Is co-Masonry different?

Some Freemasons object that the initiation of a woman would be inappropriate. Some even claim that their wives would object if their lodges initiated women. Are these initiations really that inappropriate?

You probably saw images similar to the one on the right. Sure, there may be lodges in which the candidate looks something akin to this, but I think there are many more lodges where the candidate does not.

Already in the 18th century there were lodges that were of the opinion that you couldn’t do that to a gentleman and clothing requirements were adjusted. Besides, there are wholly different traditions for initiates. Let me put it this way. I have seen quite some ladies being initiated and this was never in any way inappropriate. Have co-Masonic rituals been changed to accommodate the initiation of women? I don’t believe so. As far as I have seen the initiations, they go back to another tradition than the one you see in the image above and men and women wear something similar in that other tradition.

Have other things been changed? Not that I’m aware of. I think the clothing is what tickles the fantasies most and there’s nothing fancy to say about that for the rest, there aren’t bigger differences between “traditional” and mixed gender initiations than between the different rituals within co-Masonry.

On women in lodge

There are those who think that they wouldn’t be able to keep their minds to ‘the work’ when there were women present. I wonder if they can’t do their jobs either if there’s a female colleague around. Besides, this is a mute argument, since in most “traditional” lodges homosexual men are allowed to join. It’s can’t be just sexual tension to disallow women.

Sure, a lodge with members of all genders will be different from a lodge of old men, but isn’t a lodge of young men just as different from the old-men’s lodge? Or isn’t a lodge with a lot of variety in nationalism not much different from a lodge with mostly people of similar background?

I must admit, most schisms occur within mixed gender grand lodges. The first mixed gender grand lodge, Le Droit Humain has suffered schisms in (almost?) every country where it set foot. These split-offs have often split as well. Is this due to the presence of multiple genders or are they the pangs of young organisations which still have to find their own identities?

Other differences

But co-Masonry is a bunch of atheists then? Nope, not by definition.
Wait, you’re all Theosophists? Neither this is true.
co-Masonry is an international organisation, contrary to grand lodges per country within “traditional” Freemasonry? This may be true for the oldest organisation Le Droit Humain and also for some others, but not for all.
The “blue degrees” seamlessly go over in the ‘higher degrees’? Again, this may be the case within Le Droit Humain, but not in every mixed gender or women-only grand lodge.

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