Plus Secrets Mystères des Hauts Grades de la Maçonnerie Dévoilés
(The Most Secret Mysteries of the High Degrees of Masonry Unveiled), edited by
M. de Bérage, was an exposé published in 1766 and was the first printed book
to give the rituals of the hauts grades or “high degrees” of Masonry.[i]
It may be one of the most important books for understanding the origins of the
degrees of the Scottish Rite from the many rival hauts grades in France in the
eighteenth century. Bérage’s degrees were not necessarily the most popular or
the most important of those being worked, but they were the first to be
present here, with little comment, the “Sixth Degree of Masonry,” Knight of
the Sword and of Rose-Croix. The translation of the “First Degree of
Masonry,” Perfect Elect Mason was published in volume 1 of Heredom, the
“Second Degree,” Elect of Pérignan, in volume 2, the “Third Degree,”
Elect of the Fifteen, in volume 3, the “Fourth Degree,” Junior Architect
(Petit Architecte) in volume 4, and the “Fifth Degree,” Senior Architect, in
volume 5. Note that the Knight of the Sword is somewhat less primitive that the
Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Degrees, but not as sophisticated as the
Perfect Elect Mason. The Knight of the Sword has elaborate scenery but misses
the opportunity for ritual drama, for example, at the passage over the bridge.
There is no lecture, only a catechism. However, the theme of the degree,
Zerubbabel returning from captivity to rebuild the Temple of Solomon, is found
in nearly all rites. An analysis of these degrees is helpful in appreciating the
origins of themes, characters, and words that ultimately found their way into
the Scottish Rite degrees we know today.
should be emphasized that these ceremonies are not those of the present day
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. They are the alleged practices of some hauts
grades Masons in France in 1766. We have taken no account of the enormous
changes, both organizational and ceremonial, that occurred as the hauts
grades eventually coalesced into their modern form in 1801 in Charleston,
Plus Secrets Mystères
has the rituals for seven very early Masonic degrees which match very roughly
with more developed ceremonies in the Scottish Rite: Perfect Elect Mason, Elect
of Pérignan, and Elect of the Fifteen, corresponding to the 9°, 10°, and 11°;
Junior Architect and Senior Architect, corresponding to the 12°; Knight of the
Sword and of the Rose-Croix, corresponding to the 15°and 16°; and Noachite or
Prussian Knight corresponding to the 21°.
is indeed little honor among thieves (or exposers or anti-Masons), as Bérage’s
text has been plagiarized in many different rituals and exposés. Two examples
demonstrate its pervasiveness. In 1781 Louis Guillemain de Saint-Victor
published Recueil Précieux de la Maçonnerie Adonhiramite (Precious
Compendium of Adonhiramite Masonry), which was a copy of Les Plus Secrets
Mystères with just a few additions.[ii]
Light on Masonry was an exposé published by David Bernard in New York in
1829 following the Morgan Affair. In addition to the degrees of the York and
Scottish Rites, Bernard included seven “French Degrees” which he explained
“are conferred in France and in this country as honorary degrees.”[iii]
Bernard’s degree of Knight of the East is very close to that of Bérage.
translation of Les Plus Secrets Mystères is based on the 1981 reprint of
the 1778 edition by Gutenberg Reprints of Paris and is not verbatim, as the
original French is convoluted and often difficult to understand. Our goal has
been readability while being faithful, but not slavish, to the original. The
clauses in some sentences have been rearranged, lengthy sentences have been
split into two or more shorter ones, and long paragraphs have been broken up,
especially when speakers change. We have tried to note those places where the
original text is unclear or ambiguous to us.
The Scottish Rite Journal is published bimonthly by the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction, United States of America, Washington, DC.
DEGREE OF MASONRY
OF THE SWORD AND OF ROSE CROIX
degree is called Knight of the Sword, sometimes Knight of the East or Knight
Mason of Rose-Croix since the reception is a fully military one. It is founded
on sacred history in that once the Jews were led to Babylon in captivity and the
temple destroyed, their prince Zerubbabel[iv]
later obtained permission from Cyrus to rebuild it ; but since they were
surrounded by enemies while they worked on rebuilding the temple and the walls
of Jerusalem, they held a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other;[v]
which is the reason why this degree was named Knight of the Sword or Knight
applied to the people chosen to protect the subordinate workers but who were as
well attending the works made in common in order to maintain equality with their
is also called Knight of the East, for its creation happened in that part
of the world. They are called free masons, 1° because those upon which the
degree is conferred are bare-faced : 2° because among the captives there was a
class of masons descended from the race of king Hiram, from Moabon,[vii]
and from the senior architects that Solomon had rendered free from all taxes,
and who were chosen first by Zerubbabel.
is called Zerubbabel because they represent the prince who receives Cyrus’
orders to rebuild the temple.
lodge must have two apartments, with a painting and a decoration in each.
represents the room where Cyrus, king of the Assyrians, ruler of Babylon, holds
court. It is draped in green and lit by 70 lights to indicate the 70 years of
captivity. There is a throne in the east for the Master, seats for the brethren
in the south and another[viii]
in the west for the Warden. The square in the center of the lodge[ix]
must be enclosed by a small cardboard or wooden wall one-and-one-half feet high
and painted in white, green, and red squares to indicate the walls of Babylon.
Brethren must be standing when inside the wall and sitting when outside. This
wall will have seven towers, three in the south, three in the north, and one in
the west. Six towers will be one-and-one-half feet above the walls, but the
middle one, in the west, must be seven feet in height with a circumference
sufficient to contain a man. It must have two doors, one inside the square and
one outside, and be lightproof. The drapes in the west must exactly fit the
exterior [of the tower] so that one can enter or exit without observing
anything. This door will be guarded by two brethren with swords at their sides
and lances in their hands. The room is adorned with a throne along the east wall
thus inside the square.[x]
behind the throne is a transparency representing Cyrus’ dream; namely an
angry, roaring lion ready to pounce on him; above, the glory of the grand
architect on a shining cloud. Underneath will be Nebuchadnezzar and Balthazar,
the predecessors of Cyrus, burdened with chains. In the center of the glory is
an eagle holding these words in his beak: “Let the captives be free.” Behind
the west tower there must be some water which when stirred, will represent the
Starburzanaï[xi] River. On the river is a
sturdy wooden bridge that leads to the second apartment.
represents the premises or the piece of ground where the second temple was
built. The temple must appear again in all its splendor, and the drapes will be
red. The decoration will be like that of the Senior Architect.
of the first apartment. The Master represents Cyrus and is called Sovereign
Master. The Senior Warden represents Nabuzaradan,[xii]
his senior general; the Junior Warden, General Mithredath;[xiii]
the Secretary, the chancellor; the Master of Ceremonies, the grand-master; the
brethren, the Knight Masons.
of the Second Apartment. The Master is called Most Excellent Master or Excellent
of the Order; the Wardens, most potent; the brethren, most worshipful; and the
OF THE BRETHREN IN THE FIRST APARTMENT
Master and officers wear around their necks a large green moiré collar, without
a jewel, coming to a point at the stomach. The Master has a scepter and the
brethren have swords in their hands. The Wardens and members wear a large green
moiré ribbon without a jewel, slung over the shoulder from left to right;
besides, an apron lined in green taffeta and a small strip of the same color
bordering the apron, with no other sign and
the flap lowered; apron and ribbon will be worn only while performing the
duties within the first apartment since they are profane marks that Cyrus wished
to give to the members of Solomon, thinking it sufficient to make them masons.
They are worn however to remind us that the prince and his court accorded
Zerubbabel permission to rebuild the temple.
passing to the second apartment, the brethren take off the green and put on the
red, which is the true Scottish color. The degrees can be distinguished one from
the other, however, by the rosettes at the bottom of the ribbon worn one above
another : a blue one for an Architect, a red one for a Senior Architect, a green
one for a Knight of the East, and a black one for a Knight of the Eagle. The
brethren wear a silk sash, the color of water with a gold fringe, strewed with
skulls, crossbones, golden triangular chains and a band of gold running in the
middle representing a bridge on which are the three letters L.D.P. This sash is
worn around the body like a belt in such a manner that the ends, fringed with
gold, hang upon the tails of the coat. The sash can be worn everywhere except in
the first apartment of this lodge.
Master and the officers wear their jewels around their necks, and brethren
officers at the bottom of their collars as a sash. The Master has three
triangles, one inside the other; the Senior Warden wears a square and both
levels; all the officers wear their usual jewels but enclosed in a triple triangle. The form of the jewel is like that of the
Architects, but upon the jewel[xiv]
must be two swords in saltire, their handles on the level. Everything must be in
gold or decorated with gold.
candidate[xv] must be clothed in red
with a large [senior architect] ribbon, Scottish apron[xvi],
his hands bound with triangular chains. This chain must be long enough so that
his hands are free. He is told he will be called Zerubbabel, that he must have a
sad, plaintive countenance, and must consider himself a captive. He may have no
weapon, ornament or jewel. His hands are placed on his face until he reaches the
tower door where the guards search him just prior to being presented.
OF THE LODGE
My Brethren, help me to open the lodge of knight of the sword.
generals repeat his words. The sovereign raps seven times, with a pause between
five and six, and the generals do likewise.
What is the first care of a Mason?
master, to see the lodge duly tiled!
then performs that duty. After having checked both outside and inside, and
having checked the brethren, the Jr. General says:
Master, the lodge is duly tiled and all brethren present are knights of the
Sr. General What
times are we in ?
General: The day
[when] the seventy years of captivity are finished.
Generals, princes, knights, a long time ago I resolved to set free the captive
Jews. I am tired to see them moan in chains ; but I cannot release them without
consulting you about a dream I had last night and which requires an explanation.
thought I saw a roaring lion ready to pounce and devour me. His aspect
frightened me and caused me to flee and seek safety from his anger; but at that
instant, in a dazzling light bursting from the opened heavens, I saw my
predecessors represented as the last step of the altar to the glory that Masons
designate under the name of grand architect of the universe. Two words were
heard ; they came out from the center of the shining star: I understood they
meant to set the captives free unless my crown would pass into foreign hands; I
remained dumbfounded and confused; the dream disappeared.
that moment, my tranquility is gone. It is your task, princes, to deliberate and
give me your opinion on what I must do.
that speech, all the brethren have lowered their heads but finally they look at
the senior general, doing as he does.
senior general places his right hand on his sword, draws it, and holds the point
high, his arm held in front of him, then
he points the sword downward to signify agreement with the king’s will, then
points the sword upward again to signify freedom, and remains in this position.
Let the captivity be ended: generals, princes, knights, the lodge of knights of
the sword is open.
generals repeat the phrase, each on his own side. The Sovereign and all the
brethren make the usual acclamations, but without applauding.
the candidate has been properly prepared, the Master of Ceremonies leads him to
the door of the tower, near the guards, as noted above. The guards question the
candidate, who repeats what the Master of Ceremonies tells him.
Guard: What are you asking for ?
I ask whether it is possible to speak with your Sovereign.
Guard: Who are you ?
The first among my equals, a mason by rank, a captive by disgrace.
What is your name?
What is your age?
What brings you here?
The tears and misery of my brethren.
Wait. We shall try to bring your complaints to the sovereign.
of the guards raps seven times at the tower door as a knight of the sword. The
junior general raps seven times on the mallet of the senior, then the sovereign.
General: A guard
knocks at the tower door as a knight of the sword.
Master, a guard knocks at the tower door as a Knight of the Sword.
Warden, let him be introduced. Protect me with extraordinary precautions in the
trouble I find myself; minor details should not be neglected.
Junior Warden goes to the tower door, knocks, opens it, brings back the guard to
the west, who discards his lance, crosses his arms, bows, and says, “The first
among equals of the masons, 70 years of age, asks to appear before you.”
Bring him into the palace tower, and we shall question him.
guard bows again, withdraws, brings the candidate into the tower, and closes him
in. The Sovereign then questions the candidate through the closed door.
What brings you here?
I come to ask justice and kindness of the sovereign.
To ask pardon for my brethren who have been in captivity for 70 years.
What is your name?
Zerubbabel, the first among my equals, a mason by rank, and a captive by
What favor will you ask from
That by the grace of the Grand Architect of the Universe, the king’s
justice grants us freedom, and that we be permitted to rebuild the temple of our
Since such just motives bring him here, he is permitted to appear before us
guards open the tower door at once, lead him to the west, and make him
bow very low.
Zerubbabel, I felt the weight of your captivity as much as you did. I am ready
to release you and set you free this instant if you
agree to impart the secrets of Masonry to me, for which I always had the
master, when Solomon acquainted us with its first principles, he taught us that
equality must be the first motive. It does
not reign here. Your rank, your titles, your superiority and your court are not
compatible with the place where one is instructed in the secrets of our order.
Besides, our ostensible tokens are unknown to you. My obligations are
inviolable, and I cannot reveal our secrets to you. Should this be the price of
my freedom, then I prefer captivity.
I admire the discretion and virtue of Zerubbabel. He deserves freedom for his
firmness in his convictions.
the brethren show agreement by lowering and then raising the points of their
General Junior Warden, let Zerubbabel undergo the 70 tests, which I reduce to
three; that is, the test of the body, of the spirit, and of the soul, which are
the pectoral, the memory, and the iron, in order that he may thus merit the
favor he asks, and which his discretion induces me to grant him.
Junior Warden leads him three times around the lodge. On the first time around,
a shot is fired. On the second he is asked if he persists in asking for freedom.
On the third, his hands are placed on his forehead. On returning the Junior
Warden raps seven times and the senior [warden] tells him:
Warden: What do
candidate has undergone the tests with resolve and constancy.
Zerubbabel, I grant you the favor you have asked of me. I consent that you be
Sovereign raps seven times, signaling the generals to free Zerubbabel from his
chains, which they do immediately.
Go to your country. I permit you to rebuild the temple destroyed by my
ancestors. Your treasures shall be restored before sunset. Be acknowledged as
chief above your equals. I shall order that you be obeyed everywhere you go,
that you be given aid and assistance as if it were me. I merely request from you
a tribute of three lambs, five sheep, and seven rams, which I shall let be
received under the porch of the new temple. I ask this, rather in remembrance of
the friendship I promise you than out of gratitude. Approach, my friend.
generals lead him to the foot of the throne.
I give you this sword as a mark of distinction above your equals. I am convinced
you shall use it only in their defense. Therefore, I invest you a Knight of the
saying these words, he raps with his sword on Zerubbabel’s shoulders and
embraces him; he then gives him the apron
and the green ribbon worn from left to right and says:
As a token of my esteem, I present you with an apron and ribbon, adopted in
imitation of the workers of your temple. Although these marks are not
accompanied by any secrets, I bestow them only on princes of my court as an
honor; henceforth, you shall enjoy the same honors as they do. I now place you
in the hands of Nabazardan, who will appoint guides to lead you safely to your
brethren, to the place where you shall rebuild the new temple; I do so order.
Senior Warden takes hold of the candidate, let him enter the tower, and leaves
him there while the brethren pass silently into the second apartment. As soon as
they are all in place, a servant indicates to the Master of Ceremonies that
everything is ready. He leads the candidate behind the drapes, to the
place where the bridge leads to the second apartment at the entrance of which he
finds guards who stop him, take off his apron and green ribbon and attempt to
stop his way; but he breaks through, chases them off, and arrives at the door of
the second apartment.
Master of Ceremonies knocks seven times as a knight of the sword. The brethren,
now in the second apartment, no longer represent Cyrus’ court; and when they
hear the knocks each take from their apron belts the trowel that should hang
there, holding the sword in their right hand and the trowel in their left.
of the lodge is covered by a red drape; the Junior Warden knocks seven times
first, then the Senior Warden.
Warden: I heard
someone knock at the door as a Knight of the Sword.
Excellent Master, someone knocks at the door of the lodge as a Knight of the
Most-powerful brother Junior Warden, see who knocks.
jr. Warden goes to the door, knocks, opens it and asks what is wanted.
I ask to see my brethren again in order to give them the news of my
deliverance from Babylon and of the other unfortunates of the fraternity who
Jr. Warden gives his report to the Sr. Warden, who then reports to the Master.
The news that this captive brings may be well-founded. 70 years have passed, the
day of the temple’s rebuilding has come. Ask for his name, his age and which
country he comes from, to preclude any surprise.
Junior Warden knocks, his knock is answered, he opens the door and says,
What is your name?”
Where is your country?
This side of the Starburzanaï river, west of Assyria.
What is your age?
70 years old.
Junior Warden closes the door, knocks and repeats the exchange to the Senior
Warden. The Senior Warden then repeats it to the Master.
Zerubbabel by name, from a country this side of the Starburzanaï River, and 70
years old : yes, my brethren, captivity is over and our dormancy comes to an
end. This captive is truly the prince of the sovereign tribe that
will rebuild our temple; let
him enter among us and be recognized to guide and support our work.
Junior Warden knocks, opens the door, receives the captive, and leads him to the
Excellent Master, here is Zerubbabel, who desires to be admitted into the bosom
of our fraternity.
Zerubbabel, give us an exact account of your deliverance.
Cyrus permitted me to appear at the foot of his throne and was moved by the
miseries of the fraternity. He armed me with this sword for the defense and aid
of my brethren and honored me with the title of brother of his company. He then
freed me, placed me in the hands of zealous subjects who led me and helped me
triumph over our enemies during the crossing of the Starburzanaï River, where,
in spite of our victory, we lost the distinctive marks that had been given to us
by the king, our liberator.
My brethren, the loss that you experienced tells us that the justice of
our own fraternity will not allow the triumph of pomp and grandeur. When Cyrus
gave you these honors, he was not guided by the spirit of equality that
invariably accompanies us. You see by this loss that it was only the marks of
the prince which disappeared, and you kept those of true Masonry. But, before I
impart you the secrets kept since our captivity in the remnants of our
fraternity, we must demand your assurances that the length of your disgrace has
not weakened in you the sentiments and the perfect understanding of the
mysteries of Masonry.
Question me; I am ready to answer.
What degree do you have in Masonry?
That of Senior Architect.
Give me the signs.
He gives them.
Give me the grip.
He gives it.
My brother knights, I believe that Zerubbabel is worthy to enter into our new
brethren agree by raising and lifting up the points of their swords.[xx]
Most powerful Senior Warden, have the candidate advance by three steps of a
so that the last puts him at the foot of the tribunal of the Grand and Sovereign
Architect and that he may contract the obligation we request. He is postured in
the same manner as when he takes the
I promise, under the same obligations I contracted in the various degrees of
Masonry, to never reveal the secret of the Knights of the Sword or free masons[xxii]
to any member of an inferior degree or to a profane, under the penalty of
remaining in such harsh captivity that my chains never break, that my body be
exposed to the mercy of ferocious beasts, that my senses be deprived of smell
and hearing, that thunderbolt reduce me to powder to serve as an example to all
indiscreet ones. So be it.
Master rises, he and all brethren replace their swords in their sheaths, and
My brother, the destruction of the temple subjected Masons to such harsh
disgraces that we feared their captivity or dispersion may have helped corrupt
their fidelity to their obligations. That constrained us, while awaiting the
rebuilding, to stay away in a secret and private place where we faithfully
preserved some remnants of the ancient building and where we only introduce
those we know to be true and legitimate Masons, not only by signs, words, and
tokens, but also by their actions and
behavior. We then
communicate to them our new secrets with pleasure, but we insist they bring with
them as a pledge some relic of the old temple. Those that Cyrus gave you are
sufficient for us.”
these last words, the tracing-board
Very Powerful Brother Senior Warden, let
the candidate take three master steps backward, to teach him that we hold for
certain that perfect resignation is the virtue of masons.
candidate remains in the West.
My brethren, the aim of our work is the rebuilding of the temple of the grand
architect of the universe. This sublime task was reserved for Zerubbabel. The
obligations that you took with us, under that title,[xxiii]
resulted in its execution. The brilliance and grandeur in which it appears
before our eyes, proves to you that it is in no way diminished, and that it only
remains for us to preserve it with the sword that Cyrus gave us for its defense.
Henceforth you will contribute to it protection.[xxiv]
Come participate in our secrets.
sign of a Knight of the Sword, my brother, is to place the right hand on the
left shoulder and to bring it down diagonally to the right side as if cutting
the body in half.
sign of response is to place the right hand on the left hip while going across
the body to the right hip.
grip is to place the right hand on the sword as if to draw it for a fight, then
move by drawing your body back on the right foot and raising the left hand as if
pushing an enemy away. In this position, the left hands of both brothers meet
and interlace, and they embrace each other.
words are Judas and Benjamin. The password is libertas from
which is derived the name free mason. Go and give the signs, grips, and words to
the brethren of the lodge. Afterwards, you will give them back to me.
does this in the North, returns by the South.
My brother, after this deliverance, king Cyrus created you a Knight Mason, as
for me, I give you this trowel which will serve as a perpetual symbol of your
new dignity; that is to say, henceforth if ever the temple were to be destroyed,
you will work only with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other; for that
is thus that we have established this one.
THE SASH ON HIM
This sash must be worn in all lodges, and will be for you a mark of true
knighthood that you acquired at the River Starburzanaï by the victory over
those who opposed your passage.
HIM THE GREEN ROSETTE
While we do not permit in our ceremonies any of the insignia Cyrus decorated you
with, we want however to preserve the memory of some by a rosette of the color
he chose, which we set under the rosette of the other degrees at the bottom of
the Scottish ribbon to which the jewel is attached.
HIM THE JEWEL
with the addition of swords crosswise, indicates the symbol of our Masonry. You
must never use your sword except for it, that is to say, equity.
HIM THE GLOVES
We shall proceed to our proclamation. My brother Knight Masons, do you consent
that Zerubbabel shall henceforth rule over the works of Masonry?”
all show agreement by lowering and raising the points of their swords.[xxvi]
candidate is then placed in the chair designated for him.
Pass, my brother, to the tribunal of the sovereigns of our lodges. You will
serve as the triangular stone of the edifice.[xxvii]
You will rule over the workers as Solomon, Hiram, and Moabon ruled by commanding
soon as he is seated, the brethren sheath their swords, clap their hands three
times, and shout three times “Zerubbabel.” The Catechism then begins.
Brother senior warden, how did you attain the eminent degree of knight of
I achieved it with humility, patience, and frequent solicitations.
To whom did you speak?
To the great king.
What is your name?
Judea. I was born of noble parents of the tribe of Judah.
Which art do you practise ?
Which edifice do you build?
Temples and tabernacles.
Where do you construct them?
For lack of land, we build them in our hearts.
What is the name of a knight mason?
That of a most free mason.
Why most free?
Because the masons chosen by Solomon to work at the temple were declared
free and exempt from all taxes, both they and their descendants. They were also
entitled to bear arms. During the temple’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, they
were placed in captivity with the Jewish people. But the goodness of Cyrus gave
them permission to rebuild a second temple under Zerubbabel, and they were set
free. It is since that time that we are called free masons.
Was the old temple beautiful?
It was the first wonder of the world in riches and grandeur, for its
could hold two hundred thousand people.
Who was the principal architect who constructed this grand edifice?
God was the first, Solomon the second and Hiram the third.
Who laid the first stone?
At what time was it laid?
To make known the vigilance we must have in serving the architect of the
What cement was used?
A mystical cement, composed of flour, milk, oil, and wine.[xxix]
Explain to me the mystical sense.
To make the first man, the Supreme Being used sweetness, wisdom,
strength, and kindness.
Where was the first stone laid?
In the middle of the room destined to be the sanctuary.
How many parts did the old temple have?
Three, one in the west, one in the south and one in the north.
How long did the temple stand?
470 years, 6 months, 10 days.
Under which King of Israel was it destroyed?
During the reign of Zedekiah, last of the race of David.
What mean the broken column Boaz and the missing candlestick with seven
The confusion and evil committed when someone who is not worthy is
received, this removes a member of the order.
Why is the number 81 so venerated among masons?
Because this number explains the triple essence of divinity represented
by the triple triangle, the square of nine, and the number three.
Why are the captives’ chains triangular?
Having learned that the triangle represented the Name of the Eternal
among the Jews, the Assyrians made the chains in that manner to inflict more
pain on the captives.
Why were masons forbidden to work on profane buildings?
To teach us not to attend irregular lodges.
What was the plan that Cyrus gave for the new temple?
120 cubits in depth, 60 in height, and the same in width.
Why did Cyrus order trees cut from the forests of Lebanon and stones
drawn from the quarries of Tyre for the construction of the new temple?
Because it was necessary that the second temple should in all points
resemble the first.
Give me the name of the principal architect who directed the construction
of the second temple.
His name is Bibot.
Why do the workers carry a sword while working?
As they were subject to incursions by their enemies, while working with
one hand to carry materials and to rebuild the temple, they held their swords
ready to defend their work and their brethren.
Why the 70 lights in the lodge?
In memory of the 70 years of Babylonian captivity.
Are you a knight of the sword?
Look at me! (He takes his sword in his hand.)
Give me the sign.
He makes it.
Give me the word and the password.
Judas, Benjamin, Libertas.
Give the grip to the brother
He gives it to him.
Where did you work?
At the rebuilding of the second temple.
What is the time?
The instant of rebuilding.
“My brethren, since we are happy enough to have rebuilt the temple of the Lord
in its splendor, let us preserve its memory and marks by our silence. It is time
to rest. Brothers Senior and Junior Wardens, announce to the South as well to
the North that I shall close the lodge of the Knights of the Sword.”
two Wardens announce, each to his own side, that the Master will close the
lodge, then the Most Excellent knocks seven times, the two Wardens likewise.
Then the Master says: “The lodge is closed, each is permitted to leave.” The
Wardens say likewise. The brethren then make the usual claps and acclamations.
of the Sixth Degree
A. C. F. Jackson, Rose Croix, rev. ed. (London: A. Lewis, 1987), p. 20.
Jackson, pp. 20-21. Compare the "Knight of the Sword" with
"Knight of the Sword also called Knight of the East or of the
Eagle," John Black Vrooman, trans., "An Exact Ritual of Adonhiramite
Masonry," Collectanea, vol. 2, part 4 (1940), pp. 178-94. The latter
degrees are "Dedicated to all instructed masons by a Knight of all
Masonic orders. (signed) F. Louis Guillemain, … 1787." which leds us to conclude they are from Receuil Précieux de
la Maçonnerie Adonhiramite. Allowing for natural differences between any two
translations, the texts are almost identical, which confirms that Guillemain
David Bernard, Light on Masonry, 3rd ed. (Utica, N.Y.: William Williams,
1829), p. 302. "The Degree of Knight of the East or 'Chevalier de
l'Orient' " is found on pp. 320-30.
Les Plus Secrets Mystères uses Jérobabel, which is equivalent to
Zerubbabel (or Zorobabel) which we use in our translation."Jérobabel.
For Zorobabel, cf. this name. This form was rather common in the 18th
Ligou, Dictionnaire de la Franc-Maçonnerie [Paris: Presses Universitaires de
France, 1987], s.v. Jérobabel). "Zerubavel
(lbBvrz) Foreign to, or scion of, Babylon; seed of confusion. One of he twelve
leaders of the people upon he return from Babylon (538 bce); he has supervised
the building of the second Temple (520 to 515 bce)." (Sam Eched,
Authentic or distorted Hebraism in the A?A?S?R? and the R::, M::M:: &
R::A::M:: [Belgium: The Author, 1994], p. 88)
This seems to be based on a passage from Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities,
book 11. "He [Nehimiah] therefore ordered that for the future the
builders should be equipped with arms when they worked, and so the masons had
swords, as also those that carried the materials; and he ordered shields to be
placed very near them, and stationed trumpeters at intervals of five hundred
feet with the command to give the signal to the people if the enemy appeared,
in order that they might be armed when they fought and not let the enemy fall
on them unprepared." Josephus, Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 9 vols., ed
and trans. Ralph Marcus et
Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1998), xi.177.
chevalier maçon libre, the more common French term is franc maçon.
"Moabon (or Mohabon, sometimes Mohaben, Mahabin). From Gen. 19:36-37, the
name of the son and grandson of Lot, born from his incest with his eldest
daughter and ancestor of the Moabites, Mohabon means 'Root of Moab.' This
biblical name is found in several degrees of perfection, notably in the
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.… Among extinct degrees, Mohabon was the
'sacred word' of the degree of Elect of Pérignan, the name of the candidate
and the 'sacred word' of the degree of Senior Architect." (Daniel
Ligou, Dictionnaire de la Franc-Maçonnerie [Paris: Presses Universitaires de
France, 1987], s.v. Moabon). "Mohabon:
a diminutive of Moab. Mohabon was the son born of the incest of the eldest
daughter of Lot with her father (Gen. 19:36). In its use as a sacred word,
maybe, but it is more probably a distortion of Ma-Haboneh, the word given by
the Tuiller au Convent de Laussaune. A widespread interpretation (but
unrelated to its real meaning) is the flesh slips from the bone. In the
tradition of certain degrees, it is the name of the most zealous of the
Masters of his time, a friend of Hiram Abiff." (Saint-Gall, Dictionnaire du Rite Écossais Ancien et Accepté [Paris: Éditions
Téletès, 1991], p. 82).
Unclear whether another refers to a throne or a seat for the Warden.
Le carré de la loge, literally the square of the lodge, referring to the
central checkered floor found in most lodges.
… afin qu'ainsi l'on soit dan l'intériur du carré. The
description of the lodge room and its furnishings is unclear.
Starburzanaï (Starbuzzannai, Stabuzanay, Stharbuzanaï, Harbasanay, etc.):
"A composite word from Shtar (rtw), authenticated deed, conract, promise
of payment, and from Biza/Bizanaî (yanzB/hzB), spoils of war, pillage,
rapine, contempt, a man living from them." (Eched., p. 76)
in fact Shetharboznai. River that had to be crossed by the Israelites to go
from Jerusalem to Babylon (15th Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite and different degrees of Knight of the East). In fact, there was no river
between the two cities, and Shetharboznai is the name of an officer of the
king of Persia." (Ligou,
the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and
Shetharboznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath
commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?" Ezra
"In the Bible there is a person with this name, but he is
mentioned as a general of Nebuchadnezzar at the time of the capture of
Jerusalem by the Chaldeans." (Ligou, s.v. Nabuzardin)
in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth
year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the
guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the
house of the Lord, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and
every great man's house burnt he with fire." (II Kings 25:8, 9)
Mithredath. "Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house
of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had
put them in the house of his gods; Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring
forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto
Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah." (Ezra 1:8)
[xiv] trophée, literally
The French term is récipiendaire or recipient, wich has the esoteric
connotation of receiving knowledge.
It is unclear what distinguishes a Tablier Ecossois from any other apron.
The officers' titles are inconsistent here. The Master is referred to as
souverain général and souverain maître; the Senior Warden as premier
surveillant and premier général. The titles Premier Général and Second Général
are translated as Senior General and Junior General.
Presumably the Master of Ceremonies speaks for Zerubbabel.
en levant & haussant la point de leurs épées. This
may be an error, as a little later, when giving the gloves, the brethren show
their agreement by raising and lowering the points of their swords, en
baissant & relevant la pointe de leurs épées.
trois pas de maître
[xxiii] sous ce titre, that is,
vous y conriburez dorénavant
This seems to refer to that jewel of a preceding degree, but the earlier
jewels don't seem elaborate enough to fit the description here. "The
jewel [of a Senior Architect] is that of a Junior Architect, except that the
circle must be golden, and over the star which serves as the head of the
compasses will be a golden sun whose lower rays will be on the head of the
level." "There is no elaborate jewel in the fourth degree; members
wear a simple triangle. 'The jewel [of a Junior Architect] is a triangle, and
the officers will have he emblem of thei office enclosed within." (S.
Brent Morris and Eric Serejski, "The Degree of Senior Architect,"
Heredom, vol. 5 (1996), pp. 172, 183 n9.)
en baissant & relevant la pointe de leurs épées.Just before the
obligation the brothers showed agreement by raising and lifting up their
swords, en levant & haussant la point de leurs épées.
Vous servirez de pierre triangulaaire à l'édifice.… It
is not clear what it means to "serve as the triangular stone in the
This "mystical cement" was used in Les Plus Secret Mystères' Degree
of Junior Architect as "the symbolic offering of the heart of this
respectable master [Hiram Abif] which we have preserved in the form of a
mystic substance ever since the assassination." The candidate is asked,
"Do you have the strength to swallow the morsel of his heart which will
be presented to you, which all faithful masons have received, but which cannot
remain in the body of liars?" After the candidate takes the obligation,
"The Puissant Master takes the trowel in the urn, covers I with mystical
paste, and presents it to the mouth of the candidate to swallow. He says to
him, 'This mystical portion which we share with you, forever forms an
indissoluble bond, that nothing will be able to break.'" (S. Brent Morris
and Eric Serejski, "The Degree of Junior Architect," Heredom, vol. 4
(1995), pp. 110, 111.)