Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots
San Francisco, California, was the site where this order was formed in 1905. A group of Freemasons gathered to organize a society that would enable them to be "free from the restraint of the lodge room, yet organized for the purpose of furthering Masonic teachings and applying, in a practical way, in everyday business affairs, the teachings of the fraternity." At the time of its formation the society was known as the Boosters. In 1910 the name of the order was changed to Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots, in honor of the island Scio in Asia Minor.
A number of activities and programs are sponsored by the AEOS. Once monthly, the order holds a "social night," during which dinners, dances, lectures with movies, and other entertainment are provided. Since 1923 the society has sponsored De Molay chapters whenever asked. Bands and drill teams also are a regular part of the order's activities.
The ritual of the AEOS is based on an event that supposedly occurred in 1124 B.C., or sixty years after the fall of Troy. The Sciots at that time were under Greek rule and well known for their strong emphasis on democracy, which resulted in their forming "A League of Neighbors." As "neighbors," they practiced true fraternity. This behavior so impressed the Pharaoh of Egypt that he invited the Sciots to visit his palace. Soon a great friendship developed between the Egyptians and the Sciots. Thus every "third moon the Sciots would journey to the palace, where they received a warm welcome and were entertained with much feasting and merry-making." As the ritual revolves about this legend, the AEOS calls its degree "League of Neighbors."
Membership is open to any Master Mason in good standing. In order to join, the applicant is required to petition and to promise that he will attend his Blue Lodge at least once a month. As of March, 1979, there were 1,800 members in the AEOS. This figure represents a notable decline from the 3,000 members that the order had in the mid-1960s.
The emblem of the order is a pyramid that bears the portrait of a Sphinx. The Sphinx denotes past Toparchs, and the pyramid symbolizes past Pharaohs. The uniforms and regalia of the society closely resemble those worn by the Shriners.
Local units, as already noted, are called "Subordinate Pyramids." The highest authority is the "Supreme Pyramid." It meets in convention annually. Head offices are in Sacramento, California.