Scottish Rite

 Scottish Rite [Scottish Rite History] [Scottish Rite Degrees] [Scottish Rite Caps] “The purpose of the Scottish Rite, simply stated, is to seek that which is the most worth in the world; to exalt the dignity of every person, the human side of our daily activities, and the maximum service to humanity; to aid mankind’s search in God’s universe for identity, for development and for destiny, and thereby achieve better men in a better world, happier men in a happier world and wiser men in a wiser world.” The Scottish Rite Creed The cause of human progress is our cause, the enfranchisement of human thought our supreme wish, the freedom of human conscience our mission, and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere, the end of our contention.  

Transcript of Scottish Rite

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Scottish Rite

[Scottish Rite History] [Scottish Rite Degrees] [Scottish Rite Caps]

“The purpose of the Scottish Rite, simply stated, is to seek that which is the most worth in the world; to exalt the dignity of every person, the human side of our dailyactivities, and the maximum service to humanity; to aid mankind’s search in God’suniverse for identity, for development and for destiny, and thereby achieve better men in a better world, happier men in a happier world and wiser men in a wiser


The Scottish Rite Creed

The cause of human progress is our cause, the enfranchisement of human thoughtour supreme wish, the freedom of human conscience our mission, and theguarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere, the end of our contention.

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The two "Rites" of Freemasonry are generally recognized; the "York Rite", which

many think should more properly be called the American Rite (Royal Arch Chapters,Councils of Royal and Select Masters, Commanderies) and the "Scottish Rite" of thirty three degrees. Both Rites have their roots in symbolic Masonry, and no man intheUnited States, Canada, England, Ireland or Scotland may be initiated into either York or Scottish Rite who is not already a member of a Blue Lodge.

While the Scottish Rite has thirty-three degrees, numbered from 1 to 33, the SupremeCouncils of the English speaking countries do not assume any authority over the firstthree degrees where there exists a Grand Lodge which adheres to the Landmarks of freemasonry and continues regular, legitimate and duly constituted and which refrains

from interfering with the administration of the Fourth to Thirty-third Degreesinclusive by the Supreme Council. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite goes sodeeply into the past for much of its symbolism and philosophy that its origins are lostin the mists of antiquity from which emerges history.

History of the Scottish Rite

In 1761 the first "secret" Constitutions was framed; in 1762, the "Constitutions andRegulations", these, with the later Constitutions of 1786, are its fundamental law.The first Lodge of Perfection was established in this country in Albany, New York,as early as 1767. The first council of Princes of Jerusalem was organizedatCharleston, South Carolina, in 1788. The first Sublime council of Princes of theRoyal Secret (of Twenty-five degrees; the 25 was then the highest of the Rite of Perfection) was established at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1797. The realestablishment of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite dates from 1801, whenthe first Supreme Council, now the Mother Supreme council of the World, wasestablished in Charleston. Subsequently, under the provisions of the GrandConstitutions, a second Supreme Council was formed and the original council took the name of "The Supreme Council 33, for the Southern Jurisdiction of the UnitedStates of America." It is the oldest existing council and, therefore, the Mother Council of the World, from which all Supreme Councils of the Rite hold, either mediately or immediately. Thus the original Jurisdiction became two by act of theSupreme Council, which in 1813 established the Northern Supreme Council with,

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originally, fourteen States: Maine, NewHampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, NewJersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Illinois, Indianaand Michigan. At that timethe present State of Wisconsin was a portion of Illinois territory, becoming a partof Michigan in 1818. Hence the Northern Jurisdiction now comprises fifteen Statesof the Union. The Southern Jurisdiction, retaining the rest of the United States andwhatever territory may become a part of it and also those countries where theSupreme council has or may hereafter establish Bodies of the Rite, comprisesthirty-three States; Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida,Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota,Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina,

North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming; it also includesthe District of Columbia, the Army and Navy (shared with the Northern Supreme

Council),China, Japan, Hawaii, Philippine Islands, Puerto Rico, the Canal Zoneand Alaska. These two Jurisdictions have always worked, and now work, incomplete harmony, the separation being geographic only. The Scottish Rite issometimes called Continental Masonry because it had its origin from the Rites

practiced on the Continent of Europe which later crystallized into the Scottish Ritethrough the constitutions of 1761, 1762 and 1786. It is also known and practicedon the Continents of Europe and North and South America,in Asia, Africa, Australia,New Zealand, etc.

In the Southern Jurisdiction the Lodge of Perfection confers the Ineffable degreesfrom the 4th to the 14th; the Chapter of Rose Croix confers the Historical andSecond Temple degrees, 15th and 16th, and the Religious degrees, 17th and 18th;the Council of Kadosh confers the Chivalric and Philosophical degrees, from 19thto the 30th inclusive, and the Consistory completes the series by conferring theOfficial degrees, 31st and 32nd. In the Northern Jurisdiction the Lodge of Perfection confers the 4th to the 14th, inclusive; the Council of Princes of Jerusalem, the 15th and 16th; the Chapter of Rose Croix, the 17th and 18th; and theConsistory the 19th to 32nd, inclusive. In Canada there are but three Bodies, Lodgeof Perfection, Chapter of Rose Croix and Consistory.

The Thirty-third Degree of the Rite differs from others in that for it no one mayask; it must be given. In the Southern Jurisdiction a brother receives first thedistinction of being names K.C.C.H. (Knight Commander of the Court of Honor).From those of this rank the Supreme Council chooses those who may receive the33, Inspector General Honors. The Northern Supreme council does not award thedistinction of K.C.C.H. These honors are given for merit, long or distinguished

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service to the rite, the Craft or to humanity, and are highly prized. Those who havereceived the 33 wear a triple band ring, sometimes plain, sometimes bearing atriangle with the figures 33 within it.

The Scottish Rite is wholly non-sectarian. It is deeply religious in character, but inthe same sense that Symbolic Masonry is religious - it teaches religion, not areligion. Both Northern and Southern Supreme Councils observe the ceremonies of Extinguishing and Relighting the Symbolic Lights; the first on Maundy Thursday(Thursday before Easter), the latter either immediately following or upon Easter Sunday. These ceremonies are perhaps as beautiful and impressive as any degree inany rite, unforgettable by any who have ever seen or taken part in them.

It is impossible, of course, to describe the degrees of the Scottish Rite. Nor are the

degrees the same in the Northern and Southern Supreme Councils. In the latter, therituals are largely the result of Albert Pike's revision and spiritualization of older rituals. In the Northern Jurisdiction, while many of the degrees follow the Mother Council's ritual in form, some of the ceremonies are entirely different. Scottish Ritedegrees usually are, and always should be when possible, put on in costume land

by carefully trained casts. Many of the ceremonies are very elaborate, requiring asmall army of workers; when well done, they attract brethren from many milesaway. Indeed, so difficult are some of the ceremonies, and so extensive thefacilities and preparation required, that many are seen but once or twice a year, andin but a few centers in any State. From this has arisen that custom which ScottishRite Masons know as the "Reunion" - a gathering of Scottish Rite Masons from allover a State to see and take part in the degrees given to a "class"; such Reunionsnot uncommonly last a week. Not all Bodies of the Rite put on all the degrees inany one Reunion. Those which are omitted are communicated, and often those not"worked" in one reunion are staged in the next. In any "class" the final degrees ineach of the four bodies are invariably staged. Elective and appointed officers ineach of the bodies may take part in degrees, but do not necessarily do so. Thedegrees are elaborate, costumed ceremonies, many of them requiring a much larger cast than could be supplied from an official line. The ceremonies are difficult and

intricate, their scenic investiture large; they offer great opportunities for workerswho have talent and ability. Teams for the various degrees frequently remain intactfor long periods of time, the brethren perfecting themselves from year to year untilthey are, literally, "Past Masters" in their work. The initiate usually sees a spectacle"The degrees are put on before the candidates rather than worked upon them)which is in the hands of trained experts, many of whom have done the same partfor years.

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In the earlier degrees that "further light", which is hinted at in the Blue Lodge, isgiven and questions which many Master Masons ask after they are raised to theSublime Degree are answered with solemnity and reverence. Later, matters whollynew to Master Masons are taken up, and a wealth of philosophy, religion, andknowledge made available for the postulant. The fourth to the thirty-seconddegrees of the Scottish Rite, beautiful and inspiring as they are, should not be, asthey often are, called "Higher Degrees" connotating an elevation, a superiority,over the first three degrees. "I'm only a Blue Lodge Mason - I never went anyhigher" - how often is that semiapologic statement made! The greatest authoritiesin the Scottish Rite are emphatic in the statement that neither that Rite nor anyother can make a man more of a Mason than he becomes in the Blue Lodge. Thedegrees can, and frequently do, make him a better Mason, just as the labor requiredto earn a college degree can, and often does, make a man a better, but not more a

citizen than he was before he passed through college. The Scottish Rite degrees arenumerically greater than the first, second and third, but not "higher". Our degreesare in addition to and are in no way "higher" than Blue Lodge degrees. ScottishRite work amplifies and elaborates on the lessons of the Craft. It should never beforgotten that termination of a member's Symbolic Lodge standing automaticallyterminates his Scottish Rite membership.

The Scottish Rite is governed by a Supreme Council in each Jurisdiction, just asSymbolic Masonry is governed by a Grand Lodge in each Jurisdiction. But thecomposition of a Supreme Council and a Grand Lodge is wholly different. TheGrand Lodge consists of the Masters and Wardens of Blue Lodges, and certain

permanent members (Past Grand Masters, Grand Officers, in some GrandJurisdictions Past Masters, etc.), Supreme Councils in this country are limited tothirty-three Active Members (Southern Jurisdiction). Sixty-six Active Members(Northern Jurisdiction). These Active Members (All having previously attained the33 degree) are elected by their fellows and for life. In the Southern Jurisdiction theofficers of the Supreme Council are elected for life; in the Northern SupremeCouncil, for three years, but the principal officers are almost invariably reelected,

so that tenure is usually for life. Scottish Rite Masons in many States have erectedand occupy beautiful and impressive buildings, especially designed and equippedfor Scottish Rite work. One of the most, if not the most, beautiful Masonicstructure in the world is the "House of the Temple" home of the Supreme CouncilS.J. in Washington, D.C. Sessions of the Supreme Council are held in it every twoyears.

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Masonic Service Association The Short Talk Bulletin May 1937

There are four coordinate divisions in theScottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction

1. Lodge of Perfection, 4th degree to 14th

degree 2. Chapter of Rose Croix, 15th degree to 18th3. Council of Kadosh, 19th degree to 30th

degree4. Consistory 31st to 32nd and the 33rd degree

Lessons of the Scottish Degrees:

Lodge of Perfection

4th degree Secret Master. The Fourth Degreeemphasizes duty, fidelity, integrity, and the necessity

for secrecy in all confidential relationships.

5th degree Perfect Master. This degree teaches thattrustworthiness is more precious than life and is the

foundation of Masonic honor. In addition, we must paydue resect to the memory of a deceased worthy Brother.

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6th degree Intimate Secretary. This degree teaches thatdevotion to ones friends and zealousness in per-

forming ones duties are rewarding virtues.

7th degree Provost and Judge This degree teaches us to judge righteously, without respect to person, and thatone law and one custom shall apply to all Let justice be

impartial, tempered with deserved mercy.

8th degree Intendant of the Building. This degreeteaches that each new honor is meant to be a step

toward perfection in the moral code.

9th degree Master Elect of Nine The lessons taught inthis degree are that we should be careful not to be toozealous in executing justice, even in a good cause, andthat we should avoid injuring or harming any person by

hasty or irresponsible action.

10th degree Master Elect of Fifteen The teachings of

this degree are that ambition and jealousy can temptmen to evil deeds, that righteousness will eventuallytriumph over evil, and that evil doers will be punished

11th degree Sublime Master Elected This degree dwellson good citizenship. Evil doings should be punished.

Honesty and respect for others should be rewarded. Beearnest, honest and sincere.

12th degree Grand Master Architect. This degreeteaches that the Mason, as he learns to use the tools and

instruments of his trade and skill, also learns tocontemplate the many aspects of life and deal withthem as a child of God, steadily advancing to those

heights of experience which we call perfection.

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13th degree Master of the Ninth Arch This degreeteaches that difficulties and dangers, however great,should not deter the true and faithful brother from

progressing onward to perfection. It teaches the greattruth that the finest things in life come only as the result

of constant and often painful effort

14th degree Grand Elect Mason In the Scottish Rite,this degree is the summit of Ancient Craft Masonry. As

the crowning degree of the Lodge of Perfection, itsessence is the holiness of God and reverence for His

Holy Name. God will not hold him guiltless that takethHis Name in vain. Council of Princes of Jerusalem

Chapter of Rose Croix

15th degree Knight of the East or Sword This degree teaches theimportant lessons of loyalty to conviction and devotion to right.

16th degree Prince of Jerusalem This degree teaches loyalty to truthand fidelity to duty.

17th degree Knight of the East and West The lessons of this degreeare that loyalty to God is mans primary allegiance, and thetemporal governments not founded upon God and Hisrighteousness will inevitably fall.

18th degree Knight of the Rose Croix The lessons taught in thisdegree are that man must have a new Temple in his heart whereGod is worshipped in spirit and in truth and that he must have anew law of love which all men everywhere may understand and

practice. This degree affirms the broad principles of universalityand tolerance.

Council of Kadosh

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19th degree Grand Pontiff This degree proclaims the spiritualunity of all who believe in God and cherish the hope of immortality, no matter what religious leader they follow or whatcreed they profess. It is concerned primarily with the perennialconflict between light and darkness, good and evil, God and

Satan. 20th degree Master ad Vitam. This degree is a drama of the

American spirit confronting the challenge of disloyalty andtreason. Masonic principles and leadership are subjected to acrucial test. The degree demonstrates the Masonic condemnationof all that conspire against the security of the nation and thehappiness of our people.

21st degree Patriarch Noachite This degree teaches thatFreemasonry is not a shield for evil doing and that justice is one

of the chief supports of our fraternity.

22nd degree Prince of Libanus. In this degree, the dignity of labor is demonstrated. It is no curse, but a privilege, for man to beallowed to earn his sustenance by work. Idleness, not labor, isdisgraceful.

23rd degree Chief of the Tabernacle. This degree teaches thatimpure thought and selfish, unworthy ambitions are corruptingand destructive, and that a man who forgets his duty to family,country, and God will be morally and spiritually destroyed

24th degree Prince of the Tabernacle. This degree teaches that amutual belief in one true, living God should bind men together inthe service of humanity and in a worldwide brotherhood

25th degree Knight of the Brazen Serpent. This degree teachesthat there are desert stretches in every individual life in thehistory of every nation, with a resultant breakdown of disciplineand loss of faith. This degree is a clarion call to faith-inourselves, in each other, and in God.

26th degree Prince of Mercy. This degree teaches the quality of mercy; that it is a spirit of compassion and a tenderness of heartwhich dispose us to overlook injuries and to treat an offender

better than he deserves.

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27th degree Commander of the Temple. This degree teaches that

Scottish Rite Freemasonry believes in the concept of a freechurch in a free state, each supreme in its own sphere, neither seeking to dominate the other, but cooperating for the common

good. 28th degree Knight of the Sun . This degree using the symbolism

of the tools and implements of architecture teaches that by building high moral character among its adherents, Freemasonrymay advance mans determined quest for the achievement of unityand good will throughout the world

29th degree Knight of ST Andrew. This degree emphasizes theMasonic teachings of equality and toleration We are remindedthat no one man, no one Church, no one religion, has a monopoly

of truth; that while we must be true and faithful to our ownconvictions, we must respect the opinions of others.

30th degree Grand Elect Knight Kadosh This degree sets forththe tests and ceremonies that symbolize the experiences we mustundergo in the building of excellence in character.


31st degree Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander. Thisdegree teaches that we should give every man the benefitof innocence and purity of intentions. He who would

judge others must first judge himself.

32nd degree Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret. Thisdegree describes the victory of the spiritual over the

human in man and the conquest of appetites and passions by moral sense and reason. The exemplar representsevery Freemason eager to serve humanity but caught

between self-interest and the call of duty. Duty oftenrequires sacrifice, sometimes the supreme sacrifice.

This is also the symbol of the 32nd degree Sublime Prince of theRoyal Secret and probably the best known. The double-headed

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eagle was probably first accepted by Masonry, as a symbol, inthe year 1758. In that year the body calling itself the Council of Emperors of the East and West was established in Paris. Thedouble-headed eagle was in all probability adopted by thisCouncil, which claimed a double jurisdiction; one head inclined

to the East to guard any and all who might approach from thatdirection, the other head guarding the West for a like purpose.The Council adopted a ritual of twenty-five degrees, all of whichare now contained in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, towhich eight more were added so as to make thirty-three Degreesof which our Rite is now composed.

The Eagle, as a symbol, is rooted in antiquity. Accordingto Albert G. Mackey the great Masonic encyclopedist, the birdwas sacred to the sun in Egypt, Greece, and Persia. To the

pagans it was an emblem of Jupiter, that is, the Greek Zeus, god

of moral law and order, protector of suppliants and punisher of guilt. Among the Druids, a religious order of the ancient Celts, itwas a symbol of their Supreme Being. Reference is frequentlymade to the eagle in the Scriptures.

Among the pagans, the eagle symbolized great strength andendurance as evidenced by its keen sight, aerial prowess andresourcefulness in outwitting its prey, never wanting for its dailynecessities.

Cicero, Roman Orator, Statesman and man of letters, in speaking

of the myth of Ganymede -- The beautiful shepherd boy whowas carried to Olympus by Zeus in the form of an eagle to be thecupbearer of the mythical gods -- states that ‘it teaches us that the

truly wise, irradiated by the shining light of virtue, become moreand more like God, until by wisdom they are borne aloft and soar to Him.”

And so goes the story of the Double Headed Eagle. May itsshining light of virtue guide and guard our pathway of life.

Thirty -Third Degree

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The 33rd degree is conferred upon those members of the 32 degreewho have been outstanding in their contributions to Freemasonry whohave shown in their communities the leadership which marks them asmen who exemplify in their daily lives the true meaning of theBrotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God. It cannot be sought

by application, but must be such a man as described above. He must be not less than 33 years of age, and may be elected at an AnnualMeeting of the Supreme Council a Sovereign Grand Inspector Generalof the Thirty third and Last Degree. Such election shall be byunanimous vote of the Active Members present taken by secret ballotThe degree is conferred at the Annual Meeting of the SupremeCouncil succeeding the election of a candidate.

Caps and their Significance

As the White Lambskin is the Badge of a Mason, so is theregulation cap the badge of a Scottish Rite Mason.

A purple cap indicates that the wearer is a 33° SovereignGrand Inspector General and Active Member of the

Supreme Council.

A white cap indicates a 33° Inspector General Honorary.

A red cap means 32° Knight Commander of the Court of Honour (KCCH).

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A light blue cap means that the wearer has been a ScottishRite Mason for fifty years or more.

A black cap indicates that the wearer has attained the 32°.

The Supreme Council has set forth a rule for the correct wearing of the cap.When wearing a cap it shall be considered to be a part of the apparel of the

wearer and shall not be removed. At the presentation of the flag, the cap shallremain in place, and the members shall stand at attention with the right hand over

the heart. During prayer, the cap shall remain in place and the hands and armsshall be crossed as in the 18°. The wearing of caps is considered proper at

Reunions, Scottish Rite meetings. Maundy Thursday services, etc. It is improper for the cap to be worn in cafes, bus stations, on the street, or in any other public


Mottos of the Craft

Ordo ab Chao Spes Mea in Deo Est In Deo FiduciaNostra

Order Out of Chaos My Faith is in God Our Trust is in God

Some Reasons why Master Masons join the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

To every Master Mason who is desirous of more light and a better understandingof Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite appeals, Because:

IT offers an unsurpassed field for the study of Masonry. IT enlarges upon and explains and applies the symbols of Masonry. IT exemplifies and makes clear the truths and allegory of the Blue Lodge. IT presents an unequaled opportunity for the practical demonstration of the

teachings of Freemasonry.

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IT gives you a fellowship in its literature, with the deepest minds and purestcharacter of Freemasonry.

IT allows you to participate in the glorious work of spreading the propaganda of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.

IT gives you a greater incentive to higher thoughts and nobler deeds, because of a

greater knowledge of your responsibilities and the history of the institutions of theScottish Rite.

IT creates within you a greater love for chivalry; a greater respect for philosophy,and a never-ending love for your mother Lodge.

IT enjoins on every Brother the support of the American Public School, non- partisan, non-sectarian, efficient, democratic; for all the children of the people;equal educational opportunities for all.

IT inculcates patriotism, love of the flag, respect for law and order and undyingloyalty to constitutional government.

IT carries out the sublime principles of Masonry by cooperating in every waywith the Blue Lodge, by maintaining an ever-increasing interest in Masonry.

IT brings the Brethren from various Lodges together at frequent intervalswhereby the spirit of Brotherhood and Fraternity is reflected in everyday living.

To those who are interested in securing a broader understanding of Freemasonryand desirous of enlisting in a campaign as a militant champion of the AmericanPublic School and upholding and fostering of the American Way of Life, theScottish Rite is an effective instrument for the promotion and maintenance of these objectives.

Scottish Rite Valley of Raleigh, Orient of North Carolina

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