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THE FRENCH MASONIC WAY
 
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite : From Troubled Origins to Worldwide Supremacy
 
By Yves HIVERT- MESSECA
 
After the construction of the Grand Lodge in London, speculative Freemasonry expanded fairly rapidly throughout the European continent, particularly in Paris around 1725. On both sides of the English Channel, the Freemasons had two degrees passed down ftom Scottish operative Freemasonry, in other words, entered apprentice and fellow craft. Soon after, however, the need for
a new, higher degree, which would comprise a greater symbolic and speculative dimension, arose.

Attempts to institute a third degree were made. Gradually, between 1725 and 1735, the degree, constructed from elements distinct from that of the entered fellow craft, but strongly influenced by the legend of Salomon and Hiram, took root. Although the standard for the new degree was not fully determined for several years, the socalled Slue" or "symbolic" masonry system. consisting of three degree (entered apprentice, fellow craft and master mason) took on its definitive form. Scottish Master Freemasons appeared in England starting in the 1730s

A number of contemporary researchers have examined this development and have put forward a new theory con cerning the appearance of what would later become known as the "high degrees." The degree of master, based on the legend of Salomon and Hiram, would be, in a manner of speaking, the first (chronologically) of the high degrees although it has since become part of the
so-called "Blue" craft, along with the two older degrees.
 
The other unsuccessful projects for a third degree, notably the archaic version of Verfect Master" and "Royal Arch," were not totally abandoned. They were restructured and would have formed new degrees that would be complementary to the symbolic three degree system that had just
been defined and would constitute the first versions of the higher degrees. This process (separation of a symbolic sequence from an older degree, the development, refinement and pursuance of this autonomous substratum to create an entirely new degree) was repeated several times during the eighteenth century. It contributed to the fact that the higher degrees flourished during this period.
Scottish Master Masons existed in the 1730s in England under the reign of George 11, for example. This "Scottish" Masonry (this adjective no longer indicates a geographical origin, but rather a Masonic characteristic) seems to have been, in part, a hostile reaction to the de-Christianization of the rituals performed within the Grand Lodge (which would later be called the "Modems") and/or a movement on the part of Irish Catholic Masons.

In France, however, the word "Scottish" designates a degree which, starting in the 1740s, would have considerable importance. It crossed the English Channel with those of the Perfect Master and the Elect Master. Several texts published in 1744 showed that this Scottish degree was widely accepted once it reached France. These degrees are the basis for the Scottish neologism, by which the entire system of high degrees would become known later.

The early years were difficult, however. The number of initial Scottish degrees proliferated without any regulatory or federating authority. The first public record of the Scottish rite in France was the judgement pronounced by the first Grand Lodge (an Order that would later become the Grand Orient de France). This was published in article 20 of the Ordonnances G6ndrales, on December 1, 1743. The text condemns any Mason who would claim to be a superior to the Blue Lodges.

Two years later, however, the Masonic authorities in Paris finally granted the Scottish degrees a certain level of legitimacy in the "Statutes drawn up by the R. L. Saint Jean de Jerusalem" dated June 24, 1745. This text listed a hierarchy of seven degrees; beyond the three symbolic degrees were four so-called "superior" degrees: Perfect Master, Irish Master, Elect Master and Scottish Master.

In 1736, Ramsay suggested the idea of a link between Freemasonry and knighthood All these degrees are derived directly from the Solomon and Hiram legend. But in the 1740s, degrees derived from knighthood started to appear, primarily in France. The idea of a link between Freemasonry and knighthood probably predates this period. It was, however, Knight Ramsay who first gave voice to this theory in 1736. We can assume that he stated an idea that was already widespread in the British and French Masonic milieu: as descendents of the Crusades, the Freemasons belonged to a brotherhood that was, in fact, an order of knights.

This statement no doubt contributed to the proliferation of the so-called knightly degrees. The first of these degrees was the Knight of the East, first noted in 1748. The theme of knighthood in Freemasonry inevitably led to the Knights Templar. Gradually, therefore, a tenacious legend took hold: the Templars were not, as originally believed, exterminated in the fourteenth century, burnt at the stake or dead in jail. They managed to conceal and preserve the secrets of the Order, particularly in Scotland. The Temple would have survived, therefore in the Masonic lodges.

Soon after, most likely in the 1740s, Templar themes appeared in Masonic imagery. A high Templar degree known as the Sublime Order of Knights Elect was practiced in Quimper (France) in 1750, in Jacobite circles.

The Templar legend took on a new dimension in the 1760s, as the basis for the creation of two intra-Masonic movements: The Strict Observance on the one hand, which resulted in the Rectified Rite; and the degree of Knight Kadosh, from Germany, whose standard became defined in the 1760s in eastern France.

The creation of multiple degrees went hand in hand with the steps a Mason had to follow in a strictly defined order. "Scottish" systems were set up in the 1740s and 1750s, notably in Avignon, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Lyon, Marseille, M etz, Mirecourt, Montpellier, Paris and Toulouse. Despite the seemingly "inextricable jumble"' of high degrees, nearly all the systems were organized according to a specific standard: first of all the 9ower grades" (Perfect Master, Irish Master, Secret Master), then the Elect degrees, followed by the Scottish degrees and finally the degrees of chivalry. Most of the time, these systems culminated with the degree of Knight Kadosh,
Knight of the Sun or Knight of the Rose Croix, considered to be the highest degree in Masonry. This is how the rites, as they would become known, were gradually established.

The so-called Lodge of Perfection system deserves further attention, as its development can be used as a model to reconstruct the history of the development of the other major Rites. We will have to return to the origins of the Scottish degrees. Indeed, it seems that initially there several versions of these degrees.

In Bordeaux in the 1740s, the "Perfect Scottish Lodge" drew up a Scottish System of Perfection that comprised seven, ten and then finally fourteen degrees. In southern France in the 1740s, there was a Scottish system defined as a Lodge of Perfection; the Parfaite Loge Ecossaise of Bordeaux. It practiced a single and ultimate "high" degree known as the Vray Maltre Ecossais. But the spirit soon shifted and the lodge developed a system of high degrees. By "stacking" up the degrees as they were created or introduced in the
lodge, a Scottish System of Perfection was created with seven, ten and then finally fourteen degrees (ca 1745-ca 1748): Apprentice, Fellow craft, Master Mason, Secret Master, Prefect Master, Master Through Curiosity, Provost and Judge (another version of the Irish Master degree), Intendant of the Building, Master Elect and Grand et Vrai Ecossais. With the addition of three new degrees, the
system then had fourteen different degrees.

The Bordeaux system reached North America, notably Louisiana and the West Indies, via Etienne Morin (ca 1717-1771) and other travelers. Morin had also participated in Parisian Masonry. At that time, the Grand Loge de France, the first of its kind, was divided between supporters of the various "Substituts G6néraux," the "Lacornists," and the "anti-Lacornists." The Scottish influence was not strong in the Paris circles. The Orient was divided between two system of high degrees: on the one hand, the Consed des Chevaliers d'Orient, Souverains Princes Maçons et d'Occidents, founded in 1756 ; and, on the other hand, the Souverain Conseil des Empereurs d'Orient et d'Occident, Sublime Mere Loge Exossise, inaugurated in 1758.

The year 1761 marked a turning point in the midst of these troubled times. First of all, Augustin Chaillon de Joinville (1733-1807) was named Substitut Général. He reorganized the Grande Loge des Maîtres de Paris, also known as the Grande Loge de France (in other words, the first Grande Loge), setting up a concentric structure with a governing authority (in the sense of the Inner Council), called the Grand Conseil (or Souverain Grand Conseil). The culminating degree in this system was the Knight Kadosh.

Masons in North America adopted the Scottish Rite from France and the English tradition America, Morin received a patent of the Ancients to form the A.A. S.R On August 27, before returning to. from this Parisian authority. This "Morin patent" authorized our tireless traveler to practice and propagate Masonry as it was then professed in Paris. After a fairly long journey, he reached Jamaica, then on January 1763, Santo Domingo. In Kingston  he met Henri Francken (1720-1795), a Dutchman who had adopted English nationality. Both men devoted their time to spreading the Perfection Rite of Masonry through the West Indies. This was a system established by Morin with twenty~five degrees, almost all of which were in use in France in the 1750s and 1760 (and therefore not invented by Morin). The highest degree was not the Knight Kadosh, as in Paris, but the Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret. It was known incorrectly as the Rite of Perfection, although Morin had called it the Order of the Royal Secret.

In November 1771, Morin died and was buried in Kingston. In 1767, Francken had introduced Morin's system in North America, just months after Morin had appointed him Deputy Grand Inspector. On December 6, 1768, Francken awarded two patents naming Samuel Stringer and Moses Michael Hays (who would become Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1788) as Deputy Inspectors and Knights Kadosh. In 1788 Hays then created several Deputy Inspectors, including Barend Moses Spitzer who, on April 2, 1795, elevated John Mitchell to Deputy Inspector. Mitchell would become the Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Charleston, following Moses Cohen.

Francken's importance is also due to his large number of scholarly writings. The Francken manuscripts (1771 and 1783) are the principal source of information concerning the Order of the Royal Secret.
 
Hence, it was in North America that the Scottish Rite from France and the English tradition of the Ancients finally came together in a mutually beneficial arrangement, resulting in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (A.A.S.R.).
 
Some historical background may be necessary at this point. On July 17, 1751, the Grand Lodge of the Ancients was formed, primarily on the initiative of the Irish Masons, most of whom were Catholic. This lodge was in conflict with the Grand Lodge of London, which these Ancients defined-pejoratively-as the Modems.
 
The Grand Lodge of the Ancients expanded rapidly, from 6 lodges in 1751 to 260 lodges by 1813. It also spread beyond England, notably to North America. On February 5, 1787, five lodges created in Charleston between 1774 and 1783 founded the Grand Lodge of South Carolina, Ancient York Masons (AYM). It should be noted that the leaders of the AYM Grand Lodge (Ancient) and
those of the "Scottish" lodges following in the Morin-Francken tradition were often the same men. But South Carolina also had a jurisdiction of Modems, the Grand Lodge of the Society of Free and Accepted Masons (F&AM), a regional lodge that split in 1788.

The incredible activist Alexandre, Comte de Grasse and Marquis de Tilly This, then, was the situation when Alexandre, Comte de Grasse and Marquis de Tilly (1765-1845), arrived in Charleston in the summer of 1793, after he was forced to leave Santo
Domingo in the wake of local uprising. With his brother-in-law Jean Baptiste Delahogue, he founded "La Candeur" lodge (July 24, 1796). In the autumn of 1797, Grasse-Tilly, Delahogue and five other brethren of La Candeur received from a Jamaican doctor, Hyman Isaac Long (who had himself been appointed by B. Spitzer), patents as Deput Grand Inspecteur as well as the rituals of
the "Order of the Royal Secret," from Morin Fraricken. Long had only arrived in Charleston several weeks prior to this event, financially ruined and dying.
 
On January 13, 1797, on the strength of their powers, they set up a Council of Kadosh in Charleston, followed by a Sublime Grand Council of the Princes of the Royal Secret. On January 2, 1798, Grasse-Tilly's lodge submitted a request to join the Grand Lodge of the Society of Free and Accepted Masons. They joined under the number 12.
 
During the summer of 1799, Grasse-Tilly left the F&AM lodge to form, still within the Orient of Charleston, loge no. 45, La Réunion Française, established on August 10, 1799 by the Grand Lodge of the Ancient York Masons. All the future founders of the Supreme Council of Charleston, notably the future lieutenant Grand Commander, Frederick Dalcho (1770-1836), also belonged to this lodge.
 
The "ancient" origin of these brethren and Grasse-Tilly's change in the Order (from Moderns to Ancients) made sense. These two events brought together on American soil the encounter of the tradition of the Ancients and the Scottish rites versus gallica. Events moved rather quickly from this point on and became more dearly defined. On September 23, 1801, still in Charleston, Dalcho gave a speech "to the members of the Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection and to those of the Symbolic Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons". This speech was printed that same year (or early in 1802). It is, at present, the first document to mention a Supreme Council of Masons for the United States; it also notes that John Mitchell was the president of the Council.
 
One year later, on October 10, 1802, The Supreme Council for Charleston decided to send a circular to the organizations and lodges of high degrees around the world, announcing its creation and existence. The "Circular Throughout the Two Hemispheres" was approved on December 4 and sent in early January of 1803. It stated that the Supreme Council of the 33rd degree for the United
States of America was initiated on May 3 1, 1801 by J. Mitchell and F. Dalcho. "During this year [ 1802 1, the full membership of Grand Inspector Generals was achieved, in compliance with the Grand Constitutions," through the co-option of A. Alexander, 1. Auld, B. Bowen, E de La Costa, M. Levy, I. de Lieben and J. Moultrie (it is unlikely that Grasse-Tilly participated). To confer a degree of legitimacy to their organization, the founders of the Supreme Council limited the degrees to the symbolic number of 33, but only 31 were actually named: the Kadosh, the 29th degree; the Prince of the Royal Secret, for the 30th, 31st and 32rd degrees; and the new grade of Grand Inspector General at the culminating 33rd degree. The "Manifest" never mentions the expression "Ancient and Accepted Scottish.".
 
It presented the new Rite as a system consisting uniquely of higher degrees divided into three sections:
 
• a Lodge of Perfection for degree 4 through 14,
• a Council of Princes of Jerusalem, for degrees 15 and 16,
• a Supreme Council of Grand Inspector Generals, for degrees 17 through 33.
 
The Charleston initiative met with only moderate success, but it would be transmitted by Grasse-Tilly. He had been an American citizen since June 17, 1799, but as he had no resources, he rejoined the French Army in Santo Donlingo. According to the Bideau register, he was on the Iist of members of the Supreme Council for the 33% created in the Islands of America," dated February
21, 1802. Does this then imply the creation of Grand Inspector Generals for the Supreme Council (in other words, for Charleston) in the islands?
 
Whatever the case, Grasse-Tilly decided to return to France after many misadventures. He landed in Bordeaux on July 4, 1804, and reached Paris by the end of the month. He quickly found his former lodge, "Le Contrat SociaM' which had been reactivated under the new and distinctive name of Saint Alexandre d’Ecosse.
 
In the early nineteenth century, Grasse-Tilly and his Grand Loge Générale Ecossaise set themselves up as an entity distinct from the G.O.D.F. On October 22, 1804, a circular signed by six masons, including Grasse-Tilly, announced the creation of a Grande Loge Générale Ecossaise under the theoretical authority of Prince Louis Bonaparte. Grasse-Tilly presided over the first five meetings.
 
This new Scottish lodge consisted of "seven regular lodges" in Paris, including the Saint Alexandre XEcosse. These lodges did not adopt the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, but rather the "Scottish" rites created in France, in the tradition of the Modems, such as the Philosophic Scottish Rite or the Rite of Herodom of Kilwinning.
 
In its determination to set itself apart from the G.O.D.F. the lodge issued a prodanation stating that it was the French equivalent of the English Grand Lodge of the Ancients, meanwhile branding as modem the French Rite, the dominant system of the G.O.D.F. In pursuance of this goal, the lodge drew up rituals for its Blue Lodges that were largely inspired from the Ancients, but which also integrated a number of modern elements. The result was the publication of the Guide des Ma~ons Ecossais (ca 1804), a replica of the Regulateur of 1801.

On December 4, the Grande Loge G6ndrale Ecossaise signed a concordat with the G.O.D.F. The expression "Rite Ecossais Ancient et Accepté" appeared for the first time, in article 5 of this text. Concurrently, Grasse-Tilly organized the Supreme Council for France, a simple lodge that issued the 33rd degree.
 
However, the Scottish Rite, like the other jurisdictions, would be integrated into the Napoleonic system. Cambacérés was appointed Grand Commander of this Supreme Council on July 1, 1806. Starting November 27 of that same year, the expression "Ecossais Ancient et Accepté" was in general use in the decrees emanating from the Supreme Council.
 
After the fall of the Empire, the two largest French jurisdictions of "high Scottish" degrees were formed. The first was the Grand CoUge des Rites (officially created in 1826, as the majority of the members from the Camba&res Supreme Council had joined the G.O.D.F. starting in 1815 and 1816) to administer the high degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rites for the G.O.D.F. The second was the Supreme Council for France (reactivated in 1821 from the two establishments known as the Pompéi and Prado Supreme Councils).
 
The A.A.S.R. is both both syncretist and a catch-all - which explains it widespread success throughout the world Hence, the standard of the A.A.S.R. created between the late seventeenth century and the early eighteenth century is the result of an extraordinary jumble (no pejorative meaning intended). These Blue degrees are essentially ancient in spirit, and include many elements borrowed from the
tradition of the Modems, while the socalled higher degrees most often have a modern origin, with Ancient references.
 
This essential aspect of the A.A.S.R., which practices both syncretism and catch-all, (in a positive definition of the word, as used by American political scientists), is most likely one of the reasons it became so success throughout the world. This Rite is one of the rites that is the most adaptable to every "climate." From 1805 (Supreme Council Of Italy, in Milan) to 1936 (Bulgaria), thirty-eight Supreme Councils were formed in thirty five countries of Europe, America, Asia and Africa, not including the various "Scottish jurisdictions formed outside of the first ones. In the second half of the twentieth century, the A.A.S.R. continued to expand, particularly in Latin
America, in de-colonized countries of Africa, in Asia and in Eastern Europe. One century after the A.A.S.R. was created, it was the only Masonic Rite to exist just about everywhere in the Latomorum Terrae. Today, we can note that the A.A.S.R. is present in every
country in which Freemasonry is active, either as a "Blue" lodge, or with the system of higher degrees, and most often both.
 
The extent of the A.A.S.R. presence varies from one country to another, of course. Thus, it is predominant in Italy (both in the three principal Lodges - the Grand OrientPalazzo Giustiniano, the Grande Loge-Piazza del Gezu and the Grande Loge Di Bernardo - and in all the high degrees). On the other hand, it is far less important in Finland, where it is only used by offshoot lodges, as the Supreme Council of Finland has ten times fewer members that the Saint Andrew lodges or so-called Swedish Rite chapters.
 
At present, the A.A.S.R. is by far the most widespread system of higher degrees used throughout the world (with approximately 1.5 million members). It is also, along With the Emulation Rite and the Rite of York, one of the three most commonly used rites in the "Blue" lodges.
 
A large share of the Masonic philosophical work is produced by the various A.A.S.R. movements.
 
Its capacity to acclimatize in time and space has also been a reason for its strong "ideologicaF' flexibility. This specific character makes it appear to be the most favorable to Masonic imagery. The A.A.S.R. is one of the largest conservatories for the myths and symbols of
the Royal Art. Its flexible syncretism, along with influences from various philosophies and spiritual trends, have encouraged the environment of free thinking that is so important to the Masons. It brings together metaphysics and rationality, tradition and modernity.
 
Finally, the A.A.S.R. raises the issue of the relationships between knighthood (personal ethics) and democracy (civic commitment), for example in the degrees of the Knight of the Rose-Croix (18th), the Knight of the Sun (28th), the Knight Kadosh (30th) and the Grand Inquisitor Commander (31st).
 
It is therefore not surprising that most of the Masonic philosophical work today is produced by the various A.A.S.R. movements, in France, for example, with M. Barat, johan6 Comeloup, Jean Mourgues, Claude Saliceti and H. Tort-Nouguès.
 
Throughout the contemporary "Scottish" world, however, we can find somewhat divergent interpretations of the Rite. A few Supreme Councils, notably those in England (1845), Scotland (1846) and Ireland (1826), interpreted the A.A.S.R. in a Christian sense. Most of the "historic" Supreme Councils, however, have remained more or less faithful to the open-mindedness of the American founders. This movement is generally presented as a primarily charitable association, and is one of the important factors in the social aspect of the establishment.
 
A third interpretation has appeared in Latin America. It has more or less adopted the spirit  of the International Congress of Lausanne (1875). It adheres the concepts of tradition and progress, a strong symbolic practice and a more or less original moral philosophical reflection. In the 1880s, during which positivism became a predominant movement in LatinAmerican Masonry, an (erroneous) idea appeared. According to this idea, the A.A.S.R. was considered to be more symbolic than the other Rites. The school of Oswald Wirth (1860-1943) and his revue, Le Symbolisme (1912), undertook to reinterpret the A.A.S.R. in the light of occultism, even to the
point of eliminating the "historic" forms that would not fit his interpretation. This movement can be somewhat imperfectly described "liberal-syinbolic.".
 
Finally, also in the late nineteenth century, several Lodges in French-speaking regions adopted an agnostic interpretation of the Rite. Hence, lodges that worked with the A.A.S.R. appeared, but without any explicit reference to the G.A.D.L.U. (Grand Architect of the Universe). Of course, these four movements are based on an attempt to create an ideal approach. They only partially bring together the rich profusion of Scottish jurisdictions and lodges. Broadly speaking, however, the first two movements can be found in the International Conferences" which have been meeting every five years since 1907 (Brussels), and were begun by Comte Eugéne
Goblet d'Alviella (1846-1925), who had been Grand Commander of the Supreme Council for Belgium since 1900. Through the 1950s and 1960s, though, the Supreme Councils that were more influenced by the liberal-symbolic movement, like the Supreme Council for Belgium (until 1959), also participated in these events.
 
The links between the various A.A.S.R. movements are ambiguous and imperfect. This situation created an ambiguous situation. Thus, the brethren of the Grande Loge de France (Rue Puteaux), considered to be irregular" by the United Grand Lodge of England since
1910, were viewed as "regular high Scottish degrees" by the Supreme Council, Southern jurisdiction (Washington, formerly of Charleston). Indeed, this lodge has also proclaimed itself as the Mother Supreme Council of the World.
 
Under its influence, the A.A.S.R. adopted a more orthodox point of view. In the International, Conference held in Baranquilla (Colombia, February 1970), the articles of the Congress of Lausanne were rejected categorically. Today, some forty Supreme Councils attend these meetings held every five years.
 
Other Scottish Internationals" have developed in the twentieth century. On the initiative of the Grand CoUge des Rites (France), the Souverain Collége du Rite Ecossais for Belgium and the Supreme Council for the Swiss Confederation, seven "liberal" Scottish jurisdictions met in Brussels in 1976.
 
These 1iberal Scottish" conferences were then held every year (from Geneva in 1977 to Paris in 1982), then every two years after the Geneva Conference in 1984. They bring together about twenty Scottish jurisdictions (eighteen Supreme Councils during the 15th conference in Brussels in 1998).
 
In addition to all these nuances, movements and ideological differences, it should be noted that the A.A.S.R. is set up in two different ways. The Rite created in Charleston in 1801 was a system of higher degrees only; it remains so to this day in the Anglo-Saxon world and Northern Europe.
 
"Ancient & Accepte" or "Ancient Accepted".
 
In the United States, it is called Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite (Northern Jurisdiction, Boston) or the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite (Southern Jurisdiction-Washington). There is also a Supreme Council linked to the Grand Lodges of Prince Hall and several other more marginal Scottish jurisdictions. In terms of the Blue Lodges, the majority of Americans follow the York Rite (Craft Rite). Beyond the degree of Master, they can then progress by choosing between the York Rite and the A.A.S.R. More than one million American Masons have chosen the latter.
 
The situation is similar in the British Isles. Since 1877, the English system has been called Ancient Accepted Rite (the adjective "Scottish" having been eliminated for geopolitical reasons), and designated by the usual French form Rose-Croix. In the English Blue Lodges, the Emulation Rite is by far the most widely practiced. The A.A.S.R. is therefore only a system of side degrees.
 
In continental Europe and Latin America, on the other hand, The A.A.S.R. is still most often a system of 33 degrees. In the nineteenth century, the pyramid of Scottish lodges (Blue Lodges> Lodges of Perfection, Chapters, Prestigious Assemblies, Tribunals and Consistories), was administered by a Supreme Council of thirty-three coopted mermbers. This was also the case for the
Supreme Council of France from 1821 to 1896.In a way, this is still also partially true for the Mixed and International Supreme Council, "Le Droit Humain.»
 
A system of separation and union was gradually established, The three first degrees of the A.A.S.R. are administered by a Grand Lodge (or a Grand Orient). The following thirty degrees are administered by a Supreme Council that is associated or linked to a "Blue" Lodge. This is the most widespread organization in France.
 
As soon as the A.A.S.R. was created, even before the break with the G.O.D.F. and the General Scottish Grand Lodge, it was used by various lodges of the G.O.D.F., notably the "Blue" Lodge of Grand Master Cambacérés, La Grande Maitrise, based in Paris. Hence, since the Empire, approximately one-tenth of the G.O.D.F. lodges have always worked with the A.A.S.R. The situation is roughly the same to this day. just over one hundred Grand Orient lodges (11 percent of the total number of lodges) work with the A.A.S.R.
 
The higher degrees of the A.A.S.R. are administered by the Grand College of the A.A.S.R., with which the G.O.D.F. signed an agreement on December 17,1998.This protocol extends and more dearly defines the agreement of July 13, 1946, signed by the Grand College of Rites and the G.O.D.F. The Grand College of the A.A.S.R. on Rue Cadet in Paris is now the largest Scottish jurisdiction of higher degrees in France (6,000 members and more than 300 lodges. The structure of the other Supreme Council, which is also a descendent of Grasse Tilly's Council, is identical. From its reactivation in 1821, the Supreme Council of France has become, in
the last thirty years of the nineteenth century, the second largest French Lodge. It administers lodges from the 1st to the 33rd degree. It worked exclusively with the A.A.S.R. and proclaimed itself to be the only regular Lodge for France.
 
Starting in the 1860s, some of its "Blue" Lodges withdrew and became independent. In 1880, the break was total: twelve lodges, all working with the A.A.S.R., seceded and founded the Symbolic Scottish Grand Lodge. During this same period, lodges that remained under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council were demanding autonomy. From October 1894 to February 1895, a difficult process of unification finally led to the formation of the Grande Loge de France. The Grande Loge de France abandoned initial pretension of being the only A.A.S.R. authority in France.
 
The new lodge at 42 Rue Rochechouart, which later moved to 8 Rue Puteaux, continues the tradition of the Supreme Council and claims that it is only authority for the A.A.S.R. in France (a pretension that has since been abandoned). To this day, the A.A.S.R. is the almost exclusive site of the Grande Loge de France.
 
This Lodge has become completely independent from the Supreme Council of France, since the decree dated July 26, 1904, issued this latter jurisdiction. The Supreme Council on the Rue Puteaux has since become "fraternally unite& with the Grande Loge de France. It now has some 4,000 brethren.
 
In the meantime, the militant feminist Maria Deraismes (1828-1894) had been initiated into the Scottish Lodge, which had become independent from the Symbolic Scottish Grand Lodge, Les Libres Pensuers, at Le Pecq, on January 14, 1882. As a female Mason without a lodge for ten years, she founded a second Symbolic Scottish Grande Lodge with Georges Martin, which was known as
Le Droit Hurnain, the first mixed French lodge, in March-April 1893. She worked with the A.A.S.R.
 
In November of 1895, she decided to become international. In May of 1901, the existence of a "Supreme Universal Mixed Council, Le Droit Hurnain, which would be the sole council in the future to grant constitutive patents for the 1st to the 33rd degree included." It continues to meet in Paris to this day and maintains a relaxed, but vigilant authority over the pyramid of lodges and degrees in international mixed Masonry. The majority of its jurisdictions and federations throughout the world work with the A.A.S.R. This is the case with the French federation.
 
In 1901, in a rather ephemeral way, and then again in 1907, the Grande Loge de France (mentioned above) decided to create adoptive lodges within its structure. A speccial constitution consisting of twelve articles was adopted for these lodges. From 1911 to 1935, ten other male lodges founded adoptive lodges, which functioned according to a revised "Rituel des dames."
 
After the Second World War, the Congress of the Grand Loge de France, during its meeting of September 45, 1945, decided to separate itself from its adoptive lodges. In January 1946, these lodges formed the Union Maçonnique Hminine de France, which became the Grande Loge F~minine de France in September of 1952.
 
After a year of discussions, the new Order decided, in September 1959, to give up the Rote of Adoption in favor of the A.A.S.R. Up through 1973, the date that Lodge no 44, Unit6, was inaugurated within the French Rite, the A.A.S.R. was the only Rite. Today, four out of five ateliers in the Grande Loge F~minine de France work with the A.A.S.R.
 
In the meantime, Giséle Faivre (1902-1997) had contacted Marjorie Debenhann (1893-1990), who in 1925 founded The Order of Ancient and Accepted Masonry for Men and Women, a group that broke away from the British Droit Humain federation. From 1925, she was the Grand Commander for the Supreme Council of this Order Marjorie Debenharn conferred high degrees to nine federal councilors of the Grande Loge Féminine de France. On September 25, these sisters formed a Supreme Counsed Féminin de France, which then administered the high degrees starting in 1972. An agreement between the Supdrine Couseil F6minin and the Grande Lodge Féminine defines the relationship between the two jurisdictions.
 
The aborted alliance between the Grand Orient de France and the Grande Loge de France.
 
In September of 1964, the congress of the Grande Loge de France ratified a treaty of ratified of alliance with the Grand Orient, by a vote of 140 in favor, with 82 votes against. But this text was rejected by the Grand Commander Charles Riandey (1892-1976) in the name of the Supreme Council of France. For several months, Rinadey had maintained discreet contacts with the leaders of the Grande Loge Nationale Française (Rue Bineau).
 
Once these events became known, on December 18, 1964 he was summoned by the supreme Council of France on the Rue Puteaux and requested to resign his position. But Riandey continued his discussions with the Order on Boulevard Bineau. On February 9, he was "regularized" by the Grand Master of the Grande Loge Nationale Française. On February 13, he was "regularly' initiated to all the degrees of the Rites by the Supreme Council of the Netherlands. On April 24,1965, this jurisdiction established a Supreme Council "for France" on Rue de Villiers; - and Riandey was proclaimed its Grand Commander.
 
A single member of the Supreme Council on Rue Puteux, Paul Naudon, followed the Grand Commander when he broke away. This situation led several hundred brethren to join the Grande Loge of the Grande Loge Nationale Française, known as Bineau. This Order, founded in 1913, had lodges working with the Rectified Rite and the Emulation Rite. The arrival of former members from the Rue de Puteaux added the A.A.S.R. At present, approximately one-third of its lodges practice this Rite. The A.A.S.R. is also practiced by just under half of the lodges in the Grande Loge Mixte de France (1982), by several ateliers of the Grande Loge Mixte Universelle (1973), by the D.L.I.S.R.I.-Humanitas (1973) and by various other micro-orders. In 1973, then in 1981, two Supr~me Counseils Mixtes de France were created in the wake of the first two orders cited above. Other Supreme Councils, such as the Uni de France, founded by brethren who had broken away from the former Grand College of Rites, have had a more discreet or more ephemeral existence.
 
With difficulty, the A.A.S.R. ended up by becoming the most widely practiced system in France, not only in the higher degrees but also in the Blue Lodges. A rough estimate of the various Supreme Councils would include approximately 20,000 members. The A.A.S.R. is therefore, and by far, the most widespread system of high degrees in France. The Blue Lodges have about 4,000 "Scottish" brethren in the G.O.D.F.; 24,000 in the G.L.D.F.; 8,000 to 10,000 in the G.L.N.F.; 13,000 sisters and brethren in the D.H.; and 8,000 sisters
in the G.L.F.F. - not to mention the 2,000 to 3,000 "Scottish" members in various smaller orders, micro jurisdictions or "independent" lodges.
 
Since the 1980s, the A.A.S.R. has been the most widely practiced system in the Blue Lodges of France, which is a new development in French Masonry (including all the various Orders). The A.A.S.R. is now used by nearly half of the Masons in French.
 
Although this is a new situation for France, it also means that French Masonry is more in compliance with Masonry around the world. Alles Vergangliche ist nur ein Gleichnis (j. Goethe, Fault 11, final scene).
 
Yves HIVERT-MESSECA
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