By the end of the eighteenth century the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was in full evolution but, finally, it reinforced the Craft. Stephen Morin introduced this rite in America in 1761. By 1763 Morin had created the “Rite of perfection” in British West Indies with 25 degrees. His associate Henry Francken introduced it in North America in 1767. Many lodges were opened and Francken’s successor, the Comte de Grasse-Tilly, added eight degrees to reach the present structure of 33 degrees. He established the first Scottish Rite Supreme Council at Charleston, South Carolina. He was also involved in the writing of the Grand Constitution of 1786 that became the base of the “Mother Supreme Council 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite” that was formed on 31 May 1801. For seventy years the life of the Scottish Rite in America was chaotic until Albert Pike introduced some order, at least in the south of the USA. He rewrote the degrees and the Rite’s structure, constructed liturgies and the teaching, and revised the Ritual from the fourth to the thirty-second degree. The Scottish Rite offers a more spiritual and philosophical approach to Freemasonry that the moral concepts of the Craft degrees, even if many people enter the Craft only for social reasons.
In America there are three basic degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason) like everywhere else but, if the Mason wants to enter the Masonic hierarchy, he must choose between the Scottish and the York Rites. The Scottish Rite is said to have been created by Scots who immigrated to France, whereas the York Rite is named after York, England, where, according to a legend, the first Masonic organisation was created. There are thirty steps in the Scottish Rite and only ten in the York Rite. The table below shows the correspondence between the two scales of degrees.
|Scottish Rite||York Rite|
|1° degree||Entered Apprentice||Entered Apprentice|
|3° degree||Master Mason||Master Mason|
|4° degree||Secret Master|
|5° degree||Perfect Master||Mark Master|
|6° degree||Intimate Secretary|
|7° degree||Provost and Judge|
|8° degree||Intendant of the Building|
|9° degree||Master Elect of Nine |
(Elu of the Nine)
|Past Master |
|10° degree||Elect of Fifteen |
(Elu of the Fifteen)
|11° degree||Sublime Master Elected |
(Elu of the Twelve)
|12° degree||Grand Master Architect |
|13° degree||Master of the Ninth Arch |
(Royal Arch of Solomon)
|Most Excellent Master|
|14° degree||Grand Elect Mason |
|15° degree||Knight of the East or Sword |
(Knight of the East)
|16° degree||Prince of Jerusalem|
|17° degree||Knight of the East and West||Royal Arch Mason|
|18° degree||Knight of the Rose Croix of H.R.D.M. (Knight Rose Croix)|
|19° degree||Grand Pontiff |
|20° degree||Master ad Vitam – (Master of the Symbolic Lodge)|
|21° degree||Patriarch Noachite-(Noachite or Prussian Knight)|
|22° degree||Prince of Libanus |
(Knight of the Royal Axe)
|23° degree||Chief of the Tabernacle|
|24° degree||Prince of the Tabernacle||Select Master|
|25° degree||Knight of the Brazen Serpent||Super Excellent Master|
|26° degree||Prince of Mercy||Order of the Red Cross|
|27° degree||Commander of the Temple |
(Knight Commander of the Temple)
|28° degree||Knight of the Sun – (Knight of the Sun or Prince Adept)|
|29° degree||Knight of St Andrew |
(Scottish Knight of St Andrew)
|Order of Knights of Malta|
|30° degree||Grand Elect Knight K.H |
|31° degree||Grand Inspector Inquisitor |
(Commander Inspector Inquisitor)
|32° degree||Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret–(Master of the Royal Secret)|
|33° degree||Sovereign Grand Inspector General||Order Knights Templar|
NB: If there are two names the top one is used in the northern states and the bottom one in the South. The 32° degree is the highest grade that a Mason can earn. The Supreme Council, the ruling body of the Rite, awards the 33°.
Some organisations are allied to the Craft.
- Tall Cedars of Lebanon to which Master Masons are eligible.
- Order of the Eastern Star open to women.
- Grotto to which Master Masons are eligible.
- Job’s Daughters to which girls with a Mason in the family can join.
- Rainbow Girls to which girls with a Mason in the family can join.
- Order of De Molay open to boys.
- Shrine open to 32° Masons or Knights Templar.
Daughters of the Nile open to Shriner’s wife.