The third portion of the Scottish Rite system of degrees is called The Chapter of Rose Croix.
The Chapter of Rose Croix confers the 17th and 18th degrees, known as the philosophical degrees. These degrees make use of Christian symbols and historical settings, but their spiritual message is universal for all Masons, who are united in the belief of a Supreme Being. Both degrees use the Book of Life to advance the concept of avoiding the mistakes of the past.
The term “Rose Croix” literally means “rose cross,” and is derived from the symbol of the order of the Rosicrucians: a rose on a cross. Aspects of the Scottish Rite’s 18th degree, Knight of the Rose Croix, were inspired by Rosicrucianism.
In the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction the Degrees of the Chapter of Rose Croix are:
17th Degree - Knight of the East and West
The degree dramatizes a picture of human failure, and social and moral behavior. The Book of Life is sealed.
Philosophy: We must seek truth in our way of life and should learn from, and avoid, repeating the errors of the past.
Core Values: Reverence for God & Service to Humanity
18th Degree - Knight of the Rose Croix of H. R. D. M.
The teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are used to exemplify the universal principles of life. Philosophy: The Book of Life is opened. The new law is a law of love, which all men everywhere may understand and practice.
Core Values: Integrity
These degrees teach the Core Values of the Rite:
Secrecy and silence in all confidential relationships
Reverence and obedience to God
Faithfulness to family and country
Justice tempered by mercy
Honesty in business relations
Forgiveness of past injustices
Perseverance in overcoming the difficulties encountered in our progress toward perfection
In the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction, the 16th and 18th degrees complete the Rose Croix Chapter which is the second of the 4 Southern Jurisdiction bodies.
17th Degree – Knight of the East and West
In this degree, Masonry says only one thing – differences in religions will not matter, and these differences will not hinder people to live together in peace if all people gather sincerely around the belief and concept of the Great Architect of the Universe. It is sufficient only to keep one’s heart pure, to believe in God, and to respect the religious feelings and ideas of others. In this way, people who meet, respect and love one another will not find it difficult to understand that no one is lying, that truth prevails in people’s words and deeds.
18th Degree – Knight Rose Croix
This degree teaches that, in reality, what causes us to be immortal is affection – love. Only if one loves is he conscious that he lives, and that he therefore loves life. As Masons, we should practice virtue that it may produce fruit. We should have faith in God, mankind, and ourselves. And we should be loving men. Masonry teaches that, so long as man is loved, so long as he is remembered with love; he continues living in this way even in his grave. And a brother who conveys this image and this message proves that Hope is never lost.