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Re: [sacredlandscapelist] Scottish Rite and Freemasonry

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  • Neil Fernandez
    In message , catherine yronwode writes ... I have no problem with any of that :-) ... I am not sure of that.
    Message 1 of 2 , May 10 5:45 PM
      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.)


      >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

      >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 Fernandez
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