Freemasonry has a long tradition and is known for its rituals and mysterious symbols. The members of a lodge work together to cultivate their personalities. The levels of knowledge worked on in Freemasonry are also called degrees. Blue Degrees are the Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason while the high degrees are called red degrees. The Scottish Rite is one of the high degree systems. French Freemasons belong to the Masonic system as well as English Freemasons.
Freemasonry – Freemasons see themselves as an ethical society committed to freedom, tolerance and humanity. The members of the Fraternity believe that working on themselves can lead to a better life. They try to live the five ideals of Freemasonry: equality, freedom, brotherhood, humanity and tolerance. The Fraternity is organized in “lodges” all over the world and has no central organization. The national groups are called “grand lodges”, while the local lodges are called “sheds”. At the top of the grand lodge is the Grand Master, who is normally elected by the worshipful master of the various lodges.
The members of Freemasonry have committed themselves to secrecy, which is intended to promote the exchange of ideas within the organization. Freemasons meet for regular “Lodge work”, which takes place according to certain rituals. Nevertheless, Freemasons have shaped certain symbols under which they can be identified each other. Some Masons wear such symbols as jewelry.
The history of the Masonry can be traced back to 1278. At that time the term “lodge” was used for the first time in a document. In 1717 four lodges were founded in England, which joined together to form the first Masonic Grand Lodge. In addition to these English Freemasons there are also the French Freemasons. Both branches are equal and neither has a claim to greater originality or authenticity. The French Freemasons are rather secular.
Today, the greatest goal of Freemasons is the perfection of personality. The rough stone is a symbol of the raw personality, this should be perfected to a worked cubic stone. Although the aim of Freemasonry is to perfect the personality, there are numerous lodges which only have material aims (business masons). Such lodges prefer candidates from high social backgrounds who also have the necessary money. Also, some of these lodges intend to cover important socio-political areas such as the media, politics, education, industry, government, etc.
Freemasonry is divided into degrees (degree system). The Grade System allows members to receive new rituals and insights as they ascend to another degree. There are blue grades, which the Masons divide into apprentice, fellow craft, master, and the red, high grades. The blue degrees are the original St. John Masons and represent the system. The red degrees (high degrees) are additions and should deepen the doctrine, whereby it can often be observed that members from high degrees represent the governing bodies of the blue degrees and share them among themselves.
The high degrees should help members to discover self-knowledge by celebrating further rituals. One of the best-known high degree systems is the so-called Scottish Rite with 33 degrees, whereby in many countries only some of these degrees are ritually worked on and most of these degrees are awarded. Albert Pike is one of the most famous historical figures in the Scottish Rite. The Master’s degree in the Blue Lodge is required for admission. The candidate cannot apply for the high degrees, he is co-opted. There are numerous other high grades such as the York Rite (American Rite), Swedish Teaching System and Royal York.
There are some symbols in the lodge that are used in many lodges, such as a carpet, candles, columns, altar, compasses, angle measure, etc. Depending on the rite of the Masons, they wear certain dresses like aprons, sashes, hats, gloves, emblems, swords, etc. The Freemasons are originally a pure male alliance. There are splits and angular lodges, which also work mixed or have only female members. You cannot apply for Freemasonry, you are co-opted.
To this end, Masons consider in their circle of acquaintances whether there are qualified candidates among them who they then address for this purpose. If a person comes into consideration, an interview with other lodge brothers takes place in order to get to know the aspirant. Afterwards a mostly secret vote takes place in the lodge about the admission of the applicant. If this is positive, the applicant is initiated in a lodge ritual and becomes a Masonic apprentice.
The personal development is an important aspect of the mystery training. Practical tools for this are taught in the instructions of the Hermetic Academy.