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2nd degree 'Fellow Craft'

Major points How the 'temple' is ritually desecrated
2nd degree Tracing Board

'Thus by square conduct, level steps, and upright intentions we hope to ascend to those immortal mansions whence all goodness emanates" (Declaration by Worshipful Master during 2nd degree)

Major points involved in the 2nd degree.

  • The candidate is dressed in 'pauper's clothing'. with bare right leg, bare left arm, bare right breast and heelless left slipper.
  • The first degree apron is worn over the pauper's clothing.
  • The blue blindfold, called a hoodwink, is placed over the candidate's eyes.
  • The blue 'cable tow rope' is wound twice round the right arm.
  • The square is pressed against the left breast.
  • The candidate is shown the secret handshake/grip, the 'Due Guard' and 'Penal Sign', the Fidelity Sign and the Hailing Sign, and is given the passwords "Shibboleth"   and "Jachin".
  • 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 [see note below] for revealing Masonic secrets to the profane (outsiders) includes the words ". . . having my left breast laid open, my heart torn out and given to the ravenous birds of the air or devouring beasts of the field as prey."
  • The square and compass will be placed on top of an open Bible at Amos chapter 7, 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 is given working tools (as in witchcraft) appropriate to  the degree   - Square, level, plum line, trowel and compasses.
  • The first degree apron is replaced with the second degree apron

'This is the great lesson of the second degree, that by ourselves and in ourselves, we can discover God'  (Masonic commentator J.S.M Ward)

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 pledge now states 'Do you likewise pledge yourself that you conceal what I shall now impart to you with the same strict caution as the other secrets in masonry?'  The worshipful master explains to the candidate ' the symbolic penalty at one time included in the Obligation in this degree (as below) had he improperly disclosed the secrets entrusted to him, which implied that, as a man of honour a Fellow Craft Freemason would rather have had the left breast laid open, the heart torn out and given to the birds of the air or the devouring beasts of the field' and 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 Fellow Craft FreeMason would rather have had his heart torn from his breast than improperly disclose..etc'

The full line by line wording for the traditional Fellow Craft degree is available by clicking

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