The Appendant Bodies of Freemasonry take numerous forms, such as systems additional "High Degrees" beyond the Symbolic Lodge, womens' auxiliary groups, and societies for Masons devoted purely to enjoyment, amusement, and pleasure.
"High Degrees" and their RitesEdit
The two primary systems of so-called "high degrees' in Freemasonry are the [Scottish Rite] and [York Rite]. None of these systems claim to confer degrees that presume any additional or higher authority within the symbolic lodge. The larger part of these degrees have a common origin in a wide range of 18th century Continental "side degrees" that have a common symbolic thread, but often without any clear allegorical relationship to one another. They are grouped by Masonic historians under the title of "Eccosais" degrees .
The Scottish Rite confers 29 additional degrees beyond that of Master Mason, and a thirtieth and purely honorary degree for services rendered to the Rite, to Freemasonry as a whole, or to society at large. These are numbered so that they commence with the "fourth degree", and culminate with the 32°. The additional honorary degree is thus the famous Thirty-Third degree of Freemasonry. Again, this is purely an honor within the Scottish Rite, and confers no additional authority in the symbolic lodge, and only marginal authroity within the Scottish Rite itself (it is, in fact, often rewarded to those who have already earned positions of rank and respect in the Rite, which are not at all dependent upon degree).
The other primary system is that of the York Rite, which combines a number of the Eccosais degrees with those evolving from a set of degrees based on legends of the Templar origins of Freemasonry. The most important of the York Rite bodies, and their degrees, is that of the [Royal Arch].
"Playgrounds" of FreemasonryEdit
Most prominent among these bodies devoted to fun and frivolity are the Shrine (Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine) and the Grotto (Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm).