What’s changed since last time?
The last post included my introduction on a masonic forum explaining how I came to become a Freemason. That post was a little out of date, so I figured I would fill in the blanks.
Firstly I am now a Master Mason. Originally it was planned for me to be raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in September, but the double raising did go ahead in April. I was very thankful of this as it gives me the freedom to visit other lodges on my own initiative being able to prove myself a mason (it was possible before, but far easier with a grand lodge certificate). It also means I was able to see more of the installation meeting last week.
I have applied to join the Holy Royal Arch chapter associated with my lodge, and am awaiting a date for ‘exaltation’.
This is probably as good a time as any to explain a bit about how side orders work (as far as I’m aware). There are 3 degrees in craft masonry – Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. That is where it stops. Once you become a Master Mason there are various side orders/appendant bodies you become eligible to join. While craft masonry is open to men of all faiths, some of these side orders have more specific requirements such as being a Christian, or belonging to a certain other order etc.
These orders are not governed by the craft, but are made up of a subset of craft members. I believe that in the US, they number some of these degrees up to a 32nd degree, with the 33rd degree being an honorary degree for those who have performed outstanding service to or on behalf of the craft. A 33rd degree mason isn’t necessarily more senior than a 3rd degree Master Mason. In the UK things are a bit different. In fact in most jurisdictions things are a bit different, which brings us to recognition and regularity – but that’s a topic for another day.
Once we’ve got past the idea of degrees meaning seniority, we get to talk about the real seniority in freemasonry. Within a lodge there are various officers. In pretty much all jurisdictions there will be the following:
Some of these officers are by appointment of the Worshipful Master, and some, such as the Worshipful Master are by election.When the current Worshipful Master installs his successor, he becomes the Immediate Past Master of the lodge, and the next year, he becomes a normal everyday member of the lodge. In a later post I will talk through what all the lodge officers actually do.
Beyond this, lodges are organised into provinces, which all have corresponding officers, then into the United Grand Lodge of England which has corresponding grand officers at the national level right up to The Grand Master, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent .
Categorized as Freemasonry