You might be asking yourselves why women need to be Freemasons, but the answer is quite straightforward. Whatever men have found in Freemasonry and whatever spiritual benefits they have obtained from their membership, this too have women found. What brother, who in circumstances of unforeseen calamity and misfortune has not appreciated the living circle of his or her fellow brethren. What brother, man or woman has not been moved by the poetry of the ritual and what brother, man or woman has not pondered the significance of it’s meaning in relation to his or her own life.
We hope that this page will provide you with an insight into the reasons why women have fought to become Freemasons and why they were and still are determined that future generations of women should be able to benefit from their efforts.
This has been written by Penny, a member of Gothic Lodge no 27.
After months of anticipation the day of my initiation finally arrived. How did I feel? Nervous, excited, apprehensive, but predominately gloriously expectant!
I boarded the train for London wondering how I would feel in a few hours time. What would happen? How would I react? Would it change my life?
I was warmly greeted on my arrival which immediately put me at my ease. There was an atmosphere of excitement and lots of activity. I was ushered into a quiet room to be prepared for the ceremony.
After a short wait the moment arrived! I had fully expected to feel emotional – anything ceremonial has that effect on me, but I was totally overwhelmed. The beautiful words brought tears to my eyes and the care with which I was treated made me feel so cherished and accepted. I felt I was becoming part of something so amazing, so wonderful.
It was over, but it was not the end. It was the beginning, the beginning of my journey in freemasonry, perhaps (hopefully) the beginning of me being me! I want to learn more, do more, be more. I really feel that this could be the start of that journey – enabled by the love and support of this wonderful fraternity.
Penny is now the Worshipful Master of Sussex Lodge No. 17.
We hope you will enjoy reading the following article, written more than seventy years ago in 1936 by a newly Initiated member of Stability Lodge No 1, Bro Alice M.Board. Although to our modern eyes the language may seem flowery nevertheless the sentiments expressed must surely resonate with us still.
“I was made an Entered Apprentice Freemason, and surely no workman throughout the ages had been initiated into his craft with more pride and ecstasy of spirit than I. The words which fell upon my ears were as music , and the sweetest that l had heard. I marvelled at their clear, yet deep meaning, their wisdom, their spiritual messages, and as l passed through the stages of an Entered Apprentice my soul swelled and glowed. God had never been so near to me. l felt that my feet were treading upon the holy ground of His Temple. I inwardly cried “Let my feet be firm and sure that l may tread, without falter, upon this foundation.”
When I had reached the end of my journey through that vale of wonderment, my heart which had been overflowing with gratitude, became sad with a sense of injustice as my mind swiftly sped back through the ages. Why had women been so long shut away from this wealth of beauty? Why had man hugged his secrets and mysteries so closely to his breast? He had not spared one crumb from his plentiful table for the woman who toiled patiently at his side.
God made man – God made woman – He gave them both eyes to see the sun rise and set – He gave them ears to hear the chorus of birds at morning and eventide, and minds to think heavenly thoughts – then why, my heart questioned, had man delved from the past this treasure of faith, hope and charity , and had kept its pages hidden from the sight of woman?
An answer came – they did not understand, they did not realise that woman’s heart was large enough to hold so vast a domain of knowledge. But whilst they sped through the years absorbed in their own thoughts and actions, woman watched and learnt. Their learning and untiring efforts throughout the past 22 years have proved that they are fit and proper beings to be admitted into the mystical chamber. Their hearts are worthy of the trust and honour, and as the years pass away, men must, and will, realise that they may link hands with the companions who work by their side, and journey through the land of wisdom and enlightenment together.
l have learned so much from my first glimpse, and my pulse beats fast with the anticipation of the many more treasures which will soon be mine. At the moment, l wait inside the gates, until bidden to tread further into the garden, and as l wait a prayer floats from my lips to heaven, that all women will one day knock at those gates and receive admittance.”
It is hard to imagine the sense of achievement which our early Brethren felt. Against all the odds; the attitude of society towards women in general and the attitude of their male counterparts; they had achieved what must have seemed to them to be the impossible – the establishment of a women’s Fraternity
It may interest you to know that our longest serving member, the late Right Wor Bro Edith Saunders, Past Deputy Grand Master,b1905 -d2005 remembered Alice Board, who went into the Chair of Stability Lodge No 1 on two occasions.