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Masonic History

Scottish Rite Lodge of Perfection


The Ineffable Degrees

The first portion of the Scottish Rite system of degrees is called The Lodge of Perfection. This series of degrees includes the 4th° through to the 14th° and are referred to as the ineffable degrees. Ineffable comes from the Latin ineffibilis which means something that should not be spoken. The explanation of the degrees below uses the Canadian titles for the degrees.

4th Degree Symbol

4° Secret Master

The lessons taught in this degree are Secrecy, Silence and Fidelity. The ritual pertains to the story of King Solomon's Temple and his appointment of seven worthy and expert Masons to guard the Sanctum Sanctorum as well as its sacred furniture.

5th Degree Symbol

5° Perfect Master

A lesson in man's mortality and that we must pay respect to the deceased. The ritual involves the death of Hiram Abiff. It further teaches that honesty and trustworthiness are the cornerstone of the foundation of Masonic honor. These virtues should be in all of our undertakings.

6th Degree Symbol

6° Intimate Secretary

The lesson of this degree is that of Faithfulness and Zealousness in that we should ever be careful not to offend a Brother Mason by prying into his personal business. The ritual of the degree involves King Solomon saving the life of a supposed spy and eavesdropper.

7th Degree Symbol

7° Provost and Judge

Impartiality, Equity and Justice are the lessons taught in this degree and more especially that justice should be tempered with mercy. The ritual recounts how King Solomon appointed several judges to try the case of those accused of murdering the Grand Master Hiram Abiff.

8th Degree Symbol

8° Intendant of the Building

Charity and Benevolence are the key lessons of this degree. Educating the orphan, comforting the sick and aged, and healing the distressed are duties to all Freemasons. The ritual of this degree tells of how, due to the death of Hiram Abiff, labor temporarily ceased on the Temple of Solomon. King Solomon in order to move forward appointend five superintendants - one for each of the departments of architecture.

9th Degree Symbol

9° Elect of the Nine

The principle lesson of this degree is to be cautious lest our zeal for a cause let us take matters into our own hands. The ritual is built around the story of how Solomon selected nine masons by lot to investigate a situation so that the offenders may properly be brought to justice.

10th Degree Symbol

10° Elect of the Fifteen

The lesson in this degree is that fanaticism will never win out over justice and freedom - that the unerring eye of justice will discover the guilty and mete out fit punishment. The ritual is a continuation of the degrees that recount the arrest and punishment of the assassins who murdered Hiram Abiff.

11th Degree Symbol

11° Elect of the Twelve

To the Mason who receives this degree comes the lesson that the true and faithful Brother Mason will sooner or later reap his reward and that we must at all times be honest, earnest and sincere. The ritual tells of the reward given to twelve of the fifteen who sought the prosecution of Hiram's murderers.

12th Degree Symbol

12° Grand Master Architect

The lesson of the importance of virtue is taught in this degree with the ritual having been said to originated as a school of instruction for the builders of Solomon's Temple.

13th Degree Symbol

13° Royal Arch of Solomon

This degree is said to be the Scottish Rite's version of the Royal Arch Degree found in the York Rite System.This degree is also the climax of the ineffible degrees and is a preparation for the "Degree of Perfection" which follows.

14th Degree Symbol

14° Grand Elect Perfect and Sublime Mason

The lesson of this, the final degree of the Lodge of Perfection, teaches the Scottish Rite Mason how to prepare his own lodge of Perfection within himself. The lodge room represents the secret vault under the Sanctum Sanctorum where the pillar of beauty is found, on which was inscribed the four letter name of God. The degree reveals and explains the Tetragrammaton.

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