Royal and Select Masons
The full title of this degree is, ‘The Order of Royal and Select Masters of England and Wales and its Districts and Councils Overseas’. It is more familiarly known as ‘the Cryptic Degrees’.
In addition to the Installation of the Master, it is composed of four degrees: namely Select Master, Royal Master, Most Excellent Master and Super Excellent Master. One of these degrees takes place in a crypt, hence the name, Cryptic Degrees. The Grand Council administers the order from Mark Masons’ Hall, London , and it is divided into Districts throughout the country and overseas. Candidates need to be both Mark and Royal Arch Masons.
The ritual book for these degrees contains a very interesting and excellent introduction to the actual ceremonies, none of which are lengthy. They extend to an unforgettable Masonic experience, spoken by one of the three original Grand Masters and cover the period from 967BC to 534BC. They expound on the building, completion and dedication of King Solomon’s Temple , the destruction and rebuilding of the Temple , the loss sustained and the subsequent recovery.
This brief synopsis of the Order explains and continues the teaching of Craft Masonry and puts it in chronological order commencing with the Mark and culminating with the Royal Arch. Studied as such, it will be seen that each degree from the Mark onwards leads logically to the next, constituting a complete masonic rite arriving at the Holy Royal Arch – the essence of Freemasonry.
Members of all faiths are eligible for its teachings, and as it is so truly associated with the Craft, Mark and Holy Royal Arch in allegorical sequence, it deserves its reputation as the pinnacle of Freemasonry.
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