Masonic Magazine Issue 3


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Masonic Magazine Issue 2

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ISSN 2398-4597 The Promise The Tree of life depicted 2016


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Editorial Dear Brn., Brotherly Greetings and Good Wishes for the Festive season Good Will to all for the New Year, 2017. Our third edition should be the Autumn Edition when nature is about to hibernate in order to renew the life given to us in its glory of seasons. This late edition allows the Grand Master and Board of General Purposes to wish everyone, our Brethren and readers a prosperous year in 2017. Prosperous being the Masonic word for wealth in brotherly love, charity and truth which during the past year the Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women have received in abundance; indeed we take into the New Year of 2017 the strength to progress our beloved Order with renewed ideals of our Obligations. Reviewing the past year we were happy to receive The Sovereign Grand Commander of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry, The American Federation of Human Rights together with the President of the Grand Council of Administration, The Ills. Bro. Matias Cumsille, 32nd degree. This Order has wonderful headquarters in Colorado and due to the vast membership, a hotel is provided within the area of their Headquarters. The correlation of all degrees from the first to the thirty-third used above is due to the mode of the joining together all the degree in which they follow each other and the organisation of which is known as an Obedience. Our Order is administered along the lines of the United Grand Lodge, which has as its function the three degrees of Freemasonry only. Other organisations known as ‘Grand or Supreme Chapters’ are responsible for the ‘higher degrees’ which deal with the degrees from the 4th to the 33rd using several differing titles. In this Order we achieve this by two separate Divisions. The Order being administered as two separate halves, the Grand Lodge of the three degrees, of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason and The Grand Conclave is the name of the division within which is organised these ‘higher degrees’ and the Knights Templar and Knights of Malta. Both Divisions have separate Grand Officers. As it was in the middle of the Summer time our important visitors to Great Britain arrived in London but it was not possible to invite them to a Meeting of either the Grand Lodge or any Lodges, but it was essential to renew the friendship between the two Masonic Orders. This was carried out in a private meeting, in the English manner at teatime. It has been agreed that the mixed Lodges in the South Americas who wish to join our Order, will be diverted to the American Federation of Human Rights. We are working very closely together and visiting rights for all our members are in place. As with families, the Grand Lodge has found the strength to rebuild the foundations during the past year and commences the New Year with high hopes of even greater participation in growth and looking towards our other Division, The Grand Conclave. In May, 2017 the Supreme Council will be meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria and during the weekend of the May Bank Holiday will be holding the 31st degree ceremony of Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander at which Brethren of the 30th degree of the Encampment of the Eagle, Knights Kadosh from Britain, Greece and Bulgaria will be advanced. The following day, Sunday, the full ceremony of the 33rd and last degree will take place for the elevation of Princes of the Royal Secret to this the final degree as well as the Obligation of regularising of joining members of the rank of Grand Inspectors General from other disciplines. I hope that this report takes you to further fields in our Order and aspires you all to consider the addition of Masonic knowledge and lead you to question and ask about the further meaning which only the higher degrees will bring you to the appreciation of the wonderful Masonic teachings. Jeanne Heaslewood, PGM Grand Secretary.


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PROFILE Assistant Grand Master R.W.Bro. Sheila Bedford The interest in Freemasonry had surrounded Sheila as a child and when later she met Betty Open and a chance remark resulted in being introduced to a Local Lodge in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, her interest was finally brought to initiation. Sheila Bedford was initiated into the local Lodge which in 1991 belonged to the British Federation of International Co-Freemasonry. In 2001 Sheila seeking to follow Freemasonry in her inimitable way of a positive and searching mind, moved into the new Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women in 2001 as one of the first members at the Founding of the Grand Lodge. Sheila as a child had joined the St. John Ambulance Brigade and became Captain of the First Aid Team assisting to win the regional cup for the district and was further awarded the prestigious ‘Grand Prior’ badge. This award reflected the Knights Hospitaler part of St. Johns Ambulance Brigade and fired the interest of the history of the ancient events of the Knights Templar and Knights of Malta, which was repeated quite recently by entering the Masonic Lodge of Knights Templar and awaiting with interest to complete the circle of performing the ceremony of Knights of Malta. From the experiences of the choice of her professional life which looks like a mapped out course of events, Sheila as a young woman led the front guard of work in a special care baby unit AND training to become a midwife, then taking that training to become a trainer of midwives. This role took her to become a Midwifery manager for Maternity Service in one of the Health Authorities and taking her to assisting to set up the first midwife led unit in England. Further always seeking qualifications for the life which was leading her forward, she gained the Suzy Lamplugh Trust qualification and taught personal safety and first aid in the workplace. One can only provide a ‘pinpoint’ of the life and work of our extraordinary masons, but it has also to be said that Sheila became a local councillor and she says with a smile, by accidently winning the seat and holding it for many more elections. In much the same bemused manner, Sheila has now risen to become the Assistant Grand Master and this though her verve to be at the forefront of the necessity for providing younger masons with the instruction of the reasons behind the routine of ceremonies. Whilst seeking herself to know more about freemasonry, always willing to share this with those who wish to learn. In working through from Entered Apprentice in 1991 to now; Sheila has assisted in the opening of a Lodge in Nottingham, with completely new masons. Recently opening another Lodge in Berkeley, Gloucester which is giving the new impetus of freemasonry for men and women in that area and to which she will bring her joy of Freemasonry to new candidates as well as Joining members from previous Grand Lodges. Freemasonry has always been around the life of Sheila and is now at the situation where it plays an important role in that part of her life, the benefits of which are to the Grand Lodge as well as in her words ‘ to her as a person’. Sheila herself believes that Freemasonry is a great leveller and no matter who you are or what you do in life, in masonry you leave that behind and work towards brotherly love, relief (charity) and truth, the real concepts of Freemasonry.


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IT IS TIME TO TELL THE STORY OF PEARL KING (Centre of picture Pearl King, Founding Grand Master 2001) Without thought to herself Pearl and her greatest friend Tina, they both moved effortlessly from International Co-Freemasonry to the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women and like Boudica ready with her sword of fire and faith and her shield of protection, Pearl moved into action. Pearl wanted to find her very own way of helping to kick start the new Order and with Tina, the artist and person – behind the throne, supplied all the Dress and Undress regalia as worn by the regular Grand Lodges, i.e. UGLE and the recognised HFAF and OWF Womens orders. These were for the new start to commence working as a Grand Lodge and not as an Obedience of 33 degrees as previously worn; the Regalia was for all the Grand Officers of our new way of working. Not content doing that in the practical way, she also invested a sum of money in the instruction of young people. This enabled our new Order to have our own ritual books, printed to our own design supplied with love and practical concern for the future and enabling education for all people. Pearl and Tina lived in a road leading to Finchley Road, Childs Hill, NW2 2HR (please remember this for later on). Our first meeting was in the Drawing Room of their home and where nine of us, the ex-Consistory Council of International Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain met as our new headquarters. Pearl and Tina were never happier than when they were doing ‘good turns’. This took the form of arranging for major operations for her ‘brothers’ so that she could get them back working immediately following a major operation. A private arrangement for many people who required urgent major surgery. In 2002 Pearl sent Jeanne Heaslewood and Val Coles to India to assist her other charges, the Theosophical Society and the Indian Federation of International Co-Freemasonry Federation of India, primarily to meet Radha Burnier, the then President of the Theosophical Society. Radha Burnier also held the title of Most Puissant Grand Commander of what was then the Indian Federation of Le Droit Humain. The call for assistance to help the Indian Federation to move to their own organisation as we in England had done and to do so with a Constitution, a new name and new ideals. Pearl King had been a lifelong member of the Theosophical Society and knew Radha Burnier quite well and the help they needed came from Pearl King, who seemingly knew who to send and why. A week’s stay in the Theosophical Society English Compound at Adyar, Madras was spent assisting with the changeover. The work begun with Pearl’s great insight brought about not only new beginnings for India, but Radha Burnier seeing her role in this matching troubled life then travelled to England and conferred the 33rd degree on Pearl and the other eight Founders. At Meetings Pearl sat in her special place and listened, finally at the end of consideration of the need for guidance and rules, she would put the discussion together and we found ourselves making a different decision to that we thought we had arrived at. The one issue which was given to us by Pearl at this time was to leave behind anything we did not agree to. This has proved to be incredibly the most useful ’tool’ both then at the beginning of our Order and in all negotiations and discussions ever since. continued ...


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The home of Pearl and Tina in the Childs Hill area, remained our official meeting place for many years, this was where we set up the organisation of the Grand Lodge and Grand Conclave and put into a Constitution the way forward. Pearl led us through some troubled times but set us together in our determination to give the best for the future of the new Order. Many times we were led to walks in their beautiful garden, which full of birds (well fed) and peace where contemplation on the serious matters discussed enabled us to come to decisions. Sometimes to sit in the sun with warm companionship. These times were all day meetings and although the Founders were ‘anything goes’ for food, Pearl and Tina were Vegetarians, both of them were fastidious vegetarians, they went about their favourite shop M. & S. food hall and shopped for meat dishes and the like. The kindest acts carried out over years was a salutation to their dedication and dignity to prove how much was being invested in putting ‘the show’ on the road. You can read in other places of Pearl’s skills in her highly acclaimed professional role which she enabled patients, trainees and institutions to explore and change patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour and of the high esteem her professional work was held across the world. But there was also the other world where Pearl lived in as the Founder Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women where it seemed that she quietly led us through the human relationships which were so cleverly wound together. Tina was a very clever artist and not content with having painted some pictures, Pearl and Tina had the attic of the house made into an art gallery, but like the challenge Pearl gave, you had to climb a ladder to get into the attic. Good practice for fleet of foot and firm of mind. In a personal way, Pearl’s illness was devastating but within the many years of letting go Pearl remained the teacher and the friend; singing was her happiness and even in the last years, when visiting and just sitting with her she would burst into song, which was of course her favourite hymn remembered from her childhood and her memory of intertwining her friends into her life, she endeavoured to encourage her visitors to sing. Even those of us who could not normally sing a note!! Our journey which Pearl in the extraordinary event of founding a new Grand Lodge, was a major part of her influence taking her 16 years ‘one step along the road’ (the words of her favourite hymn) and a year later following her life given to the Grand Lodge Eternal. The Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women has once more come under her calm, clever and caring influence. We have found a beautiful Temple to meet at the top of ‘her’ road, the woman who was a leader in her professional field of psychoanalyst, a leader in Freemasonry, a leader in charitable works, a human being who sought to help others quietly and with love, has now led us to rest awhile in the neighbourhood of her home. Pearl’s influence as a Freemason was of the utmost importance to us who had the privilege to work with her and to acknowledge her good works always quietly done and unseen deeds; a light on the horizon of Freemasonry of our Order. Her influence has spread to India, America, Brazil, South Africa, France and all the South American Countries, taking us also to Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece and Canada so that we are due to her special abilities an acknowledged Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women known worldwide. Pearl, our good friend and a special Mason.


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The 18th Degree Rose Croix Once a Brother has been Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason he or she settles down to progress round the Lodge Offices with the goal of being eligible to be elected as Worshipful Master of the lodge in around 5 or 6 years. That five or six years will be taken up with much Masonic learning as the Brother progresses. But for the Brother who has the time and interest, there are Higher Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to which a Mason becomes eligible to join three years after the date of their Raising. The first of which in this country comes under the Division of The Grand Conclave ruled by the Supreme Council of the 33rd degrees in England; who are the governing body of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite - wherein lies the 18th degree Chapter Rose Croix of Heredom. Now, in most Masonic Orders, including those of the masculine Order United Grand Lodge of England, invitations to the 18th Degree is open to professed Christians only by joining the Supreme Council of the 33rd degrees, but in some others-including GLF4M-W there is a further choice, as the Rose Croix Degree followed is from the Ancient and Accepted Rite. It is not a Christian degree and is therefore open to any Bro. who believes in a Supreme Being, God. It’s also worth noting that to join a Sovereign Chapter should not be looked upon as ‘Promotion’. Far from it: if you join a Chapter, you start at the bottom. Many Masons, of the sort who are known as ‘Apron collectors’ do view the 18th degree as promotion and this can lead to confusion. I have known a Worshipful Master of a Craft lodge join the 18th and become offended when asked by the Ruler of the Chapter to take the position of Steward. This person considered that, as a ruling WM, to take the position of a mere steward was beneath them. This only shows how little that person had learnt in their journey from E.A. to W.M. Let me clarify: When you join Masonry, you join a CRAFT lodge. Craft lodges are overseen and governed by a body known as Grand Lodge. Grand Lodge has a Grand Master. But this doesn’t count in the 18th degree, which is considered a higher degree, separate from the Craft, and is governed by a body known as the Supreme Council of the Grand Conclave. The Grand Master in the Craft is not the Grand Master in the 18th degree. So, rather than ‘promotion’ the 18th degree is rather a continuation of the Mason’s work. What then, is the 18th degree as worked by our Order? Some members of ‘The Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women in Britain’ had previously been involved in a Masonic Obedience where the ritual was based on the Theosophical Society teachings of Christian Rosenkreuz and in the infancy of our Order research proved that this ritual was originally from the Ancient and Accepted Rite; which is the ritual accepted by this Order. There is no ‘Worshipful Master’ nor is there a ‘Lodge’; the ‘Lodge’ is called a ‘Chapter’ and the Ruler is the ‘Most Wise Sovereign’. There are no ‘Wardens’ as such and no ‘Deacons’. Other Offices fulfil these functions. The regalia is-well, I’m not going to give much away as it would spoil the enjoyment of the ceremony, but suffice it to say that the regalia in part comprises of an apron and collar. The Supreme Council of the masculine Order gave up wearing the aprons years ago and these elaborately embroidered items are now very collectable and sought-after, which is why they are expensive and why we have to have them made to order. Once a Master Mason becomes eligible to join and has written to the current Most Wise Sovereign indicating his or her desire to join the Chapter, there will be an interview by two Past Most Wise Sovereigns of the Chapter: there is no festive board to attend for the Brn to get to know the prospective candidate who is usually a well known brother. As Chapter meets only four times a year, the application process can seem a little lengthy, but eventually the day will come when the M.M. is asked to attend and be initiated into the Chapter of the Knights of the East continued ...


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and West, the name of the 17th degree. You see, a candidate has to be initiated into the 17th degree first. Having been brought into the degree as a ‘Knight of the East and West’ he or she is ‘Perfected’ into the 18th degree in a much longer and elaborate ceremony, usually held on at another meeting of the Chapter. It’s true that this can make a candidate feel that they are ‘in limbo’ until all is revealed when they get their 18th. There is much symbolism in a Chapter, and some of it will be recognisable to a Christian and make them feel somewhat ‘at home’. But then there is much that will be recognisable both in the obvious symbolism of the Chapter equipment and the occult symbolism of the rituals which will be recognisable to persons of other faiths and interests and make them feel ‘at home’. In this way, the Sovereign Chapter Rose Croix accommodates masons of all faiths, as in the Craft. J.S.M Ward, who wrote (amongst other things) Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods and who is the author of the E.A. F.C. and M.M. Handbooks - those little books you were either given or available to purchase, depending on which Lodge you were initiated into - has a theory that this degree has its precursor in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and various other ancient rites found in central America. However, Bernard Jones in the ‘Freemasons Guide and Compendium’ thinks it was ‘invented’ in the 18th century. Whatever you think, it is an enlightening degree and I recommend it to all Master Masons. Peter Rendall, M.W.S. 2015/16 THE FRATERNITY OF THE GRAND LODGE OF FREEMASONRY FOR MEN AND WOMEN THE GRAND CONCLAVE The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the 33rd degrees as performed in this Order The Structure of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite degrees from the 4th to the 33rd degree as Constitutionally performed under the banner of the Fraternity of The Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women in Great Britain, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece. The Supreme Council residing in London, England. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Degrees is carried on within the Lodge of Perfection 4th - 14th degrees; Council of Princes of Jerusalem, 15th -16th. Chapter of the Rose Croix, 17th - 18th. Consistory 19th – 32nd and 33⁰ Sovereign Grand Inspector General. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite performed in the Fraternity of The Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women follows the A. & A. Scottish Rite as that laid down by the Northern Jurisdiction of America as officially recognised from 1801. This rite differs from the York Rite and has differences in the titles used by the Southern Administration of the A. & A. Scottish Rite. In this Order the deviation from the Scottish Rite occurs in the 17th and 18th Degrees where an extra Ritual from the Antient and Accepted Rite is offered to non-Christians; thus embracing the ethos of the Grand Lodge whereby all creeds professing a belief in God may complete all the degrees within the jurisdiction of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The Supreme Council housed in London England, is the authority of the administration of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of The Grand Conclave of the Fraternity of The Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women working in Great Britain, Bulgaria and Greece and in Partnership with the GLEUF. The degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite are enumerated within the Book of Constitution. Any deviation required from the accepted rituals must be submitted to the Ritual Committee of the GLF4M&W Great Britain.


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The Supreme Council expects of its members such principles that unite men and women in the pursuit and attainment of the purposes inherent in unity, peace on earth, goodwill and devotion of and to the principles essential to Freemasonry. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite as authorised by TGLF4M&W is laid down as follows:- Symbolic Degrees: 1. Entered Apprentice 2. Fellow Craft 3. Master Mason. Installation authorised in this Order is only by the complete Installation Degree. (Authorisation must be sought to perform the Board of Installation). Lodges of Perfection: 4th Secret Master (worked ceremonially in Bulgaria) 5th Perfect Master 6th Intimate Secretary 7th Provost and Judge 8th Intendant of the Building 9th Master Elect of the Nine 10th Master Elect of the Fifteen 11th Sublime Master Elected 12th Grand Master Architect The 5th to the 12th degree is conferred when the 13th degree is ceremonially performed in Bulgaria. 13th Master of the Ninth Arch (worked ceremonially in conjunction with the 14th degree in Bulgaria). 14th Grand Elect Mason ‘Lodge of Perfection’. (full ceremony performed in Bulgaria). Historical Degrees: 15th Knight of the East or Sword 16th Prince of Jerusalem The 15th and 16th degrees are conferred upon brethren when the 17th degree is ceremonially performed. Philosophical Degrees: 17th Knight of the East and West 18th Knight of the Rose Croix of H.R.D.M. Ancient and Accepted Rite. Ceremonially Performed in a ‘Chapter of the Rose Croix’ degree in England and Bulgaria. (Greece and France waiting to be admitted into The Grand Conclave). Traditional and Chivalric Degrees: 19th Grand Pontiff 20th Grand Master of Symbolic Lodges (Master ad Vitam) 21st Noachite or Prussian Knight (Patriarch Noachite) 22nd Prince of Libanus continued ...


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23rd Chief of the Tabernacle 24th Prince of The Tabernacle 25th Knight of the Brazen Serpent 26th Prince of Mercy 27th Commander of the Temple 28th Knight of the Sun The degrees from the 19th to the 28th are conferred by Obligation in each degree when the 29th degree is ceremonially performed. 29th Knight of St. Andrew 30th Grand Elect Knight Kadosh The ceremony of the 29th degree can be performed on the same day as the 30th degree. The Chivalric and Administrative Degrees: 31st Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander 32nd Sublime Prince of The Royal Secret The two degrees are fully worked ceremonially and can only be awarded by the Supreme Council. 33rd Sovereign Grand Inspector General This Degree is ceremonially conducted by the Supreme Council. It cannot be applied for and is by invitation only. 1) The Supreme Council of Grand Inspector General 33rd degree is a membership of nine GIGs chosen to represent their Country. 2) Grand Council of Grand Inspector General is a Council of the members of the 33rd degree and rules within a specific country. 3) Honorary rank of 33rd degree membership is conferred upon 32nd degree members who have exemplified within their daily lives, the true meaning of the Brotherhood. The recipient must be at least 33 years of age and may not apply for the degree. Although the Scottish degrees are numbered, it is not to imply that masons who have achieved these degrees are of ‘higher’ rank. The highest degree in Freemasonry is the Sublime degree of Master Mason or 3rd degree given in a blue lodge. This is an explanation of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite as ceremonially performed or communicated in this Order. Grand Secretary General Sovereign Grand Commander April, 2015. NOTES: Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. See Constitution yellow book. (not the York Rite) 4th degree worked completely in ritual form (Bulgaria) 13th degree which is the Master of the Arch or Enoch and has signs of the R.A. This is the entry to the 14th degree, both worked completely in Bulgaria. 17th degree is the entry to the 18th degree and is worked in conjunction with the 18th. Rose Croix of Heredom. Sovereign Chapter The Mystic Rose. The Chapter working at present in England is the Ancient and Accepted Rite from the South of France. As distinct from the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite which is the Christian Rite. In this as in many other Orders the Rose Croix is complete in its own degree, it is not part of the 30th degree. (The differences are that the Rose Croix which the men follow is within the York Rite) and the Rose Croix followed in this Order (and any order attached to GLF4M&W follow the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of 33 degrees, the exception is the Rose Croix ritual of the Ancient and Accepted Rite which allows for any race to join which believes in God and not necessary Christ. The Cross being the cross of punishment pre Christ. The ritual allows for any personal judgement. The 30th degree stands on its own in this Order and is the Knights Kadosh, it follows a complete ritual of four chambers, the last one of the Senate Hall. 31st to the 33rd degrees are not sought after but given according to the judgement of the Supreme Council. These are the administrators of The Grand Conclave and chosen with respect to the ability and Masonic knowledge of the members.


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WOMEN AND FREEMASONRY THE DEVELOPMENT OF FREEMASONRY FOR MEN AND WOMEN At the invitation of the Theosophical Society Jeanne Heaslewood presented a Paper at the University of Bristol Theosophical Society Summer School in September 2007. The title of the Paper given to the Summer School was ‘The Development of Freemasonry for Men and Women in the Millennium’. Permission is granted for the lecture to be printed in the Masonic Magazine, Issue three. Jeanne Heaslewood is a member of the T.S. and a Senior Member of The Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women. So many articles have been written about Women in Freemasonry and cite single women who had to be initiated into a masculine Lodge by virtue of being found by the Lodge members and initiated to maintain the secrecy; due to having been hidden in a cupboard, and various instances quoted range across the country and even to Ireland. These date back to 1710 and continue the tale of inquisitive females. However, the interesting aspect of women in Freemasonry was that Catherine 1, Czarina of Russia founded the Order of St. Catherine, an Order of Knighthood for women of which she was Grand Mistress in 1712. And in 1718 the Order of Concord, was founded by Prince Schwartsburg - Rudolstadt for both sexes. Thereafter many female Orders, or Orders for females only were started during that time. Of interest in 1784 an Order called Knights and Ladies of the Dove (Chevaliers et Chevalieres de la Columbe) was a secret society modelled on Freemasonry and instituted at Versailles for both men and women. It became extinct by the middle of the 19th century. Also in 1813 a branch of the Order of Virtue was established at Charlottenburg. Both sexes were admitted and it had a certain similarity with Freemasonry. The Order of the Eastern Star is an Adoptive Order and noted to have been in America since about 1815; it exists still today across the world, the characters of this Order are taken from the Old Testament of the Bible and appear in the Order as heroines, all of whom had beautiful characters of sacred history. Ruth, a main player and eventually the wife of Boaz, refused to leave Naomi her mother-in-law following her first husband’s death. Her affection and strong attachment is reported in the V.S.L. and it sets the feelings expressed which are also recorded in the most beautiful and heart stirring words, which appear in a study on the Eastern Star. “Entreat me not to leave thee, Or return from following after thee, For whither thou goest, I will go, And where thou lodgest, I will lodge Thy people shall be my people, And thy God my God, Where thou diest, will I die, And thee will I be buried; The Lord do so to me, and more also If ought but death part thee and me”. This sets the special quality of the Star of the East or the Eastern Star and appears again in Freemasonry both masculine, feminine and ‘mixed’ men and women where it is recognised as a Landmark known as Brotherly Love. Finally, the future of history for Freemasonry for men and women, was determined in France, in 1879 when it was mooted in the Grande Lodge Symbolique de France. It was in this lodge that Madame Maria Deraismes, a staunch worker and lecturer for the welfare of humanity in general and women’s rights in particular, was Initiated into masculine Freemasonry in the Loge Libre Penseurs, in Pecq, a small town outside of Paris. Thus started the important events that led to the forming of the Order, today known as the Order of Universal CoMasonry, later to be called International Co-Freemasonry - Le Droit Humain. Since that time, many other worldwide Orders of Freemasonry for Men and Women have been created due to the differences within the Co-Masonic Order, one independent group was formed in June 1908, under the name of the Honourable Fraternity of Antient Masonry. In the continued ...


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beginning this Order was composed of both men and women founders, but the Order did not initiate any new men and in 1935 it has been entirely composed of women .Yet another breakaway group from the Honourable Fraternity of Antient Masonry started a new Order in 1913, and called itself the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons. This was due to various reasons, mainly because the group wished to follow a further spiritual path, by performing what is called the Higher or Additional degrees, beyond the Craft degrees. At that time, they had a few men members and they were allowed to continue in gratitude for their past services until the last of them died about 1935. This new Order has continued to this day and is a totally feminine Order. There are two Women only Grand Lodges today, and the largest is the original Order which changed its name from the first Honourable Fraternity of Antient Masonry to the Order of Women Freemasons. In around 1925 a further Grand Lodge was formed, this time calling itself the Ancient Freemasonry for Men and Women, which regretfully followed by a further schism and once more an Order called itself The Ancient and Accepted Freemasonry for Men and Women. One organisation being responsible for assisting the French feminine Lodge to set up, what is known as a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of 33rd Degrees. We now come to what is the history of Freemasonry for men and women as Annie Besant influenced it. In 1902 Annie Besant was the founder of Co-Masonry in Great Britain, she was already well known for her work in the Theosophical Society. Two of her close and dearest friends, Francesca and George Arundale were already in the Order of Universal Co-Masonry and Annie Besant travelled to Paris with them, to receive the Craft degrees which were necessary for her to fulfil a desire to bring ‘mixed ‘ masonry to Great Britain. Some time later the title Universal was changed to ‘International Co-Freemasonry Le Droit Humain’. Annie Besant went on to form Lodges in all parts of what was the ‘Empire’ and she was responsible for spreading Co-Masonry across the world. Her tremendous personality and strength of character, her eloquence in stating the facts of Masonry to the lodges, were evident in the number of Lodges she formed in the British Isles. Annie Besant also fought hard to maintain the Landmark of the V.S.L. in every Lodge and also an essential belief in a Supreme Being. This she stated clearly in a lecture to the T.S. in Paris in 1925, explaining how she insisted on this principle for at least Great Britain and the Empire. To bring this up to date, I have to say, here that in the year 2001, the Consistory Council of the British Federation of International Co-Freemasonry Le Droit Humain, were suspended and the main executives expelled. Without labouring the point, it was due to the very reason that Annie Besant in 1925 had held fast to. But the Continent and other countries who follow the French masonry, do not have the V.S.L. to make an Obligation on as they work to a Constitution, the essential belief in a Supreme Being is not necessary. A new Order was Inaugurated on 18th February 2001, by the nine members of the 32nd degree and of the Consistory Council of International Co-Freemasonry Le Droit Humain. This Order was called the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women, this seemed to be a simple way of addressing a Masonic Order about to follow the principles and organisation as expressed by U.G.L.E. and Women’s Orders of this country. Happiness in brotherhood is of vital importance because it is this which maintains members. I am not talking of humour but rather of the purity of being together and working for the Masonic good. It is here that the spirit is enlightened. I ask then, what do I mean by Spirit - it is traditionally believed to be the vital principle or animating force within living beings. Or in another way, that which is traditionally regarded as the non-material essence or true nature of an individual, especially as the intangible spiritual core of a person, the soul or the essential and activating principle of a person; the will. Annie Besant was a fascinating person, perhaps one borne too early, yet if later, would she have made such an impact on the one and on the all! Her ability to speak with great clarity, her ability to obtain the attention of the one and of all, an audience. Her work in the fields of humanity, of tackling the poor attitudes towards women, and she brought to Freemasonry those attributes and those magnificent ideals (her words) which underline the Hindu religion and its growth. Following the Inauguration of Freemasonry in Great Britain in 1902, Annie Besant founded the first Indian Lodge, in what was Benares, this was called a Triangle and had as it members, Anne Besant, Francesca and George Arundale, they called the lodge The Dharma Lodge and this was the beginning of Lodges being founded by Annie Besant, throughout the world, everywhere where she attended and lectured, especially to the T.S. centres. From this began a great step forward for the French masonry, as masonry increased in numbers in the dominions until they were able to call themselves Federations. continued ...


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Annie Besant found a light in Masonry and she was the torch bearer of Truth, by which, she lived throughout her trials of life. Robert Browning wrote in his poem Paracelsus - Truth is within ourselves. It takes no rise from outward things, Whate’er you may believe there is an inmost centre in us all, Where truth abides in fullness; and around, Wall upon wall, the Gross flesh hems it in: This perfect, clear perception which is truth. One of our Lodges has the name of the Lodge as Lodge Annie Besant and in their Consecration Ceremony quoted, the message which Annie Besant sent to the 1932 Theosophical Convention, held in Adyar, India. When she was too frail to go and open the Convention, this is the message, which today is as fresh as it comes to you. I welcome you here today with all my heart. Each one of you is dear to me as though my own son or daughter, and there is nothing could make me so happy as to have you gathered around me in the Master’s home. May His blessing rest on the heads of each one of his children, May you all rest in His presence, May His love remain with you. Freemasonry is then, work which is all about conciliation, love and of perfect spirit of discipline and generosity; marking a new step in the history of the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women, in Great Britain, Bulgaria, Greece, and Romanian. In these later countries much work is to be carried out, they have the urge to follow Annie Besant’s desire for Freemasonry, but still have much work to do in the fields of humanity. We will, with God’s help, gradually change the attitudes to conciliation, love and perfect spirit, to peace and goodwill. We live in an age where it seems the search for wisdom has never been greater and there are hundreds of new founding organisations claiming to offer such prizes as peace, illumination, self-mastery and wisdom, which are usually couched terms for gaining wealth and power. The base of Freemasonry across the world and in all various Orders is of a hierarchical structure. We are the privileged inheritors of the ancient orders of symbolism, mystery, geometry and brotherhood. Indeed Speculative Masonry, with its many deviations of the word, speculative, is to take the view of anything from the mind, to consider anything mentally. One can, then as a freemason take to oneself which path one is suited to in order to develop morally and spiritually. Here we have many paths to follow but as a member of my particular Freemasonry, that of the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry for Men and Women, speculative is not a term which dictates that everyone must also find spiritually as defined by any particular religious cult. Certainly, if an individual can see or label a person, or body of people as spiritual, by what subject or measurement is used. It is easy to label a cult as a spiritual body, which is usually the reason of existence of a pseudo religious group or cult. One is reminded of the blind person, who uses a white stick to let everyone know immediately that is what they are; how much of the sight has gone, which is noted, but unless you know this person from the inside of thought and deed, you know nothing. It is important in the development both of a Masonic order and of the Masons themselves that from the beginning of speaking to someone about Freemasonry, one must also learn something about the person who freemasonry wishes to learn of. The development of morality and spiritual progress and of the desire for more knowledge, of the desire to understand the ancient mysteries and to seek for the symbolism behind the artefacts given to a mason, is no mean task. It is sometimes a task which takes many years, but there are those who have a previous esoteric knowledge and intuition of these things, which is why many people gravitate towards belonging or wishing to belong to Freemasonry. Freemasonry has no place for the ego and this is the first loss, an Initiate would experience, during the preparation for initiation and during the blind- folded journeys around the Lodge. Freemasonry has no place for ambition, one can only bring to freemasonry the personal skills and experience, and which maybe will only be called upon during the years of learning and the organisation requirements. But there is a time and a place to give the personal skill to the progress of freemasonry, but this must never be of a personal nature but one of a caring and helpful role. The change in the individual freemason by the different paths of instruction acceptable to the individual gains friendship, love and brotherhood by its teaching of the ritual and continued ...


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symbolism. Is Brotherhood then a simple reason for success and happiness, Such as -sharing like a brother (friend) -relationship between brothers. -relationship of an association which exists for mutual help. Which should mean, -unity -caring -courage -strength, particularly of the association without criticism which becomes destructive enough to finally lose its way Annie Besant explained Freemasonry as…It works simply searching for the Truth. In Lodges, discussions concerning social and religious questions cannot in any case give more than explanations to members and enable them to do their duties as Freemasons with better understanding. No limit is put to the search for the Truth, but of course, the great freedom cannot serve the peculiar interest of a member to the detriment of The Grand Lodge. On this occasion, I am following the great Landmark of Brotherly Love and I hope that you will be able to glimpse some of the symbolism with which men and women gain by working together. The structure of our particular freemasonry is two-fold, the Grand Lodge which is about the three Craft Degrees, which are self explanatory, the Apprentice, the Fellowcraft and the Master Mason…you can only then, by choice of your ability to serve in the Lodge. The second part of the Order is called The Grand Conclave, this is the term used by the Knights Templar and we use it to differentiate between the Grand Lodge and The Grand Conclave. Of which, further degrees can be taken, from the 4th to the 33rd and last degree; these are offered to the members when they feel they have reached the growth of their spiritual work in the Grand Lodge. Love in the 18th degree or that called the Rose Croix degree is an important development of Brotherhood. Love here is finally outwardly spoken of and is directly concerning each of us in its teaching. If you do not find the discipline of love and sacrifice in this degree, it is necessary to falter and stay until the humanity and love of its teaching seeps into your soul. This is a further step for the Candidate who started as an Initiate on the path of development of morality and spiritual progress. For all these ideals, many hundreds of freemasons, men and women lost their lives during the last Great War and were rounded up, their temples destroyed. In fact, in countries where dictatorship still governs, masons are not at liberty to follow their ideals. It is necessary to know how to protect ourselves from the perturbing and dangerous elements which will always infiltrate among us – Courage, devotion to duty, irreproachable conduct of our Brethren are necessary and true today in what we call calmer days, but we must all be vigilant and conscious of the dangers which surround us. Are we each aware of the changes in life which are presented today They are so numerous. Or is it the lack of a dream. Walt Whitman on Brotherhood in his poem “Leaves of Grass” - I dreamed in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the rest of the earth. I dreamed that was a new City of Friends, Nothing was greater there than the quantity of robust love – it led the rest. Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the World. And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own. And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, and that all men ever borne also my brothers and the women my sisters and that a Kelson of the creation is love. Is it a dream? Nay, but the lack of it, a dream, and failing it, life’s love and wealth a dream. And all the world a dream!!! Is Brotherhood then a simple reason for success and happiness? We have to bear in mind that Masons are FREE and be extremely careful to guard that freedom gained by our continued ...


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predecessors of Masonry. We must not become known as a sect or club whose fruit is of only one tree. Any association which looks like a sect, ends up by frightening people away and is mindless and does not allow the evolvement of freedom to follow each his own line of thought as does Freemasonry. It is not possible to create a true and genuine brotherhood upon any theory of the baseness of Human Nature – nor by a community of belief in abstract proportions. Where strength exists in a full and useful Masonic Lodge, life then is a success of harmony and beauty the activity of which transforms each brother. Masons should be kind and affectionate to each other, as we Obligate ourselves to the essential Landmark of Belief in a Supreme Being and brotherly love. Freemasons should gather their varied interests together and feel that respect and kindness for each other, which our common relations and common approach to the one God should inspire solicitation for all in a brotherhood. What is it then, to inspire the noble, the lofty-minded, the person seeking esoteric knowledge – What then is our approach for the future? Is it Unity….in Masonry unity can be expressed as ritual, the sharing of ceremonies well rehearsed from years ago; is it the V.S.L. which is the name covering all great religion sacred writings, whilst Freemasonry shares the one God, there is a valuable unity. In token to the building of K.S. Temple, the Chapiters standing almost together and appearing to guard the door to the Middle Chamber, have a network spread over the two columns, chapiter means closeness, togetherness. Is it Caring, which is embraced by brotherly love, an important landmark in masonry, it is the vital link in a lodge, without it, caring for your family, your job, your country, nature, the animal kingdom, and your fellow members. This is hard work, if you put your soul into it. It reverberates throughout the physical self, - kindness –caring, means patience and a love of humanity. Perhaps it is Courage. Courage demands honesty, the type where if you have principles and beliefs, it is necessary to question, whether it goes with the strength to declare ones self. To have the courage to show the world how important our values are to each of us, and where they come from. Freemasons usually have an aura of friendliness and encouragement and helpfulness to our friends, our fellow staff at places of employment and within our social life. Strength then, is it to be the strength of physical culture, strength of the mind, does it mean strength of principles, strong in a belief. However, the question is really, does it mean to stand up for a principle. Perhaps, it is strength to grow together in tolerance, to maintain harmony, to assist the weak. Freemasonry is a vital link with the past; the past may be too distant, to delve up historical proof for all our beliefs, yet one matter will withstand Contradiction, the future will come, whether we are part of it or not and yet the mysteries of long ago remain to haunt us with discovering their meanings and this will continue long after we have gone. Freemasonry does not belong to the individual, it is on loan to each generation, in the same manner as in the past. Yet, uncomfortable as it may seem, masonry has to move with the times, it must examine habits and prejudices and make adjustments to suit the times of our lives; this is without leaving the past and the Landmarks and principles of masonry behind. We have a responsibility to love our neighbours, love strongly appears to be a key of the additional degrees. We sacrifice our love of self. This is in order to help and guide in due humility not to seek the great Power; never from a Lordly height of Separateness to seek to dominate, for if so we do at our peril. We must dwell long and to good purpose in the Holy Place of the Heart. If we are not in harmony with Sacrifice of self-love, we cannot produce the humility of love which is a good support of all our actions and fulfils the Law of the Sovereign Architect. If we see Brotherhood love, as a development of our social instincts, then we are describing it as a wise, common sense adjustment of one’s self to one’s fellows. When we make that wise and harmonious adjustment, it is not in response to some sentimental and pious wish that such should be but we should make it in response to the learning of fact, to the way things really are within our structure of love, wisdom and strength. To really understand love within Brotherhood as a form of wisdom, demanded by the social structure of the Masonic world, which also is not then troubled by sentimental difficulties and should not permit accidental private experiences to sour brotherly striving. Human natures have opposites of each other. continued ...


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What one admires, another detests, love and hate. Temperaments differ. Interests differ. Brotherhood (love) does not demand of us that we privately like people who are obnoxious to us, or that others should like us, if they find our company distasteful. Such matters are of one’s own intimate likes and dislikes, having to do with private friendship rather than brotherhood. However, in Masonry with its paramount teaching of Love, we strive to maintain our five points of Fellowship whereby we seek to uphold our Brother in absence as in presence. We are then bound together in love in search for a world of harmony and unity and here we start at the very initiative stage and continue to search forever. As I said previously, the past may be too distant to delve up historical proof for all our beliefs, yet one matter will withstand any attempt at contradiction – the future will come, and will continue long after we have gone. We in Freemasonry know, that it does not belong to us – we have it on loan and are its custodians for the time we live. We must then see that it is handed on to the next, and the next and the next generation, pure and unsullied. Uncomfortable as it may seem, we will need to move with the times - we must examine some of our habits and prejudices and make adjustments to suit the present world we live in. With membership in the minds of many organisations, Freemasonry is not different, and we have this very much on our minds with consideration to the work which young people do today. So much more demanding than yesterday. We suffer from, not only the loss of brethren to Grand Lodge Eternal but the important loss of their experience and wide knowledge of the esoteric meaning of Masonry. The younger members, by the very fact, that workloads are too heavy for them, money to difficult to earn and maintain, cannot always be blamed for the groups of resignations and lapsing because this is, the problem of the activity of a Lodge, also it is a fact that younger members look to be given responsibilities and require recognition for their knowledge of the world and their profession. Our Mentors of the past laid down the rules of freemasonry. Our Mentors of today must not be pushed away – or put on a shelf. There is much that younger people can learn about freemasonry (and I do not mean from occult adventurers and the so-called inspirationalists who attempt to change freemasonry to something imagined and not of regular practice within a Consecrated Lodge) for ordinary men and women who have made freemasonry ‘a living thing’. As with many organisations today, the loss of younger members, so keen to join, yet cannot provide the time to fulfil the obligations impressed upon them at the beginning of their life – Masonic or otherwise. The demand of work today, means that they work longer hours, cannot find the time for leisure and certainly cannot cope with a continued relationship with masonry or other organisations. Today, organisations rely on the older members who have to take the responsibility of administration just in order to maintain the lodge, the order, the organisation. This is difficult when you consider the splendid precepts and devise ways whereby esoteric knowledge, symbolism and spirituality must be maintained in today’s world. The future needs to be kept good for the world to survive with excellent knowledgeable people. Masonic philosophy is not a private exercise in mental and moral gymnastics in a Lodge Temple, it is intended to change men and women to live with a loving brotherhood in their relationships with fellow people. The principles of masonry are such that they should be acknowledged with the realisation to live to them. Actions and behaviour are the mirror of freemasonry. The precepts should lead to a renewed sense of civic responsibility because of the importance today that all citizens of the world must believe in their responsibilities and reflect on the harmony which is necessary between their rights and their duty. Finally, I found, sometime ago, a small but meaningful text in, of all places a Garden Centre, and I would like to finish this talk by quoting it. I sought my soul but my soul I could not see, I sought my God, but my God eluded me, I sought my Brother, and I found all three. Jeanne Heaslewood, September, 2007



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