So, what do Freemasons do?

Well, sorry to dissappoint, but don't sit around in darkened rooms plotting the downfall of foreign governments and dreaming up conspiracies.

Basically, a Lodge meeting is split into two main parts.

The first part is the formal Lodge meeting itself. This follows an agenda (like a regular meeting of any club or society) and includes the general business of the meeting, such as confirming the minutes of previous meetings and reports from those that hold office - such as the almoner and charity secretary.

The main part of the meeting though is the ceremony (which is often refered to as "ritual" - though not in the Hollywood sense!) The ceremonies are usually the introduction of a new member, or for them to go through the varies "Degrees" to become a Master Mason, or Worshipful Master - the Masonic way of saying the 'Chairman for the Year'.

Following the formal part of the evening there is the "Festive Board". This has nothing to do with Christmas, but is the Masonic term for the meal after the meeting.

This is normally a three-course meal and is a great way to get to know fellow members and visitors to the Lodge in a relaxed and social environment. At the conclusion of the meal there are various toasts and speeches.

There are two topic off limits for conversation at the Festive Board, those of religion and politics. The reason is because these are two topics that are likely to cause arguements, so are therefore avoid to preserve the harmony of the meeting!