Why do some people fear the Masons?
The Freemasons are an initiation community divided into independent lodges, which strive for the spiritual and ethical perfection of its members. Freemasonry probably emerged from medieval construction huts. Speculative Freemasonry probably developed in the 17th century and particularly flourished in the Age of Enlightenment.
Freemasonry has secret rites and ceremonies, which, however, are often already published in relevant literature. When entering the box, you are obliged to maintain secrecy in order to protect your privacy. For this reason, the member lists are also secret. Discussions about politics and religion are within most lodges, according to the Old duties, prohibited.
Nevertheless, this secrecy arouses suspicion among many and some religious institutions such as the Catholic Church see their ethical monopoly endangered by Freemasonry. Last but not least, there are also well-known cases, such as the Propaganda Due, in which the dress of the Masonic lodge was used for criminal activities. This leaves room for numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the Freemasons.
Self-image of Freemasonry Edit source]
Freemasonry distances itself from being viewed as a religious or even political association. As a rule, discussions about religion and politics are not even allowed within the lodges. Nor do you believe you have secret knowledge.
You see yourself in the tradition of the Enlightenment, with its humanistic values such as religious tolerance, democracy, human rights, separation of powers, separation of state and religion, emancipation of the individual from the authorities of the church, the reduction of excessive positions of power within existing hierarchies.
(An exception here is the French lodge GLNF, which subscribed to integral traditionalism and is explicitly directed against the Enlightenment.)
Nevertheless, Freemasonry has an undeniable Christian character, which can be found in the symbol of the Almighty Builder of all worlds, which in turn is represented by the symbol of the All-Seeing Eye.
According to the Masons, the principles of tolerance, freedom of thought, benevolence, tolerance, helpfulness, and brotherhood should lead to progress.
The Freemason should carry these ethical values into his everyday life.
Statements by Freemasons Edit source]
For a better understanding, some statements from Freemasons (http://www.freimaurer.org) have been added:
About the secrets that surround the Freemasons:
There has to be a little secret, otherwise we are no longer Freemasons. That some people deliberately misunderstand this - we have to live with that. The 'secret' really only consists in the fact that we want to stay among ourselves during our ceremonies in the temple, and it should stay that way. You can find out about everything else, even the text books for the ceremonies can be found on the Internet or in large libraries.
About the goals of the Masons:
... Freemasons who strive for human perfection in fraternal forms and through traditional ritual acts. With respect for the dignity of every person, they stand up for the free development of personality and for brotherhood, tolerance and helpfulness and education for this. Freemasons' greatest good is freedom of belief, conscience and thought. Freedom of expression ... is a prerequisite for masonry work. The Freemasons are connected to one another by their common pursuit of a humanitarian spirit; they do not form a religious community. ...
About the political position of the Freemasons:Masonic work is fundamentally apolitical, the so-called 'old duties' even prohibit debating politics or religion in the lodge. The work in the lodge is intended to motivate the individual Freemason to realize the Masonic goals of "philanthropy, tolerance and brotherhood" in his sphere of influence. Freemasonry cannot act politically as a group or organization because every brother is free to form his political opinion.
Organizational structure [edit | Edit source]
Lodge [edit | Edit source]
The smallest unit of the structure is the lodge, which is organized like an association. Individual members take on the duties of the treasurer and the secretary, who usually form a council of officials. Additional tasks that can be assigned to members are: speaker, conductor (responsible for the house and catering), the gift keeper, music master, archivist, master of ceremonies. Committees such as an admissions committee and a court of honor can also be formed.
The chairman of a lodge is the master of the chair, who especially collaborates with the officials in the ritual work. Furthermore, there is a first and second overseer who may represent the master of the chair and each preside over part of the lodge brothers (divided into two columns).
The transition from one lodge to another (affiliation) happens every now and then. Resignations are rare. If a member leaves the lodge, one speaks of "cover". Has he fulfilled his obligations, from"honorable cover".
List of lodges
Johannesloge / Blue Lodge [edit | Edit source]
The Johanneslogen, after John the Baptist, deal with blue masonry, i.e. the three degrees of apprentice, journeyman and master. In principle, the essence of Freemasonry is contained in these three degrees, but there is still the possibility of deepening your own understanding in further, so-called high degrees.
Andreas Lodge / Red Lodge [edit | Edit source]
The participation in the high grades presupposes the master's degree of blue masonry. They differ according to the rite or system on which they are based. The most common rites are the York Rite and the Scottish Rite.
Grand Lodge / Grand Orient Edit source]
Individual lodges come together under an umbrella organization, the so-called Grand Lodge or Grand Orient. Before the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) was founded in 1717, there were only unorganized lodges in England and France.
See also: List of Grand Lodges
Regularity [edit | Edit source]
Lodges or grand lodges are considered regular if they have received a constitutional patent from another regular grand lodge after they have worked. So they are practically recognized as Masonic by the Grand Lodge. Thus, all regular lodges and grand lodges receive their recognition, directly or indirectly, from the oldest grand lodge, the United Grand Lodge of England. Compliance with the old obligations is fundamental for recognition by the UGLE. An unrecognized lodge is also called an angle lodge. The largest irregular umbrella organization is the Grand Orient de France (see: Liberal Freemasonry).
Grade [edit | Edit source]
Degrees do not represent hierarchical levels, but a degree of initiation.
Johannesgrade [edit | Edit source]
The Johannes grades or blue grades are
For these degrees, the lodge work consists in subjecting oneself to a moral and spiritual self-discovery, the most important means of which is the so-called temple work. In their symbolic language, the Freemasons speak of the building of the Temple of Humanity. From degree to degree there is an increasing initiation through various legends and symbolic acts, with which ethical values can be experienced. The initiate should continue to perfect himself.
During the Apprentice level deals centrally with self-knowledge and pursues the question of how the symbolic, imperfect "rough stone" can be turned into a hewn stone that fits into the common symbolic building, pursues the subsequent one Journeyman degree primarily the question of social behavior and right action. The Master degree finally emphasizes the transience of human life. In principle, the blue grades already contain the entire tradition of Freemasonry.
Andreasgrade [edit | Edit source]
The so-called "high degrees" are also referred to as levels of knowledge or perfection. They do not lead beyond that, but deepen the teachings of the apprentice, journeyman and master degree. The way in which the teaching is deepened and the degree to which this happens differs depending on the rite and system.
Rites and Systems of Freemasonry
York Rite Edit source]
- Old masters
- Very excellent master
- Master of the Royal Arch
- Royal Master
- Chosen master
- Most excellent master
Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) Edit source]
Red grades (apprentice grades)
4. Secret Master
5. Perfect Master
6. Secret secretary
7. Supervisor and Judge
8. General manager of the building
9. Chosen Master of the Nine
10. Chosen Master of the Fifteen
11. Exalted Chosen Knight
12. Grand Master Architect
13. Master of the Ninth Arch
14. Great chosen one
15. Knight of the sword
16. Prince of Jerusalem
17. Knights from the east and west
18. Knight Rosicrucian
Black / Philosophical degrees (journeyman degrees)
19. Grand Pontiff
20. Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges
21. Prussian knight
22. Prince of Lebanon
23. Chief of the Tabernacle
24. Prince of the Tabernacle
25. Knight of the Brazen Serpent
26. Prince of Mercy
27. Knight-Commander of the Temple
28. Knight of the Sun
29. Knight of Saint Andrew of Scotland
30. Knight Kadosh
White / top grades (master grades)
31. Inquisitor Master
32. Knight and Prince of the Royal Secret
33. Sovereign Grand Inspector General
Rituals [edit | Edit source]
Temple work Edit source]
The closed ritualistic gathering of Freemasons is known as temple work.
It serves the Masonic socialization and conveys the Masonic values to the individual through an orally handed down method through symbols and allegories, whereby understanding and feeling are addressed equally. It takes place in a special room called the temple.
In temple work, the initiation rituals of members take place in degrees. The course of the ritual is carried through a fixed exchange conversation between the master from the chair and the first and second overseer. In continental European lodges a lecture by the speaker on Masonic or other topics belongs to temple work
Clothing [edit | Edit source]
Masons wear solemn clothing for the lodge work. This exists today, among other things. from a dark suit or tuxedo, the jewelry badge of the respective lodge: the so-called "bijou", the symbolic mason's apron (which has its origins in the stone masons and cathedral builders), white gloves and the so-called "high hat" which is still common in some lodges ", a cylinder.
Arcane Discipline Edit source]
It is understood as the basis for a free exchange of ideas and opinions that the Lodge Brothers commit themselves to discretion and do not allow confidential information from the privacy of other Brothers to leak out.
Traditionally, the identifiers of the individual degrees (signs, passwords, handles), as well as the rituals and symbols are kept silent, which is intended to preserve the emotional experience for the newly initiated.
Symbols [edit | Edit source]
There is no official symbol for Freemasonry, but many Masonic lodges use compasses and angles as symbols. The circle mostly stands for the principle of the mind and the angle for that of the body. When the two symbols overlap, the predominant one is shown (often the circle).
Other symbols of the Freemasons are mostly the handicraft of stonemasons or cathedral builders, thus due to the origin of the Freemasons.
Jachin and Boaz [edit | Edit source]
A symbol that can be found in almost every box are the columns Jachin and Boaz. They go back to the biblical account of the Solomonic temple and flank the entrance of the temple (1 Kings 7: 13-22). They were made of metal by Hiram of Tire (cf. Hiram Abif).
The right column Jachin (Heb. "I will stand up") symbolizes stability, while the left column Boaz (Heb. "In him there is strength") stands for strength. The two pillars simultaneously stand for the lunar divinely feminine and the solar divinely feminine principle. That is why these are usually decorated with the symbols of the sun and moon.
three pillars Edit source]
In some temples there are also three other pillars.
An often Doric column is marked with an S and it symbolizes strength, an often Ionic column is marked with a W and symbolizes wisdom and an often Corinthian column is marked with a B and symbolizes beauty. Candles can be lit on the pillars at the beginning of temple work.
musical plaster [edit | Edit source]
A checkerboard pattern, which is often attached to the floor of the temple, is referred to as a "musical pavement". Similar to the columns Jachin and Boaz, it is supposed to symbolize opposites.
The term musical is here on the one hand on the term mosaic and on the other hand muse returned.
Almighty builder of all worlds Edit source]
Almighty builder of all worlds is a symbol, the meaning of which is reserved for the personal belief of every Freemason.
The term is avoided in part in liberal Freemasonry as well non-religious Meet Freemasons.
The builder is often graphically symbolized by the all-seeing eye or the G, for "Great Architect of the Universe ", between compasses and angles.
Masonic legend Edit source]
Hiram Abif [edit | Edit source]
see main article: Hiram Abif
A well-known Masonic legend is about Hiram Abif, the widow's son and builder of the Temple of Solomon. It exists in several versions.
In the Masonic legend, Hiram Abif (also Hiram Abiff, often paraphrased as "the widow's son") is transfigured as a master (master of the chair?). The workers are divided into three grades, apprentices, journeymen and masters (Johannes grades). In order to distinguish the individual degrees in the large number of workers, each of the degrees is given a secret word, a secret sign and a secret handle with which they identify themselves when the wages are paid out. The apprentices receive the word "Boa", the journeymen "Jachin" and the masters "Jehovah".
One day after the completion of the temple, when Hiram was praying in it, the three journeymen or apprentices Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum approached him. They blocked Hiram's way through the west gate and demanded the secret signs of a master from him. When he refuses, the three attack him.
Depending on the version, the injuries inflicted on Hiram differ, their sequence, the tools and the doors of the temple where the injuries were inflicted on him.
Hiram receives three wounds. In some versions, a mallet or hammer hits his head, a spirit level hits one temple and a plumb bob hits the other. In another version, the injuries are to the head, throat and heart.
After each injury, Hiram staggers bleeding to another door and finally dies, the reports agree, on the eastern one. (Where in churches there is usually the altar and in boxes the chair of the lodge master)
Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum hide the body of Hiram on a nearby hill, where they bury him under loose earth. They placed an acatzia sapling on the grave so that the ground appears untouched. Seven days later, nine of Hiram's subordinate masters begin looking for him. One of them grabs the Akatzia to pull himself up on the hill, it travels out of the earth and the corpse is discovered.
When one of the masters grabs Hiram's hand while excavating, the rotten skin slips off her like a glove and the master calls out “Macbenac!”, Which in an unknown language means “The flesh falls from the bone”, “The corpse is rotten "or" the death of a builder ". This becomes the new master word, because one fears Hiram would have betrayed the old one.
Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum are discovered shortly afterwards and punished.
Hiram is buried in a grand ceremony in the temple, with all masters wearing an apron and gloves made of white leather as a sign of innocence.
Members [edit | Edit source]
Social status and religion are largely irrelevant for membership in Freemasonry. The admission fees should rarely exceed 500 euros, the monthly fees are around 25 euros.Fees are also required at initiation into a higher grade for the conduct of the ritual.
However, depending on the type of teaching, there are also differences in the question of whether atheists and in some cases also non-Christians can become Freemasons.
One point that is often criticized is the lack of women's emancipation within Freemasonry. Many lodges take up that Old duties calling, exclusively men, nevertheless special women's lodges or grand lodges and mixed lodges have developed today.
There are estimated to be 4 to 6 million Freemasons in the grand lodges worldwide, but due to the decentralization of the lodges, there is great disagreement on the exact number.
Recording [edit | Edit source]
Open recruitment by members is rejected, the deeds of the individual lodge brothers themselves should speak for the lodge.
The so-called "seekers" can get to the lodge in different ways, on the one hand this can be done by a recommendation, on the other hand there is also the possibility of approaching the lodge at a guest evening or another public event.
It is expected that the seekers have already dealt with Freemasonry in detail and have attended the lodge's guest evenings for six months to make their decision to become a member, since the decision for Freemasonry should be a decision for life, even if the possibility consists of stepping at any time. Furthermore, the seeker should find one or two guarantors for himself who accompany him through the apprenticeship and journeyman degree. A special committee of the lodge questions the seeker and then makes a recommendation. If the recommendation is positive, there is ballotage, a secret ballot using black and white balls, with black balls opposing votes. If one or two black balls are handed in, the corresponding voter should identify themselves and present their criticism openly, after which it will be decided whether this is justified. If more than two black balls are drawn, the seeker is considered rejected or postponed.
History [edit | Edit source]
Origins Edit source]
In general, the origin of Freemasonry is obscure. Most of the time, genesis stories that the Freemasons have in direct connection with ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, and mystery cults are denied Old peopleRosicrucians or the Templars.
In part, such apparently unconfirmed genesis stories were spread by Freemasons even in the early days of Freemasonry in order to arouse interest in their respective lodges; accordingly, elements from the circles mentioned were also included in Freemasonry.
medieval construction huts Edit source]
From a religious-scientific point of view, the Freemasons are often traced back to the medieval building huts (loge, English: "Lodge" = little house, hostel or building hut) when feudalism fell.
This is why the name Freemason was derived: The "free" came about because the Freemasons were free from the guild compulsory typical of the time As stonemasons, the Freemasons (stonemasons English guilds) worked the so-called Freestone (particularly easy to shape sandstone) and thus stood out from the Roughmasons. "Free" is a very common prefix in the English guild system.
The building professionals who helped build the great medieval sacred buildings wanted to keep their privileges when feudalism fell.
The freedom of movement and material security came about through the admission of wealthy “non-masons” who were then appointed “freemasons” in an admission ritual and were initiated into the mystical secrets of the masonry trade. This is also called the transition to speculative Freemasonry is the name given to the fact that over time the lodges also consisted mostly of people who were by no means stone cutters.
However, there are also critics of this theory who point out that the medieval stonemasonry brotherhoods were in the process of decay well before the advent of Freemasonry, which is why a direct descent is unlikely. With the advent of bricks and masonry, for example, the stonemasons would often have been replaced by cheaper labor.
In any case, it is undoubted that the Freemasons were referring to the builders' huts in the times of James Anderson, whether this is a product of a real ancestry or a story grafted on by Anderson, for example to make the association more interesting for newcomers, remains speculation due to a lack of sources.
Templar theory Edit source]
The Templar- or better said first Knights of the OrderThe theory was first mentioned on March 21, 1737 in a speech given by the exiled Scottish Freemason and Jacobite Andreas Michael Ramsay Chevalier Ramsay, brought into play in front of a Paris lodge. After him, the crusaders would have im holy land Had access to the ancient wisdom of the builders of the Temple of Solomon, which would ultimately have founded Freemasonry.
According to Ramsay, who was also a member of the Catholic Order of Lazarus, the Freemasons were in direct tradition with the Knights of the Order. As a result, some Masonic systems such as the Royal Arch built on Ramsay's speculation
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