Gothe the Freemason
SHORT TALK BULLETIN - Vol.X September, 1932 No.9

Germany celebrates this year the Centennial of the death of her greatest man of letters, 

Johann Wolfgang Goethe, as the United States celebrates the bicentennial of the birth 

of George Washington, her greatest General, Statesman and President. Both were 

Freemasons! It is a continual puzzle to Masons, why Washington’s biographers so seldom 

- almost never - mention either his Masonic correspondence, membership and Mastership; 

or the tremendous, if quiet, influence which Freemasonry had upon his life, character and 

activities. The same puzzle exists about the biographers of the great Germany Poet. To an i

nterested and understanding Freemason, his works are replete with Masonic allusions; 

some of them obviously inspired by Masonic teachings. To the Profane, this influence may 

be non- existent; perhaps it is because so few of the passionate admirers of the great German 

- who have sung the ever-increasing chorus of praise for his life and labors - have been Masons,

 and therefore the majority have no background of Craft understanding.

Many of his biographers put great stress upon his stay in Strassburg 
and his studies of Gothic Architecture, particularly under the 
tutelage of the great thinker,, Herder, who is credited with 
inspiring Goethe with his love - even his veneration - for Gothic 
buildings.  Freemasons will see in his stay in Strassburg, where the 
great Gothic minister dominated his thought with its beauty, the 
progenitor of that desire to know more of the Craft which had built 
it - a desire to be gratified when he was thirty-one years of age.  
He was initiated in Lodge Amalia, at Weimar (where he lived most of 
his life and where he died) on the eve of the Feast of St. John the 
Baptist, in 1780.
Just how or why he became a Mason we do not know; neither can we know 
much of what impression his initiation made upon him.  For it must 
not be supposed that the Masonry practiced then by the Lodge Amalia 
was the Masonry we know; although doubtless it held some of our 
The Lodge at Weimar was then under the “Rite of Strict Observance,” 
that curious compound of politics, religion and Knights Templarism.  
Of this Rite, Mackey say