Scottish Rite Rose Croix 

 18th Degree Jewel

GoldPelicanFeedingHerBabiesJewel1.jpg (73474 bytes)

The main symbol featured on this beautiful gold jewel of course is the mother Pelican pecking her breast to feed her babies.  The pelican feeding her young with her blood is a prominent symbol of the Eighteenth or Rose Croix Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and was adopted as such from the fact that the pelican, in ancient Christian art, was considered as the emblem of the Savior.  Now this symbolism of the pelican, as a representative of the Savior, is almost universally supposed to be derived from the common belief that the pelican feeds her young with her blood, as the Savior shed his blood for mankind; and hence the bird is always represented as sitting on her nest, and surrounded by her brood of young ones, who are dipping their bills into a wound in their mother's breast.  But this is not the exact idea of the symbolism, which really refers to the resurrection, and is, in this point of view, more applicable to Christ, as well as to the Masonic Degree of which the resurrection is a doctrine.  In an ancient Bestiarium, or Natural History, in the Royal Library at Brussels, cited by Larwood and Hotten in a recent work on the History of Signboards, this statement is made:  "The pelican is very fond of his young ones, and when they are born and begin to grow, they rebel in their nest against their parent, and strike him with their wings flying about him, and beat him so much till they wound him in his eyes.  Then the father strikes and kills them.  And the mother is of such a nature that she comes back to the nest on the third day, and sits down upon her dead young ones, and opens her side with her bill and pours her blood over them, and so resuscitates them from death; for the young ones, by their instinct, receive the blood as soon as it comes out of the mother, and drink it."  Dr. Mackey believed the true theory of the pelican is, that by restoring her young ones to life by her blood, she symbolizes the resurrection.  The old symbologists said, that the male pelican, who destroyed his young, represents the serpent, or evil principle, which brought death unto the world; while the mother, who resuscitates them, is the representative of the Son of Man of whom it is declared, "except ye drink of His blood, ye have no life in you."   Hence the pelican is very appropriately a symbol of Freemasonry, whose great object it is to teach by symbolism the doctrine of the resurrection, and especially in that sublime Degree of the Scottish Rite wherein, the old Temple being destroyed and the old Word being Lost, a new temple and a new word spring forth -- all of which is but the great allegory of the destruction by death and the resurrection to eternal life.

The 18th Degree

Prince, of Knight Rose Croix Degree

This important Degree, of all the higher Degrees, is said to be the most widely diffused, being found in numerous Rites other than the Scottish.  It is said, also, to have been given formerly in some Encampments of Knights Templars.  With some, it has been erroneously confounded with the Rosicrucians, which was a Hermetic and mystical Order and wholly without Masonic connection.  The Degree is known by various names, such as Sovereign Princes of Rose Croix; Princes of Rose Croix de Heroden; and Knights of the Eagle and Pelican.  The name "Rose Croix" is derived from the emblems of the Rose and Cross.  Much confusion prevails as to the date and origin of this Degree, and Masonic historians are at great variance on this subject.  It seems most probable, however, that it had its beginning during the Crusades, probably about 1188 A.D., and that the Order originally had intimate connection with the early days of Templar Masonry.  There can be no question of the intimate Christian character and design of the Degree, even though we have it in the Scottish Rite and not in Knight Templar Masonry.

In the Rites and Ceremonies of this Degree, we have presented a Third Temple, successor to both the Temple of King Solomon and to the Temple of Zerubbabel -- the spiritual Temple, the building of which is the ultimate objective of Freemasonry.  The Wisdom, Strength, Beauty which supported the ancient Temple are replaced by the Christian pillars of Faith, Hope and Charity; the great Lights remain, for they are not only the essence of Freemasonry, but also fundamentals in their symbolic truths and in the realities of some in the building of true character; the three lesser lights give way to thirty-three, which to most interpreters represent the thirty-three years of the Messiah's sojourn on the earth.  In the teachings of the Degree the dogmas of the "Master of Nazareth" are extended to a universal system of Truth, and adapted to the Masonic dogma of Tolerance.  With similar emphasis, efforts of some to place an impassable barrier around Christianity, and the intolerance of those religions which cry, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth" are obliterated.  These are the more liberal interpretations of the Prince Rose Croix Rites and Ceremonies.  The body conferring this Degree is called a "Chapter"; its principal officers are a Most Wise Master and two Wardens.  Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday are two obligatory days of meeting.  The jewel is a golden compass, extended on a arch to the sixteenth part of a circle, or twenty-two and a half degrees.  The head of the compass is surmounted by a triple crown, consisting of three series of points arranged by three, five and seven.  Between the legs of the compass is a crown resting on the arc; its center is occupied by a full grown rose, whose stem twines around the lower limb of the cross; at the foot of the cross on the same side on which the rose is exhibited, is the figure of a Pelican wounding its breast to feed its young which are in a nest surrounding it, while on the other side of the jewel is the figure of an Eagle with wings displayed.  On the arch of the circle, the P:. W:. of the Degree is engraved in the cipher of the Order.  The Cross, the Rose, the Pelican, and the Eagle are all important symbols of the Degree; in the explanation of these a full comprehension of the design of the Order is provided.  These are treated separately under their respective titles in the glossary section of this website.




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