The second answer is education. This is symbolised in the
Second Degree by the liberal arts and sciences. Perhaps during
the ceremony the Fellowcraft is surprised to hear what is said
about grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music
and astronomy and wonders what such schoolroom topics
have to do with Freemasonry.
The Fellowcraft must not fall
into the error of considering it
a halfway station
When the ‘Operative Mason’ came to the end of his
Apprenticeship, and his record was good and had proved
his proficiency under test, he was formally released from
his bond and became known as ‘A Fellow of the Craft’.
The term that Freemasons, as ‘Speculative Masons’ use
of ‘Fellowcraft’ is actually a shortening of the expression,
and a Freemason is termed a Fellowcraft after having passed
to the Second Degree.
During the ceremony the Fellowcraft assumes its
Obligations and is subsequently registered in the records
of the Lodge as such, and can now sit in either a Lodge
of Entered Apprentices or a Fellowcraft Lodge.
Because the Fellowcraft lies between the Entered
Apprentice and the Master Mason Degree, he must not
fall into the error of considering it a halfway station, a
mere transition from one to the other.
On the contrary, it has the same completeness, the same
importance and definite purpose as each of the others. Unless
the Fellowcraft clearly understand its teachings, he will not
obtain a full understand of the secrets and mysteries of the Craft.
The Entered Apprentice represents youth standing at the
portals of life, his eyes fixed on the rising sun. The Master
Mason is a man of years, already on the further slope of
the hill with the setting sun in his eyes.
But the Fellowcraft is a man in the prime of his life –
experienced, strong and resourceful, able to bear the heat
and burden of the day.
The Degree is the opportunity for the Fellowcraft to
equip himself so that he may prove to be adequate for the
tasks of adulthood, which life will lie before him.
The ceremony gives him at least three answers. The first
is that the Fellowcraft must gain experience from contact
with the realities of life that surrounds his existence.
A man gains such experience only with the passage of time.
Each day he comes into contact with facts, year after year,
until at last through his senses of seeing, hearing and touching
he comes to understand the world around him, and how to
deal with it.
The explanation of these subjects, like so much in our
Order, is that they are actually symbols signifying all that is
meant by the word ‘education’. It is our training by others in
skill and knowledge to do or to understand the world about us.
The third answer is wisdom. Experience gives us awareness
of the world at points of immediate contact; knowledge gives
us competency for tasks in the arts, professions and all callings
and vocations. However, a man’s life is not confined to his
own immediate experiences, which is so conspicuous in
passing through the Second Degree. Throughout, the
ceremony is a symbol of wisdom.
Web site created by Mark Griffin