MASONRY & OTHER BRANCHES
THE ROOT OF MASONRY
THE SCOTTISH RITE
THE 33rd DEGREE MASON
THE YORK RITE
THE ORDER OF DEMOLAY
THE ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR
THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF THE RAINBOW
THE ORDER OF THE AMARANTH
THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF JOB'S DAUGHTER
is the oldest and largest fraternity in the world. It uses the
ancient tools and symbols of masons to teach timeless lessons
about ethics and morality. Freemasonry is a fraternal order whose
basic tenets are brotherly love, relief and truth. We strive to
enjoy the company of our brother Masons, assist them in times
of personal trouble, and reinforce essential moral values. There
is an old adage that Masonry "takes good men and makes them
better", which is our goal.
believe in the existence of God, the immortality of the soul,
and the brotherhood of man. Freemasonry strives to teach a man
the duty he owes to God, his country, his neighbor, his family
and himself, discussion of religion and politics within the Lodge
is forbidden, as these subjects are those that have often divided
men in the past. Masons cover the spectrum of both religious and
political beliefs and encourages a man to be religious without
advocating a particular religion, and to be active in his community
without advocating a particular medium of political expression.
While there probably are some actual stone-workers who are Masons,
Masonry does not teach is membership the literal techniques of
stonework. Rather, it takes the actual "operative" work
of Medieval Masons and uses it as an allegory for moral development.
Thus, the symbols of Masonry are the common tools that were used
by medieval stonemasons: the gavel, the rule, the compass, the
square, the level, etc. Each of these has a symbolic meaning in
Masonry. For example, Masons are said to meet "on the level",
meaning that all Masons are brothers, regardless of social status,
personal wealth, or office within the Lodge or in the world at
large. Similar symbolism exists for other tools.
is distinguished from other fraternal orders by its emphasis on
moral character, its ornate rituals, and its long tradition and
history, which dates back to at least the 17th century in modern
form, the 14th century (1350-1390) in the written evidence of
its precursors, and back to the mists of antiquity in its origin.
Masonry has a continuously documented paper history (Lodge to
Lodge) since 1717, though historical analysis shows Masonry to
be much older. There are three Degrees in Masonry or Blue Lodge
Masonry proper. At the Blue Lodge, Masons receive the Degrees
of Entered Apprentice (First Degree), Fellowcraft (Second Degree)
and Master Mason (Third Degree). Promotion generally requires
the mastery of a small body of memorized material, the contents
of which varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
ceremonies teach that Freemasonry was in existence when King Solomon
built the Temple at Jerusalem and that the masons who built the
Temple were organised into Lodges. Our Masonic antiquity is demonstrated
by a so-called Regius Manuscript written around the year 1390,
when King Richard II reigned in England, a century before Columbus.
It was part of the King's Library that George II presented to
the British Museum in 1757. it consists of 794 lines of rhymed
English verse and claims there was an introduction of Masonry
into England during the reign of Athelstan, who ascended the throne
in A.D. 925. Teaching duties to God and Church and Country, and
inculcating brotherhood. While the real roots of Masonry are lost
in faraway mists, these items show that our recorded history goes
back well over 600 years. Further proof is furnished through English
statutes as, one of which regulated wages of a "Master...Mason
at 4 pence per day." The Fabric Role of the 12th century
Exeter Cathedral referred to "FREEMASONS.
historical advance of science also treats of our operative ancient
brethren who were architects and stonemasons of geometry. It is
apparent from this portrayal that they had a very real and personal
identification with the Deity and that this fervent devotion provided
energy to build cathedrals. They embraced the teachings of Plato
and understood and applied Pythagorean relationships. Just as
there is a beauty of harmony credited to mathematical relationships
on which music is based, in precisely the same way these master
geometricians treated architecture. The architects and stonemasons
became the personification of geometry, performing extraordinary
feats with squares and compasses. Geometrical proportion, not
measurement, was the rule. Their marks as stonemasons were derived
from geometric constructions. The mighty works they wrought, cathedrals
with Gothic spires pointing toward the heavens, and especially
their "association," were not without danger and opposition,
bearing in mind the Inquisition established in 1229, the Saint
Bartholomew's Eve Massacre of 1572, and the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes in 1685. These historical points remind us of
the need for our cautions against cowans and eavesdroppers.
Our operative Brethren of the Middle Ages thus were the builders
of mighty cathedrals throughout the British Isles and continental
Europe, many of which still stand. These skilled craftsmen wrote
in enduring stone impressive stories of achievement, frequently
chiseled with symbolic markings. With these architectural structures
of these master builders there was a companion moral code. These
grew up together. Out of this background modern Freemasonry was
Freemasonry in the modern sense dates from 24 June 1717 when four
London lodges came together, formed themselves into a Grand Lodge
and elected a Grand Master and Grand Wardens. Indeed, this Lodge
-- the United Grand Lodge of England -- is the oldest Grand Lodge
of Freemasons in the world.Although "Lodges" had existed
for centuries, four of the "old" Lodges met in London
on St. John the Baptist's Day, June 24, 1717, and formed the first
Grand Lodge of England, thereafter known as the Premier Grand
Lodge of the world. No longer operative as of old, the Masons
carried on the traditions and used the tools of the craft as emblems
to symbolize principles of conduct in a continued effort to build
a better world.
Lodges have regular communications - meetings once a month, that
are also referred to as "Stated Meetings or Regular Meetings".
In the United States, these are typically only open to Master
Masons. In England, Ireland and Scotland these meetings are usually
opened in the first degree and Entered Apprentices may attend.
While conferral of degrees and mundane business do take up a lot
of a Lodge's time, there are a host of other activities that Masons
engage in within the fraternity. Charitable work is often done,
in the form of fundraisers, community volunteer work, etc. And
there are also a great many things done for the simple pleasure
of company: monthly breakfasts or dinners, picnics, card / chess
matches, Lectures on Masonic history, you name it. Masonry is
a fraternity, and its membership seeks to have fun.
The head of a Lodge is given the title "WORSHIPFUL MASTER"
or as in Lodges under the Roll of The Grand Lodge of Scotland
- "Right Worshipful Master". This, of course, does not
imply that Masons worship him; it is marked by a good quality
or property - Notable or Distinguished, used as a formal title
for various persons or groups of rank or distinctions.
Scottish Rite is an appendant body of Masonry, meaning that it
is not part of the Blue Lodge, but closely associated with Masonry.
It requires that a man be a Master Mason before joining the Scottish
Rite. The Scottish Rite confers the 4th through 32nd degrees.
The degree work may be, but is not necessarily, completed at one
time. Any Master Mason is eligible to join the Scottish Rite.
The degrees of the Scottish Rite continue the symbolism of the
first three Masonic degrees.
Scottish Rite awards a special honorary degree, the 33rd, to those
it feels has made an outstanding contribution to Masonry, the
community as a whole, and to mankind. There is no way to "achieve"
this degree or "take" it, in the sense that one takes
the 4th through 32nd degrees in the Scottish Rite. It is a singular
honor, rarely bestowed, and greatly admired.
York Rite, like the Scottish Rite, is an appendant body of Masonry,
and confers degrees beyond the Blue Lodge's three degrees. It
consists of nine degrees additional degrees: Mark Master, Past
Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason; the Cryptic
Degrees of the Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent
Master; and the Chivalric Orders of the Order of the Red Cross,
Order of the Knights of Malta and the Order of Knights Templar.
Shrine is not an appendant body of Masonry, though the distinction
would escape many. The Shrine confers no additional degrees. It
was founded in 1872 (the Mecca Temple in New York City) and an
Arabic theme was chosen. Hence, the distinctive red fez that Shriners
wear at official functions.Members of the Ancient Arabic Order
of the Nobles the Mystic Shrine for North America (AAONMS is an
anagram for "A MASON"). The Shrine is most noted for
its emphasis on philanthropy and its jolly outlook on life-- it
has been called "the playground of Masonry". This is
expressed as "Pleasure without intemperance, hospitality
without rudeness, and jollity without coarseness."
International Order of DeMolay is the world's largest fraternal
organization for young men between the ages of 13 and 21. The
Order was founded in Kansas City, Missouri on March 24, 1919 by
Frank Sherman Land. DeMolay Chapters are sponsored by Masonic
Lodges, and some members of the sponsoring body also serve as
Advisors on the Chapter's Advisory Council. Structurally, it is
similar to Masonry. The officers of a Chapter are the Master Councilor,
Senior Councilor, Junior Councilor, Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon,
Senior Steward, Junior Steward, Orator, Scribe, Marshal, Chaplain,
Standard Bearer, Sentinel, Almoner, and Seven Preceptors.
The Order's namesake is Jacques DeMolay, who was the last Grand
Master of the Knights Templar and who was executed by the Inquisition
on March 13, 1314. Louis Lower, the first DeMolay, and his group
of friends, believed that his heroic fidelity and loyalty to his
fellow Templars were qualities with which they wanted their group
to be identified. DeMolays are taught the seven cardinal virtues
of the Order-- filial love, reverence for sacred things, courtesy,
comradeship, fidelity, cleanness, and patriotism-- and the importance
of practicing them in their daily lives.
Order of the Eastern Star is an adoptive rite of Freemasonry with
teachings based on the Bible and objectives that are charitable
and benevolent. The founder of OES was Dr. Robert Morris, a lawyer
and educator from Boston, Massachusetts, who was a Master Mason
and Past Grand Master of Kentucky. Dr. Morris intended his creation
to become a female branch of Freemasonry, but he failed to overcome
the great opposition this idea engendered. After his first published
ritual in 1849-50, he became associated with Robert Macoy who
wrote and published a ritual based on Morris' in 1867. The first
Grand Chapter was organized in Michigan in the same year. Subordinate
chapters operate under charter from state level grand chapters
which are responsible to the General Grand Chapter at the International
Eastern Star temple in Washington, D.C.
ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR
Members must be eighteen years or older and either Master Masons
in good standing or properly related to a Master Mason in good
standing. The latter category includes wives; widows; sisters;
daughters; mothers; granddaughters; step-mothers; step daughters;
step-sisters; and half-sisters. In 1994 this was expanded to include
nieces, daughters-in- law, and grandmothers.
International Order of the Rainbow for Girls is an organization
for girls from 11 to 20 years of age. Masonic relationship is
not required. Rainbow for Girls stands for belief in the Supreme
Being, dignity of character, the higher things in life, effective
leadership, church membership, patriotism, cooperation with equals,
love of home and services to others.
INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF THE RAINBOW
"The International Order of Rainbow for Girls was founded
by Rev. W. Mark Sexson in 1922 for girls from 11 to 20.
to Masons and their wives, mothers, daughters, widows, and sisters.
At least one Master Mason must be present at every initiation.
It confers only one degree.
girls between the ages of 13 and 20 that have some Masonic relative.
They must profess a belief in God, the Ten Commandments, and the
ORDER OF JOB'S DAUGHTER
VIEWED AT 1024 X 768