The International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women Le Droit Humain

Scandinavian Federation


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1. What is Freemasonry?

Freemasonry is a path of development that expresses itself via rituals and symbols. It is a path that leads to self-knowledge and to personal development through reflection and service to others. It is a path towards the truth, but it is not itself the truth. Freemasonry is not dogmatic and therefore does not profess a particular religion or politics. It is a kind of school that brings people together. In “LE DROIT HUMAIN” it takes place by the motto: “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” — the message of the French Revolution in 1789.

Freemasonry is a philosophical school where the Freemason learns how to achieve self-knowledge and self-development through lifestyle, education and immersion in the great questions of life, for their own sake and for the good of society.

In order to get the full benefit of Freemasonry, it is necessary to immerse yourself and work purposefully and persistently. Freemasonry offers its symbols and allegories, its ceremonies and its history, but it is up to the Mason themself to extract the wisdom. 2. What is a Masonic order?

2. What is a Masonic order?

A Masonic order is a collection of Masonic lodges. Freemasons try to practice the ideals of Freemasonry and meet regularly in lodges to perform ceremonies expressing these ideals, to study together and to have Masonic conversations with like-minded people.

3. What is the distinction of “LE DROIT HUMAIN”?

The International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women “LE DROIT HUMAIN” has its headquarters in Paris and was founded in 1893. The order is distinguished by being one of the very few in the world to admit both men and women on equal terms and is open to all honest and sincere people over the age of 18, regardless of gender, race, religion or social status. “LE DROIT HUMAIN” has lodges in 58 countries.

4. What is the difference between “LE DROIT HUMAIN” and other Masonic orders?

The fundamental difference is that “LE DROIT HUMAIN” admits both men and women equally, but also that men and women perform the ceremonial work of the lodge together and share all rituals, responsibilities and duties. Other orders admit only men, a few only women, and then there are orders which admit both men and women, but where the sexes work separately.

5. What is the meaning of “LE DROIT HUMAIN”?

It is French, and directly translated it means “the human right”, meaning that human beings are of equal worth and therefore have the same rights. It is thus a right for all people to become Freemasons, regardless of gender, race, religion, as long as they meet the criteria. It also refers to the laws of nature and the higher justice or meaning of human life as distinct from the man-made laws. It denotes the right and responsibility that every human being is born with, for example the fundamental rights cited in the 1776 American Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they have been given by the Creator certain unalienable rights, among these Life and Liberty to pursue Happiness”.

6. What ideals does the Freemason try to live by?

They can be expressed in many ways, with “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” being one of them: “Freedom” for the individual to follow their own conscience and develop their abilities and their intellectual capacity. “Equality” to realize that all people are of equal worth in their physical, mental and spiritual nature and deserve respect. “Fraternity” as a mutual responsibility to support and help each other.

7. Is Freemasonry a religion?

No. Freemasonry deals with the fundamental questions of life and therefore some Freemasons are familiar with religiosity and open to religion. Freemasonry works to the glory of the “Great Architect of the Universe” (a poetic expression of a cosmic, creative and guiding intelligence), and to the “perfection of humankind”. Regardless, Freemasonry is not a religion, and Freemasons belong to all the world’s religions — or none at all. Freemasonry has no dogmas or doctrines that govern the individual Freemason’s outlook on life or beliefs, and this is an important factor when searching for a higher meaning in life. Every Freemason is free to hold their own religious and political views.

8. Is it necessary to believe in God to become a Freemason?

If one works to the glory of the “Great Architect of the Universe”, it is necessary to believe in a creative principle, a form of spiritual intelligence which governs the Universe. How one believes, or how one thinks about this, that is the individual’s own business. The language used to describe it is often solemn, figurative and poetic.

Freemasons imagine this creative principle or God in many different ways based on each of their backgrounds, and they talk about God in a symbolic way.

9. Why is it called Freemasonry?

Freemasonry has roots far back in time, among other things to the old mystery schools in Greece and Egypt. As we know it today, it originates from the masons’ guilds of the Middle Ages, in particular from the church builders’ guilds, whose craftsmen had the privilege of traveling freely and carrying out their craft. For that reason, they were called “freemasons” by their place-bound colleagues.

At the beginning, these guilds – or lodges, as they also called themselves, were only “operative”, i.e. solely gathered around solving the current building task, but at the end of the 17th century they split into two parts, one of which still had the practical construction, and the other completely devoted itself to moral and symbolic edification of its members and opened up to non-builders. These lodges were called “speculative” and Freemasonry today is a continuation of their work.

The first Grand Lodge was founded in London in 1717 by a number of speculative lodges joining together, and this is how Freemasonry began as a form of organization in recent times.

The central symbol in Freemasonry is the building of King Solomon’s temple, and various tools and activities from the mason trade are used symbolically in Freemasonry.

10. What happens at a lodge meeting in the Scandinavian Federation?

Freemasons meet a few evenings every month and start by getting the lodge hall ready. The lodge hall is a larger room where special “furniture” and symbols are placed. Every single thing has its special place and meaning.

Everyone is dressed in identical white suits (which are provided free of charge) and enter the lodge hall. Here follows a special ritual for the opening of the lodge, atmospheric music and a Masonic lecture. The lodge meeting also includes topics that any organization or association must deal with — practical, administrative things such as approval of minutes and the like. Finally, the lodge is closed again with a special ritual.

After processing out, everyone helps to put the various lodge items away. Afterwards, some food and tea/coffee is had, while the evening’s lecture is discussed.

If a new member is to be admitted, or if a Mason is to receive an additional degree, a special ceremony for this takes place instead of the Masonic lecture. Such a meeting usually lasts longer than a regular meeting.

Freemasonry is divided into degrees, and for each degree the Freemason gains new knowledge. The new member starts in the 1st degree and, after a number of years of persistent study of the various degrees and side degrees, can end up obtaining the 33rd degree, which completes Freemasonry’s degree system in “LE DROIT HUMAIN”, which uses the Old and Accepted Scottish Rite.

11. Where do the meetings take place?

The Scandinavian lodges do not own real estate themselves, but have rented suitable places, where the members of the lodge build a special room, a temple, before each meeting, where each thing and the location of each thing has its own symbolism.

12. Are there any deeper roots to Freemasonry?

The early speculative Masons seem to build on older ideas, thoughts and philosophy, especially the symbolic interpretations of images and geometry. These ideas and thoughts thematically connect Freemasonry with a series of movements from Antiquity through the Middle Ages, with the Mystery Schools of the East and Ancient Greece and Egypt, the Pythagorean School, Plato and the Neo-Platonists, Gnostics, Hermetists, Knights Templar, Kabbalists, Alchemists and Rosicrucians — to name a few. There is also inspiration from the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment.

13. What is expected of a Freemason?

A Freemason is expected to live as a decent human being — that is, to try to achieve self-knowledge, to seek ways to help others, to respect every point of view and to keep their promises. The consequence of this work can be self-development.

A Freemason also undertakes to pay their Masonic dues and to attend the meetings of their lodge — approx. every 14 days except in the summer months.

14. Is Freemasonry a secret sect?

No, certainly not. A sect is a group that places strong control over the thoughts, beliefs and actions of its members, whereas Freemasonry is quite undogmatic. Neither is Freemasonry a secret, but only keeps its rituals secret for ceremonial reasons, and Freemasonry has never tried to hide its existence.

It is of course a private matter for each individual, who you want to tell that you are a Freemason, just like with so much else that you can be a member of. Over the years, Freemasons have perhaps been a bit reluctant to talk about their membership – learned, among other things, from the persecution that Freemasons were exposed to during Nazism. And even further back in time, when Freemasons were persecuted by the Inquisition.

15. Does Freemasonry have secrets?

Freemasonry keeps its rituals secret so as not to spoil the experience for those who are to be admitted. In this way, the rituals become a unifying mechanism for Freemasons. Rituals are symbols of the things in life that cannot be described in words. When several people are gathered for the same purpose, they can communicate their experiences with each other through symbols, which then appear secret to those who haven’t had these experiences.

16. Is Freemasonry occult or esoteric?

The word occult means “something hidden” and esoteric means “something inner” or “for the initiate”. In this way, Freemasonry is both occult and esoteric, as Masons search for deeper meaning and higher truth on an inner level in accordance with Masonic ideals, purpose and morality.

17. Is Freemasonry involved in political activity?

No. A Freemason has the freedom to belong to any political party, but is expected to abide by the laws and regulations of their country. Freemasonry has no political goals or interests, and Masons traditionally do not discuss politics at their meetings, so as not to let politics disrupt the harmony among Masons.

18. How many types of Freemasonry are there in the world?

There are many different orders around the world. “LE DROIT HUMAIN” distinguishes itself by admitting both men and women who work on an equal footing (see also point 3).

19. Can Freemasons from other Masonic orders visit “LE DROIT HUMAIN”?

Yes. “LE DROIT HUMAIN” recognizes other Masonic orders and accepts visits from them.

20. What is a “rite” such as the “Scottish Rite”?

A ceremony is governed by its ritual, much like a play is governed by its script. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is a system of 33 degrees, and this ritual governs the ceremonies of “LE DROIT HUMAIN”.

21. What happens during a Masonic initiation?

Initiation is a formal, ceremonial admission of a new member where the customs and symbols of Freemasonry are explained to the new member. It’s like a drama where the person being initiated is the protagonist. To experience the full impact of the initiation, you shouldn’t try to figure out what’s going to happen in advance. The word initiation figuratively means “to enter”.

“LE DROIT HUMAIN’s” initiations and rituals are based on respect for the individual.

22. Do Freemasons take an oath?

During the initiation ceremony, the new member takes an oath to strive to live a life in accordance with the ideals of Freemasonry and to keep rituals and symbols to themselves.

23. Why is Freemasonry committed to symbols?

Freemasonry is a system of symbols with the specific purpose for the individual to develop and achieve full self-knowledge and to serve others. Even if you don’t normally think about it, symbols are everywhere. Life is structured by symbols in almost every area. Freemasonry uses certain specific symbols to express its ideas and ideals.

24. What special symbols are there in Freemasonry?

The two most well-known Masonic symbols are the right angle and the compass, as seen in the “LE DROIT HUMAIN” emblem. The right angle can be said to represent matter and the compass to represent spirit and consciousness. That’s one interpretation of these symbols. The fact that the right angle and the compass so often appear together suggests that matter and spirit are mutually dependent on each other.

25. How is “LE DROIT HUMAIN” organized?

“LE DROIT HUMAIN” has its headquarters in Paris, where the order was founded. The highest authority is the Supreme Council, which consists of representatives from all over the world. The Chair of this council is the chief administrative officer and the highest ceremonial official of the order. A country or region with at least five lodges and more than 100 members can become an independent federation with its own administration, which decides on ceremonial matters and represents the country/region in the Supreme Council.

Lodges are the foundation of all Masonic work and each Mason belongs to a local lodge. In Denmark, there are three such lodges – in Aalborg, Aarhus and Copenhagen. In Norway, there is a lodge in Stavanger and one in Drammen. In Sweden, there are lodges in Stockholm and Vänersborg and a triangle (a lodge under construction) in Malmö. Denmark, Norway and Sweden together make up the Scandinavian Federation. More far-reaching decisions are made at the Federation’s annual Convention after consideration by the Federal Council, which is a coordinating body for the Scandinavian Federation.

26. How is a lodge structured?

The lodges in the Scandinavian Federation do not have an office with employees to take care of the lodge’s business. This is done by each lodge’s members, who are democratically elected for a year at a time to various offices, including a treasurer and a secretary, who in their spare time take care of administrative tasks. Others have ceremonial duties such as Master of Ceremonies.

The Chair of the lodge has both ceremonial and administrative duties and is called Master.

27. Is the lodge’s leadership democratic?

Decisions about the lodge are made by the lodge’s Governing Council, which meets approximately once a month. It is composed of some of the lodge’s offices, i.e. the democratically elected members for these positions. They are elected for one year at a time and can be re-elected.

28. Are there different degrees in Freemasonry?

Yes, there are three basic degrees: The 1st degree is the apprentice degree, which is the beginning stage of Freemasonry, where you learn the basics of Freemasonry and the special message of the 1st degree. In this degree you do not have the right to vote or take the word during the ceremonial part of the meeting. After that comes the 2nd degree – the Fellow Craft, which is a more advanced stage of learning where the member can perform certain tasks and participate in discussions in a more in-depth way. Fellow Crafts have the right to take the word and vote. Eventually there is the 3rd degree – the Master Mason, after which the member can participate in the work of the lodge at all levels.

In addition, there are quite a few higher degrees and two side degrees.

29. Who can become a member of “LE DROIT HUMAIN”?

All women and men can apply for membership once they have reached the age of 18, are free (i.e. have no personal duties or restrictions that prevent them from functioning as Freemasons) and are of good character (i.e. are willing to try to live according to the ideals of Freemasonry and have no criminal record with other people).

30. How do I apply to become a member?

You approach a Freemason you know, or by phone or email, of your own free will with your desire to become a member. See the contact page (click on the link in the menu).

You will then be contacted to arrange a visit by two members of the lodge. This is an opportunity to discuss what membership entails, talk about yourself and your expectations. If you decide to become a Freemason, you need to fill out an application form. Membership is binding for a minimum of 3 years, so it is important that individuals are fully aware of what it entails.

31. How long does it take to become a member of “LE DROIT HUMAIN”?

It can take a while, perhaps up to half a year, depending on what time of year the process starts. This is done carefully to ensure that the applicant is not acting rashly, but has a sincere desire to become a Freemason.

32. How much does membership cost?

A monthly fee is paid, which is kept as low as possible, as only the actual costs are covered (rent, equipment, flyers, etc.).

In addition, a fee is charged for the admission and for each subsequent degree. Everything else is included in these amounts.

At each lodge meeting, voluntary contributions are also collected for charitable causes.

33. Where can I learn more?

If you have any further questions and/or have been inspired to become a Freemason, you can contact us by phone or email, no matter where in Scandinavia you live. For more information, see the CONTACT page or LODGES page.