The Chamber of Reflection

The tenets of Freemasonry are universal, however, the way in which they are presented to the profane, as he knocks on the doors of our temples, varies according to the ritual used at any particular temple. Although the lessons presented in these rituals may be similar, the way in which they are transmitted to the prospective initiate may be quite different from one area to another. Therefore, in order to acquaint the Brethren of our Grand Jurisdiction, the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of British Columbia, with a piece of ritual widely practised throughout the world, but absent here, I propose to expound on the Chamber of Reflection.
Most of the Brethren who received their initiations in Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa will be acquainted with the Chamber of Reflection. It is used in the first degree in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the French Rite, the Brazilian Rite and other rites derived from the ones just mentioned.The word chamber is an archaic term for room and the word reflection means, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English, Òreflecting or being reflected; reflected light or heat or colour or image; discredit or thing bringing discredit; reconsideration (or reflection); idea arising in the mind, comment (on or upon).Ó Albert G. Mackey in his Encyclopedia of Freemasonry explains that the Chamber of Reflection is:
...a small room adjoining the Lodge, in which, preparatory to initiation, the candidate is enclosed for the purpose of indulging in those serious meditations which its sombre appearance and the gloomy emblems with which it is furnished are calculated to produce. It is also used in some of the advanced degrees for a similar purpose.

This small room or chamber, which does not necessarily adjoins the Lodge room, is dark, with the walls painted black, or, as in one case I saw, imitating a rocky underground cave. It contains the following: a simple rough wooden table on which we find: a human skull, usually on two crossbones, a chunk of bread, a pitcher with water, a cup with salt, a cup with sulphur, a lighted candle or lantern, an hourglass, paper, ink and pen, a wooden stool or chair painted on the wall: a rooster, a sickle, the acronym V.IT.R.I.O.L.(U.M.) and various sayings.

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