What is meant by „working on the rough Ashlar“ ?
Masons work symbolically on the construction of the Temple of Humanity / Humanity. They imagine that they are the building blocks themselves, so the sisters and brothers. In the quarry, the stones are still raw and unbehauen. To fit into the structure, they must be worked and shaped. Anyone who is admitted to the Masonic Confederation is initially a rough stone. Only with the “work on the rough stone” one can recognize gradually, to which the individual stone can be used. The extra strong ones are intended for the foundation, the soft sandstones work well for ornaments or figures. The work on the rough stone is the recognition of one’s own possibilities and starting to cut off the disturbing bumps and corners on one’s own stone so that the building block can be integrated into the temple construction. The influence of fraternal communion in the lodge is essential. So every rough stone can become a well-hewn workpiece. This important work has no end. We never quite reach the shape of the ideal cube on our earthly life course. That’s why working on the rough stone never stops.
Is Masonry a secret society?
No, otherwise you could not find an answer to your question on these pages. There is hardly an allegedly secretive society about which you can read as much information on the Internet and in books as the Masons. Much of the information is even published by Masons themselves. Even our supposedly secret rituals can be found in well-stocked libraries. With some lodges (mainly in Germany) you can even inform yourself on site, attend public events or be invited to guest evenings. However, the Freemasons are a confidential society. The lodges are built on fraternity and trust. Each Freemason maintains silence about what the other sisters and brothers have entrusted to him or what has been discussed in the Lodge.
What is „Initiation“
‘Initiation’ comes from the Latin initium = the entrance or initiate = go in (also called initiation or reception). Freemasonry is a so-called Engbund, which is closed to outsiders. Occasionally, the Confederation of Masons is called the last Mystery Covenant. A profane = outsider can only be introduced into the circle of the ‘initiate’ on the path of initiation, i. he has to go through a gate, an entrance, to enter a new world. This entrance was understood at all times as a new birth, which in turn presupposes ‘symbolic’ death, as leaving behind and stripping away all previous ones. In this sense, the inclusion in the covenant of the Freemasons actually corresponds to an initiation, whereby the actual new beginning or the new birth is the moment of the transformation of the stranger into the brother. So initiation can not be achieved through knowledge or revelation, but is a ritual act that expresses an inner transformation.
Why do masons refer to their meetingplace as a temple?
The temple is a place of contemplation, contemplation – Moorish work. The term temple refers to the Solomonic Temple, the first large, stone structure that is mentioned in the Bible. The stonemasons of the Middle Ages, later the Masons, took it as a model. They regard the temple as a construction hut or studio. Once upon a time, the Temple of Humanity is to rise symbolically. As a temple basically any suitable space can be used. In the early days of Freemasonry, the brothers met in restaurants and used an undisturbed room as a temple. Wherever possible, the temple is a festive, mostly blue room with curtained windows to emphasize seclusion to the outside world.
What duties and responsibilities do I incur when I join the Masons?
In advance, you should self-critically examine the seriousness and sustainability of your interest in Freemasonry. We make a covenant with our sisters and brothers for life – even if resigning is possible at any time, this should remain a rare exception. Especially in the first few years after your admission, you should be willing and able to regularly attend meetings of your lodge so that you become familiar with your sisters and brothers and customs. Once you have been promoted to a journeyman, you should also visit other lodges. When you record you promise secrecy. This applies to all internals, whether ritual, identification signs or facts, which are entrusted to you in the lodge, also from the field of life of other sisters and brothers. You should be ready to engage in this confidentiality obligation. Customs, history and aspirations of Freemasonry should be revealed to you. This requires your preoccupation with the relevant literature, which is offered in most lodges from their own libraries. Especially in smaller lodges, it is desirable that the young sister and the young brother are willing to get involved and take on tasks. The lodge is not a one-way street where you pay your contribution and automatically earn the right to be entertained once a week. A balance between give and take is the basis for a harmonious coexistence in the box. So you will have to contribute your knowledge, your experience and your constructive criticism. The Brotherhood takes a big leap of faith in your intake, every single sister and each brother offers you human warmth and friendship – be ready to open up and contribute to brotherhood.
Is any particular educational level required?
For the Mason, heart education is more important than school education. Nonetheless, there should be a fundamental interest in dealing with and tackling everyday problems as well as illuminating the meaning and purpose of one’s own actions. Freemasonry requires several abilities: a certain capacity for abstraction and empathy with symbols and ritual actions, as well as the willingness to self-reflect and work on oneself.
How old and what position must I have to be accepted in a lodge?
There are no fixed rules for the age of Masons, but it has emerged that there are virtually no Masons under 24 years old. A certain position in a company or society is by no means a prerequisite for inclusion in a lodge – on the contrary: it depends on the human qualities.