What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is widely recognized as the world's premier fraternal organization. With its fundamental anchor in ancient Egypt (originally called Kempt; meaning the Black Land), and its modern day anchor in Medieval England's Stone Mason's guilds, Freemasonry is said to be as old as man. First flourishing in the primordial Mystery Systems of Africa, its influence spread through the religious and moral philosophies of all tribes, races and nations for thousands of years.
In a somewhat vacuous period of Africa's history, this Sacred Wisdom was largely lost as European fire and sword torched libraries and beheaded venerable sages. Later, in Europe, a portion of the wisdom survived through the Gnostic campaigns and teachings of early Christians, until the iron and intolerant hand of Constantine choked its voice and smothered its breath with his own theology.
During the Middle Ages and the Crusades, the Moors of Africa sparked an educational and didactic cultural revival of the wisdom in a darkened period of European history. This interface between the two cultures, although hostile, brought Europe out of the Dark Ages and paved the way for the European Renaissance.
Some Historians speculate, and others assert, that during the Crusades, the Knights Templar, an ultra powerful financial and military force organized to protect the "Holy Land" for Christians, were a Freemasonic order. The Knights Templar are most likely responsible for Freemasonry's emergence in England, as they erected and financed the Stone Mason's guilds, which existed as a Templar auxiliary.
For a time, as the Moors ruled Spain and most of the Iberian peninsula, all of Europe drank abundantly of the Moorish intellectual nectar, learning the finer disciplines of medicine, chemistry, botany, agriculture, religious freedom--and Freemasonry. This period was called the Age of Light. But by 1610 the Moors were all but driven out of Europe after many years of bloody battle. And merely a handful remained in hiding or as pitiful subjects of the Spanish regime.
The light was suddenly gone from Europe, especially Spain. But not all of Europe would see its light distinguished after the exile of the Moors from Spain; Scotland, Ireland, and France would each maintain its respectable torch of wisdom as well as its firm grip on Freemasonry. As Boabdil Al Kez, the last King of Grenada and the last of the Moorish monarchs to rule in Spain, surrendered to the Spanish crown, a cadre of Moors flushed underground to preserve their culture and fine-tune their brand of Freemasonry. The secret operations of this invisible clan would spawn the beginnings of an organized Moorish campaign on the Mediterranean sea, which would threaten the unity and well-being of Europe for hundreds of years.
Few realize that Freemasonry was practiced in Meso-America by indigenous people (Moors) in their socio-religious systems. The religious and cultural artifacts of North, Central and South America mark a strong Moorish presence as well as a Freemasonic blueprint there, long before Columbus's arrival (whose ships, incidentally, were navigated to these shores by Moors). The European settlers of 17th and 18th century America emulated a Freemasonic practice learned from Moors or Native Americans. Freemasonry was a key factor as these settlers (colonies) ultimately formed into a nation and drafted their governing document according to the model established by native Moors.
Now some insist that designating Freemasonry's origin in Africa or England is skewed history and biased doctrine at best. And perhaps we all do take cultural liberties with our interpretations. But this is so because Freemasonry belongs to the earth, it is universal, and no one people can accurately claim it without some blatant bias or cultural reference. However, the mainstream expression of Freemasonry we know today (including the term itself) culturally reflects the 18th century system spawned in England's medieval guilds. But much of that expression borrows from ancient cultures predating England.
Is it a Secret Society ?
Emphatically answered: Freemasonry is not a secret society! Freemasonry is good! It has always been good, and it always will be good. Some suspect that Freemasonry is a secret society, and being secret, something must be inherently wicked about it. This is due to negative propaganda produced by those who oppose Freemasonry. Freemason's lodges are always easily recognized wherever they are located and members openly enter and exit in public, as lodge areas of ingress and egress are never concealed from public scrutiny. Freemasons are respectable citizens in their communities and are under no compulsion to conceal their affiliation. Wherever there are men and women, whether they're in the public or private sector of society, you'll find Masonic members. In virtually all walks of public life Freemasons are counted. Moreover, most lodges sponsor many public and charitable events and often march and display their banners in civic parades.
So, anonymity is not in index to the character of Freemasonry. But Freemasonry is, however, a society with fraternal secrets that are principally confined to its members. Catchwords, handshakes and embraces, specific manners of attaining degrees and lodge voting are all executed in private fashion with a sacred reverence governing the traditions. There is no way to really conceal Masonic handshakes; because Freemasons are not so concerned about secrecy as much as they are concerned about the sacredness of its traditions, so the method of hand embrace between Freemasons is simply executed in a way that makes fraternal contact mutually recognizable. There are millions of Freemasons worldwide.
Is Freemasonry really just another religion?
Emphatically not! Granted; although Freemasonry has religious characteristics, it is not a religion. But it is far removed from all that is unimportant, selfish, non-spiritual and ungodly. Belief in, or reverence for, God or the Creator of humanity is not exclusive to religion. To be sure, Freemasonry supports the religious and spiritual prerogatives of all its members, as each Freemason must initially express a belief in Deity. By whatever appellation he designates for the Creator, a Freemason must acknowledge Him as the Supreme being over all humanity. Freemasonry will never attempt to supplant a member's religion and will impose nothing conflicting with his religious beliefs. Conversely, Freemasonic teachings emphasize and promote individual devotion and loyalty to one's professed faith.
What is the meaning of that symbol?
The readily recognizable symbol in question is the Square and Compasses with the letter "G" centered. This most widely used symbol of Freemasonry, reminds members of God, truth and morality. Freemasons esteem God as the chief good in their lives. Hence the letter "G".
How frequent are lodge meetings?
Since attendance at regular meetings, though earnestly solicited, is not intended to interfere with a member's obligations to God, family nor his usual vocations, meetings are held bi-monthly with most lodges. Moorish Rite lodges are encouraged to assemble the 2nd and 4th Thursday or Wednesday of every month at 7pm.
I want to become a Moorish Rite Freemason: How?
Typically, an individual will petition a lodge of his choice through furnishing and submitting an application supplied by that lodge's Secretary. Afterwards, the Secretary contacts the individual with information and further instructions. You can still, likewise, petition a Moorish Rite lodge near you. But today, because of the internet and cyber-space technology, you can now petition online by clicking the Member's page and following the easy step-by-step instructions. Online petitioners may not live near a Moorish Rite lodge nor have the time schedules to visit a lodge and submit to a lengthy membership process.
Simply click the link and start your Freemasonic career online, now! Online members are encouraged to visit Moorish Rite lodges whenever they can. Find out if there is a Moorish Rite lodge or representative near you by inquiring through your online petition.
I guess now I understand something about Freemasonry's history and its roots, and maybe a little something about its mystical influence on religion and other moral disciplines, and, that perhaps it's not a secret society, after all: But what can I expect from Freemasonry today?
Encourages fraternity with people of varied backgrounds, sharing cultural, social and moral interest with a primary focus on brotherly love, equality, harmony and mutual spirituality.
Engages the serious Freemason in a life long curriculum of educational, intellectual and spiritual discipline. These transforming sciences highlight the paths to self knowledge, self discipline and personal excellence.
Offers social and civic activities that facilitate charitable endeavors, and thereby augment the common ligature and common welfare of the community.
Investigates a view of history encompassing science, culture, and spirituality without encroachment on individual religious beliefs. For Moorish Rite Freemasons, this broadened viewpoint is further enhanced by a cultural focus on the history and related sciences of the Moors.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."