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StarRed Special Project 2008 - PS Review of Freemasonry meets the Scottish Rite Research Society.

Ten selected papers first published on Heredom,
The Transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society

PS Review of Freemasonry
Human progress is our cause, liberty of thought our supreme wish, freedom of conscience our mission,
and the guarantee of equal rights to all people everywhere our ultimate goal. - The Scottish Rite Creed

by Henrik Bogdan, VII°
Published in Vol. 14 , Year 2006.

© No part of this paper may be reproduced without written permission from the Scottish Rite Research Society.
HTML code property of PS Review of Freemasonry - All rights reserved ©

BY THE PUBLICATION OF SAMUEL PRICHARD'S MASONRY DISSECTED in 1730, the Masonic system of initiation had been established with three Craft Degrees: Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Even though the three Craft or Blue Lodge Degrees continued to be modified and elaborated, the basic components and the structure of the degrees was firmly established. It did not take long, however, before new rituals began to appear on the Masonic scene. These new rituals were often considered to be complements to or elaborations of the Craft Degrees. In fact, the Masonic lodges of the second half of the eighteenth century experienced a virtual "ritual- boom", especially in France and the German-speaking countries. Many of these new rituals were collected into systems or rites, [1] and these rites often competed with each other to serve as the sole custodian of what was claimed to be the secret of Masonry.[2] The High Degrees are often referred to as "Red Degrees", while the three Craft Degrees in their turn are referred to as "Blue Degrees". In order to be eligible for the High Degrees, the candidate must be a Master Mason.




In discussing Masonic High Degrees of the eighteenth century, a distinction needs to be made between what is known as the Templar Degrees, on the one hand, and the Ecossais ( or Scottish) Degrees on the other. It has been established that the Ecossais Degrees come from London,[3] whereas the Templar Degrees have a French origin.[4] These two types of High Degrees are the most characteristic degrees of the eighteenth century.[5]


The earliest reference to Ecossais or Scottish Masonry in England is a "Scots Masters Lodge" held at the Devil's Tavern, Temple Bar, London, in 1733. This lodge met on the second and fourth Monday of each month, and the lodge was active until 1736 when it was erased from the list of lodges. In 1735 a total of twelve masons were "made" Scots Masters at Lodge NO.113 at the Bear Inn, Bath. Five years later, in 1740, there were at least three more references to masons being made or "rais'd" Scots Masters.[6] Ecossais Masonry appears to have spread to the Continent at an early stage, and references to this type of High Degree Masonry in Berlin date from at least 1741 and in France from around 1743.[7]


While the Ecossais Degrees to a large extent are occupied with the construction of a new Temple (an implicitly Christian theme), the Templar Degrees center on the legend that Freemasonry derived from the medieval Knights Templar. The order of the Knights Templar , founded in the first decade of the twelfth century, was disbanded by Philip IV "The Fair" of Bourbon (1268-1314) and Pope Clement V (1264-1314) in the first decade of the fourteenth century, but according to a Masonic legend, the Templars survived in the highlands of Scotland and later reappeared to the public as the Order of Freemasons. The first person to present this theory of continuation was the Scotsman Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686-1743) who lived as an expatriate in Paris. Ramsay was the orator of the Lodge Le Louis d'Argent, whose Worshipful Master was Charles Radclyffe (1693-1746). In a famous oration given at the lodge in 1737, Ramsay stated that medieval crusaders in the Holy Land, or Outremer, founded Freemasonry.[8] He did not explicitly identify the crusaders who allegedly founded Freemasonry as being the Knights Templar, but as Pierre Mollier has pointed out, the identification of the Crusaders with the Templars was not far away.[9]


Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation by Henrik Bogdan
Read Book-Review

Ramsay's oration proved to be a milestone in the development of Masonic rituals of initiation, and soon rituals began to appear that incorporated Ramsay's thesis. It was in the milieu of the Jacobite Parisian Lodges that the Masonic Templar Degrees first developed, perhaps as early as 1737.[10] The best known propagator of Templar Degrees in Germany was Baron Karl Gotthelf von Hund (1722-1776), and it is often claimed that he had been initiated into a Templar Degree in France in 1743.[11] On the basis of this initiation, he set up the Rite of the Strict Observance that consisted of three additional degrees: Scottish Master, Novice, and Knight Templar or Knight of the Temple. The name of the Rite had "the double meaning of following strictly the rules of the Order as well as distinguishing it from the then current German Freemasonry ."[12] Von Hund furthermore introduced a peculiar feature in the structure of his Rite. namely that of the Unknown Superiors or Superiores Incogniti.[13] These Unknown Superiors ruled, through von Hund, the Rite of the Strict Observance. and the members of the Rite were expected to strictly observe the decrees of these Superiors. It has been suggested that the actual head of the Rite was none other than the young pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie, Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788). The political implications for Masonry (especially in connection with the Scottish Rites) during the eighteenth century have been the subject of much debate and speculations. While it is clear that many Jacobite exiles were active in Masonic lodges, it remains an open question to what extent Jacobite interests actually shaped Masonic rituals of initiation.[14]  In 1772 the Strict Observance merged with the so-called Clerics (Klerikat) created by Johann August Starck (1741-1816), but this agreement ended in 1778. Four year later, in 1782, the Strict Observance was officially brought to an end at the Convent of Wilhelmsbad and replaced by the Rectified Scottish Rite (see below).


Many of the High Degree Rites that were founded during the eighteenth century have passed into oblivion, but there still remain a number of important Rites to this day. The most important of these are the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the Rectified Scottish Rite, and the Swedish Rite. By far the largest of these Rites in terms of the number of initiates is the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, which has a total of thirty-three degrees including the three Craft Degrees.[15] The Rite is a collection of French eighteenth-century rituals and it contains both Ecossais and Templar Degrees.[16] There are also other influences such as chivalry, alchemy, and Rosicrucianism.[17] The Rosicrucian symbolism is mostly concentrated in the Eighteenth Degree, Knight Rose-Croix, while the Twenty-Eighth Degree, Knight of the Sun, contains alchemical symbolism.[18] In 1801 the Scottish Rite was officially founded in Charleston, South Carolina.



The Rectified Scottish Rite was founded around 1774 by Jean-Baptiste Willermoz (1730-1824), a silk tradesman living in Lyons.[19] Willermoz had become a Mason in 1750 and six years later founded the lodge Parfaite Amitie, which was constituted by the Grand Loge de France. In 1767 he was initiated into L'Ordre des Elus Coens (see below) and in 1773 into the Rite of the Strict Observance. The rituals of the Rectified Scottish Rite developed, from the "rather crude" rituals of the Strict Observance over some thirty-four years from 1775 to 1809.[20] The main object of the rituals is said to be the "progressive revelation of the theosophical doctrine and teachings of Martines de Pasqually" who had founded L'Ordre des Elus Coens.[21] It seems that Willermoz remained faithful to the teachings of Martines de Pasqually and the Elus Coens and considered them to be the key to the true secret and object of Freemasonry. In fact, L'Ordre des Elus Coens functioned as an inner order of the Rectified Scottish Rite, or as a "Masonry beyond Masonry".[22] Today, the Rite is active in Switzerland, France, and Belgium, and it is explicitly Christian in character. The majority of lodges belonging to the Rectified Scottish Rite no longer practice the two highest degrees: Professed and Grand Professed.[23]





The Swedish Rite is the name given to a Rite practiced in Scandinavia and parts of Germany.[24] The degree system consists of a total of eleven degrees, with the last degree restricted to a limited number of initiates (as the case is with most Masonic rites). The Grand Master of the Rite is called the Vicar of Solomon. This Rite is particularly unified as a system because the rituals of the individual degrees are closely interconnected with each other.[25]


Freemasonry was introduced in Sweden as early as 1735 when the first lodge was established in Stockholm by Count Axel Wrede-Sparre ( 1708-1772).[26] Wrede-Sparre had been initiated by Charles Radclyffe (1693-1746), Earl of Derwentwater, in Paris in 1731. Six years later in 1737, the same year that Ramsay delivered his famous oration, Radclyffe gave the Swedish mason Carl Fredrik Scheffer (1715-1786) a charter to open lodges in Sweden. In 1756, the first St. Andrews Lodge, L'Innocente, was founded in Stockholm by Carl Fredrik Eckleff(1723-1786),[27] and it worked the Fourth and Fifth Degrees. Three years later in 1759, Eckleff founded the first chapter, which worked the Sixth to the Ninth Degrees.[28] These degrees eventually became part of the Swedish Rite. Eckleff was instrumental in shaping what eventually developed into the Swedish Rite, and it is often assumed that it was he who firmly implemented a Christian basis for the rituals. However, the rituals were of French origin, and it was only around 1800 that Freemasonry was opened to Jews in France. It is therefore naturally assumed in the Constitutions issued by Radclyffe that Freemasonry was to be Christian in Sweden. Eckleff's system was further developed by Duke Carl of Sodermanland (17 48-1818), later King Carl XIII, who revised the rituals in ca. 1780 and ca. 1800.



During the latter part of the eighteenth century a new form of Masonry appeared that was partly a reaction against the Ecossais and the Templar Rites. This form of Masonry did not place the origins of Freemasonry with the medieval crusades but instead in ancient Egypt.[29] Ever since the Renaissance, Egypt had been seen as the cradle of Western civilization, and during the latter part of the eighteenth century a virtual "Egyptomania" flourished.[30] This was enhanced even more with Napoleon's military campaign in Egypt and the vast amounts of Egyptian artefacts subsequently brought back to France by French officers. Perhaps the most important of these objects was the Rosetta Stone that was found in 1799 at Rosetta (Rashid), east of Alexandria. In 1822 Jean-François Champollion managed to decipher the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs with the help of this stone.


While Egyptian Masonry never became a real challenge to the predominance of the other forms of High Degree Masonry, it has remained on the fringes of regular Masonry to this day. However, a closer look at the rituals of the Egyptian Rites, such as the Rite of Misraim show, as Antoine Faivre has pointed out, that Egyptian Masonry was not very Egyptian in nature.[31] In fact, most of the rituals that were included in the Egyptian Rites, such as the Memphis and Misraim Rites, were taken from Ecossais and Templar Rites. There is, however, one aspect that sets Egyptian Masonry apart from the Templar and Ecossais systems, and that is the marked prevalence of Western esoteric influences upon the former. It is clear that the foremost propagators of Egyptian Masonry, from the eighteenth century to the twentieth, were part of the Western esoteric movement.


One of the earliest propagators of Egyptian Masonry was Karl Friedrich von Koppen (1734-1797) who founded the Order of the Afrikanische Bauherren (African Architects) in 1767.[32] This order was based on a short text by him and Bernhard Hymmen (1731-1787), Crata Repoa.[33] The authors presented an alternative history of Freemasonry in which the first Grand Master was identified as the biblical Ham, who immigrated to Egypt and there took the name Menes. In Egypt Menes received secret knowledge that has been passed on and preserved by generations of Freemasons all the way to the eighteenth century. Allegedly, the Order of the Afrikanische Bauherren was based on this secret knowledge. The rite comprised a total of eleven degrees divided into three groups or Temples.


Another influential system was Cagliostro's Egyptian Rite, founded in Naples in 1777, with a Supreme Council established in Paris in 1785.[34] Alessandro di Cagliostro (pseudonym of Giuseppe Balsamo, 1743-1795) was one of the most famous and charismatic adventurers of the eighteenth century. Among other things, he claimed to have been initiated at the pyramids in Egypt, and he asserted that he possessed the knowledge to transmute base metals into silver and gold. Other claims included the ability to evoke spirits and that he had lived for no less than two thousand years. In 1785 he announced that both men and women should be entitled to the mysteries of the pyramids, and he thus opened his Rite to women.[35] Cagliostro's preoccupation with esoteric matters apparently found its way into the initiatory system of his Egyptian Rite, and the Rite included alchemical aspects, the search for a spiritual immortality, and angelic theurgy (magic performed with the aid of beneficent spirits).[36]


The most famous of all the Egyptian Rites, and certainly the most influential ones, were the Misraim and Memphis Rites. The first of these Rites, the Rite of Misraim, was founded around 1805 in Milan by the Frenchman Lechangeur (d. 1812). It is said that his reason for founding this Rite was that he was denied access to the higher degrees of the Scottish Rite.[37] He therefore decided to create his own order that he claimed would be superior to the Scottish Rite. It ispossible that there is some historical truth to this story, as Egyptian Masonry was largely a reaction against the Ecossais and Templar Rites. The order was called the Rite of Misraim in reference to the legend of the order about the son of the biblical Ham, Misraim. According to this legend, Misraim had a profound part in shaping the religion of ancient Egypt, it was none other than Misraim who was the originator of the secret tradition of Isis and Osiris. Furthermore, the wisdom preserved within the sanctuary of the rite was claimed to derive from Adam, who had received it directly from God.[38]


A few years later the order came into the hands of three brothers from Avignon, Marc, Michael, and Joseph Bedarride, and it was under their leadership that the order was introduced in France in 1815. The Bedarride brothers tried to get the Rite recognized by the ruling Masonic body in France, the Grand Orient. The Rite was comparatively successful for a couple of years, and a number of lodges were established throughout France. Internal strife, however, put a stop to further expansion, and in 1817 the Supreme Council of the Rite was formally disbanded.[39] Various lodges nevertheless continued to work the degrees of the rite. The rite consisted of a total of ninety degrees, divided into four series, which were further subdivided into seventeen classes. The four series were called Symbolic, Philosophic, Mystic, and Kabbalistic.[40]


In 1833 Jacques-Etienne Marconis de Negre (1795-1868) joined the Rite of Misraim 1833 in Paris, but he was excluded from the Rite a few months later. He then moved to Lyons where in 1836 he founded a lodge of the Rite of Misraim, using another name. The Bedarride brothers apparently did not suspect that the founder of this lodge was the same person who had been excluded a few years earlier in Paris. In May 1838, however, Marconis was expelled once again from the Rite. This time, instead of re-joining under a different name, he set up his own Egyptian Masonic Rite -the Rite ofMemphis.[41] This Rite consisted of 96 degrees, with a 97th degree reserved for the head of the Order, called the Grand Hierophant 97°.[42] Marconis managed to set up lodges of the Rite in Paris, Belgium, and Great Britain (where a Grand Lodge of the Rite was established). In 1856 Marconis travelled to New York where he instituted a Grand Lodge of the rite, called the "Disciples of Memphis". After a few years Harry J. Seymour became the head of the rite in the U.S., and in 1867 he reformed the initiatory system of the Rite and reduced the number of degrees from 96 to 33. A few years later, the rite was re-imported to Europe via John Yarker (who established a Sovereign Grand Sanctuary in 1872), and eventually formed the basis for the Ordo Templi Orientis. In Italy, the Rite of Memphis and the Rite of Misraim merged into one system around 1881 through the endeavours of Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), under the name Rite of Memphis and Misraim.[43] There are today many organizations that claim to represent the Rites of Memphis and Misraim.




Masonic rites of a more outspoken esoteric bent included rites and orders such as L'Orde des Elus Coens and the Rite Ecossais philosophique, but Rosicrucian Rites and Degrees can also be included in this category. The first of these, L'Orde des Elus Coens, or the The Order of the Masonic Knights Elus Coens of the Universe, was founded by the theosophist and kabbalist Martines de Pasqually (1708/1709-1774) in the 1760s, and it included a peculiar form of theurgy mixed with the philosophy and theosophy of its founder.[44] Although this order possessed all the outward characteristics of a Masonic organization, such as a hierarchical degree system, rituals of initiation, and lodges, and employed a typical Masonic terminology, it is perhaps more fitting to label the L'Orde des Elus Coens as a religious movement. The reason for this is not only the peculiar religious teachings derived from Pasqually but also the marked religious life that the members were expected to live, which is referred to in the name of the order: "chosen priests" from the Hebrew Cohen, meaning priest. Pasqually's teachings center around the Gnostic idea of the Fall of Man through which humankind became separated from God. Through the initiatory system of the order the members were expected to reverse the fall and make an upward journey in which the seven degrees of the order (not counting the three Craft Degrees) corresponded to the seven gifts of the Spirit. The final goal of the initiatory process was "reintegration" a return to the primitive and primordial state of man characterized by union with God. The theurgy employed in the order was a means to this goal, through which divine energies were invoked and the communion with good spirits was sought. According to Jean-François Var this theurgy was not aimed at acquiring natural or supernatural powers, and it was part of a religious "cult" which included a liturgy.[45]


The initiatory system of the order consisted of a total of ten degrees, of which the preliminary Craft Degrees were not seen as part of the Order as such. The degrees were divided into four different classes (again, not counting the Craft Degrees), with the degree of Reau-Croix as the highest degree that constituted a class of its own. After the death of Pasqually in 1774, Caignet de Lester (1725- 1778) succeeded him as leader of the order (Grand Souverain de l'Ordre), followed by Sebastian de Las Casas in 1778. Although L'Orde des Elus Coens was formally dissolved in 1781 it continued to have active lodges, most notably the one in Lyons under the leadership of Willermoz.[46]


The Rite Ecossais philosophique was the successor of an esoteric Rite called Rite Hermetique d'Avignon, founded in 1774.[47] According to J. A. M. Snoek:


The Rite Hermetique was in fact created in the lodge Saint Jean d'Ecosse in

Marseille, where some members of the lodge, which was founded in 1774

in Avignon, received its degrees, and it was this lodge of Marseille that

constituted the lodge Saint Jean d'Ecosse in Avignon on 31 July 1774. [48]


In 1776 the Rite Hermetique was exported from Avignon to Paris, where it changed its name to Rite Ecossais philosophique. The history of the development of the Rite Ecossais philosophique's degree system [49] is a complicated matter in itself, but suffice to say that the list offered in Collectanea corresponds with a list made by Claude Antoine Thory for the rite in 1766 [sic].[50] Obviously, the date of  Thory's list is an error, since the Rite did not even exist then.[51] It is uncertain when the Rite was dissolved, but it probably occurred sometime between 1844 and 1849.[52] The Rite Ecossais philosophique is a good example of the more alchemically oriented Masonic systems of the eighteenth century as will be evident from the rituals of the degree of True Mason or Academie des Vrais Maçons (see appendix).


Finally, mention should be made of the so-called Rosicrucian Degrees and Rites that also appeared on the Masonic scene during the eighteenth century. The prime characteristic trait of these types of degrees and Rites is that they allude in different ways to the Rosicrucian movement of the seventeenth century. There probably never existed a Rosicrucian Fraternity as described in the Rosicrucian manifestos, but the idea of such a fraternity nevertheless became popular during the seventeenth century. It did not take long before Masonry was seen as linked to Rosicrucianism. For instance, in The Muses Threnodie (1638) the "Brethren of the Rosie Cross" are described as being in possession of the Mason Word. It needs to be emphasized, however, that the Masonic Rosicrucian Degrees differ considerably both in content and in their relation to seventeenth century Rosicrucianism. In order to simplify matters, it can be said that most (but not all) of the Masonic Rosicrucian Degrees and Rites of the eighteenth century were focused on alchemy, whereas later Rosicrucian Degrees and Rites are more focused on Christian Mysticism.


One of the most influential Masonic Rosicrucian Rites to appear on the scene was Der Orden des Gold und Rosenkreuzes (The Order of the Gold and Rosy Cross) that was founded at the middle of the eighteenth century in the German speaking world. This Rite was a Masonic offshoot of an alchemical brotherhood called Der Orden des Gulden und Rosenkreutzes (The Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross) founded in 1710.[53] The Rosicrucianism of Der Orden des Gold und Rosenkreuzes was heavily infused with alchemy[54] but there was also apolitical aspect to the Order. Many, if not most, of the Masonic Craft Lodges of the eighteenth century cherished the ideals of the Enlightenment, whereas the High Degree Rites often were more ambivalent as regards these ideals. The members of Der Orden des Gold und Rosenkreuzes were to a large extent conservative in their outlook, and the Order can be seen, to a certain degree, as part of the anti-Aufklarung (anti-Enlightenment) movement active in the German speaking world during the second half of the eighteenth century.[55]


Apart from the pursuit of alchemical knowledge, another important

characteristic drew people to the new Rosicrucian order: its political

stance. Rosicrucianism in the late 18th century became a rallying point

for those who were of conservative outlook and who were opposed to

the socially radical, rationalistic, and even anti-religious tendencies

which were becoming a serious challenge in Germany.[56]


The Order was comparatively successful and lodges were established in the German-speaking countries, Austria, Hungary, and northern Italy.[57] Its success was due not only to the fact that the order functioned as a "conservative focal point" but also because it stressed the importance of religion in times when anti-religious sentiments were popular in certain parts of society. Furthermore, the German character of the Order appealed to persons of a nationalistic orientation. Last but not least, the Order claimed to possess a secret knowledge (alchemy) that was restricted to its initiates.[58]  The initiatory system of Der Orden des Gold und Rosenkreuzes consisted of nine degrees, and one had to be a Master Mason in order to be eligible to join the order.[59]


Another important Masonic Rosicrucian order is The Royal Order of Scotland, which was founded in the middle of the eighteenth century, perhaps as early as 1741.[60] The order fell into a twenty-year long abeyance from 1819 to 1839, but it recuperated and is today a relatively large rite with numerous Provincial Grand Lodges.[61] It was established in the United States in 1877 with the prolific Masonic author Albert Pike (1809-1891) as its first Provincial Grand Master. It consists of two high degrees: the Order of Heredom of Kilwinning, and the Knights of the Rosy Cross. The first of these two degrees gives further explanations of the three Craft Degrees, while that of the Knights of the Rosy Cross is characterized by Christian mysticism veiled in Rosicrucian symbolism. According to a legendary history of the Order,[62] the Royal Order of Scotland was founded by King Robert the Bruce {1274-1329) in 1314 to commemorate the assistance he received at the battle of Bannockburn on June 24, 1314, from sixty-three Knights Templar. The Knights Templar had showed up unexpectedly at a crucial point of the battle and assisted Robert the Bruce to defeat the English forces of Edward II (1284-1327). The defeat ensured the independence of Scotland until the Union of 1707.


The Eighteenth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, Rose-Croix of Heredom, Knight of the Pelican and Eagle, is probably the most well known and practiced of all the Masonic Rosicrucian Degrees. Even though the history of this degree reaches back to the middle of eighteenth-century France, it differs considerably in content from other eighteenth century Masonic Rosicrucian Rites such as Der Orden des Gold und Rosenkreuzes.[63] In 1768 a Masonic body was founded in Paris which called itself the First Sovereign Chapter Rose Croix, and in the statutes that it issued a year later it is stated that "The knights of Rose Croix are called knights of the Eagle, of the Pelican, Sovereigns of Rose Croix, perfect Prince Masons free of Heredon."[64] The Eagle and the Pelican are symbols of Christ, which alludes to the Christian nature of the degree. The name Heredon, more commonly spelled as Heredom (and sometimes as Harodim [65]), is the name given to a mythical mountain supposed to exist north of Kilwinning, Scotland.[66] According to a Masonic myth, associated particularly with Ecossais Masonry, the Masons were driven away from Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and subsequently found their way to this mountain in Scotland. They remained on this mountain until the time of the Crusades.


Rosicrucian degrees thus fall into two main categories, alchemical and Christian, but it needs to be emphasized that there are no clear-cut borders between the two categories. Furthermore, alchemical degrees of the eighteenth century are not by necessity Rosicrucian, as is evidenced by the True Mason, or Academie des Vrais Maçons, in the appendix.




The High Degrees of Freemasonry were enormously successful and a large number of rites were established during the eighteenth century. A number of these Rites, such as the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and the Swedish Rite, are active to this day. Others, such as Der Orden des Gold und Rosenkreuzes, ceased to exist a long time ago. Perhaps the most striking characteristic of this form of ritual is its diversity, which includes such types as Chivalric, Templar, Ecossais, and Egyptian High Degrees. Their common denominator is that, in various ways, they contain elaborations of the Craft Degree rituals. Furthermore, it is particularly in certain types of High Degrees that Western esotericism is explicitly transmitted. As an example of such a ritual, I analyzed in the appendix the True Mason of the Rite Ecossais philosophique, which in essence contains a complete exposition of eighteenth century alchemy. In the nineteenth century the more outspoken esoteric High Degree systems, such as the Rites of Memphis and Misraim, the Antient and Primitive Rite, and the Swedenborgian Rite existed on the fringes of the Masonic world, but many of these would -in various ways- survive into the twentieth century and continue to exist even to this day.




True Mason, or Academie des Vrais Maçons




The following ritual from the Rite Ecossais philosophique is a representative example of a French High Degree ritual of the latter part of the eighteenth century. I have used the rituals translated in Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), as my primary source for the True Mason ritual. As a ritual, the Degree of a True Mason, or Academie des Vrais Maçons, is not particularly elaborate or impressive. Nevertheless, it includes parts that are deeply saturated with Western esotericism, particularly in the form of alchemy and, to a lesser extent, Kabbalah.[67] These parts are concentrated in a discourse delivered by the Senior Sage or Surveillant, in the explanation of the tracing board and in the instruction that is in the form of a catechism.


The ritual takes place in a lodge, called the Academy, and it is performed by three main officers, called Most Wise,[68] and Senior and Junior Sages, respectively. The Academy is illuminated by three candles placed on the tracing-board. The dominant colors of the ritual are black, white, and red; the walls are draped in black, there should be white and red columns, the gloves and the cordons should be white, black, and red.[69] Given the alchemical nature of this ritual, these colors probably refer to the three stages of the alchemical process: Nigredo, Albedo, and Rubedo.


The Academy is opened in the ordinary fashion of Masonic rituals of initiation. That is, the chief officer, in this case the Most Wise, asks the two Surveillants or Sages whether the lodge room is properly guarded and if all present are True Masons. The Academy is then proclaimed opened, and one of the brethren, called Sage Academicians, is asked to give a lecture on a chosen subject. It is then announced by the Senior Surveillant that a reception is to be made: "Most Wise, there is a philosopher Mason in the preparation chamber, whom the Academy has deemed worthy of being admitted among us".[70]


The candidate, who has been waiting in a chamber of preparation,[71] is divested of all metals, and has his hat, coat, and shoes removed. The sleeves of his shirt are rolled up, his hands are tied behind his back, and finally he is blindfolded. After the usual questions and knock on the door, the candidate is admitted to the lodge room where he is led to the West, facing the Most Wise in the East. There is an "earthenware vessel, into which are poured wine spirits, mercury, and salt. These are to be lighted and furnish the only illumination on the academy."[72] The candidate is asked what he desires, and after answering that he wants to be admitted to the Academy, if he is found worthy, the Academicians indicate their consent to his request by rapping once on the floor with their rods, which they are holding.


The candidate is then, in the customary fashion of Masonic rituals, led around the lodge. These perambulations, which are three in number, are made in a circle, a square, and a triangle. When the perambulations are completed, the blindfold is removed, and the candidate is caused to see the earthen vessel with the fire. After four minutes, he is conducted to the foot of the throne of the Most Wise, and there caused to kneel. The candidate then takes the obligation in this kneeling position. This obligation is a comparatively short and simple one:


I, ...., promise on my word of honor, and under penalty of having

my lips sealed and my bowels cut open, never to reveal either directly or

indirectly, to anyone at all, and under any pretext, the mysteries which I

will behold, and may the Great Jehovah be my strong and holy guide.[73]


The candidate is then declared a True Mason by the Most Wise, and instructed in the traditional secrets of the degree: the sacred word, the password, the name, the grip, the age, the step, and finally the battery. Of these secrets, perhaps the most significant are the sacred word and the password, Jehovah and Metralon,[74] respectively. The Most Wise proceeds to present the candidate with the apron, gloves, and a wand. The candidate is led to the tracing-board, where he gives a discourse that he has prepared beforehand. When the candidate has finished his discourse, the Most Wise responds with a discourse ofhis own. This discourse begins by stating that the Degree of True Mason was created at the time when God brought order out of chaos, and that the degree includes the principles of all other degrees. There have been many Adepts over the centuries, but some of them have been led astray. The profane who criticize that which they do not understand, "who are lacking a keen mind and industrious hand, ...will lose for themselves all the joys of discovery and labor, and scorn all that they do not possess, power of imagination, and courage of doing".  The Most Wise continues by urging the brethren to abandon the profane, or "these off-springs of darkness" and enemies to their own hatred of their vain and inconsequential idea.


For us true children of light, and sincere friends of humanity, who see

in those instructions and the practice, the clear announcement of truth,

there will be at last the pleasures which result therefrom.[75]


The discourse ends with a promise that the brethren will guide and help the candidate in "the science" by explaining the obstacles placed in his path and assisting him in his studies. There is also an exhortation to follow in the footsteps of "that great man, whose presence is so dear and useful to us, and whose memory will always be precious to us". One plausible suggestion is that this refers to Hiram, or perhaps Christ. Upon the completion of the discourse, the Senior Surveillant proceeds to explain the symbolism of the tracing-board.


You will see first, wise academician, in the upper part of the tableau a

radiant and capital "J" in the middle.

The triangle represents God in the three persons, and the capital "J" is

the initial of the ineffable name of the Great Architect of the Universe.[76]


The ineffable name of the Great Architect indicated by the letter J is, of course, Jehovah, the sacred word of the degree. As discussed in chapter four of my book Western Esotericism & Rituals of Initiation, Jehovah, is the old Master's Word that was lost at the time of Hiram's death.


The shadowy circle signifies the world which God created; the cross

within it represents the light by means of which He will develop it.

The square, the four elements which developed in it.

The triangle, the three principles, which the mixture of the four elements produced.

The circle is surrounded by the waters which God has placed above the firmament.[77]


The reference to the cross is one of the few direct references to Christianity to be found in the ritual. The passage also explains why the perambulations that the candidate had to undergo during the ritual were in the shape of a circle, square, and a triangle. The four elements refer, of course, to the antique idea that all matter is constituted by four elements, namely earth, water, air, and fire.[78] This idea continued as a basic component of alchemical theory long after orthodox science had discarded it. The three principles refer to the alchemical principles of sulphur, mercury, and salt (discussed later).


The starry circle designates the firmament.

The other circle with the signs and the planets represents the Zodiac.[79]


According to the Ptolemaic world-view, the earth is the center of the universe, and around this center there are seven planetary spheres in which the seven planets of antiquity (the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) move. The movement of the planets was considered to be caused by the Primum Mobile, located either at, or beyond, the firmament of the stars. It is this firmament that is referred to in the passage above.


The cross which surmounts them signifies that as God through his great

power created the universe, so through his beneficence he redeemed it.

The four figures which surround it are the emblems of the atmosphere

and the four winds.

Man, the sun, the plants which one sees on the surface of the earth are

the image of the three divisions of nature, that is, the animal, the mineral

and the vegetable, which through the medium of the primal fire and

of the central fire, that the great architect placed in continual agitation,

come to their perfection.[80]


It is specifically stated in the by-laws of the degree that no mason may be admitted, without being "Christian, pious, discreet and wise".[81] Although the Christian elements of the ritual are almost non-existent, it is significant to note that as a rule, High Degree systems tend to be limited to Christian members. It is therefore quite natural to find a reference to the cross in the ritual. Further, the division of nature into the animal, mineral, and vegetable worlds derives from Aristotle. The primal and central fires most likely refer to the two different types of fire often encountered in alchemical literature.[82]


The two uppermost letters signify that God created those which stand

below; that nature produces and that art multiplies.

On the altar of perfumes, we note the me which is given to matter; the two

towers are the two furnaces, wet and dry, through which we must travel.

The tube which is in the furnaces, serves to give the temperature of

the fire produced by charcoal of oak trees. The fire will well consume the

philosopher's stone. Below we see the rod for stirring the fire.

And the two figures surmounted by across, are nothing other than

the two vases of nature and of that royal art, in which one may cause a

double marriage of the white woman and the red servant, from which

marriage there will be born a most powerful king.[83]


This part of the explanation of the tracing-board is entirely devoted to alchemical imagery. The two furnaces, described as wet and dry, through which "we must travel" is a direct reference to the alchemical formula of Solve et Coagula (dissolve and coagulate), discussed below. The furnace itself is an important symbol, as it is thought that the metal undergoes its mortification and subsequent purification within a furnace, or athanor as it is usually called. The furnace is furthermore often identified with the fire that causes the mortification of the metal. It is significant that the coal is specified as being of oak trees, as the oak is a name for the philosophical tree.[84] The philosophical tree symbolizes the entire alchemical process, from base metal to gold, or from unenlightened to enlightened soul. The philosopher's stone is probably the most well known of all alchemical symbols, and its primary import is the completion or the crowning of the alchemical work. As such, it is considered to possess a number of qualities, such as the ability to transmute metals, cure diseases, prolong life, and to rejuvenate. "Royal art" was the name given to alchemy (but as shown in chapter 4 of Western Esotericism & Rituals of Initiation, it was also a name given to Freemasonry), as gold was considered to be the royal metal. A further reference to the "royal" nature of the alchemical process is the "most powerful king" that will be born out of the marriage between the "white woman" and the "red servant". The white woman and the red servant stand for the female and male principles, respectively. The king is another symbol for the philosopher's stone-the goal of the alchemical quest.


Completion of the explanation of the tracing-board is followed by the instruction, which is in the form of a catechism. In eighteenth-century French Masonic rituals, catechisms used to be practiced at the end of the ritual (just before closing the lodge), or at the table lodge after the initiation. Be that as it may, the instruction is of utmost importance as it not only touches upon symbols encountered in the ritual, but more importantly also shows exactly the kind of alchemy with which the members of the degree were expected to be familiar.


The catechism begins with the following question:


Q. Who is your father?

A. Hermes. [85]


Hermes was, of course, seen as the mythical founding father of alchemy, and the above question can therefore be interpreted as that the candidate, being an alchemist, is thereby a "child" of Hermes.[86]


Q. Did you receive the light?

A. Verily, Most Wise, the three principles were explained to me.

Q. Do you know how to proceed with your labors?

A. Verily, Most Wise, I know how to stir with the rod, to manipulate the

materials and to seal the vapours against esscape [sic].[87]


Receiving the light is a recurrent theme in Masonic rituals of initiation, but in this context the light probably refers to the knowledge of the alchemical process, as the answer indicates that the light is connected to the knowledge of the three principles. The three principles, in their turn, refer to the three alchemical principles sulphur, mercury, and salt. The manipulation of the materials, or metals, is a direct allusion to the practice of alchemy. Furthermore, the sealing of the vapors from escape is a reference to the usage of hermetically sealed vessels in alchemy.


Q. What is the significance of the ten knocks you gave on your entry into

the academy?

A. It is the perfect number.

Q. Why do you say that ten is the perfect number?

A. Because ten comprehends all the faith and unity of God by whom all

was created, as well as chaos from which all that exists, was produced.

Furthermore, he who would be quite happy to understand that which is

the basic number of formal arithmetic, and to understand the nature of

the prime spherical number which is the half of the ten, will know, says

Pic de Mirandole, the secret of the fifty doors of learning of the great

fifty years of this generation, as well as the ruler of similar cycles, which

the Cabalists call "Ensopht," or Divinity itself, unadorned.[88]


In Christian and Jewish Kabbalah alike, the number ten is seen as a "perfect number" as it contains God's entire creation in the form of the ten Sephiroth. The reference to "Ensopht" constitutes the unlimited Godhead, Ain Soph, from which the Tree of Life with its ten Sephiroth emanates. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) was the first to seek evidence in the Kabbalah for the "truth" of Christianity, and thus inspired later kabbalists such as Johannes Reuchlin. Pico included his Kabbalistic arguments for the authenticity of christianity in his Conclusiones (1486), a collection of nine hundred questions and answers.[89] The book was, however, suppressed by the pope.


Q. Explain the meaning of your jewel, the colors of the ribbon as well as

what is attached; the cross and the two letters on the flap of you apron;

as well as the sun in the center; the letters which are on the two sides and

the two red stripes with which it is bordered.

A. The jewel is the representation of mercury, sulphur and salt. The colors

of the ribbon and gloves represent the three principal colors which are

apparent in the civil government.

The cross on the flap of the apron is the Light, the two letters represent

the True Mason.

The sun represents gold, the two letters, the meaning already given.

Finally the poppy-red color with which the apron is bordered designates

the perfection of the philosopher's stone as black denotes

putrification and white sublimity.[90]


The reference to the three colors black, white and red refers to the three stages in the alchemical process: Nigredo, Albedo, and Rubedo.[91] In the initial or black state the impure metal is killed or putrefied, that is, it is dissolved into its original form, or Prima Materia. According to alchemical theory, there can be no regeneration without corruption, no life without death. This state of dissolution, or mortification, is often symbolized in alchemical imagery with symbols of death and corruption, such as skeletons, skulls, and coffins. In the second or white phase the blackened matter is purified by the mercurial water, the universal agent of transmutation. "The body has been whitened and spiritualized (that is, the fixed is volatilized) and the soul has been prepared to receive illumination from the spirit. This is the stage at which the alchemist achieves the white stone and the white elixir which has the power to transmute all imperfect metals to silver".[92] This stage can also be interpreted as the spirit's separation from the body, which will reunite when the body is purified and made pure and spotless. This stage is often symbolized by things pure, white, or silver, such as the moon, snow, and virgins. Finally, in the third or red stage, the spirit is reunited with the white matter. This union is often described as a "chemical wedding", and upon its completion the desirable Philosophers' Stone is achieved. Images such as red lions, basilisks, red roses, and the sun often symbolize the Rubedo phase of the opus alchymicum.[93]


Q. Do you know how to make the universal matter?

A. I do, Most Wise.

Q. From what do you produce it?

A. Eternal and internal fire.

Q. What does it result in?

A. The four elements, which are said to be the main principles.

Q. What are they?

A. Fire, air, water and earth.

Q. What are their qualities?

A. Heat, drought, cold and moisture, the first two coupled with the latter

two, bring to the earth the drought and cold.

Water has cold and moisture.

Air has moisture and heat, fire has heat and drought, which are all

united on earth, because the elements are circulated like the wind of our

father Hermes.[94]


As Lyndy Abraham states, the idea of the four elements was derived from Empedocles (494-432 B.C.) and Plato's Timaeus (ca. 360 B.C.), but came to alchemy through Aristotle's theories of matter.[95] All matter ultimately derives from a prima materia, and the four elements are the forms in which it manifests itself.[96] The four elements are not simply the ordinary fire, air, water, and earth in nature, but abstract principles that emanate from the prima materia. The alchemical process of transmutation, or opus alchymicum, is based on the fundamental theory that all material objects and matter consist of various proportions of the four elements and that these proportions can be manipulated. However, in order to cause this manipulation, it is first necessary to "kill" (the Nigredo phase) the original form of the matter one wishes to transmute. The answer to the question of what the qualities of the four elements are, displays further familiarity with basic concepts of alchemy: there are four qualities connected to the elements -hot, dry, cold, and moist.[97] Each of the elements has two of these qualities: fire has hot and dry; air has hot and moist; water has cold and moist; and finally earth has cold and dry.


Q. What does the mxture [sic] of the four elements and their four qualities

of which everything is formed, produce?

A. The three main principles.

Q. What names are given them?

A. Mercury, sulphur and salt.

Q. What do you mean by mercury, sulphur and salt?

A. The philosophical, and not the commonly known, mercury, sulphur

and salt.

Q. What is the philosophical mercury?

A. It is a liquid and spirit which dissolves and refines the sun.

Q. What is philosophical sulphur?

A. It is fire and a spirit which destroys and colors that fire.

Q. What is philosophical salt?

A. It is a mineral and a substance which congeals and fixes, and accom-

plishes all this through the medium of the atmosphere.[98]


The three main principles of metals mentioned above were first proposed by Paracelsus (Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 1493-1541).[99] According to this theory, all metals are constituted by three main principles: mercury (the spirit), sulphur (the soul), and salt (the body).[100] Mercury and salt, or spirit and body, are seen as two contraries that are united by the mediating principle of sulphur, that is, the soul. Paracelsus' theory of the tria prima, or the first three principles, differs from earlier medieval alchemy in which the metals were considered to derive from two principles, namely sulphur and mercury.[101] Sulphur was considered to be the male principle, or hot, dry, and active seed, whereas mercury was seen as the feminine principle with its cold, moist, and passive qualities. These two principles were connected to the well-known alchemical formula of Solve et Coagula (dissolve and coagulate). This formula, known already by the Greek alchemists, illustrates the fundamental practice of alchemy; that is, the converting of a solid body into a fluid substance (solve), and the opposite process of turning a fluid into a dry solid body (coagula). The process was to be repeated time and again, and each time the matter to be transmuted was considered to become purer. Mercury was connected to the solve aspect of the formula and was thus attributed to the power of dissolving fixed matter; while sulphur was considered to possess the power of fixing and coagulating the volatile substance, and thus to be connected to the second, or coagula, part of the formula. Furthermore, the mercury often encompassed the two elements of water and earth, while sulphur encompassed air and water.


Q. How are these obtained from three principles?

A. The four elements redoubled, as Hermes said, or the great elements,

accordingly to Raymond Lully, which are Mercury, sulphur, salt and glass.

The former two act like volatiles, the one being like water and the other

like air (or oil), and flee fire which causes the one to be driven off and

the other to be consumed. The remaining two substances however being

solid and dry, are not affected by fire. The salt defies the heat of fire

while glass, or pure earth is not affected except to be melted and refined.

Because each element has two qualities the great or redoubled elements,

that is to say, mercury, sulphur, salt and glass consist of two of the simple

elements, or in other words, each of the four has two elements in different

proportions. Mercury has more water than is usually attributed to it;

oil or sulphur, more air; the salt has more fire; and glass has more earth.

Earth is at last found pure and clean at the center of all the elementary

compounds, and it is ultimately freed from all the others.[102]


The answer is an elaboration of Paracelsus' three alchemical principles of mercury, sulphur, and salt.


Q. What advantages does this give one?

A. Two kinds, the first spiritual, the second is material.

Q. What are they?

A. The spiritual consists of knowing God, nature and himself. The material

is wealth and riches.[103]


It is significant that not only the spiritual advantage of alchemy is mentioned but also the material one. This shows that the alchemy taught by the Rite Ecossais philosophique to its initiates was not merely of a spiritual character, but of a "chemical" nature as well.


Q. Has not each of these sciences something which is appropriate and

particular to it?

A. Pardon me, Most Wise, the one is common and trivial and the other

mystical and secret. The invisible world of our theology is cabalistic,

celestial, astrological and magical, while the elementary is physiological

and chemical, which reveals by these discoveries and the separations of

fire, the mosa [ sic] hidden and occult secrets of nature of the three kinds

of compositions. We also call this latter science hermetic, or the

operation of the great work.

Q. What are the sources where one may search for this latter science?

A. The purest are Hermes Trismegistus, Arnold de Villenaeue; Raymond

Lully, Gaber, Basil Valentine, Bernard Count of Trevisan, Nicholas

Flamel, the Philalethes, the Cosmopolitan, the President of the Espagnet

and Chevalier, the figures of Abraham the Jew, Michael Mayer, and

many others, whom we will recognize among others.[104]


The names referred to as sources for the alchemical science are all well known and influential alchemical authors.


HERMES TRISMEGISTUS is of course the mythical author of the Corpus Hermeticum which was first translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino in 1471. During the Renaissance, however, Hermes also became known as an adept of alchemy, and a number of alchemical texts were attributed to him, of which the Tabula Smaragdina or Emerald Tablet is perhaps the most famous. This short text contains the famous dictum "As above, so below," illustrating the esoteric doctrine that man is a microcosm corresponding to the macrocosm.[105]


ARNAU DE VILANOVA (1240-1311) was a physician who translated medical works by authors such as Galen, Avicenna, and Albuzale into Latin, and he is generally seen as a representative medieval Galenism. Even though it is not ascertained whether or not Vilanova actually practiced alchemy, there are many legends about him that connect him with the practice of alchemy.[106] According to one such legend Vilanova is supposed to have performed his first transmutation in Rome in 1286. There are a number of alchemical works ascribed to him, such as Epistola super alchemia ad regem Neapolitanum or De secretis naturae and Exempla de arte philosophorum, but these are probably apocryphal. The first collected edition of his works was published at Lyons in 1504.


RAYMOND LULLY, or Ramon Llull, (1232-1316) was a Catalan mystic who developed a mysticism combined to a certain extent with Christian mysticism, Sufism, and Neoplatonism. The alchemical works ascribed to him are probably all apocryphal and include titles such as Apertorium artis, L' Epistre de l'abbreviation de la pierre benoiste, Clavicula Raymundi Lullii,[107] and Comendiurn animae transmutationis artis metallorum.[108] Alchemical works ascribed to Llull began to circulate during the middle of the fourteenth century and these pseudo-Llullian works later became standard features in the alchemical corpus. In addition to alchemy, Llull's name also became associated with magic and Kabbalah with works such as De auditu cabbalistico attributed to him.[109]


The alchemical works of GEBER were extremely influential, and his theory of sulphur and mercury was predominant until Paracelsus modified it in the beginning of the sixteenth century. Works attributed to Geber include Of the investigation or search of perfection and Of the sum of perfection, or of the perfect magistery.[110] The name Geber is taken from the Arab scholar Jabir ibn Hayyan (ca. 721-ca. 815).


BASILIUS VALENTINUS was supposed to have been a fifteenth century Benedictine monk, to whose name a number of alchemical tractates are ascribed.

The most influential of these are Die Zwolf Schlussel, or Twelve Keyes,[111] first published in 1599, and The Triumphant Chariot of Antimony (1604), first published in English in 1660. The true identity of Basilius Valentinus has not been settled, but it has been suggested that he was a late sixteenth century author, possibly the first publisher of Valentinus' works, Johann Tholde.


BERNARD OF TREVISAN, the Earl of Treviso in Italy, or Trevisanus (b. ca. 1460) was another early influential alchemist, whose works include La parole delaissee (1618), Le Text d'Alchymie et le Songe-Verd (1695), and Treatise of the Philosophers Stone (1684).[112]


NICOLAS FLAMEL (1330-1418) was a public writer and artisan who after his death became regarded as an alchemist, who together with his wife, Perrenelle, supposedly succeeded in transmuting mercury into gold in 1382. The reason that Flamel came to be regarded as an alchemist probably stems from the fact that he left a large legacy after his death and because he had ordered certain allegorical motifs to be painted on arcades at the cemetery of the Holy Innocents.[113] According to the legend, he had bought a rare manuscript entitled the "Book of Abraham the Jew," in the ritual referred to as the "figures of Abraham the Jew." This manuscript allegedly contained seven emblematic drawings that outlined the alchemical process. A number of versions of what claim to be Abraham's figures have been published called the Hieroglyphic Figures of Flamel.[114]


The PHILALETHES can refer to either Eugenius Philalethes, or to Eirenaeus Philalethes -but it is more likely that the reference is to the former, as the "Cosmopolitan," which is also mentioned in the ritual, is another name for the latter. Eugenius Philalethes was the pseudonym of Thomas Vaughan (1621-1665),[115]  well known for his translation of the Fame and Confession of the Fraternity of the R. C. published in 1652. His alchemical works include Anthroposophia Theomagica, Anima Magica Abscondita, and Magia Adamica, all three first published in 1650.[116] Vaughan's alchemical writings were influential not only in England, but on the Continent as well, and his works were translated into French, German and Latin. The emphasis of his alchemical work is more on the spiritual, or metaphysical, side than on the purely physical. As such, the alchemy of Vaughan can, at least to a certain extent, be seen as a form of mysticism. Eirenaeus Philalethes, on the other hand, was probably the pseudonym of the influential scientist George Starkey (1628-1665). Starkey was born in Bermuda and educated at Harvard College. In 1650 he immigrated to London in order to collaborate with one of the most important persons in the development of modern chemistry -Robert Boyle (1627-1691).[117] The alchemy of Starkey (if indeed he is the true author behind the name of Eirenaeus Philalethes) differs considerably from that of his namesake Eugenius Philalethes in that it focuses on the physical or chemical aspect of the alchemical work.[118]


JEAN D'ESPAGNET (ca. 1564-1637) was an influential alchemist, and is quoted at length by Joseph Pernety in his Les Fables Egyptiennes et Grecques (1786). His alchemical works include La Philosophie Naturelle and Arcanum Hermeticae, both of which were included in the influential collection Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa (1702).[119]


Finally, we have COUNT MICHAEL MAIER (1569-1622), the German alchemist and Rosicrucian apologist. Maier moved in high circles and was, among other things, the confidant of the Emperor Rudolph II and a frequent attendee at the court of James I. His most famous alchemical treatise, considered to be a classic of alchemical literature, is Atalanta Fugiens published in 1618. The work contains fifty emblematic figures illustrating the alchemical process.[120]


When the instruction is done, the ritual ends in the following manner:


The most wise then says: Behold, wise Academician, what the senior

Surveillant and I have to say for your instruction. We urge that you study

diligently, and we wish you much happiness in all that you do, and wish

you a rapid progress in that science which is the sole and honorable aim

of Masonry.[121]


The lodge is then ritually closed, and as a last act all present say together: "Glory, laud and honor to the Creator; peace, benediction and prosperity to true Masons!"[122]


The ritual of True Mason is an excellent example of how alchemical doctrines are transmitted through a Masonic ritual of initiation. The alchemical doctrines transmitted, especially during the explanation of the tracing board and the instruction, summarize in a condensed form the most important symbols and theories of eighteenth-century alchemy.[123] Furthermore, the list of alchemical authors at the end of the ritual contains the most celebrated and influential names in alchemical literature. As such, the ritual of the True Mason was truly initiatic in the sense that it initiated its adepts in the Arcanum of alchemy. This would naturally depend on whether or not the candidate already was familiar with alchemy. 


[1] In Masonic literature Rite is often used synonymously with system and the French regime. For a good overview of the large number of Masonic Rites, see Daniel Ligou, Dictionnaire de la Franc-Mafonnerie (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1987), pp. 1021-35. For modern Anglo-Saxon high degrees, see Keith B. Jackson, Beyond the Craft (London: Lewis Masonic, 1980).

[2] The history of high degrees and rites of the eighteenth century is a notoriously difficult subject, so I will limit this introduction to a mere historical outline. It should, however, be noted that a large part of the literature dealing with this subject is outdated due to recent research. Examples of such outdated literature are James F. Smith, "The Rise of the Ecossais Degrees". Proceedings of the Ohio Chapter of Research, vol. 10 (Dayton, Oh.: Otterbein Press, 1965); Arthur E. Waite, Templar Orders in Freemasonry (Edmonds, Wash.: Sure Fire Press, 1991); and, to a lesser extent, Rene Le Forestier, La Franc-Maçonnerie Templiere et Occultiste aux XVIIIe et XIXe Siecles (Paris: Aubier-Montaigne, 1970).

[3] Pierre Mollier, "L'Ordre Ecossais a Berlin de 1742 a 1751," Renaissance Traditionelle, n°.131-132 (2002), pp. 217-27. See also Alain Bernheim, "Did Early 'High' or Ecossais Degrees Originate in France?" Heredom, vol. 5 (1996), pp. 87-113.

[4] Andre Kervella and Philippe Lestienne, "Un haut-grade templier dans des milieurx stuardistes en 1750: L'Ordre Sublime des Chevaliers Elus" Renaissance Traditionelle, n°.112 (1997), pp. 229 ff.

[5] For a representative collection of chivalric and Templar rituals, see Pierre Girard-Augry, Rituels Secrets de la Franc-Maçonnerie Templiere et Chevaleresque (Paris: Editions Dervy, 1996).

[6] "Lodge of Antiquity (then N°.1) made 9 Brn into Scots Masters"; "5 MMs were 'Rais'd Scots Masters' in No 137, Bristol"; "5 Brn made Scots Masters at Salisbury:' A. C. F. Jackson, Rose Croix (Addlestone, Surry: Lewis Masonic, 1993), p. 219.

[7] Bernheim, "Early 'High' or Ecossais Degrees;' pp. 31-32. The first reference toEcossais Masonry found in French exposures is in [Abbe Larudan?], Les Francs-Maçons Ecrases (1746/47) in Harry Carr, Early French Exposures (London: Quatuor Coronati Lodge NO.2076, 1971), pp. 292,307-14.

[8] The Oration was published a number of times, and it was sent to Cardinal de Fleury on March 20, 1737. Two of Ramsay's letters to Fleury are reproduced in Albert

Lantoine, La Franc-Mafonnerie Ecossaise en France (Paris: Emile Nourry, 1930). On Ramsay, see in particular "Le Pseudo-Createur des Hauts Grades: Le Chevalier de Ramsay;' pp. 17-49, in the above mentioned work by Lantoine; and Albert Lantoine, Histoirede la La Franc-Maçonnerie Française (Paris: Emile Nourry, 1927), pp. 113-24.

[9] "A partir du moment ou l'on etablissait un rapport entre Franc-Maçonnerie et Chevalerie, de surcroit si cette Chevalerie etait celle des croisades, les Templiers n'etaient

plus loin! En fait, ils apparaissant déjà en filigrane dans le Discours de Ramsay. En effet dans le contexte des croisades, à qui d'autre qu'aux Templiers peut s'appliquer la défensede «Cette promesse sacrée [qui] nëtoit pas un serment exécrable, comme on le débite,,?" Pierre Mollier, "Des Francs-Maçons aux Templiers: Aperçus sur la constitution d'une légende au Siècle des Lumières": in Symboles et Mythes dans les mouvements initiatiques et ésotériques, (Paris: ARlES, Archè/La Table d'Emeraude, 1999), p. 97

[10] J. A. M. Snoek, "Manuscript Version of Herault's Ritual" in R. Caron, J. Godwin, W. Hanegraaf, and J.-L. Viellard-Baron, eds., Esoterisme, Gnoses et Imaginaire Symbolique: Melanges offerts a Antoine Faivre (Leuven: Peeters, 2001), p. 516.

[11] Up till recently, it was assumed that the claim that von Hund had been initiated into a Templar degree in France was a fabrication. However, new findings have shown

that there actually existed a Templar degree in France prior to the formation of the Rite of the Strict Observance. For information on this ritual, see Kervella and Lestienne, "Un haut-grade templier;' Renaissance Traditionelle. See also Snoek, "Herault's Ritual."

[12] Alain Bernheim, "Johann August Starck: The Templar Legend and the Clerics": Heredom, vol. 9 (2001), p. 252.

[13] The inclusion of Unknown Superiors is a recurrent feature in many later western esoteric societies and orders. For instance, the Mahatmas of the Theosophical Society; the Secret Chiefs of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the A :. A :. (usually understood as the Order of the Silver Star or Argenteum Astrum); and even the new religious movement Order of the Solar Temple.

[14] The Jacobite interest in Freemasonry did not prevent the Catholic Church from taking a negative position against Freemasonry. In 1738 and 1751 two papal bulls were issued against Freemasonry: In Eminenti Apostolatus Specula of Clemens XII and Providas Romanorum Pontificum of Benedict XIV: For the text of In Eminenti in Latin and English see Alec Mellor, Our Separated Brethren the Freemasons (London: Geoerge G. Harap, 1964), pp. 156-60.

[15] See Harold V.B. Voorhis, The Story of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, rev. ed. (Richmond, Va.:Macoy Pub., 1980); Paul Naudon, Histoire, Rituels et Tuileur des Hauts Grades Malçonniques (Paris: Editions Dervy, 1993); Albert Lantoine, La Franc-Malçonnerie Ecossaise en France (Paris: Emile Nourry, 1930); Jonathan Blanchard, Scotch Rite Masonry Illustrated: The Complete Ritual of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, 2 vols. (Chicago: Ezra A. Cook, 1887-88; reprint 1950). The latter work is an anti-Masonic exposure that nonetheless contains accurate accounts of the Cerneau version of the rituals of the AASR.

[16] The Scottish Rite contains more Ecossais degrees than Templar ones; only the 30° and 32° are Templar.

[17] Chivalric themes can be found in the 15°, Knight of the East or Sword, and in the 21°, Noachite or Prussian Knight. For a Masonic interpretation of the rituals of the Scottish Rite, see Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (Washington, D.C.: Supreme Council, 33°, 1871), and Henry Clausen, Clausens Commentaries on Morals and Dogma (Washington, D.C.: Supreme Council, 33°, 1974).

[18] For more information on the Knight of the Sun Degree, see Pierre Mollier, "Le Chevalier du Soleil: Contribution a l'etude d'un haut-grade maçonnique en France

au XVIIIe siecle" (Paris: Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes: Ve Section-Sciences Religieuses, La Sorbonne, 1992).

[19] On the Rectified Scottish Rite, see Pierre Noel. "De la Stricte Observance au Rite Ecossais Rectifie," in Acta Macionica, vol. 5 (1995), pp. 91-126. Acta Macionica is published for the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium by the lodge of research Ars Macionica N° 30 in Brussels.

[20] "Les rituels du Rite Ecossais Rectifie furent elabores en quelques vingt-quatre annees, de 1775 a 1809, qui virent un travail intense et une mise en place laborieuse. On peut y distinguer quatre etapes essentielles: les rituels de Lyon [1778], ceaux de Wilhelmsbad [1782], la version 'courte' de 1785, la version 'longue' de 1788, cette derniere caracterisee par une impregnation martineziste qui devait culminer dans le rituel de 1809. Rien n'empecherait, aujourd'hui, les loges rectifiees de choisir l'un ou l'autre de ces rituels successifs, tous conformes a un moment de la pensee du fondateur!", Noel "Stricte Observance," p. 112.

[21] Noel "Stricte Observance," p. 120.

[22] Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, (Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2005) [hereafter referred to as DGWE] pp.1,170-73.

[23] C.B.C.S. is the abbreviation for Chevaliers Bienfaisants de la Cite Sainte (Knights Beneficent of the Holy City).

[24] In Sweden, this Rite is referred to as "det Svenska Systemet" (the Swedish System).

[25] For a recent exposure of the rituals of the Swedish System, see Sverre Dag Mogstad, Frimureri: mysterier,fellesskap, personlighetsdannelse (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1994).

[26] For Freemasonry in Sweden, see in particular Anteckningar till Svenska Frimureriets Historia, 2 vols., (Stockholm: Meddelanden fran Stora Landslogens arkiv och bibliotek, 1892, 1898); Magnus Kinnander, Svenska Frimureriets Historia (Stockholm: Bokforlaget Natur och Kultur, 1943); Carl Dahlgren, Frimureriet med tilliimpning pa Sverige (Stockholm: Aktiebolaget H. Klemmings Antikvariat, 1925); Harry Lenhammar, Med murslev och sviird: Svenska frimurarorden under 250 ar (Delsbo: Asak, 1985); J. A. M. Snoek, "Swedenborg, Freemasonry, and Swedenborgian Freemasonry: An Overview;' Acta Macionica, vol. 11 (2001), pp. 38-47.

[27] For more information on Eckleff, see Hans Berg, "Carl Friedrich Eckleff som miinniska och frimurare;' Acta Masonica Scandinavica, vol. I (1998).

[28] The fourth degree was later split into two degrees -Apprentice of St. Andrew (IV°) and Companion of St. Andrew (V°) -for a total of ten degrees.

[29]  That the origins of Freemasonry might be found in ancient Egypt was hinted at before Egyptian Masonry as such appeared on the scene. See, for instance, Anonymous, Le Sceau Rompu (1745), in Carr, Early French Exposures, p. 208.

[30] See Ian Assman, Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism (Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard University Press, 1997); Erik Hornung, The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001); Paul Rich & David Merchant, "The Egyptian Influence on Nineteenth-Century Freemasonry;' Heredom, vol. 9 (2001), pp. 33-51.

[31] Antoine Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1994), p.80.

[32] Serge Caillet, Arcanes & Ritueles de la Maçonnerie Egyptienne (Paris: Tredaniel, 1994), p. 17.

[33] Karl Friedrich von Koppen and Bernhard Hymmen Crata Repoa. Oder Einweyhungen in der alten geheimen Gesellschaft der Egyptischen Preister, ([Berlin] : 1770 ). Even though the text was not published unti11770, it was circulated in manuscript form prior to its publication. An English translation of the text was serialized in The Kneph: Official Journal of the Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, vol. 2, nos. 15-22 (1882).

[34] DGWE, p. 225. For an English translation of these rituals, see "Cagliostro's Egyptian Rite;' Collectanea, vol. 5, part 2, (1954), pp. 165-215.

[35] Christopher McIntosh, Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival (London: Rider, 1975), pp. 30-31.

[36] Caillet, Arcanes & Ritueles, p. 19; DGWE, pp. 225-27.

[37] "The Rite of Mizraim," Collectanea, vol. 6, part 1 (1955), p. 17.

[38] Eugen Lennhoff and Oskar Posner, Internationales Freimaurerlexikon (Zurich, Leipzig, Wien: Amalthea- Verlag, 1932) pp. 1,044-45. Collectanea, vol. 6, part 1 (1955), p. 17 gives another explanation of the name of the rite: "the Rite of Misraim, so called because its legend goes back to the ancient Egyptian King, Menes, who was also known as Mizraim".

[39] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 1 (1955). p. 18.

[40] For an English translation of the rituals of the Rite of Misraim, see "The Rite of Mizraim". Collectanea. vol. 6, part 1 (1955), and vol. 7, part 2 (1961), pp. 120-164.

[41] For more information on the checkered history of the Rite of Memphis, see Albert Pike and William C. Cummings, "The Spurious Rites of Memphis and Misraim," Heredom, vol. 9 (2001), pp. 147-97.

[42] For an English translation of the rituals of the Rite of Memphis, see "The Rite of Memphis;' Collectanea, vol. 6, part 2 (1956), and vol. 7, part 1 (1958), pp. 69-95.

[43] Rich and Merchant, "Egyptian Influence;' p. 34.

[44] For more information, see the indispensable work by Le Forestier, La Franc-Maçonnerie Occultiste. See also DGWE, pp. 332-34.

[45] DGWE, p. 935.

[46] DGWE, pp. 332-34,931-35.

[47]  It is often stated that Dom Antoine Joseph Pernety (1716-1796) was the founder not only of the Rite Hermetique d'Avignon, but also of the Rite Ecossais philosophique. Modern scholarship, however, contest this assumption. See Snoek, "Swedenborg,» (2003), p. 28-32.

[48]  Snoek, "Swedenborg;' p. 32.

[49]  For a translation of all the rituals of the rite into English, see Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957).

[50] Snoek, "Swedenborg;' p. 68.

[51]  For a detailed account of the development of the degree system of the Rite Ecossais philosophique see Snoek, "Swedenborg,» Appendix 2.

[52] Snoek, "Swedenborg;' p. 70.

[53] For more information on Der Orden des Gulden und Rosenkreutzes see chapter six of Christopher McIntosh, The Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology and Rituals of an Occult Order (York Beach, Me.: Samuel Weiser, 1997).

[54]  For an introduction to the alchemy of Der Orden des Gold und Rosenkreuzes see Christopher McIntosh, "The Alchemy and the Gold und Rosenkreuz;' in Z. R. W. M. von Martels (ed. ) Alchemy Revisited: Proceedings of the International Conference on the History of Alchemy at the University of Groningen 17-19 April 1989 (Leiden, New York: E.J. Brill, 1990), pp 237-44.

[55]  Christopher Mcintosh showed in The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1992) that the relationship of Der Orden des Gold und Rosenkreuzes to the anti-Aufklarung (anti-Enlilghtenment) movement is more complicated than first meets the eye.

[56] McIntosh, The Rosicrucians, pp. 65-66.

[57]  McIntosh, The Rosicrucians, p. 68.

[58]  McIntosh, The Rosicrucians, p. 66.

[59] For a description of the second degree ritufll (Theoreticus), see Mcintosh, The Rosicrucians, pp. 72-74.

[60]  Alain Bernheim, "The Order of Kilwinning or Scotch Heredom, the Present Royal Order of Scotland:' Heredom, vol. 8 (1999/2000), p. 94.

[61]  For information on the history of R.O.S., see R. S. Lindsay, ed. A. J. B. Milborne, The Royal Order of Scotland (Perthshire, Scotland: Wm. Culross & Son, 1970; 2nd ed., 1972), and George Draffen of Newington, The Royal Order of Scotland -The Second Hundred Years (Edinburgh: Howie & Seath, 1977). Alain Bernheim, "The Order of Kilwinning or Scotch Heredom, the Present Royal Order of Scotland". Heredom.. vol. 8 (1999/2000), pp. 93-130.

[62] The legendary history is mentioned in the ritual of the order. The Royal Order of Scotland (N.P.: N.P., N.D. [1910?]), p. 53.

[63] For information on the history of the Rose-Croix of Heredom, Knight of the Pelican and Eagle Degree, see Jackson, Rose Croix, pp. 24-30.

[64] Jackson, Rose Croix, p. 27.

[65] The version Harodim is especially found in French versions of the ritual. It is a Hebrew word, the plural of Harod: one Who rules or acts as an Overseer. Jackson, Rose Croix , pp. 6-7.

[66] According to Jackson, the following suggestions have been offered to the meaning of the word Heredom: Heres domus, the Latin for house of the heir, or first-born.

Hieros domos, the Greek for holy house. Har Edom, the Hebrew for (Holy) Mountain of the Earth. Jackson, Rose Croix, p. 7.

[67] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), pp. 207-26. I have checked the printed English translation against a French manuscript version of the ritual; KloSS XXVI.3, GON 193. C.68, Academie des Vrais Maçons. I am indebted to J. A. M. Snoek for a transcript of this manuscript.

[68]  Kloss XXVI.3, GON 193.C.68, states "Tres Sage:'

[69]  The English translation states, "the apron should be embroidered, also in gold, the following three sets of letters, C.D., N .P., A.M:' The French manuscript,  however state that the letters should be D C N PAM (Dew Creat Natura Producit Ars Multiplicat).

[70] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 209.

[71] The preparation room is usually called a Chamber of Reflection, which is often totally dark. In French rituals there are usually tWo rooms: the "Chambre de preparation" and the "Chambre obscure:' After being prepared (that is, addressed and properly clothed) in the first one, the candidate is placed in the second room in order to meditate. Usually there is a candle burning there.

[72]  Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 210.

[73]  Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 211.

[74]  According to Kloss XXVI.3, GON 193.C.68, the password is Mitraton. However, both Metralon and Mitraton are probably corruptions of Metraton, the greatest of the angels in Jewish myths and legends. The function of Metraton differs in various stories, but the most important ones are as God's mediator with men and as a guardian ofheavenly secrets.

[75] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 213.

[76] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 214.

[77] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 214.

[78]  This theory was originally formulated by Empedokles (ca. 492-ca. 432 B.C.).

[79] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 214.

[80] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 214.

[81] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 223.

[82] Lyndy Abraham writes: "The secret fire (the fiery water and the watery fire) lies hidden in the alchemist's raw matter ('gold') and is stirred into action by the application of the outer material fire". Lyndy Abraham, A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001), p. 76.

[83] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), pp. 214-15.

[84] Abraham, Alchemical Im-!!gery, p. 137.

[85] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 216.

[86] For information on Hermes in western esotericism, see Antoine Faivre, The Eternal Hermes: From Greek God to Alchemical Magus (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Phanes Press, 1995).

[87] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 216.

[88] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), pp. 216-17.

[89] For a modern translation of Picds conclusions into English, see S. A. Farmer, Syncretism in the West: Picos 900 Theses (Tempe, Ariz.: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1998).

[90] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 217.

[91]  The three phases of the alchemical process, Nigredo, Albedo, and Rubedo are sometimes extended to include a fourth phase, Citrinitas, or the yellow stage, considered to take place between Albedo and Rubedo. This was known already by the Greek alchemists. For instance, Maria the Jewess is attributed by Zosimus of Panopolis (late third and early fourth centuries) to be familiar with the four phases of color transformation. Raphael Patai, "Maria the Jewess-Founding Mother of Alchemy:' Ambix, vol. 29, part 3 (Nov. 1982), p. 181.

[92] Abraham, Alchemical Imagery, p. 5.

[93] It is tempting to draw a parallel between the three phases of alchemy and the three phases ofVan Gennep's Rites de Passage: Nigredo Corresponds to the first phase in which the candidate is separated from his or her previous state; Albedo to the marginal or liminal state; and finally, Rubedo to the aggregation phase, or the incorporation of the candidate into the new phase.

[94] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 218.

[95] Abraham, Alchemical Imagery, p. 68.

[96] The Prima Materia presupposes a monistic theory of metals, in which all substances are believed to be basically one. The Greek alchemist Chymes is cited by Zosimus as having declared, "One is the All, and it is through it that the All is born. One is the All, and if the All does not contain all, the All will not be born". Patai, "Maria the Jewess;' p. 182.

[97] These four qualities Correspond to the theory of Galen (b. 131) in which the human body is made up of four humours: blood (heat) bile (cold) black bile (dryness),

and phlegm (moisture).

[98] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), pp. 218-19.

[99] On Paracelsus see Andrew Weeks, Paracelsus-Speculative Theory and the Crisis of the Early Reformation (Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1997); for his alchemical writings see Arthur Edward Waite) ed., The Hermetic & Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus the Great (London: Elliott, 1894). On the impact of Paracelsism on eighteenth-century France see Allen G. Debus, Chemistry, Alchemy and the New Philosophy 1550-1700 (London: Variorum Reprints, 1987), pp. 36-54. See alSo Allen G. Debus, The French Paracelsians (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

[100] Abraham, Alchemical Imagery) pp. 176-77.

[101] The theory of two principles of metals, is generally attributed to the Arab alchemist Geber, or pseudo-Jabir ibn Hayyan.

[102] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 219.

[103] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957) p. 221.

[104] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), pp. 221-22.

[105]  In full, the passage reads, "What is above is like that which is below, and what is below is like that which is above," or in Latin, "Quod est Inferius est sicut quod est Superius, et quod est Superius est sicut quod est Inferius."

[106] DGWE, pp. 102-3.

[107] MS. Français 2018. Bibliotheque Nationale.

[108] MS. Sloane 3778. British Library.

[109] DGWE, pp. 694-96.

[110] For an English translation of these works, see Geber, The Alchemical Works of Geber (York Beach: Samuel Weiser, 1994).

[111] Arthur E. Waite, ed., The Hermetic Museum (London: James Elliot and Co.,1893), vol. 1, pp. 311-57.

[112] Reprinted in Stanton J. Linden, The Alchemy Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 136-40.

[113] DGWE, pp. 370-71.

[114] See also Nicholas Flamel, " A Short Tract, or Philosophical Summery" in The Hermetic Museum, vol. 1, pp. 141-47. Livre des figures hieroglyphiques was first published in 1612 by Arnauld de la Chevalerie as a French translation of a presumably lost Latin original text. A Latin manuscript version exists, however, at the archives of the Swedish Grand Lodge of Freemasonry. A Swedish translation by Kjell Lekeby from the Latin manuscript was published as Nicholas Flamel, Boken om de Hieroglyfiska Bilderna (Stockholm: Vertigo, Philosophiska Forlaget, 1996).

[115] For more information on Thomas Vaughan, see the biographical introduction to Alan Rudrum, ed., The Works of Thomas Vaughan (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), and DGWE, pp. 1,157-58.

[116] These are included together with" A Perfect and Full Discoverie of the True Coelum Terrae, or The Magican's Heavenly Chaos, and First Matter of all Things" in

Thomas Vaughan, The Magical Writings of Thomas Vaughan (Eugenius Philalethes) (London: George Redway, 1888). These are also included in Rudrum, The Works of Thomas Vaughan.

[117]  Boyle was also deeply involved with alchemy. See Michael Hunter, ed., Robert Boyle Reconsidered (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994); DGWE, pp. 199-201; Linden, The Alchemy Reader, pp. 234-42.

[118] Eirenaeus Philalethes, " An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King," in The Hermetic Museum, vol. 2, pp. 159-98; Eirenreus Philalethes "The Secret of the Immortal Liquor called Alkahest or Ignis-Aqua," in Eirenaeus Philalethes & others, Collectanea Chemica (London: Vincent Stuart, 1963). See also DGWE, pp. 1082-83, and Linden, The Alchemy Reader, pp. 211-21.

[119]  Jean-Jacques Manget, Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa (Coloniae Allobrogum,1702).

[120] Other alchemical works by Maier include Arcana arcanissima ([Oppenheim?] London: 1614); Examen fucorum (Francofurti: 1617); Tripus Aureus (Francofurti: 1618). His Rosicrucian apologetic works include Silentium post clamores (Francofurti: 1617) and the celebrated Themis aurea (Francofurti: 1618), translated into English as Themis Aurea: The Laws of the Fraternity of the Rosie Crosse (London: For N. Brooke, 1656). For a thorough discussion of Maier's alchemical and Rosicrucian pursuits, see Hereward Tilton, The Questfor the Phoenix (Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2003).

[121] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 222.

[122] Collectanea, vol. 6, part 3 (1957), p. 223.

[123] For an overview of how alchemy of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries differs from earlier forms of alchemy, see DGWE, pp. 42-50. For a good general introduction to alchemy, see Bruce T. Moran, Distilling Knowledge (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005).

EDITOR'S NOTE: This paper is chapter 5 of Henrik Bogdan's book Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation, published by State University of New York Press, SUNY Series in Western Esoteric Traditions, in 2006.

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