What does Craft Freemasonry have to Offer?
A short essay by a recent Fello Craft from St David (University Lodge) No. 36.
the investigation interview before being voted upon in freemasonry you
are told that you shouldn’t join freemasonry with the assumption that
you will get financial or personal gain. It’s a sound statement, and one
with I agree with, but one that is inherently wrong. Since being
initiated and since being passed I feel that there has been great deals
of power that I have found within myself and riches too that I have come
across. Possibly this is down to the connections I’ve made since
joining my lodge, perhaps it’s a helping hand from TGAOTU for choosing
this path or possibly I have been shown a new way to manage my time and
apply effort in a way that provides a better life for me. Regardless,
Freemasonry has benefits and in this short essay I will consider all
benefits, perceived or actual, that I have experienced since joining
When someone talks about ‘benefits’ within a society like Freemasonry at first I really had no idea what to expect. The mysticism behind it all makes the mind wander. But regardless I knew that they would show themselves, one way or another. It was when the winter months came rolling in soon after I had been initiated that I was shown the first of these benefits. Just when you think the days couldn’t get any more brief they find a way to do so, and the nights just seem to keep growing longer and longer. Without getting enough sunlight the mind starts to weaken and it becomes harder and harder to find joy in the simple things that would usually spark a smile. Being thrust into a bright, colour filled and bustling lodge room with lots of happy faces really does make it easier to get through these harsh months. The connections and the social dinners really are soul food that can fill you up until the next tyle time.
One thing that I did expect to gain from joining Freemasonry was friends. It was one of the key points to be brought up in the investigation interview. I never go looking for friends, I prefer the process to happen naturally, but with Freemasonry it is so easy to make connections, find similar interests and become strong, close friends with each other. There’s something about the craft, I would argue, that it attracts a very specific type of person; someone who has strong morals, someone who has some interest in the occult and obviously someone who is a little flamboyant whether they are aware of this or not. Freemasons love their jewels. All of these things are great foundations for strong friendships and something that Freemasonry strongly promotes. One of the most life-changing aspects of Freemasonry however is the lessons that are taught throughout on how to better manage your life. During ritual its as if my fellow brothers are telling me a story that contains all the ‘cheat codes’ to life like how to manage time better, how to be more temperate and how to extend charity to myself. There are many more lessons but these are the ones that have stayed closet to me. Possibly its the way that these lessons are worded to me or maybe its the exciting curiosity that I have with these newfound semiotics that has lodged the lessons deep into my brain. In an 1847 Peter Brown publication of ‘A Winter with Burns’ its stated that “Freemasons profess universal philanthropy … they were the cultivators of the arts and sciences, and their knowledge of geometry and astronomy attracted their particular attention to the sublime harmony displayed in the planetary system … their acts as speculative artificers should be those of practical Christians inculcating charity and brotherly love in the widest sense.” I would ague that to this day Freemasons still promote this harmony from that description it sounds like Freemasons are a good bunch to spend time with; they get it right on quite a few levels.
There have been changes within myself too since joining Freemasonry. I’ve noticed that I’ve magically gained a lot more self-confidence in social settings since being initiated, I’m more likely to speak out against wrongdoings or be more open to speaking to a stranger if I needed to. There’s something about being surrounded with the men in the lodge that seems to promote well-doing within me. I feel that if I surround myself with people that have a high work drive or people that ooze warmth and friendliness that it will rub off on me and, over time, I will start to show these traits too. At the meetings and harmonies that I’ve attended its very clear that brothers who have been part of the Craft for a while hold themselves to a particular standard. And it’s this standard that pushes me to do more in life to benefit myself and the wider community, exactly what the Craft set it to do. I feel that this effect is down to the homeliness or brotherly love that is promoted within the Lodge. You don't want to let any of your brothers down, you have a want to show that you - as a Freemason- are not letting the standard slip. Because it’s by upholding this standard that makes Freemasonry what it is and, in turn, provides the benefits that it does. I want to finish this essay on a peculiar phase that’s been uttered to me many a time since joining, “It keeps us young!”. Freemasonry promotes a unique experience by allowing you the opportunity to make friends with people 20-30 years your senior and vice-versa. With this comes a lot of knowledge from both sides of things that are relevant in society today like new words and slang, and also life advice from brothers that have ‘been there and done that’ already. It really is a melting pot of great ideas and friendship and one that has changed my life for the better.