My Dearest friend and Sole Reader, it has been a bit more than a year that I bug you with issues relevant to Freemasonry and the relationship each one of those who “knocked at the door of the Temple of Reason” has with it.
However, our travel through Freemasonry, regardless whether we are Entered Apprentices or Grand Masters, has begun from the unique point of our initiation to the Lodge, an experience that may very well be the most significant, for a Brother who has joined the Masonic Fraternity.
It is not my intention to discuss the Ritual; therefore I shall not tire you with all the tedious details regarding the initiation procedure for the degree of the Entered Apprentice. However, I want to focus on the officer who is the protagonist of this procedure and whose office is unjustly regarded as a secondary one, that of the Tyler of the Lodge.
The role of the Tyler is a non-rewarding one, most of the times. Depending on the Jurisdiction, he may sit inside or outside the Lodge, with his sword always drawn and protect the proceedings from any possible intruders. Furthermore, in the case that a visitor without proper recommendations wants to participate in the proceedings, the Tyler is testing him in order to ascertain that that visitor is a real Mason. In addition to that, the duties of the Tyler include his making sure that all the entering members of the Lodge wear the proper attire.
However, when there is an initiation day for Entered Apprentices (usually 2-3 times each year), the role of the Tyler becomes more important than any other of the participating Brothers. He is the one who will receive the uninitiated candidate from the outside world, will tie his eyes as a symbolic representation of his ignorance and his prejudice and will guide him through the various tests that will lead him to the Light. It is a procedure dating back to the hierophants of the ancient Egyptian and Greek Sacraments.
Many Brothers, who are more oriented to the esoteric view of the Ritual, regard the role of the Tyler as a “jinxed” one, because they claim that the Tyler is receiving all the negative energy of the initiated person, in order to hand him “clean” of it, to the Brotherhood. As a wise and learned Brother once said, “the Tyler is the person bearing the sins of the uninitiated”. For that reason, some of our Brothers refuse to serve in this office for more than a 2-year term.
In my Mother Lodge, for a considerable number of years, we have (and will have) the same person acting as Tyler. He is a meek, kind and always smiling Brother, who is regarded as a very learned person, having a true sense of the important role that he has undertaken. He is the same Brother who led me, a long time ago, with my eyes tied into the Temple and since then I have witnessed him doing the same for a lot of newer brothers, in the same ancient and unique ritual.
A few days ago I had once again the opportunity to witness the initiation ritual for three new brothers and I also had the privilege to see, for one more time, our Tyler in action, in his very special role. It may seem strange for an uninitiated person, but the participation of even very old brothers in this procedure, helps them find yet a new message in what they experienced themselves, so many years ago. Therefore, the initiation is never a boring and tedious procedure that would not be worth attending for one more time. On the contrary, the participation during initiation days is very impressive.
When the persons under initiation are more than one, it is natural that the Tyler will require assistance from other Brothers holding the degree of Master Mason, in order to lead the initiated people inside the Temple for the ensuing tests. However, it is always the Tyler who sets the rhythm for that unique procedure.
So, I saw for one more time, our beloved Brother entering the Temple holding tightly, yet with great attention and tenderness a new brother, who was making his first shy and careful steps into the Temple of Reason. And what I witnessed in the expression of our brother Tyler was Love.
At that particular moment, the Tyler and the initiated person in his charge were one and inseparable entity, pretty much like a pregnant woman ready to bring her baby into the light of the world. And while the newcomer seemed a bit afraid and uncertain, having temporarily lost the main sense that gives us all the information about our environment (after all, no baby was ever born smiling and happy), the expression of our Tyler was that of Joy, Tenderness and Love, not much different than that of a woman facing her newborn baby for the first time.
Maybe this is the reason our dearest Brother has endured the “jinxed” position of the Tyler for so many years. Because he erases the negative energy with the most potent antidote, that of Love.