Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the Southern Jurisdiction
Who Are We?
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is a two hundred (200) plus year-old branch of the world-wide order of fraternal societies known as Freemasonry. Today, the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite is:
- Geographically the largest Masonic jurisdiction in the world.
- The oldest established Scottish Rite in continuous existence.
- Numerically, the most significant one.
Originally headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, the Supreme Council was relocated to Washington, D.C. after the Civil War.
The organization is subdivided into Orients and Valleys. Members in Missouri may belong to the Valley of Saint Louis, the Valley of Columbia, the Valley of Joplin, the Valley of Kansas City or the Valley of Saint Joseph.
It is important to note that Scottish Rite Freemasonry challenges no man’s political creed, leaving that to his country and to himself; it does not interfere with any man’s religious opinion, leaving that a matter between his God and his conscience; and yet is does seek to impress by the most sublime and beautiful lessons, enforced by the most profound reasoning the almighty power of truth, appealing to the highest and purest sentiments of the human soul for the enforcement of its principles. Ignorance, tyranny and fanaticism are its foes; liberty, equality, and fraternity are its watch words.
What Do We Do?
Scottish Rite Masons are active on local, state, national, and international levels. Our activities include:
- Assist young people to overcome language and learning disorders.
- Fund scholarships for students and teachers.
- Support programs for young people and services for the aged.
- Help crippled children to walk via such advanced medical centers as the Scottish Rite Hospitals in Atlanta and Dallas.
- Support and create patriotic programs to remind Americans of our great national heritage.
- Advocate absolute separation of church and state as a mainstay of freedom.
- Advance the public school system as a guarantee of intellectual liberty.
- Champion the family as the cornerstone of our nation.
There is not a facet of community life where Scottish Rite Masons have not had an impact for good. Local Scottish Rite members are doers and achievers. We also engage the community through fun as well, with our annual Burns Night Dinner and various fundraising activities.
What Is Our Vision?
In the July 1988 edition of the Scottish Rite Journal, there is “A Vision Statement” that tells who we are and what our goals must be in the future. It reads:
“The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry must continue to enhance its character as a premier fraternal organization, managed and led by highly motivated, forward-thinking men of strong moral and ethical quality. It must be attractive to men of good character and embraced by their families. It must continue to be financially sound and independent, and it must make a positive impact on the quality of life of its members and society in general through its teachings, and thus will be a world leader in the recreation of the traditional moral values, including Love and Charity.”
What Is The Regalia Of The Scottish Rite
The Rings of the Scottish Rite
To our ancient Brethren, who were members of Knightly Orders, three things in this life were prized above all others — even above life itself — with the loss of any, life’s aim had failed.
These three things so dear to the ancient Knight were the purity of his honor, the integrity of his sword and the spotlessness of his shield. Honor that never broke faith with anyone, whether man or woman; the integrity of the sword in never failing to draw it in defense of innocence and right; the shield never to be sullied by protecting oppression and wrong.
At the death of a Knightly owner, he bequeathed his sword and shield to one nearest and dearest to him, the one he believed would maintain both unblemished.
The Scottish Rite has adopted symbols that represent the sword, shield and armor of our ancient brethren, and as clearly marks the profession of Knighthood as did those: they are the rings of the Fourteenth and Thirty–second Degrees.
The oldest of these is the ring of the Fourteenth Degree with its motto — “Virtus junxit, mors non separabit” — “Virtue has united, and death shall not separate” — to be worn through life and, at death, as it was the custom of our ancient Brethren, to be handed down to the one most dear in the belief that it would be kept pure and unsullied. The ring of the Fourteenth Degree is a plain flat band of gold, having imposed thereon and engraved or enameled plate in the form of an equilateral triangle and within the triangle the Hebrew word “Yod.”
A signet ring of the Thirty–second Degree, however, was commissioned and approved by the Supreme Council’s Ritual and Ceremonial Forms Committee during the 1993 Biennial Session. The new Thirty–second Degree signet satisfies the Brethren’s desire for a tasteful, quality ring as an alternative to commercially available, possibly inaccurate products. It carries the double–headed eagle Scottish Rite with the Latin motto of the Thirty–second Degree: “Spes mea in Deo est”—“My hope is in God.”
This new ring should also be honorably worn through life and, at death, may be handed down to one most dear as is custom.Scottish Rite Caps
You may wonder when you see the different color caps being worn by various members what they denote.
The great majority of the members wear a black cap which denotes a 32° Mason.
The red caps are worn by those members who are 32° K.C.C.H. K.C.C.H. stands for Knight Commander of the Court of Honour. It is not a degree but an Investiture. At its biennial session certain 32° Masons who have been 32° Masons at least four years and who have rendered signal service to the Rite, are chosen to receive the Rank and Decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour. The decoration is conferred in a very impressive ceremony of investiture in the local Bodies. This is a rank and decoration and not a degree. The members who hold it are designated 32°, K.C.C.H. A member must be a K.C.C.H. for at least four years before he can be nominated for election to receive the 33°.
The white caps are worn by those who have been honored with the 33° Inspector General Honorary. The Thirty-third is a Degree conferred by the Supreme Council upon members of the Rite in recognition of outstanding service to the Rite, or, in public life, to the principles taught in the Degrees. The 33° cannot be asked for and if asked for must be refused. At its biennial session the Supreme Council elects members of the Rite to receive the Degree. These 33° Masons are Inspectors General Honorary and honorary members of the Supreme Council. The active members of the Supreme Council are chosen from among them.
The white caps with the blue border are worn by those 33° members who were unanimously elected by the Supreme Council to receive its highest honor, the Grand Cross, for outstanding service on behalf of Scottish Rite, Freemasonry, and humanity.
The blue caps are worn by those Masons who have held membership in the Rite for at least fifty years.
The white cap with a red border denotes a Deputy of the Supreme Council.
The purple cap denotes a member of the Supreme Council.
All these caps are prayer caps. They are always to be worn during prayer and may be worn at our meetings and throughout the Reunions. Since they are prayer caps, they must not be worn on the street, at any bar and on other similar occasions.
Additionally, members of the Knights of Saint Andrew (KSA) are allowed to wear a glengarry bonnet. The glengarry bonnet is a traditional Scots cap made of thick-milled woollen material, decorated with a black toorie on top, The vast majority of members of the KSA are 32nd degree members, the glengarry is black. There are members that have been given honors and are wearing a red glengarry.
What is the Scottish Rite?
The Scottish Rite is a Masonic organization that continues a Master Mason’s education of the first three degrees. Other examples of Masonic affiliated organizations are: The Shrine (Shriners); York Rite; Grotto; Eastern Star, DeMolay International, Job’s Daughter’s, International Order of Rainbow for Girls and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. The Scottish Rite consists of the 4th through 32nd Degree and an honorary 33rd, which is awarded for exceptional service.
Why is it called the House of the Temple?
The name “House of the Temple” is traditionally associated to the word Heredom, a significant word in high degree freemasonry, a derivation of which, suggests the Greek words hieros-domos, meaning “Holy House”, thus referring to the Temple of Solomon, which is central to Masonic ritual and symbolism.
Is Freemasonry a religion?
No. While it is a requirement that each member believe in a Supreme Being, it is not important how one expresses that very personal belief. Further, there is no dogmatic system in Freemasonry. However, confusion about the secular nature of Freemasonry has been a common misconception for many years. Most likely, this misconception is due to the Holy Book that sits on the altar in the middle of a Masonic lodge. This Holy Book does not have to be Christian, like the Bible, rather it can be any Holy Book that is important to the members of the lodge. In the U.S. where the population is mostly Christian, the Holy Book most often used in Lodges is the King James Version of the Bible.
Is Freemasonry or the Scottish Rite a secret society?
Absolutely not, the Scottish Rite and other forms of Freemasonry operate very much in the open with many events open to the public. There are “modes of recognition” (passwords and handshakes) that represent a Mason’s ability to keep a promise.
How can I join? Do I have to be invited?
Freemasonry is a fraternity (for men) whose membership must be sought by the candidate. So, in other words, to be a Mason, ask a Mason how to become a member.
Do I have to be Scottish to join the Scottish Rite?
No. The Scottish Rite degrees actually originated in France and were based on legends that came from Scotland, so “Scottish” is in name only.
How many people belong to the Scottish Rite?
There are about 1.7 million Masons in the United States and about 550,000 of those are Scottish Rite Masons.
What do all the symbols mean?
There are simply too many symbols used in Masonry to explain them all, but probably the most common symbol people see is the square and compasses. The square reminds Masons to “square” their actions by the “square of virtue,” and the compasses remind them to “circumscribe” their passions. In other words, Masons are reminded to keep their actions virtuous and their passions in control. Additionally, in the U.S. there is usually a “G” in the middle of the square and compass symbol. This letter stands for “geometry” and “God” and reminds Masons that geometry was central to the stone mason’s life as God should be to his.
What is the official name of the Supreme Council?
The name of the Supreme Council reveals history, tradition, and accomplishment. The official, full name of this Supreme Council is: “The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspectors General Knights Commander of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-third degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America.”
What are the caps for?
If the apron is a badge of a Mason in Blue Lodge, the cap can be said to be the public badge of a Scottish Rite Mason. It is considered a part of the uniform and the different colors indicate the degree of the wearer. (black – 32nd, red – KCCH, white – 33˚)
What do the Fourteenth Degree rings mean?
The Scottish Rite Fourteenth degree ring is a flat, plain band of gold, and embossed thereon is a plate in the form of an equilateral triangle and within the triangle is the Hebrew letter yud, the initial letters of Jehovah in Hebrew (yud he vau he). Inside the ring is inscribed the Fourteenth Degree Motto: Virtus Junxit, Mors Non Separabit (Virtue has united and death shall not separate). The rings circle expresses the unbreakable fraternal bond between Masons of all generations. Upon the death of the owner, the ring should go into the hands of his widow, eldest son, the friend who was loved above all others, or another Scottish Rite Mason.
Republished with permission from The Supreme Council, 33°, A.&A.S.R. of Freemasonry, S.J., USA
What is 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.
To Implement this The Supreme Council 33 favors
The American Public School, non-partisan, non-sectarian, efficient, democratic, for all of the children of the people.
The inculcation of patriotism, respect for law and order, and undying loyalty to the Constitution of the United States of America.
The compulsory use of English as the language of instruction in the grammar grades of our public schools.
Adequate provision in the American Public Schools for the education of the alien populations in the principals of American Instituitions, and Ideals of Citizenship.
The Entire Separation of Church and State and opposition to every attempt to appropriate public moneys – Federal, State, or Local – directly or indirectly, for the support of sectarian or private institutions.