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What are the "3 degrees" all about?

Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas – a progression of “plays” which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge – which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as guides.

Freemasonry has three distinct levels or degrees in which a candidate passes through on his journey. That said, however, his learning and growth does not cease once he attains the 3rd degree.

1st Degree “Entered Apprentice”

Once his application is approved, the Candidate for Freemasonry will participate in a ceremony called the “Degree of Entered Apprentice”, or “1st Degree”. He will be assured that nothing will befall him that has not been experienced by all who have gone before. He will reaffirm his declarations and then be Entered into the Lodge and made an Apprentice Mason in “due and ancient form”. He will learn that he is required never to divulge the Secrets of Masonry to any person “under the canopy of Heaven”. He will receive a white Lambskin Apron, the badge of a Mason. He will be introduced to the working tools of a Mason. He will receive preliminary instruction on the nature of his new association and an important lesson in Masonic Charity. 


In time he will need to learn the question-and-answer summary of the Degree.

2nd Degree "Fellowcraft" 

The Second Degree is widely regarded as the most poetic and instructive of the Masonic degrees. In it, the Apprentice is Passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft Mason in due and ancient form. He learns many of the more expressive symbols of his Craft and hears references to the philosophical basis for his conduct as a Mason. He will learn that he is obliged to “aid and assist all distressed, worthy Brother Fellowcraft Masons, whithersoever dispersed”. His knowledge of the working tools of Masonry will be increased. The importance of the study of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, especially of Geometry, is emphasized. 

In time he will need to learn the question-and-answer summary of the Degree.

3rd Degree “Master Mason”

In the “Degree of Master Mason”, the famous “Third Degree”, the Fellowcraft will be Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in due and ancient form. He will receive further explanations of his specific duties to his Brethren and his instruction in the working tools of a Mason will be completed. He will participate in a brief traditional reenactment designed to impress upon him the virtue of Fidelity. Upon completing this Degree, the Brother is a fully qualified Master Mason, entitled to all the rights and privileges of that Degree. Among us, there is no higher rank than that of Master.

Once progressed through the 3 degrees to a Master Mason you will then have the opportunity to join further degrees if you so wish including Mark & Royal Ark Mariners (both of which Addiscombe hold lodges). There are in total 33 degrees including Chapter, Rose Croix, and Knights Templar.

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