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The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite is one of two ritualistc Rites in Freemasonry in which a Master Mason may proceed after he has completed the three Degrees of Symbolic or "Blue Lodge" Masonry. The other branch known as the York Rite, consists of the Royal Arch Chapter, the Council of Royal and Select Master Masons and the Commandery of Knights Templar. The Symbolic or Craft Lodge of which all regular Freemasons must belong, is the first body in the York Rite.

The use of the word "Scottish" had led many Masons and non-Masons to believe that the Rite originated in Scotland. When actually, the first reference to the Rite appears in old French records where the word "Ecossias," meaning "Scottish" is found. The original 25 or so called "higher degrees" which flourished in France during the 18th century, came to be known as "The Rite of Perfection." The first "Ecossias" Lodge, Parfaite Harmonie, was organized in Bordeaux, France in 1740. These Degrees were brought to the West Indies under patent granted by Masonic authorities in Paris, in the 1760's by Stephen Morin. Before the end of the 18th century, other Degrees were added until the Rite had a ritual structure of 33 Degrees.

Morin deputized Henry A. Francken to organize a Lodge of Perfection in Albany, NY in 1767. This was the beginning of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in what would become the United States. Within a few years, groups were formed in Baltimore, Charleston, New York City, Philadelphia, Savannah and Troy. Each was independent with little official supervision, except to agree that their authority came from Stephen Morin.

The first Scottish Rite Supreme Council was formed on May 31, 1801. This Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree for the United States of America ws founded in Charleston, South Carolina. This was done to bring order out of chaos, hence the Scottish Rite motto: "Order ab Chao."

The Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction was organized in New York City in 1813. This Supreme Council is now headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts. The former Supreme Council in Charleston, became known as The Supreme Council, 33, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction and is now headquarted in Washington, DC.

Scottish Rite Bodies are grouped in what is known as a "Valley." A Valley usually consists of four Bodies; a Lodge of Perfection (4-14), a Council of Princes of Jerusalem (15 & 16), a Chapter of Rose Croix (17 & 18), and a Consistory (19-32). Each of the Bodies is an independent organization in itself. Each is separately officered, and has full control of the Degrees in its structure.

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The emblem of the Consistory, but probably more recognized as the emblem of Scottish Rite Masonry, the Double-Headed Eagle of Lagash is the oldest Royal Crest in the world. No heraldic bearing no emblematic device of today can boast such antiquity. It was in use a thousand years before the Exodus from Egypt and more than 2,000 years before the building of King Solomon's Temple. So far as is known, the Double-Headed Eagle was first used in Freemasonry, 1758 by a Masonic body in Paris. The Emperors of the East and West controlled the advanced Degrees then in use, and became a precursor of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.

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4 Master Traveler 19 Brother of the Trail
5 Perfect Master 20 Master Ad Vitam
6 Master of the Brazen Serpent 21 Patriarch Noachite
7 Provost and Judge 22 Prince of Libanus
8 Intendant of the Building 23 Knight of Valor
9 Master of the Temple 24 Brother of the Forest
10 Master Elect 25 Master of Achievement
11 Sublime Master Elected 26 Friend and Brother Eternal
12 Master of Mercy 27 Knight of Jerusalem
13 Master of the Ninth Arch 28 Knight of the Sun
14 Grand Elect Mason 29 Knight of St. Andrew
15 Knight of the East 30 Grand Inspector
16 Prince of Jerusalem 31 Knight Aspirant
17 Knight of the East and West 32 Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret
18 Knight of Rose Croix of H. R.D. M. 33 Sovereign Grand Inspector General (Honorary)

Copyright 2014-15 (Scottish Rite Bodies, Valley of Philadelphia) All rights reserved. Revised: January 15, 2014