Degree Scottish Rite Plate
Chicago Masonic Temple
This beautiful four-color
Scottish Rite plate depicts the 32nd Degree double headed eagle emblem with
its triangle breastplate, crossed swords and the Latin motto of the 32nd
Degree, Spes Mea In Deo Est, which means My hope is in God. It
comes from the Chicago Masonic Temple which dates it to the early 1900's.
In the Thirty-second Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite there is
abundant internal evidence, derived from the ritual and from historical facts,
the the Degree of Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret was instituted by the
founders of the Council of Emperors of the East and West, of which that Body
was established in the year 1758. It is certain that before that period
we hear nothing of of such a Degree in any of the Rites. The Rite of
Heredom or of Perfection, which was that instituted by the Council of
Emperors, consisted of twenty-five Degrees. Of these the Twenty-fifth,
and highest, was the Prince of the Royal Secret. It was brought to
America by Morin, as the summit of the High Masonry which he introduced, and
for the propagation of which he had received his Patent. In the
subsequent extension of the Scottish Rite about the beginning of the
nineteenth century, by the addition of eight new Degrees to the original
twenty-five, the Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret became the Thirty-second.
Bodies of the Thirty-second Degree are called Consistories, and where
there is a superintending Body erected by the Supreme Council for the
government of the inferior Degrees in a State or Province, it is called a Grand
Consistory. The clothing of a Sublime Prince consists of a collar,
jewel and apron. The collar is black edged with white. The jewel
is a Teutonic cross of gold. The apron is white edged with black.
On the flap are embroidered six flags, three on each side of the staffs in
saltier, and the flags blue, red and yellow. On the center of the flap,
over these, is a Teutonic cross surmounted by an All-Seeing Eye, and on the
cross a double-headed eagle not crowned. On the body of the apron
is the tracing-board of the Degree. The most important part of the
symbolism of the Degree is the tracing-board, which is technically called the Camp.
This is a symbol of deep importance, and in its true interpretation is found
that "Royal Secret" from which the Degree derives its name.
This Camp constitutes an essential part of the furniture of a Consistory
during an initiation, but its explanations are altogether esoteric. It
is a singular fact, that not-withstanding the changes which the Degree must
have undergone in being transferred from the Twenty-fifth of one Rite to the
Thirty-second of another, no alteration was ever made in the Camp, which
retains at the present day the same form and signification that were
originally given to it.