This was originally posted to a private lodge Facebook group for Fort Worth Lodge #148.
In the laundromat, I sat down to read a book that Rhit lent me (The Initiatic Experience) and while reading, I had an externally quiet, internally loud "A-HA!" moment.
In the second chapter (which is as far as I’ve gotten so far), there’s a lot of talk about the basics of the Egyptian death/afterlife mythos, including the resurrection/rebirth of Osiris, who was buried far in the West. After reading this, something kind of clicked for me and I tried to remember what I learned about Egypt in school!
According to the ancient Egyptians, the West was representative of Death. So much so, in fact, that people would traditionally build homes and regular temples on the East side of the Nile (the land of the living, where the Sun rose) instead of on the West side where tombs and funerary temples were built (the land of the dead, where the Sun set).
In the Lodge, or at least in Texan Lodges (as well as many others, I’m sure), the door through which the candidate enters is on the western side of the room, just north of the Senior Warden’s chair. Here we see that he’s in a dark place, being on the "west bank" where the sun sets (as well as towards the North of the Lodge). By receiving the candidate, we bring him through the doors of the Lodge, from West to East.
Taking the West as Death, the direction of East as Life, and the doors as the barrier between those two worlds, not only is the candidate brought from darkness (western sunset) to light (eastern sunrise), but he is also reborn from death (west, outside the lodge room) to life (east, into the lodge room) as a new man and Mason.