The French term is Rite Francais ou Moderne. The French or Modern Rite is one of the three principal Rites of Freemasonry. It consists of seven Degrees, three symbolic and four higher, namely,
1. Apprentice 2. Fellow Craft 3. Master 4. Elect 5. Scotch Master 6. Knight of the East 7. Rose Croix
This Rite is practiced in France, in Brazil, and in Louisiana. It was founded in 1786 by the Grand Orient of France, who, unwilling to destroy entirely the advanced Degrees which were then practiced by the different Rites, and yet anxious to reduce them to a smaller number and to greater simplicity, extracted these Degrees out of the Rite of Perfection, making some few slight modifications. Most of the authors who have treated of this Rite have given to its symbolism an entirely astronomical meaning. Among these writers, we may refer to Ragon, in his Cours Philosophiquc, as probably the most scientific..
Ragon, in his Tuileur Gneral, meaning Handbook to the Degrees (page 51 ), says that the four Degrees of the French Rite, which were elaborated to take the place of the thirty Degrees of the Scottish Rite, have for their basis the four physical proofs to which the recipiendary submits in the First Degree. And that the symbolism further represents the sun in its annual progress through the four seasons. Thus, the Elect Degree represents the element of Earth and the season of Springs the Scottish Master represents Air and the Summer; the Knight of the East represents Water and Autumn; and the Rose Croix represents Fire; but he does not claim that it is consecrated to Winter, although that would be the natural conclusion.
The original Rose Croix was an eminently Christian Degree, which, being found inconvenient, was in 1860 substituted by the Philosophic Rose Croix, which now Id forms the summit of the French Rite.
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