I am a Freemason, have been for many years, I am a member of a couple of side degrees as well.
To Clear up a couple of things, The only misconceptions out there are from those who don't understand what freemasonry is about.(or those who delve too deeply into conspiracy websites, you know who you are ((so do we!))
I am not familiar with any modern sects which have been mentioned above, Masonry has official recorded history from about 1717 (I stand to be corrected) and unofficially it apparently dates back to the early 13th century with links to the Knights Templar.
As far as the skull and crossbones are concerned, it is more commonly found in the freimaurer or German constitution, why I am not sure, but by all indications it is not neferious in its symbolism.
Now as far as the Egyptians are concerned, not sure where that link came about. As masons we are taught about King Solomon and how he built his magnificent Temple with the aid of a Master Builder, the system that was used as wage at that time had 3 tiers, the entered aprentice who was paid in kind with food and drink, the Fellow craft who was paid both in kind and with coin, and the Master Mason who was paid only in coin, each of these had a seperate password given to him at that level of skill and this is how he applied for his wage.
This is a very brief history of the true origin of Masonry, nothing really to do with egyptians or pharohs or priests etc.
Masonry was later on split into two distinct groups.
The Operative Mason - Those who still physically worked with stone or construction
The Speculative Mason - Those who worked more with Theory and Knowledge and sought enlightenment.
Nowadays most if not all Masons are Speculative Masons.
It is true that Freemasons have secrets, these are purely to preserve the advancement of Masons within Masonry ie. secret words and handshakes which are used to identify masons of different levels with each other or to gain entry to Lodges at labour at any particular degree.
It Should be Known that Freemasonry is NOT a secret society, as we are well known to all, but it is a Society with Secrets.
The only prerequisite to joining masonry was that you are to be a man free-born(not enslaved) and were to be without mame or defect(this is no longer strictly adhered to)
Anyone could and can apply to be a Freemason whether you are a King or a commoner.
No matter what your lineage, you are as equal to the next man in a lodge.
I hope this clears up a few things, please feel free to ask any question, I will answer what I can, secrets excluded(LoL).
Kyle as a Freemason, could you explain to me the difference between 'rites'. For example the Scottish Rite and York Rite??
HI Ayrton thry this site, it has a rather in-depth explanation on the two and how they relate, I could explain it any better. Hope this helps. http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/textfiles/family.html
How accurate are the texts that are listed in the esoteric library under Freemasonry?
The Conspiracy stuff is just a lot of twaddle compiled by people who probably couldn't qualify as masons themselves or had nothing better to do with their time, reading through those docs, I notice discrepancies galore with little or no basis on fact, the little being twisted to suit the authors agenda.
If you really want to know more about the truth behind freemasonry in the library, stick to the works of Manly P Hall. Who better to talk about the subject than someone who is a mason himself. His works are quite remarkable and enlightenment about virtually any ancient and esoteric subject can be found in his works, try and locate a copy of Secret teachings of All Ages, amazing, and not masonic propaganda at all. Located within its pages are masonic messages and interest, but you will only discover them if you are an actual mason.
I'm no mason (yet), but reading Sir Albert Pike's "Morals and Dogma" and the related "Mystic Masonry" by J.D. Buck M.D (these 2 books I didn't get here though), have taken me to a whole new level, and I would greatly recommend them to both masons and those wanting to learn about masons and masonry.
The Master Builder is within us all... we just have to pick up the (right) key.
i agree i like to be a mason
Hi William, that's great, you need to find a lodge near you and contact their secretary, informing hi of your interest. You should then be contacted by two Brethren who will interview you and the process will carry on from there. Good Luck. Stick to it and be honest with yourself.
Please explain the members who understand the True Mission and the 'Secrets' and those who join for their hidden social and business reasons. How does a lodge with true mission members handle this?
Hi there, interesting question, before a candidate is accepted, he is interviewed quite extensively, one of the topics of the interview is precisely his intentions. Those who are not honest, but make it through anyway quickly lose interest when they are dissapointed finding out that business and social agendas quite frankly are not entertained by other masons. Strangely enough there are very few business dealings between masons that I am Aware of. Most masons are at a lodge for knowledge, comradary, participation in lodge meetings and ritual. What a mason gets out of masonry is directly related to what he puts in.
The skull and crossbones is the symbol for Golgotha, the place of a skull. Crossed bones is still a cross. In fact there are those who see the cross as the symbol for the old material body on which, by transfiguration, the new "Jesus" body can be built, the Armour of Light, using the Grail, which is something that is grown internally, an alchemical mixing vessel. A couple of bones from the old body is therefore a good symbol. John the Baptist is the symbol for the Seeker being born into the consciousness of Joseph who is the one being transfigured in the inner meaning of the gospels. Thus Joseph becomes the "John Man", still with the selfish ego as the "Head" of the consciousness. Upon becoming a Nazarene, a pupil of a spiritual school, "John" is able to prophesy the birth of the "Jesus" power, the 13th Aeon, inside himself, in the inner Bethlehem, the heart sanctuary. This symbolises the birth of the new head of the consciousness, the unselfish ego, which "John" baptises with living water and which increases as the old head decreases during the transfiguration. At Golgotha, a place near the Kingdom, Jerusalem, we have symbolically the dead head of John the Baptist, the skull.