Scottish Rite Valley of Tallahassee
What is Scottish Rite

What is Scottish Rite

The mission of the Tallahassee Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, SJ is to increase the knowledge of its members through expanded and enlightened teachings of the basic Masonic principles; to grow Masonic Fraternalism; to inform and educate the non-Masonic public about Freemasonry; to develop, and promote, support its charitable projects, and to provide assistance and support to the Symbolic Lodges and Masons in the Florida Panhandle.


The Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, commonly known as the Scottish Rite, is one of several groups that are part of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite is the largest and most widely practiced Masonic Rite in the world and employs a lodge system.

While there is no Masonic degree more important than that of Master Mason, there is a long tradition—almost as old as Freemasonry—of “high degrees” that expand upon and elaborate the teachings and lessons of the first three degrees. The Scottish Rite degrees teach a series of moral lessons culminating in the 32°, Master of the Royal Secret.

When we consider the creation of the Master Mason’s Degree—the first “high degree” added to Craft Masonry—it is a remarkable fact that high-degree Masonry is virtually as old as Speculative Freemasonry itself. Other high degrees also followed quickly in the footsteps of the Master Mason’s Degree. As early as 1733 a reference to a “Scotch Masons’ Lodge” appeared in a manuscript list of lodges by Dr. Richard Rawlinson, and the following year, it was again mentioned in a printed list of Masonic Bodies. The early designations “Scotts,” “Scotch,” and “Scottish” refer to a type of Masonry practiced, rather than referring to native Scotsmen.

Thus, we read that from 1733–40 the “Scotch Master Masons” Degree was conferred on “normal” Master Masons. For instance, on July 18, 1740, at the Lodge at the Rummer, Bristol, it was “Ordered & agreed That Bro. Tomson & Bro. Watts & any other member of this Lodge. that are already Master Masons may be made Scotch Master. . . .” By 1734–35 additional degrees were invented, two of which were the “Excellent Mason” and “Grand Mason.” These early “Scotts” (or Scottish) Degrees are ancestors of the Scottish Rite in both name and tradition, and represent a type of Masonry almost as old as the Master Mason’s Degree. The tradition of “Scotts” (or Scottish) Masonry is the second oldest type of high-degree Masonry known, even surpassing the antiquity of the Royal Arch Degree.

The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry commonly known as simply the Scottish Rite, is one of several Rites of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. In the Scottish Rite, the central authority is called a Supreme Council.

The thirty-three degrees of the Scottish Rite are conferred by several controlling bodies. The first of these is the Craft Lodge which confers the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees. Craft lodges operate under the authority of Grand Lodges, not the Scottish Rite.


The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry. In England and some other countries, while the Scottish Rite is not accorded official recognition by the Grand Lodge, there is no prohibition against a Freemason electing to join it. In the United States, however, the Scottish Rite is officially recognized by Grand Lodges as an extension of the degrees of Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy offered in the craft lodge, or Blue Lodge, through the presentation of individual degrees.

Lodge of Perfection 4° – 14°
Venerable Master

Chapter of Rose Croix, 15° – 18°
Wise Master

Council of Kadosh, 19° – 30°

Consistory, 31° – 32°
Master of Kadosh

2nd from left is J. Edwin Larson, Treasurer and 3rd from the left is J. Lewis Hall
Courtesy: Florida Memory
Members of Scottish Rite Freemasons
Photographed in Tallahassee, Florida. March 25, 1949
Courtesy: Florida Memory