Shriners: Ancient Arabic Freemasonry OrderLondon Regalia
Whenever someone studies or mentions Freemasonry and its spiritual existence. We immediately thinks about the grand temples in London and new jersey. Although it is true that modern Freemasonry has been started from these places. But even among Freemasons there are some who hold more prestige then the others. these are the ones who claim their descent from an even older order of Knights Templar. they certainly has a very unique story to tell. this certainly is also one of the most fascinating story to come out of various Masonic folklore.
it is also very interesting to note that while Masonic traditions are strongly opposed in the Islamic realm. Shriners have gone one set further and have adopted several middle eastern and Islamic emblem and symbolism. one of the biggest example of this property is the name of their temple which has been fashioned as “Mecca temple”. there are many other aspects about the Shriners which actually serves to stand them apart from the rest of the Masons.
Although Shriners actually trace their Origins from Knights Templar. the modern Shriners are actually based out of Tampa Florida. in the folklore it is said that Knights Templars had immense Knowledge, science and wealth due to their interactions with the Arabs. when they returned, they used their wealth to help the downtrodden and their Knowledge and leading science also garner them immense power. they quickly grew to become so powerful that both the King and Pope started seeing them with envy. although the Knights Templars never directly challenged them or never had the intentions of doing so.
Nevertheless, the King and The Pope never had any intentions of sharing the power. They quickly started to hatch schemes to suppress the Knights Templar and while the Church started to excommunicate them for petty reasons, the authorities were also Directed by the King to imprison them and execute them. This actually forced the Knights Templar to act but keeping in mind the Honor and chivalry of character they refused to take up arms and thus established the society of nobles of mystic shrines which has now came to be known as The Shriners.
The history of contemporary initiation of the Shriners is as fascinating as the history of its founding. in order to enjoy its history, two names must be kept in the mind, Walter M. Fleming and William M. Fleming. Both these individuals were crucial in the initiation of the order. these men were actually the first ones to be initiate as well. although many more men participate in the discussion of the initiation this order, only Fleming and Florence were the ones who pursued it seriously.
For his part, Florence travelled thoroughly to France where he met an Arab diplomat and joined a secret society and then travelled throughout the middle east including Algiers and Cairo as well. Upon his return, he discussed the events with Fleming and showed him his material as well that he gathered through his travels. Fleming was the main man behind the Founding and initiation of the order as he acquired land for it as well as designed regalia for it
Shriners Masonic Regalia:
Shriners Masonic regalia differs from the other orders Masonic regalia. its most prominent feature is the Masonic cap worn by its Masons. Masonic caps in Shriner regalia are different from the ones in general Masonic regalia. They have a distinct middle eastern look. It matches the ottoman hats worn by majority of the people in middle east which is the reminder of the Middle easts historical ties with the ottoman empire. Furthermore Masonic regalia of the Shriners is also distinctive due to the fact that other than ceremonial purposes, they do not have a big emphasis on the Masonic Aprons. it is also one of the only few Masonic Orders to have a Masonic tie for the Masonic attire.
A rule of thumb is that every Shriner is a mason, however every mason is not a Shriner. One can join The Shriners only after their Scottish rite or York rite. Although a Master Mason can usually join them as well. Furthermore, Shriners are based out of Tampa, Florida. they have actually renamed their masonic halls as well. They do not call them temples but as Shrine. In fact the central Place of gathering is Know as as Shrine auditoriums. Furthermore they used to gather and hold rituals at Mecca Temple in Florida. Which was also rename as Mecca Shrine as well.
Women in Shriners:
Shriners are Unique among the Freemasonry as they allow women to join the ranks of the Shriners as well. Although women can join Shriners in all roles and capacities. It is a fact that only the women related to the Shriners are able to join the Masonic order.
One of the basic activities of the Shriners is the Philanthropy. Shriners all across the globe are actively donating into the society. They have been monumental in the establishment of Major Hospitals around the globe as well. However, most of their architecture and philanthropy is geographically resident to Florida due to their origin around that area. However, Shriners do not shy away from donating to anyone who is in need of their funds. Shriners also have a very explicit code of brotherhood and fraternity.
Shriners is a very unique order of Masonic Tradition. not everyone gets to be a Shriner. In their Masonic lifetime, only a handful of them ever gets to be a Shriner. Its an exclusive group within the most exclusive of the masons. This exclusiveness is also very well in their name. Shriners from their very basic origins help the downtrodden. The modern day Shriners have also been keeping up with this tradition. Furthermore, Shriners have also crafted a unique identity in the way they dress. Also it is true that Shriners are only a few of Masonic orders that admit women.