The Ancient And Accepted Scottish Rite Of Freemasonry
Orient of Florida, Valley of Jacksonville AASRVJ
Scottish Rite Degrees --4th through 32nd
The Degrees of the Scottish Rite are one-act plays often staged with costume, scenery, special effects, and the full rigging of any production. Their purpose is to examine different philosophies, ancient religions, and systems of ethics. Through all of these, people have tried to answer certain universal questions. The Degrees of the Rite do not tell a person what he should think about these questions. Instead, they tell him about what great thinkers and civilizations of the past have thought, and they try to create a situation in which the candidate or Brother can gain insight. Agreeing with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living, the Rite helps with this self-examination by providing reference points.
Theatre is the oldest known means of teaching, especially of teaching abstract ideas. It was one of the principal means of instruction in the Middle Ages as well as in ancient Greece and Rome. Masonry borrows the techniques of theatre to make its lessons more impressive and to aid the candidate in forming the beginnings of what it is hoped will be a lifelong pattern of study and thought. Most of the Degrees are set in ancient Israel because it is from the legends surrounding King Solomon's Temple that Masonry takes many of its parables and lessons. Ancient Egypt and Medieval Europe also serve as Degree settings.
The Links below show some of the outward symbols and describe the lesson or teachings of each of the degrees in Scottish Rite Masonry. These descriptions are in no means complete, but are intended instead to provide a general understanding.