Entered Apprentice Degree

of Freemasonry

AN INTRODUCTION

Let us begin by defining the term "Entered Apprentice."  As an Entered Apprentice Mason, the first step in your journey to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason has been taken.  We are sure that you found your initiation an experience you will never forget.  A degree in Masonry is not an isolated experience once had and then done with, but is an ever enduring privilege.  You can sit in an Entered Apprentice Lodge to observe, to participate in, and to study its ceremonies.

Your possession of the degree is a life-long possession which you can continue to enjoy and to enter into as long as you live.  As an Entered Apprentice Mason you therefore are a learner, or beginner, in Speculative Masonry.  You have taken the first step in the mastery of our art.  Certain things are expected of you.

First , you are expected to show a certain humility. As a learner, you must have guides and teachers, and you must be willing to have them lead you.

Second, you must learn the catechism of the Degree, so as to prove your proficiency in open Lodge.  The purpose of learning the lecture is for you to master it so thoroughly that its lesson will remain with you for life.

Third , you must study and improve yourself in Masonry in all other possible ways.  Your Lodge will not be content merely to receive your dues; it requires that you become a real and active member.

Fourth, you will learn the rules and regulations that govern an Entered Apprentice Mason.

As you stood in the northeast corner of the Lodge, you were taught a certain lesson concerning a cornerstone.  From that lesson, you should know that you are a cornerstone of the Craft.  It is our hope and prayer that you will prove to be a solid foundation as you proceed to the Fellow Craft Degree and then to the Master Mason Degree.  Our great Fraternity depends on new members like you to conduct its work in the years to come.

The Symbols in the Entered Apprentice Degree

The symbols, emblems and allegorical ceremonies of the First Degree each have a meaning; taken together, these meanings comprise the teaching of the Degree.

Our purpose here is to give you some of the information which will show that every detail of the ritual is filled with a definite significance which each Mason can learn if he applies himself.

The Hoodwink represents the darkness in which an uninitiated man stands as regards his Masonic life; for this reason it is removed at the moment of enlightenment.  Its removal makes us aware of goodness, truth, and beauty.

The Cable Tow is a symbol of all those external restraints by which a man is controlled by others, or by forces outside himself.  If a man does not keep the law of his own free will, he must be compelled to keep it by compulsion.  The removal of the Cable Tow means that when a man becomes the master of himself, he will keep the law as a matter of moral right.

The Lodge is a symbol of the world, initiation means birth, and the Great Pillars signify entrance into a new kind of life.  The Sharp Instrument means, among other things, that which is the only real penalty for violating the Obligation.

The Rite of Circumambulation means that the Masonic life is a progressive journey, from station to station of attainment, and that a Mason will always be in search of more light.  Approaching the East is significant, because the East is the source of light.

The Altar is the most important article of furniture in a Lodge room and a symbol of that place which the worship of God holds in Masonry - a place at the center, around which all else revolves.  The Obligations have in them many literal meanings and as such are the foundations of our disciplinary law.  But over and above this, they signify the nature and place of obligation in human life.

The Three Great Lights are the Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses.   As a Great Light, the Holy Bible represents the will of God as man understands it; the Square is the physical life of man under his human conditions; the Compasses signify the moral and spiritual life.  If a man acts in obedience to the will of God, according to the dictates of his conscience, he will be living in the illumination of the Great Lights and cannot go astray.

The Rite of Salutation in which the candidate salutes each station in turn is, in addition to its function as a portion of the ceremonies, also a symbol of a Mason's respect for and obedience to all duly constituted authorities.  The Old Charges state this is a single sentence: "A Mason is a peaceable subject to the Civil Powers wherever he resides or works."  The same significance is had by the office of Worshipful Master, who is a symbol as well as the executive officers of the Lodge.  As the sun rules the day, he rules and governs his Lodge.  His title, "Worshipful", means that he is worthy of reverence, respect, and obedience.

The Apron is at once the emblem of purity and innocence and the distinguished badge of a Mason.  The Lesson of Charity is to impress upon the candidate the importance of showing compassion toward his fellow man.

The Working Tools represent those moral and spiritual virtues which should govern our conduct.  The Northeast Corner is traditionally the place where the cornerstone of a building is laid.  When the Apprentice is made to stand there, it is because he is the cornerstone of the future Craft.  The Entered Apprentice is himself a symbol, one of the noblest in the whole emblematic system of the Craft.  He represents youth, typified by the rising sun; but beyond that, he represents educated youth, youth willing to submit itself to discipline and to seek knowledge in order to learn the great Art of Life.

 Entered Apprentice Degree Scriptures

Psalm 133, quoted in its entirety, is the opening scripture for Freemasonry. The Psalm is taken from the "Wisdom Psalms" and was one of the Psalms, or songs, that the worshippers sang as they walked up the mountain to Jerusalem and the Temple. It was engraved upon the memory of every loyal Jew, for its meaning was to bind all the people tightly in the bonds of love and loyalty.

This Psalm begins with the characteristic word of introduction, "Behold!" In other words, "Listen, take heed, this is greatly important." The word "Behold!" had the same power as that other very familiar phrase, "Thus saith the Lord!".

"Behold! How good and pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity."

This Psalm was written after the Jews had returned from their Babylonian captivity and they had returned with foreign wives, foreign ideas, and a very loose hold upon God. They all needed to draw close together for national strength, for closer religious ties, for strict observance of the laws of God. Family life had deteriorated under their captivity and many of the Jews who returned to Palestine had been born in Babylon and had no familiar ties to their real homeland.

In the olden days brethren dwelt in close proximity; they lived as close to their birthplace as possible; they lived under the influence of the larger family, or clan, or tribe. They had a closeness; they felt a closeness; they had a very high and very deep sense of loyalty to all the brethren. These attributes had been broken down in captivity, and the call was to remember "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Therefore, it was necessary to bring a reminder of the glory of the past and the advantage of the future if men would live and act as brothers.

 The writer of this Psalm then brought up a reminder of a past custom. A host would anoint his guest with the perfumed oil of anointing that would fill the house with its scent. Turning to the historical Aaron, the writer reminds his readers of the beard of Aaron and his beautiful priestly robes. Aaron typified the "Called of God man," .."The man separated of God" for a special task. Aaron was anointed for his priestly office in a beautiful ceremony before the massed people. If brothers will dwell together in unity it is like this:

"It is like the precious ointment upon the head,
That ran down upon the beard,
Even Aaron's beard,
That went down to the skirts of his garments."

This oil of perfume, this oil of anointing, gave forth a scent that all could be conscious of and all would be impressed. "Brethren in unity" brings a consciousness of the perfume of peace and strength. But there was something more.

Palestine was a harsh land of little rainfall, many rocks, hot sun, little fertile soil, and many droughts. The mountains were upon every hand, dry, barren, and all but hospitable. But there was something about the mountains that appealed. When brothers dwell in unity, it is as the freshness of the dew upon those mountains:

"As the dew of Hermon.
And as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord commanded the blessing, even
Life forevermore."

Brothers in unity refresh each other for there is strength in unity and the brotherly spirit is beautiful, refreshing, and restoring. And when unity is established then there is the blessing of the Lord God. Only in unity, implies the writer of the Psalm, where the spirit of brotherhood prevails, may the Lord give His blessing forevermore.

  Active Participants

The following abbreviations are used throughout these degrees.

WM..Worshipful Master

SW..Senior Warden

JW..Junior Warden

Tr. ..Treasurer

Sec.Secretary

SD..Senior Deacon

JD..Junior Deacon

SS..Senior Steward

JS..Junior Steward

Tyl..Tyler

Ch..Chaplain

Lect......Lecturer - designated by WM

Cand.Candidate

(*; * *; or * * *, normally signifies the number of raps

from a staff or gavel. In the case of the Senior Deacon, it

signifies his staff, pounding on the floor.  When done

at either the outer or inner door, it signifies a knock

on the door.  When done by the three principal officers

of the Lodge with their gavels it is called a battery.  When

the Worshipful Master raps once, everyone comes to 

order and sits down, two raps Officers only stand, three

raps everyone stands.

(S) signifies the due-guard and sign being given as a

salutation to the Worshipful Master.)  

Entered Apprentice Degree - Opening the Lodge 

 

         

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