From the Commander, Council of Kadosh (June, 2013)

posted May 27, 2015, 1:30 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 27, 2015, 1:30 PM ]
June is here! For most kids, school is out. That means the kids are out… all day long and on the street. So please watch out for them. I loved being out of school. Of course, my parents always made me go to Summer School.
The first day of Summer is June 21. That's the Summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Well, the day is still 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds from midnight to midnight. What they mean is that of all days of the year, the sunlight lasts the longest on this day.
You get longer sunlight the further north you go. Up in Alaska, the sun literally never sets at this time of year. I hear that's really fun for a day or two. Then your sleep patterns are so adversely affected that you begin to crave the darkness we enjoy down here at the lower latitudes.
Light is one of the most powerful symbols adopted by mankind. Whether it comes from the sun, moon, stars, fire, or even electricity. In the creation story, whether you read the one in the Bible for from the Kabbalah, the first thing God does is create light. In many faith systems, light is a representation of divinity itself. The purest white light is the way that humans, in the state to which we have so far developed, can perceive God. That light is not just illumination, it is said that you can feel the divine light gently resting upon you as well as see it.
Light also symbolizes intellect and knowledge, as opposed to darkness which represents error and ignorance. In religion, light is often connected with good conduct versus darkness, connected with evil. It is an easy concept to understand. That's probably why it has been popular throughout human history.
For example, in ancient Jewish history, the High Priest wore a device called a "Urim and Thummim." which literally means "lights and perfections" in Hebrew. We do not know exactly what that device looked like, and it is clear that many of the Bible authors who mention it probably didn't know, either. Fortunately for us, they wrote about it anyway, and we have many of their writings thousands of years later.
In Freemasonry, we make extensive use of light as a symbol. We even have our own kind of light… Masonic Light. Masonic Light refers to the wisdom and understanding you acquire as you receive Masonic Degrees, study your Catechisms (candidate proficiencies), read more about it, and attend educational events, such as the Scottish Rite Nights of Instruction.
I do wish to mention the words "knowledge" and "truth." As you saw, I did not mention Masonic knowledge or Masonic truth. Masonic knowledge might include the words you hear, the motions and symbols you see, and the sensations you feel during the ritual of your Masonic Degrees. In a way, Masonic knowledge is like raw data. You get the substance but you don't really know what to do with it. Time, patience, and perseverance lead you to an understanding of that knowledge, its purpose, and how to apply it. 
Truth is another interesting concept. There is a vital distinction between "truth" and "fact." The best definition I heard comes from the movie, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," where Indy tells his students,  "Archaeology is the search for fact... not truth. If it's truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall." Of course, in the same lecture Jones also says, "X never, ever marks the spot." Yet later in the movie he 
encounters a hidden passage where "X" really did mark the spot, in an old library in Venice.
Dr. Jones brings up a good point about philosophy. Any experienced Mason knows that the word "philosophy" is Greek for "love of wisdom." That, in turn, reminds me of the saying by Miles Kington: "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." So perhaps we should have enrolled in Dr. Tyree's 
philosophy class, right down the hall. Or at least read the textbook.

Daniel Doornbos, Commander