Cryptic Masonry is the third part of the York Rite system of Masonic degrees, and the last found within the Rite that deals specifically with the Hiramic Legend. These degrees are the gateway to Temple restoration rituals or the Second Temple Legend. The body itself is known as either the Council of Royal & Select Masters or Council of Cryptic Masons depending on the jurisdiction.
Ancient Cryptic Masonry centers around the story of the preservation, loss and recovery of the Word. The Word represents man’s search for life’s purpose and the nature of GOD. Symbolic Freemasonry, as in the Lodge, teaches of the loss of the Word and hope for its recovery. Royal Arch Masonry, as in the Chapter, teaches its recovery. Cryptic Masonry, as in the Council, completes this story by teaching of the Word’s initial preservation.