Albert Pike

Albert Pike was a pioneer, a crusader for justice for Native Americans, a practical joker, a reformer, a journalist, a philosopher, a prominent Washington lawyer, and a Civil War general. Perhaps the main focus of his life was the fraternity of Freemasonry. He was the organizer and, for many years, the leader of the Scottish Rite, one of Masonry’s largest organizations.

from Albert Pike, The Man Beyond the Monument
by Jim Tresner

The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is commonly known as the Scottish Rite. It is one of several appendant groups of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is one of two branches of Freemasonry to which a Master Mason may proceed after he has completed the first three degrees of the Symbolic or “Blue” Lodge. The Scottish Rite includes the degrees from the 4° through the 32°. Although there are many Scottish Rite members of Scottish ancestry, the Scottish Rite actually originated in France in the early 18th century. During the 18th century, lodges were organized in the United States, with the first Scottish Rite Supreme Council founded in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1801.

The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction was formed in 1867 and includes the 15 states east of the Mississippi River and north of the Mason-Dixon Line and the Ohio River, including Delaware. The Southern Jurisdiction encompasses the 35 remaining states, the District of Columbia and the United States territories and possessions.

Scottish Rite shares the same belief of all Masonic organizations that there is no higher degree than that of Master Mason. The Supreme Council and its subordinate bodies acknowledge the Masonic supremacy of the Symbolic Grand Lodges and Grand Masters within their jurisdictions. Scottish Rite degrees are in no way higher than the degrees of the Symbolic lodges. The Scottish Rite’s work elaborates on and amplifies that of the Symbolic Lodge.

The Scottish Rite degrees are lessons taught through allegory in the form of plays. The lessons are taken from the Bible and more modern historical events. Cast members use costumes and makeup to look like the characters they represent. Candidates learn the lessons by observing the presentation. Memorization of the material presented is not required. The Scottish Rite is open to all Master Masons in good standing.

The 33° is conferred annually, at the meeting of the Supreme Council, upon a select number of 32° Scottish Rite Masons who have contributed outstanding service to Freemasonry or Scottish Rite or who have exemplified, in their daily lives, the true meaning of the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God. A recipient must be at least 33 years of age and may not apply for the degree.

Scottish Rite members meet in local or regional “Valleys” and are organized into four parts: 
Lodge of Perfection (4° – 14°)
Chapter of Rose Croix (15° – 18°)
Council of Kadosh (19° – 30°)
Consistory (31° – 32°)

The Supreme Council confers the 33rd Degree of Sovereign Grand Inspector General – which is an honorary degree bestowed upon those who have served the Scottish Rite, Freemasonry, or society in a profound way.