The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (Scottish Constitution) is a Christian Order within Freemasonry which originated from a system of Degrees that emerged in France about the middle of the 18th Century.
It is sometimes referred to as Ecossaise Freemasonry as it is thought that some of its ceremonial was influenced by ‘Gaelic Masonry’ which may have originated in Scotland.
Freemasons, with signs for the various lodges, c1733. From The Ceremonies of Religion and Custom, c1733.
Historically, the Ceremonies were transmitted through the United States of America, French West Indies, British West Indies, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Brazil, Columbia and Portugal before they surfaced in Scotland in 1845 where the Supreme Council, as we know it, was “erected” a year later in 1846.
Scottish Rite Freemasonry is one of the most prolific around the world and is best known for the Degree called the Rose Croix or 18th Degree. So inspirational is the essence of this Degree that it has stimulated many Countries to devise their own variation of the Scottish Rite Degrees and form their own Constitutions.
Scottish Rite Degrees
Admission to the Scottish Rite begins with the Rose Croix or 18° after the “Intermediate Degrees” from the 4° to the 17° are conferred. After a qualifying period of five years, one is eligible for promotion to the 30° but this is an honour which is awarded for distinguished service.
Again, before one can be “Admitted” to the 30°, the Degrees from the 19° to the 29° are conferred. The Intermediate Degrees are not worked in Australia.
The Rose Croix and ‘Higher Degrees’ are often referred to as the “Philosophical Degrees” because lessons inculcated in these Degrees are not derived from contemplation of working tools as in the Craft, Mark and Royal Arch Chapter Degrees, but rather from concepts or philosophies.
One’s “Perfection” in the Rose Croix Degree therefore marks the beginning of a shift in thinking from the Speculative Degrees, to the Philosophical Degrees.