Freemasonry's family consists of many organizations, some are parts of Freemasonry, some are appendant bodies of the fraternity where an entrance requirement is that a man be a Master Mason, and still others are concordant bodies, organizations that operate alongside Masonry.
Founded in the 17th Century in Bordeaux, France, the Scottish Rite is one of the branches of Freemasonry to which a Master Mason may proceed after he has completed the first three degrees of the Symbolic or “Blue Lodge.” The Scottish rite includes the degrees 4˚ through 32˚, and its degrees are lessons taught through allegory in the forms of plays. The plays are based upon both Biblical and historical references.
The “York Rite” is colloquially referred to by Masons as the “American Rite.” The York Rite takes its name from the city of York, England, where in about 926 A.D. King Athelstan assembled Masons to receive their charter. It is one of the two main branches of Freemasonry in the United States which a Master Mason may decide to join for further exposure to Masonic knowledge. The bodies of the York Rite include the Royal Arch Masons, Cryptic Masons and Knights Templars.
Known as the playground of Masonry, the Shrine was founded in 1872 by 13 men belonging to the Masonic Order. It was originally established to provide fun and fellowship for its members. Shiners are known throughout the world for their exceptional philanthropy and their specialized hospitals that treat children with a variety of ailments — free of charge.
Grottoes of North America
The Grottoes of North America is a Masonically affiliated Fraternal Organization, whose membership is based on Masonic values. Through gaiety, fun and frolic it teaches the lessons of the Golden Rule. It is a social organization based on "Good Fellowship" and promotes the high ideals of Masonry through fun programs and charitable work.
The DeMolay body prepares young men aged 12-21 to lead successful, happy and industrious lives. Basing its approach on timeless Masonic principles and hands-on experience, DeMolay helps young men develop the civic awareness, personal responsibility and leadership skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. It was established in 1919.
Rainbow for Girls
The Rainbow for Girls is an organization for girls between the ages of 11 and 20. The seven colors of the Rainbow represent seven teachings that each member receives on her journey toward the pot of gold. Founded in 1922, the organization teaches girls three basic virtues: Faith in a Supreme Being and other people, having Hope in all that they do, and Charity toward others.
Order of the Eastern Star
Established in 1850, the Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world that’s open to both men and women. Members of the Order are aged 18 and older; men must be Master Masons and women must have specific relationships with Masons. Its teachings are based on the Bible, but it’s open to people of all monotheistic faiths.
Daughters of the Nile
Daughters of the Nile is a benevolent international organization for women who are related by birth or marriage to a Shriner/Master Mason or Daughter of the Nile. Founded in 1913 it boasts 148 Temples and 39,000 members throughout the United States and Canada. The Daughters of the Nile are proud of their heritage and are grateful for the deep and lifelong friendships that develop within the membership that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
Prince Hall Freemasonry is a predominantly African-American branch of the Masonic fraternal organization. Its origins date back to March 6, 1775, when an African-American named Prince Hall was made Master Mason in Irish Constitution Military Lodge No. 441, along with 14 other African-Americans. Today, the Prince Hall fraternity has more than 4,500 lodges worldwide, forming 45 independent jurisdictions with a membership of more than 300,000 Masons.