Degrees in Freemasonry are levels that a Freemason progressively attains. There are a total of three degrees in standard Freemasonry, with the third degree (The Master Mason) being the highest. There are also optional degrees, which are higher numerically, but not in rank.
In Freemasonry, there are 3 distinct levels you progress through as a Freemason. Each degree is higher than the next and each degree has its own backstory, ritual, legend and even its own Masonic apron. Once you have received your 3rd and final degree, you are a Master Mason and a fully fledged member of the brotherhood, with all the perks that come with it.
An analogy would be like graduating from school, then high-school and then finally university.
The 3 degrees
Here are the 3 degrees of Freemasonry, lowest to highest:
- 1st Degree – “The Entered Apprentice”
- 2nd Degree – “The Fellow Craft”
- 3rd Degree (highest) – “The Master Mason”
Each degree above has its own separate article, if you want to read more. Here’s a summary anyway:
1st Degree – The Entered Apprentice
Coming from the darkness, you have been accepted into Freemasonry and its now time for you to officially be initiated. You go through the 1st degree initiation ritual, after which you will be an Entered Apprentice i.e. a 1st Degree Freemason. At this point, you are now a Freemason, just of a junior rank.
2nd Degree – The Fellow Craft
You’ve now made new friends among your fellow Lodge members and have learned the intricacies of Freemasonry. You’ll have had someone mentoring you throughout your time as an Entered Apprentice, helping you out and guiding you.
It’s now time to move up a level and receive your 2nd degree. The ritualistic story continues as you are initiated into the 2nd degree and learn more of the backstory and secrets of Freemasonry. After the ceremony is complete, you are now a Fellow Craft Freemason.
3rd Degree – The Master Mason
By now, you’ve been a Freemason for nearly a year, and its time for the final and most prestigious degree. All degrees have been leading to this Master Mason degree, the 3rd and final degree.
The ritual and story culminate in this degree ritualistic initiation (a highly enjoyable experience) after which you are now a Master Mason. You’ll now be a mentor to other junior Freemasons, they’ll look up to you. You’ll also have the perks that come with being a Master Mason.
The highest degree numerically is the infamous 33rd degree. Only a select few will ever become 33rd degree Masons.
The 3rd “Master Mason” degree is the highest degree in Freemasonry. As Freemasonry developed throughout the ages, optional degrees have arisen and are part of the extended Masonic family. These degrees have numbers higher than “3”, but are not considered to be higher in Masonic Rank.
What this means is that a Freemason of the 17th degree cannot claim to be a higher ranking Mason than someone who has his 3rd Master Mason degree. Once you’re a Master Mason, you are on equal footing with you fellow brothers, and are treated as an equal.
How do you get started?
The first step to becoming a Freemason and being initiated into the 1st degree is by chatting with a Freemason. If you fulfill the criteria (which can be found here), and you’re a good person at heart, we’ll take care of the rest.
As always folks, any questions or anything you didn’t understand, contact us or comment below!