The Scottish Rite is the second of the two concordant bodies of Freemasonry in which a Master Mason (Third Degree) may proceed after he has completed the three degrees of Symbolic or Blue Lodge Masonry. (The other branch is known as York Rite consisting of Capitular and Cryptic Masons and Knights Templar.) The Scottish Rite work expands and elaborates on the lessons of the three Craft Lodge degrees. As with Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite is not a religion, and it is nondenominational, although it does require a belief in a Supreme Being.
The Scottish Rite, sometimes called the "College of Freemasonry", uses extensive dramatic plays and allegory to emphasize the content and messages of its degrees. A Freemason, after viewing these dramas, will eventually attain the 32nd degree in Scottish Rite Masonry. In the Scottish Rite a Master Mason may become a member of three bodies — Lodge of Perfection, Rose Croix, and Consistory. Scottish Rite includes the Degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-third, inclusive. To a non-Mason this may sound like the member is a high ranking Mason, however, this would be a misconception. The highest degree in Freemasonry is the 3rd or Master Mason degree. Degrees as they relate to the Scottish Rite indicate the level of knowledge that a Master Mason has attained. It would be rather awkward to allude to a member as an Act 32 Freemason. In the Scottish Rite, the 33rd degree, an honorary degree, is bestowed on members of the Scottish Rite who have given outstanding service to Freemasonry or to their communities.