Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Swedish Rite


Published on

Published in: News & Politics

Swedish Rite

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. In 1756, Carl Friedrich Eckleff, an employee of the Swedish Foreign Office, with 6 otherbrethren, formed the ‘Scottish’ Lodge L’Innocente in Stockholm, working the so-calledScottish St. Andrew’s Degrees. Eckleff is said to have held a foreign Patent authorizing himto form Lodges. The next step was again taken by Eckleff in 1759, when he established aChapter (Stuart Lodge) (Not to be confused with a RA Chapter) in Stockholm. The GL ofSweden was established in 1760, and recognized as such by the GL of England in 1770.Eckleff established a system of Freemasonry with a strong Christian basis, and this wasfurther developed by Duke Karl (late King Karl XIII). Two major revisions – in 1780 and1800 established a logical Masonic system consisting of 10 degrees, known as The SwedishRites (SwR). The exact date of inception of the SwR cannot be pip-pointed precisely, asLodges existed in Sweden, and many Masonic styles influenced this system.FM in Sweden has continued to remain a State institution, under the leadership of theirGMs, all of whom belong to the Royal House, ever since its inception, more than 200 yearsago. 2
  3. 3. The SwR was brought to Germany by Johann Wilhelm Kellner von Zinnendorf, a MedicalOfficer in the General Staff of the Prussian Army. (In Germany, the SwR is also known asthe Zinnendorf System). He was initiated in 1757, and late became a Prefect in the StrictObservance system of Masonic Templarism. Not satisfied with the pompous working of thissystem, he searched for more light, founded a new Lodge, and tried unsuccessfully to obtaina Warrant from the GL of England. He turned to the GL of Sweden, where the SwR wasalready established, and was able to found the first SwR Lodge in Germany in 1768. TheGrand Land Lodge of Freemasons in Germany was established in 1770. Interestingly, thisGrand Body was recognized by the GL of England in 1773, but by the GL of Sweden laterin 1776. The SwR worked today in Germany, varies but slightly from the system worked inSweden. 3
  4. 4. Only the second GL – i.e. The Grand Land Lodge og Freemasons of Germany work theSwR and SwR alone. 4
  5. 5. The SwR has 10 degrees, and forms a continuous system without any break, which cannotbe divided. They all fall under the same governing Grand Body, unlike other Rite, wheredifferent Grand Bodies govern different degrees of the same system. The Order has threeDepartments – St. J’s Lodges, St. A’s Lodges and Chapters. (Chapters are not to be confusedwith our RA Chapters) 5
  6. 6. These work the first 3 ‘Craft’ degrees – EA, FC and MM. There is a minimum period of 9months between each degree, which cannot be shortened under any circumstances 6
  7. 7. Actually, the 4th and 5th degrees are strictly a double degree, worked in the same Ritual.A 3rd Degree MM from St. J’s Lodge can petition for his initiation in a St. A’s Lodge 9months after he has been a MM. He gets his 4th/5th degree and then after a period of 12months for his 6th degree. After his 6th degree, a brother has to wait for 24 months until hecan join a Chapter, and he can do nothing to get this moving any earlier, not even aDispensation! 7
  8. 8. Between the 7th and 8th degree there is a gap of 21 months. Between the 8th and 9th degree,the gap is 27 months and between the 9th and 10th, the gap is 36 months. 8
  9. 9. This is conferred to only a few distinguished brethren. There is no specific ritual for thisdegree. All 11th Degree Masons form the Council 9
  10. 10. The Grand Lodge is headed by the Grand Master. Next to the GM is another Officer –Vicarius Salomonis (VS – or the Vicar of Solomon). Then there a Council of 11th DegreeMasons, and a ‘Highest Chapter of the Order’ – consisting of all the 11th Degree Masons inGermany, never more than 80.The GM is directly in charge of the St. J’s and St. A’s Lodges, and the finances andadministration of the Grand Lodge. The VS is in charge of the Chapters, and all the Ritualworking in general.The ruling pair, i.e. the GM and the VS may be compared to the King and the High Priest ofBiblical times. The GM is elected by all the WMs of St. J’s and St. A’s Lodges for a term of3 years. The VS is elected only by the Knight Commanders. This used to be a lifetimeappointment till 1998, when it was changed to a 4 year term. 10
  11. 11. These are, in essence, the same as craft degrees worked elsewhere.All brethren wear fencing swords. The Wardens knock their hammers on the pommels of theirswords, not on the tables, as tables for the wardens were a later day additions to the Lodge furniture.They used to stand in earlier years. Both the Wardens sit in the West, and perambulation is unknown,as nobody should walk into the triangle formed by the WM and the Wardens.After the candidate has taken the oath of the first degree, he is initiated as a Masonic Knight, a verytypical feature of the SwR. He is led to the Altar a second time, and the WM gives three blows on thecompasses pointing at his heart, while the Master of Ceremonies holds a ‘Blood Chalice’ filled withred liquid under the ‘wound’ of the candidate. He is told that his blood has been mixed with theblood of his brethren. The chalice is also called the ‘Unification Chalice’. It reappears in the 10 thdegree, and completes and closes the circle of Degrees. In old times (before AIDS) this symbolic actwas made real in the 10th Degree, when the candidate is cut in the finger and gives his blood into achalice of wine.The EA apron is a simple white apron, and a silver unpolished trowel on a white leather strap on thelapel. The FC has a white apron with three white levels on it and a silver polished trowel suspendedon a white silken band with a cross-shaped ribbon. The MM apron is white with a light blue rim.And three light blue levels on it and a golden trowel on a light blue silk cross-band, and a key madeof bone on a narrow blue collar. 11
  12. 12. This is the tracing board of the EA Degree.The TBs are made of cloth and lie in the middle of the lodge, on the floor of the Lodge and is surrounded by the three columns of Wisdom,Strength and Beauty in the northeast, southeast and southwest corners respectively.It is said that the fourth column is Religion, and that it is alreadythere, but invisible to the blue lodge brother.The TBs of all Degrees are square, except the Third Degree, which is oblong.The Symbols on this TB are:- Cable Tow with a special knot, called Lemniscate, which is also thesymbol of Infinity.- Square and Compasses, building a square.- Sun and Moon.- Rough and smooth ashlars.- Gavel and Trowel.- Balance and Plumb.- The columns J and B, with only the J showing on the left column- 5-pointed blazing star with the letter G.- mosaic pavement in triangles instead of squares.- The drawing table (as symbol of the MM) with the letter X as theroman number 10 for the 10 commandments. 12
  13. 13. The symbolism of the X is widened in the higher degrees. In a St. Andrew’s Lodge (4 th to 6th Degrees) it symbolizes St. Andrew’s Cross.And in the Chapters (7th to 10th Degrees) it represents the Greek letter ‘Chi’ being the initial letter of Christ. 12
  14. 14. This is the Tracing Board of the FC Degree.The 5 pointed star is replaced by a six pointed star.The right hand column has the letter ‘B’ on it.There are 7 steps in the foreground, symbolizing the progress in the 7 Liberal Arts andSciences.There is very little change in the set up of the EA and FC Lodge. The MM Lodge isdrastically different. The Walls and the furniture are all black, and the blue Altar is changedto a black Altar. 13
  15. 15. The Tracing Board is 3-Dimensional. Actually, it is blank board, with a large black coffin,resting on tiers (or ‘flames’ when seen in fluorescent lights) placed on it. A twig of acacia, asilver triangle with the old Master’s word (m-b) in the middle, and skull and cross bones areplaced on it. The coffin stands between the Square in the East and the Compasses in theWest.Pictures of the Skulls, with dark sentences – ‘Memento Mori’ (meaning ‘Remember Death’)hang on the North and South wallsThis is the only oblong TB in the SwR.In all degrees, which show the perfect, spiritual world, the TB issquare. That is in 1st. 2nd, 4th and further. During the destruction of thematerial world (body) in 3rd (and during the chaos of transition from the 4thand 5th the TBs are oblong squares. 14
  16. 16. This shows a picture of an old St. Andrews Temple (ritually called the Silent Hall). This isthe temple in Berlin, about 1934. The photograph is taken from the East facing west acrossthe TB.This also shows the fourth column – called ‘Religion’ which is invisible in a Craft memberof a St. John’s Lodge 15
  17. 17. The Regalia of all the 10 Degrees 16
  18. 18. A view from the Museum of the GLL. Here on display are all the Regalia and Jewels of theofficers in the several Degrees. 17