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Freemasonry is, broadly, the ritual practice of initiated brothers (Freemasons), as orchestrated through the structure of local Masonic lodges, each operating under the jurisdiction of various supreme bodies that govern the rites, degrees, and general hierarchy of the order. The most common of the Freemasonic rites centres on the legend of Hiram Abiff, the Widow's Son, architect of King Solomon's Temple, where each degree of initiation re-enacts a different part of the legend; while Masonic-related side degrees — such as those of the Knights Templar — use different myth structures in their initiations.
At the most basic level, the Masonic fraternity is built outward from Lodges, which constitute the local organisational groups of the broader association of Freemasonry. Each Lodge exists under the leadership of a Worshipful Master and their officers — which will generally include, at minimum, Senior and Junior Warden, Treasurer, Secretary, Senior and Junior Deacon, Stewart, and Tyler. These offices are elected positions, organised in such a way that a Brother Mason will try to progress through each of them; once a Worshipful Master has served their term, they become a Past Master.
Above the level of the Lodge are Grand Lodges, which are peopled by their own elected officers; and above that level, the Grand Lodges or Grand Orients, depending on the jurisdiction that the Grand Lodges (or Lodges) operate under.
Grand Lodges & Orients
- Robinson, John J. (1989), Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, M. Evans & Company, https://amzn.to/2gfQcmR
- Web of Hiram, brad.ac.uk, http://www.brad.ac.uk/webofhiram/ — an electronic database of the Masonic material from the University of Bradford's Special Collections, particularly English and Scottish Masonry