THREE DEGREES AND MORE
Each One Special and Entirely Unique
The process of becoming a full member of a Masonic Lodge is divided into three distinct and very meaningful ceremonial stages known as 'Degrees'. Each is loosely based on the Journeyman system which was used to educate and advance Medieval Craftsmen who were the builders of our historic castles and cathedrals.
At each distinct stage, before being allowed to move on to the next level, the Craftsmen were required to demonstrate proficiency skills.
Symbolically, the three Degrees represent the three stages of human development: Youth, manhood, and maturity or old age. These are not educational Degrees, and no dissertation is required. However each carries a few questions and answers to be studied.
The process of moving from First to Third can take about 12 months or longer, depending on how many meetings the particular Lodge holds each year. Don't worry, there really is no rush.
As a new Candidate Initiation this is your first experience of joining Freemasonry. It is, like all of our Ceremonies, thoroughly enjoyable, but it is at the same time both solemn and meaningful.
Here, the Entered Apprentice is entrusted with a lesson that is moral and ethical in nature. You become a Brother amongst Brothers. The celebration dinner that follows is entirely in your honour.
At this earliest stage you commit to good citizenry, building compassion, supporting charities and exercising kindness.
This extends far beyond the Masonic circle.
Fellowcraft was a term used by the Guilds of Operative Masons to signify skilled members of the Craft, and more literally it means a Fellow of the Craft.
Within our fraternity the Fellowcraft is directed towards the advanced search for Masonic wisdom, symbolism and philosophy.
Traditionally this marks the progress or Passing from Apprentice to Journeyman, bringing with it increased responsibility, proficiency, learning and new tasks.
Once completed the candidate may prepare to advance to the Third and Final Degree.
The Third Degree symbolises man's Raising to full maturity, and with it his Mastery of skills, knowledge and wisdom.
This is the final of three ceremonies that make a man into a full Mason. When completed the Candidate may then enjoy the both the rights and responsibilities of being a Freemason.
Some say this is the most spectacular and memorable ceremony.
As a Master Mason you may now attend any or all of the meetings up to and including your own Master Mason Degree.
Every Freemason has undergone a similar series of graduations. There are currently 6,000.000 around the world.
ARE YOU READY TO BEGIN YOUR OWN PERSONAL JOURNEY AS AN OXFORDSHIRE FREEMASON?
There are just three foundation Degrees in pure and ancient Freemasonry culminating in Master Mason. But this is not the end of the journey, it is just the beginning of your challenge to become a better man as you strive for a deeper and more honest connection with yourself and those around you. It is a continuing journey of self discovery and enlightenment.
BUT WHAT COMES NEXT?
As you reach Master Mason, a world of opportunities opens up to you. We call these 'Additional Orders', and there are many different paths. For most Freemasons, the next step is to join the Royal Arch (also know as 'Chapter'). This fits neatly into and is most closely associated with the context of your previous 3 Craft Degrees.