Participation in Freemasonry is a phenomenal experience.
By it, we are encouraged to subdue our passions by keeping them within due bounds. However, interests can vary and extend past what Freemasonry has to offer.
What is the solution for this?
What is a Mason to do if he wants more out of Masonry?
The solutions that have arisen in most grand lodge jurisdictions are appendant/concordant and affiliate bodies.
These are groups that those who are already Master Masons may join.
Though there are scores of such groups that one may join, we will list the most common here below:
- The Scottish Rite
- The York Rite
- Capitular Masonry
- Chivalric Masonry
- Shriners, International
- Widows Sons and Craftsmen
The Scottish Rite
The Scottish Rite is an appendant/concordant body; its degrees are often mislabeled by non-Masons as the highest degrees of Freemasonry.
This body delves into Masonic esotericism, making comparisons of various philosophies.
Its degrees can vary by jurisdiction. The United States of America has a Northern Jurisdiction and a Southern Jurisdiction.
Other countries, like England and the Netherlands, each only have one jurisdiction so far as I am aware.
In the United States, the degrees are divided thus:
|Degree||Southern Jurisdiction||Northern Jurisdiction|
|4°||Lodge of Perfection||Secret Master||Lodge of Perfection||Builder|
|5°||Perfect Master||Perfect Master|
|6°||Intimate Secretary||Master of the Brazen Serpent|
|7°||Provost and Judge||Provost and Judge|
|8°||Intendant of the Building||Intendant of the Building|
|9°||Elu of the Nine||Master of the Temple|
|10°||Elu of the Fifteen||Master Elect|
|11°||Elu of the Twelve||Sublime Master Elected|
|12°||Grand Master Architect||Master of Mercy|
|13°||Royal Arch of Solomon (Knight of the Ninth Arch)||Master of the Ninth Arch|
|14°||Perfect Elu (Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason)||Grand Elect Mason|
|15°||Rose Croix||Knight of the East, of the Sword, or the Eagle||Council of Princes of Jerusalem||Knight of the East, or Knight of the Sword|
|16°||Prince of Jerusalem||Prince of Jerusalem|
|17°||Knight of the East and West||Chapter of Rose Croix||Knight of the East and West|
|18°||Knight of the Rose Croix||Knight Rose Croix de Heredom|
|19°||Council of Kadosh||Grand Pontiff||Consistory||Brother of the Trail|
|20°||Master of the Symbolic Lodge||Master ad Vitam|
|21°||Noachite, or Prussian Knight||Patriarch Noachite|
|22°||Knight of the Royal Axe (Prince of Libanus)||Prince of Libanus|
|23°||Chief of the Tabernacle||Knight of Valor|
|24°||Prince of the Tabernacle||Brother of the Forest|
|25°||Knight of the Brazen Serpent||Master of Achievement|
|26°||Prince of Mercy||Friend and Brother Eternal|
|27°||Knight of the Sun (formerly 28°)||Knight of Jerusalem|
|28°||Knight Commander of the Temple (formerly 27°)||Knight of the Sun, or Prince Adept|
|29°||Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew||Knight of Saint Andrew|
|30°||Knight Kadosh||Grand Inspector|
|31°||Consistory||Inspector Inquisitor||Knight Aspirant|
|32°||Master of the Royal Secret||Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret|
|33°||Supreme Council||Inspector General||Supreme Council||Sovereign Grand Inspector General|
The Southern Jurisdiction has the following charities:
- RiteCare: a program that helps children overcome speech impediments.
- National scholarships for Scottish Rite members, their siblings, spouses, children, and grandchildren; it also has scholarships for youth who are in DeMolay International, International Order of Rainbow for Girls, and Job’s Daughters International.
- It also has a program of recognition for outstanding JROTC and ROTC students.
- Disaster relief
The Northern Jurisdiction has the following charities:
- White Flower Society: A fund to assist Master Masons’ widows.
- Alumni Association: A program that gives back to Children’s Dyslexia Centers.
- Abbot Scholarships: Named for Leon M. Abbott who served as Sovereign Grand Commander from 1921 to 1932, this is for members of the Scottish Rite Northern Jurisdiction, youth from Scottish Rite families, and youth in DeMolay International, International Order of Rainbow for Girls, and Job’s Daughters International.
- Masonic Museum and Library
The York Rite
The York Rite is actually a grouping of three separate bodies in the United States and Canada; in the rest of the world, they are not so grouped.
None of the degrees or orders thereof are numerated like in Freemasonry or in the Scottish Rite.
Also called Royal Arch Masonry, this is a continuation of the allegories presented in the three degrees of Freemasonry. It is broken down into four degrees:
- Mark Master Mason
- (Virtual) Past Master
- Most Excellent Master
- Royal Arch Mason
Its charity is Royal Arch Research Assistance, which focuses on helping to work against CAPD.
This is governed worldwide by the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International.
This is also a continuation of the three degrees of Masonry. It is broken down into three degrees:
- Royal Master
- Select Master
- Super Excellent Master
Its charity is the Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation, which currently funds research to help prevent atherosclerosis.
This is governed worldwide by the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International.
Formally named The United Religious, Military, and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes, and Malta and generally referred to as the Knights Templar, this body is for Masons who profess a belief in Christianity.
It is required to have already gone through the Royal Arch degrees; in many grand jurisdictions, it is also required to have already gone through the Cryptic degrees.
It is broken down into three orders (instead of degrees):
- The Illustrious Order of the Red Cross
- The Order of Malta
- The Order of the Temple
There is no global entity that presides over all the jurisdictions; however, there are nationwide entities. In the United States of America and some other foreign countries, it is the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, USA; in England, it is the Grand Priory of Knights Templar.
There are various nationwide jurisdictions like these all over the world.
In the USA, the Grand Encampment has the following charities:
- The Knights Templar Eye Foundation: This foundation funds research into ocular diseases with the intent of curing and preventing blindness in children.
- The Knights Templar Holy Land Pilgrimage: This is a foundation by which local Knight Templar jurisdictions will send full-time, credentialed ministers or pastors from their community to Jerusalem so that the pastors/ministers may learn more about the Holy Land. Nominees for this program do not have to be Knights Templar or Masons.
Up until 2020, the regulation requiring a belief in Christianity was relaxed in various grand jurisdictions throughout the USA, requiring that candidates simply promise to defend the Christian religion.
As of 2020, however, only Christians may join; those who were already in the order who were not Christians were grandfathered in so that they could remain part of the organization.
Formerly named The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, this affiliate body started off as a fun drinking club for Masons.
However, with the outbreaks of polio at the beginning of the 20th century, the Shriners started saving up to fund medical research and to pay for children’s treatment.
Today, Shriner’s, Intl. has hospitals all over the United States of America and a few in other countries (like Mexico, Germany, and the Philippines).
Most of these hospitals specialize in treating children who are burn victims, who were born with cleft palates, who have cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular issues, etc.
Many of the vaccines, cures, and procedural techniques that we have today for various diseases and/or injuries came about in part by the Shriners.
One does not need to be a doctor to be a Shriner. Shriners raise funds so that these hospitals can treat children without the children’s families being charged.
Though it was originally required for one to be a 32° in the Scottish Rite or to be a Knight Templar of the York Rite, today it is only required that one be a Master Mason in good standing to join.
Widows Sons and Craftsmen
Two international Masonic motorcycle clubs are the Widows Sons and the Craftsman.
The Widows Sons is the more extensive motorcycle club; however, the Craftsman was established in response to a few issues that the Widows Sons had.
These are just a few of the more popular groups that a Mason may join, but it is not an extensive list by any means.
There are scores of such groups covering a wide range of interests.
Of course, if you cannot find a group that meets your interests, you could always start one (contact your grand lodge for guidance on how to do so)!
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This article was written for MasonicFind.com by Brandon Cole, SW.