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Women and freemasonry

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  • Isabel
    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. A few days back there was a sharing of views on the subject of freemasonry. I read the daily digest mode and
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 1, 2005
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      Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

      A few days back there was a sharing of views on the subject of
      freemasonry. I read the "daily digest" mode and have been unable to
      find the specific correspondence. For that I apologize. As I recall
      it there was a kind of consensus around the fact that woman have
      had/have no part of freemasonry. Beside the obvious fact that London
      Grand Lodge – and its affiliated systems are the only ones claiming
      this line of thought – it should also be mentioned that the same
      lodge system repeatedly has shown respect to the "French connected"
      Lodge systems in recent years.
      Also history proves otherwise than the "men only" standard. A few
      examples will follow:

      In May 1995 Neville B. Cryer publishes an article in Masonic Times.
      She shows that in 1693 there is in a York Manuscript (no 4) the
      following passage: [Translated from Danish, so this quote may not be
      completely accurate – still the point is obvious] "The elders take
      the Book while he or she that is made a mason put their hands
      thereupon and the Oath.." etc. The observant reader will notice that
      this is 24 years before the constitution of Grand Lodge of England!
      The same article shows that two widows were registered in 1696 in the
      operative masons court. Also Mary Bannister is listed as a freemason
      in 1714.

      But woman were not just operative mason. There are registered female
      speculative masons as well. Dudley Wright published an article in The
      Builder in 1920, showing Elizabeth St. Leger (Elizabeth Aldworth) as
      a mason in lodge no.95 where she was accepted in 1712. The Lodge
      still exists in the city of cork and is also accepted by the Grand
      Lodge of England.

      Another example is of cause Cagliostros Egyptian Freemason rite –
      open to women.

      The countess of Bourbon was Grand Master in Grand Orient of France in
      1775, and the rite of Mizraim came into being in 1819 also as co-
      masonry.

      This shows that there hasn't been a general tradition, or any
      historical consensus to explain the exclusion of woman from
      freemasonry. Despite this UGLE accepted this specific "ancient"
      landmark.

      Still the question is why? The common defence line today seem to be
      something along the lines of "if women are present in Lodge men
      cannot concentrate on the Work at hand". While obviously putting the
      male sex down this does not really hold water. It's not like gays are
      left out of masonry!

      It is an error to exclude either sex from Lodge. One does not have to
      spend many moments in a Lodge before it is obvious that the symbols
      communicate a balancing of opposite poles. In that connection it
      seems highly ignorant to keep the representation of one of the poles
      out of the temple. Both poles are needed in the creation of anything.

      I think the reasonable explanation as to why women was kept out in
      the past was the fact that they were not considered Free, nor had
      true right to property. This is not correct today – therefore the
      tolerance expressed towards race, politics and religion should be
      expanded to include gender.

      Love is the law, love under will.

      In the Service of Our Lady.

      Isabel
    • M. Evans
      ... Attempts by such notables as Albert Pike to create women friendly versions failed, not because of male chauvinism, but simple lack of interest from women.
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 3, 2005
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        At 10:02 AM 1/1/05 +0000, Isabelwrote:
        >As I recall
        >it there was a kind of consensus around the fact that woman have
        >had/have no part of freemasonry.

        Attempts by such notables as Albert Pike to create women friendly versions
        failed, not because of male chauvinism, but simple lack of interest from
        women. Co Masonry and Androgynous Rite world wide numbers don't add up to
        a small American state's membership. Membership declines have induced us
        to consider such things, but there aren't significant number of women
        willing to join at this point.

        Consider very worthwhile groups such as the Order of Weavers.
        http://www.ordevanweefsters.nl/
        They have taken the template of Freemasonry, but have made it distinctly
        their own. Very friendly with UGLE too. Still miniscule though.

        > Beside the obvious fact that London
        >Grand Lodge ­ and its affiliated systems are the only ones claiming
        >this line of thought ­ it should also be mentioned that the same
        >lodge system repeatedly has shown respect to the "French connected"
        >Lodge systems in recent years.

        Under Grand Orient umbrellas are a few androgynous lodges, but the number
        of women is quite small. The same can be said of various fringe masonic
        rites such as Memphis Misraim. The outer vehicle of membership into them
        is usually Martinism, Theosophy, or Gnostic ecclesia. Any women who has
        sufficient interest can find some masonic variant to join in any large city
        of Europe.

        Malgwyn


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