By Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr., J.D., PH.D., M.A., 33º
Read – Is CoMasonry the Antidote part 2
Read – Is CoMasonry the Antidote part 3
While listening to an alarming expose on the declining of membership of “Regular” American Masonry and its apparent inexorable demise, I could not help to wonder if that which has been prohibited, the admission of Women into our Order, is not precisely what and whom we need to insure our survival, and, most importantly, to genuinely live up to our Sacred Principle of Equality. As I gathered my thoughts later on that night, I began to gradually immerse myself in my humble essential library, and proceeded to read, compile, and eventually mold my sentiments and commentaries on paper. The following essay is the result of various sleepless nights that began that same evening.
The eagerness to know the Self and his/her Objective and Predominant Surrounding, in order to achieve Self-Transcendence, is one of the peculiar characteristics of human feeling, thinking and acting.
The perennial problems that Humanity has endeavored to resolve since its very origins, are all alike in their roots, though their solutions have been adapted to “the spirit of times”, that is to say, to the appropriate conditions of a particular civilization in a determined time and place.
Since immemorial times, there have existed ritualistic practices exclusively for men, for women, and/or for both.
Nowadays, it has become frequent to observe the rediscovery or resurfacing of Ancient Schools of Thought and Initiatic Organizations engaged in new ways of understanding and implementing (esoterically and exoterically) the Traditional Science. Among these organizations and schools, Organized Free-Masonry distinguishes itself as the most important of all Initiatic Institutions in Western Europe, America and parts of Asia and Africa.
All these aspects – without prejudice to others that are also worthy of consideration – should be kept into account when asking ourselves and others the questions: “What is Masonry?”, and, “What is Mixed Masonry or Co masonry?”.
As we now begin to reflect, with the purpose of building for ourselves and others the most objective possible vision of what Free-Masonry is in general, and Mixed Free-Masonry or Co masonry in particular, we must try to answer, with the utmost honesty, the following three questions:
- Have there existed initiatic organizations of mixed and feminine orientation in ancient times, and, if so, did they actively participate in the Art of Architecture?
- Has there existed a Mixed and/or a Feminine Speculative Masonry, at least since its alleged “official birth” in 1717, and, if so, how has it evolved?
Is it possible, at this point in time, to conceive a Free-Masonry integrated by Lodges of Women, of Men, or, of Mixed Gender among which there can exist a broad respect to their particular preferences of initiatic realization, while, at the same time, having full conscience that they ALL are part of an unique and indivisible entity known as: Universal Free-Masonry?
A Curious Mythology:
Ever since humans left behind their nomadic conditions and became sedentary, they started to manifest their attitude toward advancement and their aptitude for construction. In fact, Construction is one of the most evident characteristic signs of Civilization in all epochs and cultures; However, with respect to determining its objective origins, History is irremediably mixed with Myth, arriving sometimes to some unsuspected extremes.
Charles Bernardin (1860-1939), notable Masonic Historian and member of the Supreme Council of the Grand Orient of France, was able to compile and prove the existence of 206 authors who contended and presented 39 divergent opinions on the origin of Masonry. Amongst these opinions, the most admiration-worthy are the following:
- At the very beginning of “his constitutions”, Anderson himself asserts that the first Mason was Adam, and that the Great Architect of the Universe inscribed in his heart the Liberal Sciences, and, before all, Geometry, fundament of Masonry and Architecture, which, he later taught to his descendants.
- Fifteen of the thirty nine Masonic Historians elaborated on the existence of a Lodge at the East of Paradise. Some contend that at the sixth day of the Creation, the issue of women in Lodge was addressed and approved at the Celestial Grand Lodge. Others state that the First Mason was indeed Adam, and from that standpoint Jean Marie Ragon de Bettignies (1781-1866) concluded: “… If our father Adam labored in Lodge, he could not have done it with anyone else, but, with his woman …”.
- Elian Brault stated, rather persuasively: “… Given that the Serpent of Genesis approached Eve first, to have her taste the fruit of The Tree of Life, Science and Death, it was Eve evidently the First Initiated, whom, in turn, initiated Adam …”
- For his own part, Marc Bedarride sustains that the Patriarch Jabel, son of Lamech, was the first who conceived the felicitous idea of accepting a woman in Lodge. He chose as Grand Mistress his sister Noema, daughter of Lamech and Sella, and sister of Tubalcain. Since the age of seventeen, Noema demonstrated having the most outstanding qualities, by being honest, civilized, gracious, affable, amiable, kind and beautiful. Jabel surrounded himself with other illustrious sisters to help him with his labors – having had their first Lodge meeting at a plain field surrounded by twelve palms, and under a pure and serene sky where Peace, Concord and Harmony reigned.
When some poorly informed people – Masons and Non-Masons – blindedly reject the possibility of a Woman being eligible and/or worthy of Masonic Initiation, whether it be in a Feminine Lodge or a Mixed-one, one cannot help to “sketch” a light smile; for it is clear, even by the accounts and terms of Profane History, that women, in their individual capacities or through their membership in diverse guilds of spinners, weaveresses, carvers, upholsterers, sculptresses, etc. have taken active participation in the Divine Art of Architecture.
Some evidential facts that support the above statement are the following:
- The Carpenters Guild of Norwich, a guild that dates from 1375, and to which the Masons of York belonged, recollect that: “Every year, the Saturday following the Ascension, the Brothers and Sisters get together in a determined place to recite their prayers in honor of the Holy Trinity, in favor of the Holy Church, for Peace and Union of the country, and for the repose of the souls of all defunct, not only Fore-Brothers and Fore-Sisters, but, all friends and Christians… If a member of our Guild dies, his/her Brothers and Sisters should pray for him/her and celebrate a mass for the peaceful state of his/her soul”…
- In the archives of York Lodge Number 236, which belonged to the Ancient Grand Lodge of England, in the Orient of York whose origin is immemorial, there is a Manuscript dated in 1693 and transcribed on a lightly mutilated parchment, by which we find that, during the reception of a neophyte in the 17th century: “One of the Elders picks-up the Book, and He or She who is to be made a Mason places his/her hand on the Book, and then the instructions are given”.
- Another fact comes to contradict the exaggerated misogyny of a vast number of Masons, Grand Jurisdictions and Concordant Bodies: There is a great feminine name, among those “admirable cathedral builders”, that of Sabine de Pierrefonds, daughter of Herve de Pierrefonds, better known by the Germanic name of Erwin Von Steinbach. Sabine participated in the construction of the cathedral of Strasburg, and also sculpted some of the most prominent statues of Notre Dame in Paris. Evidently, however, the construction of these cathedrals, which, usually took up to a couple of centuries to be built, required more than one Master of the Work, and it is highly probable that Sabine de Pierrefonds was not the only woman who toiled in these labors.
On another hand, among those possible feminine receptions of “Accepted Masons”, like those narrated by ancient medieval “Duties” and “Charges”, we can include those of the Masters’ wives, since these “Bylaws” make an invariable reference to them both:
“Thou shall not reveal the secrets or projects of thy Master or thy Mistress…”
(Ancient Constitutions of Franc-Masons, taken from a manuscript written 500 years ago by J. Roberts, Warwick-Lane, 1722, Apprentices’ Bylaws, 1,4,5,7)
The publication of this manuscript was prior to that of “Anderson’s Constitutions”, and it has been found to be more trust-worthy, in light of its antiquity and uniqueness – since in 1724 (seven years after the creation of the alleged “First Grand Lodge”) Anderson simply made a synthesis of various documents, some of which were even second hand; whereas in the case of our aforementioned manuscript, we are in the presence of an unique and complete document. And with respect to the evoked “Mistress”, we can all admit that Sabine de Pierrefonds, artist and sculptress, had to, at the same time, form/train Apprentices and Companions (Fellow crafts). Later on, in due time, the benefits of this Feminine Initiation into “Accepted Free-Masonry” were extended to a female monarch: Queen Anne Stewart, Daughter of James II, who ruled between 1702 and 1714.
To be continued in part 2
Reprinted by permission of Carlos Antonio Martinez, Jr.
Soon, I will in all likelyhood be taking the East in my lodge.
And as its membership suffers in decay and decline, I have spoken to afew PM’s, who have said that it will not be long before our AF&AM system will be allowing women into the Lodge, and at least one said he would welcome it.
I was glad to hear it, As at the current time, I sideline any thought of women in the lodge, hoping first to conquer an old dragon which still raises its head and live well and strong, Racism. Though in words, it is stated by our GL that we may participate in lodges with our PM Brethren; i have been forbidden to brong one of my WM Friends with me to an Outdoor 3rd degree celebration; so as “Not to have anyone ‘get the wrong idea’ ” it would have almost been an innocent thing, if i had not found myself soon surrounded by
Masons on all sides, Working thier way to the top of conversatation with the Best Black Jokes.
But , yes, Co-Masonry, will most certainly not only be an answer, it will eclipse, and take over the ‘Old Order’, which would rather die than
be the Revolutionary Movement it was meant to be.
Sadly, Swearing onself to the “Constitutions” is a last resort to invoke the “Thou shalt not assist in any movement which will Advance, Change or Revolutionise Freemasonry as we define it unto you”. It reminds me of old
Tavia, in Fiddler on the Roof. As his world moves Foreward into Time without him, all he can do is shake his fist towards the heavens and cry
“TRADITION!!!!” hopefully though, we will see the day when Freemasonry will not be divided by AF&AM F&AM PH or Co-Masonry. Hopefully those who yell Tradition the loudest can be shown the ACTUAL HISTORTICAL roots of Masonry,
before the coup of 1717, and be shown that Women have been Regular Masons for Many Years before Anderson picked up his pens and codified masonically the Anti Woman diatribes of which his England was so deeply entrenched.
Also, hopefully those who care to look at the Bible upon which they take their Ob’s, will do a strong referance on the “Traditions of the Fathers”;
if anthing was Declared by the GTAOTU as a ship sinker… it is
Wonderful article Brother. I am afraid the facts are though you could proove that there have always been and always will be female Masons, segregationists will still be as fanatical as ever.
The antidote to what, exactly? Declining membership? Do you happen to have any data on the numbers of existing feminine Masons? I’m making an educated guess that it’s well below the number of women in OES (the largest women’s Masonic group in the US), and believe me, the OES membership has also been in a serious decline.
The possible 5% or 10% increase in membership will not be enough to offset the decline in membership that happened over the previous generation. At one time there were over 50,000 Masons in Connecticut. Now we have 14,000, many of whom are retired and living out of state.
Furthermore, you are pre-supposing that both feminine and masculine lodges will want to join together. Many men want to belong to an organization in which they can associate with other men; likewise, many women Masons do not want to join mixed lodges.
Instead of focusing on the so-called decline of Masonry, maybe we should be looking at the ways to make the existing Masonry better.
I would suggest that perhaps why there aren’t more female Masons is because many females don’t even know they can be Freemasons. The attitudes of male Masons twards females who try to interact via the web can be flat out disgusting. This has lead to many female Masons being “underground” as to avoid harassment.
I know of female Masons who have to move the locations where they meet in order to not be harassed in their community. How sad is that?
On another note, when we look at other Fraternal orders like tghe Oddfellows.They went from being larger than the Masons in the 1920’s
to being all but extinct in 1970. When they addressed the situation by stepping into today and desegregating they returned to a more healthy situation.
Do you have any factual numbers concerning Odd Fellows membership numbers to support your claim? From what I understand, Odd Fellows are able to stay around because of the low member to Lodge ratio that is required, seven to as many as twenty-five minimum for Masonry but something like three for Odd Fellows.
After a little searching, it appears that the organization “desegregated” in 1851, long before the decline of fraternal organizations in the U.S. So Raum’s argument is hardly valid.
I really think that we all just have to understand that Freemasonry will shrink in numbers, because organizations like Masonry just don’t appeal to Masonry like it once did. Whether we are Co-Masons or masculine Masons probably won’t change that.
However, I will say that I would support masculine Masonry recognizing Co-Masonry as a legitimate Masonic organization worthy of our respect and cooperation.
Sorry, I meant “because organizations like Masonry just don’t appeal to society like they once did.”
Raum, I’ve been looking over your website, and I’m a bit flustered: I can’t seem to figure out where you are located, how many members you have, when you meet, or really, anything important and specific about your lodge.
I happen to know of four Masonic bodies in the US that are or have feminine Masonry, and one of the works the MM rite. Ironically, none of the four recognizes the three others; several recognize one or two, and IIRC, one recognizes a body that does not recognize them.
I mention this because there’s a certain irony in the idea of presenting women in Masonry as a way to save the declining numbers when you can’t get all of the feminine branches in agreement. But that’s not surprising because a good number of masculine bodies don’t recognize each other. Like any other organization that is made up of people, we have our schisms and differences of opinions – as we should. The various bodies exist because different people want different things out of their societies.
But all of this really begs the question of the need for an “antidote”, as if Freemasonry has been poisoned and is dying. Number of members does not necessarily equate to the overall health of an organization.
Raum – first off, no disrespect meant to you or your lodge. I would have expected to find more information on your Contact page, instead of buried in one of the other sections. But since I’m not going to be joining, I guess it’s a moot point. I was just curious.
What is not a moot point, though is using OES as an example. No, it’s not Masonry, but looking at the population would serve as a good example for the kind of numbers that one could expect for potential joining members.
My main point, however, is that it may be a mistake to equate declining numbers with a decline in Freemasonry. If some lodges close for lack of members, and some Grand Lodges need to merge… er, cut back on their large programs, then is that really such a bad thing, if the remaining members are more dedicated and educated?
Stale lodge rooms? Falling on it’s sword? Raum, you are having this discussion on a web board created by one of the most powerful cyber Masons (heh – sorry), who also hosts a podcast listened to by hundreds – perhaps thousands – of mainstream Masons, including several of the GL officers up in Conn.
My own lodge has been having extra degrees in order to handle the influx of new members – almost all of whom are under 40. The officers in my lodge are mostly under 30, which is the case with a half dozen active lodges around my state. More often than not I’m meeting new Masons who are interested in doing something more exciting than paying the bills, and manage to build vibrant lodges. My dance card is filling up as more new Masons want the opportunity to talk about the history, the symbology, and the esoteric side of our Craft.
I think that you are making the same mistake that Carlos is making – thinking the decline in numbers means the decline of the fraternity.
Have you asked any feminine Masons about joining mixed lodges? Most of the ones that I’ve talked to have no interest, and frankly, I’m cool with that. I think that people should be free to associate with whoever they want; if you want to have a society that is men-only or women-only, then that’s great. Personally, I think that the dynamics of a social organization would change drastically by suddenly opening the doors to the opposite gender.
If you are missing “anything significant” regarding our lodge after visiting our website then you didn’t read it. If you would have you would know the answer to most of your questions. Under the What we do Differently
section we explain how/where we meet as far as lodge meetings go. Ritual work is done in cooperation with other independant lodges that we have relationships with. It depends on where the majority of applicants will reside. Our summer Initiations will take place in the Atlanta area. It will be announced so stay tuned.
Many lodges don’t list all of their officers. In fact a few Traditional Observence lodges don’t yet we get hammered for it. I did see this coming, at the same time we do what we want. We are of the position that our officers have better things to do than answer questions that they don’t need to answer. As the Lodge Secretary I am the point of contact for those interested, or have questions regarding our lodge. This is pretty much standard Masonic practice and even if it wasen’t we are a sovereign body so no justification for any of our policies is warrented.
We don’t publicize the amount of members that we have. We are very clear on this on the website. If you would check the FAQ we state that we do not release any information regarding our past, current, or future membership.
As to your numbers of Feminine or Co-Masonic bodies in the USA you may be right. I actually haven’t counted. I know that none other than us practice the Rite of Misraim (we don’t label ourselves Co-Masonic, we are Freemasons who do not practice segregation.) As far as who recognizes who I don’t know, I really don’t care. I know as far as we go we don’t recognize any organization on a organizational level. We deal with the individual. If you act as a Mason and prove yourself to know the skills of a Craftsmen than that is what we require. If you don’t, you don’t.
The Oddfellows don’t seem to do anything as a whole. They are independent Grand Lodges. For an example WA state desegregated in 1996. Membership has risen 240% since. This comes from their Grand Secretary. California seems to be split in two with the North segregated and the South integrated. Membership is greater in the South. States on the Eastern Seaboard are integrated. It is an interesting situation.
Back to Freemasonry. It is impossible to espouse Masonic ideals such as equality and universal humanity and still practice segregation in this day and age. This “not in our house” situation is repulsive. How can it possibly be defended?
It reminds me of someone stating that they are nor racist but they won’t allow a black man to sit at their dinner table.
BTW: we all know that the OES isn’t Freemasonry, not even close. can we drop that card?
No problem. I am avalible to answer the questions I can regarding our lodge. That is part of what I do. The reason the contact us page is set up the way it is would be because I would rather deal with being called clandestine via email than phone 🙂
Seriously, I don’t think you can rely on OES numbers to forecast what the numbers would look like should the mainstream do the human thing and desegregate. The OES is made up of wives of Masons and they are civic/social based group. When we look at female Masons by and large they tend to be esoterics/spiritualists. I believe you would see a whole new life being brought into the stale lodgerooms.
The infrastructure that has been built needs to be supported. Am I right?
To be honest I don’t have a dog in this hunt. We do what we do and the mainstream seems to be falling on their sword but hey, it is what it is. The segregation of the Craft in the public eye is an outrage.
Tom, I will admit that I can be a bit dramatic. But the fact remains, declining numbers is a huge issue when it somes to the mainstream infrastructure. Somone has to pay the rents, the electric bills and the property taxes. There is no way around that.
Like I said before I really don’t have a dog in that hunt. The segregation is a huge issue that will probably always bother me however.
I have spoken to feminine Masons who are just as blind as their male counterparts. I’m sorry Tom, but you cannot be in tune with Masonic morality and still have a “not in my house” attitude. You simply can’t.
Segregation is wrong in the era we now find ourselves no matter what side of the gender aisle it comes from.
You are right Tom that the social dynamic would change if Freemasons decided to do the human thing. men would have to act like professionals and gentlemen within the lodge. No more T&A jokes.
Also, the symbolism of the feminine (that abounds throughout Masonic ritual) may finally be explored and understood. People may actually learn something and grow as human beings.
Imagine that? 🙂
I agree with the concept that number of members is not as important as the quality of those members. That being said; it shouldn’t be ignored that the craft might be failing to reach a large segment of qualified and worthy candidates who might not want to associate themselves with an organization that is perceived as being segregated.
I am a recent initiate in the A&FAM on my way to FC. When I first became interested in Masonry I began reading everything I could find on the subject. I spent many an hour wading through the mire of anti-masonry on the net, making sure to resolve the accusations made against Masonry in my mind by the rules of logic. I finally decided to join once I felt sure that Freemasonry was not in conflict with my beliefs. On the contrary it seemed to be able to provide a great “home” for them. The racism issue was and is a deal breaker with me. I definitely would not have joined masonry in any state that continues to practice racial segregation. That was an easy one to decide.
The Co-masonry issue was not so clear cut. I agree that denying people their rights based on their gender is wrong. The problem in my mind with that argument when applied to this situation is that no one has an inherit right to join any private organization. Also there already exists mixed and female organizations that claim to be practicing masonry just as legitimate as ours and those people who believe a Co-Ed environment to be the most suitable on the journey east are free to join those organizations.
Still I was not convinced that the nature of the exclusion of women in Craft Masonry was at all benign. So I asked myself “What could possibly be wrong with letting women aspire to the Lodge to which I belong?” After attending Lodge I have come to the conclusion that while I have no dispute with anyone affiliated with a mixed or women only group, and while it was not at all impossible that I might have ended up choosing a mixed gender lodge, I am most satisfied with my choice of affiliation.
I don’t believe that I am a misogynist and I know I often enjoy that platonic company of women over that of men in my day to day life. I do believe though that people behave and even think and react differently, if only subconsciously, in the prescience of the opposite sex. It is a fact that group dynamics are different between gender specific groups as opposed to groups of mixed gender.
People of the same gender share that intimate detail by default. Both women and men will have intimate conversations with friends of the same gender and then later when having the same conversation with a member of the opposite sex express themselves a bit differently. Even when it is only slight it is still a relating to people on different wavelengths. At this point in our evolution as a species it appears that this is human nature. Because of this I feel that the dynamics of my Lodge would not necessarily benefit by virtue of gender integration when applied to the work. I joined the Lodge that suited me best in my search for light. It happens to be a gender specific system and it seems to work. I am happy with my choice, I don’t apply any political or sociological significance to it, and I wish everyone else success on their path.
As per the women having the OES as a Masonic expression,
the GL of England seems to take issue. Stating it find OES
irregular masonry, and preferring Women to Join Feminine
Lodges of Regular Masonry. Frankly, i agree, as is it, i somewhat covet our European Brothren as they can practice on ritual with their wives,
(which is advantageous on any number of levels), as it is near impossible to get my lodge brethren together for practice… or lodge for that matter.
i would love to spend many an hour with my wife working on ritual. And have often wondered if i could send her to
England for her degrees, and then work with her when she gets back. Impossible due to her health, but it sure would be great.
Raum it is refreshing to see someone in the Craft dedicated to eliminating segregation.
I am so tired of listening to Masons who talk the talk but won’t walk the walk.
The notion that this problem will disappear in time as old Segregationists die is a myth. Segregationists raise Segregationist children. The problem continues and there will be no total integration in American Masonry until those that refuse to integrated are FORCED TO. Fifty years from now the situation will be pretty much the same as it is today.
Of course the whole problem is compounded because there is no such thing as American Freemasonry. We have elected to have 50 fiefdoms of Freemasonry or 50 countries. And Masonic tradition holds that one country doesn’t mess in another country’s business. So Masons in New England or California are never, ever going to try to lift a finger to make Freemasonry in Alabama adhere to the principle that all men are created equal. It’s not their country and they could care less. Sadly the general public does not differentiate between those Masons that live up to the full implementation of Civil Rights that Martin Luther King fought for 50 years ago and those that do not. Those Masons who are sitting on their hands are allowing their Fraternity to be besmirched.
Regarding women in the Craft the thought that allowing them in will have little effect on Masonic membership growth is really a figment of the imagination of the male ego. Women are by nature very nurturing human beings and are ideally suited to take up the Craft and will do so I think in large numbers. The young married people in today’s generation like to do things together not separately. That old belief that men want to go do their thing while women go do their thing is just that an old story. It hearkens back to a day when women were not the equal of a man, were locked out of certain professions, could not be in business management and even lacked the right to vote ( does anyone without looking it up know when women got the right to vote?). Today women as equals want to share in all the doings and positions that were prohibited to them in the past.
In today’s society women are very comfortable fraternizing with men and discussing any subject that a man wants to talk about. Men and women gather all together today because both sexes today have the same experiences because they have the same rights. It seems to me that not only do we still have segregationists in the Craft but we also have men who are either sexist or they have forgotten what the women’s lib movement has done for the relationship between the sexes.
The Catholic church has an alarming shortage of Priests. In another decade it will have only one Priest for every two churches. The solution of course is to ordain women Priests. Women make very good Pastors. But the church clings to its long held tradition of male superiority. So does Freemasonry.
Umm, not to beat the dead dog that you don’t have in this hunt, but I think that there is a line between segregation/sexism and the simple desire to associate with people of your choosing.
Associating with men only does not mean rude behavior or T&A jokes – not that there is anything wrong with respectful sexual humor and the appreciation of our differences. Paradoxically, those who are aware of the esoteric underpinnings of the masculine and feminine natures of our Craft should be aware that *both* mixed lodges and separate lodges have their place, and that the desire and appreciation for one over the other has nothing to do with real sexism; rather, it’s simply the desire to appreciate the masculine/feminine natures.
On the more practical side, I associate with women all day long. I can go to my wife’s church or PTA meetings if I want more of the same. Hell, I can even join OES if all I’m looking for is to be around women. But know what? Sometimes I really don’t. Sometimes I really look forward to just hanging out with the guys, having a scotch and a cigarette, and not worrying about being on my best behavior.
And know what else? My wife is totally cool with that. In fact, I think that she is much cooler with that scenario than she would be if I were hanging out at the lodge, having a scotch with the bros *and* some of the sisters, too. Yeah, sure, she could join, but my thing isn’t necessarily her thing, nor should she feel compelled to join simply because of that sort of reason. I’ll bet lots of wives and husbands feel the same way.
Let’s remember that Freemasonry isn’t all esoteric discussion; in fact, *most* of Masonry is fellowship and conviviality. We are a fraternity, after all, and that is one of the essential points – developing the sense of brotherhood (or sisterhood) among those who would otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.
Bro. J. Luis,
Thank you for your post. You have obviously thought about these issues a great deal and that I appreciate. Now I will address some points that you have brought up.
You stated to deny someone their rights based on gender is wrong. I 100% agree with this. Next, you stated thatno one has the right to join a private organization. While this is also true it is a commonly used justification for inhuman behaviour. This is the exact same justification used to keep black men out of “gentlemen’s clubs” or Jews out of Agusta. Is that OK?
In the USA we also have private corperations. Hell, I own one. We also have DOE laws and the reason why is that exact same justification used to segregate (or keep segregation) was used to keep minorities and women for obtaining Jobs. Do you think that employers would have ever integrated if they weren’t forced too? Brother Henry Ford was a notorious Anti-Semite. he even included a copy of The International Jew in every Model T. If not for Union pressure and later DOE laws, Ford Motor Company never would have employed a Jew, woman or black man.
I have also found that the argument that women allowed in the lodge room would disrupt the “group dynamic” or even worse ruin the “energies” of a lodge room (how dare an esoterist ever embrace segregation, they should damn well known better) always come from men who have never set foot in an integrated, gender equal lodge. That is kind of like telling someone you can’t ride a bicycle uphill from someone who has never placed a foot on the pedal. Would you take that opinion to the bank?
Thank you for the compliment. The fact is that segregation is repulsive. In this post-modern age there are simply no more excuses. Like you I believe that others known this. That means they will continue to justify their inhuman behavior instead of acting like an actual human being and doing the right thing. For what? A boys club? Why? Do they have such bad relationships with their wives, mothers, female coworkers?
I agree with your post and I thank you for taking the human side of the argument. You are correct that the male ego will continue to marginalize the human action. You are also correct that nothing will change unless the institution is forced to change.
I don’t understand how anyone who really has taken the lessons found within Freemasonry could then adopt a “not in my house” stance. I just don’t get it.
I’m glad that this topic has opened some degree of discussion. One aspect that I am surprised to see not mentioned is the possible to include even the aspect of recognition in general of feminine or mixed gender lodges, rather than an open mixing in Western (Regular) Masonry.
Not that the simple step of recognition would be the cure all, but it would be a “first step” in equalizing the playing field, and allow for some co-mingling.
As it stands now, at perpetual distance, there is no opportunity to intermingle nor to even have Masonic discourse with those who are otherwise Freemasons within their own disciplines.
Point taken. I would also like to point out that Ku Klux Klan have a simple desire to associate only with white people. Wrong is wrong no matter how you spin it.
Once again “seperate but equal” represents no equality. Remember, it wasen’t that long ago that very same argument was used to justify seperate drinking fountains and making people ride in the back of the bus.
You associate with women all day long. Great, so do I. I would guess so do most people. You want to hang out with the guys? Organize a neighborhood poker game. Go to a NASCAR race. The dog track. Hanging out with the boys to drink, socialize and “loosen your tie” has zero to do with being a member of an initiatic society.
The “my wife won’t like it” excuse is another tired one. I feel really bad for all of you Brethren with shakey marriages and jealous wives but again that isn’t the Crafts problem. If your wife doesn’t like you to be in the company of other women find a shrink, don’t use it as an excuse for inhuman behaviour.
Can we please not compare the Craft with the PTA? I mean how insulting do you really want to get?
Recognition would mean inter visitation. Segregationists will fight that just as hard as total intergration.
If you are going to win the war you have to take the higher ground as they say.
What is required is revolution. All it would take is one lodge with the fortitude to take their own lodge into the human era. Initiate a daughter into the Craft and stand strong beside her.
Freemasonry’s roster is full of men of such conviction. Who will be the next?
The real reason of the decline of Masonic membership is a mix of financial problems, isolation from family and the irony that the dreams of our forefathers have come to fruition. We have freedom of religion and that means people are not going to hide in lodges anymore to spend money on uniforms they don’t use anywhere else, people want to include their friends and families. The once sought after teachings are now available from their original sources online. People do not have the time to join isolated groups of people to spend tons of money on practices that they can do on their own with their friends and families. Some of those people would rather go to a Church and have the mystic rites of Catholism or create a coven and do rituals with their friends. Freemasonry was born out of the desire for democratic wisdom and must bring that to America’s mainstream culture in order to survive. It is an intentionally alienated group that does not know how to include or even help the friends and families of brothers and sisters when things go awry. The expectations of the members can no longer be what they were before. We live in a new time where everyone is included and wants to include people. We must make things affordable and include everyone in mystery traditions through out the year so that people can understand what Freemasonry is about. People need to get a taste of the mysteries but an entire reformation is coming. It will end up becoming a much more democratic system, which it strives to be. Gods bless the Masons! <3