I originally edited together a bunch of dissimilar information into a comprehensive overview of the Scottish Rite back in 2007. Since then, what I wrote was lovingly copied and pasted onto a whole bunch of websites, with all reference to my sources and myself cut from the work. I’m reposting the work here, so I get at least SOME credit for the work I did. – Shawn Bell, 32°
Our Supreme Council has in its Archives copies of the Degrees of the Rite of Perfection and of additional Degrees, including the 33°, which were in use at Charleston in 1801. Some of these old Degree documents are fragmentary, and some Degree manuscripts have not survived the centuries.
In the mid-19th century, Grand Commander Albert Pike revised these Degrees. He retained the original titles, substance, and sequence. Out of his own great scholarship and knowledge of ancient philosophies, he added new substance and significance to the Degrees, which enhanced their importance. The Southern Jurisdiction has continued to use the basic Albert Pike Rituals. While the Rubrics permit variations in the manner of their rendition, the Degrees have remained otherwise relatively unchanged. The Pike versions are also widely, although not exclusively, used elsewhere. For the past several years, as authorized by the Supreme Council and its Committee on Ritual and Ceremonial Forms, Dr. Rex R. Hutchens, 33°, Grand Cross, author of several authoritative books about Pike’s writings, has worked with a resource team of experienced Brethren to modernize the language, accent the significance, and enhance the dramatic performance of the Pike Degrees. The Revised Standard Ritual maintains the moral vision and philosophical integrity of the original Pike Degrees while making them more accessible to contemporary Brethren. The new Degrees are being honed through authorized trial performances in Valleys throughout the Southern Jurisdiction and is the official Ritual of the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A. Read more »