Some people consider Freemasonry inherently esoteric, while others think the Craft is a fraternity celebrating friendship and mutual support.
Is Freemasonry esoteric, or not? The short answer is “Yes, no, maybe.” Esotericism is any topic “intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.” This certainly applies to Masonry. But on a deeper level, and in a Masonic context, the word esoteric is usually taken to mean that our ceremonies and rituals allude to realities and/or truths not generally understood, or which may have a spiritual component to them.
Innovation within Freemasonry can be something of a dirty word. It conjures up thoughts of changing how a lodge functions from the comfortable, and often ineffective, processes that the lodge has been using for generations. Quite often someone will point to the 25th Landmark of Albert Mackey that "it is no man's power to make innovations in the system of Freemasonry."
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is normally associated with the 'higher' degrees. However, the AASR does have its own distinctive versions of the Craft rituals (Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason).
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