The Council of Royal and Select Masters, known as the Cryptic Rite
fills what would be significant void in the complete story of the York
Rite.  The degrees controlled by the Grand Councils in the United States
are, The Royal Master, The Select Master, and The Super Excellent Master. 
The first two have been named The Degrees of Preservation. 
     While Lodges, Chapters, and Commanderies predate the 19th century,
Councils were not formed until the early 1800's, and in the United States.
 The degrees, however, had been conferred in Lodges and Royal Arch
Chapters prior to the organization of Councils.  At this writing, the 
Royal and Select degrees are still conferred in Royal Arch Chapters in
Virginia and West Virginia and the Super Excellent degree does not exist
in those states except when conferred under authority of Grand Councils
of neighboring jurisdictions, with the approval of the affected Grand Chapter.


     The Degree of Royal Master symbolizes a Fellowcraft in search of
additional  Masonic Light.  His efforts are eventually rewarded and he is
admitted into a select fellowship that has been entrusted with Cryptic
secrets not yet available to the majority of the craft.  However, as
Divine truth can only be perceived by those who have attained an advanced
state of spiritual awareness, the Fellowcraft, now a Royal Master, must
continue his quest until the Temple is completed. 


     When the Temple of Solomon was completed, a number of secrets of the
craft had been lost.  The craftsmen were advised that future generations
may rediscover them if they properly applied themselves with fervency and
zeal.  Future generations did discover these secrets and the Select
Masters degree reveals how they had been preserved.  This degree completes
the  educaton of the craftsman with regard to the concealed mysteries of
Ancient Craft Masonry.  It is the Omega of the Symbolic Rite.  However,
while the candidate has received this additional knowledge, he has also
been confronted with additional symbolism which requires future
application by him in perfecting his spiritual building. 


     The last or third degree in the Cryptic Rite is The Super Excellent
Masters degree.  The origin of this degree is unknown.  It was not listed
as a side degree of European Masonry in a catalog of over 700 known
degrees which was published in the 19th century. 
...     The moral and spiritual lessons conveyed in the degree are: To
Walk in Faith, Promote Friendship, and Practice Fidelity.  These lessons
are presented to the candidate in a clear and forcible manner.

Excerpted by permission from:

The York Rite of Freemasonry A History and Handbook by Frederick G.
Speidel,  page 40-41
Copyright purchased by Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United
States of America 1989 
5097 Elston Avenue, Suite 101
Chicago, Illinois 60630-2460
Full text copies available from the above address

    The General Grand Council has formed a foundation whose charity is
Research in the Prevention of Arthritis.
     The Grand Council of Royal and Select Masons of Ohio provides
camperships to five summer camps which provide camping experience for
diabetic children while also receiving support for their disease.

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