Early 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Plate 

from the 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. 

 

         

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