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What is 32nd Degree Freemasonry™?

32nd Degree Freemasonry™, also known as Scottish Rite Freemasonry, is a fraternity of Brothers committed to journeying deeper into the highest principles, teachings, and ideals of the Masonic craft. Scottish Rite Masons work to be guided by six core values – Reverence for God, Integrity, Devotion to Country, Justice, Tolerance, and Service to Humanity.

The Scottish Rite offers a series of degrees (from the 4th degree to the 32nd degree) that supplement and amplify the philosophical teachings of the first three degrees conferred in the symbolic lodge. 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry is sometimes called the "University of Freemasonry" because it uses extensive allegory and dramatic presentation in its degrees to explore the philosophy, history, ethics, and fundamental truths that guide Freemasons' lives.

32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry™ is a tight-knit community of Masons who seek to be the best version of themselves, find a deeper sense of purpose, and be of service to the world and our fellow man. Learn more about our visions and values.

Do you want to become a 32° Scottish Rite Freemason™ or learn more about the Scottish Rite journey? Visit the Join page to learn more!

Is 32nd Degree Freemasonry different than the Scottish Rite?

32nd Degree Freemasonry is another term for Scottish Rite Freemasonry. The term comes from the degrees conferred in the Scottish Rite, which start with the 4th degree and go up to the 32nd degree. The degrees begin with the 4th degree because they build on the three degrees conferred in blue lodge Masonry: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason.

The Scottish Rite is reinvigorating the use of the term 32nd Degree Freemasonry to instill pride and a sense of accomplishment in the men who have committed to going deeper into the highest principles, teachings, and ideals of the Masonic craft. Scottish Rite Masons can earn the title of 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason once they receive a minimum of five Scottish Rite degrees: the 4th degree and 32nd degree, along with three additional degrees that focus on 32nd Degree Freemasonry’s Core Values.

Where does the Scottish Rite come from?

The branch of Freemasonry known as the Scottish Rite is “Scottish” in name only. Most outsiders—and even many Freemasons—assume that the fraternity originated in Scotland. However, historical research supports the theory that the Scottish Rite started in Paris, France, around 1758.

According to Arturo de Hoyos in his book The Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide, the Scottish Rite came to the United States by way of France. There is evidence of Scotch Masons’ lodges dating back to 1733 in England, and there were also predecessors such as the Adonhiramite Rite (ca. 1781), which included many degrees that ultimately became part of the Scottish Rite. Yet it was not until 1763 and the creation of the Order of the Royal Secret by Etienne (Stephen) Morin of France that the ritual we practice today began to coalesce into a form recognizable to a modern Scottish Rite Mason.

On May 31, 1801, the Scottish Rite formalized its existence in the United States when Colonel John Mitchell and Reverend Dr. Frederick Dalcho met in Charleston, South Carolina, and opened a meeting of the “Supreme Council of Freemasonry.” Today, the Southern Jurisdiction recognizes this date as its beginning and held its own bicentennial celebration in 2001.

In 1813, the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, USA was created. Read more about the history of the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction and discover key events on our timeline from the pre-charter era through present day.

How do I become a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemason?

Master Masons in good standing can become a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason by completing the membership application process outlined below.

  1. In order to become a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, you must first be a Master Mason. If you are not yet a Freemason, visit BeAFreemason.org to learn more and take the first step.
  2. If you are a Master Mason in one of the 15 Northern Masonic Jurisdiction states, submit a membership application to join a Scottish Rite Valley near you. If you are a Master Mason in one of the 35 Southern Jurisdiction states, visit scottishrite.org to begin the application process.
  3. Your Valley Secretary will review your application and send you more information on the membership process.
  4. Once you are approved as a degree candidate, you must attend a 4th degree date or reunion to be initiated as a Scottish Rite Mason. This fall you may take the 4th degree and join the Scottish Rite through a Virtual Reunion.
  5. Finally, to become a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, you must receive a minimum of five Scottish Rite degrees. You must receive the 4th degree and 32nd degree, along with three additional degrees in any order that focus on 32nd Degree Freemasonry’s six core values. While not required, most men go on to view all 29 Scottish Rite degrees in the future. Participation in a Virtual Reunion will make you eligible for the 32°. The requisite number of degrees will be presented on each Virtual Reunion date.

Why become a 32nd Degree Freemason?

Becoming a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemason is an opportunity to join a tight-knit community of Masons committed to self-improvement, community, and brotherhood through deeper learning of the ethical teachings and philosophies of Freemasonry.

Although in the craft of Freemasonry there is no degree considered higher than that of a Master Mason, the degrees of 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry enrich and expand the teachings of the symbolic lodge. As a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemason you will, indeed, find an untold wealth of knowledge. You will learn more about Masonry. You will more deeply explore questions raised in the blue lodge degrees.

32nd Degree Scottish Rite Masons live by six core values: Integrity, Justice, Service to Humanity, Tolerance, Reverence for God, and Devotion to Country. These values unite us in a quest to become better men and better Masons. Together we work to pass on those values to future generations so our craft is left in the hands of other good men.

If this resonates with you, learn more about joining us and submit a member application.

32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry is the most innovative and member-focused body in Freemasonry, offering a vast range of benefits to members. These benefits include:

  • Further light in Masonry through Scottish Rite degrees, from the 4th degree to the 32nd degree.
  • Member-only livestreams, including virtual degree watch parties and regular programming with Scottish Rite leaders and Brothers to keep us connected.
  • Expanded fraternal network of Masons in each of the 102 Valleys in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Forge lifelong bonds with more Brothers through exclusive Scottish Rite events, such as reunions, webinars, charity fundraisers, and more.
  • Opportunity to get involved with the Scottish Rite Charities and make a difference in the lives of Brother Masons, their families, and our communities. Learn more about the transformative impact of each of our charities: the Grand Almoner's Fund, Abbott Scholarship Fund, Children's Dyslexia Centers, and the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library.
  • Premium website content for members only, including our Best Practices and Leadership Resource Center. These resources will help you develop your leadership skills, learn what’s working for other Masons across the jurisdiction, and plan effective programming for your blue lodge and Scottish Rite Valley.
  • Access to Hauts Grades Academy, a curriculum that provides an opportunity to delve deeper into the study of all 32 degrees. Student testimonials cite finding greater enlightenment and meaning from our Masonic teachings through the course.

What is the difference between the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction and the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction?

In the United States, the Scottish Rite is organized into two regional jurisdictions: the Southern Jurisdiction and the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (NMJ). The Supreme Council of each jurisdiction operates independently, overseeing the states and Valleys in their region.

The Scottish Rite was established in the United States in 1801 in Charleston, South Carolina. The Southern Jurisdiction recognizes this date as its beginning. Today, the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and oversees 35 states, primarily in the South and the West.

In 1813, a charter was granted to the Supreme Council of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in New York. Today, the Scottish Rite, NMJ is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts and oversees 15 states in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and the Mid-West: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Vermont.

Read more about history of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.

What is the Supreme Council?

The Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) is the governing body of 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry.

In the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (NMJ), the Supreme Council is headquartered in Lexington, MA and is led by the Sovereign Grand Commander, who performs the role of chief executive officer. The current Sovereign Grand Commander is Ill. David A. Glattly, 33°.

The Supreme Council is composed of 49 trustees, known as Active Members. Each of the 15 states within the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction has an Active Member designated as a Deputy. The Deputy serves as the executive officer for Scottish Rite Freemasonry within his state. He is supported by the remaining Active Members of the state.

The Supreme Council meets on an annual basis, at which time the business of the fraternity is done and the 33rd degree is conferred on those who have been elected to receive this honor. Learn more about the structure of Scottish Rite leadership or contact the Supreme Council with questions.

Valleys are the local bodies of 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.

The Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction includes Valleys in the following 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Similar to a Masonic lodge, Valleys are local groups of Scottish Rite Masons, covering a larger region within a state. Belonging to a Valley means being part of a tight-knit community of Scottish Rite Brothers. Degrees from the 4th to the 32nd are also conferred in the Valleys.

Find your local Valley to learn more. Reach out to your Valley Secretary for ways to become involved.

Where else can one learn more about 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry?

If you wish to learn more about 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry, there are opportunities for members and non-members alike through select Masonic institutions and exhibits.

Our Supreme Council headquarters in Lexington, MA is home to our Masonic Museum & Library, which is also one of our Scottish Rite charities. The Masonic Museum & Library aims to be the "historical society" of American Freemasonry and the Scottish Rite by collecting, preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the history of fraternalism. The museum hosts over 17,000 objects, including relics from the days of our Founding Fathers and bespoke artifacts with special meaning to the fraternity, and over 16,000 books. With workshops, education programs, and new and seasonal exhibits offered regularly, the Masonic Museum & Library offers those interested in learning more about 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Freemasonry a plethora of resources to explore - so bring the whole family! Can't make it to Lexington? You can explore a limited number of exhibitions and objects from the Museum's collection online.

In addition to our Masonic Museum & Library, the public is welcome to take a trip to Alexandria, Virginia and visit the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. The nine-story neoclassical structure has been erected and maintained by the Freemasons of the United States as an expression of the high esteem in which the memory of George Washington is held within the Masonic fraternity, and to preserve the history and heritage of American Freemasonry. The Memorial is not only a historic monument, but also a museum, an active Masonic temple, a research library, a cultural space, a community and performing arts center, and an important regional landmark. Hosting five tours daily, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial is another way visitors can learn more about the history of our fraternity, our values, and the infamous Scottish Rite Freemason, George Washington.

Finally, if you're interested in learning more about Freemasonry locally, try reaching out to your state's Grand Lodge for a tour. While tour availability varies by region, many Grand Lodges host weekly tours led by Masons that explore the historic artifacts, architecture, and more of the Grand Lodge while teaching visitors about the values, principles, and history of the fraternity.

How can I support the 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Charities?

If you'd like to support the 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Charities, there are a few ways you can do so. The first is to submit a one-time or recurring donation on our website. You can select which 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Charity you wish to put your donation towards, such as our Grand Almoner's Fund supporting Brothers facing hardships or our Leon M. Abbott Scholarship which provides scholarships to Masons and their families pursuing higher education. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed.

Another way you can support the 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Charities is through our Masonic Marketplace, our online store for 32nd Degree Scottish Rite merchandise. All proceeds from each purchase benefit our Grand Almoner's Fund, allowing you to show your support in more ways than one!

The four charities under the umbrella of our Scottish Rite Benevolent Foundation are: the Grand Almoner's Fund, the Abbott Scholarship Fund, the Children's Dyslexia Centers, and the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. Read more about our charities and learn how you can make a difference.

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