Uncovering Masonry

Tadeusz Cegielski Speaks About the Freemasonry Exhibit in the Museum of Ethnography

Part One: What is Freemasonry?

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What Is Freemasonry? (130MB)

The National Museum of Ethnography in Warsaw has played a colossal role in promoting knowledge of Freemasonry by, in 1995, organising the first exhibition in the history of Polish museology devoted entirely to the Royal Craft of Masonry, and today, in July 2012, by devoting a hall in the museum to the Legend of Hiram Abiff. The exhibits here explain to us what takes place in a Masonic lodge; what happens when the candidate — in other words the petitioner, a person who is not yet a Mason — begins the journey of initiation.

The exhibit placards explain the Hiramic Legend, the Legend of Hiram, as connected with the Degree of Master Mason, and reveal how new Masons become Masters by identifying themselves with Hiram.

In looking at these exhibits, we should not only read the explanations that the authors of the exhibition have provided for us, explanations that are clues that speak of, that open up, a path and, at the same time, lead to a new secret. It is left to us to follow the path that has been laid out, by which an ordinary man becomes an experienced Master and learns the secret of the Word.

We should also take note that the creators of this exhibition have treated Freemasonry in a very modern way. On the one hand they have shown us the history of Freemasonry as a phenomenon that has a long tradition — that has many traditions behind it — but, at the same time, as a phenomenon that exists here and now in the present day.

We will learn, among other things, about modern Masonic bodies, about Masonic bodies in modern Poland: of which there are quite a few, of which there are many. We will learn from this exhibition one very important fact — that Freemasonry is not one. There is not one Freemasonry. There are various Freemasonries. There is one, which the British call 'mainstream', a stream with which the National Grand Lodge of Poland identifies itself, a Grand Lodge that was created at the cusp of the Second Republic. But there is also, for example, the Freemasonry of the Grand Orient of Poland, which is allied to the worldwide mixed jurisdiction of Le Droit Humain, a structure, an obedience that is Masonic and accepts both men and women. And that there are yet other forms of Masonry. So here we have information about not only the current situation, but we can also see the journals, bulletins and magazines published, in the form of the printed word, by these organisations.

Part Six