top of page


The final portion of the Scottish Rite system of degrees is called The Consistory.

The Consistory is responsible for conferring the 19th through the 32nd degrees. These degrees demonstrate the challenges of social and moral conflicts, drawing on lessons from the age of chivalry through modern day.

The term "Consistory" comes from the Latin consistere (“stand firm”), which led to the term consistorium (“assembly place”). Historically, the word consistory has referred to either a council of the advisors of Roman emperors or the papal consistory, a meeting of the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church. Within Freemasonry, Consistory refers to an assembly of Scottish Rite officers who, under the auspices of the Supreme Council, grant degrees.

In the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction the Degrees of the Consistory are:

19th Degree - Brothers of the Trail

Along the Oregon Trail in the 1840s, one pioneer lives up to his sacred obligation to care for his Brother.

Philosophy: A Mason's word is good as gold anyplace in the world where a man's word still counts for something.

Core Values: Reverence for God & Integrity

20th Degree - Master Ad Vitam

Benedict Arnold seeks pardon for his treason.

Philosophy: Treason is a crime over which Masonry casts no mantle of charity.

Core Values: Devotion to Country & Integrity

21st Degree - Patriarch Noachite

Knights and Nobles come together to punish crime, reward virtue, protect the innocent, and provide aid to the needy.

Philosophy: Freemasonry is not a shield for evil-doing.

Core Values: Justice

22nd Degree - Prince of Libanus

A Brother is introduced to wood cutters who test his willingness to put aside his rank and status. Philosophy: Honest work is honorable and noble in the sight of God and man.

Core Values: Service to Humanity

23rd Degree - Knight of Valor

Based on a true incident during World War II and the heroic actions of Four Chaplains. Philosophy: This degree teaches us that faith in God will find expression in love for our fellow man, even to the ultimate personal sacrifice.

Core Values: Reverence for God, Tolerance, Devotion to Country & Service to Humanity

24th Degree - Brother of the Forest

A Native American petitions for membership in a colonial Symbolic Lodge.

Philosophy: The importance of Tolerance and Freemasonry is a universal Brotherhood.

Core Values: Tolerance

25th Degree - Master of Achievement

Industriousness is shown through the life of Brother Benjamin Franklin.

Philosophy: The wages of a Mason are earned and paid in their dealing with one another.

Core Values: Devotion to Country & Service to Humanity

26th Degree - Friend and Brother Eternal

Two officers, while on opposite sides of the Civil War, maintain their Masonic principles. Philosophy: Masonic unity and harmony transcend conflict.

Core Values: Devotion to Country & Integrity

27th Degree - Knight of Jerusalem

An historic clash between Pope Honorius III and Emperor Frederick II.

Philosophy: When tensions arise between church and state, one must be governed by his own conscience.

Core Value: Tolerance

28th Degree – Knight of the Sun

Masonry's transformation from an operative guild to speculative moral fraternity.

Philosophy: The working tools of the builders' art are used to express unique qualities of moral instruction.

Core Values: Integrity

29th Degree - Knight of St. Andrew

An incident in the long wars between Islam and Christianity in Europe is resolved by Masonic teachings and tolerance.

Philosophy: No one religion has a monopoly on truth.

Core Value: Tolerance

30th Degree – Grand Inspector

A 14th century trial in the English civil court during the reign of Edward II is conducted.

Philosophy: To be attentive, impartial, and equitable in judging others.

Core Values: Justice

31st Degree - My Brother’s Keeper

While attending St. Andrew's Lodge at the Green Dragon Tavern, Brothers Warren and Dawes come to the aid of an injured Brother.

Philosophy: The degree reinforces our call to service in the fraternity.

Core Values: Integrity & Service to Humanity

32nd Degree – Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret

The degree dramatically teaches us to choose between personal advancement and service to humanity.

Philosophy: The degree represents the victory of the spiritual over the human in man.

Core Values: Devotion to Country & Service to Humanity

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

  • Universal Brotherhood

  • 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 19th through 32nd degrees are divided between the Council of Kadosh (19th - 30th Degrees) and the Consistory (31st and 32nd Degrees) which are the third and fourth of the 4 Southern Jurisdiction bodies.

The degrees of the Council of Kadosh are chivalric and philosophical, but also contain mystical material. The word “Kadosh” is a Hebrew word meaning “Holy”. The complexity of these degrees cannot be overstated and is exemplified by the number of pages attributed to them in Morals and Dogma. The twenty-eighth degree alone is over a quarter of the 1000+ page tome. The Council of Kadosh manifests in the quest to find ways to express that strengthened light in the matters and affairs of the world.

The Consistory Degrees are very different from all the preceding degrees. They attempt to illustrate the creation of the ideal balance between the spiritual and the temporal; the quest for self-examination and empowerment which completes the process.

19th Degree – Pontiff

The great lesson of this degree is that life, when lived properly, is but a bridge to eternal life. Once the secret of life after death is known, a man understands that there is no time but eternity. Therefore, calamities which happen are temporary and will not continue. We are not taken down by calamities, but remain strong to fight against oppression and ignorance; we have passed from the Alpha to the Omega, have learned all the letters of the alphabet and understand that Alpha comes after Omega, that life is renewed. There is no end to learning and science.

20th Degree – Master of the Symbolic Lodge

This degree teaches that a Mason who knows that he does not possess the qualities of leadership, and who has not duly prepared himself to be a leader, should not want to be one. Notwithstanding, every Mason should endeavor to educate himself, bearing in mind that one day he may be asked to lead. Because he is of his community, it expects him to dispense light and knowledge; to practice the virtues both in and out of lodge.

21st Degree – Noachite or Prussian Knight

The principle lesson of this degree is to not be conceited, or belittle others. Nobody should rely on his wealth, nobility, heavenly or worldly titles. We should be humble and modest and sincerely seek God’s mercy; for God protects those who are sincere and honest. A Mason should never lose hope and confidence in the fact that correctness and honesty will always be victorious.

22nd Degree – Knight of the Royal Axe

Work is the mission of man. We should respect our labor for its own sake, and do our work. Manual and mental work complete one another; thus, one who works in either manual or mental labor should not try to exploit, or oppress, the other. A Mason must be a person who makes no distinction in the nature and kind of work in which his brother is engaged.

23rd Degree – Chief of the Tabernacle

In this degree, we are reminded that we owe our knowledge to our faith in a revealed God. Therefore, it is our duty to disseminate this knowledge to all mankind. A Mason who believes in God has a duty to acquire knowledge and disseminate this knowledge to other people so that others are also enlightened. A Mason who is generous with his knowledge knows that he will receive the blessing of God, not by sacrificing living beings, but by destroying superstitions and bringing happiness and prosperity to other people.

24th Degree – Prince of the Tabernacle

This is a continuation of the last degree and examines the nature of knowledge. We must be vigilant not to accept corrupted and erroneous echoes of real knowledge. We have to distinguish for ourselves what is truth; for many do not realize that they are in error when they think they have found the truth. As Masons, we must fight continuously against superstitions, wrong knowledge, false prophets, tyrants, and despots. Our task is to free knowledge from the monopoly of classes, casts, leaders, or priests; and to disseminate it to everyone.

25th Degree – Knight of the Brazen Serpent

This degree teaches the virtue of hospitality. One who shows hospitality to guests is obliged not to differentiate between race, nationality or religion from whoever knocks at his door. The nature of Masonry is to heal those who are in distress from moral collapses, psychological crises, diseases caused by superstitions and ignorance. To save our fellows from these, to break the chains which represent moral slavery, to set men free, to be faithful and kind in every respect is the compulsory thing to do. We fulfill our destiny by re-creating ourselves, by enlarging our knowledge.

26th Degree – Prince of Mercy

Practice forgiveness! Be tolerant! Masons are to respect all beliefs that do not dirty sacredness. Masonry is not a religion, nor do its members belong to one religious order, or any one religion. It embraces the truth in every belief and respects all of them. The truths of Masonry are contained within the religions of the world. Our task is to love all mankind; to be faithful to the agreement between the Great Architect of the Universe and ourself. We should trust that we can attain His boundless affection and compassion, the mercy in the degree’s title – that is, we can attain God’s love.

27th Degree – Knight Commander of the Temple

This degree teaches the virtues of knighthood and asks its adherents to practice these virtues in life. Virtue requires duty; and both remain the same, regardless of the times. The Knight Commander of the Temple learns that he is the manager of the time, that he himself will decide when he will perform his duty; he does not wait for orders or authorization. He is his own man, and his task is to abolish distress at just the right time.

28th Degree – Knight of the Sun, Prince Adept

Be a lover of wisdom. This degree points out seven truths: There exists an indefinable and incomprehensible principle that governs the universe. Human life is but a speck of eternity. Universal equilibrium is a result of a balance between similarities and contrasts. The absolute is the soul in its proper essence. The visible is the invisible. Evil, disaster, and misery are indispensable for universal equilibrium. Similarities are the only keys for comprehending nature. The majority of men fail to realize their errors. Masons are required to take up the arduous struggle against error. The moral code of Masonry is more extensive than that of philosophy.