Purposes of the Order of the Moorish Star
The purposes of the Order of the Moorish Star (called the Complimentary Degree) are to provide spiritual women (especially of Moorish orientation devoted to God and humanity) a genuine sisterhood in which to work for the good of themselves, their families, and their people. And to cultivate within this sisterhood the principles of morality, spirituality, truth, friendship, and sovereignty through the eminent didactic of the rite.
To that end, the Order of the Moorish Star:
Guides sisters to the light of Moorish culture, history and related sciences,
Promotes the continued growth and self-improvement of its members.
Provides mutual support, aid, and comfort its members, and their families,
Supports the spiritual development of women,
Facilitates the development of the highest attributes of womanhood within the
Engages women in the establishment of Sovereign Moorish Institutions, and
Contributes to the great work of uplifting fallen humanity.
Moreover, while the O.M.S is the veritable women's component of the Moorish Rite, the first degree (Nefertiti), however, is open to Moorish Rite Freemasons (males) as a degree requisite for the men. All Moorish Rite Freemasons must have the Nefertiti degree to advance in Moorish Rite degrees. As a foundational degree, the Nefertiti degree serves a dual purpose: 1) To initiate women into the order 2) To initiate men into the order for the purpose of true complementarity. True complementarity in this meaning establishes proper fraternal mode of communication and community between men and women members.
As concerned women around the country ask many questions about O.M.S, we can perhaps reflect those questions here.
What is the Order of the Moorish Star (OMS)?
The Order of the Moorish Star is the women’s Complementary Rite of Moorish Rite Freemasonry, the first new Masonic Rite established in America in 218 years! OMS is the women’s expression of the basic principles of Freemasonry. OMS functions both interdependently of and complementary to Moorish Rite Freemasonry. OMS members receive the respect, aid, and protection of the Moorish Rite, and are similarly obliged to reciprocate the same. Membership is based on recognition of a Supreme Being in a women's life, according to her own understanding as well as her desire to promote moral excellence and build good character. Thus, the OMS teaches lessons of morality, spirituality, truth, friendship, and sovereignty. These instructions are presented in beautiful ceremonies designed not only to teach, but also to provide insight for future study and understanding.
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the most widely recognized fraternal organization in the world. Anchored in the historically revered, ancient civilizations of Africa, i.e., Khemit (Egypt), it is the most enduring time-honored institution in the world.
An influential factor in the philosophies of all races, nations and peoples, Freemasonry was the preferred discipline of many of America’s Founding Fathers and the world’s most enlightened thinkers.
Is OMS a Secret Society?
Absolutely not! Like most organizations, there are some things which are private to the membership. For instance, our ways of recognizing one another, and of recognizing Brother Masons is confidential, and known only to members. Contrary to popular opinions, the fact that a person is a member of OMS is as much public information as she chooses to make it. It is a society with secrets, but not a “secret” society.
Is it religious?
No. The Order of the Moorish Star is a spiritual Order, but it is also non-sectarian, and will never impose on one’s religious prerogatives. As a spiritual Order, two of its primary tenets are recognition of a Supreme Being in one’s life, according to one’s own understanding, and a sincere desire to do good for self and others. While these qualities, necessary for membership, are not dependent on a religious creed, they do nevertheless reflect the essence of major religions and promote a halo of spiritual respect above a woman so invested. A religious woman can be a member of the order and find within no conflict with her respective denomination.
Is the Order of the Moorish Star the same as the Order of Eastern Star?
No. The Order of Eastern Star and the Order of the Moorish Star are entities independent of each other. The Order of Eastern Star is the most recognized adoptive rite of traditional Freemasonry—a time-honored institution, while OMS is the burgeoning complementary rite of Moorish Rite Freemasonry. While these two institutions are separate and distinct from each other, it is fair to say that OMS has received an honest inspiration from OES. Our particular charge and mission, not dissimilar from OES, is the commitment towards uplifting humanity.
What is the OMS doing today?
We are actively recruiting women to join OMS and help in our worthy work. We are seeking qualified women who are sincere and serious about themselves, their families, their communities, their history, and their economic potential. We will conduct preliminary workshops in preparation for initiation into OMS. These workshops consist of a series of interactive lectures (and recommended readings), and discussion groups, which form a foundation of understanding the programmatic direction of OMS.
We will organize (in 2009) a young girl’s component for girls between the ages of 4 and 16 years. We have an unwavering commitment to our young women.
What makes the Moorish Rite special?
The Moorish Rite has a particular cause that guides and forms its charitable acts. It has the fundamental challenge of establishing institutions that will support the elevation of the Moorish Nation spiritually, socially, educationally, politically, and economically. A most significant part of this work is the reclaiming of our cultural legacy within the realm of Complementary Freemasonry. Through our cultural and historical assertion of our unique heritage, we are necessarily contributing to the uplift of all humanity by uplifting ourselves.
You say “Moorish,” but why not say African American or Black?
The term “Moorish” alludes (without strict limitation) to, the Moorish Empire, which once extended from North Africa through all Western and some of Southern Africa. During that time, Moors contributed prominently to the world’s understanding of science, mathematics, literature, art, architecture, in short, all of the sciences of civilization! Additionally, the Moors were present in the Americas (well before Columbus; great historical commission). “Moor” therefore, is a word that globally identifies people of African as well as moral descent, while it also links us with a particular, and glorious epoch of our history, and points to a concrete geopolitical reality. Therefore, we embrace our identity as Moorish women, knowing that we are identifying with a rich and great historical legacy. We do not necessarily discount that other nomenclature, we choose Moorish fraternally and do understand the use of other nomenclature in proper context.
Why should I join the Order of the Moorish Star?
If you have a desire to better yourself through knowledge and study, an interest in working with a group of women to better our people through collective effort, and a sincere love for humanity, starting with our people, and extending to all beyond our “borders,” then the answer is obvious. So do we! And we would love to have you join us. The work is enormous yet rewarding, and we need every sister whose heart is right, to help in this great work. And, because NOW is the time!
What is an “Ow’sla”?
The word Ow’sla is a fraternal word which refers to a “gathering of the best.” We call our chapters “Ow’sla” because in many respects, we are just that – the best! As we come together to uplift ourselves, and our community, we are being the best we can be. As we appropriate our own cultural expression, we are affirming that our legacy is worthy, and we are acting as beacons within our communities to others. We lay claim to the best of what we can be – forging our sisterhood on respect for the commitment we each make to self-improvement, and community development.
What are the requirements for membership?
To join the OMS you must be a woman of good character, who believes in the Supreme Being (according to your own understanding), has a desire to do good for yourself and others, and a commitment to the elevation of Moorish People, especially Moorish Women.
How do I join?
If you wish to join OMS online now, simply click on the O.M.S emblem above to go to the Cyber-Space Transport and follow the instructions there.
Or if you know a member of the order (or a Moorish Rite Freemason), ask her (or him) about membership.