With thousands of members in many countries across the world, the Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternity in the whole world where both men and women can be members.
See our article about women in Freemasonry here.
Following is a brief article about the origins of the Order of the Eastern Star, taking a look at its founders and how it started, and also the similarities and differences between Freemasonry and the Eastern Star.
The Origins of The Eastern Star
The Order of the Eastern Star (OES) was established not too long ago in the late 1800s by Robert Morris. Morris was a famous Masonic author who believed that women should be allowed to partake in the knowledge of Freemasonry.
Throughout the years, he conceived the idea of the Order of the Eastern Star where, since Freemasonry could not allow women to become members, women would be given the opportunity to learn Masonic values and use them for self-improvement through this separate fraternity.
The Order of the Eastern Star unites men and women who share the same values and can learn from each other.
In around 1850, Morris published “The Rosary of the Eastern Star” which contains everything he had been working on – Biblical lessons and heroines, values and principles of the Order, signs, emblems and everything relevant to the OES.
For this reason, Morris is considered to be the father of the OES. He even initiated his wife and daughters.
In 1866, Morris handed over the organisation of the Eastern Star to Robert Macoy, who developed the rituals and degrees and published “Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star” in 1868.
The Order of The Eastern Star & Freemasonry
There are many similarities between Freemasonry and the OES. The OES is based on the same principles of Freemasonry, such as charity, truth, brotherly love and kindness.
Like Freemasonry, it is also aimed at helping others while improving oneself. Another similarity is that the OES requires its’ members to believe in a Supreme Being.
The main difference between the OES and Freemasonry is of course that the OES is made up of both male and female members.
For a man to become a member of the Eastern Star he needs to be a Master Mason and a woman must be related to a Mason – she must either be the wife, daughter, niece etc of a Mason.
The emblem of the Order of the Eastern Star is a five-pointed star, recognized worldwide as the symbol of the organisation. The OES has close to approximately one million members even though the exact number is unknown.
Based on the symbols and teachings of Freemasonry, the Order of the Eastern Star is aimed at allowing women to share the knowledge and self-improvement acquired through Freemasonry, thanks to a separate organisation.
From its’ humble beginnings by Robert Morris, the OES has become the largest male and female fraternity, present in most countries worldwide.
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Till next time…