About the Freemasons
Freemasonry is one of the oldest fraternal societies in the world. Its exact origins is one of life’s great mysteries. Freemasons prize morality and spiritual development highly. Masons come from all backgrounds. What ties them is a belief in a Supreme Being.
Freemasons are known for their charitable work. And for retaining high values. They all live by three great principles: Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Living by high moral standards at all times. It is through empathy and kindness that the world is made better.
Masons have some highly esteemed men in their ranks. These include HRH The Duke of Kent. He is the current Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. Also Sir Winston Churchill, Mozart, George Washington, and Henry Ford. To name but a few.
The Origins of the Freemasons
The origins of the Freemasons has stipulated numerous theories over the years. Some suggest they date as far back as ancient Egypt. The Freemasons can without doubt trace their roots back to medieval Scotland. And to the stonemason guilds of the time.
These stone-cutters were highly skilled craftsmen. And were known as ‘operative’ masons. The title of Freemason was sometimes used to refer to a limestone cutter. By keeping the skills of their craft a secret, the Freemasons were able to gain suitable employment. These construction projects were the most sought after trade jobs of the time. They included the Gothic cathedrals of Scotland. As well as in England and throughout Europe.
To be accepted into the Freemasons a man had to be in good standing. He had to display attributes which connected him to his brethren in the guild. Once initiated, the mason would be taught the various secrets of the Craft. All within the confines of a Lodge.
With perseverance he would come to be proficient in the workings of the Craft. Masons would prove their expertise through various degrees of dexterity. And become master masons. Due to the levels of illiteracy at the time, Freemasons identified themselves to fellow brothers by using secret signs. These peculiar tokens would serve to identify their degree of knowledge in the Craft.
A brief history of Freemasonry
Modern Freemasonry began with the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. By this time the fraternity had moved on. It evolved from a trades guild to a gentleman’s club. These speculative masons were not tradesmen. They were from the upper echelons of society with wealth. They joined to learn of topics that enlightened their understanding of the world. Intellectual studies of morality was being taught. By way of allegory and symbolism.
Men of different class and professions were coming together as equals. And on the level for the first time. This was revolutionary at the time. However some people judged such trysts with suspicion. And because Freemasons met in secret behind closed doors it aroused distrust amongst non-masons. The open use of esoteric symbols did not help to ease their doubts. Conspiracy theories would follow and become accepted as fact.
What is certain is that the oldest known Lodge Minutes of masonic meetings were found in Scotland. These are from Lodge of Edinburgh No.1, also known as Mary’s Chapel. They date back to 31 July 1599. And according to Lodge Mother Kilwinning 0 of Ayrshire, operative masons have held meetings from as early as the 12th century. Due to the enigmatic nature of Freemasonry the truth of its origins will always be a puzzle.
If you would like to know more about the Freemasons, a good place to start is the Grand Lodge of Scotland