A Super Degree and Excellent Companionship!

A Traveling Man’s Report Volume IV

By: John P. Keel
Sandoval Lodge No. 76

John Keel
Brother Companions Jeff Russ and John Keel
Brother Companions Jeff Russ and John Keel

Fraternal Greetings Brethren! This volume of A Traveling Man Report comes from Phoenix, Arizona where fellow New Mexico Brother Jeffrey Russ (Sandia Mountain Lodge) and I, had the honor of receiving the Super Excellent Master Mason Degree from the Grand Council of Super Excellent Masters of Arizona on Saturday February 24th.

The SEM degree is the third of the Cryptic Mason degrees in York Rite, which is rare in most Jurisdictions and is very difficult to put on since it requires 25 performers and about 2 hours. The first two degrees of Cryptic Masonry, which follow the Royal Arch Mason degrees, are the Royal Master and Select Master, which tell a continuation of the story of King Solomon’s Temple. They are fascinating degrees and I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys the stories and lessons of Masonry.

Degree Team and New Select Masters
Degree Team and New Select Masters

The Arizona York Rite Masons also performed the preceding two Council degrees on the same morning with about 20 candidates so, it was a pleasure to see how Arizona performs these degrees. Previously, I have only seen them perform one of the Royal Arch Degrees at the Annual Four Corners Royal Arch Festival, where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado all meet to perform the four Royal Arch degrees. The Arizona York Rite Masons did a great job and it was thrilling to see the minor differences in the way they perform, especially with 31 of us candidates for the SEM.

SEM Degree Team and New Super Excellent Masters
SEM Degree Team and New Super Excellent Masters

The degrees were held at the Grand Lodge of Arizona building in downtown Phoenix, which houses several lodges and appendant bodies of Arizona Masonry. Though the building is aging, the lodge rooms are beautiful and reminded me in many ways, of the massive lodge rooms I toured in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. I attended Arizona Grand York Rite last year in Phoenix, but we did not get a chance to see the Grand Lodge since the event was held at another location so, this was a fun experience. We had a great time with our Arizona Brethren and I look forward to going to the Arizona Grand York Rite sessions again this year!

Blue Lodge Room at the Grand Lodge of Arizona
Blue Lodge Room at the Grand Lodge of Arizona
Eastern Star Lodge Room at the Grand Lodge of Arizona
Eastern Star Lodge Room at the Grand Lodge of Arizona

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