Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that has its roots in the medieval stonemason guilds. There are many different types of Freemason lodges, each with its own distinct purpose and traditions. The three main types of Freemason lodges are Symbolic, Scottish Rite, and York Rite. Each type of lodge has its own unique rituals, symbols, and customs, which make them distinct from one another. In this article, we will explore the differences between these three types of Freemason lodges and discuss how they each contribute to the greater fraternity.
Symbolic Lodges are a type of fraternal organization that follows a system of degrees and rituals based on the principles of Freemasonry. These lodges are typically divided into three categories: Blue Lodges, Scottish Rite, and York Rite.
Blue Lodges are the most common form of Symbolic Lodge, and they adhere to the three degrees of Masonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason. These lodges typically use rituals and symbols to teach basic moral lessons.
The Scottish Rite is an additional set of degrees with varying levels within each degree. These degrees teach more advanced Masonic philosophy and symbolism.
Types Of Craft Lodges
Craft Lodges are a type of Masonic Lodge within Freemasonry that emphasizes the study and practice of speculative and operative masonry. They are typically based on the ancient customs and practices of building lodges, which date back to the Middle Ages. There are various types of craft lodges:
• Operative Lodges – Operative lodges focus on the craft or art of operative masonry, such as laying stones for a building or constructing a wall. These types of lodges often include apprenticeships where new members can learn the craft from an experienced master mason.
• Mark Lodges – Mark lodges focus on the traditions and history behind masonry. These types of lodges typically have special rituals that involve symbolic tools or objects that mark a Mason’s journey through Freemasonry.
• Royal Arch Chapters – Royal Arch Chapters focus on studying ancient scriptures and other esoteric texts with deeper spiritual meanings hidden within them. They often have elaborate ceremonies that involve costumes, music, and other dramatic elements.
• Allied Degrees – Allied degrees emphasize morality, philosophy, symbolism, and ritual in different ways than traditional Craft Lodge Degrees do. These degrees have various themes depending on their jurisdiction; however, they all strive to challenge members intellectually and spiritually in order to further their understanding of Freemasonry’s teachings.
Craft Lodges provide an opportunity for Masons to practice their craft while also deepening their understanding of Masonic history and philosophy. Each type provides a unique experience that helps members gain further insight into Freemasonry’s unique culture and traditions.
Types Of Blue Lodges
Blue Lodges are fraternal organizations that originated in the 18th century. They are dedicated to teaching moral lessons through the use of symbols and rituals. Blue Lodges are typically divided into three degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Each degree has its own lessons and symbols which are used to teach moral lessons about life. Here are some of the types of Blue Lodges:
• Symbolic Lodge: A Symbolic Lodge is the most common type of Blue Lodge and is where initiates learn the basic principles of Freemasonry. This type of lodge typically uses ritual, symbolism, lectures, and discussions to teach morality to its members.
• Scottish Rite: The Scottish Rite is another type of Masonic lodge that focuses more on philosophical teachings than on ritualistic practices. It consists of 29 degrees, each with its own set of rituals and symbols which further explore the moral teachings taught in the Symbolic Lodge.
• York Rite: The York Rite is a collection of bodies that work together to teach morality to Masons at various levels. This includes a Chapter for Royal Arch Masonry, Council for Cryptic Masonry, and Commandery for Knights Templar Masonry. Each body has its own sets of rituals and symbols which they use to teach moral lessons about life.
• Shrine: The Shrine is a fraternity within Freemasonry specifically for Master Masons who have chosen to further their Masonic education by joining an additional body known as Ancient Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine (AASR). This body is best known for its philanthropy work such as Shriners Hospitals for Children.
• Grotto: The Grotto is a fun-loving organization within Freemasonry that focuses on social activities such as banquets and picnics as well as charitable works such as raising funds for local charities or providing scholarships for students in need.
These are just some of the many types of Blue Lodges out there today. Each one has its own unique set of rituals and symbols which help members learn important moral lessons about life while having fun at the same time!
Types of Royal Arch Chapters
Royal Arch chapters are a part of Freemasonry, an organization that has been around since the 18th century. It is a fraternity of men who are dedicated to the principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth. The Royal Arch Chapters are divided into two main categories: Regular and Symbolic. Each type has its own unique characteristics and requirements for membership.
Regular chapters are those which have been sanctioned by the Grand Lodge of England or one of its recognized branches in other countries. In order to join a regular chapter, one must be a Master Mason in good standing with his local lodge. The ceremony for joining a regular chapter is more elaborate than that for joining a symbolic chapter and requires more knowledge of Masonic ritual and symbols.
Symbolic chapters are those which have been established independently from the Grand Lodge but still follow many of the same principles as regular chapters. They do not require members to be Master Masons but instead focus on teaching symbolic lessons about Freemasonry. Symbolic chapters often have a more relaxed atmosphere than regular chapters and may not require as much knowledge about Masonic ritual or symbols in order to join them.
Other Types of Royal Arch Chapters:
In addition to Regular and Symbolic chapters, there are also several other types of Royal Arch Chapters that exist today such as themed chapters, research lodges, historical lodges, traveling lodges, and educational lodges among others. These types of lodges often focus on specific areas such as research into Masonic history or education on Masonic topics. While they may require some degree of knowledge about Freemasonry in order to join them, they do not have the same stringent criteria as Regular or Symbolic chapters do for membership.
Types Of Royal And Select Masters Councils
Royal and Select Masters councils are a branch of Freemasonry, which was founded in the 19th century. These councils are a more advanced form of Freemasonry, and require members to have a thorough knowledge of Masonic rituals. There are various types of Royal and Select Masters councils, each with its own unique rituals and ceremonies.
* The Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters is the largest type of council, and is composed of nine officers who administer the Grand Council’s general laws. This council is responsible for overseeing all other Royal and Select Master councils in the United States.
* The Council of Royal & Select Masters is an independent body that oversees all other Royal and Select Master councils in its jurisdiction. This council is composed of three officers who are responsible for administering the laws governing Masonic rites.
* The Councils of Cryptic Masons are smaller organizations that focus on teaching members the basic principles of Freemasonry. These councils typically meet once a month, and members must pass an exam to be eligible to join.
* The Grand Commandery Knights Templar is a type of Masonic organization that focuses on teaching members about chivalric orders such as Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller. Members must pass an exam to join this organization, and meetings typically occur twice a year.
* The Sovereign Great Priory is an organization that focuses on teaching members about the history, principles, symbols and philosophy of Freemasonry. This organization meets twice a year, and new members must pass an exam before they can join.
Overall, there are various types of Royal & Select Masters councils available for those interested in furthering their knowledge about Freemasonry rituals and ceremonies. Each type has its own unique purpose, rituals, ceremonies, meetings and requirements for membership.
Types Of Scottish Rite Bodies
The Scottish Rite is one of the two branches of Freemasonry in which a Master Mason may proceed after he has completed the three degrees of Symbolic or Blue Lodge Masonry. There are several types of Scottish Rite Bodies that an individual can join in order to further explore their Masonic journey. These bodies are divided into four classes: Lodges of Perfection, Chapters of Rose Croix, Councils of Kadosh, and Consistories. Each class is comprised of a series of degrees that an individual must complete in order to reach the highest degree in the Scottish Rite.
The first class is the Lodge of Perfection, which consists of four to fourteen degrees depending on jurisdiction. This class focuses on learning the lessons taught by ancient philosophers and wisdom found in sacred books. The first four degrees focus on developing moral character and learning lessons about charity and justice, while the remaining degrees focus on King Solomon’s Temple and its symbolism.
The second class is the Chapter of Rose Croix, which consists of eighteen degrees that focus on developing spiritual understanding and a deeper understanding of philosophical concepts. The third class is Councils of Kadosh, which consists of five to thirty degrees depending on jurisdiction. This class focuses on developing one’s Masonic character and knowledge with a specific emphasis on chivalry.
The fourth and final class is Consistories, which consists between twenty-five to thirty-three degrees depending on jurisdiction. This class focuses on developing leadership skills as well as teaching lessons about morality and justice while emphasizing charity work.
Each degree builds upon the previous one in each respective class so that individuals can gain a better understanding and appreciation for Freemasonry as they progress through each degree. By joining any one or all four classes in the Scottish Rite, individuals can gain insight into deeper aspects within Masonic teachings while also gaining opportunities for personal growth and development within their Masonic journey.
Types Of York Rite Bodies
The York Rite of Freemasonry is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry. The three primary bodies in the York Rite are the Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal and Select Masters, and the Commandery of Knights Templar. Each of these bodies are governed independently but are all considered to be a part of the York Rite system.
The Chapter of Royal Arch Masons is dedicated to furthering an individual’s understanding and knowledge of Masonic teachings and Ancient Scripture. This body makes use of scripture, symbols, and allegories to discuss themes related to faith, morality, religious tolerance, brotherly love, and more. Before a Mason can become a member in this body they must complete three degrees: Mark Master Mason, Past Master Mason, and Most Excellent Master Mason.
The Council of Royal & Select Masters is commonly referred to as the Cryptic Rite or Council Degrees. This body uses symbolism from King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem to emphasize lessons related to justice, honor, fortitude & temperance. Before a Mason can become a member in this body they must complete four degrees: Royal Master Mason, Select Master Mason, Super Excellent Master Mason & Order Of The Red Cross.
The Commandery Of Knights Templar is based on the story revolving around the medieval Knights Templar order which was formed during the Crusades. This body emphasizes lessons related to Christianity such as charity and service while also emphasizing military virtues such as loyalty and discipline. Before a Mason can become a member in this body they must complete three degrees: Knight Of The Red Cross Of Constantine; Knight Of The Christian Mark; & Knight Templar And Malta.
In addition to these three primary bodies there are other appendant bodies that make up what is known as “York Rite Freemasonry” such as Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD), Grand College Of Rites (GCR), Order Of Secret Monitor (OSM), Red Cross Of Babylon (RCB), etc. These organizations provide additional opportunities for Masonic exploration into deeper aspects concerning faith & religion such as mythology or philosophy while also emphasizing charity & service both within Freemasonry itself as well as within society at large.
Allied Masonic Degrees
The Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD) is a series of Masonic degrees conferred in some Masonic jurisdictions. They are supplementary degrees to the Craft, or Blue Lodge, and Royal Arch Masonry, and are not usually recognized as separate bodies in their own right. The AMD works closely with the Royal Arch Masonry in many jurisdictions. The degrees are intended to expand upon the symbolism of a Master Mason’s degree, and to add more light to the Royal Arch Degree.
The Allied Masonic Degrees consist of three main categories: Orders of Knighthood; Christian-oriented Orders, and Philosophical-oriented Orders. The Orders of Knighthood include two divisions: Knights Templar and Malta. These two orders are based on the historical military orders that fought during the Crusades. The Christian-oriented Orders focus on Christianity, including the Order of St Lawrence the Martyr, Order of St Thomas of Acon, Order of Holy Sepulchre, Order of Red Cross of Babylon and Order of Secret Monitor.
The Philosophical-oriented Orders focus on philosophical themes such as knowledge and wisdom. These include the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA), which is focused on researching ancient mysteries; and the Order of Knight Masons (OKM), which is focused on moral teachings. Each degree in these Orders has its own symbolism and lectures that provide instruction for each member.
In addition to these three main categories, there are also several side orders that have been added over time such as Knight Beneficent Phoenix, Royal & Select Masters and Knights Kadosh (or Kadosh Knights Templar). Each degree has its own particular meaning related to morality or philosophy.
Allied Masonic Degrees provide an opportunity for members to explore topics beyond those addressed by Craft Masonry alone. By participating in these degrees, members can gain a deeper understanding of Freemasonry’s history and rituals, as well as develop their moral character.
In Reflection on Types Of Freemason Lodges
Freemasonry is an institution whose origins span centuries and cultures, built upon the foundations of brotherhood and charity. There are a variety of different types of Masonic Lodges, each offering its own unique rituals and traditions. Grand Lodges are the governing bodies that oversee the activities of all subordinate Lodges in their jurisdiction, while Symbolic Lodges are the most common type of Lodge, providing instruction in the three symbolic degrees of Freemasonry. The York Rite consist of nine additional degrees that provide further instruction in Masonic ideals, while Scottish Rite Lodges offer advanced instruction through thirty-two degrees. Therefore, there are a variety of appendant bodies that allow Masons to continue their Masonic journey.
The different types of Lodges within Freemasonry each offer unique experiences for Masons who wish to explore them. From Grand Lodge assemblies to the profound teachings found within the Scottish Rite, Masonry provides countless opportunities for growth and development. By understanding these various Masonic bodies, it is possible to gain a greater appreciation for this ancient institution and its many contributions to society.
Whether a Mason chooses to explore any or all of these various paths, it can be said with certainty that Freemasonry has something valuable to offer everyone who seeks within its walls.