How about knowing a little more about Freemasonry?
If you type “Freemasonry” on Google, you will find almost one million results for your search. If you try English with the term “Freemansory”, the number will go over two million results. Perhaps this is an indication that, first, the interest and curiosity about this order is gaining more and more space, and secondly, that Freemasonry is not as secretive as one might think.
Fact is that defining what Freemasonry is in one line is a complicated task. But what seems to be a consensus among the many websites spread across the internet is that it is the largest and oldest fraternal society that seeks to promote values such as integrity, kindness and justice, and is known for its donations and charitable deeds.
With almost 300 years of history, Freemasonry gathers a series of rituals and symbols, and has been adopted by many personalities that have marked the history of Brazil and the world. To get more details of this order that brings together curious and admirers, follow us.
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A brief history
The lack of reliable documents and records does not allow us to state with certainty where the origins of the order lie. There are experts who believe that Freemasonry began in Mesopotamia, while others believe it may have emerged among the earliest religious manifestations that took place in Egypt. Some also argue that the construction of Solomon's Temple marks the beginning of Freemasonry. Still, it is frequent to see the Order of the Knights of the Temple and the Rosicrucian Fraternity being cited as influences in the creation of Freemasonry.
Already the fraternal society along the lines we know today was established in 1717 in England from Enlightenment ideals and with the help of the already existing Masons and builders who had gathered to rebuild the city of London after the 1666 fire.
Today, Freemasons number more than six million people who do not exactly form a secret society - or we would not be talking about it openly - but an organization that keeps its secrets. In this regard, Nigel Brown, United Kingdom's great secretary of the United Kingdom in an interview with the BBC, revealed that by 2017, the year the order will complete its three-year anniversary, the organization aims to be more “open and transparent” to “keep myths out of the head” of people".
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The most common way to enter the order is by having a Freemason nominated, but it is also possible to submit a request to a lodge - as the Masonic temples are called. The applicant needs to be of legal age and male, although there are also organizations that admit women. Still, one must believe in a superior being or force, but because it is not a religion, Freemasonry accepts Muslims, Catholics, Spiritists, etc. For this reason, controversial topics - such as religion and politics - cannot be discussed during meetings.
Freemasonry is composed of rites, and currently about 50 rites are practiced in the world. Mandatorily, it comprises three degrees: apprentice, companion and master. After this phase they are classified into different categories and the names vary according to the rite. The "York Rite" is divided into Symbolic, Chapter, Cryptic and Chivalry Degrees, while the "Old and Accepted Scottish Rite" is formed by the Symbolic, Ineffable, Chapter, Philosophical and Administrative Degrees - which represent the betterment of man.
The rites have particular characteristics and in each degree the Masons share several teachings. When a brother reaches a degree, a ritual full of symbolism takes place. On these occasions, Masons wear their own tunics, hats, aprons and sashes for each ritual, and have specific words and gestures during the event.
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Originally, the order's name comes from the French Masonnerie, which means "construction" or "quarry" and refers to the Freemason, who would be the "builder" or "bricklayer". By extension it can be said that the term means an "association of masons". For this reason, the order has removed much of its symbolism from the art of stone-cutting and building-building: "As in building, Freemasonry means advancing from level to level as you gain knowledge and experience, " Brown explains.
Image source: Reproduction / Store São Paulo 43
In this way, the bar and the square - which are two of the most common symbols of order - represent precision and rectitude. From the overlap of these two instruments we can derive the Star of David (which is also called the Seal of Solomon) and represents creation and perfection. The letter G, which may or may not accompany the image of the compass and the square, is a reference to geometry and represents the Great Architect of the Universe.
The Eye of Providence - also known as the "all-seeing eye" - is yet another symbol of Freemasonry made especially famous for appearing on the back of the dollar bills and serves as a reminder to Freemasons that they are always being watched by the Great Architect of the Universe. This symbol is usually accompanied by a triangle or three dots.
Other important symbols that can be found in the temples are columns B (meaning Boaz, referring to the first column of Solomon's Temple) and J (meaning Jakin and meaning stability in Hebrew). Inside the temple, the floor is also usually checkered in white and black, serving as a symbol of the diversity and opposition between light and darkness, body and spirit, good and evil.
Image Source: Playback / Looking to the End
- Some of the world's most famous Freemasons are Silvio Berlusconi, Nelson Mandela, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Ludwig van Beethoven;
- Among Brazilians, the list includes Rui Barbosa, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, Dom Pedro I, Jânio Quadros, Bento Gonçalves and Espiridião Amin;
- Although Freemasonry is for adults only, there are special orders for young people - the International Order of the Rainbow and the International Order of the Daughters of Job (for girls ages 11 to 20) and the Tables of Squire (for young men). 9 to 11 years) the DeMolay Order (12 to 21 years);
- The anthem France, or The Marseillaise, was composed by the Freemason Rouge de Lisle and was sung for the first time in the French Knights Lodge of Strasbourg;
- Together, the York Rite, the Emulation Rite, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the Modern Rite bring together 99% of Masons.
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And so, dear reader, what did you like most about this text? Do you think any topic can be deepened? Share your opinion with us in the comments and say what else you would like to know about Freemasonry.
* Originally posted on 27/02/2014.
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