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So you want to be a Freemason?

In this book Julian Rees explains what a candidate for Masonic Initiation should know before he joins Freemasonry, but may be too afraid to ask. This essential guide explains in straightforward terms all the practicalities of becoming a Mason. Subjects covered include a short history of Freemasonry, an overview of the many Orders in the Craft, an account of some famous Freemasons, a detailed account of what you need to know before becoming a Freemason, what happens on the night of the initiation, and information on the world of Freemasonry. The book also contains a handy glossary of Masonic terms. This book is an essential read for anyone considering becoming a Freemason, anyone who has just joined Freemasonry and is unsure of all of the strict routines and procedures within the Craft, and also perhaps for established Freemasons who need a reminder about what it means to be a Freemason. Written by a leading high-profile freemason, this is a must have purchase for all prospective Freemasons throughout the country.


Author Julian Rees is no stranger to readers of Freemasonry Today. He was Deputy Editor for some years and during that time produced many articles and interviews. He has a wide knowledge of Craft ritual and the often complex organisation of the Craft itself. All his experience has been succinctly summarised in this well-written and informative book, So you want to be a Freemason? That it serves a real need is self-evident.

The book’s aim is to explain to a potential candidate what he might expect from Freemasonry and what Freemasonry might expect from him. Should he decide to join, then he would do so knowing that it was right for him. In this way it addresses two points of debate within Freemasonry: attracting the right candidates and retaining their interest after the Degrees have been taken.

Most importantly, for the uninitiated, Rees explains that ‘Symbolism lies at the very core of Freemasonry, and enables the language of the message in Freemasonry to unfold in a way that goes beyond words.’

One difficulty we face in the modem world is that we are no longer naturally familiar with symbols as expressions of meaning which can be read in depth; too often we see them simply as signs like advertising hoardings.

He also makes it clear that ‘Freemasonry is a journey of self-discovery’ and ‘that Freemasons are not better than other people, but they do believe that Freemasonry can help them to become better than they are.’ It is important for any potential initiate to realise the strong morality which lies at the heart of our Craft.

But Rees is not solely concerned with masonic symbolism and ritual, he also explains many practical matters which at first so often seem very complicated. These include the structure of a lodge, regalia, ceremonies, initiation, the way that Freemasonry is organised, its costs, a Freemason’s commitments, the masonic charities, other Orders and Degrees, and the variety of lodges – some might have an ecclectic membership, others might draw men of shared interests – and the differences in masonic jurisdictions around the world.

This is a simple yet comprehensive book which ably fulfils its aim of giving information and reassurance to potential initiates; anyone seeking to join Freemasonry would certainly benefit from reading this first.

Michael Baigent

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