From the Venerable Master (September 2019)

posted Sep 6, 2019, 12:51 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Have you ever studied the history of the Scottish Rite?  Have you ever even wondered where we came from?  It is a long and interesting story, much too lengthy to be fully considered in a article such as this.  However, some highlights might be of interest.

To begin, the name Scottish Rite is likely attributable to an unsubstantiated, and probably mythical idea of the influence of the exiled Stuarts of Scotland on what was termed the “higher degrees”.

Higher degrees appeared first in England, and later flourished in France.  Lodges, called “Ecossais” or Scottish Lodges, were chartered which worked exclusively in some the “haute grades” or higher degrees.  One participant was a man named Estienne Morin, who ultimate compiled a series of 25 degrees, circa 1771.  He carried these degrees to the West Indies, and formed them in something called the Rite of the Royal Secret, or The Order of the Prince of the Royal Secret, depending on who you listen to.

Influenced by this degree system, the Mother Supreme Council was formed in Charleston, in May 1801, under the auspices of 11 Masons, known as the “11 Gentlemen of Charleston”.  These men are considered to be the founding fathers of Scottish Rite Masonry. 

As we know, Albert Pike, many years later, is responsible, along with Albert Mackey, for organizing the Rite and creating a cohesive ritual.  His first version of the new ritual was completed in 1857.

There have been many revisions of our ritual since then, the latest being in 2000.  But to think, the concept of the higher degrees dates back nearly 300 years, to at least 1740, and likely earlier.  It is a long and proud tradition that we carry on today. 

Be proud of your Scottish Rite heritage, and let everyone know.