Recently exalted into the Royal Arch, Middlesex Provincial Grand Communications Officer Daniel Graham divulges his experience to help others
'I have sat in many Lodge meetings, listened to the Royal Arch representative talk about ‘Chapter’, but without really connecting or engaging with it. I think I’ve seen a demonstration in a Craft meeting, too, and have repeatedly been asked, ‘When are you going to join Chapter?’ To me, it always seemed like the thing to do after going through the Chair in Craft, or simply something that little bit elusive.
If, like many, you’re a Freemason in those shoes, then read on as now I write to you from the other side of that perception having recently been exalted into the Royal Arch. In doing so, I can finally give you an insight into that next step in Freemasonry, share my own experience and give you my top tips for the Royal Arch.
1. Don’t wait. Much like a Craft initiation, there is little to prepare or expected of you. If the fear of more ritual and learning is holding you back, don’t. You can enter the Royal Arch and have no pressure of advancing.
2. You qualify earlier than you think. Did you know that you just have to be a Master Mason of four weeks standing to enter the Royal Arch?
3. A new jewel awaits you. You have seen the Royal Arch jewels worn in Craft meetings and wondered what they’re all about. Satisfy your curiosity!
4. The Ceremony. What a delightful ceremony. Of course I can’t tell you much more, but it’s a wonderful story, with more symbolism and intrigue to discover.
5. It’s part of the whole Masonic experience. You may have heard that the Royal Arch is the completion of the third degree – well that is true. By not joining, you may well be missing out on the fuller story. For me, the third degree left me with many unanswered questions and in the midst of a cliff-hanger that would have keep EastEnders or Coronation Street going. It’s not an extra step, it’s like watching a Netflix series and pausing three quarters of the way through.
6. Strangely familiar, strangely different. It has many shared similarities, customs and traditions – you will feel at home more easily than you think. And, without putting in any spoilers, wait until you see the ‘fire’.
7. New goodies. A new apron, a colourful sash and a whole new experience to discover. Come on, there is a great charm in dressing up, putting on a nice crisp shirt and suit and adorning ourselves in regalia, right?
8. New friends. Well, in fact, not just new friends that you haven’t met, but new connections with familiar faces and ‘companions’ – the term that brethren are called inside Royal Arch.
All in all, it was a brilliant evening, an experience to treasure and one that will stay with me for some time. If you’re not sure, I hope this article puts it in simple terms.
Feel free to talk to your Royal Arch representative, as they always say, but equally feel free to talk to me, too'