What is the Scottish Rite?
The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry.
In the United States the Scottish Rite is officially recognized by Grand Lodges as an extension of the degrees of Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy offered in the Craft Lodge (also known as the Blue Lodge or Symbolic Lodge) through dramatic presentation of the individual degrees.
Why become a 32° Mason?
You took the necessary steps to become a Master Mason. You earned the right to become a part of the oldest and greatest fraternal organization in the world. Now you have an opportunity to expand upon your knowledge of Masonry, to widen your circle of acquaintances, and to serve humanity in unique ways.
You may approach a 32° Mason to take the next step into the Scottish Rite. Or he may approach you to suggest that you continue your Masonic journey, which should be a never-ending path. There is always room for improvement in our lives.
Although there is no higher degree than that of Master Mason, the 29 degrees of the Scottish Rite serve to enrich the philosophy of the Symbolic Lodge. A Mason who chooses to further his Masonic experience by becoming a 32° Scottish Rite Mason will be expanding upon the fundamental principles of Freemasonry. The moral and ethical lessons will allow him to be constantly reminded of his duty to God, family, country and fellow man.
What is the degree structure of the Scottish Rite?
Whereas the Symbolic Lodge appears in almost every community in the United States, the Scottish Rite units tend to be regional and are called “Valleys.” Most Valleys have four distinct parts, although in some areas a candidate may be required to continue his degrees in a neighboring Valley.
The Lodge of Perfection confers the 4° – 14°. These are commonly referred to as the Ineffable degrees. In the 11 lessons the candidate will observe many references, scenes and characters which recall and amplify the three Symbolic degrees.
The Council of Princes of Jerusalem confers the 15° and 16°, which teach lessons using settings based on the Babylonian captivity of the Hebrews and the building of the second Temple.
The Chapter of Rose Croix confers the 17° and 18°, and is the spiritual heart of the Scottish Rite. These degrees teach that the only lasting Temple is in the soul of man.
The Consistory confers the 19° – 32°. These degrees portray many memorable lessons that range in settings from the days of chivalry through the 20th century.
A Scottish Rite degree can offer a new reflection each time it is performed or observed. The lessons taught through parables in the form of plays, allowing Masons the opportunity to bond through theater, stage work, costuming, makeup, set design and musical activities. Cast members preset the lessons, which are taken from Biblical and modern historical events, to candidates who learn from observing the performances.
How long will it take?
A Master Mason may become a 32° Scottish Rite Mason in one day, or he may take each body of degrees separately over a period of time. Each degree requires elaborate stage preparation, so not every degree is presented in full form during a degree-conferring session. The lessons for degrees not performed are summarized for the candidates. Every 32° Mason should strive to witness in future years as many degree presentations as possible. Each degree is performed at least once within a six-year period.
Is memorization required?
A candidate is not required to commit the Scottish Rite degrees, signs, passwords, token or grips to memory. No examinations are given either during the degree work nor for admission to the meetings of other Valleys.
Following initiation, a member gains entrance to meetings of any Scottish Rite Valley by presenting a current dues card. A new member also receives a 32° Passport to record the date each degree is witnessed.
What is the 33°?
A 32° Mason cannot apply for the 33°. This honor is conferred by a Supreme Council for outstanding service to the fraternity or for service to others which reflects credit upon the Order. The Deputy for each state submits nominations annually to the board of directors of the Supreme Council for consideration.
How do I join?
Membership information can be found here.