The period from 1740 to 1813 saw a host of Masonic rites emerge, as there were brethren for whom the Grand Lodge system was insufficient. These new rituals enlarged the scope of Masonry and encompassed many elaborations, some of which included elements which had previously been practiced within the craft. Many rites proved to be transient and died out (some being no more than a written record without evidence of having been practiced), but some proved more resilient and survived through amalgamation.
It is possible to segment the various additional orders into five distinct categories based on the allegorical form that the ritual takes, the key lessons from the ritual and its relationship with other orders. The individual orders do not neatly fit into each category.
- Those dealing with the aftermath of the murder of Hiram Abif and subsequently completing the construction of King Solomon's Temple. The symbolism seeks to capture the lesson that every candidate must make his or her own spiritual temple.
- The Vengeance degrees, elaborating on the allegory in the Traditional History of the Master Mason ritual. These degrees deal with the finding and subsequent punishment of the three who murdered Hiram Abif and the resulting rewards to those who carried this out.
- The rebuilding of the temple by Zerabubbel and the search for the figurative secrets in the foundations of the former temple.
- Degrees conferring powers of inspection and discipline on the candidate, within the structure that the degree is contained within.
The appendant bodies which have survived to the present have done so by containing ritual content perceived as being of value to the participants. The ritual of those orders which have not survived are collected and demonstrated by the Grand College of Rites which provides a mechanism to preserve the history and traditions associated with Freemasonry and prevent the resurrection of dormant rituals.
- The Philosophical, Templar and Christian degrees.
York Rite (also called the "American Rite")
The York Rite is one of the two main appendant bodies of US Freemasonry, which a Master Mason may join to further his knowledge of Freemasonry. Its name derives from the city of York, where, according to a Masonic legend, the first meetings of Masons in England took place. The other branch is the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Some obediences of the Scottish Rite may confer some of these degrees in Continents where the York Rite is not active. The divisions within the York Rite and the requirements for membership differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the essentials are the same. In all the workings the one requirement is that all applicants be in possession of the third degree, that of Master Mason.
The York Rite is not found as a single system in the majority of countries outside the United States, nor is any of the separate degrees subject to the local Grand Lodge jurisdiction. Each sovereign and distinct rite or "Order" elsewhere has some differences in ritual details to the York Rite system. However, provided that Grand Lodge in question regards the parent "Craft" jurisdiction as regular, each distinct Order has recognised fraternal inter-relations with the respective Rite within the York system.
York Rite in the United States of America
The York Rite in the United States is actually a grouping of separate Rites joined in order, namely the Capitular Rite, or Royal Arch Masons (General Grand Chapter - Royal Arch Masons International), the Cryptic Rite, or Cryptic Masons (General Grand Council - Cryptic Masons International) and the Chivalric Rite, or Knights Templar (Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America).
Royal Arch Masonry
Royal Arch Masonry is the first order a Master Mason joins in the York Rite.
The Chapter works the following degrees:
- The Mark Master Mason degree is in some respects an extension of the Fellow Crafts' second degree. In some jurisdictions the degree is conferred in a Fellow Craft Lodge, that is, the second degree of the Blue Lodge.
- The Past Master (Virtual) degree is conferred because of the traditional requirement that only Past Masters of a Blue Lodge may be admitted to Holy Royal Arch. Because there are so many applicants for this degree, Virtual Past Master is required to qualify them for it. Much of the work is the same given to install the Worshipful Master of a Blue Lodge. There is no such requirement or procedure outside the USA.
- In the Most Excellent Master degree the building of King Solomon's Temple, which figures so prominently in Blue Lodge, has been completed. In England the degree is conferred by Cryptic Councils, along with three other degrees below.
- The Royal Arch Mason degree is said by many to be the most beautiful degree in all of Freemasonry. Following the convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter in England on November 10, 2004, there are significant ritual differences from that worked in the USA, fraternal inter-relations remain as before. Freemasons who reach this degree may continue to Cryptic Masonry or go straight to Knights Templar.
Membership in the Council of Cryptic Masons (or the Council of Royal and Select Masters in Great Britain and Texas) is not required for membership in the Knights Templar in some jurisdictions, so it is frequently skipped. It is called Cryptic Masonry because a crypt or underground room figures prominently in the degrees.
This body is also called the Cryptic Rite. The degrees are:
In Great Britain, a Most Excellent Master degree is offered between Select Master and Super-Excellent Master.
- Super-Excellent Master, which is an optional degree - the legend having nothing to do with a crypt.
Knights Templar is the final order joined in the York Rite. Unlike other Masonic bodies which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religion, membership in Knights Templar is open only to Master Masons who promise to defend the Christian faith. While the Masonic Knights Templar organization is based on the historical Knights Templar founded in the 12th Century, there is no actual historical link between the two groups.
A local Knights Templar organization is called a Commandery in the United States and a Preceptory elsewhere. In the United States, Knights Templar consists of three degrees:
- Illustrious Order of the Red Cross
- Order of the Knights of Malta (or simply Order of Malta)
The York Rite Sovereign College
- Order of the Temple consisting of:
Order of Knights Templar
Consecration to service to country
An invitational Masonic body open to members who are members of all four York Rite Bodies and who have shown exceptional proficiency in them. The College confers only one degree:
Order of the Red Cross of Constantine
This is outside the system of degrees of the York Rite, but is included here for the sole reason that candidates must have received the Royal Arch Degree.
The Conclave is an invitational Masonic body open to members of York Rite Masonry and by special dispensation to Sublime Princes (32nd Degree) of the Royal Secret, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The Scottish Rite includes the degree of Royal Arch of Solomon.
- Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine
- Knight of the Holy Sepulchre
Return to top
- Knight of Saint John the Evangelist
Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in the United States omits the and), commonly known as simply Scottish Rite, is one of several Rites of the worldwide fraternity known as Freemasonry. A Rite is a series of progressive degrees that are conferred by various Masonic organizations or bodies, each of which operates under the control of its own central authority. In the Scottish Rite, the central authority is called a Supreme Council.
The thirty-three degrees of the Scottish Rite are conferred by several controlling bodies. The first of these is the Craft Lodge which confers the Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason degrees. Craft lodges operate under the authority of Grand Lodges, not the Scottish Rite. Although most lodges throughout the English-speaking world do not confer the Scottish Rite versions of the degrees, there are a handful of lodges in New Orleans and in several other major cities that have traditionally conferred the Scottish Rite version of these degrees.
The Scottish Rite is one of the appendant bodies of Freemasonry that a Master Mason may join for further exposure to the principles of Freemasonry. In England and some other countries, while the Scottish Rite is not accorded official recognition by the Grand Lodge, there is no prohibition against a Freemason electing to join it. In the United States, however, the Scottish Rite is officially recognized by Grand Lodges as an extension of the degrees of Freemasonry. The Scottish Rite builds upon the ethical teachings and philosophy offered in the craft lodge, or Blue Lodge, through dramatic presentation of the individual degrees.
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in each country is governed by a Supreme Council. There is no international governing body - each Supreme Council in each country is sovereign unto itself.
In the United States, there are two Supreme Councils: one in Washington, DC, and one in Lexington, Massachusetts, which control the Southern Jurisdiction (SJ) and Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (NMJ), respectively. In the SJ, individual states are referred to as Orients and local bodies are called Valleys; the NMJ uses only Valley. Each Valley has up to four Scottish Rite bodies, and each body confers a set of degrees. In both jurisdictions the Supreme Council controls and confers the 33rd Degree of Sovereign Grand Inspector General.
In the United States the Lexington, Massachusetts - based Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, formed in 1813, oversees the bodies in fifteen states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Vermont.
Orients in the other thirty-five states, districts and territories in the United States are overseen by the Southern Jurisdiction. Based in Washington, D.C., the Southern Jurisdiction is the "Mother Supreme Council of the World," being the first Supreme Council, and was founded in Charleston, South Carolina in 1801.
In the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, the Supreme Council consists of no more than 33 members, and is presided over by a Grand Commander. Other members of the Supreme Council are called "Sovereign Grand Inspectors General" (S.G.I.G.), and each is the head of the Rite in his respective Orient (or state). Other heads of the various Orients who are not members of the Supreme Council are called "Deputies of the Supreme Council."
In the Northern Jurisdiction the Supreme Council consists of no more than 66 members. All members of the Supreme Council are designated Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, but the head of the Rite in each Valley of the Northern Jurisdiction is called a "Deputy of the Supreme Council."
System of Degrees
According to the various Scottish Rite jurisdictions in the world, all of which operate independently, the Scottish Rite degrees are worked at will by their governing bodies. For example the Southern Jurisdiction separates the degrees as follows:
- 4° through 14°: Lodge of Perfection
- 15° through 18°: Chapter of Rose Croix
- 19° through 30°: Council of Kadosh
This is slightly different in the Northern Jurisdiction:
- 31° through 32°: Consistory
- 4° through 14°: Lodge of Perfection
- 15° through 16°: Council, Prince of Jerusalem
- 17° through 18°: Chapter of Rose Croix
The Supreme Council is the governing body of the Scottish Rite in the various jurisdictions, and charters all subordinate bodies. Members of the Supreme Council are chosen from among those members who have obtained the 33°.
- 19° through 32°: Consistory
A Scottish Rite Mason does not need to be, nor ever needs to have been, an officer of any rank in any lodge to be honored with the 33rd degree.
In Scotland, candidates are perfected in the 18th degree, with the preceding degrees awarded in name only. A minimum of a two-year interval is required before continuing to the 30th degree, again with the intervening degrees awarded by name only. Elevation beyond that is by invitation only, and numbers are severely restricted.
Similarly in England, the candidate is perfected in the 18th degree with the preceding degrees awarded in name only. Continuing to the 30th degree is restricted to those who have served in the chair of the Chapter. Elevation beyond the 30th degree is as it is in Scotland.
Return to top
The Shriners of North America
The Shriners, or Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, are an Order appendant to Freemasonry. Until 2000, one had to complete either the Scottish Rite or York Rite degrees of Masonry to be eligible for Shrine membership, but now any Master Mason can join.
Established in New York City in the 1870s, the Shriners are best known for having fun. Members of the Shrine are immediately recognizable by the fezzes they wear, and are often seen in parades and as clowns in the Shrine Circus. However, the Shrine is also noted for its charitable works, rather like a service club, most notably the Shriner's Hospitals for Children, which provides medical treatment to children free of charge.
The Shriners often participate in local parades, sometimes as rather elaborate units: shrines may have one or more whole units of miniature vehicles in themes (all sports cars; all miniature 18-wheeler trucks; all fire engines for instance) of a dozen or two dozen Shriners executing elaborate drills in the mini-vehicles; an "oriental band" dressed in cartoonish versions of Middle Eastern dress; floats, including huge inflatable balloons of Shriners wearing their fezzes - some local mosques actually have all of the above marching in the same parade.
The Shriners are committed to community service and have been instrumental in countless public projects throughout their domain. They also host the annual East-West Shrine Game which is a college football all-star game. Once a year, the fraternity meets for the Imperial Council Session in a major North American city. It is not uncommon for these conventions to have 20,000 participants or more, which generates significant revenue for the local economy.
The Shrine's charitable arm is the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of twenty-two hospitals in the United States, Mexico and Canada. It was formed to treat young victims of polio, but as that disease was controlled, they broadened their scope. They now deal with all pediatric cases, most especially with orthopedic injuries and disease and burns. The Shrine has pioneered new treatments for these conditions.
There is never any charge for treatment at a Shriners Hospital. There is no requirement for religion, race, or relationship to a Freemason. Patients must be under the age of eighteen and treatable. Local Shrine temples most often provide free transportation to the nearest hospital. In 2002, a mascot named Fez Head Fred debuted, primarily to visit their children's hospitals.
In 2005, Shriners Hospitals approved 37,755 new patient applications, attended to the needs of 123,385 patients and provided the following free of charge:
- 228,261 radiology procedures
- 305,455 outpatient, outreach and telemedicine visits
- 67,735 orthotic and prosthetic devices applied
- 24,627 surgical procedures
Shriners Hospitals' total budget for 2006 is $649 million, of which $616 million is targeted for operating expenses (including $33 million for research) and $33 million for buildings and equipment expenditures. During the 84-year history of the Shriners Hospitals, approximately $7.6 billion has been spent to operate Shriners Hospitals, and over $1.73 billion has been spent on construction and renovation.
- 227,857 occupational therapy treatments
Return to top
M.O.V.P.E.R. or The Grotto
Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, also known as M.O.V.P.E.R. or The Grotto, the subordinate bodies are called Grottoes (much like Lodges in Freemasonry).
This order was founded by LeRoy Fairchild. In the summer of 1889 who, along with a group of Master Masons, member of Hamilton Lodge #120 at Hamilton, New York, met to organize and hold informal meetings. What this group was seeking was fun and good fellowship. At their meeting on September 10, 1889, they decided to honor the founder by calling it "Fairchild Deviltry Committee." It was decided that this organization be confined to Master Masons in good standing.
The idea of the Order proved to be attractive and many distinguished Masons joined. The Order could no longer be confined to any one locality and in response to requests other groups were formed On June 13, 1890 the Fairchild Deviltry Committee duly established and formed the Supreme Council, Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm. Its purpose mainly was to add in greater measure to the Masonic fraternal spirit the charm of radiant cheerfulness and to maintain within the fraternity an impetus of royal good fellowship.
It is a social organization for the Master Mason and all such are welcome to join the Enchanted Realm. It encourages renewed interest in the Blue Lodge Field. While it is not and makes no claim to be a part of Symbolic Craft Masonry, they ever remember that it is comprised solely of Master Masons.
Members are distinguished by the black fez with the red tassle and a Mokanna head in the middle. The M.O.V.P.E.R. organizes the annual Fair Saint Louis in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Return to top
Tall Cedars of Lebanon
The Tall Cedars of Lebanon is one of the various appendant bodies of Freemasonry, open only to Master Masons in good standing in a regular Masonic Lodge.
Cedars meet in groups called 'Forests,' each headed by a Grand Tall Cedar. These forests most often meet at the local Masonic hall. The Tall Cedars claim 15,000 members, mostly in the eastern United States. The group was incorporated in 1902, but has antecedents in American Masonry from the 1840s. Its center of activity was, and is the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Tall Cedar support research into Muscular Dystrophy and neuromuscular diseases. Tall Cedars often provide the site and volunteers for local telephone banks for the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon. They are distinguished by the pyramid-shaped hats they wear at their functions.
Return to top
Order of the Eastern Star
The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world that both men and women can join. It was established in 1850 by Robert Morris, a lawyer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts who had been an official with the Freemasons. It is based on teachings from the Bible, but is open to people of all monotheistic faiths. It has approximately 10,000 chapters in twenty countries and approximately one million members under its General Grand Chapter. Members of the Order are aged 18 and older; men must be Master Masons and women must have specific relationships with Masons. Originally, a woman would have to be the daughter, widow, wife, sister, or mother of a master Mason, but the Order now allows other relatives as well as allowing Rainbow Girls to become members when they come of age.
The emblem of the Order is a five-pointed star, representing the Star of Bethlehem. In the Chapter room, the downward-pointing white ray points to the West. The character-building lessons taught in the Order are stories inspired by Biblical figures:
- Adah (Jephthah's daughter, from Judges)
- Martha (sister of Lazarus, from the Gospel of John)
The Order has a charitable foundation and from 1986-2001 contributed $513,147 to Alzheimer's disease research, juvenile diabetes research, and juvenile asthma research. It also provides bursaries to students of theology and religious music, as well as other scholarships that differ by jurisdiction. In 2000 over $83,000 was donated. Many jurisdictions support a Masonic and/or Eastern Star retirement center or nursing home for older members; some homes are also open to the public. They also often make charitable contributions in their local communities, presented low key without much fan-fare.
- Electa (the "elect lady", from II John), the mother
Return to top
Order of the Amaranth
Order of the Amaranth is a Masonic-affiliated organization. It is similar to the Order of the Eastern Star in many ways. In fact, at one time Amaranth was to Eastern Star what Master Mason is to Fellow Craft/Entered Apprentice in a Masonic Lodge, but in 1921 this relationship ceased. Like Eastern Star, members of the Order must be age 18 and older, men must be Master Masons and women must have specific relationships with Masons. These relationships are: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Granddaughters, Step-daughters, Legally adopted daughters, Widows, Sisters, Half-sisters, Nieces, Grand nieces, ,Aunts, Great-granddaughters, Grandmothers, or have been active members of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls or the International Order of Jobs Daughters for more than 3 years and come recommended by a Master Mason.
Amaranth was based on Queen Christina of Sweden's court, which is why the executive officer, who must be female, is called Royal Matron, and the man that sits on her left Royal Patron.
In the Order's teachings, the members are emphatically reminded of their duties to God, to their country and to their fellow beings. They are urged to portray, by precept and example, their belief in the "Golden Rule" and by conforming to the virtues inherent in TRUTH, FAITH, WISDOM and CHARITY they can prove to others the goodness promulgated by the Order.
The extent of its Charitable Work and overall Benevolence is limited only by the opportunities that exist, and the ability to secure adequate funding. Its Philanthropic project is the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation. The flag of the appropriate country is prominently displayed at all meetings creating a strong sentiment of patriotism and devotion to the respective land that we love.
Return to top
DeMolay International (originally known as the Order of DeMolay) is an international youth fraternity for young men between the ages of 12 to 21 (members who reach the age of 21 are referred to as 'Senior DeMolays'). The organization helps prepare young men to lead successful, productive and happy lives through the development of civic awareness, leadership skills and personal responsibility. It is modeled after Freemasonry, and like Freemasonry, members are initiated into DeMolay through ritual and an allegorical program. DeMolay is considered an appendant body to Freemasonry; every DeMolay chapter is sponsored by a Masonic Lodge or other Masonic body. DeMolay is considered part of the family of Masonic youth groups along with Job's Daughters, Girls of the Golden Court, Rainbow Girls, and Organization of Triangles.
The Order of DeMolay was founded in 1919 in Kansas City, Missouri by Frank Sherman Land and nine young men. Since then the organization has spread to all 50 U.S. states and many other countries around the world including Canada, Philippines, Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The organization is named after Jacques de Molay, a knight and crusader who was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Members are encouraged to model their conduct after his example of loyalty and fidelity.
The initiation program consists of two degrees, the Initiatory Degree and the DeMolay Degree. The initiatory degree is solemn, and shows how one will dedicate himself to the Seven Precepts inculcated by the Order. The Order of DeMolay teaches its members that there is no better foundation for the coming manhood years than the practice of these Virtues. The DeMolay degree portrays the tribulations experienced by Jacques DeMolay and inculcates his values of loyalty and love for his comrades. There are other ceremonies (public) including the Flower Talk which stresses mother love, and the Ceremony of Light which conveys a brief talk about the teachings of the Order of DeMolay.
A local DeMolay organization is known as a Chapter and is headed by a Master Councilor. The Master Councilor is elected by members of his Chapter and is usually among the older members of the group. The Master Councilor is assisted in his duties by a Senior Councilor and a Junior Councilor. The Senior Councilor is usually considered to be next in line as Master Councilor. All the officers of a Chapter are appointed by the Master Councilor, except for the Councilors and Treasurer, who are elected, and the Scribe, who is appointed by the chapter's Advisory Council.
Senior DeMolays, Masons, or other adult mentors supervise the Chapter and are usually referred to by the moniker "Dad (name)" as in "Dad Land" for the founder. In recent years, women have also served as advisors for the group, and are referred to as "Mom". DeMolay Chapters may also periodically elect a member of a neighboring Job's Daughters Bethel, Rainbow Assembly, Triangle, or Constellation as a "Chapter Sweetheart." To be a sweetheart, a young woman does not necessarily need to be a member of any of these organizations, but it makes the job easier, as she must communicate with them. She must only meet the age requirements of a particular jurisdiction or chapter, usually set at fifteen to twenty-one.
The next level above the Chapter is the State level. A State Master Councilor or Jurisdictional Master Councilor is the head of a statewide DeMolay organization. There are also other state positions based off of the officers of a chapter, which vary for each jurisdiction. The lead advisor in a state is called an "Executive Officer" and the lead advisor nationally is known as a "Grand Master." The International Master Councilor and International Congress Secretary are the heads of the International DeMolay Congress and serve on the Board of Directors. These officers are usually past State Master Councilors of their respective states.
An honorary title that is given on rare occasions to a Senior DeMolay who has had some outstanding contribution to the DeMolay movement or humanity at large is the title of Honorary International Master Councilor.
Return to top
Job's Daughters International
Job's Daughters International (Sometimes abbreviated to JDI) and known throughout the world simply as Job's Daughters, is a Masonically-related youth organization for girls aged 10 to 20 who are related to a Master Mason. It is the oldest of five Masonic organizations for girls, dating from 1920. The individual chapter is called a Bethel, and each is numbered sequentially according to when they were instituted in their jurisdiction. They usually meet at a Masonic Lodge building and when they are in session they refer to the meeting place as the Bethel. Members of the organization are sometimes referred to as Jobies.
The head of the Bethel is called the Honored Queen. The Honored Queen is elected by members of her Bethel who are in good standing. The position is roughly analogous to Worshipful Master in a Masonic Lodge, and to the President of an association of any kind. The Honored Queen is assisted in her duties by a Senior Princess and a Junior Princess. The Senior Princess is usually considered to be next in line as Honored Queen. Girls who finish a term as Honored Queen use the PHQ (Past Honored Queen) designation within Job's Daughters.
Bethels are supervised by an adult female officer known as the Bethel Guardian. A Master Mason called the Associate Bethel Guardian is required to be present at each meeting. They are joined by other adults to form the Bethel Guardian Council. At the state level a group of adults called the Grand Guardian Council oversees all of the Bethels in their state.
Members who reach the age of 20 or marry while members in good standing become Majority Members. Majority Members may still be active in the organization but are no longer allowed to vote on business matters in the Bethel. Some states allow girls up to age 25 to be part of their Grand Bethel, which is composed of members from all over the state. Young women who wish to remain active in Masonic activities may join Order of the Eastern Star upon reaching the age of 18.
The organization was founded as The International Order of Job's Daughters (IOJD) by Ethel T. Wead Mick in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1920. The original minimum age for membership was 13 but has been changed several times over the years, most recently in 2004, to age ten. The purpose of the Order was to band together young girls who are related to a Master Mason and is intended to build character through moral and spiritual development including a greater reverence for God and the Holy Scriptures, loyalty to one's country and that country's flag, and respect for parents and guardians. From the beginning, Job's Daughters were active in their communities through charities and other social activities. In 2004, the organization voted to change its name to Job's Daughters International.
Return to top
International Order of the Rainbow for Girls
The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (IORG) is a youth service organization which teaches leadership training through community service. Girls (ages 11-21) learn about the value of charity and service through their work and involvement with their annual local and Grand (state or country) service projects.
The order was created in 1922 when the Reverend W. Mark Sexson was asked to make an address before South McAlester Chapter #149, Order of the Eastern Star, in McAlester, Oklahoma. As the Order of DeMolay had come under his close study and observation during his Masonic activities, he decided that another Order for girls, setting forth some of the principles of Freemasonry, would be welcomed if it did not have to have a Masonic parent or grandparent as a requirement, as the Job's Daughters did. The first class of girls that was initiated into the Order consisted of a class of 171 girls, on April 6, 1922, in the auditorium of the Scottish Rite Temple in McAlester.
The highest office that can be bestowed on a Rainbow girl is that of Grand Worthy Advisor of her particular state. Majority is reached upon the 20th or 21st birthday of a member. The Grand Cross of Color is the highest award given to a member or adult leader for outstanding service.
The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls has Assemblies in 46 states in the United States as well as in 6 other countries. The states which do not currently have Assemblies are: Delaware, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. The governing body of Rainbow is Supreme Assembly, which meets formally every two years.
Being related to a Master Mason is not a requirement in order to join Rainbow. A few years ago, the rules for Eastern Star were changed so that majority members of Rainbow were eligible for membership in that order.