Lodge of Perfection

The Ineffable Degrees

The first portion of the Scottish Rite system of degrees is called The Lodge of Perfection. This series of degrees includes the 4th° through to the 14th° and are referred to as the ineffable degrees. Ineffable comes from the Latinineffibilis which means something that should not be spoken. The explanation of the degrees below uses the Canadian titles for the degrees.

4th Degree Symbol

4° Secret Master

The lessons taught in this degree are Secrecy, Silence and Fidelity. The ritual pertains to the story of King Solomon’s Temple and his appointment of seven worthy and expert Masons to guard the Sanctum Sanctorum as well as its sacred furniture.

5th Degree Symbol

5° Perfect Master

A lesson in man’s mortality and that we must pay respect to the deceased. The ritual involves the death of Hiram Abiff. It further teaches that honesty and trustworthiness are the cornerstone of the foundation of Masonic honor. These virtues should be in all of our undertakings.

6th Degree Symbol

6° Intimate Secretary

The lesson of this degree is that of Faithfulness and Zealousness in that we should ever be careful not to offend a Brother Mason by prying into his personal business. The ritual of the degree involves King Solomon saving the life of a supposed spy and eavesdropper.

7th Degree Symbol

7° Provost and Judge

Impartiality, Equity and Justice are the lessons taught in this degree and more especially that justice should be tempered with mercy. The ritual recounts how King Solomon appointed several judges to try the case of those accused of murdering the Grand Master Hiram Abiff.

8th Degree Symbol

8° Intendant of the Building

Charity and Benevolence are the key lessons of this degree. Educating the orphan, comforting the sick and aged, and healing the distressed are duties to all Freemasons. The ritual of this degree tells of how, due to the death of Hiram Abiff, labor temporarily ceased on the Temple of Solomon. King Solomon in order to move forward appointend five superintendants – one for each of the departments of architecture.

9th Degree Symbol

9° Elect of the Nine

The principle lesson of this degree is to be cautious lest our zeal for a cause let us take matters into our own hands. The ritual is built around the story of how Solomon selected nine masons by lot to investigate a situation so that the offenders may properly be brought to justice.

10th Degree Symbol

10° Elect of the Fifteen

The lesson in this degree is that fanaticism will never win out over justice and freedom – that the unerring eye of justice will discover the guilty and mete out fit punishment. The ritual is a continuation of the degrees that recount the arrest and punishment of the assassins who murdered Hiram Abiff.

11th Degree Symbol

11° Elect of the Twelve

To the Mason who receives this degree comes the lesson that the true and faithful Brother Mason will sooner or later reap his reward and that we must at all times be honest, earnest and sincere. The ritual tells of the reward given to twelve of the fifteen who sought the prosecution of Hiram’s murderers.

12th Degree Symbol

12° Grand Master Architect

The lesson of the importance of virtue is taught in this degree with the ritual having been said to originated as a school of instruction for the builders of Solomon’s Temple.

13th Degree Symbol

13° Royal Arch of Solomon

This degree is said to be the Scottish Rite’s version of the Royal Arch Degreefound in the York Rite System.This degree is also the climax of the ineffible degrees and is a preparation for the “Degree of Perfection” which follows.

14th Degree Symbol

14° Grand Elect Perfect and Sublime Mason

The lesson of this, the final degree of the Lodge of Perfection, teaches the Scottish Rite Mason how to prepare his own lodge of Perfection within himself. The lodge room represents the secret vault under the Sanctum Sanctorum where the pillar of beauty is found, on which was inscribed the four letter name of God. The degree reveals and explains the Tetragrammaton.

The Scottish Rite Rose Croix

The second portion of the Scottish Rite System of degrees is called The Chapter of Rose Croix. This series of degrees includes the 15th° through to the 18th°.

15th Degree Symbol

15° Knight of the East or Sword

The lessons taught in this degree is fidelity to one’s personal convictions. The ritual tells the Biblical story of the Babylonian Captivity and the return of the captives to Jerusalem, wheron they built the Second Temple under the direction of King Cyrus.

16th Degree Symbol

16° Prince of Jerusalem

Continuing where the precevious degree left off, this degree teaches the majesty of truth. The ritual tells of the difficulties in building the temple and how Prince Zerubbabel ordered the workmen to work with trowel in one hand and sword in the other.

17th Degree Symbol

17° Knight of the East and West

In this degree the word once lost is lost once again. It instructs the mason that the Third Temple of Spiritual Temple is within the heart of man and that it should be built and dedicated to God.

18th Degree Symbol

18° Knight Rose Croix

Faith, Hope and Charity are the principles taught in this degree in which the novice is still in search of truth and the lost word. He is taught that Faith, Hope and Charity are the three virtues which will guide him on his journey.

The Council of Kadosh

The third portion of the Scottish Rite System of degrees is called The Council of Kadosh. This series of degrees includes the 19th° through to the 30th° It is important to note that in Canada these degrees fall under Consistory, which in the USA consists of only the 31st and 32nd Degrees.

Degrees 19 – 29 make up what is known as the Degrees of AREOPAGUS which is derived from a court in ancient Athens of the same name. The 30th Degree or “Kadosh” means Holy or Consecrated.

19th Degree Symbol

19° Grand Pontiff

The lesson of this degree is the difference between good and evil and the conflict therin. The sworn Knight of Justice, Truth and Tolerance is admonished to be patient and to work.

20th Degree Symbol

20° Master ad Vitam

Toleration, Justice and Truth, taught in the previous degree, are returned to in the 20th, where the candidate is further taught that the right to govern a lodge is not only by selection but also by intelligencce gained through patient labor.

21st Degree Symbol

21° Patriarch Noachite

The story of this degree is that of the crusading knights who sought to shield the innocent and hold guiltless anyone until convicted.

22nd Degree Symbol

22° Prince of Libanus

Libanus is another name for Lebanon and the story of this degree tells of those who cut cedar from the forests of Lebanon in order to build Noah’s Ark. The underlying lesson is that labor is honorable and that we should strive to improve the condition of those who labor.

23rd Degree Symbol

23° Chief of the Tabernacle

The candidate is taught to labor incessantly for the Glory of God. The ritual retells the story of the Tabernacle and its ancient ceremonies.

24th Degree Symbol

24° Prince of the Tabernacle

The lesson of this degree is the importance of symbolism and how symbolism has been used since time began – a universal language of ancient theology.

25th Degree Symbol

25° Knight of the Brazen Serpent

This degree tells the story of the Children of Israel’s 40th year in the desert, when they pitched their tents at Punon after the death of Aaron. The newly made “Knight of the Brazen Serpent” is taught to purify the soul of the alloy of earthliness and to restore his faith in God.

26th Degree Symbol

26° Prince of Mercy

Domitian, Emperor of Rome, in his persecution of the first Christians caused them to meet in catacombs. The ritual of this degree depicts the mysteries of these first Christians and further teaches that Freemasonry belongs to no one age or era.

27th Degree Symbol

27° Commander of the Temple

A degree dedicated to the Teutonic knights of the House of St. Mary of Jerusalem. This order founded in the time of Saladin fought that warrior and his men by day and nursed the sick by night. The candidate for this degree is taught the five qualities practiced by that order – Humility, Temperance, Chastity, Honor and Genrosity.

28th Degree Symbol

28° Knight of the Sun

This is the last of the philisophical degrees of the Scottish Rite and its material is derived from the Kabbalah. It looks at science, reason and faith as seen through the consistancy of nature.

29th Degree Symbol

29° Knight of St. Andrew

As a climax to the theory of universal religion, this degree inculcates equality and toleration with the knight representing the notion of truth.

30th Degree Symbol

30° Knight Kadosh

This degree along with the two degrees of the consistory were originally the Templar degrees of the A.A.S.R. The candidate is taught that he should apply himself practically as a defender of the Temple of the Most High God and while he may be armed with steel on the outside, he is armed with Faith and Love on the inside. Faith in God. Love of his fellow man.

The Scottish Rite Consistory

The meetings of members of the Thirty-second Degree, or Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, are called Consistories. The elective officers are, according to the ritual of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, a Commander-in-Chief, Seneschal, Preceptor, Chancellor, Minister of State, Almoner, Registrar, and Treasurer. In the Northern Jurisdiction it is slightly different, the second and third officers being called Lieutenant-Commanders. A Consistory confers the Thirty-first and Thirty-second Degrees of the Rite in the Southern Jurisdiction, in the Northern Jurisdiction the Consistory confers the Degrees from the nineteenth to the thirty-second inclusive.
– Source: Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

The Consistory – Degrees 31 – 32

The final portion of the Scottish Rite System of degrees is called The Consistory. This series of degrees includes the 31st° through to the 32nd°. In Canada these degrees along with 19-30 make up Consistory. The explanation of the degrees below uses the Canadian titles for the degrees.

31st Degree Symbol

31° Inspector Inquisitor Commander

The lesson of the 31st degree is the administration of an impartial justice tempered with firmness. It further reminds us of the frailty and imperfection of human nature. Therefore the candidate is taught to forgive and to pardon while hope remains for reformation.

32nd Degree Symbol

32° Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret

Originally the 32nd° was a Christian Order of knighthood like the Order of the Temple in the York Rite System, the object being to re-conquer the holy Land and plant the banner of Christendom once more on the ruined walls of Jerusalem. Today the degree teaches that the Freemason should ever be diligent in their war against the ancient enemies of humanity. They are taught to be lovers of wisdom and apostles of the notion of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Honorary Invitational Degree

33rd Degree Symbol

33° Inspector General

This degree is by invitation only and initiates to the degree are selected from 32nd° Masons who are no less than 33 years of age. There can also only be 33 33° Masons at one time in any given Supreme Council Jurisdiction.