Civil War Era Scottish Rite 

14th Degree Ring

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This a truly incredible and unique historical Masonic ring and well worth the wait for all the images to load. In the years that I have been a curator and collector I have never seen a Masonic Ring from the Civil War era. The ring is solid gold, size 10-101/2, with a very wide and thick band - the band is about 2mm thick and about 8mm wide. The ring has a nice weight to it - I'd guess around 10 to 12 grams. Engraved on the exterior of the band with amazing detail and clarity are various symbols of the Scottish Rite Degrees from the 3rd Degree - Master Mason, to the 32nd Degree. There are two different tetragrammatons - one with Greek lettering and one with Hebraic. There are two crosses - one Latin and one cross Patee. There are also a pair of crossed swords. The level of detail and craftsmanship is truly amazing and you can literally spend hours looking at this ring and find something new every time you pick it up. The interior of the band has three lines of engraving. The top line, in block printing, is the name Henry Goddard. The middle line, in beautiful cursive script is the motto of the 14th Degree, in English not Latin - "Virtue unites what death cannot separate." The lower line of script is engraved with the date Oct. 16, 1863.  At the time, very few men were involved in the Scottish Rite, so this makes the ring even more unique.

We recently received an e-mail from Worshipful Brother Gordom Lomoth from Twin City Lodge No. 509 Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario.  W. Bro. Lomoth led us to two historical papers about Brother Goddard who served as a Brig. General during the American Civil War.  You can read the history of this impressive Freemason at the links below:

http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaead/published/vt/viblbv00005.document
 
http://www.archive.org/stream/generalhenrygodd00port/generalhenrygodd00port_djvu.txt

 

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Pictured above is another Antique man's Masonic 18K yellow gold ring with diamond, dated 1884. Engraved, "James O. Laughlin, March 19th, 84" with Latin script. The eagle's left head is  missing his ruby chip eye.  Approx. 17g tw. 1/2" wide. Size 13.5"  Upon close inspection, you can see that the inside of the ring bears the 14th Degree inscription: "virtus junxit mors non separabit" which in English translates to: "Virtue unites what death cannot separate."

A special Thanks to Troy Wingard for submitting the above photos of this beautiful ring!

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The 14th Degree

Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason Degree

This is the last Degree of what is often referred to as The Lodge of Perfection, consisting of eleven degrees following Blue Lodge Masonry in the Scottish Rite.  This Degree is also referred to as the ultimate degree of ancient Masonry, as concluding all reference to the first Temple.  It is the last of what are technically called the Ineffable degrees, because their instructions relate to the Ineffable word.

Very important historical matters connected with the completion of the first Temple, with the later apostasy of King Solomon and the dire influences this exerted upon Israel, with the destruction of the first Temple by the Chaldeans and the consequent captivity of the Jews in Babylon, serve as the background of this Degree.  Some mythical history naturally enters into this background. This relates to events of several centuries later during the Christian Era, and constitutes the essential additional Masonic traditions that have to do with the dissemination of Ancient and Accepted Craft Masonry.  Traditional history that is preserved solely by Masonry relative to the scattering of members of the Craft also forms important elements in this Degree.

When the Temple was completed, the Masons who had been employed in its construction acquired immortal honor.  Their Order became more uniformly established and more strictly regulated than it had been before.  Their caution and reserve in admitting new members commanded respect, and merit alone was requisite for membership.  Governed by these principles, many of the Grand Elect left the Temple after its dedication, and, dispersing themselves among the nations of the world, instructed all who applied and were found worthy in the sublime degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry.  Thus we have the story of the dissemination of Freemasonry from King Solomon's Temple.

Centuries later, when the Holy Land had been occupied by enemies of both Judaism and Christianity, and Jerusalem was in control of infidels, and when the princes of Christendom formed a league to free the Holy Land of the oppression of the infidels, the good and virtuous Masons, desiring to assist in such a noble and worthy undertaking, voluntarily offered their services to the Christian confederates.  This offer was accepted, with the condition that the Masons should have their own chief.  The valor and fortitude of these elected Knights commanded the admiration of all the princes of Jerusalem and of the Christian forces of the Crusades.  It was rightly believed that the mysteries of their Order inspired them with courage and fidelity in the cause of virtue and religion, and increasing numbers throughout the provinces of the world involved sought initiation into Freemasonry.  Thus the Royal Art became popular and honorable with good and great men, was widely diffused, and those found worthy were admitted to the mysteries of the Order.  Thus Freemasonry has continued to spread through a succession of ages to the present day.

Below are Traditional Rings from the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

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14th Degree             32nd Degree              33rd Degree

While the ring with the double-headed eagle is often worn by the 32nd Degree Master of the Royal Secret, the official ring of the Scottish Rite Mason is the ring of the 14th degree. It may be worn by brethren of the 14th and 32nd degree.  The ring is a plain band of gold, about  5/16 of an inch wide.   On it is an equilateral triangle, enclosing the letter yod. The initial letter of the name of Deity in Hebrew, Jehovah.  The Yod is enclosed within an equilateral triangle which is emblematic of the three essential attributes of Deity—omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience.  Thus we have both alphabetical and geometric allusions to Deity.  The circular shape of the ring symbolizes unending commitment and loyalty, just as it does in marriage.  The triangular plate and letters signify commitment to Deity. Traditionally the inside of the ring bears the inscription "virtus junxit mors non separabit", which translates from Latin to English as:
" Whom virtue unites, death will not separate"

Many Scottish Rite Masons do not know that the 14th degree ring is the official ring of the Scottish Rite.  A 33rd degree ring looks similar, with 3 bands gold, with the triangle and number 33 inside.

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