THE ANCIENT AND PRIMITIVE RITE OF MEMPHIS AND MISRAIM
Extracts from "A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry," by Arthur Edward Waite
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Never did the Neo-platonic school reach such a height of philosophy as when nearest its end. Uniting the mystic theosophy of old Egypt with the refined philosophy of the Greeks; nearer to the ancient Mysteries of Thebes and Memphis than they had been for centuries; versed in the science of soothsaying and divination, as in the art of the Therapeutists; friendly with the acutest men of the Jewish nation, who were deeply imbued with the Zoroastrian ideas, the Neo-platonists tended to amalgamate the old wisdom of the Oriental Kabala with the more refined conceptions of the Occidental Theosophists. Notwithstanding the treason of the Christians, who saw fit, for political reasons, after the days of Constantine, to repudiate their tutors, the influence of the new Platonic philosophy is conspicuous in the subsequent adoption of dogmas, the origin of which can be traced but too easily to that remarkable school. Though mutilated and disfigured, they still preserve a strong family likeness, which nothing can obliterate.
-- Isis Unveiled, by Helena P. Blavatsky
One man of science who would come to personify this uneasy truce was a Blavatsky enthusiast who became influential in the German movement. Dr. Franz Hartmann (1838- 1912), the prolific author of a wide range of occult books, first studied medicine at the University of Munich. While spending seventeen years as an eye doctor (and sometime coroner) in the United States, he became interested in the Spiritualist movement and began reading Theosophical tracts. In 1883 he traveled to Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar, India, to sit at the feet of the Masters, evidently impressing his hosts greatly. He was trusted so highly that, while Blavatsky was in Elberfeld helping jump-start the German Section, Hartmann was in Adyar as acting president of the Theosophical Society and remained in India until 1885.
Hartmann is of considerable interest to this investigation as it was he who helped create the Ordo Templi Orientis, a German occult society formed around the idea of sexual magic. Other illustrious members of the OTO will include another Theosophist, Dr. Rudolf Steiner, who will go on to form the Anthroposophical Society in 1912; Gerard Encausse, who -- under the nom de plume of "Papus" -- had written the first definitive text on the Tarot as a book of concealed illuminism; and Aleister Crowley, whose A...A..., or Argentum Astrum ("Silver Star"), was founded in 1907, the same year as the Order of New Templars mentioned above. (The OTO will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter Four.)
Another personal friend of Mme. Blavatsky was Dr. William Wynn Westcott (1848-1925), another coroner and a Theosophist who founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in England in 1888, the same year as The Secret Doctrine was published. Westcott claimed that the Golden Dawn was in reality the English branch of a German occult lodge, a claim that would later be proven a hoax and which is, for that very reason, highly suggestive; for why would anyone claim a German origin for their occult society when so many other cultures are much more consistent with popular mystical stereotypes, such as those of India or Egypt?
Whatever the reason, we have the Theosophical Society, the OTO, the Anthroposophical Society, and the Golden Dawn all intertwined in incestuous embrace. These are the organizations most familiar to a casual reader of occult histories, and we will come back to them later on, for they all bear directly on our story. For now, though, let us follow the careers of the German Theosophists to see where they will lead us.
Upon his return to Europe in 1885, Hartmann took up residence at a town near Salzburg, and the directorship of a Lebensreform sanatorium. Lebensreform (or "life reform") was a back-to-nature movement that espoused a wide range of "clean living" practices that would be the envy of any New Ager of today. Vegetarianism, abstention from alcohol and tobacco, homeopathy, and even nudism informed this movement, and Hartmann saw it as a vehicle for the more overtly mystical program of Theosophy.
Like most occultists who are inveterate "joiners" and collectors of paper dignities, Hartmann was not content to confine his spiritual search to the leadership available in the Theosophical movement or any other movement. Most Western occultism is long on text and short on practice (contrary to forms of occultism found in the East, which rely on strict discipline, rigorous mental and physical exercises, and the constant supervision of a teacher or "guru"), and occasionally a Western seeker -- starved for genuine accomplishment -- will accumulate vast quantities of initiations into wildly disparate organizations with awesome-sounding titles, hoping thereby to satisfy his ego if not his spirit. In this way, occultism becomes a hobby -- rather like stamp-collecting, or bird- watching -- but with the added benefit that the seeker elevates himself in his own eyes to stratospheric levels of arcane wisdom beyond the feeble understanding of mere mortals. That is, until the next occult order is formed and another -- more formidable -- initiation becomes available. (This phenomenon is by no means limited to occultists, of course; it is to be discovered among the highly elevated and multiply consecrated "bishops" of a wide variety of distaff Eastern Orthodox and Old Roman Catholic denominations, some of whom also become involved with occult secret societies, such as Theosophist Hugo Vollrath -- mentioned below -- who became "Bishop of Erfurt" under the jurisdiction of Metropolitan Abdul Bahai, head of the Gnostic Church of Haifa.)
Thus Hartmann will become involved, in 1902, with one John Yarker whose Masonic order, the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Mizraim, would claim many otherwise-sincere individuals as members. It would be from among the German leadership of this organization that the future founders of the OTO -- including Hartmann himself -- would be selected. Hence, it is Franz Hartmann who provides us with some excellent connections between the seemingly apolitical Ordo Templi Orientis and the rest of the German occult community, which was, more or less, aligned with either the Lebensreform movement or directly with the Pan-German, anti-Semitic movement which gave birth to Nazism. Thus Hartmann is the axle on which this peculiar Wheel of Life will turn. Wherever we pick up the thread of twentieth-century Western occultism and ritual magic, we can follow it back along a trail that leads to Hartmann.
-- Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult, by Peter Levenda
In so far as this Tree, which is connected with a memorable event in Masonic Legend, may be regarded as a symbol of immortality, the notion may be referred to its extraordinary persistence, for Du Pratz says that if any of the bark be left on its branches they will take root if planted as posts. There are several species, among which the Acacia vera is called the Egyptian Thorn -- otherwise Acacia seyal -- and produces gum-arabic. It is identified with the Shittah Tree and Shittim-Wood of EXODUS and ISAIAH. It was used in constructing the Ark of the Covenant and the Altar of the Tabernacle. Christian Legend tells us that the Crown of Thorns was made of its spiked twigs, and in the curious pseudo-historical account attached to the Grade of NOVICE AND KNIGHT OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, the wood of the Cross is said to have been of this tree. I do not know whence this fable derives, but perhaps on account of it Horace Walpole calls the Acacia "the genteelest tree of all," following the Elizabethan dramatist who terms Christ "the first true gentleman that ever breathed." The Burning Bush has been identified with Aqua nilotica, by a reflection from Rabbinical Tradition, which calls it simply a thorn-bush. The red and white blossoms were regarded as sacred in Egypt, and in one of the folk-tales ascribed to the nineteenth dynasty the hero is represented as placing his soul for safe-keeping within the petals of the topmost bloom growing in a Valley of Acacia. For Paracelsus it was a healing tree; he used it with other ingredients as a plaster for wounds and apparently to stop bleeding.
A Sign of Immortality. -- I have failed to trace any real connection with funeral rites, and it seems certain that there is no sense in which it can be called emblematic of burial. It belongs to the analogies of hope beyond and life continued henceforward: it is to this that the Master-Mason testified, according to an old French Catechism, when in proof of his status he answered: "The Acacia is known to me." It has been said that it was consecrated to the sun in Arabia, but no evidence is offered. It has been identified also, though in an arbitrary manner, with the Golden Bough of Virgil; but this was evergreen oak. In the Third Symbolical Grade, according to the classification adopted by the MASONIC ORDER OF MEMPHIS, the Worshipful Master explains that "the Branch of Acacia ... is an emblem of that ardent zeal for truth which should be cherished by every Master, encompassed as he is by corrupted men who betray it"; but this is a flimsy artifice, characteristic of the Rite which devised it and of the Masonic period in France to which it belonged at its origin. To sum up therefore, the emblem is -- on the surface -- funereal in Masonry, but in itself is a sign of life, and it has to be remembered that the great pageant with which it is connected is unquestionably one of resurrection. It appears to form part of a story which has a deeper meaning than is found on the surface.
The Hermetic Rose. -- From my own point of view as a mystic, it is a figurative representation of our inward nature, like the Hermetic Rose itself. As that Rose out of a rude mountain, so issues from the inchoate nature of the man of earth the many-petalled flower of spiritual being: so gradually and slowly unfold our potencies -- like petals -- from within. As the beautiful blossoms of the Acacia are put forth successively till the branch is covered and weighed down, so from one root and stock are the powers of our interior and centre manifested outwardly. As the life of the young Pelicans was sustained by the resources of the parent bird of the legend, so are our exterior forces fed from the spirit which is within; so from within is sustained the life of the outward man. And that which is interior is the larger part; our possibilities are greater than our attainments, but there are greater attainments to come; while the mystics tell us that he who is within is older than he who is without. On such a priori considerations, the Acacia typifies that which is immortal in our nature; when planted to signify the place of rest where lay that which was perishable it testified that the Master lived, and so also that which he denoted. The plans of the unfinished temple were not wanting but hidden; the Word was reserved somewhere and would be restored by time or circumstances; and after the shadowed lights of figurative resurrection, there would come the Orient light, the bright and morning-star, heralding a resurrection in the spirit, in the real and imperishable man, full of grace and truth. The motto to be inscribed on the Acacia is therefore Resugamus nos.
A Sign of Innocence. -- The Acacia in Greek is , and the same word signifies simplicity, innocence and the mind turning from evil, as if with instinctive horror. There are no pitfalls comparable to those which are dug for the unwary by mere intimations of words, and I question whether I should have mentioned this fact at all if it had not been cited by others, more especially as the innocence of the Master-Builder was not a subject at issue when the Acacia was planted over his grave, any more than the legendary choice of shittim-wood for the cross erected on Calvary signified -- in the opinion of those who crucified Christ -- that He was the unspotted and stainless victim of the Supreme Sacrifice. It was the makers of the Hiramic myth who saw to it that a thing which was implied in their minds should be symbolised on the grave of their symbolic Master. They placed therefore a sign of resurrection and immortality, as if in some later mystery the grave should give up its dead in the fashion of one who henceforward would be alive for evermore. Meanwhile, in the person of their Candidate of the THIRD DEGREE, they indicated this implicit and shewed forth this mystery to come, as in a glass and darkly, making the darkness for the moment only more visible. As we know, however, the intention which I have ventured to predicate, on the expressed authority of all the Ancient Mysteries and on the transparent implicits of the Master-Grade, came to nothing. But on the continent of Europe, in the holy places of Lyons, under the auspices of Martinism and the STRICT OBSERVANCE, there were those who had eyes for symbolism and they saw clearly. They saw to it also after their own speaking manner, and it came about therefore -- before the end of the eighteenth century -- that Hiram rose. I say therefore with Eliphas Levi: "I also believe in the resurrection of Hiram." Meanwhile, those who are pleased to affirm that the Acacia is a symbol of innocence shall pass unchallenged, but the point is not of consequence to the subject. Could funerary connections be established ever so clearly, they would be of no consequence either, for the greatness of the THIRD DEGREE does not consist in the death or burial of the Master-Builder but in the Raising of the Candidate. I observe that Dr. Frederick Dalcho, famous as a High-Grade Mason in South Carolina, affirmed the connection in an Oration belonging to the year 1802, namely, that the ancient Jews were accustomed to place the Acacia over graves, not as a symbol of immortality -- about which they knew but vaguely -- and not as a sign of resurrection -- about which at that time they knew nothing at all -- but as a warning to their priests who were "prohibited from crossing a grave." The fact -- if it be a fact -- would signify less than nothing, for we are dealing with symbolism and not -- as it happens -- with signposts. I have checked the reference, however, and find that Dr. Dalcho was speaking of the matter as if it were common knowledge and cited no authority. It has been advanced also that Blount in his LEVANTINE TRAVELS includes the planting of evergreens on graves as a Jewish custom belonging to that region. Unfortunately, the Acacia is an evergreen, but all evergreens are not acacias. Moreover, on recourse to these curious old travels it proves that the custom in question is Turkish and not Jewish. The actual terms of the statement are: "They plant such kind of plants or flowers as remain green all the year." I shall remain content therefore with that which I have in evidence: a token of immortality is better than a graveyard warning, and a sign of resurrection shall be preferred before one of death.
Authorities. -- See (1) Dr. Frederick Dalcho: ORATIONS ON FREEMASONRY. Dublin Reprint, 1808, pp. 23, 24. (2) Sir Henry Blount, Knt.: A VOYAGE INTO THE LEVANT: a Brief Relation of a Journey lately performed, etc. 5th Edition. London, 1664, pp. 196, 197.
CHIEF OF THE TABERNACLE
For the symbolism of the Tabernacle set up in the wilderness by Moses, according to Divine Command, we must have recourse to texts like the ZOHAR or to Mystics like Jacob Bohme and not to High Grade Masonry. The Twenty-third Degree of the ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED RITE is called CHIEF OF THE TABERNACLE: it has analogues in the RITE OF MIZRAIM and in one at least of those French collections which are of grave importance on paper. It is one of the Levitical Grades, and I have tabulated elsewhere some elements of supreme unreason which entered into its composition.
Royal Arch Connection. -- As it commemorates in particular the institution of the Levitical priesthood, in any other classification than that of the SCOTTISH RITE it might be supposed to lead up in the ritual direction of the ROYAL ARCH, in which there is a distinct though not predominant element of notions and procedure connected with the sacerdotal order in Israel, but the RITE in question knows nothing of the Arch of Zerubbabel and the Grade leads nowhere, except to the next stage in the particular sequence, namely, PRINCE OF THE TABERNACLE, the question of values in which will be considered at a later point.
Revision of Albert Pike. -- There is, however, a version of the Grade which belongs to another category and has eliminated the glaring fatuities. According to the revision of the SCOTTISH RITE produced by Albert Pike, under the auspices of the Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A., the Court or Lodge of the Twenty-third Degree represents an encampment of the Twelve Tribes in the desert, near Mount Sinai. The Tabernacle of Moses, as described in Exodus xxvi and xxxi, is represented in the centre of the room, in the form of an oblong tent, stretched upon a frame and having a ridge-pole in the centre. The other furniture of the Lodge corresponds to the Altar of Burnt Offerings, Laver of Brass, Table of the Presence or Shewbread, Seven-Branched Candlestick and Altar of Incense. The Ark of the Covenant stands within the tent and is covered by the Mercy-Seat. The Presiding Officer is robed like the Jewish High Priest and so are his two Wardens, except that they do not wear the breastplate and mitre. The hour of Opening is that of replenishing the fire which burnt continually on the Altar of Burnt Offerings and of preparation for the Morning Sacrifice. That of Closing is when the sacrifices are completed.
Procedure in Outline. -- The Candidate represents Eliasaph, son of Lael and Chief of the House of Gershon, the son of Levi. He desires preparation to perform the service of the people of the Lord in the Tabernacle of the Congregation and to make atonement for the children of Israel. By an ill-starred confusion of chronology, the fate of Korah, Dathan and Abiram is recited, and he is warned not to do likewise. He must approach the Mysteries with a pure heart, desiring the glory of God and the weal of man. A lock of hair is then removed from his head, to indicate in some obscure manner that he must divest himself of every sordid and selfish feeling, and -- by another confusion -- he is shewn a cross as the symbol of that universe of which God is the soul. It is presumably a cosmic cross and not that of Calvary. He is purified and pledged, is instructed on the unity of God and on the false idols of the heathen pantheons. There is also a short lesson on the necessity of faith, after which the symbolism of the furniture is explained: (1) The Seven-Branched Candlestick represents the seven planets, and the names of their angels are enumerated, with the attributions of the mystical number and its correspondence to seven virtues. (2) The censer recalls the incense of good deeds and charitable actions. (3) The blended colours of the curtains about the Tabernacle are significant of the four elements in the following order: Scarlet=Fire; Blue=Air; Purple=Water; while the "Fine linen" =Earth, which is therefore apparently white. Elsewhere White is said to signify the Infinite Beneficence of God ; Blue, His profound and perfect Wisdom; Purple, His power; and Crimson, His glory.
Work of Pike. -- The revisions of Pike always made for reverence and at least for a certain increase of conventional meaning, but it remained within the normal conventions. In the present instance he has done nothing which gives life. There is an elaborate mise en scene, but -- as we can see -- it comes to nothing. As regards the alternative codex and certain points therein, see my SECRET TRADITION IN FREEMASONRY, Vol. I, p. 188.
We have seen that according to the EARLY GRAND RITE, and its curious impertinence or folly of a Grade entitled ARCHITECT, the heart of the Master-Builder was deposited in an urn, and that Candidates for advancement were required -- as a test of integrity -- to "partake of the heart," in the form of a Masonic substitute. It is unconvincing as a test of integrity and, so far as I am aware, is the only instance -- through all the misguided Rites -- of cannibalism moralised and raised into the life of symbolism. It is not, however, the only Grade which is concerned with the heart of the Master and its deposition in a Golden Urn. The RITE OF MEMPHIS has a much more dignified and indeed elaborate Ceremony under the name of DISCREET MASTER, being No. 4 in its system. It takes place in the Holy of Holies -- as if the Temple were already finished -- the Chief Officers being Solomon and the King of Tyre. The Candidate has been pledged, restored to light and his attention directed to a "resplendent luminary," which shines before him in the East. It signifies the Holy Shekinah, but in the muddled attributions of the Grade it represents also the All-Seeing Eye and the Omnipresence of Jehovah. The pageant is at a pause when a Battery occurs without, and it is announced that "the heart of our lamented Grand Master is deposited in the Golden Urn." A procession is immediately formed and the honour of conveying the sacred ashes is conferred upon the Candidate. They pass outside the Chapter -- as if this were the Sanctum Sanctorum -- and return bearing the trophy, which is celebrated as the Heart of Truth, amidst song, prayer and oration. The Urn is crowned in fine with laurel and with olive-branch, invoking peace and glory on the Master-Builder. A moralisation upon these emblems follows, the laurel alluding to the victory which must be gained over lower passions and the olive-branch to the bond of union which should join the Brethren together. The Candidate is then raised to the rank of a Levite and placed among the faithful guardians of the Holy of Holies, as one of the seven "who have been elected to supply the place of our Grand Master." In fine he is appointed "one of the Conductors of the work which is to be raised to Divinity." He becomes in this manner a Discreet Master, because the Jewel of the Grade is a key, described as "a symbol of fidelity and discretion." It does not appear to open anything, and the Ceremony is not less wanting in real emblematic purpose than its correspondence in the EARLY GRAND RITE.
Points of Symbolism. -- As in all the High Grade Order so in the RITE OF MEMPHIS, the Craft Degrees are presupposed and occupy the first three numbers, but they do not appear to have been worked: their possession was the title of admission. It comes about in this manner, that the DISCREET MASTER, while ranking as fourth is really the first, so far as activity is concerned. The Historical Discourse of the Grade deals therefore with the general claims of the Rite, and these have been noticed sufficiently in another section. A few outstanding points may be collected under the following heads: (1) The Shekinah -- represented by a Delta -- is said to signify visible glory, and is a symbol of the Divine Presence. (2) In the RITE OF MEMPHIS it is regarded as an emblem of "the cultivated mind which disperses ignorance." (3) The Delta is encompassed by a serpent, having its tail in its mouth and thus forming a circle, held to represent "the immensity of the power of God," which has neither beginning nor end. (4) A star of five points is placed within the Delta. (5) Within this pentagram is the letter G, interpreted as Glory, Grandeur and Gomel -- Glory in allusion to God; Grandeur by reference to man, since it is possible for him to attain perfection; Gomel, a Hebrew word "which signifies thanks to God for His supreme power." (6) Gomel was the first word spoken by Adam "on discovering the adorable Eve." (7) The name of the Sanctum Sanctorum is Dabri in Hebrew, because God "delivered His oracles" therein: the significance of the word is speech.
The Grades of Elect Masonry are not less extraordinary in number than futile in raison d'etre, if it is permissible to pronounce judgment on the evidence of those which are still extant -- or at least available. The rest are merely names, and as it is unlikely that all are variant accounts of the same events it is barely possible that something of symbolical consequence may lie beyond our criticism. The events in question are the pursuit, discovery and punishment of the three assassins who caused the untimely death of the Master-Builder. In each and every case with which I am acquainted they embody narratives of the pseudo-historical order, apart from symbolism, and are therefore characterised by a radical misconception of the message which inheres in the Central Legend of the Craft. An offence of this kind is of course graver in the makers of Grades than mere failure in the fabrication of a successful dramatic Mystery. The Grades under notice vary between indifferent and bad in this respect also; in other words, they are without titles to existence. Having regard, however, to their existence and diffusion through the chief Rites, their consideration is necessary, and it may be said in the first place that they are side issues of the MASTER GRADE. I have been successful in obtaining certain French versions in manuscript, belonging to the second half of the eighteenth century, and if they are not the prototypes of the Elect series they are varied but slightly therefrom.
Grade of the Dagger. -- The first in my list is entitled FIRST GRADE OF ELECT MASON, and the heads of its instruction follow. (1) All work was suspended and the approaches to the Temple were closed by order of Solomon for the space of nine days when the absence of the Master-Builder became known. (2) After the discovery of the body and its solemn interment a fitting reward was promised for the apprehension of the murderers. (3) An unknown person sought audience of the King and announced that he had discovered the grotto in which one of them had taken refuge. (4) Solomon appointed nine Masons to accompany the stranger to the spot, with instructions that the culprit should be brought alive to Jerusalem. (5) As the company approached the cavern one of the more zealous rushed forward, and seeing the assassin asleep with his head on a table and a dagger lying thereon, he seized the instrument, stabbed the ruffian to the brain and subsequently cut off his head. (6) The head and dagger were carried to the King, who was incensed at a disobedience which forestalled his own vengeance; but he forgave the indiscretion in the end at the prayer of the other Masters. (7) In this manner was the Master-Builder vindicated; the work on the Temple was resumed, and the Nine Masters were recompensed by their incorporation as a Company of Elect Masons, having special signs, tokens and words by which they might recognise and communicate with one another. This Grade corresponds to ELECT OF NINE in the SCOTTISH RITE.
Work of the Candidate. -- The Candidate for reception as ELECT MASON was placed in a Chamber of Reflection, and after a short period of solitary meditation he was told to remove his hoodwink, when he found himself confronted by the actual scene of the Grotto, apparently by means of a transparency, but so devised that the body of the assassin was over against a solid table on which was the effigy of a bleeding head, together with the avenging knife. These trophies are the titles of the Candidate's admission to the Lodge, and these he lays upon the altar. The Master accuses him of disobedience to orders, which he does not appear to have received, and he is forgiven at the solicitation of the Brethren on account of his zeal. He is pledged, entrusted, and hears the Historical Discourse, as also the Catechism of the Grade, which affirms that after the summary execution of the assassin nothing remained to be done, seeing that it was all accomplished.
Alleged Political Meaning. -- When the meaningless procedure of this Grade and its story apart from purpose are contrasted with the elevated practical lessons impressed on the Master Mason by the Legend of the Craft it is scarcely matter for surprise that the enemies of Masonry gave it a murderous political significance. It seemed incredible that sane people should impose upon the Candidate a part of imaginary vengeance, and account for it by a spurious history which carried no consequence whatever. But if the murdered Master represented the destroyed rights of a people and if his assassin were an oligarchy which enslaved them, there was at once a fell significance: there was a Grade of history in its making, while the tokens were not those of symbolism but of conspiracy deeply planned. I touch here upon the Keynote of hostile criticism in respect of the Elect Masonries at large and all Degrees of the Dagger. It will be unfolded as we proceed further.
Second Elect Grade. -- Among the documents to which I refer the SECOND GRADE OF ELECT MASON is almost destitute of procedure, but develops in its recitals some further considerations arising out of the previous Ceremony. Having heard that the two other assassins have perished miserably in the region of Capul, otherwise Cabul, Solomon was desirous only of proceeding with the building of the Temple, and the direction of the work was placed in the hands of the Nine Elect Masters, they to report daily on its progress. Such is the History of this Grade in the part of it which is so denominated. The Catechism divulges the name of the Unknown Stranger, that is to say, Perignan, and we hear at a later period of a Grade called ELU DE PERIGNAN. The stranger made his discovery because he was working by a Burning Bush in the vicinity of the Grotto and came across the assassin in the last degree of want and misery. He gave an ear to the wretch in his pleadings, provided him with food, and did not betray him to Solomon till an edict of the King reached him. A final discourse describes the story as allegorical, and draws from it the lesson that God visits the criminal, there being no escape from the decrees of Divine Justice. It is said also that the Grade is preparatory to the Sublime Mysteries of that which follows thereon. This Grade corresponds to ELECT OF FIFTEEN in the SCOTTISH RITE.
Third Elect Grade. -- Having failed so far to meet with Sublime Mysteries, or indeed any Mysteries at all, except the unaccountable reference to a Burning Bush, one turns with a certain expectation -- after the manner of a forlorn hope -- to the THIRD GRADE OF ELECT MASON, which proves to be one of Knighthood: Chevalier Elu, Troisieme Grade, governed by a Most Illustrious Grand Master. It opens at midnight, but a sun shines thereon, for it is in the full light of Christianity, the chivalry being devoted by day either to warfare with the infidels or to works of hospitality, while at midnight they give account of their progress. The Historical Discourse is important, as it comprises a particular version of the alleged transmission of Masonic secrets from the age of Solomon to that of the Crusades. It sets aside as fabulous those reveries which ascribe the origin of Masonry to Moses, Noah and Enoch. The true history of the Institution begins with Solomon and that of the Elect Grades with the Nine Masters, chosen to go in search of the traitors who assassinated the Master-Builder. When the Temple was finished these Masters elected a Chief, and when they found anyone who deserved to be enrolled among them he was pledged to faith in God, loyalty towards princes, charity towards Brethren and neighbours. They withdrew from worldly business, spending their life in prayer and ministering to the needs of the poor. The majority of these Illustrious Companions embraced Christianity when its light dawned on the world, and were more devoted than ever to works of mercy. The Order is said to have flourished till the end of the seventh century, after which it declined, till at the opening of the twelfth century it was reduced to a few persons gathered in a single Lodge, but following strictly therein its rule of life. This Lodge seems to have been established in Palestine, and indeed it is not suggested that the chivalry had existed so far outside the Holy Land. Various Christian pioneers joined its ranks during the Crusades, all indifferently being pledged to the rebuilding of Christian Temples, for it appears that the Chevaliers Elus still held themselves Masons. A time came when the Order united with that of St. John of Jerusalem. In this manner, carried back by Crusading royalties and nobles, it began to be known in Europe. Lodges were established in Italy, Spain, France, England, whence it passed into Scotland and took root at Kilwinning. When Edward the Black Prince returned from the eighth and last Crusader he became Protector of the Order in England, where it assumed the name of Freemasonry.
A Practical Lesson. -- The Historical Discourse is followed at great length by that of the Orator, who impresses on the Candidate the solemnity and importance of his pledges -- adoration of God, as the Sovereign Architect of the Universe; fidelity to the King, as incumbent on all his subjects, but most especially on those who have attained so eminent a Grade as that of this elect chivalry; defence of the Christian religion and readiness to pour out one's blood to the last drop in its cause. The Candidate is told further that the heart is a living temple and therein is the altar on which sacrifice must be made to the Eternal.
Symbolical Meanings. -- There is also an elaborate Catechism, which is of consequence for the symbols connected with the Grade and for several matters of detail. The chief instructions may be summarised under the following heads: (1) The approach of the Candidate is announced by a Battery of seven knocks, because the erection and adornment of the Temple occupied seven years. (2) The number of Elect Masons was raised by Solomon to twelve -- presumably for symbolical reasons. (3) The Chapter is illuminated by twelve greater and twelve lesser lights, the first signifying the Elect Masons and the second the Tribes of Israel. (4) The tomb situated at the western end of the Chapter represents that of the Master-Builder. (5) The urn is a copy of the Vessel in which the heart of the Master was preserved. (6) The Ark of the Covenant is a symbol of the Temple of Solomon. (7) The Seven-Branched Candlestick represents -- in respect of its branches -- the seven deadly sins, while its seven lights are in analogy with the gifts of the Holy Spirit which watch by day and by night over just men, to keep them from falling. (8) The Golden Coffer signifies the receptacle in which were placed the hearts of those sacrificial victims which were agreeable to the Eternal; and in such coffer should every Elect Knight deposit mystically his own heart -- purified by good actions. (9) The Palm-Trees denote the Cherubim, whose wings covered the Mercy-Seat. (10) Solomon decorated his Twelve Masters with a sash on which was embroidered a flaming heart, as a token of ardent love among Brethren; but a Cross was substituted when the Order became Christian, because it is the Sign of Salvation, which the Elect Chivalry is prepared to defend with its blood. (11) The Grip of the Grade commemorates the triple undertaking of Love to God, loyalty to the King and Charity towards all mankind.
Appeal of this Grade. -- Though it cannot be said to contain Sublime Mysteries, the THIRD GRADE OF ELECT MASON is that which redeems the triad, by atoning for the follies and vacuities which precede it. The dramatic element, so essential in Ritual procedure, is wanting; but this is a recurring characteristic of French High Grades, the good and the bad indifferently, and one is disposed to conclude that in France at that time the Mason was in search of instruction, preferring to receive symbolism largely in the form of discourse or by way of question and answer, exchanged between Officers, rather than by way of pageant. The procedure, such as it is, deserves to be called dignified; the lessons are unfolded with reverence and are put with considerable force. Were materials for judgment in our hands, I suspect that this Grade would prove to be the crown, or chef-d'oeuvre, of the whole Elect Series, properly so-called. As regards the Traditional History, it recalls the romantic legend concerning the Knights of the Morning recited at length by Baron Tschoudy in L'Etoile Flamboyante, and this brings me to my final point.
Adonhiramite Masonry. -- The Grades under consideration form an arbitrary part of Adonhiramite Masonry, being four to six of that Rite, and we have seen that it is referred indifferently to Baron Tschoudy and L. G. de Saint-Victor. In view of the correspondence which I have just established between the Traditional History of the THIRD GRADE OF ELECT MASON and the legend of L'Etoile Flamboyante, I have no doubt whatever that Tschoudy had a hand in the business, and that he married the ELECT OF NINE of the EMPERORS OF THE EAST AND WEST to a Mysterium of his own invention, adapting for this purpose a previous invention in the work already mentioned, which belongs to the year 1766. The Elect Grades are not Adonhiramite Masonry, which substituted the Adoniram of I KINGS v. 13, in place of Hiram, as the name of that "cunning man, endued with understanding" of 2 CHRONICLES iv. 16, possibly because of the opinion held by many that the said craftsman has no name in the Scriptures, Hiram being an allusion to the father of the King of Tyre. But, however this may be, the French collection is named fancifully, as it is obvious that KNIGHT OF THE SWORD and KNIGHT ROSE-CROIX have no more concern in Adoniram than have the Elect Grades.
Elect of Fifteen. -- The FIRST GRADE OF ELECT MASON is in exceedingly close analogy with ELECT OF NINE, otherwise ELECTED KNIGHT OF NINE, in the ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED RITE, which may be called a later codex. The Adonhiramite triad excludes, however, the ELECT OF FIFTEEN, which is the sequel to ELECT OF NINE in the SCOTTISH RITE, both being taken over of course with much other baggage from the COUNCIL OF EMPERORS. There is another rare French Ritual in manuscript of approximately the same period, and entitled Grade de Chevalier Elu de Quinze. It is exceedingly short and worthless in every respect. There are three candelabra of five lights each in the Lodge, respectively in front of the Master and his two Wardens. They are lighted one after the other, to the sound of three Batteries, each of five knocks. The number of Elect Brethren must not exceed fifteen, and the hour of Opening is 3 o'clock, by reference presumably to the three assassins. The Candidate enters carrying two death's heads, one being pierced by a dagger. He is pledged, entrusted and learns the story of the Grade. In opposition to that of the SECOND GRADE OF ELECT MASON, or Elu de Perignan, Solomon does not have to rest content with a report, that the two remaining assassins of the Master-Builder have perished miserably -- by presumption, from natural causes. Six months after the crime one of the Intendants of the Building, on quest in the Land of Geth, ascertains that they have found refuge therein. Solomon is apprised in due course, and as the King of Geth is his vassal orders are issued for their delivery into his hands. He appoints fifteen Elect Masters, including the previous nine, and they travel to Geth, bearing a letter from Solomon. To make short of a silly story, the assassins are secured and brought to Jerusalem, where they perish in the utmost tortures. It is prayed that the Candidate may be spared a like misfortune.
Elect Grades Proper. -- The Grades of ELECT MASONRY may be divided into two broad classes, being those which continue the Traditional History of the THIRD DEGREE and those which -- judging by their titles, for they are not available to criticism -- are of other symbolical categories. It should be understood that the first class are represented to all intents and purposes by the few which have been subjected to examination in the present section, but more especially by the First and Fourth Grades. Their critical history is one of variation and alternative, but I have not been able to trace the THIRD GRADE OF ELECT MASON beyond the RITE OF ADONHIRAMITE MASONRY. It is probable that those with which I have been unable to make acquaintance are like those which are known -- impertinent and vacant trifles. Setting aside the ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED and the COUNCIL OF EMPERORS, as otherwise dealt with, the particulars are as they here follow: (1) A Grade, entitled ELECT, follows immediately after that of MASTER MASON, and is accordingly numbered 4 in the series of the FRENCH MODERN RITE. (2) There is one under the same title and in the same numerical place in the RITE OF THE PHILALETHES. (3) Gargantuan in all things, the RITE OF MIZRAIM has not only ELECT OF NINE; ELECT OF THE UNKNOWN -- an adaptation probably of the SECOND GRADE OF ELECT MASON, and having references therefore to Perignan; ELECT OF FIFTEEN; but also PERFECT, and finally ILLUSTRIOUS ELECT. (4) The RITE OF MEMPHIS has KNIGHT ELECT OF NINE, ILLUSTRIOUS KNIGHT ELECT OF THE FIFTEEN and SUBLIME ELECT KNIGHT, thus recalling the THIRD GRADE OF ELECT MASON. (5) Pasqually's RITE OF THE ELECT PRIESTHOOD has been credited with a GRAND ELECT Grade as fourth in its series, but I believe that the particular tabulation is wrong. So also the imaginary reformation of this Rite by L. C. de Saint-Martin is provided with a fifth Grade under the name of ELECT.
Other Elect Grades. -- In the second class may be included: (1) Grades of the METROPOLITAN CHAPTER OF FRANCE -- No. 12, PERFECT ELECT; No. 13, ELECT MASTER; No. 14, ELECT SECRET AND STRICT INSPECTOR; No. 15. SUBLIME ELECT; No. 16, SCOTTISH ELECT; No. 17, ELECT OF THE TWELVE TRIBES; No. 70, ELECT OF LONDON; No. 74, SUPREME ELECT. (2) The CHAPTER OF CLERMONT is reported to have included LESSER ENGLISH ELECT, but the authority is doubtful. (3) The GRAND CHAPTER OF BERLIN had ELECT OF THE NEW JERUSALEM among its Apocalyptic Grades. (4) The COUNCIL OF EMPERORS OF THE EAST AND WEST had GRAND ELECT ANCIENT AND PERFECT MASTER and GRAND ELECT KADOSH. (5) The collections of two private unconnected Masons, named Pyron and Fustier. included ELECT COMMANDER; ELECT DEPOSITARY; SUPREME ELECT, or Adjutant of the Tabernacle of Perfect Elect Masons; GRAND PRINCE OF THE THREE ELECT; and SUBLIME ELECT LADY, belonging to some Adoptive Rite. (6) Another collector -- named Viany -- has left record concerning a Grade entitled ELECT PHILOSOPHER AND SUBLIME MASTER. (7) We hear also of KNIGHT ELECT PHILOSOPHER in the PHILOSOPHICAL SCOTTISH RITE; of SYMBOLICAL ELECT, under the name of Baron Tschoudy, and connected with some attempted Masonic Reform. I have intimated that pearls of some price may be hidden among these unknown inventions.
Elect of Truth. -- These enumerations are concerned with Grades and not with Rites making use of the term Elect. A Rite which is said to have been instituted at Rennes in 1776 was called ELECT OF TRUTH, but I have no particulars concerning it. Pasqually's RITE OF ELECT PRIESTHOOD has been dealt with in another section.