In this article we’re going to briefly discuss an offshoot of the Masonic service, one for women called the Eastern Star Funeral Service.
The Eastern Star organization is an offshoot of the Masons for women. The reason for this is that a woman can’t become a Mason. The reasons why, at least for this article, are unimportant. However, there is an organization for women who want to be a part of the Masonic community. That organization is the Eastern Star. The only requirement for becoming a member of the Eastern Star is that the woman has to be the descendent of a Mason. Yes, there is a catch. Your father or grandfather or husband or somebody in your family has to be a Mason himself. If this one condition is met and you then become a member of the Eastern Star you are then entitled to an Eastern Star memorial service.
So how does one qualify for an Eastern Star funeral service? Well, when a member of the Eastern Star in good standing, dies, they are entitled to this service. Good standing means that their dues are paid up in full and have no Masonic charges filed against them.
When an Eastern Star member dies the chapter to which they belong sends a floral arrangement to the funeral home. This arrangement is in the shape of a five pointed star and with the mystical colors of the order.
Before the actual service takes place however, the members of the chapter meet at their chapter building for what they call a draping ceremony. At this ceremony their alter is draped in black and a special opening of the chapter is then performed. This is, in many cases, done just once during the year to commemorate all the members who have died that year. After the draping at the chapter the members then proceed to the funeral home.
At the home there is a special Eastern Star service. It is very similar to the Masonic service in some respects but very different in others. For one thing, where the Masonic service is memorized, the Eastern Star service is read from what is called a book of ritual. This book contains the entire Eastern Star funeral service and must be read word for word.
In a Masonic service one person does the reading, but in an Eastern Star service there are many readers. The readings are done by various members of the fraternity who occupy specific stations as officers. Each officer reads a part assigned to their station. Each individual part is rather short but putting them all together the actual service can run 15 to 20 minutes.
After the service is over the members of the chapter pay their final respects to the deceased and process out of the funeral home room. Afterwards they will meet with the family and friends of the deceased, many who are probably Eastern Star members themselves of other chapters.
The Eastern Star funeral service is one of the most beautiful services of any kind that a person could attend. It is something of which the order of Eastern Star can and should be very proud of.