You gotta love “Dark Time”, although most don't even know what it is, it's not that I don't love “Labor”, it’s a fact of life for those involved in Freemasonry, but it’s always nice to recharge our batteries.
That brings me to “Dark Time” and what it is, and how it may be explained.
The fact is, “Dark Time” in Freemasonry the time when our Lodges are closed. But you’re not getting off that easy if you think that's it in a nutshell, as with the nature of Freemasonry everything is veiled, not veiled to keep it secret from the uninitiated, but to cause one to do the research.
So here we are, Dark Time, our Lodge does not meet. For some brothers Dark Time is a symbolic summer vacation, a time to kick back with the family, chill and pop a few beers.
Still, others in the more rural locations believe that Dark Time is a tradition carried over from a time when most Freemasons would return to the farm, raise the crops, and prepare for the next winter to come. (Close to the truth, but still veiled)
The truth may be found many centuries ago, back when Sirius or Sothis was pre-eminently the star of Egypt.
Although Sirius is rarely mentioned in the allegories or rituals of Freemasonry, trust me he's worth the meet and greet.
Here's a small paragraph written by the prominent Masonic encyclopedic Albert Gallatin Mackey, it should resonate with all Master Masons: “When Isis first found the body (Osiris), where it had floated ashore near Byblos, a shrub of erica, or tamarisk, near it, had, by the virtue of the body, shot up into a tree around it, and protected it; and hence our sprig of acacia. Isis was also aided in her search by Anubis, in the shape of a dog. He was Sirius, or the Dog-star, the friend and counselor of Osiris, and the inventor of language, grammar, astronomy, surveying, arithmetic, music and medical science; the first maker of laws; and who taught the worship of the gods, and the building of temples.”
Sirius was called the dog-star (Dog days of summer, get it?) It was the star of Mercury or Budha (trust me Budha is spelled correctly here), called the great instructor of mankind, before other Buddha’s, also known as Hermes.
How may one God have so many names? Shake, shake, shake, because it’s important for some cultures to name the Gods themselves, be careful when you judge another's God it may be your own!
So who is this Sirius, the one who's arrival signals time to go Dark.
Time for a little myth, trust me it will be good to hear, especially if you’re beginning the path of Freemasonry. This is probably a good time for a little disclaimer; what your about to read is not your everyday Freemasonry, with that said take it with a grain of salt, it all depends on what rung of the ladder your own.
Enter Osiris, the Egyptian God of the earth, and by association with vegetation and in particular grain (wheat). The yearly drought in Egypt and the regular yearly flooding of the Nile were personified in the life of Osiris as seen in his death and resurrection which coincided with both celestial and agricultural events. (As above, so below, Macrocosm, Microcosm)
There are two solstices each year. The winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, occurs when the sun appears farthest south in the sky. The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, occurs when the sun appears farthest in the north. In Freemasonry these solstices are symbolized by the Holy St. Johns, plural, who's birthdays just so happen on the summer and winter solstices. (All Masonic Temples are dedicated to the Holy St. John's.)
The Egyptians were especially interested in the summer solstice because it marked the beginning of the Nile's flood season. Accurately predicting the floods was of such vital importance that the appearance of Sirius, which occurs around the time of the summer solstice, was recognized as the beginning of the Egyptian New Year.
The brightest star in the night sky, Sirius was the embodiment of Isis, sister and consort of the god Osiris, who appeared in the sky as Orion. Sirius first appeared in the dawn sky each year around the time of the summer solstice and just before the Nile's flood season. Ancient Egyptians learned to predict the summer floods by the disappearance of Orion from the night sky, followed by the first appearance of Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, at dawn. Some would say the blazing star found on the Lodge Room floor is actually symbolic of Sirius.
In ancient theology, Egyptians saw Orion and Sirius as the heavenly embodiment of Osiris and Isis, two of their most important gods, who were believed to bring the life-giving floods each year. Egyptians believed Sirius was responsible for the rains, so it was vital to accurately predict its arrival. Sirius was the centerpiece of Egypt's 365-day solar calendar, and its appearance marked the beginning of the New Year. The three bright stars forming the belt of Orion, the hunter, were the celestial embodiment of Osiris, god of the dead, whose resurrection from the dead was pictured in the flooding of the Nile at the summer solstice which was a picture to them of God's salvation for the people of Egypt.
Here we find Dark Time, with the arrival of Sirius and the dog-days of summer, the time when all Egyptians retired into their towns on the warning of the northern wind and the dog-star, where they remained idle for two months or more till the waters were perfectly drained. Therefore the prudence of the Egyptians, before the overflowing, chiefly consisted in observing the termination of the vernal winds, the return of the northerly which began with the summer and at last the rising of the dog-star, which circumstance was to them the most remarkable point of the heavens. (The point within the circle)
You have to admit; once one begins to understand myth one begins to see the interconnections. I especially love the fact that many of the same myths with the same underlining meaning use different names for the cast and characters within the myths, you could say the various names of God. It could be the reason why in the myth of Moses the burning bush identifies him or herself as I am that I am. If you believe I am that I am can only be the one your familiar with your attempting to bind that which is boundless.
Let’s not forget that it was under the form of myths that the ancients taught and learned of the divinity of the human body, the temple of God within. So here we have Osiris, the soul incarnating and so losing for the while its memory and even spiritual life, was said to be slain and cut to pieces by his brother Typhoon, the evil genius of matter, the myriad passions of bodily life.
Paul said to his pupils that he "traveled (Freemasons are commonly known as travelers) until the Christ was formed within you;" until Horus the Son should arise and avenge his father Osiris; until "the Warrior or Savior" should be born; until the soul should gather itself together, reassert its divinity, regain its radiant spiritual consciousness as master and redeemer and spiritualizer of the consciousness of matter.
In the myth it is Horus who avenges his father. Osiris is resurrected and rules with his old splendor and power in the underworld, by night the soul regains its proper being. Horus rules on earth, in the body by day, having routed the evil Typhoon.
The Next section is for Freemasons only, if you are not in the Tradition it is requested you look away otherwise you run the risk of being sucked into my world.
In Freemasonry, it is taught that the Blazing Star is a symbol of deity, of omnipresence (the Creator is present everywhere) and of omniscience (the Creator sees and knows all). Sirius is therefore the “sacred place” all Masons must ascend to: It is the source of divine power and the destination of divine individuals. This concept is often represented in Masonic art.
To achieve perfection, the initiate must successfully understand and internalize the dual nature of the world (good and evil; masculine and feminine; black and white, etc.) through alchemical metamorphosis. This concept is symbolically represented by the union of Osiris and Isis (the male and female principles) to give birth to Horus, the star-child, the Christ-like figure, the perfected man of Freemasonry – who is equated with the Blazing Star.