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.
Within the York Rite, members of Cryptic Masonry meet as a Council, and the Council confers three degrees: Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master. Outside the United States, Grand Councils have the right to confer other degrees such as the Royal Ark Mariner Degree in Canada and the Excellent Master Degree in England.
A Council is in many ways the same as a Masonic Lodge; it has officers and a ritual degree system, which in this case consists of three degrees: Royal Master, Select Master, and Super Excellent Master. The Super Excellent Master degree is optional in some jurisdictions. The various positions in the lodge are modeled directly after Craft Masonry and though the names are often different the duties are largely the same. Their seating is a bit different, however, in that that all three principals of a council sit on the east dais, while the captain of the guard and conductor of the council sit in the west and south.