One thing I’m pondering on is what do to with the gigantic number of different rites that exist within Freemasonry. When I’d make categories of every possible rite, the filters would become unworkable. Besides, many symbols will be the same in a great many different rites, so that symbol would get a large number of categories. We’ll see how things go when I go along, but I think I’ll mostly use the categories for different rites when a symbol is (fairly) unique to that rite.

As of now, I decided to not split the categories into the various ‘sub-rites’. For example, in France you have different rites ‘within’ the “French Rite”, such as “Traditional”, “Groussier” and “Modern Restored”. Also they have two variations of “Emulation” (“Traditional” and “French”). Moreover, there are rites with the same name, that are not necessarily the same everywhere. Is the “Swedish Rite” in France, the same as the “Swedish Rite” in Finland” or is the “Rectified Scottish Rite” the same everywhere? Probably not (entirely). There are a number of different rites of Memphis-Misraim, numerous variations to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. I doubt is will be possible to list every symbol of every variation of every rite.

About the rites currently listed:

  • Adoption: early in the existence of modern Freemasonry, before the dawn of co-Masonry, there were already lodges in which women were present. Several variations existed in different countries. Adoption lodges had (have!) different symbolism. One women’s lodge in France still uses an adoption rite;
  • Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite: umbrella description for a variety of AASR systems, some even including “craft” degrees;
  • Ark Mariner: sometimes part of the Royal Arch or Mark lodges (then usually called “Royal Ark Mariner”), but with some fairly specific symbols, so I decided to not list these symbols under Royal Arch or Mark;
  • Craft: an umbrella term for “craft” / “symbolic” / “blue” / “Johannes” degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, Master Mason”). Many symbols are the same everywhere. These get this general category. If in some craft rite there is a more specific symbol, I will (also) use the category of the rite;
  • Emulation: I think this will become a rather general category for ‘English post-merger style Freemasonry’;
  • French Rite: for now, a fairly general category for ‘continental’ Freemasonry;
  • General: some symbols are so generally Masonic and not specific to a rite, that I don’t want to specify them;
  • German: Germany always had a varied Masonic landscape. Instead of turning all their rites into categories I (for now) combine symbols that seem to be specific for German systems under this category;
  • Historical degrees: I sometimes find myself going through old manuscripts with rituals that either or not later became part of other systems, sometimes are the or a base for a contemporary degree, but sometimes neither of these. I may have to clean up previous posts, but I think I’ll use “historical degrees” to refer to rituals that are no longer in use;
  • Knight Templar: there are a few forms of Templar based Freemasonry, in the past and in the present;
  • Lauderdale: not a universal name for co-Masonic ritual, but I use this term to refer to the Theosophically-leaning co-Masonic rituals going back to the rituals of Annie Besant;
  • Mark Master: as with Ark Mariner, this degree appears in different places, sometimes the symbolism is so specific, that I decided to make a specific category. There also appear to be ‘sub rites’ such as Order of the Secret Monitor and Order of the Scarlet Cord;
  • Rectified Scottish Rite: exists (and existed) in variations in different countries, but (as of now) I will try to catch them all under this category;
  • Red Cross of Constantine: an appendant body with some specific symbols of its own;
  • Royal Arch: whether as a system of its own, part of the York or Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, some symbols are so specific that I thought this needed to be a category;
  • Royal Order of Scotland: an appendant body with some specific symbols of its own;
  • Strict Observance: a German system from the 1780’ies, but still worked here and there;
  • Swedish Rite: exists in France as one of several rites within the same grand lodge, but in other countries it is the main rite in several grand lodges. Confusingly, in Germany there is a Swedish-type “Scottish” (high degree) Freemasonry called “Andreasloge”;
  • Women’s Grand Lodge of Belgium: not a rite. I believe their rituals are not too different from other Masonic rituals, but they seem to have some specific symbols, so I gave them their own category;
  • York Rite: the American rite that in some books contains also “craft” degrees. The York Rite symbols come mostly from the famous Duncan Monitor.