The Royal Arch "Widow" Degree
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
I have a confession. Something I haven’t spoken about. A little over a year ago, I was summoned; not to court, but summoned by King Solomon to appear at Pekin Masonic Temple for Degree work. Degree work?! But I’m not a Mason! As I read the summons, I had to chuckle. Pekin Chapter #25 Royal Arch Masons had summoned a group of Masonic Widows to appear for degree work called “The Royal Arch Widow Degree”. This degree is for women whose husband is out night after night at the Masonic Lodge.
This degree had not been performed since the mid 60s so Pekin Chapter thought the current widows needed to go through this degree. So, this year they had the degree again and since I went through it last year, I was able to watch it from the sidelines.
The "widows" are escorted into the lodge room by the royal executioners and are brought in front of grumpy King Solomon. Yes, King Solomon is a grumpy old soul. He asked these poor "widows" to remove their left shoe; this would be evidence of her sincerity and trust in the Order. The shoes are then sterilized in a “decontaminating fluid”.
The women are escorted around the lodge room by the Grand Master of Ceremonies and are given the “secrets” of the degree. As you know, there are secrets in the lodge room and since I have been through this degree I am not allowed to reveal them. But, as a Royal Arch Widow, King Solomon did reveal a secret. He explained what the letters on the keystone meant.
We were advised never to divulge them to anyone not entitled to receive them. But on a serious note, this degree has no connection with any Masonic degree, real or imaginary. It’s sole purpose is FUN and to provide entertainment for us women. After the degree work, the widows are presented a lovely wallet sized certificate and a pin. Oh, I bet you are wondering about the shoes. Well, if you are a Royal Arch Widow, ask your local Royal Arch Chapter to present the degree and find out what happens to your shoes.
Judy Gordon is very active in Job's Daughters. She's the Past Honored Queen, and Past Bethel Guardian of Bethel No. 55, Pekin (IL). She received the Cryptic Masons Masonic Youth Leadership Award along with her husband, Ray Gordon in July 2007. She's also Past Matron of the Morton Chapter No. 974 (IL) of the Order of the Eastern Star and Historian of the Emblem Club No. 424 of Pekin (IL). Judy is the recipient of the Degree of Royal Purple (2012) and elected to the Grand Line Illinois Job's Daughters (2015-16). Boaz joined the family in September 2013 and grandmother of 3 wonderful grandsons.