The Facts on The Masonic Lodge (Harvest House, 1989), pp. 9-10
What is the Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite?
All men who become Masons go through the first three degrees of the Blue Lodge. The Blue Lodge is the parent or mother Lodge of Freemasonry. In the Blue Lodge are conferred the first three degrees: 1) the Entered Apprentice, where a man is initiated into the beginning mysteries of the fraternity of Freemasonry; 2) the degree of Fellow Craft; and 3) the Master Mason degree.
After passing these three degrees in the Blue Lodge, the candidate may choose not to proceed further at all, or he may choose to proceed higher along one or both of two branches of Masonry.
One branch is known as the Scottish Rite, which advances by numerical degrees, beginning with the fourth and ending with the thirty-second, the thirty-third degree being either active or honorary. The other major branch is the York Rite, which goes through what is called the “Chapter,” “Council,” and “Commandery” degrees, ending with the degree of Knights Templar.
If a Mason is suspended or expelled from his Blue Lodge it automatically severs his connection from all other Masonic bodies. Anyone who passes the first three degrees and becomes a Master Mason may visit Blue Lodges other than his own.