What Takes Place at Our Lodge Meetings?
Just as the new applicant or “Entered Apprentice” progressed his way through the craft guilds in the Middle Ages by learning how to build cathedrals etc., so applicants to Freemasonry, who are also called Entered Apprentices, progress their way through our society by learning how to build character and so lead a better life. They do this through a dramatized series of lessons or ceremonies which we call “rituals.”
Freemasonry uses the same tools in its rituals as the Operative Masons used to build cathedrals as tools or symbols in Character Building. Two of those tools are the square and compasses which together form Freemasonry’s familiar “trademark” or emblem. The letter “G” in the centre, reflects the Masonic belief in God as the centre of all life.
Your Progression Through Our Rituals
Applicants to Freemasonry are guided through three basic ceremonies or rituals during which they are awarded what we call “Degrees.” The three Degrees are called: “Entered Apprentice,” “Fellowcraft,” and “Master Mason.”
When an applicant’s petition is accepted by a lodge, he is advised of the date when the Entered Apprentice Degree will be conferred upon him.
On that date the applicant is dressed in a special garment and taken into the lodge where a team of members present what is effectively a play called the “Entered Apprentice Degree.” This is a solemn and dignified ceremony which has been passed down almost unaltered throughout the years and for which our participating members memorize their parts. You will be asked to give a solemn and binding promise never to disclose certain details of this ceremony to anyone except another Mason. You will not be asked to promise anything contrary to your religious, civil or other duties. You should approach the ceremony calmly and solemnly, with mind and spirit attentive to the lessons which will be imparted. After receiving the Entered Apprentice Degree, you will be expected to memorize – but with the help from one or more of your lodge brethren – several key passages of the ritual.
Having learned the required ritualistic work and after satisfying the lodge of your proficiency in that work, the Fellowcraft Degree will be conferred upon you.
You will again be asked to memorize and show your proficiency in some further ritual work after which the last and highest degree in Ancient Craft Masonry namely that called “The Master Mason Degree” will be conferred upon you.