We explain what Masons are and at what levels their members are organized. In addition, the symbols they use and their conspiracy theories.
What are freemasons?
Freemasonry is known as an international organization of a discrete (if not secret) character, humanist, hierarchical, philosophical and founded around a feeling of fraternity among men.
It exists as an initiatory institution, that is, it reveals its secrets only to those who overcome certain initiation rites and are part of successive and progressive rings of trust, in which the “search for truth” is promoted: the philosophical study of human being , of sciences and arts , social progress and moral and spiritual development of the individual.
Freemasons are identified by a series of symbols linked to masonry or in any case the Royal Art of Construction, as well as the acronym GADU, which means “Great Architect of the Universe” , a Masonic concept of utmost importance to its philosophy of life .
Freemasonry emerged in Europe in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, although its diverse mythologies of origin attribute its foundation to historical figures such as Hiram Abif , architect of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, or to biblical characters such as Tubalcain, Moses or Noah, when not to the builders of the Egyptian pyramids, to the Roman Collegia Fabrorum , or to the various orders of Christian knights in the Middle Ages.
Today, Freemasonry is sustained as a group that promotes the values of tolerance, tradition, liberal sciences and arts , or the spiritual quest. Therefore, they are considered an initiatory school outside the States and the Churches.
How are freemasons organized?
Freemasonry is organized around two main currents:
Regular Anglo-Saxon Freemasonry . Headed by the Grand Lodge of England, it has its largest area of influence in the countries of the British Commonwealth, the United States, Spain, Latin America and part of continental Europe. Its main features are:
- The belief in a single great universal architect, a God much broader than the one proposed by the Catholic religion.
- Their oaths are made on the bible or other sacred text, such as the Volume of the Sacred Law, its essential organizational text.
- Women are not accepted among its members and female initiation is not allowed.
- Discussions on politics and religion are prohibited , and the institution assumes no official stance on such matters.
Continental rule freemasonry . Known as the liberal or adogmatic current, it follows in the footsteps of the Grand Orient of France, and is the main current in France, Francophone Africa and some countries in continental Europe. It allows the emergence of mixed or feminine Obediences (venues), and presents a greater diversity in terms of organizational forms. Its main features are:
- They defend the absolute freedom of conscience, so they admit both believers and atheists, both men and women, either in a mixed way or separately.
- They take their oaths on the Book of the Law or on the Volume of the Sacred Law.
- The debate of ideas in total and full freedom is encouraged, including religious and political issues, and the lodge may eventually be positioned on these issues.
In any of the two currents there are three degrees of Masonry, which represent three stages of personal development proposed by the lodge. These are:
- Apprentice . The degree of the newly initiated, whose task is to confront themselves and control their passions.
- Partner . Intermediate degree, in which Masons learn the philosophy of the sect and its relations with the outside world.
- Maestro . Those who reach third place must participate in all the rites of the lodge and access the spiritual and arcane knowledge of it, to face death and eternal life with them .
Freemasonry is mainly identified with two symbols of uncertain origin, but linked to masonry, construction and architecture, mathematical precision sciences: the compass and the square .
The latter would represent virtue, correction, while the former represents the limits that every Mason imposes on others. These symbols are usually accompanied by the letters G and A, or by an open eye; the letters represent Great Architect (God), and the eye waking up in front of “the truth.”
Conspiracy theories and myths
The secrecy or discretion of Freemasonry has made them subjects of numerous myths , criticisms and theories. Some have to do with the foundation of the lodge , as has been said, that can be attributed to the very Adam of the Bible, or who have been members of his ranks, such as the great army generals, the American liberators or the great thinkers Renaissance
The Catholic Church has repeatedly condemned belonging to Freemasonry or similar lodges, as well as Islam and Baha’is. Perhaps because they are attributed numerous practices and rituals linked to the occult , the supernatural, alchemy or even satanism and the orgiastic.