The Order of the Eastern Star
The Order of the Eastern Star is the world's largest fraternal organization to which men and women may both
belong. There are over one million members of the order worldwide who fall under the governance of the General
While it has been said that The Order of the Eastern Star is Freemasonry for women, it should not be confused
with co-masonry a form of clandestine or fringe Masonry not recognized by Grand Lodges in North America. This being
said the O.E.S. is believed to have had its roots in France as early as 1703 - a decade before the inception of the
first Grand Lodge of London in 1717, when androgynous degrees were believed to be conferred. The true start of the
order, as it is known today, would come a century and a half later on American soil.
Dr. Robert Morris, the poet laureate of Freemasonry founded the Order of the Eastern
Star in 1850. Morris a well known and respected Masonic author who traveled far and wide felt that it was a shame
that all the good in Masonry was confined to men alone. He knew that the ancient landmarks of the order did not
permit women from joining the fraternity and thus harbored his ideas for many years without action. It was in 1850,
while confined to his home following an accident that Morris wrote the initiatory Degrees of the order. He first
initiated his wife and daughters and expanded to some neighbor ladies. The signs and modes of recognition given to
them, he freely communicated to Masons so that they would be able to recognize the newly initiated women.
Robert McCoy who came onboard in 1860 and wrote the rituals of the order as they
exist today. These degrees centered on the lives of five biblical heroines, Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha, and Electa
with each one representing one of the five principles of the order, which are Fidelity, Constancy, Loyalty, Faith
The General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star was established in 1876 and is the governing body of
the fraternal organization.
Like its brother Freemasonry, The Order of the Eastern Star is open to people of all faiths. While non-sectarian
and non-denominational the organization does not permit atheists among its ranks. Although religious in nature, The
O.E.S. is neither a religion nor a substitute for one.
Eastern Star strives to take good people, through uplifting and elevating associations of love
and service as well as through precept and example, to build an Order which is truly dedicated to Charity,
Truth and Loving Kindness.