The Cryptic Rite is one of the smallest but one of the most important and certainly one of the most curious of all the rites. The word Crypt comes from a Greek word meaning hide, conceal, or secret, and thus has come to mean a vault, cave, or other place of underground concealment. The Cryptic degrees are centered on stories involving a vault or crypt where certain treasures were hidden beneath King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem for very specific purposes.
Councils of Cryptic Masons form the center body of the York Rite of Freemasonry. A Master Mason may join a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons and receive the four degrees of that organization. After which he may seek further knowledge in Freemasonry and join a Council of Cryptic Masons.