Mark Degeree

The CRAFT and MARK MASONRY are very close to each other in origin & nature and even in the form of rituals. Their histories are very intimately connected & both have their origin in the building of King Solomon’s Temple 1000 years before the beginning of the Christian era. While building the temple an immense no. of masons were employed & they were divided into two classes of Entered Apprentice & Fellow Crafts, the Fellow Crafts being more privileged than the Entered Apprentices. They laid stone over stone, duly carved, shaped & chiseled with the help of their working tools. Since the fellow crafts were more skilled & their wages were to be paid according to the work done, it was felt necessary to allot a mark to them. This mark served two useful purposes - it established a craftsman's entitlement to wages and in the event of faulty work, enabled the foreman or overseer to identify the workman responsible. Thus came into existence the Mark Degree among operative masons.

Mark Masonry, as a speculative degree is known to be more than 200 yrs. Old.

The ceremony in a Mark Lodge, unlike the Craft Lodge is a very dramatic one & leaves an everlasting impression on the candidates mind. The scenario for the Mark ceremony is, of course, King Solomon's Temple, during the final stages of construction. Completed blocks of stone are brought by the craftsmen who prepare them, for examination by the Overseers, and the candidate plays the part of one of these craftsmen. Events take an unusual turn and the candidate experiences both the joys and sorrows of professional life. Unlike the Craft, there is simply one ceremony, the ceremony of Advancement; there are no subsequent stages to pass through.

The legend of Mark Degree revolves around the keystone, which takes upon itself & distributes the load on other stones in the structure, the other stones symbolize men who have developed themselves to take the burden of humanity. As the keystone is required to complete the Arch & if removed will cause the whole structure to collapse, so through this degree it is impressed upon the candidate to prepare himself through learning & practice of Masonic Virtues to become a responsible member of society & thereby serve the great overseer. The brother is taught to develop & make a mark in life. His work is as important in society as the keystone in a building. It encourages us to complete our allotted task honestly & that even if our work be not appreciated, we should not despair, for the time will soon come when we will be required & receive due recognition & appreciation. The teachings of Mark Masonry are profound. It inculcates order, regularity, diligence and discipline. It places emphasis not on judging people or situations on outward appearances, but to seek hidden truths and excellence. Mark degree encourages development of special talents, not for self-glorification, but for the common good and the fulfillment of the common endeavor. It teaches humility and patience and inculcates the need to wait patiently, until recognition is forthcoming in due time.