The Masonic lodge is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. The Lodge meets regularly and conducts the usual formal business of any small organisation (approve minutes, elect new members, appoint officers and take their reports, consider correspondence, bills and annual accounts, organise social and charitable events, etc.).
- List of Freemasons
This "List of Freemasons" page provides links to...
Stonemasonry or stonecraft is the creation of buildings,...
- Masonic Bodies
Overview of relationships between masonic organizations. The...
- List of Freemasons
A Masonic lodge, often termed a private lodge or constituent lodge, is the basic organisational unit of Freemasonry. It is also commonly used as a term for a building in which such a unit meets. It is also commonly used as a term for a building in which such a unit meets.
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- The purpose of Masonic ritual
- Lack of standardisation
- Symbols in ritual
- Overlap with symbolism in the Latter-day Saint Movement
- Perceived secrecy of Masonic ritual
Masonic ritual is the scripted words and actions that are spoken or performed during the degree work in a Masonic Lodge. Masonic symbolism is that which is used to illustrate the principles which Freemasonry espouses. Masonic ritual has appeared in a number of contexts within literature including in "The Man Who Would Be King", by Rudyard Kipling, and War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy.
Freemasonry is described in its own ritual as a "Beautiful or Peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols". The symbolism of Freemasonry is found throughout the Masonic Lodge, and contains many of the working tools of a medieval or renaissance stonemason. The whole system is transmitted to initiates through the medium of Masonic ritual, which consists of lectures and allegorical plays. Common to all of Freemasonry is the three grade system of craft or blue lodge fr
Freemasons conduct their degree work, often from memory, following a preset script and ritualised format. There are a variety of different Masonic rites for Craft Freemasonry. Each Masonic jurisdiction is free to standardize its own ritual. However, there are similarities that exist among jurisdictions. For example, all Masonic rituals for the first three degrees use the architectural symbolism of the tools of the medieval operative stonemason. Freemasons, as speculative masons, use this symboli
In most jurisdictions, a Bible, Quran, Tanakh, Vedas or other appropriate sacred text will always be displayed while the Lodge is open. In Lodges with a membership of mixed religions it is common to find more than one sacred text displayed. A candidate will be given his choice of religious text for his Obligation, according to his beliefs. UGLE alludes to similarities to legal practice in the UK, and to a common source with other oath taking processes. In keeping with the geometrical and archite
Worship in temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shares a commonality of symbols, signs, vocabulary and clothing with Freemasonry, including robes, aprons, handshakes, ritualistic raising of the arms, etc. However, the meanings of each are different for the Freemasons and the Latter-day Saints. Speaking in 1877 at the St. George Temple, Brigham Young related LDS temple worship to the story of Hiram Abiff and Solomon's Temple, though he believed the ceremony had not been prac
Freemasons often say that they "are not a secret society, but rather a society with secrets". The secrets of Freemasonry are the various modes of recognition – grips, passwords and signs that indicate one is a Freemason. While these and the rest of masonic ritual have all been exposed multiple times through the years, Freemasons continue to act as if they were secret, and promise not to discuss them with outsiders more out of tradition than a need for actual secrecy. This has led to a ...
Masonic conspiracy theories are conspiracy theories involving Freemasonry; hundreds of such conspiracy theories have been described since the late 18th century. Usually, these theories fall into three distinct categories: political (usually involving allegations of control of government, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom), religious (usually involving allegations of anti ...
This engraving is based on that of Gabanon on the same subject dated 1745. A Masonic Hall in Alabama. Freemasonry is an organization of people who believe in brotherhood and helping others. Its members are known as "Freemasons" (in full: "Ancient Free and Accepted Masons", or simply "Masons"). Freemasons also help one another in times of hardship.
- Development and history
- First Temples
- Heyday and decline
- Naming conventions
A Masonic Temple or Masonic Hall is, within Freemasonry, the room or edifice where a Masonic Lodge meets. Masonic Temple may also refer to an abstract spiritual goal and the conceptual ritualistic space of a meeting.
In the early years of Freemasonry, from the 17th through the 18th centuries, it was most common for Masonic Lodges to form their Masonic Temples either in private homes or in the private rooms of public taverns or halls which could be regularly rented out for Masonic purposes. This was less than ideal, however; meeting in public spaces required the transportation, set-up and dismantling of increasingly elaborate paraphernalia every time the lodge met. Lodges began to look for permanent facilitie
The first Masonic Hall was built in 1765 in Marseille, France. A decade later in May, 1775, the cornerstone of what would come to be known as Freemasons' Hall, London, was laid in solemn ceremonial form spurring a trend that would continue to present day. Most lodges, however, could not afford to build their own facilities and instead rented rooms above commercial establishments. With permanent facilities, the term "Masonic Temple" began to be applied not just to the symbolic formation of the Te
The 1920s marked a heyday for Freemasonry, especially in the United States. By 1930, over 12% of the adult male population of the United States were members of the fraternity. The dues generated by such numbers allowed state Grand Lodges to build on truly monumental scales. Typical of the era are the Dayton Masonic Center and Detroit Masonic Temple.
When Freemasons first began building dedicated structures the more frequently used term for a Masonic Temple was Masonic Hall. This began to change in the mid 19th Century when the larger Masonic Halls most often found in major cities began to be named with the term Masonic Temple. As time went on more and more American buildings began using the name Masonic Temple regardless of their size or location. In US Freemasonry today the term Masonic Hall is experiencing a revival motivated in part by t
Though Masonic Temples in their most basic definition serve as a home to a Masonic Lodge they can also serve many other purposes as well. Smaller Masonic Temples will often consist of nothing more than a meeting room with a kitchen/dining area attached. Larger Masonic Temples can contain multiple meeting rooms, concert halls, libraries, and museums as well as non-masonic commercial and office space.
Masonic manuscripts. There are a number of masonic manuscripts that are important in the study of the emergence of Freemasonry. Most numerous are the Old Charges or Constitutions. These documents outlined a "history" of masonry, tracing its origins to a biblical or classical root, followed by the regulations of the organisation, and the ...
- Overview of Relationships Between Masonic Organizations
- Rites, Orders, and Degrees
- Other Affiliated Bodies
The basic unit of Freemasonry is the Masonic Lodge, which alone can "make" (initiate) a Freemason. Such lodges are controlled by a Grand Lodge with national or regional authority for all lodges within its territory. A masonic lodge confers the three masonic degreesof Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft (or Fellow Craft), and Master Mason. Whilst there is no degree in Freemasonry higher than that of Master Mason, there are additional degreesthat are offered only to those who are Master Masons. Most of these are supervised by their own "Grand" bodies (independent from the Grand Lodge). The United Grand Lodge of England (which has no direct authority over other Grand Lodges, but as the world's oldest Grand Lodge,has a historical influence in terms of regularity and practice) defines "pure, ancient Freemasonry" as consisting of the three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason, including the supreme Order...
Sometime before 1730, a trigradal system (that is, a system of three grades or degrees) started to emerge in Freemasonry, which quickly became the standard system in the lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland. This seems to have been accomplished by the rearrangement and expansion of the original bigradal system, particularly by the elaboration of the Hiramic legend, and its full exposition in the third degree, that of a Master Mason. The emergence, in the 1740s, of "chivalric" degrees on the continent may be linked to the deliberate "gentrification" of Freemasonry in Chevalier Ramsay's Oration of 1737. The formation of the Royal Arch occurred in the same period, developing the Hiramic theme with the rediscovery of the secrets lost with the death of the master builder. The Premier Grand Lodge of England (the "Moderns") remained ambivalent about the new rite, perhaps because a secret password was taken from the...
Different Masonic jurisdictions vary in their relationships with appendant bodies, if any. Some offer formal recognition, while others consider them wholly outside of Freemasonry. This leads to some such bodies not being universally considered as appendant bodies, but rather separate organizations that happen to require Masonic affiliation for membership.
Each Masonic body sets its own Membership requirements, which vary greatly. Many of these, especially those that actually confer additional Masonic degrees and orders, limit membership to Master Masons only. Others require the candidate to either be a Master Mason or have a familial relationship to one. Some require the candidate to be a TrinitarianChristian. Others require prior membership of other groups, or having held specific office in a group. Membership is sometimes open, and sometimes invitational. In the United States, the York and Scottish Rites make petitions available to all Master Masons but reserve the right to reject petitioners, while other groups, such as the Knight Masons, require that one be asked to join by a current member.
England & Wales
In England and Wales, after the degrees of craft freemasonry, there are a large number of separately administered degrees and orders open only to craft freemasons. Under the English Constitution, the Holy Royal Arch is the only degree formally recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England(UGLE) beyond the three degrees of craft freemasonry. Other orders and degrees are however referred to and acknowledged by the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of Englan...
The governing bodies are the Grand Lodge of Scotlandand the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland. Under the Scottish Masonic Constitution, the Mark master's degree can be taken either within a Craft Lodge after having attained the degree of Master Mason, or within a Royal Arch Chapter, before taking the degree of Excellent Master. No one under the Scottish Masonic Constitution can be exalted as a Royal Arch Mason without previously having been advanc...
In the United States there are two main Masonic appendant bodies: 1. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. 2. The York Rite (sometimes called the American Rite), which, together with the craft lodge, comprises three separate and distinct bodies: the Royal Arch Chapter (Capitular Masonry), the Council of Royal & Select Masters (Cryptic Masonry) and the Commandery of the Knights Templar. Other Appendant bodies: 1. The York Rite Sovereign College of North America– www.yrs...
These affiliated bodies and youth organisations are commonly found in North and Central America, and to a lesser degree in South America. They are not generally present in Europe, except in localised areas of American influence, particularly areas of long term American military presence. 1. Shriners International, historically known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.). Shriners meet in Shrine "centers" or "temples," and are well known for their maroon fezzes, lavish parades, and sponsorship of children's hospitals. 2. Royal Order of Jesters(R.O.J.) Colloquially known as "Jesters," local "courts" are limited to thirteen initiates yearly. Initiation, by invitation and unanimous ballot, is limited to members in good standing of the Shrine. 3. Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm. Colloquially known as "The Grotto;" members wear black fezzes. 4. Order of Quetzalcoatl. Colloquially known as "The Q"...
- with A "G"
- Use of The Symbol by Other Fraternal Bodies
In many English speaking countries, the Square and Compasses are depicted with the letter "G" in the center. The letter has multiple meanings, representing different words depending on the context in which it is discussed. The most common is that the "G" stands for God. Another is that it stands for Geometry, and is to remind Masons that Geometry and Freemasonry are synonymous terms described as being the "noblest of sciences", and "the basis upon which the superstructure of Freemasonry and everything in existence in the entire universe is erected. In this context, it can also stand for Great Architect of the Universe(a non-denominational reference to God)."
The square and compasses has been used as a symbol by several organisations, sometimes with additional symbols: 1. The Order of Free Gardeners, which adds an open pruning knife within the square and compasses 2. The Junior Order of United American Mechanics, which adds an arm-and-hammerwithin the square and compasses. 3. The Independent United Order of Mechanics,which retains the symbol unchanged. 4. The Royal Black Institution,which uses the symbol unchanged. 5. Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia uses the square and three sets of compasses in its arms. The Philadelphia arms are similar to the City of London Livery Company, the Worshipful Company of Carpenters 6. The Incorporation of Wrights and Masons - Edinburgh Trades.The Wrights' symbol is the square and compasses in a different configuration from the traditional Masonic one. Wright is the Scottish and Northern English term for a Carpenter. 7. The arms of the former Allan Glen's School, still used by the...
Curl, James Stevens (1991). The Art and Architecture of Freemasonry: An Introductory Study. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press. ISBN 1-58567-160-6. OCLC 493971613.