Red vs Blue lodges

Regular Masonic lodges work the first three Masonic degrees, rather than the appendant Masonic orders such as York Rite and Scottish Rite. They are also called craft lodges. All lodges belong to a Grand Lodge and are members of their system (AF&AM, or F&AM). The system that the particular Grand Lodge belongs to will dictate the ritual used in the standard lodge operations.

However, there is another distinction between lodges. This is based on the ritual used in the degrees themselves. Blue Lodges are based on the rituals as created by the York Rite body of Freemasonry. The other style is called Red Lodges. This is based on the rituals of the Scottish Rite. The actual ritual used, and the philosophical and esoteric foundation is explained in more depth in Albert Pike’s tome: “Morals & Dogma”.

Most Masonic lodges in the USA are Blue Lodges. There are thousands of Blue Lodges in the USA that are home to over 2,000,000 Masons.

However, there are a select few lodges left that are using the Red Lodge degrees. These degrees are based on the Scottish Rite, aka AASR, rituals. The Scottish Rite itself is based on a degree system that originated in France. This system then migrated through French colonies in the caribbean to the Southern part of the USA.

In New Orleans, Louisiana there are ten lodges remaining that practice the Red Lodge, aka Scottish Rite or French degrees. These can be performed in a variety of languages, as historically preferred by each lodge. They have special dispensation by their Grand Lodge to continue these traditions that are so different from the rest of the lodges in its jurisdiction. All ten of these lodges are located in the 16th Masonic District.

Etoile Polaire No. 1 .(1794) (French)
Perserverance No. 4 (1810) (English, formerly French)
Cervantes No. 5 (1842) (Spanish)
Germania No. 46 (1844) (English, formerly German)
Kosmos No. 171 .(1864) (English, formerly German)
Union No. 172 (1865) (English)
Dante No. 174 (1866) (Italian)
Galileo Mazzini No. 368 (1917) (English, formerly Italian)
Albert Pike No. 376 .(1919) (English)
Paul M. Schneidau No. 391 (1921) (English)

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  1. In the York Rite, Royal Arch Chapters are referred to as “Red Lodges”. Rather than being contrasted with Blue Lodges, they are considered as “the completion of the Third Degree” (UGLE).

    • The term red lodge in reference to a set of the craft degrees: entered apprentice, fellow craft, master mason is a French term in fact its the title of a book ” La loge rouge dévoilée à toutes les têtes couronnées ” published in 1790. Red Lodge as a term for the Royal Arch Chapter is a rare holdover from when the Royal Arch was worked under the craft charter. Either way it’s not a term the UGLE uses as the chapter system was already in place at its formation in 1813.

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