Initiation to the First Degree up to the end of the
The Tyler prepares the Candidate in a room outside
the Lodge room where he is to be initiated by divesting him of all metal articles.
Candidate removes his outer clothing until he stands in socks, his left shoe, trousers and
His shirt is unbuttoned to reveal his left breast, his right sleeve is rolled up to
reveal the elbow, his left trouser leg is rolled up above the knee and a slipper is placed
on his unshod foot.
A hangman's type noose called a 'cable tow' is then placed around his neck, the end of the rope hanging down
behind him. He is blindfolded - with a mask called a
He is then led by the Tyler to the door of the Lodge and the Tyler knocks.
The Pocket Encylopedia of Masonic Symbols states, 'Blindfolding
a candidate in any rite is not for practical but spiritual reasons. The
temporary blinding is a symbol of present darkness, which will be
displaced by light when and if the initiate succeeds in penetrating the
mysteries before him.
The inner Guard, moving with the prescribed step and making the First Degree sign,
says, 'Brother Junior Warden, there is a report.' After several ritual responses, the
Inner Guard opens the door and asks the Tyler, 'Whom have you there?'
'Mr John Smith, a poor Candidate in a state of darkness,' says the Tyler, 'who has been
well and worthily recommended, regularly proposed and approved in open Lodge, and now
comes of his own free will and accord, properly prepared, humbly soliciting to be admitted
to the mysteries and privileges of Freemasonry.'
There follow several repetitious exchanges, the Inner Guard places the point of a
dagger to the Candidate's left breast. He is asked, 'Do you feel anything?'
The Inner Guard raises the dagger in the air, and the still blindfolded Candidate is
led by the right hand by the Junior Deacon to the kneeling-stool before the Worshipful
Master, who then addresses the Candidate for the first time.
'Mr John Smith, as no person can be made a Mason unless he is free and of mature age, I
demand of you, are you a free man and of the full age of twenty-one years/'
'Thus assured, I will thank you to kneel, while the blessing of Heaven is invoked on
The Candidate kneels. The Brethren move in the prescribed manner, the Lodge Deacons
crossing their wands above the Candidate's head, while the Worshipful Master or the
Chaplain prays aloud, 'Vouchsafe Thine aid, Almighty Father and Supreme Governor of the
Universe, to our present convention and grant that this Candidate for Freemasonry may so
dedicate and devote his life to Thy service, as to become a rue and faithful Brother among
us. Endue him with a competency of Thy Divine Wisdom, so that, assisted by the secrets of
our Masonic art, he may be the better enabled to unfold the beauties of true Godliness, to
the honour and glory of Thy Holy Name.'
The Immediate Past Master says or sings, 'So mote it be.'
'Mr Smith,' continues the Worshipful Master, 'in all cases of difficulty and danger, in
whom do you put your trust?', and the Candidate replies, 'In God.'
'Right glad I am to find your faith so well founded. Relying on such sure support you
may safely rise and follow your leader with a firm but humble confidence, for where the
name of God is invoked we trust no danger can ensue.'
The Candidate rises to his feet with the help of the Deacons. The Worshipful Master and
the Brethren sit. The Worshipful Master then gives a single knock with his gavel. 'The
Brethren from the north, east, south and west will take notice that Mr John Smith is about
to pass in view before them, to show that he is the Candidate properly prepared, and a fit
and proper person to be made a Mason,' says the Master.
There then follows various ritual motions and the Candidate is led in a procession
around the Lodge. Arriving at the place where the Junior Warden stands, the Junior Deacon
takes the Candidate's right hand and taps the Junior Warden's right shoulder with it three
The Junior Warden asks, 'Whom have you there?'
'Mr John Smith,' replies the Junior Deacon, 'A poor Candidate in a state of
darkness, who has been well and worthily recommended, regularly proposed and
approved in open Lodge, and now comes of his own free will and accord, properly
prepared, humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of
'How does he hope to obtain those privileges?'
'By the help of God, being free and of good report.'
The Junior Warden then takes the Candidate's right hand, and says to him, 'Enter, free
and of good report,' and he is led to the Senior Warden, before whom a similar exchange
takes place. 'Worshipful Master,' he says, making the appropriate sign, 'I present to you
Mr John Smith, a Candidate properly prepared to be made a Mason.'
'Brother Senior Warden,' replies the Worshipful Master, 'your presentation shall be
attended to, for which purpose I shall address a few questions to the Candidate, which I
trust he will answer with candour.' He turns to the Candidate, 'Do you seriously declare
on your honour that, unbiased by the improper solicitation of friends against your own
inclination, and uninfluenced by mercenary or other unworthy motive, you freely
and voluntarily offer yourself a Candidate for the mysteries and privileges of
'Do you likewise pledge yourself that you are prompted to solicit those privileges by a
favourable opinion preconceived of the Institution, a genuine desire of knowledge, and a
sincere wish to render yourself more extensively serviceable to your fellow creatures?'
'Do you further seriously declare on your honour that, avoiding fear on the one hand
and rashness on the other, you will steadily persevere through the ceremony of your
initiation, and if once admitted you will afterwards act and abide by the ancient usages
and established customs of the order?'
'Brother Senior Warden, you will direct the Junior Deacon to instruct the Candidate to
advance to the pedestal in due form.'
'Brother Junior Deacon, it is the Worshipful Master's command that you instruct the
Candidate to advance to the pedestal in due form.'
The Junior Deacon complies, leading the Candidate to the pedestal and instructing him
to stand with his heels together and his feet at right angles, the left foot facing east
and the right foot south. He continues: 'Take a short pace with your left foot, bringing
the heels together in the form of a square. Take another, a little longer, heel
to heel as before. Another still longer, heels together as before.'
The candidate is now standing before the pedestal, with the
junior Deacon to his right and the Senior Deacon to his left.
'It is my duty to inform
you' says the Worshipful Master, 'that Masonry is free, and requires a perfect freedom of
inclination in every Candidate for its mysteries. It is founded on the purest principles
of piety and virtue. It possesses great and invaluable privileges, and in order to secure
those privileges to worthy man, and we trust to worthy men alone, vows of fidelity are
But let me assure you that in those vows there is nothing
incompatible with your civil, moral or religious duties. Are you therefore
willing to take a solemn Obligation, founded on the principles I have stated, to keep
inviolate the secrets and mysteries of the order?'
'Then you will kneel on your left knee, your right foot formed in a
square, give me your right hand which I place on the Volume of the Sacred Law, while your
left will be employed in supporting these compasses, one point presented to your naked
This done, the Candidate is then made to repeat the 'Obligation' after the
Worshipful Master, 'I, John Smith, in the presence of the Great Architect of the Universe,
and of this worthy, worshipful and warranted Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, regularly
assembled and properly dedicated, of my own free will and accord, do hereby (WM touches
Candidate's right hand with his left hand) and hereon (WM touches the Bible with his left
hand) sincerely and solemnly promise and swear, that I will always hele, conceal and never
reveal any part or parts, point or points of the secrets or mysteries of or belonging to
Free and Accepted Masons in Masonry, which may heretofore have been known by me, or shall
now or at any future period be communicated to me, unless it be to a true and lawful
Brother or Brothers, and not even to him or them, until after due trial, strict
examination, or sure information from a well-known Brother, that he or they are worthy of
that confidence, or in the body of a just, perfect, and regular Lodge of Ancient
Freemasons. I further solemnly promise that I will not write those secrets, indite, carve,
mark, engrave or otherwise them delineate, or cause or suffer it to be so done by others,
if in my power to prevent it, on anything moveable or immovable, under the canopy of
Heaven, whereby or whereon any letter, character or figure, or the least trace of a
letter, character or figure, may become legible, or intelligible to myself or anyone in
the world, so that our secret arts and hidden mysteries may improperly become known
through my unworthiness. These several points I solemnly swear to observe, without
evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation of any kind, under no less a penalty, on the
violation of any of them, than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by
the root, and buried in the sand of the sea at low water mark, or a cable's length from
the shore, where the tide regularly ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, or the more
effective punishment of being branded as a wilfully perjured individual, void of all moral
worth, and totally unfit to be received into this worshipful Lodge, or any other warranted
Lodge or society of men, who prize honour and virtue above the external advantages of rank
and fortune. So help me, God, and keep me steadfast in this my Great and Solemn
Obligation of an Entered Apprentice Freemason'.
Note: In 1986 The Grand Lodge of England removed the
candidate's speaking out of the traditional physical penalties.
However they are still within the wording, only more subtly.. The Worshipful master tells the
candidate '.But the danger which, traditionally, would have
awaited you until your latest hour had you improperly disclosed the
secrets of Freemasonry, that of having the throat cut across, the
tongue torn out by the root and buried in the sea at low water or a
cable's length from the shore where the tide regularly ebbs and
flows twice in 24 hours. the inclusion of such a
penalty is unnecessary, for the obligation you have taken this evening
is binding upon you for so long as you shall live'.
master explains 'Entustment' by telling the candidate '.to the symbolic penalty of the degree, which implied
that, as a man of honour, a mason would rather have had his throat cut
than improperly disclose..' and then in an exchange with the Senior
Warden when he asks the candidate to what does it allude the
candidate answers..'the symbolic penalty of the degree, which
implied that, as a man of honour, a mason would rather have his throat
cut across than improperly disclose'
All metal objects are removed from the candidate. This may
include his wedding ring, symbol
of the covenant with his marriage partner. From now on she will be classified as being
'profane' (Outside the camp)
The candidate is declared to be 'A poor candidate in a state of darkness'
He is given a Masonic penny and told 'he will need this'. He is then asked to the penny
into the Masonic poor box
He is dressed in 'pauper's clothing'. with bare left leg, bare right arm, bare left
breast and heelless right slipper.
The blue blindfold, called a hoodwink, is placed over the candidate's eyes.
A blue noose (called a cable tow rope) is placed around the candidate's neck
(threatening strangulation or asphyxiation).
The point of a dagger (or compasses) is placed against the heart area of the chest and
sometimes also on the bridge of the nose or under the chin (threatening death or injury).
The candidate is reminded that he has been received into
the craft "poor and penniless"
The candidate is shown the secret handshake/grip, the 'Due Guard' and 'Penal Sign', and
is given the password "Boaz".
During the oath taking the candidate will have held the 'Volume of Sacred Law' (VSL)
which for most UK/USA Blue Lodges would be the Bible.
The traditional penalties alluded to for revealing Masonic secrets to the profane (outsiders) includes the words
". . . having my throat cut across from ear to ear, my tongue torn out by the root,
and buried in the sand of the sea at low water or a cable's length from the shore where
the tide regularly ebbs and flows twice in 24 hours."
Compasses will be placed on top of an open Bible at Psalm 133 and the candidate will
kneel before the altar and kiss the VSL.
He will finally be asked to seal the ritual oath with the words 'So mote it be' (used
only in Freemasonry and Witchcraft)
The candidate may have had the deacons' wands held over his head whilst kneeling. The
wands would form a symbol of the generative part of woman known aa a lozenge, to indicate
that the candidate is being born again.
When the hoodwink is taken off he is declared as having been brought 'into the wisdom
and light of Masonry'.
The candidate is given working tools (as in witchcraft) appropriate to the degree
- 24" gauge, gavel, chisel, square, level, plum line, tracing board, ashlar
The candidate is presented with a white apron which covers his genital area
The Worshipful Master of the Lodge conducting the degree may be seated on / under an
effigy of SET the Sun God, when the candidate bows the knee towards the east for the oath
The candidate is told that the Masonic temple is an exact replica of Solomon's temple.
Solomon's temple faced west. Every Masonic temple faces east
The full line by line wording for the
traditional Entered Apprentice degree