Understanding the first degree of Masonry (Masonry and Society Book 1)

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For starters, the Scottish is not the only one that has more than 3 degrees. For example, the New York Rite, has nine degrees. The Swedish Rite has 10, and the old Rite of Memphis had 97 degrees back in the day. Degrees are not a ranking system. Better way to explain is that additional rites are given as a honorary degree to Masons who have been sustained and significant.

The first thing to know is that in order to get to the 33rd degree, one first must get the 3rd, and highest degree in Masonry, which is the Master Mason. And no, one does not need to travel back to Scotland to attain the 33rd degree. That is a common misconception among people. Degrees in the Scottish Rite have titles, similar as the standard degrees. For example, the 4th degree, called Master Traveler emphasizes duty and the necessity for secrecy in all confidential relationships.

There are two branches in Masonry nowadays where people can proceed after completing the third, and final degree of the Blue Lodge Masonry. That third degree is the highest rank one can attain. The second branch is the York Rite. Many people think that the Scottish Rite actually originates from Scotland, but that is not the case.

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The first reference of the rite is actually found in French records. The Rite actually has its establishment in America, in South Carolina. The first official recognition of the Scottish Rite came in in South Carolina. The Northern jurisdiction of the rite covers 15 states east of Mississippi River. According to some estimates, there are more than , members of the Scottish Rite in the world.

Out of those, only around 4, have attained the 33rd degree. As mentioned, the second branch in which Masons can continue after attaining the 3rd degree is the York Rite. There are no 33 degrees here. The York rite consists of 10 more degrees, which are considered concordant to the original three degrees. Similar as with the Scottish rite, the 10 additional degrees amplify and elaborate the first three. One of the biggest misconceptions is that people who attain the 33rd rule, are actually service of Lucifer, and they want to rule the world with their knowledge.

But to masons, the 33rd degree being evil is one of the most hilarious indictments against their fraternity. There is one Mason, or few in every lodge and every meeting that have attained the 33rd degree. The degree is considered honorary, but not in a way that the said person knows more and is higher in the rank. The fun fact is that persons with the 33rd degree are usually ones that are more active and involved in the movement, sharing their knowledge with others. It has become a common way to persuade Anti-masons that there is some horrific conspiracy.

The only ranking in the masonry system is that you cannot attain the second degree without the first degree. However, individuals who have attained 15th degree, for example, in the Scottish rite, are not higher. Grant, then, this one request, Whatever be denied, That love divine may rule my breast, And all my actions guide. By Operative Masonry we allude to a proper application of the useful rules of architecture, whence a structure will derive figure, strength and beauty, and from which will result a due proportion and just correspondence in all its parts. By Speculative Masonry we learn to subdue the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy, and practice charity.

It is so far interwoven with religion as to lay us under obligations to pay that rational homage to Deity which at once constitutes our duty and our happiness. God created the heaven and the earth, and rested upon the seventh day; the seventh therefore our ancient brethren consecrated as a day of rest from their labors, thereby enjoying frequent opportunities to contemplate the glorious works of the creation and to adore their great Creator.

The globes are two artificial spherical bodies, on the convex surface of which are represented the countries, seas, and various parts of the earth, the face of the heavens, the planetary revolutions, and other particulars. The sphere, with the parts of the earth delineated on its surface, is called the terrestrial globe; and that with the constellations, and other heavenly bodies, the celestial globe. Their principal use, beside serving as maps to distinguish the outward parts of the earth, and the situation of the fixed stars, is to illustrate and explain the phenomena arising from the annual revolution, and the diurnal rotation of the earth round its own axis.

They are the noblest instruments for improving the mind, and giving it the most distinct idea of any problem or proposition, as well as enabling it to solve the same. Contemplating these bodies, we are inspired with a due reverence for the Deity and the works, and are induced to encourage the studies of astronomy, geography, navigation, and the arts dependent on them, by which society has been so much benefited. By order in architecture, is meant a system of all the members, proportions and ornaments of columns and pilasters; or, it is a regular arrangement of the projecting parts of a building, which, united with those of a column, form a beautiful, perfect, and complete whole.

From the first formation of society, order in architecture may be traced. When the rigor of seasons obliged men to contrive shelter form the inclemency of the weather, we learn that they first planted trees on end, and then laid others across to support a covering. The bands, which connected those trees at the top and bottom, are said to have given rise to the idea of the base and capital of pillars, and from this simple hint originally proceeded the more improved art of architecture. Is the most simple and solid of the five orders. Its column is seven diameters high; and its capital, base, and entablature have but few mouldings.

The simplicity of the construction of this column renders it eligible where ornament would be superfluous.

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Which is plain and natural, is the most ancient, and was invented by the Greeks. Its column is eight diameters high, and has seldom any ornaments on base or capital, except mouldings; though the frieze is distinguished by triglyphs and metopes, and triglyphs compose the ornaments of the frieze. The solid composition of this order gives it a preference, in structures where strength and noble simplicity are chiefly required. The Doric is the best proportioned of all the orders.

The several parts of which it is composed are founded on the natural position of solid bodies. In its first invention it was more simple than in its present state. In after times, when it began to be adorned, it gained the name of Doric; for when it was constructed in its primitive and simple form, the name of Tuscan was conferred on it.

Hence the Tuscan precedes the Doric in rank, on account of its resemblance to that pillar in its original state. Bears a kind of mean proportion between the more solid and delicate orders. Its column is nine diameters high; its capital is adorned with volutes, and its cornice has dentals. There is both delicacy and ingenuity displayed in this pillar; the invention of which is attributed to the lonians, as the famous temple of Diana, at Ephesus, was of this order.

It is said to have been formed after the model of an agreeable young women of an elegant shape dressed in her hair; as a contrast to the Doric order, which was formed after that of a strong, robust young man. The richest of the five orders, is deemed a masterpiece of art. Its column is ten diameters high, and its capital is adorned with two rows of leaves and eight volutes, which sustain the abacus.

The frieze is ornamented with curious devices, the cornice with dentals and modillions. This order is used in stately and superb structures. It was invented at Corinth, by Callimachus, who is said to have taken the hint of the capital of this pillar from the following remarkable circumstance: Accidentally passing by the tomb of a young lady he perceived a basket of toys covered with a tile, placed over an a canthus root, having been left there by her nurse. As the branches grew up they encompassed the basket, till, arriving at the tile, they meet with an obstruction, and bent downward.

Callimachus, struck with the object, set about imitating the figure: the base of the capital he made to represent the basket; the abacus the tile; and the volutes the bending leaves. Is compounded of the other orders, and was contrived by the Romans. Its capital has the two rows of leaves of the Corinthian, and the volutes of the Ionic. Its column has the quarterround, as the Tuscan and Doric order; is ten diameters high, and its cornice has dentals, or simple modillions.

This pillar is generally found in buildings where strength, elegance and beauty are displayed. The ancient and original orders of architecture, revered by Masons, are no more than threeThe Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian which were invented by the Greeks. To these the Romans have added two: the Tuscan, which they made plainer than the Doric, and the Composite, which was more ornamental, if not more beautiful, than the Corinthian. The first three orders alone, however, show invention and particular character, and essentially differ from each other; the two others have nothing but what is borrowed, and differ only accidentally; the Tuscan is the Doric in its earliest state; and the Composite is the Corinthian, enriched with the Ionic.

To the Greeks, therefore, and not to the Romans, we are indebted for what is great, judicious and distinct in architecture. Is that sense by which we distinguish sounds, and are capable of enjoying all the agreeable charms of music. By it we are enabled to enjoy the pleasures of society, and reciprocally to communicate to each other our thoughts and intentions, our purposes and desires; while thus our reason is capable of exerting its utmost power and energy.

The Three Degrees of Freemasonry

The wise and beneficent Author of Nature intended, by the formation of this sense, that we should be social creatures, and receive the greatest and most important part of our knowledge by the information of others. For these purposes we are endowed with hearing, that, by a proper exertion of our rational powers, our happiness may be complete. Is that sense by which we distinguish objects, and in an instant of time, without change of place or situation, view armies in battle array, figures of the most stately structure, and all the agreeable variety displayed in the landscape of nature.

By this sense we find our way in the pathless ocean, traverse the globe of earth, determine its figure and dimensions, and delineate any region or quarter of ii By it we measure the planetary orbs, and make new discoveries in the sphere of the fixed stars. Nay, more: by it we perceive the tempers and dispositions, the passions and affections of our fellow creatures, when they wish most to conceal them; so that, though the tongue lie and dissemble, the countenance would display the hypocrisy to the discerning eye.

In fine, the rays of light which administer to this sense are the most astonishing parts of the animated creation, and render the eye a peculiar object of admiration. Of all the faculties, sight is the noblest. Is that sense by which we distinguish the different qualities of bodies: such as heat and cold, hardness and softness ,roughness and smoothness, figure, solidity, motion and extension. Is that sense by which we distinguish odors, the various kinds of which convey different impressions to the mind. Animal and vegetable bodies, while exposed to the air, continually send forth effluvia of vast subtlety, as well in the state of life and growth as in the state of fermentation and putrefaction.

These effluvia, being drawn into the nostrils with the air, are the means by which all bodies are smelled. Enables us to make a proper distinction in the choice of our food. The organ of this sense guards the entrance of the alimentary canal, as that of smelling guards the entrance of the canal for respiration.

From the situation of both these organs, it is plain that they were intended by nature to distinguish wholesome food from that which is nauseous. Everything that enters into the stomach must undergo the scrutiny of tasting; and by it we are capable of discerning the changes which the same body undergoes in the different compositions of art, cookery, chemistry, pharmacy.

Smelling and tasting are inseparably connected; and it is by the unnatural kind of life men commonly lead in society, that these senses are rendered less fit to perform their natural offices. On the mind all our knowledge must depend: what, therefore, can be a more proper subject for the investigation of Masons? By anatomical dissection and observation we become acquainted with the body; but it is by the anatomy of the mind alone we discover its power and principles.

Teaches the proper arrangement of words, according to the idiom or dialect of any particular people; and that excellency of pronunciation, which enables us to speak or write a language with accuracy, agreeably to reason and correct usage. Teaches us to speak copiously and fluently on any subject, not merely with propriety, but with all the advantages of force and elegance; wisely contriving to captivate the hearer by strength of argument and beauty of expression, whether it be to entreat or exhort, to admonish or applaud.

Teaches us to guide our reason discretionary in the general knowledge of things, and directs our inquiries after truth. It consists of a regular train of argument, whence we infer, deduce and conclude, according to certain premises laid down, admitted or granted; and in it are employed the faculties of conceiving, judging, reasoning and disposing; all of which are naturally led on from one gradation to another, till the point in question is finally determined.

Teaches the powers and properties of numbers, which is variously effected, by letters, tables, figures and instruments. By this art, reasons and demonstrations are given for finding out any certain number, whose relation or affinity to another is already known or discovered. Treats of the powers and properties of magnitudes in general, where length, breadth and thickness are considered, from a point to a line, from a line to a superficies, and from a superficies to a solid. By this science, the architect is enabled to construct his plans and execute his designs; the general, to arrange his soldiers; the engineer, to mark out ground for encampments; the geographer, to give us the dimensions of the world, and all things therein contained, to delineate the extent of seas, and specify the divisions of empires, kingdoms and provinces; by it, also, the astronomer is enabled to make his observations, and to fix the duration of times and seasons, years and cycles.

In fine, geometry is the foundation of architecture, and the root of the mathematics. Teaches the art of forming concords, so as to compose delightful harmony, by a mathematical and proportional arrangement of acute, grave and mixed sounds. This art, by a series of experiments, is reduced to a demonstrative science, with respect to tones and the intervals of sound. It inquires into the nature of concords and discords, and enables us to find out the proportion between them by numbers.

Is that divine art, by which we are taught to read the wisdom, strength and beauty of the Almighty Creator, in those sacred pages, the celestial hemisphere. Assisted by astronomy, we can observe the motions, measure the distances, comprehend the magnitudes, and calculate the periods and eclipses of the heavenly bodies. By it we learn the use of the globes, the system of the world, and the preliminary law of nature.

While we are employed in the study of this science, we must perceive unparalleled instances of wisdom and goodness, and through the whole creation trace the glorious Author by his works. The first and noblest of sciences, is the basis on which the superstructure of Masonry is erected.


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By Geometry we may curiously trace Nature through her various windings to her most concealed recesses. By it we discover the power, wisdom and goodness of the Grand Artificer of the Universe, and view with delight the proportions of this vast machine. By it we discover how the planets move in their respective orbits, and demonstrate their various revolutions. By it we account for the return of seasons, and the variety of scenes which each season displays to the discerning eye.


  1. History of Masonry.
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  3. She Wrote Her Blueprint.
  4. Masonic Symbols.
  5. University of Bradford : Web of Hiram : Lectures Craft Section?
  6. History of the Rite - Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, S.J., U.S.A..

Numberless worlds are around us, all framed by the same Divine Artist, which roll through the vast expanse, and are all conducted by the same unerring law of Nature. A survey of Nature, and the observation of her beautiful proportions, first determined man to imitate the divine plan, and study symmetry and order. This gave rise to societies, and birth to every useful art. The architect began to design, and the plans which he laid down, being improved by time and experience, have produced works which are ale admiration of every age.

Even the Temple of Solomon, so spacious and magnificent, and constructed by so many celebrated artists, escaped not the unsparing ravages of barbarous force. Freemasonry, notwithstanding, still survives.

The Blue Book

The attentive ear receives the sound from the instructive tongue, and the mysteries of Masonry are safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts. Tools and implements of architecture symbols most expressive have been selected by the Fraternity to imprint on the memory wise and serious truths; and thus, through a succession of ages, are transmitted, unimpaired, the most excellent tenets of our Institution.

The internal, and not the external, qualifications of a man are what Masonry regards. As you increase in knowledge, you will improve in social intercourse. It is unnecessary to recapitulate the duties which, as a Mason, you are bound to discharge; or enlarge on the necessity of a strict adherence to them, as your own experience must have established their value.

Our laws and regulations you are strenuously to support; and be always ready to assist in seeing them duly executed. You are not to perjure or aggravate the offenses of your brethren; but, in the decision of every trespass against our rules, you are to judge with candor, admonish with friendship, and reprehend with justice. The study of the liberal arts, that valuable branch of education, which tends so effectually to polish and adorn the mind, is earnestly recommended to your consideration; especially the science of geometry, which is established as the basis of our art.

Geometry, or Masonry, originally synonymous terms, being of a divine and moral nature, is enriched with the most useful knowledge; while it proves the wonderful properties of nature, it demonstrates the more important truths of morality. Your past behavior and regular deportment have merited the honor which we have now conferred; and in your new character it is expected that you will conform to the principles of the order, by steadily preserving in the practice of every commendable virtue.

Such is the nature of your engagements as a Fellowcraft , and to these duties you are bound by the most sacred of ties. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Let us in youth remember Him Who formed our frame, and spirits gave, Ere windows of the mind grow dim, Or door of speech obstructed wave; When voice of bird fresh terrors wake,.

For man to his long home doth go, And mourners group around his urn; Our dust to dust again must flow, And spirits unto God return. Is an instrument made use of by operative Masons to spread the cement which unites the building into one common mass; but we, as Free and Accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of spreading the cement of Brotherly Love and Affection that cement which unites us into one sacred band, or society of Friends and Brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, save that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree.

Thou, 0 God! Shield and defend us from the evil intentions of our enemies, and support us under the trials and afflictions we are destined to endure, while traveling through this vale of tears. Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

The Web of Hiram

He cometh forth as a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with Thee; Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; turn from him that he may rest, till he shall accomplish his day. For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. But man dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down, and riseth not up till the heavens shall be no more.

Yet, 0 Lord I have compassion on the children of Thy creation; administer them comfort in time of trouble, and save them with an everlasting salvation. O God, in whose hand our breath is, we bow in Thy presence with a sense of the frailty and uncertainty of this mortal life. It is appointed unto man once to die. But we thank Thee, that in Thy great mercy Thou hast made known to us the life beyond the grave, so that all may look hopefully forward beyond the shadows that now surround us.

Help us so to perform the duties assigned to us here, that when we shall depart this life, we may die in hope of a blissful immortality, and Thy Name shall have the praise forever. Music Hymn I. Solemn suikes the funeral chime, Notes of our departing time; As we journey here he low, Through a pilgrimage of woe. Lord of all! The Temple was supported by fourteen hundred and fifty-three columns, and two thousand nine hundred and six pilasters; all hewn from the finest Parian marble.

Memorization Tactics for Freemasons

There were employed in building the Temple, three Grand Masters, three thousand three hundred Masters or Overseers of the work, eighty thousand Fellow Crafts or Hewers in the Mountains, and Seventy thousand Entered Apprentices or bearers of burden, Apprentices or Bearers of Burdens. In Youth, as Entered Apprentices, we ought industriously to occupy our minds in the attainment of useful knowledge; in Manhood, as Fellow Crafts, we should apply that knowledge to the discharge of our respective duties to God, our neighbor, and ourselves; so that in Age, as Master Masons, we may enjoy the happy reflection consequent on a well spent life, and die in the hope of a glorious immortality.

Is an emblem of a pure heart, which is always an acceptable sacrifice to Deity; and as this glows with fervid heat, so should our hearts continually glow with gratitude to the great and beneficent Author of our existence for the manifold blessings and comforts we enjoy.

Is an emblem of Industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings, from the highest seraph in heaven to the lowest reptile of the dust. It teaches us that, as we came into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever he industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow creatures around us are in want, especially when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves. It might have pleased the great Creator of heaven and earth to have made man independent; but, as dependence is one of the strongest bonds of society, mankind were made dependent on each other for protection and security, as they thereby enjoy better opportunities of fulfilling the duties of reciprocal love and friendship.

Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God; and he that will so demean himself as not to be endeavoring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as Masons. Reminds us that we should he ever watchful and guarded in our thoughts, words, and actions, particularly when before the uninitiated; ever bearing in remembrance those truly Masonic virtues, silence.

Demonstrates that justice will sooner or later overtake us; and although our thoughts, words, and actions may be hidden from the eyes of man, yet that. Whom the Sun, Moon, and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even Comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits. Are emblems of a well grounded hope and a well spent life. They are emblematical of that divine ark which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of troubles, and that anchor which shall safely moor us in a peaceful harbor, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary shall find rest.

Was an invention of our ancient friend and Brother, the great Pythagoras, who, in his travels through Asia, Africa, and Europe, was initiated into several orders of Priesthood, and is said to have been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. This wise philosopher enriched his mind abundantly in a general knowledge of things, more especially in Geometry, or Masonry.

On this subject he drew out many problems and theorems; and among the most distinguished he erected this when, in the joy of his heart he exclaimed, Eureka! It teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and sciences. Is an emblem of human life. Behold, how swiftly the sands run, and how rapidly our lives are drawing to a close! We cannot, without astonishment, behold the little particles which are contained in this machine, how they pass away almost imperceptibly, and yet, to our surprise, in the short space of an hour they are all exhausted.

15 in freemasonry

Thus wastes man! Today he puts forth the tender leaves of hope; tomorrow blossoms, and bears his blushing honors thick upon him; the next day comes a frost, which nips the shoot; and when he thinks his greatness is still aspiring, he falls like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth. Is an emblem of time, which cuts the brittle thread of life and launches us into eternity. Behold, what havoc the Scythe of time makes among the human race; if by chance we should escape the numerous evils incident to childhood and youth, and, with health and vigor, arrive at the years of manhood, yet withal we must soon be cut down by the all devouring Scythe of time, and he gathered into the land where our fathers have gone before us.

BROTHER: Your Zeal for the institution of Masonry, the progress you have made in the mysteries, and your conformity to our regulations, have pointed you out as a proper object of our favor and esteem. You are now bound by duty, honor and gratitude to be faithful to your trust; to support the dignity of your character on every occasion; and to enforce, by precept and example, obedience to the tenets of the order.