From …, a man, and ...., a woman. Those degrees relative to Freemasonry which are conferred on both men and women. Besides the degrees of the Adoptive Rite, which are practiced in France, there are several of these degrees which are, as side degrees, conferred in America. Such are the Mason's wife, conferred on the wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers of Master Masons, and the Knight and Heroine of Jericho, conferred on the wives and daughters of Royal Arch Masons.
About 1850 Rob Morris introduced and thereafter taught very generally through the Western States of America, a series of androgynous degrees, which he called The Eastern Star. There is another androgynous degree, sometimes conferred on the wives of Royal Arch Masons, known as the Good Samaritan.
In some parts of the United States these degrees are very popular, while in other places they are never practiced, and are strongly condemned as improper innovations. The fact is, that by their friends as well as by their enemies, these so-called degrees have been greatly misrepresented. When females are told that in receiving these degrees they are admitted into the Masonic Order, and are obtaining Masonic information under the name of Ladies' freemasonry, they are simply deceived.
Every woman connected by ties of consanguinity, the blood relation or kinship, to a Master Mason is peculiarly entitled to Masonic assistance and protection. If she is told of this fact, and also told that by these androgynous degrees she is to be put in possession of the means of making her claims known by a sort of what may be called oral testimony, but that she is by their possession no nearer to the portals of Freemasonry than she was before, if she is honestly told this, then there is no harm, but the possibility of some good, in these forms if carefully bestowed and prudently preserved. But all attempts to make Freemasonry of them are wrong, imprudent, and calculated to produce opposition among the well-informed and cautious members of the Fraternity.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
P.O. BOX 70
Larkspur CO 80118
Co-Masonry, Co-Freemasonry, Women's Freemasonry, Men and Women, Mixed Masonry
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