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The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the origins of Scottish Freemasonry. Scottish medieval Masons, like their English counterparts, had long before the seventeenth century had lodges associated with individual building sites, made up of the Masons working on them. The lodge may only have comprised Boiss and an apprentice or two, but it was clearly regarded as an institution with an agreed body of traditions and regulations. The Protestant Reformation of 1560, and the long period of political instability that followed it, must have severely disrupted the Masons' trade. Hermeticism, supposedly derived from the teaching of an ancient Egyptian sage, Hermes Trimegistus, stressed the occult nature of true wisdom. The most valuable wisdom was secret, with knowledge of it limited to initiates. One way in which the spread of the knowledge that stonemasons had intriguing secrets can be traced is by the popularity of the Old Charges.

Keywords: ancient Egyptian sage; Hermeticism; Masons' trade; Old Charges; Scottish Freemasonry

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