The Degrees of the Lodge of Perfection
The first portion of the Scottish Rite system of degrees is called The Lodge of Perfection. This series of degrees includes the 4th° through to the 14th° and are referred to as the Ineffable Degrees. Ineffable comes from the Latin ineffibilis which means something that should not be spoken.
4° Secret Master
Duty, reflection and study are the gateway to opportunity, as such one honors those relationships to God, family, country and Masonry. The apron of the 4th degree is white and black, with a letter “Z” and all-seeing eye. The jewel of this degree is an ivory key with the letter “Z” on the wards. The teachings: secrecy, obedience and fidelity.
5° Perfect Master
The degree teaches Masonic honor; that honesty and trustworthiness is the cornerstone of the foundation of such. This virtue should be in all of our undertakings with mankind. The apron of the 5th degree is white and green, with a cubic stone and a Hebrew YOD. The jewel is represented by a compass open on a segment of a circle, to an angle of sixty degrees. The teachings: honesty, sincerity, and good faith.
6° Intimate Secretary
In this degree one should expand their knowledge of duty, charity and toleration. We are instructed to reshape ourselves and our thinking into charity, self-control, and success i.e. to be a peacemaker. The apron of the 6th degree is white and red, with Hebrew letters YOD HEH in the center and a small triangle containing the Hebrew letters (clockwise from top) BETH, NUN, and SHIN. The gold triangle with the same three letters inscribed is the jewel that represents this degree.
7° Provost & Judge
We learn that impartial justice protects person, property, happiness and reputation. We are instructed to judge with patience and impartially. The apron of the 7th degree is white, edged with red, with a key and five rosettes. The jewel is a golden key.
8° Intendant of the Building
We should strive for perfection by using the great principles of “God’s inherent love, charity, morality and kindness”. The apron of the 8th degree is white, with red and green, with a balance, a nine-pointed star, and a triangle with the Hebrew letters BETH (for Ben-Khurim), YOU (for Jakinah), and ALEPH (for Achar). The jewel of this Degree is a gold triangle with the same three letters.
9° Elu of the Nine
Truth, candor and generosity; the foundation of Scottish Rite Masonry is most reflected in this degree. We should use these truths to shape our lives and conduct. The apron of the 9th degree is white, lined with black, and sprinkled with blood, with an arm holding a dagger and a severed head held by the hair. The jewel of this degree is a dagger, hilt of gold and blade of silver.
10° Elu of the Fifteen (Illustrious Elect of the Fifteen)
This degree teaches us to be tolerant and respect the opinions of others. Freedoms of political and spiritual ideologies should be shared by all. The apron of the 10th degree is white, with a black flap, and with three arch-shaped gates – over each a head on a spike. The jewel of this degree is a dagger as in the 9th degree.
11° Elu of the Twelve (Sublime Knight Elect of the Twelve)
This degree teaches sympathy. We should be compassionate to our brother Masons and to all mankind as well. The apron of the 11th degree is white, lined with black, with a flaming heart in the center. The jewel being a dagger suspended from a black cordon inscribed with the words “Vincere aut Mori” the pledge “that you will rather die than betray the cause of the people, or be overcome through your own fear or fault.”
12° Master Architect
This degree teaches faith in morality and virtue and in God. “Life is what each man makes of it; the optimist turns a trial into a blessing. The apron of the 12th degree consists of a white outer shell, lined with blue and gold (symbolizing the Craft degrees), with a protractor, plain scale, sector, and compasses. The jewel is a heptagonal medal of gold.
13° Royal Arch of Solomon (Knight of the Ninth Arch)
Liberty; in our mind and our hearts, motivated by duty and honor are the lessons of this degree. The apron worn is purple, bordered with white, and with the “Enochian delta” (hexagram with inscribed Tetragrammation) in the center. The jewel comprises a circular medal of gold.
14° Perfect Elu (Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason)
This degree teaches us to reflect and scrutinize oneself. We should strive to be true to ourselves and our God. The apron being of white silk, bordered in gold, with the Ineffable Delta in the Center is truly emblematical of the degree. The jewel of the 14th Degree is split; one being a quadrant (compass open to ninety degrees) topped by a crown and with a nine-pointed star on the obverse, the other being a five-pointed blazing star (with the Tetragrammaton) on the reverse. The compass is opened on a segment of a circle, inscribed with the numbers 3, 5, 7, 9.