The 1st Degree – The Entered Apprentice
The first degree in Freemasonry is known as the Entered Apprentice degree. This is the degree a non-Mason receives upon being initiated into the fraternity. It is the first of the three Masonic Degrees in Freemasonry.
Overview of the 1st degree
In Freemasonry, there are three degrees which a Freemason attains, the third being the highest degree. They are like levels which a Freemason ascends through as more knowledge and experience is gained. These three degrees form the basis of Freemasonry and are collectively known as Craft Freemasonry.
You receive your first degree when you are first initiated into Freemasonry, having been a non-Mason beforehand. You are now officially a Freemason. As a first degree Mason, your rank will be an Entered Apprentice.
Note, Masonic degrees are not to be confused with degrees you received from college or school. In Freemasonry, degrees are distinct levels or stages a Freemason progresses through.
Build up to the 1st degree
How do you go from not being a Mason to then receiving your first Degree and becoming a Mason?
The first step is approaching a Freemason or a Masonic Lodge to express your interest in joining. Long ago, it used to be that you had to know someone personally who was a Freemason. Now, in the digital age, its become a lot easier to contact a Masonic Lodge.
Once you’ve made initial contact, the Masonic Lodge takes it from there. For a full article on the joining process, see here.
Once you’ve applied and passed the interview process (see here for more), a date will be set for you to receive your first degree and become an Entered Apprentice. The Masonic Lodge will make all the preparations, you just need to turn up in a suit.
By this stage, the members of the Masonic Lodge have already met you and trust you. They’ll be there to help guide you through the process.
What happens next is the actual degree ritual. It’s a specific type of ceremony that will be conducted during the Masonic Lodges monthly meeting, and the whole Lodge gets involved.
Ritual of the 1st degree
On the day of your initiation into Freemasonry, immediately before the ritual, you need to be prepared in a certain way. Again, this is something the Lodge members will do for you.
Once ready, you will be brought into the Lodge room, where the members of the Lodge will already be prepared. At this point the degree ritual starts. From personal experience, we can tell you that its an extremely unique and enjoyable experience.
What actually happens in the ritual? As always, when we can’t divulge certain things, we’ll let you know. This is one of those times. Rest assured that its nothing sinister. It involves story telling, oath taking, a blindfold and a great welcome on its conclusion as you become a brother.
Once the ritual is complete, you are now officially a Freemason and a member of that Masonic Lodge (your “mother Lodge”). You will receive your first Masonic apron, the apron of an Entered Apprentice. Every Mason remembers their first degree, it’s an important life event.
Secrets of the 1st degree
Back when Freemasons were actual Stone Masons, and worked with stone, they would hire young apprentices. Like today, these apprentices would be inexperienced youths looking to learn and master the trade. This parallels to the Entered Apprentice degree in Freemasonry, where you are basically new to the Order and just starting your journey and learning experience.
Perks of the 1st degree
As an Entered Apprentice, you can usually attend all of your Masonic Lodge’s meetings. Prior to being initiated, these meetings would have been completely off limits to you.
There are a few instances where the Masonic Lodge meets on a certain degree, meaning that to attend this particular meeting you need to have attained a higher degree. In these instances, the Mason with the 1st degree may be asked to step out or may not be able to attend.
Onwards to the next degree…
Depending on where you live and how busy your Masonic Lodge is, you should be elevated into the 2nd degree, the Fellow Craft Degree, within usually 6 months. By then, you would have become friendly with the other Lodge members and know a lot more about Freemasonry.
If you’ve got any questions, just comment below or contact us.