The 33° Degrees of Freemasonry

Imagine a young cadet, eager to learn about the origins of Freemasonry, requesting a list of the Afrotropical roots of the esteemed 33rd degree. It’s as if a novice pilot, hungry for knowledge, asks for a detailed breakdown of the aerodynamics behind a daring air maneuver.

Just like a skilled aviator must be aware of the forces at play in the skies, so too must a Masonic scholar be aware of the historical and cultural underpinnings of their craft. And just as a daring pilot must be meticulous in their preparation, so too must a cadet be diligent in their studies.

  1. Entered Apprentice: Introduces the candidate to the basic principles of Freemasonry and its rituals.
  2. Fellowcraft: Teaches the candidate about the moral and ethical values of Freemasonry and their application to daily life.
  3. Master Mason: Conveys the symbolic meanings of Masonic rituals and further emphasizes the importance of moral values.
  4. Secret Master: Focuses on the importance of secrecy and confidentiality in Masonic traditions.
  5. Perfect Master: Emphasizes the importance of humility and self-improvement in Masonic philosophy.
  6. Intimate Secretary: Explores the importance of communication and trust between Masonic brothers.
  7. Provost and Judge: Teaches the importance of justice and fairness in society and in Masonic traditions.
  8. Intendant of the Building: Emphasizes the importance of building and construction as a metaphor for self-improvement.
  9. Elect of Nine: Focuses on the importance of leadership and decision-making skills in Masonic and personal life.
  10. Elect of Fifteen: Teaches about the importance of personal sacrifice and dedication to the Masonic community.
  11. Sublime Elect of Twelve: Explores the symbolic meaning of the number twelve and its importance in Masonic traditions.
  12. Grand Master Architect: Teaches about the importance of planning and organization in personal and Masonic life.
  13. Royal Arch of Solomon: Explores the history and symbolism of King Solomon and his temple.
  14. Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason: Focuses on the importance of self-discipline and self-control in Masonic and personal life.
  15. Knight of the East or Sword: Explores the history and symbolism of the East and the sword as they relate to Masonic traditions.
  16. Prince of Jerusalem: Emphasizes the importance of charity and philanthropy in Masonic and personal life.
  17. Knight of the East and West: Explores the symbolism of the sun rising in the East and setting in the West.
  18. Sovereign Prince of Rose Croix of Heredom: Focuses on the importance of spiritual and moral development in Masonic philosophy.
  19. Grand Pontiff: Teaches about the importance of faith and devotion in personal and Masonic life.
  20. Master ad Vitam: Emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning and personal growth in Masonic and personal life.
  21. Patriarch Noachite: Explores the symbolism of the flood and the importance of redemption in Masonic philosophy.
  22. Prince of Libanus: Focuses on the importance of nature and the natural world in Masonic philosophy.
  23. Chief of the Tabernacle: Teaches about the importance of reverence and respect for sacred spaces.
  24. Prince of the Tabernacle: Explores the symbolism of the tabernacle and its significance in Masonic traditions.
  25. Knight of the Brazen Serpent: Focuses on the importance of healing and renewal in Masonic philosophy.
  26. Prince of Mercy: Teaches about the importance of compassion and mercy in Masonic and personal life.
  27. Commander of the Temple: Explores the history and symbolism of the Knights Templar.
  28. Knight of the Sun: Focuses on the symbolism of the sun and its importance in Masonic philosophy.
  29. Knight of St. Andrew: Explores the history and symbolism of St. Andrew and his role in Masonic traditions.
  30. Knight Kadosh: Teaches about the importance of justice and righteousness in Masonic and personal life.
  31. Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander: Emphasizes the importance of discipline and obedience in Masonic philosophy

Just as the skies are divided into layers and regions, so too is the world of Masonry divided into different “houses” or sections, each with its own unique characteristics and teachings. The 33 degrees of Masonry belong to the Scottish Rite, an appendant body that can be likened to a separate air traffic control tower.

Within the Scottish Rite, there are three distinct “houses”: the Lodge of Perfection, the Council of Princes of Jerusalem, and the Chapter of Rose Croix. Each house can be thought of as a different altitude, with its own set of challenges and perspectives.

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