31st ° - Inspector Inquisitor

Let us inspect our own inner self and inquire into our own acts and motives.

The title of this Degree conveys the thought of self-examination. Every man, and more especially every Mason, should ponder prayerfully and soberly on his thoughts and acts of the day. Thw wrongs of today must not be repeated on the tomorrow, for each day should add some light and truth for our guidance for the next, and then as time goes by our characters should be so far above reproach that the world would instinctively say: "There is a good man for he is a Mason."





32nd ° - Master of the Royal Secret

Be one who loveth wisdom and coveteth knowledge, that you may hereafter be a benefactor of men.

In this Degree the crowning point is reached by those who have studied and thought. The Royal Secret like the occult science of the ancients is concealed even here - but remember, "Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted." Magic, contrary to the belief of many, is but the absolute science of nature and its laws, hence the Star of Hope shines for us as truly as it did for the Wise Men of the East two thousand years ago. Today, as in the first days of the creation, the universal equilibrium still retains its predominant position in the eternal plan of the Omnipotent. Good and evil, right and wrong, justice and mercy, attraction and repulsion, balance each other to teach us to remember ourselves as immortal souls, retaining for each other respect and charity and remembering always that each is slowly climbing to the State of Perfection, the final Goal of all.

Council of Kadosh

19th ° - Grand Pontiff

Man hears the Proposals of Good and Evil; Be Patient, be Alert, Crush Falsehood, Baseness and Intolerance and you aid the coming of the Reign of Eternal Good.

This is the First Degree of the Council of Kadosh. In it the fact of the influence of the past upon the present and future is forcibly exemplified. The true Mason labors for the enlightenment of future ages. All good men hope to live after death through the work they have done. We still feel the influence of the deeds of heroism done in the past and are uplifted by the monuments of art and literature of ages gone by. It is the dead that govern. The living only obey. The Thoughts of the Past are the laws of the Present and the Future. That which shall live when we are dead, as a part of the great body of law enacted by the dead, is the only act worth doing, the only Thought worth speaking. Then let us so live that our acts may endure to uplift a brother yet unknown.




20th ° - Master of the Symbolic Lodge

Requirements and Responsibilities of Leadership are most demanding; Toleration, Justice and Truth in Leadership prompts rememberance with gratitude by those Governed.

As Grand Master of all Lodges, one must first learn to be able to teach. There is nothing more sublime than leading the initiate into the sublime truths of Masonry, but to do so properly requires study and thought. The lessons of this Degree are Liberty, Fraternity and Equality.






21st ° - Noachite or Prussian Knight

Count it always certain that Truth will win and Right will prevail in the end.

The history as well as the character of this degree is a very singular one. The Prussian Knights called themselves Noachites, or disciples of Noah; while all other Masons are designated as Hiramites, or disciples of Hiram. The destruction of the Tower of Babylon (whose chief builder was Phaleg) constitutes the legend of the degree. In this degree, we are admonished to be modest and humble, seeking ony the good in mankind and forgetting the evil. The fundamental idea of the degree is to teach the crime of assumption and the virtue of humility. Our ancient brethren met to redress wrongs and defend the helpless. The ancient meetings were held on the night of the full moon of each month.




22nd ° - Prince of Libanus

The lessons of this Degree have always been of great moment to a large number of people. The respect for labor itself and sympathy for the laboring classes are purely Masonic. Masonry has made the working man and his associates the heroes of her principal legend, and himself the companion of kings. From first to last, Masonry is work. Labor is man's great function, his peculiar distinction and his privilege. He pours his own thoughts into the moulds of nature, fashining them into forms of grace and fabrics of convenience.





23rd ° - Chief of the Tabernacle

Most of the ancient religious ceremonies consisted of public worship and private rites, called Mysteries, which only the initiated could attend. Only after years of practice of the most rigid virtue and great spiritual development could the initiate hope to attain the greater Mysteries. These ceremonies were often held at night in some secret place and consisted of sacred dramas, portraying some legend which contained a lesson, but little explanation was given and each candidate was left to interpret the truths for himself. Moses undoubtedly received from the Egyptians these Mysteries and in turn taught them to the Hebrew priesthood, emphasizing the doctrine of the one God supreme and inapproachable.




24th ° - Prince of the Tabernacle

Symbols were the universal language of an ancient theology. Symbolic instruction was the uniform usage of antiquity as a system of mysterious communication. The Mysteries were a series of symbols which strove to recall to man his divine origin, and point out to him, the means of returning thither. The great science acquired in the Mysteries was knowedge of man's self, of the nobleness of his origin, the grandeur o fhis destiny, and his superiority over the animals, which can never acquire this knowledge. The human mind still speculates upon the great mysteries of nature, and still finds its ideas anticipated by the ancients, whose profoundest thoughts are to be looked for, not in their philosophies, but in their symbols, by which they endeavored to express the great ideas that vainly struggled for utterance in words, as they viewed the great circle of phenomena - Birth, Life, Death, and New Life out of Death.



25th ° - Knight of the Brazen Serpent

The serpent was regarded in olden days with reverence and was known as the author of the fate of souls. The serpent in coil with head erect was the royal ensign of the Pharaohs. Other mysteries as well as those of the Hebrews and Gnostics consecrated it. In those of Bacchus Saba-Zeos it was flung into the bosom of the Initiate. In a system of degrees so complete as the Scottish Rite, it was necessary to teach every religion and philosophy known and so in this degree, we find moral lessons of some of the older religions taught with vigor. Specifically, this degree teaches faith.




26th ° - Prince of Mercy

To know many sciences and to know them thoroughly is difficult for our finite mind. But we can take time from our daily tasks to learn a little. That the light from some great sun has been traveling toward the earth for many centuries and is not yet visible to us is almost unbelievable, when we know that light travels 186,000 miles each second. yet is it any more wonderful to know that the great tree, the clinging vine and the little plant all spring from seeds so similar that only a botanist can tell one from another? The truth is that everything in nature is a mystery to us and we are mysteries to ourselves.




27th ° - Knight Commander of the Temple

Practical charity, knightly attributes of character and scoren for the base and selfish are but a few of the lessons taught in this Degree. Truth and honor are more to be cultivated than the gathering of wealth and power, and while we have been studying the historical, philosophical and religious lessons of Masonry, let us not forget the practical side of it, ever remembering our duties to the poor and helpless, the weak and unhappy.





28th ° - Knight of the Sun

The study of ancient religions is of such vast proportions, that were one able to devote his entire lifetime to it, he could not hope to complete it. The worship of the sun and its planets, with more or less variations, was the most prevalent, although originally the planets, as well as fire, light and heat were but symbols, or rather the outward manifestations of the Supreme Being, or Intellect. This Degree especially was the real belief of our first brethren, who lived long before the Pyramids of Egypt or the first Babylon.





29th ° - Scottish Knight of St. Andrew

Your duty always; a base act nowhere; tolerance ever; intolerance never.

Traditions and fold songs, handed down through the ages, are the foundation stones for the building of national character. The glorious achievements of our ancestors are the beacon lights of our efforts today. The cross of St. Andrew has always been the emblem of humility, patience and self-denial, and even more than these, that of charity and forbearance for the weak, the poor and the helpless. The knights of old held virtue and truth and honor the most essential qualities of character.





30th ° - Knight Kadosh

We break together the bread of Fraternity and drink from the same Cup of Equality.

Of all of the Degrees of the Scottish Rite, we should consider this as one of the most important. "Lives of great men," as the poet has said, "remind us we can make our lives sublime." If in death there is life, then the great martyrs of history live indeed in the hearts of the followers after truth. Every Mason who has attained this Degree should study the history of the Templars for it is as true now as then that the esoteric teachings of Masonry are only to be appreciated when studied diligently and continually. This Degree particularly teaches the great necessity of combating arbitrary and unscrupulous power and all influences which would keep the people in ignorance.

Chapter Rose Croix

15th ° - Knight of the East

The hand of our God is upon al lthem for good that shall seek Him.

This is the first degree of the Rose Croix, and the leading lesson is fidelity of obligations and constancy under difficulty. Masonry carries on a war against ignorance, intolerance and error. The chief stumbling blocks on the way to success in this crusade are the indifference of its own members and the world.

Masonry teaches that God is paternal, having a concern for each individual, for each individual soul is an emanation from Him, made for good and not evil. We must therefore persevere even as the ancient brethren have done, not withstanding all obstacles. We must pass through the darkness to reach the light.



16th ° - Knight of Jerusalem

The bonds and pldges of the brotherhood of the faithful are in no wise weakend by the collision of States and Empires.

The story of the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem is of peculiar interest to Masons, and while we no longer plan to build it, yet its story ever conveys to us the thought that the world and every noble heart is God's Temple, and we should labor to establish the reign of love and peace, thus building a lasting temple to God, teaching Masons the ennobling effect to honest labor. The work of the soul, developing the virtues of patience and gentleness ought to be as important to us as that of earning our daily bread. "Freemasonry builds its temples in the hearts of men, and among nations."



17th ° - Knight of the East and West

To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the hidden manna.

This is the first of the Philosophical Degrees which penetrate the inner mysteries of Masonry. In all times truth has been concealed in symbols. At the time of John the Baptist, all the ancient philosophical and religious doctrines became intermingled on account of the various conquests which brought the nations together. John, who taught some creed older than Christianity, must have belonged to the sect of Essenes, which was very similar to Christianity. It is from the Essenes that this degree has sprung. The Essenes believed that Truth was scattered throughout the world among different sects. They believed it to be the duty of man to gather these fragments of divine revelation into a harmonious whole to be used in spreading right thinking and right living among mankind. Thus they combined the thought of the Orient and the Occident, from which fact we draw the name of this degree.



18th ° - Knight Rose Croix

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.

The ceremonies of this degree are interpreted by each individual according to his own faith for in no other way can Masonry retain its universal character. To all antiquity, Light was the type of Good while Darkness was Evil. Evil was a principle represented in demons and fallen angels, who first having fallen themselves, tempted others to do so, thus bringing sin into the world. The future life was to be obtained by purification and suffering, through the Redeemer who would overcome Evil. The cross has been a sacred symbol of earliest antiquity among many nations, with various meanings. In this degree its interpretation was taken from the Egyptian hieroglyphic for life emanating from Diety, the eternal life for which we all hope. The Rose is the symbol of dawn, of the resurrection of life. Together the rose and cross represent the dawn of eternal life.

Lodge of Perfection

4th ° - Secret Master

Light and Truth are within the reach of every man that lives, would he but open his eyes and see.

The Fourth Degree or Secret Master, is the first step into the inner sanctuary of the Spritual Temple, where he who seeks, finds Truth. Albert Pike tells us that "Masonry is a succession of allegories, the mere vehicles of great lessons in Morality and Philosophy." Masonry is a moral order founded on charity, having for its object the inculcation of Divine truths and Moral teachings through symbolism. The object of its advanced degrees is to enable a Master Mason to more fully appreciate its spirit, its object and the purpose of its philosophy. The discovery of the meaning of Masonry depends entirely upon an individual desire for light. The spiritual and intellectual streams and highways leading to a full appreciation of the beauty of Masonry must, by secrecy, obedience and fidelity be followed to their source head. There one may more fully understand the true meaning of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man and discover for himself truth and the lost word.

Thus you will be faithful to yourself, to your fellows, and to God, and thus you will do honor to the name and rank of Secret Master, which, like other Masonic honors degrades if it is not deserved.


5th ° - Perfect Master

Masonry honors the memory of the perfect and the good.

Two virtues, Industry and Honesty, are emphasized in the Degree of Perfect Master. The Master Khurum (Hiram the Architect) possessed both of these virtues. Having possessed them he was upon his death entitled to be honored by his brethren whose grateful tribute and act of piety are recorded as a part of the lesson of this degree which is but a reminder that "for each of us the days of the past come back and dead loves and dead sorrows are remembered."

Man's idleness is the great enemy of growth, whether mental or physical. An idle man neither ploughs nor carries burdens; what he does is either unprofitable or mischievous since idleness is the brewer of mishcief and vice. "To sleep little, study much; say little, think and hear much, to learn to do earnestly and vigorously whatever is required by duty" are the precepts to be practiced by a fellow Perfect Master.



6th ° - Confidential Secretary

Life is but another name for action, and he who is without opportunity exists, but does not live.

The Sixth Degree, or Intimate Secretary, teaches us to be zealous, faithful, disinterested and benevolent. No good Mason can be worldly, covetous or sensual, but must be kind and affectionate, broadminded and charitable, keeping his thoughts only on the good and true, with a feeling of thankfulness for all favors rendered and a sincere desire to do unto his brother as he would wish done unto him.






7th ° - Provost and Judge

Justice always in the decisions of life, in the judgement of the Courts, and in Man's intercourse and dealings with his fellowman.

The Seventh Degree, or Provost and Judge, has for its chief lesson the great principle of justice. Those with the power of judgment should judge impartially without any personal consideration, without prejudice or preconception and without haste. Two kinds of injustice may be done to a fellow-man; one where a man does injuty to another, the other where he fails to avert an injury when it is in his power to do so. A man may repent, be forgiven both by God and man, yet the consequences remain. In judging a wrong we should remember the motive and temptation. Some men are born with noble instincts, while others are less fortunate. Perhaps the man who leads a clean life never had the temptation which came to his fallen brother; so we should judge with charity and pitying kindness.



8th ° - Intendant of the Building

The Eighth Degree, or Intendant of the Building, impresses upon the candidate the futility of advancing unless the lessons already taught have been carefully considered. The philosophy, learning and morality of Masonry and not merely the work and ceremonies should have our most profound thought and attention. We are seekers after Light and we should consider the earthly life of ours a field for noble action, the beginning of heaven and a part of immortality. This Degree teaches us that we have high duties to perform and a high destiny to fulfill on this earth.





9th ° - Elu of the Nine

To the cause of free thought, free speech, and free conscience.

This Degree is consecrated to bravery, devotedness and patriotism. Its duties are summed up in "Protect the oppressed against theoppressor and devote yourself to the honor and interest of your country." Masonry is action. It requires its Initiates to work, actively and earnestly, for the benefit of their brethren, their country, and mankind.






10th ° - Elu of the Fifteen

To the cause of all who defend Right and Justice against Tyranny and Fanaticism.

This Degree is devoted to religious and political toleration and to the enlightenment of the mind and soul. Toleration holds that every man has a right to his opinion, and liberality claims that no human being can say he alone knows the truth. Whatever a man sincerely and contientiously belives is truth to him, and only through enlightenment and education are intolerance and fanaticism put down. Masonry is not a religion, but is founded on the essential truths of all religions; it is the universal morality underlying every creed. A belief in the one true God and a moral and virtuous life are the only requirements that Masonry promulgates as a necessity for membership.




11th ° - Elu of the Twelve

The duties of this Degree are to be earnest, true, reliable and sincere; to protect the people against illegal impositions; and contend for their political rights. It is a Mason's duty to serve his brothers; not Masons alone, but all humanity. The safety of every free government depends upon the integrity of the common people. The nation that bases its greatness on tyranny over prostrate states, heavy and unjust taxation and crafty alliances will find its empire tottering in ruins. Masonry should do all in its power to protect the people, to better their living conditions and to supply their needs.




12th ° - Grand Master Architect

The human soul ever travels toward the Light and God. It never wholly loses the sense of its own powers, but there are many faculties within us of which we are dimly conscious; to arouse that slumbering soul-consciousness to the realization of Truth is the divinest object of all human helpfulness. Masonry strives to develop these half-forgotten, God-given traits and to induce men to accept them as their guide. Life is what each man makes it; the optimist turns every trial into a blessing, the pessimist sees only ruin and disaster. All our earthly transactions and institutions are based on faith in our fellowman. How much more so must we believe in God. The belief in a Supreme Being is an instinct in all races. No man can suffer and be patient, can struggle and conquer, can improve and be happy without faith in a just, wise and beneficent God.



13th ° - Royal Arch of Solomon

For centuries the Hebrews have been forbidden to pronounce the sacred name of God and whenever it occurred they have read the name "Adonai" instead. The knowledge of the true pronunciation was supposed to give the possessor supernatural powers. This idea of the sanctity of the Creator's name was common to all ancient nations. Among them the conception of God varied according to their intellectual capacities. Among the ignorant, He was invested with the lower attributes of hunamity; among the spiritual, He was a Being, pure and holy. This concept of God however, was not given out to the common people, but was kept secret by the favored few. The communication of this knowledge of the true nature of the Creator with other esoteric truths, is what is now called Freemasonry, which under other names has existed since the beginning of the human race.



14th ° - Perfect Elu

Priest and Teacher of the Great Principles of Justice, Right and Truth.

The Fourteenth Degree is the last of the Lodge of Perfection, and we have reached the point where each individual Mason must discover the secret of Masonry for himself. This can be done only upon reflection of its symbols, and a wise consideration and analysis of what is said and done in the work. Perfect Truth is unattainable, yet we must ever press on, more nearly approaching it. We receive as much of the Divine Light as we are capable of understanding. God has arranged His great purpose so that each man has a work to do, a duty to perform, to help in the progress of the great plan for enlightenment and growth. We should so live that death will have no terror for us but will be only a release from the earth to spiritual realms above.

Grand Lodge Building - History

During the very early years of operation of the Nashville Scottish Rite bodies, meetings were held in the quarters of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, housed at 306 7th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee. This building was the property and location of Cumberland Lodge #8 F. & A. M. and was known as "Free Masons Hall." At the Stated Meeting of Moqedah Lodge of Perfection #7 on September 8, 1908, it was resolved "that the Scottish Rite Masons of the Valley of Nashville should take steps immediately to erect a Cathedral for their use." A committee was formed, and over the next several years plans were made and land purchased to achieve this goal.

During the summer of 1921, seven lots located on the corner of 7th Avenue North and Broadway were purchased. Bids for the erection of the Cathedral were sent out and Hugger Brothers Construction Company of Montgomery, Alabama was awarded the contract to build what was to be called the Scottish Rite Temple. The Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Tennessee, Brother Walker M. Taylor of Memphis, Tennessee, supported by a company of members of the Grand Lodge laid the cornerstone for the Temple on January 31, 1923. It was estimated that there were 3,000 present for the ceremony. The building was completed in time for the Scottish Rite to hold its Spring Reunion on April 14, 1925. The cost of the land was $100,000 and the building cost $736,022.

Financing the building had been difficult. While many members contributed as much as they could, economic conditions began to grow steadily worse and by 1929 when the great depression struck the country, the Scottish Rite Bodies found themselves in great financial straits. Their membership was eventually reduced to 300, dues had been reduced to $3.00 annually and still many were unable to provide for their families and continue to support the Rite financially. To avoid losing the building to mortgage holders, the Grand Lodge of Tennesse purchased the building on May 20, 1937 for $150,000 and took posession of the property, which is today known as the Grand Lodge Building of Tennessee.

*The above is exerpted and adapted from "One Hundred Years of Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in Valley of Nashville, Orient of Tennessee 1905-2005"

Valley of Nashville - History

Benjamin Bently Allen, 32° 

The first mention of a Consistory in Nashville occurred in a letter from George S. Blackie, 32°, to Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike, 33°, dated March 31, 1870, wherein he wrote, "I have been feeling around cautiously about the extension of the Rite in this City (Nashville).  I find enough men anxious for the titles and degrees, but I want to conciliate good men, who will work for the Rite.  I have my eye on some who will do so.  The Supreme Council needs to foster kindly this section of the State."

Brother Blackie did not live to see his dream come true.  On October 9, 1881, Ill. Pitkin C. Wright, 33°, communicated to a class of nine the Scottish Rite degrees from the 4° to the 14° inclusive.  In this class was Brother James D. Richardson, a Past Grand Master of Masons in Tennessee.  Bro Richardson received the 15° to the 30°, inclusive, with General Pike assisting in the communication of these degrees.  On October 11, 1881, Emulation Lodge of Perfection #3 was constituted in Nashville by Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike, 33°.

By June 1884 there were 47 members and 18 initiates, of whom the most notable was former President of the United States, James Knox Polk.  However, by this time interest was lagging and the Lodge was listed as dormant.  Other Scottish Rite bodies throughout Tennessee, including Murfreesboro,

Chattanooga and Jackson became inactive and ceased to operate.  On October 14, 1894, Tennessee Consistory #1 was chartered in Memphis and was now the only body in the State which was still functioning.

Upon the death of Brother Pike in 1891, Illustrious James D. Richardson, 33° was elected Acting Sovereign Grand Commander  until the Supreme Council, 33° met in Session in 1901 and elected him to be the Sovereign Grand Commander.  As Sovereign Grand Commander, Ill. Richardson, 33°, became a dynamic force for the progress of Masonry in general and Scottish Rite Masonry in particular.  He originated the publication "The New Age" (now the Scottish Rite Journal) in 1904.  He conceived, planned and set in motion the erection of the present "House of the Temple," located at 1722 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, D.C., but unfortunately his death on July 24, 1914 denied him the pleasure of seeing its completion.

First Class of Valley of Nashville - 1905

From the time that Emulation Lodge of Perfection became inactive (1892) until 1903 the conferral of degrees was done by various Deputies and in Tennessee's only active Consistory at Memphis.  In a letter from Tennessee Deputy Ill. A.N. Sloan, 33° of Chattanooga to Sovereign Grand Commander Richardson, dated October 1903, he stated: "I find it hard to get brethren to travel from 310 to over 500 miles for the degrees, and until there is a Consistory closer than Memphis, the increase in the Rite will of necessity be very largely through the work of your Deputy.  At such time as you think advisable there ought to be another Consistory in Tennessee."

As a result Sovereign Grand Commander Richardson issued an order directing that a convention be held in Nashville on the 25th through the 28th of September, 1905 for the purpose of conferring the Scottish Rite Degrees, 4° through 32°, inclusive.  A temporary charter was granted for Nashville on September 21, 1905.  The convention was held in the Grand Lodge building at 1516 Laurel Street in Nashville.  The first class was named for Brother Benjamin Bentley Allen, 32°, who had transferred his membership from Memphis to the new Consistory in Nashville.  The Benjamin Bentley Allen Class was composed of thirty-eight of the most able, intelligent and successful men of Nashville.  After the convention sixty-seven brothers joined by affiliation, thus starting Trinity Consistory of Nashville with a membership of 105.

On November 21, 1905 Permanent Charters were received from the Supreme Council, 33°, for the following Bodies:  Moqedah Lodge of Perfection #7; Immanuel Chapter of Rose Croix #2; St. Michael Council of Kadosh #2; and Trinity Consistory #2.

*The above is excerpted and adapted from "One Hundred Years of Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in Valley of Nashville, Orient of Tennessee 1905-2005"

Nashville Scottish Rite Foundation, Inc.

 Ill. Bros. Ronald A. Seale, SGC, and Joseph O. Martin, SGIG in Tenn., in the anechoic chamber of the new RiteCare center. The anechoic chamber is a research facility designed to create an echo-less environment for pure-sound research. Studies in this chamber include the perception of sound in motion, the perception of sound localization, and other basic research that can lead to the development of new hearing aid technology.


The Nashville Scottish Rite Foundation, Inc. was issued a Charter by the State of Tennessee on February 11, 1977. The purpose of the foundation is to provide charitable, educational, and/or scientific outreach opportunities for the Nashville Scottish Rite. For a number of years following its inception, the foundation dispensed its assets to a number of charities in the Nashville area.

Beginning in 1992, the foundation named as its adopted charity, "The Bill Wilkerson Center, Inc." For this consideration, the Bill Wilkerson Center renamed its research department the "Scottish Rite Masons Research Institute for Communication Disorders." Since that time, the Research Center has received over $700,000 from the Nashville Scottish Rite Foundation, Inc.


For more information about RiteCare® , the Scottish Rite's national Chilhood Language Program, visit their website.