Regarding a letter in The Square

The Square (‘the independent magazine for freemasons‘) brings a letter questioning whether UGLE should recognise those Grand Lodges practicing Swedish Rite who according to this letter, ‘discriminate on the grounds of religion’. I have already said my final piece on this accusation (Swedish Rite … or Wrong?), but the letter (or rather its anonymous writer) gets an important fact wrong, so I need to address that:

I have attempted to find out more about this matter at Grand Lodge but all I have been told is that there exists a second Grand Lodge in Denmark – which I believe – practices the Emulation ritual translated into Danish. (I was actually already aware of this as some of their Grand Officers and members attended a lodge – for which I have a connection – at Freemason’s Hall a few years ago, so I saw them). This begs the question as to why we recognise two Grand Lodges in one country – but that is another matter.

(I believe the parenthesis is a comment from editor Mike Porter.)

First of all, UGLE actually recognises two or more Grand Lodges in several countries, and for good reason, but as the writer says, that is another matter.

More imporantly, it is not the case in Denmark. The situation is that The Danish Order of Freemasons (practising Swedish Rite, with around 8,000 members) is the Grand Lodge of Denmark. Within this organisation is The Ancient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of Denmark (some 1,300 members); they entered a concord with the Order which gave them recognition and semi-autonomy (comparable to a Provincial Grand Lodge); but they accept the authority of the Sovereign Grand Master of the Order, and recognition can not be extended to them as an individual organisation. Many members of the Fraternity join the Order to take the higher degrees (IV-X) of that system.

Also, I have also been told that what they work is Emulation, but it clearly isn’t, nor do they name it so (I believe it’s called ‘Ritual for The Ancient Fraternity of F&AM’ or something like that) – it is a mistake that has crept in somewhere. (Unfortunately their website is being updated, but they used to have quite a bit of information in English, so I shall update this post once it’s back online.)

EDIT: corrected the member numbers with the latest edition of the yearbook.

London: women freemasons

At the museum in Freemasons Hall there is an ongoing exhibition about women’s freemasonry in England to mark the centenary of the first lady freemasons in England. I find the subject very interesting, and we have two women-only lodges in Denmark. Their French origins seem to me more ‘feminine’ than the two English organisations (HFAF and OWF) that have stayed very close to UGLE’s way of doing things; and by that I don’t mean that freemasonry is based on gender, but it seems to me that the Danish women freemasons bring their female character more into their way of doing things. But of course it’s difficult for me to say, from the outside looking in.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t really much to see. Some letters, charters, personal effects and a couple of photos. The stuff that was there was fine, but not very inviting, and I think the background and history could have been presented better. Overall a little bit disappointing.

Telegraph has a handful of pictures from the exhibition (including the one in this post), and Pietre Stones wrote about it.