At your initiation you were taught the duties you owe to your fellow man and how to conduct your life in society. In the Second Degree you were encouraged to contemplate Morality and Equality. Then, when raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, you were led to contemplate your inevitable destiny. In the Holy Royal Arch the Mason goes on to consider his relationship with his God and to explore the concepts of Eternity and eternal life.
For a Freemason to take only the three Craft degrees and not join the Royal Arch means his Masonry might be compared with the experience of the man who goes to the theatre and leaves half way through the final act. Whilst he can say he has been to the theatre he can’t tell you how the play ends, the same is true for a Freemason who doesn’t join the Royal Arch.
The ceremony in the Holy Royal Arch is colourful, thought provoking and uplifting. It makes good the promise of ‘recovery’ when what is lost in the Third Degree is revealed in a fascinating ceremony. Thus joining the Royal Arch is such a natural and essential first step for every Master Mason. This point is emphasised by the fact that the Royal Arch is described as the Supreme Degree and Candidates are exalted into the Order.
Supreme Grand Chapter administers the Holy Royal Arch and its senior executive officers are always the same as those who hold the same or comparable offices in United Grand Lodge. In our own Province we have as our Grand Superintendent, Excellent Companion Stewart Glasgow Carley.
The qualification for Exaltation into the Royal Arch is simply that you must have been a Master Mason for at least four weeks.
Your Craft Lodge should have a “Holy Royal Arch Liaison Officer”. He will be an experienced and knowledgeable Brother who will be delighted to discuss the matter further with you and answer your questions, address any concerns you may have etc and would continue this role even after you join. He will also be happy to recommend a particular Chapter or Masonic Centre that is most convenient or accommodating to your work and domestic arrangements. Some members like to join a Chapter which is actually attached to their Lodge and where they are well known, whereas others prefer to join at a different place entirely – which ever you choose, you will certainly make new friends.
The regalia for the Royal Arch differs from that of the Craft in that the colours move from blue and white in the craft, to red, blue and white in the Royal Arch. A Royal Arch Mason wears an apron, sash and breast jewel. Being the supreme degree the Royal Arch jewel is also the supreme jewel in Freemasonry and should always be worn on the breast in the senior position; at the right of all other jewels.
Because the Royal Arch is an integral part of Pure Ancient Freemasonry the Royal Arch Royal Arch jewel becomes part of the Craft regalia and demonstrates the indissoluble link between Royal Arch and the Craft.
There is usually regalia available in excellent condition second hand, at a much reduced cost.
The best time to join is when you are entirely comfortable with your Craft Masonry. The ceremony of Exaltation is deeply allegorical, and because Chapters do not meet as often as Lodges, it will take longer to fully understand and appreciate the finer points of its teachings. It is worth giving yourself the opportunity of just sitting back and absorbing the full meaning of the beautiful ceremonial before taking on a substantive office.
The privilege of becoming First Principal of a Royal Arch Chapter is open to any experienced Mason who has demonstrated his ability to undertake this very important Office and has served the Office of Scribe or Sojourner for one year. Appointments to Provincial and Grand Rank follow the same procedure as for the Craft.
Royal Arch Chapters do not meet as frequently as Craft Lodges; the average is four meetings per year. The meeting dates and location of Chapters in this Province can be found on the website.