Most brothers will be aware that Freemasonry has several appendant bodies and additional degrees. This is one of the allures of the fraternity, as it encourages brothers to explore the Masonic histories in different ways. This post serves as a [very] brief introduction to the Scottish and York Rites of Freemasonry.
The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.
In spite of its name, The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite isn’t particularly ancient, and it didn’t originate in Scotland. It is regarded by the United Grand Lodge of England as a concordant body of Masonry, as much of the allegory and ceremonies of the Rite are concerned with elaborating on the construction of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.
The Scottish Rite is comprised of 33 degrees that are controlled by various Masonic bodies. By completing these additional degrees, Masons are afforded the opportunity to engage further with Masonic philosophy and build upon the ethical principles introduced within the three core degrees of Blue Lodge Freemasonry.
In order to join the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, a brother needs to be a Master Mason. If you’re interested in finding out more about the degrees of the Scottish Rite, or if you would like to join, you can find out more information here.
The York Rite of Freemasonry
Like the title of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, the York Rite is a little misleading. It is a descriptive term used to represent three cooperative groups of Freemasonry. The York Rite is made up of Royal Arch Masonry, Cryptic Masonry, and the Knights Templar. Brothers are able to complete ten additional Masonic degrees within the York Rite.
It’s different to the Scottish Rite as each of the bodies of the York Rite offer a unique insight into Freemasonry and are developed for men of particular faith or beliefs. For instance, the Knights Templar is concerned with teaching of the brave knights that escorted pilgrims across Europe during the Crusades, and is appropriate for Masons of a Christian faith.
As is the case with the Scottish Rite, in order to be initiated into the York Rite in America, you must be a Master Mason. For further information about the York Rite, or to enquire about joining one of the three groups, visit the York Rite website.
Why join the Scottish or York Rite of Freemasonry?
Fundamentally, joining either the Scottish or York Rite of Freemasonry provides you with the opportunity to enhance your exploration of the Craft. You will engage with teachings and allegory that is not presented within the three core degrees of Masonry, and you will undoubtedly get more out of your Masonic journey.
While not for everyone, completing the additional rites is something that many brothers aspire to, and is another element that makes Freemasonry so unique and varied.