Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Discourse On The Chamber of Reflection

They got me, I'll admit it. After having read many stories about this lodge or that instituting a Chamber of Reflection I finally broke down and did a Google search on the subject. I wasn't resisting because I thought the matter trivial, I just thought the name was self explanatory and to be honest it is, to a certain degree.
My first stop was a PDF from the The Institute for Hermetic Studies. It is, from my understanding of it, a third party description on the matter and from the first line it had me hook line and sinker.
" The Chamber of Reflection is one of Freemasonry's most alluring, provoking, and truly esoteric of symbols."
I quickly delved in and found myself as usual, completely smitten with the idea of it. From the aspect of a self proclaimed "esotericly inclined" Freemason, (although I was going to originally put esotericly bent on my description), this was everything I would have liked to happen to me before my initiation. The ritual of self exploration and reflection before taking your first step into the Craft would have been for me extremely satisfying and uplifting. I immediately started to envision convincing my lodge to institute one for new candidates, although that vision was quite fleeting seeing as there are not so many esotericly bent masons in my lodge and after reading a very enlightening Dwight Smith like post on Masonic Musings from Me that thought was completely vanquished.

Never the less it is a subject that holds a prominent position in my mind currently and I would like to open a discussion on the matter.

Does your lodge use a Chamber of Reflection?
If so what jurisdiction are you in?
Although it is a very personal thing, would you share your experience?
How has it affected you as a Freemason?
If you did not have that experience would your opinion of the fraternity change? How?

If your lodge has recently instituted a Chamber of Reflection how did you go about convincing your brethren to do it?
Was it a good change to your lodge?
Has it effected your membership?

I would like to thank in advance any responses from the kind brethren who choose to enlighten me!!

18 comments:

The Plumbline said...

Though my lodge does not have one, the thought of one appealed to me as well. I look forward to any future comments and experiences.

From the North Eastern Corner said...

From the lack of response from my request for more light I am assuming one of three things. That either no one wanted to share their personal experience of the chamber of reflection, no one who reads my blog has gone through the chamber of reflection. or no one actually reads my blog!
NEC

Hagbard said...

My lodge doesn't use a Chamber of Reflection. But the events in my life that lead me to the Masonic Fraternity were in themselves a Chamber of Reflection. I don't think that a COR would serve the same purpose to all that enter our fraternity.....Masonry is many differetn things to many different people.

The Millennial Freemason said...

When I first read the title, I thought, "Is this Masonry's Fortress of Solitude?" I really think that the idea is interesting and will certainly help the brothers that are seeking the philosophical aspects of Freemasonry.
Nick

Robert said...

I am reading The Lost Symbol. Had never heard of The Chamber of Reflection. Doubt that any Masonic Lodge has one.
The Lodge's in my part of the world can barely keep open for meetings let alone take time for reflection.

Chuck said...

i am a mm in arizona. we implemented our c.o.r. about a year and a half ago. it has been received with positive light. our candidates don't know freemasonry without it. we delivered a paper on it and simply started putting our candidates through it. there wasn't alot of discussion on the matter until it was already in place. it has become one of the most enriching symbols of our lodge, and an experience that should not be limited to just candidates. all mastermasons should take the time to reflect on his mortality and spirituality, the better to enable him to improve his own life and live by the instructions we suggest to our candidates. whether this reflection takes place in a chamber, or any other place doesn't matter. but i feel that the chamber itself is a very important symbol and step in our craft. although the response is a little late, i hope this sheds some light on your questions.

Daniel said...

Bro NEC,
We have COR's here in Israel, not a lodge here that does not have one to my knowlage, I personally think that the COR is most essenitial to masonic thought and enlightenment.
I was actually surprised that there are lodges without them.
Dan
Ginousar No 9
Tiberias
Israel

Kevin said...

Our lodges here in Georgia do not have or use the COR in our initiations, however, the Scottish Rite Temple in the Valley of Savannah, GA does have one. As a member of the SR Knights of Saint Andrews, I was fortunate to have been at a meeting last night that went into great detail about the COR and gave me those same, "We need to have that in our rituals..." thoughts. I find it equally as unlikely that we will actually implement the use of the COR as you did, but it is a really compelling thought. I also enjoyed the PDF I found explaining in great detail the accoutrements of a COR and I immediately thought of the COR in The Lost Symbol.

I like your BLOG and intend to continue reading your thoughts, primarily because they seem to be a "reflection' of my own.

M.M.M. (from the North Eastern Corner) said...

Thanks for the kind words Kevin and thanks to you and Chuck and Daniel for keeping this conversation going. As far as I know none of the CT lodges have incorporated the COR into their work, not even the new European Concept Lodge that I visited. I think it is a shame. Much of the Freemasonry I know around these parts has little to do with the deeper esoteric stuff I eat up. There is a small group of brothers around my way that is trying to change that, we'll see what comes of it.
Like the old saying goes "you can't teach an old dog "new" tricks", or my other new favorite from experience, "you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink"!!
What is amazing is the new traffic to this post that I thought was dead in the water 4 years ago. It has, of late, garnered a lot of traffic. I hope it yields more insight and conversation about a topic that I think is important to Freemasonry in places that don't use it.

Paul Libke said...

Hello Brothers. Paul Libke here from Wayne Lodge #112 - Westland, Michigan. I am extremely interested in the Chamber of Reflection and have collected some material on it, which I would be happy to share if anyone wants it (all available on the web.) At present, there are no Lodges in Michigan that do it, but I know of at least one who is planning to do so. Our GL officers say that there used to be a couple of Lodges that did it. I would like to stay in touch with anyone who is interested in this subject. Thanks much. PaulLibke@comcast.net

Justin said...

Worshipful Brother Morris, come pay us a visit at Wyllys - St. John's Lodge No.4 in West Hartford. We implemented our C.O.R. and would be pleased to have you come check it out!

Regards!

M.M.M. from the North Eastern Corner said...

Brother Justin,
I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that you have been successful in establishing this practice in your lodge! It would be my honor to come visit you to see this in practice. Let me know when you will be having a degree so I can put it on my schedule.
MMM

Justin said...

Our next EA isn't until the fall, but stop by on any of the first or third Mondays in any month (except July and August). More info at www.wyllysstjohnslodge04.org. We'd be happy to have you come visit!

Justin said...

Our next EA isn't until the fall, but stop by on any of the first or third Mondays in any month (except July and August). More info at www.wyllysstjohnslodge04.org. We'd be happy to have you come visit!

357 Group said...

Esoterika Lodge in Seattle, WA and Krucible Lodge in Federal Way, WA both use the Chamber of Reflection prior to the degree.

It is an intrical part and the candidates which go through this have visited other Blue Lodges which do not use the Chamber. The candidates comment that those lodges are missing out on a unique and powerful tool.

357 Group said...

Esoterika Lodge in Seattle, WA and Krucible Lodge in Federal Way, WA both use the Chamber of Reflection prior to the degree.

It is an intrical part and the candidates which go through this have visited other Blue Lodges which do not use the Chamber. The candidates comment that those lodges are missing out on a unique and powerful tool.

HPTMRU said...

Dear Brothers
I am a member of the lodge "het Vrij Geweeten" nr. 25 E Breda under the Grand East of the Netherlands.
We are using the COR in Holland and as far as I know all regular lodges in Holland do so. Going back to my initiation I felt that it actual started with the time in the COR. Although we do not give questions, nor do we write a will, it give you time to repfect. In our COR the bible is on the table as well which is opened at the Gospel of Johannes. I remember I stayed approx. 20 minutes in the room. During this tiome you offcourse start with trying to identify the meaning of all items on the table. But soon you start thinking about your inner you. Personally I thought that the COR has been one of the highlights of the complete initiation, and can not imagine an inition without the COR.

(PS sorry for the rusty English language)

Hans Ueli Steiner said...

I'm a displaced Freemason from Switzerland and happy to see one of my brothers here in the US lodge I am affiliated with ask to consider installing that ritual. I'm nonplussed that it is not an obvious part of the admission ritual, as I consider it the one best designed to impress on the candidate that he is expected temporarily set aside the outside while following his very own individual thoughts. A first lesson in looking at oneself in the mirror. I am searching for John Locke's praise for the chamber of reflection. Anyone got it?.