Since the masons stopped building domes, the freemasons have been building the temple of humanity.
This is how they see it themselves, for example in a small room in Bad Homburg Castle.
Gray lacquered wooden chairs on a Persian carpet, a counter with straw rum and other spirits, Landgrave Friedrich V. on a poster from a lecture in March 2017. Two Freemasons sat down at one of the round tables, 53-year-old Matthias Hischer and the 84 years old Heiko Beeck.
Correspondent in the Hochtaunus district
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The two talk about what it means to them to be Freemasons.
They provide information about what happens when the 38 brothers of the "Zur Freiheit" lodge meet once a week in the evening on the ground floor of the Marstall building where they rented accommodation decades ago.
Silence about other things because they are secret.
Once a month, the brothers come in black suits, white shirts, white ties and top hats, "the symbol of civic pride."
Like the real masons once did
They wear a white apron like the real masons once did.
Climb up the blue carpet of stairs, past the star of two intertwined triangles with the letter "F" in the middle.
However, the door to the room on the first floor where the rituals take place remains closed when the two meet.
Downstairs in the room with the counter, Beeck, like Hischer, slim, gray-haired, with glasses and in a jacket, formulates a definition of what a Freemason is.
"A person who tries to work in life with the symbols that come from the old building trade of the Middle Ages." Beeck has been part of it for almost 50 years, membership is for life, and he also wants to be buried as a Freemason .
He was first accepted into a lodge in Holland, where he worked for a large company;
later, in the Rhine-Main area, he was the sole managing director of an American chemical company and held management positions at Eintracht Frankfurt.
At home, Beeck says he has a spirit level from his father, who died in World War II.
She reminds him to treat others as equals.
The sinker stands for plumbing your own conscience.
At the front of the counter, a stylized compass spreads over a right angle, both symbols are made of metal.
When Freemasonry arose, many people thought in allegories.
God the Father constructed the world with the compass.
The right angle is a reminder of the right way of life.
"It stimulated me mentally"
Hischer is a freelance communications consultant for companies and has been with the company since 2009.
"It stimulated me mentally," he says.
He first encountered the symbolism of the Freemasons while studying art history.
A book about it was still on the shelf when a friend of his wife and her partner came to visit.
The man discovered the volume.
"We talked about there being a lodge in Bad Homburg." Even though the number of Freemasons in Germany is not much more than 15,000, there are a few lodges in the region, seven in Frankfurt alone, others in Offenbach, Wiesbaden and Wetzlar .
In one case, the friend sent an anonymous email to get in touch, but received no reply.
When Hischer tried it some time later in Bad Homburg, he was invited.
But it takes a while before one is accepted.
Hischer describes it like this: someone heard about the lodge and got in touch, just like he did back then.
Or someone from the lodge knows someone who would be suitable.
The possible newcomer is invited to the guest evening, which the Freemasons organize every six weeks.
Usually four to six guests come, many of them again and again.
"It's been at least a year before the recording is talked about."
If one wants to come in earlier, he will be allowed to take the time to look at other boxes as well.
A meeting with your partner is part of the admissions process.
She is asked if she agrees to her husband being accepted into the covenant.
Women are not allowed in the Bad Homburg men's box.
Hischer calls this "an admission of our weakness": When both sexes come together, the atmosphere is different.