Scottish Rite Freemasonary

Secret Societies

Scottish Rite Freemasonry - part 1 of 2

A Political Force

(1) Chevalier Andrew Ramsay

"...There was a bitter conflict between England and Scotland around the turn of the fourteenth century, and from that time Scotland's cultural orientation shifted from England to the Continent. This change in perspective is observable in the Scottish architecture of the period - Melrose Abbey, for example, exhibits much French influence; and it is likely that the French masons involved would have come with their philosophical as well as their practical workings."
- W. K. Kirk MacNulty, Freemasonry - A Journey through Ritual and Symbol

"Decades before the English Grand Lodge was created, many Masons in Scotland were already known to be helping the Stuarts. These Scottish loyalists used their lodges as secret meeting places in which to hatch political intrigues. Pro-Stuart Masonic activity may go as far back as 1660 - the year of the Stuart Restoration (when the Stuarts took the throne back from the Puritans). According to some early Masons, the Restoration was largely a Masonic feat. General Monk, who played such a pivotal role in the Restoration, was reported to be a Freemason."

Michael "Ramsey was a Scottish mystic who had been hired by James III to tutor James' two sons in France. Ramsey's goal was to re-establish the disgraced Templar Knights in Europe. To accomplish this, Ramsey adopted the same approach used by the Mother Grand Lodge system of London: the resurrected knights Templar were to be a secret mystical/fraternal society open to men of varied occupations. The old knightly titles, uniforms, and 'tools of the trade' were to be used for symbolic, fraternal and ritual purposes within a Masonic context."
- William Bramley, The Gods of Eden

Charles Radclyffe, an alleged Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, presided over the Freemason lodge at which Chevalier Andrew Ramsay (a friend of Newton- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.

"From its beginnings, which only shortly antedated Ramsay's intervention in 1736, French Masonry had been patronized by the highest aristocracy; this may have owed something to the Jacobite Scottish peers who had been Grand Masters of some early French lodges. The craft was supposed to have grown from 'operative' stonemasons, but in addressing a noble audience Ramsay naturally looked for something more dignified than a lineage of humble British artisans. So he gave Freemasonry a fictitious crusading parentage, suggesting that some medieval Crusaders had been both stoneworkers and knightly warriors." "It was Ramsay, in a speech to French Freemasons ['Apology for the Free and Accepted Masons'], who suggested "that the Freemasons had access to ancient wisdom which was partly biblical in origin, and connected with the Old Testament patriarchs and the builders of the Temple, but which also reflected Egyptian and Greek mysteries, and other hidden secrets of the pagan world....He did not refer to the Masons of crusading times as a class of humble artisans but as 'religious and warlike princes who wished to enlighten, edify and build up the living Temples of the Most High'...The apparent literalness of his earlier reference to the 'Temple of Solomon' has been dropped in favor of a transparent metaphor for nobility of character and aims."
- Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

"It was Ramsay's conceit that the Crusaders were Masons as well as Templars and that the secret words of Freemasonry originated as the watchwords of military camps. He said that by the end of the Crusades, several Masonic lodges had already been built on the European continent. Prince Edward, son of the English king Henry III, allegedly took pity on the vanquished Christian armies in Palestine after the last Crusade and brought them back to Britain in the thirteenth century. In his homeland, according to Ramsay, the prince - who later reigned as Edward I - established a colony of brothers renaming themselves Freemasons."
- Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects

"Of the Templars Ramsay did not breathe a word. On the contrary, he spoke of intimacy between the Crusader Masons and the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, who were said to have been the occasion of giving the Masonic lodges the title of 'Lodges of St John'."
- Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

(2) Jacobite Freemasonry

"The esoteric element was more prominent in the 'Red' Masonry than in the 'Blue'. But Red or Scottish Masonry can also be seen as a return to more traditional ideas of hierarchy and social order....But the Scottish higher degrees meant the implied rejection of at least a part of the ideal of egalitarianism. The higher grades involved the subordination of the lower, and also the ignorance on the part of the lower grades of the wisdom enjoyed by the higher."
- Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

"To affect their pro-Stuart political aims, the Scottish lodges changed the Biblical symbolism of the third Blue Degree into political symbolism to represent the House of Stuart. Ramsey's 'higher' degrees contained additional symbolism 'revealing' why Freemasons had a duty to help the Stuarts against the throne of England. Because of this, manly people viewed Scottish Freemasonry as a clever attempt to lure freemasons away from the Mother Grand Lodge system which supported the Hanoverian monarchy and turn the new converts into pro-Stuart Masons. "The Stuarts themselves joined Ramsey's organization. James III adopted the Templar title 'Chevalier St. George'. His son, Charles Edward, was initiated into the Order of Knights Templar on Setember 24, 1745, the same year in which he led a major Jacobite invasion of Scotland. Two years later, on April 15, 1747, Charles Edward established a masonic 'Scottish Jacobite Chapter' in the French city of Arras."
- William Bramley, The Gods of Eden

"We, Charles Edward, King of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland, and as such Substitute Grand Master of the Chapter of H., known by the title of Knight of the Eagle and Pelican..."
- Arras Lodge Charter

During their stay in France in 1745, the "Young Pretender" Bonnie Prince Charlie and other Stuarts "had become deeply involved in the dissemination of Freemasonry. Indeed they are generally regarded as the source of the particular form of Freemasonry known as 'Scottish Rite'. 'Scottish Rite' Freemasonry introduced higher degrees than those offered by other Masonic systems at the time. It promised initiation into greater and more profound mysteries - mysteries supposedly preserved and handed down in Scotland. It established more direct connections between Freemasonry and the various activities - alchemy, Cabalism and Hermetic thought, for instance - which were regarded as 'Rosecrucian'. And it elaborated not only on the antiquity but also on the illustrious pedigree of the 'craft'."

"...It did not, like many rites of Freemasonry, consist primarily of free-thinkers and atheists. On the contrary, it seems to have been deeply religious and magically oriented - emphasizing a sacred social and political hierarchy, a divine order, an underlying cosmic plan. And the upper grades or degrees of this Freemasonry, according to M. Chaumeil [Le Tresor du triangle d'or] were the lower grades or degrees of the Prieure de Sion."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

"In the aftermath of the 1745 rebellion, Jacobite Freemasonry as such, with its specific political orientation and allegiance to the Stuart bloodline, effectively died out. Variations of it, however, purged of political content and tempered by the moderation of the Grand Lodge of England, survived. They survived in part through the so-called 'higher' degrees' offered by such institutions as Irish Grand Lodge. Most important, however, they survived within the Strict Observance promulgated by Hund - of which the highest degree was that of 'Knight Templar'. The Strict Observance was to spread throughout Europe."
- Baigent & Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge

(3) The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite

"The rite in its present form of thirty-three degrees was reorganized at the end of the eighteenth century by some half dozen Masonic adventurers at Charleston, South Carolina."
- Charles Sotheran (1877)

The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (AASR) "is an appendant body of Masonry, meaning that it is not part of the Blue Lodge per se, but closely associated with Masonry. It requires that a man be a Master Mason before joining the Scottish Rite. The Scottish Rite confers the 4th through 32nd degrees. The degree work may be, but is not necessarily, completed at one time. Any Master Mason is eligible to join the Scottish Rite. The degrees of the Scottish Rite continue the symbolism of the first three Masonic degrees." "The Scottish Rite awards a special honorary degree, the 33rd, to those it feels has made an outstanding contribution to Masonry, the community as a whole, and to mankind. There is no way to 'achieve' this degree or 'take' it, in the sense that one takes the 4th through 32nd degrees in the Scottish Rite. It is a singular honor, rarely bestowed, and greatly admired."
- Andrew Fabbro, "Freemasonry FAQ" Version 1.2

"Scottish Rite Masonry has almost a million members in America..." "In one jurisdiction, the Scottish Rite Mason is made a 'Knight Kadosh'. Kadosh is direct from the Hebrew, and means 'holy'. The 'Holy Knight' of this degree is the Knight Templar. The story of the final days of Grand Master Jacques de Molay, along with a brief history of the Templar order, is recounted to the candidate for the degree. The spirit of the degree is to call upon the initiate to be aware of, and to resolutely oppose, all forms of personal and religious injustice."
- John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)

(4) Templarism

"The birthplace of Templarism was Germany, where the egalitarian and rationalist thrust of Freemasonry was resisted by an old-fashioned and rank-dominated society, and there was a demand for a version of the Masonic craft acceptable to conservative doctrine and Gothic taste. During the Seven Years War a French prisoner in Germany co-operated with a German pastor who went under the name of Samuel Rosa to concoct a Templar myth to serve the ritual needs of the Masonic lodges." "According to their story the Grand Masters of the Order had been in possession of special spiritual illumination deriving from the Jewish sect of the Essenes. This had passed through the control of the Canons of the Holy Sepulcher at Jerusalem, and had gone thence to the Order of the Temple. Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master, was by these story-writers given the Masonic name of Hiram, which according to Masonic lore had been the name of the murdered builder of the Temple of Solomon."

"The idea of vengeance to be exacted for a wronged and murdered magus was embedded in orthodox Masonic lore in the form of the myth of the murder of the Temple-builder, Hiram, and of the despatch by Solomon of chosen masters to avenge his death. There was originally no particular political context for this supposed murder and its atonement, though the paraphernalia of swords, skeletons, and decapitated dolls which was used in some lodges to represent the events was already alarming enough."

"The idea of the Masonic 'grades of vengeance' was that certain enlightened persons, each step in enlightenment being the object of a 'grade', were formally committed to avenge the sacrilegious murder of the Temple-builder, Hiram. The thirtieth grade, for example, was that of the 'Knight Kadosch', who played at being the medieval Justiciar or Chief Justice. If Hiram was to be identified with Jacques de Molay, certain Masonic Templar knights could be regarded as pledged to revenge the Order on the French monarchy."

"The most successful organizer of German Templarism, who came for a time close to controlling the whole apparatus of German Freemasonry, was Karl Gotthelf von Hund, a substantial landowner in north-east Electoral Saxony. Hund was very different from the self-seeking charlatans such as Johnson and Rosa; he was much more of a self-deluded fanatic, said to have gone through life almost like a sleepwalker. He had begun his Masonic studies in France, and at about the same time as the invention of the other Templar myths he had produced his own." "At the summit of Hund's organization stood an authority which could never be identified, that of the 'Unknown Superiors'. To these mysterious and in fact non-existent persons Hund demanded complete and unquestioning obedience, especially as regards the delivery of scientific information about alchemical operations. Hund appears genuinely to have believed that the Young Pretender was the Unknown head of his Order, and though, erroneously, that he had met him when he had himself been 'professed' or initiated in France. In fact, so far as is known, the Young Pretender was unaware of Hund's existence, and the Comte de Clermonot in France, to whom Hund also professed obedience, seems to have paid no more attention to him.
- Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

As a further extension to the "Scottish Rite", the "Strict Observance" demanded "an oath of unswerving, unquestioning obedience to the mysterious 'unknown superiors'. And the basic tenet of the 'Strict Observance' was that it had descended directly from the Knights Templar, some of whom had purportedly survived the purge of 1307-14 and perpetuated their Order in Scotland."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

"In 1782 [the Duke of] Brunswick decided to solve his doubts by holding a final Conference or Convent of the Order at Wilhelmsbad, near Hanau in Hessen. True to its aristocratic origins, the last gathering of the Strict Observance was a blue-blooded affair. But disillusion and decay were patent. The successively unveiled mysteries of the Order had yielded nothing but boring ritual; the alchemists had made no discoveries, the Templar lands would never be returned. No one expected to identify the long-concealed Unknown Superiors. The thirst for mystical illumination remained, but hope of quenching it at the Templar spring was over."
- Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

(end of part 1)

Back To Secret Societies