The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is an appendant body of Freemasonry that is considered to be a “higher order” of the fraternity than the Symbolic Lodge confers. It consists of the 4th to 33rd degrees of Freemasonry, with the 33rd degree being honorary1. The Scottish Rite is one of the two branches of Freemasonry in which a Master Mason may proceed after he has completed the three degrees of Symbolic or Blue Lodge Masonry2. The Scottish Rite has its own rituals, which are different from those of the Symbolic Lodge1. The Scottish Rite is known for its elaborate degree ceremonies and its focus on esoteric knowledge. The Scottish Rite cannot be considered as an organization that directs symbolic Freemasonry – it is not officially recognized by it. The Grand Lodges governing 1-3 degrees are absolutely independent of the organization of the Scottish Rite and do not recognize a higher degree than the Master Mason degree (3 degree). Rather, there is a dependence of the Scottish Rite on the Grand Lodges. You can be a member of the organization of the Scottish Rite only by being a Master Mason and remaining an active member of the symbolic lodge. Regular Freemasons believe that the ancient guild Freemasonry consists of only three symbolic degrees. This position was officially formulated by the United Grand Lodge of England, the mother grand Lodge for all Freemasonry, in 1813 and since then the presence of three degrees has been one of the immutable landmarks.
The Scottish Rite is characterized by a developed rite and rich initiatory practice. It includes degrees from 4 to 33, rituals, lessons and commandments of these degrees develop the moral teaching of symbolic degrees. In this sense, the Scottish Rite continues the tradition of symbolic Freemasonry. Despite the fact that the structures of the Scottish Rite are independent of the Grand Lodges, these structures, as well as the Grand Lodges, are quite closely integrated into the worldwide fraternal chain at their level.
The supreme governing body of the structures of the Scottish Rite in the territory of jurisdiction is the Supreme Council. As a rule, the territory of jurisdiction of the bodies of the Scottish Rite coincides with the territory of the country. The exception is the United States of America, where there are two Supreme Councils: the Supreme Council of Northern Jurisdiction and the Supreme Council of Southern Jurisdiction. The Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the USA is the oldest Supreme Council in the world.
The history of the origin of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite by Br. McClenahan is:
"Around the time of the new awakening of interest in Freemasonry at the beginning of the XVIII century, the adepts of the Order felt the need for a deeper penetration into the arcana of Freemasonry and a deeper acquaintance with the esoteric doctrine. The most developed and brilliant minds of Europe, having decided to study Kabbalah and being fascinated by the immeasurable depths that opened up before them, decided to establish a new, higher stage of freemasonry, only and only for the sake of propaganda and the study of ancient mysteries, almost unknown to them until then, which would consist of historical, philosophical and chivalric degrees. With this goal in mind, they first sought to create some separate and independent organizations only so that these great truths could be cultivated and revealed within them. Almost all of these projects outlived their initiators, however, the "Emulation Rite", the embryo of the organizational structure of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite – based on the purest Masonic principles, containing the disclosure of various occult mysteries and consisting of twenty–five degrees - gradually began to develop.
Without any doubt, the activities of Cavalier Ramsay in 1740 accelerated the assimilation, systematization and full recognition by Freemasonry of those degrees that it had for a long time rejected and did not recognize. Opponents of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, such as Findale and others, claim that the Rite began its development around 1740 under the leadership of Michael Andrew Ramsay, more widely known by the title "Cavalier Ramsay", who was born in Scotland, in Ayr, in 1686, and died in Saint-Germain-de-Leu that in France, in 1743; that since the expulsion of the Stuarts from England in 1688, there had been constant secret ties between Rome, where the pretender to the throne from the Stuart dynasty fled in 1719, and Scotland; that as these ties developed, the pretender was increasingly strengthened in his hopes for a favorable outcome for him; that Ramsay tried to undermine the spirit of loyalty and loyalty to the Throne in the Grand Lodge of Scotland, founded in 1736, and realizing the futility of his attempts, he attempted to create and as closely as possible to rally his own group, consisting of adherents of the exiled royal dynasty, in the highest Masonic degrees of initiation, thus indulging their ambitious aspirations; that Masonic lodges In France, Scottish conspirators were formed together with members and supporters of the Jesuit Order, who fell so low that they decided to play their card in this new case, which promised diverse and weighty prospects on the political scene.
Some researchers claim that the above-mentioned Rite of Improvement was founded in 1753, while others insist that only in 1758 several Freemasons who called themselves "Supreme Princes and Grand Officers of the Grand and Supreme Lodge of St. John of Jerusalem" founded an organization in Paris, which was called the "Council of Emperors East and West". This Council was more widely known as the Emulation Rite, and according to Tory, Ragon, Levequi, Vidal, Ferandi, Clavel and others, consisted of twenty-five degrees; in 1759 it established the Council of Princes of Royal Secrecy in Bordeaux and has continued to develop since then.
By 1761, lodges, councils, chapters and consistories of the Rite had significantly increased in number and spread throughout the European continent; on August 27 of the same year, Stefan Morin was appointed Inspector General of the New World by the decree of the Grand Consistory of Princes of Royal Secrecy, signed in Paris by the Vice-General of the Order, Chellon de Joinville... on October 25 1762. The Great Masonic Constitutions were finally ratified in Berlin, in Prussia, and proposed as the only and final code regulating the course of work in all lodges, councils, chapters, colleges and consistories of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in both hemispheres. In the same year they were forwarded to Inspector General Stephane Morin, who recognized them on May 1, 1786. The Supreme Council of the Highest Grand Inspector Generals of the 33rd and the Last Degree issued their own Constitutions, which were later also recognized by Berlin. Up to that time, no other supreme councils of the highest grand inspector generals had been formed anywhere in the world; until that time, the duties and rights corresponding to these and some subordinate organizations were assigned to Vice inspector generals. According to the new Constitutions, all the rights of supreme power were given to the Supreme Councils, consisting in each country of nine brothers, who also assumed all the duties associated with these rights, and all the responsibilities corresponding to them; an exception was made only for the United States of America, in which two Supreme Councils were formed with the division of spheres of activity by territorial the sign. The Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree for England, Wales, etc. was constitutionally formed on October 26, 1845.
The quote is based on the book "The Nature of Freemasonry" by Humbert S. Box.