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From: Transactions of The Victorian Lodge of Research, "Masonic Discoveries"
CHAPTER III - The Allied Masonic Degrees by J.B. McColl.

Developed by W.Bro. Kent Henderson
Dip. T., B. Ed., Grad. Cert. Ed., Grad. Dip. Ed., M. Ed, Diploma of Masonic Education (Sth. Aust.)
Past Junior Grand Deacon, A. F. & A. Masons of Victoria, Australia.


Many brethren confuse the term "Allied Masonic Degrees" with the Appendant Orders of freemasonry. It so happens, the A.M.D. is only one of the groups of degrees, ceremonials and Orders available to the searching Master Mason.


This paper will therefore, firstly sketch, rather briefly, what has come to be known as the "Appendant Orders" presently working in the Sovereign State of Victoria, will define the A.M.D. and attempt to place it in proper perspective, when looking at the whole labyrinthine structure of the Craft.


The second part of the paper will attempt a more detailed study of what comprises the A.M.D.


However, before attempting an overall explanation of the growth of our speculative tree, it is essential that the ground should be prepared, the development of the root structure clearly understood, the strength of the trunk appreciated, and the strong branches observed. Over the centuries the suckers, and spindly twigs and fruitless branches have been fortunately pruned away. Now we are in a position to profit from the fruits of the labours of our predecessors.


Conscious of addressing a group of dedicated Masonic scholars, there should be no need to outline the background to the development of Masonic philosophy, ideas, and ritual, or waste time stating what to you would be obvious. However as a copy of this may be perused by a brother just starting to explore the tangled forest of Masonic research, perhaps you will pardon some pedantry on my part, while we re-traverse ground that has been covered many times before.


Our system developed into three degrees, the pattern of which is or should he clear to all. Few realize however, that the whole concept of F.M. is encapsulated in the first degree, when clearly understood and put into practice. Perhaps there is no need for any other degrees. Why then are there so many other degrees and orders appendant to F.M.? What is their value? It is not the aim of this study to justify their existance. Suffice it to say they do exist, and have withstood the tests of time. Those who have tasted their fruits have derived intellectual and spiritual sustenance from them. The odd fact remains, even with diligent research, understanding cannot be achieved without, not only depth. and breadth of study, but also persistent meditation. Remember the secrets of Nature are not to be revealed to all who search Her shrine, but only to those who are strong in faith and humble in spirit.


Not all the branches of our amazing Masonic tree draw their sustenance directly from the story of King Solomon's Temple. There are, as you well know, other sources of inspiration. A rather complex intertwining of philosophical ideas so intricate and entangled, that it almost obscures the pattern of Truth. We all know that the story of the Temple is merely an allegory of our search and discovery of the lost Word, but this knowledge in itself is of no consequence until we can feel it within ourselves Elucidation comes with the interpolation of the legends related in all the Solomonic degrees into the story. Unfortunately the manner in which we work the degrees tends to confuse rather than elucidate those who will not study. However, taking cognisance of our Craft teaching, and making a serious study into the hidden mysteries of the nature of our science with a close analysis of the chronological order of the Solomonic degrees, the system leads logically to its triumphant conclusion. A worthwhile subject for a much deeper study in itself.


Our intrepid brother having climbed our speculative tree trunk, to the high degree of M.M. in a fruitless search for that which was lost, is expected to be satisfied with substituted secrets. From here everything else in our figurative tree is appendant, completely dependant upon the structure of the craft for sustenance. We should now pause, and reflect on the course we are pursuing. Are we really looking for the genuine secrets of M.M.? If we find the genuine secrets, what then? Is there something in these three allegorical degrees that we have missed? These tantalising questions will be left unanswered. Each must pursue his own course of study, and arrive at his own conclusions. We are all conversant with the ritual of the three degrees, but not all have studied the developments of these rituals. Perhaps further research in that direction may be profitable.


By now you will have pictured in your mind a mental diagram of a tree depicting the structure of F.M. universal, with its roots deep in the depths of time, and the tantalising ancient mysteries. Its massive trunk depicting the strength of the three degrees of the craft from which all branches spring, and the functional extant degrees expressed as the fruit, ripe for the picking, available to all \the laboriously climb the trunk. Recognising limitations in our analogy, the level at which the various degrees may be placed in our mental diagram must not be construed as their relative value.


There is no doubt whatever the most important degree is the E.A. and perhaps the highest is the M.M. even though it is part of the figurative trunk with only substitute secrets. Remember even a P.M. is merely a M.M. shackled with his substituted secrets, and burdened with greater responsibilities.


You will be fully aware that in the late 17th and early 18th centuries throughout Europe. there were many lodges working all kinds of ceremonies each lodge could adopt new ceremonies or change old ceremonies as they thought fit. The formation of the 1st G.L. in 1717 was an attempt to bring some order into the chaos. After the 1st G.L. was formed, and dubbed "the Moderns. other Grand Lodges came into existence working all types of ceremonies, including one in 1751 dubbed "Ancients". By 1813 the United Grand Lodge of England was formed, and Craft Masonry firmly established much as we now know it. During this period, other grand bodies were formed to control ceremonies much loved of many brethren but not part of the three degree system as crystallised. In passing it is worth noting, that up until early this century there were many thousands of Masonic, and pseudo-Masonic degrees that had been invented. Most of these mercifully have languished into oblivion. Only some have survived. each one making a useful contribution and adding colour to the Masonic fabric.


Some rituals were developed by very learned and wise brethren, while some unfortunately were written by individuals with their own aggrandisement in view. Fortunately the winds of time have blown away the chaff and only nourishing grain remains. Even in our early days on the Victorian gold fields some of these rather puerile ceremonies enjoyed a short lived existence. Bro. Peter Thornton refers to them in his History of Freemasonry in Victoria.


Examine the structure of the Masonic fabric woven by our predecessors in the form of various degrees and orders now available for our benefit. Perhaps some of you will be looking at this allegorical fabric and noting, not without some element of truth, that it looks something like a Scotch tartan. For the purpose of this exercise, our rather complex interweaving of Masonic degrees and Orders as the warp and weft of our fabric can be reduced to two clearly defined classifications.


Firstly the Universal grouping.

Secondly the Christian Dispensation.


The Universal group requires a belief in a Supreme Being, irrespective of what name or characteristic is given; incorporating all religions. creeds, and sects, a firm belief in the Brotherhood of man and Fatherhood of God the all powerful Creator, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.


The Christian group utilises the foundation firmly laid by the Universal group. and builds structures epitomising various aspects of Christian teaching.


There is no unanimity of opinion about logical steps from one Order or degree to another. Except for some clearly defined links each order is separate and distinct, and most are independently autonomous with separate administration.


The following lists the bodies presently working in Victoria, abbreviated titles are used, the correct names will be found in the Masonic Guide.






Mark Master Masons  M M M

Royal Ark Mariner  R.A.M.

Royal Arch Chapter  R.A.C.

Secret Monitor  O.S.M.

Royal and Select  R.S.M.

Allied Degrees  A.M.D.




Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite  A. & A.S.R.

Royal Order of Scotland  R.O.S

Knights of Constantine  R.C. of C.

Knights Templar  K.T.

Knight Templar Priests  K.T.P.

Rosicrucians  S.R.I.A.

Royal Order of Eri  R.O.E.



In the above listing "The Operatives", with a system of seven degrees, has been omitted. This body known as "The Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plasterers, and Bricklayers", will be functioning in Victoria after April 1989, as the Chirnside Mansion Assemblage. It will be added to the universal group. Even now there is a long waiting list of brethren to join. (As of 1996, there were 14 Assemblages of this Order in Australia & New Zealand).




A. & A.S.R.

Analysing the Christian group. each one requires the candidate to be of the Christian belief. The Ancient and Accepted Rite has a system of 33 degrees. most of which are merely conferred. We have two constitutions working in harmony. Australian and Scottish. In October 1985 Chapters in Victoria holding allegiance to the English branch of the Rite, joined the newly formed Australian Rite, whilst the Scottish Sovereign Chapters & Councils working the 18 degree & 30 degree respectively opted to remain Scottish. The 18th degree is very strongly Christian in doctrine. Curiously the ceremony of the 18th degree in each jurisdiction, though identical in principal is markedly different in detail. They are almost like two separate orders - which is fair enough comment, for after all the English, followed by the Australians, dropped the word "Scottish" from the traditional title of the Rite. The three degrees of Craft Masonry are taken as equivalent to the first three degrees of the Rite, consequently only Master Masons are admitted.



The Royal Order of Scotland functions as a Provincial Grand Lodge meeting in the Center, working two degrees, and owing allegiance to Scotland. This body was formed to "correct the errors and irregularities that had crept into St. John's Masonry." This introduces an interesting point for study. When Freemasonry was formulated, about the 15th century, it was essentially Christian, and frequently referred to as St. John's Masonry. In the process of becoming universal some of the Christian overtones, considered important by some brethren were in danger of being lost. The Royal Order preserves these ideas. The teaching is conveyed in the ancient form of catechetic lectures in blank verse and rhyming couplers. The standard of performance of the ritual is impeccable. In one sense, the R.O.S. should be placed first on this list but by local rule onlyMaster Masons, who are also members of the A. & A.R. are eligible. Only really active Freemasons are placed on the waiting list. Victoria sponsored the R.O.S. in W.A., Canberra, Tasmania, and S.A.


R.C. of C.

With regard to Conclaves of the Knights of Constantine. under the Grand Imperial Conclave of Victoria, a better understanding can be gained by examining the full title of the Order, which is "The Masonic and Military Order of the Red Cross of Constantine and the Orders of the Holy Sepulchre and SI, John the Evangelist." The first Order, that of the Red Cross of Constantine belongs to the "East and West" class of Initiatory Rites, It consists of three degrees: - Knight, Priest, and Sovereign Prince, which are grades in the scale of Initiation, incorporating one of the finest ceremonies in the whole Masonic fabric. The appendant Orders attached to this branch are separate and distinct. Candidates for the R.C. of C. must be members or a Craft Lodge and a Companion of a R.AC.



The present Knights Templar have no connection whatever with the Medieval Military Orders. The Great Priory of Victoria controls the Preceptories and Priories of the "United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St. John of Jerusalem Palestine, Rhodes and Malta". The candidate, who must be a Master Mason and Royal Arch Mason, receives the accolade i n a strongly military Christian atmosphere within the Preceptory and the Knight of St. Paul and Knight of Malta in a Priory.



One of the oldest essentially Christian ceremonials of the appendant Orders and oddly enough, one of the most recent to be organised under the control of a Grand body, is the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, at one time referred to as the Order of Holy Wisdom. Under its umbrella are grouped thirty odd miscellaneous degrees, otherwise unattached that are now conferred upon the Knight Priest. Victoria can be justly proud of its effort in establishing this order in South Australia and Western Australia where the order has taken root and flourished. The three Tabernacles in Victoria are under the Grand College of England and Wales. This is the only Order now working in the state that requires candidates to be a P M. and a subscribing member of a Craft Lodge a Royal Arch Chapter, and a Preceptory of Knights Templar.



Sociatas Rosicruciana in Anglia is not really an Order, Rite or Degree but a well established society of Christian Masonic Master Masons. Demiurgus College, the first in the State is well into its second hundred years of continuous working. With a system of nine grades divided into three orders, it covers the whole gambit of philosophic and religious study. This Society has also spread from Victoria to other States.



The last of the group is the Royal Order of Eri. a very rare Order with a system of three degrees, and a complicated ritual based on Ancient Irish folk lore. Membership is strictly by invitation only, drawn from Fratres of the S.R.I.A. with at least the sixth grade. The foregoing through longer than anticipated is unfortunately only sketchy. Much more could he said that would be of interest but there still remains the Universal groups.



Each order in this group. except the A.M.D. is under local Grand bodies. Craft, Mark, Ark Mariner, and Royal Arch have all been ventilated in this Lodge in the past and no doubt will be a continued source of study.



Perhaps something should be said about the Order of the Secret Monitor, for at one stage it was part of the Allied Masonic Degrees. This is one of the rare Orders where the installation into the chair is a degree in its own right, forming a well defined system of three degrees. The Grand Council for Southern Australia has jurisdiction over Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Master Masons who join this delightful Order undergo a very simple ceremony, strongly underlying the basic principle of brotherhood engendered in the Craft.



The Royal and Select Masters, frequently referred to as the Cryptic Degrees, is a collection of four degrees worked in Councils under the control of the Grand Council of Victoria. Drawing its members from experienced Master Masons who are also Mark Master Masons and Royal Arch Companions. Some years ago candidates had to be installed Principles in the R.A.C., but this local rule was dropped. Also until fairly recently the R.A.C. worked the first of this group of degrees. The Most Excellent Master, The persistence of this degree in the Holy Royal Arch Chapter for so many years in this state is a classic example of Masonic error, inertia, and dogmatic resistance to correction It would have been far more intelligent for this degree to be handed to the Mark administration, where it would fit quite comfortably as an extra ceremonial. However it was, is, and always will be a pre-requisite for the Royal Master, Select Master and Super Excellent Masters degrees of the R.S.M.



It is now time to examine a little more closely the A.M.D., the last of the Universal Group. In England all the degrees and Orders previously mentioned in the Universal Group. and most of the Christian bodies. were comfortably ensconced under Grand administrations. A number of completely separate and independent degrees, mainly- in the Universal group worked by various lodges, were left languishing They were. no doubt well loved by many brethren, but not fitting comfortably into the systems already established. A Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees was established in 1879. to take control of the miscellaneous bits and pieces which initially included such well defined workings. as the O.S.11.. and the Christian Order the K.T.P., both later to have separate Grand bodies. Indeed. the Grand College of Holy Royal. Arch K.T.P.. was not created until 1923: and it was only in 1931 that the A.M.D. ceased working their Secret Monitor degree.


The degrees now worked in Councils of the A.M.D. are as follows:

St. Lawrence the Martyr

Knight of Constantinople

Grand Tilers of Solomon

Red Cross of Babylon

Grand High Priest



Some brethren may think there is an obvious error here as the A.M.D. has been listed within the Universal group. yet one of the degrees worked is that of St. Lawrence the Martyr, who was burnt to death by order of the Prefect in Rome on the 10th day of August in the year 258 AD. He was a well known Christian Priest whose life times, and Martyrdom, indelibly documented in the history and traditions of the Church, resulted in his canonisation. There is no mistake. The ritual, and the lesson taught, is universal in its appeal, and is an expansion of the principles of Craft Masonry. The ceremony is woven around the circumstances of his martyrdom, stressing his fortitude and humility. The degree, apparently based on one of the Medieval Mystery plays, is known to have been used by the operatives sometime prior to 1750, in Lancashire and elsewhere in the British Isles as a means of identification when Masons travelled in search of work. It is the degree in which all administrative work is done, and the ceremony of installation performed. There is no interconnection between these degrees, ritually, historically or otherwise. Therefore there is no order of sequence of precedence.



This curious degree is one of the so-called "Side Degrees". At one time it was conferred by one Brother taking another "aside" after a Lodge meeting, administering an obligation, reciting a traditional history. and communicating the secrets. The ceremony now worked is a fully fledged degree Researchers have not been successful in tracing the origin of the ceremony There is evidence that it existed prior to 1830. and it became very popular in the latter part of that century As in all branches of our speculative science. the traditional history claims all antiquity, in story and detail, more in the realm of fiction than fact. The assembly is known as the Council, presided over by the Illustrious Potentate, and the members referred to as Sir Knights. The episode, upon which the ceremony is based, allegedly takes place in the court yard of the palace of the Emperor Constantine the Great in Constantinople during the fourth century A.D. Once again the useful lessons of humility and universal equality are demonstrated. It is rather a delightfully simple but unforgettable ceremony, with a universal appeal to all who have the true principals of Brotherhood at heart. Other than basic philosophy, there is no connection with any other Order or degree.



This curious degree has much in common with the Cryptic degrees, and is clearly part of the Solomonic tradition. In the U.S.A. it has been worked constantly since 1761. It is also known as "Masons Elect of Twenty Seven". Traditional history related an alleged episode during the building of King Solomon's Temple, and as such, has a closer affinity to Craft Masonry than any of the other degrees in this grouping. Although there is no direct reference to Royal Arch matters, in one sense, it strengthens the justification for the existence of the R.A. ceremony, serving as another link between Craft and Chapter. Three principal Officers, W.M., S.W. and J.W., all sit in the East wearing the same robes as in the R.A.C. They represent S, K. of I., H.K. of T. and H.A.B. While H.A.B. is demonstrating his design for the "Altar of the Lord", the ceremony commences. It stresses the danger of carelessness, and hasty judgement, and emphasises the importance of careful tiling - a lesson of which we should all take heed.



Consisting of a rather involved and profoundly mystical ceremonial, the degree is of considerable antiquity; and is closely connected with the Royal Arch Chapter tradition. Some constitutions, e.g. N.S.W. and W.A. work it in the R.A.C. as "Knights of the Sword", or "Knights of the East and West". This procedure evolved through Scottish practice. Though similar to our practice, the Scottish style ceremony is arranged in an entirely different sequence with considerable variation in detail. There is so much difference the degrees are not interchangeable and separate obligations are required. Some Masonic Scholars claim the R.A. evolved from the Red Cross of Babylon when it formed part of the Order of the Temple. Irrespective of the merits or otherwise of the argument, there is no doubt the basic principles of the ritual existed and was worked consistently long before the R.A.C., as we know it, came into being. It appears the ceremony, which is divided into three parts, or points, came to us from three of the degrees of the "Rite of Perfection", formed in Europe about the year 1754. The candidate represents Zerubbabel who in the first part is appointed an emissary, assigned to journey from Jerusalem to Babylon. Stressing the importance of fidelity, integrity, and truth, action takes place in the R.A. Council at Jerusalem, and in the Throne Room of the Persian Court at Babylon. A short transitional link between the other two parts, called "Passing the Bridge" is of ancient origin. Similar symbolic traces of spiritual truth are found in all cultures. Unfortunately, as generally happens with masonic ceremonies, mystical lessons are frequently lost on the average Mason. However, to those willing to concentrate, absorb, and meditate, the spiritual rewards become treasured jewels. The "Red Cross" fits in with the chronological sequence of the Solomonic thesis. Reconstruction of the Temple began in the year 535 B.C., but was frustrated by the Samaritans who were descendants of those who fled when the Temple was oppressed. The Samaritans wanted to assist in rebuilding but were refused, and were successful in having all reconstruction stopped. (Ref. Ezra IV.) Zerubbabel journeyed to Persia in the year 521 B.C. seeking help, and found that his friend Darius had succeeded to the throne. Help was forthcoming and work resumed in the year 520 B.C. Our Holy Royal Arch now commences its story. t the time there were a considerable number of Jews remaining in Babylon and the news of the rebuilding induced others to migrate back to their home country. Among these were the three Sojourners of the R.A.C.



When preparing a definitive statement on any subject for the instruction of the uninitiated it is always difficult to determine where to start,. and what may be divulged, without destroying the impact upon those who may seek participation at a later date. The problem has no satisfactory solution on this occasion. We have been discussing degrees. Here we have an Order in the true sense of the term. The "Holy Order of Grand High Priest" has come to us through the centuries, perhaps not entirely pure and unsullied as we now receive it. The basic essentials of the ritual have an aura of ancient vintage. Where and when it was first worked has never been established. The main elements were used in some of the multitude of "High Grade" developed in the 1750 era on the continent of Europe. Consisting of two parts, the Order, as now worked seems to be an amalgamation of degrees worked separately until about 1780. Many consider this to be the ultimate climax of the Masonic progression. Perhaps, in one sense, this may be so, even though the episodes depicted predate the building of King Solomon's Temple by some 900 years. The ceremony makes an abrupt transition jumping nearly 400 years from the days of Melchizedek to the consecration of Aaron as the first Jewish High Priest. Universal in principle and teaching it has a strong appeal to companions with religious inclinations. The Order has always been closely associated with R. A. Freemasonry. Under the original constitutions of the Grand Council, the candidate had to be an Installed Principle of a Royal Arch Chapter. This pre-requisite existed until 1923 when changes were made permitting the admission of Companions. Members of the Order are still referred to as "Excellent Companions". It is variously known as the "Order of Melchizedek" and similar titles. That mysterious biblical figure features prominently in the ceremony. The candidate represents the Patriarch Abram returning from the slaughter of the Kings. Many Companions after participating ill the ceremony hasten to the V.S.L. to re-read Genesis Chapter 14, Psalm 133 and others, with a deeper understanding. His dedication to the service of the Most High becomes profound. A man would have to be extreme in his insensitivity not to be deeply, moved




The mental picture of a multi-branched tree though complex is a good analogy to describe the interdependence of each branch on the basic structure, the Craft. The life of even the outermost twig is dependant on the strength of the Craft, Like many deciduous trees from time to time it looses most of the leaves, but the tree remains alive, the sap runs back ready to surge once again and leaf when the season is right.


The A.M.D. is one example of resurgence. The first Council of Victoria was consecrated in 1918. From the beginning the Order was kept exclusive, quite deliberately. Only recently it was realised that artificial restrictions are not in the hue teaching of the Craft. Every Freemason should be encouraged and given every facility to expand his knowledge, and understanding of our wonderful Fraternity. It was 24 years before the second Council was established in Victoria, and since the Councils in Victoria were constituted as a division of the Grand Council on the 12th Dec. 1983, the order has blossomed in South Australia and Western Australia and with 4 active Councils in Victoria, and several in the pipeline.


Like the R. & S degrees the A.M.D. adds to our understanding of the R.A.C.; and strengthens our appreciation of the fraternity as a whole. The fruits of all these appendant orders and Allied Degrees cater for a wide variety of tastes. It is worth remembering that the deeper one becomes involved. The more dedicated our service, the greater the pleasure obtained.


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