Allegorical

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Allegory is a Greek word which literally means, “to say it in another way”.

The Perambulation recited by a deacon in a ritual during a Degree Work in Freemasonry is allegorical. In its original form, it is in the Hebrew language.

Also, it may be said that it is framed in admirable Hebrew poetry. In actual performance by a Masonic brother, a deacon, it is rendered in the English language.

This particular piece of poetry here discussed is found in the book titled Ecclesiastes. It is one of the 39 books in the so-called Old Testament of the Judeo-Christian sacred writings, commonly known as the Holy Bible. The Old Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language.

Ecclesiastes in Hebrew is Qoheleth, meaning, the Preacher.

The following is a paraphrase of the biblical passage on  Ecclesiastes 12: 1-7, addressed to everyone of all humanity:

Verse 1. Be sure you remember; don’t you ever forget! Do not forget your Creator. You are His property. You are not your own. Now, especially in the days of your youth; the days before the evil days come, or when the years draw near when you will say of physical pleasures, I have no enjoyment in them.

Verse 2. In the days of your youth, before the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars… before your vision or eyesight become faint or diminished; it may even be lost completely. (This is when blindness occurs.Clouds of depressed emotion come.)

Verse 3. The days when the hands and arms tremble, and feet and knees become weak; the grinders (meaning, the molar teeth) cease to function, because they are few. And they look out of the windows, referring to the eyes, the eyes are darkened.

Verse 4. Your ears. They will not hear the noise in the street. They will not hear the mill as it grinds the grain; nor the music playing. Even the singing of the bird, the cock crowing will wake you up.

Verse 5. You will be afraid to get up to high places. In other words, you will have acrophobia. And walking will be precarious. Your head-hair will turn white like the almond tree blossoms.  You will hardly be able to drag yourself along. And all desire will be gone.

Verse 6 and 7 bring to a close the poem focusing on the theme, namely, Death. In Jewish or Hebrew customary practice, on the occasion of death, mourners are hired. They do the ritualistic walk near or around the deceased’s place of abode.

And as the author of the poem, Qoheleth, wraps up this delightful poetry, he portrays a vivid scenario, saying:

Remember your Creator, before death comes. Before the silver cord be snapped, and the golden lamp would fall and break; and the earthen water-jar would be shattered.

Our body will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life will go back to God who gave it.

This, Qoheleth (the Preacher) declares in an allegorical fashion this beautiful poem about God and human relationship.

Clearly, it portrays a human being in his existential experience. And above all, an undeniable affirmation of a firm faith in God.

 

Salvador B. Vista

Past Master, Mt. Kaladias Lodge

Dumaguete City

 

 

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