OFFICIAL INFORMATION FROM THE GRAND LODGE OF SPAIN
Freemasonry, being an Initiatic Order, is based on Rites whose roots come from the most ancient times. The Rite consists of the set of rules and ceremonies constituting a whole, coherent and defined in different degrees. Apprentice, Companion and Teacher for example, for the three that make up the ‘blue’ Freemasonry or Symbolic Freemasonry.
The set of Masonic Rites has been codified and has evolved over time to correspond with the evolution of the societies and men that compose them. The rituals thus define the specific practices of each Rite, for the opening and closing of the Works in Lodge, for example, in each degree, as well as the particular ceremonies of each of these: Initiation of a layman, step from Apprentice to Companion and elevation from Partner to Teacher. Therefore, it can be said that each ritual and ceremony compose the Rite as a whole, within Symbolic Freemasonry.
The Masonic Rites do not have a hierarchy and one could not say which is better than another. Each of them corresponds to a sensitivity and a particular approach to the history of spirituality. But they all have in common the fundamental principles of Freemasonry, such as Tolerance, the love of Humanity and the search for truth.
The Lodges of the Grand Lodge of Spain mainly practice the following Rites:
- Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite
- Emulation Rite
- Scottish Rectified Regime
- York Rite
- French Rite
You will find in this section a brief presentation of the most practiced rites.
What is a Rite?
The Latin word Ritus from where the translation rite has been taken means ‘a practice’ or ‘approved habit’ or an ‘external observance’. Vesio drift by transposition of the Greek, from where it comes and literally means ‘a trodden path’, and, metaphorically, ‘a long-lasting custom’. As a Masonic term its application is, therefore, apparent. It means the method of conferring masonic light by a collection and distribution of degrees. It is, in other words, the method and order observed in the government of the Masonic system.
The original system of Speculative Masonry consists only of three Symbolic Degrees. Such was the situation of Freemasonry in the year 1717, at the time it is known in England as the Renaissance of Art. Therefore this was the original Rite or approved practice, and thus continued in England until the year 1813, when the union of the two Grand Lodges took place, and in which “the Holy Royal Arch” was declared to be a part of the system.
But in the European continent the organization of the new systems began at an earlier time, and by the invention of what are known as higher degrees a multitude of Rites was established. All of these agree with an essential and important Rite. They were established on the basis of the three symbolic degrees, which in any case constituted the fundamental basis on which they were established. His design was the expansion and development of the Masonic ideas contained in these degrees. The degrees of Apprentice, Companion Mason and Master formed the portico by which every initiate had to pass that could obtain entrance inside the temple that had been erected by the founders of the rite. They constituted the text, and the higher grades the commentary.
Hence comes the law, that whatever the constitution and teachings of any Rite with respect to the superior degrees that are peculiar to it, being the three symbolic degrees common to all the Rites, the Master Mason, in any of the rites can visit and verify their labors in the Master’s Lodge of any other Rite. It is only after the degree has passed that the exclusive privilege of each Rite begins to exert its influence.
But there have been some of them that have subsisted only by the influence of their authors, and have disappeared as soon as the parental energy that created them ceased to exist. Others have had a more permanent existence and still continue to live in the Masonic family, providing only different methods of acquiring knowledge with the same great purpose of acquiring the Divine Truth by Masonic Light. Ragon in his work Tulier General, gives us the names of one hundred and eight, under different titles of Rites, Orders and Academies. But many of these are not Masonic, being only of a social, political or literary nature. The following catalog includes the most important of those that to date continue to attract the attention of the Masonic student:
- 1. Rito de York.
- 2. Rito Escocés Antiguo y Aceptado.
- 3. Rito Moderno o Francés.
- 4. Rito Americano.
- 5. Rito Escocés Filosófico.
- 6. Rito Escocés primitivo.
- 7. Rito Reformado.
- 8. Rito Helvético Reformado.
- 9. Rito de Fessler.
- 10. Rito de Schroeder.
- 11. Rito de la Gran Logia de los Tres Globos.
- 12. Rito del Elegido de la Verdad.
- 13. Rito del Velo Púrpura.
- 14. Rito del capítulo de Clermont.
- 15. Rito de Pernetty.
- 16. Rito de la estrella Flamígera.
- 17. Rito de Chastanier.
- 18. Rito de los Filaletes
- 19. Rito primitivo de los Filadelfos.
- 20. Rito del Martinismo.
- 21. Rito del Hermano Henoch.
- 22. Rito de Mizraim.
- 23. Rito de Menfis.
- 24. Rito de la estricta observancia.
- 25. Rito de la Observancia Laxa.
- 26. Rito de los Arquitectos Africanos.
- 27. Rito de los Hermanos del Asia.
- 28. Rito de Perfección.
- 29. Rito de los Elegidos Cohens.
- 30. Rito de los Emperadores del este y del Oeste.
- 31. Rito Primitivo de Narbona.
- 32. Rito de la Orden del Templo.
- 33. Rito Sueco.
- 34. Rito de Swedenborg.
- 35. Rito de Zinzendorf.
- 36. Rito Egipcio de Cagliostro.
- 37. Rito de los Caballeros Bienhechores de la Ciudad Santa.
In Freemasonry no Rite has supremacy over another and if the Rite has been recognized, the brother is of all the Masons of the Universe.