Masonry conveys its lessons by degrees. There are three such degrees in the Craft Lodge system of fraternal association—the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. These titles were originally derived from the different level of skills and experience earned by the craftsmen who worked within the builder’s guilds during the middle Ages. Masonry adopted the language of the building trade because, as men, we are engaged in building our own human and spiritual edifice. This is a process that requires a lot of tools.
Our degrees are often thought of as stages or levels of membership. But they also represent different stages of life; as well as different levels of understanding and awareness. The degrees are therefore progressive in nature; like our own life journey.
Taken together, the degrees of Masonry provide a path, or way of thinking about what is important; what can add stability and meaning to our life. They represent a map of consciousness which can literally result in our transformation as a more enlightened human and spiritual being. The lessons in Masonry are based on the notion that mankind is made in the image of God and that each of us reflects the structure of the universe. This correspondence between the universe and man; between God and man, is the basis of all Masonic instruction.
The lodge or physical space where the degrees are conferred, then, can be thought of as a receptacle for mental and spiritual health. The men working in such a place are doing inner work together—building their own temple of awareness and wisdom in a private setting where only peace and harmony is known. To its members, a Masonic Lodge is, in a very real sense, a temple erected to God. This makes Masonic work the most important and fulfilling work we ever do.
For more information on the Entered Apprentice Degree, follow this link.