Why the world could use more Freemasons.
For as much as I moan about my Masonic practices, there are many and varied reasons why I turn up every month. I do know that we’re a society with secrets, not a secret society (like the IPA – that wonderful fascist think tank that appears to be guiding current government policy at the moment.) It’s not like it’s for everybody. There is, however, something intrinsically good about what the Freemason’s are about.
Think about it – how many hospitals are named after them?
As a mason, I’m bound by some obligations which dictate what I can and can’t say, but here are my reasons why I think the world could to with a resurgence of Masonic values.
1) People who care about equality, freedom and brotherhood are generally good people
Equality, freedom and brotherhood are the basis of most Masonic work. Freedom is a big theme. So is being equal. So is taking care of one another and the world around us. People who focus on these sort of things often focus on the big picture. How can this be bad? Oh, if you’re wondering, you can find this information on the internet, but if you’re thinking of joining, these qualities they’re they’re looking for.
2) Being around people who are free from dogma is a good thing
The only people, other than those of dubious character, that the freemason’s won’t take are rabid atheists. One of the very few conditions of being a mason is that you need to have a belief in some sort of higher being – whether that be God, Jahweh, Allah, Jehovah, Spirit, the Universe, the Hindi tribe... just a belief that there is a greater plan to hand. There is no dogma in a lodge, which is cool. It’s a big reason why I go. As an agnostic/spiritual I’m spiritually homeless. Freemasonry gives me a home per se, free from any judgement.
Strangely, or looking at the current political climate, not so strangely, the only other group that has traditionally taken some issue with the Freemasons is the Catholic Church. Something to do with power. Funny that.
3) It puts you in with people you wouldn't meet in your day to day life
This is the thing I get out of it most of all – meeting people from all walks of life, people you’d never meet in your daily routine. You’re side by side with all sorts. It’s not about status, even if there is a heirachy within the walls of the lodge, all people are equal. Doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-millionaire, and uneducated cleaner, a student, a professional worker. You’re all in it together.
4) It makes you think about stuff you wouldn't normally think about
Masons is a mix of ritual and fellowship. Both can be very powerful in people’s lives. By exposing yourself to these elements of the work you get exposed to ideas that you may not have thought under your own volition. This is something that I most like about being a part of this. The themes and thoughts that come up can come into play at any time. I’ve heard of a lot of former masons who say they still think about the ritual and what goes on, years after they were members.
5) It gives you a sense of community
Finding like minded people in this world is hard. With freemasonry, even if you have absolutely nothing in common with these people, you’re all there for the same reason. You do get a sense that you’re not alone in your thoughts and belief systems. It also gives you insights into the lives of others, something that we don’t get enough of in this world.
6) It teaches you humility, patience and acceptance
Again, old fashioned virtues, but ones that come highly recommended. Nothing happens fast in freemasonry, and these three virtues you learn in buckets. It’s great to apply what you learn to your day to day life.
7) It gives you something that make you a little bit unique
Everybody who comes to freemasonry will find something different to everybody else, Doesn't matter what it is, you get something different it to the person sitting next to you.
8) Egg sandwiches and asparagus rolls (and whatever else is your favourite CWA food)
It might just be my lodge but we regularly have egg, and curried egg sandwiches for supper, which are just divine. There is also one member who makes asparagus rolls. I love her.
As the average age of most of our tribe is around the late sixties, we have people who make such things as asparagus rolls, egg sandwiches, home made snot blocks and sausage rolls - all that wonderful party food you used to get at your grandmother's place when there was a party. It's really lovely.
9) The look you get when people find out you're a mason
Not that it comes up that regularly, but you are greeted with a funny look when people find out you'r a mason. Typical reaction is "Really? What's that?","My Grandpa used to be one," or more often than not,"I didn't think women could be Freemasons." My reply to the last one is,"French Rites, we've been in Melbourne for over a hundred years.
Despite my occasional moaning, I do get a heap out of this quirky and very rewarding pastime.
If you want a bit more information, go to www.freemasonryformenandwomen.org.au