Jim Tresner, 33°, Grand Cross
The colors of the regalia of the 10° repeat those of the 9°, but there are some important differences. The apron of the 10° is not only bordered in black, it is fringed.
This is the first time we encounter fringe on the Scottish Rite Degree aprons. Fringe is a very old symbol found in the Hebrew tradition and in many others. It was apparently significant in the Phoenician system of thought as well, making it an interesting symbol in connection with Hiram, who was Hebrew on his mother’s side and Phoenician on his father’s. Fringe may be said to represent spirituality and a dedication to things of the spirit.
Since the theme of the 10° is the elimination of Ignorance, Tyranny, and Fanaticism (intolerance), the fringe on the apron suggests that the elimination of these three great enemies is not only necessary for the happiness and strength of a society but also necessary for the spiritual growth of the individual and the society in which he lives. Opposition to Ignorance, Tyranny, and Fanaticism thus becomes a sacred obligation for each individual.
The three arches on the apron represent the east, west, and south entrances or gates to Jerusalem, Solomon having directed that the head of one of the ruffians was to be exposed over each gate. The three rosettes above the arches represent the ruffians who murdered Hiram and symbolize Ignorance, Tyranny and Fanaticism (indicated above the rosettes by the letters I, T, and F). Thus, those entering Jerusalem—symbolically, those on a quest for spiritual self-development—are reminded of the nature of the enemies to be opposed. The fifteen who participated in the capture of the assassins of Hiram are rewarded by admittance into a higher Degree, and the new order is called the Elu of the Fifteen, Elu meaning one who is selected or elected. The candidate of this Degree, in being invested with this rank, devotes himself to toleration and liberality. (See: Rex R. Hutchens, A Bridge to Light, p. 65.)
The black of the cordon represents the sorrow caused to the world by Ignorance, Tyranny and Fanaticism.
The jewel of this Degree, like that of the Ninth Degree, is a dagger with gold hilt and silver blade. The combination of gold (a sun metal) and silver (a moon metal) is an ancient symbol. The Egyptians topped many of their monuments and made many of their statues with an alloy of gold and silver called electrum. Again, the symbol teaches balance and harmony—the combination of the male (sun) and the female (moon). This balance is true even in the Sword of Truth, which the dagger of the Degree symbolizes.
A couple of points in the symbolism of the regalia deserve special notice. Ignorance is classified as a vice. We usually think of a vice as something a person does, but Pike tells us that Ignorance is as destructive as any action could possibly be.
Tyranny is given some special attention. We generally think of tyranny as the political oppression of some people. But tyranny comes in many forms. Tyranny takes place whenever any person or group says, “What I want is more important than what you want. My desires are more important than your desires. I matter more than you matter. Do it my way, or else.” Or, even worse, “Believe my way or else.”
Tyranny does not equate with authority, but with attitude. We do not call the skilled and caring teacher who maintains order and discipline in his or her class a tyrant, nor the king who governs for the best interests and welfare of his people, nor the nation which offers protection to another nation while carefully not interfering with the nation so helped, nor the husband or wife who discharges the affairs of the household with authority, but also love and concern.
The essence of tyranny is selfishness. And if tyranny is selfishness in the world of material things, fanaticism is selfishness in the world of ideas and beliefs. Fanaticism is the sort of selfishness which says, “I am right. If you do not agree with me, you are wrong, and I have the right to hurt you.”
Ignorance allows both fanaticism and tyranny to flourish, for only knowledge can form the basis of freedom. And ignorance is the primary weapon of the tyrant and the fanatic. Even today, the first action by a group attempting to overthrow a government and establish a dictatorship is to take control of all the means of communication and education—radio and television stations first, then newspapers and magazines. Both the tyrant and the fanatic can give good reasons why “just a little censorship is needed—only until things stabilize,” or why they should control what people read “because otherwise they may ask questions and lose the ‘true faith.’” The fanatic always wants to benefit others. All he asks in return is your mind and soul.
Scottish Rite Regalia Photos And Prints
Illustrations of the Scottish Rite regalia paintings by Bro. Robert
H. White, 32°, (10° painting pictured inside back cover of this
issue) are available in two formats: (1) individual 8" x 12" or 11" x 14"
color photographs and (2) grouped photos in a color 22" x 33" poster.
1) To order photos, please contact Bro. Bruce A. Dehlin, K.D. Enterprises, 10114 Farmington Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030-2049.
2) To order color posters picturing all the regalia paintings, 4° through 33° including the K.C.C.H. and Grand Cross, send a check ($20.00) payable to The Supreme Council, 33°, S.J., USA to: Grand Executive Director’s Office, 1733 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009-3103.