FreeThinking – FreeThoughts – FreeMasons
Those who think free will want to be in the company of others who also think freely. You do not want to get someone else’s opinion imposed. No dogmas. You seek your own route through life. But not lonely, not alone. You are looking for a place where people listen to each other. Search for answers to life questions. That is what Freemasons do.
Freedom, tolerance, brotherhood. Three keywords with which Freemasonry can be characterised. Freemasonry is based on everyone’s right to search for truth independently, strives for the general fraternity of the people, cultivates tolerance, seeks out what unites people and seeks to remove division.
The Freemason comes to the lodge to become a better person. Not to become better than someone else, but to improve themselves. To be a person whose thoughts, feelings and actions are in harmony. In peace with himself and his environment. It is no coincidence that the ‘Know yourself’ is always presented to them. Nowadays we would say: ‘Improve the world and start with yourself’.
Our Symbols and Tools
Freemasonry is not a religion, an ideology or a philosophy of life. And certainly not a sect or secret society. The Order of Freemasons is a democratic association, whose members strive for a deeper understanding.
Of course, the Order does not stand alone in this endeavour. But freemasonry distinguishes itself from other organisations in that area by its special method of working. In doing so, she uses symbols and rituals, which depict the life course of man in a symbolic way.
Symbols are tools for conveying thoughts or feelings that are often difficult to put into words. In our daily life, we unconsciously serve countless symbols, which everyone immediately understands: a bunch of flowers, the wedding ring, the national flag, the cross, a handshake, etc.
For Freemasons, their symbolism is a language they understand, where in the world they also meet each other. Where the spoken or written word can cause misunderstandings, this common symbolic language creates unity between people with completely different social backgrounds, opinions and characters.
In Freemasonry, the building symbolism, the legacy of medieval craftsmanship, occupies a very important place. The Freemason builds on the temple of mankind, on a better world, where he sees himself as a building block. A beloved expression is that man is a rough stone, which must be cut down and polished into a pure cubic stone so that this smooth stone can be fitted into the building of living stones.
The compass and the square are internationally the distinguishing sign of Freemasonry.
The compass is connected with the thought of measuring, creating, adjusting. It is also the symbol of the radiating Love from the East, the symbol of the Great Architect who arranged everything according to size, number and weight. The square with its right angle symbolises the person who is the Light receives, the man who knows how to place himself in the ‘right relationship’ to his fellow man.
Freemasonry is a dedicated fellowship that uses old, tried rituals. The lodges work in a three-degree system: apprentice, companion and master. Each new member experiences his solemn admission in his own way, depending on personal attitude, background and views on major questions of life. It all seems to be a game and that is what it is in a certain sense. But then a lofty role play with deep values and meanings, which the participant must discover for himself.
It can help him to get to know himself better and to find his answer to questions about the Why and What of his existence. In general, with sufficient diligence, the apprentice is promoted to a companion after a year. Then self-development and serving of fellow human beings are central to the ritual. After another year, the elevation can take place as master.
The master’s degree refers to the willingness to sacrifice out of love to fellow human beings and the freemason learns to place himself in the right relationship with the Great Architect. Together the three rituals depict the life course of man, the journey from darkness to Light.
Freemasonry offers searching people in a familiar environment a meaning-giving method that, through rituals and symbols, leads to self-development, brotherhood and thus a better society.