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Bare breast; sex or symbolism? Freemasonry de-mystified.

Updated on October 22, 2010

Freemasonry - sex rite or symbolism?

It seems rather strange to most people that, when he is Initiated into Freemasonry, a new Mason has his breast laid bare and his trouser leg rolled up. I have even seen it postulated that it represents some kind of obscure and obscene sex rite, but I have to say, when I look around an average Lodge Room at the age of many of the members, it is very difficult to imagine such a thing as being even physically possible, let alone likely!

That kind of speculation is easily de-mystified by considering some of the background to the ceremonies and allegory of Freemasonry.

The first thing to get squarely into mind, is that Freemasonry IS NOT a secret society. Apart from the traditional means of recognising one-another, everything about Freemasonry is completely open and in the public domain. Indeed, it is very common to find a Freemasons' stand at many a County Show or local exposition, and Open Days are frequently held at Masonic Lodges in many areas. Even the traditional methods of recognition (for example the masonic hand-shake) can be easily found with the help of Google. So, despite popular misconception, Freemasonry is clearly not secret at all.

The next thing is to consider that the fraternity is hundreds of years old, and most of its ceremonies have remained more or less unchanged throughout that very long period. Therefore, what may seem rather strange in the modern world, was perfectly normal when it was first introduced all those ages ago. In those times, the baring of the breast symbolised the opening of the heart, and there is much illustration of that social tradition in the paintings and drawings of the age. The rolling up of the trouser leg means that the knee is made bare, which also has a solid root in the symbolism of the day. At one point during the ceremony of initiation, the new Mason takes an obligation - a declaration of allegiance to the moral principals of the fraternity, and a confirmation that he will conform to the moral duties of his own religion (Freemasonry is secular, and whilst membership requires a belief in a Supreme Being - eg God, Allah - it is not a religion in itself). That obligation is taken on the sacred book associated with his own religion (for example a Christian would use the Holy Bible, a Muslim would use the Koran, and so on) and he kneels in front of the book on what is considered for the purpose to be holy ground. Accepted custom in those days demanded that shoes must be removed before standing on holy ground, and likewise knees should be bare before kneeling upon it.

So there you have it in a nutshell; confirmation that Freemasons do indeed roll up their trouser leg and bare their breast, along with the reasons why. Remember, it only happens when a man is being Initiated into the fraternity and afterwards advances to become a Master Mason. Freemasons don't run around at their meetings with trousers rolled up and shirts undone! Meetings are very dignified, and there is a great deal of respect given to the preservation of old customs which retain a unique link with good men from bygone ages.

Some of those good men can be found at:

and at


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Regalia Masonic Items.

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    • UK Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      UK Wordsmith 

      7 years ago

      No, I am not an American; the clue is probably found in my Hub Pages name, viz "UK Wordsmith".

      Thank you for your comment. I visited the hub as you suggested but was left with confused impressions, finding it difficult to extract the point you are making. Is it that good people through the ages have been unfairly and inaccurately denigrated? Or are you countering the bold statements of America's opponents with your own brand of zealotism?

      As a Freemason, regardless of race, ethnic origin, nationality, political or religious creed, I personally stand for compassion for my fellow man, support (physical, moral, spiritual or financial) of those in need, and integrity in all things.

      One of the greatnesses of Freemasonry through the ages is that the Masonic Lodge has provided a place where men with diametrically opposed viewpoints can sit together in fraternal affection, tolerance and understanding.

    • CatholicMason profile image


      7 years ago


      Are you an American? If so, you might want to have a look at this hub: Especially since you are a member of the "New World Order". ;)

    • UK Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      UK Wordsmith 

      7 years ago

      Dear Alexander.

      I, too, have studied the subject deeply, from within, and after seventeen years have found only goodness and integrity. From a position of sound and deep knowledge, I completely disagree with your conclusions. From your comments, I can only assume that you must have based your researches upon the speculation and guesswork of conspiracy theorists, rather than factual information.

      Thank you, however, for your description of brainwashing technique, which I found most interesting.

      Yours in peace and harmony,

      UK Wordsmith

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      J.ha don't know how to present his idea.Am sorry to him.Also am sorry to the people who says this is a godly religious.Myself a person who involved a lot of study in this. You all may find presence of god in lower degree,you cant understand what is freemasion's actual policy through that or even the lodges are ignorant of what lies behind.Many of these lodges have good spirits and they find it interesting from the lower degree.only who reached to very higher degree can know what's its main aim.It can be explained in a simple way as'if a good minded man is asked to do an evil at a once sudden he may slap you but that same good minded man can make to do the same evil by not at sudden once,instead at first bringing him to a group with viewpoints he supports then later in a step by step process the group gets enough influence on the person and then the group itself can make the person to do the same evil he resisted,even may be he is not knowing it'. Only a very few higher level lodges do know the higher aims of masionry,for to simplify let me say-after the 66 degree after 33 degree it reaches to a state of worship on devil and giving up of god.So am saying,(don't think am biased,am not pressuring u all to quit this), please take a research on this and make a clear knowledge of how this treat god at higher degree and then yourself can decide.Anyway to me its clear that this is not a godly blessed and instead other negative intentions at ultimate where you cant even understand standing at lower level.If u really love god try atleast to learn what's their higherlevel intentions.atleast don't be a part of any negative activities,if u stand in freemasonry there is lot of chance to do negatives even without own knowledge,may be indirectly.

    • UK Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      UK Wordsmith 

      8 years ago

      Uninformed about Freemasonry?

      Visit for open, honest, and factual information.

    • profile image

      freemasonry secrets 

      8 years ago

      Freemasonry has piqued the interests of many as this old and large organization has faced lots of controversies and that many people as well as groups and organizations have lots of assumptions about this organization. In fact, it has been named 'secret society' because most of its operation as well as membership is hidden or held secret.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      J.ha1971....that is absolutely uncalled for my brother. Regardless of it religion which u do not attempt to state....I have reason to believe that it does tell u to treat thy neighbor as u would treat thyself. Yes or no? Are u nit a servant of god trying to prove yourself worthy of his mercy? Then u should know now that God ad ONLY God can judge man. You have no place in life to judge man or say of his religion is true or not. I can quote the bible all day but I dint want u to be fooled into thinking I'm Christian or catholic. A in a matter if fact I am Muslim. Educated on ALL religions and hoping to soon become a member of theasonic brotherhood.

      My brother please be reasonable. Masons are not here to persuade u to join or change it religion. No they are here to help u understand ur purpose as an individual man. Your purpose to yourself, your family, and your "Supreme Being" (the term Freemasons use to address god, Allah, Buddha, or any higher power that a mason believe in). So u see? It's a FRATERNITY. built around education, knowledge, and obtaining the will to be a modern day renascence man. Think before u speak brother.

      Peace be upon you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      damn al the freemasons god forgotten kabbalists! god the holy spirit whill doom and punnish you al at the day of judgemant those god damn people are worshipping the devil the false prophet the fallen angel that god put lose on our planet to test our fate on the licht peace love and harmony of our creator. freemasons are doomned people because they faild this test and are dancing whit satan and raping this planet until they whil be destroyed toghether whit him. damn those people may god forgive them and damn the new world order

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      As a master mason of 25 years standing, I'm often asked to explain what it's all about. People asking are generally divided into two camps. Those who have had contact with Freemasons in their family or circle of friends, and who have a favourable impression, and those who appear hostile because of something they have read.

      I have to gauge my answer depending on who is asking. There are many folks who believe that the masons are behind a global conspiracy, and every job opportunity favours members of the Brotherhood before them. They also know that there's an elaborate system in place to cancel parking or speeding tickets just by giving the officer a nod or a wink.

      I've been told that masons signal each-other in order to avoid any kind of penalty, including prison terms and even tolls on motorways and bridges. They of course have been reliably told this by a nameless friend of a friend. No matter how much I explain that it isn't the case, and that “the freemasons” is simply a social club for men (and women) where charity giving is done quietly, they simply don't believe it.

      In England freemasonry is a little more "underground", but this was not always the case. Around the time of the Great War, parades and public showings were commonplace. We do have rules forbidding boasting about membership, and the wearing of bling items such as masonic rings. These rules are designed so that freemasons cannot solicit fraternal advantage in business life. This approach has been mistaken for secrecy. You are much more likely to see the membership badges of Round Tale, Lions Club, Rotary, or even Public School ties displayed in public. We are not allowed to advertise our membership for gain.

      However masons are free to tell anyone about their interest. Most members would love the opportunity to sing the praises of something they are very proud of. We can also explain just about everything there is about ceremonies, apart from traditional forms of recognition. These are only used to prove strangers visiting meetings away from their home lodge and almost nowhere else. However, all of the handshakes and secret words are widely known. (Just put the term into Google to see)

      The fact is that you can buy all of the regalia and all of the rituals from shops online or in person. No one is going to test your membership if you have cash to spend. If you are in London or any other Capital you can visit the Grand Lodge HQ and have a good look around. There is a wonderful library and museum at Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street, London. It's open to everyone. Just over the road are suppliers of Masonic regalia, where you can browse or buy to your heart’s content.

      The quarterly freemasons magazine in England is available free in full online too, as are all of the back issues. You can also call the National or Provincial Grand Lodges to ask questions or get printed information.

      Here are seven things you probably didn’t know about Freemasonry

      • George Washington was a member

      • You have to ask a mason start the process of joining. You are not invited

      • You must believe in God

      • There are Lodges for men, women, and men and women, under various Constitutions.

      • No animals of any kind are used in Initiation or other ceremonies

      • Any kind of criminal record excludes membership

      • The son of a mason is called a Lewis

      I found an informative website a few weeks ago called It delves into interesting detail about both male and female freemasons, and gives an account of what happens behind closed doors. Yes, I did say female freemasons, there are thousands of them around the world. I know that most people have heard that freemasonry is just for men.

      The real secrets are not at all what you would think, and you can find out as much as you wish just by asking or looking.

    • UK Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      UK Wordsmith 

      9 years ago

      Thank you Earnest.

      Its all about communication, isn't it? (rhetorical).

      That is the gift that writers have been given, and can put to good use. You do it very eloquently yourself in your ow hubs.

    • earnestshub profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Another well writtten, easy to read hub with interesting and topical contents.

      There have been a fare few misconceptions tossed around on hubpages lately, this clears the air, thank you.


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