This is the first article in a series profiling ‘the other degrees’ in Freemasonry.
We know that about 30% of masons in London go on to join the royal arch (also known as ‘chapter’) and an even smaller percent go on to join one of the other degrees.
So we will get started with my current favourite, Mark Masonry or as it’s more commonly known “The Mark”
This should complete the fellowcraft craft degree and fill in any holes in the story of the building King Solomons temple. A candidate for advancement takes on the role of an operative mason in King Solomon’s quarries and attempts to submit his work to be used in the building of the temple.
upon your advancement, you will be wearing a claret and blue trimmed apron similar to the master masons one (West Ham fans, rejoice!) what’s also nice is the breast jewel that you wear from your breast pocket with a keystone attached to it. It’s also worth noting that it is a personal opinion of mine that the grand rank regalia in this order is by far the most beautiful
The only prerequisite to be “advanced” into the mark degree is that you have taken your third degree and are a master mason of good standing. It’s also worth noting that as a subscribing member of the mark, you are then entitled to join the ancient and honourable fraternity of the royal ark mariners.
Why it’s great:
This order is often referred to as “the friendly degree” as in my personal experience that name couldn’t be more accurate. Honestly, the reason why the mark degree is so great is quite simple. The people.
I’ve sat in a mark lodge and burst out laughing and had the most fun. The ceremony of advancement is both a theatrical and involving one where the candidate should come away with the biggest smile across his face.
Another massive plus about the mark degree is the mark benevolent fund; a charity that can give grants and financial aid to the brethren who are in dire need of it much sooner than any other charity/masonic charity. The ways in which they raise funds are always great and the incentives are also wonderful, with breast jewels and tokens to commemorate the contribution of a lodge or brother towards the specific fundraising target. Obviously, charity is and always will be at the forefront of a mason’s mind when giving but I can’t deny that it is nice to receive a tie or lapel pin in recognition of one’s contribution, which again, in turn, further advertises the cause and its fundraising.
Who would love The Mark?
People who are looking for something FUN in masonry, this order is more relaxed and enjoyable in some points than the craft, that’s not to say that it’s not as serious in its message.
However, it does have the advantage of having hilarious crowd participation to really hit home messages and make sure that everyone is involved in the candidates special moment, making the mark an order to really look forward to and participating in.
Written by: 4 of Hearts