By WB Daniel Genchi
Ancient Freemasonry has its roots in the fraternities of stonemasons that emerged in the Middle Ages. These stonemasons were skilled craftsmen who built the castles, cathedrals, and other structures that dominate the landscape of Europe.
The origins of Freemasonry can be traced back to the medieval guilds of stonemasons in Europe, which were organizations of craftsmen who worked with stone. These guilds were responsible for training new stonemasons, setting standards for their work, and regulating their behavior.
The stonemason guilds were organized around the idea of a "mystery" – a secret body of knowledge that was passed down from one generation of stonemasons to the next. This mystery was closely guarded, and only those who had been initiated into the guild were privy to its secrets.
One of the central mysteries of the stonemason guilds was the "procession of the sun," which was a concept that was tied to the movement of the sun through the sky. The procession of the sun was seen as a metaphor for the journey of the soul, and it was believed that those who understood this mystery were able to unlock the secrets of the universe.
As the stonemason guilds became more widespread, they began to attract members from a wider range of professions, including architects, surveyors, and even intellectuals. These non-stonemason members were referred to as "accepted Masons," and they were initiated into the guilds in a ceremony that was similar to the initiation ceremonies of the stonemasons.
The accepted Masons were given a new name – "Freemasons" – which referred to their status as members of a "free" society, rather than being bound to a particular trade or profession.
Over time, the Freemasons began to develop their own rituals and symbols, which were based on the symbolism of the stonemason guilds but also incorporated elements from other sources, such as the mythology of ancient civilizations.
The Freemasons also began to see themselves as a fraternity that was dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement. They saw themselves as a brotherhood of men who were committed to helping one another, both spiritually and materially.
Today, Freemasonry is a global organization with millions of members, and it continues to be based on the principles of brotherhood, charity, and the pursuit of knowledge. Although it is no longer exclusively for stonemasons, the connection to the ancient mystery of the procession of the sun remains a central part of its symbolism and teachings.