Fellowcraft is the designation of the Second Degree in Blue Lodge Masonry. The term is derived from the union of Operative Masons, representing those who were especially skilled in cutting and fitting stones for structural use, but less skilled and capable than Master Masons. In Speculative Masonry, emphasis is laid on the significance of the term Fellow. In its basic meaning, the word signifies “bound in mutual trust.” It also has in its deeper meaning the idea of “a follower, a companion, an associate.” Though of less skill, of less ability, than a Master Mason, the Fellow in Freemasonry is not a servant, nor a subject, but an associate, a companion, a brother. The work of this degree is, like that of the Entered Apprentice, preparatory for advancement into the higher degree of Master Mason, but it differs essentially in the importance of its symbolism.
The Entered Apprentice Degree is devoted to a beginner; the Fellowcraft Degree to a more advanced search for Light. In the First Degree the symbols and ceremonies are directed toward purification of the heart. In this Degree, this purification is no less important, but the symbols and ceremonies are directed more chiefly to lessons for the cultivation of the reasoning faculties and the improvement of the intellectual powers.
Among the ancients, all religion was more or less a mystery, and hence religions, and especially the mystery of religions, were closely associated with philosophy. Among pagans, the multitude of allegories and symbols in the religions became accepted as realities, and the worship of celestial luminaries, imaginary deities with human passions, appetites and lusts, and of idols in the forms of stones, animals and even reptiles was commonplace. Hence, in Freemasonry, the emphasis is placed upon philosophy, upon intellectual enlightenment, and upon advancement of the reasoning faculties in order that these tendencies to idolatry might counteracted to the glory of the One Living True God.
Freemasonry, successor of the Mysteries of antiquity, follows ancient methods of instruction. Nowhere in Freemasonry does this become more evident than in the Fellowcraft Degree. Instruction is given by symbols, and there is marked out for the Fellowcraft a path of study, of meditation, of investigation, of intellectual progress — all of which means progress toward the Search for Truth. The fundamentals of Freemasonry which claim for man the threefold heritage of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are symbolized and expounded in the Fellowcraft Degree.
The vows and obligations of the Fellowcraft Degree are, of course, more advanced and extensive than those of the Entered Apprentice Degree. The pledge to secrecy with reference to the internal workings of the Fraternity is broadened and strongly re-enforced. Regulations regarding Secret Words are similar to those of the preceding Degree. The endowments and investitures of the Order given to this Degree are to be guarded with inviolate fidelity, and obedience to the tenets and laws of Freemasonry are exacted with great emphasis.