Light is an important word in the Masonic system. It conveys a far more mystical meaning than it is believed to possess by the generality of readers. It is fact the first of all the symbols presented to the apprentice, and continues to be presented to him in various modifications throughout all his future progress in his Masonic career. It does not simply mean, as some might be supposed, truth or wisdom, but it contains within itself a far more abstruse allusion to the very essence of Speculative masonry, and embraces within its extensive signification all other symbols or the order. Freemasons have been called "the sons of light," because they are, or at least entitled to be, in possession of the true meaning of the symbol; while the profane or uninitiated who have not received this knowledge are, by a parity of expression, said to be in darkness.
The connection of material light with this emblematic and mental illumination, was prominently exhibited in all the ancient systems of religion and cryptic mysteries. If we proceed to an examination of the other systems of religion which were practiced by the nations of antiquity, we shall find that light always constituted a principal object of adoration, as the primordial source of knowledge and goodness, and that darkness was with them synonymous with ignorance and evil. As light was thus adored as the source of goodness, darkness, which is the negation of light, was abhorred as the cause of evil, and hence arose that doctrine which prevailed among the ancients, that there were two antagonistic principals continually contending for the government of the world.
In fact, in all the ancient systems, this reverence for light, as an emblematic representation of the Eternal Principal of Good, is predominant. In our mysteries, the candidate passed during his initiation through scenes of utter darkness, and at length terminated his trials by gaining that intellectual illumination that would dispel the darkness of his mental and moral ignorance, and he was said to have attained pure and perfect light, and where he received the necessary instructions which were to invest him with that divine truth which had been the object of all his labor.
Light - A Source of Positive Happiness
Darkness has, in all the systems of initiation, been deemed a symbol of ignorance, and so opposed to light, which is the symbol of knowledge.
Hence the rule, that the eye should not see until the heart has conceived the true nature of those beauties which constitute the mysteries of the Order.
Because, according to the cosmogonies, darkness existed before light was created, darkness was originally worshipped as the first-born, as the progenitor of day and the state of existence before creation.
Freemasonry has restored darkness to its proper place as a state of preparation; the symbol of that antemundane chaos from whence light issued at the divine command; of the state of nonentity before birth, and of ignorance before the reception of knowledge. Hence in the Ancient Mysteries, the release of the aspirant from solitude and darkness was called the act of regeneration, and he was said to be born again. And in Masonry, the darkness which envelops the mind of the uninitiated being removed by the brilliance of Masonic light.
Darkness - The Symbol Of Ignorance