Lodge Light of Africa, No. 233, Durban
The International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Woman, Le Droit Humain, South Africa.
Le Droit Humain
The International Order of Freemasonry for men and women, Le Droit Humain, is founded on the ancient teachings and traditions of Freemasonry, and works to the glory of the Great Architect of the Universe and/or to the progress of humanity. On an individual level, it strives ”to promote the progress of individual worth, without the imposition of dogma, or exacting the abandonment of cultural or religious ideas”. On a collective level “it works to unite men and women who agree on a humanist spirituality whilst respecting individual and cultural differences”.
Freemasonry is a pathway of initiation, free from dogma, inspired by the search for truth, an understanding of human consciousness – a science of the spirit. Masonic ritual and symbolism are the tools Freemasons use on that journey, whether this is their personal spiritual path towards the progress of mankind; to liberty, equality and fraternity – human rights, Le Droit Humain.
In contrast with other Masonic organisations which operate in national or state jurisdiction only, Le Droit Humain is a global fraternity with many Federations and Jurisdictions worldwide, each of which work the Scottish Rite from the 1st to the 33rd degree. The Order is administered by the Supreme Council, which has its headquarters in Paris. Within the International Constitution, however, member Federations have the freedom of self-governance. Membership of which is available to men and women on equal terms, regardless of nationality, religion or ethnicity.
Masonic work takes place during “Meetings” in a room called a “Temple”. The work follows a ritual and symbolic method, which finds its roots in the tradition of Universal Freemasonry.
Throughout the Meeting, the ritual joins the masons together in a context which isolates them from the bustle of the outside world. Every member can express his opinion, calmly and frankly, in total liberty and in complete confidence, after having asked for leave to speak. All points of view are examined in a spirit of tolerance and fraternity.
The Entered Apprentices are subject to the Law of Silence, which corresponds to a period of reflection.
Within Federations members take part in the study of annual questions, both social and symbolic. Studies with social outcomes can be made the subject of syntheses brought to the notice of the outer world, and thus be used by law givers.
As well as this, all Lodges are invited to study an international question, the report of which is presented to the International Conventions.
Apart from these questions, all other philosophical, symbolical or social themes may be studied in a Lodge. Regular attendance at Lodge Meetings is essential, bearing in mind the importance of experiencing the Meeting. No one can become “a Mason” in the full meaning of the term, if he/she does not attend regularly. It is, in point of fact, in the Lodge and through reflection, the exchange of ideas, and taking part in Meetings, that one becomes a Freemason.
Every human being, no matter his origins or level of intelligence, is able to work on himself, research and reflect.
As the Saying of Socrates goes: “Know thyself”.
Masonic progress is not summed up by an intellectual approach, but it appeals to intuition, the imagination, the creative and the emotional, i.e. the entirety of the philosophical process of the Human Being.
It is through a common language (that of symbols), on the basis of a common culture (that of tradition), and the support of the ritual, that Freemasons arrive at a quality of listening and of dialogue which favours the exchange of ideas and prepares the Future.
The Great Architect of the Universe
Can you be a freemason if you are… an atheist?
The reference to the “Great Architect of the Universe” (formerly the “Supreme Being” found in the French Constitution) does not necessitate the belief in a personal deity or in any deity. It does not contradict such a belief either, and it does not imply it.
The “Great Architect of the Universe” can of course be understood to be the god(s) of any religion our members may adhere to, and it can also be “science” or “human consciousness”, etc..
For Freemasons, the concept of “Great Architect of the Universe” is an organizing principle rather than a dogmatic belief. Freemasonry does not offer dogmas.