“The Brilliant Light”


Singer asks "a brother" to be "admitted." He passes a test and is taken to a door. He is admitted. He begins his ordeal. He meets Moses at the burning bush, casts his own rod as serpent, and is shown a great light. He swears not to reveal the secrets.


Zimmermann p. 302: "The songs inspired by the ritual of the Orange Institution are the most extraordinary. They are resolutely cryptic, with lines like: 'I'll tell you a secret your enemies do not know ...' ['Brilliant Light']."

Zimmermann p. 302 is a fragment; broadside Bodleian Firth c.21(36) is the basis for the description. - BS

Moses's rod (later Aaron's rod) that became a serpent is first mentioned in Exodus 4:3. I'm not sure if there is a direct significance to the great light. Perhaps it's a reference to the light that shone at the conversion of Paul/Saul (Acts 9:3, etc.), or a reference to Isaiah 9:2=Matthew 4:16, etc. - RBW

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Firth c.21(36), "The Brilliant Light" ("Come all you loyal marksmen that circle around"), The Poet's Box (Glasgow), 1865; also Harding B 1(35) View 2 of 2, "An admired Masonic song, called the Brilliant Lights" ("Come all you loyal Crafts-men that's circled round")


  1. Zimmermann, p. 302, "The Brilliant Light" (1 fragment)
  2. BI, Zimm302


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1865 (broadside, Bodleian Firth c.21(36))
Keywords: ritual religious
Found in: Ireland