is first of all an alliance between free men from all
creeds and from all social horizons. Based on tolerance,
it is enriched with this confessional and social
diversity which lights up into a common cause: that of
following one’s own path towards self perfection.
For this, Freemasonry furnishes Symbolic and
Traditional tools to anyone who would like to improve
himself. It is with an experience of life and a teaching
of moral conduct where one can attain improvement by
It is a brotherhood which permits to enrich oneself
from others’ experiences and to reply practically to
problems about which our epoch poses to each and
everyone across a multitude of points of view.
"Modernity" is no longer associated to a monolithic idea
but takes into account the complexity and the richness
of our various connections.
It is a spiritual step, structured in as much as a
humane organisation and as a way of life. The Masonic
Organisation is there to assure freedom and independence
in one’s work as well as securing collective support.
The road is made of stages which permit regular progress
without any possibility of conferring powers.
With this mixture of individual liberty and
Tradition, which could seem surprising, Freemasonry has
been able to survive intact from the 18th Century until
now, remaining simultaneously unchanged and yet never
An alliance of free men
It appears to be as just important to cultivate the
freedom of others rather than one’s own freedom. As
regards to the other person’s freedom, not only would
one enrich one’s own thoughts and experiences, but
moreover we could discover that our own certainties are
no more necessarily so definite. It is no way an attempt
to achieve a certain syncretism between religions and
humanism, but to open one’s mind to the various
universal cultures which have contributed to the
enrichment of human thought. Whilst respecting the
liberty of others, one achieves one’s own liberty,
outside all other schemata, customs and beliefs that we
have unconsciously adopted. Man is linked to many
national and religious traditions. So, it is not really
a question of denying one’s beliefs, but to adopt them
in full conscience and in entire liberty.
Finally, this liberty can be exercised extending even
to the possibility of leaving the association at any
time should the Masonic movement not coincide with one’s
A path of education for life
The biological unit of humanity presupposes the
suppression of racism. There is no one man superior or
inferior to another, but only a great ethnical and
cultural diversity associated with differing degrees in
the evolution of human societies. Being interdependent
with all beings in the universe, from the infinitely
small to the infinitely great, and being conscious, Man
feels united to the eternal spirit, Soul or Architecture
of the Cosmos, symbol of perfection, without dogmatic
Teachings of moral conduct
The word "moral", thrown away at a certain epoch as
dogmatic and taken back today in the name of "ethics",
covers several meanings. In the Masonic way of personal
perfection, it can signify something quite simple and
takes a part of this work towards liberty, thereby
knowing how to put our thoughts and acts into concert.
This agreement is far from being easy to do within the
context of contemporary life and needs courage.
In searching one’s perfection, it is important to
find a group of people to exchange ideas on the same
route, give support to each other, and to try the virtue
of tolerance. It’s because Freemasonry is a brotherhood
being the consequence of working together and being the
ways and means of advancing each one on his route. This
brotherhood is a deeply felt link which ties us to other
men whether they be Freemasons or not.
A modern approach
Modern man must think on a world scale; he must look
further a field through racial philosophical and
religious barriers which often separate him from others.
Dogmatism in all its forms can only be negative in
today’s world. Freemasonry is an experience which shows
that universality is not and indeed should not be
synonym to uniformity, but to the contrary.
A spiritual step
In order to succeed in maintaining such diversity in
harmony, traditional Freemasonry calls upon the superior
principle which surpasses the material, social and
religious reality. Certain people would call it " God",
others "Energy", but we in Masonry would call the "Grand
Architect of the Universe" in order not to enter into
futile discussions. The combination of faith in a
superior being or principle and a method of self
perfection turns it into a spiritual approach in its
An organised society
Freemasons work together in Lodges which in
themselves are formed into Grand Lodges or Grand
Orients. Each Lodge consists of a committee (college)
and a president (Worshipful Master) just as in any
society. In the same vein Grand Lodges have a Grand
College. This structure does not set up a hierarchy but
an organisation. The College has the role of
co-ordinating the work in Lodge as well as the Grand
Lodges co-ordinate the Lodges’ activities. In order to
ensure that this organisation should not install any
kind of individual authority within itself, the Colleges
and Grand Colleges are elected compulsorily at regular
intervals. The absolute principle is: “Free Masons in
Free Lodges”. The Freemason must obey only to one thing:
the obligation that he has made within himself; to work
towards his own perfection with respect to his own
movement, which he has chosen to do himself in complete
An organised approach
The Masonic method is structured with three systems
of grades or degrees: the ritual. The richness of the
allegories is immense, because one can only advance step
by step, the Masonic method being structured with a
system by degrees constituting the number of steps to be
taken. The fact of having accomplished a step does not
confer any superiority on those who have not yet
attained it, if only to have the duty to help them to
advance too. Each Grade has its own experience and
symbolism on which the Freemason is called upon to
Just to say what Freemasonry is not, simply by comparing
it to what it is, is completely insufficient evidence to
show what it really is. However, it would be opportune
to elucidate certain misunderstandings about it, having
been goaded on by hearsay evidence.
Freemasonry does not practice “proselytism” otherwise
one would know much more about its existence, its aims,
It is not an elitist society as the main recruitment
criterion is one’s own sincere will to improve one’s
self, and for that, financially, it asks annual
subscriptions just as in any other association. It is
neither a philanthropic society nor a commercialised
society as seen in certain service clubs.
In spite of the fact that many Obediences do not
admit women, this does not signify that Freemasonry is
reserved exclusively to men as there exists equally
feminine and mixed Obediences.
Freemasonry is neither a religion nor a sect, but a
spiritual approach based on everyone’s liberty and on
reciprocal tolerance. It accepts members from all
It is not a secret society because it has been
constituted as an officially recognised association and
that its existence and its purposes are known to the
public in general.
It is neither an occultist society, as its works
repose only on the commune mixing of its members’
reflections and the sharing of mutual experiences by
using tools in a symbolic manner.
A proselyte society
Freemasonry does not proselytise converts, because
the essence of it is that a candidate feels called to
share the Freemason’s way of life through freedom of
choice and being uninfluenced in his decision. It is
typical to find that prospective candidates, wanting to
become Freemasons, feel the necessity to evolve with
open minds and moreover, they have only met this same
kind of spirit with those people who have ultimately
made themselves known as Freemasons. It existed in the
past, when entry into Freemasonry could only be made
possible if a certain number of Freemasons recommended
one’s admission. Today, this is not so.
An elitist society
Freemasonry cannot be comprised of a social or an
economic elite, simply for the reason that it derives
its richness from the diversity of its members (and not
from their purses).
All the same, we would ask if that person is
sincerely seeking to work for his own improvement.
Consequently, Freemasonry is not organised like a Club
of services and it is not the place where interested and
commercial affairs should exist.
Financially, subscriptions are not much more higher
than in most societies, sporting or other, and should
therefore not cause an obstacle to any one who would
sincerely want to make this step.
A philanthropic society
Freemasonry is not a philanthropic society, because
it aims to improve its members first. Naturally, one
hopes that the work carried out on oneself will radiate
favourably out on the whole of society, but this should
only be the consequence of one’s action and not the sole
and primary aim in itself. This being said and done,
love of one’s neighbour passes also, but not exclusively,
by the practice of Charity.
A misogynous society
The Grand Lodge of Switzerland ALPINA is exclusively
masculine. This does not mean that Freemasonry is
entirely so. There exist in fact Obediences which are
exclusively feminine as well as being “mixed”. On the
one hand, Freemasonry came from the Middle Ages’ system
of “Compagnonnage” and it is thereby that it inherits a
masculine Tradition. On the other hand, one’s personal
work touches men’s feelings differently from those of
women. (Man is from Mars, and Woman is from Venus!). One
can therefore choose freely, whether to share this with
persons of the other sex, for which one can enter into a
mixed Obedience, or to live this sharing separately, for
which one can join a masculine or feminine Obedience,
whether being a man or a woman accordingly.
Neither a religion nor a sect
Freemasonry cannot be either a religion nor a sect,
quite simply because this would go against the
principles of Tolerance and against the respect of every
individual’s liberty. Its functioning relies on the
absolute prohibition of being forced to share another’s
convictions, whether religious or political ones. If its
Traditions are fully respected, the whole Masonic
organisation is conceived to enable each member to forge
his own way, by enriching himself with that diversity of
living experiences and opinions. It is certainly not the
case of one person’s point of view predominating over
others, no matter who he may be, even if he claims to
hold the unique truth.
Contrary to what happens in most sects, one may leave
Freemasonry freely. Really, what it proposes is a method,
but Freemasonry does not impose its will against yours -
it really is a way which must have been chosen freely.
If however it does not correspond to what one feels, it
would be suitable to give in one’s resignation.
A secret society
Free-masonry is not a secret society because there is
no mystery as to its existence nor as to its purposes.
Moreover, most of it symbols and rituals can be found in
any library. If we seek to keep our rituals secret, this
is to enable candidates to live fully what he must
experience alone. It is because of this that he should
make up his own mind, understanding thereby what
Freemasonry can offer him. Also, this forms part of the
respect towards the other members’ liberty, inasmuch as
the discretion of not saying who is also a Freemason. It
is up to each member to decide alone the opportune
moment of revealing himself as a Freemason in accordance
with the climatic tolerance found in his social and
Une société occultiste
One must not mistake occultism with esoteric.
Occultism relies on practices with a more or less magic
character whilst esoteric (which literally means the
inward path) is a method on which reposes personal
experience. The "esoteric" is opposed to "exoteric"
which is the exterior way in which "truth" is imposed
upon by others. In this sense, Freemasonry is an
esoteric society, but not occultist. If rituals are
practised, they are there to propose experiences on
which the Freemasons may meditate on and work on freely.
These rituals are indispensable if we should not want
the work to remain only intellectual: it’s not words
that make ourselves better but experiences.