The Benefits of Being a Mason’s Lady

Why do you do it? Why support Masons if you can’t be one? Why bother spending 4 hours making food for a dinner you’re not really invited to? Don’t they hate women or something? It’s something that I’ve been asked probably more times than I care to really count. There are many answers to these questions (one of them being that I just like to cook), but there is one that I feel like is overlooked more than most. It’s not really talked about so much, because only those who are already in the same situation as myself realize it. There are benefits to being a Mason’s lady. I actually almost didn’t write this article, because I felt that it kind of undermined the entire fraternal idea, and seemed a little selfish, but, as T pointed out, it is the truth.

You get to feel like a princess.

I will be the first to admit, I am totally a tomboy. Never one for makeup, I shopped in the men’s section until my mid twenties (and sometimes still do). But, no matter how much any woman may deny it, there is something we can’t help but love when it comes to dressing up and going out on the town. Besides the normal business casual clothes I have that I wear to meetings and monthly Lodge dinners, I have a ball gown and two evening gowns in my closet; not only that, but all three have been worn within the last year, and will be worn again in the foreseeable future. Not many women actually get to go to cocktail parties anymore. Its just simply something that our society has shied away from. Masonry can help women fulfill the need of playing dress up that I am certain most all of us have had since children. What’s more, for those of us who love to shop (not me), Masonic events are always a decent excuse to go clothes shopping. Unlike men who can get away with two pairs of pants, three shirts, and a suit jacket, women are required to have a much more diverse closet. I know that I always feel special when I slip on my fancy gown, heels and makeup, and I can’t imagine that many women feel differently.

Pardon the rude language.

Chivalry is not dead.

Look anywhere on the internet, and you are sure to find something about the death of chivalry, or something about how women are assholes and men stopped trying, or whatever; its irrelevant. Freemasonry and its appendant bodies help bring back and perpetuate the ideals of Masonry. Men act like gentlemen, and women act like ladies. While this does mean you won’t hear anyone cursing up a storm in mixed company, it also means you will often find doors opened for you, drinks bought for you, and someone taking your coat. In many ways, being at a large Masonic event, or even just at a Lodge dinner, it like stepping back in time. Everyone does their very best to be polite and unoffensive, and cell phones at the dinner table are a scarcity. Many people, women included, are turned off by this aspect of Masonry. I for one, enjoy and welcome it. I have often felt that we could use a little old school etiquette in today’s world.

You get alone time.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again, Masonry is awesome, because it gets T out of the house. Don’t get me wrong, I love the man to death, but I feel that everyone in all relationships is in need of some alone time. Since T has Lodge every Wednesday, that tends to be my “me” night. Wednesdays are the nights I take a long bath, order in from that Chinese place down the street T has disdain for, and put on a horror flick (which he can’t stand). Time apart helps both parties grow and helps your relationship overall evolve. These days, everything can get so crazy, that it feels like you barely have time for your SO, let alone yourself. Masonry is from a different era, and kind of helps slow us down. If you aren’t feeling the alone time, call up some friends and go out, have fun, no one says you have to be at home waiting for him to walk though the door while he’s at Lodge.

There’s more tangible, monetary benefits than anyone realizes.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of intangible benefits out there. The love and support that I receive from my Masonic family goes far beyond what I ever might have expected to get from them. That being said, its nice to have some tangible stuff too. Unfortunately, there’s nothing so simple as flashing your dues card for a discount on your hotel room like AAA. The majority of the benefits fit into one of two categories: monetary, and opportunities. There’s scholarships for everyone in your family, for just about anything you could ever want to do. College? Of course. But beyond that, band camp, leadership conferences, golf tournaments, the circus, ordering t-shirts online, and more. There is almost always a scholarship or monetary discount on all public events put on by a branch of Masonry for the members and their families. If you aren’t sure if there is a discount, or if you cannot afford something you really want (or need) to attend, ask those around you! They are sure to help you out, within reason of course. In addition to this, there is an emergency fund to help member’s families in dire need. You can read about that here.

The other thing that I think is overlooked pretty often is the opportunities available. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities for the Mason himself, and these are not as easily forgotten. Many of these opportunities extend to his family as well, both SO, as well as any children. These tend to come within two forms. The first is the formal opportunity, a chance to go on a field trip to Kansas City to see the DeMolay headquarters, or a last minute opening in an interesting conference. The other type of opportunity is more informal. This is the kind that comes not from the organization itself, but from its members. Always wanted to learn how to knit but never got the hang of it? Maybe the Junior Warden’s wife owns a yarn store. Kiddo is looking for his first summer job? Bro. John needs help tearing down an old shed on his property. The opportunities here are endless. A word of caution however, this is one of the reasons that people tend to get hung up on the idea of Freemasonry. No one should join Masonry in order to receive any of these benefits, they should simply be seen as an added bonus.


Other little things that you may find happen as a Mason’s lady. Once T joined the local Shrine, I received my own “membership card” which is kind of neat. More or less it grants me access to the members only bar at the Shrine. T and I were able to take our engagement photos at the Scottish Rite, a beautiful building downtown. We were even able to get on the roof. These kinds of things are my favorite; the little things that don’t really seem like much, but always add up to every moment involved in Masonry being worth it.

I hope that I did not stray too far from the ideals of this blog, and didn’t come off as a selfish, coincided woman. If I did, I apologize. I actually almost titled this article “The Benefits of Putting up with Masonry”. There are a lot of pros and a lot of cons for being a Mason. Sometimes it might feel like the guys get all the pros and the girls get all the cons. Hopefully this article helps give some perspective on the pros for the ladies too. If you have any questions, or have any thoughts on this topic, please let me know. And as always, have a wonderful week.

Can’t join ’em? Support ’em!

The other night, we had some friends over to play D&D, and have some drinks. A couple of them have expressed interest in becoming Masons in the past, but have never really chosen to follow through.  They have a lot of questions, as many folks that consider joining do. One of them asked me a question that I hadn’t ever really thought of before, no one had ever asked me it so directly. I was actually at a loss for words for a moment, and had to collect my thoughts. I’ve had some time to think on it now, and I’ve think I’ve come up with some pretty good answers to the question: “Why are you so involved with Masons even though you can’t become one?”

I appreciate and support the values and lessons taught, and see the results.

As most all of us know, Freemasonry is all about making good men better. And from what I have seen, they do exactly that. T has been Worshipful Master this year (so close to being done!), and I have seen improvement just over the last year. He has always been a good communicator, but as the year has progressed, I feel that he is better at anticipating both what he needs, and what he needs from me, and is not afraid or unwilling to let me know.  He has always done pretty well with follow through (although he does subscribe to the better late than never theory), but is now more willing to take on more responsibilities, within Masonry, at work, and at home. We are still working on the time management bit though! My roommate Tom joined T’s Lodge this year, and has taken to Masonry like a duck to water. He too, has shown vast improvement in his attitudes at home and work.

The three core values of Freemasonry are Relief, Truth, and Brotherly love. This is really the backbone of Masonry. Relief:Masons are taught to give help to those in distress, and to give to charity. You can read more about relief and how it pertains to Freemasonry hereTruth: Masons are taught to not only be truthful when dealing with others, but also to be truthful to themselves.  Masonry requires this of all its members to hold this moral as highly as possible in both their public and private lives. Brotherly Love:This does not only mean Brothers, but everyone. Masonry teaches that everyone deserves tolerance and respect for their opinions. They are also taught to act with compassion and understanding, especially when dealing with a fellow brother. Let’s think about these morals for a moment. Re-read them, and really think about what they mean. Aren’t these the values that everyone tries to uphold? Isn’t this what we mean when we say someone is a “good person”?  Why would you not want to support an organization, that not only upholds, but also teaches and emphasizes the importance of these values?

It helps make the world a better place.

Millions of dollars are given to charities through Masonry every year. Seriously, millions. Each Grand Lodge has a charity or two that they fund. The Shrine has the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, and Scottish Rite has Rite Care, often, each Grand Worshipful Master (or equivalent) will pick a “project” charity or two that they want to help raise funds for. All of the women’s auxillaires donate money to charities, often different ones than the men, to help spread the giving around. This year, for my state, it was the Alzheimer’s association. The youth, as well have their own charities, although these are usually constant, like HIKE for Job’s Daughters. More than this, many states have their own children’s home and retirement homes that are run largely by donation. Our Scottish Rite runs a large ranch style facility for at risk youth. The running joke at Grand Lodge and other large conferences is that you never want to enter with cash in your pocket, because you won’t be leaving with it.

Anyone can give money though. It doesn’t take much time or effort. Masons, it seems, are never satisfied unless they go above and beyond. In addition to the money that they give, Freemasons and their affiliated groups also organize and run fundraisers for charities, put on other events for charity; the women at Grand Lodge hold a toy drive, the circus is a fundraiser for the hospitals; and also participate, and encourage others to participate in outside events put on by charities and other fundraisers, regardless if it is a Masonic charity or not. In addition to this, many groups also make hospital visits, see their ill members in their homes, provide scholarships and generally try to spread goodwill and that good old brotherly love around.

The opportunities it provides T, me, and my future family.

The list here is almost endless. The new people to meet, the places to go, the secrets to learn, the time to give, the knowledge to give and receive, the personal and public growth. The opportunities that Masonry provides T and I, and will provide for our future children is enormous. While it is usually frowned upon to mention that you are a member of a Lodge on a job resume, you can say that you are a member of a philanthropic organization. Many people would not know what DeMolay is, but many of my coworkers know that I volunteer and help run a group for young men. These opportunities should never be a sole reason for becoming a Mason, but I won’t lie to you, it is not without its benefits. We have met many people with Masonry that we would not have known otherwise, many of whom are willing to help us out in our public lives.

It gives me alone time.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder. This has been the biggest piece of advice that my mom has given to me concerning my relationship with T ; while my father is not a Mason, he does have a career that keeps him away from home. Mom is right. Not spending every minute of not work time with your SO causes you to cherish the time that you do get to spend together more. This is especially true when your schedule looks anything like ours- something going on almost every night of the week.

In addition to this, it gives me the alone time that I need, something that isn’t emphasized perhaps as much as it should be in this day and age. I am an introvert by nature, and need time away from other people to help recharge my batteries. I know not everyone is this way however. So, I also take the time that T is away at Lodge to do things for myself, a long bath, a nice dinner, watch that movie on Netflix I know he would never like. While T’s Lodge time is his time with the boys, it’s my me time.

It’s fun as hell.

As I’ve said before, even in this article, the Masonic calendar in our area is very busy, with something almost every night of the week. This also helps provide a “something for everyone” sort of atmosphere, which I am certain is one of the goals for Masonry. There are clubs and events for every taste, from a white tie ball, to having drinks in the bar with friends. Not only does Masonry provide us with opportunities to better ourselves, but it also provides a great time with wonderful people. Freemasonry is a ton of fun.

Just because I can’t be one, doesn’t mean I can’t be part of the Masonic family.

Can I be a Mason? No. Can I become a Daughter of the Nile, a member of OES, Order of the Amaranth, White Shrine of Jerusalem, Beauceant, youth advisor and more? Hell yes. Just because you aren’t one of the guys doesn’t stop you from being able to join the Masonic family. Even if you choose not to join formally, you can still be a part of it by supporting your Mason in any way you feel comfortable. Go to events, meet new people, have a good time. It can be very daunting and intimidating at first, but I guarantee you they are some of the most genuinely nice people out there who only want to see your family succeed.

Support your Mason. Without your support, your rough ashlar will never become perfect.

The Masonic Wife

This week, I wanted to discuss something that both comes up fairly often on this blog, and is relevant in my own life right now: Masonry, marriage, and divorce. Most often, when folks search out information about this topic, they come across one of two websites; the Phoenix Masonry Masonic ritual, and the ever popular “Masonry- A Marriage Wrecking Ball” website. Unfortunately, neither of these websites are affiliated with regular masculine Masonry, and so everything on them must be taken with a grain of salt. Many of the questions couples have about the topic are scattered across the internet, I would like to bring them all together.
Who is a Masonic wife? How is it different from a Mason’s Lady?
As I have said before, Freemasonry was created officially in 1717, with the formation of UGLE. Although the world has changed since then, Masonry has not always changed with it. Most women during it’s inception were married before they were 21, obviously this is no longer the case. However, within Masonry, most invitations and benefits continue to be extended to a Mason’s wife, not his long time live in girlfriend. For instance, unless you are legally married, a woman who has no other Masonic relationships cannot join the Order of the Eastern Star. If you think that’s kind of dated, welcome to Masonry.
A Masonic wife, and a Mason’s Lady are often used interchangeably. However, I do not feel that this is truly the case. A Masonic wife is simply the wife of a Mason. That’s it. Being married to a Mason does not obligate her to anything, Lodge dinners, appendant bodies, in fact, she may not even like the fact that he is a Mason (more on that later). A Mason’s Lady, however, I feel is quite different. A Mason’s Lady can be any woman who supports a Mason, and Freemasonry. This can be his wife, his girlfriend, his mom, grandmother, neighbor, etc. A Mason’s Lady may chose to show her support by joining appendant bodies, attending Lodge dinners and other events, or any other way she can think of. You can be a Mason’s Lady without being a Masonic wife, and vice versa.

What are the benefits of being a Masonic wife?

Becoming a Mason’s wife opens you up to a world of possibilities. Being married to a Master Mason grants you the ability to join any of the Masonic bodies that allow women: Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, Order of the Amaranth, and more. Usually this is the only requirement for the groups that allow women. For example, your husband does not need to be a Shiner in order for you to join Daughters of the Nile, although you may get more out of it. You can learn more about these organizations here.

if you choose to support your Mason by being active in Lodge activities, you will never find a lack of something to do. We live in a moderately sized Midwestern city, and there is a Masonic function going on almost every night of the week. There also many travel opportunities, especially within the Shrine. I know that our potentate is organizing an Alaskan cruise this year, and the Grand Master is hosting a Florida getaway.

One of my favorite parts of my SO being a Mason, is that I have an excuse to get all dressed up and mingle, fairly often. If you and your Mason plan on being fairly active socially, I would recommend investing in some nice dress clothes. One or two suits and a tux should be just fine for him. I know we ladies do not get off that easily; but, if you enjoy shopping, think of it as a bonus. If you enjoy being social and meeting new people. Masonic functions are perfect for just that. If you are more introverted (like myself), Masonic functions can serve as a test ground for the “real world”. I’ve become more relaxed with meeting new people and improving new social skills since being more involved with Masonry.

What are the disadvantages to being a Masonic wife?

I will be the first to admit, it is not all sunshine and rainbows all the time. T is Master of his Lodge this year, and this is added stress for both of us, making sure there is a candidate, food, organizing meetings, it can be a lot of work. In addition to this, sometimes the jealousy monster rears its ugly head. It can be hard to give up your SO for 2+ (at our house, more like 6 with bar time) hours to people you may not know on a weeknight. I’ve found that the best cure is for Lodge night to become the nights that I pamper myself. As I’ve said before, I usually treat myself to a nicer dinner and watch a horror movie (which T hates). I do my best to make it my “me” time.

If you choose to get involved with Masonry, you may have to limit yourself and your Mason how involved you really are. Remember when I said there are activities every night? That can have it’s downsides. We usually go to 3 activities a week (DeMolay, Lodge + one other), and even that feels like it can be a lot. As a Masonic wife you need to be able to say no, even if that game feed put on by the Dave Crockett Club does sound super awesome.

What about this marriage ritual? Are there Masonic wedding rings?

You may have seen pictures of a Masonic wedding floating around on the internet. Actually, you can find the entire ritual here. While it is a very interesting read, this wedding (if I recall correctly) was preformed in Puerto Rico. This ritual is only sanctioned by the Grand Lodge of Turkey, so unless you have a Turkish Lodge in your area, you are probably out of luck if  you wanted to use this ritual for your wedding. From what I have found, no other couple have been married in this fashion.

One question that many Masons ask is if there is such thing as a Masonic wedding ring. There isn’t really. You may, however, use any Masonic ring that you hold the degree for as a wedding ring. This practice is not common, and is really not recommended. The reasoning is that if you were to become divorced, you may still associate Masonry with those feelings toward your ex, which may lead you to be less active or leave the craft.

To be a bit PG-13 for a moment, if I may, there are a number of websites out there that discuss becoming a Mason’s
“red star” and are all about becoming submissive to your Mason. This is all based in fantasy of course, and have no relation to actual Freemasonry.

How does divorce factor into all of this?

One of the things that the sensationalists want you to believe is that Masonry will ruin your marriage and steal your man. And probably your goats. Or something like that. It simply isn’t true. I have found that some women really struggle with their SO being a Mason. The best advice I can give to people in this situation is communicate with your partner, and get involved. You may feel that he is spending too much time at Masonic events and you would like him to be home more. Tell him that, or he won’t know. Often, the biggest fear is the fear of the unknown, if you get involved with Masonry, you may find that it squelches that fear.

If, for some reason, you and your Mason become divorced, this has no bearing on your memberships in organizations that you are currently a part of. However, you do lose your eligibility to join a new organization unless you have a different Masonic tie (father, uncle, etc). You may find strength within the organizations if this happens. This is one of the benefits of hanging out with women much older than yourself – many of them have been there.

Freemasonry and Gender Roles

Picture this- it’s Lodge night, your Mason isn’t due home for a few hours, the kids just got to sleep, and you finally have some time to yourself, to do what you please. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it? Lodge nights always give me the eerie feeling of stepping back in time, when a woman stayed home with the children, and the man worked, say like, the 1950’s. There is a very good reason for this. Masonry, which became popular in the late 50’s and early 60’s, tends to reinforce the very traditional gender roles from that era.

Just what does that mean, anyway?

Gender roles are “the social and behavioral norms that are generally considered appropriate for either a man or a woman in a social or interpersonal relationship”. In other words, gender roles are the way that you act, because society tells you that you should, or it’s the agreement between you and your spouse, or it’s the way your culture says that you should act, based on your gender. For instance, the way that a woman from a very traditional Muslim family acts in public, is very different from how a man from that same family acts in public, and both act very differently  from the way that a woman from a loosely Christian household might act  in public. They aren’t right or wrong, they just vary from person to person for any number of reasons.

What does this have to do with Freemasonry?

The scenario above depicts very traditional Western gender roles that is, the husband goes to work, while the wife stays home and takes care of the 2.5 kids. Add a white picket fence, and its practically the American dream. Freemasonry gives us many things. It gives us tradition, ritual, a sense of self, a way to give back to the community, amongst other things. If you notice, however, one of the things it does not  give us is change. Freemasonry is very rooted in it’s ways, and tends to be very “this is the way it is, because this is the way that it always has been”.

No one can seem to agree on exactly when modern Freemasonry began, but it is agreed that it was around the turn of the 20th century. Let’s think about life in the early 1900’s. Radio and cinema were still in their infancies, many people still had servants, and save for a small group of women, the ladies of the house chose to stay home while the men worked.  When creating something as complex as Freemasonry, you will, of course, want to be able to integrate it into your life, as well as future member’s lives as easily as possible. Since women staying home was the norm at the time, perhaps this was a factor in the exclusion of women from Freemasonry during its creation. Staying home was expected of women at the time, it was the typical gender role, and Freemasonry simply stayed the course of society at the time.

These gender roles stayed true throughout the years, including during the 1960’s, when Freemasonry had its first big boom. Women were beginning to enter the work force more regularly, but in very submissive roles, such as secretary, and many women continued to stay home while the man of the house worked. Again, Freemasonry was easily integrated here, because it supported the gender roles that the society, for the most part, continued to dictate. In addition to a rise of Freemasonry membership, Order of the Eastern star and other women’s auxiliary groups saw an influx of members. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the fact that women were becoming more independent, and more likely to work out of the home and do their own thing. The continued separation, however, continued to support the way that things always had been.

Many have said that we are currently in another membership boom for Freemasonry, and I am inclined to agree with that. What is different now, is that gender roles have changed, which causes some tension on the topic of women and Freemasonry. Women no longer stay at home and care for the home and children as the norm, in fact, this tends to be abnormal. Families now aren’t known to just be a man, a woman, and some kids, but instead made up of numerous combinations. Yet, Freemasonry supports the same gender roles. the same societal roles as it did during its inception the Mason goes to lodge, and the non-Mason, being excluded, does their own thing.  I feel that this is a growing issue in Freemasonry, and will continue to be an issue until more lodges choose to do something about it. Many have, doing things such as inviting the women to lodge dinner, having free wi-fi and cable in a lodge lounge, and generally trying to make lodge night as welcoming as possible to all members of a Mason’s family, not just the Mason himself.

So, this is a bad thing right?

Yes and no. Yes, I think that propagating traditional gender roles, whether consciously or not, is harmful to Freemasonry, and will turn off a lot of potential younger members. I also believe that all organizations should be somewhat flexible in “getting with the times”. I am not calling for a radical reformation of the way that Freemasonry works, I just think that small things could be done to make it a bit more welcoming for the rest of the family. This is most easily done on a lodge by lodge basis.

That being said, I think that viewed in the correct light, the traditional gender roles that Freemasonry promotes can be a very good thing. Go back to the scenario at the beginning of the article. Now, imagine that you are a woman in the 1920’s. Your husband leaving for lodge on a regular basis give you two things you might not usually get at that time independence, and autonomy. In fact, organizations that excluded women around this time, helped women actually join the workforce, and eventually join (some) of those organizations. In part, being excluded and away from your husband when all the chores were done and the kids were asleep, forced women into a kind of sink or swim scenario, either they had to gain the confidence to be seen as a separate person, or they could hide back in the shadows. The former is what a lot of women chose, shown by the boom of the women’s auxiliary and independent groups.

Speaking more modernly, I feel that the exclusion for one partner in a relationship can also be healthy for that relationship. If you know that your partner is going to be gone for 4 hours every Wednesday, you can plan things that they might not want to do with you, or things that you only want to do for yourself. When T is at lodge, for instance, I will often go to the gym, then come home and cook myself a nice meal, not having to worry about having to share, and then watch a horror movie, or play some video games. I think that the regularly scheduled time apart helps get rid of the “omg I want to strangle you right now” feeling that we all get in relationships sometimes.

These are just my thoughts and observations, as with anything on the internet, please take it with a grain of salt. That being said, I would love to hear what anyone has to say about the topic. I do not mind at all if you do not agree with me, I just ask that you remain respectful!

Women and Freemasonry: An Introduction

Ah, a topic close to my heart, women and masonry. Get comfy, this one might be a long one.

So, women can’t be masons, right?

Yes and no.

Lets start with the latter. No, women cannot join the (Ancient Free) and Accepted Masons, aka Blue Lodge, aka lodge, aka, the stepping stone of Scottish Rite, Shriners, and at least 30 other appendant bodies. Yes, I know. Let me share my perspective on the matter.

When I first met my boyfriend, and found out that he was a mason, my first reaction was to be jealous that I could not join, and be offended at the blatant sexism that was happening in an organization that he is so involved in. I snooped around, trying to find some loophole or backdoor that would let me into the secret boys club. You see, I am  a geek, and I tend to be the token female in many of my geek circles. Being shut out from the boys and having to “earn” my way into the level of acceptance that they hold each other to has been going on for years in my life. So, I was used to this, in a way, but not used to being 100% shut out, with absolutely no way in.

As my relationship grew, so did my level of involvement in the lodge. I began cooking meals for degree nights, helping the other women in the kitchen, cleaning up after family meals, going to the Shrine bar after lodge to drink with the boys, going on DeMolay outings, and more. My boyfriend recognized the level of interest I hold, and suggested I look into joining the Order of the Eastern Star.In a way, this was like finding out that I could not become a mason all over again. Women and men can join OES, and they are preceded over by a Worthy Matron and Patron. I again, found it rather sexist, but I was too interested to not look into it.

During all of this time, I was discussing all of these feelings with T. He is terribly understanding about it all, but we kind of came to a mutual conclusion. It is healthy for partners in a relationship to have time apart, and masonry became very popular when far less women were independent in their own right. So while I may find some of the traditions to be sexist, it is still just that, tradition, something old. Perhaps our grandparents were onto something?

As for the yes- yes, women can join masonry. There are lodges that are referred to as irregular, clandestine, or co-masonic. Women can join these lodges, and can become a Perfect Masoness (the lodge’s equivalent of a MM). I cannot claim to know much about co-masonry. I do know, however, that it was originated in France, under the name Le Droit Humain, The International Order of Mixed Freemasonry. It has lodges in over 60 countries, and is continues to be fairly popular in Europe, especially France and Belgium. Today there are a number of organizations that run co-masonic lodges, including Le Droit Humain, The Eastern Order of International Co-Freemasonry, and The Co-Freemasonic Order of the Blazing Star. It can be very confusing trying to find locations of co-masonic lodges due to all of the different groups that run them. There are a number in England, and of course France, Belgium, and the rest of Europe. Those in the United States, however, tend to be in larger coastal cities. If you would like more information, this website has all of the links for every co-masonic, or women’s only lodges.

Before you run off to join a co-masonic lodge, I suggest that you stop and think about this. If your boyfriend, your husband, your SO, or even just a friend is a mason, a member of a blue lodge chartered by a regular Grand Lodge in your state or country, he is not allowed to discuss secret masonic work with you, even if you become a master mason (or equivalent). This is because regular, or mainstream lodges do not recognize lodges that accept women as members, solely because of that reason. This is not to say that you can no longer discuss masonry with him. Quite the contrary really, as many regular (“masculine”? saying regular just seems weird) lodges will invite co-masonic lodges for discussion, and there can be fellowship between the two lodges. However, if you are a member of a co-masonic lodge, and your SO is a member of a masculine (I think I like that better) lodge, you cannot attend regular meetings at his lodge. I am not sure if he is able to attend yours.

If you are thinking about joining a co-masonic lodge, do your homework!!! There are a number of “scam” lodges that exist, only there to take your money and give you a shiny title in exchange. If you are a member of a co-masonic lodge, please contact me! I would love to chat with someone that is an active member and get their perspective.

There are some unspoken hostilities between masculine and co-masonic lodges, some for good reasons, and some…  The best thing I could find on the topic came from the United Grand Lodge of England (commonly referred to as UGLE),

Brethren are therefore free to explain to non-Masons, if asked, that Freemasonry is not confined to men (even though this Grand Lodge does not itself admit women)

 So, what can I join?

There are a number of organizations that you can join that will get you more involved with masonry, that are associated with masculine lodges. Unless noted, you must be 18, and related to a MM. When they say related, it basically means, if you want to join, you will find the relation. I joined OES due to my great-grandfather whom I never met.

  • OES, or Order of the Eastern Star, probably the most widespread organization. I will be doing a more in depth post on this organization later, but I will tell you right off the bat, that it is open to women related to Master Masons, as well as Master Masons themselves. It tends to have a very negative reputation, but as a member myself, I enjoy it a good bit. You can also join if you were a Rainbow Girl, or in Job’s Daughters.
  • Order of the Amarath– Similar to OES, in fact, it used to be that you had to join OES before you could become a member of OA. Again, this is open to women related to MM and MM themselves.
  • Ladies’ Oriental Shrine of North America– Far less prevalent, these are the “lady Shriners”. Only women can join this organization. You must, however, be related to a MM or a Shriner.
  • The Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem– One of the requirements to join this organization is to profess a belief in Jesus Christ. Again, this is open to women only.
  • Heroines of Jericho– This and the next one are a bit different. These groups are related to Prince Hall masonry, which may or may not be recognized as regular lodges in your state or country. This organization is associated with Prince Hall Royal Arch
  • Order of Cyrenes– Similar to the Heroines, however this organization is associated with Prince Hall Templars.
  • Daughters of the Nile– This group is associated with Shriners, but is different from LOSNA in that their focus is fundraising, whereas LOSNA is more focused on sociability. Again, you must be related to a MM, Shriner, or a Daughter of the Nile.
  • Scottish Rite Ladies- This is not a national or international chapter, but instead depends on your Grand Lodge, or even the Scottish Rite chapter in your area. It tends to be more women getting together and having a good time, that is usually organized by the men (at least here in Nebraska). Must be related to a MM that is a member of Scottish Rite.
  • Order of the Weavers– This is where I get kind of jealous. The Dutch don’t really have any co-masonic lodges, so the ladies decided to make their own body that is associated with masculine lodges. How cool is that! If you have anymore information on this organization, please contact me!
  • The Widow’s Sons Ladies – Mentioned by a member of Reddit, this unique group is associated with the Masonic motorcycle group, the Widow’s Sons.

What else can I do?

Don’t be afraid to offer to help out around the lodge if you are interested in being more involved! If you’re not into it, no big deal; I know your mason would appreciate your interest. It seems that there are dinners, dances, fundraisers, you name it, almost every night of the week here- we’re not a big city, but there’s 12 masonic lodges, plus a shrine and Scottish rite, star…you get the idea. Even if you live in a small town with only one lodge, there’s bound to be something to do at least once a month.

Offer to help cook or clean, or even just hang out with the ladies at your lodge while the meeting is occurring- that’s right, it’s your lodge too, make yourself feel comfortable there! Weekly (biweekly, monthly), meetings are a great place to meet new people with a common interest-it’s really all about socializing after all. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, they will be answered if possible. Ask to see the lodge room, often there will be antique pieces that the lodge owns (I always find that stuff fascinating), ask about symbols you see, ask lots of questions!

What if….?

One last bit of advice. If you are not comfortable with masonry, for any reason, whether your mason is a candidate or a 33rd degree mason, let them know. You might find that your worries were just because you did not know enough, or it might be for another reason. I cannot stress this enough. Masonry can take up a good chunk of one’s social life, and if you are uncomfortable with the amount of time that your mason is spending at lodge, tell him.

I cut this topic a bit short, because there is so much that can be said about women and masonry. I will be covering the history of women and masonry at one point.

Have a wonderful week!

The Mason’s Lady

I figured I should backtrack a bit, and cover some basic ground, so that everyone reading this has a general idea of what is going on. When you google mason’s lady, or women and masons, one of the first things to appear is some version of this: unfortunately, it looks like it was last made some time in the 80′s, doesn’t answer a lot of questions, and does not give a lot of resources, unless your mason happens to be a member of Blue Hill Lodge in Massachusetts. I would like for this to serve as an update to that handout, answering more questions, and giving more general resources.

What’s a mason, anyway?

Masons, or freemasons (to distingush from bricklayers), are really kind of everywhere. Those guys in the little cars in parades are masons. Shriner’s hospital is completely owned, operated, and (mostly) funded by masons. The Loyal Order of the Water Buffaloes, Fred Flinstone’s fraternity, was based on masonry. A mason refers to a member of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization. They base  their work in philanthropy, specifically to better their members, which also involves bettering their community. This is masonry at its core. Their motto is “to make good men better”.

Who can be a mason?

Only men can be masons (yes, I know, I will save this for another post). FtMs that are legally male, can be masons, but their acceptance varies from lodge to lodge. They have to be of appropriate age for the state or country 18 for most, 21 for some. The man must come with recommendations, this is usually done via interview, even if he already has friends within the lodge. One requirement of receiving the degrees is that he must belive in a “higher power”. This does not mean that he must be religious, or even that he must believe in G-d, only that he believes in something greater than himself.

But, what do they do?

On average, most lodges meet once to twice a month. Lodges with more degree work to perform (more on this in a bit), will meet more often (T’s meets every week), whereas smaller lodges, or lodges with less new members will meet less- at least once a month for business. Usually the meetings are not that exciting, to give you an idea, they usually go on in the general business format of: open lodge, old business (reading of the minutes from last meeting), new business (communications from other lodges and organizations, pay bills, announcements), special events (voting, special announcements), close lodge. It’s not really as exciting as most people think it may be. However, masons are more known for their special events. Depending on your lodge, there may be picnics, dances, formal dinners, fundraisers, pancake breakfasts, group visits to the zoo, etc, throughout the year. The men are always encouraged to bring their family to such events. There are often city-wide, and state-wide events as well.

What’s this about degrees?

The way that it works is as follows: a man chooses a lodge that he wants to join, either because of location, friends in that specific lodge, or whatever. He asks them for a petition, fills it out, and gives it back to a member. At the next business meeting, the petition is read, and shortly thereafter, a few members of the lodge set up an interview with the candidate. The interview is usually fairly relaxed, and serves as a way to get to know the candidate better, both in their personality and their intentions. The interviewers return to the lodge, and give the rest of the members a feel for the candidate. The candidate is then voted on, the decision must be unanimous in the lodge. He is then able to receive the degrees of masonry.

There are three degrees that a mason must receive before he is a full member of the lodge. Every lodge has different schedules, some may do it over three or more months, some in one month, and some in one day. It all depends on the canidate.The first degree is called the Entered Apprentice degree, or the EA degree. The second is the Fellowcraft degree, or FC degree. The third degree is the Master Mason, or MM degree. Upon receiving the MM degree, the man is now a full-fledged mason, and full member of the lodge.

I heard something about an Inspector Inquisitor Commander?

There are many branches of masonry. The lodge, or blue lodge, is the base, the core of masonry. This is where a mason will receive the first three degrees. There are thirty (yes 30!) more degrees available to receive beyond that, as well as other organizations to join. After the first three degrees, there are two branches to choose from, Scottish Rite, or York Rite. The progression for Scottish Rite is as follows: Scottish Rite->Chapter of the Rose Croix->Council of Kadosh->Consistory of Sublime Princes->Supreme Council. York Rite is: York Rite->Cryptic Rite->Knights Templar. In addition to this, masons can also join the Shriners, the Grotto, and a large number appendant bodies.

I keep hearing about masonic secrets…

Masons do have their secrets, its true;  allow me to assure you that none of it is to take over the world, or control the government (you should watch them organize a dinner…) Most of the “secrets” you can find online, if you are really interested, but I would recommend that you do not. Some thing are better left with a shroud of mystery, and whether you are a mason’s SO or a potential candidate, masonry is one of them. If you have questions about masonry, ask your mason (if you have one), you may be surprised about what he is allowed and willing to share with you.

What can I do?

The first, and most important thing you can do, is support your mason. Encourage him to be active in his lodge. Our grandparents were onto something when they got into masonry. Time apart is good for any relationship, and so is time with the same gender. Communication is important as well. If you feel like masonry is becoming more important than family or work, talk with him about it. It is strongly encouraged in the teachings that family and work should always come before masonic work. Be active in the lodge yourself. While you cannot attend the business meetings, you can ask to see the inside of the lodge room, and ladies are often  welcome before and after meetings. If your mason’s lodge has dinner before lodge, help out in the kitchen, offer to make a dish. Make a point to put masonic family activities on your calendar. Masonry is a family, and it can very easily involve the whole family.

I want to learn more! (Or, I want to join!)

During my research, I found that this was a fairly well put together resource, that does go more in-depth into topics that I did not cover.

A very valuable resource that I use on a daily basis is the freemasonry subreddit, found at You can use this to ask questions, read articles, and connect with people online.

There is no overall governing body for masonry. Each state or providence is run by a Grand Lodge. If you are interested in learning more about masonry in your area, I suggest that you go to the website of the Grand Lodge of your state, which will have a listing of all lodges in that state. You can then find one close to you, and contact them for more information. A comprehensive list can be found at

You can, of course, feel free to contact me, either here, on reddit at /u/jynxbunni, or at my email:

Have a great day! Women and masonry is next week!