Masonic History - Scottish Rite
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in each country is governed by a Supreme Council. There is no international governing body - each Supreme Council in each country is sovereign unto itself.
In the United States the Lexington, Massachusetts-based Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, formed in 1813, oversees the bodies in fifteen states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Vermont. Orients in the other thirty-five states, districts and territories in the
In the Southern Jurisdiction of the
In the Northern Jurisdiction the Supreme Council consists of no more than 66 members. All members of the Supreme Council are designated Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, but the head of the Rite in each Valley of the Northern Jurisdiction is called a "Deputy of the Supreme Council."
Attainment of the third Masonic degree, that of a Master Mason, represents the attainment of the highest rank in all of Masonry. Any Master Mason stands as an equal before every other Master Mason, regardless of position, class, or other degrees. Additional degrees are sometimes referred to as appendant degrees, even where the degree numbering might imply a hierarchy. Appendant degrees represent a lateral movement in Masonic Education rather than an upward movement. These are not degrees of rank, but rather degrees of instruction.
In many countries, some Craft Lodges use Scottish Rite ritual in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees.
The titles of the degrees in the Southern Jurisdiction are as follows. Titles for some degrees are different in the Northern Jurisdiction. These titles are in parentheses where they occur:
4° Secret Master
5° Perfect Master
6° Intimate Secretary
7° Provost and Judge
8° Intendant of the Building
9° Elu of the Nine (Master Elect of the Nine)
10° Elu of the Fifteen (Master Elect of the Fifteen)
11° Elu of the Twelve (Sublime Master Elected)
12° Master Architect (Grand Master Architect)
13° The Royal Arch of Solomon (Master of the Ninth Arch)
14° Perfect Elu (Grand Elect Mason)
15° Knight of the East, or of the Sword
16° Prince of
17° Knight of the East and West
18° Knight of the Rose Croix (Knight of the Rose Croix of H.R.D.M.)
19° Grand Pontiff
20° Master of the Symbolic Lodge (Master ad Vitam)
21° Noachite or Prussian Knight (Patriarch Noachite)
22° Knight of the Royal Axe (also known as Prince of Libanus in both jurisdictions)
23° Chief of the Tabernacle
24° Prince of the Tabernacle
25° Knight of the Brazen Serpent
26° Prince of Mercy, or Scottish Trinitarian
27° Knight Commander of the
28° Knight of the Sun, Prince Adept
29° Scottish Knight of St. Andrew
30° Knight Kadosh (Grand Elect Knight Kadosh)
31° Inspector Inquisitor (Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander)
32° Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
In the Southern Jurisdiction, a member who has been a 32° Scottish Rite Mason for 46 months or more is eligible to be elected to receive the "rank and decoration" of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour (K.C.C.H.) in recognition of outstanding service. After 46 months as a K.C.C.H. he is then eligible to be elected to the 33rd Degree. In the Northern Jurisdiction, there is only the 46-month requirement, and while there is a Masonic Service Award, it is not a required intermediate step towards the 33°.
33° Inspector General (In the Southern Jurisdiction a recipient of the 33rd Degree is called an "Inspector General." Most recipients, as honorary members of the Supreme Council, are designated "Inspectors General Honorary." Active members of the Supreme Council are designated "Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.")
According to the various Scottish Rite jurisdictions in the world, all of which operate independently, the Scottish Rite degrees are worked at will by their governing bodies. For example the Southern Jurisdiction separates the degrees as follows:
- 4° through 14° - Lodge of Perfection
- 15° through 18° - Chapter of Rose Croix
- 19° through 30° - Council of Kadosh
- 31° through 32° - Consistory
This is slightly different in the Northern Jurisdiction:
- 4° through 14° - Lodge of Perfection
- 15° through 16° - Council, Prince of Jerusalem
- 17° through 18° - Chapter of Rose Croix
- 19° through 32° - Consistory
The Supreme Council is the governing body of the Scottish Rite in the various jurisdictions, and charters all subordinate bodies. Members of the Supreme Council are chosen from among those members who have obtained the 33°.
A Scottish Rite Mason does not need to be, nor ever needs to have been, an officer of any rank in any lodge to be honored with the 33rd degree.
In Scotland, candidates are perfected in the 18th degree, with the preceding degrees awarded in name only. A minimum of a two-year interval is required before continuing to the 30th degree, again with the intervening degrees awarded by name only. Elevation beyond that is by invitation only, and numbers are severely restricted.
There are records of lodges conferring the degree of "Scots Master" or "Scotch Master" as early as
Many British expatriates, who were Scottish Jacobites and living in France during the early 1700s, took an active part in high degree Freemasonry there and saw in its symbolism some hope for their political aspirations of a return of the Stuart to the thrones of England and Scotland. Because of its Stuart sympathies, it has been suggested that the Jesuit
The seed of the myth of Stuart Jacobite influence on the higher degrees may have been a careless and unsubstantiated remark made by John Noorthouk in the 1784 Book of Constitutions of the Premier Grand Lodge of
A German bookseller and Freemason, living in
By the mid-19th century, the story had gained currency. The well-known English Masonic writer, Dr. George Oliver (1782-1867), in his "Historical Landmarks," 1846, carried the story forward and even claimed that King Charles II was active in his attendance at meetings -- an obvious invention, for if it had been true, it would not have escaped the notice of the historians of the time. The story was then repeated by the French writers Jean-Baptiste Ragon (1771-1862) and Emmanuel Rebold, in their Masonic histories. Rebold's claim that the high degrees were created and practiced in Lodge Canongate Kilwinning at Edinburgh are entirely false.
James II died in 1701 at the
The natural confusion between the names of the Jesuit
A French trader, by the name of Estienne Morin, had been involved in high degree Masonry in Bordeaux since 1744 and, in 1747, founded an "Ecossais" lodge (Scots Masters Lodge) in the city of Le Cap Francais, on the north coast of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). Over the next decade, high degree Freemasonry continued to spread to the Western hemisphere as the high degree lodge at
Early writers long believed that a "Rite of Perfection" consisting of 25 degrees, the highest being the "Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret," and being the predecessor of the Scottish Rite, had been formed in
Morin returned to the West Indies in 1762 or 1763, to Saint-Domingue, where, armed with his new Patent, he assumed powers to constitute lodges of all degrees, spreading the high degrees throughout the West Indies and
The one man who was most important in assisting Morin in spreading the degrees in the
A Loge de Parfaits d' Écosse was formed on 12 April 1764 at
Francken travelled to
Although most of the thirty-three degrees of the Scottish Rite existed in parts of previous degree systems, the Scottish Rite did not come into being until the formation of the Mother Supreme Council at
Isaac De Costa, one of the deputies commissioned to establish the Rite in other countries, formed Scottish Rite bodies in South Carolina in 1783, which eventually became, in 1801, The Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction. All extant Scottish Rite bodies derive their heritage from this body, directly or indirectly.
In 1813 the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Jurisdiction of the
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, 29 December 1809, Albert Pike is asserted within the Southern Jurisdiction as the man most responsible for the growth and success of the Scottish Rite from an obscure Masonic Rite in the mid-1800's, to the international fraternity that it became. Pike received the 4th through the 32nd Degrees from the American Masonic historian, Dr. Albert G. Mackey, in
At this point, the degrees were in a rudimentary form, and often only included a brief history and legend of each degree as well as other brief details which usually lacked a workable ritual for their conferral. In 1855, the Supreme Council appointed a committee to prepare and compile rituals for the 4th through the 32nd Degrees. That committee was composed of Albert G. Mackey, John H. Honour, W. S. Rockwell, C. Samory, and Albert Pike. Of these five committee members, Pike did all the work of the committee.
In March 1858, Pike was elected a member of the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the
In 1856 Albert Pike revised and re-issued the rituals in use in the Southern Jurisdiction, also illustrating his interpretations of his revised rituals in Morals and Dogma. These rituals and the interpretation in Morals and Dogma provide much of the source for criticism of Freemasonry as a whole, despite the factual inaccuracies. Pike's revision of the ritual is not now in use in the Southern Jurisdiction, and was never in use in the Northern Jurisdiction.