After the construction of the Grand Lodge in London, speculative
Freemasonry expanded fairly rapidly throughout the European
continent, particularly in Paris around 1725.
sides of the English Channel, the Freemasons had two degrees passed
down from 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
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 "blue" 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 concerning 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 "Perfect 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.
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 II, 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.
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
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 Générales, on
December 1, 1743.
condemns any Mason who would claim to be a superior to the Blue
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
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.
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.
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.
would have survived, therefore in the Masonic lodges.
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
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.
systems were set up in the 1740s and 1750s, notably in Avignon,
Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Lyon, Marseille, Metz, 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 "lower 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
how the rites, as they would become known, were gradually
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.
have to return to the origins of the Scottish degrees.
Indeed, it seems that initially there several versions of these
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
Maître 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
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.
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.
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).
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
In November 1771, Morin died and was buried in Kingston.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 33th
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 Social" 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
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 d’Ecosse. 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
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
On December 4, the Grande Loge Générale 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
After the fall of the Empire, the two largest French jurisdictions
of "high Scottish" degrees were formed. The first was the Grand
Collége des Rites (officially created in 1826, as the majority of
the members from the Cambacérès 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
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
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Of course, these four movements are based on an attempt to create an
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
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.
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 Collège 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.
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
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
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.
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.
English Blue Lodges, the Emulation Rite is by far the most widely
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
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 Cambacérès, 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
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 united" with the Grande Loge de France.
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.
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.
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.
to 1935, ten other male lodges founded adoptive lodges, which
functioned according to a revised "Rituel des dames."
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 Féminine
de France, which became the Grande Loge Féminine 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, Unité, 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 Féminine de France work with
In the meantime, Giséle Faivre (1902‑1997) had contacted Marjorie
Debenham (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 Debenham
conferred high degrees to nine federal councilors of the Grande Loge
Féminine de France. On September 25, these sisters formed a Supreme
Counseil Féminin de France, which then administered the high degrees
starting in 1972. An agreement between the Superine Conseil Féminin
and the Grande Lodge Féminine defines the relationship between the
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
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).
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).
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