Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Question about Masonry and Scottish Rite Masonry.

What is the Scottish Rite?

The Scottish Rite is a Masonic organization that continues a Master Masonâ€education of the first three degrees. The Scottish Rite consists of the 4th through 32nd Degree and an honorary 33rd, which is awarded for exceptional service.

Other examples of Masonic affiliated organizations are: The Shrine (Shriners); York Rite; Grotto; Eastern Star, DeMolay International, Jobs Daughters, International Order of Rainbow for Girls and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.

Why isthe Scottish Rite Building it called call a "House of the Temple?

The name House of the Temple is traditionally associated to the word Heredom, a significant word in high degree freemasonry, a derivation of which, suggests the Greek words hieros-domos, meaning Holy House, thus referring to the Temple of Solomon, which is central to Masonic ritual and symbolism.

Is Freemasonry a religion?

No! While it is a requirement that each member believe in a Supreme Being, it is not important how one expresses that very personal belief. Further, there is no dogmatic system in Freemasonry. However, confusion about the secular nature of Freemasonry has been a common misconception for many years.

Most likely, this misconception is due to the Holy Book that sits on the altar in the middle of a Masonic lodge. This Holy Book does not have to be Christian, like the Bible, rather it can be any Holy Book that is important to the members of the lodge. In the U.S. where the population is mostly Christian, the Holy Book most often used in Lodges is the King James Version of the Bible.

Is Freemasonry or the Scottish Rite a secret society?

Absolutely not, the Scottish Rite and other forms of Freemasonry operate very much in the open with many events open to the public. There are modes of recognition (passwords and handshakes) that represent a Masons ability to keep a promise.

How can I join? Do I have to be invited?

Freemasonry is a fraternity (for men) whose membership must be sought by the candidate. So, in other words, to be a Mason, one must ask a Mason how to become a member.

Do I have to be Scottish to join the Scottish Rite?

No. The Scottish Rite degrees actually originated in France and were based on legends that came from Scotland, so Scottish is in name only.

How many people belong to the Scottish Rite?

There are about 1.7 million Masons in the United States and about 550,000 of those are Scottish Rite Masons.

What do all the symbols mean?

There are simply too many symbols used in Masonry to explain them all, but probably the most common symbol people see is the square and compasses. The square reminds Masons to square their actions by the square of virtue, and the compasses remind them to circumscribe their passions. In other words, Masons are reminded to keep their actions virtuous and their passions in control. Additionally, in the U.S. there is usually a in the middle of the square and compass symbol. This letter stands for geometry and God and reminds Masons that geometry was central to the stone mason life as God should be to his.

What is the official name of the Supreme Council?

The name of the Supreme Council reveals history, tradition, and accomplishment. The official, full name of this Supreme Council is: The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspectors General Knights Commander of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-third degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America.

What is the name of Scottish Rite Masonry in New Mexico?

In Scottish Rite Masonry each jurisdiction (state) is referred to as an "Orient" thus our term for the State of New Mexico - "Orient of New Mexico"

In New Mexico there are two Scottish Rite Temples, one in Santa Fe and one in Las Cruces, and these are referred to as the Vallleys. So we have the Valley of Santa Fe and the Valley of Las Cruces.

What are the caps for?

If the apron .is the "badge of a Mason" in the Blue Lodge, the cap can be said to be the public badge of a Scottish Rite Mason. In our Order, the cap is both a prayer cap in the Jewish tradition and a symbol of the Scottish Rite Mason as a soldier in the "Empire of Intellect, Reason, Philosophy, and Wise Morality" (32°). Similarly, a cap was worn by English knights, including the Templars, and was later given a military significance by British regimental soldiers in the 19th century. The Supreme Council adopted the present caps in 1927.

The Cap of a 32° Scottish Rite MasonThe Cap of Fifty Year Member of the Scottish Rite

Red Cap.50The Cap of a 32° who has been honored as a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor. KCCH

White Hat. 50The Cap of a 33° Inspector General Honorary Scottish Rite Mason who has been Honored for his work in the Scottish Rite, for outstanding Community Service, or for Outstanding Service to his Country. This is known as 33° Inspector General Honorary

SGIG.Cap.50The Cap of the SGIG, This would be a 33° Scottish Rite Mason who has been elected to the Governing Council of the Supreme Council and acting as the Leader of the Orient in which he governs. SGIG being the initials for the title of Sovereign Grand Inspector General.

What does the Fourteenth Degree Ring mean?

The Scottish Rite Fourteenth degree ring is a flat, plain band of gold, and embossed thereon is a plate in the form of an equilateral triangle and within the triangle is the Hebrew letter yud, the initial letters of Jehovah in Hebrew (yud he vau he). Inside the ring is inscribed the Fourteenth Degree Motto: Virtus Junxit, Mors Non Separabit (Virtue has united and death shall not separate). The rings circle expresses the unbreakable fraternal bond between Masons of all generations. Upon the death of the owner, the ring should go into the hands of his widow, eldest son, the friend who was loved above all others, or another Scottish Rite Mason.