Every Order in Freemasonry has at least one Degree and in the RSM there are four. As a group, they are known as the Cryptic Degrees because the ceremonies are carried out in theoretical underground vaults or crypts. Toward the end of any masonic ceremony, the candidate usually has the meaning of the experience explained to him. This is intended to help his understanding and to teach a moral lesson.
Many masons complete the three degrees in the Craft, and possibly the single degree in the Royal Arch, and go no further. This is a pity, because the story in the Craft stops abruptly at the end of the Third Degree and is resumed in the RA without any explanation of what happened in between. An inquisitive mind will want to know why, and the answer lies with the sequence given in the Mark, a separate Order, and continued in the RSM with its four degrees.
To qualify for membership of the RSM, a candidate must be a member of the Craft, the RA and the Mark. This alone is a big commitment, so it is logical that there are fewer Cryptic Councils than Craft Lodges, but we really enjoy what we do and being in the company of good friends.
Our degrees are taken in the order of Select Master (SM), Royal Master (RM), Most Excellent Master (MEM) and Super Excellent Master (SEM). All Council business is done in the Select Master Degree. A member's jewel is worn after receiving the SM and the triangular apron is given upon completion of the SEM.