting place. In the form of the skeleton that lies next to him in an open coffin symbolizing the nothingness of human vanities. If there were no skeleton, a skull and crossbones would be placed on the table. The furnishings of this room consist of a chair and a table covered with a white carpet on which are paper, ink, powder, pen and lamp. Above the table are represented a Rooster and an Hourglass, and underneath these two words, VIGILANCE (on one's actions) PERSEVERANCE (in good), the hours being counted. The inscriptions, usually placed on the walls, are these: "If curiosity leads you here, go away; if you fear to be enlightened about your faults, you will be badly off among us. If you are capable of concealment, tremble, we will penetrate you! If you are fond of human distinctions, go out, they are not known here. If your soul has felt the fear, don't go further. If you persevere you will be purified by the elements, you will come out of the abyss of darkness, you will see the light. After the patient has had time to examine and reflect, he is given a paper with three questions to answer, which may concern his profession, his position in the world, etc. Here are the ones that are most commonly used: What does the man owe to God? What does he owe to himself? What does he owe to his fellow men? They are summarized by the love of God, the love of oneself and the love of his fellow men. The preparatory brother enters and tells him that he will soon pass to a new life and he is required to make and sign his will that he will come to take as well as his answers."
Although the impact of the chamber's furniture must of necessity be personal, the symbolism relates to hermetic and alchemical correspondences. The chamber itself is symbolic of a cave, introducing the candidate to the alchemical element of earth but also represents a womb in which the candidate is developing before going through his symbolic rebirth. The Chamber of reflection represents a lot more depending on the rite.
Early Lodges insisted on using a full human skeleton but today most Lodges used a skull and crossbones, it is meant to evokes physical death. In Baroque painting, the still life associated with the presence of a skull was used to illustrate vanity (a defect of a person who thinks too highly of himself). The skull thus acted as a reminder of the fatality of death and as a call to humility. In European and Asian legends, the human skull is a counterpart to the vault of heaven. In the reflection cabinet, it recalls the alchemical theme of putrefaction.
In some rites a mirror may be placed on the table of the reflection cabinet, it is meant to signifies the search for self-knowledge as well as introspection but also act as a reminder to the candidate that he is his own judge. In ancient times, the mirror (speculum) was used to observe the sky.
Agricultural instrument and symbol of Death, sometimes drawn behind the hourglass in the chamber of reflection, the scythe intersects with the parable of the harvest and evokes the grain that dies to give life. In ancient mythology, it is Cronos who is represented holding the scythe and the hourglass. In the Middle Ages, during the ravages of the Black Death, an anthropomorphized representation of death appeared, named "The Grim Reaper". The Grim Reaper was said to kill the sick with a blow from a scythe, regardless of their class. Saturn, the ancient Roman god of agriculture and time, armed with a scythe, takes from one side (time, death, epidemics...) and gives back from the other (harvest, summer, abundance) without distinction. The scythe could therefore include a notion of equality.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. or V.I.T.R.I.O.L.U.M. Meaning;("visita interiora terrae, rectificandoque, invenies occultum lapidem", or "visit the interior of the earth, and purifying it, you will find the hidden stone." This is another way of saying " look within yourself for the truth".) This phrase must be present in all chambers of reflection directly facing the candidate.
In the modern French Rite, the place is called "Chambre de réflexions" plural. In the Emulation Lodge of Improvement, the candidate is alone in a room adjacent to the lodge called "Meditation room" or "Room of reflection ". In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, it is called the Chamber of Reflection or Cabinet of Reflection. In the York Rite it is most of the time called a Chamber of Reflection,. The Brazilian Rite calls it Gabinete de reflexão or cabine de reflexõesa also the Brazilian Rite differs in the way that the candidate, present, in the Chamber of Reflection also receives another piece of paper that he must read. In it are found articles I and II of the Constitution of the jurisdiction, dealing with Freemasonry and its Principles. Moreover, he must also sign a declaration. The Martinique Rite call it cabinet de réflexion. Chamber of Reflection is also used by the Rectified Scottish Rite, Rite opératif de Salomon, Schröder Rite and Primitive Scottish Rite.
In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the French Rite, and related jurisdictions, including Co-Masonry, the Chamber of Reflection is a small darkened room adjoining the Lodge room. It is a sombre place of meditation and reflection for candidates for initiation into Freemasonry, and is sometimes used in higher degrees.
Once you leave the chamber you'll have much more clarity about your life. Not too sure what "better men" means but it could mean that more positive people will come into your life once you gain a more positive outlook on yourself as a person. Didn't hurt to guess... lol
Sometimes i do feel lonely. The "chamber" was intended for you to be alone to carefully analyze yourself and the world around you, not to feel lonely. My interpretation could be off but it just seems right to me.
The Tennessee Voices for Victims is hosting a ceremony of reflection for last year's Christmas Day bombing on Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 6 p.m. on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Parking is available in Lot R, Nissan Stadium. 041b061a72