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- 1° = Entered Apprentice
- 2° = Fellow Craft
- 3° = Master Mason
Blue Lodge is used to specify the basic Masonic Lodge granting the first three degrees and to differentiate it from other Masonic organizations. This somewhat colloquial term was originally frowned upon, but has gained more widespread and mainstream usage in recent times. The term Craft Lodge is more usual in Great Britain.
Masons who have belonged to more than one Lodge may use Mother Lodge to identify the particular Lodge where they were first "made a Mason", i.e., received the first degree. Mother Lodge may also refer to a Lodge which warrants or sponsors the creation of a new Lodge, although these specific procedures vary throughout history and in different jurisdictions.
Although concordant bodies of Masonry (such as the York Rite, Scottish Rite and Shriners) may grant so-called "higher" degrees, numbered as "fourth" and above, it is said that there is no degree in Freemasonry greater than the third, or Master Mason degree. Bodies governing Blue Lodge or Craft Masonry are the core of all Masonic practice and are recognized as the authoritative voice of Freemasonry by concordant and appendant bodies in their particular jurisdiction.
Lodges are governed by national or provincial groups, usually called Grand Lodges. Recognition or regularity of a Lodge or a Grand Lodge is granted by mutual agreement with existing Grand Lodges, according to established traditions and principles. Lodges formed outside of the boundaries of these principles are generally considered irregular or clandestine by other regular Lodges and are excluded from fellowship and visitation.
Grand Lodges and regions may include further traditions and variations on the three degrees. In England, the third degree is "Completed" within a Holy Royal Arch Chapter, sponsored by a Craft Lodge. Together they form "The Craft" under the English Constitution. This "addition" facilitated the end of the Schism of "Antients" Grand Lodge with the "Moderns" in 1813. In Scotland, the Mark Degree (as a completion of the second degree), is integrated into "The Craft" under the Scottish Constitution.
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