The Rituals of Freemasonry
Rituals in Freemasonry are ritualistic practices specific to the fraternity. These rituals include Masonic initiations, Masonic degrees as well as rituals carried out during Masonic meetings. Masonic ritual has been the subject of much speculation and controversy.
What are Masonic rituals?
Masonic rituals have been the subject of many conspiracy theories and myth. The word “ritual” itself probably has this effect alone. It probably gives conspiracy theorists more ammunition by the fact that we do have rituals and we do keep them secret.
To be direct and blunt, Masonic ritual does not and never has involved any sort of satanic practice or animal (or human) sacrifice. Freemasonry is about enlightenment. These practices which possibly occur in other groups of people, are antithetic to Freemasonry.
Instead, our rituals are well-orchestrated ritual ceremony, steeped in history and symbolism. We have rituals for when a Freemason is initiated, and when he is raised to higher degrees. We have rituals for appointing officers. We have specific rituals for different events.
There are three Masonic degrees, or levels that you progress through in Freemasonry. The first degree is that of the initiation, when you actually become a Mason. After you get your first degree, you move up to the second and finally the third.
Each of these three stages has its own initiation ritual with its own scripts, characters and act. They are well rehearsed and exhilarating ceremonies for all involved.
Lodge meeting rituals
Masonic Lodges usually meet usually once a month, where Freemasons that belong to that lodge gather. The meetings take place in a Masonic Hall. The actual meeting itself is opened and closed ritually. That is to say, we have specific rituals for starting the meeting and for ending it. This makes the meetings quite elaborate, like a well choreographed dance.
These were developed at a time when Masons actually worked with stone, i.e. they were Stone Masons. These real Masons, known as operative Masons, would eventually become the Freemasons as we know them today.
The operative Masons, to protect their stone working secrets and to identify each other, had a series of secret handshakes accompanied with a secret password. If you passed, the other Mason would know that you were part of the collective guild.
These handshakes and passwords still to this day feature in our Masonic Rituals, and although its rare, can be used to identify and prove a fellow Mason is actually a Freemason.
Why is the ritual secret?
We guard the rituals jealously as it is part of our rich, cultural heritage. It is our tradition and only those who are initiated into Freemasonry (or being initiated) are taught it. Like the ending of a good movie, it’d spoil the whole experience if everyone knew!
Freemasonry is a ritual-rich brotherhood. Our rituals are historical, traditional and symbolic. They aren’t anything like what non-Masons have alleged them to be. To put it simply, there’s nothing that contravenes good moral teachings – we are all about perfecting morality.
If you’re curious and want to find out a bit more, just contact us here. Although there’s things we can’t divulge, you will find us open and welcoming.