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The 33rd ("and last") Degree of the Scottish Rite is an honorary degree, conferred for exceptional service to Freemasonry.
Because there are so few who receive this recognition and because people frequently misunderstand, thinking that those who've received this honorary degree are somehow 'elite', the mythos of power around the 33rd Degree has developed.
We must admit, there are understandable reasons for the confusion:
The York Rite Bodies (the other major concordant body of Masonry) are not 'unified' in the way Scottish Rite is; that is, York Rite is broken into four (in some places, three) 'groupings' and a member is free to stop at the conclusion degree of any of those 'groupings'. Many do. Some even stop after one or two degrees. Scottish Rite, however, assumes a progression from their first (4th) degree through their final (32nd) degree and often offer all in a 'class' setting which ensures all degrees will be conferred on all candidates with none stopping at, for example, the 18th. Thus, the highest award for the Scottish Rite Bodies has no publicly recognizable comparison at the Knight Templar level of the York Rite (although certainly their recognitions are no less meaningful to the York Rite member recipient).
The recipient of the 33rd Degree, being rightly proud of the distinct honor, would append that after his name in virtually all Masonic communication. It was thus seen regularly amongst those considered the 'leaders' of Freemasonry. This was reinforced by the fact that a 33rd would regularly and proudly wear a ring emblematic of that distinction (shown above) which caused yet another noticeable distinction from (as non-Masons might perceive it) 'run of the mill' Masons.
Masons themselves would sometimes refer to this or that person as being a "33rd" - thus creating an air of 'power' surrounding the degree. In fact, during the lifetime of Albert Pike as Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern (US) Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, he actively promoted the organization by 'honoring' many of those in Masonic leadership in order to give his own organization far greater visibility than it might have otherwise achieved. Historians will note that this was the 'golden age of fraternity' and everyone wanted to accumulate degrees. What better than a large NUMBER of them?
And finally, it is normal to assume that a degree numbered 33 would be 'higher' than one numbered 3. Disclaimers by Freemasons notwithstanding, the common perception of 'rank' achieved simply by the numbering of degrees is often difficult to overcome.
What has this led to? A mythos of great proportions in some minds, with 33rd Degree Masons either alone or in league with others (the imagined Illuminati, the Bildeburgers or, in the case of David Icke, reptoids from outer space) to be in some kind of power elite.
originally posted by: DaysLate
a reply to: tsurfer2000h
I'm not wasting my time reading what you just posted same as you didn't waste yours drawing what the OP asked.
I came to help and I got attacked.
originally posted by: DaysLate
a reply to: CranialSponge
IT IS A GIANT SPRAGRAPH THAT MAKES THE FLOWER OF LIFE> A TORUS< THE PEOPLE THAT MADE IT SHOULD STILL BE HERE AND WE WOULD BE MUCH BETTER OFF.
Was it to simple for you to comprehend? I made it into a picture FFS.