The Candidate's Blindfold
A Masonic hoodwink is a type of blindfold used in
Masonic rituals of initiation.
The image, above is of a man in a Masonic
hoodwink which dates from the early 1800's to the early 1900s and were sold by
DeMoulin, a Masonic lodge supplies manufacturer, as well as other purveyors
(sellers) of lodge supplies.
Freemasonry is not the originator of the hoodwink.
Religious rites and initiations of civilizations and tribes
dating back centuries before the believed or known origins of Freemasonry used
blindfolds to represent going from darkness (ignorance) to light (knowledge).
Hood: The word, “hood,” in old German and Anglo
Saxon refers to a head covering, as in a hat, or helmet. A hood might also
be of cloth. To "hood" is to cover. Hooded garments have been worn
Wink: The word, “wink,” in old German and Anglo
Saxon refers to a closing of the eyes. The word, “wince,” , is similarly
derived from the word "wink". The word "wink" pertains to the eye.
Therefore, a hood (to cover) wink (eyes) was a
head covering designed to cover the eyes.
Misconception: While Freemasonry has many secrets,
the term "hoodwink" is not one of them.
The word is often misconstrued by non-Freemasons as having
negative overtones due to our more modern-day definition of the word which
defines it as meaning to be deceived or tricked rather than its actual meaning
which is to cover the eyes.
A Masonic hoodwink is not used as a method of deception.
It is simply a symbolic and visual method of covering the eyes
which is used in the initiation of the candidate into acquiring new knowledge,
hence the term, "from darkness to light".
The Masonic symbolism of the hoodwink is not about placing the
candidate into the darkness, which is symbolic of ignorance, but about the
removal of the darkness to let in the light, which is symbolic of knowledge.
Albert Mackey, Masonic scholar, historian and author described it as:
"A symbol of the secrecy, silence, and darkness in which
the mysteries of our art should be preserved from the unhallowed gaze of the
It has been supposed to have a symbolic reference to the passage in
Saint John's Gospel (I, 5), "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness
comprehended it not."
But it is more certain that there is in the hoodwink a
representation of the mystical darkness which always preceded the rites of the
Source: Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 1929,
Volume 1, Page 464
Somewhat resembling aviator goggles of this same era,
this antique Masonic hoodwink is made of metal, leather, cloth and velvet.
Size: 8-1/2 inches long, 3 inches wide and 2
inches in depth.
Front: The front of this hoodwink is made of
metal, painted black. The nose covering is made of fabric which has been
hand-stitched into place.
Eye "wink": The round metal circles which
cover each eye are welded to a cross-piece rod with cones on each end.
This entire unit is of one-piece construction.
It is spring-loaded and can be raised or flipped upward
toward the forehead by grasping either of the 2 decorative, cone-shaped metal
pieces located on either side of the eyes.
Back/Interior: The interior, which
fits against the face, is made of velvet (original color, unknown), as are the
insides of each round eye piece. A leather strap fits around the back of
Like other fraternities, such as
college fraternities, most Masonic lodges, today, simply use modern-day
The antique Masonic hoodwink, above, would most likely be
found in a Masonic museum or owned by a collector of Masonic memorabilia.
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