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Stone mason's Masonic hand-shakes


Cross Country Pilot
it is all available via Google if you search for it....

if you find a couple of sources saying the same thing chances are you've got the answer
I know very little about Masons but from what I know of internet sources, I'd say that finding two the same is no guarantee of accuracy - they're just as likely to be just clones of some other false source.


Cross Country Pilot
respectfully i disagree

if you know what to search, it is very easy to find what goes on at meetings, i can't say i found anything "wrong" or "incorrect" - there are different ways of doing things and these kinds of variations you might find but the general format is the same...

...there is however only one handshake I am aware of regardless of the different orders or style of masonry there are


Cross Country Pilot
The internet is indeed an echo chamber (much like London) therfore dodgy stuff gains credence by being repeated.

My brother-in-law sometimes wears a square-and-compass lapel badge but I don't risk a friendship by asking too many questions.

There certainly are different levels of seniority. What would be a good search phrase to use on Duck Duck Go?


Cross Country Pilot
Interesting that you know that the answers are correct, but are they complete?

Anyway, it'll be a long time before that mode of comminication can be used again - be it Masonic or otherwise. There is something about a hand-shake which indicates a degree of sincerity and character. I just wish I understood the code better.


Cross Country Pilot
Interesting that you know that the answers are correct, but are they complete?
I know because I am a Mason - easy when the answers are known!

how do you mean "complete"? I have found full and correct answers very quickly on the grip via Google, i guess the "complete" part is when to use them, but you'd only need to know that information if you were a Mason yourself - and by default you'd know the right from wrong
Hi PilotPete,
You may not be allowed by Mason rules to tell us, especially on public site like this, but apart from buzz of being part of a big boys' version of the six form "in crowd" what's the actual point of being in the Masons? I know you fund a chunk of charitable work (good on you all for that) but what's the fun in the secret signs and ritual?
I doubt this is a new question to you.
Thanks, whatever the reply.

Mike Calvert

Staff member
Without wishing to be disrespectful in anyway to the Masons, I now can't think of them without thinking about the Simpsons 'Stonecutters' episode :ROFLMAO::oops:


Cross Country Pilot
actual point of being in the Masons?
think of it as a boys club basically.

a chance to meet up with likeminded males, build friendships and make connections socially.

I know you fund a chunk of charitable work (good on you all for that)
in each and every meeting i have attended this plays a part, be it in the simplest form of a raffle for the evening, right up to organising a fundraiser, or discussing a request for funds, which could be £100 or £1000
what's the fun in the secret signs and ritual?
a friend of mine described it better than i could.

"the Freemasons are an organisation with secrets rather than a secret organisation."

as such happy to discuss the elements which don't give anything away

Lodge meetings fit around a Ceremonial aspect and then a social one.
the "Ceremonial" part is in effect a play, where members are taken through a story based on Freemasonry of old. each "play", or ritual, progresses an individual along the path of a Freemason through the various degrees (of which there are three main degrees). once passed the third, (a Master Mason) you are invited to take part in the ceremony to aid someone else through their degrees.

each degree (initiation, passing and raising) has 7 or so roles within it, the level of involvement differs for each of those 8 throughout the three degrees.

so once a Master Mason, you're invited to be one of these 8 roles, you complete that for a season (typically 6 meetings a year) before moving onto the next role, getting closer to the Worshipful Master role (see below) so about 10 years after joining, you could have completed your installation and each of the different ceremonial roles, and then sit and watch others who came after you do the same
(there are options to move up the stages, to a county level or nation although not something I am interested in to discuss with any authority)
in a year (for me at least) the program would be along the lines of
>Installation – the ceremonial process of appointing the “worshipful Master” – the “top dog” for that year –consider that like the club chairman for that year.
>At least one 1st degree, 2nd degree and 3rd degree

Filling the other two meetings as required – all depends how many candidates a Lodge gets in a year. Typically we’d have two so would complete two 1st degrees and then 2 seconds then a third – the next season starting with a third (to “finish off” the second candidate) then back to the first for the new candidate…etc

But timings didn’t always work out that way – the second candidate may appear part way through the year (so could be install, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 3rd,2nd) the aim is to always have an Installed Master/worshipful master complete all three ceremonies in his year with a good chance one will be repeated*

The signs and symbols, are often not secret and seen daily in everyday life – but the meanings behind them may have a secret, or represent something that is specifically Masonic which is not know (thus a secret) to none masons.

Each handshake, sign and symbol is explained at each degree thus the further through the degrees the greater the understanding of the signs and symbols. The “secrets” are symbolic, and the idea that Freemasons look after their own is a falsehood (part of the oath is not to profit from membership – both financially or in society) so the chances of getting out of a speeding ticket with a handshake and whispered word is nil.

The secrets are only meaningful to a Mason as is the handshake. I can shake your hand “masonically” and you’d not realise, such is the everyday manner in which they exist, but of course only a Mason would recognise I had done so.

(A good example of this being a fellow Mason had Prince Michael of Kent (also a mason – google him) visit his workplace, and on the site walk around gave him a handshake. The Prince recognised it and they had hushed conversation about their Masonry which raised some eyebrows why my friends was getting such attention!)

The meaning behind the signs, symbols and handshakes is symbolic now (and told as part of the play how they come about) but in short, helped identify friend from foe during times of war.

After the ceremony (about an hour) there is a “festive board” to use the Masonic term – what everyone else calls a formal dinner. Typically three courses which toast at the end and some speeches recognising what took place in the “temple” (room where the ceremonial took place). The festive board, is like any formal dinner a chance to meet people and chit chat (the only topics banned are religion and politics) people discuss their holidays, jobs, how the family are getting on, what was seen on the telly or simply to catch up with friends.

For many Masons this is why they attend. I recall on more than one occasion sitting next to a Mason who was a widower, and the only social aspect in his life was Freemasonry. He was a member of 3 lodges and so 3 times a month had the excuse to dress up and go out and meet friends (and make new ones.)

It is said “freemasonry is built on a foundation of brotherly love” – members are referred to as brothers, Brother Pete in my case, (those who reach high levels Worshipful Brother, or right-worshipful and so on) and is as simple as that – a male social club, built around a ceremony and dinner (or lunch if the meeting is held during the day opposed to the evenings). Many friendships are mason in Lodges and masons meet outside of the formal meeting like any other club might, for a pint and curry, family BBQ or other

As mentioned raffles would be standard at meetings, and certainly for a festive board and would typically raise £120-150 per evening, this money going into a charity chest and the money for that year split between nominated charities Brothers put forward. This could be the national and well known charities such as British Heart Foundation or Cancer Research, or to a local Scout troop, or Church offering assistance to homeless.

Masons are said to be “of mature age and good standing in society” – these days that means 21 years old (although there is always talk of lowering that to 18), and free of a criminal record.

From that a brother can meet anyone at a meeting, I have met policemen, airline pilots, shop keepers, firemen, car sales men, engineering managers, Bankers the lot from a mix of ages between 21 right up to 80s and 90 year olds.

Is it for everyone? Probably not. I joined because a friend of mine (third generation mason) asked if me and my then girlfriend would join a social event** which I did, I attended another and was then later asked if I’d like to join (I guess I made the right impression). I did so out of curiosity to know more and the rest is history.

Gone is the myth that you need to know a Mason to be one, application forms are online and 2 of our candidates from the last 5 came from internet applications.

I hope that answers your questions and perhaps some you didn’t ask – happy to answer more if you like?

*at my lodge one of the meetings was a “past masters” meeting, where former worshipful masters would pick up one of the 8 roles. Some enjoy doing this, being involved with a ceremony again, and worked their way around the roles again, if only with one meeting a year rather than 6.

**aside from Lodge meetings, there are numerous social events such as a ladies night (chance to thank our ladies for putting up with us) Christmas carols service, New Years dinner, Summer BBQ, some do Burns night, or other evenings all of which are open to a Mason’s other half, with some open to the whole family (such as a BBQ), allowing your friends network to expand across the whole family – while at the same time raising money often with a raffle or other event.
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Thanks very much for that fascinating explanation - so it's no more wierd than a Morris Dance club, no more surreptitious than a Round Table club? There's a requirement not to profit from being a Mason; but they do provide handy guys-only networking events between businessmen, complemented by a strong sense of 'belonging' engendered by shared rituals and ceremonies, and a sense of history... and a heirarchy of secrets that draw you in. How does a Mason benefit from being introduced to the deeper secrets? Why do they need to be secret?


Cross Country Pilot
Your comparison with the Round Table is very good as is the bringing together of people. A Mason can profit from the network made, but not simply being a Mason...favours getting ahead of others be that a job interview, being accepted to join a golf club or dodging a speeding ticket is false and a myth.

How does a Mason benefit from being introduced into secrets? It opens up the next level, further up the hierarchy.
Much of my motivation to join at a guess is similar to your motivation to ask questions. I was curious to know more and saw the way to answer these.

Why do they need to be secret?
The handshake and passwords have always been that way. 300 years of history has made it so, would be "odd" to say the least to ignore all that tradition - and the meaning of why they are a secret. As I said before identifying friend from foe/entry to a lodge in a certain degree. You can only enter a lodge held in the second degree if you know the handshakes and password (or learning them as the candidate) for the Second degree and so on. At each level/degree there is another secret to learn.
For some they want it all and progress up the hierarchy and join other "orders"* but most stick with the basics.
I avoid other orders simply based on time. One meeting a month suits me (or rather my wife) and don't have the energetic life to burn off weekly three course meals! 😆

*orders are difficult to explain but include the likes of the Knights Templar to name the most well known. They are side branches to "craft" masonry and include the same format with a slant to a specific form of scripture, with again the Ceremonial ritual (play) acted out in different degrees.
It also removes some of the motivation to join. If you knew all the answers then much of the Freemason's USP disappears.
Hmm. Interesting, thanks. So (over simplifying to an egregious extent) it's the secrets that make it special and are the basis of moving from an outer circle to an inner circle, and from there a circle within that and so on until, pardon the metaphor, you reach the top of the wedding cake.


Cross Country Pilot
that is an interesting video, i didn't watch it all, just a skim through, but a shame he didn't ask more questions as I'd be happy to offer an explanation to many of the questions he asks - but i suppose that isn't the modus operandi of the channel - far better to imply mystery and spooky goings by suggestion on than risk getting the (mundane) answer by inquiring!

unsure why there was such interest to get on the roof, and did laugh at his suggestion the lift has a "peep hole"

he should have got a parking ticket for "parking" in the middle of the road not just the double yellows too! :LOL: