|Home of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville (IL)|
Once a man becomes a Master Mason in his local lodge, or Blue Lodge, he has received the highest degree in Freemasonry--the 3°. However, that doesn't necessarily mean he's done. If he wants to, he can decide to continue learning more about the principles of Freemasonry by joining one of appendant bodies of Freemasonry where he can receive additional degrees--additional degrees, not higher degrees. As I said, there is no degree higher than that of Master Mason. The York Rite is one of these appendant bodies (and I'll talk about them another time), and the Scottish Rite is another.
|Officers of Danville's Lodge of Perfection|
The degrees are performed like stage plays and often include elaborate costumes, lights, sound, music, and special effects. The allegory in each of these degrees illustrates a particular principle, virtue or tenet meaningful to the Scottish Rite Mason. Every year (in most places twice a year) a Scottish Rite Valley meets in what they call a reunion. That's the place where Scottish Rite Masons come together to socialize, and to put on degrees for new members who have petitioned to join the Scottish Rite. Another purpose of a reunion is to continue the tradition of the Scottish Rite by conferring the 32° on another group of worthy Master Masons.
|Lunch at the Valley of Danville Reunion|
But the Scottish Rite is more than just about reunions, degrees, and socializing--the Scottish Rite's goals, like with all the bodies of Freemasonry, is to make good men better, and the world a better place. And at the Valley of Danville, we've been doing that for 107 years.