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Scottish Rite

Masonic order. Notable members include Albert Pike and J. Edgar Hoover.

The Scottish Rite (http://www.scottishritemasons-can.org/content.htm) claims to enlarge upon the ethical teachings and philosophy of Blue Lodge through dramatic presentation. The practices of the rite itself are thought to have originally evolved in Paris in 1754.

This Rite confers 30 degrees, from the fourth through the 33rd. The 33rd degree is honorary, and given to individuals who have performed important services for society or Masonry in general.

See also: Freemasonry

The Degrees

4° Secret Master
5° Perfect Master
6° Intimate Secretary
7° Provost and Judge
8° Intendant of the Building
9° Elect of the Nine
10° Elect of the Fifteen
11° Elect of the Twelve
12° Grand Master Architect
13° Royal Arch of Solomon
14° Grand Elect Perfect and Sublime Mason
15° Knight of the East or Sword
16° Prince of Jerusalem
17° Knight of the East and West
18° Knight Rose Croix
19° Grand Pontiff
20° Master ad Vitam
21° Patriarch Noachite
22° Prince of Libanus
23° Chief of the Tabernacle
24° Prince of the Tabernacle
25° Knight of the Brazen Serpent
26° Prince of Mercy
27° Commander of the Temple
28° Knight of the Sun
29° Knight of St. Andrew
30° Knight Kadosh
31° Inspector Inquisitor Commander
32° Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
33° Supreme Council

System of Degrees

According to the various Scottish Rite jurisdictions in the world, all of which operate independently, the 32 degrees are worked at will by their governing bodies. For example, some jurisdictions, like the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States separate the degrees as follows:
  • The Lodge of Perfection works the 4° to the 14°
  • The Chapter Rose Croix works the 15° to the 18°
  • The Consistory works the 19° to 32°
In other jurisdictions, like the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States:
  • The Chapter works the 4° to the 18°
  • The Council of Knights Kadosh works the 19° to the 30°
  • The Consistory works the 31° to the 32°
The 33° is the Supreme Council, which is a regulatory body for the Scottish Rite. It is an honorary degree conferred on brethren who have made major contributions to the Rite in their jurisdiction. Most countries have only one Supreme Council, but in the United States, as we have seen, two jurisdictions have evolved. The original body, now called the Southern jurisdiction, ceded control of Scottish Rite activities to the northern states, forming the Northern Jurisdiction. Because the legends and symbolism in some of the degrees are distinctly Christian, particularly in the 18° of Knight Rose Croix, some Jurisdictions have prohibited Jews advancing beyond the 17° . Other grand bodies have altered the work of the 18° so that its non-secular nature would allow Jews to take the degree and proceed to the higher degrees.


In Paris in the year 1758 The "Grand Council of Emperors of the East and West" organized a "Rite of Perfection[?]," consisting of 25 degrees, the highest being the "Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret." Many British expatriates, who were Jacobites and living in France at the time, took an active part in creating the rite and saw in its symbolism their political aspirations of a return of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England and Scotland. Because of its Catholic sympathies, it has been suggested that the Jesuits at the college of Clermont also had a hand in the formation of the Rite.

In 1761, this council granted a patent to Stephen Morin, permitting him to promulgate the Rite in the New World. Morin subsequently spread the Rite to the West Indies and North America from the city of St. Domingo in the Dominican Republic. In 1783 Isaac De Costa, one of the deputies commissioned to establish the Rite in other countries, formed Scottish Rite bodies in South Carolina, which eventually became the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction.

Up to that time only the 25 Degrees of the Rite of Perfection were worked, but with the formation of the Supreme Council in continental America 8 more degrees, the so-called Continental High Degrees, were added to make the 33 degrees of the modern Scottish Rite.

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