Encylcopedia of Freemasonry & its kindred Sciences
by Albert C. Mackey M. D.
Although the West, as one of the four Cardinal Points, holds an honorable position as the station of the Senior Warden, and of the pillar of Strength that supports the Lodge, yet, being the place of the sun's setting and opposed to the East, the recognized place of light, it, in Masonic symbolism, represents the place of darkness and ignorance.
The old tradition, that in primeval times all human wisdom was confined to the eastern part of the world, and that those who had wandered toward the West were obliged to return to the East in search of the knowledge of their ancestors, is not confined to Freemasonry.
Creuzer (Symbolik) speaks of an ancient and highly instructed Body of Priests in the East, from whom all knowledge, under the veil of symbols, was communicated to the Greeks and other unenlightened nations of the West.
And in the Legend of the Craft, contained in the old Masonic Constitutions, there is always a reference to the emigration of the Freemasons from Egypt eastward to the "land of behest," or Jerusalem. Hence, in the modern symbolism of Speculative Freemasonry, it is said that the Freemason during his advancement is Traveling from the West to the East in search of light.