I became a full-fledged Master Mason in 2010 and shortly thereafter it became apparent to me that I had only just begun my Masonic journey. In addition to the first three degrees of Masonry, Freemasons can also attain higher Masonic degrees through two well-known appendant bodies, the Scottish Rite and the York Rite. I attained the 32nd degree through the Scottish Rite in 2012 and was soon struck with the bug to go through the York Rite degrees.
The York Rite is made up three bodies of degrees – the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, the Council of Royal & Select Masters and the Commandery of Knights Templar. The rite gets its York Rite name from the city of York, where supposedly the first Masonic meetings in England took place. You can only apply for membership in the York Rite if you’re a full-fledged Master Mason in good standing through what’s known as a Blue Lodge.
The first four degrees of York Rite Masonry are called the Chapter Degrees and they include the degrees of Mark Master, Past Master (Virtual), Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch. The next three degrees are the Council Degrees and they include the degrees of Royal Master, Select Master and Super Excellent Master. The last three degrees what’s known as the Commandery Degrees and they include the degrees of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, the Order of Knight of Malta and the Order of the Temple.
I applied for membership in the York Rite months ago and learned of my acceptance a short time later. Thus began the process of proceeding through the degrees. I received the first five degrees at the York Rite Lodge in Huxford, Ala. The name of that lodge is Monroeville Chapter No. 170 Royal Arch Masons.
Last Saturday, Dec. 3, I got up early and traveled to the York Rite building in Mobile, Ala. There, beginning at 8 a.m., I went the final York Rite Degrees, including the impressive final three degrees. In my class, there were nine candidates in all, including Joe Dailey of Uriah.
I had a lot of fun going through the York Rite degrees, and now feel even more a part of the time honored tradition of Freemasonry. I met a lot of good men down in Mobile and appreciate them taking their time to put on the degrees for me and the other brothers in my class. The degrees were very impressive, and they were so well done that I’m sure that I will never forget them.
At the end of the day, patents were issued to all of the candidates who successfully completed the degrees. My patents reflected that I was now an official member of Monroeville Chapter, No. 170, Royal Arch Masons of Alabama, Monroeville Council No. 95 of the Grand Council of Cryptic Masons of the State of Alabama and Monroeville Commandery No. 47 of the Grand Commandery of the State of Alabama.
In the end, how many of you are familiar with the York Rite? Do you have any friends or relatives who are members? What other Masonic degrees would you recommend pursing? Let us know in the comments section below.