Saturday, October 10, 2020

Words & Phrases: Council

The next article in the Words & Phrases series is on the word "Council." This term is used in several concordant and appendant bodies within the Masonic family. The term in Freemasonry often indicates a basic organizational unit, but can also be used within a degree or as a name of a national/international governing body.

The word "council" is defined as an assembly or meeting of individuals for the purpose of consultation, administration, governance, discussion, or advice. "Council" is rooted in the Latin word "concilium" which translates as "a gathering of people." Councils can take the form of a permanent legislative group such as a "city council" or a temporary convention such as with ecclesiastical councils (i.e. Vatican Council).

With Freemasonry, a Council indicates a local chapter or basic organizational unit for a variety of concordant and appendant bodies such as a Council of Cryptic Masons in the York Rite, a Council Thrice Illustrious Masters (or Order of the Silver Trowel), a Council of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross (a degree within the Commandery of Knights Templar), a Council of Kadosh in the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, a Council of Knight Masons, a Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees, and the High Council within the Swedish Rite. There are some degrees within groups like the Scottish Rite, Ancient Toltec Rite, Holy Royal Arch Knights Templar Priests, and the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis that use "Council" to describe their assembly. There are also some governing bodies that use the term "Council" in Freemasonry such as with the Supreme Council of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, High Council of the Masonic Order of the Bath, and High Council of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis.


1. Council. (n.d.). Retrieved from Etymology Online: 

2. Council. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

3. Council. (n.d.). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: 

4. Cryptic. (n.d.). Retrieved from Masonic Dictionary: 

5. Mackey, A. G. (1897). Manual of the Council. New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.

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