What is Freemasonry?
It's believed that Freemasonry appeared in Antiquity among stonemasons who built places of worship. They lived on construction sites and hid their instruments in special places called lodges where they also held assemblies to discuss their professional secrets. That's why masonic congregations are today called "lodges."
According to legend, Freemasonry descended from King Solomon, who, to build his temple in Jerusalem, invited architect Hiram Abiff. Workers were divided into three classes, which became the foundation of Freemasonry's three degrees: student, apprentice and master.
Masons have secret symbols, words and gestures, which help identify their fellow masons anywhere in the world without revealing themselves to the uninitiated. Freemasonry is divided into two branches: operative (the ancient form related to physical labor), and speculative (philosophical), which developed in the 18th century.
The numerous masonic lodges function in accordance with various charters (rules), which throughout their history have been in conflict with each other. Freemasonry's main goal is perfection of the human being and spirit, symbolized by the grinding of stone (the image of man), which must have a regular form to become a part of the great edifice of existence designed by the Great Architect of the Universe, God, who is revered by each mason.