Women’s Agency and Rituals in Mixed and Female Masonic Orders


Women have been structurally part of the masonic enterprise from at least the middle of the 18th century. Yet, little is known about the ways in which they themselves obtained and exercised power to influence the systems they were involved in, in order to adapt them to be more appropriate to their needs. This volume intends to concentrate on two aspects: Women’s agency (i.e. the power women gained and exercised in this context) and rituals (i.e. the role of men and women in changing and shaping the rituals women work with). These two aspects are closely related, since it requires some agency to realise changes in existing rituals.

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Alexandra Heidle studied in Mainz and Heidelberg (Germany) and was attached to the Institute for the Sciences of Religions at the University of Heidelberg. Since 2007 she is Scientific Project Manager of the Colloborative Research Center "Ritual Dynamics" of the University of Heidelberg. Dr. Jan Snoek studied in Leiden (The Netherlands). In 1996 he held the Théodore Verhaegen Chair (Freemasonry) of the Free University of Brussels (ULB). He is attached to the Institute for the Sciences of Religions at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), and published widely about the development of masonic rituals. With Jens Kreinath and Michael Stausberg he published Theorizing Rituals (two volumes), Brill 2006 & 2007. In preparation is a monograph: The Initiation of Women into Freemasonry.
"Heidle and Snoek have edited a useful volume for the emerging area of Freemasonic studies in the Anglophone academic space."
Amy Hale, St. Petersburg College, Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft Vol.6
Contributors include: Bärbel Raschke, Malcolm Davies, Andreas Önnerfors, James Smith Allen, Anton van de Sande, Henrik Bogdan, Bernard Dat, Ann Pilcher-Dayton, Andrew Prescott, and Anne van Marion-Weijer
All scholars interested in Western Esotericism in general and Freemasonry in particular, Women’s history, Ritual studies, Ritual dynamics, Initiation rituals, and Agency. Furthermore, many Freemasons, both male and female.