Masonic Symbolism: Common Scottish Rite Symbols
The Scottish Rite is one of the two branches of Freemasonry. It includes the degrees from 4° to 32°, and all degrees encompass the different levels of achievement within this order. The degrees of the Rite are essential because they provide followers with insight into what the great thinkers and civilizations of the past have thought. It’s important to not be told what to think, but to develop your own opinions are you delve further into the Masonry way of life. When the Fourteenth Degree motto “Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit” is inscribed within a ring, it means “Virtue has united and death shall not separate.” This phrase and the rings they’re inscribed on convey the fraternal bond between Masons of generations, young and old.
Below, we’ll explore some of the symbols of Scottish Rite Masonry in order to get a larger picture of what the Scottish Rite rings within this site symbolize.
The Double-Headed Eagle
The double-headed eagle is a well-known symbol of religious history within the Masonic order. Studying the history behind the double-headed bird allows you to see through the eyes of the brothers of the Scottish Rite Masonry.
This symbol came to be associated with the Scottish Rite Masonry because Frederick of Prussia supplied this crest during the formative stages of the Rite. The double-headed eagle is considered the imperial emblem of Russia, Austria, and other portions of the Holy Roman Empire, but Prussia did eventually adopt the emblem as a crucial symbol of Scottish Rite Masonry itself.
The phrase “Deus Meumque Jus,” which literally means “God and My Right,” is commonly emblazoned on the double-headed eagle symbol. The other commonly displayed phrase is “Spes Mea In Deo Est,” which translates to “My hope is in God.” This emblem is one of the oldest in the world and it most likely symbolizes a duality of power. It stood for a union of solar and celestial forces and a royal crest, it has stood for power and dominion. When being interpreted as a religious seal, it stands for justice and truth.
Crosses are commonly used as part of the regalia or symbolism in the various Concordant Bodies of Freemasonry. Some of the common crosses you’ll see referred to here are the Jerusalem cross, the Maltese cross, the cross of Constantine, the Cross of Salem, the Passion cross, the Patriarchal cross, the Saint Andrews cross, the Tau cross, the Templar cross and the Teutonic cross.
The rings carried on this site are emblazoned with both the Teutonic cross and the Templar cross. It’s important to note that the Teutonic cross was formerly worn by the Teutonic Knights. The double-headed eagle sable it bears is one of its most well-known characteristics. The Templar cross is a cross pattée, which means that it has arms that narrow at the center and typically flare out in a curved line shape. Rings with the Templar cross are commonly emblazoned with the phrase “Signum Militi Templi,” which literally translates to “Sign of the Soldiers of the Temple.”
The Freemason triangle is important due to its connection to the number three, which is considered sacred in the Masonry. When the Triangle is upside down it’s referred to as the “Deity’s Triangle, and when it’s right-side up it’s considered to symbolize the Divine Man. The letter Yod in the center of the triangle above symbolizes those things which the “eye hath not seen, but which has been concealed from all mankind.” In Hebrew, “Yod” is the first letter of the name of the Supreme Being. When the Yod is found inside the tringle it is said to represent the sacred name of God or the Lodge of Perfection.
While Freemasonry considers this to be a sacred symbol within the Rite, it’s worth nothing that most Freemasons don’t actually speak or use Hebrew. Therefore members are not required to learn the language to join. Scottish Rite Masons gladly embraces members of all religions around the world.
As with most symbolism in Freemasonry, the symbols of the Scottish Rite may be interpreted in various ways. Contact us with your own interpretations to help us expand our knowledge library!