Freemasonry

FreemasonFreemasonsMasonicMasonMasonsMasonic LodgeMasonic OrderMaster MasonFree and Accepted Masonsfreemasonic
Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients.wikipedia
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Continental Freemasonry

continentalGrand Orient of SwitzerlandLatin Freemasonry
Continental Freemasonry is now the general term for the jurisdictions which have removed some, or all, of these restrictions. At the other end of the spectrum, "Liberal" or Continental Freemasonry, exemplified by the Grand Orient de France, does not require a declaration of belief in any deity, and accepts atheists (a cause of discord with the rest of Freemasonry).
Continental Freemasonry (alternative terms include: Liberal Freemasonry, Latin Freemasonry and Adogmatic Freemasonry ) includes the Masonic lodges, mainly (but not exclusively) on the continent of Europe, that recognise the Grand Orient de France (GOdF) or belong to CLIPSAS.

Regular Masonic jurisdiction

regularRegular Freemasonryirregular
Regular Freemasonry insists that a volume of scripture is open in a working lodge, that every member profess belief in a Supreme Being, that no women are admitted (although, in some jurisdictions, those who transition to women after being initiated may stay; see below), and that the discussion of religion and politics is banned.
In Freemasonry, regularity is the process by which individual Grand Lodges recognise one another for the purposes of allowing formal interaction at the Grand Lodge level and visitation by members of other jurisdictions.

Grand Lodge

Grand LodgesGrand OrientGrand Lodge of Colorado
These private Lodges are usually supervised at the regional level (usually coterminous with either a state, province, or national border) by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient.
A Grand Lodge or Grand Orient is the usual governing body of "Craft", "Blue Lodge", or "Symbolic" Freemasonry in a particular jurisdiction.

Grand Orient de France

Grand Orient of FranceGrand OrientContinental Freemasonry
At the other end of the spectrum, "Liberal" or Continental Freemasonry, exemplified by the Grand Orient de France, does not require a declaration of belief in any deity, and accepts atheists (a cause of discord with the rest of Freemasonry).
The Grand Orient de France (GODF) is the largest of several Masonic organizations in France and is the oldest in Continental Europe (as it was formed out of an older Grand Lodge of France in 1773, and briefly absorbed the rump of the older body in 1799, allowing it to date its foundation to 1728 or 1733).

Masonic lodge officers

Worshipful MasterGrand MasterMaster
The officers of the Lodge are elected or appointed annually.
In Craft Freemasonry, sometimes known as Blue Lodge Freemasonry, every Masonic Lodge elects or appoints Masonic Lodge Officers to execute the necessary functions of the lodge's life and work.

Grand Lodge of Ireland

IrelandFreemasons of IrelandIrish constitution
The Grand Lodge of Scotland and Grand Lodge of Ireland (taken together) have approximately 150,000 members.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland is the second most senior Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the world, and the oldest in continuous existence.

Fraternity

fraternitiesfraternal organizationfraternal
Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients.
In the early modern era, these were followed by fraternal orders such as freemasons and odd fellows, along with gentlemen's clubs, student fraternities, and fraternal service organizations.

Masonic Landmarks

Ancient LandmarksdispensationLandmark
Regularity is a concept based on adherence to Masonic Landmarks, the basic membership requirements, tenets and rituals of the craft.
Masonic landmarks are a set of principles that many Freemasons claim to be ancient and unchangeable precepts of Masonry.

Masonic ritual and symbolism

Masonic ritualMasonic symbolsMasonic symbolism
In addition to business, the meeting may perform a ceremony to confer a Masonic degree or receive a lecture, which is usually on some aspect of Masonic history or ritual.
Freemasonry is described in its own ritual as a Beautiful or Peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.

Masonic lodge

LodgelodgesMasonic Lodges
The basic, local organisational unit of Freemasonry is the Lodge.
Freemasons gather together as a Lodge to work the three basic Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason.

Swedish Rite

Swedish system
The form of Freemasonry most common in Scandinavia (known as the Swedish Rite), for example, accepts only Christians.
The Swedish Rite is the default and customary Masonic rite in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland.

Holy Royal Arch

Royal ArchRoyal Arch ChapterRoyal Arch Freemasonry
Freemasons are encouraged to join the Holy Royal Arch, which is linked to Mark Masonry in Scotland and Ireland, but completely separate in England.
The Holy Royal Arch is a degree of Freemasonry.

Knights Templar (Freemasonry)

Knights TemplarKnight TemplarOrder of Malta
In America, the York Rite, with a similar range, administers three orders of Masonry, namely the Royal Arch, Cryptic Masonry, and Knights Templar.
The Knights Templar, full name The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, is a fraternal order affiliated with Freemasonry.

York Rite

Holy Royal ArchRoyal Arch MasonsAncient York Masons
In America, the York Rite, with a similar range, administers three orders of Masonry, namely the Royal Arch, Cryptic Masonry, and Knights Templar.
A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority.

Royal Arch Masonry

Royal Arch MasonsRoyal ArchRoyal Arch Mason
In America, the York Rite, with a similar range, administers three orders of Masonry, namely the Royal Arch, Cryptic Masonry, and Knights Templar.
Royal Arch Masonry (also known as "Capitular Masonry") is the first part of the York Rite system of the Masonic degrees.

Hiram Abiff

Hiramic LegendHiram AbifAdoniram
The dramatic allegorical ceremonies include explanatory lectures, and revolve around the construction of the Temple of Solomon, and the artistry and death of the chief architect, Hiram Abiff.
Hiram Abiff (also Hiram Abif or the Widow's son) is the central character of an allegory presented to all candidates during the third degree in Freemasonry.

Cryptic Masonry

Council of Royal & Select MastersRoyal and Select MastersCouncil of Cryptic Masons
In America, the York Rite, with a similar range, administers three orders of Masonry, namely the Royal Arch, Cryptic Masonry, and Knights Templar.
Cryptic Masonry is the second part of the York Rite system of Masonic degrees, and the last found within the Rite that deals specifically with the Hiramic Legend.

Masonic manuscripts

Halliwell ManuscriptOld ChargesRegius Manuscript
Since the middle of the 19th century, Masonic historians have sought the origins of the movement in a series of similar documents known as the Old Charges, dating from the Regius Poem in about 1425 to the beginning of the 18th century.
There are a number of masonic manuscripts that are important in the study of the emergence of Freemasonry.

Order of Mark Master Masons

Mark Master MasonsGrand Lodge of Mark Master MasonsMark Masonry
Freemasons are encouraged to join the Holy Royal Arch, which is linked to Mark Masonry in Scotland and Ireland, but completely separate in England.
The Order of Mark Master Masons is an appendant order of Freemasonry that exists in some Masonic jurisdictions, and confers the degrees of Mark Mason and Mark Master.

Premier Grand Lodge of England

ModernsGrand LodgeGrand Lodge of London and Westminster
The first Grand Lodge, the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster (later called the Grand Lodge of England (GLE)), was founded on St John's Day, 24 June 1717, when four existing London Lodges met for a joint dinner.
Because it was the first Masonic Grand Lodge to be created, convention calls it the Premier Grand Lodge of England in order to distinguish it from the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons according to the Old Constitutions, more usually referred to as the Ancient Grand Lodge of England, and the Grand Lodge of All England Meeting at York.

Volume of Sacred Law

Volume of the Sacred Law
In most Lodges the oath or obligation is taken on a Volume of Sacred Law, whichever book of divine revelation is appropriate to the religious beliefs of the individual brother (usually the Bible in the Anglo-American tradition).
Volume of Sacred Law (VSL) (also known as the Book of the Law) is the Masonic term for whatever religious or philosophical texts are displayed during a Lodge meeting.

Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1

Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No.1
The minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) No. 1 in Scotland show a continuity from an operative lodge in 1598 to a modern speculative Lodge.
The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel), No.1, is a Masonic Lodge in Edinburgh, Scotland.

George Washington

WashingtonGeneral WashingtonGeneral George Washington
Some thought was briefly given to organising an overarching "Grand Lodge of the United States," with George Washington (who was a member of a Virginian lodge) as the first Grand Master, but the idea was short-lived.
He was a member of the Anglican Church and the Freemasons, and he urged broad religious freedom in his roles as general and president.

United Grand Lodge of England

Grand Lodge of EnglandUGLEUnited Grand Lodge
Freemasonry, as it exists in various forms all over the world, has a membership estimated by the United Grand Lodge of England at around 6 million worldwide.
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing Masonic lodge for the majority of freemasons in England, Wales and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Square and Compasses

Square and Compasscompass and squareSquare
The symbolism is mainly, but not exclusively, drawn from the tools of stonemasons – the square and compasses, the level and plumb rule, the trowel, the rough and smooth ashlars, among others.
The Square and Compasses (or, more correctly, a square and a set of compasses joined together) is the single most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry.