Compendium for the Master Tiler - Masonic rules for tiling

Edited by Athos A. Altomonte

Note 1: In this article we use the word ‘Tiling' as it is intended in the Masonic Italian Communion. See ATTACHMENT “E” at the end of the article for a more detailed explanation.

1 st Master Tiler: he investigates the reasons why the profane wants to be admitted; what his profane interests are; what he thinks of Brotherhood and human solidarity. The tiler can suggest a generic text that describes the Masonic goals. He must let the profane speak in order to understand his real intentions as much as possible.

2 nd Master Tiler : he must learn what the profane thinks about esotericism, what his thought on rituals in general is; what ideas he has about Freemasonry and if he has an idea on Masonic rituals; he will demonstrate its general concepts.

3 rd Master Tiler: he must point out the seriousness of the commitment and the obligatory presence to all the meetings. He must also mention the matter of taxes and other economic charges. He will deal with the matter of the moral Will and supply some indication. He will deal with the matter of the relationship with the Catholic Church and the difference between secret societies and Masonic secret. He will tell him the date of the possible initiation and the exact amount of the tax to be paid before the admission.

The Master Tilers should indicate the duration of the interviews. The reports will not be signed but dated.

These notes have been written to avoid the loss of the experiences developed during the tilers' courses held during the 1978-79 and 1980-81 at the Order in Turin.

This compendium doesn't claim to resolve all the aspects of tiling but to highlight its most relevant features, since tiling is one of the most important ‘operative' functions of Freemasonry towards the profane world. In particular, if an unsuitable or undeserving postulant is admitted by mistake, this has repercussions on the Institution.

Purposes of tiling

To sensibilize and create awareness on the function of Tiling. To educate on the technique of Tiling. To identify the most suitable elements to make a good group of tilers.

Limits of tiling

To develop its functions inside the existing laws on Tiling, without re-studying such laws but trying to identify the best instruments to practice it.

Technique of tiling

The course is realized with an ‘active' method, viz. based on group work.

Themes to be developed in tiling

- Illustration of the existing laws. Research of the meaning and function of Tiling.

- Research of the personal characteristics to identify potential Masons.

- Notions of psycho-diagnosis.

- Research of the best methods of contact with the candidate.

- Sketch of a Tiling report.

- Simulations, exercises.

All the subjects presented here have been integrated with suggestions and proposals written by all the participants at a later stage. The proposals have then been grouped by category and resumed by the teacher.

In order to present a summary and to highlight the arguments that have inspired a wider and deeper study from different points of view, we have developed this subjects in the descriptive part. Furthermore, we have attached the synthesis of the arguments proposed by the pupils and we have joined them, whenever possible, in one body. During the first meeting the subjects to be dealt with during the course itself have been proposed and defined. They have been listed in the attachment ‘A' and they don't need any particular comment.

Meaning of the Tiling

Tiling is the highest point of Proselytism.

Tiling is the vital metabolism in the organism of Freemasonry.

Tiling is the direct contact between two people: Tiler and Tiled.

The tiler is the ambassador of Freemasonry.

Tiling can be synthesized in the following table:

During the second meeting the elements to evaluate the tiled person have been requested. The results are on the attachment ‘B'.

During the discussion, some Brothers have expressed opinions on the words ‘Initiation' and ‘good moral costumes'; they have been reported below for the benefit of everybody.

Meaning of ‘Initiation'

Initiation is a ceremony where, through a particular ritual and symbols, a person considered worthy learns about fundamental gifts; he will gradually become aware of all of them. These gifts are roughly the improvement of man, the search for the truth and an increase of spirituality. Basically it is a passage to a new life. Therefore ‘initiatory' means to possess the characteristics of knowledge of gifts and symbols discovered with Initiation; they lead to the inner and exterior improvement of man.

Initiatory association: a group of men who search for Knowledge and Truth through the degrees of several initiations.

Definition of ‘good moral costumes'

‘Good moral costumes' (according to the landmarks, good standing ) refers to the practice of obedience to an inner moral law and the respect of the civil laws of the nation where we live (for the latter, see Ancient Duties, page 8 n. 2).

The moral law, according to the landmarks, is described as given by reason and defined by science. The concept of ‘good moral costumes' is based on man and the society where he lives. The degree of assent to these principles must be judged by the Brothers of the Lodge. Indeed, the same landmarks say that a man can't be expelled only because he rebels to the laws of a state. The reference to superior universal laws must be judged by the Brothers.

During the third meeting a table made of seven points has been compiled; typical criteria to evaluate the profane during Tiling are listed and classified. They are contained in attachment ‘C'.

In the attachment ‘C1' we report other typical features suggested in previous courses.

From a thorough reading of the various voices, we can draw the necessary tools to prepare for Tiling, sure enough to obtain the whole of the elements to build the image of the tiled person in the Tiling report, which must undergo the judgment of the Lodge.

During the meeting two interesting comments to the definition of ‘good moral costumes' and ‘free man' and ‘relativity of freedom' have been made.

We quote them below; they complete the picture of the subjects studied.

Comment to the definition of ‘good moral costumes'

‘Good moral costumes': what will it ever mean? A pessimist would describe it as an empty box that everyone can fill as he likes; a sociologist would identify it with the man who puts public before private, stimulating interpersonal relations in order to create a social sensitivity. A catholic considers a man of ‘good moral costumes' as a man who believes and is devout to God, who attends religious ceremonies and respects the commandments. For a historic materialist, he is a man who believes in socialism and fights for the affirmation and the domain of the working class.

Who is the man of ‘good moral costumes', then? The problem must be re-proposed in the following terms: how can the Tiler identify the tiled as a man of ‘good moral costumes'? What does Freemasonry expect from the profane in order to accept him?

It is easier to give an answer from this point of view. The proposed man must be a good parent, a good citizen, respectful of the laws, the common morale and other people's freedom. He must have a faultless moral lifestyle, or at least above average, as far as seriousness, wisdom, discretion and prudence are concerned. In other words, not the perfect man but a man who on average, in most people's opinion, in a certain society at a certain time, is considered an honest and reliable person, upright in human relations and respectful of the laws and other people. This should be the man of ‘good moral costumes' we must look for.

Comment to the definition of ‘free man' and ‘relativity of freedom'

Within the boundaries of a synthetic approach and a limited view, it can be useful an exam of the concept of freedom, starting from Maslow's classic hierarchy of human needs:










Except for any consideration on the matter, it is not surprising that the degree of freedom is directly proportional to the degree of evolution of man. We can also add that freedom from needs, viz. degree of satisfaction, is given by the relation ‘extent of the need: intensity of the response'. With an equal amount of satisfaction, though, the approach to life is perhaps different between a man who intensifies the extent of the need, let's say from 10 to 100 to 1000, and a man who contains it at around 10. Finally, we will have two possible situations: 1000/1000, which is a materialistic satisfaction with high possibility of risk, and 10/10, where the situation is more balanced and less materialistic, with limited dangers, since it is difficult to lose what we don't have.

A very important point, a cornerstone of human orientation, occurs at the moment when we can go from ‘freedom from' to ‘freedom to'. In this instance as well it is a qualitative difference that leads to:



Material needs

Expression of life



Other people's judgment




Fundamentally, it is a passage from a passive to an active, conscious and self-supporting freedom. By reducing the importance of the needs linked to the ordinary life, we can make room for needs of a superior order.

A non advanced man will not feel the appeal of transcendent needs; an initiate will accept his life in the spiritual life rather than the material one. During the Tiling, having to evaluate an average man (from the point of view of spiritual evolution), we must keep in account the following main aspects:

Ordinary elements of his personality : social, domestic, intellectual, professional conditions (necessary but not sufficient);

Elements of orientation , motivation and aspiration deriving from needs of a superior order, such as wish for inner knowledge, to work for social and humanitarian purposes, etc… (Essential).

During the fourth meeting the subject relevant to planning and carrying out the Tiling have been proposed, commented and classified. They have been reported and explained in the attachment ‘D'; therefore we will not add any further explanation.

The four propaedeutic meetings were followed by a final practical one, which was carried out by proposing an example of Tiling, open to comments and requests of explanation from the attendees. It is very difficult to translate this meeting into a written document; therefore we will only expound some main concepts.

Tiling is a Mason's work with two specific complementary functions: to present Freemasonry to the profane person and to present the profane to the Lodge. The second part depends on the ability of the tilers to propose (separately, it is not requested only one report signed by both tilers) to the Lodge's brothers the impartial interpretation and evaluation of the answers and explanation provided by the tiled person during the interview; the result is to offer a picture of him describing his characteristics, as mentioned in the attachment ‘C', without any comment or conclusive judgment.

It is clear that the table with its seven points is the most important outline for the writing of this conclusive report. It is more difficult to present Freemasonry to the profane and to keep it reserved yet clear, without turning it into promotional activity. The Masonic education of the tiler will be useful; his preparation in the various sectors of interest is not universal, therefore it must be evaluated by the W. M., who will look for complementariness in the composition of the couple.


If the brothers have found inspiration for a personal work of meditation and preparation, the organizers and attendees of these courses who thanks to the ‘active' method have worked in common agreement and commitment to bring their contribution, will be fully satisfied.

If a general teaching can be drawn, it refers to the operation that activates the process of proselytism. We are referring to the proposal of proselytism to be actuated in the data listed in the relevant proselytism card . Besides the complete personal data such as residence, telephone numbers, job, family, etc., it will be extremely useful both to the proselytism Commission of Lodge of Orient and to the tilers, to have a picture of the profane describing at least three of the seven points examined during the Tiling. We are referring to:

External elements and situations that can tie the person: family, work, economic situation, ideology, religion, etc…;

Features of the personality (see the relevant chapter in attachment ‘C');

Tendencies, interests, motivations, opinions and orientations that can contribute to a positive wish of the profane to join the Institution.

ATTACHMENT “A” - Problems suggested by the course's attendees


1 – interview technique

How to ask questions and how to let the person talk;

2 –psychological technique

To examine and to know the profane, his personality, his reactions, his profile and Masonic potential;

3 –psychological technique

To verify the honesty of the tiled subject and to oppose his preventions or false information, to know and control the behavior;

4 – interview technique

Arguments to use;

5 – meeting technique

How to conclude rapidly;

6 – questioning technique

Direct, short, occasional and indirect;

7 - physiognomy

How to understand people from their somatic features;

8 - graphology

How to understand people from their handwriting.


How to put the approach in practice;

Technique to introduce the argument without disclosing oneself;

Technique to rapidly obtain the trust of the interviewed person;

Technique to inform (give a historical synthesis of the Institution);

Technique to inform (initiatory characteristics of the Institution);

Technique to inform (purposes of the Institution).

Other problems

Determination of the profile of the tiler;

Preparation of the tiler;

Coordination of the couple of tilers;

Determination of the importance of family and society;

How to communicate duties and advantages.

ATTACHMENT “B” - Elements for the evaluation of the tiled person

Humanity, social sensitivity, (altruism, humanity, brotherhood, spirit of brotherhood, ability to devote oneself, love for the others, availability to communicate with others, with the family, with society).

Maturity, seriousness and sense of duty (personality, steadiness of ideas, independence of thought, seriousness, honesty, sincerity, trust, enthusiasm, awareness of duties and rights, sense of responsibility).

Humbleness (ability to obey, humbleness towards commitment).

Confidential nature (in judgments, balance, absence of extremism, absence of preconceptions).

Tendencies (political tendency, philosophical position, religious position, position towards work and in particular to a common work; availability to give rather than to ask).

Self improvement (desire and search for improvement, to know oneself in order to improve oneself).

Spirituality (spirituality, non material interests).

Tolerance (tolerance, respect of other people's ideas).

Mental level (intelligence, critical abilities in analyzing problems).

Exterior aspect (eyes).

Family situation.

Social situation.

- Typical features on the search for the profane, classified on an integrated table of seven points, listed by frequency of intervention

1 st Exterior aspect and behavior

Does he have a satisfying exterior aspect? (eyes, hair, beard, hands, nails, features, bearing); does he have a polite, spontaneous and natural attitude or a rude, fake and indecorous attitude?

What level of education do his manners show? (verbal expression, way of talking, gestures, politeness, interests, pleasant voice).

Does he appear nervous, hypersensitive and insecure?

Does he appear aggressive, too self-confident?

2 nd - Family

Vertical and horizontal family composition (relationships, feelings, harmony, lifestyle, attachment, sense of community).

Social level and profession of parents, brothers and sisters, partner, etc.

Family events, change of address.

Possible position of the partner (pro or anti?).

Integration in the family life and the social environment.

Divorce (not significant).

3 rd – Education

Type of education, specializations, level of education achieved.

Education updates (does he continue improving himself for professional or cultural reasons?).

Knowledge of languages. Interests outside the field of his education, level of information on social, moral and political problems.

4 th – professional situation and work experiences

Curriculum vitae (how did he reach his present status?)

Type and level of professionalism (responsibility, economic independence, organizational skills, perseverance in pursuing goals, strength, leadership skills, creativity).

Goals, ambitions, interest for improvements. Level of satisfaction (frustrated?)

5 th – mental level

Can he make the most of his mental abilities (mental elasticity, quickness in making correlations, ability to assimilate, to receive new ideas, open mindedness, common sense.)

Ability of analysis, criticism, synthesis, coordination of thoughts, precision of words in expressing himself. Are there any inconsistencies between the goals achieved and his cultural level?

Does he have particular talents, specific gifts? Mystifications?

6 th – Interests, motivations, tendencies, values

Of what kind and how wide spread are the intellectual interests of the subject? (reading, music, hobbies, habits, preferences in how to spend his free time, how much commitment, in which ways); does he do any sport?

Principles and tendencies (philosophical, spiritual, religious, ethical, material, political); is he consistent?

Are there any inconsistencies or reason for dissatisfaction between his interests and his working or family situation?

Does he have open convictions that allow him to consider and possibly welcome other points of view, or does he have dogmatic and narrow minded ideas? Is he moderate or fanatic?

7 th – Personality

Humanity, social sensitivity (is he sensitive towards the problems of the community he lives in? does he carry out any social activities outside work?)

Has he had a difficult childhood? (divorced parents, economic difficulties, premature working activity? Is it known that he now leads a solitary and unbalanced life?)

Loyalty, sincerity and honesty, responsibility, maturity and seriousness, steadiness of character, strong will (not being dragged by others), awareness of his own limits but at the same time self confidence, ability to look after himself and to be aggressive in the right measure.

Social skills, tact, ability to obtain sympathy, ability to persuade and accept.

Respect of the form and rituality.

ATTACHMENT “C1” - typical positive and negative features of a mason


self control (able to)


limited interests
narrow minded

ATTACHMENT “D” - Planning and development of tiling

Preparation of the contact

Organization: definition by the W. M. of the couple of tilers, on the basis of the preliminary study of the information provided by the presenter, possibly integrated by the Commission of proselytism of the Lodge and in function of the characteristics of the profane (profession, interests, culture) and of the complementariness of the Masonic preparation of the two brothers.

First approach consequent to the kind of proselytism proposed (affective or by letter) and to a possible contact already carried out by the presenter on permission of the W. M. (usually on the phone, impersonal or explicit, by choice of the appointee; verify the availability for the interview, respect the need for reservedness, avoid insistence and forcing, but invite with conviction and fair play).

Choice and definition of the place and time in each case; neutral and public environment, office of the profane, house of the profane; establish possible ways of recognition.

Development of the contact

(To be carried out essentially on the basis of the elements listed in attachment ‘C').

Greetings, find affinity and common acquaintances (only if explicitly presented), do not create situations or impressions of ‘exam'; inspire empathy, trust, speak plainly to stimulate and obtain the profane to open and unveil himself, give information, talk about himself and his problems. Gradually ask questions and let him ask questions, provoke them and answer within the boundaries of reservedness. In case of a standstill in the conversation, reopen the dialogue with relaxing general or personal subjects.

Avoid giving a false image of Freemasonry in the treatment of its historic development or the present situation of obedience, its position towards the Church, its secrecy.

Understand the kind of person, his fundamental characteristics, study his attitude (what does he expect to find if he says yes); verify the availability of time for a consistent presence.

Conclusion of the contact

Except exceptional cases that end with an immediate positive response and compilation of the application form, agree on a second or more contacts to allow the maturation of a decision (agree to possible request of readings, chosen carefully in relation with the subjects dealt with), further study, meditation.

In negative cases, leave a good impression anyway and clarity without compromises. Leave inspiration for the future, if the obstacles are only temporary.

In positive cases, have the person fill the two application forms; express yourself with measure, without promises, specifying that the final judgment is due to the Institution. Remember to ask for six passport size pictures, so that they will be available for possible pay rises. In any case: cordiality, human warmth.


Tiling : Masonic process used by the Lodge to examine any visiting Brother who wants to participate as a guest to its Works. Such process becomes complex and delicate when the examined person is a profane who knocked at the door of the Temple. For the visiting brothers the Tiling consists of verifying the condition of regularity of Brothers belonging to another Lodge or Obedience and who want to participate to the Works as guests.

(Profane postulants – Latin countries) The Tiling in Latin countries assumes other features; it can also indicate the procedure aimed at verifying if the postulant's qualities and characteristics are compatible with the Lodge. The Tiling is carried out by three Brothers, who have been assigned this task by the Worshipful Master.

Each Tiler will contact the person interested to join the institution; he will meet him at a suitable time and place in order to examine and evaluate his qualities.

Each Tiler will report in writing to the Worshipful Master on the result of the Tiling carried out and sign the report. When the Worshipful Master has received the three reports, he will read them in the Apprenticeship Hall. The whole Lodge will be able to evaluate the postulant and to decide, through two different elections, if they approve unanimously the candidateship of the new member of the Institution.

(Profane postulants – Northern Countries) The Tiling is carried out by all the Brothers of the Lodge. They usually meet once a week, but they ritually work in the Temple only once a month. The other Meetings can be called ‘ white' or ‘open' . Everybody can participate to the open Meetings, even profane people. Subjects of general interests are discussed and they are also used to evaluate postulants.

(In the Temple) The Tiling is the ritual process carried out in the Lodge before the formal opening of the Works. It is carried out by the Wardens, who verify the condition of Masons of all the people attending it. (From the ‘Esoteric Dictionary' by R. Chissotti)

This article comes from Esotericism Readings

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