Understanding The Role Of A Past Master In Freemasonry

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that traces its origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons. It is rich in symbolism, rituals, and has a hierarchical structure. One of the roles within this structure is that of a Past Master.

This article aims to shed light on what it means to be a Past Master, the privileges associated with the title, and the respect it commands within the fraternity.

The Role of a Past Master

A Past Master is a Mason who has served as the Master of a Lodge. The title signifies that the individual has held the highest office within a Masonic Lodge and has successfully fulfilled his duties in that role.

The term “Past” indicates that the individual has completed his term as Master, and is now in a position to provide guidance and mentorship to the current Master and other members of the Lodge.

Privileges of a Past Master

The privileges of a Past Master are not as tangible as one might expect. They are not monetary in nature, nor do they involve any special treatment. Instead, they are more symbolic and revolve around respect, admiration, and the ability to influence decisions at a higher level.

One of the key privileges of a Past Master is the right to vote at the Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge is the governing body of Freemasonry in a particular jurisdiction, and it is where important decisions regarding the fraternity’s bylaws and other matters are made.

In many jurisdictions, only the Master of a Lodge and Past Masters have the right to vote at the Grand Lodge. This means that even after a Master has completed his term, he still has the opportunity to influence the direction of Freemasonry in his jurisdiction.

Respect and Admiration

Being a Past Master also comes with a certain level of respect and admiration from fellow Masons. This is because to become a Master, a Mason must demonstrate a deep understanding of the rituals and principles of Freemasonry, as well as the ability to lead his Lodge effectively.

Therefore, when a Mason becomes a Past Master, it is a testament to his knowledge, leadership skills, and commitment to the fraternity. This naturally commands respect from his peers.


Being a Past Master is not just a title. It is a recognition of a Mason’s service to his Lodge and his ability to lead and guide his fellow Masons. The privileges associated with the title, such as the right to vote at the Grand Lodge, reflect the respect and trust that the fraternity has in a Past Master. However, the role and privileges of a Past Master can vary from one jurisdiction to another, reflecting the diversity and richness of Freemasonry around the world.

It’s important to note that the role of a Past Master, like many aspects of Freemasonry, is steeped in tradition and symbolism. It is not about personal gain or prestige, but about service, leadership, and the perpetuation of the principles and values of Freemasonry.