You are here


How Does One Belong?
OES - A Way of Life
Popular Misconceptions
Public FAQs
Purposes and Goals
Why Should I Want To Join The Order Of The Eastern Star?
Youth Groups

Does the Order of the Eastern Star have any special projects?

Yes. The Order of the Eastern Star membership supports internal and public charities.  We offer strong scholarship programs and community college and university scholarship awards to students of any race, creed, or color.  We care for our senior members through our Eastern Star Home in California and through our StarCare outreach program.  The order supports several heart and cancer funds and projects and a Benevolent Fund for the relief of qualified indigent and distressed members of our Chapters. Statewide, our members annually participate in the Replay for Life.  Each year the Worthy Grand Matron and Worthy Grand Patron have a special project to support a charity or important project of their choosing.

Is the Order of the Eastern Star a religion?

No. The Order of the Eastern Star is not a religion. Although we celebrate the lives of Biblical women and we require a belief in a Supreme Being, the Order does not take the place of religious practice, worship, or substitute for (or supersede) the religious beliefs of its members. Our members come from all religions and denominations.

What is the basis of the Order of Eastern Star?

Eastern Star celebrates the lives of five Biblical women, Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha, and Electa. Each woman exemplifies one of the tenets of the Order--- Fidelity, Constancy, Loyalty, Faith and Love.

What is the Order of the Eastern Star?

The Order of the Eastern Star (OES) is the world’s largest fraternal organization that admits both women and men to membership. Although the Order of the Eastern Star is not associated with Freemasonry, it is connected through members’ personal relationships. The Order supports friendship and fellowship among its members and philanthropy in the community, including a strong scholarship program and cancer and heart research charities.

When was the Order of the Eastern Star formed?

Dr. Rob Morris, the poet laureate of Masonry, formed the Order of the Eastern Star in 1850.

How long after the election will that be?

The initiation ceremony will be scheduled between one week after election to receive the degrees but not later than sixty (60) days. Each Chapter plans the meeting calendar for the year. The plan includes flexibility to accommodate new member initiations but, occasionally the events scheduled for stated meetings cannot be interrupted or changed. Initiation and conferring Degrees will be scheduled at the first possible date.

How may I express a desire to join the Order of the Eastern Star?

To find out more about joining, you can contact the Secretary of a Chapter close to you by using our Chapter Locator on the left side of our web site Home Page.  You can also talk with any member of a Chapter about joining, or contact the Grand Secretary of the Grand Chapter of California, for contact information for a Chapter representative in your area.  Your local Chapter will answer your questions and welcome your participation.

What happens after I submit my petition?

Your petition will be read in Chapter and submitted to an Investigation Committee composed of Chapter members. Within a few days of reading your petition, each of the members of the Investigation Committee will contact you to arrange a meeting. They will each ask a few very simple questions, answer any additional questions that you may have, and verify your Masonic affiliation. These meetings also give you an opportunity to meet several Chapter members. The Investigation Committee reports your responses to the Worthy Matron.

What procedure should I follow when I have decided that I would like to join a chapter?

The Chapter you intend to join will provide you with a Petition that you must complete. It asks for contact information, information about your Masonic affiliation and information about your general character. Complete the Petition and return it to the Chapter Secretary with the appropriate fees.

What will be the next step?

The Investigation Committee report will be submitted to the Chapter at a stated meeting where members will vote on your petition. The Secretary will notify you of the results of the election. If favorable, the Secretary will arrange for you to be initiated and receive the Degrees of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Why do you wear long dresses?

Long dresses were the fashion, whether daytime or evening, at the time of our Order’s inception. Chapter protocol for meetings was to dress for evening. In some Chapters, the long, formal dress for members has carried to present day with interpretations in fabric and style.  In some Chapters, only the Chapter officers wear formalwear and the members attending the Chapter wear street length dresses and business suits.  And in a few Chapters, formal wear is only used on special occasions and not worn at regular meetings.  But even in those instances, we prefer to display a certain level of decorum and presence, expressed through appropriate attire for our events.  You may want to talk to representatives from more than one Chapter in your area to find a good fit for your expectations and preferences.

Just what is Fraternal Life?

Fraternal life is an attitude of compassion and concern in everything we do not only for our fellow Sisters and Brothers in the Order of the Eastern Star, but to ourselves, our families, our Country, and our faith. The Order of Eastern Star encourages us in a way of life that each of us want for ourselves, our families and our world.

Can I afford membership in the Order of the Eastern Star?

Yes. Your financial situation is not considered in the Order. Our members come from all economic stations of life.

Is my religious faith allowed in the Order of the Eastern Star?

Yes. We make no exclusions based on religious faith. People of any religion may belong to the Order of the Eastern Star. We only require that you hold a belief in a positive Supreme Being.

Is the Order of the Eastern Star a secret society?

No. Secret societies are underground and hard to find. We are easy to find in the community and inclusive in our membership. We do enjoy a distinctive means of identifying one another. Only members are allowed in a closed meeting.

Is there any memory work?

There is no mandatory memory work except the means of making yourself known if you wish to visit a Chapter in which you are not known as a member or if you become a Chapter officer. An officer must learn the work associated with the office.  A short proficiency examination available to all members is encouraged but is strictly voluntary.

What kind of time commitment is required in membership in the Order of the Eastern Star?

After your Initiation into our Order during a regular meeting, you may attend as your time permits. You may put in as much or as little as your other life commitments allow. Most chapters meet twice per month in the evening although some chapters meet monthly.  Social activities are scattered throughout the year to allow the members fellowship time outside the regular meetings.

Are there other membership requirements?

A petitioner must (a) be of good moral character, (b) believe in a Supreme Being, (c) have attained the age of eighteen (18), (c) believe in the laws of the United States of America, (d) be willing to assume the obligation of the Order, (e) be able to participate, with assistance if needed, in the Ceremony of Initiation, (f) be free from disqualifying mental illness, (g) be a resident of the State for six months, with some exceptions, and (g) be free of felony conviction (or judgment as a habitual criminal) under any State or National laws.

Can any woman or man belong?

No. Membership requires that women have a specific familial affiliation (such as daughter, wife, sister, mother, etc.) with a Master Mason, or a personal connection to a Masonic Youth Group, and men must be Master Masons in good standing affiliated with a Lodge under the Grand Lodge of California or under another Grand Lodge recognized by the Grand Lodge of California.

How diverse is your membership base? Are there other members like me?

The Order of the Eastern Star includes members from every race, religion, gender, and economic status.  

May a woman use, as her affiliation, a Master Mason who has died?

Yes. The Master Mason must have been in good standing at the time of his death. Initiation requires a letter of verification from his Lodge before conferring the Degrees of the Order of The Eastern Star.

Must the Master Mason, whom a woman might be using for her affiliation, belong to the Eastern Star before she can become a member?

No, he need not be a member of the Eastern Star.

What if I have no family connection to OES or Freemasonry?

Majority members of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls or Job's Daughters International, or members who have been active for three (3) years and who have reached the age of eighteen (18) years, are also eligible for membership in the Order of the Eastern Star.

What specific Masonic affiliation is required for a woman to join?

The wives, daughters, legally adopted daughters, mothers, widows, sisters, half-sisters, granddaughters, stepmothers, stepdaughters, stepsisters, daughters-in-law, grandmothers, great-granddaughters, nieces, great-nieces, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts and daughters of sisters or brothers of affiliated Master Masons in good standing, or who were in good standing at the time of death, are eligible to membership.

What are the purposes and goals of the Order of the Eastern Star?

The Order of the Eastern Star supports friendship and fellowship among its members and philanthropy in the community, including a strong scholarship program and cancer and heart research charities., It encourages service to our Order with Charity, Truth and Loving-kindness for the good of all mankind throughout the world.

Does my husband have to join to come with me to meetings and events?

Your husband must be a member to attend the Chapter meetings.  He is, however, always welcome at social or open events.

How can OES help me in my career?

The more people you meet the wider your network. Our members represent a variety of professions.  Your membership in our Order and attendance at the meetings and social events allow you many networking opportunities with persons of like interests.

Is there any fraternal friendship?

Yes. Women and men join a Fraternal Order to make friends and enjoy the fellowship. Members and their families enjoy interacting with others who share their common interests.

Is there any social involvement?

Yes.  Each Chapter has numerous fun activities for all members and their family and friends. Usually, the Worthy Matron appoints a Social Enjoyment Chairman to supplement her planned activities.

May I bring my children to events?

Your children are welcome at our social events unless otherwise stated on the event invitation.  Parents are expected to be responsible for the safety and behavior of their children.  Often there are members of the youth orders present who happily interact with the children.  Children under two years of age may attend chapter meetings with their mothers. In such cases the mother must ensure the child does not disrupt the meeting.

What can I tell my friends about this organization?

The Order is a fraternal organization open for membership to both women and men. We are dedicated to furthering the principles of Freemasonry and enjoying these efforts alongside our spouses and fraternal friends. We support many funds that are for the benefit of our members as they age or become ill and search out public charities to support either financially or with volunteerism. Because we are fraternal we have the opportunity to form and maintain close bonds to our Eastern Star family. That family welcomes us wherever we travel and we open our doors to fraternal visitors.  Our Ritual at the opening of every stated meeting is a reinforcement of our obligations to be mindful of our attitudes, responsibilities and loyalties to our God, our Country and our family.

What does the Eastern Star have to offer that other organizations do not?

Many of us feel a need to do something for others. Sometimes it is difficult to determine just how to begin. The Order of the Eastern Star offers that guidance and provides an outlet as well as serving as a resource center and support group.

Will I become a better person?

Whether you become a better person is entirely up to you. The Order offers its members opportunities to serve in the Chapter and in the community.  We offer many volunteer opportunities within our Order and with our community.  The charities we support through our donations and our hands-on volunteer work provide aid and comfort to both members and non-members.

Does the Order of the Eastern Star give support to any affiliated youth groups?

Yes. The Order of the Eastern Star provides support to members of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls (ages 11 through 21) and Job's Daughters International (ages 10 through 20). The purpose of these youth groups is to train young women to be leaders in the community and to be future members and leaders in the Order of the Eastern Star. The Masons sponsor DeMolay for Boys (ages 13 through 21).