With the end of the year approaching, I wanted to both tie up some loose ends, as well as review the information I put up this year (which was a lot!). One of the items that has been on my to do list for a while, is to start creating a Masonic dictionary of sorts. There is one out there, but it tends to be more like an encyclopedia, and I wanted to create something short and sweet, and easier to digest. I hope to be updating the layout of the website after the holidays, so this will be something that will be permanently available, and always being updated.
Mason- A member of any Masonic Lodge that is recognized by its respective Grand Lodge. Also called a Freemason, or a speculative Mason.
Blue Lodge– Encompasses the first three degrees of Freemasonry. This is what most people think of when they hear the word “Freemasonry”.
Lodge- Can refer to going to meetings for Blue Lodge, a collective group of Masons that meet together, or the building that they meet in.
Worshipful Master- Acts as president and presides over all Lodge meetings for their respective Lodge. Is traditionally elected to the position. It is usually abbreviated as WM. For more on Lodge officers, look here.
Degree- A set of lessons, lectures, and floorwork presented to a candidate, that involves an oath.
Entered Apprentice- The first degree of Blue Lodge. Usually abbreviated as EA.
Fellowcraft- The second degree of Blue Lodge. Usually abbreviated as FC.
Master Mason- The third degree of Blue Lodge. This is often called the highest degree of all Masonry, due to its lessons. Usually abbreviated as MM.
The East- Historically a place of honor, as it is the direction the sun rises. In a Masonic Lodge, all business is conducted facing the East, and the WM sits in the East, facing the rest of the Lodge room.
Supreme Architect- This is how God is referred to most of the time within Masonic ritual. The idea is that it allows for Masonry to not be constrained to any one religion.
G- Often seen within the square and compass, G refers to many things within Masonry, the two major one being God, and geometry, the sacred art of Masons.
Square and compass- The universal symbol of Masonry. To learn more about its meaning, look here.
Sign of the good shepherd- Arms crossed, left over right, palms on the chest. This is the way that Master Masons and other Masonic groups pray. It is a symbol of a shepherd carrying a lamb on his back.
One rap of the gavel-The gavel, used by the WM in Lodge or other functions, helps communicate what needs to be done to those present. One rap of the gavel is a signal for all standing to be seated, or for everyone to be quiet and pay attention to the WM.
Two raps- Two raps of the gavel is a signal for all officers to stand.
Three raps- Three raps of the gavel is a signal for everyone in the Lodge, Masons or not, to stand if they are able.
So mote it be- This is the response given by Masons after the word “Amen” is said by the WM or chaplain. It simply means, “so may it be”, and is an affirmative of the prayer.
Grand Lodge- This group works as sort of an administration for all Lodges that belong to it in the state. It has its own officers and office.
Prince Hall- A branch of Freemasonry that is populated mostly by African Americans. There may be visitation between Prince Hall Lodges and Blue Lodges in your state. This varies from state to state.
York Rite- A branch of Freemasonry that started in England. The degrees pick up where the MM degree left off, and include Royal Arch, Cryptic Masons, and the Knights Templar.
Royal Arch- The first set of degrees within York Rite. It includes the Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason (sometimes called Holy Royal Arch) degrees.
Cryptic Masons- The second set of degrees within York Rite. It includes the Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master degrees.
Knights Templar- The third set of degrees within York Rite, referred to as orders. They include the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, The Passing Order of St. Paul, The Order of the Knights of Malta, and the Order of the Temple.
Scottish Rite- A branch of Freemasonry that started in France (despite the name). It too picks up where the MM degree left off. It includes four bodies.
Lodge of Perfection- the first set of degrees of the Scottish Rite. It includes degrees 4-14.
Chapter of Rose Croix– The second set of degrees of the Scottish Rite. It includes degrees 15-18.
Council of Kadosh- The third set of degrees of the Scottish Rite. It includes degrees 19-30.
Consistory- The fourth set of degrees of the Scottish Rite. It includes degrees 31 and 32.
Court of Honour- A court within Scottish Rite where membership is through invitation only, usually after it is felt someone goes above and beyond for Masonry in the area. It contains the 33rd degree.
Shrine– An appendant body of Freemasonry, once called the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Members must be Master Masons.
Temple- The building in which Shriners meet, akin to a Lodge.
Divan- The board of directors for a specific Shrine Temple.
Shiners Hospital- The major charity for the Shrine, a network of 22 hospitals in North America, that provide children with care for burns, orthopedic issues, and more, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
Order of the Eastern Star– The Blue Lodge auxiliary group whose membership is extended to women related to a Master Mason, as well as Master Masons. Commonly abbreviated OES, or Star.
WM- Worthy Matron, head of a chapter of OES. Not to be confused with a Worshipful Master.
Daughters of the Nile- The Shrine auxiliary group whose membership is open to women related to a Master Mason, or another member of Daughters of the Nile. Usually shortened to Daughters.
DeMolay– A Blue Lodge auxiliary group for young men 12-21. Relation to a Master Mason is not required.
Rainbow for Girls– A Blue Lodge auxiliary group for young girls 11-21. Relation to a Master Mason is not required.