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Scottish Rite and Freemasonry

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  • catherine yronwode
    Pam -- Co-Freemasonry in the USA is organized just like all-male Masonry. There are 3 degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason. Some members (but
    Message 1 of 2 , May 10, 2000
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      Pam -- Co-Freemasonry in the USA is organized just like all-male
      Masonry. There are 3 degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master
      Mason. Some members (but not all) also choose to join the Co-Freemasonic
      AASR (Scottish Rite) and/or Co-Freemasonic York Rite.

      Neil: I think we aere not coming to an understanding here because you
      are overlooking what i told you about the political in-fights that took
      place when the AASR tried to make a grab to take over Freemasonry. They
      had created their own first 3 degrees, imperfectly copied from
      Freemasonry. They were rebuffed by the UGLoE and told that they could
      operate their own 4th through 33rd degrees only. That is why their
      system now starts with the 4th degree. (Older AASR manuals, including
      Albert Pike's, give the first 3 plagiaristic degrees, copied and altered
      from Freemasonry.)

      What you call Rose Croix, is in the USA the Royal Arch. It was the
      earliest of the appendant bodies to hit the USA -- George Washington
      joined it. You are correct that it gives instructions stating that what
      one learned in the 3rd degree of Freemasonry is "wrong." This is because
      it seeks, rather lamely in my opinion, to carry the
      stone-masons-at-Solomon's-Temple narrative onward in tim past their
      conclusion. Like most novelistic and cinematic sequels it is poorly
      written and in order to develop the post-denoument narrative, it must
      undo some of what was finished in the climax of the original narrative
      in order to leave what we editors call "plot-hooks" for further
      development. The Royal Arch is still practied in the USA, but is nowhere
      near as popular as the York Rite or Scottish Rite. You do not need to
      belong to it to join wither of the other two (or any of the other
      appendant bodies i mentioned in previous posts).

      From the rest of your reply, i take it that you are NOT interested in
      Freemasonry or its Lodges, but rather in the Scottish Rite and its
      Temples and specifically, its 32nd and 33rd degree rituals.

      > what is your view of the ORDER OF THE GARTER? That certainly was not
      > invented in the 19th century or even by [expletive deleted] French
      > people. It was founded in the 14th century.
      >
      > It is monarchist. Like you, I am anti-monarchist.
      >
      > Do you think that my questions about the Order of the Garter etc. can
      > only be asked by those who have been duped by people who have written
      > rubbish?

      The 32nd degree of the AASR is called "Sublime Prince of the Royal
      Secret" and it basically serves to rehash some of the symbolism taught
      in Freemasonry, but in a context of "nobilism.". (This is in keeping
      with the AASR's original role as a complete "alternative" degree system
      to Freemasonry built upon a narrative of Templarism instead of a
      narrative of craft-guild stone-masonry.)

      Pike's "Morals and Dogma of the Scottish Rite" (1874) gives a lengthy
      gloss on the 32 degree AASR rite in which the basic Freemasonic symbols
      are interpreted in terms of alchemical and Zoroastrian dualism and
      hermetic hermaphrodism, the compass representing the heaven or male
      principle and the square representing the earth or female principle.
      There is nothing in the 32nd degree AASR explanations of these symbols
      that would not be known to 3rd degree Freemasons.

      It is my opinion that any reference to the Order of the Garter in AASR
      rites is a rehash of the original Freemasonic introduction of the
      lambskin apron with its lecture about the apron of the working man being
      more noble than the kingly Order of the Garter.

      (As you noted, the Order of the Garter dates to the 14th century.
      Although there are passing mentions of the stone-mason's craft guild's
      existence in England dating back to the 13th century, the oldest
      preserved British Freemasonic documents and ritual fragments date to the
      very early 15th century. It can be assumed that references in the 3rd
      degree to the Order of the Garter were probably written into the rite
      very early on.)

      The 33rd degree of the AASR is an honourary degree that is bestowed and
      cannot be applied for. It is usually given to those who have risen high
      in the ranks of "joinerism" and held many offices, usually men of the
      upper middle calsses who are retired from business. It is administrative
      and its members also travel to AASR Temples to observe the giveing of
      degrees and correct details of the rite. Because membership in the AASR
      has shrunk and the fashion for costume dramas has too, in modern times,
      only a few of the degrees are actually worked as rituals (you mentioned
      this yourself in your frst post). Furthermore, because of the expense,
      an entire "class" of candidates is passed through each stage-play drama
      at a time, with one applicant (chosen by lot, usually) acting the part
      for the entire "class."

      Oh -- that reminds me -- you asked if Freemasons don't dress up. The
      answer is no. They do not. In UK Lodges formal wear is required, but in
      most American lodges a plain black business suit is all that is
      required, with the addition of white gloves in some lodges as well -- in
      other words, typical male attire of the 19th and 20th centuries. In some
      of the American lodges that require a suit be worn, extra suits in
      assorted sizes are kept in a closet so that even a working man can
      attend "on the level." Quite a few Lodges, especially in the Western
      states, have no dress code at all and people show up in clean work
      clothes, especially in so-called "Daylight Lodges" -- those which meet
      during lunch hours rather than in the evening so that working men with
      families can attend. In short, there's no costumed "dress-up" in
      Freemasonry -- except for the lambskin apron, it being both the worker's
      apron and the "badge" of the stone-mason.

      Well, almost no "dress-up"... In some rural Southern and South-Western
      lodges in the US, the Master of the Lodge (but none of the other
      members) wears a top hat, a hold-over from 19th century. You can see the
      top hat on the Master of the Lodge in the illustrations to Duncan's
      Ritual of Freemasonry, first published in 1869, and it is thought by
      some that these illustrations served to codify the practice, becaue
      Duncan's was widely used as a ritual book in far-flung rural American
      lodges prior to World War One. The wearing of a top hat is not mentioned
      in any ritual book and it is a local custom only, found in specific
      lodges, not endorsed by any Grand Lodges per se. Visiting Freemasons
      from the rest of the country -- and the world -- often comment that they
      find it amusing to see the Master of the Lodge in some little podunk
      town in Kansas or Oklahoma wearing a Victorian top hat! (And by this
      time, those lodges where "The Master's Hat" has remained in use now
      enjoy the novelty value of their 19th century formalism themselves, of
      course.)

      I well remember a day in 1963 or so when the Volunteer Fire Department
      was called out in Mendocino, California, by the siren going off and i
      saw Freemasonry in action. (Aside for UK folks: In much of the rural
      West, there are no regular Fire Departments, but each small town has a
      band of trained Volunteers who maintain their own trucks and equipment
      with contributions from the local populace. In case of fire or other
      emergency, a siren atop the Fire Department building blows -- once for
      the monthly siren-test, twice for a medical rescue, three times for a
      fire, four times if assistenace is needed from other Volunteer Fire
      Departments nearby. When the sirens blow, all the Volunteers leave their
      farms, stores, offices, or homes and drive to the Department to mount
      the trucks.) It was a Tuesday evening, and i was jay-walking diagonally
      across Lansing street -- the main street of the town -- between the tiny
      wooden Masonic Lodge building and the Fire Department building when the
      siren blasted. All traffic came to a halt and as i stood there, i was
      overtaken by a running pack of men in black suits, all pulling white
      gloves off their hands as they ran, and brought up in the rear by our
      town's Postmaster, Don Burleson, who was wearing a top hat! I was so
      startled that i stood and watched as the guys ran for the trucks, tossed
      their suit jackets and gloves aside, donned their fire jackets and
      helmets, jumped on the pumper truck, and took off in a blare of horns
      down Lansing Street and out to the highway. Basically, in 1963, the
      entire Volunteer Fire Department of Mendocino, California (population
      954) was comprised of Freemasons!

      Okay, enough nostalgia --

      I still think that you might do well to join the freemasonry-list and
      inquire about the AASR degrees.
    • Neil Fernandez
      In message , catherine yronwode writes ... I have no problem with any of that :-) ... I am not sure of that.
      Message 2 of 2 , May 10, 2000
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        In message <3919E496.65A4@...>, catherine yronwode
        <cat@...> writes
        >Pam -- Co-Freemasonry in the USA is organized just like all-male
        >Masonry. There are 3 degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master
        >Mason. Some members (but not all) also choose to join the Co-Freemasonic
        >AASR (Scottish Rite) and/or Co-Freemasonic York Rite.
        >
        >Neil: I think we aere not coming to an understanding here because you
        >are overlooking what i told you about the political in-fights that took
        >place when the AASR tried to make a grab to take over Freemasonry. They
        >had created their own first 3 degrees, imperfectly copied from
        >Freemasonry. They were rebuffed by the UGLoE and told that they could
        >operate their own 4th through 33rd degrees only. That is why their
        >system now starts with the 4th degree. (Older AASR manuals, including
        >Albert Pike's, give the first 3 plagiaristic degrees, copied and altered
        >from Freemasonry.)

        I have no problem with any of that :-)

        >What you call Rose Croix, is in the USA the Royal Arch.

        I am not sure of that. If it's true, then it makes the differences
        between the UK and US even more confusing than they already are.

        I say this, because what is often known as the Rose Croix in the UK is
        *different* from the Royal Arch in the UK.

        The Rose Croix, or AAR, governs degrees that it numbers 4 to 33. 'Rose
        Croix' is a 'colloquial' name based on the name of its 18th degree,
        which is taken at the same time as the 4th to 17th degrees. The name of
        the 18th degree is 'Knight of the Pelican and Eagle and Sovereign Prince
        Rose Croix of Heredom'. The governing body is the Supreme Council on
        Duke Street. You made an important point when you said that no
        ascendancy is claimed over the craft; it is said indeed to recognise the
        three degrees governed (in England) by the UGLE as constituting the
        fundamental whole of freemasonry as such, thus it accepts in some sense
        that the 4th to 33rd degrees are not 'higher'. There is surprisingly
        little about the Supreme Council, Duke Street, London, on the web -
        including on North American AASR sites. I may join the freemasonry
        mailing list and ask if someone can tell me some more about it.
        Initiation is open to those master masons selected by the Supreme
        Council. Conferral of the 19th degree and those of higher number
        (remembering that the 19th to 29th are conferred at the same time)
        requires the unanimous agreement of the entire Supreme Council. The
        members of the Supreme Council are the holders of the 33rd degree. There
        is more dressing up than in craft lodges but not, I think, as much
        dressing up as there is in the Scottish Rite in the US. Given the
        unanimity rule and the location in St James's, I guess it has
        similarities with the 'gentleman's clubs' of that locality.

        The Royal Arch (in the UK) is something different. In England, all
        master masons of four weeks' standing are eligible; in Scotland, master
        masons to be eligible must also have taken two degrees of mark masonry.
        In England, Royal Arch 'chapters' are attached to Craft lodges; in
        Scotland, they are separate. Exacerbating scope for confusion: whilst
        the Royal Arch claims that the three degrees administered by UGLE are a
        sham, or wrong, the Supreme Grand Chapter of English Royal Arch Masons,
        so far as I can tell, is administered by UGLE! A number of senior
        officers in UGLE hold similar positions in the Supreme Grand Chapter.
        Around a quarter of all members of English lodges are Royal Arch masons.
        The Royal Arch degree is recognised - including by UGLE - as the
        'completion' of the third degree (a formulation which sounds as though
        it was arrived at by a committee or at least by negotiators). Masonic
        Knights Templar in England (who do *not* parade through the streets as
        their brethren do in the US) must also be Royal Arch masons.

        Rough figures: freemasons in England and Wales: 600,000
        - of which:
        Royal Arch 'companions': 150,000
        Rose Croix: 30,000
        - of which: 32nd degree: 400
        - 33rd degree: 75

        >It was the
        >earliest of the appendant bodies to hit the USA -- George Washington
        >joined it. You are correct that it gives instructions stating that what
        >one learned in the 3rd degree of Freemasonry is "wrong." This is because
        >it seeks, rather lamely in my opinion, to carry the
        >stone-masons-at-Solomon's-Temple narrative onward in tim past their
        >conclusion. Like most novelistic and cinematic sequels it is poorly
        >written and in order to develop the post-denoument narrative, it must
        >undo some of what was finished in the climax of the original narrative
        >in order to leave what we editors call "plot-hooks" for further
        >development. The Royal Arch is still practied in the USA, but is nowhere
        >near as popular as the York Rite or Scottish Rite. You do not need to
        >belong to it to join wither of the other two (or any of the other
        >appendant bodies i mentioned in previous posts).

        Are you aware of any organisation in England or UK of the York rite?
        This is something I haven't managed to discover. I haven't heard the
        term 'York rite' used in a modern UK context.

        Nor is 'Scottish Rite' used. The English section of the scene of which
        the North American (and other) sections are known as 'Scottish Rite', is
        *not* itself called 'Scottish Rite'. It is called the Ancient and
        Accepted Rite for England and Wales, or, colloquially, the Rose Croix.

        >From the rest of your reply, i take it that you are NOT interested in
        >Freemasonry or its Lodges, but rather in the Scottish Rite and its
        >Temples and specifically, its 32nd and 33rd degree rituals.

        At the moment that's what I am trying to focus on, yes. Although I do
        insist on the point that in England it is not called the Scottish Rite.
        (Not sure what it's called in Scotland :-) But there is a Supreme
        Council in Scotland).

        >The 32nd degree of the AASR is called "Sublime Prince of the Royal
        >Secret" and it basically serves to rehash some of the symbolism taught
        >in Freemasonry, but in a context of "nobilism.". (This is in keeping
        >with the AASR's original role as a complete "alternative" degree system
        >to Freemasonry built upon a narrative of Templarism instead of a
        >narrative of craft-guild stone-masonry.)

        OK.

        >Pike's "Morals and Dogma of the Scottish Rite" (1874) gives a lengthy
        >gloss on the 32 degree AASR rite in which the basic Freemasonic symbols
        >are interpreted in terms of alchemical and Zoroastrian dualism and
        >hermetic hermaphrodism, the compass representing the heaven or male
        >principle and the square representing the earth or female principle.
        >There is nothing in the 32nd degree AASR explanations of these symbols
        >that would not be known to 3rd degree Freemasons.

        OK but Pike's writings and rituals have no place in the AAR in England.

        >It is my opinion that any reference to the Order of the Garter in AASR
        >rites is a rehash of the original Freemasonic introduction of the
        >lambskin apron with its lecture about the apron of the working man being
        >more noble than the kingly Order of the Garter.

        I have heard that the AAR 3nd degree rite is on the contrary very
        positive about the Order of the Garter.

        >(As you noted, the Order of the Garter dates to the 14th century.
        >Although there are passing mentions of the stone-mason's craft guild's
        >existence in England dating back to the 13th century, the oldest
        >preserved British Freemasonic documents and ritual fragments date to the
        >very early 15th century. It can be assumed that references in the 3rd
        >degree to the Order of the Garter were probably written into the rite
        >very early on.)

        Not sure about that. If 'very early on' means prior to the entry of the
        aristos at the origin of 'speculative' freemasonry, it would have been
        dangerous for stonemasons to have rites referring to the Order of the
        Garter in negative fashion. Note too that Windsor was the site of a lot
        of important building work. But that doesn't mean it's impossible - it
        would certainly have added a frisson.

        >The 33rd degree of the AASR is an honourary degree

        What does 'honorary' mean?

        >that is bestowed and
        >cannot be applied for.

        This is true of all degrees conferred by the AAR in England and Wales,
        from 4th to 33rd.

        >It is usually given to those who have risen high
        >in the ranks of "joinerism" and held many offices, usually men of the
        >upper middle calsses who are retired from business.

        Interesting. How many holders are there? In England and Wales,
        membership is limited to 75 members only, and it is popular among the
        military. Some were holders of high office in the UGLE.

        /
        >Furthermore, because of the expense,
        >an entire "class" of candidates is passed through each stage-play drama
        >at a time, with one applicant (chosen by lot, usually) acting the part
        >for the entire "class."

        :-) Seems that in some areas the US has much more ceremonial than the
        UK!

        >Oh -- that reminds me -- you asked if Freemasons don't dress up. The
        >answer is no. They do not. In UK Lodges formal wear is required, but in
        >most American lodges a plain black business suit is all that is
        >required, with the addition of white gloves in some lodges as well -- in
        >other words, typical male attire of the 19th and 20th centuries.

        >n short, there's no costumed "dress-up" in
        >Freemasonry -- except for the lambskin apron, it being both the worker's
        >apron and the "badge" of the stone-mason.

        OK. Aprons are required at lodge occasions in England too.

        /

        >I still think that you might do well to join the freemasonry-list and
        >inquire about the AASR degrees.

        Yes, I think I'll do so (again insisting that AAR does not refer to
        itself as AASR). The AAR doesn't get mentioned much in England, although
        I guess it thinks a lot of itself, and certainly a building on Duke
        Street would be an expensive piece of real estate :-)

        Neil
        --
        Neil Fernandez
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