An introduction to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite of Freemasonry
The Third Degree, for all Craft freemasons, is the highest
degree able to be conferred in any Craft Lodge (known as the “Blue” Lodge).
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (the
“Rite”) is an Order providing all Craft masons with the opportunity to advance
well past the Craft degrees; to expand and extend their knowledge, understanding
and indeed their lives in the mysteries and sciences of freemasonry generally.
The Rite in Australia is, generally, perceived to be divided
into two distinct sections:
Rose Croix Freemasonry
Fourteen Intermediate Degrees commencing with the Fourth
Degree and closing with the Eighteenth Degree (The Rose Croix Degree). These
Degrees deal with the circumstances of “H’s” death, the subsequent actions taken
by King Solomon to complete the Temple and the legend of the Secret Vault and
its contents; and
The “Higher” Degrees
The Degrees from the 19th to the 30th inclusive are conferred
in a Sovereign Council. These Degrees expand Masonic knowledge and teaching into
the cryptic, philosophical and Knightly aspects of the Order. Thereafter, there
are three additional degrees (31st to 33rd inclusive); the latter being the
highest Degree of the Order.
Looking at a little background on rituals in
Freemasonry and the Scottish Rite in particular. --- When the Grand Lodge of
England was formed in 1717, it may have had only one degree - two at most. Certainly there were two within a
short space of time and then- three by the time that Grand Lodge had a
Constitution. Some of the changes to
the basic degrees in those early years had particular relevance to the Scottish
“H”, the Principal Architect at the construction of King
Solomon's Temple, was barely mentioned in early Craft rituals.
By 1730, in these Craft degrees, “H” had
been murdered, his body hidden and the manner of his death explained. It took
another 80 years for the full story of “H A” to be explined as we know it today.
This is especially important to appreciate, because the
Scottish Rite, which evolved from the Order of the Royal Secret, or as it is
commonly known, the French Rite of Perfection, by 1786, already contained the
full story of “H A”.
Further, The name Scottish is actually derived
from the French "Ecossais Degrees" and is not a result of any connection with