I want you to imagine something with me. Close your eyes, and imagine a Lodge; the people within it, its purpose, all of the wonderful things that those people accomplish. Imagine their families, the children growing up within the Lodge, and one day joining on their own. Now imagine, only a slight difference from reality. Instead of all of the members being men, imagine them instead to be women. What would be different? What would be the same? Would the organization crumble, or thrive? How would the men feel about being excluded; would they be offended, or would it not be a big deal? Could what this Lodge accomplish be far different from others?
What if I told you this was not necessarily a daydream? While there are a few women organizations in the United States, they are almost a direct copy of masculine (regular or mainstream) Masonry. Personally, I feel that if I were to join a Lodge, I would not want it to be masculine Masonry with different but similar words, I would want it to be something of its own, something that I can help shape its own legacy. Within the Netherlands (as well as one Lodge in France), this exists within the Order of Weavers.
The Order of Weavers was created shortly after World War II. The women of the country,as many did, enjoyed the newfound freedom of being able to take leadership positions and work outside of the home. They had noticed that Freemasonry had lent great support, both to the members, as well as their families. They were inspired to create something similar, but very much their own. Twelve women began the order in 1947, many of them were the wives of Freemasons. While starting out, they were supported by three Freemasons,though the Order of Weavers is not an official Masonic organization. The rituals were completed by 1950.
In many ways, the Order of Weavers is very similar to masculine Masonry. There are three degrees. The membership requirements are similar, a candidate must be a free-born woman, who believes in a higher power. Dogma, politics, and controversial issues are frowned upon for topics of discussion within the Lodge. They do not permit the opposite sex to join. They both teach similar morals and life lessons, and touch the lives of their members. Also, much like UGLE Freemasonry, the Order of Weavers has a split off organization that came about of disagreement. This is called the Order of Free Weavers, and the majority of their Lodges are based in France, with some in the Netherlands.
The Order of Weavers, is of course, still very different from Masonry. The three degrees are called Spinner, Weaver, and Designer (sometimes also called Creator?). While the formatting of the ritual work is based off of Blue Lodge, that tends to be where the similarities end. The Grand Lodges are instead called Colleges. The Order of Weavers tells their own stories, and teaches their own lessons, ones quite divergent from Freemasonry. The concepts behind the rituals, however, are similar. The end result is still to create a better person. In the end, the biggest difference between the two organizations, is that the Order of Weavers does not have the great pedigree that Freemasonry does.
There are currently 16 Lodges of the Order of Weavers, 15 being in the Netherlands, and 1 in France. This is actually the same number of Lodges of Le Droit Humain. They currently boast 500 members.
So, what’s the big deal about this organization? Sometimes, I day dream about bringing the organization to the United States. It would be quite the undertaking. However, if anyone is interested in gaining approval from the College, flying to the Netherlands, receiving the degrees, going back home, and doing all the work to begin a Lodge, please let me know! I think I am up to two people right now.
Please note, that there is not much information out there about the Order of Weavers, so some of this is pieced together a bit. If you have different information, or are a member of the Order of Weavers, I would love to hear from you.
What do you think about the organization? Would you join, or be interested in learning more? If you’re a Mason, what do you think about the Order? Would you be okay with your SO joining?