The Scottish Rite

 

Master Masons in good standing may petition the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the degrees conferred in that organization.  In some countries, but not the United States or Canada, there are religious restrictions on membership in the AASR. 

The AASR is known simply as the Ancient and Accepted Rite in some countries (e.g., England). 

There are some differences in organization between the jurisdictions.  So, some of what you read on this website may be different than your own jurisdiction.

 

Valley

A Valley generally comprises four bodies (although some may have fewer): 

The Lodge of Perfection 
The Chapter of Rose Croix 
The Council of Kadosh 
The Consistory 

Each of these bodies has its own set of officers and its own set of degrees. However, when a Mason joins the Scottish Rite, it is generally with the intention of receiving all of the degrees of each of the bodies.

The Lodge of Perfection contains the degrees known as the Ineffable Degrees, numbered 4 through 14. The Historical and Religious Degrees, 15-18, belong to the Chapter of Rose Croix. Degrees 19-30, the Chivalric and Philosophical Degrees, compose the Council of Kadosh. And the Consistory comprises degrees 31 and 32, the Ceremonial and Official Degrees.

The degrees of the Scottish Rite parallel those of the York Rite in many ways, although the content is considerably more extensive. Since all "higher" degrees are based on the Symbolic Lodge, their fundamental purpose must be the same--to elucidate further the lessons taught in the first three highly symbolic degrees. The York Rite focusses mostly on historical explanation of the Symbolic Degrees, while the Scottish Rite is more concerned with the philosophy of Freemasonry, although these are not hard and fast distinctions.

The Scottish Rite confers a number of honors upon members who have contributed extraordinary service to the Rite, and to Masonry in general, and to the world at large. The first of these is the Rank and Decoration of a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour (KCCH), which may be conferred after a minimum of 46 months of membership (usually much longer) and is strictly limited in numbers. A KCCH may, after 46 months at that rank (but usually longer), receive the 33rd degree, Inspector General Honorary. This award is even more limited in numbers than the KCCH. Finally, a very small number of 33rd Degree Inspectors General Honorary may be recognized with the Grand Cross of the Court of Honor; at the present time, there are perhaps an average of three or four GC's per state. These honors are voted on biennially at the Session of the Supreme Council and conferred in various locations around the country in groups. 


 

 

The Degrees of the Scottish Rite

 

 

The Lodge of Perfection
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Disclaimer: The following quotes taken from Albert Pike's book "Morels and Dogma" were written in 1871.  His spere of influence was mainly within the Southern United States jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, a concordant body of Freemasonry. 

Albert Pike's writings were his own philosophies and was never considered a doctrine of Freemasonry.  These quotes are included here because I like them.
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04º  Secret Master "Masonry is a succession of allegories, the mere vehicles of great lessons in morality and philosophy.  You will more fully appreciate its spirit, its object, its purposes, as you advance in the different Degrees, which you will find to constitute a great, complete, and harmonious system."

"You have taken the first step over its threshold, the first step toward the inner sanctuary and heart of the temple.  You are in the path that leads up the slope of the mountain of Truth; and it depends upon your secrecy, obedience, and fidelity, whether you will advance or remain stationary."

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05º  Perfect Master  "The Master Khurum was an industrious and an honest man.  What he was employed to do he did diligently, and he did it well and faithfully.  He received no wages that were not his due."

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06º  Intimate Secretary  "You are especially to be zealous and faithful; to be disinterested and benevolent; and to act the peacemaker in case of dissensions, disputes, and quarrels among the brethern."

"Duty is the moral magnetism which controls and guides the true Mason's course over the tunultuous seas of life."

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07º  Provost and Judge "In a country where trial by jury is known, every intelligent man is liable to be called on to act as a judge, either of fact alone, or of fact and law mingled; and to assume the heavy responsibilities which belong to that character."

"Those who are invested with the power of judgment should judge the causes of all persons uprightly and impartially, without any personal consideration of the power of the mighty, or the bribe of the rich, or the needs of the poor."

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08º  Intendant of the Building "None are entitled to advance in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, who have not by study and application made themselves familiar with Masonic learning and jurisprudence.  The Degrees of this Rite are not for those who are content with the mere work and ceremonies, and do not seek to explore the mines of wisdom that lie buried beneath the surface."

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09º  Elu of the Nine "Originally created to reward fidelity, abedience, and devotion; and your obligation has made known to you the duties which you have assumed.  They are summed up in the simple mandate:  Protect the oppressed against the oppressor; and devote yourself to the honor and interest of your Country."

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10º  Elu of the Fifteen "The Elu of Fifteen is devoted to the same objects as those of the Elu of Nine; and also to the cause of Toleration and Liberality against Fanaticism and Persecution, political and religious; and to that of Education, Instruction, and Enlightenment against Error, Barbarism, and Ignorance.  To these objects you have irrevocably and forever devoted your hand, your heart, and your intellect."

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11º  Elu of the Twelve "The duties of a Prince Ameth are, to be earnest, true, reliable, and sincere; to protect the people against illegal impositions and exactions; to contend for their political rights, and to see, as far as he may or can, that those bear the burdens who reap the benefits of the Government.  You are to be true unto all men.  You are to be frank and sincere in all things.  You are to be earnest in doing whatever it is your duty to do.  And no man must repent that he has relied upon your resolve, your profession, or your word."

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12º  Master Architect "The great duties that are inculcated by the lessons taught by the working instruments of a Grand Master Architect, demanding so much of us, and taking for granted the capacity to perform them faithfully and fully, bring us at once to reflect upon the dignity of human nature, and the vast powers and capacities of the human soul."

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13º  Royal Arch of Solomon  "Whether the legend and history are historically true, or but allegory, containing in itself a deeper truth and a profounder meaning, you must find out for yourself what it means."

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14º  Perfect Elu 
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"It is for each individual Mason to discover the secret of Masonry, by reflection upon its symbols and a wise consideration and analysis of what is said and done in the work.  Masonry does not inculcate her truths.  She states them, once and briefly; 'Seek and ye shall find' knowledge and the truth."

"The practical object of Masonry is the physical and moral amelioration and the intellectual and spiritual improvement of individuals and society.  Neither can be effected, except by the dissemination of truth."

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The Chapter of Rose Croix

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15º  Knight of the East or of the Sword "Based upon historical truth and authentic tradition, it is still an allegory.  The leading lesson is Fidelity to obligation, and Constancy and Perseverance under difficulties and discouragement."

"Masonry is engaged in her crusade, - against ignorance, intolerance, fanaticism, superstition, uncharitableness, and error."

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16º  Prince of Jerusalem  "We no longer expect to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem.  To Masons it has become but a symbol.  To Masons the whole world is God's Temple, as is every upright heart.  To establish all over the world the New Law and Reign of Love, Peace, Charity, and Toleration, is to build that Temple, most acceptable to God, in erecting which Masonry is now engaged."

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17º  Knight of the East and West "The beginning of a course of instruction which will fully unveil to your heart and inner mysteries of Masonry.  Do not despair because you have often seemed on the point of attaining the inmost light, and have as often been disappointed.  In all time, truth has been hidden under symbols, and often under a succession of allegories; where veil after veil had to be penetrated before the true Light was reached, and the essential truth stood revealed.  The Human Light is but an imperfect reflection of a ray of the Infinite and Devine."

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18º  Knight Rose Croix
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"Each of us makes such applications to his own faith and creed, of the symbols and ceremonies, as seems to him proper.  With these special interpretations we have here nothing to do.  Like the legend of the Master Khurum, in which some see figured the condemnation and sufferings of Christ; others those of the unfortunate Grand Masters of the Templars; others those of the first Charles, King of England; and others still the annual descent of the sun at the winter Solstice to the regions of darkness, the basis of many an ancient legend; each interpreting them for himself, and not being offended at the interpretation of others."

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The Council of Kadosh

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19º  Grand Pontiff "The true Mason labors for the benefit of those who are to come after him, and for the advancement and improvement of his race.  That is a poor ambition which contents itself within the limits of a single life.  All men who deserve to live, desire to survive their funerals, and to live afterward in the good that they have done mankind, rather than in the fading character written in men's memories.  Most men desire to leave some work behind them that may outlast their own day and brief generation.  That is an instinctive impulse, given by God, and often found in the rudest human heart; the surest proof of the soul's immortality, and of the fundamental difference between man and the wisest brutes.  To plant the trees that, after we are dead, shall shelter our children, is as natural as to love the shade of those our fathers planted.  The rudest unlettered husbandman, painfully conscious of his own inferiority, the poorest widowed mother, giving her life-blood to those who pay only for the work of her needle, will toil and stint themselves to educate their child, that he may take a higher station in the world than they; - and of such are the world's greatest benefactors."

In his influences that survice him, man becomes immortal, before the general resurrection.  The Spartan mother, who, giving her son his shield, said, 'WITH IT, OR UPON IT!' afterward shared the government of Lacedaemon with the legislation of Lycurgus; for she too made a law, that lived after her; and she inspired the Spartan soldiery that afterward demolished the walls of Athens, and aided Alexander to conquer the Orient."

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20º  Master of the Symbolic Lodge "The true Mason is a practical Philosopher, who under religious emblems, in all ages adopted by wisdom, builds upon plans traced by nature and reason the moral edifice of knowledge.  He ought to find, in the symmetrical relation to all the parts of this rational edifice, the principal and rule of all his duties, the source of all his pleasures.  He improves his moral nature, becomes a better man, and finds in the reunion of virtuous men, assembled with pure views, the means of multiplying his acts of beneficence.  Masonry and Philosophy, with being one and the same thing, have the same object, and purpose to themselves the same end, the worship of the Grand Architect of the Universe, acquaintance and familiarity with the wonders of nature, and the happiness of humanity attained by the constant practice of all the virtues."

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21º  Noachite or Prussian Knight  "You are especially charged to be modest and humble, and not vain-glorious nor filled with self-conceit.  Be not wiser in your own opinion than Deity, nor find faults with His works, nor endeaver to improve upon what He has done.  Be modest also in your intercourse with your fellows, and slow to entertain evil thoughts of them, and reluctant to ascribe to them evil intentions.  A thousand presses, flooding the country  with the evanescent leaves, are busily and incessantly engaged in maligning the motives and conduct of men and parties, and in making one man think worse of another; while, alas, scarcely one is found that ever, even accidently, labors to make man think better of his fellow."

"Slander and calumny were never so insolently licentious in any country as they are this day in yours.  The most retiring disposition, the most unobtrusive demeanor, is no shield against their poisoned arrows.  The most eminent public service only makes their vituperation and invective more eager and more unscrupulous, when he who has done such service presents himself as a candidate for the people's suffrages."

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22º  Knight of the Royal Axe "Sympathy with the great laboring classes, respect for labor itself, and resolution to do some good work in our day and generation are purely Masonic lessons.  Masonry has made a working-man and his associates the Heroes of her principal legend, and himself the companion of Kings.  The idea is as simple and true as it is sublime.  From first to last, Masonry is work.  It venerates the Grand Architect of the Universe.  It commemorates the building of a Temple.  Its principle emblems are the working tools of Masons and Artisans.  When the brethren meet together, they are at labor.  The Master is the overseer who sets the craft to work and gives them proper instruction.  Masonry is the apotheosis of Work."

"It is the hands of brave, forgotten men that have made this great, populous, cultivated world a world for us.  It is all work, and forgotten work.  The real conquerors, creators, and eternal proprietors of every great and civilized land are all the heroic souls that ever were in it, each in his degree: all the men that ever felled a forest tree, or drained a marsh, or contrived a wise scheme, or did or said a true or valiant thing therin.  Genuine work alone, done faithfully, is eternal, even as the Almighty Founder and World builder Himself."

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23º  Chief of the Tabernacle  "Among most of the Ancient Nations there was, in addition to their public worship, a private one styled the Mysteries; to which those only were admitted who had been prepared by certain ceremonies called initiations."

"The most widely disseminated of the ancient worships were those of Isis, Orpheus, Dionusos, Ceres and Mithras.  Many barbarous nations received the knowledge of the Mysteries in honor of these divinities from the Egyptians, before they arrived in Greece; and even in the British Isles the Druids celebrated those of Dionusos, learned by them from the Egyptians."

"The Mysteries of Eleusis, celebrated at Athens in honor of Ceres, swallowed up, as it were all the others.  All the neighboring nations neglected their own, to celebrate those of Eleusis; and in a little while all Greece and Asia Minor were filled with initiates.  They spread into the Roman Empire, and even beyond its limits, 'those holy and august Eleusinian Mysteries,' said Cicero, 'in which the people of the remotest lands are initiated.'  Zosimus says that they embraced the whole human race; and Aristides termed them the common temple of the whole world."

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24º  Prince of the Tabernacle "Symbols were the almost universal language of ancient theology.  They were the most obvious method of instruction; for, like nature herself, they addressed the understanding through the eye; and the most ancient expressions denoting communication of religious knowledge, signify ocular exhibition.  The first teachers of mankind borrowed this method of instruction; and it comprised an endless store of pregnant hieroglyphics.  These lessons of the olden time were the riddles of the Sphynx, tempting the curious by their quaintness, but involving the personal risk of the adventurous interpreter.  'The Gods themselves,' it was said, 'disclose their intentions to the wise, but to fools their teaching is unintelligible;' and the King of the Delphic Oracle was said not to declare, not on the other hand to conceal; but emphatically to 'intimate or signify.'"

"The Ancient Sages, both barbarian and Greek, involved their meaning in similar indirections and enigmas; their lessons were conveyed either in visible symbols, or in those 'parables and dark sayings of old,' which the Isrealites considered is a sacred duty to hand down unchanged to successive generations."

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25º  Knight of the Brazen Serpent "While it teaches the necessity of reformation as well as repentance, as a means of obtaining mercy and forgiveness, it is also devoted to an explanation of the symbols of Masonry; and especially to those which are connected with that ancient and universal legend, of which that Khir-Om Abi is but a variation; that legend which, representing a murder or a death, and a restoration of life, by a drama in which figure Osiris, Isis and Horus, Atys and Cybele, Dionusos, and many another representative of the active and passive Powers of Nature, taught the Initiates in the Mysteries that the rule of Evil and Darkness is but temporary, and that of Light and Good will be eternal."

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26º  Prince of Mercy "We do not undervalue the importance of any Truth.  We utter no word that can be deemed irreverent by any one of any faith.  We do not tell the Moslem that it is only important for him to believe that there is but one God, and wholly unessential whether Mohomed was His prophet.  We do not tell the Hebrew that the Messiah whom he expects was born in Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago; and that he is a heretic because he will not believe.  And as little do we tell the sincere Christians that Jesus of Nazareth was but a man like us, or His history but the unreal revival of an older legend.  To do either is beyond our jurisdiction.  Masonry, of no one age, belongs to all time; of no one religion, it finds its great truths in all."

"To every Mason, there is a God; One, Supreme, Infinite in Goodness, Wisdom, Foresight, Justice, and Benevolence; Creator, Disposer, and Preserver of all things.  How, or by what intermediates He creates and acts and in what way He unfolds and manifests Himself, Masonry leaves to creeds and Religions to inquire."

"To every Mason, the soul of man is immortal.  Whether it emanates from and will return to God, and what its continued mode of existence hereafter, each judges for himself.  Masonry was not made to settle that."

"To every Mason, Wisdom or Intelligence, Force, or Strength, and Harmony, or Fitness and Beauty, are the Trinity of the attributes of God."

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27º  Knight Commander of the Temple "This is the first of the really Chivalric Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.  It occupies this place in the Calendar of the Degrees between the 26th and the last of the Philosophical Degrees, in order, by breaking the continuity of these, to relieve what might otherwise become wearisome; and also to remind you that, while engaged with the speculations and abstractions of philosophy and creeds, the Mason is also to continue engaged in the active duties of this great warfare of life.  He is not only a Moralist and Philosopher, but a Soldier, the Successor of those Knights of the Middle Age, who, while they wore the Cross, also wielded the Sword and were the Soldiers of Honor, Loyalty and Duty."

"Times change, and circumstances; but Virtue and Duty remain the same.  The Evils to be warred against but take another shape, and are developed in a different form."

"There is the same need now of truth and loyalty as in the days of Frederick Barbarossa."

"The characters, religious and military, attention to the sick and wounded in the Hospital, and war against the Infidel in the field, are no longer blended; but the same duties, to be performed in another shape, continue to exist and to environ us all."

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28º  Knight of the Sun "Light and darkness are the world's eternal ways.  God is the principal of everything that exists, and the Father of all Beings.  He is eternal, immovable, and Self-Existent.  There are no bounds to his power.  At one glance He sees the Past, the Present, and the Future; and the procession of the Pyramids, with us and our remotest Descendants, is now passing before Him.  He reads our thoughts before they are known to ourselves.  He rules the movements of the Universe, and all events and revolutions are the creatures of His will.  For He is the Infinite Mind and Supreme Intelligence."

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29º  Knight of St. Andrew  "A Miraculous tradition, something like that connected with the labarum of Constantine, hallows the Ancient Cross of St. Andrew.  Hungus, who in the ninth century reigned over the Picts in Scotland, is said to have seen a vision, on the night before a battle, the Apostle Saint Andrew, who promised him the victory; and for an assured token therof, he told him that there should appear over the Pictish host, in the air, such a fashioned cross as he had suffered upon.  Hungus, awakened, looking up at the sky, saw the promised cross, as did all of both armies; and Hungus and the Picts, after rendering thanks to the Apostle for their victory, and making their offerings with humble devotion, vowed that from thenceforth, as well they as their prosperity, in time of war, would wear a cross of St. Andrew for their badge and cognizance."

"John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, says that this cross appeared to Achaius.  King of the Scots, and Hungus, King of the Picts, the night before the battle was fought between them and Athelstane, King of England, as they were on their knees at prayer."

"Every cross of Knighthood is a symbol of the nine qualities of a Knight of St. Andrew of Scotland; for every order of chivalry required of its votaries the same virtues and the same excellencies."

"Humility, Patience, and Self-denial are the three essential qualities of a Knight of St. Andrew of Scotland.  The Cross, sanctified by the blood of the holy ones who have died upon it; the Cross, which Jesus of Nazareth bore, fainting, along the streets of Jerusalem and up to Calvary, upon which He cried, 'Not My will, O Father! but Thine be done,' is an unmistakable and eloquent symbol of these virtues.  He suffered upon it, because He consorted with and taught the poor and lowly, and found His disciples among the fishermen of Galilee and despised publicans.  His life was one of Humility, Patience, and Self-denial."

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30º  Knight of Kadosh 
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"We often profit more by our enemies than by our friends.  ' We support ourselves only on that which resists,'  and owe our success to opposition.  The best friends of Masonry in America were the Anti-Masons of 1826, and at the same time they were its worst enemies.  Men are but automatra of Providence, and its uses the demagogue, the fanatic, and the knave, a common trinity in Republics, as its tools and instruments to effect that of which they imagine themselves commissioned to prevent."

"The Anti-Masons, traitors and perjurers some, and some mere political knaves, purified Masonry by persecution, and so proved to be its benefactors for that which is persecuted, grows.  To them its present popularity is due, the cheapening of its Degrees, the invasion of its Lodges, that are no longer Sanctuaries, by the multitude; its pomp and pagentry and overdone display."

"An hundred years ago it had become known that the _____ were Templars under a veil, and therefore the Degree was proscribed, and, ceasing to be worked, became a mere brief and formal ceremony, under another name.  Now, from the tomb in which after his murders he rotted, Clement the Fifth howls against the successors of his victims, in the Allocution of Pio Nono against the Free-Masons.  The ghosts of the dead Templars haunt the Vatican and disturb the slumbers of the paralyzed Papacy, which dreading the dead, shrieks out its excommunications and impotent anathemas against the living.  It is a declaration of war, and was needed to arouse apathy and inertness to action."

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The Consistory

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31º  Inspector Inquisitor "To hear patiently, to weigh deliberately and dispassionately, and to decide impartially; --these are the chief duties of a Judge.  After the lessons you have received, I need not further enlarge upon them.  You will be ever eloquently reminded of them by the furniture upon our Alter, and the decorations of the Tribunal."

"The Holy Bible will remind you of your obligation; and that as you judge here below, so you will be judged hereafter, by One who has not to submit, like and earthly judge, to the sad necessity of inferring the motives, intentions, and purposes of men (of which all crime essentially consists) from the uncertain and often unsafe testimony of their acts and words; as men in thick darkness grope their way, with hands outstretched before them: but Whom every thought, feeling, impulse, and intention of every soul that now is, or ever was, or ever will be on earth is and ever will be through the whole infinite duration of eternity, present and visible."

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32º  Master of the Royal Secret
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"The Occult Science of the Ancient Magi was concealed under the shadows of the Ancient Mysteries: it was imperfectly revealed or rather disfigured by the Gnostics: it is guessed at under the obscurities that cover the pretended crimes of the Templars; and it is found enveloped in enigmas that seem impenetrable, in the Rites of the Highest Masonry."

"Magism was the Science of Abraham and Orpheus, of Confucius and Zoroaster.  It was the dogmas of this Science that were engraven on the tables of stone by Hanoch and Trismegistur.  Moses purified and reveiled them for that is the meaning of the word reveal.  He recovered them with a new veil, when he made of the Holy Kabalah the exclusive heritage of the people of Isreal, and the inviolable Secret of its priests.  The Mysteries of Thebes and Eleusis preserved among the nations some symbols of it, already altered, and the mysterious key whereof was lost among the instruments of an evergrowing superstition.  Jerusalem, the murderess of her prophets, and so often prostituted to the false gods of the Syrians and Babylonians, had at length in its turn lost the Holy Word, when a Prophet announced to the Magi by the consecrated Star of Initiation, came to rend asunder the worn veil of the old Temple, in order to give the Church a new tissue of legends and symbols, that still and ever conceals from the Profane, and ever preserves to the Elect the same truths."

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The Supreme Council

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33º  Inspector General This Degree is in recognition of services to the Rite.  33º is a conferred degree,  The last in the Scottish Rite.

 

 

 

Quotations from Albert Pike's book on

"Morels and Dogma"

Relating to The Degrees of
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction

 

 

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