The 2nd Degree – The Fellow Craft
The second degree in Freemasonry is known as the Fellow Craft degree. It is the second highest degree, after the Entered Apprentice degree and before the third and highest Master Mason degree.
Overview of the Fellow Craft degree
The second highest of the three Masonic degrees is the Fellow Craft degree – the second degree. It’s the second level in Freemasonry and is usually received roughly 6 months or so after being initiated into the first degree.
By this stage you’re already a Freemason and have gotten to know your fellow Lodge members. You’ve also learned a lot more about Freemasonry and some of its teachings and are now ready to go to the next stage.
Build up to the 2nd degree
It is the 2nd of 3 main degrees or levels within Freemasonry, and comes after the 1st degree known as the “Entered Apprentice” Degree. The full name of the degree is “Fellow of the Craft”, shortened to “Fellow Craft”.
It is the second highest degree in Freemasonry and also has its own ceremony whereby the degree is conferred to the former Entered Apprentice. It’s like a promotion with a full ceremony.
The ritual of the 2nd degree
Similar to getting your First Degree, you get your second Degree by means of an elaborate ceremony, complete with ritual, props and acts. Again, you will take an oath and receive some of the secrets of the Order. After the ceremony is complete, you will now be a 2nd Degree Mason, known as Fellow Craft.
Its a different ceremony, and the words, tools and rituals are also different. On completion of the ceremony, your 1st Degree apron is taken and you are presented with the Apron of the higher 2nd degree.
Secrets of the 2nd degree
During the ritual, you will have been taught certain secrets which aren’t to be divulged to those not yet in the order. This includes a handshake (or “grip”) and a password. These are specific to the second degree and different from grips and passwords from other degrees.
Perks of the 2nd degree
Similar to 1st Degree Masons, you can attend nearly all Masonic Lodge meetings, you just cannot attend meetings that specifically require you to have the 3rd and final degree.
As a Fellow Craft what you usually find is that the more junior Masons, at the 1st degree level, now look up to you as a sort of mentor.
Historical origins of the Fellow Craft degree
The next degree
The next step is to achieve the 3rd and highest degree in Freemasonry, the Master Mason Degree. Although you are still considered a Freemason prior to this, achieving your 3rd degree and becoming a Master Mason means you are a fully fledged Freemason and will be treated as such.
It can take up to a year from entering Freemasonry and getting your 3rd Degree, sometimes a bit longer.