SYMBOLIC DEGREES (Lodge)
Entered Apprentice; Fellow Craft; Master Mason
CAPITULAR DEGREES (Chapter)
Mark Master; Past Master; Most Excellent Master, Royal Arch Mason
CRYPTIC DEGREES (Council)
Royal Master; Select Master; Superexcellent Master
CHIVALRIC DEGREES (Commandery)
Order of the Red Cross; Order of Malta; Order of the Temple
SYMBOLIC DEGREES - LODGE
The ENTERED APPRENTICE is a bearer of burdens, the
FELLOW CRAFT a skilled workman, and the MASTER MASON a director of
The ENTERED APPRENTICE
is taught symbolically to labor upon the building of his character Temple, to
subdue his passions, and to improve himself in Masonry. He must obey the rules
and regulations and learn to practice them.
The FELLOW CRAFT is carefully instructed in the principles of Geometry. The
different orders of Architecture are explained to him, together with the Five
Senses of human nature, and the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, and he is
instructed in the kind of wages he is to receive.
The MASTER MASON
is taught numerous very important moral lessons governing his conduct in the
world and towards others; that he must answer and obey the rules of the order;
must not cheat, wrong, or defraud a brother or a lodge of Masons, but on the
contrary must help, aid, and assist a distressed brother, his widow and orphans.
Preparation of the life to come is inculcated by beautiful ceremonies. The
Temple is not yet completed, and those faithful craftsmen who have labored so
long upon it are deprived, by the wickedness of others, of that for which they
have wrought. The building of the Temple symbolizes the continuous effort to
erect within ourselves a way of life.
CAPITULAR DEGREES - CHAPTER
MARK MASTER.- - The work
on the Temple is continued as in the preceeding
degrees of the Lodge. The candidate represents one of the workmen whose custom
it was to have their work inspected at the end of each week. An important lesson
is taught - that he should never claim the work of another. The degree lays
still greater stress upon the dignity of labor; that we must all work, and
receive wages according to our deserts.
PAST MASTER. - - This
degree begins the preparation for the Royal Arch. In former times no one was
eligible for the Royal Arch except actual or Past Masters of Lodges, but the
degree of Past Master was instituted whereby one might become a "virtual Master"
and thus be eligible for exaltation to the Royal Arch. The candidate is taught
that he must first learn to obey before he can learn to rule, and that he must
learn to govern himself before he can govern others.
MOST EXCELLENT MASTER, - -
represents King Solomon's Temple completed and dedicated. King Solomon offers a
sublime invocation and his offerings are burned with fire. The brethren
rejoicing that their long labor is ended, are greeted as Most Excellent Masters,
and receive their reward. This ends the cycle of degrees having to do with the
erection of King Solomon's Temple, and brings us to the sublime story, spanning
centuries of time as set forth in the Royal Arch Degree.
ROYAL ARCH.- - The
candidates witness the burning bush where Moses was given command to return and
lead forth the children of Israel from bondage. After the destruction of the
Temple, they were carried away captives. After 70 years of bondage, they
returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the House of the Lord. On arriving
they find themselves in the midst of ruins, make themselves known to the grand
council - JOSHUA, ZERRUBBABEL, and HAGGAI - and are set at
work to remove the rubbish of the old Temple in order to lay the foundations of
the new. Amidst these ruins they make many valuable discoveries which had lain
buried in darkness for ages, and which complete the knowledge gained in the
Symbolic degrees. Thus are connected together in the most intimate way the work
of the Lodge and the work of the Chapter, neither being complete without the
CRYPTIC DEGREES - COUNCIL
It is a peculiarity of the York Rite, whether intended or not by it's
authors, that the movement of the degrees is often inverse, and the historical
connection reversed; so that as we apparently go forward in regular progression,
the knowledge and light gained always reflect backward upon the path we have
traveled before, and the degrees that seemed complete when we took them are
found to require the explanation of the subsequent degrees before they can be
understood. This is what makes the infinite interest in the work, and causes the
reflective Mason to continually study the sublime precepts and ceremonies of the
order. This is especially true of the Cryptic Degrees, two of which historically
precede the Royal Arch, but which hold in reserve their valuable teachings until
the candidate is ready to receive them.
ROYAL MASTER. - - In this
degree HIRAM is alive again, and imparts to the candidate the teachings of
useful labor on earth and a worthy end of life. The tragedy of his untimely
death is again brought forward, with the great loss suffered by the craft. This
is especially illustrative of the third and seventh degrees.
SELECT MASTER. - - In this
degree we have dramatized one of the incidents that occurred during the building
of the Temple. It is closely connected with the Royal Arch degree, and in fact
it affords the explanation needed for it's perfect understanding. Our three
ancient Grand Masters appear in charge of a very important work connected with
the Temple. Certain secrets are imparted to the candidate which make clear to
him the preceeding degrees. It is highly
dramatic and of the greatest interest.
SUPER EXCELLENT MASTER - -
This degree has no connection either in history or symbolism with the Royal and
Select Master degrees. It is divided into three striking scenes , in the first
of which King ZEDEKIAH of Judah listens to his false counselors and despises the
warnings of the Prophet Jeremiah, and the vengeance of the Lord is poured upon
him. Jerusalem is captured and it's wicked King is taken before King
Nebuchadnezzar who destroys the royal household, burns the city and Temple,
leaving the land in charge of the very poor. The last scene represents the
Jewish captives at Babylon, under the direction of HAGGAI, the prophet.
ORDER OF THE RED CROSS - - Our story goes back to the
period of the Royal Arch, in the reign of King Darius. A grand council was
convened to deliberate upon the unhappy condition of the country and devise
means to secure the favor of the King and his consent to their proceeding with
the rebuilding of the city and Temple.
ZERRUBBABEL, represented by the candidate, offered his services to travel to
the Persian court and remind the King of his promise to aid the Jews in the
The King was so pleased that he told ZERRUBBABEL to ask what he would and it
should be granted. ZERRUBBABEL then reminds him of his vow to rebuild Jerusalem
and restore the Holy Vessels and to rebuild the house of the Lord. The King then
makes a decree permitting the Jews to return and restore the city and Temple.
Here we bid farewell to the degrees having to do with King Solomon's Temple,
and go forward to the period of the Crusades when the Orders of Knighthood were
formed to recover the Holy Sepulcher and to protect the pilgrims who went to
visit it's sacred shrines.
KNIGHT OF MALTA. - - The candidate humbly solicits to
be admitted to the privileges of the Mediterranean Pass to enable him in safety
to undertake a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher. The ceremonies of the Pass
degree refer to the shipwreck of Saint Paul upon the island of Malta, and the
viper that came out of the fire and clung to his hand.
ORDER OF THE TEMPLE.- - We now approach the grandest
and most impressive degree, the true capstone of Masonry. The candidate
represents a knight of the period that succeeded the Crusades, who had made a
vow to visit the Holy Sepulcher. As a trial of his worthiness there is enjoined
upon him seven years of pilgrimage in the direction of the Holy Shrine. After
having served six years of this preparation he is commanded to devote the
remaining year of preparation to penance. Beautiful lessons of the death and
ascension of our Savior are inculcated, and the candidate is at last received
into full fellowship, in the most solemn manner.
The ancient Order of the Temple was suppressed and it's members dispersed,
and the warlike spirit of the Order has passed away; but there remains a spirit
of refined and moral Chivalry which prompts the members to be ever ready to
defend the weak, the innocent, the helpless and oppressed, and at last to be
greeted as Brethren.
York Rite Freemasonry - The Journey Continues
"Further Light in Masonry"
"A POWER POINT PRESENTATION"