My 2nd Degree Fellowcraft CeremonyMarch 25, 2007
I am now officially a Fellowcraft Freemason! I no longer wear the plain white lambskin apron, but now my apron has two sky-blue rosettes at the bottom. I was just “passed” to the degree of a Fellowcraft in the Canadian Rite.
There will be some differences from my degree compared to others around the world, but my experiences should be fairly similar. No matter the which Ritual is followed, I’m sure that it will be a memorable experience for the Masons who go through it. I’ll relate the basic things that I went through here, without revealing the spicy details that might take away from the enjoyment of any future Freemason going through their 2nd degree.
Before a Mason can begin the Fellowcraft degree ceremony, they have to prove their proficiency in the Entered Apprentice degree.
I went through the degree with another Brother. We started off by both approaching the altar and then answered a series of questions alternatively that we had memorized. After we finished this, the Worshipful Master asked if there was anything else anyone wanted to hear. The Senior Warden announced that he would like to hear our Entered Apprentice Obligation. We were instructed to say the Obligation in unison, except for the final part that dealt with the penalties which we were to say separately.
We managed to go through the entire obligation without any hesitations or lapses in synchronization. Even in practice we had never done it this perfectly. We were told by the Worshipful Master that it sounded like one voice with a slight echo and that he had never seen a group do it so well. Our four months of memorization and practice payed off!
I will admit that by the end of the Obligation, my legs were shaking a bit. We were standing in a position with out feet touching together and our legs straight for at least 10 minutes by this point. The nervous energy and fatigue from standing still with straight legs were starting to take its toll. Even my fingers on my hand that I was holding over my heart were starting to cramp up.
We were then asked to retire from the Lodge Room. Once outside, we were told to change back into our “special garments” that we had worn for our first Initiation ceremony. One of our questions that we had memorized was to describe the mode of our preparation for our Entered Apprentice initiation. We were told to simply do everything opposite of what we did for the 1st degree. We were pretty giddy from nailing our proficency test, so we did discuss wearing the tops of our garments as our pants etc…
After we had both changed and were waiting outside of the Lodge to begin our Fellowcraft ceremony, it occured to me how different this was from the initiation ceremony. Our two “guides” for the ceremony and the Tyler were outside with us, and we joked and talked as we waited to be admitted back into the lodge.
I wasn’t nervous like the first degree, because I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen, and I now knew all of the Brothers who were inside. It was actually our guides who were double checking with each other about their parts who appeared nervous. I only had one fairly small part still to do which dealt with the signs, grips, tokens and passwords from the previous degree. From this point on, I just had to enjoy the ride.
The ceremony was actually somewhat similar to the Initiation ceremony, but I wasn’t blindfolded. I was led around by my guide, and prompted of what to say and do through-out. I still managed to stumble on a few occasions when I was guided in a direction that I wasn’t expecting, but everything seemed to go smoothly.
I used an analogy when I wrote about my Initiation that said that the amount of information was like a tidal wave; most of it would go right by you, but in the end you would still be quite wet. This degree was no different. There were many strange names of people and places and stories that I really didn’t have time to absorb, much less process. I even learned how to walk in a very peculiar fashion…
When we took the Obligation of a Fellowcraft, we were at the altar in a similar but opposite position from the first degree. It soon became a very uncomfortable position and our guides stood behind us correction our position each time that we tried to rest or either slouch out of our “square” position. Anyone who goes through this degree can probably attest to the soreness of your left arm by the time the Obligation is done.
The Obligation itself seemed a little bit shorter that the first one, and I was relieved to hear that several sentences and parts of sentences were the same from the first degree Obligation. This will make it a lot easier to memorize.
There was more “secret work” as well. Now there was also a passgrip and password along with the updated grip or token and signs. I’m still a little bit confused about them, but I have a lot to learn about everything in this degree.
There were similar lectures as in the first degree dealing with the working tools, the charge, and all of the symbols and history of the Fellowcraft degree. This was also the first time that I had been exposed to a Tracing Board, which is basically a large picture that shows all of the symbols of the degree. The symbols were explained as I followed along on the Tracing Board.
My overall impression of the degree was quite positive. With the Initiation ceremony, it was very surreal to me because everything was so new and unfamiliar. This degree was much more relaxed because I was now comfortable in the Lodge itself and was eager to hear and learn new material. Every Brother who presented a portion of the degree was a friend and mentor.
It was explained to me that this degree represents the adulthood of a man’s life. At this point a Mason is encouraged to learn about the liberal arts and sciences and improve his character and society. It appears that there is quite a bit to learn in this degree and I look forward to getting into the new material.
This is my 18th post on Freemasonry and my experiences as a Freemason. Here is the Table of Contents of my Masonic Journey.