Basic Information on Freemasonry

Freemasonry is a male fraternal order which focuses on the lesser and greater mysteries of the world and mankind. It is an organization that seeks improvement and prosperity of oneself.

by Quinton on November 5th, 2009

History

Freemasonic Square and Compass
The classic square and compass emblem seen throughout most Masonic lodges.

The origins of Freemasonry are somewhat a mystery as there are quite a few possibilities to its true origins, such as: The Temple of King Solomon, The Knights Templars, The Middle Ages, The Rosicrucians and others.

Early writings suggest that stonemasons were originally brought in to carry out the building of many important and structurally challenging projects. One in particular was the building of Solomon's Temple. Engineers and builders of ancient Egyptian times were given special status as architecture of these complex buildings required a special group of people.

With time, many of the secrets and mysteries known by the powerful groups in Egypt were passed down in the form of symbols and metaphors to these stonemasons. Because the Masons held a special status among the ruling elite they were considered a free men which eventually led to the term "Freemason". Freemasonry, therefore, became an outgrowth of these Egyptian teachings and symbols and later developed into the more organized versions we see today.

Lodges

Grand Lodge of England

Lodges in Freemasonry start out with the Blue Lodge which teaches the first 3 degrees of Masonry:

  1. Entered Apprentice
  2. Fellow Craft
  3. Master Mason

After one has mastered the Blue Lodge they may choose an appendant body which will build off their 3rd degree. 2 common bodies of freemasonry are the Scottish Rite and the York Rite.

Scottish Rite

  1. Master Traveler
  2. Perfect Master
  3. Master of the Brazen Serpent
  4. Provost and Judge
  5. Intendant of the Building
  6. Master of the Temple
  7. Master Elect
  8. Sublime Master Elected
  9. Grand Master Architect
  10. Master of the Ninth Arch
  11. Grand Elect Mason
  12. Knight of the East or Sword
  13. Prince of Jerusalem
  14. Knight of the East and West
  15. Knight of the Rose Croix de Heredom Council of Kadosh
  16. Grand Pontiff
  17. Master ad Vitam
  18. Patriarch Noachite
  19. Prince of Libanus
  20. Chief of the Tabernacle
  21. Brother of the Forest
  22. Master of Achievement
  23. Friend and Brother Eternal
  24. Knight of Jerusalem
  25. Knight of the Sun, or Prince Adept
  26. Knight of Saint Andrew
  27. Grand Inspector
  28. Knight Aspirant
  29. Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
  30. Sovereign Grand Inspector General

York Rite

  • Mark Master
  • Past Master
  • Most Excellent Master
  • Royal Arch Mason
  • Order of Red Cross
  • Order of Knights of Malta
  • Order of Knights Templar

Symbols & Rituals

Freemasonry contains many symbols and rituals used throughout the various lodges. Most of the symbols can have multiple meanings and mean different things to different levels of Masons. For instance, the square and the compass and the letter "G" on it may mean one thing to a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree Mason, but to a higher level Mason, such as that of the 33rd degree, it means much more.

Most high level Masons such as Albert Pike will tell you that the true meaning of the symbols comes from the ancient meanings - that in order to understand the full meaning of these symbols you must go back and study the ancient hidden meanings. When one does this you will find that at the core Freemasonry is a Phallic organization where the true god being worshiped is the generative principle, that which gives life.

Since most people never reach the higher levels and understand the true meanings of Masonry most are given the exoteric views of these symbols which are covered in a much more simple geometric understanding. Symbols almost always have more than one meaning and usually multiple meanings depending on how high up you are.

Each lodge and rite may have different rituals and symbols that they use, but these are the more common ones with the more esoteric meanings not normally discussed.

The Square

The Square
The square is the symbol of the masculine generative principle. The Masonic square is a substitute for the phallic square of ancient cults and symbolizes the same.

The Circle

The Circle
The circle is the symbol of the feminine principle.

The Circle with a Point

The Circle With A Point
The circle represents the feminine while the point the masculine. Can also represent the Sun.

The Triangle

The Triangle
The triangle normally refers to the Christian Holy Trinity in Masonry, but the real meaning is actually sexual. Pointing up it represents the masculine principle while pointing down it represents the feminine principle.

The Compass

The Compass
The compass is the conventional replacement for the circle, which symbolizes the feminine principle.

The Square and Compass

The Square and Compass
The square and the compass is the symbolic representation of the masculine and feminine generative principles, just like the 6 pointed star. It has the square which represents the masculine and the compass which represents the feminine. The letter "G" stands for the generative principle.

The Cross

The Cross in Freemasonry
The cross symbolizes the nature of perpetual life generation. It symbolizes the masculine.

The Templar Cross

The Templar Cross
The Knights Templar Cross represents both the masculine and feminine principles. The cross represents the masculine principle, while the triangles represent the feminine principle. Both of these combines symbolize a collective totality withing the generative principle.

The Five Pointed Star

The 5 Pointed Star
The 5 Pointed Star symbolizes creation. The center of the star forms a pentagon.

The Double Triangle, Six Pointed Star

The 6 Pointed Star / Star of David
The 6 Pointed Star symbolizes the masculine and feminine principles united representing the generation and continuation of life.

The Apron

The Masonic Apron

Requirements to Join

  • Be a man who comes of his own free will.
  • Believe in a Supreme Being (the form of which is left to open interpretation by the candidate).
  • Be at least the minimum age (from 18-25 years old depending on the jurisdiction).
  • Be of good morals, and of good reputation.
  • Be of sound mind and body (Lodges had in the past denied membership to a man because of a physical disability; however, now, if a potential candidate says a disability will not cause problems, it will not be held against him).
  • Be free-born (or "born free", i.e. not born a slave or bondsman).[57] As with the previous, this is entirely an historical holdover, and can be interpreted in the same manner as it is in the context of being entitled to write a will. Some jurisdictions have removed this requirement.
  • Be capable of furnishing character references, as well as one or two references from current Masons, depending on jurisdiction.
 Filed under: Secret Societies / Fraternal Orders, Freemasonry

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