What Is 32° Freemasonry?

It is a branch of Freemasonry designed to supplement and amplify the philosophical teachings of the first three degrees conferred in the Symbolic Lodge. The Scottish Rite allows a Master Mason to journey deeper into the ethical teachings and philosophy of blue lodge Masonry through dramatic presentation. The Scottish Rite is sometimes called the "University of Freemasonry" because it uses extensive allegory and drama in its degrees to explore the philosophy, history, ethics, and fundamental truths that guide Freemasons' lives.

Is 32° Freemasonry Different than the Scottish Rite?

No. The Scottish Rite confers degrees from 4°-32°. We are reinvigorating the use of the term 32° 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.

Where Does the Scottish Rite Come From?

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 Stephen Morin of France that the ritual we practice today began to coalesce into a form recognizable to a modern Scottish Rite Mason. “Scottish” is in name only.

How Do I Become a 32° Freemason?

To become a 32° Freemason, you must first be a Master Mason. To find out more about joining the Brotherhood of Freemasonry, please click here for more information. 

If you are already a Master Mason and want to proceed to the 32°, you can complete a membership application to join a Scottish Rite Valley near you and begin your journey towards becoming a 32° Scottish Rite Mason. 


Why Become a 32° Freemason?

Although in the craft of Freemasonry there is no degree considered higher than that of a Master Mason, the degrees of 32° Freemasonry enrich and expand the teachings of the Symbolic Lodge. As a 32° 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.

By joining 32° Freemasonry, you have an opportunity to journey more deeply into Freemasonry, widen your circle of friends, and serve your Brothers in unique ways.

What Are the Benefits of Being a 32° Freemason?

Further light in Masonry through the exemplification of the 4°-32°

Membership in a fraternity that puts the Masonic obligation of caring for each other at the center of all we do

Expanded network of Masons in each of the 101 Valleys in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction

Brother-to-Brother calling to stay in contact with members

Premium website content for members only

Additional online educational resources for members only so you can delve even deeper into the degrees

Regular programming with Scottish Rite leaders and Brothers to keep us connected

An ongoing, private forum space to discuss any and all things Masonic (coming soon)

How Many Degrees Are There in 32° Freemasonry?

There are 29 regular degrees, which follow the three degrees conferred in blue lodges. The 33˚ is honorary and is conferred only by the Supreme Council, the governing body of Scottish Rite Masonry.

What Are the Degrees Like?

The degrees of the Scottish Rite are plays, often staged with costumes, scenery, special effects, and the full rigging of a dramatic production. Their purpose is to present Masonic philosophy so that men might understand the reason and purpose of life, and thereby gain the knowledge and inspiration to better themselves and society.

How Are the Degrees Organized?

The degrees of 32° Freemasonry are organized within four bodies:

The Lodge of Perfection (4°-14°)

These degrees are called Ineffable Degrees. Their principal purpose is the investigation and contemplation of the ineffable name of Deity.

4° - Master Traveler

The 4° emphasizes duty, fidelity, integrity, and the necessity for secrecy in all confidential relationships.

5° - Perfect Master

This degree teaches that honesty and trustworthiness are the cornerstones of the foundation of Masonic honor. These virtues should be in all of our undertakings. The lessons of the 5° are honesty, sincerity, and good faith.

6° - Master of the Brazen Serpent

Duty, charity, and toleration are the lessons presented in the 6°. We are encouraged to be charitable, exercise self-control, work for peace, and be successful. This degree teaches that devotion to one’s friends and zealousness in performing one’s duties are rewarding virtues.

7° - Provost and Judge

This degree teaches us to judge righteously, and that one law and one custom shall apply to all. Let justice be impartial, tempered with mercy.

8° - Intendant of the Building

Honor is crucial in perfecting the moral code, and benevolence and charity are necessary virtues of leadership.

9° - Master Elect of Temple

This degree reminds us that through the ages, man has searched for God in many ways, and worshiped in many tongues. Universal worship, however, is found in service to our fellow man.

10° - Master Elect of Fifteen

The 10° posits that a violator of his obligations and commitments will be punished, and, further, excuses, rationalizations, and other evidence of lack of repentance will likely increase the severity of the penalties.

11° - Sublime Master Elected

This degree focuses on good citizenship. Honesty and respect for others should be rewarded. We are called upon to be earnest, honest, and sincere.

12° - Grand Master Architect

The Mason, as he learns to use the tools and instruments of his trade, also learns to contemplate the many aspects of life. The Mason steadily advances to heights of experience that we call perfection.

13° - Master of the Ninth Arch

This degree teaches that difficulties and dangers, however great, should not deter the true and faithful brother from striving for perfection. It teaches the great truth that the finest things in life come only as the result of constant and often painful effort.

14° - Grand Elect Mason

This degree represents the apex of the ancient craft Masonry. As the crowning degree of the Lodge of Perfection, its essence is the holiness of God and reverence for His holy name.

Council of Princes of Jerusalem (15°-16°)

The Degrees of the Council of Princes of Jerusalem are known as the historical degrees. They take place during the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Zerubbabel follow the release of the Israelites from Babylon.

15° - Knight of the East or Sword

This degree teaches the important lessons of loyalty to conviction and devotion to all that is right.

16° - Prince of Jerusalem

Loyalty to truth and fidelity to duty are the lessons of the 16°.

Chapter of Rose Croix (17°-18°)

The Degrees of the Chapter of Knights of Rose Croix are known as the philosophical degrees. They are complex, as they attempt to invest the candidate with a deeper understanding of religion, philosophy, ethics, and history. The intellectual challenges presented in these degrees can take years to master.

17° - Knight of the East and West.

The lessons of this degree are that loyalty to God is man’s primary allegiance, and if temporal governments are not founded upon God and His righteousness, they will inevitably fall.

18° - Knight of the Rose Croix of H.R.D.M.

Man must have a new Temple in his heart where God is worshipped in spirit and in truth. He must have a new law of love that all men everywhere may understand and practice. This degree affirms the broad principles of universality and tolerance.

Consistory (19°-32°)

The degrees conferred in the Consistory are known as the traditional and the chivalric degrees. The traditional degrees are those from 19 to 29. The chivalric degrees are the 30th to the 32nd.

19° - Grand Pontiff

This degree proclaims the spiritual unity of all who believe in God and cherish the hope of immortality, no matter what religious leader they follow or what creed they profess. It is concerned primarily with the perennial conflict between light and darkness, good and evil, God and Satan.

20° - Master ad Vitam

This is a drama of the American spirit confronting the challenge of disloyalty and treason. Masonic principles and leadership are subjected to a crucial test. The degree demonstrates the Masonic condemnation of all who conspire against the security of the nation and the happiness of our people.

21° - Patriarch Noachite

This degree teaches that Freemasonry is not a shield for evildoing and that justice is one of the chief supports of our fraternity.

22° - Prince of Libanus

The dignity of labor is celebrated in the 22°. It is a privilege for man to be allowed to earn his sustenance by work. It is idleness, not labor, that is ignoble.

23° - Chief of the Tabernacle

This degree teaches that those with faith in God and love for their fellow man are those who make great sacrifices to help others.

24° - Brother of the Forest

The 24° brings forth the lesson that a mutual belief in a supreme power will bind all men together in a worldwide brotherhood.

25° - Master of Achievement

Every life faces stretches of barrenness. The same is true in the life of every nation. Often there is a resultant breakdown of discipline and loss of faith. This degree is a clarion call to have faith in ourselves, in each other, and in God.

26° - Prince of Mercy

This degree teaches the importance of being merciful. A spirit of compassion and a tenderness of heart disposes us to put injuries into perspective and to treat an offender in a righteous way.

27° - Knight of Jerusalem

32°Freemasonry teaches the concept of a free church in a free state, all existing in cooperation for the common good.

28° - Knight of the Sun

The symbolism of the tools and implements of architecture is central in this degree. By building high moral character among its members, Freemasonry may carry humanity’s quest for unity and goodwill throughout the world.

29°- Knight of St. Andrew

Masonic teachings of equality and toleration are emphasized here. We are reminded that no one man, no one church, no one religion, has a monopoly on truth. While we must be true and faithful to our own convictions, we must respect the opinions of others.

30° - Grand Inspector

This degree sets forth the tests and ceremonies that symbolize the experiences we must undergo in the building of excellence in character.

31° - My Brother’s Keeper

A Brother’s Keeper deals with the core values of service and integrity. It is based on biblical accounts of the story of Cain and Abel and the parable of the Good Samaritan. The degree deals with fulfilling our obligation to aid and assist our brothers in distress.

32° - Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret

This degree describes the victory of the spiritual over the corporal. It describes the conquest of appetites and passions by moral sense and reason. The exemplar in the degree represents every Freemason who is eager to serve humanity, but is caught between self-interest and the call of duty. Duty often requires sacrifice—and sometimes it is the supreme sacrifice.

How Does 32° Freemasonry Expand on the Degrees I Received in My Blue Lodge?

It presents in degrees from the fourth to the 32nd an interpretation of the lessons of the first three degrees by the use of drama and lectures appealing to both the ear and eye to explore the great truths that Freemasonry professes.

Are 32° Freemasonry Degrees Considered Higher than the 3° of Master Mason?

No. There is no Masonic distinction of higher prestige than that of a Master Mason. The noblest and most significant emblem is the apron of the Master Mason. 32° Freemasonry will take you deeper into the study of Masonic values, philosophy, and teachings.

What Is Required for Membership in 32° Freemasonry?

You must be a member in good standing in a Masonic lodge, and belief in a Supreme Being is essential. The usual Masonic conditions of residence and sponsorship apply.

Will I Be Required to Do Any Memorizing?

No. To earn the degrees of 32° Freemasonry, you witness the ceremonies and drama and listen to the illustrative lectures. In order for you to more fully understand and appreciate what you have seen and heard, most 32° Masons attend future presentations of the degrees.

Are There Any Religious Disqualifications?

32° Freemasonry does not intrude on the religious beliefs of its members, but it does require that all members profess a belief in a Supreme Being. It does not attempt to teach creed of any kind, nor does 32° Freemasonry pretend to be a religion or a substitute for religion. The Scottish Rite practices universality.

What Does It Cost to Join?

Minimum initiation fees have been established by the Supreme Council, but each Valley, Council, Chapter, and Consistory fixes its own fees. Each body also requires annual dues as fixed by its bylaws. Some bodies have a provision in their bylaws permitting a member to prepay his dues for the life of his membership in that body. 

Membership costs will be outlined for you by your local Valley.

Will I Be Able to Become Involved in 32° Freemasonry?

If you would like to become involved in 32° Freemasonry and make your wishes known, you can expect to be invited to participate. There is a place for you in many of the degree presentations depending on your interests, talents, and experience. For instance, you may serve as a guard or a member of the choir, or be part of the wardrobe committee, the stage crew, or the makeup team. You can be an actor in a minor or major role, as your talents permit. There is also the possibility of being on the reception committee or being an officer of the body. You can contact us for specific inquiries. 

When Am I Able to Wear the Scottish Rite Ring?

After receiving the 14th degree.

After Joining 32° Freemasonry, Can I, or Must I, Demit from My Masonic Lodge?

No. Termination of membership in a Masonic lodge for any reason automatically terminates your membership in the Scottish Rite.

What Is a Reunion?

Most Valleys to hold what we call a “Reunion” of the members once or twice a year. At the Reunion, the degrees of the Lodge of Perfection, Princes of Jerusalem, Chapter of Rose Croix, or Consistory are conferred on a class of candidates over a period of a few days. The Reunion also provides the opportunity for social fellowship. This format is also more convenient for members and candidates living some distance from the meeting place.

Is It Improper to Ask Another Master Mason to Join 32° Freemasonry?

No! Please have no hesitation in inviting a Brother to join. By helping a Brother journey deeper into the teachings of Masonry, you are providing him with the opportunity to not only experience additional fellowship, but to find the true and best version of himself.

What is the dress code?

It ranges from casual to formal depending on the event. Check out this document for a full breakdown.

How can I rejoin the organization ?

Please reach out to William Holland for more information on rejoining the organization.