The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

Orient of Maryland

Council of Kadosh




The word Kadosh (קדוש) is a Hebrew word meaning Holy. Although Pike identifies the degrees of the Council of Kadosh as chivalric and philosophical, they are all intensely mystical with respect to the lessons conveyed and symbols employed.

 

19th degree - Grand Pontiff: The lessons of this degree are learned from the past and how it affects the present and the way we live in the future. We always strive to endure, produce and improve the world as it surrounds us. There is no apron, but the jewel is a gold "parallelogram" (rectangle) with a Greek Alpha on one side and an Omega on the other.
 
20th degree - Master of the Symbolic Lodge: This degree shows us Liberty, Fraternity and Equality. These teach moral, religious and philosophical understanding. This degree helps one to comprehend Deity, forces of nature, good and evil. The apron is yellow, bordered in blue, with three concentric point-down triangles, with the Tetragrammaton (horizontal) and "Fiat Lux" (vertical) at the center, forming a cross. Its triangular shape relates to the "fourth great light, which reminds us of the Deity and his attributes." The jewel is gold, with the same three concentric triangles.
 
21st degree - Noachite, or Prussian Knight: The lesson from this degree is to learn that arrogance; defamation and cowardice are unworthy attributes of a mason, and that humility, modesty and courtesy are the true virtues of men and Masons. The apron is yellow, and contains an arm holding a sword, and a winged figure holding a key in the left hand, and the right forefinger on the lips (the "Egyptian figure of Silence"). The jewel is an point-up triangle, with an arrow, point downward, an arm holding a sword, and the motto "Fiat Justitia, Ruat Coelum."
 
22nd degree - Knight Royal Axe, Prince of Libanus: This degree teaches, "if a job is worth doing its worth doing well". By doing good work we improve character and become better citizens. The apron is white, bordered in purple, and contains a three-headed serpent and a table with instruments and plans on it. The jewel is an axe and handle of gold. On the top of the handle are the initials of Noah and Solomon. In the middle of the handle are the initials of Libanus and Tsidun. On the blade are the initials of Adoniram, Cyrus, Darius, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, Ezra (on one side), and Shem, Kham, Yapheth, Moses, Ahaliab, Betselal (on the other).
 
23rd degree - Chief of the Tabernacle: This degree teaches that the man who forgets his duty to God, family, country, and himself will be in danger of morally and spiritually destruction by thoughts unworthy ambition. The apron is white, bordered with red, blue, and purple ribbons. These colors, from the curtains of the Tabernacle, represent earth, fire, air, and sea, respectively, as well as the Lord's beneficence, glory, wisdom, and power. On the apron is the golden seven-branched candlestick, representing the seven planets and virtues: Sun, faith ("aspiration toward the infinite"); Moon, hope; Venus, charity; Mars, fortitude ("victory over rage and anger"); Mercury, prudence; Saturn, temperance; Jupiter (conqueror of the Titans), justice. The jewel is a small silver censer, or ornamented cup, held by a handle in the shape of an open hand.
 
24th degree - Prince of the Tabernacle: In this degree a Mason must show evidence of compassion, piety and justice. After initiation he may "manifest faithfully the social virtues in order to receive the rewards", to serve humanity through our brotherhood. The apron is of white lambskin, with scarlet, green, and blue. On it is a violet myrtle tree, and a gold representation of an Arabian tent. The jewel is the Hebrew letter ALEPH, suspended from a violet ribbon.
 
25th degree - Knight of the Brazen Serpent: This degree tackles the concept of pure, celestial, eternal soul of man. He looks within his faith, life, and God and to get a clear look at his inner self. The apron is white, lined in black, and with gold stars on the white side (Pleiades, Hyades, Orion, Capella) and with silver stars on the black side (Perseus, Scorpio, Bootes). Also on it is a serpent, ouroboros, surrounding a scarab, a triangle in a glory with the Tetragrammaton in its center, and the four initials of the stars Regulus, Aldebaran, Antares, and Fomalhaut. The jewel is a gold tau cross (crux ansata) with a serpent entwined around it, and the Hebrew words HLThI ("he has suffered or been wounded") and NChShThN ("the Brazen Serpent") on it.
 
26th degree - Prince of Mercy, or Scottish Trinitarian: In this degree we search for "the rewards of the trinity of Gods attributes - wisdom or intelligence, force or strength, harmony or beauty." The apron is scarlet, bordered in white, with a green triangle (point-down) in the center. In the triangle are the initials of Force, Wisdom, and Harmony, and a flaming heart of gold with the initials I.H.S. (Jesus Hominum Salvator; or Imperium, Harmonia, Sapientia). The jewel is gold, and is the same triangle, suspended by a purple ribbon.
 
27th degree - Knight of the Sun, or Prince Adept: This degree teaches that our love for God manifests itself in our love for Truth, Justice and Nobility of Soul. The apron is white lambskin, with a vermilion pentagram. The jewel is a golden sun on the obverse, and a hemisphere, showing the northern half of the ecliptic (Taurus to Libra) and zodiac.
 
28th degree - Knight Commander of the Temple: This lesson of this degree teaches us to scorn selfishness, and to uphold the knightly virtues of charity, truth and honor. We should always strive to assist the poor, helpless and infirm. The apron is of scarlet lambskin, lined in black, with a Teutonic Cross (cross potent sable, charged with a smaller cross double potent or, surcharged with the escutcheon of the Empire - the two-headed black eagle) and a black key surrounded by a laurel wreath. The jewel is a gold triangle, on which the word I.R.N.I. is enameled.
 
29th degree - Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew: The virtues of this degree are "Love of God, loyalty to superiors, faithful adherence to promise and active resistance to unfair judgment." There is no apron. The jewel has two parts: on top is a gold hexagram, made of concave-outward triangles, with a compass open to 25 degrees inside it. On the bottom is suspended a gold St. Andrew's cross ("X"), with a knight's helmet, winged serpent ouroboros, key, and a point-down triangle. In the center of the cross is a Hebrew YOD, and on its points, clockwise from bottom, the Hebrew letters N M I N.
 
30th degree - Knight of Kadosh, or Knight of the White and Black Eagle: The lesson of this degree is to be true to ourselves, to stand for what is right and just in our lives today. To believe in God, country and ourselves. There is no apron, but the jewel is a gold Teutonic cross, enameled in red, with the letters J.'.B.'.M.'. on the obverse, and a skull transpierced by a poinard on the reverse.