"Freemasons" or "masons" are members of an international fraternal organization composed of highly independent local units called "lodges." The tradition originated in stonemason guilds of the late Middle Ages but in time the tools of the trade (e.g., square and compasses, trowels, plumb rules) became symbols for moral lessons promoting the brotherhood of mankind. Meetings involve esoteric, quasi-spiritual rituals and members must profess belief in some supreme being, but discussion of religion is usually forbidden. The secrecy of masonic lodges has sometimes bred suspicion and conspiracy theories in outsiders, particularly in Ireland where most members have traditionally been Protestant. Leopold Bloom evidently is, or once was, a mason.

John Hunt 2022

 Square and compasses on the gates of the Freemasons' Hall in Bournemouth, England, in a 2015 photograph by Rwendland. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

 The hall of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in Dublin. Source:

 1895 photographic portrait Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII) dressed in masonic garb. Source:

 Contemporary portrait of Elizabeth Aldworth in a masonic apron, pointing to a passage in the Volume of the Sacred Law. Source: Wikimedia Commons.