Background
No overview of Degrees in the Scottish Rite would make sense without some background in freemasonry itself. All masons receive the first three (and most important) degrees in the craft at their local masonic lodge. Here, the ritual of the degrees is committed to memory and passed down to new masons just as it was hundreds of years ago. In the past, a candidate for a degree had to commit to memory the essence of the previous degree before moving on. This process helped the individual gain a better understanding on the importance of the obligations they were committing to.

No Degree holds a higher place of honor in masonry, or means more than the third degree or that of "Master Mason". Once obtaining the degree of Master Mason, a brother may spend the remainder of his masonic life working through the chairs of his local lodge, teaching the ritual to those brothers who come after him and helping to preserve the craft in general. Some masons choose to add the "Shrine" to their masonic functions and the many activities that Shriners undertake for the support of Shrine Hospitals where children are given extensive and expensive care for crippling diseases and disfiguring burns all at no cost or obligation to the families.

Different Paths
In years gone by, before joining the Shrine, Master Masons were required to join one of the two "rites" or masonic bodies that taught more in-depth the principles of freemasonry. The York Rite follows a religious format that is more to the liking of Christian masons while The Scottish Rite took a more universal approach to the lessons of masonry that all religions are comfortable with.

Like all Masonic organizations, The Scottish Rite reached out into the community to help those less fortunate in life to survive and grow. Their efforts resulted in two Scottish Rite hospitals that still exist in Georgia and Texas). Later, the Scottish Rite continued it's Philanthropic efforts with fully funded Clinics to help Children with language disorders. Today, these Rite Care Clinics continue to server a valuable role in the community. Each Valley also sets aside funds that can be used to help individuals in true need of assistance's whether those individuals are members of a Masonic organization or not.

Knowledge...By Degrees
Philanthropy, however, was a side benefit to the community and not the objective of this masonic organization. The rites of Freemasonry exist to "Teach" masons, who have been instructed to seek "further light" in freemasonry, the deeper philosophical meanings of the craft and brotherhood. The Scottish Rite uses elaborate stage presentations to teach this knowledge a little at a time or in "Degrees" to every candidate. Unlike the ritual of the Blue Lodge that is passed on from "Mouth to Ear" in the masonic lodge, these degrees are actual scripts that were written and refined to teach symbolic as well as literal masonic history to its members.

By clicking on the degree numbers below you can get an overview of the specific lesson or lessons* which that degree has to offer the candidate.


The Ineffable Degrees
The Chapter Degrees
| 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |
| 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 |
 
The Council Degrees
The Consistory Degrees
| 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 |
| 31 | 32 |

 
* Lesson excerpts are from: A Bridge To Light by Rex R. Hutchens, 32°, KCCH, Copyright © 1988 by The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspector General Knights Commander of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-third and last degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, 1733 Sixteenth Street, NW., Washington D.C. 20009

 
4°: Secret Master
The Lesson of the 4° is that the teachings of Masonry are not to be taken lightly. The degree teaches that learning far outlasts physical monuments and that duties are not to be performed expecting reward but rather with the expectation of personal satisfaction. The fourth degree lays the foundation for all succeeding degrees.

 
5°: Perfect Master
The lessons of the 5° is that Life is uncertain and that death can occur at any time and place. It also teaches the candidate that the noblest portion of humanity is virtue for virtue's sake. The fifth degree teaches us that it is the duty of every Mason to provide for his family and loved ones in life as well as after death.

 
6°: Intimate Secretary
The lessons of the 6° are simply that zeal and fidelity to duty are always rewarded.

 
7°: Provost And Judge
The lessons of the 7° teach us that all our actions have consequences attached to them and that we must be just in judging the motives of others.

 
8°: Intendant Of The Building
The lessons of the 8° teach us that benevolence and charity demand that we correct our own faults and those of others. It also teaches us that the knowledge a man has dies with him so we must therefore share the knowledge we have with others. Finally, the 8° teaches us that labor is honorable if it is done with sobriety, temperance, punctuality and industry.

 
9°: Elu Of The Nine
The lessons of the 9° teach us that ignorance is the principal enemy of human freedom, that a free press is indispensable to true liberty and that remorse, as well as guilt, are God's punishment and that they are more severe than those which could be inflected by mortal man. the 9° continues, to a great degree, the story that was told to Master Masons in the third degree.  

 
10°: Elu Of The Fifteen
The story continues in the 10° which teaches us that ambition can create tyranny and despotism and that fanaticism creates intolerance and persecution.

 
11°: Elu Of The Twelve
The lessons of the 11° are simply that life is a school where we are continually learning and that Masonry is work which is never complete.

 
12°: Master Architect
The lessons of the 12° are about wisdom. That wisdom is a gift from God and should be preferred over riches; that wisdom and knowledge bring honor, discretion and understanding. We also learn in this degree that wisdom teaches the knowledge of God and enables immortality. The symbolism in this degree is more complex than in previous degrees and philosophies of Masonry are advanced.

 
13°: The Royal Arch Of Solomon
The lessons of the 13° teach us that moral character is a habit, not formed in a moment and that the great law of retribution acts in our memory as remorse and at the final judgment.

 
14°: Perfect Elu
The lessons of the 14° are that Perfect Elus are both bound and free. They are bound by their obligation and free from prejudice, intolerance and envy. Masons meet on the level because in their lives authority and liberty are in equilibrium.  

 
15°: Knight Of The East,
Of The Sword or Of The Eagle
The 15° teaches fidelity to trust, honor and duty. It also teaches perseverance and constancy under difficulties and discouragements. The 15° is the first of the four degrees in the Chapter of Rose Croix.

 
16°: Prince Of Jerusalem
The 16° teaches us to build Temples of the Living God in our Hearts by following Masonic Truth - justice, equality, morality, wisdom, labor, fidelity, brotherhood - to achieve immortality.

 
17°: Knight Of The East And West
Much of the script for the 17° is taken directly from the Revelation of God through Jesus Christ to St. John the Evangelist which is also called the apocalypse to St. John. This degree teaches us about a virtual army of martyrs that have offered up their lives to prove their faith or to benefit mankind.

 
18°: Knight Of The Rose Croix
The lessons of the 18° teach us that we should have faith in God, mankind and ourselves. We should hope in the victory over evil, the advancement of humanity and a hereafter. Finally, we learn that charity is relieving the wants and tolerating the errors and faults of others.

 
19°: Grand Pontiff

The lessons of the 19° teach us that good will triumph over evil, that the human intellect cannot measure the designs of God and that if lived properly, this life is a bridge to eternal life. In the context of this degree, the word pontiff does not refer to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church but derives from two latin words: ponti, meaning 'bridge' and facere, 'to make'; hence, pontiff means 'bridge builder'.


 
20°: Master Of The Symbolic Lodge
The lessons of the 20° teach us that truth, justice and toleration are indispensable qualities for a Master of the Lodge and that example is the best teaching method known.

 
21°: Noachite, Or Prussian Knight
We learn, in the 21°, that the downfall of evil is certain. A free and independent judiciary is necessary to human progress and that journalism should be fair, just and responsible.

 
22°: Knight Royal Axe, Prince Of Libanus
The lesson of the 22° is simply that work is the mission of man.

 
23°: Chief Of The Tabernacle
The lessons of the 23° teach us that simple faith is wiser than vain philosophy and that a society's concept of the Deity and the universe are consistent with its development.

 
24°: Prince Of The Tabernacle
The lessons of the 24° teach us of the power of faith in the Deity and his promises. They teach us that the soul is immortal and that there is one, true God, who is pure, absolute intellect and existence. 

 
25°: Knight Of The Brazen Serpent
The 25° teaches us that man is composed of the flesh, the soul and the intellect. Man is a reflection of the Divine and that we should not weary God with petitions.

 
26°: Prince Of Mercy
In the 26° we learn that the trinity of Deity belongs to no single religion. The truths of Masonry are contained within the religions of the world. 

 
27°: Knight Commander Of The Temple
We are taught in the 27° that Masonry is practical and requires its members to be actively involved in life. We also learn that virtue and duty have been the same in all times.

 
28°: Knight Of The Sun
The lessons of the 28° teach us that nature reveals a power and wisdom and continually points to God, that the visible is the manifestation of the invisible. We also learn that, in the universe, two opposite forces provide balance, and that there is no death, only change. We also learn that Philosophy is a kind of journey, ever learning, but never arriving at the ideal truth and that the moral code of Masonry is more extensive that that of philosophy.

 
29°: Scottish Knight Of Saint Andrew
The 29° teaches us that ideals and institutions wax and wane in the great cycle of time which is but change.

 
30°: Knight Kadosh Or
Knight Of The White And Black Eagle
The lessons of the 30° teach us that we should arm ourselves with faith in God, love toward our fellow men and knowledge. We also learn that great examples are the noblest legacies from the past; they enrich a nation more than wealth or power.

 
31°: Inspector Inquisitor
In the 31° we are taught that the good man is able to portray himself and his actions positively and not simply assert the absence of wrong in his life. That justice and mercy are two opposites which unite in the great harmony of equity and that to aim at the best but be content with the best possible is true wisdom.

 
32°: Master Of The Royal Secret
The lessons of the 32° teach us that the human is ever interlaced with the Divine, that only doctrines, faith or knowledge which bear fruit in action are of value and that to work is to worship.