What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a post collegiate male fraternity dedicated to the spiritual development of the initiate into a broader sense of the self, and the initiates as he relates to the divine and their relative place in the world. It conveys this message through a series of progressive degrees initiating the candidate into a deeper level of membership. Ultimately, the raised Master Mason is given the metaphorical tools to further work on and develop their Masonic intuition.
The history of modern freemasonry is fairly understood, but once you get beyond the 1700’s things get lost to the sands of time.
One of the beauties of Freemasonry is that it allows the member to stretch his mind to think about a variety of topics not typically explored in mainstream history. Some Masonic historians attempt to explain and look at the connections or possibilities in history that are often overlooked, especially to the recent past and into the not so recent historical world. Freemasonry today has been fairly unchanged in the last 300 years, and is modeled in a system that was likely little changed for the 150 years prior to that. It is believed that the working aspects of Freemasonry, the form and function of the lodge, comes from guilds of the Renaissance and middle ages, and over time attracted a wider audience of non practicing “masons”.
This is the period that the present day fraternity shifted from an “operative” guild to a “speculative” one. These changes have evolved to shape the look and feel of modern lodge operation today.
Why are Freemasons so secretive?
Many masons will not answer questions about the fraternity as they believe it is supposed to be a “secret”. In the end that is a loss for the fraternity as any time someone asks a question about Masonry it’s a great opportunity to talk openly about it. An often retort to this idea is that it is a Society with Secrets, rather than a secret society, but this is equally confusing. There are aspects to Freemasonry that are kept and taught to only those who go through the initiations and ceremonies so as to keep them in a proper perspective and context of meaning. These aspects are not “secrets” but instead knowledge that is best communicated in a specific and concise manner.
Yes and no. The aims of Freemasonry are not specifically to embolden patriotism. It does however; promote a strong affinity towards a passionate interest in the nation in which the Freemason resides. It encourages more than a passive interest in the development of civil society and our roles as citizens in it. The patriotism that is displayed is the result of that interest in the well being of society itself. The fraternity does strongly encourage the adherence and following of the principals and laws of the country in which the man lives.
The fraternity has, with an unwritten rule, remained a principally all male fraternity. At times, women have been admitted, for a variety of reasons.
There are bodies comprised of mixed gender, and singular gender that have varying degrees of recognition to one another. Through most of the world, the predominate body of masonry is referred to as “Regular” which is essentially a collective of Grand Lodges who have reached a mutual agreement of recognition between one another. Within in this agreement, there is a stipulation that “Regular Freemasonry” is a masculine only body.
It is suggested that this is the case, based on ancient documents held sacred by this collective of Grand Lodges. This does not mean that Masonry is something women cannot understand, nor does it mean that women should be excluded from it. In a modern perspective, the exclusion of women is a vestige from a bygone era that has not yet been fully addressed in the future, and like the issues from past generations will undoubtedly be addressed. Today, the exclusion is predicated on issues such as a distraction, the need for unfettered brotherhood, and the belief in purism of ritual.
Why is “Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth” so important in Freemasonry?
These three virtues are the foundations upon which Freemasonry is built. Brotherly love, as directed towards all mankind, especially to other Masons. Relief, in that every Mason is obligated to relieve the suffering of any Master Mason they encounter who is in dire need and if in their power to do so, to the best of their ability, also to act charitably towards society, giving of ourselves economically, physically, and mentally. And truth, which is represented by the divine, in its multiplicity and diversity as understood by all men. These three ideas represent the core of what Freemasonry represents in its ultimate distillation.
Is Masonry Practical?
The question of practicality is entirely a self answer question. Only if something is applied can it be practical so it definitely becomes something the initiated has to answer. It is a self achieving process whereby the individual definitely gets what they put into it.
What are the first steps to petitioning?
The process begins first by getting to know the lodge you wish to join. This is really the first step in becoming a member, and starts with introducing yourself to a lodge at a dinner and getting to know
the membership before the lodge opens. We have a dinner before each meeting every second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM. This is an ideal time for such an introduction. Call us and make reservations of course.