Circumambulation - What is It?
Justin Winbolt, Past Master of Garfield Lodge, Enid, OK
Masonry veils its teachings in allegory and symbolism. One part of each degree is the "circumambulation" of the lodge room.
Circumambulation - the act of moving around a sacred object - is practiced by many religions. Hindu, Zen Buddhism, Bahai, and Islam all contain a ritual of walking.
In Western Judeo-Christian teachings, there is the circumambulation of Jericho by the Israelites in the Book of Joshua, as well as the practice of Catholic priests walking around the altar with a thurible incensing the altar with the fragrance held within, which is a practice that falls back to the priestly rites of Moses and Aaron.
Masonic candidates begin each degree walking clockwise around the room, in the presence of Stewards and the Senior Deacon, while listening to readings from the Bible.