Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Can a Woman Be a Freemason?

There are many in the mainstream Masonic community, as well as most members in the wider society, that believe a woman cannot be made a Mason. Many supporters of Women's Freemasonry point out examples in the past of women that have been made Masons, and, of course, there are many Masonic jurisdictions today that consist either exclusively of women, or accept women as equal members, my own jurisdiction included.

In reviewing the obligation taken by mainstream Masons, the following is particularly relevant:

"I will not aid, or be present at, the initiation,passing,or raising of a woman..."

If a woman could not be a Freemason, then this statement is irrelevant. A Minister cannot unite two two cats in Holy Matrimony, (regardless of the owners desire) since a marriage between two pets is an impossibility and illogical.

If it is an impossibility for a woman to become a Freemason, then this part of the obligation is nonsensical and serves no purpose whatsoever.

In their own obligation, mainstream Masons state that it is possible for a woman to be made a Mason; their members are sworn not to assist, or be involved in such an action.

Increasingly I am aware of the value and necessity of women belonging to Freemasonry. As a member of a mixed lodge, I could not imagine practicing Masonry without the insight that my Sisters bring to the work, nor the balance that they offer to the lodge.

Many mainstream Masons claim that the involvement of women would result in Masonry no longer being Masonry. In the United States and England, Freemasonry, for the most part, has already ceased to be Masonry, instead evolving into a charitable social club. As a men's club to hang out and discuss sports and socialize, I can see where they are coming from. The Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes and the International Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons of Television fame served a similar purpose.


JEL said...

As a Feminine Freemason, having been Raised in 2003, I am greatful for the opportunity, and the patience of our European Brothers/Sisters to have afforded American womena chance to participate in the Rites.
I differ from our host, in that, while I have assisted, and enjoyed co-masonic work, I do so more enjoy "seperate but equal".
Men and women DO think differantly. That isn't an expression of prejudice, but reality born out of evolution. And I'm glad of it! While I understand the action of ying/yang in co-masonry. I prefer to say, do, think and share in the company of Sisters, save but on rare occasion.

San Diego Freemason said...

Thank you June for your comments. I do understand that some women,and some men, prefer to be in a single-sex lodge. The sisters I know at Aletheia obviously prefer an all-female environment.

A concern that I have is with the recent action on the part of the Grand Orient of France allowing lodges to become mixed.

I am not opposed to that, but I am afraid at some point in the future within Liberal Freemasonry there will be only mixed, or female obediences.

For those men that prefer an all-male body, it will become increasingly rare to have that opportunity, though I personally do not desire it for myself.

Art et Lumiere in Los Angeles voted to accept women into it's GOdF lodge. As a result, in Los Angeles, we will have a mixed GOdF lodge, (if the GOdF approves the mixed option when they vote in France) New Isis of the GWU, which is mixed, Lodge Unification of LDH which is mixed, and Aletheia of the WGLB, which is for women only.

I was informed that the GOUSA will follow the lead of whatever the GOdF decides regarding the admission of women. All male Liberal lodges will become less, and less common on the landscape.

So while I prefer mixed lodges, I do support the desire of those that would prefer all three models to be available.

John Galt said...

I am all for the Lodge deciding what it wants to be. Sister June and the members of her Lodge want an female only lodge, that is great. Other Brethren want a male only lodge. That too is great. Others want a mixed lodge. There is no problem with that at all. It should be a matter of what the lodge wants, not what an over-arching authority wishes to thrust upon the lodges.

JEL said...

Thank you San Diego and Galt for your positive responses.
From where I sit, I can't imagine a Masonic landscape where co-masonic Obedience, even in the "liberal" arena will dominate. Unless I have been using the wrong litmus,I have equated that liberality with a need to practice more European rituals without the GL politics and tedium, most associated with American Masonry today. I have not felt an overwhelming acceptance of women within lodge. Correct me if I'm wrong I'm all ears and eyes.
My lodge has, and will remain if accepted, very supportive of co-masonic lodges in our area-albeit now more descretly. I have enjoyed the commentary from both the male and female perspective on symbols. But, I have also wittnessed strong, intelligent and opinionated women of my lodge hold back, say nothing, not volunteer- saying later, "I didn't know how the men would take----."
Politicaly, while I do not crave, but rather avoid, Mainstream recognition, Feminine only obediences get more, subliminal, support from the Mainstream because they aren't a threat.

Prexy said...

Interesting to note, that in the California mainstream ritual the wording is "I will not assist or be present at the making of a woman a Mason..." It says nothing of passing or raising.

John Galt said...

You would be welcome here. The men would take ideas and thoughts quite well. We are just impressed with eloquent thoughts from women as we are from men.

It is not a male-female issue in our area. It is an adult-child issue. If a Mason is strong and intelligent enough to be able to discuss ideas openly then they are most certainly welcome.

JEL said...

John Galt,

Thank you for your support

2 BOWL CAIN said...

depends on who you talk to.
if you are evolved and live in the present, yes.

if you want to be an elitist, a bigot and racist mason, no.

thank our forefathers for freedom of conscious.

JEL said...

I have had far more fraternal and civil experiences with mainstream Freemasons than not. I would like to believe that it is a loud, yet ignorant, minority that is rude, and antagonistic to women in the craft.