Freemasonry had intrigued me for many years, although it took the Enough is Enough campaign and Inside the Freemasons documentary to give me the push I needed to reach out.
After emailing the Secretary of my future Lodge one August afternoon, his organisation skills and speed led me to be initiated a few months later in early December 2018, into Trinity College Dublin Lodge No 3153.
Once the general bewilderment of that ceremony subsided, I started to notice that, aside from the aprons, several of the brethren were wearing a very impressive-looking breast jewel, with different coloured ribbons. Asking around, I was told that this showed membership of the Holy Royal Arch, and that the Brother in question had completed his journey in pure, antient Freemasonry. ‘Very interesting’ I thought to myself, but it seemed like something too far away in my Masonic future to consider at the time.
By the time the next summer rolled around, I was informed that I would be Raised at my Lodge’s September meeting – completing all three degrees in nine months and really opening up the Masonic world to me. One powerful and memorable degree later, I was reminded that I would very shortly be eligible to ‘complete’ my third degree and join a Chapter of the Holy Royal Arch.
I was initially a bit confused – hadn’t I just completed the degree? After all, I had received the apron, the ritual book, and the secrets in the Lodge room that very evening. My proposer kindly informed me I had more yet to experience, but that was restricted to the Royal Arch. Naturally, I signed up as soon as I could, with my Exaltation scheduled for January 2020 in Ceylon Chapter No 6436.
No one could fail to be impressed with an Exaltation. Everything about the room and setting made it clear that this was something different, something special. I was very fortunate be exalted alongside someone else, and we had a great discussion in the anteroom about what we could expect. I certainly did not expect to see that the Master Elect of my Lodge had turned up, just to support me! When the ceremony was over, and I took my seat in the Chapter room, I felt that I had taken my first steps into a larger world. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
My journey in Chapter has, sadly, been short so far. I was fortunate enough to see a great friend of mine be Exalted last February (we had supported each other through our respective degree ceremonies), before attending my Chapter on 16th March 2020. After receiving my Grand Chapter certificate at that meeting, we went to our Festive Board to see that that the Prime Minister was advising against socialising, with the number of COVID-19 cases rising. We made the best of the evening, suspecting that the Grand Master would shortly suspend all Masonry – indeed he did, the very next day.
So, what do I know of Royal Arch Masonry? I know that I attended three meetings, before carefully packing my apron, sash and jewel away for almost a year and a half. I know that I have many more Companions to meet. I know that, as I write this, my first proper meeting back will be to visit the Chapter of someone I have never met before, a testimony to the social side of Freemasonry. But most importantly, I know that being Exalted is by no means the end. Just like my thoughts after my Initiation, my journey in Freemasonry is just beginning – there is so much more to see and do!
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 45 July 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 45.