A cursory glance at the emblem of the Allied Masonic Degrees usually yields the remark "very striking, but what does it mean ?" Heretofore, the average member has had to respond "I don't know."
This monograph will attempt to answer that perplexing question. As the Allied Masonic Degrees sprang from the fertile mind of J.Ray Shute II, it would be wise to assume that the emblem had its genesis with that worthy Mason also. It was Brother Shute who discovered the various degrees then in existence in foreign countries and decided to bring them to America for the enjoyment and edification of US Masons. He organized the three initial Lodges of Royal Ark Mariner and Councils of the Red Cross, composing them of his friends and acquaintances. He called them together in April of 1932 to found the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the United States of America. It was at that founding meeting that the emblem as we now know it was adopted without debate.
In designing a symbol to represent the AMD, Shute was faced with two choices. He could create something that had representations of a symbol of each degree as is done in England, or he could create an emblem to represent all the degrees simultaneously in one symbol. Shute chose to do the latter. The degrees of the yet to be born Grand Council AMD consisted of; Royal Ark Mariner, Secret Monitor, Knight of Constantinople, Saint Lawrence the Martyr, Grand Tyler of Solomon, and Excellent Master. The degrees of Master of Tyre, Architect, Grand Architect, and Superintendent were added at the Grand Council meeting in 1933, while those of the Red Branch of Erie were added by way of Grand Steward's Council B which was created in 1937.
The emblem consists of four separate symbols combined into one; the Triangles, the Compasses, the Crown and the Cross. The four symbols represent the epochs of Masonry covered by the various rituals of the Allied Degrees. The first symbol, the Triangles, stands for Noachite Masonry and the time surrounding the building of the Ark. It encompasses the degree of Royal Ark Mariner in the AMD system. The second symbol, the Compasses, stands for Solomonic Masonry and the time surrounding the building and rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem. It encompasses the degrees of Excellent Master and Grand Tyler of Solomon. The third symbol, the Crown, stands for Royal Masonry and the instances where royalty has had an influence on Masonry or Masonic characters. It encompasses the degrees of Secret Monitor (David/Saul) and Knight of Constantinople (Constantine). The fourth symbol, the Cross, stands for Christian Masonry and the instances where Christianity has had an influence on Masonry or Masonic characters. It encompasses the degree of St.Lawrence the Martyr. The degrees added in 1933 fit neatly into the Solomonic Epoch and thus are also represented by the Compasses. The Red Branch of Erie degrees can be considered a part of the Royal Epoch, even though it has a well known emblem of its own. The "chair" degrees also fit into this emblem; the Installed Sovereign Master degree in the Solomonic Epoch and the Installed Commander Noah degree in the Noachite Epoch.
The only exception to this symbolic representation is Ye Antient and Olde Order of Corks. Inasmuch as the "Order of Corks" started out as a separate organization which later merged with Grand Master's Council A and subsequently established its own governing body under the AMD "umbrella" with an emblem of its own, it is not really necessary to include it in the "general" AMD emblem. Each local Council (with a RAM Lodge attached) can confer the degrees represented by the AMD emblem, but cannot (without permission) confer the "Order of Corks". Therefore it is acceptable to exclude this one degree from the general symbolic emblem without damaging the logical arrangement of the epochs.
While certainty could only be secured by an interview with the late Brother Shute, this seems a plausible explanation of the AMD emblem given his style and knowledge. The Epochs of Masonry covered by the various degrees can be represented by each symbol individually while the Triangles, Compasses, Crown and Cross together represent the Allied Masonic Degrees as a whole. It is a worthy and symbolic emblem indeed.