ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Freemasons-A Brief Overview

Updated on July 31, 2014

What Do You Know About The Freemasons?

The Freemasons are a type of fraternal organization. The origins of this society with secrets is unknown, however, many believe that its history dates back to the 16th or 17th century. This is hotly contested with scholars, who feel that this organization has much older roots and could date back as far as biblical times.

Currently, there are approximately six million Freemasons and membership in this fraternal order is worldwide, and one of the main criteria for membership is men must believe in a Supreme Being. This can mean that men from any religion can join just as long as they have a good reputation. Possessing good moral values and being a spiritual person is the cornerstone of this fraternal order.

As the Freemasons is a secret society, many of their rituals and other membership criteria are not disclosed to the public, although this certainly does not curtail speculation from the public. There have not been any formal confirmations or denials of those rituals.

Their practices vary widely depending on the jurisdiction, but the common Masonic ritual is to use the architectural symbolism of tools used by real stonemasons from medieval times.

Freemasons use this symbolism to represent 'building' philosophically, as opposed to building physically. One of the most prominent and readily identifiable freemason symbols is the Masonic square and compass.

The compass and square are tools that are used by architects and are used by Freemasons during various rituals in order to strengthen the order and teach various symbolic lessons. Generally, the tools are used to in order to demonstrate judgment an discernment.

These tools are applied as lessons in conduct. Masons should "square their actions by the square of virtue" and learn to "circumscribe their desires and keep their passions within due bounds toward all mankind." from Square and Compass.

It is important to note that Freemasonry is not a religion, so those rituals and/or interpretations of the square and compass are not static. Interestingly enough, at the center of the square and compass is the letter G, which is thought to represent God, something that Freemasons say, is at the foundation of their organization. This interpretation has not necessarily been confirmed or denied by any Freemason and some contend that the letter could refer to geometry, which is considered "the noblest of sciences."

Anyone who is morally upright and believes in a supreme being can join this fraternal organization, no matter what his race or formal religion is. However, it seems like gender is the only hard and fast criteria for joining. Women are precluded from becoming a Freemason.

Freemasons Toolkit
Freemasons Toolkit

Masonic Meeting

The basic organizational unit of Freemasonry is called a Lodge. In order to meet and work, each new Lodge must obtain a Warrant issued by a Grand Lodge. Masons who convene as a Lodge without displaying this official documentation are deemed to be irregular and "Clandestine."

It is important to note that Freemasons meet as a Lodge, not in a Lodge, as the word "Lodge" refers to the people gathered rather than the location or setting of the assembly. The buildings are called Temples, or Masonic Halls, as is increasingly common. These Masonic Halls can also be used for non-Masonic gatherings as well.

This list of Masonic buildings in the U.S. details the locations and historical details of many such Masonic Halls. Many of these are now regarded as historical landmarks. On this list are many buildings commonly associated with the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, also known as the Shriners. Because local chapters of the Shriners and the Freemasons often meet in the same building or Masonic Hall, many people mistakenly confuse or conflate the two groups as being the same. In actuality they are two different organizations, with different bylaws and rituals. However, membership in the Freemasons is required to join the Shriners

Importance of Blue

In Freemasonry, the color blue holds deep significance. It symbolizes benevolence and universal friendship, and is considered the color of the vault of heaven. It is tradition that, other than white, only blue can be used for decoration in a Masonic Hall for decorations. Craft degrees are conferred within the Blue Lodge. Three degrees, taken sequentially, are an important Masonic ritual.

In terms of the hierarchy within the freemason organization, members can attain certain degrees. For example, an entered apprentice is the degree of a person that has just joined the organization or an initiate. The next rung up, sort to speak, is the Fellow Craft, and the third degree is a Master Mason. A Master Mason has, according to some studies, reached a higher level of personal development and consciousness.

Many people have become fascinated with Freemasons, primarily because of how many notable leaders and scholars have been and are currently members of this fraternal organizations, such as Wolfgang Mozart, George Washington, and George Bush.

As it stands, Freemasons will say to anyone who has questions about their organization, that like any private club, certain things are privy only to members. They do not like to be called a secret society because members usually disclose their affiliation. Rather, they might prefer to be called a 'society with secrets,' founded on the principles of truth, brotherly love, and charity.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jameshank profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Japan, NY, California

      Hi tillsontitan! You're right Freemasons can be interesting. Thanks for dropping by and for voting up!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Interesting. To us 'outsiders' not much is known about the Freemasons whether they call if a secret organization or an organization with is pretty secret! Voted up for interesting subject and content.

    • Jameshank profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Japan, NY, California

      You're welcome alocsin! Thanks also for stopping by.

    • alocsin profile image


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks for enlightening me about a society which is subject to many myths. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Jameshank profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Japan, NY, California

      Yeah, I have some older relatives who were involved, and I always heard whispers about it here and there when I was a kid. I've always wanted to do more research into the 'masons.' This article only scratches the surface, actually, so I plan to follow up with more at some point. Thanks for the comment,WayneDave.

    • WayneDave profile image


      6 years ago from Leeds, England

      Very interesting article. I knew nothing of the Freemasons, I had just heard the name now and again. Thanks for posting this.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)