Many Brethren and scholars of Freemasonry have noted that the Grand Lodge of England was first established in 1717, and since this year the principles and tenants of Freemasonry have been regarded with respect by both male and female Masons. Arthur H. Weiss, Senior Grand Warden of Masons in California, noted that “Freemasonry’s lessons are universally relevant, and although our fraternity adheres to Anderson’s Constitutions, feminine elements are a part of it – through its symbolism and through the women in our lives. Women feel the same need as men to build true and lasting friendships, to foster growth within themselves and to have a positive impact on society.” In other words, the tenants of Freemasonry for women and men are universally similar and have the same appeal.
Freemasonry for women has greatly evolved since the founding of the Grand Lodge of California over 300 year ago. In other countries, like France, Freemasonry worked in mixed lodges under the Rite of Adoption until the year 1808 due to the Grand Orient de France declared this as unconstitutional. Fast forward to the year 1901, these mixed Lodges transformed into female-only Lodges. In 1959, the Grand Loge Feminine de France was formed utilizing craft Masonry ritual and customs. Since the formation of the Grand Loge Feminine de France, more lodges geared towards freemasonry for women popped up all across central Europe and the United States.
While all of this was happening, it is important to note that the Rite of Adoption did not completely fade away. In 1850, 109 years prior to the Grand Loge Feminine de France, the Order of Eastern Star was formed. Then in 1893, a variation of the prior versions of mixed Masonry was created, which later became known as the International Order of Co-Freemasonry.
As of November 2017, the Women’s Grand Lodge of California was established, which shares the same Installation ceremony used by the Grand Lodge of California for men. Today, there are three feminine Lodges that operate in California that share the same desire to seek the light of truth, make a positive impact on society and those in need, while sharing the company of people who focus on achieving a strong moral character.
Right Worshipful, Arthur Weiss, implored all Masons in California to “work together to make our beloved fraternity, and this world, a brighter, better place.” To read the full article of this executive message, please visit the California Freemason magazine website.