Thursday, October 15, 2009

Index to Series: Reflections on the York Rite Degrees

The York Rite of Freemasonry is an appendant or “high degree” organization that offers further degrees of initiation to enhance the Masonic experience of men who are already Master Masons. Some basic information about the York Rite for individuals curious about Freemasonry is available in this Wikipedia article. A video and PowerPoint with general information about the York Rite for Freemasons is available at the bottom of a webpage that is maintained by the American leadership of the Grand York Rite Bodies in the United States; detailed descriptions of the York Rite, its degrees, and its own appendant and allied bodies, appear earlier on the same webpage.

During the 2009-2010 Masonic meeting season, I hope to attend again all the degrees of the York Rite of Freemasonry, through the courtesy of Ancient Chapter #1 Royal Arch Masons, Columbia Council #1 Royal and Select Masters (Mother Council of the World), and Morton Commandery #4 Knights Templar, all of which meet at the magnificent Chapter Room of Masonic Hall in New York City (in-person tour info here; virtual tour here). A day or so following each of the degree ceremonies, I plan to post my reflections on this blog. Because those reflections will be spread out from October through June, I will place links to those reflections on this post.

Of course, I will not be revealing anything about the ritual itself. However, my hope is that my reflections will help to enhance the experience of and reflection upon the ritual, for my brother York Rite Masons.

My thanks to the leaders of Ancient Chapter #1 RAM and their Companions, the leaders of Columbia Council #1 R&SM and their Companions, and the leaders of Morton Commandery #4 KT and their Sir Knights, for kindly showing Masonic hospitality to a visitor. My congratulations to the members of the York Rite class of 2009-2010 that is progressing through these degrees. And, a shout out to the Orlando (Florida) York Rite Bodies, where I originally received the degrees of the York Rite of Freemasonry, and of which I continue to be a member: I think of you often and fondly.

My reflections regarding the York Rite degrees are posted as follows:

The Capitular Degrees

• Mark Master: Observed on Wed. Oct. 14; reflections posted here.

• Past Master (Virtual) and Most Excellent Master: To be observed on Wed. Nov. 11.

• The Royal Arch: To be observed on Wed. Dec. 9.

The Cryptic Degrees

• Royal Master: To be observed on Wed. Jan. 13.

• Select Master: To be observed on Wed. Feb. 10.

• Super Excellent Master: To be observed on Wed. Mar. 10.

The Chivalric Orders

• Illustrious Order of the Red Cross: To be observed on Wed. Apr. 14.

• Order of Malta: To be observed on Wed. May 12.

• Order of the Temple: To be observed on Wed. June 9.

Please note that these reflections are purely my own responsibility, and are neither sanctioned, sponsored, reviewed, nor approved by any Masonic body.

Copyright 2009-2010 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.

[The image illustrating the degrees of the York Rite as a ladder is widely available on the Internet. It is my belief that this image is in the public domain. Anyone with certain knowledge of the source of this image is invited to contact me.]

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