Solomon Cryptic Council #38

What are the Cryptic Degrees ?

The name Cryptic, is derived from the Greek word for a vault or subterranean passage, referring to the ascertained fact that secret vaults were constructed in the basement of the Temple.

The Degrees of the Cryptic Council are three in number:

1 - Royal Master        2 - Select Master        3 - Super Excellent Master

It is quite possible to confer all of the Cryptic degrees upon a candidate in a single evening, but it is quite common, and the usual practice of us at Solomon to confer the degree of Royal Master at the first meeting, with the latter two degrees to be conferred at a later date.

So how does it all fit together ?

In Craft Masonry (Blue Lodge) we learned of the loss of the WORD and the hope for its recovery.

In the Royal Arch Chapter we learned of its recovery.

The Cryptic Council completes this story as we learn of the WORD's initial preservation.

Cryptic Masonry centres around the story of preservation, the loss and recovery of the WORD.

These are only a brief summaries of the degrees and I apologise that as such, these descriptions do not do justice to the degrees to which they refer.

The Degree of Royal Master

The symbolism of the Degree of Royal Master is that of a Fellow Craft in search of the knowledge that will make him a Master Mason. His efforts are eventually rewarded and he is admitted into a fellowship that has been entrusted with Cryptic secrets not yet available to the majority of the Craft.

The principal lecture of the degree is one of the most impressive in Freemasonry and reflects on death and how Freemasonry's secrets came to be placed in the secret vault where they are later discovered.

The calendar of the Royal & Select Master's Degrees dates from the time of the completion of King Solomon's Temple.

The Degree of Select Master

The symbolism of the Select Master is that of loving care for the preservation of the old landmarks.

By the time King Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem was completed, a number of the secrets of the Craft had already been lost. The craftsmen were advised that future generations may rediscover them if they properly applied themselves with fervency and zeal. Future generations did discover these secrets and the Select Masters Degree reveals how they had been preserved. This degree completes the education of the craftsman with regard to the concealed mysteries of Ancient Craft Masonry. However, while the candidate receives this additional knowledge, he has also been confronted with additional symbolism which requires future application by him in perfecting his spiritual building.

The Degree of Super Excellent Master

The symbolism of the Super Excellent Master is that of faithfulness to vows.

The third and last degree in the Cryptic Rite is the Super Excellent Master Degree. The Degree is not strictly "Cryptic", in that the symbolism of the degree does not deal with the Vault or Crypt, but rather with the destruction of the first Temple. It tells the history of the siege of Jerusalem by the troops of Nebuchadnezzar (King Of Babylon) who is motivated into action by Zedekiah (the last King of Judah). The moral lessons conveyed in the degree are to walk in faith, promote friendship and promote fidelity. These lessons are presented to the candidate in a clear and forcible manner.