What is the Scottish Rite?

The Scottish Rite seeks to strengthen the community and believes that each man should act in civil life according to his individual judgment and the dictates of his conscience.

A member of the Scottish Rite seeks to:
Exalt the dignity of every person, the human side of his daily activities, and the maximum service to humanity. 
Aid mankind's search in God's universe for identity, for development and for destiny, and thereby produce better men in a better world, happier men in a happier world and wiser men in a wiser world.
The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry.

In the United States the Scottish Rite is officially recognized by Grand Lodges as an extension of the degrees of Freemasonry.The Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy offered in the craft lodge, or blue lodge, through dramatic presentation of the individual degrees.
About the Supreme Council

The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in each country is governed by a Supreme Council. There is no international governing body — each Supreme Council in each country is sovereign unto itself.

In the U.S. there are two Supreme Councils. The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (NMJ) is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, and the Southern Jurisdiction (SJ) in Washington, DC.
The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction refers to state organizations as Councils of Deliberation and the local bodies are organized into Valleys.

The System of Degrees:

Each Valley has up to four Scottish Rite bodies, and each body confers a set of degrees. In the Northern Masonic Jurusdiction, the bodies are the following:
  • Lodge of Perfection (4°–14°)
  • Council of Princes of Jerusalem (15°–16°)
  • Chapter of Rose Croix (17°–18°)
  • Consistory (19°–32°)
The Supreme Council confers the 33° of Sovereign Grand Inspector General

Attainment of the third Masonic degree, that of a Master Mason, represents the attainment of the highest rank in all of Masonry. Any Master Mason stands as an equal before every other Master Mason, regardless of position, class, or other degrees.

Additional degrees are sometimes referred to as appendant degrees, even where the degree numbering might imply a hierarchy. Appendant degrees represent a lateral movement in Masonic Education rather than an upward movement. These are not degrees of rank, but rather degrees of instruction.

In many countries, some craft lodges use Scottish Rite ritual in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees.

In the United States, members of the Scottish Rite can be elected to receive the 33° by the Supreme Council. It is conferred on members who have made major contributions to society or to Masonry in general.

The Supreme Council is the governing body of the Scottish Rite in the various jurisdictions, and charters all subordinate bodies. Voting members of the Supreme Council are chosen from among those members who have obtained the 33°.  These members are referred to as Active Members.