Some Personal Thoughts on the Fellowcraft Degree
Food For Thought - Masonic Article
by BRO. W. R. BAZELEY, S.S. (Associate)
These thoughts originated from a personal experience I had immediately after I was initiated. A friend who had taken a keen interest in my Masonic leanings remarked to me, "You will not see much in the second degree, but the third will greatly impress you," etc. I soon found this idea prevalent among many Masons and as circumstances prevented my attendance at Lodge of Instruction for some time, I naturally accepted the idea as being correct.
When I started my Masonic life seriously. and attended instruction and consequently had to study the ritual, I quickly realised that here was one of the most beautiful of all our workings and I never cease to receive enjoyment and learnings from the degree. Who among us can fail to be moved by the significance of this degree, after a little thought the wording of which is so rich in meaning and symbolism, the degree, after all, being the study of the Fellowcraft in the full flow of his working life.
We learn from a study of ancient operative masonry that the Fellowcraft was the superior worker who reached this standard after years of work as an E.A. and then only the chosen few as leaders reached the M.M. rank. All the work and execution of the beautiful designs being handled by the various fellowcrafts divided as they were into groups of workers and overseers, and during the years they moulded the pattern of the building, so in symbolism in our Lodges the candidate should be moulded in this degree in the true principles of Masonry which are so clearly instructed in the second degree.
Our reference as Fellowcrafts to our Maker as the Grand Geometrical instead of the Great Architect of the first degree shows that the E.A. is seeking after knowledge and has made some progress. In the first degree the E.A. sees the light, is born as it were into Masonic life, now as a craftsman with all his vigour starting out to extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of N. and S. N., the work and method of our natural being based as near as we humans can on the ideals set by the Grand Geometrician. S., which is the power to develop those thoughts of mind and understanding given to every man to use to the betterment of mankind in general, in other words the study of the human mind.
Read carefully the charge in the S.E., which, although one of the smallest charges in the ritual, is surely one of the richest in meaning. Freemasonry, it says, is a progressive science; surely nothing can be more true. Immediately follows another important instruction given in the address after investiture to estimate the wondrous works of the Almighty Creator. Surely these instructions give the best Fellowcraft sufficient work to perform for the longest life study, the wonderful ideals of the Grand Geometrician.
In our second tracing board we are told that Fellowcrafts ascended the W.S. and in the working of the degree the candidate advances by a W.S. In mounting the W.S. or advancing by the W.S. you learn as you go step by step, not just to get our minds in one straight channel, but to raise ourselves as we mount higher. Examine for a few moments the working tools of the degree, which are full of helpful instruction. All the tools are important in the life of a Mason, who is trying to construct. On our admission to the degree we are admitted on the S, a symbol of strength which binds us to our first moral teachings of the degree to act on the S., the strength of mind. Then take the L., the moral of equality, the leanings of one on the other for the best advantage of all, and the final levelling of all men. The infallible P.R., the moral teachings of which form one of the finest instructions ever given to man. If we in our everyday life would stop and think of the Moral teachings of the P.R. in our second tools, how different the world could be, such simple but perfect teachings.
It is also noted in this degree that our attention is drawn to the Sacred Symbol, that letter which, representing the Grand Geometrician to whom we acknowledge all Power and Might, ever stand out as a symbol of our faith and trust in HIM.
Let us then dispel ourselves of the complacency which in some Masons covers this degree, and endeavour to take to our hearts the true meaning of all the Second Degree conveys.
SOURCE: UML vol.08 no.14 page 4