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Its Legends and Syipbolisn^, considered in 
tyeir Affinity witl) certain Mysteries 
f Ii>itiatiop and other Traces of a 
Secret Tradition in Christian Tinjes 

Large demy 8vo, pp. xx and 714. Price 12s. 6d. net 


"The high romance of the Graal, which inspired Hawker, which 
inspired Tennyson, . . . has caused the well-known mystic and student 
of mysticism, Mr. A. E. Waite, to devote upwards of seven hundred 
pages to a treatise on "The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal." . . . 
The book is one which no lover of romance, of our old literature, of 
the Celtic spirit, or, more particularly, of the Graal Legend, can afford 
to leave unread." Nation. 

" Mr. Waite shows himself a brother of the literary craft by all 
possible tests. He has learning in many languages ; he knows what- 
ever is extant regarding his subject in print, as well as the record of its 
MSS. And his own style (we may like or dislike it) is opulent 
with innumerable lights and jewels from alchemists, liturgies, old 
romance, secret orders of initiation, and other recondite sources not 
easily unlocked by the explorer. ... He is valiant, wise, and self- 
controlled. It is not for me to give one who stands outside the 
Roman Church an imprimatur; but I accept his conclusion gladly, 
1 The Holy Graal is the Catholic Quest drawn into romance.' "The 
Rev. William Barry, in the Bookman. 


"Mr. Waite's work is so learned and so elusively discursive that 
it cannot but recommend itself to a certain class of thoughtful 
readers." Scotsman. 

" A lengthy, elaborate investigation by a writer who is a learned 
authority on the history of mysticism." Times. 

"Mr. A. E. Waite's marvellous, scholarly, mystical exposition of 
the legend of the Holy Graal. . . . Mr. Waite's wonderful exposition 
of the truth which underlay the old-world legend of the Sacred 
Quest." Review of Reviews. 

" Mr. Waite has found a subject after his own heart, one 
that gives full scope for his remarkable knowledge of the by- 
ways of mysticism. ... He brings to the execution of his task a 
rare mastery of the whole history and literature of the subject, 
and a deep insight into its hidden spiritual aspects." Glasgow 

"Mr. Waite is known to all students of mysticism and happily 
they are an increasing band as one of the few competent writers 
on this fascinating subject. . . . All his work bears the impress of 
knowledge from the actual sources, not from other men's views 
about the sources. . . . Though, doubtless, much of the esoteric 
teaching has escaped one reviewer at least, he desires to place on 
record his deep gratitude to Mr. Waite for his latest volume. . . . 
To those who are initiated even to a slight degree we commend 
Mr. Waite's account of the esoteric knowledge which he so lavishly 
places within their reach." Irish Times. 

" Perhaps the most important and effective treatise upon Christian 
mysticism as yet published. . . . Henceforth all consideration of the 
Graal literature, whether of that unknown or of that yet untraced, 
is destined to be subject to the criterion of Mr. Waite's interpretation." 
Occult Review. 

"The book is not only a comprehensive summary of the Holy 
Graal on its legendary or historical side, but also deals exhaustively 
with its mystical aspect." Light. 

" A principal part of Mr. Waite's task admirably carried out- 
has been to give a long and elaborate analysis of all these romances. 
. . . 'The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal' will be indispensable 

to all students of the greatest romance-cycle in the world" TP's 



"A book which when known will appeal more strongly to 
thinking Masons, who believe in the mysteries of the Craft, than 
any recent publication. It is the quest for the withdrawn secret, 
the search for the Lost Word, which is the very soul and meaning 
of Masonry, as it is and has been of all occult schools and of all 
real mystics. . . . This author stands pre-eminent among mystic 
writers for clearness, coherency, and a profound spirituality. . . . 
We can but yield to the witchery of his theme and style." American 

"Mr. A. E. Waite is one of the profoundest and most gifted 
among modern students of mysticism and a poet of fine imaginative 
power ; his works in verse and prose fill many volumes and include 
some of the most brilliant and scholarly contributions that have 
been made in recent years to occult literature." Aberdeen Free 

"A learned and fascinating inquiry into the mystery that lies 
imbedded under the mediaeval romances of the Holy Graal. The 
labour and research which its pages display are enormous. The author 
is equally at home in folk-lore, Masonry, Rosicrucianism, and mediaeval 
theology." Saturday Review. 

"No one who knows Mr. Waite will question his fitness to 
deal with any subject of a mystical nature, and any one who reads 
his book will soon be convinced that, in addition to his wide grasp 
of the main principle, he has a very wide and extensive know- 
ledge of the literature of the subject. . . . Thus Mr. Waite's 
equipment is complete." Seeker. 

"This exhaustive study of the Graal literature Welsh, English, 
French, German, Spanish, Portuguese will prove of permanent 
value to the ordinary student of the subject. Never before has 
so complete a summary, not only of the great mediaeval Quest 
legends, but of modern commentaries and elucidations, appeared. 
Mr. Waite's work is especially important for the careful judgment 
that he passes on these attempted interpretations. ... He himself 
derives the legend from some consciousness at the very heart 
of Catholicity, only differing from orthodox Christianity in that 
the latter, whilst retaining the outer symbols of the mysteries 
of the faith, has lost, or half let slip, something of their inner 
significance. . . . This inward meaning . . . Mr. Waite devotes 
all his real gifts of mystical phrasing to draw out for us." 


"In Mr. Waite's case there cannot be the shadow of a doubt 
about the reception of his book by students of our literature. 
As a presentation of whatever is known concerning the legends of 
the Holy Graal, either here or on the Continent, it is almost 
appallingly complete. ... If readers are not attracted by the 
thesis . . ., they may find agreeable instruction and noble entertain- 
ment in perusing the clever and admirably written synopsis of 
the ancient texts which Mr. Waite supplies. . . . Mr. Waite's 
doctrine is at least poetical, it has one element of divinity which 
lends it grace." Yorkshire Post. 

"His learning is extraordinary, and his experience in this kind 
of inquiry no less so. His style also is a noble one, not at all 
after the manner of these days. . . . With great subtlety and 
fairness he does make us prepared to believe that the confusion 
and obscurity of the tales arose from imperfect understanding of 
something, and that that something is that which he is in search 
of." Daily Chronicle. 

"Mr. A. E. Waite produced the other day a highly complex 
treatise, fortified by immense erudition and occult lore, in his 
'Hidden Church of the Holy Graal.'" Mr. ERNEST RHYS, in the 
Manchester Guardian. 

" Mr. Waite has enriched the Holy Graal literature with a volume 
of investigation which for information alone is worthy a place in 
the library of the student or scholar. ... It is a masterly work 
in its way . . . one which no lover of the beautiful Quest Legend 
can afford to neglect." New Age. 

"He has written a work of great value that can be neglected 
by no serious student of the delightful romances and legends 
that have been woven round the mystery of the Holy Graal." Quest. 

"To the rarer reader who has come upon traces of an undying 
tradition a Hidden Church or Wisdom the book will be a very 
revelation. . . . Perhaps no other man living is so well fitted as Mr. 
Waite to approach this subject. . . . Our author combines the grasp 
of scholarship with the sympathetic attitude and the deep - lying 
knowledge of hidden things. . . . We can hardly do more than em- 
phasise the value of the volume, meanwhile pointing out why it has 
special interest to Masons. Again and again through the work one 
comes upon references to Masonic traditions, so illuminating as to really 
startle the instructed reader. . . . We could multiply extracts and 
quotations, every one of which could throw light upon real Masonry 
upon that which underlies and vivifies all Masonic form and ceremony." 
American Freemason. 

Secret ^rabition in 

Photo ty J. KusseU &> Sens. ] 

ITbe Secret ITrabttion in 

Hub an Enamels of tbe 3nter*1Relatfon 
Between tbe Craft an& tbe 1bigb (Sra&es 








All rights reserved 


1 . The Secret Tradition which it is my pro- 
posal to trace in the present work, through its 
vestiges and intimations in the Rites of Symbolical 
Masonry, will not be found to differ, in respect of 
its root-matter, from other aspects of the Secret 
Tradition during Christian times in the West. 

2. As regards that Tradition and what I have 
so far said upon the subject, the general outlines 
of the principles at issue and of the evidence were 
offered in the Hidden Church of the Holy Graal^ but 
with particular reference to that phase which 
appears in certain departments of romance-liter- 

3. The Secret Tradition contains, firstly, the 
memorials of a loss which has befallen humanity ; 
and, secondly, the records of a restitution in re- 
spect of that which was lost. For reasons which 
I do not propose to consider at the present stage, 
the keepers of the tradition perpetuated it in 
secret by means of Instituted Mysteries and cryptic 

4. Without the circle of tradition in the 
Western world there rose up a collateral body of 



testimony which deals with the same subject, and 
this is the mystic literature of Christendom. 

5. As the tradition itself bears witness in its 
highest development to an experience attained in 
man's spirit, so also does the mystic literature, but 
in place of secret working we have records in the 
open day. 

6. The mystic literature of Christendom 
contains the experience of sanctity in the West, and 
here the channel of transmission has been chiefly 
through the Latin Church. It should be under- 
stood that there has been a great analogical 
transmission on the same subject through channels 
in the Eastern world ; but, important as it is, I am 
not concerned in the present work with this 
concurrent testimony. 

7. As regards the Secret Tradition, the forms 
assumed were, in respect of the Instituted 
Mysteries, of a ceremonial and liturgical kind ; in 
respect of cryptic literature, there was more than 
one embodiment ; in fine, there are some other 
forms which were emblematic in the pictorial 
sense, as, for example, the pictures of Alchemy. 

8. Some of the ceremonial modes of presenta- 
tion have remained in concealment with little 
trace of their existence, down to the present day : 
each and all are testimonies, after their individual 
mode, to the hand of the soul in history. 

9. The statement applies in all directions, and 
the question arises whether in the East or the 
West that which was open, and owed nothing 



in its conscious part to anything reserved in con- 
cealment, had penetrated as far as the latter into 
the mystery of its subject. 

10. I register the fact of the question without 
offering an answer at the present stage : it is part 
of our research to determine this point, if to do so 
be indeed possible, and we shall at least see as we 
progress that some claim to superiority is implied 
in the nature of the Secret Tradition, and on the 
justification thereof there depends its title to exist- 
ence as something set apart from the rest. 

1 1 . The loss and recovery of a certain treasure 
of secret life being as I have said the subject- 
matter of the Secret Tradition, it must next be 
explained, in the interests of that important phase 
which is more especially in hand, that the philo- 
sophical transaction concerning such loss and 
recovery has figured on several occasions under 
the guise of a verbal formula. 

12. The evidence testifies to (a) the asonian 
nature of the loss ; (b) the certitude of an ultimate 
restoration ; (c) in respect of that which was lost, 
the perpetuity of its existence somewhere in time 
and the world, although interned deeply ; (d) and 
more rarely its substantial presence under veils 
close to the hands of all. 

13. It recalls in this manner the legends con- 
cerning an universal science imputed to man in his 
first estate, and concerning its perpetuation among 
unknown sages from generation to generation. 

14. In the literature of the Holy Graal the 



specific aspect presented is the existence of a 
mysterious House of many Hallows, which was 
accessible under certain circumstances until some 
one or more than one of those who went in 
search of it should succeed in attaining thereto 
and should take over the custody of the place, 
together with its mysteries or alternatively of 
the sacred objects only after which these were 
either removed or the doors were sealed up and 
no one else went in. It is a mystery of attain- 
ment and withdrawal, the latter being on the 
surface final. Here also the mode of attainment 
is in many texts by means of a verbal formula. 

15. The specific formula differs from that 
which we meet with in other traditional forms, 
and as the literature extended this symbolism 
passed out of sight, the quest of the Graal itself 
and the religious conditions attaching to that 
quest overshadowing all else. 

1 6. In a much earlier work namely, in The 
Doctrine and Literature of the Kabalah I have 
delineated the position and importance of a non- 
Christian Tradition in Christian times through 
the channel of Zoharic theosophy, making suffi- 
cient reference to its relationship with later 

17. In the literature of Kabalism the specific 
aspect of the verbal formula is found in the loss, 
suppression, or reduction and substitution of a 
Sacred Word, until the restoration of which there 
shall be sorrow and exile for Israel. Here it is a 



mystery of withdrawal, but the recovery, though 
delayed, is certain. 

1 8. My present inquiry will be followed when 
the opportunity arises by an examination of the 
Tradition in Alchemy on the spiritual side of that 
literature, and this, in some respects, will be found 
the most important of all, and of all the most 

19. In the literature of Alchemy the anti- 
thesis of the usual testimony is borne consistently 
by innumerable writers. It is a literature of 
attainment only ; the object of research is always 
in the world ; it is " nearer than hands and feet," 
but it cannot be known except (a) by the com- 
munication of a Master, (b) through some other 
channel of secret instruction, or (c] by the act of 
God in illumination. 

20. Masonry offers an instance in Christian 
times of the Secret Tradition expressed in 
dramatic form. It is by no means the only 
instance, but it is that which is above the horizon, 
in the open face of day. 

21. The form embodies a great symbolical 
quest imbedded in mystic rituals, the number of 
which is legion, and one of my subsidiary designs 
is so to reduce their multiplicity that those which 
have a message to give may be left to testify apart 
from the complications of things extraneous, and 
under such circumstances that we should be in a 
position to test their warrants. 

22. The imputed object of research is again a 



verbal formula, but the mystery of Emblematic 
Freemasonry is very deeply concealed, and those 
who regard it as summarised in this one object 
are likely to be led aside from the path. 

23. In several branches of the tradition the 
formula is known as a simple Mystic Word : 
the loss is the loss of the Word, and the quest 
is the search for its recovery. 

24. Craft Masonry is a memorial concerning 
the quest, and a record of the circumstances which 
led up to the loss. These circumstances are 
connected with a memorable event which con- 
stitutes the Craft Legend. 

25. It is permissible to say that the memorable 
event is connected with a mystery of building, 
and that the edifice or temple chosen for the 
purpose of the mystery is that erected by King 

26. I put on record at this point that the 
analogy of the Lost Word is the traditional Fall of 
Man, which is understood in the Secret Tradition 
after a manner that removes it from the legends 
of exoteric religion, whether those of Jewry, 
Christendom, or the further East. It is not an 
analogy which will be appreciated readily on the 
surface and it is only stated here, the develop- 
ment being left till a later stage of our research. 
The analogy is not an identity. The mystery 
of the Word in Masonry is in its proper under- 
standing the testimony of a secret kept in reserve, 
which secret corresponds to the first estate of 



man. It is the way of going back upon the 
Fall ; it is the way of approach to the Divine 
in the Universe, notwithstanding the loss and 
concealment which persist by necessity in the 

27. I put on record also that the mystery of 
building is concerned with an imputed design to 
erect a great Spiritual House or House of Doc- 
trine, the care of which was in the hands of a 
properly warranted Master ; but a conspiracy took 
place and prevailed, with this result, that certain 
things are said to have been lost, and, so far as 
the Craft is concerned, the design was frustrated. 

28. It is implied, but has not been observed 
in preceding schemes of interpretation, that 
nothing was lost in reality, but rather that an 
intended manifestation was delayed through the 
ages, those who could have spoken electing to 
keep their counsel, with the result that Symbolical 
Masonry draws from a Fellow Craft Lodge instead 
of a Lodge of Masters. 

29. Craft Masonry signifies a quest for that 
which was lost like the Word in Kabalism ; for 
that which has been hidden like the holy Vessel 
of the Graal ; for that which is communicated 
by God like the Mystic Stone of Alchemy ; but 
Word and Vessel and Stone are all evasions, as 
it should not be necessary to say to those whom 
I address in these pages. 

30. High Grade Masonry is either an extension 
of things connected with the subject-matter of 



the Craft, and, many curious intimations notwith- 
standing, is therefore mostly negligible, or it is 
a claim to restore the loss. 

31. It is necessary to add that there is a lower 
sense of the Secret Tradition in Christian Times, 
being that of the occult sciences and the arts 
connected with or arising therefrom. The tradi- 
tion of which the Instituted Mysteries is a reflection 
or a veil, and of which the concealed literatures 
like Alchemy are a presentation, also under a 
veil, has no consanguinity and no real external 
connection with these. 

32. They do not enter, therefore, into the 
consideration of the issues reached by the vital 
criticism of Symbolical Freemasonry ; but as 
something which is far from the term, it will 
be found that there were occult Rites working 
in the vast field of the High Grades. It will 
be shewn in its proper place that they were not 
Masonic in character. 

33. I have dealt otherwise with the Tradition 
in Ceremonial Magic, and have exhibited the 
vain pretence under which it has been suggested, 
that the perpetuation through this channel was 
of anything that signifies to the mystic, though 
occult orders have existed and have transmitted 
in their own degree what should be understood 
as belonging to the matter of occult research. 
It is the art of opening the House of Life to 
the deeps rather than the heights. 

34. Masonry, in its proper understanding, 



is a summary of the quest after that which is 
Divine, and it is followed in the universe by 
that which is Divine in man ; alternatively, it 
is the manifestation of that which is Divine 
in the universe to that which is Divine in man. 

35. This quest is embodied in allegory, in 
ritual, in legend, in symbolism ; and if the 
elucidation of all that is implied in these or 
is in these imbedded had no practical message 
to the people of the Brotherhood and to the 
world at large, I should not regard the present 
labour as justified by the reward thereof. But 
the Secret Tradition in Christian Times is as 
I have hinted the secret of a Great Experiment, 
and that Experiment is not without appeal to 
every heart and soul into which the conception 
of it can enter. 

36. I invite, therefore, those who are properly 
prepared after the manner which I have just 
indicated to enter with me upon the research 
which is here and now inaugurated ; the definition 
of the Masonic quest will be justified therein from 
the evidence of the several forms in which I 
have affirmed that it is embodied ; I shall shew 
after what manner the quest in its proper under- 
standing should be regarded as the making of the 
experiment ; and at the close of all something 
will be added from which it will perhaps follow 
that the experiment itself is not so remote from 
the higher side of the Brotherhood as may be 
suggested by its delineation in outline. We lose 

VOL. i. b xvii 


ourselves in the bypaths and the side issues, but 
the way to God is actually and literally the most 
simple and most short of all though it is not 
for this the easier. It is on the basis of this 
unrecognised truth that I have thought it worth 
while and dutiful to enter at such length into the 
Secret Tradition in Freemasonry. 

It will be understood that all schools indiffer- 
ently are schools of symbolism, and that some 
of them are presented only in a dramatic form. 
The Rituals of Masonry, for example, are the 
word-books of dramatic acts in which the principal 
part is taken by the Candidate himself, with the 
officers of the Lodge shaping his proper course 
and guiding him and instructing him on the way. 
In addition to the active and ceremonial part there 
is that of the charges and the legends. Masonic 
legends and symbolism are concerned as we have 
seen with a mystery of building which is attri- 
buted on the literal surface to the creation of a 
certain Holy House on the material plane ; but 
behind this there is the spirit or the life of the 
story, in which the earthly temple is so spiritualised 
that it can be erected only in the heart, and not 
with the hands of men. It is actually a House 
of Doctrine, and those initiated into the mystery 
are the living stones of the Temple. As a House 
of Doctrine it follows from the Craft Legend 
that there was an intention to manifest something 
which had remained concealed in wisdom ; but the 



time was not ripe, and there occurred, to check the 
design, a conspiracy among those who were em- 
ployed in the symbolical work, as the outcome of 
which the Master Builder was slain, and the project 
was never fulfilled according to the original plans. 
We shall see at a later stage that the intention 
itself is not what it appears on the surface, and 
is part of a story in symbolism, designed to 
draw special attention to the fact of the Secret 
Tradition, and that the progress of the Can- 
didate through the three Grades signifies that 
he is on the search of hidden doctrine ; but a 
bare intimation on the subject must be held 
sufficient at the moment. 



To be a thyrsus-bearer in the Mysteries is not 
perhaps hard, but to communicate from a chair 
of authority some sense of life to the ceremonial 
state of a pageant takes place assuredly in virtue 
of a gift of its own ; yet this has also its pitfalls. 
I do not refer here to the almost proverbial 
facility with which the merely letter-perfect 
man, installed by the imputation of language 
in the place of adeptship, gives evidence too 
often of his utter deficiency in the spirit of a 
ritual which he is putting to the high use of 
receiving candidates. I mean rather that, grant- 
ing the best intentions, granting even a modicum 
of what must be called the seeing sense, it is 
easy to miss the deeper meaning of great things. 
It is missed, of course, when it is cryptic, when 
it is even somewhat far to seek ; it is missed also 
when it is not, when the first intimation con- 
cerning it raises the wondering question why 
it was not transparent from the beginning. 
Perhaps on the principle of the poet that 

"He who hath watch'd, not shared, the strife, 
Knows how the day hath gone " 



there is something communicated occasionally to 
the lonely student which comes comparatively 
seldom to those who are working the Rites. 
Yet the irony of it is that if the informed student 
were set to work in his turn, he might manifest 
a complete incapacity after his own kind and 
lose not only himself but the whole world of 
ritual. It comes about, therefore, that we go into 
our proper solitudes and build our books therein 
as if into holy temples, full of mystery and 
meaning, and those who will enter the precinct, 
having a heart of pure understanding, can, with- 
out error or hindrance, take part in the offices of 
exotic sanctuaries, uniting in virtue of a two-fold 
gift the high art of perfect ceremonial working 
and consciousness of the great meaning which 
lies behind the outward letter. 

It is such an experiment that I have made 
in the present work for my own enlightenment 
and for the welfare of my kinship. It may 
happen that they have heard as I have heard 
and hear within the sealed doors of many houses 
of initiation ; it may happen that they have seen 
as I have seen and see with my own eyes the 
echoing words and shining symbols of an hundred 
mysteries. It is time that we should retire apart 
and in a yet more intimate convocation expound 
to ourselves and one another the meaning which 
is within meaning of that which we have beheld, 
of that to which we have listened for perhaps 
so long and long. I consecrate, therefore, the 



labours of our conference with the great exordium 
of old : Munda cor meum^ ac labla mea^ omnipotent 
Deus, qui labia Isaice Prophets calculo mundasti 
ignito ; and I declare that the Temple is open 
in all those Grades and Degrees with which we 
shall be concerned in our quest. 

Yet seeing that we speak to one another in 
the plenary sense but otherwise to the proselytes 
of the gate, and otherwise to apprentices and 
juniors, and seeing that we have signed long 
since our concordat with Horace concerning 
profanum vu/gus, one axiom of the oecumenical 
council bids us celare verbum, that those who 
are without the portal, because of their unfitness, 
may see yet not discern except within their own 
measures and hear but not comprehend except 
within their own limits. I offer this statement, 
by an act of free gift, to the general reader, as 
another version of my usual counsel of charity 
not that I would warn him off the premises, but 
I question whether he is likely to find a home 
therein, or even a hostel. To those who are of 
another order, who are elect or capable of 
election, who may be initiated or not that 
signifies little at the moment ; who may be 
learned or not the qualification is sometimes 
a hindrance to those I offer salutation. That 
which follows hereafter is in a form intelligible 
to them ; they are called hereby to the council ; 
the same is convened for their instruction ; they 
are an integral part of the assembly. I have 



written this book for them ; they are my elect 
audience ; the seats in chapter and temple are to 
them reserved. I have written it, not as some- 
thing which, on the outer side, concerns the 
history of Masonry, because the graces and 
beauties of our holy and glorious Zion are scoriated 
in the glasses of the Lodges, and as it seems to 
me in many of the Rites themselves, but as 
something that touches its symbolism, as some- 
thing from which the ample vistas are prolonged 
to the distant term ; while seeing that the term is 
set forth and expounded from its own base, we are 
not unlike those who have gone so far in their 
pilgrimage that they know of that which awaits 

And now as a colophon hereto one word 
with a word after, to that cloud of witnesses, out 
of every tongue and people and nation, who are 
Masons under their several obediences, integrated 
in the same faith and the same most high expec- 
tation. The word in principle^ the one word, shall 
concern the faith itself. It is rooted in the Divine 
in the universe, as in a centrum nature? concentratum, 
and out of this centre the universe came forth. 
Passing into expression under the symbolism of 
whatever terms may be held to satisfy best the 
implicits of philosophy, theology and the deep 
matter of religion known and declared in the 
heart, I affirm that the faith in an essential, 
inevitably presupposed Being, in a great account- 
ing truth, is the condition upon which, as a 




foundation-stone, the Masonic building is erected, 
and the point is that it constitutes an indispensable, 
not an arbitrary, condition. Apart from this the 
holy offices are voided and the high Rites sus- 
pended. But the expectation and the reason shall 
be expressed in that postremum verbum which I 
have called the word after. It is the doctrine of 
other life entered through figurative or mystical 
death and realised in mystical resurrection. This 
death and this resurrection are the professed con- 
cern of Masonry and the sum of its operative art ; 
they are the pictured emblems which are figured 
on the embroidered veil, and the deep mystery of 
their meaning is that which is behind the veil. 
Hereof are the Divine intimations of the Craft 
Grades and hereof are the High Degrees by 
which I mean those only that deserve the great 
name. As the Master Builder dies under the 
obedience of the Old Law, so He rises in Christ, 
and so also must the Candidate die by a sacramental 
death, that He may rise in the mystical resurrec- 
tion. But we are dealing on the one hand with 
no exoteric concept of Deity, and on the other 
with no literal death suffered in the body of man. 
The legend of the Master Builder is a macrocosmic 
legend, a legend of the great world : it is the con- 
cealment of the Divine in creation. It is also a 
legend of the microcosm, of the little world ; it is 
the concealment of the Divine in man. Hereof 
is the death symbolism, and of such also is the 
rising ; it is the manifestation of the Divine in 



the universe to the higher part of our conscious- 
ness, and it is the integration of our higher con- 
sciousness in that which is Divine in the universe. 
The death is therefore that which we now under- 
stand as mortal life, and the resurrection is into 
spiritual life ; the one is the history of separation 
and the other of union. Craft Masonry delineates 
the mystery in pageant and symbolism ; but 
because from time immemorial it has been vested 
in weeds of widowhood to commemorate an 
immemorial loss, its deaths and resurrections, its 
rites and emblems, register the longings of the 
heart but not its attainment. Whether the High 
Grades, their gracious suggestions notwithstanding, 
are mysteries of restitution or only of substituted 
recovery, is one great question posed for our con- 
sideration ; but we can say at once and assuredly, 
that at best they are outlines of symbolism, and 
this only. Another great question of research 
concerns therefore the direction in which we are 
to look for the mystery expounded after a direct 
manner, so that it may be put to the test of 

I return in this last statement, and that of set 
purpose, to the prolegomena which opened my 
thesis, and I note (a) that the practice signified in 
symbolism by mystic death and resurrection lies 
behind the Secret Tradition of Christian Times, 
and, although it is a secret practice, very deeply 
interned ; (b) that some part of the mode and way 
is not so utterly withdrawn in the luminous tradi- 



tion that it must be pronounced irrecoverable. 
The means of its recovery are indeed about us on 
every side, but we must know how to look for 
them. We come already to see in this manner 
that the Secret Doctrine within the Secret Tradi- 
tion did perhaps hold in its sanctuaries more than 
is offered to the faithful in the religious institu- 
tions of the outer world. 

We must, however, be careful of the natural 
qualities of enthusiasm which intimations of this 
kind are apt to occasion. The path of the Secret 
Tradition is not an easy path, and it conveys 
nothing whatsoever automatically. Is it necessary 
for me to say that its records are intellectual 
memorials, and though they are great instruments 
for the awakening of consciousness in the soul, 
they do not impart the consciousness ? If all the 
materials were placed at our disposition to-morrow, 
they must remain as dead letters unless the power 
which is within the individual can itself com- 
municate the life, after which it receives in 
return the knowledge of the work which is to be 
done, which work is the prosecution of the Great 
Experiment. And this Experiment is the Pearl 
of Great Price which lies hidden within the 

Whether we conclude to regard it as of one 
kind in its essence and nature or as springing from 
many roots, it is indubitable that the Secret 
Tradition in Christian Times passed through 
various developments, and these for the most part 



are represented by their memorials in literature. 
The memorials are both successive and concurrent. 
We can take the tenth century as a point of 
departure in respect both of Alchemy and Kabalism. 
It was at that period that the Hermetic writings 

understood generally as cryptic books containing 
the theory and practice of metallic transmutation 

- began to assume the vesture of the Latin tongue 
and hence to be known in Europe. But we are 
aware that for generations previously the theory 
and practice of Alchemy were on record in Greek 
and Syriac. So also the Secret Tradition of 
Israel, which dates by its own claim from times of 
incredible antiquity, had begun to pass into writing 
before the year iioo A.D. Emerging to some 
extent concurrently in this very general sense, 
they also grew up together, and together in fine 
decayed. The fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries were the productive periods of Kabalism, 
whatever the antiquity which we may elect to 
assign to specific texts like the Sepher Tetzirah and 
Zohar. But in the seventeenth century the great 
commentators had come to the end of their 
labours and nothing is of moment thereafter. 
The debate upon Alchemy had by no means 
ended then, but the classics of the subject had 
been written before the year 1666. As a product 
of the seventeenth century, Rosicrucianism is of 
course exceedingly late, but it stands for much 
that had preceded it, and its last words belong 
to the eighteenth century indeed, almost to the 



time of the French Revolution. Outside these 
things there were of course the traditions of 
Astrology such as they may be held to be and 
perhaps above all other arts and crafts of occultism 
there is that which passes under the generic term of 
Magic but this is without value for our purpose. 
These literatures stand for personalities and per- 
petuations, sometimes as from master to disciple, 
sometimes from generation to generation in secret 
circles of adeptship. There was, further, that 
phase of the whole subject which passed on the 
unwritten memorials of ritual and procedure, of 
which Masonry is the readiest instance. Behind 
all these was the perpetuation of tradition in 
religious sects the Gnosis of all grades and 
degrees ; but of this I am not proposing to speak. 
Now, we can trace the persistence of the 
Secret Tradition through the Christian centuries 
up to a certain point, and the question which 
arises is whether after that time it came to an 
end abruptly so far as historical evidence is con- 
cerned, or whether another channel was opened. 
The period which I have in my mind is the end 
of the eighteenth century. The present work is 
an attempt to answer this question in respect of 
Masonry, and it will be observed that the issue is 
one of a very simple kind at least in the matter 
of appearances. It is also, as it seems to me, 
exceedingly important after its own manner, 
because there is an actual, immediate and living 
interest attaching thereto. Those who have 



accepted the dedications, concerns and quests 
which, for want of a word more catholic, are 
embraced by the word transcendental, who are 
acquainted generally and especially with the issues 
of Secret Doctrine, are directly affected by the 
question whether it has living memorials at this 
day. We are surrounded on all sides by schools 
of instruction, schools of interpretation, schools 
putting forward the claims of the old doctrine, 
and affirming in the presence of the great official 
religions, of modern science and philosophy, that 
such doctrine had a basis in experience which is 
recoverable even now. 

Their titles do not concern us ; they have 
warrants after their own manner, but this is only 
in so far as they pursue their researches with 
proper regard to sincerity, as they have no roots 
in the past. It is to such schools that an inquiry 
like the present should more especially appeal ; 
and if the memorials of the Secret Tradition, after 
what manner soever, do subsist in Masonry, it 
must for them assume a value that is more im- 
portant than for any detached, literate and 
normally intellectual student. In a word, it is of 
more moment to them than to the concourse at 
large of the Brotherhood for this simple reason, 
that the occult schools are prepared already for 
the subject and the ordinary Mason is not. Here- 
in lies my chief justification for dealing, under 
necessary reserves, with the question of Masonic 
Ritual and Symbolism. 



The reader will please observe that in this 
reference to current schools I am seeking rather 
to indicate the extent and limits of the field which 
I address herein. I leave open otherwise the 
question whether the Tradition of the past has 
not its Veiled Masters, far from the public eye, 
and whether those who are compelled to divest 
of their warrants many things that are now among 
us, living in the open day, may this notwith- 
standing remember that there are other regions 
of research, though the historical sense may cause 
them to rule out of court whatsoever cannot enter 
within the region of palpable evidence. 

It proves sometimes, in conclusion, that the 
silent witnesses are more convincing than the 
speaking witnesses ; there is nothing so silent as 
Masonry in respect of its real claims, because they 
are below the surface ; there is nothing when it 
does speak which testifies so little to the purpose ; 
it offers, therefore, a free field, in which without 
let or hindrance we can examine all the memo- 
rials, with no extrinsic interventions to distract us. 




PREFACE ...... 







jfunfcamental delations of tbe Craft an& 
tbe HMsb (Brafces 









development of tbe HMgb (Brafces in reepect 
of tbe Hnctent HUiance c o."\. 


THE THIRD DEGREE . . . .141 

VOL. I. c xxxiii 







f tbe Hew Hllfance in ffreemasonrg 


TEMPLE BUILDING . . . . .211 



fl&asonic rfcers of 




OF CLERMONT ..... 307 


THIS SYSTEM . . . . .318 









JERUSALEM ..... 369 





. 388 

. 411 



I ASSUME that a scheme of interpretation which is 
concerned with the life and the essence, with 
the things that really signify, of and within the 
great Masonic division of the Instituted Mysteries, 
a scheme which is therefore lifted into all the 
heights of its subject, may not improperly begin 
in the earth of its own system, like Jacob's ladder. 
I am starting on this assumption in these intro- 
ductory words from a purely technical point. 
That point is the historical position of the Lodge 
which bears a cypher in the Roll of the Grand 
Lodge of Scotland, and I must take in this con- 
nection the alternative claims of Mary's Chapel 
in Edinburgh. It is a question of priority, 
antiquity and those dear things of debate which 
are so important to the competitive side of our 
human mind ; but it should scarcely be necessary 
to premise that my device has a purpose in view. 

The Schaw Statutes of 1 598 and 1 599 seem, on 
the face of them, to determine once and for all the 
priority of Mary's Chapel ; but as the title of 

VOL. i. A i 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Second Lodge applied to Mother Kilwinning 
is used in conjunction with that other term of 
Head Lodge, it is not so clear as it seems. And, 
among writers in England, there is some disposi- 
tion to think that, in correspondence with its 
name, the Mother Lodge may have been the 
original seat, or chief centre, of Scottish Masonry. 
That the priority of Mary's Chapel was perhaps a 
mere question of enumeration on some old Lodge 
list, has speculatively a certain cogency. 

One fact remains which is outside and superior 
to the region of special pleading : Mary's Chapel 
has the oldest Craft records, whatever may be 
thought of the contention that those of Kilwin- 
ning were burnt. The loss, or in more guarded 
terms the deficiency of essential documents is 
accounted for too easily indeed, with suggestive 
facility after this manner. On the other side, 
all the great Masonic super-traditions centre about 
Kilwinning ; but I speak here more especially, 
and indeed almost exclusively, of those which 
connect with the High Grades and the legends 
thereto belonging. It matters nothing how the 
ascription originated, as, for example, that it 
derives from the amazing dream of Ramsay. We 
shall deal with this later on. I note at the present 
moment the question of fact, that no one knew 
anything of Mary's Chapel on the Continent 
where most of those Grades originated, whatever 
pretensions they put forward. But the name of 
Kilwinning seems to have acted like a talisman, 


and as I am dealing with many jewels of talisman 
and symbol, I have made it my point of departure. 
THE ROYAL ORDER OF SCOTLAND, setting aside its 
position historically, is supposed to have drawn 
therefrom. And Kilwinning was itself, by the 
voice of legend, a reflection of unknown mysteries 
practised by the Order of Culdees at Mount 
Heredom, on an island South of the Hebrides. 
In this way we have the recurring title, Heredom 
of Kilwinning, to which place traditionally the 
not less traditional mountain was fabled to be in 
close proximity. 

I must ask that the design of this reference shall 
not be misconstrued ; it is not within the circle 
of my concern to affirm that the Culdees were a 
secret heretical sect, the result of a marriage between 
priestly Christianity and the old Druidical religion, 
or something still more withdrawn. The dreams 
on this subject I leave to those who have dreamed 
them. Nor do I affirm that they were a monastic 
or semi-monastic group of Christian anchorites 
and ascetics. The research of many years has not 
extricated the involved subject. I am speaking 
rather of the office of imagination in early 
Masonic faith and legend, and it should not be 
necessary to say that all its reveries are as mythical 
as its mystic mountain. 

In the putative historical discourses attached 
to several of the more obscure and long since 
interned High Grades, Kilwinning becomes the 
Holy House of Masonry ; its imagined secret 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

knowledge was passed, so it is affirmed, like a 
heritage, to all Scotland, and through Scotland to 
the world. Templar and Rosicrucian connections 
have been freely attributed thereto, as if to one 
general source of all that was fundamental, great 
and withdrawn in the Quixotic romance of 
Masonry. We have thus, under many phases, 
and through many changes, the degree of Knight 
Rose-Croix or Heredom of Kilwinning, with a score 
of similar ascriptions ; the CHAPTER OF THE 
twenty-five Grades, was a Council pretending to 
derive by the way of Kilwinning from Heredom. 
This Chapter granted or is supposed to have 
granted the famous Charter to Stephen Morin, 
who took the Rite to America, where it was 
developed into the ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED 
SCOTTISH RITE. Once more I mention these 
facts, which are only particular examples drawn 
from a great body of tendency, not as one putting 
forward historical claims which would be prepos- 
terous rather than doubtful, but as so much evi- 
dence that the Mother Lodge was the hypotheti- 
cal centre of many traditions whether or not as 
against some few evidences which helped to turn 
the scale, a little or more than little, in favour of 
Mary's Chapel, so far as antiquity is concerned. 

These are the facts, and I now pass to their 
application. It is an old saying that there are 
three mountains Moriah, Sinai and Heredom. 
Having regard, however, to the High Grades, and 



the importance of some which still exist on the 
Continent, though they are unknown in England 
and America, I should say on my own part that 
there is in symbolical reality a chain of five 
mountains Moriah, Sinai, Tabor, Carmel and 
Heredom, but that, still speaking symbolically, 
the message which went forth from these mystic 
eminences was, as it now is, fundamentally one 
message. They are supposititious hills of the 
Secret Tradition, and it is for this reason that it 
has been worth while to speak of that counter 
claim and claim with which my discourse has 
opened. Heredom is therefore a symbol. The 
legend concerning it may have begun in fantasy ; 
it may even have begun in the conscious quality 
of invention which, personally, I do not believe ; 
neither alternative concerns us in this place, as no 
one, unless in distraction, would accept histori- 
cally and literally (a] the explanation of their 
own origin put forward by the High Grades and 
the Rites into which they were collected, or (K) any 
one of their hypotheses concerning the origin of 
the Craft. We know in the absolute sense that 
Mother Kilwinning has claimed Craft Masonry as 
her only-begotten daughter, but of the other 
systems and degrees, which are said to have been 
the fruit of her mystical womb, she has never even 
heard in a dream. On the part of the High 
Grades which rank seriously as such, the ascription 
covers the intimation that they came out of that 
world of mystery which is comprised by the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

consciousness of the Secret Tradition so far as 
it belongs to Masonry and that Tradition, in 
choosing as it was necessary to choose a local 
Masonic habitation, found sufficient wisdom to 
connect it with a purely imaginary mountain, 
shewing thus that symbolical Masonry may have 
had its root in the Building Guilds represented 
by Kilwinning but was raised into a mystical 
region represented by Heredom. And hereof is 
the literal truth, to which all interpretations, all 
theories and the facts at large subscribe. On the 
part of the High Grades which make for delusion 
only, no ascriptions signify, and for the time being 
at least I leave them at this point, that I may pass 
to another, which is indeed my proper, concern, 
and to the logical inferences therefrom. 

The value of old operative records, statutes, 
minute-books and so forth, is very high on the 
operative side, or the side of the Building Guilds ; 
but they are of no value from the standpoint of 
Masonry considered as a speculative and highly 
emblematic science. Behind the veils of that 
science if my assumptions concerning it are 
valid there is a Mystery the secret of which lies 
deeply embedded (a) in the central Legend of the 
Craft Degrees ; (b) in the sublime Closing which 
attaches to the degree embodying the Legend-in- 
chief; and (c) in those symbols of the Order 
which are not of an operative kind. This 
mystery is never communicated verbally, and 
thus it comes about that it remains concealed from 



the majority of good and true brethren over the 
whole world. The cloud of witnesses to whom 
I adverted in the preface can therefore, on their 
own part, bear witness only to the minima of 
these high subjects, except in so far and they 
are few as there are adepts included among them. 

The Mystery in question connects the sym- 
bolical Brotherhood by the roots thereof with 
other secret associations, some of which belong 
to the far past, though their descendants, under 
different incorporations, and indeed amidst many 
changes, remain in seclusion to this day. In a 
word, it is the Mystery of that Experiment to 
which my prolegomena refer. 

Even at the risk of repetition, it must not be 
through deficiency in the attempt if I fail to 
establish that one and all of the legendary origins 
of High Grade Masonry which have been the 
subject of summary allusion in these introductory 
words belong to the order of archaic fantasy, 
and are nothing more. I am entering untrodden 
ground in studies of this kind, and it is needful to 
guard all the gates against the accidents of miscon- 
ception and the consequences of hurried reading. 
Once and for all, those legends of origin are 
comparable to the Craft Legend regarding the 
memorable event, being historical to the same 

Outside these, and diverting also our atten- 
tion from the early enthusiasts who wrote upon 
the history of Masonry from the basis of their 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

own imagination, there remains the broad fact 
that the immediate antecedent of the suggestive 
art of spiritualised building was the old material 
Craft. There is a certain high understanding on 
which this question is essentially rather indifferent, 
for it is a kind of dead past which may be left to 
bury its dead in the face of such a living and 
transformed reality. But Mary's Chapel and 
other ancient Lodges have records which are in 
this respect conclusive. It is, however, still more 
certain that such antecedents are as incapable of 
accounting for the 3rd Degree in the Craft as 
for the 1 8th or the 3Oth Degrees in the SCOT- 
TISH RITE to contrast three extremely diverg- 
ent cases. In a word, they are incapable of 
accounting for all that signifies symbolically, that 
justifies the research which I am making, that 
enters into the Secret Tradition. The Mystery 
of the Building Guilds whatever it may be held 
to have been was that of a simple, unpolished, 
pious and utilitarian device ; and this Daughter of 
Nature, in the absence of all intention on her own 
part, underwent or was coerced into one of the 
strangest marriages which have been celebrated 
in occult history. It so happened that her parti- 
cular form and figure lent itself to such an union, 
and as a consequence of that which intervened 
she reappeared in wonderful vestures and was no 
longer a Daughter of Nature but a great Lady of 
the Mysteries, and of the paths and portals thereto 
approaching. The Craft Mystery was transformed 



into another Mystery ; another element of secret 
life was brought within it, and the result was such 
that speculative Masonry, as we know it, has 
borne for two centuries precisely those marks 
and seals which made even the foolish old seekers, 
who endeavoured, like Godfrey Higgins, " to draw 
aside the veil of the Sai'tic Isis," see dimly through 
clouded glasses that somehow, they knew not 
how, the Masonic secret was part of the old 
secret, the first secret, the great secret of all ; 
that it concerned God and the universe, man and 
the soul of man, death and resurrection through 
death into spiritual life ; that the Masonic pedi- 
gree was the old star of thought, the old high 
light, a quest which was not that of the coming 
forth of man into manifest and external experience, 
but one of return towards his source. 

I do not intend to suggest that these old 
literati and alumni expressed it after this manner, 
that they conceived otherwise than vaguely of the 
religion which is behind religion, or that by such 
religion they understood the fruition of faith in 
experience and in a realisation which transcends 
knowledge. They had their occasional great 
moments, for they worked from the clean heart 
of an utter sincerity, but they suffered under every 
inhibition and are our cautions rather than our 
guides ; yet in respect of Masonry they could not 
help seeing what is implied therein and of all 
that therein is imbedded one part, one parcel, 
of the whole. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Heredom, by a romantic etymology as I 
have already intimated has been held to signify 
the Holy House, that is to say, the House which 
was built in Wisdom, the House of Secret Doc- 
trine, wherein the Hidden Mysteries of Nature and 
Science were of old studied, and were also com- 
municated of old. I refer this notion to the 
symbolical science at large, and so understood it 
is a statement in advance of my whole thesis. The 
etymology is, of course, a dream, but another sym- 
bolism calls this same science the Rosicrucian 
House, the College of the Holy Spirit. It is to 
such a mystical edifice that reference is made in 
the great Legend of the Craft, as a process of 
exhaustion will shew at a later stage. In other 
words, when those unknown initiates who took 
over the Trade Guild constructed out of its rough 
and raw materials the elements of symbolical 
Masonry, they emptied of living value that part 
of its archaic memorials which had survived the 
process of the centuries. These therefore remain 
curious indeed as memorials, interesting if you 
will so far as the builders of houses made with 
hands are concerned but nothing to our Masonic 
purpose at this day. 

That fuller light of Masonry which we all 
desire will not come from the study of old Craft 
records, supposing that we should find any fresh 
materials of importance, but rather from a con- 
sideration of the Catholic Mysteries of Initiation 
in various ages and countries. To pursue this 



quest is, however, scarcely possible for persons 
who are unacquainted with the spiritual purpose 
of other secret Orders being those which survive 
to this day and at the existence of which I have 
hinted. The reason is that they are linked with 
secret institutions belonging to a further past and 
that they develop in some cases that which is im- 
plied only in the mystic dialect which is peculiar 
to the Masonic quest. They also speak in a 
strange and cryptic language, and I make no pre- 
tence that the tongue decodes more easily, but 
when it is in fine decoded there is a fuller pre- 
sentation given. 

To those who grafted the symbolic art on the 
old craft of building I have referred as unknown 
initiates, and I have spoken also of things which 
are missed utterly by the Brotherhood at large. 
A question therefore arises which I will endeavour 
to express as follows : 

If the familiar path of symbolism which is 
known under the name of Masonry and is as 
a beaten track so very familiar does issue into 
such strange regions as I have announced herein, 
why are those regions like a concealment within 
concealment ? How comes it that not only the 
ordinary Brother of the Craft, but the Knights 
Rose - Croix, the Masters of St. Andrew, the 
Knights Beneficent, even the Sovereign Princes, 
have never opened the gates which lead into this 
far-reaching country ? Holding such Grades and 
titles, such high imputed dignities, they, at least 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

and more than all should hold also the keys of 
entrance to a region which all would travel, if 
they could only find the way. They do not, and 
this is transparent ; but why are things so ordered 
that the glorious signs and sacraments of Masonic 
ritual thus seemingly fail in conveying that which 
they exist to communicate by their own public 
hypothesis ? 

The real answer is one that will be explained 
at large in the sequel, but because of its urgency 
and indubitable recurrence in the mind, I will go 
before the problem at this early stage of all and 
will register a bare statement against the coming 
explanation that those Veiled Masters to whom 
we owe the adapted symbolism, the Craft and 
possibly some part of its extensions, devised these 
things to serve as a memorial, as a permanent 
witness in the world, and they devised it as an 
embroidered curtain which could be drawn only 
by the few. To those few I conceive that it did 
or might open the door behind which there are 
the hidden places of peace and understanding, 
wherein the Secret Tradition is no longer a 

I admit, of course, unreservedly, that here is a 
straight and thorny path, " and few there be that 
find it." The present record of certain aspects 
assumed by the Secret Tradition in Freemasonry is 
designed, amongst other things, to make the way 
more smooth, though it is not concerned with the 
history of initiation through the ages and nations. 



I proceed therefore with these introductory 
paragraphs by propounding the general thesis that 
Freemasonry did strictly, but in the symbolical 
sense, derive from Mount Heredom, it being 
understood that such eminence is not in time or 
place. And the Lodge of the Adepts is still held 
thereon which Lodge is, as I have intimated, 
the House of Secret Doctrine. I have intimated 
also that the book which follows is the exten- 
sion, the illustration and the evidence of this 
thesis. It is written for my brethren of the free 
spirit, for the advancement of the glory of the 
true knowledge and the honour of a great Order. 
It is an experiment on the mind of Masonry 
and an attempt to reach those who are prepared 
for the experiment in all parts of the world. I 
put on record the plain statement from motives 
of sincerity, as this work is not an elementary 
text-book, a reflection or a summary of anything 
whatsoever that has been said previously on any 
side of the subject ; it is a study in cryptic 
writing, and all my interpretations are intended 
to recall my readers by each and every device 
to the spiritual truths which I have found 
behind the veil of all the schools of symbolism, 
and behind few perhaps more indubitably than the 
pageant of the Craft and its dependencies. It 
would not have been a simple task under the 
most favourable circumstances, and it has been 
rendered almost infinitely difficult by the neces- 
sity of preserving the official veils of concealment 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

which are drawn by occult associations for the 
protection of the official side of their Mysteries. 
I call attention to the fact that I have not uttered 
one word by which these veils, their particular 
nature or embroideries, have been communicated 
to any one ; and I say further, that such things are 
those only that we have undertaken to keep 
within the treasury of our honour. The search 
after God is the quest of all the sanctuaries, and 
the modes, like the object thereof, are no secret. 
For the rest, therefore, I have written as an adept 
philosopher and lover of learning, leaving to the 
wardens of the things external all that to them 
belongs, but explaining to those who can read in 
the heart some part and substance of the truth 
which is behind the sanctuaries. 

This is of universal application among those 
who have been called and chosen, whether they 
are Masons or not, and because in respect of the 
latter I believe that the passing of the veils 
would be right and salutary, since they are 
properly prepared in the mind so therefore in 
this book, acting under the obedience of all con- 
stitutions, and with faithful and reverend observ- 
ance of all landmarks, I recommend, by a proper 
solicitation, those who have ears to hear what the 
Spirit saith unto the Churches, to participate in 
the Mysteries of Freemasonry. 

As one who may venture to assume a point 
which is not in dispute, I have spoken with some 
freedom of the old Operative Guilds, and of their 



assumption by the Wardens of another and greater 
Mystery. It is just, however, on account of one 
of my precursors, and of a distinguished English 
name in current Masonic literature, to say that 
the recognised connection and distinction between 
the two aspects of Masonry were challenged in the 
middle of the nineteenth century by J. M. Ragon 
in France, and recently, on other evidence, by 
Mr. R. F. Gould, the historian of Freemasonry. 
It seems difficult to approach the subject from 
any point of view individually without coming 
to a conclusion which is analogous if not identical, 
and though the point may be scarcely worth 
specifying, I will say that I have reached my own 
on the basis of personal and quite independent 
considerations, the analogies, of course, remaining. 
According to Ragon, Operative Masonry, the 
Confraternities and Building Guilds, with their 
art and their privileges these were one thing ; 
Symbolic Masonry was another, and it came 
about through the entrance of Elias Ashmole as 
the accredited envoy of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. 
This is a thesis which I believe to be categori- 
cally untrue, firstly, in respect of the envoy ; and 
secondly, in respect of the intervening school, 
because all the Ashmolean interests were on that 
side of the Hermetic School which represented the 
physical work of Alchemy. This is negligible, 
however, for the moment, since the point at 
which we coincide is in the fact that the 
Operative Guild was at some stage and period 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

assumed by another, distinct and more exalted 

Mr. Gould, on the other hand, taking the 
Regius MS. as a kind of terminus a quo, develops 
the more important and certainly more interesting 
view that symbolical Freemasonry has been, so to 
speak, always in the world, though whence it 
came seems for him an open question, or at least 
he gives no intimation concerning it. The fact 
remains that we are brought at the end to the 
same point precisely ; the time came when the 
symbolical science rose up, and so far as an Insti- 
tuted Mystery is concerned, of what kind soever, 
the Operative Art vanished in respect of the 
Lodges and Chapters : if it was not assumed, it 
was most certainly absorbed. 

There was a school already in the world which 
did adapt the folklore legends of Celtdom into 
the Graal literature ; there was a school already 
in the world which adapted the terminology of 
Alchemy to its own ancient spiritual purpose ; and 
it follows from the hypothesis here under brief 
notice that a school already in the world did at 
some period, whether late or early, adapt the 
symbolism of architecture to another purpose. In 
a manner which we cannot trace at present, but 
in one which was very natural, it combined with 
Operative Masonry. Mr. Gould is able to tell us, 
on the authority of a wide acquaintance with 
Masonic memorials, that the ceremonies still 
worked in Lodges are the remnants of an ancient 




learning ; that this learning was in the custody of 
a purely speculative Brotherhood ; but " in the 
course of ages a great portion of the meaning " 
was forgotten. As to the nature of that learning 
he gives no indication as I have said and I 
question whether, from what I know of his liberal 
mind, he would feel himself qualified to hazard a 
suggestion concerning it. It is this deficiency 
which I propose to supply out of other sources of 
knowledge, by the development of all that which 
inheres (a) in the fact that Masonry is concerned 
with the building in symbolism of a certain secret 
edifice ; (b) in the fact that this edifice signifies 
a House of Doctrine, wherein was treasured ex 
hypothesi a certain pearl of tradition. I shall speak 
throughout of this House under the terms belonging 
to its proper subject, in which manner I shall be, 
firstly, about my proper business, and, secondly, 
shall keep from those who, Masonically speaking, 
are profane, though belonging otherwise to the 
elect, that acquaintance with the externals and the 
accidents which for them are of no effect and 
which I am covenanted to preserve from all who 
are without the gate. 

It remains that Mr. Gould's thesis, however un- 
acceptable in itself, is the first note of real illumina- 
tion on the whole subject which I have met with in 
the arid field of English Masonic research. It was 
read before a Lodge of Installed Masters in the, year 
1907, and I do not know what expressions of 
opinion, if any, it may have elicited in the almost 
VOL. i. B 17 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

silent auditorium of the English Brotherhood. 
It is a statement of fact with a long note of inter- 
rogation after it, but one is thankful for those 
questions which come out of all expectation, 
and to which answers, unlikely or not, are 
fortunately possible. 



fundamental IRelationa of tbe Craft 
an& tbe Ibigb (Sra&ea 



Some lights and shadows of the Instituted Mysteries 
The position of Freemasonry Of the root-matter be- 
hind the disguise of its symbolism Of a Sanctuary 
beyond the Sanctuary Of building on the material 
plane Of the Doctrine of Ethics The mystery of 
loss and quest Of physical and spiritual birth 
Various intimations of the Craft Degrees That the 
Masonic Temple is not built with hands That the 
mystery of Emblematic Masonry does -not belong to 
Ethics Masonry and the Secret Tradition The 
embroidered veil Of that which is concealed thereby 
The secret science The Legend of the Craft 
Concerning its Spiritual House Of concealed doctrines 
behind the Ancient Alliance in Israel The Un- 
known Masters who devised the Emblematic Art 
The tradition in Jewry Of this tradition as the 
basis of Emblematic Masonry The Temple of Sion 
The Hermetic Fraternities Jewish tradition as a 
concern of the Unknown Masters The substi- 
tuted law of Sinai Perpetuation of the tradition 
in Israel Of Solomon's Temple spiritualised The 
loss in respect of the Law and the loss in Masonry 
The catastrophe of the Craft Legend The House of 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Doctrine The Word in Masonry The Secret Doctrine 
in Christian Times and the Masonic Secret Of 
Masonry andreligion The Sacred Name in Israel The 
loss of its vital fart The history of the verbal formula 
Of Tod, He, Fan, He and Adonai On Christian 
interest in Kabalism Its reflection in Masonry 
The claim of the Royal Arch The House of Doctrine 
and the House of Consciousness Masonry as a sum- 
mary of human life Progress from death to life 
Of Mystic Death Of Spiritual Resurrection 
The doctrine of the Mysteries hereon The Candidate 
in the Craft Degrees Of that which is implied in 
the Masonic conduct of life The missing plans in 
Masonry A summary of the whole subject The 
Mystery of Substitution Mysterium Absconditum 


Of Divine Providence in Israel The Secret Doctrine 
The rewards of its study Of new developments therein 
Strange aspects of the Legend concerning Eden 
Another Mystery of the Fall The Unknown Name 
of the Shekinah Summary of the considerations 
under notice Derivations of Craft Masonry from 
the Jewish Tradition The plan of Solomon's Temple 
-The Midrashim on that Temple Of other Temples 
and Palaces The Inferior and Superior Eden 
Further concerning the Mystery of the Substituted 
Word Another side of the subject The debt of 
Masonry The material of the Royal Arch drawn 
from the same source. 


The Argument 


Of many inventions Of High Grades and the Secret 
Tradition Relations and distinctions The recogni- 
tion of the High Grades A suspension of judgment 
justified The -proper spirit in approaching the High 
Grades The Secret Tradition and the super-Masonic 
experiments Grades of the Old Alliance Grades 
of the New Alliance Grades of the Secret Tradition 
Of sequels to the Craft Legend Of spiritual chival- 
ries Of Masonry and Templarism Of the Ancient 
Alliance in the minds of Christian Masons Rosi- 
crucian, Alchemical, Kabalistic and Magical Degrees 
Of certain exotic Grades The world of Fantasy 
Woman and Freemasonry Extensions of the Craft 
within the covenant of the Old Law Christian 
Masonry Further concerning the Secret Tradition. 


The historical ground Concerning the old Building Guilds 
A religious aspect thereof Legend of the Dionysian 
Architects The assumption of the Building Guild 
The speculative element The period of fusion The 
case of Elias Ashmole The transmutation of Masonry 
The rise of the High Grades That the subject- 
matter of the High Grades pre-existed in Craft 
Masonry The Oration of Ramsay Analysis of 
its content Its effect on Continental Masonry A 
suggestion concerning its influence The so-called Rite 
of Ramsay The rise of the High Grades The Rite 
of the Strict Observance Other Rites of the period 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

ficossais Grades Masonic literary schools in France 
Concerning Jean Marie Ragon Grades attributed 
to the Rite of Ramsay compared with those of the 
Strict Observance Baron von Hund Exact 
position of Ramsay The Chapter of Clermont The 
Scottish Mother Lodge of Marseilles and the Grades 
therein Council of the Emperors of the East and West 
Nomenclature of its Grades Fiction concerning this 
Rite The development into the Ancient and Accepted 
Scottish Rite List of the added Grades The Order 
of African Architects The Rite of Zinnendorf 
Content of the Swedish System The Primitive 
Scottish Rite The Scottish Philosophical Rite The 
Masonic Order of Mizraim The Oriental Order 
of Memphis The occult and mystic Rites Difficulties 
as to a canon of criticism in respect of the High Grades 
Authorship of the High Grades. 


ffun&amental Delations of tbe Craft 
an& tbe 1bigb (Brakes 



WHEN we purchase real estate we should choose 
freeholds, so that even our earthly acres may after 
their manner remind us of the eternal possessions 
to which we are earning a title. The implicit of 
this statement, which is intentionally fantastic 
if it be worth while to say so is that the wise 
man, being in search of reality, or at least of its 
symbols, does not enter strange paths of initiation, 
or even paths of personal research, to arrive after 
many travellings at some familiar point of know- 
ledge, an admitted canon of criticism, or the 
immemorial antiquity of a few ethical axioms. 
These things are like short leases, well enough 
in their way, but it is not good business to acquire 
them perhaps for a hundredth time at the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

purchase price of too many years of labour. The 
application of my reasoned ribaldry should here 
emerge into the light of moderate clearness, which 
I will assist further by a simple form of compari- 
son, and this shall also have a touch of the grot- 
esque. One chief difficulty about secret societies, 
and especially those aspects of these which are the 
subject of consideration herein, seems by antithesis 
not unlike the chief difficulty about socialism 
which is the existence of the ot Ti-oXXoi, the insti- 
tuted aristocracy, the plutocrat and the middle 
class. In other words, although it is time that the 
natural heirs of creation, whose title is Adepti 
Exempti^ should come into their own, socialism 
has so far failed to manifest this exotic Grade. 
On the other hand, the secret societies and more 
especially some Masonic Rites communicate many 
titles of conventional Adeptship, but in place of 
the adept's secret they have, for the most part, only 
the middle - class motive, the platitudes of the 
crowd and its spokesmen, and a consolamentum 
in decorations which lie under the suspicion of 
having been manufactured in some symbolic Bir- 
mingham. It is not of course all associations main- 
tained in concealment which correspond to this 
description ; if placed in the seat of pleading, not 
all of them would have to recite their Confiteor 
under the spur of this loving impeachment. 
Some have been conceived in the heights, and 
abide therein. Moreover, there are follies in 
fraternities which are not precisely the follies or 


The Craft and the High Grades 

the madness of crowds. In fine, Freemasonry 
which is our proper and only subject requires to 
be distinguished from incorporated societies at 
large, because of its inscrutable position through 
the Mystery that lies behind it and the connec- 
tion of this Mystery with the inheritance of a 
Secret Tradition. The position is inscrutable 
along all ordinary lines, because those who are 
acquainted with the Tradition know certainly that 
the Emblematic Art is the most obvious and 
world-wide instance of its public manifestation 
under veils. But it has been put forward, as I 
have stated, and as my thesis intends to shew, 
under such a disguise of symbolism that nine- 
tenths of its participants have never penetrated 
beyond, and have never dreamed that the pageant 
of the ceremonial masque is other than the whole 
secret of the living Temple. They have known 
nothing of the sanctuary behind, or of the door 
in the manifest Holy of Holies which opens upon 
another Temple. 

They have been lulled into a lifelong sleep of 
their higher consciousness (a) by the legend of a 
Temple built with hands ; (b] by the enchanting 
suggestions of a music-breathing system of morals ; 
and (c) by an allegorical presentation of the tech- 
nique of an art and craft in the literal side of which 
they have no concern whatever. If they were told 
that the Temple of Solomon is no living interest 
of theirs, that the highest doctrine of ethics can 
shew them nothing that is new and that an artifice 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

extracted from the tools of the building trade is a 
curious conceit at best, they might confess and 
could scarcely do otherwise to the truth of such 
statements, but they would say that the dissolution 
of these elements would leave nothing of Masonry 
behind. And this is just the fundamental error 
which appertains to the whole subject, for it is 
when these veils dissolve that the true art and the 
true craft, the mystery of experiment and the matter 
of the whole quest appear in their robe of glory. 

These are the considerations in brief regarding 
the horizon of the Craft Grades, which on the 
surface embody a morality in a rudimentary 
dramatic form concerning birth, life, death and 
the ethics of our desirable conduct between the 
opening providence of the cradle and the closing 
grace of the grave. This clear and pictorial table 
is, however, so presented that it contains more 
than it shews on the surface side. The introduc- 
tion of an element of quest, the mysterious sense 
of loss, which prompts the long undertaking, and 
that which is offered in place of the term of 
research constitute another interlinear morality 
which is not in congruity with the first, till it 
attaches to that first a second and deeper mean- 
ing. In this light the birth restates itself as the 
fruit of a spiritual generation and gestation, the 
life as a spiritual condition, and the death as a 
mystical and not a physical dissolution. The 
restatement reacts in its turn on that by which it is 
transmuted, and a second conversion is performed ; 


The Craft and the High Grades 

the transmuting elements are seen in another light 
and so become intelligible. We understand the 
nature of the quest, of the loss which prompts it, 
and why something else is offered as every Mason 
knows in place of the term of research. This 
realisation causes yet another reaction, and we 
find that the first morality is true in both the 
aspects ; it is really man's natural history, and as 
natural he can attain only a commutation of the 
Divine end of quest ; it is also man's spiritual 
history, and as spiritual he can attain through 
mystic death in another Temple than that of the 
manifest universe the Divine Object of Research. 
It is the story (a) of man in his place in the 
universe, among the things that are ; (b) of that 
which he lacks therein, and behind this fact the 
raison d'etre of that which he needs to complete 
him ; (c) of the intimations concerning his loss, 
owing to a state of imperfection in himself and 
his environment ; (d) of the duty imposed upon 
him to repair the loss, and the method to be 
pursued therein ; (e) of the quest which thus 
arises, and how it is the great quest of life ; (f) of 
its close and the close of life in physical death, 
and of this as a means of his release, if that which 
he takes with him should offer no further barrier ; 
(g) but more than all of a death to his present self 
and to the world, the mystical resurrection or re- 
birth which follows it ; and (ti) the life of libera- 
tion in Holy and Divine Union which is the 
reward of those who have reached so far in their 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

pilgrimage from the circumference of manifested 
things to the centre of the hidden Godhead. 

After this summary, which can be followed 
by any intelligent Mason, and will sufficiently 
instruct the uninitiated who are capable of initia- 
tion, without exceeding my limits as to the nature 
of Craft Masonry, I proceed to the fuller develop- 
ment of my general thesis. The thesis is this 
shortly : when we come to examine Emblem- 
atic Masonry we find that it contains a Mystery 
which does not belong to ethics, and is not con- 
cerned with the building of any material Temple. 

Let us take the definition of Freemasonry 
which is presented in public as the typical and 
official answer to a certain technical and assumed 
question of the public mind : it affirms that the 
art or science is a beautiful system of morality 
veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. I 
suppose that in the whole wide world there is no 
system which, confessing as does this to allegory, 
has less in the allegorical portion to do with simple 
morality. The myth or allegory of the great 
Legend-in-chief contains the counsel of perfection 
regarding the reservation of speech for the main- 
tenance of the Secret Tradition under its proper 
prescribed veils which belongs to another and in- 
deed a remoter realm of motive. The moralities 
and ethics are not contained in this or any other 
allegory ; they are, as they must be, presented in a 
literal manner ; no one can miss them, no one can 
read into them another and a deeper meaning. It 


The Craft and the High Grades 

is different in respect of the symbols ; some corre- 
spond to the description in virtue of an arti- 
ficial application though in these there is a 
second significance for the few who can find it 
while some are at the opposite poles. Now it 
seems indubitable that if the definition were in 
analogy with the real truth, or with any pre- 
ponderating and substantial portion thereof, an 
undertaking to speak of the Secret Tradition in 
Freemasonry would be the idlest of all pretensions. 
The allocation of things to their proper and 
determinable nature must rise up to forbid. The 
counsels of morality and brotherhood borrow 
nothing from the realms of mystery, and secrecy 
has no part therein. The Secret Tradition is 
concerned with the Mysteries of Nature and the 
High Science of Grace, not with external love or 
counsels of relief, not with the corporal works of 
mercy, not with the principles of good fellowship. 
Freemasonry, on the other hand, though the 
point is often missed, establishes its own distinc- 
tion with sufficient clearness on the subject. In 
the Craft Degrees it explains the objects of re- 
search, which are in fact these Mysteries, while 
the title to share therein is the possession of moral 
qualifications and an expressed determination on 
the part of the recipient to regulate his life 
according to their higher counsels of conduct. 
They are the gate, however, the condition, the 
preliminary curriculum and not the end. 

The nature of the Mysteries is indicated in the 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Legend of the Craft under a veil of allegory, and 
as it is not otherwise expounded in the cere- 
monials of initiation or advancement, so it comes 
about that a general, serviceable, but otherwise 
inadequate lesson of fidelity is that alone which it 
is customary for the recipient to take away from 
the catholic experience of the Craft Grades. It is 
for this reason that some, who have seen further, 
though not always in the right direction, have 
been disposed to regard Freemasonry as the shell of 
a law of concealment from which the object of 
concealment has escaped. The truth, on the 
contrary, is that the Craft, in its ceremonies and its 
symbols, has retained everything ; that which is 
under the veil is to-day as much among us as it 
was when Symbolic Masonry arose ; it is here in 
as plenary a sense as possibly it may ever be. But 
the embroidered draperies of morality and conduct 
are a living, not a dead, veil, and those in whose 
hands it has remained to exhibit the textures 
thereof, have not, on their own part, realised that 
there was more to follow, that in order to become 
truly a Mason it was indispensable to draw the 
curtain and enter the Holy of Holies, which lies 
behind the outward pageant and the first Temple 
thereof. The reason is that there was never in 
the official consciousness of Masonry, in its 
capacity as an association on the plane of public 
life, an intention or a warrant to convey the in- 
timation clearly, and much less the knowledge of 
a concealed sanctuary, or a secret within a secret. 


The Craft and the High Grades 

Those who established the speculative Order im- 
parted that which they chose in the manner that 
they chose, and to none of the official masters or 
brethren did they reveal their motive. The sym- 
bolical science was, firstly, an experiment on the 
mind of the world and, secondly, a shrine erected 
to contain a memorial on the part of those whose 
memorials are everywhere, but their complete 
programme is nowhere. The veil was woven with 
very great care, so that the rank and file of the 
Brotherhood, who were not otherwise prepared to 
see behind and beyond it, should have a colourable 
reason to be content with the veil itself, believing 
that they had attained a precious gift therein. 
But even with greater care the hallows and the 
holy relics, the signs and root-matters of a secret 
science, were placed behind the veil and obtruded 
vaguely beyond, so that those who could penetrate 
further should have no doubt as to the Mysteries 
within, but should recognise them as records of 
a Great Experiment which was once made in the 
world, as testimony that it had not failed, and as 
an incentive to the zeal of the few who might 
dare to dream of repeating it. And it has come 
about that many have seen in part and a few with 
real illuminatation ; but the last secrets are possible, 
as I have said, to those only who have passed 
through the experience of other and greater 
schools, so that hereunto it has never entered into 
the region of communication. 

It would be unpardonable if I, speaking in these 
VOL. i. c 33 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

terms, were to prove unfaithful, through false 
delicacy, to that which I have received out of all 
expectation and proper desert of mine. The 
normal law of personal self-effacement counts in 
such matters for nothing, and I must not be afraid 
to confess or to proclaim at once that I hold the 
Key of the sanctuary, or 'by what motive I am 
actuated in an intention to impart its communi- 
cable elements, firstly, to my proper brethren and, 
secondly, to my consanguinities in the spirit who 
are not as yet incorporated in the fellowship of 
Masonic wisdom. The task is one of extreme 
difficulty, because the external disguises are im- 
parted under great pledges, and having proceeded 
so far that I have a better reason than most to 
know that they are not arbitrary, I have before all 
things to be faithful and true concerning the cortices 
and minima of the mystery. I have thus, on the 
one hand, so to regulate my methods that I shall 
speak in respect of the externals with frankness on 
matters that are of common knowledge only, but, 
on the other, that I shall not fail in explicitness 
over the deep things concerning which there are 
no pledges, remembering at the same time, that it 
is impossible to speak intelligibly except to the pre- 
pared in heart and idle to use evasions with those 
who have ears to hear. One effect of this work will 
be to provide Masons with that which, from the 
nature of things, they have not known previously 
regarding their own science, and for those of the 
uninitiated who can accept the message, it will lead 


The Craft and the High Grades 

them to seek initiation, so that they may attain 
that intimate knowledge of the extended veil which 
cannot be imparted in books, because in the last 
resource such an attempt would prove impossible. 
The records of life are communicable, but not life 

Having a long research before us, and one 
which, I believe, will place the systems of Craft 
and High Grade Masonry under a new light, I do 
not propose at the inception of the whole subject 
to speak of the hidden term itself, which belongs 
rather to the end of our quest. But there are 
some preliminary points which are proper to the 
present place, and we come in this manner to the 
question of Building Symbolism. The Legend of 
the Craft is that of a Spiritual House : it is this, of 
course, and without concealment of any kind, on 
the external side itself. But it can be shewn by 
a process of exhaustion that in so far as it may 
appear technically and officially to be put forward 
in the guise of a material building, it is to this 
extent evasive, and is something which stands 
without as the sign of an intention that is within. 
I submit, as self-evident and transcending the 
common need of argument, that it could serve no 
purpose symbolically to commemorate in terms of 
concealment, as if it constituted in itself the root- 
matter of a secret gnosis, the creation far away in the 
past, in other lands, under the aegis of other religions 
and other modes of thought, the raising of any 
external palace, temple, or sanctuary. Our Houses 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

of Parliament are a great monument of national 
liberty and progress, but the history of their design 
and construction would be an inadequate and im- 
proper object for the institution of a secret society, 
while it would be only in the pure spirit of 
fantasy that we should try to present them under 
any symbolic aspect. We do justly in regarding 
St. Peter's at Rome, Canterbury Cathedral and 
Westminster Abbey as high and holy temples 
erected to the greater glory of God ; but if we 
should convert their plans into allegories as an 
excuse to put forward a new analysis of religious 
belief, we should, I think, be acting like children. 
If, however, on the other hand, we knew, through 
the opening of some hidden door, that behind the 
Latin Church or the Greek Orthodox Rite there 
were some undeclared mystery of religion, and if, 
to keep the rule of the door, we were to spiritualise 
St. Peter's or Sancta Sophia so that we might 
communicate that mystery to persons properly 
prepared under the seals of parable and secrecy, 
we might then be justified. Even if we so acted on 
our proper incentive only, we should be imparting 
something not otherwise known to the world at 
large, and must be entitled to do it in what manner 
we will ; it would then depend on the nature of 
the mystery whether we were acting like sages or, 
again, as children at play. Now, it is in something 
after this mode that the existence of a concealed 
doctrine behind the Law and Covenant of the 
Ancient Alliance in Israel has been memorialised, 


The Craft and the High Grades 

according to my interpretation, by those Unknown 
Masters who in part made and in part adapted the 
sheaf of symbolism which is included by Craft 
Masonry. They took possession of a certain fact, 
and, maintaining the external guise, they put 
forward the notion of a Secret Doctrine perpetuated 
in Jewry under the guise of that great event 
which is part of the history of architecture. Their 
real concern was to shew that behind the external 
cortex of the Holy Law in Israel there was another 
and greater Mystery. The evidence on the question 
of fact is in this case close at the hands of all. I 
need scarcely inform my readers that such a tra- 
dition exists in Jewry and is comprised in the 
Kabalistic writings. It was about the period 
when speculative Masonry was emerging above 
the horizon as I have said in my preliminary 
summary that this literature began to spread 
through Europe in a Latin form by means of 
Baron Knorr von Rosenroth's comprehensive sum- 
mary and analysis in the Kabbala Denudata, and 
the knowledge made thus accessible was extended 
before and after by the famous tract of Athanasius 
Kircher, by Reuchlin's three books De Arte Caba- 
listica, and by Petrus Galatinus in De Arcanis 
Catholic a Veritatis. There were also (a) the 
translation of Sepher Tetzirah, published by Rit- 
tangelius, (b) the great collection of Pistorius 
under the title Artis Kabbalisticce Scriptores, (c) 
the Ccelum Sephiroticum, (d) the Magna Bibliotheca 
Rabbinica of Bartolocci, with other commentaries 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

and interpretations by the score. Of all, it is suffi- 
cient to say that they made known the mystical 
doctrine of Jewry concerning Temples and Palaces 
which forms the basis of the Masonic House in 
Israel, and Kabalism also embodies the doctrine of 
loss in Israel which gave the motive of the 
Masonic quest. If it be asked why this memorial 
was undertaken, I recur to my previous statement, 
that it was on the part of those whose records are 
everywhere in the world, but who are not fully 
represented by any one record. Each form of 
testimony stands on its own merits ; none is put 
forward as the voice of the school at large ; it 
rests usually on the responsibility of some class or 
section, perhaps, at the beginning, even of a single 
individual, as it may have been in the case of 
Eckartshausen. The school is not represented by 
the literature of the Holy Graal, of Alchemy, of 
Kabalism, or of an experiment like that of Masonry. 
Speaking on my own warrants, I should say that 
the last was, in some respects, the least fully repre- 
sentative, as it is also the most elementary of all. 
But in other respects it was the most public of the 
major experiments, and it came at a time when 
the office of the others was over, when it was held 
necessary to have a fresh witness, and on this 
occasion the appeal was to a wider circle. I 
believe this attempt to have been made about the 
third quarter of the seventeenth century, but the 
way had been prepared, either by accident or design. 
Mr. R. F. Gould relies upon one of the Paston 


The Craft and the High Grades 

letters, tentatively and dubiously assigned to the 
year 1464, for the existence of a Holy Order 
called the " Temple of Sion," which he is disposed 
to identify with some form of speculative Masonry, 
but it is impossible from the document itself to 
draw any conclusion whatsoever. He also relies 
on the Regius poem printed by Mr. J. O. Halli- 
well in the Early History of Freemasonry in Eng- 
land. This has been ascribed to the latter part of 
the fourteenth century, but I do not think that 
its evidence is at all conclusive as to the existence 
of a symbolical apart from operative Masonry at 
that period. The question is very interesting, and 
the document is curiously suggestive in two or 
three of its points. The inferences from it are 
not unlike those which have been drawn with 
such wealth of imagination from the reception of 
Elias Ashmole in the year 1646. This is the 
basis of the great hypothesis concerning the inter- 
vention of Hermetic fraternities in the develop- 
ment of the speculative Craft. For myself I be- 
lieve that the mystic hands which transformed 
Freemasonry were the hands of a Kabalistic section 
of Wardens of the Secret Tradition ; that their 
work is especially traceable in the Craft Legend ; 
and that although in its present form this Legend 
is much later and a work of the eighteenth century, 
it represents some part or reflection of those 
Zoharic preoccupations which began in England 
with Robert Fludd, Thomas Vaughan, were con- 
tinued through Henry More, and were in evidence 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

both in France and Britain before and about the 
period of the French Revolution. 

The preoccupation was not per se, and simply 
on its own merits, in Jewish theosophical tradition, 
or it was the talismanic wonder and mystery of 
the literature married to the preoccupation of a 
discovery which Christian scholars of the time 
believed that they had made therein. In a sense, 
it went before symbolical Masonry, as the Baptist 
was the forerunner of Christ. The Zoharic and 
connected writings offered for these scholars an in- 
dubitable proof that the Secret Tradition of Israel 
was itself the most powerful engine that could be put 
in operation for the conversion of Jewry at large. 
They believed that the Zoharic Messias was liter- 
ally their own Messias and that Kabalistic doctrine 
certified to the Christian Trinity. When, there- 
fore, they found that there was a legend of loss in 
Israel, and that something was expected to be 
restored, they believed that the restoration would 
be in Christ. And we as Masons, who also know 
of a loss, must look, therefore, towards Kabalism 
as a not unlikely direction for the root-matter of 
our mystery. We know, further, that Christian 
High Grade Masonry restores our loss in Christ, 
and though I do not say at this point that the 
Craft was designed to dissolve into Christian 
Masonry, I am entirely clear that we are in the 
presence of a conspicuous analogy, into which we 
must look more deeply at one or another stage. 

Let us however at the present moment direct 

The Craft and the High Grades 

our attention to one side of the Secret Tradition 
in Israel, and let us realise, in the first place, how 
it follows from Exodus itself that even the Law was 
a substitute. The tables of testimony, written with 
the finger of God on both sides of the stone that 
is, within and without, having a meaning within a 
meaning were broken by Moses when, descending 
from Horeb, he found the people in idolatry and 
wantonness. The loss was replaced subsequently 
by other tables which were the work of Moses, and 
appear to have been written with his hand, although 
there is a seeming equivocation on the surface 
of the text. In place of the Law of Mercy there 
was given that of Judgment, and the redemption 
which was the advent of Shiloh was put back for 
generations and ages. It has been noted further 
by my precursors, that Moses when he spoke 
to the people on his second descent from the 
Holy Mountain put a veil upon his face, signify- 
ing the concealment of the Law ; but he removed 
it for communion with the Lord. The theo- 
sophic tradition in Jewry says further that Moses 
committed the Secret Law to certain elders, by 
whom it was transmitted to others. He built 
also the Ark of the Covenant as a sign without 
and a depository of things signified within, for 
which reason though now all unconsciously 
there is recognised by Masonry the existence of a 
Holy Lodge in the wilderness, and its three Masters 
are commemorated. We deal in Scripture with 
substitutes and veilings everywhere, from that 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

moment when in the Garden of Eden man is 
represented as having chosen on his own initiative 
the knowledge of sin and death by way of the 
Tree of Knowledge, instead of the wisdom of the 
centre by way of the Tree of Life. 

It is out of the implicits of all these traditions, 
and out of its own also, that, in fine, we get 
Solomon's Temple spiritualised, which has been 
done many times in exoteric works, but also in 
the exotic part of the traditional literature. The 
old Midrashim extant on the correspondences of this 
subject are almost a study in themselves, those con- 
cerning thePa/aces and \h^ Measurement of the Height 
being particular cases in point, as we shall see in the 
next section. The Temple therein is the universe ; it 
is the quantitative and qualitative summary thereof 
as well as the mirror of the justification of God's 
ways with men. This is secret doctrine enough, 
and a dowry for the elect thereto. We are far 
already from the letter of the Law, though the 
material side of the Temple waxed in importance 
as the spiritual grew in its complexity. It re- 
mained, however, for another order of symbolism 
to take up the dream of Temple-building, and, 
while preserving the externals, to present within a 
purely spiritual side of its construction as a pro- 
found, ordered memorial of doctrine, which itself 
issued from a concealed root. 

This is my reading of Craft Masonry. But, 
like the original Law of Moses, it was not intended 
to depict its completion in accordance with the 


The Craft and the High Grades 

first plans thereof. It is of the essence of Secret 
Doctrine that it should remain in concealment, and 
while intimating the fact of its existence for their 
own reasons, the makers of Craft Masonry did not 
design that their Emblematic Temple should really 
contain the Mystery. They did design to shew 
how Israel was from the beginning, and through 
its own fault without the truth, afterwards mani- 
fested under another Dispensation. They pro- 
ceeded as follows. A conspiracy is said to have 
intervened, as if against the formulation of the 
doctrine, on the part of those who, although en- 
gaged in a proposed promulgation, were not ac- 
quainted with the last secrets, or in the terms of 
building who were craftsmen rather than archi- 
tects. They desired a higher knowledge an ac- 
quaintance with the design beyond that which 
they possessed at the moment and they dreamed 
that this Kingdom of Heaven would suffer vio- 
lence for its attainment. But it suffered destruc- 
tion rather. The result was that which I have 
described otherwise ; the House of Doctrine was 
not finished in the story according to the original 
designs ; and, to make this matter as intelligible as 
I can within the limits which are allowed me, 
there arose that sanctuary loss which is conveyed 
under heavy veils in the Legend of the Craft. For 
the explanation of this loss we must take another 
illustration from the annals of Jewish theosophy, 
and I hold in my hands the inexpugnable proofs 
that the two symbolisms are one. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

My thesis is that the mystery of Freemasonry 
is the concealed mystery of a Word, and this 
Word is what other forms of symbolism have 
declared to contain everything. It is therefore, 
in the first place, not what it appears on the 
surface ; the expression is itself symbolical, and 
signifies as it can only the root-matter of the 
Secret Doctrine. In yet other terms, it is the 
way of experience by which the Divine Science 
that is communicated in doctrine to the logical 
understanding is manifested by experience to the 
holy spirit of man. There is no need to add 
that it is only by an economy that it can be 
spoken of as a verbal formula ; it is a secret of 
life and of that life which leads into all truth. 
It is a Word in the same sense that all things 
were made by the Eternal Word of God. 

To the degree and within the measure that 
this life ceases to be communicated, there is inter- 
dict on the Land of Doctrine, an arid waste 
about the precincts of the House of Knowledge, 
and loss and desolation within. Let me borrow 
an illustration from a corresponding realm of 
experience. Those who believe in sanctification 
by external faith only are in danger of this kind 
of judgment. Belief is eminently necessary to 
all manners of redemption, and especially in the 
highest use of the term, because every action 
issues from an assumption either expressed or 
implied ; but the kind of salvation which proceeds, 
for example, from faith in Christ depends on the 


The Craft and the High Grades 

active work which follows from the assumption 
of faith ; or, in other terms, on seeking the 
kingdom of God and His righteousness. The 
Secret Doctrine in Christian Times is the evi- 
dential theory concerning such a search, and if 
Masonry was ever in the past, or is now, in re- 
spect of its root-matter, concerned with the 
essence of that doctrine, it is not only a religious 
experiment but is married to the life and sum and 
total, the end also and the beginning, of all re- 
ligion. It is not a religious experiment on its 
manifest and external side, and this has been put 
forward somewhat forcibly and frequently by the 
exponents of the Craft. The reason is scarcely 
for our seeking, because it is of all things obvious 
that the principles of moral law are the gate 
through which man goes up to the House of the 
Lord, but they are not the House itself or the 
place where the glory dwelleth. 

The root-matter of the Secret Doctrine has 
been called by many names in many schools of 
symbolism ; the records are everywhere, and I 
have no concern in their recital, since it is obvious 
that each system chooses its proper veils ; there 
are also some which seem on the surface more 
adequate to the intellectual comprehension of the 
subject than are others, but at need anything 
answers, because it is certain that the King's crafts- 
men can work with any tools. It would not be 
affirmed at first sight that the symbolism derived 
from the expression and recession of a Divine 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Name, a word, or a verbal formula, is especially 
preferable. We must, however, on our part, 
seek to ascertain its place and history in the 
admitted records of tradition. 

That which is nearest to our hands, which 
enters most deeply into the Secret Tradition in 
Christian Times, and is the most proximate ante- 
cedent of the particular Masonic symbolism, is 
unquestionably the Great Name of Jehovah 
according to Jewish doctrine and tradition. It is 
on record in the Secret Doctrine of Israel that the 
true pronunciation of this name has been lost ; 
and accordingly such loss is memorised every- 
where in the literature. I have dwelt sufficiently 
on the simple fact in the consideration at great 
length of other traces of the Secret Tradition, so 
that I need only say here that for the ordinary 
believer of Jewry, as indeed for the Christian 
world, we are left with the consonants of mrp, 
pronounced according to the rules established by 
the system of the Massoretic points. The literal 
fact is, of course, a pretext for symbolism. We 
find traces also in the Zohar of another or sub- 
stitute name, which was used before and after 
the redaction of that great work, and is still used 
largely in place of Tetragrammaton. To this I 
shall recur shortly. 

Taking as a primary idea the position of the 
word Jehovah in the form of its consonants, we 
find arising therefrom a whole tissue of secret 
terminology in Jewry to which great importance 


The Craft and the High Grades 

was ascribed. Those who have studied the late 
magic of Chaldea will know the kind of virtue 
which was supposed to exist in words, above all 
in sacred names. Perhaps what was done by 
Israel was to take over and transmit, under veils of 
its own, that far anterior tradition regarding 
verbal formulas, which, pronounced with the full 
knowledge of their import, had the power of 
compelling the gods themselves. In Chaldea this 
had already degenerated into a species of exotic 
magic, but there are grounds for supposing that, 
still further away, it had another and deeper root. 
Independently of this, and more express for 
our present purpose, the captivity in Babylon is 
sometimes thought to have signified a specific loss 
in language, and it is held as certain that on the 
return of the Jews to Palestine the reading of the 
Law was a matter of expert knowledge. That 
language which from generation to generation 
grew more and more archaic, was exalted by grade 
and by grade, till it became too sacred and un- 
earthly in Jewish conception for the world itself 
to produce a more exalted form, or the mysteries 
which are not of this world to contain anything 
which in expression could exceed it. The 
sanctity and efficacy resided not so much in the 
verbal aspects of the language as in the ciphers of 
the written word, and these ciphers by which I 
mean the consonants of the language were 
thought capable of combination independently 
of the spoken tongue. For example, if an 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

adequate or required meaning could not be ex- 
tracted from a given word, that word might be 
and was turned by the interpreters into another, 
or even into an unknown word, by any one among 
several methods of transliteration. 

A sort of secret language grew up in this way 
among the Kabalists, and as time went on it 
filtered down into the traditions of Ceremonial 
Magic, which attached omnific power to inexplic- 
able words and had the venerated Chaldean Oracles 
to support them. Students of the subject will re- 
member that the disciple is counselled by these 
Oracles to forbear from changing the barbarous 
names of evocation, because of the sacred virtue 
which resides therein. The idea in later times 
took many forms, and so in Cornelius Agrippa we 
find not, indeed, any direct traces of a secret lan- 
guage, but varieties of secret ciphers and mystic 
alphabets, the presumption being that ex hypothesi 
they were more efficient in occult arts than those 
in daily use. Still later, in the years of Dr. 
Dee, a sort of magical language was instituted, 
the texts of which are available in his manuscripts 
and in his published Faithful Relation ; they are 
capable of a definite construction by those who 
can obtain the key. Now we know after what 
strange manners certain conceptions not only 
persist through time, but, under various guises, 
travel through space, and the arbitrary efficacy 
of words is a doctrine of that order which, having 
once found root in the past, would reassert itself 


The Craft and the High Grades 

in many forms. In those which were grosser, it 
became part of the accidents that encompassed 
the Secret Tradition, but it endured also in the 
higher theosophical part, and my thesis is that 
those masters of symbolism who created Emblem- 
atic Freemasonry put it to their own use. 

The mind which is unversed in symbolism 
would, in the absence of a guiding hand, see only 
some dubious point of language or an arbitrary 
complexus of convention in this strange allocation 
of letters or sounds alleged to be wanting in the 
Hebrew name of the Deity. I must, however, 
explain further, that the cortex of the consonants 
represents the outward manifestation of things as, 
for example, the visible universe, the external 
sense of the Law, the defined formalism of 
doctrine, the material sign of the sacramental 
system, the first meaning of parabolical writing, 
and human nature on its known side in the world. 
The vowels symbolise the life within as, for 
example, the Divine Power and Grace which, 
operating from behind the universe, fill all the 
spaces thereof, so that God is everywhere, and in 
accordance with the faithful witness of orthodox 
and true doctrine is immanent and yet tran- 
scendent, nearer than hands and feet, and thus 
intimate everywhere, though not in the mode of 
pantheistic identity, for He is also unknown and 

The vowels are thus the higher sense of the 
Law, without the possession of which it is possible 

VOL. i. D 49 

The Secret Tradition ill Freemasonry 

to recite the Law but not to give the meaning ; 
they are the inward truth of doctrine, which is 
truth at first hand, and not under the limitations 
of human expression ; they are the grace behind 
the sacraments, the inward meaning of parable, 
and the supernatural life which sanctity superadds 
upon the natural life of man. In Zoharic and 
connected literature the permutations and permea- 
tions of the Divine Name are a grace, a palladium, 
a holy presence, the added part which makes the 
Cosmos integral and completes manhood by suf- 
ficing, efficacious and super-efficacious grace. In 
a word, they confer all things upon those who 
have conceived in their hearts concerning the 
Kingdom of Heaven. It would seem on some 
occasions as if these Kabalists had forgotten at last 
their own express distinction between the conson- 
ants and vowels, or between the accidents of 
Divine manifestation in immanence and the 
essence of the concealed Godhead in utter tran- 
scendence. But thereto they return always. So 
also they assume occasionally another form of 
symbolism, which to us is peculiarly remarkable. 

It is true that the pronunciation of the Divine 
Name, with the power and the life which declare 
the glory of God in all regions of the universe, 
has been lost, by the hypothesis, to the sanctuary, 
but the cortex itself, or the shell, is too beloved 
and too sacred for even its imperfect pronunciation 
during the long interdict of the exile, and not so 
much because it is impossible, or that its manner 


The Craft and the High Grades 

is unknown, but because it is reserved with other 
good things of the Lord in the Land of the Living 
that conscious and willing substitution already 
referred to has intervened in the sanctuary, for 
which reason the chief rabbi replaces the Name 
of Jehovah by the name of Adonai, wherever the 
nomen inenarrablle occurs in sacred texts, and he 
will so do until those times and circumstances 
which may seem proper to Divine Providence 
shall restore the true Name, or put an end to 
the exile of Israel. 

Now this is the matter of tradition which had 
remained embodied and interned, so to speak, in 
written Jewish theosophy for something like two 
or three centuries, and which passed, we know 
not how, into symbolical Masonry at that date to 
which we may elect to refer the Legend of the 
Craft Degrees. It may have come through Latin 
sources, for there is nothing in the Grades as we 
have them to suggest a knowledge at first hand 
of Zoharic texts. Indeed, if we follow the line of 
least resistance, we shall have no doubt on the 
subject, while the history of Masonry seems to 
point in the direction of Christian interest in 
Kabalism during the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries. The fact of a tradition in Israel, to 
which the Talmuds bear witness, but which itself 
is extra-Talmudic, was well known in Europe, 
and I have already enumerated the representative 
Latin sources through which that knowledge 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

It came about in this manner, that Solomon's 
Temple understood in its widest sense was 
spiritualised for Christian as well as for Jew, and 
when the idea of this transmutation was married 
to that other Kabalistic notion of a theosophical 
loss in Israel, we can understand how exoteric 
Christian scholars began to put an interpreta- 
tion thereon which had never entered into the 
hearts of those who devised the mystic legend 
of palaces or the legend of the Lost Word. That 
which was lost under the aegis of the Old 
Covenant was for them restored in Christ, and 
so it followed that a new method was devised for 
the conversion of Israel out of the mouth of 
its own most exotic texts. 

I have shewn elsewhere that the instrument 
from which so much was expected by William 
Postel, Picus de Mirandula, Reuchlin and Rosen- 
roth proved of no effect whatever ; but my thesis 
is that it drifted from the hands of these literal 
expositors fired by an evangelical mission into the 
hands of pure symbolists, who desired to com- 
memorate (a) the fact of a Secret Tradition, and 
(b) their belief that this tradition was concerned 
with the mystery in Christ signifying, however, 
the mystical Christ-life in the spirit of man. For 
them, perhaps, as for others, Kabalism may not 
have been regarded as more than one of the 
vehicles ; it may not have been, even from their 
standpoint, the best vehicle, but it was the one 
which was nearest to their hands and most readily 


The Craft and the High Grades 

served their purpose. They enveloped the fact 
of a tradition, handed down from the days of 
Moses, in a Legend of Solomon's Temple, which 
they regarded as a House of Doctrine wherein the 
tradition was contained. They adapted the notion 
of something lost by Israel to their own concealed 
purpose by reciting that a great secret was in- 
terned at the building through the sacrifice of the 
Architect-in-chief. They instituted a long quest 
for its discovery, and took care that it should 
remain unfinished in the Craft Grades, thus 
suggesting something which must follow of 
necessity in the form of a sequel. 

Many persons unacquainted with the traditions, 
and hence with the intention of the first rituals, 
began to devise by their own unaided skill various 
extensions and a few worthless sequels. Of the 
extensions, some came tolerably enough into the 
general line of development, leading up to the 
Grade of Royal Arch^ which, under the pretence 
of restoring the Lost Word, was designed to make 
the nature of the loss as clear as it could be made 
in symbolism. The story of the tradition under 
the old Covenant terminates with this Degree, or 
rather breaks off abruptly, because that which 
should have followed was never worked out I 
mean, the building of the Second House of 
Doctrine. There came at a later season the 
Christian makers of Masonic Rituals, and, to speak 
my mind frankly, it may not prove in the sequel 
that they carried out the intention of those who 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

were responsible for the Craft Symbolism, but they 
had a great intuition which brought them near 
to the point. They provided the restoration of 
the Word in Christ ; they developed the tradition 
of mystic building in the sense of the Christian 
House, not made with hands but eternal in the 
heavens ; they erred more especially, perhaps indeed 
only, on the side of too literal interpretation. 

Recurring for a moment to the implicits of 
the Royal Arch^ I have indicated that in this 
there is an attempt to restore the deficiency, to 
replace the loss in the Sanctuary, but that which 
it does give back is only a memorial of the loss. 
Those who hold the Degree will understand what 
I mean, and those who do not will suffer no 
mental confusion by my apparent suppression, 
because all that can be held to concern them will 
permit of explanation apart from further reference 
to the Grade itself. By a process of exhaustion, 
the loss in Jewry, which is affirmed to be a Name, 
and the loss in Masonry, which is regarded as that 
of a Word, will be found identical in essence, and 
at variation only in the outward form of symbolism. 
Behind both devices the whole mystery is con- 
cerned with the Divine in man and the Divine in 
the universe. 

On the basis of this statement, and subject to 
its proper demonstration, we are in a position to 
realise what is the term of Masonry and " once 
in time and somewhere in the world " what is 
represented thereby as being built in symbolism 


The Craft and the High Grades 

in other words, the attainment of the state 
of the perfect man in Christ. Of that which 
was being built I have spoken here as if by an 
accident ; the suggestion is, however, true within 
its own measures, seeing that there was in fact by 
which I mean the fact of parable a completion 
after a certain manner, even if the experiment 
which was left unfinished after the episodes of 
the Craft Legend was never made perfect at any 
time thereafter within the Masonic horizon. 

We shall find the evidence of this in its proper 
place, but I am reminded herein of an obiter dictum 
that is proper to the present point. The inmost 
shrine of the sanctuary, the place of the treasures 
of pearl, has never been truly externalised, and it 
is for this reason that Masons are accustomed to 
speak of that which they build in their hearts. 
The House of Doctrine is also the House of Con- 
sciousness, which only reaches its fullest status 
when it includes the all ; between now and then 
there is a peculiar intermediate state, wherein that 
which lies behind doctrine and constitutes the 
justification thereof may become part of our ex- 
perience. Meanwhile those aspects of the logical 
understanding which are occupied with the ab- 
stract notion of things, though they cannot com- 
prehend them by an act of union, are in a condi- 
tion of widowhood and loss. The state of union 
is that state which we call experience in the high- 
est, wherein we know as we are known ; and so 
long as we live in the widowhood we live so 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

long among substitutes, which we may express, 
if we please, as the condition of those who utter 
the Name of Adonai but not that of Tetragrammaton^ 
who are content perforce with the Word of Sub- 
stitution in place of the Word of Life. It is also 
in this sense that Masonry on its surface side is a 
summary in symbolism of our mortal life and 
memorialises the widowhood of the rational faculty 
of that faculty which ever in its heart desires the 
great things but attains them only in signs of sac- 
ramental conception which clings also to faith 
as the most precious of all gifts for those who are 
denied vision. The Secret Tradition is concerned 
with the vision that begins in faith and with its 
attainment by the opening of that door which 
gives upon the infinite. 

We have now to proceed one step further in 
our consideration of the high mysteries that be- 
long to this preliminary part. Throughout the 
immemorial sequence of all initiations there is that 
which is the harmony of all, the point of their 
union, the identity of their catholic intention ; now 
this is the tacit, apparently unconcerted, agree- 
ment by which they have combined to represent 
the transition from theoretical consideration to 
actual experience of the great things firstly, as a 
passage from darkness to light ; and secondly, as a 
progression from death to life. Death is ever 
inflicted mystically upon the Candidate, and that 
to which he is restored is mystical life. 

But these subjects are introduced in their 

The Craft and the High Grades 

application (a) to doctrine as a symbol of spiritual 
life, and (b) to life in the individual spirit. While 
they are the most pregnant and profound, they are 
also the most simple form of symbolism. All 
religions testify to the literal exactness of their 
similitude. The comparison of light and darkness 
may tend indeed at times to deceive us, presenting 
here and there a certain aspect of fallacy, but it is 
in virtue of eternal truth that the birth of man 
into consciousness on the material plane is con- 
trasted with the opening of the soul into con- 
sciousness of supernatural life. Before this there 
is only the soul's sleep in the matter of the body. 
That death pictured in the Mysteries is therefore 
in no sense physical, but is mystical, like the 
resurrection which follows it, and that which is 
true of all other systems is true in a pre-eminent 
degree of the most important ceremony through 
which the Candidate passes in Masonry. There 
is more than one side to its symbolism. So far as 
manifestation is concerned, it is the Secret Doctrine 
which dies therein, and it will be understood by 
Masons when I say that the symbolism offers only 
the picture of a partial and imperfect restoration, 
being into the land of shadow rather than the 
land of light. The reason is that the loss is not 
atoned for, and hence Craft Masonry is wait- 
ing for a day of salvation which has not been 
declared therein. The symbolism also memorial- 
ises the internment of man's highest part in the 
body of physical life. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

The experience which is allocated to the 
Candidate is that he is brought back whence he 
came, carrying the suggestions and the portents of 
a wonderful experience, the purport of which 
he can only realise in part. And the whole 
Lodge closes in expectation. The quest con- 
tinues henceforward, as if for ever and ever. But 
there is another form of symbolism, some intima- 
tions of which will be given at the term of our 
whole research, when it will be found that the 
Mystery with which we are dealing is really the 
concealment of the Divine in the universe. It is 
the restriction which the law of manifestation h-as 
erected as the bounds thereof which law is in- 
herent, not imposed, in the limitations of personal 
consciousness. But on our part we shall do well 
at the moment to keep in view the simpler aspects 
of symbolism, while admitting that the aspects 
are many. 

There is also another counsel : in attempting 
to summarise that which is expressed in the Craft 
Grades, we must not be misled by the accidents, 
though these have also their meaning, because the 
recipient is traversing throughout a region of 
parable and similitude under a Divine Guidance 
and as an especial part of God's service, that he 
may attain the reward of such service which is 
the fuller light of truth. Once more, therefore, and 
always, it is the old counsel and undertaking, by 
which those who can so govern their own natures 
that they do lead a certain life, shall become par- 


The Craft and the High Grades 

takers of doctrine which is hidden from the world 
at large. The counsel here more especially con- 
cerns a spiritual building, of which the Candi- 
date must be himself the chief stone, shewing that 
the material is within him ; that on the external 
side he is a part of the Temple which is to come, 
and more inwardly that he has personally to be 
erected into a perfect building following those 
plans which are communicated to him in the 
teachings of Freemasonry. It is a work which 
is begun, continued and ended in God, and the 
resources of language are drawn upon to assure the 
Candidate, firstly, that the spiritual building is his 
own temple and not an earthly monument ; 
secondly, that its erection progresses during the 
course of his advancment in the science ; and, 
thirdly, that in its proper understanding such an 
advancement is an ascent from earth to heaven by 
the path of Divine Law. 

But by the fatality which inheres in the 
mystery and, ab origine symboli^ was part, as I have 
said, of the design, it is not possible for Masonry 
to give him the complete process, the Catholic 
instruction, or the essential matter of the plan ; the 
true plans were never deposited in Temple or 
crypt of Temple. The desolation in respect of 
Masonry is that it has these designs no longer ; it 
becomes therefore, and remains, the custodian and 
master of the initiate's moral welfare, outside 
which it can only counsel him to proceed on his 
own initiative and see what he can discover in the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Hidden Mysteries. It is in this sense, and during 
the progress of this work, that he always remains 
a Craftsman. 

To sum up now on both sides, that which is 
expressed in the Craft Grades is the ethic of life 
as the veil of the whole mystery, and I have 
said enough in a previous work regarding the 
catholic appeal and ultimate incapacity of this 
part of the subject, considered as the basis of an 
Instituted Mystery. It is only the basis by sub- 
terfuge and is the curtain that has to be drawn. 
The symbolism itself memorises that which ought 
to follow and that which cannot be communi- 
cated because of the aeonian loss. Those, there- 
fore, who say that Masonry, with its moral instruc- 
tion, has nothing but the commonplaces of the 
code of conduct to offer as the reward of initia- 
tion, say what is utterly true, but in so doing they 
produce the fullest evidence of their own inade- 
quate warrants. In the world of things as they 
are, the Craft fulfils its entire office as a record of 
the loss of the union ; it testifies in parables to the 
existence of the great things, and it keeps green 
the remembrance concerning them. To those, 
however few, who are properly prepared, there is 
no more precious gift, because they can see be- 
yond it. Masonry is also the counsel of a quest 
continued henceforward, and if we are able to 
discern and interpret its strange lights and shadows, 
I know of nothing more fruitful. 

Whenever that time comes, in universal or 

The Craft and the High Grades 

individual experience, for the things which are 
here and now lost to be restored to the sanctuary 
that is within, the Craft will once and for all recite 
the closing of the Lodge in every grade of the 
work, giving place thereafter to the office of the 
truths and graces that have been signified for 
so long a time. They err in their fondness, 
and in the deeps of their dreaming, who 
think of things which might be expected to 
follow in the symbolic order as a true sequel 
to the Craft : they err, that is, who look per- 
chance to find them within the measures of the 
same horizon and under the same Symbolic 

The Craft is a symbol of loss, and as such it 
is complete and perfect after its own manner ; all 
that which fulfils it according to the measure of 
ritual and in the world of instituted communica- 
tions lies without it and far away, supposing that 
there is anything by possibility and in very deed 
of symbolism. Now, it is just this point that is the 
concern of the whole inquiry, and therefrom will 
arise the connecting and expectant questions of 
what is contained in other and later Masonic 
Symbolism whether the strict experience is 
veiled thereby, or whether we may not have to 
pass out of all Masonry, real or implied, to attain, 
if not in experience then in an act of symbolism, 
that which we seek. For the moment, in any 
case, we are brought into the presence of a sharp 
alternative, as follows : (a) that there is no true 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

horizon in Masonry outside the Craft Grades, or 
(b) that the wisdom which created the emble- 
matic Craft gave up, or suggested, other forms 
and voices from the deeps thereof. As a last 
word, therefore, of this section, the position in 
which the unfinished experiment is left by these 
Degrees is essential to the whole subject. It is 
the testimony that the Kingdom, which is nearer 
than the lover and the beloved, is yet far from the 
world without ; that man on the external side is 
remote from his proper term ; that the Power 
and the Glory are seen only through a great veil 
of substitution ; and that here we have no 
abiding city, house, or temple. But the con- 
fessed purpose of the High Grades or their 
implicit when it is not expressed is to add some- 
thing to the Craft which it does not, on its own 
part, set forth. And of that which we should 
look for I have indicated in these lines the 
purport ; to re-express it in utter simplicity, it is 
the Divine Life manifested in the world and the 

Of such is our quest, and it is here and now 
inaugurated ; but as I have been dealing in the 
present section with a very difficult side of an 
exceedingly involved subject, I shall hold myself 
excused beforehand for whatever seeming repeti- 
tion may prove unavoidable in an attempt to 
take my readers through a more comprehensive 
summary of the thesis regarded as a whole, and 
I shall express it, for their greater convenience, in 


The Craft and the High Grades 

a series of numbered paragraphs. They may be 
compared with those of the Prolegomena and 
have not been included therein because the two 
sequences serve each a purpose apart. I should 
add that the clauses are in reality more than a 
summary, as they contain also a forecast, and as 
such are not only an elucidation of what has 
preceded, but an introduction to much that is 
to come. 

Mysterium Absconditum Latomorum 

1 . Craft Masonry is the story of an episode in 
the erection of a great Temple. 

2. This Temple is part of the story of God's 
providence in respect of Israel. 

3. On the literal surface, such providence is 
now a matter of past interest only. 

4. The episode is also of no consequence unless 
it has an inward meaning. 

5. There is, however, a two-fold meaning : 
(a) in the catastrophe which is recounted ; (b) in 
that which lies behind the idea of the building. 

6. The catastrophe was the enforced with- 
drawal of the Maker-in-chief of the veil, with 
whom perished (a) the true plans and (b) a Divine 
Secret, symbolised by a Word or verbal formula. 

7. All Craft Masonry is on the Quest of this 

8. The fact that there was a Divine Secret 
connected with the building-design intimates that 
the story is concerned with no ordinary edifice. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

9. When we turn to the records of Jewish 
tradition, we learn of that which is symbolised by 
the erection of Temples and Palaces. 

10. We find also that in this tradition there 
are particulars of a verbal loss, and these are not 
to be understood literally any more than is the 
loss in Masonry. 

1 1. I suppose that in both places the same kind 
of misapprehension has ensued through the in- 
attention and grossness of the material mind : on 
the one hand, the loss in Jewry has been under- 
stood as something missing from the language 
owing to exile and bondage ; on the other, the 
rank and file of Masonic initiates have rested 
content in the assumption that their loss is a 
pass-word belonging to a Grade which has 

12. Some part of the records containing the 
Secret Tradition in Israel was emerging into the 
knowledge of Latin-reading Europe at the period 
when Symbolical Masonry was emerging also on 
the horizon of history and thought. 

13. We know, therefore, from what quarter 
of the intellectual and esoteric world there has 
come to us the root-matter of Craft legend and 

14. The written Jewish tradition pre-supposes 
throughout a tradition which did not pass into 
writing. The Zohar^ for example, which is its 
chief memorial, refers everywhere to a great 
body of doctrine as something perfectly well 


The Craft and the High Grades 

known by the circle of initiation for which the 
work was alone intended. 

15. The body of traditional doctrine is there- 
fore but partially included by the Zohar. 

1 6. To supply what is wanting in this great 
text there arose the endless mass of commentary, 
some part of which has passed into Latin, but it 
is questionable how far this incorporates further 
elements of a Secret Doctrine and how far it repre- 
sents the reveries and independent excogitations 
of a later age. 

17. The masters of Craft Symbolism may have 
been acquainted with the corpus non scriptum of 
the Secret Teaching, but we do not know, and the 
question is not vital. Its roots they knew otherwise. 

1 8. They were certainly acquainted with a 
more universal Secret Tradition, which comes 
down from the furthest past : it may be described 
broadly as the doctrine of Mystical Death and 

19. Behind this doctrine there lies the whole 
world of mystic experience, which is a matter of 
practice and not a matter of belief or philosophical 

20. Craft symbolism is concerned with Mystic 
Death and Rebirth. 

21. It is, however, the beginning and not the 
end of this mystery. 

22. A shadow of the Divine Secret is alone 
communicated therein ; it may be called the 
Secret of Death. 

VOL. i. E 65 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

23. There came a time when the Holy Order 
of the Royal Arch was established, presumably to 
restore the Secret in full, but it only delineates in 
another form of symbolism the specific nature of 
the loss. 

24. There came also certain High Grades 
which invented various devices arising out of 
Craft Symbolism, and shewing how the external 
Temple was completed without the plans, how 
the Master-Builder was vindicated, and what 
circumstances led up to the erection of the Second 

25. Speaking broadly, these Grades have very 
slight traces of the Secret Tradition out of which 
the Craft arose. 

26. There came, in fine, the Christian High 
Grades, which claim to replace the Secret of Death 
communicated in the Craft by a Secret of Life 
revealed in Christ, and thus to restore the Word. 

27. Some of these Grades belong to the Secret 
Tradition, some of them bear its traces, and some 
are offices of vain observance. 

28. It is in this manner that there arises the 
present work as a record of the evidence of a root- 
connection between the Craft and the High 
Grades expressed by the way of symbolism. 

29. It is designed also to shew that Masonry 
in its catholic interpretation formulates an im- 
portant aspect of the Secret Tradition in Christian 

30. And this Tradition being concerned with 


The Craft and the High Grades 

a Great Experiment carried to a certain term, and 
with an experience communicated at the term, 
the work is further and finally designed to intimate 
the nature of the Experiment and of the experience 
attained therein. 

3 1 . The Great Experiment is a Mystery of the 
Christ-Life, and if Masonry is a memorial regard- 
ing it, or a reflection thereof, it will be understood 
readily that a Mystery of Building which began in 
Israel could only be completed in Christ. 

32. It does not follow herefrom that we shall 
find the completion in perfection, but it will be 
much if we find the traces. 



FOR the theosophical Jew amidst the penalties of 
the greater exile, the Divine Mystery of the 
universe was but another side of the Mystery 
of God's Providence in Israel ; if the course 
of the world and life explained his state and 
place in a certain measure, and if in this 
manner he also was shewn to be the child of 
circumstances, there was for him, in his reverie, 
a very much higher sense, and a deeper sense by 
far, in which that providence, ever strange and ever 
wonderful, explained the manifest universe. It 
was by the letters of his language that the world 
was built of old ; it had been externalised for his 
sake, and if the literal side of the inspired Word 
did in any way concern humanity at large, the 
hidden and inward side concerned only himself 
and his people. The secret, traditional, subsurface 
doctrine was thus the heritage of all who were 
most elect and set apart among a nation that was 
utterly elect in every generation and family. 


The Craft and the High Grades 

There was nothing for this reason to compare, 
in desirability, in urgency and necessity, with the 
study of the Secret Tradition. It was to be dwelt 
on by day and by night ; the day uttered speech 
concerning it, and the night shewed knowledge. 
It was a new heaven, wherein it was proclaimed 
continually that the former things had passed 
away. A part of it was expressed, but a part was 
implied only, and every new explication was 
assumed into the world of Atziluth, which is the 
world of the Holy One, and was crowned by God 
therein. The crown with which it was adorned 
was emblazoned, as with precious stones, by letters 
of Divine Names ; and seeing that enthusiasms of 
this order were without prejudice to one another, 
and were not to be interpreted exclusively, it 
was equally true that if such an explication be- 
longed to the order of highest mystic wisdom, 
it was placed also on the head of the just man 
who had announced it ; his crown also it was ; 
and it would decorate him for ever and ever. 

Happy and illustrious, therefore, were those 
who were dedicated utterly to the study, for it 
not only redeemed them, increasing their beatitude 
in the world which was called life, but it increased 
the accidental glory and bliss of God in a manner 
which would be understood readily by orthodox 
catholic theology, for it has analogous develop- 
ments of its own. Amidst the novelties thus 
made possible, it was most necessary, how- 
ever, to be sure of the exactitude of what was 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

expressed newly concerning the Doctrine, or it 
would be outside the law and the order, and would 
entail punishments rather than rewards. It must 
be of the true legitimacy, must remain in the line 
of tradition and must follow without a break from 
that which was antecedent therein. There were 
many cogent reasons, as, for example (a) that 
God created the world by means of the Secret 
Doctrine, just as He formed or built it by means of 
the Hebrew letters, and a false development there- 
from would be a reckless creation in chaos ; (b) 
it was the jewels of the heavenly spouse, and there 
must be no counterfeit specimens ; (c) it was the 
perfect part of the Law, and the Law does not 
suffer arbitrary accretions. 

Now, I have spoken of a hidden meaning con- 
cerning the first Tables of the Law and their frac- 
ture by Moses ; as an illustration of Kabalistic 
exegesis, it may be mentioned that even the story 
of the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man is 
held to have been written, as it was also enacted, 
with conscious reference to Israel during the dis- 
pensation of the First Covenant. The Law on 
Sinai was intended to undo the Fall, at least in 
respect of the chosen people. When Moses as- 
cended the sacred mountain the curse fell away 
from the sons of Abraham ; when he came down 
carrying the Tables, what he brought was the 
restored Law of Paradise the Law of Mercy, of 
union and of glory. But between those two 
symbolical and actual points of time Israel had 


The Craft and the High Grades 

re-enacted the Fall by its idolatry and wantonness. 
The breaking of the Tables opened the eyes of 
the people to the enormity of their acts, and it is 
in this sense that the eyes of Adam and Eve are 
said in Genesis to have been opened, so that they 
saw their own nakedness. When it is recited 
further that 'Jehovah Elohim provided our first 
parents with garments of skin, this signifies in 
respect of Jewry though of course without pre- 
judice to the separate sense of the first story that 
in place of the Law of innocence there was given 
ultimately, on other tables, the Law of judgment, 
of severity and trespass. The text from which I 
am deriving my thesis that is to say, the Sepher 
Ha Zohar, or Book of Splendour adds that Moses 
is predestined to return on earth and to proclaim 
the Word lost by the sin of Israel which Word 
is the true name of the Sheklnah in other terms, 
that name which would have been delivered from 
Sinai if the chosen people had not proved un- 
worthy. The office of Sheklnah in connection with 
Messiah^ as it is developed in the same text, con- 
tains the root-matter of the relation between the 
Craft and the Christian High Grades of Masonry, 
and in this manner, but without dwelling on the 
especial points, I come round to my proper sub- 
ject, which I will re-express for convenience as 
follows : 

(a) The makers of symbolical Masonry, 
within the limits of the Craft Degrees and the 
Holy Royal Arch, were initiates of the Secret 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Tradition in Kabalism ; (b) they were, in my 
opinion, more than this, but this much is at the 
moment enough for my purpose ; (c) it was from 
this source in the main that they derived their 
emblematic materials ; (d) they spiritualised Solo- 
mon's Temple in the sense that it was spiritualised 
by Kabalism ; (e) they drew also from it their 
notion of something substituted in place of some- 
thing that was removed ; (f) they derived in 
the same manner certain intimations concerning 
other things that for purposes of safe custody 
were taken from the first Temple into places of 
concealment, and were brought therefrom at the 
building of the Second Temple ; (g) these intima- 
tions were woven into a legend, the central episode 
of which is not Jewish, for it belongs to a wider 

Craft Masonry has been heretofore supposed to 
deal only with matter of legend which is justified 
by a moral purpose, and I conceive that I deserve 
well of my initiation if I shew that it has higher 

I will now take the chief points in their 
order, and first as regards what I have called the 
mystery of building in Israel. It must be under- 
stood that the Temple of Solomon followed a 
Divine plan, and in the hypothesis of the whole 
subject that plan was communicated to David 
because he was a man after God's own heart 
that is to say, he received it as St. John received 
the plans of the later House of Doctrine on the 


The Craft and the High Grades 

breast of Christ. Masons who know in what 
sense their own Lodges do each represent (a) the 
Temple of the Brotherhood at large, considered 
as one stately and superb edifice filling the four 
quarters of the globe, and (b) the external universe 
itself, or, in the words of one of the Midrashim^ 
the proportion of the height, the proportion 
of the depth and the lateral proportions, the 
measurements of the body of God, which are the 
delineation of the heavenly Temple these will 
understand that the first Temple at Jerusalem was 
planned after such manner and that all its measure- 
ments were mystical. The same description ap- 
plies to the precious objects which were located 
in the Holy of Holies ; for example, the Taber- 
nacle, when it was erected in the wilderness, was, 
according to another Midrash^ brought to Moses 
as a bride is brought to the bridegroom a state- 
ment which will be perfectly unintelligible to the 
ordinary reader, but it is explained by the relation of 
the Tabernacle to the Shekmah^ while this Indwell- 
ing Glory was the Spiritual Spouse of the Law- 
giver. When the Tabernacle was placed in the 
Temple the latter was inhabited by the Shekinab. 
A similar involved sacramentalism attached to the 
rest of the hallows, and in this manner the Temple 
which had its root on earth, because it was a real 
Temple, was raised and exalted through the 
whole world of symbolism. The literature of 
Kabalism concerned itself comparatively little 
with the root, but extended on every side whatso- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

ever was expressed and implied in the emblematic 
part ; and when those who were acquainted with 
the tradition drew from its records the materials 
of emblematic Freemasonry, we have not to seek 
for their intimations on the subject of a mystery 
in building. 

They knew by reference to their source that 
the universe is a Temple erected to the glory of 
the Lord ; that the Elohim who operated in the 
creation were a Temple of the Divine Seed which 
germinated therein ; that the wise on earth are the 
columns of the Temple which is in heaven ; and that 
the Shekinah, which is glory present in manifesta- 
tion, is also a Palace of Prayers. All Kabalistic 
Palaces or Temples may be regarded as a reflection 
into the heights of that which was built by Solo- 
mon ; but this is another way of saying that the 
latter was an earthly symbol reflected from the 
world of the Archetype. When it ceased to exist 
on earth it was removed into that world and was 
nearer to theosophical Jewry than when Jewry 
beheld it with the mere eyes of mortality. The 
whole Sephirotic system of Kabalism became a 
mystery of Temples, and the four worlds were the 
worlds thereof. It was the same with the Sacred 
Names ; for example, the word Adonai^ which was 
substituted for Tetragrammaton^ became the Palace 
of Tetragrammaton^ and was the nearest likeness of 
all to the Temple at Jerusalem. The Shekinah, 
which dwelt in that Temple, symbolised the In- 
dwelling Presence of the Divine in man, and 


The Craft and the High Grades 

hence it is said that man was made from the earth 
on which the Temple was afterwards built. Out 
of this notion there arises the idea of an external- 
ised edifice that is to come, and it is hence said 
in the Zohar that when the Holy One shall 
remember the people Israel, He will cause them 
to return into their country, and the Temple shall 
be then rebuilt. But it should be understood that 
the country and Temple are not of this world. 

In the fervid minds of the Kabalists it was in- 
evitable that the development of such notions 
carried them far away from the earth on which 
they began. The dream drew them through the 
mystery of the Garden of Eden, which they situ- 
ated in contiguity to the Kingdom of this world, 
called Malkuth in the Sephirotic system. Herein 
there were seven Palaces or Temples, which were 
habitations and, in a sense, stages of progression, 
through which the souls of the just passed on their 
journey upward, after their departure from this life. 
These were the many mansions of the Father's 
house. The first was entered by those who had 
never denied their Master ; the second, by those 
who had suffered, for the soul's sake, in the 
moral and physical sense ; the third, by those 
who had wept for the destruction of the Temple 
signifying the loss of the Secret Doctrine and 
they were consoled therein by Messias ; the fourth 
was entered by those who had mourned for Zion 
and Jerusalem, and had been slain by unbelievers ; 
the fifth was the place of true penitents ; the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

sixth was entered by those who had loved their 
Master with the true love of the zealous ; and the 
seventh, which was the centre of all, was, this 
notwithstanding, that which was visited by every- 
one at the moment of death, and from this place 
they were relegated to their proper Temple. They 
were all places of tarrying, not of ultimate abode. 
Above them was the higher Eden, and there were 
also the higher Temples or Palaces, analogous to 
the lower, and also seven in number. Therein 
the glory of the Holy One was manifested above, 
as the Shekinah was manifested below. They 
were Palaces of the Mystery of Faith, they were 
mystic Palaces of Prayer, Palaces of the Stages 
of Prayer, Palaces of the Mystery of Mysteries. 

The enumeration might be continued through 
a longer space than it can claim for the present 
purpose. I will add only that there were even 
Temples of the deeps, infernal Palaces or Mansions, 
forming gradations of the abyss, from the first, 
which was a pit or well of iniquity, to the seventh 
or last, which was that of the ecstasy of evil, 
symbolised as intoxicating wine. This was the 
wine of death, and the juice of the forbidden fruit 
which Eve gave to Adam. 

The dream of the Temples in the heights re- 
acted on the earthly Temple for the further glorifi- 
cation of its memory ; and thus, as I have said, 
was Solomon's Temple spiritualised. Much of it 
will be mere fantasy to the modern mind, but 
behind it lies the doctrine of the peculiar sanctity 


The Craft and the High Grades 

on earth which is the path of election to the 
unseen worlds, wherein the end of sanctity is 
realised. It serves also to shew that the Secret 
Doctrine was itself a spiritual Temple based on the 
part of earth, which is the literal word, but raised 
into all the heights. 

I have said already sufficient on the subject of 
a loss suffered by Israel in respect of a Divine 
Word to make it unnecessary in this section to 
do more than clear certain issues. The name 
which was suppressed in the wilderness is not to 
be identified with the true form of Tetragram- 
maton, so that there is more than one word in 
regard to which Jewry is in a state of widow- 
hood. Respecting the true form of Tetragram- 
maton, I have presented so far only one side of 
this subject, and it is in a sense the most exotic side ; 
it is something like the doctrine of Temples and 
Palaces, for it began a little nearer to the earth 
that is to say, in the alleged fact that the name of 
Jehovah was pronounced only once a year, when 
the High Priest entered the most Holy Place. 
The last person who uttered it was Simeon the 
Just, and after the destruction of the Second 
Temple a prohibition was understood in respect 
of it. It came about in this manner that Adonai 
was substituted for reading purposes, wheresoever 
Tod, He, Vau, He, occurs in the sacred text. 
The suppression in the course of time served for the 
exaltation of the word ; that which must not be 
pronounced came to be regarded as nomen inener- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

rabile, at least by ordinary skill ; it was a mystery 
of knowledge, and those who could attain thereto 
had the forces of Nature at their command. This 
is the root of Kabalistic magic, leading in its 
ultimate developments to all kinds of intellectual 
corruption and to the impostures connected with 
the title of Baal Shem, or Masters of the Divine 
Name. But Tetragrammaton was reserved and in- 
communicable in respect of another hypothesis, 
because it expresses eternity and the nature of the 
Divine Essence ; it is referred to in this sense in 
the Book of Wisdom. According to the Talmud, 
both natural and eternal death were visited on 
those who dared to utter the sacred word in 
public, metaphorically because the effect was to 
subvert heaven and earth. As a matter of precau- 
tion it was represented in texts like the Zohar 
by the letters Tod, Daleth, Vau, Daleth, or by 
a double Tod and the point called Kamefz. Its 
nearest equivalent was not Adonai but Aleph, He, 
Tod, He, and was another substitution, itself liable 
to be replaced in Kabalistic works by a triple 
Aleph. It seems to follow that the sanctuary loss 
is not exactly a loss at all, but a law of exile and 
of punishment ; and Masonry itself, amidst all 
its quest for the buried verbal formula, is continu- 
ally hinting in side Rituals and things arising there- 
from that the formula is not interned, but is near 
to the lips of all. I do not mean that this is 
frequently or ever put forward upon the literal 
surface, but it is the recurring voice of the symbol- 


The Craft and the High Grades 

ism. We now know how it arose and whence it 

It will be seen as we proceed that I do not hold 
any special brief on behalf of the Royal Arch in 
its existing textual state, but I know after what 
manner it can be said to escape the most drastic 
forms of criticism by a study of the symbols which 
are supposed to testify against it. It is therefore 
additionally important at the present point to 
shew that its chief material on the historical side 
of its legend derives, like that of the Craft, from 
a similar source in the Secret Tradition. The 
intimation is only a variant of the account in the 
Second Book of Maccabees^ but the differences are 
vital. The apocryphal text states that the prophet 
Jeremias at the time of the Captivity concealed the 
Tabernacle, the Ark and the Altar of Incense in 
a cave on Mount Nebo. This is cited by the 
Talmudists, though they appear to have rejected 
the book. But one of the Midrashim affirms (a) 
that the Ark was hidden in the Temple itself by 
command of Josias, the king, and (b) that other 
hallows, including the Tabernacle, tables and 
chapiters of the Pillars were concealed in vaults 
beneath. We see, therefore, from what source the 
inventors of the Arch Degree and the Cryptic 
Degrees, which lead up to the Royal Arch^ derived 
their notion concerning the existence of certain 
buried treasures. 

I have indicated that it would be easy to 
multiply the instances, the allusions and the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

allegories of Temple Building according to the 
Secret Doctrine in Israel. Whatsoever is mani- 
fest is a sanctuary for that which is withdrawn. 
We have seen also that the world itself is a 
Temple, a Palace, a sacred and glorious House 
built in the honour of Him who is Lord of all 
the Mysteries, Mysteries of Nature and Grace 
and the formal Mysteries instituted to preserve 
and pass on the hidden knowledge concerning 
Him. One side of the doctrine of macrocosmic 
building is described under the allegory of a King 
who proposed to construct a number of edifices 
as, for example, the sun, the planets and this 
habitable earth of ours. He employed an archi- 
tect, who worked under his sole authority as 
the Master-Builder under the aegis of a King in 
Israel. The name of the King was Chokmah, who 
is Wisdom in transcendence, the second Sephira or 
Divine Hypostasis. The name of the architect 
was ^Matrona^ literally, the Mother in transcen- 
dence, Einah or Supreme Understanding, the third 
Hypostasis, who worked by way of emanation, 
and in her artifice appeared as the lower Shekinah, 
the Mother in manifestation. She employed an 
Intendant of Buildings, and by her authority man 
was created in the image of the Elohim. 

Again, the Secret Doctrine is a House or 
Temple, within which is the Eternal Wisdom 
not the Sephirotic Chokmah, but that which is 
hidden in the Eternal Thought and never un- 
veiled or perceived. It is obvious that this 


The Craft and the High Grades 

Temple is also in concealment ; it is called the 
Voice of Jacob, the Great Voice, which is too 
subtle for the ears of sense. About it, however, 
there is the House of the Word, which is heard 
everywhere and is the Word that passes into 

As regards the material Temple of Solomon, 
which was yet so utterly mystical in all its parts 
and dimensions, this Sanctuary of Zion was 
called the hill of incense and it was established in 
the joy of the whole earth. Its geographical site 
was described and regarded as the centre of the 
world. In this way it had analogy with another 
Temple, which is mentioned but not described 
that Palace at the Centre which was the peculiar 
abode of the Holy One. 

The Talmuds of Jerusalem and Babylon are 
more concerned, however, than the Zohar with 
the external building. There is the story of the 
trees planted about its precincts by Solomon and 
bearing fruit of gold. When the wind blew, 
the fruit fell and was gathered up by the priests. 
Things like this are curious in their way, but they 
belong to the spirit of fantasy rather than the 
spirit of inward doctrine. 

For the rest, the chosen people dwelt in the 
light and shadow of the glorious place, and 
beyond them was the outer world, like a vast 
reflection of its precincts. The material Temple 
was the Law as it was literally delivered on Sinai, 
full of secondary radiance and derived truth. 

VOL. i. F 8 1 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Within it was the Holy of Holies, but this was 
the dwelling of Shekinah, the spirit which ani- 
mated the mass, the Secret Doctrine, the holy 
tradition, of which Israel at large was unworthy, 
the Law of the first Tables. But the breaking of 
these prefigured the destruction of the First and 
Second Temples, and, as the years rolled on, the 
people passed from evil to greater evil. The 
silent prophecy was realised in respect of the 
first calamity, and that which it was possible to 
rebuild after the captivity in Babylon was the 
imitation only of something which itself was not 
finished, by the Masonic hypothesis, according to 
the perfect plan. Then followed the second 
sorrow, when, this time by the hypothesis of 
the Secret Doctrine, everything was lost but the 
Doctrine. The seed of future liberation and 
return out of exile is contained in that treasury, 
so that as in Masonry nothing is irretrievably 
lost. Behind the cloud of substitution the pearls 
lie concealed, and when the people take possession 
of their inheritance, that will be the time as 
we have seen when the Holy One shall re- 
member Israel. The analogy of this is the end 
of the Masonic quest. 




THE vast expository and historical literature 
of Masonry in the chief countries of Europe, and 
in the world that we call new, has approached its 
subject of research after all manners and from 
nearly all points of comparison. It has spoken 
of the things which matter and of those which 
signify scarcely ; it has opened every way that 
seemed practicable to the skill of inquest ; it might 
be said that it had left nothing undone, were it not 
that the great subjects are inexhaustible. But as 
if that infinite were suddenly to be declared anew, 
which is declared everywhere, there arises, out of 
all expectation in the consciousness of the normal 
mind, that construction of the mystery some 
rumour and outline of which I have given in the 
work that preceded this. The sketch of the 
symbolical position which served a specific pur- 
pose in The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal, not 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

only of necessity but by design, provided the 
mere preface and left for a larger opportunity the 
thesis that calls to be stated in the present place. 

In so far as the Craft Grades can be said to 
have made the Mason upright, he has sought out 
every invention in the high supplements, sequels, 
extensions and exotic conceptions with which we 
shall be now and henceforth concerned. In some, 
as we shall find, the consanguinities are rather of 
the ghostly order than that of real flesh ; but 
there are intimations of a spiritual or at least of a 
psychic affinity. In others this phantom alliance 
itself dissolves, and there is only a marriage which 
seems to have been made in offices for the registra- 
tion of Degrees rather than in Heaven, or in its 
reflection, which is the Church on earth. Setting 
imagery aside, the simple Masonic qualification 
exacted from Candidates, and testifying to the 
fact that the Grade, Order or Rite has enrolled 
itself under the Masonic Banner, constitutes the 
sole kinship. Most things which arise out of 
devices of this kind can only be considered herein 
for the purpose of removing them from the 
sequence as nihil ad acta Latomorum. In so far 
as they belong to the Secret Tradition, they enter 
separately therein ; in so far as they are con- 
cerned with its term, they reach it by another 
road of symbolism ; in so far as they continue 
to exist, they must be regarded as erecting their 
particular habitations, even their holy houses, in 
secret wayside places, over against their particular 


The Craft and the High Grades 

streams and lagoons of thought. Too often, 
however, they are not the Catholic House of 
Secret Doctrine, or even a chapel of ease which 
holds therefrom ; but their fortuitous and en- 
forced relationship is apart, fortunately, from any 
design of claiming a more intimate bond of union. 
There are other Degrees which on the surface 
are in the same position, but they have obscure 
roots of identity with the subject-matter of the 
Craft, and the reason is that, either by transmis- 
sion or revival, they represent an analogous 
memorial of the Secret Tradition. These are 
important after their own manner, not only in 
themselves but in their Masonic aspects, and they 
will call for careful judgment. Yet even these, 
in spite of the closer relation which is thus estab- 
lished, are again better recognisable as inde- 
pendent testimonies to the Secret Doctrine, than 
as things Masonic in their nature. There are 
still others, in fine, which embody that logical 
understanding and vital essence as principles behind 
the High Grades, in the absence of which they 
may be exalted in their own degree to any heights 
of intelligence, but they are not Grades of Masonry ; 
they are neither its ground nor its development. 
It will be in virtue of the test or touchstone pro- 
vided by this principle that we shall find in its 
proper place the integral connection between 
certain orders of Christian chivalry, Christian 
symbolism, offices of the Christian apostolate 
between these and the Craft experiment, though it 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

does not follow, as I have hinted hereinafter, that the 
mind of the Craft has power to recognise it till its 
own consciousness has been extended, and though 
it sometimes happens that those who now hold 
them when they would most exalt their sig- 
nificance are most disposed to separate them 
entirely from Masonry. 

This is scarcely the place to discuss errors of 
enthusiasm belonging to the latter order, but the 
fact that the rulers of the Craft in England and 
its dependencies have elected to disassociate from 
the Masonic object whatever is outside the funda- 
mental Degrees, and the supplement of the Royal 
Arch^ has produced an illogical rejoinder on the part 
of some High Grade Masons. It is true that the 
Masonic qualification is required for any external 
Degree, but, this notwithstanding, the recipients 
who have thus earned their title are almost disposed 
to cast from them the ladder by which they have 
ascended, and to take pride in the fact that, exalted 
and enthroned as they are, the Craft with its more 
restricted horizon has become rather a subject for 
their patronage. As a fact, by adopting the course 
which I have mentioned, it has perhaps done the 
only thing that was admissible within the logic 
of its own mind. Intellectually it is possible for 
its members, collectively or individually, to re- 
cognise certain of the High Grades, supposing 
that it can accept their titles ; but actually and in 
all reason it neither has nor can have any valid 
canon of criticism by which to distinguish between 


The Craft and the High Grades 

them, to affirm or deny concerning them. In the 
present state of its consciousness it has no ground 
of identification whereby it can establish the 
nature of its own loss, and till something is re- 
stored to the Sanctuary which shall furnish some 
portent of that loss, it is locally, and not univer- 
sally by an official decision arising out of special 
dispositions in certain Orients and Grand Lodges 
that it can accept the construction of the Chris- 
tian High Grades as to the nature thereof, and much 
more as to the specific restoration of its treasures. 
The act also remains exoteric in its nature and, 
within the official sphere, it cannot ascend higher. 
I should incline to hold this view in the present 
state of the case, even if other evidence should 
demonstrate fully that the Craft was originally 
intended to lead up to Christian Masonry after 
the same manner that Zoharic theosophy was 
once believed to introduce Christian doctrine. 

At the same time, that which is offered in the 
Christian Degrees being, as we shall find, a 
shadow reflected from the vital essence of the 
Secret Tradition itself is that only which 
can be held to supply anything, so that other 
claimants are put effectually out of court. 

A point of some importance has been estab- 
lished by way of accident herein, and it is the 
more interesting because in an unexpected manner 
it justifies or at least explains the procedure 
of the Craft in those cases and in those countries 
where it refuses to recognise the pretensions of 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

extended Grades, while at the same time it does 
not impeach those Grades. They constitute testi- 
monies apart which must be judged on their own 
merits, and as to these the Craft itself can pursue at 
present only a policy of silence. It can give no 
warrant to things which lie outside its horizon. In 
the existing stage of its development on the plane 
of symbolism, who shall convince it that the Law 
of Israel is fulfilled in the Law of Christ ? Who 
shall convince it, in the order of Hermetic science, 
that the testimony of spiritual Alchemy far from 
its own horizon may, and perhaps does, give 
answers that no one dreams of to questions which 
the Craft has been asking through the days and 
generations, but has found no response in its own 
oracles ? Only tentatively and dubiously it might 
confess if it knew only that Kabalism offers a 
reflection of its own subject or I should say 
rather a replica but help is none therein, for 
Kabalism utters only the same thing in the same 
tone of sorrow, and with the same heart of 

On the other hand, in those countries where 
the root-matter of the Masonic system has in- 
corporated something, whether much or little, 
from the High Grades, out of two things one has 
happened : the Rite as a whole including the 
Craft sections has suffered an inevitable change, 
and has either assumed a Christian motive and 
explanation, or alternately the Christian essentials 
which inhere in the High Grade portions have 


The Craft and the High Grades 

been fraudulently effaced. We shall recur to this 
point for its fuller consideration at a later stage. 

Setting, therefore, this question aside for the 
time being, and having regard to the utter im- 
portance of the Craft message, the first thing that 
must occur to us in connection with the High 
Grades is the reverence with which we should 
approach their claims ; and although on the 
surface they may seem in one sense conflicting, 
they are not so, even apparently, in the better 
and higher sense, while it is only in their im- 
proper understanding that they can be called 
exclusive of one another. I do not know that 
there is any one o.f them which, by the hypo- 
thesis or otherwise, appears to close the high 
debate of Masonry. So far as it is possible to 
co-ordinate the testimony of all the eloquent 
witnesses, they form in their combination the 
pillars of one temple, or perhaps more appealingly 
they are fragments of one gospel. Again, they 
are the same testimony in its variations through 
the ages and nations. It is such a work of colla- 
tion that constitutes the major part of my task, so 
that we may judge under our own lights, firstly, 
whether they do, subject to their assumptions and 
world of things implied, extend the spiritual 
edifice of Masonry ; and, secondly, whether the 
message which they deliver proves adequate so 
far as it goes, and enters into a logical sequence. 

The mode of reverence is, however, a mode of 
courtesy and involves no prejudgments, nor shall 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

we experience at their proper times any difficulty 
or reluctance in applying those tests which we 
shall find have been put into our hands or in 
abiding by the results obtained. It would be a 
sin against the literary sense if I forestalled con- 
clusions now by so much as one intimation, for 
we are entering on untravelled regions and making 
our own road. Both in England and Scotland 
the system of High Grades is so far in operation 
that of those which have been collected into Rites, 
the lesser degrees are communicated in groups, 
and those more important, which are in this man- 
ner isolated, are moderately in working order ; 
but they have never been made the subjects of 
a suggestive inquiry, while even as regards the 
Continent and America the present experiment 
stands alone in the literature of Masonry. It has 
therefore the additional task of seeking to create 
precedents rather than of following any, though 
in other respects I do not stand on the basis of my 
personal warrants only, for I speak with tradition 
behind me, and the memory of many worlds of 
initiation is stored up in my heart. 

If there were not an intimate connection 
between the Secret Tradition in Christian Times 
and the super-Masonic experiments, we should be 
dealing in the High Grades only with a far ex- 
tending realm of fantasy, and this study would not 
have entered into the written word. Now, seeing 
that the tradition itself, though it is old as the 
exile of our mortality, has assumed particular 


The Craft and the High Grades 

complexions through the ages of Christendom, 
and is either the inward source of Christian life or 
has adopted its veils, we shall be prepared a priori 
to find, and shall find in fact abundantly, that the 
place of Christianity in the High Grades is so 
much of first importance that there is nothing 
second in comparison. The preoccupations of 
those who created the several systems are there- 
fore declared from the beginning. They drew, 
however, from many worlds of tradition, worlds 
of invention, worlds of experience, so we shall see 
shortly in summary that there was more and far 
more than one chorus of hierophants. To the 
urgent, though tacit and sotto voce, questions of 
the Craft, many things answered. And as on the 
one side the Law of the Gospel was, under innum- 
erable phases, the recurring solution offered for the 
problems left over by the Law of Israel, when 
seen in the light of Craft Masonry, so there was a 
lesser host of Grades and Degrees, which sought 
to extend the Craft under the aegis of the Ancient 
Alliance. But there were others also, and there- 
fore the proper classification of the great mass of 
Degrees, and Rites containing Degrees, is the first 
matter to concern us here and now. 

If we set aside from consideration the purely 
fantasiast devices, which are detached for the 
most part and enter into no system, the High 
Grades are separable in the first instance into 
three great comprehensive classes, being (a) those 
of the Old Dispensation, confessing to the Craft 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

motive ; (b) those of the New Alliance, confessing 
to the Christian motive, as the necessary develop- 
ment and completion of the Craft motive ; and 
(c) those which are designed to incorporate some 
specific portion of the Secret Tradition in Chris- 
tian Times as a part of the Masonic system. I 
must not say that an exhaustive sub-division is 
possible in any case, but each class falls into 
sections which seem to include all that have any 
title to consideration, whether as important sym- 
bolically, historically, or in connection with our 
research. Class A responds to three periods of 
symbolic time, being (i) those Grades which pre- 
cede the catastrophe commemorated in the Legend 
of the Craft Degrees ; (2) those which arise out 
of it or are coincident immediately thereto ; and 
(3) those which are concerned with the erection 
of another Spiritual House, still under the Law of 
the First Covenant I mean, the Second Temple. 
It does not follow that with the exception 
of Mark Masonry and one or two Cryptic Grades 
any of these intervene, by their symbolism 
or otherwise, between Fellow Craft and Master, 
understood as grades of dignity. One precarious 
inference from the ultimate Craft Degree is a veiled 
intention to suggest that there were always titular 
Masters in addition to those who ruled paramount , 
over the great mystery of doctrine-building which 
at that time was at work hypothetically in Israel ; 
but it is entirely certain that this will not bear 
analysis. The Grades of Neophyte and Fellow 


The Craft and the High Grades 

Craft have no symbolical time except as to order 
in initiation, and no High Grades can precede 
these symbolically. We shall see and I have 
already intimated that there are many that do 
not really create a connection at all, and these are 
nihil ad rem ; but there are others which, although 
upon the surface they will seem open to the same 
charge, have imbedded in their symbolism a strange 
consanguinity and an arresting identity of in- 

In respect of Class B, the second of our com- 
prehensive classes, this is much more difficult to 
resolve into lesser elements ; but we may distin- 
guish (i) several Degrees which seek to provide a 
distinct sequel to the Legend of the Craft Degree, 
among the most important of which are those 
that respond to the motive in the cossais Grades 
of St. Andrew ; (2) those which incorporate a 
purely spiritual chivalry, like the Grade of Rose- 
Croix ; (3) those which institute a connection 
between Masonry and Templarism, and of such 
is the true Kadosb ; (4) those which incorporate 
Templarism without confessing on the surface to 
any Masonic connection, though they require the 
Masonic qualification ; (5) those which expressly 
attempt to exhibit a development from Jewish 
into Christian Masonry ; (6) those which com- 
memorate epochs of the Ancient Alliance in the 
minds of Christian Masons, e.g. Prince of the 
Tabernacle. It should be understood that a 
system like that of the ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

confused the order of the Degrees, so that the 
Candidate, in his advancement through these, 
returns under the symbolical aegis of the First 
Covenant after he has passed under the New. 
A similar criticism would no doubt obtain in 
some larger systems of Rites, the degrees of which 
are in many cases known to us by little more 
than their names. 

Series C is the entrance into a new scheme, 
which is simple so far as it goes, and there is no 
difficulty in separating it into component parts. 
But of these I will here and now name only the 
most important, as follows : (i) Rosicrucian 
Degrees, as distinguished from those of Rose-Croix, 
and of these the example in chief is the group 
1777; (2) Alchemical Degrees, sometimes in 
groups and sometimes in solitary Grades, whether 
incorporated or not by other systems ; (3) Kabalistic 
Degrees usually with a Christian interest and 
from a few words which have been said already on 
Zoharic analogies with Masonry, a particular im- 
portance must antecedently attach to these collec- 
tions ; (4) Magical Degrees, chief among which is 

These may be taken to exhaust the three 
classes, but there remain certain exotics of which 
a word of enumeration must be said separately 
(i) The RITE OF SWEDENBORG, which is really, 


The Craft and the High Grades 

in its present form, a special construction placed 
upon Craft Masonry ; (2) certain Grades in which 
the doctrinal principles of Swedenborg were in- 
corporated ceremonially by a few loving disciples ; 
(3) Grades introduced to depict the principles 
and practice, and to develop the philosophical 
notions of subjects like Animal Magnetism but 
it must be said that they are quite worthless. 

Beyond these there is the curious and inchoate 
world of that which I have called fantasy a 
world which cries aloud and vainly for the unity 
of form. Its materials help to make up the in- 
credible list of 1400 Grades collected and com- 
memorated by Ragon, yet without exhausting 
everything. The French historian and critic 
in the rudimentary sense had little capacity for 
his vast subject, and his opportunities in respect 
of texts have been wanting to me. It is possible, 
therefore, that some few jewels of enlightenment 
may adorn other treasuries to which I have found 
no access ; but as it happens very seldom that 
a great name in literature fails utterly to come 
into its own, so have I an antecedent conviction 
that no Masonic Rite with seals of greatness has 
remained in complete obscurity. The dust which 
is left as a residuum after the classification that 
I have made, contains, I am sure, no stars. 

There is one thing more. The inevitable 
anxiety on the part of some or many that both 
sexes should share in the privileges of Masonry 
led them in the past to institute Rites for women 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

and androgynous Grades. That which was offered 
in each case was, however, a casual substitute only, 
in place of the real thing, and there is not one of 
them, or barely one, which has any real title to 
existence. The things that are manifest in respect 
of mystic association are the shadow of things 
which are scarcely manifest at all. There are 
technical difficulties at the present day regarding 
the reception of women into Masonry, and these, 
although they have no connection with the dis- 
ingenuous follies that found expression in the past, 
are sufficiently serious to adjourn the discussion of 
the question sine die. But the place of woman in 
the Rites of initiation has been determined long 
since after a manner which leaves no doubt regard- 
ing the equality of the sexes therein. As in the 
days of Greece, and in days earlier than those, there 
were Lesser and Greater Mysteries the imperfect 
memorials of which are still objects of research 
for the reception of chosen men, so there were others 
but we know little more than their names, which 
admitted women only ; the bisexual rites are not 
less old than these, and their reflections are with 
us now, as they were when symbolical Masonry 
was first lifted above the horizon of history. In 
the secret ceremonials which have Divine know- 
ledge as the final settlement of their research, the 
man is not without the woman, nor he who is 
priest of sacramental mysteries according to the 
ordination of Melchizedek without a priestess 
within the communion of super-essential sanctity. 


The Craft and the High Grades 

So far as regards that which arises herein as 
an extrinsic issue at the moment ; and now as to 
the comparative importance of the various classes 
comprised in the above tabulation, this must be 
determined by their analysis in detail ; but for 
the completion of the present section within its 
proper measures it is not irrelevant to say that the 
Grades which endeavour to extend or perfect the 
Craft within the covenant of the Old Law, must, 
even if their claims were commensurate, lie under a 
grave disability because of the standard with which 
they invoke comparison. I can conceive no more 
stressful ordeal. But it must be said in a general 
sense that most of them establish at once their 
ambition and their incapacity. A criticism of the 
same kind will obtain respecting a vast majority 
of the Degrees which exist under the aegis of the 
New and Eternal Testament ; but the fact that 
there are pearls of great price in the divisions 
which respond to this motive is the fact that has 
created this book. And herein is an avowal at 
once that, in relation to its particular assump- 
tion, there did begin in the symbolism the build- 
ing of a new and more perfect House of Doctrine, 
so that in the logical understanding the old things 
merged into the things that were new, and, 
symbolically speaking, there were a new heaven 
and a new earth, the former things having passed 

Hereof is the specific implicit which will be 
found in the Grades of Christian Masonry ; but 

VOL. i. G 97 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

they will have to be judged individually, each by 
its own standard, because it is more than possible 
that they may fall short of (a) their proposed term, 
or (b] of that which, ex hypothesi^ we allocate 
thereto in our dream of those Higher Grades that 
would complete Masonry, supposing that they had 
ever entered into the heart of man. 

The existence of the Secret Tradition in 
Christian Times does not depend upon the evi- 
dence of symbolical Masonry under any form and 
in respect of any Covenants, old or new. But the 
existence of the Craft system and its origin in these 
times are an eloquent testimony, from all things 
else apart, as to the fact of that Tradition, howso- 
ever it is left at the end in the subsurface mind of 
Masonry. We shall learn that all these speaking 
witnesses confess to one another, are made in the 
image of each other, and in fine sustain one 
another. The Craft, with its moving argument 
of a loss which it commemorates for ever and 
laments for ever, a loss which is visited thereupon 
from generation to generation, yet was not of its 
own creation, does, as it must, direct a yearning 
glance towards all that cloud and cohort of 
symbolic pageants, made after its own image and 
in the likeness one of another, which say that 
there or here lies the true way of restitution. 
And the kings of the East and the West, with the 
other quarters of heaven, bring their strange offer- 
ings, as of gold, frankincense and myrrh, to heal 
the loss of the House, to consecrate that place 


The Craft and the High Grades 

where the Master was laid to His rest, taking His 
wisdom with Him, and if we know where they 
have laid Him, it seems long and very long before 
the hour of His awakening. The guardians of 
those sacred consonants, the vowels of which are 
missing, and the wardens of those words of death, 
substituted for the words of life, know so little for 
what they are looking that if the Word itself 
were uttered suddenly in their midst, it might 
scarcely find an echo in their hearts, they speaking 
another language. So also, if He came to the 
Lodge door unannounced on a morning of Easter, 
giving that battery of a Master which no door has 
heard in all our Lodges of Mourning, He who 
would be coming to His own, might not find His 
own receiving Him. 

I have spoken of strange gifts, but the Keepers 
of some Mysteries have turned all the letters in 
their hands into little catechisms for very simpli- 
city, till the children chide in their classes, for 
this it is which their mothers had taught them, 
and why should they come to hear it again, and 
even again, being now, as it seems to them, grown 
men who have started in search of knowledge ? 
Still, if it is not given to every man according as 
he seeks, the exotics are there also, and he who 
has turned thither may hither also turn, when the 
intervention of the secret sciences dawns in the 
far vistas. Therein he will find great rumours, 
curious inventions, and hints of tradition con- 
tinued ; but whether there is not after all a more 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

excellent way, we shall see perhaps in the 

Perhaps also it should be understood and ex- 
pressed, even at this comparatively early point, 
that it is less for what is on their surface that there 
is importance in the best of the Christian Grades 
than for that which is implied, all that which lies 
behind the outward modes of expression in ritual. 
It is rather in virtue of this that they hold by the 
roots from the Secret Tradition in Christian Times. 




I AM anxious to make it understood somewhat 
more clearly at the beginning of this section 
that it forms no part of my task to write a history 
of Freemasonry on the external side. Of this 
kind there is already more than one competent 
and authoritative account in the English language ; 
it would be possible, and from some points of 
view might not be less than desirable, to approach 
such an undertaking from a new standpoint ; but 
I do not know that it would promote the light of 
the soul, which is the main purpose of books. 
Moreover, the esoteric history will be represented 
sufficiently in my thesis, which, for the rest, 
accepts and assumes all that has been determined 
on adequate evidence in regard to the things that 
are without in a word, the story of the great 
Masonic movement as it has been manifested so 
far in the open day. I have no special qualifi- 
cation to pronounce beyond the sphere of my 
allotted devotions, but I may observe with befitting 
appreciation that the Concise History of Freemasonry 
by Mr. R. F. Gould is an excellent text-book, 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

which could be mentioned as an introduction to 
the present work of interpretation. It embodies 
reasonably late knowledge, and is an instance of 
mature reflection on facts ; it is temperate and 
catholic in its presentation of the issues and 
counter-issues, and in its tolerance of all divergent 
views. Furthermore, it rests rigidly within the 
limits of its own horizon, and leaves my particular 
field advisedly untouched. It is therefore in all 
respects a proper subject of reference at this point ; 
I am writing for advanced students, and I must be 
allowed to presuppose some acquaintance with the 
simple elements, more especially when these are 
available otherwise in a comparatively recent and 
comprehensive form. 

In so far as a few preliminary words belonging 
to the historical grounds are necessary here at the 
inception, the reader should recall in the first place 
what I have said in the Introduction regarding 
the Building Guilds. Having existed from time 
immemorial, these were (a) made subject some- 
where in the seventeenth century to the interven- 
tion of an interest outside operative Masonry, but 
under circumstances the particulars and inner 
concern of which have not come down to us ; (b) 
or at that period the speculative side of building, 
having long been in close connection with the 
operative side, began to absorb it entirely. I 
believe that in this second case it had undertaken, 
on its own part, to assume new and more symbolic 
vestures. In the alternative possibility the inter- 


The Craft and the High Grades 

vention must have been clear and express, but it 
worked in part upon antecedent materials, which 
removed from it the aspect of sudden and arbitrary 
change. It will be observed that in this statement 
I may appear to have left rather as an open 
question Mr. Gould's interesting theory, founded 
on the Regius MS. I think, however, that the 
document scarcely bears the construction which he 
has placed thereon, and if it did, it would fail to 
establish any connection between an English school, 
using the terms of architecture in a speculative 
sense at the middle of the fourteenth century, and 
that Secret Tradition of which the Craft Legend 
and a certain Closing of the Lodge are an indubit- 
able part. But I feel that, by a bare possibility, 
there is something to be said for his view outside 
the evidence which he cites, and as I can work 
with either scheme I need not reject it utterly. 

There were independently of this at least 
two ways in which the available elements of the 
Building Guild could be adapted to the modifica- 
tions of allegory, symbol and parable ; the 
rudiments of the mode of treatment probably pre- 
existed in the Craft of Masonry after the simplest of 
all manners and for the most obvious of all reasons. 
The art of moralising on the work, interests and 
relations of daily life was a characteristic of 
thought and invention during the Middle Ages, 
and so forward ; it did not derive its origin from 
any very secret and unfathomed well-spring of the 
soul. Through all Christian times a correlation 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

was recognised between our duty to God and our 
duty in the world, and as the Church instructed 
the faithful to keep its own commandments 
like those which originally were committed to 
humanity under other Divine warrants, so was the 
spirit which thus obtained in the sanctuary 
reflected into laical life among the Sons and 
Daughters of Christian Doctrine. For example, 
the preservation of trade secrets within the limits 
of a trade sodality, or guild, not only assumed, as 
one might say, naturally, and by the reflection 
which I have mentioned, a, religious aspect, but 
reception into such companies was often charac- 
terised by a quasi-religious ceremonial. The 
truth is that the teaching authority conceived 
and created an universal code of honour which 
applied in all directions, and was one in all ; it had 
its roots in the earth and was raised from the 
workshop, the cottage and the cabin, till, like the 
ladder of Jacob's vision, it was lost in the heights 
of heaven and the aspiration towards Divine 
union. It was the working out of a great doctrine 
of analogy in all things. And so it came about 
that, cceteris paribus^ the apprentice in respect of his 
duty was not out of kinship with the novice in a 
monastic House of God ; the Craftsman might 
recall those who had assumed new responsibilities 
with minor orders ; the Master, accepted as a 
proficient in his art, was in a position of authority 
and a man of skill like the priest. After this 
manner was life consecrated in those elder days, 


The Craft and the High Grades 

and even though ceremonies of reception had 
touches of the rude and the burlesque, they were 
not for that reason unhallowed. 

We shall see later on that a time and place 
came in Masonic history when emotion and 
romance contrived to invest the art and craft of 
architecture with much higher consecrations, for 
those who could tolerate the ascription. It was 
exalted by interpreters into a mystery of religion 
as well as a mystery of building, and into a channel 
through which a secret knowledge was perpetuated 
from times almost mythological. But the legend 
of the Dionysian architects is no part of the 
Secret Tradition, as I understand the expression, 
and the religion was of the imputed kind rather 
than a recognition of the mystic term in Masonry. 
It suffered therefore from a miscomprehension of 
the implicits of its own hypothesis. I will not, 
however, forestall further the judgment on this 
question that we shall reach at a later stage. 
One thing remains clear : to the extent that trade 
guilds may have assumed a shadow of ceremonial 
in their mode of reception, and so far as that 
ceremonial was utilised to instruct candidates in 
their conduct towards the guild, and one towards 
another therein, what it taught was duty that is 
to say, a certain definite code of moral action. If 
similitude and allegory were adopted, as it is 
sometimes thought, to insist thereon, we have 
already the root-matter of the ethical law in 
symbolical Freemasonry ; we see some part of 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

that which was lifted with another intention out 
of the old body of procedure ; we can understand 
how and why it remained how also and why 
two of the emblematic Craft Grades have nothing 
to communicate outside moral commandments and 
connected injunctions. We see further exactly 
what was brought into Freemasonry, being a 
mysterium that differs generically, that is not in 
relation with the side of moral law but with 
something reserved in doctrine and belonging to 
the life of religion. 

Supposing that there was such a development 
from one to another state, we do not know, as I 
have said, when or by whom the rudimentary 
moralities and emblems of the Building Guild 
were elaborated into an ordered system ; we do not 
know under what circumstances the old occasional 
rule of initiating patrons and persons not belong- 
ing to the operative Craft was extended to an 
universal practice, so that the body of the sodality 
fell away and a soul of it only remained ; we do 
not know when the Legend of the Craft first be- 
came current in Masonry. I believe that the 
tendency to a speculative element was a growth of 
generations, but that a transmutation took place 
in fine, and that suddenly. 

There is a sense in which the present work is 
a development of this statement from its first page 
to the last. It is of course very difficult to pro- 
nounce upon evidence of the kind with which we 
are dealing, because it is so utterly isolated ; but 


The Craft and the High Grades 

the inference seems irresistible, that if there were 
ever, apart from the operative guild, an analogous 
speculative society, it could never have been far 
apart from the former ; and my personal feeling is 
that their practical fusion must have occurred before 
the initiation of Elias Ashmole in the middle 
of the seventeenth century. Ashmole, as I have 
probably said elsewhere, is a sort of signpost that 
is useful as indicating the kind of intervention 
which took place in Masonry, but the suggestion 
that he was the intervention itself is worth as 
much and as little as another suggestion which 
has become current in recent times ; I mean the 
attempt to connect the speculative architecture of 
early English Freemasonry with hints of a similar 
mode of symbolism in China that last resource 
for the explanation of all mysteries. 

Those who performed this Great Work of 
Masonic transmutation knew both the formal 
mode and the high term which was set, symboli- 
cally or otherwise, before the Postulant of the 
Mysteries, and they presented it as a journey with 
the sun from East to West for the recovery of a 
certain hidden treasure which had once been the 
world's possession. They knew after another 
manner than that of literati in the seventeenth or 
the eighteenth century ; for the Legend of the 
Craft, which is their mark and seal but I speak 
here of the Symbolical Legend as a thing apart 
from any fictitious historical legend is in its 
veiling a far more profound and indeed unsearchable 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

picture of things within in the guise of things 
without and in the passing of its veils there is 
a far greater light upon the vicissitude of Secret 
Doctrine, than is to be found almost anywhere in 
the world of initiation. 

But, as I have indicated, it is, in its proper 
understanding, a story of loss, sorrow, change and 
deferred hope in the Sanctuary, though the fact 
that it is not hope extinguished resides in the 
perpetuation of the great memorialising Rite. 
Now, the rise of those Grades which are called 
high, because the things wanting in the Sanctuary 
are ex bypothesi restored therein, is involved in the 
same uncertainty as that of emblematic Free- 
masonry, and the most reasonable conclusion con- 
cerning the Grades is that their rudiments or 
essence are almost coincident with the Craft 
system. Unfortunately such conclusion is not 
supported by any clear and demonstrative evidence, 
while even the hints or rumours which pass in 
some minds for proofs strike a very uncertain note 
under the light of analytical investigation. The 
existence from so-called time immemorial of the 
Grade of Harodim Rosy Cross is one case in point, 
to which I shall recur in its place, and another is 
the inference from the Masonic dedication of 
Robert Samber prefixed to his translation of Long 
Livers. To this I shall also recur, as at present I 
am only mentioning casual points, to indicate that 
there is occasionally a marked failure of corre- 
spondence between things as they are and the same 

1 08 

The Craft ana the High Grades 

things as they seem according to the mind of 
accepted Masonic criticism. In any event, the 
implicits of the High Grades pre-existed assuredly 
in the subject-matter of Craft Masonry, because 
they are its own implicits ; in other words, it was 
impossible for any properly prepared person who 
had received the particular quality of illumination 
that could be imparted by the Craft not to turn 
otherwhere for a fuller experience of its mystery. 
Continuations, side extensions and completions, 
real or imagined, were inevitable, and they are 
with us for this reason. 

It might seem, on such an understanding, that 
in a study of the present kind an examination of 
the various efforts to furnish the missing factors 
should preferably begin without reference to their 
dates or places of origin. I believe that such a 
course might simplify the subject, but as there are 
some who are versed in general mystic symbolism 
without being versed in the course of Masonic 
events, it is desirable perhaps to put the historical 
side as it can be done sufficiently in a nutshell. 
Like all other momentous developments, the High 
Grades were not the growth of a moment, or in- 
deed of one generation ; the crest of the wave of 
expansion took, in fine, a century to attain its utmost 
height, and as the Grades enter broadly speaking 
into a natural classification of Rites that is to 
say, of groups of Degrees I shall make such a levy 
on history as may be necessary for my purpose. 

It should be understood, therefore, that the 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

element of especial research is thinly represented 
only in these paragraphs ; they are rather the sub- 
stance, with variations, of readily available know- 
ledge, reasonably collated to ensure accuracy, so 
far as the latter is possible in such a dubious and 
involved subject. 

Whatever was sleeping beneath the surface or 
fulfilling its office in obscurity prior to the Declara- 
tion of Union in England, the foundation of the 
High Grades is supposed, almost by universal 
consent, to have been laid by the Chevalier Andrew 
Michael Ramsay in 1737, when he delivered his 
celebrated discourse to the so-called Provincial 
Grand Lodge of England, located at the Orient of 
Paris, in which Lodge he is said to have held the 
French dignity of Orator, as well as that of Grand 
Chancellor. The Lodge is believed to have dated 
back to the year 1730, and to have applied for a 
Constitution as a Provincial Grand Lodge in the 
year 1735. It obtained the requisite powers in 
1736, and was therefore a newly authorised insti- 
tution when Ramsay pronounced his oration. 
There has been every opportunity for French 
writers like Ragon, and even in America it could 
not have been difficult for Mackey, to become 
acquainted with its purport ; but the most ex- 
traordinary confusion has been perpetuated from 
generation to generation, and has put into the 
mouth of Ramsay the substance of the mythical 
claims preferred by High Grades which were then 
in the bosom of futurity. 



The Craft and the High Grades 

The discourse created a great impression at the 
period. I note, however, that it gave no intimation 
whatsoever of the claims preferred subsequently 
in respect of Templar Masonry, and it did not 
even mention that most illustrious and most ill- 
starred of all the orders of chivalry. The heads 
of the thesis, in so far as it here concerns us, 
may be summarised briefly thus : (i) That the 
ancestors of Freemasons were the Crusaders and 
that the order was instituted in the Holy Land 
during the period of the Christian Wars in 
Palestine. (2) That it was an attempt to unite 
individuals of every nation into one brotherhood (a) 
for the restoration of the Christian Temple in the 
city of Jerusalem meaning, among other things, 
the maintenance and extension of the true religion 
therein and (b) to bring about a return to the 
first principles of the sacred art of architecture. 
(3) That in some undetermined manner the 
Mysteries variously designated as those of Ceres, 
Isis, Minerva, Urania and. Diana, were connected 
with the Masonic Mystery. (4) That the bond 
of union was the perpetuation in common among 
them of certain vestiges belonging to the old 
religion of Noah and the patriarchs. (5) That 
Masonry therefore derived from remote antiquity 
and was restored rather than founded in the Holy 
Land. (6) That on account of Saracen spies the 
Crusaders agreed upon secret signs and words by 
which to recognise one another. (7) That they 
also adopted symbolic ceremonies, presumably for 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the purpose of initiating candidates and advancing 
members who had been received into lower 
Grades. (8) That the power of the Christians 
waned, and that, the building design being in 
fine suspended, many kings, princes and lords 
retired from Palestine to their several countries 
and therein established Masonic Lodges. (9) That 
in this manner the illustrious Mother Kilwinning 
came into being in the year 1286. (10) That the 
chief order of chivalry concerned in the building 
scheme was that of St. John of Jerusalem. 

We should note further : (i) It does not 
follow of necessity that all modern Freemasonry 
derives from Scotland, and much less from Kilwin- 
ning, but the great importance of Kilwinning is 
implied by the words of Ramsay. (2) The Order 
is described as disseminated universally, which is 
either (a) an exaggerated reference to colonisation 
from Britain or (b] a veiled reference to the per- 
petuation from time immemorial of the Lodges 
formed ex hy pot he si by returned Crusaders. (3) 
That albeit the Masonic Mystery has its roots 
in the Old Alliance, its revival in Crusading 
times, under direct Crusading influence and 
amidst the Holy Wars, signifies a Christian 
complexion ab origine symboli. 

I do not know why, upon the face of it, the 
mind of Masonry on the Continent should have 
been moved so deeply by this hypothesis ; I do 
not know why its simple affirmation, apart from 
all evidence, should have become, so rapidly as it 


The Craft and the High Grades 

did, a series of Articles of Faith. We have to 
remember, however, as something more than an 
adventitious circumstance, that the Craft was at 
this time a new continental introduction. It was 
only in 1725 or 1726 that the Lodge of St. 
Thomas is reported to have been founded at Paris 
under a power granted by the London Grand 
Lodge, the prime mover in the matter being John 
Ratcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater. The circum- 
stances may be dubious enough, the founder is 
perhaps more than doubtful ; but if this be mere 
legend, the introduction may have been a little 
later still and the novelty which I have mentioned 
to that extent the greater in 1737. In any case, 
the Order came to those who received it with 
the claim of immemorial time. It imposed its 
own authority and explained it only by legend. 
It exhibited only the powers by which this or 
that Lodge had the right to work. It should be 
remembered further that Ramsay like a licensed 
spokesman advanced his personal views not in 
the language of hypothesis but in that of certi- 
tude, and perhaps because of a complete inability 
to check the statements they were accepted some- 
what blindly, like the licence of the Unknown 
Superiors who granted patents to Lodges from 
their Holy House in Great Britain. 

It has been suggested that the strange knightly 
origin was welcome as a counterpoise to the 
essential idea of Masonic equality between all 
classes, but I reject this arbitrary notion on the 

VOL.I. H 113 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

ground that the institution was much too recent 
for French Masons to stand in need of such a 
corrective. Perhaps the romantic association of 
the Holy Wars in Palestine acted more powerfully 
than anything as a stimulus to continental imagin- 
ation, as it does at the beginning of research to 
some of us at the present day. Finally, there is 
the suggestion that Masonry in the Lodge of St. 
Thomas, and with such a founder as the presumed 
Derwentwater, was used as a Jacobite veil, but I 
do not see why the chivalrous hypothesis should 
appeal especially to this interest, which is other- 
wise negligible for us, as Jacobite preoccupations 
are no part of our concern. 

The question of fact remains that the discourse 
has been regarded invariably as the moving spirit 
in the evolution of the High Grades, and Ramsay 
himself has long been credited on the Continent, 
and long also in England, by those who reflect, 
apart from personal research, the consensus of 
continental opinion he has been credited with 
the introduction of a Rite which bears his name. 
I reject this supposed creation on the authority of 
my own researches ; I reject it on the authority 
of Mr. Gould, who has given in his large work a 
very careful synopsis of the entire Ramsay inter- 
vention ; and I find that the same conclusion has 
been recently reached in France. Setting it aside 
for the moment, as it must be reconsidered at a 
later stage, it must be indubitably admitted that 
the discourse gave rise to the system of ficossais 


The Craft and the High Grades 

or Scots' Lodges, involving or representing (a) 
possibly a certain manipulation of the Craft Grades 
along the lines of the Ramsay hypothesis and (b) 
additions and super-additions in the form of 
High Grades. It is impossible to determine 
dates, but we begin to hear of St. Andrew Degrees, 
of Knightly Degrees, and, later, of the rise of the 
Templar element. There was kindled, in a word, 
the great passion for Grades ; invention followed 
invention, system grew out of system, springing 
fully armed, perfect in ceremonies and liturgies, as 
if the Jove of Masonry were begetting innumerable 
Minervas, like instantaneous products of thought. 

Let us look for a moment ahead and suppose 
that the dream of Ramsay had brooded less or 
more quietly in the mind of the age. Without 
affirming that the date is in any respect indubi- 
table, we will come to the year 1754, which is 
especially memorable for the alleged foundation, at 
once independent and simultaneous, of (a) the RITE 
OF THE STRICT OBSERVANCE but this had earlier 
roots ; (b) the occult and mystic RITE OF 

With the first is connected the name, at once 
suspicious and inspiring, of Baron von Hund, 
who is said to have been received into Masonry 
so far back as 1742. In the year following this 
he is alleged to have been created a Knight of the 
Temple by the Earl of Kilmarnock, which, if it 
signified anything but one of his distorted visions, 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

would mean that he was then under the obedience 
of the Ecossais Lodges confessing to the motives of 
Ramsay and perhaps with a subsurface political 
concern of the Jacobite kind. Personally, I believe 
that no such Grades were at that time in existence. 
My thesis is that the Temple dream arose with 
another origin is tolerable, then it was independent 
of Masonic preoccupation, as we shall find that it 
must have been when we come to the considera- 
tion of this memorable Rite. 

Between the period of Ramsay and that of the 
STRICT OBSERVANCE it will be seen that there is 
a lacuna of something like seventeen years, sup- 
posing that 1754 is, in any general sense, a certain 
or approximate date. The intervening period 
was not however unfilled, and we hear in the first 
place of isolated Grades coming into existence. 
There was that of *Petit E/u, or Lesser Elect, which 
is sometimes mentioned as the root of the Kadosh 
Grades, and is referred to 1743 or thereabouts, 
but I am entirely uncertain as to its proper place 
in historical time. I set aside the Primordial 
< ^ose-Cross 'Jacobite Chapter of Arras^ which is 
said to have been founded in 1747 but belongs 
in reality to 1774. There was, however, the 
Grade of Ecossais Fidlles^ which is ascribed to 
1748, and has been thought to represent a reflec- 
tion of Ramsay's Jacobite preoccupations, which 
have been much exaggerated. Finally, there 
was founded in 1750 the ^Mother Scottish Lodge 


The Graft and the High Grades 

of ^Marseilles, which developed or collected a 
long sequence of Degrees, though there is no 
means of ascertaining the circumstances under 
which it was initiated or its original numerical 
capacity in respect of Grades. 

The history of all continental Masonry, and 
especially that of France, still remains to be 
written as the result of first-hand knowledge, and 
the task is impossible to undertake apart from 
reference to archives which are here unknown. 
Of necessity, from the limited opportunities of 
English writers, reliance has been placed upon 
foreign printed books, which do not, for the most 
part, represent faithful research according to the 
historical spirit. So far as we are able to check 
them, their evidence stands in need of correc- 
tion and sometimes calls to be set aside ; in a 
word, they are open to suspicion at nearly all 
points. The later reflect the earlier, and the 
original sources on which they depend are too 
often high speculation expressed in the terms of 
certitude. It is only within the last two decades, 
if indeed now generally, that a tolerable spirit of 
exactitude has replaced that of romance in the 
presentation of the Masonic subject anywhere 
in the French literary schools, and France is of 
palmary importance in the Quest of the High 
Grades. The mendacity of fantastic emotion 
was also on occasion enforced by the resources of 
deliberate invention. But on the whole the most 
deplorable results are those which have followed 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

an uncritical tendency to regard the fictitious 
accounts in so-called historical lectures allocated to 
the High Grades, and recited for the instruction 
of Candidates in the course of the Ceremonies, as 
serious contributions to their history. 

For one or for another reason, there is scarcely 
an important statement of that world -wide 
authority, Jean Marie Ragon, which can be 
accepted without verification on every available 
side. He seems even to have created on occasion 
the materials of his history ; he also borrowed from 
past fantastic writers ; and the seals of a heavy 
and common imagination are over all his work. 
Even his accounts of the rituals lie here and there 
under a certain vague suspicion. If I had to 
depend on sources such as these, my proposed 
codification of Rites could never come into exist- 
ence. I mention this specific instance of a general 
trend in Masonic literature because of its import- 
ance, and it is not without a sense of responsibility 
that I tend, within limits, to displace an authority 
long regarded as paramount in his own place and 
period. My criticism notwithstanding, he did 
some valuable work, and he is not specifically 
worse than a few who preceded and followed 
him. He wrote too largely from hearsay ; his 
own construction distorted the text of grades ; and 
truth in the sense of history was scarcely in him. 

Returning to the question of theHigh Grades at 
their genesis, it should be understood that Ramsay 
was born at Ayr, in Scotland, in 1668, and seeing 


The Craft and the High Grades 

that he delivered his discourse in 1737, he was then 
approaching his seventieth year, a period subse- 
quently to which considerable Masonic or other 
activity might be scarcely expected ; but there is 
abundant evidence that no such activity existed 
at any period of his life. On the eve of his 
Oration he was in correspondence with a great 
Cardinal Prime Minister of France, leaving it to 
his decision whether he should be concerned 
actively in the Craft at all. The decision has not 
transpired in a direct manner, but the Oration was 
the last public sign of Ramsay's concern in 
Masonry. He held the positions which I have 
mentioned in the Lodge which I have named, and 
it does not follow that he resigned, but his name 
is heard no more. We do not know when he was 
initiated, and as he died in 1743, it seems fairly 
certain that his active Masonic influence, what- 
ever its extent may have been, must have culmin- 
ated in his discourse rather than commenced 
therein. The effect of the seed which had been 
sown, probably with no very express intention on 
his part, and assuredly with no notion of the 
forest which it was destined to produce, began 
therefore to appear on the surface of history only 
after his death. It follows that the supposed RIT 
DE BOUILLON, otherwise RITE OF RAMSAY, is a 
figment of French imagination, and was never 
heard of for more than half a century after its 
supposed foundation. The Grades attributed 
thereto are i, 2, 3, being the ordinary Craft 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Grades ; 4, Scottish Master ; 5, Novice ; 6, Knight 
of the Temple, called also according to a recent 
suggestion Knight Levite of the Interior and 
Knight of the Tower. With this classification we 
may compare that which was adopted in or near 
follows : i, 2, 3, being the ordinary Craft Grades ; 
4, Scottish Master ; 5, Novice ; 6, Knight Templar, 
otherwise Knight of the Temple. The suggested 
variation is that this 6th Degree was subdivided 
into four sections : Eques, Armiger, Socius and 
Eques Professus, the alternative of which is said to 
have been Grand Profes, but this is an error, for the 
Grades of Profts and Grand Profis are known to 
have existed in distinction, the one being successive 
to the other. What is much more important 
at the moment is that neither in separation nor in 
union could they have been conferred at that period, 
for they belong to a large class which represents 
the theosophic tradition derived from Martines de 
Pasqually, perhaps through his illustrious disciple 
Louis Claude de Saint-Martin. I hasten to add 
that the significance of this intimation does not 
mean that the last great mystic of France was 
himself the founder of any Grade or Rite. 

The RITE OF RAMSAY is therefore an imaginary 
antedated version of the RITE OF THE STRICT OB- 
SERVANCE, which itself originated in Germany. It 
will be dealt with in the proper place, and at the 
moment I need say only (a) that Hund received the 
benefit of initiation at Strasbourg, a city at that 


The Craft and the High Grades 

period attached to the crown of France, or, (b) ac- 
cording to another account, he was admitted at 
Frankfort on the Maine, for every event of this 
time, so near in ordinary history, so remote in 
that of Masonry, is involved in doubt and 
confusion. The Rite was manifestly Templar in 
theory ; it took over, amplified and specified 
upon the theory of Ramsay, as we shall see when 
we come to its consideration. Curiously enough, 
at the time when the imagination of French 
historians decided to impute a creation on his 
own part to the indirect initiator of all High Rites 
confessing to the motive of chivalry, they did not 
prove wholly in agreement as to the presence 
of a Templar element therein, notwithstanding the 
alleged title of the 6th Degree. 

At this point it may be useful to specify in a 
sentence the exact position of Ramsay : he was 
the father of the notion of Masonic chivalry, and 
the cossais Grades no doubt followed his lead- 
ing ; the one fact concerns a question of origin, 
and the other of transmission. His personal 
theory must be rejected in both its aspects : (a) 
because Craft Masonry, having regard to its root- 
matter in symbolism, is a reflection of Kabalistic 
Tradition, and (b) because that tradition had no 
place in Scotland either at the Crusading period 
or subsequently. If it be said that Ramsay's 
theory can be held to cover only the operative 
side of Masonry, then we should follow the line 
of least resistance more simply, and with more 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

reason, by regarding the Building Guilds in Great 
Britain as the place and point of grafting for the 
body of symbolism : it is inexcusable to seek in 
Palestine that which can be found at home. For 
all that I know to the contrary, and for more 
than all that I care, Kilwinning may be the head 
and fountain of the operative Craft ; the question 
signifies little at this date. I conclude that the 
Holy Land of Palestine, in which Masonic chivalry 
originated, was under the Chevalier Ramsay's hat. 
To continue our enumeration of systems, we 
have not yet finished with the year 1754, to which 
there is also referred the CHAPTER OF CLERMONT, 
founded by the Chevalier de Bonneville, at or 
in the vicinity of Paris. On grounds of historical 
likelihood I am disposed to reject many allocations 
belonging to this date, but it is generally and not 
specifically in respect of the present case. So far 
as it is possible to construct a working theory from 
the disordered condition of the materials, it seems 
probable that the Chapter was originally instituted 
to confer only the High Grades, of which it is held 
to have recognised three : (a) Knight of the Eagle ; 
(fr) Illustrious Knight or Templar ; (c) Sublime Illus- 
trious Knight. It was, in this case, a Templar 
system, confessing to the same motive as the 
STRICT OBSERVANCE. But the alternative title 
of the Second Grade may not have conveyed the 
intimation which it seems to carry on the sur- 
face. Baron von Hund is said to have been 
perfected in these grades at Paris prior to the 


The Craft ana the High Grades 

establishment of his own Order ; but this is 
manifestly unlikely, if the latter was promulgated 
in the same year. A branch of the Chapter is 
further believed to have existed at Berlin in the 
year 1760, but by this time Hund was already at 
work. Meanwhile the Chapter in France had 
itself undergone a symbolical death and burial, from 
which it was reborn in 1758 as the COUNCIL OF 
ever, appearing to have preserved any of its 
original Grades. It remains only to say that its 
Degree of Knight of the Temple, otherwise Chevalier 
II lustre, and ^Professed Templar is stated by some 
dreamers to be identical with the corresponding 
Grade in the Ramsay system. 

Before proceeding to the evolution which I have 
just mentioned, we must go back for a moment 
to the year 1750, which is said to have seen the 
foundation of the Scottish Mother Lodge of Marseilles, 
as already mentioned. The alternative date is 1 748, 
and in either case the enterprise has been attributed 
to the zeal of a wandering Scotchman. The point 
which concerns us is that the Rite worked therein 
was composed of eighteen Degrees, as follows : 
I, Apprentice ; 2, Companion ; 3, Master ; 4, Perfect 
Master probably of St. Andrew and perhaps 
in analogy with the 4th Grade referred to 
the STRICT OBSERVANCE ; 5, Grand Ecossais ; 
6, Anight of the Black Eagle, recalling the first 
Chapitral Grade of Clermont ; 7, Commander 
of the Black Eagle-, 8, Rose Croix ; 9, True 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Mason ; 10, Tonight Argonautlc \ II, Anight of the 
Golden Fleece ; 12, Apprentice Philosopher ; 1 3, 
I^night-Adept of the Eagle and the Sun ; 1 4, Sublime 
Philosopher ; 15, Anight of the Phcenlx ; 16, Adept 
of the Mother Lodge ; 1 7, Tonight of the Rainbow ; 
and 1 8, Anight of the Sun an eloquent tribute to 
the appeal of the chivalrous motive in Masonry, 
but on the surface at least without reference to 
the Temple. 

A list like this in the year to which it is re- 
ferred might, if indubitable, exercise the ingenuity 
of those who believe that the High Grades are 
exclusively posterior to the year 1740. But the 
Lodge founded at Marseilles seems to have begun 
much more humbly that is to say, as a Lodge 
simply, under the patronage of St. John of Scotland. 
It was not till 1762 or in this vicinity that 
there is evidence of its claim as a Scottish Mother 
Lodge of France, and it was not till 1765 that it 
appeared in all its splendour. The system then 
worked had branch Lodges at Paris and Lyons, in 
Provence, the French colonies, and even in the 
Levant. But, as in importance, so in Grades also, 
its growth was no doubt a matter of years. 

I pass therefore to the COUNCIL OF THE 
EMPERORS OF EAST AND WEST, the alleged trans- 
formation of the Chapter of Clermont and probably 
the first system presenting a colossal array of 
Degrees. There were twenty-five, numbered as 
follows : I, Apprentice ; 2, Companion ; 3, Master ; 
4, Secret Master ; 5, Perfect Master ; 6, Intimate 


The Craft and the High Grades 

Secretary ; 7, Intend ant of Buildings ; 8, Provost and 
Judge ; 9, Elect Master of Nine, or Elect of the 
Nine ; i o, Elect Master of Fifteen, or Elect of 
Fifteen ; 1 1, Illustrious Elect, or Chief of the Twelve 
Tribes-, 12, Grand Master Architect-, 13, Knight 
Royal Arch, or Royal Axe ; 14, Grand Elect, 
Ancient Perfect Master, or Grand Elect Ancient ; 
15, Knight of the Sword, or of the East ; 16, Prince 
of Jerusalem ; 1 7, Knight of the East and the West ; 
1 8, Rose Croix ; 19, Grand Pontiff, or Master ad 
vitam ; 20, Grand Patriarch Noachite, or Grand 
Patriarch ; 21, Grand Master of the Key of 
Masonry, or Grand Master of the Key ; 22, Prince 
of Lib anus, Knight Royal Arch alternatively, Royal 
Axe ; 23, Knight of the Sun, Prince Adept, Chief of 
the Grand Consistory ; 24, Illustrious Chief, Grand 
Commander of the White and Black Eagle, Grand 
Elect Kadosb ; 25, Most Illustrious Prince of 
Masonry, Grand and Sublime Knight Commander of 
the Royal Secret, or Commander of the Royal Secret. 
Again there is no reference to the Temple. 

Antecedent or subsequent, it will be seen that 
the Mother Lodge of Marseilles had only a few 
items the nomenclature of which recalls this list. 
The COUNCIL OF EMPERORS was also termed Ancient 
Rite and Rite of Heredom or of Perfection, another 
illustration of the Ramsay motive and influence. 
The holders of the highest Grades were Substi- 
tutes General of the Royal Art and Grand Wardens 
of the Sovereign Lodge of St. John of Jerusalem. 
There is a legend that the Rite was placed by 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Prince Charles Edward Stuart under the care and 
patronage of Frederick the Great, who in 1786 
increased the number of its degrees to thirty-three. 
This view is now generally rejected. Another 
story says that in 1761 the Council granted a 
patent to a Jew named Stephen Morin for the 
propagation of the system in America. The Jew 
travelled with his system Christian, of course, as 
it was and reached in fine Charleston, where at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century there 
were added those eight further grades, making 
that total collection now professed by the ANCIENT 

It will serve no purpose to debate the com- 
parative value of these alternatives, but the second 
story seems as doubtful and is as much doubted as 
the first. In consequence of the suspicion thus 
reasonably aroused, there is a tendency to believe that 
the Council, by a natural development, and in its 
own country, was increased to those thirty-three 
Grades which in America, and so long after, were 
finally consolidated and became a great and influ- 
ential system. The Degrees superposed somehow 
on those of the original Council were : i, Prince 
of Mercy ; 2, Grand Commander of the Temple ; 3, 
Chief of the Tabernacle ; 4, Grand Scottish Knight of 
St. Andrew ; 5, Prince of the Tabernacle ; 6, In- 
spector Inquisitor Commander ; 7, J^night of the Brazen 
Serpent ; 8, Sovereign Grand Inspector-General. The 
entire series was to some extent reclassified, and even 
altered, but this does not now concern us ; at the 



Vol. /., to face p. 126. 

The Craft and the High Grades 

moment it remains only to say that the additions 
included items belonging to the period of their 
collective promulgation : with perhaps two ex- 
ceptions, they are not readily met with, at least 
under identical titles, in other and anterior systems. 
Its position and influence notwithstanding, the 
and negligible as a system. There is not only the 
difficulty that it preserves several Grades which 
have no titles of value, symbolically or otherwise, 
but the unreason of its practical grouping, in 
virtue of which the Candidate by his successive 
advancements is continually testifying to his incor- 
poration under the obedience of the New and yet 
recurring to the obedience of the Old Law ; he is 
how early, now late in the Middle Ages, and long 
afterwards finds that he is once again in Israel 
under the rule of Solomon. Seeing that three 
only out of thirty-three degrees are conferred in 
the plenary sense, there should be no hesitation 
in adopting a more logical arrangement. 

During the years of the eighteenth century 
which have so far passed under our review, Craft 
Masonry, with such addltamenta as it elected to 
tolerate in specific places, was laying its foundations 
in continental countries other than France, and 
more especially, for our purpose, in the Germanic 
Kingdoms and States. In all countries indiffer- 
ently, where a recognised position was possible 
even for a period, there was rapid colonisation on 
the part of the High Grades, as well as many in- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

ventions indigenous to particular realms. On 
account of its importance, I have dealt already in 
which was, of course, Teutonic in its origin. So 
also was the ORDER OF AFRICAN ARCHITECTS, which 
conceived the pretensions and emulated the dis- 
tinctive position of a learned society. Its title is 
explicable by an hypothesis which was adopted 
regarding the consanguinity of Masonry with 
Egypt, and so far as it was possible at that period 
there were attempts to study the unreadable hiero- 
glyphics on their symbolical side. The Degrees of 
the system were classified in three temples, of 
which the first communicated those of the Craft 
only. The second had five Degrees : I, Architect^ 
or Apprentice of Egyptian Secrets ; 2, Initiate in 
Egyptian Secrets ; 3, Cosmopolite Brother ; 4, Christian 
Philosopher ; and 5, Master of Egyptian Secrets, or 
Friend of Truth. The third temple was that of 
the Superior Grades and was chivalrous in 
character, as appears by the titles conferred : i, 
Esquire ; 2, Soldier ; 3, Anight. Few particulars 
concerning them seem to have become public. It 
is possible that the Order of African Architects was 
merged in the Grata Repoa, an imputed system of 
Egyptian initiation with which I have dealt else- 

Between 1766 and 1770 Johann von Zinnen- 
dorf founded the Rite which passes under his 
name as a counterblast to the STRICT OBSERVANCE, 
from which he had been either expelled or the 


The Craft and the High Grades 

enforced suspension of its own labours had put an 
end to real membership. As part of his system 
was derived from that of the ILLUMINATI OF AVIG- 
NON, part from the SWEDISH RITE, and as, it is said, 
he sought subsequently in vain to complete his 
experiment from the latter source, it will serve our 
purpose to dismiss it at this point by a brief refer- 
ence to the source in question. The SWEDISH 
RITE, like many others of its period, owed some- 
thing to the principles and influence of the STRICT 
OBSERVANCE, and so also did Zinnendorf, though 
he denounced the source of his advancement in 
the illuminism of the High Grades. Zinnendorf, 
perhaps of necessity, if denied full knowledge, 
was content with seven Degrees, but the Swedish 
system extended to twelve, including in both cases 
those consecrated under the patronage of St. John, 
otherwise Blue Masonry, which comprises the 
Craft Grades, i, 2 and 3. The others follow in 
their order : 4, Elect Master, or, in the system of 
Zinnendorf, Scottish Apprentice and Companion or 
Pillow-Craft, under the aegis of St. Andrew, some- 
times^ identified with Secret Elect of the French 

Rite ; 5, Scottish Master, otherwise Master of St. 
Andrew, or Scottish Grand Elect ; 6, Slight of the 
East, or, according to Zinnendorf, Clericus, and 
Favourite Companion of St. John ; 7, Anight of the 
West, or True Templar, with many other subsidiary 
names, and apparently in correspondence with 
Elect Brother, being the seventh and last grade of 
Zinnendorf; 8, Anight of the South, or Temple 

VOL. I. I 129 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Master ; 9, Favourite Brother of St. Andrew ; i o, 
Brother of the Red Cross, or ordinary Member of the 
Chapter ; 1 1, Grand Dignitary of the Chapter ; 12, 
Reigning Master, or Vicar of Solomon, a grade actu- 
ally or hypothetically confined to a single member, 
being the King of Sweden, and thus communicated 
by those who instituted him, but could not them- 
selves possess it. 

Recurring to the later developments in France, 
the PRIMITIVE SCOTTISH RITE collected thirty-three 
Grades into a consecutive system, but the date of 
foundation is uncertain and identity of number 
notwithstanding there are conspicuous variations 
from the Ancient and Accepted System. A 
in 1776 and drew from various sources either 
thirteen or eighteen degrees without apparently 
offering inventions on its own part. Finally, to 
make an end of these records, the year 1805 saw 
the inauguration of the MASONIC ORDER OF 
MIZRAIM and the year 1839 that of the Oriental 
Order or RITE OF MEMPHIS, the first communicat- 
ing ninety and the second ninety-five Degrees. 
While in each case the great familiar Grade names 
and titles recur inevitably, these stupendous 
systems, their content notwithstanding, share .only 
in common that which they drew from the past, 
and while of course much can be accounted for 
in this manner of derivation, there is yet more 
which is referable to fertility of invention, 
whether much or little value may attach thereto. 


The Craft and the High Grades 

Outside these things there is the cloud of 
witnesses in the occult and mystic Rites, of which 
it is useless to speak in the present place, because 
they are sui generis and must therefore be treated 
historically in connection with their respective 

Trivial, imperfect and unadorned, since it 
offers no opportunity to literature, the sketch 
which has been here given serves one purpose, 
outside that of information to those who know 
nothing of High Grades on their historical side ; 
it illustrates the peculiar difficulty with which I 
am called to deal, and this is the creation of some 
canon of criticism by which to distinguish things 
that are of the matter of Masonry from things 
that are foreign thereto, and among all and 
sundry those which bear some traces of the term 
of our research, being the presence of the Secret 
Tradition, and separated therefore from that 
indiscrete chaos which is of modern device only. 

Among the first things that will occur even to 
the unpractised mind, there is the extensive 
propagation of Grades which took place outside 
the establishment of the great Rites themselves. 
And speaking generally of the whole period which 
saw the construction of High Grades, the second 
question that arises is whether there is or could 
be any warrant for the enormous multiplication 
which occurred. In a sense such productions 
must stultify themselves, because the possible 
variants of assumed Craft completion are not in- 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

definitely great. They impair also the strength 
of the one or many which may possibly tend to 
greatness, by suggesting at each stage in succession 
that there was no finality in the results which had 
been already reached. At the same time it is 
certain that the strongest appeal will be found, 
with few exceptions, in those that were early 
rather than late in time of production. A third 
point which will be noticed as we proceed with our 
subject is that once more with few exceptions, 
but these are notable the High Grades were 
anonymous, like the Craft Grades. They may lie 
here and they may lie there under a certain 
quality of suspicion in respect of authorship ; they 
may have received there or they may receive here 
a definite attribution. It is antecedently credible 
enough, though it is not true in fact, that the 
Chevalier Ramsay composed grades in illustration 
of his especial theory concerning the origin of 
Masonry. It is difficult not to connect the name 
of Baron Hund with the RITE OF THE STRICT 
OBSERVANCE on the side of Ritual production as 
well as the executive side. But the ^se Croix 
and the Grade of J^adosh are without father or 
mother. There came a later time in the fervour 
when, under the banner of Masonry, there were 
collected intellectual interests from the four 
quarters, and with no disguise whatever people 
proceeded to the manufacture of Grades. They 
established Rites, much as we now found charities, 
and practised and proclaimed them with a certain 


The Craft and the High Grades 

joy of the heart, paying reverence to itself. The 
Grades of the Occult Sciences and things on the 
fringes thereof are mostly of open ascription, or 
can be referred with certainty. These things are 
more interesting a priori and after their own manner 
than many of the grades of chivalry. 


Development of tbe Ibigb <5raoe0 in 
respect of tbe ancient alliance 





External events 'prior to this time The law given on Sinai 
and the reservation connected therewith Dreams 
of some early Masonic interpreters Of Noachite 
Grades in Masonry Royal Ark Mariner Fugitive 
Mark Of Mark Master Masonry and its symbolism 
The two divisions of the Grade in its emblematical 
sense Link and Chain A legend of Solomon's crown 
Marked Master The Legend of Cavelum The 
mystic capstone and its history Most Excellent 
Master Further concerning the Stone of Destiny 
The Ark of the Covenant and the Divine Presence 
in the Temple Adonhiramite Masonry Its author- 
ship Grand Tiler of Solomon The Altar of Burnt 
Offerings A problem concerning the Masonic 
Secrets par excellence The Grade of Royal Master 
Cryptic Masonry Proposed contents of the Secret 
Vault Master of all Symbolic Lodges The con- 
clusions of this section. 



The event of the Craft Legend, and its memorials in the 
High Grades Grades of visitation and judgment 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Remedial Grades Grades of completion Motive 
of the Kadosb Grades Jacobite motive in Templar 
Grades Further concerning Adonhiramite Masonry 
The Cryptic Grades as an introduction to the 
Royal Arch The Collection of L. G. de Saint Victor 
The Grade of Perfect Elect Mason Its subsurface 
design Place of the Grade in various Rites The 
Grade of Second Elect, or Elect of Perignan Elect 
of Fifteen Its Legend Grade of Lesser Architect 
Curious point in its Symbolism Mystic aspects of 
this Degree The work accomplished therein Conse- 
quences of the catastrophe recited in the Craft Legend 
Grade of Grand Architect Suspension of the 
work The Temple in the process of its materialisa- 
tion A new school of Architecture Grade of 
Master in Israel, or Super intend ant of buildings 
Evolution of the School Presence of the Harodim 
motive The Work on Mount Lebanon Grade of 
Perfect Master Mausoleum of the Master Builder 
Further materialisation of Doctrine Grade of Sublime 
Knight Its identity with Master Elect of the Ten 
Tribes An Anomaly of Chivalry Grade of Chief 
of the Tabernacle The Son of the Master Builder 
Anomalous commemoration of the Levitical 
institution The Tabernacle in the Wilderness 
Grade of Prince of the Tabernacle Further anomalies 
Grade of Most Excellent Master A sequel to 
Marked Master Further concerning the Stone of 
Destiny A Grade of completion and consecration 
Confusions of the Symbolism Installation of the 
Ark of the Covenant Manifestation of the Shekinah 
Position of the Grade. 


The Argument 


An interim general conclusion Question of the Royal 
Arch State of the Mysteries in Israel after the 
destruction of the First Temple The Cryptic Degrees 
Grade of Super-Excellent Master A retrospect 
of Jewish History Of Masonry in Babylon Prince 
of Babylon Knight of the Brazen Serpent Grade of 
Excellent Mason And its sequel Symholism of the 
Royal Arch Affiliation with the Grade of Mark 
Mason Its strength and weakness Forms of the 
Grade Connection with Christian interests A 
Rosicrucian analogy Comparative value of the 
Codices The discovery made in the Ceremony Of 
sorrow and joy in Masonry Grade of Prince of 
Jerusalem Its historical aspects An epilogue to the 
Grades confessing to the motive of the Old Law. 




development of tbe Ibigb (Brafces in 
reaped of tbe ancient alliance 



HAVING regard to the inward and spiritual sig- 
nificance of the Craft Grades, it is difficult to sup- 
pose that another epoch in the life of Israel could 
have been selected with equal intellectual propriety 
for the expression of that symbolism which is 
found in the central Legend. And yet we have 
to remember that great external events with 
treasures of meaning behind them had gone 
before the epoch. I have mentioned the giving 
of the Law on Sinai as a singular but unnoticed 
instance of an implied reservation of doctrine ; 
the occasion thus afforded has been overlooked 
by the makers of Masonic ritual, who to speak 
with sincerity have given us comparatively few 
instances of deep consideration in the worlds of 
allegory and parable. The exception par excellence 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

is of course the culminating Grade of the Craft, 
which in comparison with the High Grades 
concerned with the development of Masonic 
implicits under the aegis of the Old Covenant is 
even as a great sun about which revolve a few 
considerable planets and a cloud of asteroids ; if 
many or most of them were drawn back into their 
source at the centre they would be scarcely missed, 
either in respect of their historical or symbolical 

The great spaces of time which preceded the 
Third Degree were, however, by no means destined 
to remain vacant, and if some of them have been 
peopled only with mere puerilities they are worth 
a word in passing for the sake of chronological 
completeness of course, of the emblematic kind. 
It was left for early interpreters and dealers in the 
origin of things to dream of Masonic principles as 
a part of Adam's beatitude in the Garden of Eden ; 
no true Grade fortunately offers the picture of a 
Lodge in Paradise, though Edenic motives and allu- 
sions are not wanting here and there in some ritual 
examples of the lesser systems. But it is otherwise 
with the memorials of the Deluge, and the Degree of 
<*Ark Mariner^ which, both in its early and modern 
forms, confuses many issues of symbolism, presents 
Noah as the Master of a Lodge, with Japhet and 
Shem acting as Wardens therein. The period is 
just subsequent to the Deluge, and I suppose that 
the implied place is in the shadow of Mount 
Ararat. It is naturally a memorial of deliverance, 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

outside which it has no office or meaning. The 
waters that overwhelmed the world suffer a simple 
comparison with the flood of human passions, and 
the ship of signal providence which floated on their 
surface typifies the greater ark of our final salva- 
tion shewing the implied completion of Masonry 
according to the mind of the Grade. Thus is 
the " ship of the soul " shewn to be voyaging and 
voyaging ; thus also do the most trivial and 
irrelevant degrees in Masonry reflect at a far 
distance the high quest of the Mysteries. And 
the lesson brought away by the Noachite Candi- 
date after his anomalous experience is that the 
Divine judgments in respect of those who do evil 
are counterbalanced by the Divine mercy which 
awaits others who persevere in the direct path ; 
there is safety now as there was in the days of 
Noah, and there is a surer ark of refuge. The 
instruction which hints at this explains nothing 
concerning it, and I should estimate that those 
who compiled it were like men who see light at 
the end of a troubled dream but do not know 
what it portends or the quarter whence it comes. 

The Noachite motive which governs the 
degree of <Ark ^Mariner perpetuated its particular 
inconsequences in that of Fugitive Mark, which 
has still less title to existence and has no consan- 
guinity with that from which it depends. It 
explains certain simple means by which Masons 
recognised and helped one another in times of 
persecution or other distress. Why it should be 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

referred to the age of Noah and why the Master 
of the Lodge who communicates the exploded 
secrets to Candidates should act as the patriarch's 
vicegerent and work in his name, are points that 
override explanation. There is a very profound 
connection between the diluvian myth and the 
Secret Doctrine, for which it represents the ship- 
wreck of the old initiations that had passed into 
utter corruption, as we shall see towards the term 
of our research, but the explanation of these things 
is not in a Noachite Grade, nor indeed in official 
Masonry at all. 

We have not, however, completed our explan- 
ation of the Noachite motive, at once so curious 
and inconsequential. It will recur once and for 
all as a kind of unintended sequel to the Grade of 
<Mark ^Master ^Mason^ which will shortly inter- 
vene for our attention. It represents, however, a 
long distance ahead in symbolical time, and this 
space is not entirely devoid of Masonic legend and 
symbolism. The great epoch of Abraham, as the 
father of all Israel, and the captivity in Egypt are 
passed over in silence ; so also is the Exodus, and 
so as I have said is the opportunity offered by 
the sacred mystery of Sinai. There are, however, 
two Grades which commemorate the institution 
of the priestly order in Israel, but they must be 
considered at a later stage because of the intellec- 
tual confusion which has imported them into the 
period of the First Temple. We are left there- 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

called also that of Brotherly love, which is 
concerned with the friendship subsisting between 
David and Jonathan and has practically no em- 
blematic aspect. It is probably of American 
origin as here known among us, but towards the 
end of the eighteenth century an Order of TDavid 
and Jonathan existed in Holland. It is devoid of 
Masonic elements, as it now stands, except in so far 
as it is held to strengthen the bonds of fraternal 
affection which should exist among all Masons : it 
is, however, quite negligible in this as in other 
respects, and recalls the ORDER OF THE EASTERN 
STAR in pseudo-adoptive Masonry, which is also 
American and also worthless, even after its own 

The Grade of Mark ^Master ^Mason is a 
methodised attempt to sustain the supposed claims 
of the operative Craft as demanding recognition 
side by side with those of the Emblematic Art. 
The Candidate has served ex hypothesi an allotted 
period of the active kind, and he aspires to an 
official position, being that of a leader in the 
work. The work itself is literalised ; it is of 
course that of the Temple, and is comparatively 
in an early stage of its fulfilment, though the 
designs which rule it are in an advanced stage. 
The Master of the Lodge represents no historical 
personage, imputed or otherwise, and the Lodge 
itself or that which is done therein would 
deserve no consideration at my hands were it not 
for a remarkable transformation which takes place 

VOL. i. K 145 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

as the ceremony of reception proceeds. In virtue 
of this the Lodge, which is insistently operative 
at the beginning, closes in the highest form of 
symbolism. The time is antecedent to that of 
the Craft Legend. Symbolically, of course, the 
Grades of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft are 
in respect of the Candidate before everything, 
but their priority concerns qualification only, as 
they have no place in symbolic chronology. 
They correspond to the Number Nothing which 
precedes Mother Kilwinning on the Roll of 
Scottish Lodges. 

The Postulant for advancement in the Mark 
has a specific labour to perform, and as he does so 
also he suffers, passing through an ordeal of con- 
demnation, which is followed by vindication 
and victory. There are symbolic elements in the 
Ritual which call for particular notice. 

The Grade of Mark Masonry contains a 
profound symbolism under a trivial and almost 
grotesque guise upon the surface. It sets out 
as we have seen to reinstate operative Masonry 
as an essential part of that Craft which is operative 
only in speculation ; but it ends itself in symbol- 
ism, and as symbolism it stands almost alone in the 
treasury of Masonic regalia. It is concerned by 
reason of its professed motive with specific details 
in the mystery of building, and although it is 
now conferred only upon Master Masons, it is 
clear that it arises from the Fellow Craft Grade, 
because in the order of emblematic chronology it 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

precedes as we have also seen the Legend of 
that catastrophe which is memorialised in the 
plenary Degree. Therefore the House of Doctrine 
is not, it should be understood, made void ; the 
mystic temple is indeed in the course of its 
erection ; and the design is to advance aspirants 
in the secret ways of knowledge who can shew 
that they possess the capacity. With this inten- 
tion there is a tacit undertaking on the part of 
those who know to ensure the rejection of the true 
Craft work, in order that its vital necessity may 
be more fully manifested in the end. He who can 
furnish the one thing wanting and needful which 
supports the fabric is he who by tradition or by 
intuitive knowledge is acquainted, actually and 
essentially, with the whole artifice of doctrine. 
And, as it so happens according to the law of the 
ceremony, he is a novice and unknown ; but he 
proves in the most conclusive of all manners that 
he is singularly equipped with skill with the 
sagacity to discern the secret in virtue of which 
the external or official houses are maintained by 
the virtue that is within. It is not of necessity, or 
indeed ex hypothesl possible, that the whole Secret 
Doctrine is here typified ; it is rather such a 
measure of informing life as is sufficient for one 
side of the manifestation. Taking it in connection 
with the Craft symbolism, an important inference 
is that in a Spiritual House which is conceived 
after one manner, executed in another, destroyed 
as a visitation in judgment on the Sons of its 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Doctrine, and restored in shadow or similitude, 
there was here and there an original column, an 
architrave, a piece of the groined roofing, which 
was perfect after its own kind, and as such presented 
some partial image of all that might have been. 
It will be remembered that the central Legend 
leaves the task unfinished and the whole project 
in chaos : the dead secret is buried with great 
pomp, and there is no true story after. To this 
extent the Craft Legend speaks for itself on the 
symbolic side, and from the moment that the key 
is provided it speaks eloquently for ever. The 
Mark Grade is much more involved and cryptic, 
with a particular application only, but the full 
significance of its symbolism scarcely appears in 
that codex of the Ritual which prevails under the 
obedience of the Grand Mark Lodge of England, 
where the procedure, for a somewhat obscure 
reason, is literally upside down. It is worked 
otherwise in Scotland, and especially by the 
Mother Lodge of Kilwinning. 

I have intimated that the Grade carries a 
significance that is profound under a surface that 
is slight, while here and there it conveys even a 
grotesque suggestion. It has never been regarded 
in the spirit of interpretation or that of informed 
criticism, and I conclude that its more inward 
aspects, as I have referred to them in this place, 
may scarcely have entered into the heart of those 
who hold it. It is separable into two main parts, 
of which one comprises the accidents but the 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

other is the root and essence. The first among 
these draws in a plenary sense on the resources 
of symbolism and the dramatic form of cere- 
mony, so that it may impress upon all recipi- 
ents its integral connection with the operative 
Craft of old. It is as if it were a ritual specifically 
devised to make an end of hypotheses like those 
of Ragon, of Mr. R. F. Gould and myself. It 
has no consanguinity at all with the symbolic 
Grade of ^Master, though it has become expedient 
and therefore right that it should be communicated 
at this day only to those who have attained that 
Degree. Its recognition by the Craft would 
involve its return into its proper class, as a side 
issue from the Grade of Craftsman. We must 
remember once again that the Master Grade is, 
speaking symbolically, a matter of substitution and 
anomaly by an act of intention therein ; that of 
the Mark is anomalous after another manner, a 
substitution of a different kind, and no pains are 
spared to make both facts evident to those who 
have eyes for symbolism. 

The second of those two divisions which I 
have mentioned above, and have characterised as 
the essential parts, must be sought more especially 
in certain choric and supplementary portions, if 
I may be allowed so to term them. Therein that 
operative motive which has seemed to be the 
cause and impulse of the whole passes into com- 
plete dissolution, and we are in the presence of 
what I have called high symbolism, as such indeed 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

it is, though some of it looks strangely enough, 
since it belongs to another order of religious ideas. 
Therein we are made acquainted with the spiritual 
and mystical nature of the work produced by the 
craftsman and with its relation to the Divine 
World. We are told over again but this time 
without veils and evasion concerning that which 
was designed, and where and why. The ethical 
side of Masonry itself dissolves with the literal, 
and we are in the presence of that which the 
Spirit saith unto the assemblies. 

As in things essential, so, also in those that are 
of accident the symbolical note of the Mark 
working appears ; it is therefore present with 
and without design. An instance of the second- 
ary kind is the remote character of the allusions 
to a Master Builder as to one who already and 
long since has attained the hour of his reward ; 
passus et sepultus esf. This is of course by way of 
anachronism, or may be so interpreted, but it 
serves a purpose otherwise by reducing the literal 
side further. For the benefit of those who 
possess the Grade according to the ordered right 
of Masonic initiation, it should be stated that the 
guide to the meaning is in that work which the 
Candidate and Craftsman accomplishes unaided by 
his own skill ; but for those outside the mystic 
circle the clew is that the Candidate excogitates 
the implicits of his own mind, and provides that 
without which the spiritual building cannot stand 
alone, or rather the especial part thereof with 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

which the ceremony is concerned. It follows, 
and I affirm therefore : (i) That which qualifies 
to preside is knowledge, and this is the gift of 
God. (2) That such knowledge is related to the 
spirit and meaning behind the veils that are 
without, in the absence of which spirit the ex- 
ternal pageants of doctrine cannot stand because 
they do not signify essentially. (3) The period for 
the acquisition of knowledge is six days, and after 
that is a Sabbath, in which the soul contemplates 
God and the eye of God looks upon the soul. 
(4) The analogy of this is to be sought in that 
which Zoharic theosophy signified by nuptial 
intercourse on the Sabbath. (5) The six days are 
divisible under two heads, and three of them are 
embraced by the Craft with its legitimate exten- 
sions and the supplements thereto belonging ; 
they are the memorial of that which is sought. 
During this period the soul of man is indeed 
pursuing what is lost ; but he knows not what he 
does, because he knows not that which he is seek- 
ing. (6) The second trinity of days is represented 
by the High Grades, and in these he finds not, 
indeed, that which he seeks but the true intima- 
tions concerning its nature. The High Grades 
impart this nature after their several manners, and 
it may be said that he knows therefore in part. 
(7) The seventh day is the Sabbath, and therein 
that which he has sought previously without he 
has come to look for within, and supposing that 
he is properly prepared he finds it in the state 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

of contemplation which I have mentioned 
There are no Grades corresponding to this state 
in Masonry, but the witness is always in the 
world, and I have met with it in another place. 
This mystery cannot be received by the unin- 
structed ; to them it is a rock of offence. The 
Mark Mason should therefore remember (a) that 
there is a Stone which was rejected by the 
builders, and (ti) that this Stone became the head 
of the corner. 

A supplement to the Mark Degree which has 
almost passed out of knowledge, and is not in- 
cluded by Ragon in his Nomenclature of more than 
1400 Grades, though it is still preserved in at 
least one group of Rites, passes under the title of 
Link and Cham. It is preposterous in respect of 
attribution, as it now stands third in the Noachite 
series, and this is scarcely explicable even by the 
illiterate spirit which governed the co-ordination 
of the Rite in question. It is said that under 
another obedience it was once conferred in a 
Royal Arch Chapter^ but this would increase the 
anomaly, as the Arch is a Grade of the Second 
House of Doctrine, having no connection as such 
with a diluvian motive. Noah and his sons are 
represented as guardians of the great Ark of 
Refuge ; it has passed already into symbolism, 
and has become a type of that covenant signified 
by the Bow of Promise, ntfj?, the Mystical Rain- 
bow, and is thus the precursor of another and 
later covenant, Ark of a higher Dispensation, over 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

the Mysteries of which presided the Holy Lodge, 
with ceremonies that imagination bodies forth, 
but they are unhappily wanting to Masonry. 
There is no explanation of the title Link and 
Chaln^ and no correspondence therewith in any 
part of the ceremonial. It is conceivable that it 
may be meant allegorically as referring to the 
bond of union created by the covenant, the 
rainbow sign of which unites heaven and earth. 
In a much deeper sense the rainbow is that link 
and chain which connected the later initiations 
with all that was holy and good in those which 
were overwhelmed by the catastrophe called the 
deluge mystically. I am acquainted as I have 
intimated with very high super-Masonic Rites, 
which represent the Ark of Noah as carrying the 
sacred deposit of the old arcana from the one 
epoch to the other across waters of destruction, 
the living types of the archaic wisdom being 
symbolised by the animals of the Ark. 

As the imputed period of the Link and Chain 
is that of the First Temple, it remains that its 
Noachite character is a singular fatuity of arrange- 
ment. It is difficult to understand the intel- 
lectual confusion of some makers of rituals ; 
nothing can be more absurd than the anachronism 
of officers who represent Noah and his sons 
communicating to their Candidates a legend con- 
cerning King Solomon. The story is that the 
Jewish monarch, when inspecting the building of 
the Temple, lost from his crown one of the jewels 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

which formed the Sacred Name. It was ulti- 
mately discovered by that skilful craftsman with 
whose history we are made acquainted in the 
Mark Degree. The symbolic time of the occur- 
rence is between the recognition of his work of 
art and science, and its final super-imposition in 
the sacred place which it was designed to occupy. 
I must suffer the responsibility of my own office 
in the construction of symbolism, for although 
the legend is tempting I fear that it rests on 
fantasy rather than solid meaning. The fabled 
jewel was an amethyst ; its loss is not reported to 
have carried any consequences, while its recovery 
occasioned only the inscription of its name on 
that particular work of skill which had been 
shaped by the craftsman. Had we met with the 
story in Zoharic records, a little management of 
the incidents would have perhaps enabled us to 
see that the loss of the jewel, which in the 
Masonic Grade is represented as a bad omen, 
really signified the loss of the true pronunciation 
of the Divine Name and the consequent widow- 
hood of the Sacred Word. We should understand 
thus that the jewel has not been till this day 
restored to any crown in the world. As the 
password of the Link and Chain itself signifies, 
it is still a hidden treasure. 

An order of symbolic chronology does not 
offer the opportunity for a very strict succession, 
and if I proceed to dispose at this point of the 
Grade entitled Marked Master , it is without 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

prejudice to the fact that it might have come 
earlier or even later in the series, with a limit 
on both sides. The Degree at the present day 
is known only in Scotland, unless it has passed 
to America from that country ; it seems, more- 
over, to be conferred automatically as one of a 
series rather than worked in Lodge. If legends of 
the Masonic kind counted in the historical sense 
for anything, one might be disposed to think that 
Scotland was also the place of its invention, but 
nothing attaches to the speculation. It has a 
curious and ingenious legend, which belongs to 
an early period of the Master-Builder's connection 
with the enterprise of the spiritual Temple ; it is, 
however, anomalous enough, for it is in opposition 
to the spirit of the Craft and the entire Masonic 
motive. For the one and the other, the tradi- 
tional builder is always the Master-Builder, the 
kings who are described as his coadjutors being only 
employers and patrons. On the other hand, the 
legend of Marked Master represents him as being 
in the first instance subordinate to Cavelum, one 
of the royal kinsmen, who was in charge of the 
operations prior to the arrival of that artist 
whose genius and fidelity have filled the world of 
Masonry with praise for ever. This is the anomaly 
on the surface ; but that which follows, also on 
the surface, is worse, for it is a blot on the 
scutcheon of the Builder. He is depicted as dis- 
contented and jealous because of his inferior 
position, and his negligence led to a fatality 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

which wears almost a homicidal aspect. A 
particular coping-stone had been set over the 
northern gate and under the supervision of the 
Master had been fixed so badly that it fell from 
the height specified, its collapse destroying the 
Intendant-in-Chief of the works. A further 
examination of the legend shews, however, that 
the anomaly and impeachment are little better 
than pretexts, which serve to connect the stone 
with early symbolical Masonry. It is really a 
legend of Paradise, for on that stone there once 
stood the angel with the Flaming Sword at the 
expulsion of man from the garden. It was called 
the Stone of Destiny, and if such was its purpose, 
as I have said, on the side of severity and judgment, 
on that of concealed mercy it became in later days 
the altar upon which Abraham prepared to im- 
molate his son Isaac. The dual memorial of 
enforced suffering, of resignation and sacrifice, 
was somehow preserved in Jewry, and at many 
points and corners of the mystic Temple it was 
sought to erect it in fine, but there was no place 
found for it except on the coping-stone of the gate 
already mentioned. The death of Cave/urn seems 
thus to suggest a working of fatality rather than 
of negligence. Whether it was culpable neglect, 
or in either case, there follows the curious and 
anomalous intimation that in grief at the death of 
his kinsman the great King in his wisdom walled 
up the North gate, a remarkable suggestion, seeing 
that it was a place of egress upon that memorable 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

occasion which is in the mind of all Masons 
when the bond of union in treachery found its 
victim. Whether the coping-stone was reimposed 
subsequently, is not stated. 

I have omitted to mention that it was also 
that stone which served as a pillow for Jacob 
when he saw the Ladder of the Soul's Ascent and 
the angels going to and fro thereon. Having 
regard to the continuity of its presence in Jewry, 
it is perhaps only by omission or forgetfulness 
that the symbol is not identified with that rock 
which followed Israel into the Promised Land ; 
and then there is little question that the suggestive 
almost eloquent symbolism would have been 
taken over and put to its own purpose by Christian 
Masonry for that rock was Christ, and on such 
a stone as this did He build His Church, not 
indeed the Church of vicissitude, the Church 
prevailing in warfare and sometimes prevailed 
against, but the Church spiritual and unseen, 
entered in the higher consciousness and established 
therein for ever. 

Probably its untoward intervention in the 
case of the first Intendant hindered this ascription 
to the legendary object. In any case, we are told 
expressly that it was not utilised for the later 
Temple, though it continued to be preserved as a 
Palladium, till it was, at a later period, carried by a 
cohort of emigrating Jews, under the leadership- 
past all expectation of the prophet Jeremiah, 
and was taken so far that it arrived at last in Scot- 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

land and was set up therein. The reader will be 
able to identify it when I add that the Stone of 
Destiny was rifled by Edward, king of England, 
who carried it to London and placed it in the 
coronation chair. It doth not yet appear what 
shall betide it ; but when man returns to Para- 
dise its symbolical history may be completed, 
for the angel, with sword reversed, may again 
stand upon it and welcome him in. 

Having regard to the multiplicity of Grades, 
it will not be unexpected that a kind of superin- 
cession in respect of subject and motive should 
take place occasionally among them. There are, 
for example, two groups which are apt to cause 
some confusion in this especial respect : there are 
(a) those Grades which pass under the name of 
Adonhiramite Masonry^ and (b) the Cryptic Degrees 
leading up to the Royal Arch. The first has 
interesting points as a constructive effort in a 
series, and seems to have originated with the 
idea of introducing a casual and unwarranted 
successor to the Master Builder in the person 
of Adonhiram^ who was brought from the forest 
of Lebanon, where he supplied the wood, to 
take a share in the operations at the Temple it- 
self. But this alteration was made in the days 
of the Builder. As regards the Cryptic Grades^ 
their importance depends from that of the Royal 
Arch^ and if the latter could not stand such ex- 
planatory aids must needs share in its fall. Now it 
happens that these Grades are a part of Adonhira- 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

mite Masonry^ being concerned with the personage 
in question after his arrival in Jerusalem ; but 
this notwithstanding, they do not form part of 
the series above mentioned, the authorship of 
which is ascribed variously to L. G. de Saint 
Victor, to Baron Tschoudy and to unknown 
hands. In dealing with the claims of both, we 
must remember that the proportion of Ceremonial 
Masonic literature belonging to the Secret Tradi- 
tion is quantitatively small in comparison with 
constructions and extensions by various persons 
who followed the simple way of excogitation 
under the light of the logical understanding. 
All that is of reasonable derivation in this manner 
enters into the tradition, and must be separated 
from other growths of the Mystical Tree which 
are the product of arbitrary grafting. At the 
same time it requires to be distinguished from the 
native-born blossoms and fruit of the tree itself. 
But it may also happen that some of the curious 
graftings are not without importance after their 
own manner ; at least they are all, unless they 
are mere waste products, preoccupied with one 
or another phase of the great subjects, and many 
which count as the least according to ritual 
measures reflect something from those subjects 
if it is only their shadowed light remotely. We 
shall be passing therefore in our progress through 
worlds of allusion, through worlds of similitude, 
and by the time that we attain our bourne the 
quest already inaugurated will have proved one 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

of many adventures. Moreover, as this experi- 
ment has never been proposed previously, the 
tales will be not of old travel. 

The next Grade which concerns us is, however, 
that of Grand Tyler of Solomon, or Mason Elect of 
the 27, the subsidiary title, undignified and 
undecorate, being one of the fantasies which 
characterise occasionally the less important of 
the High Degrees. Under the English obedi- 
ence it is preserved, or rather interned, in the 
collection of the Allied Degrees, but the follow- 
ing outline is derived from, another source. 
The ceremony takes place symbolically beneath 
the site of the First Temple, and it may be 
regarded as an initial intimation concerning the 
existence of those penetralia, out of which arises 
the chief office of the Grades called Cryptic, which 
as we have seen are a part of Adonhiramite 
Masonry. The period is of course that of the Sacred 
Lodge, and this is the only occasion when the cere- 
monial officers represent the triad of the Headship 
in propria persona. The precise symbolical time is 
a little prior to that of the Craft Legend. I conceive 
that there were no accessory masters recognised in 
the mind of the maker. The proof is that, 
according to the traditional story, the Degree was 
constituted out of a Fellow Craft Lodge, twenty- 
four Craftsmen being chosen to participate in the 
deliberations of the Secret Council convened in 
the as yet unconsecrated vaults, whereas if there 
had been ordinary Masters that Council would 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

have been formed from them. It is in this manner, 
that is to say, by the addition of the three Grand 
Masters to the cohort of craftsmen, that we obtain 
twenty-seven, the number of the Elect Masons. 
The hope expressed by the closing is that the 
ordinary members of council may yet become 
Master Masons and receive the communication 
of that which is reserved to those alone. It is 
obvious that if the general Grade had existed by 
the hypothesis of the account, the Lodge would 
have been opened therein for the purpose in 

The business transacted is related to the progress 
of the building, and at the time of the Candidate's 
approach the three Grand Masters are taking 
counsel together on the plans for the Altar of the 
Lord, while he himself certifies, in testimony as to 
his qualification, that he has been at work on 
the edifice above. The only symbolic importance 
is that which may be held to reside in the plans 
of the Altar that is to say, concerning the fitting 
place of the mystic sacrifice which goes on for 
ever, the sacrifice of life to the attainment of the 
one term and the sacrifice of false, illusory, or 
relative knowledge to that which is true and 
absolute. The decision but there is no decision 
in reality does not signify, because the Grade is 
far from the goal. 

As regards the arcane communications in the 
Grand Tyler Degree, there is no need to say that 
they are substitutes after their own manner, but 

VOL. I. L l6l 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

they lead up to the pretext of the Royal Arch 
that pretext which is at once so suggestive and 
unsatisfying. It is suggestive because it certifies 
abundantly as to the source of the symbolical 
mystery, and it is unsatisfying, many claims not- 
withstanding, because it perpetuates, as already 
shewn, the doctrine of loss instead of that of 
restitution or the hope of attaining this. In a 
sense which will be understood by Masons it is, 
however, given pure and undefiled. 

The Tyler Grade offers otherwise, and still in 
connection with the question of verbal formulae, a 
point of some interest, though it shews how the 
inner meaning of Craft symbolism was missed 
by the makers of many later rituals. It follows 
from the Craft Grades that a part of their instituted 
secrets, being that which is symbolised by the 
verbal formulae, was in possession of three persons, 
whose identity is not stated ; but no inference 
leads us to assume (a) that the King of Israel was 
in possession of the other secrets, being those attach- 
ing to workings which ex hypothesi were purely 
of an operative nature ; or (b) that there were 
three operative Grand Masters, one of whom was 
the King of Tyre. On the contrary, there is 
everything in the symbolism, in the legend, and 
in a certain closing of the Lodge, to veto such an 
inference explicitly, more especially in respect of 
the building plans. The other ascribed Masters 
were not of the building art, and could not, with 
regularity of logic, be imported therein when the 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

art was spiritualised. It may be assumed con- 
cerning them that they had their own mysteries, 
but these were, or should have been, the secrets 
of Kings. In the present Degree, however, they 
both appear to be in plenary possession of the 
building mystery, because of their accredited 
position of supereminence in the Sacred Lodge. 
In a word, they were something more than the 
first patrons of the art. The question is, what 
was in the mind of the symbolist that he should 
inhibit the communication of secrets, the fact 
of which is paraded to those whose advancement 
takes place ; while, as if by precaution against the 
future, the mysteries are reduced into writing and 
are concealed in a cryptic place, which the loss 
notwithstanding is not opened for centuries, and 
then proves to contain a shadow in place of the 
substance ? We may perhaps find some light on 
the subject when the message of the Grades under 
the Old Alliance has been collected into a 
summary form, at the end of our research. 

An illustration of the superincession that I 
have mentioned previously is given by the next 
Grade, being that of Royal Master, which in 
respect of its motive is almost identical with the 
Grand Tyler of King Solomon. It is also an integral 
part of Adonhlramlte Masonry^ and is concerned 
with the attainment of the Great Secret communi- 
cated to a Master Mason. The time is prior to 
the completion and dedication of the Temple, 
nor can the stage of the Mystic Work be more 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

than approximately inferred. There is a sugges- 
tion, or at least a speculation, as to what might 
happen if one of the Masters were to die ; but 
it is affirmed that precautions have been taken to 
insure the perpetuation of the secrets, no part of 
which will be communicated till the dedication 
is an accomplished fact. The Candidate re- 
presents Adonhiram, who, according to this part 
of his story, questioned on a certain occasion the 
Master of all the Mysteries embodied in the art 
of Spiritual Building as to the time at which 
he should receive from the hands of him or 
another the great Craft Secret. He was told 
that, if found worthy, it would be imparted on 
the completion of the Temple. In the mean- 
time its concealment had taken place under the 
circumstances described in the previous Degree, 
and, according to one of the recensions, the duty 
imposed on Adonhiram is to work for the pre- 
servation of that mystery which has been so 
far denied him. The Candidate who personates 
him receives the Secrets of a Royal Master, but 
these are little to his purpose. 

The Grade itself is the product of an extra- 
ordinary confusion of ideas and incidents, and 
though I have located it in the present section, 
part of it is referable to the next ; its proper con- 
cern is the completion of the vessels pertaining to 
the House of the Lord. In the first act of the 
ceremonial the Master is apparently alive, and is 
represented by one of the officers ; in the second, 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

his seat is vacant, the substitute does not appear as 
in the former part, and it is made plain that the 
great prototype will return no more by that which 
is communicated to the Candidate. 

Some annotations on the Grade of Ifyya/ 
^Master indicate that the ceremonial takes place 
in the cryptic part of the Temple, like that ot 
Grand Tyler of Solomon, but it is abundantly clear 
from the Ritual and its rubrics that the convention 
is really held in a public part of the building 
where the ordinary craftsmen are at work. 

The ritual which next concerns us, being that 
of Select ^Master, takes us again to the vaults, 
which tradition supposes to have existed immedi- 
ately beneath the site of the Holy of Holies. 
The degree is really a variant of ^Masons Elect of 
27, or at least it is an offshoot from the same 
root. It has also striking analogies with the 
'Ttyyal Arch of Enoch, which is really a Cryptic 
Grade, though it has been collected into 
another series, under a distinct obedience. The 
accidents embodied by most of the dramatic 
part are not of our concern. According to one 
of the codices, the crypt is a chamber with nine 
arches extending from West to East, but the 
ninth alone is completed. It is this which is 
designed as the depository of the Masonic arcana, 
together with models of (a) the Ark of the Cove- 
nant, in which the arcana were placed ; (b) the 
pot of manna ; (c) the Rod of Aaron ; and (d) 
a copy of the Book of the Law. But another 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

codex, which seems to approach more nearly 
the original form, so far as we can presume 
concerning it, affirms that there were three arched 
vaults one beneath another, and that in the last or 
lowermost was the resting-place of the mysteries, 
as follows : (a) The Masonic arcana, the promised 
communication of which was rendered impos- 
sible by the memorable event recorded in the 
Craft Legend ; (b) the Sacred Law ; (c) the 
crowns of the two Kings, as if after that event 
they had laid them aside for ever ; (d) the coins 
of the reign in Israel ; and (e) the embalmed 
heart of the Master. 

It should be understood that at the symbolic 
time of the Grade the vault was vacant in respect of 
these objects, and the Master was still alive. The 
enumeration is therefore to this extent in advance 
of the occurrence, and the so-called Historical 
Lecture simply delineates a preconceived plan to 
deposit arcana, in the expectation that they might 
some day prove of benefit to Masonry. The 
object is otherwise to sustain the tradition of 
the Royal Arch, and whatever the value per se 
which is resident in these Grades of Adonhiramite 
^Masonry, it is certain that in the absence of some 
of them the most striking ceremonial part of the 
Holy Order is scarcely intelligible. As regards 
the things that are deposited, it will be seen that 
there is one secret surrounded by four hallows 
but some of these confuse the issues. 

In conclusion, both within and without 

Grades of the Ancient Ahiance 

Masonry, the mystery of symbolical building 
becomes sometimes a very great mystery, and if 
it should seem that I affirm now in too magisterial 
a manner that the internment of mysteries as here 
indicated does not differ generically from the 
internment indicated by the Craft Legend, it is on 
the understanding that I shall come back to this 
subject carrying a fuller light at the close of our 

The close of this section brings us to the 
Grade entitled ^Master of all Symbolic Lodges, 
about which the most characteristic confusion 
exists in the ordinary sources of reference. In 
Woodford's Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry, which is 
one of the most negligible hand-books produced 
in the whole range of modern Masonic book- 
production, the Grade is identified with that of 
Prince of the Tabernacle, being the 24th Degree 
of the ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED RITE, than which 
nothing could be more dissimilar. Mackey pre- 
ceded this with a statement on his own part, 
while Kenneth Mackenzie identified it with the 
aoth Degree of the same system, being Venerable 
Grand ^Master AD VITAM, which is also distinct 
entirely. It is in reality the old degree of Past 
^Master, as it is said to have prevailed in the so- 
called York Rite, and there should be no need to 
add that, as such, it has no analogy with the 
ceremony of installing a Master in the chair of a 
Craft Lodge. It is still communicated in Scotland, 
but probably pro forma. Under the obedience of 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the system which preserves it, the Lodge is opened 
first of all in the Grade of Fellow Craft <Mark^ 
but the imputed Mark relation is entirely arbitrary. 
In France, with as little reason, it is connected by 
commentators with the Royal Arch series, to 
which it does not offer even the shadow of a 

Putting these questions aside, it is remarkable 
in one sense, because the Candidate himself is 
elected to the chair and office of the Master. The 
reason, which does not appear in the ceremonial 
part, follows from information embodied in the 
Historical Lecture ; it is recited there that during 
the rule of the Sacred Lodge there were no Masters 
outside the governing triad, as I have indeed 
maintained independently on my own part. It 
was therefore proposed to confer the degree of 
Master upon a certain skilled craftsman. Twelve 
of these were selected as Postulants, and sent to 
take up their station behind the Temple with 
their faces turned to the East. The time was 
prior to sunrise, and he who first beheld the 
ascent of the day-star should be acknowledged as 
a Master. It is another legend of a Golden Dawn, 
and the name of the Elect Fellow-Craft Mark 
was Adonhlram. This also is therefore Adon- 
hiramite Masonry ; but we know from the Grade 
of tfyyal ^Master that he did not receive the 
arcana, and as regards those of Symbolic <Master^ 
they are again to no purpose of the Craft. 

It may serve a subsidiary object in the in- 

Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

terests of clearness to establish a brief distinction 
regarding the modern classifications of the Cryptic 
and Adonhiramite Grades. The former are worked 
in England under the obedience of a Grand 
Council, and include (a) Most Excellent ^Master, 
of which something will be said subsequently, but 
it is neither Cryptic nor Adonhiramite Masonry, and 
its inclusion is therefore an instance of the unreason 
which governs most collections of Grades into a 
sequence of Rites ; (b) c Royal ^Master, with which 
I have dealt already, and so also with (c) Select 
^Master ; (d) Super-Excellent ^Master ', which offers 
another anachronism, as it belongs to the period 
which precedes immediately the erection of the 
Second Temple : again, it is neither Cryptic nor 
Adonhiramite. The Grade of Grand Tyler of 
Solomon, which is essential to the series, is omitted 
and interned, as I have said, elsewhere. 

To Adonhiramite ^Masonry belong (a) Secret 
^Master, (b) Perfect ^Master and (c) Intendant of 
Buildings, which are included in the groups worked 
under the aegis of the ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED 
SCOTTISH RITE. We shall meet with them again in 
due course. L. G. de Saint Victor collected under 
the general title (a) The Craft Grades i, 2, 3 by 
the arbitrary assumption which I have mentioned ; 
(b) Perfect ^Master, as above ; (c) Elect of Nine, 
also taken over by the Scottish Rite ; (d) Elect of 
Perignan ; (e) Elect of Fifteen, which now figures 
as the tenth in the series of the ANCIENT AND AC- 
CEPTED SCOTTISH RITE ; (/) ^Minor Architect, or 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Scottish Apprentice ; (g) Grand Architect^ or Scottish 
Fellow Craft ; (h) Scottish ^Master ; and (i) three 
Grades of Chivalry, as follows : (i) Knight of the 
East, (2) Knight of Rose Croix, and (3) Prussian 
Knight. These, of course, have no connection with 
the Adonhiramite motive, if such a motive can 
after all be definitely affirmed to exist. 




IT was antecedently unlikely that the memorable 
event recited in the Craft Legend should pass 
without further memorial on the part of the 
High Grades, and the Rites extant which offer 
an extension of the subject may be separated into 
three divisions for convenience of treatment and 
also for coincidence of symbolism. They are 
(i) those which concern the visitation of the crime 
itself on the heads of the guilty ; (2) those which 
provide a remedial measure in respect of the evil 
created by the confusion that followed the act ; 
and (3) the sole Grade, which sets forth after any 
manner the completion and dedication of the work. 
An extrinsic importance resides in the first series, 
as its content responds to the motive which in- 
spired the Kadosh Grades, their thesis in common 
being that there was a legal, equitable and holy 
vengeance to be accomplished at all costs, though 
its nature and object varied. Either naturally, if 


The Secret Tradition in freemasonry 

they were prior in historical time, or by imputa- 
tion in the contrary case, the Craft judgment is 
the root-matter of them all, but we shall see in 
their place how this was afterwards adapted to 
give expression like the Craft itself, and especially 
the Craft Legend to the Jacobite political design, 
and again to the vindication of the Knights 
Templar as the veil of a revolutionary propaganda 
in France and otherwhere. Though they cannot 
be overlooked, I have indicated that these things are 
extrinsic to our proper term. The same must be 
said in respect of Masonic vengeance as conveyed by 
the first part of my triple enumeration of Grades ; 
but it is otherwise with the second series, in which 
we shall find an opportunity to decide whether 
there has been anywhere in High Grade Masonry 
a valid attempt to deal symbolically with a vital 
symbolical problem, or whether we have evidence 
of a difficulty present in Masonic consciousness, 
but apart from any adequate power to adjudicate 

I will now take the series in their order as 
indicated, without further preliminary reference to 
that which has been classed as third, since we 
shall find little to detain us therein. I must 
explain, however, that at the beginning we are 
still dealing on the surface with Grades of Adon- 
hiramite Masonry, but though I must not confuse 
issues, which already are none too simple, by 
questions of textual criticism, those who will be 
at the pains to consult the old codices will confirm 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

my own decision that much of what passes under 
this name in express collections and is included 
in an enumeration that I have given has no 
correspondence in motive with the Degrees which 
have been met with already and considered under 
this title. So far they have dealt with the 
symbolism of the Altar of the Lord and the Holy 
Vessels, with the mystery of the Cryptic Vaults 
and the secrets hidden therein, with an ambition 
on the part of the craftsmen, during the days of 
the Master Builder, to learn the arcana at that 
time reserved in the Sacred Lodge, and the way, 
in fine, that the Headship adjudicated thereon. 
Upon the surface of the Cryptic Grades^ and by 
implication in those which preceded it, the inten- 
tion as I have said was to lead up to the Royal 
Arch^ or something of an analogous nature con- 
ceived independently in the mind, to account for 
the alleged preservation of a secret which is of 
the imputed order only and for the prevalence 
of a substituted Mastership, when it is obvious 
that a real Grade of the kind did not exist 
outside the headship either in the days of the 
Craft Legend or before that period. I regard 
the device as bearing some marks of subtlety, and 
it is this which constitutes the interest and impor- 
tance of Adonhiramite Masonry. But some codices 
which pass under the general name are foreign 
as I have just indicated to the tradition, and 
their sole title to inclusion resides in the fact that 
they relate further episodes in the history of 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Adonhiram himself; that they substituted this 
name, without an assignable reason, for that of 
the Artist in Chief; or that they took over 
Christian Grades of completion with the idea of 
presenting a plenary Masonic System. The 
collection of L. G. de Saint Victor, which under 
the distinctive title is that which is best known, 
is responsible for the childish device in the second 
case, and for the codified supplements in the third. 
It is a little difficult to speak with certainty on 
the question of origin, but there is reason to 
believe that he contributed to the series three 
Grades of importance, as previously they appear 
to have been unknown. These are : Elect of 
Perignan, and Minor and Grand Architect. Out- 
side these, his Rite contains nothing that is not 
otherwise available, and for the most part is not 
only well known but recurrent. In those which 
concern us the events are all subsequent to the 
Symbolic time of the Third Degree, and seeing 
that his authority is of itself perhaps negligible in 
respect of the Rite as a whole, we shall be able to 
deal with all its sections in their proper places 
without further reference to himself. 

The immediate event which must be held to 
follow symbolically after the catastrophe delineated 
by the Craft Legend is the chastisement of the 
sin which cried to heaven for vengeance, the 
Craft reference to the subject being held apparently 
insufficient. If we were dealing with an historical 
event, or with a legend to be understood literally 

Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

at its proper value, it is obvious that the task of 
extension would be quite simple. It is far other- 
wise in the case of a symbolic building, a catas- 
trophe in which the personal element is only a 
veil and evasion, and a punishment which* for 
these reasons must be also impersonal. The 
Legend itself deals with a mystical sacrifice ; but 
the Masters who created it were not succeeded 
by Masters, and the sequels have misconstrued 
everything, have also literalised everything, and 
in place of type and allegory they offer a 
feast of blood. Let us take, for example, the 
Ninth Grade of the SCOTTISH RITE, which is in 
substance identical with the Perfect Elect Mason 
of some other systems, and is perhaps better repre- 
sented by the old French source from which I 
have derived the latter. In both cases, of course, 
it is a Grade of the Dagger, which carries no 
symbolical significance whatever, but the veiled 
intention appears very plainly upon the surface of 
the French version, and certainly seems part of 
the revolutionary propaganda which has been 
credited to some Lodges at this period. The 
time follows immediately on the period of the 
Craft Legend, and the fatality recorded therein has 
reduced the imputed Masonic headship from the 
triad to the duad, substituting an imperfect number 
for that of perfection. What was left may have 
been a spiritual body, but it was a body without 
a head. The tradition is therefore broken, yet it 
is not a Lodge of Mourning for the loss or suspen- 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

sion of Knowledge, nor an Emergency Lodge to 
consider the course of procedure over the arrested 
labours of the Holy House of Doctrine ; it is not 
even a Lodge of Sorrow for the vacant place in 
the Trinity ; it is purely and simply a Lodge of 
Detection and Visitation. To exhibit the unity 
of this purpose, the surviving Kings are seated on 
a single throne. The crown of one is enriched 
with precious stones, but there are no jewels in 
that of the other, as if to suggest that only in one 
case the understanding of true doctrine enlightens 
the wearer's mind. The question throughout 
the Grade is the vengeance to be wreaked upon 
Ablram^ the traditional chief murderer of the 
Craft Legend, and the spectators are incited there- 
to, among other devices, by a picture of the 
Master's Son. The Candidate for the perfection 
of the Grade, having first been accused of the 
crime, appears as the discoverer of the assassin's 
retreat and his imputed object is to learn from 
those in authority whether he shall bring the 
guilty person dead or alive. A subtlety follows in 
the Ritual, for he is directed, if possible, to adopt 
the second course, while the subsequent procedure 
imposes the use of the poniard as the title to 
admission in the Lodge in the capacity of an 
Elect Mason. Moreover, the Postulant's obligation 
binds him to sacrifice to the shade of the victim 
those who reveal the secrets of the mystery. The 
consummation is duly attained in the violent death 
of the assassin, and this consummation is rejected 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

by another subtlety. Yet the Ritual proceeds to 
reward the zeal and courage of the Candidate. 

The technical blunder of this Degree is the 
notion of a simple murder, but I think that it 
helps to reveal the concealed intention, for which 
three victims would at the moment have been 
useless. When the closing is taken, certain words 
of the Master are significant as a key to the 
design, for they call on the brethren to remember 
the zeal of those nine Elect Masters who under- 
took the mission of requital. What is the purpose 
of the counsel ? The answer is : In order that 
we may imitate them. It seems certain that the 
vindication of the Builder by the destruction of 
his prime murderer is identified in its import with 
the vendetta of the %adosh Grades, and that as he 
is a pretext in the one case, so is Jacques de 
Molay in the other. It will be seen, in conclu- 
sion, that the Grade of Perfect Elect Mason is a 
direct though unauthorised derivative, an ex- 
cursus, or a supplement of the Grade in culmina- 
tion of the Craft. This is its claim to existence, 
and this is granted concerning it ; but the price 
paid is the debasement of the Craft itself. My 
readers who are Masonic brethren will already, 
perhaps even long since, have begun to realise that 
a great counsel of prudence dictated the rejection 
of many of the High Grades by governing bodies 
like the Grand Lodge of England. 

The alternative names of Perfect Elect Mason 
are First Elect and Elect of Nine. The Grade 

VOL. i. M 177 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

was included in the Rite of the EMPERORS OF THE 
EAST AND WEST, and in that of Ecossais Primitif. 
The Candidate personates the chief or leader of 
the nine elect Masons who were sent in search of 
the assassins. But according to another codex it is 
as a mysterious and unknown person that he an- 
nounces the discovery of the retreat of Ab'iram the 
chief murderer, and this is more in consonance 
with the reason of the ceremony as being accused 
himself of the crime he could not have been an 
authorised detective. It is for taking subsequently 
the part of executioner that he is somehow incor- 
porated with the Nine. The arrangement is 
sufficiently confusing, but it signifies little. 

The sequel hereto is the Degree of Second Elect, 
otherwise Elect of Perignan, which was the name 
of that unknown who took the Nine Elect 
Masters to the retreat of Ab'iram. The Candidate 
enters in virtue of his previous advancement as 
one of this number. There is not even the 
shadow of importance in any part of the cere- 
monial, which presents what happened immedi- 
ately after the blood of the first murderer had 
been offered to the manes of the Master. As 
regards his accomplices, they are said to have 
taken refuge in Cabul, and there to have perished 
miserably. Nothing remains in consequence but 
to expose the head of Abiram as a warning to all 
traitors and to announce the Sacred Word allocated 
to the vain observance, which word is said to 
signify : Praise be to God that the crime and 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

the criminals are punished. As there is no need 
to conceal this word, so there is none to disclose 
it, but it will not be impertinent to mention that 
it means nothing of the kind. It may be added 
for the information of Craft Masons, that at the 
time of the memorable event the North gate is 
said in the catechism to have been open and 
guarded by one of the triad ; to that at the East 
there is no reference. This statement contradicts 
the Grade of Marked Master. There follows in 
due order the Elect of Fifteen as a sequel to both 
of the preceding, and as nothing attaches to their 
harmony, so this offers a variant in contradiction, 
which seems curious in a collection of Grades. 
So far from the two other malefactors having 
perished in Cabul, which it should be understood 
is the city of the Old Testament, and not the 
province or city of Afghanistan, they are alive in 
the unknown kingdom of Geth, of whose ruler 
the suzerain is Solomon. That monarch there- 
fore dispatches fifteen zealous Masters, including 
the nine, bearing letters to the royal vassal, in 
which it is demanded that the murderers should 
be given up. All this is done accordingly ; they 
are brought to Jerusalem, put to a death of torture, 
and their heads, with that of Abiram, are set over 
the doors of the Temple. 

As no other legitimate victims are now avail- 
able, it is not regarded as inequitable that the 
Candidate though in some collections he has been 
justified, acknowledged and advanced through the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

previous Degrees should in that of Lesser or Little 
Architect undergo one further test to free himself 
of all suspicion that he has been concerned in the 
death of the Master. And it is at this point that 
the melancholy procession of ceremonies passes 
for a moment into a certain kind of symbolism ; 
or at least those who constructed it conveyed 
suggestions and allusions, though perhaps scarcely 
knowing what they did. The examination of the 
Candidate consists in partaking emblematically of 
the heart of the victim, which in another Grade 
or that of Discreet ^Master is said to have been 
deposited by Solomon in a golden urn. But the 
proposition and its fulfilment do not connect with 
the old hypothesis and rite of the Blood Covenant, 
for the heart is a spiritual heart contained in a 
mystical urn, and the elements of which it is com- 
posed are milk, flour, oil and wine. Hereof is the 
cement which binds the stones of the Temple 
together as when it is said in other and greater 
Mysteries to Postulants who are already illuminated: 
T ran smut emini^ transmutemini de lapidibus mortuis in 
lapides vivos philosophicos. The milk is mildness, 
the wine strength, the oil wisdom, and the flour 
goodness. These were the virtues of the Master, 
and the allusion is not therefore, as an illiterate 
codex says, to the staff of life and its adjuncts. 

The catechism of the Grade further shews the 
mystic interpretation of the whole Temple work, 
though the wording is a little confusing. The 
Candidate is symbolically received in a circle, which 

1 80 

Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

signifies the infinite immensity of the Divine 
Being. The analogue of this circle is a parallel- 
ogram, in which also the Candidate is symbolically 
received, and this signifies the tomb of the Master 
that is to say, it is finite dimension. The Holy 
of Holies is represented in the Lodge by a triangle 
within the circle, having the Blazing Star, where- 
in is the letter G. The Candidate is, in fine, said to 
be symbolically received herein. Whether realised 
or not, there is symbolism in these indications. 

To make an end of this matter, a word is 
shewn in the Temple which, it is said, cannot be 
pronounced, yet it was uttered once at a certain 
mournful discovery with which Masons are 
familiar. One of the labours of the Grade is to 
work at the triangle on the tomb of the Master. 
It was inscribed in the centre with the letter G = 
God, and at the angles were S = Submission, U = 
Union, and G= Gomez, the last being the mistress 
word and the first uttered by man when he opened 
his eyes in Paradise. There were also three 
letters emblazoned on the tomb itself : M = Moria, 
being the true name of the mountain on which 
the Temple was built [for this another version 
substitutes Gaboan^ but it is certain that the true 
Temple is and can be erected only on the Earth 
of Paradise] ; A = Adonhlram^ according to the 
collection of Saint Victor, but it should be replaced 
by another initial, representing a greater name. S 
= Stolkin or Sterkin, said to be in reality Shoulkain = 
Fimbriapossessionis, but this is probably a gratuitous 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

reading, and in any case the attributions are one 
and all impossible as explanations of the initial, for 
they represent, in their several forms, the imputed 
name of one of the three assassins. 

Turning to another subject which connects 
the Grade with the second of my series, the 
Discourse attached thereto mentions that after the 
catastrophe of the Craft Legend the work went 
on carelessly, for the Royal Master was in quest 
of a new Architect. With this object he assembled 
in his palace the most worthy among the Lesser 
Masters, but we have not yet seen that any of 
these had been appointed. By the plans that are 
set before him, he understood that the first eleva- 
tion of the Temple had already attained perfection ; 
this being so, he ordained that the same propor- 
tions should be observed for the second elevation, 
and that the Masons should appoint their own 
Master Architect. 

In this way, as I have indicated, my first series 
begins to dissolve into the second, with which 
we shall now be concerned in the next place, and 
the Grade of Grand Architect constitutes herein a 
continuation or extension of the former Degree. 
It is serviceable only as an illustration of that 
instinct which made the old students realise how 
the death of the Master Builder had left every- 
thing in confusion, as if the official royalty 
remained, but the priesthood had departed. The 
Craftsmen have exhausted the plans and the 
King's ordinance, with which we became ac- 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

quainted in the previous ceremony, that the 
model of the first elevation should be followed 
strictly in the second, has failed to remove the 
difficulties. It will be seen that the antithesis of 
the work of philosophy is here proposed, and in 
place of a mystery of building we have only the 
common question of raising an ordinary edifice 
by a bungling artifice in the absence of a skilled 
master. It is unintentionally significant as shewing 
the consequence which might be expected when 
the work is interpreted literally ; it is like the 
monitors in a school of theology taking the chair 
of doctrine on the demise of the doctor of Divinity. 
We shall see in the end that the edifice was 
declared to be very good by the decree of an 
uninstructed royalty, much after the same manner 
that Don Quixote pronounced upon the excellence 
of his helmet. We are presented in any case with 
Solomon's Temple literalised. The situation, 
such as it is, is saved in the present instance by 
Moabon^ who presents what is passed as a suitable 
plan, and this Craftsman is personated by the 
Candidate, who is received as a Master Architect. 
The title sounds almost like a device of quiet 
derision, but it is no doubt to be taken seriously. 
Fortunately, not one of the Grades suggests that 
any person comes forward with a perfect and 
comprehensive design. Moabon is a name which 
has already figured in the series and has even been 
used as a password. Some enemies of Masonry, 
who on the ecclesiastical side have constituted 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

themselves exponents of the Craft and its develop- 
ments, have not failed to point out that this 
personage was a son of the race issued from the in- 
cest of Lot, but as no conclusion is drawn, the folly 
of the unextended point may be left on our part. 

It remains to say that the Grade of Grand 
Architect supposes as its general purport the 
foundation of a school of architecture for the 
furtherance of the work in the Temple and for 
the progress of the Royal Art. In other hands it is 
not outside possibility that this might have been 
put to the use of symbolism in consonance with 
the general design ; but those who invented the 
Ritual knew as little of that design as did the 
conspiring craftsmen concerning the sacred plans 
hidden in the heart of the Master. The con- 
spirators destroyed the Master, and makers of 
Grades like this have murdered the symbolism. 

The things which are implied and explicated 
in the Grade of Grand Architect developed further 
in that of Superintendent of the Buildings ^ or Master 
in Israel, though the second in modern collections 
is made to precede the first. The school of 
architecture which I have mentioned is here 
shewn to be composed of five leaders, representing 
the five orders in chief, and this on the surface is 
of course the pity thereof, those who invented it 
having forgotten, because of their zeal, that the 
King of Israel who is concerned in its formal 
institution could not have been acquainted with 
the divisions. Anomalies of this kind are ridic- 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

ulous rather than important, but they help to 
show the illiterate spirit which moved upon 
some back-waters of the High Degrees, and in- 
tending to say : Let there be Light, evoked 
nonsense only. The chief officers of the Grade 
are Solomon, a certain Tito otherwise Prince 
Harodim, who occupies an important place in 
the degree of Provost and Judge and ^Adonhitam^ 
the son of <^Abda, who seems to have been co- 
opted to the seat once filled by the Master 
Architect. The charge of the workmen on 
Mount Lebanon had been previously deputed 
to him, and he reappears in the Grade of Secret 
Master, which is concerned with other measures 
adopted by Solomon, after the death of the chief 
architect, to supply in the best possible manner 
that loss which on all hands is admitted to have 
been irreparable. Seven presumed experts are 
here appointed to take over the duties which 
had devolved previously on one alone. It is 
with this object that tAdonhiram is brought from 
the district of Lebanon to Jerusalem, and he is 
constituted the first Secret Master. But according 
to other Grades he had been so transferred already. 
It is obvious that we have nothing to expect 
by way of assistance from any classification of 
Rites, nor do titles of Grades exhibit a reasonable 
adaptation to the presumed succession of events. 
Whether the degree of Secret Master should 
precede that of Perfect Master, may perhaps be a 
moot question on the evidence of the names, but 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

it was so allocated in the COUNCIL OF EMPERORS OF 
THE EAST AND WEST, and so it remains to this day 
in the grouping of the ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED 
SCOTTISH RITE. It follows that the King of Israel 
was long preoccupied by the difficulties of the 
building scheme before it occurred to him that a 
great mausoleum should be erected to the memory 
of his Architect, which is the subject presented 
to the Candidate's consideration in the Grade of 
Perfect Master^ as it is otherwise in that of 
Sublime Master. <^fdonhiram is the ruler of the 
Lodge ; the mausoleum is constructed in a 
hidden place as if a final concealment of doctrine : 
and the procedure of the ritual describes the 
ceremonies which marked the completion of the 
work. Those who remember the symbolism, so 
brief, so restrained, and yet so eloquent in the 
Craft Legend, should be in a position to appreciate 
how it suffers by its reduction herein to the terms 
of monumental Masonry. The whole Masonic 
subject suffers in the same way, for the lesson of 
the Craft is that the manifested House of God, 
that House which, according to its symbolism, is 
in some sense made with hands and yet is the 
true House, though it is builded by the elect in 
their hearts, has never been constructed in the 
external sense on earth. Many ritualists who 
had heard the expression but did not understand 
its meaning, continued to devise edifices for cele- 
bration in ceremonial workings, but they are all 
negligible and nearly all are neglected. 

1 86 

Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

Seeing that the canons of historical evidence 
adopted by the High Grades regard it as a tenable 
proposition that the King of Israel should be 
instructed and capable of instructing in the five 
orders of architecture, I infer that there is no 
difficulty in imagining that he was qualified to 
communicate at need the degrees of chivalry some 
ages before it was instituted, and we need not 
therefore be surprised that the supplement to 
Master Sleet of Nine and Master Sleet of Fifteen 
should be the Grade of Sublime Knight, or alterna- 
tively Chevalier Elect. When Solomon decided to 
institute this Order he selected twelve members 
from among the Elect Masters, formed them into 
a chapter, and appointed them as presidents over 
the twelve tribes of Israel. It is an old folly, as 
that which is now the eleventh degree of the 
ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED RITE constituted, under 
the name of Sleet of the Twelve Tribes, the sixteenth 
Grade in the Metropolitan Chapter of France, and 
of course goes back to the COUNCIL OF EMPERORS 
OF THE EAST AND WEST. The recipient of this 
Grade becomes a Prince Ameth, which signifies 
truth in Hebrew. The incautious originator of 
this Grade took one lesson too lightly from those 
romances of Knight-errantry, books of the Holy 
Graal, and so forth, which in all times and climes 
and tongues and peoples and nations beheld the 
institutes of chivalry, and supposed that there was 
Knighthood everywhere. The anachronism seems 
graver in one case than another, and yet most 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Masonic rituals are products of the romantic 

As a conclusion to this second section or series, 
there are two Grades which require to be men- 
tioned briefly. One of them is Chief of the Taber- 
nacle, which is said to have been instituted after 
the visitation of their crime on the murderers of 
the Master Architect. The Candidate personates 
his son, of whom we have heard shortly in the 
Perfect Sleet Mason, and it was on his image that 
the nine avenging Masons swore to fulfil their 
mission. With the usual disregard of logic, the 
principal officer of the Sanctuary is High Priest 
Aaron, and the Grade commemorates the institu- 
tion of the Levitical order ; the Lodge is a 
Hierarchy and the members who compose it are 
Levites. The ceremony refers to the erection of 
the Tabernacle in the wilderness ; the Tabernacle 
itself is represented in the centre of the chief 
apartment, and the standards of the Twelve Tribes 
decorate the walls. The Grade is termed by 
some of its exponents the first degree of the 
Mysteries, and it leads up to that of Prince of the 
Tabernacle^ which is concerned with the same 
period of Jewish history. This notwithstanding, 
the Candidate is required to certify that he has 
shared in the building operations at the Temple 
of Solomon for a period of nearly six years, and he 
undertakes furthermore to work on the twelve 
commandments comprised in the Tables of the 
Law but whether in the spirit or the letter we 

1 88 

Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

are left to determine for ourselves. The difficulty 
created by this enumeration has caused some idle 
commentaries, a connection being supposed not 
only with the twelve tribes of Israel, but with the 
twelve Labours of Hercules and the twelve apostles. 
The intervention of another class of experts would 
possibly have furnished an instruction on the 
analogies of the twelve zodiacal signs. 

Though considerations of chronology have led 
me to postulate a third series of grades as subse- 
quent to the symbolic time of the Craft Legend, 
there is only the shadow of one Solitary Degree 
connected with the consecration of the First 
Temple ; it is that of Most Excellent Master^ 
which depends so closely on the Grade of Marked 
Master^ and is so much a sequel to its working, 
that the one should have followed on the other, 
could I have consented to waive the question of 
symbolic time. It carries a sonorous title, but has 
little to justify the official dignity which it pre- 
tends to confer ; it is, however, a familiar Grade, 
generally known to collectors and still communi- 
cated under different obediences in England and 
Scotland. It extends the information afforded in 
the Grade of Mark Master concerning the Crafts- 
man's work of skill, and testifies that its proper 
institution was to commemorate the completion 
of the Temple, when a place was in fine found 
for the miracle of art and order. The Grade of 
Most Excellent Master celebrates in this manner 
the completion of the whole edifice. It is thus 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the only Ritual of Masonry which attempts to say 
finis coronat opus in respect of the First Temple ; and 
seeing that those who were acquainted with the 
secret implicits of the Craft Legend would not 
have regarded that event supposing them to have 
been engaged in the manufacture of High Grades 
as a festival of joy, it is not surprising that the 
compilation here noticed is without symbolical 
importance, and does anything rather than betray 
the hand of a Master. The work of the hand is 
moreover, muddled, for the catastrophe of the 
Craft Legend is represented as, for all practical 
purposes, coincident with the completion of 
the building work. As to this, I need not say 
that all symbolism and all inner meaning of the 
Legend depend upon the opposite fact that it 
was prior to the perfection of the work and 
this is, moreover, the only construction that can 
be placed upon the words of the story. The 
reference to the consecration of the Temple is 
contained in the last discourse addressed to the 
Candidate, when it is stated by the Master of the 
Lodge that the Degree was instituted to mark the 
event in question, while a brief summary is given 
of the account in Scripture. The work appeared 
very good in the eyes of Solomon ; so he also 
knew nothing. 

Those who are at the pains to consult the 
Ritual itself may be disposed to consider that I 
am scarcely generous, if they come across that 
codex which contains the dedication section ; on 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

the other hand, should they meet with one of the 
reduced texts, they will scarcely understand my 
strictures on that which is omitted in their version. 
Dealing with that recension which does refer to 
the dedication, I should add that it also mentions 
the installation of the Ark of the Covenant in the 
Holy Place, and the glory of the Sheklnah which 
was then manifested therein. It should be under- 
stood that this glory represents the grace imparted 
to Israel through the appointed channels, which 
was another quality of grace and another testimony 
of Divine Presence than the grace and the Presence 
which on the hypothesis of the Secret Doctrine 
might have been granted to the people mysti- 
cally chosen if they had not made void the First 
Law of Sinai by the trespasses of the Golden Calf, 
and if those who built in symbolism the mystical 
House of the Lord had not, by the hypothesis of 
the Craft, conspired to suspend the Law of the 
House. The evidence of these things is contained 
in the Sepher Ha Zohar. 

This explanation notwithstanding, the bald 
recital of facts in the Grade here under notice 
is not to be held exonerated, but it is very 
difficult to say how far a consistent Dedication 
Rite would have been possible in Masonry. It is 
almost certainly nihil ad rem veram symboli, but if 
it were possible to tolerate its introduction the 
story should either have borrowed nothing from 
the account in Scripture or should have inter- 
preted it from the Masonic standpoint. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

The Grade of Most Excellent Master does not 
appear in the French tabulations of Rites, at least 
under this name, and there is some reason to 
suppose that it never entered the continent. It 
constitutes in England a kind of ceremonial and 
dramatic preface to the Cryptic Degrees, with the 
symbolic content of which we are now acquainted. 
It is communicated under another obedience in 
Scotland, where it seems to have suffered from 
illiterate editing, and it is comprised in one of the 
innumerable subsidiary Masonic systems which 
prevail in America. The suspicion, I may add, 
that the Cryptic Degrees originated across the 
Atlantic has no foundation whatever. 




WE have seen enough to enforce the general 
conclusion that those ceremonial Masters who 
undertook to carry further the experiment of 
Masonry within the jurisdiction of the Old Law 
were anything but experts in symbolism, and for the 
most part anything but initiates of Secret Doctrine. 
We shall learn later on that a few who held some 
kind of authority as interpreters of the mystic and 
occult sciences had the wisdom not to interfere 
with the scheme of things as they stood already 
in the Craft under the Ancient Alliance. But, as 
we have also seen, either the Royal Arch, if already 
in existence, had to be justified somehow, or if 
still in course of development which is scarcely 
possible it had to be introduced gradually. 
When the power of symbolic creation was at its 
lowest ebb, when the spiritual side of the subject 
was least realised, the tendency was to depend 

VOL. I. N 193 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

more and more upon the narrative part of Holy 
Scripture. Some of the historical lectures attached 
to the new degrees became little more than ex- 
ponents of the Book of Kings, while the quality of 
invention brought into the ceremonial parts was 
of the poorest and most negligible kind. The 
first imputed necessity in the class to which the 
consideration is here and now transferred was to 
exhibit the state of the Holy Mysteries in Israel 
immediately before and after the seizure of the 
Sacred Vessels and the destruction of the First 
Temple. It was in this manner that there came 
into existence the Grade of Super-Sxcellent Master, 
which is now included in the Cryptic Degrees as 
a kind of epilogue, though it has no connection 
therewith. It is also supposed to be an illustrative 
supplement to the Grade of Select Master, which 
symbolically and historically is alike untrue. It 
is devoid of all symbolism and even all note of 

It may be mentioned, to say something which 
shall be indicative concerning it, that in the course 
of the ceremony a square is formed by the brethren, 
and is designed to represent the encampment of 
the Israelites, having the Ark in the centre and 
three of the twelve tribes on each side. A 
triangle and circle are next made for symbolic 
reasons. This is of no account in itself, and is 
significant of nothing except the fatuity of the 
whole proceeding, being prior to the entry of 
Israel into the Promised Land and therefore void 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

of relation with the destruction of Zion or the 
epoch of the captivity in Babylon. However, 
for some unearthly reason the ceremony as a 
whole is supposed to contain historical allusions 
to the taking of Jerusalem and the demolition of 
the Holy Places by the officers of Nebuchadnezzar. 
Of the untoward event itself the historical lecture 
gives a moderately faithful account derived from 
Holy Writ, and explains that it is a preparation 
for the pious scheme of the second building of 
the House. If this must be held to be true in 
the sense that destruction of necessity goes before 
rebuilding, I suppose that nothing really follows 
therefrom in the ceremonial order, and that the 
grade herein, as well as in other respects, is 
entirely nugatory. It is not even vanity ; it is 

But when the children of Israel were taken 
into captivity, though they forgot the Law and 
the Covenant, we have authority for saying that 
they did remember Zion, and the hypothesis of 
High Grade Masonry presumes that, however 
imperfectly, they had Masonry also in recollection. 
There were learned exiles in the city of Naharda 
on the Euphrates, and among these some kind of 
Lodge was maintained probably a Lodge of 
Mourning. Thus was the tradition kept green 
till the time of Zerubbabel, prince of the unhappy 
people. I will pass over such curious impertin- 
ences as the Grade called Prince of Babylon, or 
Suspending Cross of Baby Ion ^ in which the Master 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

of the Lodge personates Nebuchadnezzar, and the 
Candidates, who should be three in number, 
represent the three children and go through a 
highly substituted fiery furnace. This, again, is 
nothing in itself, and in the sequel it leads to 
nothing. It should be understood further that 
two kinds of chosen people are alone capable of 
receiving or representing Freemasonry by the 
hypothesis of the Grade ; these are the Elect of 
Israel during the time of their election, and the 
Gentiles confessing to the Law of Christ. It is a 
glaring anomaly that the great oppressor of 
Jewry should be represented as presiding over a 
lodge, in partibus infidelium or otherwise, and 
the imbecile Ritual-maker who introduces the 
Christian reference is beyond the pale of criticism. 
I must also postpone such matters of simple detail 
and unpretending issues as Knight of the Brazen 
Serpent^ which describes the stress and slavery of 
the Jews under the burden of their captivity, and 
praises the sweets and mildness of liberty. 

The actual introductory Degrees which sym- 
bolise the events that led up to the building of 
the Second Temple, and are as phantom voices 
crying in the wilderness of desolation and unrest, 
are those of Excellent Mason and of Super-Excellent 
Mason, which is the second part or sequel. Even 
at the present day they are practised in some 
unobtrusive manner as preparatory to the Royal 
Arch in Scotland. They are supposed to take 
place in Babylon, and are grades of caution and 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

testing, which are devoid of any symbolism, as 
they are indeed of any other significance. The 
titles are arbitrary, and yet if we can accept the 
term to which they lead up, it must be said that 
they serve their purpose. They serve it, I say, 
indeed, but it is in the way that the mere shadow 
may be taken to represent a reality which is not 
with us under any Masonic obedience. It is 
another instance, and such instances are many, of 
an opportunity that has been missed. Those who 
imported some parts and some messages of Secret 
Doctrine into the building mystery left great gaps 
everywhere, and the attempts which have been 
made to fill them are testimonies to the fact that 
those who came after were keenly alive to the 
vacancy ; it is not so surprising that what they 
had to offer proves inadequate ; rather it is a 
matter of satisfaction and also of some surprise 
that they were able to furnish any substitutes at 
all. We must therefore be content with what we 
have, until a time comes when the new spirit in 
Masonry shall give life to the dry bones. I look 
then for that which has been sown a natural body 
to rise as a spiritual body, full of grace and truth. 
The period of the exile in Babylon represents 
a total loss in Israel. The Shekinah which was a 
substituted glory, reflected from supernal heights 
that as such were closed for ever to the people, 
had been removed once and for all, as the conse- 
quence of that undoing which had been brought 
about on their own part by their own act. The 


The Secret Tradition in freemasonry 

palladium of the Ark has perished in the fires of 
siege, and the Book of the Law was so lost that it 
had passed out of memory ; its spirit Israel had 
never had since the first Tables were broken by 
Moses, and the letter was itself interned, according 
to Masonic legend. It will be remembered that 
the crypts beneath the Holy of Holies contained 
this book as if it were part of the Mysteries and 
also the Hebrew letters as if against that coming 
time when the people should have forgotten their 

I pass over such puerile inventions as the 
spurious Grade of chivalry called Knight of the 
Sword and its companion, Prince of Jerusalem. 
We come in this manner to the Holy Order of 
the Royal Arch, the position of which is at once of 
such utter importance but so involved and difficult. 
In the first place, it stands alone in its series. It is 
obvious that the Grade of Super-Excellent ^Master 
must be set aside once and for all, and so must 
the other Degrees to which I have alluded briefly. 
Events in Babylon do not concern us, and when I 
have said that the Grades of Excellent and Super- 
Excellent Mason are introductory to the Arch, I 
mean only that they intervene for the sole purpose 
of filling a vacant space in symbolical time. Now, 
the Holy Order, seeing that it stands alone, is not 
complete in itself; it is a Degree of the Second 
Temple, but it represents the beginning of the 
work and not the completion thereof. It certifies 
to the preservation of the secrets which, according 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

to the Cryptic Degrees^ were deposited in the place 
of safety beneath the Holy of Holies, against the 
coming of the evil time and in the hope that this 
time would pass. Out of all expectation in the 
normal mind of Masonry, we are taken back to 
the symbolic episode in chief commemorated by 
the Grade of Mark Master Mason, though it is not 
of the Cryptic series, while the connection is of 
implication only and not of expression. Let the 
initiates of both Degrees remember that which was 
completed, owing to the skill of a novice. The 
analogue of that which was lost and found, the jewel 
of art, which is put to a high use in the Mark 
Grade, but without specifying in what quarter of 
the Temple, is removed from its setting in the 
Holy Order, and an entrance is thus secured into 
a House of Mystery. The symbolism in both 
cases calls for careful comparison ; the Mark on 
the one side is not as I have hinted without a 
certain touch of the grotesque, which is calculated 
to misdirect the mind, while the Arch on the 
other introduces a great discovery by what seems 
almost an act of vandalism. That which is 
fantastic in the first gives place, however, as we 
have seen, to a very curious veiled commentary 
on the mystery of doctrine, and that which, in 
the second, seems violent, opposed to the law and 
the order, and not unlike the work of clumsy 
artificers, is only a pretext to reveal at a vital 
moment the treasures of a Secret House, which 
contains the Secret Doctrine. The operatives 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

concerned in the act were working more wisely 
than they knew, and it is not therefore absit omen 
in respect of the emblematic picture. I consider 
that the Grade of Mark Master is a preface to the 
Cryptic Grades^ and with those intervening the 
Royal Arch is a necessary supplement thereto. 
When their integral connection is understood, 
those only who hold the first will be considered 
qualified to receive the others. They will then 
be in a position to understand some part of the 
strength and weakness which attach to the Grade 
of Exaltation ; and if they can realise, by other 
lights which are afforded in this study, the true 
position of the disinterred symbol, they will 
understand that those who devised the Holy Order 
as it is somewhat inscrutably called should 
have gone much further, or perhaps deeper, for 
their epilogue to the great Craft Grades. Yet it 
serves its purpose in symbolism. 

The historical side of that symbolism is also 
worth noticing in the whole connection, and it 
must be remembered in particular that the Royal 
Arch is not to be judged entirely by the modern 
form under which it is now worked, and in virtue 
of which it is a little anomalous on the surface. 
It is likely on that surface to suggest (a) that it 
was originally an undisguised Grade of Christian 
Masonry, or (b) that it has been unintelligently 
edited in a Christian interest. The same observa- 
tion applies to the Mark itself. Personally, I do 
not consider that either they or the Craft Degrees, 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

by the intention of their outward symbolism, 
were ever Christian Grades, in the proper under- 
standing of the term, but they had an exotic 
Christian implicit. They were the work of 
a school which in a sense and for its ritual 
purpose stood behind Christianity, but was 
absolutely and essentially Christian, and it intended 
to lead in the direction of Christian Masonry. 
At the same time, this school was much too en- 
lightened to confuse the issues idly by an open 
intermixture of the two Covenants. 

So far on questions of critical comparison, and 
now on the deeper side of the inward meaning ; 
the work of the Arch symbolises an examina- 
tion of the grounds of doctrine, which is old 
ground, worked at a previous time and now 
sought with the certainty of recovering treasures 
once interred therein. It is therefore an operation 
confessing throughout to the motive of quest, 
and as the symbolic and dramatic intention both 
require that something should follow in attain- 
ment, the discovery follows in fine, or in truth 
quickly. That which takes place is in strict 
symbolic analogy with the opening of the tomb 
of the Beloved Prater Christian Rosy Cross, though 
the identity does not appear precisely on the 
bare surface. The disinterred treasure is not, how- 
ever, the secret life which informs doctrine ; it is 
a similitude only, and therefore the great horizon 
extends in every direction for the explanation 
which remains to be made in the High Grades 

20 1 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

as, for example, in that of Rose-Croix and in 
Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. 

It is to be hoped that a canon of criticism 
will be established ultimately to determine the 
comparative value of existing codices ; that which 
is worked under the protection of the Grand 
Lodge of England is the latest and, as it seems, the 
faultiest of all. The Ritual which is in use by 
the Sarly Grand Rite of Scotland has more archaic 
elements, but it has been tampered with to 
support the claims of that body. It is interesting 
on account of some additional discoveries which 
are made in the course of the working, and there 
are peculiar details which much increase the 
symbolism ; but it is impossible to speak of 
them in public, as they concern the technical 
and official mystery of all true Freemasonry. 
There is, further, a suggestion that what is in fine 
communicated to the Candidate in the Chapter 
of the Royal Arch has something more behind 
it which is not in any wise imparted, and by all 
available warrants, within and without Masonry, 
we know that this is true. 

I have said already that the Grade leaves the 
building design still among the problems and 
achievements of the future, so that neither in Craft 
Masonry nor in this supplement thereto is a perfect 
House of Doctrine erected. Here there is not 
even an external building as a working substitute. 
The entire scheme is left an open question, an 
unfinished proposal. The Craft, however, ends 


Grades of the Ancient Alliance 

in loss and sorrow, and the Royal Arch in joy ; 
but whether in the latter case there were found to 
be true plans which had been made in wisdom 
does not appear. It is for this reason that the 
Arch cannot be held philosophically to complete 
even the Craft, and more therefore than ever 
must we look to the High Grades. 

And now in conclusion of this matter, with 
whatever brevity and meagreness, we do see that 
some of these Grades under the obedience of 
the Ancient Alliance have commemorated in 
their bungling fashion an external and literal 
extension, even the shadow of a completion, in 
respect of the First Temple. It had ceased to 
be a House of Doctrine and to mean anything 
in symbolism ; but the course of ingenuity did 
not extend so far even as this in the re-building 
of the Lord's House. The scheme of the Second 
Temple might have ended only in the world of 
dreams or the world of the heart, were it not 
for that solitary Grade which is entitled Prince 
of Jerusalem or Chief of Regular Lodges. The 
existence of the Second Temple is presupposed 
therein, for the Prince of the People has revisited 
Babylon to certify concerning the fact. The 
Grade commemorates the discussion which arose 
on the subject and the decision of Darius thereon. 
These things are recounted in the apocryphal 
Book of Esdras and do not concern us here. The 
Grade is therefore by implication one of restora- 
tion, celebrating as it does the return of the Jews 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

to their Promised Land after the long captivity. 
According to its own lights, it is literally and 
purely an historical episode dramatised, but it 
is bankrupt in respect of invention. Some com- 
mentators from whom I should wish to be 
disassociated have thought it worth while to 
reproach it with manifest inaccuracies in respect 
of the account which it follows, but this is really 
puerile, as the same criticism applies to all 
Masonic Degrees. On my own part, it need 
only be said that it contains no symbolical 
elements ; yet is it the epilogue to all the Grades 
which confess to the Ancient Alliance ; so far, 
therefore, as it may be held to follow from them 
all, the end is fatuity. 




f tbe mew alliance in freemasonry 




Lesson of the High Grades under the obedience of the Old 
Law Concerning traces of the Secret Tradition 
Claim of the Cryptic Degrees The Royal Arch 
An alternative concerning it Its restoration of the 
lost secret Whether it is a vain pretence A pro- 
found intimation in the guise of commonplace 
Whether that which is familiar can be informed with 
new meaning The intimation conveyed in the secret 
according to the intention of those who devised the 
Grade That intention was to lead apparently up to 
the Grade of Rose-Croix by shewing that the Mystery 
of Christ was the lost or interned part of the Masonic 
secret Another side of the tradition concerning a 
loss in Israel The cloud of Babylon on the Sanctuary 
A difficulty concerning the Grades of Adonhiram 
Our ignorance concerning the development of the 
Royal Arch Dates which appear fairly certain 
The Rose-Croix and the Cryptic Degrees A void 
place which can only be filled by the Royal Arch The 
logical succession of High Degrees The Royal Arch 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

means a term in Christian Symbolism The Masonic 
mystery defined Quest of the Word of Life Inter- 
vention of the Christian Mystery inevitable The 
mystery on its official side Formulation of the Secret 
Doctrine The succession of tradition Of mysticism 
in the i8tb century A growing consciousness of Secret 
Doctrine Attitude of the official Church Liberation 
and the High Grades A debit against the Church 
of Rome Templars, Alchemists and Rosicrucians 
Of true emancipation The word of Christ. 


Multiplicity of these Grades The Grade of Grand Ecossais 
Its alternative titles Tradition of its origin 
Its variants and counterparts The Grade of Scottish 
Master Its division into two sections Great im- 
portance of this Degree A question of the House 
of Stuart Period of its division Its three epochs of 
Temple building Christian nature of the Grade 
Connection with Cryptic Degrees Its antecedence to 
Rose-Croix The story of the Candidate therein 
Nature of his warrant Ruins of the first Temple 
What is presupposed in the Grade Spiritual nature 
of the building scheme Legend of the Sacred Fire 
Second part of the Grade Dissolution of types therein 
Tomb of the Master Architect The resurrection 
of the living symbol Judaism dissolving into 
Christianity After what manner the Builder is 
brought from death to life The sacred word INRI 
Higher aspects of Masonry An ideal and its 
realisation Of ethics in connection therewith 
Bond of union between Masonry and Mysticism 
The lost and the concealed treasure Of experience 

The Argument 

behind the Secret Doctrine Of this Grade as an in- 
termediate between the Craft and Masonic chivalry. 


Of sequels to the Grade of St. Andrew in the Rite to which 
they belong Of Novice and Knight Beneficent of 
the Holy City of Jerusalem Further concerning 
our established sequence of Grades The Grade of 
Rose-Croix Its early place in our research Of 
the quality of satisfaction which arises from the con- 
sideration of this Grade Its anomaly as a Grade of 
chivalry Negligible nature of the defect Its great 
Rite of Restoration Its ceremonies of death and 
resurrection The entombment of the Word The 
restitution of the Word Of things which lie behind 
this Symbolism Mystical understanding of the 
descent into hell Quest of the spiritual chivalry 
Integration of the Candidate therein A cosmic side 
of the Quest The Second Advent The personal 
side of the Grade Of things implied therein The 
search after the Christ-life A third aspect of the 
Grade The state of individual loss Experience of 
the Candidate considered in this sense Variations 
thereof The death of Christ and the death of the 
Master Builder The title Rose-Croix Mysteries 
of the Symbolic Rose The Rose and the Mystic 
Stone The Grade on its historical side First intima- 
tions concerning it Council of Emperors of the East 
and West The Royal Order of Scotland The Grade 
in various Masonic Systems Further concerning the 
Rose in Symbolism The Rose in connection with 
the Cross Rosicrucianism and the Rose-Croix Grade 
The Grade under its English obedience Faria- 
VOL. i. o 209 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

tions of its form in Scotland A note on its more ancient 
form Adonhiramite Masonry and its version of 
the Grade The mid-nineteenth century recension 
published by Ragon His tentative reconstruction and 
its merits Minor modern variants The Rose-Croix 
the system of Des tangs The Rose-Croix 


according to the Rite of Memphis and the Antient 
and Primitive Rite The modern order of Illuminati. 



f the IWew alliance in ^freemasonry 


THE lesson in chief of the High Grades, so far 
as their consideration has extended up to the 
present point, is that those who would add to 
the memorials of Secret Doctrine as implied and 
expressed, for example, in the Craft Degrees 
should be either in the chain of tradition or 
should at least have the spirit of the doctrine. 
But traces of these alternative conditions are 
comparatively few in the mass of ceremonies and 
rituals which have been put forward for the 
extension, illustration and completion of the Craft 
within the limits of its own motives that is to 
say, under the Old Law. The device of the Cryptic 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Degrees connected with the name of Adonhlram 
has the merit here and there of considerable 
ingenuity, but as I have stated, and as it is 
otherwise plain, they stand or fall with that 
which formally or informally they exist to 
justify. So therefore as regards the Royal Arch^ 
those who are acquainted with the peculiar 
traditions largely independent of Masonry 
from which this Order depends and the light 
which it casts thereon and I in common with 
these must either hold that its claim crumbles 
to ashes or alternatively that the situation is altered 
by one deep consideration to which the Craft in 
England has not so far felt called to confess. It 
crumbles to ashes if we conclude that the secret 
imparted in the Arch, as the restoration of what 
was lost in the Craft, is no better than a hollow 
pretence and a mockery which leads nowhere. 

Now I shall be exonerated from supposing 
that the communication of a formula which 
shall I say ? is not of the cryptic and undemon- 
strable kind in place of something which is remote, 
is in itself a fatal flaw, and this is a part at least 
of what is suggested by the impeachment. On 
the contrary, it is precisely because there is 
evidence on this very account of a certain pro- 
fundity in the scheme of the Grade that the 
consideration itself arises I mean, the inter- 
vening view which, as I have intimated, may 
save the Grade. The apparent flaw is not in 
the selection of a symbol which is perfectly 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

patent in its character, as if it had suffered the 
Shakespearean sea-change into something rich and 
strange, but in the history attaching to the subject- 
matter of the choice and in the inability implied 
by the concept, to endow that which is old with a 
new meaning. I am aware that it will be difficult 
for non-Masons to follow the point at issue, 
because something is of necessity omitted, and on 
the side of the Secret Tradition apart from 
Masonry I am dealing with matters outside com- 
mon knowledge. If they will realise, however, 
that the formula itself is no part of their concern, 
and that they can therefore set it aside as a species 
of x 9 the rest can, I think, be made plain. 

It is to Masons themselves that I have spoken 
of an apparent flaw in the symbol, and it is my 
intention to shew that behind the surface imper- 
fection there shines the hidden light which it is 
possible to reflect on the Grade. To those 
who, besides being Royal Arch Masons, are ac- 
quainted with the Secret Tradition in some of its 
phases, I will say further that they, without any 
more express intimation on my part, should 
understand why the symbol is, qua symbol or 
formula, deficient in the life of new meaning, 
which is the charge that I have expressed against 
it, though not in my own name. 

To summarise the impeachment after another 
manner that will be intelligible to any reader, 
the symbol, formula, or concept with which we 
are dealing was not part of the Hidden Tradition 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

at the period with which the Mystery of the Craft 
is concerned, and it could therefore never have been 
the true Masonic secret. 

We must now go back a little distance on 
our path, that I may come to my proper point 
more simply. 

The consanguinity between the Grade of 
Mark Master Mason and the Cryptic Grades has 
not been observed previously, nor has it been 
generally realised that the Order of the Royal Arch 
bears every appearance of having come out of the 
Cryptic mint or vice versa, as the point of date 
may determine. Yet the most curious fact of all 
is that the Cryptic Grades did not include the 
Arch in any scheme of their degrees. They took 
over the Craft Mystery, recognised the loss com- 
memorated therein, adjudicated without any 
specific expression thereon, and devised among 
other things the Grades of Royal and Select Master, 
shewing after what manner the Masonic arcana 
were interned in the Vaults of the First Temple 
to secure them against possible loss thereafter. It 
is these arcana which are recovered in the Royal 
Arch^ or rather it is the most important among 
them, and for reasons already established it is not 
the real thing, for that, by the symbolical hypo- 
thesis, was interned with the Master Builder. 
We have heard already that the Secret Tradition 
was committed to certain elders by Moses, that it 
was preserved and transmitted in Israel. But it was 
not always maintained in its fulness because of the 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

captivity in Babylon. The recovered mystery 
was therefore x the loss in Israel, to use 
another form of symbolism which offers a very 
strict analogy. 

Now those who established the Grade of 
Royal Arch knew what they were doing. It has 
a trace of the Master's hand, and could not have 
been produced without a knowledge of the Secret 
Tradition in that aspect to which I have already 
alluded. Apart from this, the specific formula 
would not have been adopted. They perpetuated 
the Masonic loss by means of a variant substitute 
with an ulterior purpose, which was part of a 
design to communicate later on the Mystery of 
Christ as the fulfilment of tradition in Masonry. 
It represents exactly the same design as that of 
the Adonhiramite Grades which pass direct from 
the various clumsy devices for the completion of 
the literalised Temple to the resurrection of the 
Master in Christ, and then to the Grade of Rose- 
Croix as the only solution of the Mystery concern- 
ing that which was lost of old. 

The proof positive in respect of the Arch 
could be given in two lines, were it permissible so 
to do. It is not, and I can say only that x 
becomes +x, or the Word restored, and the 
equivalent or synonym of this is Christus Jesus 
Dominus Nosier, Immanuel^ God is with us, I. N.R.I., 
Sahator Mundi^ etc. This is the deep considera- 
tion by which the Arch is saved, not by its essential 
merit which is another question but by the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

mystery of its accepted and even primitive formula. 
To those who can follow me, it is demonstrative 
evidence that the Arch came out of the same mint 
no longer as the Cryptic Grades^ but as the Craft 
Grades, which mint is that which was founded 
by Picus de Mirandula, William Postel, Reuchlin, 
Archangelus de Burgo Nuovo, Baron Knorr von 
Rosenroth, for the purpose of melting the Zohar^ 
with the works of the scholiasts thereon, and 
reproducing them as the Sacred Kabalah Chris- 
tianised. From this point of view Masonry is 
in its completeness the fulfilment of tradition in 
Jewry. In other words, it was actuated by a 
design to put forward the Mystery of Christ as 
that which was always concealed in the tradition 
of Israel, and as that which would give the new 

If this interpretation be rejected by Craft 
Masons, they must reject also the Arch, the 
formula of which is either the withdrawn Word 
or it is not. If it is, I hold my proofs ; but if not, 
the Craft stands alone an unfinished experiment 
and a story of loss which carries no hope with it. 
We have, on our part, to remember that the 
Sacred House of Masonry is a House of Israel and 
also a House spiritual. If the missing secrets 
were, for example, arbitrary signs and words used 
between builders, they could be no concern of 
ours, and it would be idle to make legends and 
mysteries out of such a subject-matter. The in- 
stitutors of the Royal Arch knew well enough 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

that they were of another kind, and they offered a 
solution under veils which was taken over by 
Christian Masonry, and not one of a thousand 
Grades has found a tolerable alternative. It is 
this, therefore, or nothing, though the Craft 
cannot see as such, and as such it cannot 

And now, addressing for a moment the High 
Grade Masons, it may be said in summary that 
as between the Craft and the Arch there intervened 
the Cryptic Grades, so between these and Rose-Croix 
there intervene the Royal Arch and the great 
Ecossais Grade of St. Andrew. The Arch in like 
manner is an indispensable prologue to the Holy 
Order of the Temple, another important and highly 
symbolical Grade, in which chivalry is spiritual- 
ized. The succession is as follows : i, The Royal 
Arch ; 2, The dual Grade of Master and Perfect 
Master of St. Andrew ; 3, The Grade of Rose-Croix ; 
4, The Military and Religious Order of the Temple, 
to which at a later stage of our research we shall 
add the Grade, also dual, of Knights Beneficent of 
the Holy City of Jerusalem. The proof positive of 
the succession is that the secret put forward by 
the Royal Arch is completed by that of the Rose- 
Croix, the Temple and the Knights Beneficent. 
These three Grades communicate three mysteries, 
but these three are one. 

The greater the importance attributed to the 
Royal Arch, the more certainly is a completion in 
Christianity implied, and I only regret that it is 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

impossible for me to state the full reason in 
public. Those who are Masons can, if they 
choose, co-ordinate various references which I 
have scattered here and there through the text 
of this inquiry, and they will see things as I see 
them. It follows and this we shall find more 
plainly that we have to go elsewhere for the 
termination of that which was begun so wisely in 
Craft Masonry. 

It must, however, be understood before all 
things, and I therefore reiterate that the Masonic 
Mystery was from the beginning a Divine 
Mystery, that it was never really concerned with 
the erection of an external building, though this, 
at the same time, was the veil of the project. 
Every Mason can satisfy himself on this point 
by a simple process of exhaustion. He can 
put to his heart as I have intimated the 
question whether he is really concerned, 
directly or indirectly, in details regarding the 
Temple of Solomon ; whether he can reasonably 
attach any importance to an alleged secret in 
respect of the plans of its building ; whether he 
can rule intellectually that the term of such a 
secret has any office at this day in his or another's 
respect. And seeing that our sole source of in- 
formation within the sphere of history concerning 
that Temple is found in the Old Testament^ he 
must know indubitably that the Masonic Legend 
can have no foundation in fact, and would not per 
se signify if it had ; that the recital is an allegory ; 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

that its importance and value correspond to the 
meaning which lies behind the allegory ; and 
that if this is a folly at the root, a morality at the 
root, or a platitude, then we have come so far to 
find nothing but one of the eternal varieties of 
Vanity Fair. 

It is therefore, to speak with extravagance, 
the Secret Doctrine, the spiritual meaning, the 
quest of the Word of Life, the search after the 
noumenal experience within the veils of doctrine 
it is these or death. We are not really con- 
cerned with morality, because all this is assumed, 
as the higher mathematics presuppose that the 
student has been grounded in the common rules 
of arithmetic. It is even in a secondary sense 
only that we are committed to the Masonic virtues 
and all the unwritten haute conveyance which they 
carry with them in their train, not forgetting that 
those virtues lead to overmuch ceremonial boast- 
ing, couched in rather nauseating language. 
Above all, we are not concerned with the Old 
Law or the Old Temple, or with anything indeed 
but the Old Wine of the Doctrine, as against the 
comparative water of the old official religions, 
the indiscriminate providences, the rough ashlars 
of the exoteric priesthoods, which for many 
thousands of years have held a patent to establish 
the Kingdom of Heaven, and have tried as 
honestly as they could, but have failed always, 
even as external Masonry has preached the love 
of brothers and has not understood that love must 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

be declared in the soul before it can sanctify the 
body or rule in the material mind. 

Of these things therefore enough : the Masonic 
concern is a mystical House, and as such it was 
inevitable that Christianity should intervene ; 
there has been ever a Holy House and a Temple 
in Christian Symbolism, under the warrants of a 
new and eternal Covenant, for, as it is said by 
St. Matthew, the House of Jerusalem was left 
desolate. We know that in the new House 
Christ was the corner-stone, but the foundation 
was the old foundation that is to say, it was in 
the prophets ; and next it was built on the 
apostles, being a Holy Temple, a Temple in the 
Lord, a living Temple, a habitation of God in the 
Spirit. That Spirit spoke unto many churches, 
many holy houses, many assemblies of the Elect, 
and sometimes there was preaching on the house- 
tops, sometimes there was publishing in the light ; 
but the honour of the House was with the Builder, 
Who incorporated living stones, so that the 
Church was one internally, and behind the public 
instruction there lay the secret knowledge those 
Mysteries which are communicated only as on the 
breast of Christ to St. John, or when the seals of 
the hidden book are broken by the mystic Lamb. 
The hint of these things is everywhere, and was 
explicated nowhere till the Secret Doctrine itself 
began to be formulated in part by him whose 
identity is veiled, or otherwise, under the name 
of the Areopagite. Through all the centuries I 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

believe that the wonderful counsel of Dionysius 
created a precedent for conduct respecting all that 
which must be reserved from the profane and all 
that which could be put forward under bright and 
shining veils, true without and within sanctifi- 
cation by divine ceremonies of rites and sacraments, 
transmission of divine oracles, communication of 
deifying grace by the mode of the hierarchy, 
discipline, in fine, of the Mysteries all dealing 
apparently with the authorised offices and pro- 
cedure, yet all suggesting and all insisting on 
deeps of mystical doctrine, on wells of mystery. 

I am not going to summarise the centuries, so 
that the succession of tradition can be traced, but 
if we come at once to the religious state of 
Western Europe just prior to the inception of the 
High Grades, we shall, I think, see that all the 
ground was prepared and all the time was ripe for 
the kind of manifestation which took place. The 
passion for occult and mystic science had spread 
with the facilities of printing from the close of 
the sixteenth century, and in or about the year 
1740 it was perhaps more in evidence than ever, 
though it is by no means certain that the quality 
of its predisposition was of the highest kind. In- 
deed, the great names were then already splendours 
of the past. In mysticism there were Molinos, 
Fenelon, Madame Guyon, and many lesser lights ; 
in occult science there were amateurs innumerable, 
pretenders there were not a few, but it is question- 
able whether there were masters, though, for 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

what it was worth, there was at least one adept of 
theurgic art who suggests greatness after his own 
kind I mean Martines de Pasqually and at a later 
period in mysticism many beautiful and tender, 
almost divine, memories are gathered about the 
name of L. C. de Saint-Martin. But the fact 
with which I am dealing is not itself of especial 
consequence ; it is far more to our purpose that 
the living interest was there and that the move- 
ment, if I may so term it, was a part of the larger 
movement and the life, a part of the quickening 
towards the great coming upheaval. It was part 
also of that remaking of the intellectual world in 
France and elsewhere which was beginning on 
every side. 

Now, in so far as there was a growing con- 
sciousness of Secret Doctrine and certainly the 
claims concerning it were many and strenuous 
in so far as there was realisation, effectual or not, 
of something that had existed in the far past and 
had been from the far past perpetuated, had been 
manifested in many forms within the circle of the 
secret sodalities, or had given hints of things 
much higher from the holy and exotic places of 
religion even from the Church itself it was 
evident to all who were concerned, and above 
everything to those who were dedicated, that the 
Church with its titles, its sanctity, its own in- 
dubitable means of knowledge as to the deep 
things within doctrine was impossible for all 
these, so to speak, independent interests im- 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

possible as an asylum, almost impossible even as a 
tent in the wilderness, or as a tavern by the way. 
I am not offering here the preamble of an indict- 
ment, or seeking to justify one side at the expense 
of another ; it is a question of fact, and the ex- 
planation for the present purpose can remain in 
other hands. 

It came about in consequence that when 
Symbolical Masonry passed from Great Britain 
to the Continent, it was obvious to all eyes which 
had opened in the transcendental world whether 
to things great or small is again indifferent it 
was obvious that something which belonged 
to such people had arrived suddenly in their 
midst, and something also which might serve as a 
refuge. The consanguinity was so great and the 
likeness was so strong that the place of refuge 
passed speedily under a similar ban to that which 
had befallen certain phases of mysticism, with 
all the occult schools and too slightly hidden 
academies. It is only in this way that we can 
account reasonably and at once for the strange 
collective phenomenon of the Higher Grades a 
monstrous and inexplicable growth on any other 
hypothesis. Masonry became and remained, for 
what on the whole is a considerable period, the 
standard under which all the forces were enrolled, 
that elsewise had neither means for incorporation 
in common nor shadow of external authority. 
It does not signify at the moment for I am 
simply establishing a point that the true ends of 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Masonry were to a certain extent clouded, or that 
mystic knowledge assumed for the moment 
another and deeper veil. There can be no 
question that the scheme served its purpose, and 
the better because it was informal, was in a sense 
self-developing, and largely the result of a natural 
and scarcely conscious gravitation. 

While many strange interests were thus con- 
solidated, strange memories were also awakened 
and new dreams began. Now, there is little 
doubt that the move was a bid for freedom, and 
that marital connection or other consanguinity 
the Masonic link and chain carried with it some- 
thing of legality and sacramentalism, a certain 
liberty within a certain law and order. In more 
general terms, it was after the manner of a charter. 
The incorporated elements were many, and yet, 
curiously enough, they were none of them incom- 
patible ; they were in truth so many, so diverse, 
and yet so distinguished one from another, that 
Masonry really became a house of many marriages ; 
and although, seeing that the elements were some 
trivial and some important, there was a good deal 
of unequal yoking, yet there was nothing in 
competition, and all these strangely assorted 
elements could dwell together in unity. Un- 
fortunately, the nature of the tie was so elastic 
that when the unbound Lucifer of the Revolution 
was in search of housing there also he came, and 
the conspiracy in politics had a seat in the motley 
council beside the peaceful conspiracy for the 



The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

promotion of occult science. Thinly veiled 
Grades of assassination distributed their consecrated 
daggers in contiguity to those other Grades which 
dispensed in symbolism the Mysteries of Divine 
Union. And between the one and the other there 
was more than the easy and not too living burden 
of brotherhood in Masonry ; the one had a remedy 
with hatchet and knife and guillotine for those 
wrongs which were in the memory of the other. 

There was a heavy debit on open account 
against the Church of Rome. Long before 
Kadosh Grades were invented or transformed with 
a view to convert the slaughterhouse into a 
sanctuary and to prepare the shambles as a palace 
for the Prince of Peace, the High Grade interest 
had taken over the Templar hypothesis, and those 
who mourned the death of the Master Builder 
remembered Jacques de Molay. Grades of magic, 
Grades of astrology, Grades of alchemy and of 
Kabalism remembered the fate of magicians, 
readers of stars, and the long crucifixion of Jewry 
at the hands of State and Chuch, while if alchemy 
escaped proscription on the part of inquisitions 
and councils, there were at least the greed and 
consequent tyranny of kings, typified by the 
ordeal and practical martyrdom of Alexander Seton. 
There were also the new revelations and the new 
religions, with their bids to make for recognition ; 
and supposing that there were anything within 
the ORDER OF THE ROSY CROSS which corresponded 
to its literary manifestations on their bare surface, 

VOL. I. P 225 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Rosicrucianism amidst the elements of revolution 
may have brought over some remanents of its 
dull and egregious feud with Rome from the first 
decades of the previous century. I do not know ; 
I am sure only that I care utterly nothing : if the 
Rosicrucians had received into their heart that 
quality of adeptship which is indicated by their 
\ unpublished memorials, and is so remote from 
the printed texts, such a feud could concern only 
questions of procedure, questions of high ends too 
long and long forgotten ; for it is very sure that 
much which is sought in the experiences behind 
Secret Doctrine has been the inheritance of Latin 
Christianity from that period which was prior to 
the ill-starred division of East and West. 

But this is by the way only ; at that period of 
intellectual unrest, all doors were being opened and 
all paths tried, and the Church which claimed to 
be the one door and the one path into truth 
had forgotten for the moment some of its highest 
treasures, had forgotten that it held some at least 
of the very objects for which so many quests were 
created, and was powerless to deal with a situation 
which it had largely helped to create. 

I think that many cohorts which in the Secret 
Orders represented the divine spirit of quest had 
also forgotten, or more probably never knew, that 
higher initiation which neither testifies nor pro- 
tests ; but here again it was no day for the still 
small voices, and in the proposed reformation of 
the whole wide world, those who knew that 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

healing, emancipation and materials for recon- 
stitution are within, were not likely to interfere 
on their own part or to be received as the saviours 
of a social order which they knew to be perishing, 
whatever resurrection awaited it. Yet it is at 
this very point and the fact is curious to note 
that the new spirit, like the presage of a deeper 
realisation concerning the new and eternal covenant, 
passed over the zeal of Masonry, and when the 
religious life of the Continent seemed for a moment 
in the throes of dissolution, when all things made 
ready for the coming reign of reason and of terror, 
breathed over it the Word of Christ as the Word 
of Masonic perfection and the Completing Word. 




IT should be explained in the first place that these 
Grades are numerous, but with few exceptions they 
offer nothing to our purpose. A mere enumera- 
tion of names in respect of the whole collection 
will be therefore sufficient at the moment. There 
is firstly the Grand Ecossais, otherwise Grand 
Scottish Chevalier of St. Andrew of Scotland. It is 
identified with Patriarch of the Crusades, Grand 
Master of Light, and also with Knight of the Sun, 
but there is an entirely distinct Degree which bears 
the last title. It is said in its traditional part to 
have been established at the time of the Crusades 
by certain Knights who had assumed the cross. 
Four variations or counterparts of this Grade, 
passing under similar and sometimes identical 
titles, have been incorporated by the RITE OF 
MIZRAIM ; they are also found in the collection 
of archives called tLcossais primitif, and in that 
which is known to students under the name of 
Frere Pyron. There are, moreover, Apprentice, 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

Companion^ Master and Favourite Brother of St. 
Andrew extant in the Swedish system, and several 
detached degrees which are known only by their 

fourth Grade was that of Scottish Master , which in 
one of the transformations of this system was split 
up as we shall see immediately into Master and 
Perfect Master of St. Andrew. It is this which I 
regard as so important that it deserves considera- 
tion apart in the present section ; it is the next 
regular ceremonial and mystical step in Free- 
masonry after the Royal Arch. 

We must in the first place put aside those 
implications which derive from the motives 
accredited to the apocryphal RITE OF RAMSAY, 
namely, (i) a concealed intention connected with 
the Stuart cause, and (2) a Templar explanation of 
Masonry. There is a variant of the Grade Ecossais 
of St. Andrew which confesses to the one, and the 
STRICT OBSERVANCE led up to and closed in the 
other. In the variant the Candidate is supposed to 
suffer decapitation and thus reproduces ceremonially 
the passion of King Charles i. The most dedicated 
partisan of symbolism must beware of pressing 
this incident into service on any mystic side ; the 
preoccupation, by a process of exhaustion, remains 
purely political, even as it begins, because it can 
be nothing else. It is of course understood that 
as the Candidate is not slain he dies of necessity 
symbolically and is returned in symbolism to life. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

The occult inference is therefore that after the 
same manner would the martyred king be vindi- 
cated and restored to his state and place in the 
person of a younger Charles Stuart. It is thus a 
substituted resurrection, with reference to a fore- 
shadowed restoration, and on this understanding 
is to be grouped after its own manner. 

The legitimacy of the House of Stuart, having 
regard to the quality of its competitors, who were 
the personages at that time in possession, may 
have deserved many Grades to impress upon 
prepared spirits the necessity of its restoration, 
but the subject of Masonry is no earthly royalty 
coming into its own or laying just and holy claims 
upon inalienable rights. And it comes about in 
this manner, since these things are far from the 
goal, while some others are idle or fantastic, that 
there is only one imprescriptible Grade ficossais of 
St. Andrew, which is the perfect Master Grade, 
though on the occasion of the Convention of 
Wilhelmsbad it was, and has since remained, 
divided as I have said into two parts or sections. 
In majesty of conception simplicity, severity and 
restraint of presentation in native dignity of 
language, it offers a worthy supplement to the 
Craft Grades. It is regrettable only that there 
is no dramatic element, though there was never 
a greater opportunity. It has if I may so ex- 
press it certain canonical marks and seals by 
which it is distinguished from the mass ot 
reputable apocrypha with which we have been 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

dealing in the past, and from many idle inventions 
which will have to be noticed in the sequel. 

It should be explained that it is a Christian 
Grade ab inceptione, though it deals, as we shall 
see shortly, with the three catholic epochs of 
Temple building ; but it develops its implicits 
logically, moving from a grave and unadorned 
beginning, co-ordinated with all its Craft ante- 
cedents, to a true and holy end. It seems right, 
however, to state that it presupposes the root- 
matter of the Cryptic Grades, and this suggests either 
from which it has been derived, or some elements 
incorporated by the Craft system of that Rite with 
which we are now unacquainted. We meet with 
these gaps and interstices at many points in the 
study of Masonic Rituals. 

After making every allowance, with the 
liberality of a philosopher, I think that the dual 
Grade is a great loss to our English High Grade 
System, and this reminds me that I have omitted 
to mention formally but it follows as an inference 
that it is quite unknown in England. One of its 
remote derivatives or variants, borrowed, I believe, 
from the Adonhiramite Masonry of Saint Victor, 
is buried in the RITE OF MIZRAIM, which has an 
English custodian, but those who may receive its 
communication are not likely to see it, and those 
who are concerned should understand that all 
Grades which pass under the name of the ANTIENT 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the MASONIC ORDER OF MEMPHIS, have edited all 
the materials derived from earlier sources to ex- 
punge their vital principles for the benefit of Jews 
and infidels. 

The advancement which is offered to the 
Candidate in the Grades of St. Andrew is 
the work of co-operation in rebuilding the 
Holy House of the Almighty, the House of 
His service, the place of the treasure of His 
wisdom ; and the reception recalls what I have 
termed three memorable epochs in the history of 
the eternal Temple. The personal story of the 
Candidate is that he has escaped from captivity, 
from long durance and exile ; there is little 
specific reference to its nature or circumstances, 
though externally there is an irresistible inference 
implying a symbolic veil. It is only to be under- 
stood at the root as the captivity of the senses, 
because this interpretation consorts with the whole 
spirit and intention, while at the close of the 
second part it passes into expression without veils 
or evasion. The qualification which the Candi- 
date brings is that he has been at work on the 
plans for reconstruction, and in this respect the 
similitude adapted is the rebuilding of the Second 
Temple. But the Grade began with the New 
and Eternal Testament open on the altar, and we 
know, as he also should know, that he is moving 
through scenes of the past. He beholds at the 
beginning of his experience the ceremonial pre- 
sentation of the First Temple in ruins that House 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

of Doctrine conceived in the mind of the Master 
but never completed on earth an eloquent illus- 
tration of all which the Secret Tradition discerns 
behind the literal text of Scripture, on the surface 
so diverse therefrom that it seems in contradiction 
thereto, but in reality upon the basis of the one 
story another which is deeper is raised. It is in 
this manner that the sense as registered within does 
not reduce or make void that which is without. 

The Candidate, by the instruction which he 
receives, begins to realise that he is among those 
who are divorced from all interest in the restora- 
tion of that which was destroyed materially. The 
inward lesson of the event is in fact imparted by 
the concurrent explanation of the public defection 
which led to the captivity in Babylon and the 
defection within the sanctuary which interned the 
vital secrets of Masonry. 

The lapse in Israel is described as the propa- 
gation of discord and the abandonment of the law 
and the order. Now, we know precisely at what 
time in mystic chronology the secrets were laid 
to their rest, but the Grade intimates that in some 
undeclared manner they were still the palladium 
of the people, which I interpret to mean that 
the shadow of the receding presence was cast 
for a period behind. It may be also a covert 
allusion to the perpetuation of the Secret 
Tradition. In the days of Jedekiah the shadow 
had itself withdrawn, and hence Babylon 
with all its waters of Marah. As it follows 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

from the Cryptic Grades, Grades of Adonhiram, 
and even from systems which hold a higher 
authority, so herein the foundations of the 
Temple remained, but the secret things below 
have been already recovered, and this is another 
reason why the Perfect Master of St. Andrew pre- 
supposes an introductory part. 

There is a very curious instruction, however, 
in this place, the purpose of which is to accentuate 
the spiritual nature of the entire design. The 
Candidate, having signified his ambition and having 
certified to his share in the plans, finds speedily 
that the past to which I have alluded is indeed the 
past, and that there is no intention to reproduce it. 
It is only in symbolism that he raises, as we shall 
see, the Altar of Sacrifice and beholds the buried 
mystery unveiled, for he has been told previously, 
in the discourse of the Master, of that which con- 
cerns the work of symbolical Masonry in the 
building of the Second Temple. He hears also 
the mystic explanation of the Sword and Trowel, 
and understands that these things are the emblems 
of an aeonian struggle between good and evil ; it is 
spiritual man fighting with enemies that are not 
of this world. The mystery of a spiritual Temple 
which is still to come is also prefigured in the 
discourse ; it is that which all sanctuaries have 
shewn forth the House not made with hands, and, 
so far as the Candidate is concerned, he being re- 
garded as one of the living stones, his sharejin the 
enterprise is so to work that in himself he shall 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

attain perfection and may thus be incorporated 
truly in the Holy House for the world's good 
and for his own advancement. The one by the 
hypothesis is not without the other, and this is 
the law of solidarity. We must remember in 
such connection that not only is there a Temple 
designed for the glory and service of God or for 
the use of humanity, but that humanity itself is 
the Temple in course of erection. It is built up 
in the progressive perfection of its parts, and in so 
far as the great work is retarded and still unfinished, 
it is because the materials are returned continually 
to the overseers for that improvement which is 
necessary to ensure their acceptance. 

As a part of this lesson, the Candidate hears 
the old Second Temple story of the Sacred Fire, 
and begins on his own part, and independently 
of any instruction, to discover that it has been 
always concealed within him, after what manner 
it was defiled, and how it may yet be made accept- 
able to consume that sacrifice which is of his 
proper offering, but is also himself. It is then 
and then only that he finds the sacred vessels, 
that he reads the mystic inscription, and is directed 
to restore to its proper position, upright and self- 
supporting, that Altar which has been overthrown 
by the opponents of law and order. 

The mystic inscription communicates that 
which was lost with the life of the Builder ; it 
is identical with the intimations contained in the 
Royal Arch., but it is described, more wisely than 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

in that, as a symbolic discovery ; and the fact 
that for us and for our salvation it is not 
complete in itself is shewn by the addition that 
is made to it in the second part of the Grade. 
To adopt on a second occasion the same veil that 
has served our purpose previously, - x becomes 
+ x at the close of all, and the Word is the 
Word of Christ, or at least one of its synonyms. 

The first part of the Ritual is, however, the 
story of the First and Second Temples, but in 
the sequel that symbolism is said to dissolve ; 
there is a passage to the realisation of a spiritual 
Temple only and to the Law declared in the 
heart. The change comes about with no other 
break or intervention than the usual ceremonial 
formalities which are particular to Grades and 
Degrees, and by which things that belong to one 
another are separated from one another officially. 
The subject is still the continuation and completion 
of the work in the paths of perfection, and still 
is the Candidate to aid in reaching the term. His 
name was once G*** but is now N* : ^, and as 
one is a perpetuation from Grades introductory 
to the Royal Arch^ so the other connects with 
the tradition of the Knights Templar in their 
modern reinstatement. To us neither signify, 
save as memorials only. But the mystical grada- 
tions in age which mark the progress of the 
Candidate at various stages shew that he has passed 
a definite distance on the way of his ascent ; he 
counted seven years of initiation at the beginning 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

of the system, and now he counts nine. He is 
in the Grade of types dissolving, of shows giving 
place to the things by all foreshewn, of omens 
yielding to that which has been presaged from afar. 

If we regard Masonry simply as a system of 
symbolism, in which great truth is communicated 
under great veils, we can still speak of the period 
typified by Solomon's Temple as an era of repute 
and glory in Masonry. It was that of the Holy 
Law and Most Holy Doctrine in Israel, of saving 
obedience under the First Covenant interpreted 
at the apex of both ; the veil, although a veil, 
was a veil of splendour. But there was another 
period to follow, which was one of decay in 
Masonry, when the Temple was destroyed. The 
destruction and the demolition, the exile and the 
bitter waters, carried, however, seeds of redemption 
within them. A new spirit of the age in Esdras 
and Nehemiah brought about emancipation 
for the people and restoration for their Holy 
House. Now, the works which went before the 
rebuilding were those of probing the old founda- 
tions, a recurrence to the root-matter of doctrine, 
a quest after the mysteries of experience too long 
forgotten and interned in the corpus doctrinale ; 
this is described in the Grade as exploring the 
tomb of the Master Architect for the recovery 
of that which he had taken with him, and I know 
of nothing in formal mystical expression which 
is put with more exact justice. 

The Candidate has already in his own person 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

followed the paths of exploration, though he 
knew not that which he did, and he recovered 
nothing but himself. He now beholds a glorious 
resurrection of the living symbol encompassed 
by Masonic virtues, though he is still left to divine 
more than he is told. The Mystery, as I have 
intimated, is Christian, and it represents, in its two 
Grades, Judaism dissolving into Christianity. In 
a word, therefore, the Master Builder is brought 
from death to life, but by his resurrection he 
rises as Christ, even as the Law of Israel is raised, 
transfigured and ascends, drawing all things after 
it, into the Law of a New Covenant and an Eternal 
Testament. In that which remains to him of 
the past, the Builder's name is expounded in a 
manner which will be understood by Masons, and 
it is then replaced by a divine formula : Homo 
Jesus < 3$ex Altissimus Mundi. It will be under- 
stood that his next instruction is in respect of the 
final Temple which is still to come, which will 
be created to the glory of the Grand Architect 
of the worlds. This is the heavenly Zion, of 
which the Candidate beholds the vision, for that 
spiritual city which has no temple therein 
because it is itself the Temple is perfected 
humanity, and the design of the ceremonial is 
to join time and eternity, death and immortality, 
reason and faith. The correspondence of the 
formula which I have quoted is INRI, as the 
completion of mm is nwm. 

Now, I submit that this is a great, illuminated 

The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

and enlightened Rite, which is a perfection of 
Masonry, and if its object on the surface may 
seem still and only to adorn those who partake 
of it with all the Masonic virtues, such virtues 
have assumed a spirit which is higher than the 
region of ethics. It is the spirit of that religion 
and that morality which have reference to the 
perfection of man both here and hereafter, to 
the development of his possibilities for what is 
good and great, and to his union with what 
is highest in the universe. It is this fundamental 
essence and object of religion, apart from all the 
higher research of the paths which lead thereto, 
that is everywhere affirmed, by even its most 
ordinary exponents, to be inherent in the nature 
of Masonry, and to be " inwrought in the whole 
system of Masonic ceremonies." 

Masonry is therefore dedicated to the realisation 
of an ideal state ; even on this hypothesis, it looks 
to see the good things of the Lord in the Land 
of the Living ; its watchwords are development, 
progress, the higher life ; it is identical in its 
aim with those forces, within and without our- 
selves, by which we are enabled " to fulfil the 
law of our being." So far as its desires are un- 
realised, it formulates the aspirations of humanity. 
Its powers are great, its capacities greater still ; 
in no general sense has it ever applied its strength 
for an unhallowed or evil purpose ; it has 
accomplished much real good ; few institutions, 
in this country at least, can boast a more stainless 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

charter or a whiter page in history ; alike by its 
resources and its nature, it is eminently a suitable 
instrument for the eventual accomplishment of 
an universal good. Essentially and avowedly 
devoted to the " highest interests of humanity, 
both here and hereafter," it would not be a priori 
impossible that in its original scope it transcended 
ethics, if within its own memorials we had not, 
as we have indeed, the full evidence thereof. 
The end intimated by these is that which I have 
already termed the perfection of man that is 
to say, his integration the, supersensual, divine 
union of the human consciousness with God. 
And this is the broad bond of union between 
Masonry and that intellectual science which is 
termed Mysticism in the root-matter of both. 
But that which has been lost by the one is that 
which remains to the other, and this is the 
means to the end, the path of the induction of 
that experience which lies behind the Secret 
Doctrine and constitutes its evidence. 



THE supersubstantial bread of the High Grades has 
not only a great variety of forms and patterns, but 
it is not consecrated or laid upon any single altar 
otherwise than in a single form, so that those who 
are in search of its sustenance in the multiple and 
plenary sense must visit many Temples and confess 
to many obediences. The Rite which communi- 
cates the perfect Grade of St. Andrew is followed in 
the system to which it belongs by two holy and 
glorious Grades of Masonic chivalry ; but between 
these and their antecedents a gulf of symbolical 
time extends. It calls to be filled on all grounds 
of high reason and of symbolism ; it is filled 
actually, and after most wonderful manners, by 
two other ceremonial pageants. In this manner 
there arises that schedule or list of Grades which 
I have given already as the true succession in 
Masonry, embracing its Alpha and Omega so 
far as they have passed into expression with 
VOL. i. Q 241 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

all that intervenes between them. But one of 
the two ceremonies of which I am now speaking, 
belongs to a distinct collection, while the second 
stands apart from all those arbitrary sequences 
with which we are over-familiar in Masonry, and 
constitutes an Order by itself: I refer to the 
Grade of Rose-Croix and to the Military and 
Religious Order of the Temple and Holy Sepulchre. 
The position of the first is taken as the opening 
of my literary Lodge of Research in the Grades 
of Christian Chivalry, as we shall find that the 
Order of Knights Beneficent of the Holy City of 
Jerusalem is the full and perfect closing. 

That message, those mystic tidings, of the 
Perfect Master of St. Andrew^ conveyed by a 
pregnant intimation that the artificer, the builder, 
the maker of temples, palaces and the Cosmos, 
of whom it could be said as of Christ passus 
et sepultus est arose in the symbolism as Christ 
that message is the prolegomenon to all that 
follows in Christian High Grades, of what kind 
soever : it is also their summary ; it conveys in 
outline all that they impart in detail ; it is the 
implicit of all, and it is the term. Since it must 
be said, I will say at once that the Grade of Rose- 
Croix suffers, amidst its beauty and its splendour, 
from the serious anachronism which gives it the 
place that it holds as Master and Sovereign of 
the whole chapter of chivalry. The symbolic 
time is that of the Resurrection, and to confer 
upon the Candidate, who takes part in the cere- 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

monial which leads up to the Masonic recognition 
of this great event in Christendom, a mystical 
Knighthood of the Pelican and the Eagle, so 
that he is enrolled in Christian chivalry this 
is, of course, in the sovereign economy of reason, 
a mistake, a flaw, an absurdity. It is any or all 
of these, and yet if the spiritual nature of the 
whole ceremony and the title of honour itself 
be regarded, it will emerge only as an error of 
terminology, for the Candidate who has found 
that which is implied by the things that he 
attains in the ceremony has entered into an 
assembly of which chivalry at its highest and 
noblest is the shadow alone. The terminology 
is unfortunate enough, and the accolade is on the 
verge of a disaster, but it is only in the form 
at this especial point and in a matter of words 
that the Grade of Perfection, which in its sym- 
bolism is so perfect, falls short of being perfect in all. 
The perfection of which I speak is partly in 
the things that are expressed and in the moving 
ceremonial of the pageant, but it is more, and it 
is very much more, in those which are implied, 
so that as is usual in the research of the Mysteries 
a great deal depends upon the Candidate, on 
the correspondence between the quality of his own 
insight and the deep intimations of the Grade. 
This is only another way of saying that the sense 
of the letter is for men of a literal mind, while the 
sense of the symbolism is reserved to the symbolist 
alone. One among the external aspects of the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Grade of St. Andrew may be taken as an illustrative 
point. What office is fulfilled by that Saint in its 
long ceremonial instruction ? The answer is 
none whatever ; and his introduction was obviously 
an arbitrary device to connect the mystical thesis 
with Scotland through the patron of that country 
in the hierarchy of blessed men. What purpose 
is served by the arbitrary intervention of the 
motive and adornments of chivalry in the Grade of 
Rose-Croix ? The answer again is none. If it be 
said that the chivalry is spiritual and that the 
highest side of a noble institution is presented 
therein to the Candidate, that is true so far as it 
goes ; but there are higher aspects to all the good 
subjects and all the great institutions, which fact 
does not, however, constitute a warrant to import 
them out of reason and in opposition to the sense 
of history. 

This element could therefore be well spared 
from the Grade, nor is it the only one. But in all 
cases I am dealing only with accidents ; let us 
therefore have recourse to the essence, to that 
which is of life in the symbolism, and we must 
prepare to approach it from a gate that has not been 
previously opened in the world of interpretation. 

The Perfect Ceremonies of the Knight of the Eagle 
and Pelican and of Sovereign Prince Rose-Croix de 
Heredom, are ceremonies of death and resurrection, 
and they are the story of the spiritual life of man 
under the light of the Christian Mysteries. The 
Word is lost in death and is recovered in a glorious 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

rising. In another aspect, death must be tasted in 
its bitterness because the Word is lost in life, but 
that ordeal is the way of the Word in its return. 
Therefore, by the hypothesis of the Grade, the 
Word is lost in the death of Christ on Calvary ; 
it is buried in the rock-hewn sepulchre, even as it 
was lost with the Master Builder of old and was 
laid to its rest with his remains in a Holy 
Place. The old order passes therewith, the voices 
cry : Let us go forth ; and the veil of the old 
Mysteries is rent to shew that they can cover no 
longer the truth of things with the drapery of 
their symbolism. But thereafter Christ rises, and 
in that resurrection the Word is restored in its 
fulness ; another altar is set up, and a new veil is 
woven, which bodies forth more perfectly those 
Mysteries that during the natural life of man are 
communicated only through the sacraments of 
Nature and Grace. 

This is one of the meanings within, and it is 
only here and there that it passes into outward 
expression. We are dealing with no drama of 
Calvary and of what followed thereafter. The 
drapery of the symbolism is very curiously in- 
woven. The hypothesis which I have attempted 
to outline is itself merely a veil, and this will be 
obvious on reflection, because in the literal under- 
standing of the great drama of redemption the 
descent into Hell is not that part of the Divine 
scheme with which humanity has a living con- 
cern on the surface, and it calls for no special 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

memorial in connection with the Masonic quest. 
Its mystic import is perhaps too deep for Masonry : 
it belongs to another realm. That which takes 
place during the mystic period is not in corre- 
spondence with any emblematic or other activity 
without. The notion that anything could be 
done to expedite the resurrection of Christ and to 
quicken the dawn of Easter is so much outside 
reason and the orderly sense of symbolism, that no 
one, by the normal exercise of the reflective 
faculty, can suppose that the ritual intends to 
convey this suggestion. The loss is represented 
therein as personal to the fellowship of the 
chivalry, and is something for them to retrieve. 
A quest is undertaken, which is the integration of 
the Candidate in the consciousness of that which 
is lost and in the way of its recovery. But when 
this quest is instituted, it is found that it embraces 
the entire symbolic period of manifest existence. 
Between the declaration of the loss in the office 
of opening the chapter and the ceremonial per- 
fection of the recovery in the closing office, there 
intervene the several symbolic periods of the world, 
and that which is expected to follow is the Second 
Advent. The deep significance is therefore that the 
Divine is buried in the manifest, that the Word is 
lost therein, that it will be recovered at the end 
of time, which is the world of resurrection. This 
cosmic period is held to correspond in symbolism 
with the space which elapsed between the death 
of Christ on the Cross and the manifestation of 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

Easter, which has a side of truth in mysticism, but 
the comparison should not be instituted because of 
other things which are involved by the mystery of 
the ascent into heaven. 

I must not take this almost unrealisable ques- 
tion further ; it is much too difficult for discus- 
sion in the present place ; and I do not feel that 
I carry the full warrants on my own part. It 
belongs to a region in which the historical side 
of Christianity dissolves in another light. The 
analogy between the three mystic days in Hades 
and the Divine Immanance in the universe is not 
therefore established by me but by the unknown 
maker of the Ritual. I take up no brief for its 
defence, but that which I know to be true on the 
side of the microcosm must indubitably obtain by 
analogy on the macrocosmic side. In the sense 
that it obtains, and in so far as the resurrection 
connects mystically with the Second Advent, it is 
included in the mystery of the words : And I, if I 
be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me. 
It is the indrawn state of the cosmos. In respect 
of man on the path of adeptship, the descent into 
hell does take place between mystical death and 
resurrection : it is the salvage of that in his 
human life which can be taken up into the Christ- 

This is, however, the story of the Grade so far as 
it connects with the universal side of things, and as 
such the closing of the Chapter corresponds to the 
idea of the Second Advent as an accomplished 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

fact. But I have said that there is a human 
side, and as to this the Ritual represents (a) the 
loss of Divine consciousness in man by reason of 
that mystery which is termed the Fall ; (b) the 
search after the Christ life, by which the conse- 
quences of the Fall are undone ; (c) the perfect 
attainment of certain theological virtues, by which 
that life is entered ; (d] the Knowledge that 
follows as to the mystic pedigree of the soul ; (e) 
the discovery in that pedigree of the Lost Word. 
The lesson is that those who can get to realise the 
royal and divine descent of our imperishable nature 
will come to know Christ, which Knowledge 
constitutes the possession of the Word. 

This is the symbolism in its second aspect, but 
there is another and still deeper side of the whole 
subject. The loss is the loss of the individual in 
this life, encompassed by the darkness of material 
things and ever seeking in the darkness. But his 
steps are guided therein, for an angel goes beside 
him and leads him through the paths of virtue to 
the valley of mystical death. When he has passed 
through this trial, his own ascent commences by a 
ladder which is that of Jacob, on which he learns 
whence he came and in the proper understanding 
of the Grade discovers that Christ is within him. 
Finally, for those who can see no further than the 
external elements of religion, the whole Grade is 
a moral instruction on the pursuit of the Christian 
virtues, in the attainment of which the Postulant 
comes to realise that Christ is indeed the Word. 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

Much of the symbolism becomes of no effect in 
this presentation, but it serves some purpose when 
the Candidate is imperfectly prepared. 

I conclude that the opening commemorates 
the intimate correspondence between the death of 
Christ and that of the Master Builder ; it gives, 
therefore, the reason of that resurrection which is 
commemorated in the Grade of St. Andrew with- 
out fully explaining the mystery. On the other 
hand, the Rose-Croix closing only intimates the 
resurrection without declaring it. 

The title Rose-Croix will readily suggest the 
Cross of Christ ensanguined by the blood of our 
redemption, but this is rather the symbolism of 
the Red Cross of Rome and Gomtantine and not 
that of the i8th Degree. The reference is to 
the Rose of Sharon, regarded as a type of the 
Redeemer, and behind this there lies for some of 
my school the inmost meaning of the Grade, being 
the connection between this Rose and the Cubic 
Stone, so that it can be said at one stage of the 
ceremony that the Stone becomes the Rose. I 
believe that I have offered enough by way of in- 
terpretation without entering into another path 
through which few are likely to follow me, as it 
belongs to an unfamiliar world of mystic sym- 
bolism. I refer to that of transcendental Alchemy, 
which sometimes represents the Hermetic Rose as 
issuing from a bare mountain. The rock there- 
fore gives forth the emblematic flower. So also 
the quest of Alchemy is the quest of a Stone, 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

which is the Stone of the Wise and an ineffable 
treasure. By the hypothesis of the Art this Stone 
becomes red at a certain stage. In mystic Alchemy 
the Stone is Christ, as it is said in the New Testa- 
ment that the rock was Christ. So also is the 
Stone which was cut out of the mountain and 
filled the whole earth. Those who would follow 
out these suggestions must go further than I can 
now take them. They may find that the moun- 
tain of Alchemy is the mountain of initiation ; 
they will then remember what I have said of 
the Mountain of Heredom, and in fine that the 
Sovereign Prince Rose-Croix is a Prince of Heredom. 
The implications suggested by the latter title 
are very curious on the historical side, apart from 
the symbolism which I have sought to connect 
therewith ; it involves the whole question of the 
Grade in its origin, about which it is impossible 
to reach any reasonable conclusion in speculation 
and much less in certainty. It is fortunately un- 
necessary to my subject, but there are a few 
matters of fact which may be briefly made clear. 
The Primordial Ifyse-Croix Chapter of Arras 
suggests by its claim the appearance of the Grade 
in the year 1745, but it is referable, as we have seen, 
only to 1779. We have met with the bare Rose- 
Croix title in an early part of our research as describ- 
ing the 8th Grade in the Rite collected by the 
Scottish Mother Lodge of Marseilles, a foundation 
referred to the year 1750, but I have shewn that its 
importance and the magnitude of the collection 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

which it represented are later. It remains that the 
in the year 1754 appears to be the first High Grade 
body which embraced the Grade of 1(ose-Croix in its 
system. I set aside, provisionally at least, the claim 
of the ROYAL ORDER OF SCOTLAND, for although 
the second of its two degrees is that of Rosy Cross, 
the trend of modern opinion is to conclude that 
it was an importation from France. But I admit 
that the subject calls for fuller and perhaps more 
sympathetic investigation. The one further point 
with which we are concerned at the moment is 
that, its name notwithstanding, the Grade of c E(osy 
Cross practised by the ROYAL ORDER OF HEREDOM 
OF KILWINNING is almost entirely distinct, not only 
from the modern form of Sovereign Prince <: I(ose- 
Croix Heredom of Kilwinnlng, but from all its 
variants of the past. 

These variants are a singular testimony to 
the wide appeal of the Grade. Except in the 
deep things of symbolism, and for those who are 
acquainted with this science, it has nothing which 
should lead to its inclusion in an fecossais system, 
but when Scottish Masonry was reformed on one 
occasion, the Grade of 1(ose-Croix was annexed 
I presume on account of the two magic names, 
Heredom and Kilwinning. It does not confess 
in the least to the motive of Adonhiramite Masonry ', 
but it occupied the twelfth place in the motley 
collection of Saint Victor. It is foreign above 
all things to the psychic discovery of Mesmer, 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

but the RITE OF MIZRAIM provided a Magnetic 
'fyse-Croix, and in another collection it figures as 
a Grade of Adeptship. By the PHILOSOPHICAL 
SCOTTISH RITE it was annexed in an Hermetic 
interest ; and in fine one Rite of Adoptive 
Masonry produced a Ladies' Rose-Croix. 

This is only the beginning of a list rather 
than a full schedule, but a further purpose would 
not be served by its extension. It will be seen 
that the psychic and occult side has experienced 
in particular the attraction of the Rosy Cross. No 
one who varied the degree, and none perhaps who 
borrowed it, had any real notion of the history of 
the Rose in symbolism, or of that which lay behind 
the setting of the mystical flower in the centre of 
the mystic Cross. I must not say that the ap- 
paratus of Rosenroth had never been consulted for 
any purpose by one of them, who would have 
learned on Zoharic authority that the Rose signifies 
the Shekinah, and that there is joy in the Kingdom 
^Malkuth when it receives influx from Einah^ 
or Understanding, in the exalted sphere of which 
there is another and transcendent Shekinah, who 
receives the kisses of the Supernal King in 
Chokmah^ which is Wisdom. But it would have 
conveyed little to the mind, nor when they read 
further on that there is a Rose of thirteen petals, 
because of the thirteen modes of compassion 
which are declared in the Kingdom of this world, 
would they have connected this curious number 
with the mystery 'of a death upon the cross, 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

followed by a resurrection therefrom. From late 
classical sources they knew, indeed, that by the 
mercy of Venus Adonis was changed into a Rose, 
and one of the Grade editors drew this notion 
under a curious transformation into a legend of 
Christ ; but there was no one to tell them con- 
cerning Pierre de Mora and his three mystical 
Roses : the first is the choir of martyrs ; the 
second is, par excellence^ Rosa Mystica^ the Virgin 
of Virgins ; and the third is the Mediator between 
God and man. The first of these Roses is red, 
the second is white, but the third is red and 
white. According to St. Ambrose, the Rose is 
an image of the Precious Blood of Christ, and 
that Rose is mystically that Blood. It is in this 
manner that the Rosy Cross merges into the Red 
Cross, because the wood of the Tree of Life was 
incarnadined by the fact of the crucifixion. For 
according to another legend the Cross of Calvary 
came from a cutting of that Tree which once 
grew in Eden, and in the Middle Ages the Rose 
was a flower of the Earthly Paradise. A Latin 
hymn represents Adam and Eve walking in the 
midst of flowers and vast bosks of roses. According 
to St. Basil, they were thornless prior to the Fall. 
This is how the desert of the literal world 
begins to blossom in symbolism, and in many 
ways that cannot be specified here does the 
symbolic Rose glory in the Cross of Christ, the 
two being reconciled as if in one body. I will 
say only that the Cross or the Passion thereof was 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the Cup which the Divine Master asked to be 
taken away, and because it remained the Christian 
world has had through ages and ages the chalice 
of the Eucharist, which is filled mystically with 
the eternal life of the mystic blood, as the Rose 
is a chalice containing Dew of Heaven. It was 
said of old : The Rose is the chalice, and the 
blood of Adonis fills it. It is also a chalice in 
Kabalism, and it is filled with the Wine of the 

After these intimations it may be less surpris- 
ing that although it has been something like 
a point of literary honour among Masonic 
writers to affirm that the Rose-Croix Grade has 
nothing to do with the Fraternity of the Rosy 
Cross, this is scarcely correct in fact. Speaking 
in a general manner, there is no original consan- 
guinity in respect of ritual, because old Rosi- 
crucianism had no part in ceremonial Mysteri< 
or at least the evidence is wanting. Later 
Rosicrucianism was conferred in Grades like 
Masonry and required the Masonic qualification, 
but there is nothing which corresponds to 
the 1 8th Degree therein. In a deeper and 
more mystical sense there is a concealed Rosi- 
crucian Grade which certainly has such ana- 
logies, but to create the comparison pays a 
very high compliment even to the Grade of the 
Sovereign Princes. There remains the question 
of name, the identity of which it has been sought 
to reduce by idle and false etymologies. I am 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

sure that it has been drawn into Masonry from 
the old legendary Order, which in one of its 
forms of developments was bearing witness con- 
cerning itself at the very time when the Rose- 
Croix Grade was making its first bids for recog- 
nition, and I think, further, that the magic of the 
name counted for something in the success which 
attended it from the beginning. 

As regards the variations of the Grade, they 
can be distinguished into two branches ; one of 
them represents the modifications and develop- 
ments which led up to the ritual in its present 
form, as it is known under the obedience of the 
other which is much larger signifies its several 
transformations out of all real recognition in 
the interests which I have enumerated above. 
The second does not specially concern us, but I 
will say a few words of both, only premising 
that the last hand by which the first was 
remodelled and modernised was presumably that 
of Albert Pike. 

In the collection of Adonhlramlte Masonry ', the 
Grade as elsewhere is affirmed to be the ne 
plus ultra of the entire subject, notwithstanding 
that in every system there is found something 
that follows it. It is, however, a very simple 
ceremony, as if representing an early stage of 
development. The opening declares the loss of 
the Christian Word, but it is found by reference 
to the Knights present in the chapter, who have 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

kept it alive in their hearts. On the introduction 
of the Candidate this fact is suppressed, and the 
hopes of the chivalry are centred on the stranger 
who has come among them. He performs the usual 
quest in darkness, with the result which we know 
otherwise, and a kind of Eucharistic Rite con- 
cludes the proceedings. This rudimentary speci- 
men belongs to the third quarter of the eighteenth 
century, and is, I think, sufficient for my purpose. 
There seem even to have been systems which 
identified the Grade of Rose-Croix with that of 
Knight of the East, which belongs to the period of 
Cyrus and the building of the Second Temple. 

To the patience and some other qualities of 
Ragon we owe two contributions to the subject 
of the Rose-Croix Grade, being (a) his recension 
of the Ritual as it was worked in France about 
1860 or earlier, under the obedience of the 
its reconstruction from his own point of view. 
In respect of the first, its differences from the 
codex now extant in Great Britain are practically 
innumerable, and it is of course impossible to 
tabulate them ; but the only distinction belong- 
ing to the root-matter is the diminution of the 
Christian element. The result is that it has 
almost ceased to be a Ritual of the Rosy Cross 
or a completion of Craft Masonry according to 
the symbolism and implicits of the Craft and 
the Royal Arch. This appears, however, more 
especially in the so-called historical discourse and 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

catechism by which the ceremony is concluded. 
The loss of the Word is there identified with a 
period of decay in Masonry, and its recovery with 
the restoration thereof. It is devoid as such of 
all Christian allusion or consequence. In respect 
of the second, Ragon, on his own part, attempts 
to extend the intimations contained in the dis- 
course just mentioned. The loss of the Word is 
identified with Masonic indifference ; there are 
dull and malodorous expatiations on the nature of 
man, on reason, judgment, art, science and so 
forth. The astronomical aspects of Masonry are 
in fine presented. To sum up, it is exactly the 
kind of performance which will have been ex- 
pected antecedently by those who know Ragon 
and understand what is implied in his view that 
Nature is the path of rebirth. In the year 1860 
he had got no further than Volney, Dupuis and 
Boulanger at the close of the eighteenth century 
those voices of the arid waste of misconceived solar 
mythology. For Ragon the Recovered Word 
which does not seem to have been exactly lost or 
found is reason bearing witness to the senses 
a kind of counter testimony in virtue of which 
illusion or the appearance of things is corrected 
by the father of lies. The last construction may 
seem rough, but I have read a good deal of 
Ragon, and the faculty which he praises may well 
ask to be saved from some of its friends. 

In conclusion, as to variations of the Grade 
belonging to the first of my two categories, the 

VOL. I. R 257 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

in[its collection entitled Knight of the Rosy Cross 
of St. Andrew, which has some interesting sym- 
bolical points derived from early French versions, 
but it has suffered from indifferent editing. 

The variations of the second class, which I have 
promised to speak of briefly, are numerous, as I 
have said, and it would be an idle task to take 
out their points in a series. We may well rest 
contented with two illustrative specimens chosen 
almost at random, or perhaps more correctly 
because they happen to be unknown in England. 

In and before the year 1848 a past president 
of the Loge des Trinosophes, N. C. des fitangs, con- 
ceived the necessity of restoring Freemasonry to 
its true principles, which appear to have been 
nothing more novel than the love of good and 
the hatred of evil. In virtue of these, it was of 
course possible to maintain the thesis that the 
brotherhood was coeval with humanity. The 
canon of the restorer's criticism being thus 
defined, we can surrender to those whom it 
concerns the examination of the Constitution 
which he framed, the discourses which he attached 
to the Craft Grades, and the variations which he 
introduced into the Rituals. It is sufficient to 
say that his rectifications remained within the 
limits which might be expected antecedently 
that is to say, mainly on paper. The general 
arrangement of his system corresponded to that of 



Vtil f. fa fare 6. 2*8. 

The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

Grades four to seventeen were communicated but 
not worked, and from the Degree of Master he 
passed to that of Rose-Croix, which he termed the 
4th Degree. Thence he proceeded to that of 
Grand Elect Knight Kadosh, which was the fifth 
and last of his series. Ex hypothesi^ the Grade of 
Rose-Croix was the necessary sequel to the Craft, 
and its reconstruction was to harmonise it with 
Masonry. This was effected by expunging the 
Christian elements, which put an end to vulgar 
Masonry and rescued those who pursued it from 
the abyss into which it led the unwary. I do 
not know whether this kind of thing was held in 
select circles as illustrating the perfect work of 
the sovereign mason ; it did not prevent Des 
Etangs from affirming that the Grade of Rose- 
Croix originated in Palestine at the time of the 
Crusades, and it made him content to explain (a) 
that the Master Builder was the Genius of Truth ; 
(b) that his assassins were ambition, ignorance and 
falsehood ; (c) that the Master comes forth from 
his tomb because Truth cannot die. These are 
the points of the thesis developed by the Ritual, 
and the secret which it communicates is of similar 
quality : (i) that the fire of science sustains the 
moral life of the universe ; (2) that the fire of 
virtue burns out bondage and renders liberty to 
man. So does the labouring mountain of initiation 
produce the usual mouse. 

The systems referred in the fantasy of their 
makers to Mizraim and Memphis were not 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

likely to pass over the 1 8th Degree, and I will speak 
of the version which was incorporated with the 
second and later Rite, because it offers a peculiar 
example of retaining the name but transforming 
both the body and the soul. The Grade of Rose- 
Croix has become a catechetical instruction on 
Hermeticism, on schools of philosophy and on 
varieties of religious belief. The mystery which 
is celebrated by the chapter is one of dole and 
loss, but it has no longer the note of the Christian 
motive. There are vague references to an uni- 
versal shipwreck, a recurring cataclysm of Nature. 
The sacred depository of the old traditions has 
perished, science has returned into heaven, and it 
is in this sense that the Word is lost. It seems to 
be recovered in an automatic manner after the 
statement of fact, but this notwithstanding the 
work is said to conclude in the perfection or fulness 
of darkness and not that of light. It is a cumbrous 
and heavy codification, entirely devoid of true 
symbolism, and it incorporates borrowed matter 
from alchemical sources. A better illustration 
of that which happens to Grades when they 
are wrested from their proper custodians could 
scarcely be desired. 

I have used for the purpose of this brief refer- 
ence that codification which was adopted by the 
of Memphis was reduced to 33 Degrees, as a 
condition of its recognition by the Grand Orient 
of France. It has conspicuous differences from 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

the version put forward by J. E. Marconis in 
1862 as part of the collection included by Le 
Rameau d'or d'Eleusis. Fundamentally, however, 
it is the same, and especially in its reflection of the 
analogy created by the orthodox Grade between 
the Rose crucified on the Cross and Jesus of 
Nazareth identified as the Rose of Sharon. In 
both cases a spurious philosophical Degree is 
substituted for one which is essentially Christian, 
and the attempted restoration of the Word is a 
ridiculous pretence. I should mention, however, 
OF MEMPHIS subjected its classification of Grades 
to several alterations, it does not appear to have 
included the Rose-Croix, properly understood or 
otherwise, in its system at the particular moment 
when Marconis produced his work. It so hap- 
pened that the i8th Degree of the Rite was that 
of Chevalier de la Rose Croissante^ said to be of 
the highest antiquity and divided into three 
classes or Grades : (i) The Sanctuary of Masonic 
Secrets which are Prayer, Obligation and Bap- 
tism ; (2) the Sanctuary of Hermetic Secrets 
which are Alliance, Union and Joy ; (3) the 
Sanctuary of Theosophical Secrets which are 
Humanity, Invocation and Light. The general 
purpose claimed for the institution was the 
emancipation of men from vulgar errors by some- 
thing characterised as philosophy, the attainment 
of moral perfection and the culture of generous, 
delicate and beneficent instincts. These ingenu- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

ous aspirations notwithstanding, the explanations 
attached to the conventional names of the three 
classes of secrets enable us in the absence of the 
Ritual to conclude that this so-called Masonry 
was the work of fools rather than of knaves. The 
folly seems to be still current in France, as there 
is at least one anonymous writer who is willing to 
subscribe himself un Chevalier de la Rose Croissante. 
It may be added, as a point of curiosity, 
that there is, or there was, a modern Order of 
Illuminati working in Dresden, but under what 
circumstances I am unacquainted. Without any 
traceable warrants it represents an attempt to restore 
the celebrated foundation of Adam Weishaupt, 
but with a slender spiritual purpose in place of a 
political end. I do not think that it has any title 
to existence, but it is a harmless reflection of 
Masonry, and its last Grade is that of Rose-Croix. 
This is similar to the i8th Degree and is 
indeed its simple reduction into an exceedingly 
small compass. The essential parts are retained. 
As" there is plenty of opportunity for people who 
wish to found Rites and Orders to develop their 
own intellectual and other implicits, if they have 
the simple ability, I think that unauthorised 
annexations should be rigidly discountenanced, 
and, judged on this principle, the Order of Illumi- 
nati stands condemned. As is usual in such cases, 
there is also a certain dishonesty, though I do not 
suggest that it is intentional. Recipients of the 
Grade of Rose-Croix under this obscure obedience 


The New Alliance in Freemasonry 

are presumably in search of the substance, but 
that which they obtain is the shadow. There is, 
this notwithstanding, a great pretence of import- 
ance in the Statues and Regulations of the Order. 
Lastly, the Laws are so formed that both sexes 
are admitted by an association which is certainly 
Masonic in its character and communicates 
Masonic knowledge. It is therefore an adulter- 
ated and even a bogus Masonry. 

For reasons which are sufficient to myself, 
I defer the consideration of the ROYAL ORDER 
OF SCOTLAND till a later stage. 



flDasonic r&ers of Cbivalr? 



Criticism in respect of its claim Source of the ascription 
Other legends concerning Ramsay The question of 
ficossais Grades Specimens of a system not allocated 
to St. Andrew Apprentice Ecossais Companion 
cossais Master ficossais The Rite of Godfrey 
de Bouillon as an alternative title to that of Ramsay 
A point overlooked in the discourse of Ramsay His 
reference to a Christian element in Masonic Degrees 
What follows from the interpretation of this refer- 
ence in the sense of the Craft Degrees What follows 
on the assumption that it is an allusion to Higher 
Grades Improbability of High Grades at the 
period The supposed evidence given by Robert 
Samber Misconception on this subject Conclusion 
that his testimony does not concern High Grades 
in Masonry His terminology and the people whom 
he addressed Alchemists and Rosicrucians. 


The question of its date of origin The Unknown Superiors 
Comparison with the Unknown Philosopher 
Pasqually Trend of modern opinion regarding the 
authorship of the Grades Testimony of Von Hund 
His reception into the Order of the Temple His rdle 
of Grand Master After what manner his honour 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

has been saved by criticism Further concerning his 
reception into the Order of the Temple The young 
Pretender and the Earl of Kilmarnock Une petite 
resurrection des Templiers The legend concerning 
Philip of Orleans The Charter of Larmenius 
Appeal to the Order of Christ in Portugal The 
so-called Society of the Sirloin Conclusions on these 
subjects Mutually exclusive nature of the claim 
advanced by the Strict Observance and the claim 
of the Charter of Transmission Probable date of 
this Charter Its custodians denounce the claim of the 
Strict Observance Modern forms of the two founda- 
tions Further concerning the / story of Von Hund 
Werner's Sons of the Valley The Order of the 
Temple in Great Britain Of the Secret Tradition 
in the Temple Of occult interest in this subject 
Its root in the Levitikon Templarism and Johannite 
Christianity How this is referred back to the 
origin of the Chivalry A thesis of Eliphas Levi 
Plan to rebuild the Temple of Solomon Rivalry 
of the East and West in Christendom The Oriental 
Johannite sect Its imputed secret doctrine Con- 
spiracy of the first Templars A scheme within a 
scheme Conclusion on this subject. 


A fantastic comparison in respect of the super-Masonic 
Rituals After what manner it obtains The Craft 
and the High Grades The Rite of the Strict Observ- 
ance Questions regarding the year 1754 The 
Chapter of Clermont The Rituals which it worked 
The possibility of Von Hund's reception therein 

The Argument 

Particulars of his own story Conclusion that he was 
not a member of this Chapter Concerning the 
Degrees therein Their alternative titles and the 
difficulty of identifying them certainly Statements 
of Mr. Kistner Difficulty of accepting his view 
His history of the Rite The Clermont Chapter 
may have had no Templar Grade Historical im- 
portance otherwise of the Chapter. 



The High Grade movement as a part of continental 
Masonic history The completion of Masonry in 
Christ Hypothesis of Jesuit intervention and what 
is involved therein Deficiency of evidence The Jaco- 
bite hypothesis In what sense the Chapter of Cler- 
mont was merged in the Strict Observance After 
what manner it passed into the Council of the 
Emperors of the East and West The content of this 
system Particulars concerning the Royal Arch of 
Enoch Knight of the Sun The Grade of Kadosh 
Its contrast with Rose-Croix Its political aspects in 
earlier forms Vendetta elements Kadosh in later 
collections Prince of the Royal Secret Its symbolic 
time One of its confusions A Rite of Marriage 
The Grade of Rose-Croix The Grades of Grand 
Pontiff and Knight of the East and West The hypo- 
thesis of spiritual chivalry. 


Further concerning the Templar revival in Masonry 
Perpetuation of the Strict Observance The military 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

and religious Order of the Temple Independence and 
inter dependence* of certain High Grades belonging to the 
true sequence Consanguinity of the Grade of Knight 
Templar with Craft Masonry The Epistle of St. 
Bernard to the first Templars Its correspondence 
with Emblematic Masonry The perpetuation of the 
Temple to modern times Further concerning the 
Rite of the Strict Observance The Charter of 
Larmenius Possibility of perpetuation in respect of 
the original Order of Knights Templar Secret 
knowledge of the Templars The Templars and the 
Secret Tradition The modern Order of the Temple 
and its Masonic connections The Temple and the 
Graal The province of Ritual What is assumed in 
the Candidate The Temple as a passage from one 
dispensation to another Further concerning the 
House of Doctrine The quest proposed in Craft 
Masonry Symbolism of the Royal Arch How the 
Candidate is left by the Craft Degrees and their supple- 
ment His experience as a Masonic Knight Templar 
A certain concealment in the Ritual of the Templar 
Grade The formula in the Order of Chivalry 
The Secret Doctrine and the Rite of the Temple 
A synthetic consideration of the Rite Progress of 
the Candidate therein After what manner he is 
received into a Grade of priesthood A deeper 
consideration of the Rite A note on the question of 


The Order of the Temple which depends from this 
Charter Fabre Palaprat as the first Grand Master 
His Masonic connections Alleged Masonic character 

The Argument 

of the original Degrees The veil placed over them 
subsequently Evidence derived from the statutes 
The legend of the Temple according to the Charter 
The Order and Catholicism Nature of the pledges 
Further concerning Masonic connections Mystic 
history of the Order The Levitikon Its adoption 
by the Grand Master The doctrine contained therein 
Claim in respect of historical position Division 
of the Order on this subject Its position subse- 
quently Its passage into abeyance Its Rituals. 


Recurrence to the Strict Observance Position of Baron Von 
Hund The Unknown Superiors The Convention 
of Wilhelmsbad Its conclusion as to the Templar 
claims in Masonry After what manner it resolved 
on saving the Rite Salvage of the Grades of St. 
Andrew Emergence of the Knights Beneficent from 
the Templar Grade of the Strict Observance Later 
history of this chivalry How it died in France Its 
perpetuation in secret on the Continent Additional 
historical particulars The Convention of Wilhelms- 
bad and that of Lyons The Grades of Novice and 
Knight Beneficent as now worked Their union in 
principle Their Christian character Their more 
exalted side Their inward spirit The ideal of the 
Mystic Temple Their recognition regarding the 
term of Masonry Their view concerning Masonry 
on the historical side What is left of the Knights 
Templar in this system. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 


Union of motive and term in the chief Grades of Chivalry 
The subsidiary witnesses Of those which require 
mention Supplements to the Rite of Perfection 
The revision by Albert Pike and by] unknown 
hands Sources of the additional Grades Two 
Grades of the Tabernacle The Chivalry of the 
Brazen Serpent That of Trinitarian or Prince of 
Mercy A Mosaic Grade Intention of the Ritual 
Its anomalous result Confusion of its Christian 
elements The Grade of Commander of the Temple 
The Temple is that of Jerusalem Its Templar con- 
nections Its deeper intimations The Grade of 
Grand Scottish Knight of St. Andrew of Scotland 
Its alleged Hermetic complexion Its mythical period 
of origin The Grade of Grand Inspector The 
Grade of Sovereign Grand Inspector-General Its 
administrative character Its Christian elements Its 
connection with the Temple. 


Possible divergence of opinion in respect of the Chiv- 
alrous Grades The Grade entitled Knight of the 
Holy Sepulchre Its close analogies with the Rose- 
Croix Grade Its place in a series The Red Cross 
of Rome and Constantine The Grade entitled 
Knight of St. John the Evangelist The pearl 
of the triad What is meant by the loss of the 
Word in Knight of the Holy Sepulchre The sym- 
bolism which surrounds the Candidate He becomes 
a guardian of the Sepulchre His contention with the 

The Argument 

enemies of the Word The resurrection and renewal 
of the Word Deeper intimation of the Grade- 
Inward side of the Grades of Chivalry A mode of 
substitution therein Ceremony of consecrating a 
Viceroy of the Order Ceremony of enthroning a 
Sovereign The dedication of a Conclave Further 
concerning the Red Cross of Constantine Outline of 
its symbolism The Grade has no connection with 
Chivalry Consecrations of the Red Cross The 
Hallows of the Temple The empty sepulchre The 
sepulchre in its inward meaning. 


The Rituals of Heredom of Kilwinning and Rosy Cross 
A fantastic comparison with certain English texts of 
Alchemy Comparative certainty that no continental 
High Grades preceded the Oration of Ramsay 
Mythical nature of every ascription prior to 1750 
Existence of the Royal Order before this date in 
London Its first Degree older than the second 
It is therefore the prototype of High Grades 
Analogies between the Rosy Cross and the Grade of 
Rose-Croix Their probable derivation from one 
roo^ being the old Rosicrucian Fraternity Evi- 
dence of the symbolism Genesis of the iStb Degree 
A further consideration of the connection between 
the two Grades A counter - possibility Whether 
the Rosy Cross represents an importation from France 
That we are without means to account for the origin 
of the Grade of Heredom The Royal Order and the 
form of its Rituals Synopsis of the Rosy Cross Grade 
Its Christian elements Its inferiority to the iStb 
Degree The lost Word in its system Superior 
VOL. i. s 273 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

importance of the Grade of Heredom The quest 
therein An analysis of the Grade Its notion 
of the spiritual Church The Church and the New 
Jerusalem The symbol of Masonry How it is worked 
out in the Grade The Temple of Solomon and the 
Mystic Temple Transmutation of Masonic symbolism 
The Grade as a sum of Christian craftsmanship. 


The motive of Chivalry The hypothesis which it involves 
The Crusades as a channel of communication between 
East and West Of that which passed over The 
shadow of a Kabalistic tradition Concerning Johan- 
nite Christianity The Levitikon The dramatic 
poem of Werner Value of the hypothesis of Chivalry 
Of that which may lie behind it Relation of Emble- 
matical Masonry to the Mysteries Baron Tschoudy 
and the Knights of the Morning Recurrence to the 
story of Von Hund Allegorical nature of alleged 
Masonic birth in Chivalry General lessons of the 
later Grades. 



flDasonic rbers of Cbivalr? 



MY readers will remember what has been said of 
the Chevalier Ramsay in two of the earlier 
sections, and in particular that, having excogitated 
an hypothesis to explain the origin of Masonry 
along other lines than the evolution of an Emblem- 
atic Art of building out of the literal and material 
art, he proceeded, by a curious consensus of 
tradition, to construct Grades, and there came 
thus into being what passes in history, or rather 
in its substitutes, for the RITE OF RAMSAY. It is 
said further, as we have also seen, that he took 
this Rite to the English GRAND LODGE and en- 
deavoured to secure its adoption. The tradition 
testifies that he failed, and thereafter returned to 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

France, where he established it with phenomenal 
success. The first doubt was cast on this story by 
Findel, the German historian of Freemasonry ; 
but the criticism of the whole subject was carried 
much further by Mr. R. F. Gould, who has 
practically exploded the sequence of idle fictions. 
It is certain by a process of exhaustion that the 
Templar Masonic hypothesis did not originate 
with Ramsay ; that his alleged Grades were never 
heard of prior to the foundation of the STRICT 
OBSERVANCE ; that the period of his Masonic 
activities was brief and of the usual formal kind ; 
that the High Grade movement owed all things 
to his speculative thesis but nothing to his personal 
influence ; and finally, that he never brought a 
collection of Grades to the notice of GRAND LODGE, 
for the simple reason that the collection did not 
exist. Mr. Gould maintains that the notion of a 
RITE OF RAMSAY is first heard of in the Acta Lato- 
morum of Thory, published in 1825. I am a little 
inclined to believe that there must be earlier 
traces of the legend, but so far I have failed to 
find them, because sources of reference in England 
to foreign Masonic literature are exceedingly 
imperfect. The question is in no sense vital, and 
we should indeed gain, comparatively speaking, 
little if even we could put back the legend by a 
period of thirty or forty years. The supposition 
of such a collection is an attempt to follow the 
line of least resistance when explaining the rise 
of Masonic Grades of Chivalry and especially of 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

Templar Grades ; it is certain as regards the last 
that nothing existed prior to the STRICT OBSERV- 
ANCE, and therefore that this Rite is sufficient in 
itself to explain everything. But it is understood 
that I am speaking here so far as recognised 
Masonry is concerned. With the extrinsic Templar 
claim which depends from the Charter of Lar- 
menius I must deal later. 

The subject in its presentation so far may 
appear somewhat hopeless because it is of a nega- 
tive kind, and as such it has naturally offered an 
opportunity for the kind of exploitation which is 
practised by those dreamers who express their 
reveries in the terms of certitude, and even by the 
makers of insincere hypotheses with actuating 
motives that may not be too far to seek. One 
school of French fantasy, noticing acutely enough 
the antecedent unlikelihood that the author of the 
Travels of Cyrus should produce, within or without 
this memorial, anything which made for signal 
importance by his unaided effort, has supposed 
that Archbishop Fenelon stood behind him in the 
work and communicated to him what he afterwards 
put forward, as if on his own authority. The notion 
is in itself a complete farce, and I cannot think that 
it even deceived the inventor. As a fact, how- 
ever, the position otherwise is not quite so forlorn, 
or indeed so negative as it seems. If we compare 
the nomenclature of the imaginary RITE OF RAMSAY 
with that of the STRICT OBSERVANCE, we shall find 
that their High Grades are in such a state of inter- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

fusion that the dream in the one case is a shadow 
of the reality in the other. They are resolved 
into an Ecossais section and two Grades of Templar 
Chivalry ; the first is now represented by Master 
and Perfect Master of St. Andrew, and the second 
by Novice and Knight Beneficent of the Holy City of 
Jerusalem. I believe that these are in the one 
case among the oldest, and in the other the only of 
their kind, for the modern Order of the Temple is 
without any historical or even legendary aspect, 
and it does not therefore come into consideration 
from the present point of view. It had another 
and distinct origin. The Ecossais Grades are 
exceedingly numerous and offer signal differences 
in comparison one with another. Those which 
I have summarised under the titles of Master 
and Perfect Master of St. Andrew are, with many 
variations, which may seem, on the surface, to 
reduce essential identity, synonymous in root- 
matter with the fourth Grade of the STRICT 
OBSERVANCE, which was that of Scottish Master. 
It is this fact which assigns a particular position 
of great symbolical importance to the Rite in 
question, and this is equivalent to saying that 
most other Ecossau Grades are comparatively 
at least negligible. They were worked under 
various obediences, and in some of them the 
term Ecossais came, like that of Rose-Croix, to 
be little better than a titular distinction. I will 
give a synopsis of three, taken almost at random 
from the cohort, because, after their proper 



Vol. /., to face p. 278. 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

*/ > 

manner, they afford a representative idea of Scottish 
Masonry apart from that which was distinguished 
by the name of St. Andrew. They are also of 
considerable value on the side of symbolism, and 
are therefore to be included among the few 
exceptions to which I have just referred. 

(i) Apprentice Ecossais.- The reception herein 
followed initiation and advancement in the 
Symbolical or Craft Grades. The Candidate was 
instructed to wash his hands like Christ and His 
Apostles before the Last Supper. He then made 
the Sign of the Cross on his forehand, using water 
for the purpose. It represented apparently a kind 
of Masonic baptism, performed on his own part and 
of his free will, to signify a transition in his initiated 
life from the Old to the New Law. There were 
then conferred upon him in symbolism the Seven 
Gifts of the Spirit, representing another Christian 
Rite, or that of Confirmation ; the communication 
was made by seven light blows on the forehead 
with the mallet of the Master, and these signified 
the voluntary acceptation by the Candidate of the 
whole mystic and religious responsibility of Chris- 
tian Masonry. Finally, he received, also at the 
hands of the Master, a symbolic Eucharist, of 
which we have heard something in connection 
with another Grade ; there was communicated to 
him the heart of the Master Builder, and this re- 
presented, I conceive, the Candidate's integration 
in the love of Christ. It completed the symbolism 
of the Grade in so far as it constituted a reflection 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

of the three great Sacraments of the Church, but 
there was a fourth ceremony, also Sacramental in 
its nature ; the Candidate knelt upon the ground 
before a Blazing Star, embroidered on the carpet 
of the Temple ; the letter G was placed in the 
centre of the pentagram ; he prostrated himself 
on his elbows, bowed his head to the ground and 
sealed the letter with his lips. In this manner he 
was held to have received the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ, that is to say, the Spirit of the Father 
through the channel of the Eternal Son in the 
manifestation of His life on earth. 

(2) Companion Ecossais. The Candidate was 
prepared by these experiences for the still more 
profound symbolism of the next Grade. When 
he was introduced into the Temple he beheld a 
great Altar illuminated by eighty-one lights, which 
signified the operation of the Trinity in the four 
letters of the Divine Name, corresponding to the 
four worlds of Jewish theosophy. Behind and 
above the Altar was a transparency depicting the 
glory of the Grand Architect surrounded by the 
seven Intelligences of Heaven. The Trinity was 
here represented by a central triangle contain- 
ing the letters mm. He saw also the Ark 
of the Covenant covered by the wings of the 
Kerubim ; the Lamb seated by a book sealed with 
seven seals ; the Brazen Sea, the Seven-branched 
Candlestick, the Altar of Burnt-Offerings and the 
Table of Shewbread. He was told to remove 
his shoes, as one on the threshold of the Holy 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

of Holies. The tomb of the Master Builder 
was shewn in the middle place of the Temple ; 
he entered that tomb, which probably means 
that he was placed at the proper symbolical point 
of an embroidered carpet ; he was told that it 
was his destiny to take the place of the Master. 
But it will be observed that the emblems of the 
Trinity on the Altar and the presence of the 
Mystic Lamb are equivalent to the intimation 
conveyed in the Grades of St. Andrew and there- 
fore that this Master was Christ. The instruction 
is that his advancement as a Companion Ecossais 
meant that he had taken upon himself the burden, 
with the graces and the privileges, belonging to 
the Christ-life. 

(3) Master Ecossais. So far as I can under- 
stand the available rubrics, the arrangement of 
the Temple was the same as for the previous 
Grade, but four acacias surrounded the tomb of the 
Master. It was still the Temple of Solomon, 
but under a great transfiguration, because it is 
evident from the symbolism that the intimations 
of the Word which is in Christ have filled the 
Holy Place. The Candidate was again directed 
to perform his Lavabo ; he made also his con- 
fession, many questions were put to him, and 
he was admitted among those who are at work 
on the completion of the Holy of Holies ; that 
is to say, he was at work for the manifestation 
of the Christ-life in the world at large. He 
was caused to recite the written Obligation of 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the Grade, and it was then burnt in his presence, 
as if his pledge were returned to him ; but this 
impressive formality belongs to a greater Mystery. 
He was appointed Intendant of the Buildings and 
thus became responsible for the care and progress 
of the spiritual edifice. The episode shews that 
the new Temple is only that of Solomon in a 
very exalted sense in the sense, I mean, that 
there is one God worshipped by a form which 
at heart is one in every quarter of the universe. 
At this stage the Candidate received the name 
of Moabon, which is familiar in other Degrees, 
and he was proclaimed the legitimate successor 
of the Master Builder. It is as if he were told 
that in the suggestive world of symbolism the 
Lord Christ had been declared within him. 
A Masonic Ordination followed, testifying to 
the priestly character of true and transcendent 
Masonry. He was anointed with oil on the 
forehead, the right eye and the heart, for it is 
clear that such an imputed builder of such a 
Temple must hold his warrant from a sacerdotal 
source and work in a sacerdotal sense. And in this 
manner was he sent forth, as one who shall preach 
the Gospel to every nation ; but he was fortified 
first of all by another Eucharistic Rite, and this 
surely was according to the Order of Melchizedek. 
I may add, in conclusion of this part, that 
according to the Catechism of the Grade there 
are three Covenants : (a) That of Mount Sinai ; 
(b) That of the Death and Passion of Jesus 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

Christ ; (c) That of the Divine Alliance. These 
three are one, even as three angles form one 
triangle. But I think that the Divine Alliance 
is the Mystery of a Hidden Church, which 
Church is within. 

In the light of such an interpretation as I 
have here offered, I do not know that the erudite 
and spiritual mind of Andrew Michael Ramsay, 
overshadowed by the soul of Fenelon, would 
have lost anything of its lustre had he been 
the author of these Grades. They might have 
been worthy also to pass under the chivalrous 
patronage of Godfrey de Bouillon, were the 
ascription not otherwise impossible, and I mention 
this because the alternative designation of the 
fictitious RITE OF RAMSAY, in the dream of its 
inventors, was Rif de Bouillon. And yet the first 
Christian King of Jerusalem is not so much as 
mentioned in the oration of Ramsay. 

With the Templar Grade which is also 
fathered gratuitously upon the same authorship 
I shall deal in its place ; it belongs to the sequence 
which I have established as comprising within 
a measurable compass the entire Masonic subject 
from Alpha to Omega, so far as this has passed 
into expression. In its present form, the Grade to 
which I allude may be called the capstone of 
universal Freemasonry, but it has suffered a great 
transformation so that it might be brought into 
this exalted position. 

After one further point we shall finish with 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the Ramsay complication ; I have intimated that 
many writers have been content to follow a vague 
report regarding his Masonic discourse rather 
than recur to the text, which is to be met with 
in several places ; but it is now necessary to 
add that most of those who have seen it have 
unaccountably enough failed to notice one im- 
portant statement therein. Perhaps the explanation 
is that it appears somewhat casually, and nothing 
is inferred therefrom in the Oration itself. It is 
said that the Masonic Grades begin under the 
Law of Israel and end in the Law of Christ. 
A very curious dilemma is the consequence, and 
I shall proceed to set it forth clearly, so that 
those who are of authority in Masonry may 
take their choice among two clear alternatives. 
It follows frcm the statement either (a) that if 
Ramsay referred to the three Craft Grades and 
these only, then the 3rd Degree at his period 
was not in the same state as that with which 
we are acquainted, and of this it will be remem- 
bered that I have reported other rumours, 
indicating the possibility of Christian elements 
therein ; or (b) that there were attached to the 
Craft some supplements and extensions which 
would correspond to our present use of the expres- 
sion High Grades, which Grades were Christian. 
In respect of the first alternative, the inference can 
only be that the Craft Grades have been edited 
to expunge certain elements, and there is no 
difficulty in my own mind as to the time when 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

this alteration took place or the influence which 
was at work in the matter. I do not propose 
to say anything more specific, as this is not a 
polemical treatise, but I register the fact that 
if the time should come there is that to indicate 
which will cast an unexpected light upon some 
buried episodes in the Masonic past of England. 
This is without prejudice to my previous state- 
ments that (a) the Craft Grades belong to the 
Ancient Alliance, and (b) are not to be separated 
from it, so far as their symbolism is concerned. 

In respect of the second alternative, those who 
believe that there were High Grades worked in 
connection with the Craft prior to 1737 may 
be asked to produce their evidence. I have 
made it plain already that, from my point of 
view, the root-matter of Grades outside the Craft 
is inherent in the Craft itself, but I question 
very much whether they had been explicated 
at that date, with the possible exception of one 
Grade entitled Heredom of Kilwinning, to which 
much importance attaches ; but of this I shall 
speak later. Readers of Masonic literature, 
more especially of the French variety, will find 
that many High Grades are referred so far back 
as to the year 1735, but there is no particle 
of evidence to support the ascription. It remains 
that Ramsay's Oration, which exercised in the 
eighteenth century so profound an influence upon 
higher Masonic developments, may not even 
now have come to the term of its office. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

As something which arises from the subject 
here under notice, a word may be added to 
correct a persisting impression regarding the 
dedication of Robert Samber to the tract entitled 
Long Livers. It appeared in the year 1722 under 
the pseudonym of Eugenius Philalethes^ and has 
been taken to constitute evidence that prior to 
the date in question there were Higher Degrees 
in Freemasonry. The dedication distinguishes 
between those in the ranks of the Brotherhood 
"who are not far illuminated/* who stand in 
the outward place, and those who have " greater 
light" are of "the higher class," are "illumin- 
ated with the sublifnest mysteries and profoundest 
secrets of Masonry." It is intelligible that these 
statements should mislead Masonic research, which 
does not include either a knowledge of Hermetic 
technical terminology or a literate acquaintance 
with the peculiar general style adopted by 
alchemical writers. The distinction established 
is between the porchway or entrance of spiritual 
or occult illumination, and the secret light of the 
adytum. It could be paralleled a hundred times 
over in the books of the adepts when they are 
speaking of comparative stages of advancement 
in the Christian Mysteries, in those of Alchemy 
itself, or any other of the mystic pathways. The 
degrees to which it refers are, once more, those 
of inward light, and not of advancement in any 
Grades of Instituted Mysteries. 

It would be far more convenient to my purpose 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

if I could accept the current opinion which 
obtains among a certain class of thoughtful Masonic 
students on the text here in question, but my 
conclusion is that Robert Samber was referring 
and this only in a characteristic Hermetic 
phraseology to the superior knowledge of a small 
private circle of alchemists, and possibly of 
Rosicrucians, who also happened to be members 
of the Masonic fraternity. It is obvious that his 
subject and the mode of its expression would be 
unintelligible to the Brotherhood at large, and 
supposing that any High Degrees existed at the 
period in England, I am entirely assured that 
they were not Hermetic in the particular sense 
which is attached to that term by those who 
use it with knowledge. The author was speaking 
to alchemists as one who was himself an alchemist, 
and as a Rosicrucian, real or assumed, to Brothers 
of the Rosy and Golden Cross, actual or imputed. 




AFTER every allowance has been made for the 
conclusions and the inferences drawn from the 
considerations of previous sections, much remains 
dubious regarding the RITE OF THE STRICT OBSERV- 
ANCE in respect of its origin. The question of 
date is not in a satisfactory condition, or at least 
to my own mind. If I say that it was promulgated 
definitely in the year 1754, I do little more than 
specify that period which French and other record 
makers of Masonic history have chosen on the 
Continent, and which all our Masonic Cyclopaedias 
and kindred echoes and reflections have been con- 
tent to copy when it has not happened sporadic- 
ally that a more arbitrary alternative has been 
drawn from some region beyond mortal thought. 
On my part, I must be content with what I have 
in respect of the year in question, because there is 
a slender likelihood that the available sources of 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

information may be correct herein, their superi- 
ority to all references notwithstanding. It was 
certainly in embryo for a considerable period 
previously, as shewn by the careful summary 
of existing evidences in the larger work of 
Mr. R. F. Gould. The last word and perhaps 
the most important of all remains to be said 
on the subject. With an open mind, therefore, 
as to whatsoever may be discovered hereafter, 
I will proceed to my next point, which is 
another exalted uncertainty. Subject to the 
settlement of dates, the RITE OF THE STRICT 
OBSERVANCE was the first Masonic system which 
claimed to derive its authority from Unknown 
Superiors, irresponsible themselves but claiming 
absolute jurisdiction and obedience without ques- 
tion. The alleged alternative competitor is the 
Superior was however in the spiritual world, from 
which he passed into occasional manifestation and 
dictated secret knowledge. He was termed the 
Unknown Philosopher, but as we shall see in 
its place the information that reaches us on this 
subject comes from a source which neither is nor 
should be credited too readily, apart from written 
warrants, while it is not a source which is in the 
habit of supplying such warrants. For what the 
question of dates is worth, the RITE OF THE ELECT 
COHENS does not, however, go back to the year 
1754. It is just to add that it was at no time really 
in the market as a competitor with the larger and 
VOL. i. T 289 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

greater Rites, though it included the Degree of 
Rose - Groix^ while the Unknown Superiors of 
the Observance were undoubtedly a governing 
body, though they may have stood only for 
Baron Hund and his coadjutors in the work of 

It is not my intention to review the in- 
scrutable problems which are involved in the 
foundation of the Rite. The trend of modern 
opinion, after a fairly careful review of the 
available facts, is to conclude that it was not, at 
its root, the invention of Karl Gotthelf von Hund. 
According to his own story, when he attended 
a convention at Altenberg, he was received into 
the Order of the Temple at Paris, in the presence 
of Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, 
and was referred for further instructions to C. G. 
Marschall von Bieberstein, an alleged Grand Master 
of the German Templar Province. This is stated 
to have occurred in the year 1743, when he also 
made the acquaintance of Marschall, but only to 
learn that the latter had destroyed his records 
with the exception of the list of Grand Masters, 
shewing the perpetuation of the Order, and the 
Roll of his Province. On the occasion of his 
reception, Hund was told to regard himself as 
successor - designate of Marschall, and he did 
nothing till the death of that personage in or 
about the year 1750. He then assumed the 
position of Provincial Grand Master, and, finding 
no one at hand to whom he could refer for 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

guidance, he decided to proceed with the Order 
on his own authority. In this manner the 
honour of von Hund is saved, and the story of 
the perpetuation of the Knights Templar, of 
the Unknown Superiors and of the partition 
of Europe into nine great Provinces of the 
Order, is referred back to a realm of mystery. 

One is anxious if possible to concur in this 
salvage not only on the ground that an impartial 
study of the evidence has convinced several that 
Baron von Hund is not to be classed with im- 
postors, but because (a) if he was the author of the 
Rituals comprised in the Rite, and in particular 
the Grade of Scottish Master, they are the strong- 
est testimony as to the spirit by which he was 
actuated ; while (b) if he drew from others, then 
the Rite, with its claims, was derived to him, and 
the responsibility was rather with them. 

In connection with these considerations, and 
perhaps in opposition thereto, there remains 
the indubitable fact that the story of Hund's 
reception as a Knight Templar rests on his sole 
authority, and the question which arises is 
whether there is any tolerable reason for sup- 
posing that some form of the revived Order 
was working at that period. We may set aside 
out of hand the suggestion not that it has been 
made seriously of a special foundation on the 
part of Jacobite intrigue for the benefit of its 
own ends. It seems impossible to suppose that 
a device of this kind would have been held 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

tolerable for the purpose, and to the complete 
absence of likelihood must be added the more 
positive fact of an absence also complete of 
external evidence on the subject. I conclude, 
Prince Charles Edward and his alleged co-adjutor 
in Masonry, the Earl of Kilmarnock, did not 
found an Order of the Temple. Let us now 
glance at the other historical possibilities. 

(1) In the year 1682 there was established a 
small private society within the court of King 
Louis xiv., for the pursuit under necessary pre- 
cautions of certain scandalous vices. Whether 
it had an official name is uncertain, but it was 
called, perhaps in derision, Une petite 'Resurrection 
des Templiers. It was promptly crushed by the 
King, leaving no record behind it, and persons of 
the tastes to which it ministered pursued their 
courses individually. This episode therefore does 
not come into consideration, though enemies of 
the Templar claim in Masonry have sought to 
press it into their service. 

(2) In 1705, during the minority of Louis xv., 
Philip of Orleans is credited with a design to 
restore the Order of the Temple, and he took 
into his council the Italian Jesuit and antiquary, 
Father Bonanni, who drew up the Statutes and 
fabricated the famous Charter of Larmenius, being 
the Roll of Grand Masters from the time of 
Jacques de Molay to that date. Thereafter as 
it is also said there was an attempt to obtain 
recognition from the Order of Christ in Portugal, 


Earl oF Kilru ar i . v2 42 


Vol. I. , to face p. 292. 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

which was as it still is the actual successor of the 
old Knights Templar in that country. The experi- 
ment proved a failure ; an emissary of the royal 
prince is said to have been cast into prison and was 
ultimately deported to Africa, where he died. 
But the Order continued in France, and for some 
obscure reason is thought to have concealed itself 
and certain supposed political projects under the 
veil of a Society of the Sirloin. In 1792 the Grand 
Master was the Due de Cosse-Brissac, who was 
succeeded in 1804 by Doctor Fabre-Palaprat. 
It is from this period only that the revived Order 
of the Temple begins to have a certain history. 
I do not believe in the story of Philip of Orleans ; 
I do not believe that the Charter of Transmission 
is a genuine document ; but, to exercise even and 
impartial justice, I believe as little in the hand 
of the Jesuit therein. The Charter probably 
belongs to the end of the eighteenth century 
rather than its beginning. Let us suppose, how- 
ever, that I am mistaken in this drastic view, 
and that in 1743 there is a bare possibility that 
the foundation of 1705 could have numbered the 
Young Pretender and some members of his suite 
in its ranks. 

(3) In this case the claim of the STRICT OBSER- 
VANCE could not have been put forward, at least 
in that form with which we are acquainted, and 
which, as a matter of fact, is the current, popular 
tradition at the present day in the ranks of High 
Grade Masonry. For the rest, this claim does not 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

depend from a solitary document which no one has 
seen in England, the present whereabouts of which 
is utterly unknown, which has been pronounced 
upon by a number of critics, the great majority 
of whom have never set eyes upon it, which has 
been condemned more especially on a priori grounds, 
which condemnation is in fine justified, but not 
by the reasons given. The STRICT OBSERVANCE 
depended for its warrants on the sacred ground of 
romance, which is sometimes that of tradition, and in 
particular on the four legendary foundations made 
by Jacques de Molay on the eve of his martyrdom. 
Against this the Charter of Larmenius can stand 
no comparison ; it has the misfortune of being 
less or more in evidence of the indirect kind, and 
the revival under the pretended obedience of Philip 
of Orleans falls therewith. The point, however, 
which concerns us is not the exercise of a some- 
what fantastic preference between distinct, com- 
petitive and exclusive claims ; it is rather the simple 
issue which follows from the simple fact that 
they do exclude one another. The revival which 
is based on the Charter did not fail to realise the 
point, and it seems, in its own late day, to have 
condemned the alternative claims as spurious, 
though it is rather by a tacit implication, of which 
I shall speak later. After such manner, and per- 
haps of necessity, did these Templars love one 
another ; the STRICT OBSERVANCE at the time was 
then in articulo mortis^ and it is not on record that 
it replied ; a rejoinder under any circumstances 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

would have been regrettable on the part of a 
Rite which had nothing to gain by recognition 
on the part of its rival, and nothing to 
lose by a condemnation arising from such a 
source. I must not, however, be interpreted as 
saying that the Order which became known in 
France under the Grand Mastership of Dr. Fabre- 
Palaprat was in all respects contemptible. I must 
speak of it in a more especial manner at a some- 
what later stage ; my fantasy at this moment 
concerns only the matter of the supreme folly 
which led it to depend from a document, and 
such a document as the Latin Charter, rather 
than from a glorious faith in myth. So far as 
I am aware, it has never been established in this 
country. The obedience which is represented 
among us at this day by the mono-grade of the 
Military and Religious Order of the Temple^ which 
is a sacred, beautiful and moving ceremonial, 
containing high elements of symbolism, has no 
connection whatever with the Larmenius claim. 
The Templar Grade of the STRICT OBSERVANCE is 
not indeed among us here in England, save in 
respect of custody, but it is represented abroad 
by that which I have described as the capstone of 
Universal Freemasonry, namely, the dual Grade 
of Novice and Knight Eenejicent of the Holy City 
of Jerusalem. In my catholic sequence of Grades 
this term of all is preceded by the Military and 
Religious Order ; for in a certain sense the two 
are related to each other, and even belong 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

to one another, representing distinct periods 
of legendary time and a true succession in motive. 
(4) It seems to follow very clearly from what 
has been said here that the RITE OF THE STRICT 
OBSERVANCE drew nothing from a Templar revival 
already existing in or before the year 1743 ; I do 
not like to suggest, I do not in my sincerity 
believe, that the. story which was told by von Hund 
to the High Grade Masons at Altenberg was an 
unqualified invention on his part ; it is, however, 
a vague story ; there is very good reason to 
suppose that he was mistaken regarding the 
identity of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, and he 
was not clear on the subject. He did not know, 
or failed to remember, the name of the Lodge 
or Chapter in which he was received ; he was 
silent respecting its locality ; there is nothing to 
certify that his reception was according to the 
method of ritual, though it is a reasonable 
inference. The Grades of Chivalry were probably 
in course of manufacture, and among them there 
may have been already a design in respect of some 
Templar foundation. Documents, rolls and so 
forth may have been produced in consequence. 
Some form of knighthood may have been in 
provisional and embryotic working order, and the 
little that was told the Postulant may have re- 
presented all that was then evolved. That form 
of Masonic Templar Knighthood which is now 
known as the Military and 'Religious Order, and 
the antiquity of which is considerable, did not, 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

so far as we can tell, at any time exist in France, 
and even had it been at work in Paris in 1742, 
the fact would not materially assist us in esti- 
mating the claim of von Hund, because it has 
never pretended to possess titles shewing the per- 
petuation of the Templars by means of a list of 
Grand Masters, and it was never divided into 
provinces. He may thus have been deceived 
altogether ; on the other hand, I may be in error 
on my own part, and he may have justified to 
himself after some manner a certain conscious 
inaccuracy on an alleged point of fact. I do not 
know, and I must not rule too clearly on a 
case which is largely of sentiment ; but nothing 
must reduce the clear issue that the Templar 
revival under the azgis of the Charter of Trans- 
mission gave nothing to the STRICT OBSERVANCE 
most likely for the best of all reasons, that it 
was not as yet in existence ; all else can be left 
for the time being at least in the hands of 
personal predilection. The connection of the 
Young Pretender with Masonry is like that of 
Emmanuel Swedenborg ; it arose in the one 
case from the adventitious presence of a 
Jacobite interest in certain Continental Lodges, 
and an attempt made in these to interpret the 
legend of the Master Builder in the sense of the 
ordeal and martyrdom of King Charles i. In the 
other it arose from the attempt, also adventitious, 
to turn the doctrines of the New Jerusalem into 
pseudo-Masonic Grades. Swedenborg almost 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

certainly was never made a Mason, and the story 
of the Young Pretender's initiation is in much 
the same position. It is indeed stronger, as he 
is said to have denied it, and this at a period 
when he could have had little or no motive 
beyond a respect for the truth. 

(5) A word should be added in this place con- 
cerning the chief literary memorial of the STRICT 
OBSERVANCE legend I mean Werner's dramatic 
poem entitled the Sons of the Valley. Jacques de 
Molay is represented herein as founding the four 
Masonic lodges which were to perpetuate in con- 
cealment the suppressed Order of the Temple, and 
the name of Aumont, a prior of the Temple who 
carried the Rite to Scotland, is also mentioned. 
On the surface, therefore, Werner drew nothing 
from the revival connected with the name of Fabre- 
Palaprat, which may have been (a) because it was 
utterly unknown outside Paris,[but more probably, 
as already intimated, (b) because it was non- 
existent when the poem was first written. But, 
this notwithstanding, there is one passage in the 
poem which is almost verbally identical with a 
speech of the Eminent Preceptor in our modern 
Ritual of the Military and 'Religious Order. I make 
no pretence of explaining this fact, but it seems 
fair to state it for what it is worth. 

(6) There is unquestionable evidence of 
some Order of the Temple in Great Britain 
during the year 1779 or 1780, when there is a 
record of a reception therein. This took place in 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

Scotland, and has been frequently cited, but the 
particulars do not enable us to form any opinion 
as to the nature of the Ritual, or from what 
source it was derived. There is, however, no 
real doubt that it was some form of the Military 
and 'Religious Order ^ which was therefore established 
in Scotland prior to that period and concurrently 
also in Ireland. A Templar Grade was also 
conferred at Plymouth in 1778. 

(7) There is now one matter that remains, 
and I shall treat it shortly here, as it calls for 
later reference. When Ramsay first propounded 
his thesis concerning the revival of Masonry in 
Palestine at the period of the Crusades, he too 
had a thesis of transmission ; it was not from or 
through the Order of the Temple, but he located 
the revival in the East because he believed that 
in those parts there had been perpetuated some 
form of the ancient Mysteries from the days of 
Noah and the Flood. This was a favourite 
dream of archaeology at the middle period of the 
eighteenth century. We have every means at 
the present day to set upon such a dream its 
proper value, but the point is that it obtained 
then, and hence the Oration of Ramsay was an 
attempt to marry the Rites of symbolical 
Masonry to Rites held to have existed at remote 
periods of antiquity. When the revivals of 
Templary were initiated later on, people like 
Hund were actuated by a similar predisposition, 
and, whatever its foundation in fact, this attempt 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

to connect the old chivalry with some form of 
the Secret Tradition is that which has justified 
me in dealing at some length with the question. 
It is this which at the present day constitutes the 
talismanic attraction of Knight Templary for 
occult circles in France, and even in England. 
The basis must be sought in the history of the 
forged heretical gospel called the Levitikon. This 
document came into the hands of Dr. Fabre* Pala- 
prat, and was utilised by him to transform his 
orthodox and catholic foundation into a species 
of Johannite Christianity. The result was that 
the foundation split ; that which had orthodoxy 
on its side, and in the logic of the case should 
have counted as the original foundation, is not 
heard of thereafter, and probably fell to pieces at 
once. What has become of the heretical branch, 
and whether it exists at the present day in France 
I do not know, and little interest attaches to the 
question ; but the occultism of that country has 
taken over the Johannite folly and has developed 
a complete thesis concerning that which lay 
behind, not indeed the revival of the Order but 
its original establishment in the twelfth century. 
The view is thus developed by its chief exponent, 
Eliphas Levi, in his History of Magic ; but I should 
explain that I am reducing the account within 
reasonable measures, and am thus presenting its 
essence rather than a literal version. 

The Knights Templar were a body of con- 
spirators, and in revealing as the author pretends 



Vol. /., to face p. 300. 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

to do the secret of their fall, the Pope and King, 
who condemned them, come forth absolved. 
The professed object of their foundation was 
to protect Christians during their visitation of 
the Holy Places in Palestine ; the concealed 
object was the rebuilding of Solomon's Temple 
on the plan of Ezekiel. The Judaising mystics 
of the early Christian centuries had foretold 
this reconstruction, and it had long been the 
secret dream of the Eastern patriarchs. The 
Temple of Solomon, so rebuilt, and consecrated 
to the Catholic worship, would become the met- 
ropolis of the universe ; the East would bear 
away the palm from the West, and the patriarchs 
of Constantinople would arise as masters of the 
papacy. The title of Templars is not explicable 
by the alleged fact that a house was allotted to 
the chivalry near the Temple of Solomon, for 
this edifice had been destroyed as well as that of 
Zerubbabel, and it would have proved difficult 
to identify its site. As a fact, the house was in 
the neighbourhood of that spot where the armed 
emissaries of the Eastern patriarch intended to 
rebuild the Temple. The Knights took as their 
model the military masons of Zerubbabel, who 
worked with the sword in one hand and the 
trowel in the other. Their own inward design 
was not exactly one of ministration to the 
ambition of the patriarchs of Constantinople. 
There existed at that period an Oriental sect 
of Johannite Christians, who claimed to be alone 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

initiated in the deep mysteries of the Saviour, 
alone acquainted with the true history of Jesus 
Christ. The Gospel accounts were allegoric, 
and their own construction was the result of 
a gleaning from Talmudic and other Jewish 
traditions. It will be sufficient to state concern- 
ing it (a) that Jesus was initiated by the priests of 
Osiris and (H) was recognised by them as the long- 
promised incarnation of Horus. The tradition 
as a whole was fathered upon St. John the Evan- 
gelist, who was the founder of the secret church. 
Its grand pontiffs assumed the title of Christ ; 
he who was in possession of the office at the 
establishment of the Templars was known to 
Hugues de Payens, the first Grand Master ; the 
latter was initiated into the mysteries of the 
pretended Church and was designed to succeed 
the pontiff. The chivalry was thus infected from 
its very beginning ; its designs, however, were 
enveloped in profound mystery, and according 
to external profession it was unimpeachably 
orthodox ; on the surface that is to say 
it was Catholic and also Roman ; but it was in 
secret Johannite. Such an ambition carried all 
the seeds of destruction ; the projects were 
divined ; the Pope and King gave the signal to 
Europe ; the conspiracy and those who repre- 
sented it were overwhelmed by one master-stroke. 
It was impolitic, notwithstanding, to delineate 
the nature of the plan which had thus been 
extinguished, and the legal processes substituted 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

infamous and fantastic charges. But in breaking 
the sword of the Knights Templar it was changed 
by the suppression into a poniard ; occult Masonry 
was established on the ruins, and the proscribed 
trowels of the Knightly builders were dedicated 
henceforward only to the erection of tombs. 

Such is one side of the history of High Grade 
Masonry when it falls into the hands of a pro- 
fessed occultist, and one who, moreover, was a 
personal friend of Jean Marie Ragon. Out of 
this precious stew which belongs to the year 
1860 there has been drawn, by a distillation of 
the dregs, the particular broth of Papus and 
the pseudo-Martinists, who have fastened on 
Masonic Knight Templary as the kitchen in 
chief of the brewing French Revolution. It will, 
I suppose, be unnecessary to say that the account 
of Eliphas Levi is neither history nor decent 
fiction ; it is not the mere Johannite fiddlesticks 
of Fabre-Palaprat ; it is not the washings of the 
Levitikon which was a post-Revolution dis- 
covery ; it is not even the bourgeois construction 
of Ragon, who would have seen Jesuitry in the 
pan ; it is the idle and dishonest invention of 
one who made his history according to the mood 
of the moment, and was more insincere if possible 
when it occurred to him to sustain the orthodoxy 
of Latin Catholicism than when it served his 
turn to jeer at it. J'ai voue ma vie a la veritt, he 
said in La Science des Esprit s ; this is the kind 
of truth, and this is how it is unveiled. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

What I have termed the historical possibilities 
have involved various matters which, in a strict 
sense, scarcely enter into the title, but they have 
arisen in a natural manner from that which is 
included therein. A word must now be added 
on the Rituals in use by the ORDER OF THE STRICT 
OBSERVANCE, so far as the High Grades are con- 
cerned. There are no available manuscripts, but 
there is a single summary account containing 
(a) the Reception of a Scottish Master, together 
with a short instruction by way of question and 
answer ; (b) the Reception of a Secular or Lay 
Novice ; and (c) that of a Knight, with the 
modification used in the case of a serving brother. 
These, at least, are the chief sections, and with the 
others I shall not be concerned. I have compared 
their points carefully with the Rituals of the 
Grades of St. Andrew^ to my account of which I 
refer, and with those of Novice and Knight Bene- 
ficent of the Holy City of yerusalem, of which I 
shall treat hereafter. Of these I suppose that I 
am the sole person in this country who possesses, 
or has perhaps even inspected, a perfect and 
authorised copy. The result of the comparison 
is to establish a certain general likeness ; it is 
obvious, however, that certain modifications which 
the Rite underwent at Lyons were not only 
designed to efface the particular claims of the 
STRICT OBSERVANCE, but to enhance the spiritual 
message communicated in the several Degrees. 
In the originals the stress is laid everywhere 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

upon obedience to the Order itself, fidelity to its 
Superiors, the renunciation of personal liberty in 
respect of the Order, unconditional silence and so 
forth. I do not regard the printed abstracts as 
in any sense doing justice to the Rituals, but 
since I have no authority for saying that they are 
not a reflection of their spirit, I conclude that the 
Knightly Grades were those of an earthly chivalry, 
and that they were turned by the higher initiates 
who transmuted them into a chivalry of God. 
It is, of course, possible that the abstracts were 
pirated versions depending from rough notes, and 
reflecting therefore only at a very far distance. 
The notes on the Grade of Scottish Master seem to 
support this view, but it is difficult to speak with 
assurance. The great vogue of the Rite during 
a period of thirty years is inexplicable on the 
texts as they stand, and I conclude, therefore, that 
they must have been nearer to the form of their 
revision than we are now able to determine. In 
their best possible proximity they must have been 
remote enough, at least from my point of view, 
for the later versions need no adventitious aids 
from dubious charters, rolls and lists of pro- 
vinces to support them. It is because of their 
distinction that, somewhat in the spirit of fantasy, 
I offered my felicitations to a Rite which pre- 
ferred Unknown Superiors, the legend of the four 
Lodges, and other matter of romance, to the 
forged Larmenius document. 

As regards the OBSERVANCE list of Grand 

VOL. i. u 305 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Masters, so far as I am aware, it has been never 
made public, and we have therefore no opportunity 
to compare it with the alternative succession in 
the Charter. The Master immediately succeed- 
ing Jacques de Molay was, however, the Prior of 
Aumont, as appears by all the Rituals. 

As I have mentioned the provinces of the 
Order though they do not especially concern 
us it may be well to say that those which came 
into temporary existence were supposed to cover 
Northern Germany numbered VII. in the 
schedule ; South Germany, No. VIII. ; Burgundy, 
No. V. ; Auvergne, No. II. ; Occitania, having 
its centre at Bordeaux, No. III. I am without 
means of knowing, but I suggest as a speculation 
that the first province would have been, by the 
hypothesis, Great Britain as the imagined location 
of the Rites Unknown Superiors and of the veiled 
Grand Master of all. The scheme was in imita- 
tion of the old Knights Templar, whose posses- 
sions and connected preceptories were divided 
into Eastern provinces, being I. Jerusalem ; II. 
Tripoly ; III. Antioch ; IV. Cyprus : and western 
provinces being I. Portugal ; II. Castile and 
Leon ; III. Aragon ; IV. France and Auvergne ; 
V. Normandy ; VI. Aquitaine, or Poitou ; VII. 
Provence ; VIII. England ; IX. Germany ; X. 
Upper and Central Italy ; XL Apulia and Sicily. 




I HAVE intimated that the active spirit in the 
formation of most of the super-Masonic Rituals 
is that which is qualified by the term romantic, 
but it is not exactly of the kind which moves 
over the high waters of imaginative literature. It 
has its analogies in an especial school which took 
possession of certain byways at the very end of 
the eighteenth century in England. That was 
the school of Mrs. Radcliffe. The exploration of 
the various systems of Rites is like a journey 
through that wonderful forest in which la Motte 
sought refuge from his creditors, and the senti- 
mental, virtuous, almost impossible, Adeline found 
the snares of the insidious encompassing her. The 
Sicilian Romance, the Romance of the Forest and the 
Mysteries of Udolpho are in an unexpected way 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

just a little like the Graft Degrees, though I am 
on the verge of an unpardonable sin in thus daring 
to express it. I mean that, in their own order, 
they are those texts which constituted the impre- 
scriptible canon of the subject-matter and estab- 
lished the irrevocable form. From M. G. Lewis 
and his Monk, Maturin and his Fatal Revenge, to 
the Zastrozzi of Shelley even to the Frankenstein 
of Mary Godwin and the unintelligible deeps of 
the Mysteries of St. Clair, it was impossible for 
the cohort of imitators to escape from the keynote 
supplied in the archetypal monuments, or from the 
sentiments, the moralities and the melancholies 
pleasing and not pleasing. So also the keynote, 
the forms, the mode, the peculiar set of moral 
qualities which characterise the Craft Degrees, 
established a central custom and habit, from which 
no one dreamed of escape. Mrs. Radcliffe was a 
genius in her way, and almost as much may be said 
for one or two of her disciples, but the crowd who 
followed in her wake had penetrated most abysses 
of folly and incompetence. The Craft Grades and 
certain wonderful supplements, their literary set- 
ting notwithstanding, are full of the shaping spirit, 
while some of their reflections are glorious and 
holy like Zion ; but there is a waste outside the 
Holy City which they constitute, and it is a waste 
of all vanity and all unreason. 

My fantastic analogy obtains after another 
manner, because there was nothing so sui generis 
when it arose as the particular kind of wizardry 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

which was created by the wand of Mrs. Radcliffe. 
One must not say that it was without antecedents, 
but they must be sought in the scattered fragments 
of a spirit which had been instilled into many 
literatures, yet had scarcely been declared in any. 
In like manner, the ritual mysteries of Craft 
Masonry are sui generis in their own way. It 
may be said that they are dramatic in their form, 
and this is obviously true, but it is only a fragment 
of the truth, and to infer that their antecedents go 
back beyond the days of ^Eschylus and Sophocles 
would be to create a comparison in which the 
essence of analogy is wanting. Both of the 
literatures which I have been contrasting pre- 
viously belong to the order of creation, and in so 
far as they were new creations they were apart 
from antecedents ; to this extent they are of the 
nature of a mystery ; we do not know how they 
arose in the mind of those who produced their 
archetypes. The romances of Mrs. Radcliffe issue 
in fatal explanation, and this is the pity of her 
work ; but the Craft Grades and their canonical 
successors in the sequence which I have established 
issue in a deeper mystery, and this is one side 
of their greatness. The High Grades also, 
whether good or bad in themselves, are like the 
first editions of anonymous books which have 
appeared without an imprint,, or with an imprint 
that is manifestly of false pretence. There is, so 
to speak, no date on their titles, and although, by 
a process of exhaustion, we can place them within 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

a certain narrow period of years, the ascription is 
the more speculative and subject to correction 
as it attempts to be the more express. We have 
met with this difficulty already regarding the RITE 
OF THE STRICT OBSERVANCE. The year 1754 is, 
under certain reserves, a working hypothesis re- 
garding the time of its appearance ; but we have 
to account as we can for the decade or so which 
elapsed between the date on which Baron von 
Hund certifies that he received the Order of the 
Temple from the Earl of Kilmarnock and the 
date when he appears as Provincial Grand Master 
of his Rite ruling over the langue of Germany. 
The CHAPTER OF CLERMONT also passes as an 
institution of the year 1754, but if it were possible 
to put this date back by about the decade which I 
have specified, we should be then in a position to 
account, on the surface, more simply for the story 
of Hund, and might regard ourselves as having 
saved the situation in respect of general proba- 
bilities as well as in respect of his honour. But 
the mysteries of dates and origins usually involve 
a certain playing with fire which is likely to leap 
up and scorch an interesting hypothesis at some 
unexpected point ; in the present instance we shall 
find that what looks at first sight like a line of 
least resistance may raise insuperable difficulties 
of its own. I propose to consider the possibility, 
but in the first place that which would follow 
therefrom. There is no question that the CHAPTER 
OF CLERMONT worked certain Rituals, and if as 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

occasionally suggested it were this body which 
received Baron von Hund into the Order of the 
Temple, it is clear that it must have had the Templar 
Ritual. No one has seen it, any more than they 
have seen the chivalrous Grade of the imaginary 
Ramsay Rite. The Chapter had, moreover, not only 
a name, but a clearly defined local habitation, and 
there could be no difficulty about the recipient 
retaining the means of communication therewith. 
In like manner, if he were, as the story shews, its 
accredited representative in Germany, there can 
be no question that he would possess its Rituals 
or could at least obtain them at need. This not- 
withstanding, it follows from his account that he 
lost all touch with his initiators, that after strenuous 
attempts he failed to link up the chain, and in the 
end set to work in despair to establish his Rite in 
Germany apart from all assistance. If this is true, 
we can understand how his theory of Unknown 
Superiors governing the Rite came into existence 
after a very informal manner, and we can concur 
with his defenders who believe that he was more 
anxious to find them than the most curious and 
sceptical among those who were under his 
obedience. The story is credible enough along 
its own general lines that is to say, on the 
supposition that he was mysteriously initiated, 
by whom he scarcely knew, and was then com- 
missioned into his own country for the work of 
the Order therein. It fails along its particular 
lines, because he says that he was accredited in 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Germany to a certain von Marschall, who was 
German Provincial Grand Master, but proved to 
be without archives, without direction, and un- 
willing or unable to disclose anything. However 
we may determine the issue in respect of Hund's 
personal veracity, with which I have already 
dealt, it seems certain that whatever he received 
was not from the CHAPTER OF CLERMONT. 

Let us now go a step further and ascertain 
more particularly, if we can, the Degrees which 
were conferred by the Chapter in 1754, when 
there is reason to believe that it was undoubtedly 
in active work. 

It is a part of that ubiquitous mystery to 
which I have adverted that we are likely to come 
out of this consideration in the dubious state which 
obtains in other respects. The Chapter is said to 
have been founded by the Chevalier de Bonneville, 
in regard to whose identity there is only one fact 
certain, namely, that he is not to be identified 
with that Nicholas de Bonneville who wrote La 
Maqonnerie Ecossaise and a few other works of 
interest. The latter was not born until jrd March 
1760, when the CHAPTER OF CLERMONT, at least 
under this name, had ceased to exist. Thory 
gives the original Grade content as (a) Knight of 
the Eagle ; (b) Chevalier I I lustre, or Templar ; (c) 
Sublime Illustrious Chevalier. This was in 1815, 
and this we have seen already. In 1825 an 
American author, who had made the High 
Grades an especial study, certified that they 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

were : (a) Novice ; (b) Ecossais ; (c) Knight of the 
Temple. Another variation substitutes as follows : 
(a) Scottish Master Elect ; (b) Knight of the Eagle ; 
(c) Illustrious Templar ; to which there was added 
a little later on (d) Sublime Knight. There are 
yet other enumerations, but among these I will 
mention only : (a) Maitre Ecossais ; (b) Maitre 
/u ; (c) Maitre Illustre ; (d} Maitre Sublime. 

There are the following further involutions, 
respecting variations of title : (a) whether Maitre 
Ecossais was identical with the 4th Degree of 
the STRICT OBSERVANCE ; (b) whether Maitre /u 
was identical with Elect of Nine, this in its turn 
being the same as Elect of Perignan ; (c) whether 
Maitre Illustre was identical with Knight of the 
Holy Sepulchre ; (d) whether Maitre Sublime was 
alternatively Knight of God, and if so, with what 
Ritual this otherwise unknown Degree should 
be preferably identified ; (e) whether Knight of 
the Eagle, according to one enumeration, was 
the same as Master Elect according to another ; 
(f) whether Sublime Illustrious Chevalier was an 
alternative title for Maitre Sublime ; (g) whether 
one of these Grades represented a novitiate and 
was sometimes called Novice, being equivalent at 
the same time to Knight of the Sword, Knight of the 
East and Red Cross, or Suspending Cross of Babylon ; 
(h) whether Illustrious Knight was the Knight 
Templar Grade. It is understood that this 
wonderful enumeration does not present my 
personal speculations, but a selection from con- 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

flicting statements on the part of various late and 
early classifications. 

I do not know whether there is any person 
in Europe who at this day can legislate with 
knowledge on these points, but some years ago 
Mr. Kistner, custodian of archives belonging to 
the Grand Lodge of Brunswick, affirmed that the 
CHAPTER OF CLERMONT worked also the Craft 
Degrees. When he gave some particulars of 
the Rite in the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, he 
adopted the last classification which I have offered 
in my schedule, and adds that the Maitre Illustre 
had to take vengeance on the murderers in the 
Craft Legend. This seems to identify the Grade 
with Elect of Fifteen, which would then have 
been as it now is a sequel to the previous 
Grade of Maitre /u. We should dispose in 
this manner of the ascription in respect of Knight 
of the Holy Sepulchre, which is due to Mr. Yarker, 
and, like his other remarks on the Rite, seems 
to be an excursion at large in the realm of fantasy. 
It is to him, for example, that we owe a revolu- 
tionary account of the date to which it should 
be ascribed. He affirms : (a) that the CHAPTER 
OF CLERMONT was taken to Hamburg in 1742 ; 
(b) that von Marschall, the predecessor of Hund, 
was received at the same period, or a year earlier 
than Hund ; (c) that in the year mentioned a 
certain Baron von Wieler who was a person 
of importance in connection with the STRICT 
OBSERVANCE, and is well known in its history 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

claimed to have received the Degrees in 1743 
from Lord Raleigh, the ceremony taking place 
at Rome in a church of the Benedictines and 
with two monks in attendance ; (d) that out of 
the Chapter sprang the STRICT OBSERVANCE. 

Mr. F. Kistner has had better opportunities 
of knowledge as custodian of the archives at 
Brunswick, but as it is well to be frank when 
possible, he gives expression to opinions which 
belong to the worst class of Masonic criticism. 
His thesis in chief is that the High Grades were 
remodelled by the Jesuits, who (a) turned them 
from Jewish into clerical Degrees, (b) with the 
object of bringing about the restoration of the 
Stuarts, and (c) the assassination of William in., 
Prince of Orange. A date is occasionally useful 
when it happens to be certain, and seeing that 
the personage in question was foisted on the 
throne of England in 1689, and was at length 
taken out of the way in 1702, while the Chapter 
of Clermont, according to Mr. Kistner's own 
chronology, did not come into existence until 
1754, and as to any earlier High Grades there 
is no evidence of their existence prior to 1740, 
I suggest that in the case alleged the vengeance 
of the Jesuits must have sought to pursue their 
victim on the other side of the world. The 
High Grades had many preoccupations, but with 
this particular design I have not met previously. 

The same authority speaks of a legend of the 
Rite and its origin, which is perhaps characteristic 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

of the period. It was (a) founded by Adam, 
but whether in Paradise or in exile is not stated ; 
(fr) was flourishing at the Nimrod period ; (c) 
subsisted under the aegis of Moses, who brought 
it from Egypt ; (d) was in the custody of Solomon, 
from whom, without an intermediate history, it 
(e) descended to the Templars. The Chapter was 
thus the heir of all the ages, but it was concerned 
in the Grades only with the periods of Solomon 
and the Knights Templar. The Rite was taken 
to Berlin in 1758, and under circumstances which 
do not appear, but there are means of information 
otherwise, if the point called for consideration 
it fell into the hands of an unfrocked pastor 
named Philipp Samuel Rosa, who reduced it to 
three Grades, and carried it in this form to 
Brunswick in the year 1762. Before and after 
this date it was established in other cities of 

It is only under stringent reserves that out 
of all this formless confusion one can attempt to 
extract any tenable proposition at all ; the 
Clermont Chapter may by possibility have had 
a Templar Grade, but I think it unlikely, as in 
such case, if Hund was received therein, it must 
have existed prior to 1754 ; and as it is quite 
certain that the STRICT OBSERVANCE produced 
its own Rituals, there would then have been two 
Templar Grades at work concurrently. On the 
whole, I reject the proposition, and for other 
reasons which will appear in the next section. 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

If I am correct herein, the CHAPTER OF CLERMONT 
is left only with ficossats Grades, unless there 
was a Degree of Chivalry of which we know 
nothing certainly, except that it could not have 
been Templar. 

It has been necessary to speak of this Rite 
at some considerable length because of its historical 
importance, as a preface to a High Grade move- 
ment which was developed further, and is with 
us intact at this day. 



FRENCH and sometimes German High Grade 
criticism is here and there exceedingly simple 
over its implied canons. If the Craft had not 
been taken to the Continent of Europe in the 
eighteenth century, I do not personally believe that 
there would ever have been a very large High 
Grade movement, though the impulse derives from 
Scotland in the person of the Chevalier Ramsay. 
It came about very soon after the introduction 
into France that the Masonic mind of that country 
was in need of stronger food than the fragmentary 
Craft story. Those who could judge it on ordinary 
lines only knew that there was a quest instituted 
on account of an emblematic loss, and, like the 
natural mind, they stood very much in need of 
a sequel. There were those also who knew that 
it was a mystic legend, with a great meaning 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

behind it, and for them in like manner it had 
been left incomplete ; they too needed its develop- 
ment and a term to be reached therein. They 
were all Christians indifferently, and among them 
were those who believed that the missing Word 
or formula was Divine in its character. For them 
there was one name only which could supply 
the deficiency and put a crown upon the work. 
This was the name of Christ, and so the Christian 
Grades came into existence, as it was inevitable 
that they should when once the principle of 
development had been set in motion. The 
destructive criticism affirms, as we have seen in 
brief already, that herein is the ' hand of the 
Jesuits. Those who devised this hypothesis should 
have seen that it involved too high a compliment 
from their .point of view. If the Grades of St. 
Andrew, Rose-Croix and Knights Beneficent are 
their work, we owe a debt to Jesuitry which is 
not going to be paid in the Masonic world ; 
but the truth is that the importation of the 
Christian element has been explained in this crass 
manner as if the Society of Jesus stood for 
Christianity at large, even as at one period every 
alchemist was held to be a Rosicrucian, according 
to another mind of criticism. The preoccupation 
has filtered down to the present day and has still 
its traces in England ; it is therefore well to put 
on record the interesting fact that not one writer 
of the past who made the ascription has produced 
a single shred of real or imputed evidence. It 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

stands at the same value as the Jacobite hypothesis, 
if accepted as an explanation of the i8th Degree 
or any other Grade which I have mentioned in 
this division of my work. It is also of the same 
value as the fashion set by writers who believe 
that the Craft is the sum of all Masonry, who 
are accustomed to speak of its purity, its inclusive- 
ness, and who therefore set aside whatsoever is of 
the High Grades as worthless by the hypothesis 
because it is not the Craft. 

We have seen that, according to one suggestion, 
the CHAPTER OF CLERMONT was merged into the 
STRICT OBSERVANCE ; I think that this happened 
in the same sense that the RITE OF RAMSAY 
suffered an identical dissolution. It is accepted 
more fully and with some probability that after 
an existence of four years the Chapter was taken 
over by or passed within the wider measures of 
the Council founded in 1758 under the title 
this be so, there is involved another fact which 
is significant for my purpose. By the assumed 
process of immergence, the COUNCIL OF EMPERORS 
must have taken over the Grades worked by the 
Chapter, and in the whole sequence of its twenty- 
five Rituals there is no Templar Grade in the 
proper understanding of the term, though there 
is, of course, whatsoever was implied by the 
Kadosh in its original form. I have enumerated 
the content of the Rite, which included the Craft 
Grades. From the 4th to the I2th Grade the 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

subject-matter is concerned with events subsequent 
to the catastrophe commemorated in the Craft 
Legend; the I4th, 1 5th, i6th, and 2ist Grades 
are referable to the period of the Second Temple ; 
the 2oth Grade is anomalous and belongs to 
the epoch of Babel ; and the scene of the 22nd 
Grade is on Mount Lebanon, when wood was 
being cut for the Temple of Solomon. They 
have, for the most part, been considered at due 
length in the sections of the second book. 

The 1 3th Grade is the Royal Arch of Enoch, 
and, like the 22nd or Prince of Lib anus, it carries 
in some lists the subsidiary title of Royal Axe. 
The implement which was used in the one case 
to fell the trees of the forest becomes a pick in the 
other for uncovering certain secret foundations. 
The Ritual seems to me demonstrably later than 
that of the Royal Arch, as it is known otherwise 
in England under the obedience of the Craft 
Grand Lodge, but it has curious elements which 
reflect the recurring notion that the Secret Tradi- 
tion depends from that which in symbolism has 
been so long understood as the wisdom reposing 
in Paradise. By the common anomaly with which 
we have met more than once, it is classed as a 
Grade of chivalry, and for this reason it is noticed 
in the present place. Those who possess the 
Degree have descended through secret penetralia 
and have discovered the Sacred Delta containing 
the verbal formula which is the sum of all quest 
in Masonry. The Candidate pursues on his part 
VOL. i. x 321 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the same research, and it is crowned with an 
identical success. In this manner he becomes 
truly a Master Mason, and shares in the hidden 
knowledge of the prophet Enoch prior to the 
Flood. That knowledge was received at first 
in a vision, was afterwards reduced into writing 
and placed in a Crypt, of which he who is said to 
have walked with God is described as the builder 
in chief. It was on the same site that the First 
Temple was erected long after by Solomon, and 
the excavations occasioned thereby led to the 
discovery of the arcana without which the 
mysteries of Masonry would not have come into 
the possession of the Sacred Lodge. So far it is 
possible to coerce this story into some kind of 
compatibility with that which is implied and 
expressed in the Craft Legend ; but the delirium 
of the account increases as it proceeds further, and 
the inventor forgets at the end the basis of accepted 
tradition from which all Masonry is developed. 
We are not, however, concerned with these 

The 23rd Grade is that of Knight of the Sun 
or Prince Adept^ and its authorship is referred to 
Baron Tschoudy. It has several equivalents or 
variants, as, for example, Sublime Elect of Truth. 
As the 2jth Grade in the rearrangement and 
extension of the SCOTTISH RITE symbolises the 
importance of truth, so the 23rd in the COUNCIL 
OF EMPERORS represents the quest of its attainment. 
It is termed a philosophical Degree, as such 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

motive would warrant ; but again it is difficult to 
draw any reasonable harmony out of its confused 
elements. The title notwithstanding, it is so far 
from chivalry and its period that the Temple 
represents Eden, the Master or President person- 
ates Adam, and the seven officers of the Grade 
are termed Cherubim. For a still more inscrutable 
reason, the unofficial members are Sylphs. The 
symbolism as a whole seems to represent the 
perfect day of creation, ruled by the sun, depicted 
in the centre of a triangle about which are con- 
gregated the angels of the planets. It is said in 
the great legend that God walked with Adam in 
the cool of the evening, which does not suggest 
the natural religion with which the Grade is con- 
cerned or the intention to disembarrass : the recipient 
of his conventional supernatural beliefs, which was 
one of its earlier purposes or so it is at least alleged. 
He enters the Temple veiled, but the veil is taken 
away, perhaps as a sign of his desired emancipa- 
tion. In its present form one of the discourses 
recites the history of preceding Scottish Degrees, 
which should have a curious effect on a Candidate 
who, outside his personal expectation, has opened 
his eyes in Paradise. If we met with this 
jumble in a less authorised connection one might 
be rougher in unveiling its claims. I should add 
that it has been occasionally called the ]$ey of 
Masonry, and when incorporated, as it has also 
been, in a Hermetic series, it is termed Chaos 
Disentangled ; it is really entitled to another name, 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

which is also Hermetic I mean, Chaos magna 

We come now to the 24th Degree, which is 
that of Kadosh, but the long and chequered history 
attached to it is largely outside our concern. I 
refer my readers in the first place to my account 
of Elu de Perignan in the section on Grades subse- 
quent to the Symbolic Time of the Third Degree. 
This and its sequel are to Masonry of the Ancient 
Alliance what the Kadosh is to Templar Masonry, 
except possibly that the latter has higher claims 
to recognition from the ritual point of view. It 
is called the ne plus ultra of its series, and as such 
it is a contrast in the deeps to that which is Rose- 
Croix in the heights. I am speaking of it in the 
original form, as commemorating the abolition of 
the Templars and the murder of Jacques de Molay. 
Now, in the vast collection of Masonic Degrees, 
it cannot be denied that there are some and 
even many which are records of things negli- 
gible, and they are to this extent wanting in 
purpose of a laudable or reasonable kind. It can 
even be said of them that the commemorations 
are devoid of manifest or colourable intent. I 
believe, however, that the original Grade of 
Kadosh must in no sense be relegated to this un- 
meaning concourse, and if I am correct herein, 
the only explanation possible is in respect of a 
political design. It is known that at one period the 
Candidate was required to trample on crown and 
tiara ; the report comes from an enemy, and on 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

the literal side I should not believe that it was 
true, but there is unhappily no question concern- 
ing the fact or its import. The formal execution 
of Philippe le Bel, Clement V. and the traitor 
Noffodei is another accusation, and, whether 
accurate or not, it is open to a construction in 
symbolism after the same political manner, if 
we realise that the proceeding in its absence would 
have been a vain and nonsensical observance. If, 
however, the episodes had arisen as an integral 
part of the two recognised continental Templar 
revivals, it might be said that it was a sentimental 
commemoration out of loyalty to the past of the 
Order ; but notwithstanding some assertions to 
the contrary it never formed part of the STRICT 
OBSERVANCE system, though it is said to have been 
incorporated in an arbitrary fashion by the Rite 
which at a later period appealed to the Charter of 
Larmenius as its chief warrant. Its content, apart 
from its purpose, has always had points of interest. 
One is the episode which connects with Elect of 
Nine the plunging of a dagger in the symbolic 
heart which represents that of a traitor ; but this 
recurs to the object-question. Another is the mystic 
Ladder similar to that of Jacob which the 
Candidate ascends ; on one side it represents the 
seven virtues and on the other the liberal arts and 
sciences, as these are understood conventionally ; 
but there are larger and deeper meanings. It is 
also a Rite of Consecration, for the Candidate is 
sanctified by the title which the Grade confers 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

upon him. It is many years now since the Grand 
Orient of France reformed the Grade and gave it 
a philosophical complexion which has been ex- 
tended further under the aegis of the SCOTTISH 
RITE. It is concerned largely with a particular 
hypothesis of the origin and progress of Masonry. 
I should add that in the RITE OF MIZRAIM 
the 65th Grade is that of Grand Elected Knight 
of Kadosh, in which the President represents 
Frederick II., King of Prussia, and one of the 
Wardens is Truth. The connection between 
them is for the skill of the Candidate to excogitate 
when he has survived his sense of the ridiculous. 
For the rest, he is served with diluted philosophy 
in place of an incitement to revolution. The 
ORDER OF MEMPHIS was not likely, on its own 
part, to dispense with the Grade, and Knight 
Kadosh constitutes an extended item in the colossal 
series, being numbered 31. It is a perfectly 
innocuous and colourless Grade of expatiation, 
based on the fact that the Kadosh signifies a holy 
and purified man who believes in one God, Creator 
and Preserver of all things, in the immortality of 
the soul and the perfectibility of the human mind. 
In respect of its dimensions the motto might be 
" world without end " ; it is, in fine, the apotheosis 
of generalities and commonplace. THE ANTIENT 
AND PRIMITIVE RITE, which is a reduction of that 
of Memphis within the measureable compass of 
33 Degrees, has abandoned the impossible Ritual 
and returned to the older form, with, however, a 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

different motive. It levies a great contribution 
on Baron Tschoudy and his UEtoile Flamboyante^ 
carries over from the RITE OF THE STRICT OBSERV- 
ANCE its legend of the four Lodges established by 
Jacques de Molay, and provides a lengthy historical 
discourse in which facts are tempered by fictions. 
The Candidate learns, however, that in spite of 
its supposed Templar connections, the Kadosh 
sword and dagger are symbols of wisdom and 
intelligence ; that these are used to assail intoler- 
ance, ignorance and bigotry ; and that his chief 
job is never to relax exertion in the propagation 
understanding, he tramples symbolically on the 
crown of Philip le Bel, signifying tyranny, and 
thereafter on the papal tiara, representing super- 
stition and imposture. In such manner is he 
divested of all prejudice, as the Grade is itself of 
all reason. 

In respect of the 25th and last Grade of the 
SCOTTISH RITE, it is that of Sublime and Valiant 
Prince of the Royal Secret. The scene is an encamp- 
ment in which particular tents are allotted to the 
Knights Rose-Croix, Knights of the Brazen Serpent, 
Knights Kadosh, and others of the motley chival- 
ries, including the Princes of the Grade. The 
symbolic time is that of the Crusades in respect 
of mise-en-scene and procedure, but it is a Grade 
of Templar heritage under the auspices of the 
modern spirit, not without traces of a revolutionary 
motive, as if it had been actuated thereby at the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

beginning till a later process had extracted most 
of the virus ; but with characteristic elegance of 
confusion the Grand Master somehow personates 
Frederick the Great, who is supposed to have 
chartered the Rite, apparently in examine mortis^ for 
at the alleged period he was incapacitated and near 
his end. The question is indifferent to my purpose, 
which has no part in the patronage of Masonry by 
the kings of this world. The royal personage in 
question is also in evidence in the aist, 3ist, and 
33rd Degrees. The Candidate is married to the 
Order and so becomes a prince. The instructions 
attached to the Grade include an elaborate descrip- 
tion of the Camp and a symbolical and historical 
explanation of the preceding Degrees ; they are 
interesting on account of the authority which 
naturally attaches to them, in the system by 
which they have been incorporated, but they add 
nothing of real moment to the symbolism of the 
collection. I shall speak more at large of the 
Grade in connection with Hermetic Masonry, 
to which it has been unaccountably attached. 

Three Grades remain over, and one of them 
is that of Rose-Croix, with which I have dealt at 
length ; it is the chief and enough glory that the 
COUNCIL OF EMPERORS is the first Rite or Masonic 
system which seems almost indubitably to have 
contained the ne plus ultra Degree. It is placed 
unfortunately in the series, which is characteristic 
of classification in the offices of all the institutes. 
Had it figured as the 25th Grade with a more 



Vol. /., to face t. 328. 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

reasonable arrangement throughout we should 
have had the speaking eloquence of an interesting 
and logical series, and a crown of all at the summit, 
like a glory to God in the Highest. 

The other Degrees are those of Grand Pontiff 
and of Knight of the East and West^ both of them 
apocalyptic in character, but one of them only 
is an actual Grade of chivalry. I must separate 
its root-matter to some extent from the manner 
of its expression. In respect of the first, it carries 
the title of greatness, but in the other it has not 
come into its own. Its symbolism is that of the 
powers of the height and the powers of the deep 
waging the aeonian war, over which the advent of 
the Word will utter at the end of all that mystic 
Peace^ be still^ which is the formula of the Grades 
of Peace. By the hypothesis of spiritual chivalry, 
the war in question was the struggle of the 
Militia Cruclfera Evangelic a against the hordes of 
Saracenic misbelief, which in the dreams of the 
Crusaders was to end in the Peace of Christ and 
a Holy King of Jerusalem reigning over Palestine. 
In this sense the Ritual memorises that which 
they had hoped to do but had not fulfilled on 
earth. Its unknown maker has, in some respects, 
caught the spirit of the aspiration, and aims at 
presenting its supernal apotheosis in the higher 
world of symbolism. This is signified by the 
opening of the Book with Seven Seals and the 
sounding of the Seven Trumpets. The perfect 
fulfilment stands over till He shall come, to Whom 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

it is said in the antiphon : Vent ad liber andum nos, 
jam noli tardare. I should add that an enemy of 
the Grade, and of Masonry in general, has 
affirmed that an instruction in the Ritual speaks 
of a bond between the Johannite Knights of the 
East, true disciples of St. John, and the Knights 
of the West, or Templars. It would be interest- 
ing if this happened to be true, but I have not 
found a trace of it in any extant codex. 

The Grade of Rose-Croix is placed between 
that of the dual chivalry with which I have been 
dealing and that of Grand Pontiff- another 
Apocalyptic Mystery and Mystery of the 
Heavenly Jerusalem. The Candidate is in search 
of the road which leads to the most blessed 
Zion, the Zion that is above. It is a new aspect 
of the Great Quest of all, the exploration of the 
noble soul into the deep secret of faith. 



WE have seen in the earlier sections that the 
Templar revival in Masonry followed three lines 
of imputed transmission, one of them reaching 
its development in the RITE OF THE STRICT 
OBSERVANCE, and another through the so-called 
Charter of Larmenius. The STRICT OBSERVANCE 
survives to this day in the Beneficent Knighthood of 
the Holy City of Jerusalem^ and its rival or alterna- 
tive has dissolved so far at least as external know- 
ledge is concerned. Independently of both there 
is that which is known to us in Great Britain as 
the Military and Religious Order of the Temple. 
Two testimonies therefore remain, and the third 
of them has been taken out of the way ; there is 
practically no knowledge of the one on the part 
of the other, while both are included in my logical 
scheme of Ritual legitimacy in Masonry. The 
succession of Grades in the sequence has through- 
out only a symbolical inter-relation, and each of 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

them at need can stand alone, apparently complete 
in itself. In this respect they differ from the 
Craft Grades, which are obviously an unfinished 
experiment. So also the Royal Arch presupposes 
much that went before, and leaves everything 
open after. The Grades of St. Andrew offer a 
completion after their own manner, and there is 
no inevitable need for any sequel. The Grade of 
Rose-Croix is, in the external sense of symbolism, 
symbolically perfect within its proper lines, for 
therein is recited the great story of Divine Death 
and Resurrection in such a manner that it has 
become part and parcel of the Candidate's own 
history, shewing that, in its proper understanding, 
the whole pageant of Freemasonry, its Temple, 
the fall thereof, and all the long story of loss and 
ravage have been enacted within himself. If he 
has once taken into his heart the lesson which lies 
behind the luminous veils of the Ritual, one 
might say that he has no need to go further ; he 
has only to make his life the application of the 
great instruction. At the same time, the Scottish 
Master has assuredly great things to learn from 
the implied Mysteries of the i8th Degree, while 
he who has been advanced in the latter will 
have graduated in a more perfect symbolism if he 
is in possession of the Ecossais Degrees. The 
Military and Religious Order of the Masonic Temple 
stands next in my list ; it is entered in England 
from the Chapter of the Royal Arch^ and because 
of the essential relation of certain verbal formulas 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

communicated in each, the Candidate takes a 
right and truly symbolical step in passing from 
the one to the other, while that which is offered 
him by the Order of the Temple is again complete 
in its own kind, and yet again he would do 
better to possess the intermediates as they are 
found in my schedule. 

We have now to look at the claims implied 
in the Grade of Knight Templar, considered in 
itself and in the connections which I have in- 
stituted. And the first question which will arise 
is the consanguinity of the Order with the 
concerns of Masonry, because it so happens that 
this has been denied. There was indeed a time 
when it was communicated in England to persons 
who were not Masons. 

Now, the epistle which was addressed by 
St. Bernard to the first Templars was entitled 
by himself, or was at least called by his editors, 
The Book concerning the Praise of the Nova Militia, 
understanding this last term as the description 
of a cross-bearing sodality, which whether in 
peace or war dwelt under a banner of spiritual 
chivalry ; but this banner was the Gospel of 
Christ. The Templars like the crusaders at 
large were again a Militia crucifera Evangelica, 
and the Holy House which was built of old in 
wisdom by Solomon is presented in the dis- 
course as an external sign of that Mystical Temple 
and more Holy House of Grace to which the 
Order was dedicated at its foundation. The 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Temple prototype was therefore like that of 
Masonry ; it was erected above all in the heart. 
This is the first answer to those who say that 
the Masonic correspondences of the particular 
chivalric Order are obviously of an artificial kind. 
They are, on the contrary, a true analogy ab origine 
symbol^ and the authority in respect of the 
Temple is its first instructor, one also who was 
present at that council which framed the Rule of 
the Order. The connection is to this extent 
integral, but we must remember that it does not 
justify in itself any single claim respecting a 
chivalrous pedigree of Masonry. Furthermore, 
it offers no presumption about the perpetuation 
of the Temple to modern times. It may be 
thought that it is my intention to deal with this 
embedded and inscrutable question. I can say, 
however, but one word, because it is obviously 
too long and extrinsic a research to be undertaken 
as a side-issue in a consideration which is practi- 
cally confined to the study of symbolism. The 
descent of the existing Military and 'Religious 
Order of the Temple and Holy Sepulchre from the 
great chivalry of old is in a much more difficult 
position than general Masonic knowledge has 
suffered to appear, for there are as we have seen 
three lines of transmission which seem to be 
exclusive of one another. According to the 
cognised Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, created 
on the eve of his sacrifice four Metropolitan 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

Lodges at Naples for the East, Edinburgh for the 
West, Stockholm for the North, and Paris for the 
South. This claim is so far purely Masonic that 
it exists to shew how the traditional centres sub- 
sisted in secrecy under the veil of Masonry till 
the upheaval, which culminated finally in the 
French Revolution, began to throw up things 
from the deeps, not only to the surface but the 
height, and caused that which had been whispered 
in the vaults to be proclaimed on the housetops, 
more especially from the roofs of palaces. Now 
the Masonic and Templar Grade, which is the 
outcome of this tradition or invention, has no 
historical consanguinity whatever with the 
Masonic Order of the Temple as this is known 
in Great Britain and America at the present day. 
It is represented by its final transformation at the 
Convention of Wilhelmsbad into the Knights Bene- 
ficent of the Holy City of Jerusalem. As regards 
our own Military and Religious Order, notwith- 
standing every effort to investigate its past history, 
the latter remains obscure. In respect of that 
body which depends from the Larmenius claim, 
destructive criticism affirms that the charter is a 
forgery of the eighteenth century, just as it 
characterises the claim of the STRICT OBSERVANCE 
as one of wilful invention. The positions of the 
two Masonic Grades which remain as testimonies 
are rather curious in this connection ; on the one 
hand, the Knights Beneficent have abandoned the 
Templar claim, and their Rituals as they stand 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

are a little illogical in consequence as Templar 
memorials. On the other hand, the Military and 
Religious Order suppresses all account of its origin. 
Between the two, I hold only to a certain 
truistic possibility in respect of the Original 
Templars. It is obvious that Orders may cease, 
and they do by the acts of Nature when, losing 
the principle of life, they fall into desuetude, or 
by the acts of violence which are against Nature, 
as in their sudden proscription. But in the latter 
case it may be held, I think, reasonably that they 
are not annihilated, that suppression means efface- 
ment so far as public knowledge and ostensible 
existence are concerned, but it does not mean 
extinction. In particular, if the Templars pre- 
served, let us say, a secret knowledge which is 
one hypothesis concerning them ideas do not 
perish. If that knowledge on this assumption is 
not now with us, it is perhaps because we have 
failed to seek it in the right place. There are 
many mysteries of chivalry, and after more than a 
century, during which we have engarnered various 
materials, we have constructed no evidential theory 
as to that which lies behind it. We can discern, 
however, that in literature, in symbolism, and by 
various suggestions which manifest there and here, 
something perhaps remains perdu in the deeps 
which cast up the rough feudal knighthood as the 
veil of a hidden project. I do not know that, as 
such, it is more than part and parcel of that 
strange growth of secret life which characterised 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

the Middle Ages. I am not prepared to believe 
that it was more than a project devised in the 
cause of civilisation for the encouragement of 
daily sanctity, the moving spirit in which was the 
Church, as we should expect it to be. I am 
entirely certain that some attempts to read the 
mysteries of common heresy into those of chivalry 
are as worthless as the heresies themselves. But 
as the Church does not, in the practical or declared 
part of her consciousness, cover all fields of 
sanctity, it happens that there is a Secret Doctrine 
which cannot be called hers, and yet has neither 
consanguinity nor connection with the protesting 
hierarchies. I should be the last to affirm that 
the Templars had any part therein, but in separa- 
tion from such doctrine they can appeal to us only 
through our reverence towards an old ideal, the 
office of which has long since been voided, and 
their imputed connection with Masonry would 
seem only to signify a mariage de convenance with 
the unregenerated building guild, which is nothing 
to our own purpose. 

On the other hand, if it were possible to sup- 
pose that there was a point of junction between 
Templary and the Secret Tradition, we might set 
aside the transmission hypothesis as a dream or a 
subterfuge, and yet the connection of Masonry 
with that chivalry of old would subsist in the 
common root of both. It is idle, however, to 
pursue a question which in the present and 
possibly the permanent state of our knowledge can 

VOL. i. Y 337 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

belong only to fantasy. I am appealing simply 
to the right of suspended judgment on a point 
of bare possibility, and at this the matter must 

But out of these introductory words there rises 
my proper thesis that the Military and Religious 
Order of the Temple, as it is extant among us, has 
Masonic consanguinities on the symbolic side 
which are apart from all questions of derivation in 
the historical sense. I do not refer to the objective 
symbols of the Order, for I should then have to 
speak of their affinities with the Hallows of the 
Holy Graal, and it would be, in the main, a 
destructive criticism. Such analogies are artificial 
and do not tend in the scholarship to suggest that 
the Graal literature came out of Templar Pre- 
ceptories, or that Templarism derived in some 
obscure manner from the concealed things that we 
can recognise at the back of that literature. We 
shall see very shortly in what manner the Holy 
Order of the New and Masonic Temple connects 
integrally and mystically with the Holy Order 
and Hidden Church of the Graal, but it is so far 
only as both are united by the mystery-in-chief of 
the Christian and Catholic Faith. In the mean- 
time an excursus for the present purpose into the 
realm of Templar symbolism involves a wider 
expression of that particular term, and the con- 
ditions of the subject begin in Craft symbolism. 
It should be understood, in the first place, that 
the design of all Ritual is of the sacramental 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

kind ; its words and its actions are meant to 
convey something more than appears on the mere 
surface, and to justify the existence of ritual its 
inward meaning must be commensurate to the 
machinery that is involved. We do not go so far 
from the normal course of life to hear platitudes 
and moralities, as I have more than once intimated, 
so that if these appear in the literal aspect we 
either find that there are considerations more 
important abiding beneath their veils or we have 
passed under the obedience of folly. This being 
granted, as something which is matter of necessity, 
we can go one step further and affirm that nothing 
deserves to be put forward, calls for presentation, 
or requires the medium which we are considering, 
so much as the experience of the soul in the search 
for and attainment of the hidden treasures. It 
deserves because this is the highest subject ; it 
calls because if ritual is a proper mode for its 
expression, the urgency demands its use ; and in 
fine the propriety of the medium resides in the 
fact that ritual is a means of realisation which 
brings what is abstract and apart from general 
experience into an appreciable and concrete form. 
If it be asked, in such case, why the true meaning 
is invariably imbedded, so that it is missed alto- 
gether by the majority of simple minds, the 
answer is (i) That the great things of the soul are 
of necessity clouded by the process which renders 
them visible ; (2) that the deeper the side of 
the mystery, the more thick is the veiling ; and 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

(3) that in certain phases the science of the soul 
has never entered into full external expression in 
language. The rites of official religion offer an 
extreme case in point. The Sacrifice, for example, 
of the Mass is the greatest ritual of the whole 
wide world, but so profoundly is its true meaning 
laid to rest beneath the literal surface that amidst 
the concourse of worshippers there are, I am 
afraid, very few who can be said to discern, much 
less to realise inwardly, what is involved therein. 
Fortunately, the Sacrifice is so great and so holy, 
that it has the life of salvation on the external side, 
and therein at least the wayfaring man has no 
need to err. 

I am addressing a mixed audience, but as it is 
not a class of children, they will understand the 
bare statement, if they do not indeed agree, that 
our initiations, passings, raisings, exaltings, in- 
stallations and enthronements of the ceremonial 
kind, are steps of progress by which, ex hypothesi 
and symbolically, the mind of the recipient enters 
into illumination. From the beginning even to 
the end he is assumed to be desiring the light, 
and, speaking intellectually, it is claimed that he 
receives it in stages. That which is offered to him 
mystically in the Craft Grades and in the Holy 
Royal Arch is the material by which he can realise 
if he be properly prepared the higher side of 
the dispensation under the reign of law in Israel ; 
but in the Order of the Temple and some other 
Grades of Chivalry, that which is offered him is 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

the means of realising the higher side of the 
Eternal Law of Grace, which is in Christ. The 
Temple represents our passage from one dispensa- 
tion to another, without intermediaries, though 
we know that these exist ; and it follows from this 
view as I should explain next that the Masonic 
qualification for the Postulant is of the root-matter 
of the symbolism instead of an accident or arbitrary 
rule in procedure. Those who were responsible 
for the ordination in old days may not have known 
what they were doing, and if so they were guided 
by the providence which shapes our course in the 
Instituted Mysteries. It will, I think, also be 
clear that as Candidates for Temple-reception 
belong already to the New Dispensation, and give 
expression to a firm faith therein at an early stage 
of the proceedings, so the Rite which they enter 
must, by the assumption concerning it, be presented 
under its symbolism as a deeper knowledge I 
mean, of the spiritual kind. It does not follow 
that this is communicated, but without it the Rite 
is folly. If we can find the intimations concerning 
it beneath the Ritual, we must be content at need 
with the fact, even though we have no means of 
ascertaining how they came therein. 

Now, we are aware that the Postulant in the 
Craft Grades enters a realm of double meaning 
which is designed to shew that behind the official 
House of Doctrine, symbolised on the external 
side in the manner that is known to Masons, there 
was a mystery of wisdom and sanctity which is 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

represented as lost by a revolt in the camp of 
initiation itself. With the Master Builder 
perished that which, on my own warrants, I have 
expressed as the Word of Life and the original 
plans for a supposed externalisation of doctrine in 
the world. The first essential, however, is to 
realise that this did not happen in external fact, as 
if the Craft Legend were history written under a 
suggestive veil. It is a way of expressing the 
existence of a Secret Tradition, and that it is to be 
sought among other places in the records of 
Jewry. It is impermissible to put this more 
plainly, but in other terminology it is as if the path 
of spiritual experience had been replaced by a path 
of symbolism : a speaking likeness was substituted 
for the real and living image. It is also as if man 
had been made after the pattern of a lesser angel, 
instead of that of the Elohim. This is an in- 
timation concerning what is veiled by the Secret 
Tradition in respect of experience. The quest 
proposed in Masonry is one of recovery, and the 
implicit hereof is that recovery is possible, or a 
certain method of ending the day of labour, by 
the ceremonial act of closing, would be only an 
insensate pretence, instead of as it is perhaps the 
most sublime indication of the inner meaning 
within external doctrine that has ever been ex- 
pressed in language. In a word, therefore, the 
Craft Legend and its appurtenances in the Ritual 
proclaim that behind the external doctrine of 
Jewry there is a withdrawn meaning which con- 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

stitutes the life of the doctrine, and its absence 
from the simple surface is symbolised by the 
subterfuge of a lost verbal secret. It is for this 
reason that the whole mystery is one of death and 
sorrow ; but it terminates with a profound indica- 
tion of hope to be realised hereafter, of the 
restoration that is to come ; and this is embodied 
dramatically in the personal experience which 
befalls the Candidate, whose part in the allegorical 
picture indicates that the secret has not died, nor 
is that dead for which, in a sense, he is substituted. 
It should be understood, further, that this experience 
does not consist in the personation of an individual, 
but of a law in the manifestation of doctrine. 
Those who composed this particular Craft Grade, 
and the Legend contained therein, knewindubitably 
that there was a Secret Doctrine in Israel, though 
I do not affirm how far they had penetrated the 
abyss within that doctrine. It was possibly so far 
that I should desire to learn of them, could they 
stand beside me as I write, and for two reasons : 
(i) That I might the better instruct my brethren, 
but (2) that they in their turn might be willing 
to learn of me. 

At the next stage of his progress the Candidate, 
in his passage through the Royal Arch^ is confronted 
by a much more involved form of symbolism, and 
we have found that several thoughtful students 
have been tempted to depreciate this Masonic 
Order almost as a spurious pretence, because they 
have not understood that which it really en- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

forces. They know that it claims to repair the 
loss which was consequent on the catastrophe 
recited in the Craft Legend, but they misinterpret 
the message of the veiling. This, by the nature 
of the case, had to be maintained here as there, so 
that the Grade communicates as we have seen 
nothing that is strange or unknown, but, on the 
contrary, something that is of open appeal and 
universal in respect of its nature. The device 
is really a work of wisdom, the intention being 
to exhibit that the inmost secret of all this 
symbolical building is neither diagram nor 
formula, and that those who in this direction 
look for an explanation of the mystery are on 
the wrong track. It is an instruction in darker 
terms that behind the literal sense of the old 
Scriptures there lies a holy mystery of interior 
religion, and that those who can reach it will 
pass through experiences in the soul, receiving 
the living truth of doctrine in place of the forms 

This is how the Candidate is left by the Craft 
Degrees and by that which is held to be their 
supplement and is sometimes put forward as their 
completion. It is in no sense all that we desire ; 
but at least for the present purpose we must needs 
be content with what we have, and though it 
has been tinkered out of all true knowledge by 
excessive editing, the Royal Arch really serves a 
purpose. For Masons in England, who know and 
can know little of the next steps in the true 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

sequence of Grades, it assumes further importance 
when the Candidate proceeds thence to the ex- 
perience of a Masonic Knight Templar. 

In this Order Sapientia sapienti dono data est, 
but with the gift which he thus receives he is 
no less already familiar than with the increment 
which was imparted to him previously in the 
Royal Arch itself. In neither case could any 
Candidate of the least common intelligence 
regard such a communication as less than an 
affront offered to his understanding unless he 
suspected that there was some concealed reason. 
Perhaps in most instances the problem never 
proceeds beyond this dubious and tacit stage, and 
because of time or circumstances not even 
the shadow of a solution is suggested by reflection 
to himself. But it is useful at the moment to 
register that in a familiar mode of expression he 
does reach the conclusion that there is something 
embedded within it. There is, however, so very 
little leading ready to his hand in matters of this 
kind, that he must be forgiven for lying supine 
in an atmosphere of faint speculation. 

As regards the gift itself, I can say only that 
it is contained in a mystical formula, and for this 
reason is rigorously analogous to the things which 
have been communicated to him previously. But 
there is also a variation representing in the mind 
of the Grade a defined and vital stage of progress. 
The Candidate has passed from the yoke of Israel 
to the light and easy burden of Christ. The law, 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

in the promus of formularies, has therefore suffered 
transmutation, and as the change does not affect the 
root-matter of the symbolism, the same inference 
concerning it will obtain as in the previous cases. 
The formula in the Order of Chivalry is like that 
in the Craft Grade it is the intimation of a 
secret and more spiritual meaning behind the 
surface sense of religious doctrine in Christendom. 
The Postulant for an entirely spiritual Knighthood 
receives the sacred gifts of substituted knowledge 
in the wonderful symbolical manner with which 
initiates are familiar, but as if to impress on him 
beforehand the fact that it is only a veil and an 
outward sign, the lection read in the Preceptory 
tells him that there is another gift in formula 
which is unknown to the whole world he who 
receives it excepted. It is in virtue of this dis- 
tinction that the soul has the root-matter of 
immortality, and that those who have been born 
again enter into that spiritual marriage with 
Christ which, in respect of each soul, is a 
singular and jealous union, apart from all others. 
But, the great inattention and distraction of 
our period notwithstanding, the modern Knight 
Templar, if fully prepared, may be led to infer 
that there is a much more obvious and even a 
material, visible manner in which the Secret 
Doctrine, or inner side of Christianity, is set 
forth by the pageant of the Temple Rite. To 
present this shortly, we must now look at its 
procedure for a moment in a synthetic manner. 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

It should be remembered that the Postulant 
has brought out of the degrees of Craft Masonry 
a similitude implying an assurance that the 
doctrinal sanctuary of Israel was intended to 
set forth the Mysteries of the Old Covenant 
in the plenary sense ; but the law of their 
manifestation, symbolised as a great artificer, 
was outraged in a rebellion ; a great wreckage 
followed ; and thereafter the elect of the official 
mysteries, signified by a chosen people, were 
taught only in a substituted House of Doctrine. 
The Zoh^ric form of this teaching says that when 
Moses went up the Sacred Mountain, the burden 
of the Fall was removed for a moment from his 
people, who would have been reinstated in the 
law of Paradise, but they went into rebellion at 
his absence and so reassumed the burden. They 
were put, therefore, to school under what I have 
termed a substituted law, represented by the 
Second Tables and otherwise symbolised from 
my standpoint by an external Temple in 
Masonry. This was a Sacred House ; it was 
before all things a true House ; but the deeper 
truths which were obscurely shadowed forth 
thereby were preserved in the heart of the few, 
as if within or behind the Sanctum Sanctorum itself. 
This was the inner and higher law. The suc- 
cession of those few is symbolised in Masonry 
by the Grand Masters of the several symbolical 
Lodges. There are other Grades outside official 
Masonry which cannot be described here, in which 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the destruction of this House is shewn, so that the 
symbolism is much more complete, indicating that 
there was a second and inferior substitution, as the 
Word of Life became more and more concealed by 
the letter thereof. However, we must dispense, 
perforce, with this, and observe that on his 
entrance into the Preceptory the Candidate makes 
profession of the formula that he receives in 
another Masonic Grade, and concerning this 
there is extant a literature outside the Craft and 
outside the High Degrees which awaits his 
convenience to assure him that he carries a 
dismembered symbol. It is accepted, however, 
in the Temple, but to commemorate this funda- 
mental fact he communicates immediately after 
in the shadow of the Eucharist, receiving 
substitutes for the pants vivus and the vinum 
vifa/e. On the administration of these he defines 
his official position in respect of faith and 
testifies as we have seen that he is already 
a Christian. As his refreshment stands, how- 
ever in respect of that supersubstantial bread 
which is the true Eucharist it is the natural 
Graal in place of the Graal that is arch-natural, 
and it is the same with his status, ex hypothesis 
regarding the New and Eternal Covenant. But 
he is about also ex ky pot he si to enter as again 
we have expected to see into a new knowledge 
concerning it, though it is communicated only 
in symbols. He is put at once upon the quest 
during years of parable, years of search and 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

preparation. He is supposed to come forth alive, 
and it is thanks therefore to God, for he has so 
far proved himself. But there is a place of un- 
declared mystery in the centre of the Temple 
which is guarded against his approach. 

The Postulant is now sworn upon holy 
tidings by which I mean upon an open book 
containing messages of life. It is open that 
is to say, it is unsealed, as if he were about to 
learn its more inward meaning. Yet for a palla- 
dium during his novitiate he is told only that 
he is on a spiritual quest, like that of the Graal, 
and though he carries earthly arms he is not 
preparing for any earthly knighthood. It is the 
pilgrimage of life in Christ ; it is the strife 
towards perfection, during which he covenants 
to maintain the holy and supernatural faith, 
that, being a part of the things which are above, 
it may come in fine into its inheritance by his 
efforts in the Kingdom of this world. In such 
sense, and with reference to such a conclusion, 
it was said of old that two should be as one, and 
that which is without as that which is within. 
The covenant signifies that beneath the external 
forms of doctrine a man enters into its deeper 
meaning, yet, so doing, in no sense departs there- 
from. After this experience the Postulant is 
shewn the symbol of mystical death, which is 
also the symbol of life, with the sign of his own 
mortality and the sign that there is life beyond. 
It remains that he should look for the graces 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

which are found by those who are fitted in a 
penitential season, and thus he completes his 
term as a Novice of the High Order. But 
the palladium even now has not declared its 
mystery. His experiences and his several sojourn- 
ings typify the spiritual meaning of the three 
counsels of perfection poverty and denudation 
in quest, restraint and self-denial in battle with 
the enemies who are without, humility and obedi- 
ence in the ascetic life. In such manner is he 
prepared for the chivalry which is not of this 

It is only at a later stage that he is instructed 
to regard the Knighthood which is conferred 
upon him as a grade of holy priesthood, and 
the place in which it is received as itself a spiritual 
house. He is also about this time given another 
nourishment in ceremonial form, to complete the 
symbol of the Eucharist manifested in the Order 
of the Temple^ and, as I think though I do not 
press this interpretation as an essential part of the 
mystery to indicate that the secret of over- 
flowing grace behind official doctrine is a deeper 
Eucharistic Mystery. It should be noted at 
least that he partakes in successive commemora- 
tion of the perpetuity of the Secret Tradition 
and of the channels through which it has passed. 

Hereof, and presented, of course, under the 
veil of the higher understanding, is the Ritual 
of a Saintly Order, and hereof also is the deeper 
side of its symbolism a part, as it seems to me, 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

of the great testimony that behind the two 
covenants which are comprised in our faith 
there has been always a hidden wisdom a 
Secret Tradition which informs and completes 
them and of this we have other evidence all 
through literature and history. I have left over 
on purpose the last lesson of all, which is of all 
most pregnant and, as I have indicated, is yet 
most obvious. In a Rite which symbolises so 
much, what is meant by that Palladium of faith 
which is present always but explained never, 
which the chivalry guards so faithfully, but 
guards only ? It cannot be a mere memory of 
what once took place in Palestine at the period 
of the Crusades, and I think that he who has an 
ear to hear among the initiated brethren will 
hearken what the Spirit says unto the Preceptories 
in this emblem of the Holy Sepulchre, for I dis- 
close nothing in explaining that it is this on 
the external side. It reminds the few who are 
informed that the Captain of our salvation is 
the mystic Lamb slain from the foundation of 
the world, that till we realise what is signified 
therein we cannot enter into the true spirit of 
the Christian Mystery, and hence that the House 
of Doctrine is empty of its greater significance. 
So long as we abide in the letter we cannot be 
priests of the truth. But the tradition exists ; the 
way is not closed thereto ; and the cohort of this 
spiritual chivalry if only it could understand and 
realise if only it will in fine consent to realise, 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

stooping from the pageants of this world to think 
and understand in the heart is called to it in an 
especial manner. Otherwise, the Rite is a solemn 
mockery. I believe that, in the stillness of the 
mind, from all the Grades and Degrees which 
deserve to be taken seriously, there sounds a tocsin 
call, that in obedience thereto we may become 
not only a peculiar people, a holy priesthood, but 
that we shall take also our place in the seats of the 
installed masters who have truly passed the chair. 
In respect of its origin, we must, I think, be 
content to leave the Military and Religious Order 
of the Temple in the obscurity which involves 
the subject. Albert Pike affirmed that it was 
originally the Kadosh Grade of the RITE OF PER- 
FECTION, which, it will be understood, is the 
COUNCIL OF EMPERORS. He supposes that it was 
taken over and worked in these islands by the 
Masonic school of which Laurence Dermott and 
Thomas Dunckerley were the exponents and the 
moving spirits ; but it was altered subsequently 
to conceal the source from which it came. The 
hypothesis is without foundation, and the suggested 
evolution is about as likely or possible as the 
development of Paradise Lost out of the Divina 
Commedia. As High Grades go, the Temple is 
old in this country, and, though it is difficult to 
have a decisive opinion under all the circumstances, 
my feeling is that it is not of continental origin, 
and, for whatever this view is worth, thus the 
matter must remain. 



WE have now to recur once and for all to that 
ORDER OF THE TEMPLE which depends from the 
Charter of Larmenius, and it should be stated in 
the first place that the earliest Grand Master in 
evidence, circa 1805, was Dr. Bernard Raymond 
Fabre-Palaprat, who was an active Mason of his 
period, a deputy to the Grand Orient of France 
and one of the founders of a Lodge called Chevaliers 
de la Croix. We see, therefore, in what direction 
his interests had lain and in what school he had 
been formed, so far as Rites and Orders are con- 
cerned. There is thus, on the surface at least, a 
certain air of probability in the statement made by 
Clavel that the Grades conferred by the Order were 
originally : (i) Apprentice, (2) Companion, (3) 
Master, (4) Master of the East, (5) Master of the 
'Black Eagle of St. John, and (6) Perfect Master of the 
Pelican. The hypothesis, however, goes on to 
state that on 3oth April, 1808, in virtue of a special 
VOL. i. z 353 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

decree, there was a revision of names to conceal 
the Masonic origin, as follows : (i) Initiate, (2) 
Initiate of the Interior, (3) Adept ', (4) Adept of the 
East, (5) Grand Adept of the Black Eagle of St. 
John. These constituted together a House of 
Initiation, and the last two corresponded to Elect of 
Fifteen and Elect of Nine, a reversal of the proper 
sequence. There followed a House of Postulance, 
apparently in preparation for the particular chivalry 
of the Temple, and herein was conferred (6) the 
Grade of Postulant of the Order, or Perfect Adept of 
the Pelican, which is identified with the Degree 
of Rose-Croix. The third House was denominated 
a Convent, and it conferred two grades not included 
in the previous classification : (7) Novice and (8) 
Knight or Levite of the Inner Guard, being really a 
single Degree in two divisions and the counterpart 
of the Philosophical Kadosh. 

I question whether the comparison thus in- 
stituted will survive examination, but in the year 
1825, being more than a decade prior to the work 
of Clavel, a certain Chevalier Guyot, apparently 
acting by authority, issued a Manuel des Chevaliers 
de I'Ordre du Temple, in which the Statutes at large 
are contained, and at this period the Degrees were 
(i) Simple Initiates, (2) Intimate Initiates, (3) Simple 
Adepts, (4) Oriental Adepts, (5) Adepts Brethren 
of the Grand Black Eagle of St. John the Apostle. 
It will be seen that these are substantially identical 
with the second classification of Clavel. The 
Statutes speak also of Postulants, Squire Novices and 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

Knights, but whether as alternative titles for some 
of the above or as additional Degrees, is not clear 
from the text. It does not follow of necessity that 
any of them were Masonic in character, and at the 
period under notice ladies were admitted into the 
Order as Canonesses, Sisters, etc. 

The Legend of the Temple, drawn from the 
Charter of Larmenius, affirms that before his 
execution the last Grand Master, Molay, nominated 
Larmenius as his successor. The latter framed 
the document, affixed his signature thereto, which 
was followed by that of every later Grand Master. 
Larmenius further (i) excommunicated the 
Scottish Templars as deserters and apostates, and 
(2) declared that the Knights of St. John were 
despoilers, placed henceforth and for ever outside 
the pale of the Temple. It is on the assumption 
regarding the fraudulent character of the Charter 
that I have referred to the first utterance as a 
veiled attack on the claim of the STRICT OBSERV- 
ANCE. The second reflects the animus against the 
ORDER OF MALTA, which characterised Masonic 
Grades like Prince of the Royal Secret. 

The association or whatever it should be 
termed was militantly Latin at the beginning, 
though a Mason stood at its head, and were it 
not for its later history I suppose that it could 
never have escaped the charge of originating in 
the Ars vera Jesuitica. Members, and the Grand 
Master in particular, were required to be of the 
Catholic Apostolic and Roman Faith, and seeing 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

that the Charter testified to nothing but the 
alleged fact of Templar perpetuation, there was 
obviously no course but to recur as far as possible 
to the original rule of chivalry. There arose in 
this manner the Postulant's pledge of obedience 
by which he was bound in respect of obedience 
itself, besides poverty and chastity. This was in 
addition to the ordinary knightly undertakings 
concerning fraternity, hospitality and military 
service. It is obvious, however, that the rule 
was interpreted in accordance with a lax observ- 
ance. There is no record that the headship 
interpreted the law of obedience otherwise than 
in respect of the Order and its legitimate concerns ; 
there is no record that they laid claim to the material 
possessions of members, the poverty clause not- 
withstanding ; and, finally, in respect of chastity, 
this undertaking was interpreted, as it could and 
should only be, with all honour to the purity and 
high sanctity of sacramental marriage, by the 
proper observation of which the law of chastity is 
raised on the practical side to a counsel of perfec- 
tion. Setting apart these higher matters, I 
presume that there was also what I have called a 
lax observance regarding some other points in the 
Statutes. As a sequel to their reception, the 
Knights were enjoined (a) to visit the Holy Land 
and (b) the place of Molay's immolation. The 
latter of course was, so to speak, at their doors, 
but the longer pilgrimage was protected by the 
saving clause " so far as may be possible " ; there 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

was consequently no insistence, and it was probably 
never performed. A nominal qualification of 
reception was also the possession of quatres degrh 
de noblesse^ but (a) the Grand Master -could confer 
the Order ex auctoritate magistrali ; and as time 
went on (b) the term nobility was taken to signify 
good education and honourable employment of 
any kind, but preferably a liberal profession. 

We know very little concerning the early 
history. It has been suggested that the Temple 
was really inaugurated within the fold of that 
Lodge of Chevaliers de la Croix which I have 
mentioned, but the authority is doubtful. It is 
significant, however, that the Lodge was founded 
in 1805, and it may have had such an ulterior 
purpose in view. Five years later there was, on 
paper at least, a marked activity, and the three 
continents of the old world were mapped out ; 
being placed under the charge of Lieutenants- 
General resident probably at Paris, as in partibus 
infidelium. The proces-verbal of this period is a 
grandiloquent document. In 1 8 1 2 it was affirmed 
that Houses of the Order had been established at 
Paris, Hamburg, Troyes, Nantes, Basle, Rome, 
Naples, Lisbon and even New York where the 
doctrine that chivalry presupposes nobility must 
have been read under a curious light. 

At this period the institution is described as 
the United Orders of the East and the Temple. The 
Oriental Order was and remained in the world of 
the archetype ; it was more especially a reference 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

to the legend of origin, which origin was located 
in Ancient Egypt ; and one of the florid dis- 
courses delivered by the Grand Master speaks of 
sages of the East, pontiffs of religion, etc. In this 
manner we approach that crisis in the confraternity 
which is perhaps the most interesting part of its 

Dr. Fabrd-Palaprat, for his better satisfaction 
had married Masonry to Catholicism, and 
transmission, revival, invention, whatever our 
choice may call it we have seen that a similar 
marriage had been celebrated by him and his 
co-adjutors in respect of the Temple, or alterna- 
tively it was a daughter of the previous spiritual 
espousals. There passed, however, into his 
possession a codex in manuscript of the Levitikon, 
a contaminated version of the Fourth Gospel, with 
a species of commentary, attributed to the Greek 
monk Nicepheros of the thirteenth century, who 
is supposed to have had Sufic connections. On 
this basis the Grand Master decided to subject his 
Order to yet one other transformation, from which 
it issued as a kind of Johannite sectarian church. 
Here again the lead had been given him by more 
than one manufactured legend of the High Grades. 
With the aid of his document, which was sub- 
sequently published as it is affirmed with 
interpolations of his own, he produced a story 
which may be digested under the following 
heads : (i) That the Son of God meaning Jesus 
of Nazareth was brought up at the school of 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

Alexandria ; (2) that he conferred initiation on 
his apostles and disciples, dividing them into 
several orders and placing them under the general 
authority of St. John, who became in this manner 
the Sovereign Pontiff of Christendom ; (3) that 
St. John never quitted the East ; (4) that his 
doctrine was preserved in its purity, and that his 
successors thus maintained the mystic and hier- 
archic initiation of Egypt, as transmitted by Christ, 
until the year 1118 ; (5) that at this time their 
knowledge was communicated to Hugo de Payens, 
the first Master of the Temple, who was invested 
with apostolic and patriarchal power, becoming a 
lawful successor of St. John ; (6) that in such 
manner the Temple was united ab origine with 
primitive and Johannite Christianity. 

Such is the historical claim, and among the 
doctrines which it was sought to authorise after 
this fashion I will only mention the following: (i) a 
Divine Trinity of a certain kind was acknowledged, 
and it is unnecessary to enumerate the points of 
divergence from orthodox teaching, for they are 
illustrated by the next article, namely, (2) that 
God is the soul of Nature, and its elements are 
co-eternal with Him ; (3) in respect of the mani- 
fest world, He created only the modes of existence 
of bodies ; (4) the animating principle of all 
beings returns at death into the immensity of God ; 
(5) the soul, however, is immortal, which means, 
I suppose, the continuation of personal conscious- 
ness, and it is rewarded or punished in the other 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

life according to its deserts in this one ; but in 
what sense a state of punishment can be postulated 
within the abyssus 'Deitatis I leave to those who 
are concerned with these and kindred follies and 
enormities of thought ; (6) the spirit of Jesus 
Christ is communicated in bread and wine, which 
by the hypothesis being so, a deeper state of 
thought in the dispensers of this illumination 
might have suggested a form of apostolical 
succession and a root in Secret Doctrine which 
would have placed the ORDER OF THE TEMPLE on a 
very different plane ; (7) Christ communicated 
three sacraments Baptism, Confirmation and the 
Eucharist the remaining four, which are recog- 
nised, being of apostolic institution ; (8) the 
resurrection is a matter of tradition. 

Such in the thesis was primitive Christianity 
another of those budgets of pure and undefiled 
doctrine from which we may pray to be delivered. 
This also was the old Templar religion, containing 
within itself a claim of priesthood which the 
Templars never put forward. On the strength of 
it the Grand Master of the nineteenth century 
not unnaturally discovered that a supreme ponti- 
ficate was inherent in his chair of office, and when 
the Statutes of the Fellow-Soldiers of the Order of 
the Temple came to be published in 1825, they 
included some part of a Ritual of the Enthronement 
of a Grand Master^ who, after consecration, was 
endowed with the apostolic power of binding and 
loosing in respect of sins. 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

The promulgation of these claims was followed 
by a period of secession and internecine struggle, 
including the appointment of a Grand Master to 
replace Fabre-Palaprat, who, however, refused to 
resign, and he was subsequently restored to power. 
In 1825 th e Levitikon was relegated to the archives 
as an historical monument belonging to the First 
Temple. In 1839 a decree of the Convent 
General describes the order as tolerant at that 
period in respect of its religious opinions, though it 
was imprescriptible that the Grand Master should 
be of the Catholic and Roman faith. It claimed 
independence of every other association, and there- 
fore, by implication, of Freemasonry. Dr. Fabre- 
Palaprat had died in the year previous, and our 
English Admiral, Sir William Sydney Smith, was 
Regent of the Order and Grand Master Desig- 
nate. He had held previously the titular office 
of Lieutenant - General of Asia. The Duke of 
Sussex was also a member, and altogether it is 
suggested by an English writer of the period that 
the chivalrous Roll of the Order contained about 
three hundred names scattered through various 
countries a very small incorporation, having 
regard to the princely provisions of its statutes. 
In probability, moreover, it was a subscription 
membership, inoperative for the most part by 
reason of distance. The Johannite church, which 
was once opened in Paris, perished through the 
dearth of finances, and the institution itself was 
moribund, if not already extinct, before 1850. 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

The Tyler so-called of its Knightly Grade was 
published by J. M. Ragon in 1860; the Order 
had therefore its signs, passwords and batteries, like 
all the Rites of Masonry ; it came out of the 
bosom of Masonry, and it was recruited largely 
among members of the Brotherhood. Its distinc- 
tion seems to have been that it did not exact the 
qualification of the Craft Grades from its Postul- 

I have depended so far on those sources of 
information which are available in the scattered 
fields of Masonic research ; but certain rituals 
appertaining to the ORDER OF THE TEMPLE, though 
exceedingly difficult to obtain, have also passed 
through my hands. It follows from these that 
howsoever the debt of the Temple to Masonry 
was at an early stage concealed in virtue of a 
decree issued on 3Oth April, 1808, by the Grand 
Master Fabre-Palaprat, a natural development 
took place within the Order itself, and this at 
least owed nothing to the Craft or its extensions 
and dependencies. It constituted, further, a much 
more effectual veiling than would be possible 
under any circumstances by a mere change in 
the official titles of Grades. The information 
which now follows is new in Masonic literature, 
and it offers proof positive that our authorities 
in the past have spoken as usual with certitude 
on definite points of fact, and have erred, either 
because they followed a report only or the 
evidence of their personal persuasion. The 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

foundation-matter of the question remains un- 
touched, because the Degrees of which I am 
about to speak lie beyond or behind the purely 
chivalrous section of the Order, and the connection 
of this with Masonry is another question. To 
affirm that connection in respect, for argument's 
sake, of the years 1805 and 1808, omitting what 
took place by the evidence of official documents 
in 1831, which documents must have been within 
the reach of my precursors, since they have not 
been beyond mine, is not only an insufficient way 
of dealing with the whole subject, but one that 
is manifestly unjust to the ORDER OF THE TEMPLE 

The adoption of the Levitikon, and the con- 
sequent attempted incorporation of a new and 
sectarian Christianity, led to the creation, about 
the period stated, of eight Grades of Levitical 
ordination, corresponding, speaking very broadly, 
since it is only a correspondence of numbers, to 
minor Orders, the sub-diaconate, diaconate, priestly 
ordination and Episcopal rank, according to the 
Latin Rite. It is, I suppose, to this Rite that 
the sequence is referable, and so far it may be 
said to derive from the Pontificate Romanum. The 
Grades were termed Orders, and the first group 
comprised Levite of the Threshold, Levite of the 
Door within, Levite of the Sanctuary, Ceremonial 
Levite or Master of the Ceremonies, and Theological 
Levite. The analogies in Latin Christianity are 
Osteanus or doorkeeper, Lector, Exorcist, Acolyte 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

and Subdeacon. The Grades cited were conferred 
together, and were preceded by a catechetical 
instruction and profession of faith in the religion 
of Christ, as interpreted by the Levitikon. 

The profession and instruction being finished, 
the presiding Pontiff proceeded, by the power in 
him vested, to constitute the lay Chevalier a 
Levite of the Threshold, placing a pick in his hand ; 
a Levite of the Door within^ presenting him with 
a key ; a Levite of the Sanctuary^ and as such he 
had two keys ; a Levite of Ceremonies^ giving him 
the staff of his office ; and finally a Levite Theo- 
logical^ handing him the Book of the Law and 
investing him with a canonical gown, as also with 
the insignia of his Orders. The Recipient was 
allocated subsequently to one or other of these 
offices at the discretion of a Superior. 

The Candidate for the next Grade, or that 
of Levite-Deacon, took no obligation, but was 
questioned and answered concerning the Church 
of Christ and its doctrine, the root of which was 
a confused pantheism. If not excessively involved 
in themselves, the definitions concerning Jesus 
Christ were also likely to end in confusion, so 
far as believers were concerned. The Christ of 
Nazareth was distinct from God, but this not- 
withstanding he was God and the Son of God 
in the sense of the prophet David, who said of 
the Elect that they were gods and were all sons 
of the Most High. The Soul of Christ was a 
more perfect divine emanation than that of an 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

ordinary man, but He was not the Son of God in 
the sense that He was engendered in the body of 
a virgin. He was, however, the Divine Word, 
the manifestation of the Eternal, and God in His 
revelation to man. The Spirit of Divinity was 
within Him and He was directed by this Spirit, 
but It did not take flesh in Him. When the 
Candidate had thus testified concerning the im- 
puted teaching of St. John, the bishop placed 
him on his knees and he took vows of obedience 
to the laws of the Temple Church and to his 
superiors. The Episcopal hands were then 
imposed on his head and he was told to make 
himself worthy to receive the gift of the Holy 
Spirit. He was presented with a thurible and 
was told to act as a servant-in-chief among the 
Levites of the religion of Christ. He was also 
vested, he kissed the pontifical ring and was pro- 
claimed a deacon of the Church. 

The eighth Grade or Order was that of Levite 
and Priest. The Candidate was brought to the 
Temple accompanied by two armed knights and 
two theological students. He demanded the grace 
of the priesthood and made another profession of 
faith, in which the doctrine concerning Jesus 
of Nazareth was developed somewhat further. 
It concerns, however, the recognition extended 
to the Christian Saviour by the guardians of the 
Secret Tradition, whose local centre appears to 
have been in Alexandria. By these guardians 
Jesus appears to have been consecrated and pro- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

claimed the Son of God, prophet-in-chief of the 
world and theocrat of the nations. The Rite of 
Ordination consisted in the imposition of hands, 
anointing with chrism and the invocation of the 
Holy Spirit, by Whose grace the Pontiff pro- 
claimed that he who before had been Deacon was 
now created a Levite Priest of the Church of 
Christ and Doctor of the Law. He received also 
the power of consecrating bread and wine, which 
ceremony the Bishop and the new priest performed 

In the last Grade, being that of the con- 
secration of a Levite as Pontiff or Bishop, the 
priestly Candidate was brought to the chapel by 
two Knights, two Masters of the Ceremonies, two 
Deacons and two priests. He wore his sacerdotal 
vestments and carried the decree of his election. 
The profession which he made dealt more especially 
with the question of Apostolic succession and 
the recognition of the Levitikon as embodying 
the doctrine of the true and Catholic religion. 
The institution is exceedingly long and there 
is no need to describe it. The Candidate was 
sworn to obedience and fidelity as regards the 
fulfilment of his duties. When he was on his 
knees, with his face bent to the earth, the con- 
secrating officer rose up and extended his arms 
over him. He was then raised from the ground 
and seated. The bishop girded himself with 
linen and washed the feet of the Candidate, who 
was afterwards caused to kneel down and the 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

heretical gospel was placed on his head. He 
was blessed and told to carry into all places 
the sacred yoke of God's gospel. He was then 
anointed, and hands were imposed upon him, 
notwithstanding that the ceremony has certified 
in an earlier part that a bishop is not ordained. 
When his various insignia had been given him, 
a kind of mass was celebrated. 

There is no point of view from which these 
ceremonies can be said to signify. Under the 
very best circumstances, they are hypothetically 
comparable to the Rites adopted by the Catholic 
Apostolic Church as the result of a very careful 
codification of ecclesiastical procedure in East 
and West. They may have the kind of interest 
which attaches to a sectarian form of Christianity, 
but this is no part of our concern. Moreover, 
in the particular case, they represent an obscure 
effort, without appeal, without a prospect from 
the beginning, and they have passed from the 
memory of man. 

The Degrees, if they can be so termed, with 
which we have been dealing appear by the texts 
to have been superposed on a single Grade of 
Chivalry, which constituted reception into the 
Order ; but other authoritative documents with 
which I am acquainted speak of two preliminary 
ceremonies, or alternatively of a single ceremonial 
which was divided into two parts, being those 
of Squire or Novice and Knight. There were 
yet other Rites, which, however, only call for 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

mention. Like the Statutes General of the Order, 
the ritual procedure was developed on a generous 
scale and to meet all occasions. As in the RITE 
OF THE STRICT OBSERVANCE, there was a separate 
method of reception for Servants-Hospitallers of 
the Order ; there was a ceremony for the festival 
in commemoration of the most holy and glorious 
martyr, Jacques Molay ; there was another con- 
nected with the marriage of a knight ; the birth 
of his child was celebrated in like manner ; and 
finally there was a service at his death. Besides 
these occasional observances there was a formal 
Eucharistic ceremony with a particular ritual 
after each meeting of the Chapter or Seance 
Conventuelle. The vestments and insignia of 
Levites were carefully elaborated, and the ecclesi- 
astical body had nine divisions as follows : (i) 
Prince of the Apostles, (2) Apostolical Princes, 
(3) Apostolical Councillors, (4) Primate, (5) 
General Coadjutors, (6) Special Coadjutors, (7) 
Priests or Doctors of the Law, (8) Deacons and 
(9) Levites from the 6th to the and Order. It 
was all very important in its accent, very reverent 
in the external guise, and took itself in the utter- 
most seriousness, but it was cloud piled upon 
cloud, and it dissolved speedily into its elements. 




So far as the common sources of information and 
of reference are concerned, the RITE OF THE 
STRICT OBSERVANCE must have appeared to the 
readers of Masonic literature as comparable to 
that Abraham Cowley who, in the words of 
Byron, " blazed the comet of a season." It is 
believed by some to have been emerging on the 
great horizon of Grades for something like ten 
years prior to its actual manifestation, but the 
evidence once again is only that which was 
proffered by Baron von Hund at a convention 
practically summoned to consider and decide on 
his titles. He had none in reality to offer 
beyond his bare word concerning his reception 
into the Temple in 1743 at a Lodge or a Precep- 
tory the name of which he had forgotten. We 
have become acquainted with the difficulties 
which inhere in this statement, and I believe 
VOL. i. 2 A 369 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

on my own part that the Rite was a sudden 
apparition with no antecedents to account for it 
except the Oration of Ramsay. It may be said 
that great schemes are not begotten in a moment, 
but I am speaking of the Rite in manifestation ; 
it would, of course, have been long maturing in 
the mind of its author, whether this was Hund 
or another. 

The beginnings were in Germany, as we 
know, but in the space of a few years the star 
was at its zenith in France and also in Italy. 
The Unknown Superiors, a pledge of fidelity 
to whom in reality gave its title to the Rite, 
was the rock on which it broke ultimately. 
The course taken by von Hund is intelligible 
under the pressure that was exercised, but it was 
not the course of wisdom ; he would have done 
better to remember that it is of the essence of 
Unknown Superiors to remain unknown, and it 
was naturally fatal when he sought to locate 
them, when he went even so far as to speak of 
communications received from the hidden centre. 
The maintenance of a veil of mystery would prob- 
ably at that period, and under all its circum- 
stances, have left him with a certain benefit in 
respect of the doubt. 

There is no question that the system was 
disintegrating long prior to the Convention of 
Wilhelmsbad, which was held in 1782, to de- 
liberate, among other matters, on the claim of the 
Templar element as an element ab origine symboli 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

in respect of Masonry. The term which it 
reached was designed to negative the hypothesis, 
or to confirm its tacit negation previously, and in 
this sense one would have thought that it put a 
period to the STRICT OBSERVANCE. As a fact, the 
Convention was resolved upon saving the Rite, 
and for this purpose it purged it, or consented 
to its purgation previously. I conceive that 
the Grades of St. Andrew carried with them 
an appeal which could not be overlooked by 
an assembly that was obviously favourable to 
the existence of High Grades. It might have 
retained these and rejected the Rituals of chivalry 
which arose out of them in the Rite. What 
it did, however, was to legitimise the whole 
sequence under the modifications at which I 
have hinted, and there emerged from the Con- 
vention the Regime Ecossais Rectifie and the 
Knights Beneficent of the Holy City of Jerusalem 

that is to say, the Grades of St. Andrew and 
the two chivalrous Grades of the STRICT OBSERV- 
ANCE, divested of the Templar claim but retaining 
a memorial concerning it as a link between that 
which was to survive and all that once had 

The fact may not carry with it on the sur- 
face a testimony to the prudence of such a 
decision, because accommodations of the kind are 
confessedly dubious, and the next episode in the 
history has the complexion of an inevitable result. 

Practically from the very moment when the 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Convention terminated its labours, the Rite 
passes almost out of view. It will be under- 
stood that the tide of revolution swept over it, 
but when this subsided and Masonry began 
to reassume something of its pristine form, 
not only in respect of the Craft Grades but of 
the larger Rites, the emergence on the part of 
negligible episode. The Directories of Burgundy 
and Auvergne are heard of indeed for a time ; 
they elected Prince Cambaceres, who was then 
Grand Master of the Grand Orient, as the Pro- 
vincial Grand Master of their dual system, but I 
find little record of activity, while somewhere 
between 1823 and 1826 the system died out 
finally in France. 

Now it will probably surprise those who are 
in any sense conversant with the subject if I add 
that the REFORMED RITE, all this notwithstanding, 
exists at the present day in a certain seclusion on 
the continent of Europe. There are covenants 
which prevent me from locating it, but a definite 
location it has, and it so happens that the two 
provinces I have mentioned are still those which 
remain out of the hypothetical nine that Von Hund 
had proposed to restore, following the original 
distribution of the Knights Templar. The centre 
of custody is not, however, at any point which 
would be suggested by either name. 

Before proceeding to the subject of this section 
there are a few matters which arise out of the 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

present preliminary remarks as a completion of the 
historical side. 

(a) It is inferred by some Masonic writers 
that the Convention of Wilhelmsbad drafted the 
reformed Rituals, but there is some ground for 
preferring the alternative view that this work 
was really performed by or before the Conven- 
tion of Lyons, which took place in 1778 under 
the auspices of the Loge des Chevaliers Bienfaisants, 
or Loge de Eienfaisance^ resident in that city. I 
believe also that it was the appeal of the Rituals 
in their revised and highly spiritualised form 
which carried so much force with the convocation 
in Germany rather than the original Grades of 

(b) As a point of some evidence that the 
rectification was adopted by the assembly at 
Wilhelmsbad and not drafted or compiled, it 
should be said that all the Rituals betray the hand 
of early Martinism, and to my mind represent a 
gradual development from the Martinistic centre 
at Lyons. 

(c) This centre passed through a very curious 
and chequered Masonic experience, from the 
was established thereat to those later days when 
it confessed (a) to the influence of the mystic 
L. C. de Saint-Martin, and (b) to the intervention 
of the STRICT OBSERVANCE, itself brought about 
through the Masonic zeal of Willermoz. 

(d) The Convention of Lyons divested the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

STRICT OBSERVANCE of the Templar element and 
added some other elements which were of a 
spiritual and moral kind : such, at least, is the 
statement, and I interpret it to mean that it ratified 
what had been effected by the Lodge already 

(e) The Convention of Wilhelmsbad had a 
wider programme than its precursor, and the 
question of the Templar element in Masonry 
and of that element in connection with the origin 
of the Craft, was by the intention only subsidiary 
to the general design ; but it never passed beyond 
the specific point, and even in this respect it only 
reaffirmed the conclusion reached at Lyons. 

(f) The Duke of Brunswick, who presided 
over the assembly, was a zealous defender and 
patron of the STRICT OBSERVANCE ; I do not know 
that he personally approved of the changes, and 
his continued Masonic interest after the year 
1782 does not of necessity suggest its adoption 
within the sphere of his influence ; while the old 
unregenerated Directories would have naturally 
protested in toto. 

(g) They perished, however, in the vortex 
of the Revolution, and their only resurrection in 
respect of the ficossais Grade is under the REGIME 
the Chivalrous Grades as Novice and Knight 
Beneficent of the Holy City of Jerusalem, to the 
consideration of which I proceed. 

The two Grades, apart from their dramatic 

The Masonic Oraers of Chivalry 

complexion, are characterised by a perfect union 
of principle, symbolic procedure and intention, 
so that for the purposes of this brief summary 
account I shall attempt no distinction between 
them as if there were any separate design. 
They are utterly Christian in their character, and 
the professions of faith required of the Postulant 
are worded in the ordinary terminology of Chris- 
tian Doctrine ; but through this embroidered veil 
there shines at every point the consciousness of a 
more exalted side, in which the formalism of 
doctrine dissolves and the spirit alone remains. 
The Order of Knights Beneficent may be therefore 
defined as the defenders of the Christ-religion, 
understood spiritually. The Candidate has come 
out of things external and is entering into those 
which are within. Again upon the surface, the 
inward spirit is one of Christian beneficence, and 
the work of the chivalry is to erect that ideal 
and mystic Temple which shall be the centre of 
holy love manifested towards God and man, but 
working up to the Divine more especially from 
its base in the practice of loving-kindness on this 
earth. Such a Temple is ever in the course of 
building, until that time shall come when the 
perfection of humanity in the faith which passes 
into knowledge, the hope which carries the seeds 
of its own realisation, and the love which acts 
on the individual through its union with the 
universal law, will have become realised in 
the plenary sense. Behind this there lies the 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

old conception of all initiation concerning rebirth 
and resurrection into new life in the identity of 
the Living Spirit. I must not dwell on this point 
because it is of suggestion only, and the chief 
office of the Grades is rather to carry the moral 
aspects of Craft Freemasonry into a higher region 
by unfolding their integration in the Divine Plan. 

It is in this sense also that the reintegration 
of man in God by concurrence with this design 
is put forward as the term of Masonry, the 
character of which is represented as threefold : 
(a) in respect of duty toward God, which is the 
duty of union in will ; (b) in respect of self- 
knowledge, which is the realisation of the Divine 
in our nature ; and (c) in respect of duty toward 
man, which is the realisation of the Divine in all. 
To such work and to such recognition the peoples 
of the earth are called by all the voices of the 

Hereof is one side of the instruction, and the 
other concerns the Secret Tradition out of which 
Masonry arose. There is in effect a short history 
of initiation in which it is easy to distinguish two 
elements, and useful to separate them so far that 
the one may not be held to stand or fall by the 
other. Egypt is taken as the source of Instituted 
Mysteries, or at least as that point beyond which 
there are no records to trace it. The connection 
of Israel with Egypt accounts for their derivation 
to Masonry through Solomon and the first mystic 
Temple. Behind this there lies, however, the 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

world before the flood, and the traditions of that 
primal period are held to have been brought over 
by Noah, from whom it is doubtless intended to 
intimate that Egypt itself derived. 

The epoch of Solomon represents a resurrection 
of initiation, and the Masonic story concerning the 
first Temple is a veil woven about it. The plan 
came to an end with the destruction of the 
Temple, and the secrets were henceforth preserved 
in the hearts of a few only. They descended in 
this manner to the Essenes and so to the time 
of Christ, Who restored initiation after a new 
manner. The Instituted Mysteries under the old 
Covenant are represented by the Craft Degrees, 
and their transfiguration under the law of Christ 
is represented by the High Grades. But the 
restoration personified in Christ did not involve 
new principles or derive from another root, and 
on this understanding Christianity has been 
always in the world, as St. Augustine said long 
ago, though it has been known under another 
name. The Essenes remained the depositories of 
the Christ-mystery in the Eastern world, and are 
actually that hidden sodality from which Masonry 
derives through the Knights Templar, not by the 
identification of the Chivalry with the operative 
builders, but through the descent of a vital 
principle from one to the other. The expression 
into which the thesis passes makes it even possible 
to infer that the Templars themselves were an 
accidental and automatic rather than an essential 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

and conscious channel. At the same time there 
is a suggestion that they had a secret, which is 
substantially the mystery of chivalry, and this 
mystery was spiritual. I do not think that such 
an hypothesis carries us further than the memorable 
letter of St. Bernard to the Nova Militia, which I 
have already quoted. I do not, indeed, think that 
it is intended to carry us further ; it is rooted in 
the fraternal bond of the human race, and for those 
who were conscious of the bond, chivalry has been 
always in the world, like Christianity, though 
again not passing under the specific name. 

It is obvious that in such a light the Knights 
Templar are reduced to a title or catchword, 
representing a Spirit rather than a fact in history, 
and it becomes possible elsewhere in the Grades 
for the literal Templar connection to be renounced 
formally. It is obvious, further, that the particulars 
of the mystery of perpetuation can be separated as 
a dream of the past from the essence of the matter 
at issue, when this matter emerges as a simple 
thesis (a) that there was a Secret Tradition ; (b) 
that the phase which was nearest to Masonry 
derives thereto from Jewry and is the tradition in 
Kabalism ; (c) that the Christian scholars of 
Kabalism were correct in affirming that the secret 
literature was a testimony to Christ ; and finally, 
(d) that the Christian Grades of Masonry, and, in 
particular, certain Grades passing under the guise 
of chivalry, complete the Craft, because they bear 
witness to Christ as the term of Masonic quest. 





THERE are three Grades of Chivalry which give 
testimony, as I have said, in the Holy House of 
Masonry concerning things which signify in the 
quest of the things that are eternal ; and these 
three are one in respect of their motive and their 
term. They have been dealt with already in the 
sections of this book, and there is no need that 
I should name them. It does not follow that 
amidst the vast concourse of remaining testimonies 
no voices have been raised which deserve a hear- 
ing ; if I confessed to my own feeling, there is 
music in many of them, and there are haunting 
intimations in a few of those that remain. But 
they would require a volume to themselves, and 
I must not suggest that they would repay the 
space which they might fill or the toil involved 
by their co-ordination. I could multiply sections 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

easily to embody the results of a mere discriminat- 
ing selection, but I am restrained by the limits of 
my proposal, which is to look for the traces of 
the Secret Tradition in directions where it may 
possibly lie, and to ignore those in which such a 
quest is idle. This and the next section are con- 
cerned with additamenta which, for one or another 
reason, must not be ignored entirely. The first, 
which is here and now opened, will treat briefly 
of the content embraced by the Grades added to 
the old RITE OF PERFECTION in its reconstitution 
Did the latter contain nothing which makes for 
our purpose, it would be difficult to overpass it 
because of its importance as a Rite, and on this 
account my synopsis will somewhat exceed the 
limits which, strictly speaking, are indicated by 
the title of the section. The second will deal 
with certain unclassified Grades which are of 
less moment on their own merits. 

As regards the SCOTTISH RITE, we have seen 
that it superadded eight Grades to the old 
sequence of the COUNCIL OF EMPERORS, and it 
should be understood generally, in respect of the 
whole series, apart from the Craft Degrees, that 
their present form, as worked under the obedience 
of Supreme Councils in Great Britain and America, 
represents a certain reasonable and desired remodel- 
ling the work in the one case, according to my 
information, being referable to an unknown hand, 
and in the other to that of the Sovereign Grand 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

Commander, Albert Pike. I think that the latter, 
for the purpose of this revision, resumed the 
mantle of his early vocation, as the author of 
Hymns to the Gods ; and I wish only that he had 
gone further, more especially respecting the better 
classification of the Grades, for these as they now 
stand are a permanent offence against logic. 

The additions with which I am dealing came 
from various quarters, and a few of them must be 
referred to the first years of the nineteenth century, 
as there is no trace of them previously. The 
others were known in France under various 
obediences or as sporadic and detached Grades. 
In respect of all I am concerned rather with their 
original form, and I shall proceed to enumerate 
them in their accepted succession as follow. 

I should recur in the first place to an in- 
dication which has been given already in brief. 
In constructing its particular sequence the SCOTTISH 
RITE has revised in a few respects the classification 
adopted by the old COUNCIL OF EMPERORS. The 
Grades of Chief and Prince of the Tabernacle, be- 
longing, as we have seen, to the period of the 
First Temple and that of Israel in the wilderness, 
have been substituted for those of Knight of the 
Sun and Kadosh, which now appear as 2 8th and 
3Oth respectively. The Prince of the Royal Secret 
has been moved from its place as the last and 
sovereign Degree of the EMPERORS and is 
numbered 32, its position being now occupied 
by the Knighthood of the Brazen Serpent. The 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

connection of this with chivalry is another of the 
recurring examples of anachronism and fantasy 
which have already come under our notice. The 
Grand Master of the Lodge represents Moses, 
while his Ministers or Wardens personate Aaron 
and Joshua. I have said elsewhere in this volume 
that the Headship of the Sacred Lodge is not 
represented by any Masonic or super-Masonic 
Grade, and I do not conceive that the case is 
altered by the appearance of the Lawgiver in 
such a connection as is offered by the Ritual of 
this Degree. It is supposed to have been 
established by certain Crusaders after the recovery 
of Jerusalem ; and it will be understood that 
some of the implicits are therefore of a Christian 
kind, but they are interspersed anomalously 
enough among the preoccupations belonging to 
a Grade of the Old Covenant. The Brazen 
Serpent, of course, signifies the healing of Israel, 
which is, however, commemorated with another 
motive, being the care of sick pilgrims in Palestine, 
to which office of charity the Postulant is pledged 
by the living bonds of brotherhood. A phase 
belonging to the Corporal Works of Mercy would 
therefore seem to represent the horizon at large 
of the Grade, but in a slender sense it has traces 
of suggestion concerning mystic death and resur- 
rection, the healing and restoration of the soul 
as well as of the outward body. Because of its 
imputed place of foundation, the "Transparency " 
or Tracing Board of the Grade depicts the 



Vol. /., to face p. 382. 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

Burning Bush, with the Sacred Tetragrammaton 
in the centre or the Divine Virtue encompassed 
by the Power and the Glory. Of such are the 
warrants in symbolism of that Higher Law which 
once in mystic time and somewhere in the sacra- 
mental world was drawn into expression, but was 
removed and not proclaimed. The universal world 
of humanity is awaiting it to this day. 

The a6th Grade of the SCOTTISH RITE is that 
of Trinitarian^ or Prince of Mercy. The experience 
of the Candidate is a little fantastic in character, and 
would, I think, be ridiculous in its original work- 
ing even if the Temple had the resources of a 
theatre at its command. The details need not 
trouble us, but it so happens that behind the 
extrinsic questions to which I have adverted there 
is the anomaly of conception as a whole. A title 
such as Trinitarian suggests Christian doctrinal 
motives of an express kind, nor are such 
motives wanting : at the same time the Master of 
the Lodge to make use of a Craft title once 
more personifies Moses the Lawgiver, while the 
Wardens are Aaron and Eleazar, the Candidate 
representing Joshua, for a reason which is in no 
sense obvious. The intention of the Ritual, on 
the surface, at least, is to inculcate the importance 
of truth, and the symbolic statue of the Goddess 
occupies a prominent position in the Temple. 
The Candidate is sent on a triple journey through 
the sphere of the planets,|that of the fixed stars 
and the Empyrean. These correspond to intel- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

ligence, conscience and reason. In the third there 
takes place a certain kind of unveiling, which 
seems to connect vaguely with a Hermetic 
purpose, as the instruction of the Grade is con- 
cerned with the Great Work. The result is 
anomalous enough, and it is only by supreme 
folly that it can be connected with the Mosaic 
period. The Christian elements tend further to 
confuse matters, but I may mention that three 
Divine covenants are recognised, constituting in 
their harmony a triple alliance between man and 
God. The first was made with Noah, the second 
with the Israelites in the desert, and the third 
with all mankind by the passion, death and re- 
deeming blood of Jesus Christ. Perhaps in the 
spiritual understanding of the Magnum Opus, the 
covenant of circumcision, the covenant of the 
Law on Sinai, and that of the New and Eternal 
Testament, would be held as the three great 
symbolic periods of universal approximation 
towards the term. 

The 27th Grade is that of Commander of the 
Temple, and it has passed apparently through 
several changes. The Temple is that of Jerusalem, 
and before it came into the hands of those who 
remodelled it there is evidence that this was the 
case. It is difficult, therefore, to tolerate its con- 
nection with any Order of Chivalry. This not- 
withstanding, the earliest records that I have met 
with describe it as dealing with the condemnation 
of the Knights Templar, and the Cross even now 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

remains as one of its symbols. I have indeed seen 
a specimen of this cross inscribed with initial 
letters representing Jesus Nazareus and Jacques 
Burgundus Molay. Otherwise it has no symbols ; 
there are also no allegories and no elements corre- 
sponding to the idea of initiation : such, at least, 
is the statement of Mackey, but it has deeper in- 
timations than he was perhaps in a position to 
recognise, for it is a Grade, after a certain manner, 
of death and restoration, though presented on the 
surface in the guise of bondage and liberation 
from the passions. I must not say that it is re- 
deemed by this shadow of reality ; it is in truth 
negligible in conception and poor in performance. 

The 29th Degree is that of Grand Scottish 
Knight of St. Andrew of Scotland. It has an- 
alogies with the old French Grade of MaUre 
Ecossais, which has been described with its 
antecedents in an earlier section. The suggestion 
that in the root-matter it is peculiar to the 
SCOTTISH RITE, is therefore an error ; so also is the 
Hermetic complexion which was once ascribed to 
it in earlier days than these. It has further been 
certified as identical with the first Degree in the 
fabulous RITE OF RAMSAY. It pretends to have 
originated in Crusading times through the solici- 
tude of certain Christians for the restoration of 
churches in Palestine which had been destroyed 
by the Saracens. Having no longer an office in 
this particular respect, it has taken into its heart 
the virtues of charity, philanthropy, universal 

VOL. i. 2 B 385 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

tolerance, the protection of the innocent, the 
pursuit of truth, the defence of justice, reverence 
and obedience to the Divine, with the extirpation 
of fanaticism and intolerance. In the days before 
the French Revolution I suppose that the last 
duty would have involved hostility to the Catholic 
Church. It has been regarded, in fine, as a suitable 
preliminary to the Grade of %adosh. 

The 3ist Grade is that of Grand Inspector 
Inquisitor Commander, which has been sometimes 
regarded as peculiar to the Rite : it was, however, 
the last, or seventh, in the series of the ECOSSAIS 
PHILOSOPHICAL RITE. It has been called purely 
administrative, but on the ethical side it inculcates 
justice to brethren. It is also a ceremony of 
installation apart from symbolism. At one time 
it was forbidden to clerics, and for a more obvious 
reason to Knights of Malta. It has, in any case, 
nothing to detain us. It has been suggested that 
the Templar element is carried over from the 
Kadosh Grade, and so is the office of execration, 
but this is a question of confusion, or otherwise of 
some early codex with which we are now un- 
acquainted. As it stands, the Sovereign Tribunal 
which communicates the title pro forma possesses 
only the shadow of a Ritual, seeing that it 
pretends to no other purpose than the examination 
of aspirants to reception as Princes of the Royal 
Secret. Its devices are Justice, Equity, and the 
symbolic balance of the Law. 

The 33rd Degree is Sovereign Grand Inspector- 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

General^ and this is particular to the Scottish Rite, 
if I except the fact that it has been stolen by later 
systems. It is Christian in respect of its elements, 
but it is more especially an administrative Grade, 
and may be left to its proper concerns. I ought, 
however, to add that the Templar element which 
enters into the Rite at the 3Oth Grade remains 
with it till the end, and is here also conspicuous. 
It is remarkable in view of this fact that the 
system does not possess an actual Grade of the 
Temple ; it is throughout commemorative only. 
The motive which actuated the commemoration -. 
has been reduced under certain obediences ; but 
I have seen Spanish Rituals belonging to the 
South American obedience which in 1873 retained 
curious vengeance elements. Those which at an 
earlier period were current in France perpetuated 
the traditional Templar hatred for the Knights of 
Malta, a similar sentiment pervading the Prince of 
the Royal Secret. Under the light presented by 
this element the 33rd Degree had the particular 
quality belonging to an office of idle and 
offensive observance. It is not worth while to 
dwell upon it, but so ended a Rite which in 
other respects had collected from various quarters 
some valuable testimonies at least to the Secret 
Tradition in Masonry. 




I AM divided in my personal opinion, and it is 
quite possible that my readers will be divided 
similarly into two sections. Some of them will 
think that the proportion of Masonic High 
Grades which responds to the motive of chivalry 
is so exceedingly large that a more considerable 
part of this book should have been dedicated to 
the subject. It is precisely the temptation which 
I have felt compelled to resist. I have set aside 
eleven sections, and am treating of those Grades 
only which it seems impossible to ignore. Others, 
who do not confess to the enchantment of the 
chivalrous element, and perhaps regard it as a 
purely arbitrary and adventitious importation, 
will incline to decide that I have given too much 
space, seeing that out of a general division into 
seven books one of them has been occupied there- 
with. I can say only that I have followed my 
own discretion and have not too especially had 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

either party in mind. I could have wished, indeed, 
to say more, and am relegating to an appendix 
certain briefer summaries of a few things left over 
out of many hundreds. Meanwhile, the present 
subsection will be concerned more especially with 
two Grades which are things of repute in England. 
The acquaintance which we have made at 
the close of the third book with that Degree of 
Rose-Croix which is so full of grace and truth, 
will naturally occasion something more than 
distrust for a ceremonial scheme which might be 
called alternative, perhaps even supplementary 
thereto. These are, however, the aspects under 
which the Grade entitled Knight of the Holy 
Sepulchre is presented for appreciation at the 
present stage of our research. It will appear 
in due course that I regard it as of some import- 
ance symbolically, but it abides not only under 
the kind of cloud which I have specified but 
is open on the literary side to the charge of 
piracy. It is so like the Rose-Croix Grade that 
it seems to have borrowed all its vestures and 
much of its root-matter. I have intimated else- 
where the possibility that the two rituals, in 
place of reflecting from the one to the other, 
may have sprung from a common source. The 
point does not concern us in any especial way, 
because the Grade of Rose-Croix overshadows so 
completely the Knight of the Holy Sepulchre that 
the latter is relegated to the subsidiary position 
which it has always held. A far severer form 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

of criticism than any which I am likely to use 
might still give expression to a certain sympathy 
with the Grade on account of its position in the 
pitiable triad of which it forms a part. On the 
one side is the knighthood of the Red Cross of 
Rome and Gonstantine, negligible to the last degree 
and presenting a familiar and worthless legend ; 
on the other is the knighthood of St. John the 
Evangelist, in which the craft of manufacturing 
rituals has bewildered the brain of the maker ; 
it is nightmare of all folly and unreason. Why 
the piece de resistance is placed in the middle 
way in defiance of symbolical time must be left 
for settlement by the apologists of existing 
sequences in rites, if such apologists can be found ; 
the name of Constantine in connection with the 
first Grade defines the chronological position, and 
the unreason is that what follows should belong 
literally or spiritually to the time of the re- 
surrection. The 3rd Degree is, of course, in no 
category of consideration, as the invention of the 
lost Gospel of St. John is not an event which can 
be allocated either to this world or to the world 
to come. 

Between these two nondescripts is the pearl 
of the triad, telling of the eclipse of that Divine 
Word which was manifested in Christ. Theoretic- 
ally the Crucifixion has taken place, and the 
body of the great Master has been laid to its 
mystical rest by Joseph of Arimathea. The 
knightly company is in desolation, deprived of 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

the Voice and the Word. The suggestion seems 
to be that the resurrection of the Word will take 
place if those who keep vigil over the tomb shall 
exercise sufficient zeal, by cultivating the cardinal 
virtues of which the Candidate may have learned 
the symbolic efficacy in the Grade of Rose-Croix. 
The attainment of those virtues is the reward 
of the vigil, or in another form of expression 
the watchers have to keep their lamps burning. 
The title by which the Candidate gains admission 
resides in the fact that he has discovered the 
secret communicated to those who worked at 
the Second Temple, which is equivalent to saying 
that the condition of reception is exaltation in 
the Royal Arch. There is also a further warrant 
in the desire manifested on his part for the 
attainment of the true mystery, understood as 
a verbal formula. The symbolism amidst which 
he is placed is that of another spiritual Temple ; 
but the veil is rent, the corner-stone has been 
rejected and set aside, and the Knights are 
looking and praying for the restoration of all. 
The Candidate is constituted a guardian of the 
sepulchre, and goes out to battle with the enemies 
of the Word. He achieves victory, and the task 
which is imposed on him afterwards teaches him 
that, his previous efforts notwithstanding, the 
day-star is still obscured. As the result of another 
mission he is told that the day-star has reappeared. 
This signifies the resurrection, and there is joy 
among the chivalry of God. 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

It is out of an apparent inconsequence 
attaching to the Candidate's technical and official 
warrant that the deeper intimation of the Grade 
arises. The possession of the ancient secret, 
familiar to those who have worked at the Second 
Temple in Masonic ceremonial, cannot in the 
reason of things constitute an efficient warrant, 
or any warrant at all, except for the Postulant 
entering from the porchway of the Craft, which 
in this instance would again be the Holy Royal 
Arch. The Candidate, however, is already a 
Christian Mason and a Knight Red Cross of 
Constantine. This consideration is, of course, 
very slight in itself, because I have pointed out 
already that the Knighthood of the Holy Sepulchre 
has an irrational position in a triad where two 
of the constituents are negligible ; but it offers 
an opportunity to appreciate one further illustration 
of that which lies behind all Christian Grades 
answering to the motive of the Sepulchre. Knight 
of the Holy Sepulchre, Rose-Croix, or Order of the 
Temple, their message on the inward side is and 
can only be that the Christian House of Doctrine, 
like the Mystical House of Israel in the Craft- 
Grades, is in the sorrow of a great loss. Each 
of these systems provides a scheme of restitution 
which symbolically atones for everything. But 
the Candidate in fine takes with him, from the 
experience of each pageant, only that which he 
brought in ; and it is because the efficiency of 
the rituals has been restricted within the narrow 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

spiritual consciousness of those who devised them 
that he does not take it out in a new form. It 
is therefore another story of a great substitution, 
the communication of that which is familiar 
in the sense wherein it is familiar, instead of in 
the transcendant sense which would lift up the 
cloud from the sanctuary. It should be observed, 
however, that the resurrection which is symbolised 
in the Grade is, in the sense of the symbolism, an 
immediate, present resurrection recurring at the 
advancement of every Candidate, which is exactly 
in analogy with its prototype, the Grade of Rose- 
Croix. It follows that the line of interpretation 
is the same in both cases, and that what I have 
presented in the one can be taken to stand for 
the other. It is in such manner that, through 
all this part of our research, we are haunted by 
the image of a great, holy and convincing ritual 
to come, which shall carry the whole subject 
into the desired transcendence. It seems to fly 
before us, and we almost see the edge of its 
glorious vestments at the turn of the road. But 
it is not a Grade of chivalry. 

The ceremony of consecrating a Viceroy of 
the Order is important in a certain sense, because 
of its insistence on the spiritual priesthood accord- 
ing to the Order of Melchizedek, and it may 
seem by implication that this is reflected upon 
the Candidate. The ceremony of Enthroning 
a Sovereign affirms that the ineffable mysteries 
of the Order consist in the recognition of Christ 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

as the True Word ; it claims in this manner to 
impart the great and unique secret which lies 
behind all Masonry, of whatever Rites and Degrees. 
It comes about as a consequence, and is peculiar 
to the system, that the initiation of the Candidate 
is not completed until he receives the highest 
office of the Order. As appears by the Rite of 
Dedication, the Conclave is built upon Christ. 
The impression of the sequence of Rituals is 
quite conclusive that the pseudo-historical part, 
including the connection with Constantine, is 
not only idle and regrettable on its own basis, 
but makes shipwreck of the symbolism. The 
dedications and investitures are common to the 
three Grades, but they arise more especially from 
Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. This is, of course, a 
Catholic Grade, and its particular blemish and in- 
consequences is found in the reliquary legend 
which is allocated thereto by an unnecessary 
traditional discourse ; it is also one of those Rites 
which was termed Jesuitical in the past. Possibly 
the invention of the Cross was at one time a 
separate Degree. 

As a supplement to these considerations, and 
that my readers may judge for themselves, it will 
be appropriate to add a summary account of the 
Red Cross of Constantine. Till the year 1880, or 
subsequently, this Grade was identified with that 
of Knights of Rome, but the sub-dedication is now 
set aside. It is worked under the Council of the 
Order, but it is also worked in Ayrshire under the 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

of Rome and Constantine forming the 23rd Degree. 
The first reference to its existence, made on 
authority that I have so far failed to verify, is said 
to occur in an early recension of Baron Hund's 
Templar Grade in the STRICT OBSERVANCE. I 
believe that the reference may have crept into a late 
copy, though I have not met with it anywhere ; in 
any case, 1750 is a date which seems impossible, 
and we shall do well to rest satisfied with the year 
1788, when it began to be conferred in England ; 
it has an unbroken record from that period on- 
ward. The symbolic points are as follows : 
(i) The destroyed Temple is rebuilt in the heart 
by taking up the Cross and following the foot- 
steps of the Lamb ; (2) the term is rest in the 
City of God ; (3) the title to reception is true 
legitimacy according to the royal line of David, 
meaning the Israel of God, or the pedigree of the 
spiritual succession which begins in the Supernal 
Paradise and ends in the Palace at the Centre ; 
(4) the obligation is at the risk of continued sup- 
pression of the True Word ; (5) in respect of the 
Word, it may be intimated, under the proper re- 
serves, that it is not a coming forth from the Tomb 
but from a withdrawn state ; (6) the vesture of 
this world being the Roman toga was put aside 
at one time in favour of the apron of chivalry, but 
successive emendations by editors who had no 
eyes to see have refined away this symbolism. 
The Grade has really no connection with chivalry, 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

and this is the excuse offered by the rational 
understanding for the omission just mentioned ; 
outside this it has no symbolism whatever ; but 
it is useful in its trivial way as evidence that what 
was held to be wanting in Masonry, in so far as 
Masonry depends from the theosophy of Israel, 
was supplied by the Christian Degrees. To 
illustrate this more fully the historical section 
represents Constantine, whose vision is the thesis of 
the Grade, as convinced otherwise by knowledge 
derived from the Roman Collegium Architectonicum 
that paganism was erroneous and absurd. A re- 
ference like this naturally involves a hypothesis 
concerning the origin of Masonry, but the Secret 
Tradition does not look to Rome of old for its 
titles or even its traces, though that which is 
found everywhere is not without its witness in 
the Republic and the Empire. 

There are two different consecrations of the 
Red Cross, one of which is in Templarism, and 
the other in the Rosicrucian Mystery which lies 
behind Masonry. The hallows of the Masonic 
Order of the Temple are : (a) the Cup of Liba- 
tions and of Memory ; (b] the Stone which is 
written within and without ; (c) the Dish of 
Bread ; (d] the Skull of Mortality. The Cup 
is successively that of water and of wine ; the 
Dish is the first refreshment offered to the 
Postulant ; the Skull is connected with the last 
test applied to him ; the Stone is the symbol 
whereon he sets his seal without that he may be 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

enabled to look on that which is within, and 
hereto are many meanings attached. The intima- 
tions of Templar Masonry are in curious analogy 
with one side of the Graal traditions. Readers 
of my work on that literature will remember 
what is said regarding the removal of the Sacred 
Palladium, and that its loss was synonymous with 
the loss of vital realisation concerning the nou- 
menal Eucharist. In this sense the Church has 
remained through the centuries at guard over a 
secret which has so far passed away that it is no 
longer in its official consciousness. The whole 
knightly duty of the Temple's striking ceremonial 
is to keep watch over an empty sepulchre. It is 
not voided, but is vacant in the simple and un- 
evasive sense ; that which had left went higher 
that it might draw all things after it ; but the 
Church, which is the keeper of the letter and the 
sign, does not see that this drawing is by way of 
the Spirit and of the meaning behind. The 
Divine act which exalted, beyond all reach of 
stars, the sacred Cup of the Graal, exalted also 
the risen body of the Master, so that in the 
highest or super-efficacious sense tabernacle and 
tomb are alike empty. In the symbolical and 
sacramental sense the signs remain and are valid ; 
the Christian veneration for relics carries with it 
the implicit that something has been always re- 
moved, but there is left always a sacred memorial. 
If it so happens that the holders of the Temple 
Grade reflect upon that mystery which has been 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

communicated to them, technically speaking, they 
may realise that in respect of its first issues 
their Rite is a little unmeaning, yet it is really 
under this aspect highly symbolical. Let me add 
regarding one amazing point in the ceremony a 
single word by way of hint to those who can take 
it ; the last term of the Passion is the redemption 
of Judas Iscariot, but before this is reached what 
sterile paths, what mazes, what gardens of Geth- 
semane, what steep and clouded Calvaries. 




I HAVE spoken of this ancient Rite in connection 
with the Grade of Rose-Croix but have reserved 
till the present section the consideration of two 
memorable points which could not be discussed 
at the moment. Let me say as a preface to 
both that the ROYAL ORDER OF SCOTLAND bears 
a similar relation to other High Grades of 
Masonry that the alchemical tracts in Ashmole's 
Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum bear to other 
Hermetic remains in English of corresponding 
periods. The explanation is more simple than 
it seems. The Rituals of Heredom of Kilwinning 
and Rosy Cross are partly in archaic doggerel 
verse, while those of all other Orders and Degrees 
are in prose only. The Ashmolean collection is 
also in doggerel verse, but the rest of the English 
adepts were content to record their dreams and 
perhaps their experiments through the more 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

universal medium of expression. There is an 
adventitious flavour of increased archaism in both 
cases by consequence : the metrical Rosy Cross is 
not older than the French Grade of Rose-Croix 
and certain texts in the Theatrum Chemicum Britan- 
nicum^ their ascriptions, notwithstanding, are not 
much earlier than Seton's New Light of Alchemy 
or the writings of Robert Fludd. The analogy 
can, however, be extended in a more favourable 
direction ; for, as it so happens, the Ritual 
called Heredom of Kilivinning is anterior to any 
High Grade which is extant otherwise, and 
some of the alchemical texts in verse seem to 
represent the earliest English records in respect 
of Alchemy. 

If, on certain considerations, I must apologise 
for the fantasy of this contrast, it still leads me 
up to my first point of importance. When 
Ramsay died in 1743 it is as nearly certain as 
anything can be called in the great book of 
Masonic false ascriptions that no Continental 
High Grade had as yet been put on the 
symbolical market. Whatsoever is alleged to 
have anteceded the year 1750 is rooted in 
chronological mythos. It seems indubitable, 
however, that at the very time of Ramsay's 
death the ROYAL ORDER was existing in London, 
and was then an established foundation, which 
could not have been later, and was probably 
somewhat earlier, than the date of the cele- 
brated Oration. I believe that its first Degree 



Vol. /., to face p. 400. 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

is older than that of Rosy Cross, the evidences 
in respect of the latter being full of suspicion, 
and the disposition of informed criticism is to 
conclude that its root-matter, at least, represents 
an importation from France. But it follows : 
(a) that the Grade of Heredom is the first High 
Grade on record ; (fr) that by a process of 
exhaustion it is of British, and probably of 
English origin ; (c) that the mere basis of the 
High Grades is therefore indigenous to these 
islands, like the Craft itself. 

The next point is that the Rosy Cross has 
perhaps some shadowy analogies with the French 
Grade of Rose-Croix, but is in no sense the 
same ritual, with however grave variations. 
There would be, for this reason, more than 
temerity in the suggestion that the one was 
copied from the other, or that the one originated 
the other. It is probable to my own mind that 
they sprang from a common root, which is to be 
sought in the literary memorials concerning the 
Rosicrucian Brotherhood, and that in respect of 
the Royal Order it seems to draw from that 
branch of the memorials which dwells more 
especially on the cross ensanguined by the blood 
of the Redeemer than from that which is con- 
cerned with the Red Rose uplifted in the centre 
of the Cross. The matter of the symbolism is in 
one case rather the sacrifice of Messias, Who shed 
His blood for man, and in the other it is rather 
the mystical resurrection which followed the 

VOL.1. 2C 4-0! 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

sacrifice. I consider that the Rose-Croix Grade 
is by far the more important of the two in the 
depth of its intimations ; but on the questions of 
date, origin and relations there is no first and 
second in the interest. 

Unfortunately a comparison of the Rituals 
will not help us even to a tentative conclusion. 
Let us suppose for a moment that contrary to 
critical opinion and my own view the Grade 
of Rosy Cross, although later than that of Heredom, 
was at work in London between 1743 and 1748 ; 
there is then a possibility that it may have sug- 
gested the French Rose-Croix, without the latter 
being a development of the former. On this 
hypothesis we should get a certain insight into 
the genesis of what is now known as the i8th 
Degree, and this is not without moment, because 
it is one of the three Christian High Grades of 
Chivalry which really signify. But the only 
shred of evidence lending colour to the assumption 
rests in the fact that a little earlier than the year 
1750 a few members of the ROYAL ORDER were 
domiciled at the Hague and applied for a con- 
stitution to London. It was duly granted, but 
no Chapter was incorporated. The rumour of 
the Rosy Cross had, however, passed to the 
Continent, and from the Hague it may have reached 
Paris. It is, however, simple surmise. Outside 
this point there are naturally the usual fictitious 
and worthless legends, as, for example, that the 
inevitable Chevalier Ramsay instituted the Order 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

in France. That is an alternative version of the 
imaginary Templar Rite. 

The assumption therefore fails, for neither 
substance nor shadow supports it. The contrary 
possibility is that which I have mentioned, that 
the Rosy Cross represents an importation from 
France. I think that this hypothesis merely 
follows the line of least resistance ; it was held 
easier to assume that the Grade of Rose-Croix, 
which had so large an issue, begot the second 
part of the ROYAL ORDER than that this originated 
independently. It is not, however, translation, 
nor is it so much as imitation in any sense of 
that term. I adhere, therefore, to my original 
thesis, that they sprang from a common root, in 
the direction of which both issue in a mystery. 

In conclusion on the historical side, readers 
should not be misled by a notion, sometimes put 
forward, that the existence of the cossau system 
in France or elsewhere will account even for the 
genesis of the Grade of Heredom. I believe that 
it was earlier than any Degree of the system at 
any place on the Continent, and that the existence, 
if indubitable, of a Scots Lodge at Berlin in 1741, 
or of others at Hamburg and Leipsic a little later 
on, does not imply that they worked ficossais 
Grades in the sense that now attaches to that 

I will, at this point, add a few words con- 
cerning the Ritual itself in its extant form. Part 
of it is in ordinary prose and part in that which 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

I have described as doggerel verse. It is very 
bad verse indeed, but in this respect is comparable 
again to the literary claims of Ashmole's 
alchemical poets. They, however, have the 
saving though not intrinsic quality of what I 
have called an archaic manner, which in the 
present instance is due only to incredible crudity 
of style. There is, moreover, nothing to suggest 
that the verse was made in Scotland. The 
Ritual is almost entirely recitative in char- 
acter, and is couched for the most part in the 
form of question and answer. Its deficiency of 
dramatic element is shared in common with most 
of the lesser and all the negligible High Grades. 
But we have seen that the same criticism applies 
to those of St. Andrew, which are so important 
in other respects. 

The Candidate is pledged very briefly and, 
while he takes the obligation, has a sword in 
one hand and a trowel in the other. He is 
subsequently reminded that in this manner the 
Jews worked at the building of the Sacred Temple 
in the days of Nehemiah. The lesson is, however, 
patriotic, that in defending our country we should 
arm either hand for work or war. The Candidate 
is then constituted a Knight of the Rosy Cross 
and is invested formally, the Banner of the Order 
being displayed above his head. This completes 
the ceremonial or active part. 

So far, there is utterly no reason for any dis- 
tinctive name to be applied to the honour which 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

he receives. The Christian elements of the Grade 
must be sought in the Lecture which follows, 
and to simplify this part I will classify the points 
thus : (i) A Lodge of Knighthood is formed 
by three persons, symbolising the Holy Trinity ; 

(2) the chivalry of the Rosy Cross was established 
in memory of the tree which bore Him Who was 
at once the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the 
Valley, namely, Jesus of Nazareth ; in Whom 

(3) the Order places implicit belief and entire 
trust ; (4) the articles of faith concerning Him 
are that He died upon a cross between two thieves, 
for the sins of humanity, that He descended into 
hell, and now sits enthroned on high till the 
Day of Judgment ; (5) finally, the remission of 
sins is to be hoped for in virtue of faith alone. 

The last statement should be noted, because 
it disposes once and for all of the suggestion 
that in this form the Rosy Cross came out of 
a Catholic mint. The doctrine is purely and 
simply that of Protestantism at the period. 
Personally, I regard it as fatal also to the hypo- 
thesis of a Jacobite interest, which was mainly 
Catholic, and those who have maintained that 
its presence affected Masonry have consistently 
and always referred it to the intervention of the 

Readers who are acquainted with the French 
Grade of Rose-Croix if only through the descrip- 
tion which I have given will inevitably conclude 
that the Rosy-Cross, in comparison, is not even 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

" as moonlight unto sunlight " or " as water unto 
wine " ; but, its reference to the Rose of Sharon 
notwithstanding, it has an implied importance 
for its period, because it dwells upon the Rose 
crucified, and there can be no question as to its 
real intimation, that when the Cross was en- 
sanguined by the blood of Jesus it became truly 
the Rosy Cross. An intimation of this kind is 
wanting in the i8th Degree. But a further and 
more essential distinction rests in the fact that 
the second Grade of the ROYAL ORDER is not a 
Grade of Quest ; it is rather one of doctrine 
communicated. The Word, which ex hy pot he si 
is the Lost Word, is communicated almost pro 
forma, because it is the Word of the Grade, but 
there is no anxiety or research and no realisa- 
tion that the Candidate is in a state of loss con- 
cerning it. The explanation is that the element 
of Quest and attainment belongs to the previous 
Degree, which is much more important, much 
more dramatic in character ; the Rosy Cross is its 
appendix and not exactly essential as such, for 
as a Brother of Heredom and Ki/wmmng the 
Candidate has already received as much as the 
ROYAL ORDER is in a position to give him. 
That which it does convey to him is the marrow 
and life of Christian Masonry. 

The Knights for this is also a chivalry in 
the artificial and nominal sense are here com- 
bined together in a quest, and the Candidate 
participates therein by the fact of his reception. 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

There is a symbolical travelling in the four 
quarters to recover the Lost Word, which is in 
correspondence with the Perpend Ashlar, the 
Stone which the builders rejected. This Stone 
is Christ, Who is the perfect illustration of the 
three Masonic grand principles : (a) of Brotherly 
Love, because He laid down His life for the 
redemption of His brethren ; (b) of Relief, because 
it is He Who has liberated us from the bonds 
of sin and death ; (c) of Truth, because He is 
Truth itself and the Giver thereof. 

The Grade is again largely of a recitative 
kind, but it is accompanied by a certain quality 
of action and has even a spectacular element, if 
I may so term it. I am afraid that this is its 
burden, but to those who confess to the sense 
of suggestion in Masonic Ritual and to the appeal 
of the Christian side, I know of few things more 
likely to take the spirit of the hearer into the 
symbolic transcendence than some of the questions 
and answers. There are two sections, respectively 
called the Passing of the Bridge and Admission to 
the Cabinet, and through both of them the wonderful 
discourse of the official interlocutors proceeds, 
like a chorus of hierophants, in the terse manner 
of conventional question and answer. It is not 
very easy to summarise the instruction in a satis- 
factory form, for it is scattered through an unusual 
array of. sections, but I will attempt a consecutive 
presentation, setting the literal order aside. 

The quest of the Word is followed through 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

the wide world that is to say, in the four 
quarters and it is, in other terms, a quest for 
the Holy Rock or Mount of Adamant, which 
is a Rock of Salvation, with a fountain issuing 
therefrom. The Rock and the Word are Christ, 
and the voice of the Word says, in allusion to 
the fountain : Come and drink. On the rock 
is a great cruciform church in the middle of a 
great city, surrounded by angels carrying flaming 
swords. It is obviously the Church Catholic, 
or universal, visible and transcendent, its length 
from East to West, its breadth from North to 
South, its height immeasurable and its depth, in 
fine, unfathomable. It is the Church which 
is not of this world, although it is manifested 
here in similitude, and the work of the chivalry 
of Heredom is to share in the building thereof. 

Now, the vision of this Church and the hope 
which it inspires concerning election to the 
Kingdom that is above, the City of the living 
God and the heavenly Jerusalem, is attained by 
the visitation of a certain Tower, which itself 
is a speaking symbol of Masonry. The implica- 
tion is therefore that the Masonic art is the path 
of heaven, and this is how it is worked out. 

(a) The three great lights of Masonry are 
natural, Masonic and Christian laws ; (b) The 
sun directs us to the light of revelation, and the 
moon displays the sun of Nature, which is a re- 
flected light ; (c) The Master of the Lodge is not 
mentioned, but he is no doubt a vicegerent who 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

leads under either light to the finding of Christ, 
as the end of all Masonic research ; (d) The five- 
pointed star, with the letter G in the centre, 
declares the Shekinah whether on Sinai, in Salem, 

or the place 
Where eastern Magi saw the Blessed Face ; 

(e) The mystic pillars signify that God alone is our 
support ; (f) The Masonic pavement represents the 
Law delivered on Sinai ; (g) The Blazing Star 
signifies the Divine Glory manifested thereon ; (^) 
The tesselated border indicates the adornment of a 
virtuous life in conformity with the Law ; (/) 
There is only one thing with which the Temple 
of Solomon suffers comparison, and that is the 
body of Christ, which is a mystical Temple ; () 
The place of Masons therein is the middle 
chamber that is to say, the place of the heart, on 
which the head of St. John lay otherwise the 
Secret Church, called specifically in the Grade the 
Church of the first-born, meaning the first-fruits 
of the redemption in spiritual resurrection after 
passing through emblematic death ; (/) The 
middle chamber is entered with the Masonic 
virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity ; (m) The 
Trestle-Board is the way of salvation, meaning the 
Holy Gospels ; (ri) The Broached Thurnal is 
Divine Grace, which penetrates the heart ; (o) The 
Perpend Ashlar is the Grand Architect of the 

So does the symbolism of Masonry suffer a 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

great transmutation and enter gloriously into a 
new life. I affirm on the evidence here cited 
that the Grade of Heredom of Kilwinmng is a sum of 
Christian Craftsmanship, deserving a place in my 
septenary sequence of Degrees, were it not repre- 
sented otherwise. This is the true knighthood of 
the Tower, about which we hear independently 
in the great nomenclatures of Grades. The 
sequels or comparisons of such a text in ritual are 
the texts in mystic literature of the Cloud on the 
Sanctuary^ by Eckartshausen, and Loupoukine's 
Characteristics of the Interior Church. 




WE have now to sum up in respect of this section 
of the High Grade movement in Masonry, and 
the first thing that will, I think, be obvious to 
those who have followed me thus far is, that the 
motive of chivalry must be held as of an adven- 
titious kind ; but, this notwithstanding, there lies 
behind it an implication which is exceedingly 
important, whatever may be its ground in fact. 
The motive depends from a prototypical hypo- 
thesis that the Crusaders met with something in 
the East which entered by their mediation for the 
first time into Europe, and more especially the 
western part. It was obviously not a mystery of 
material building ; if we say that it was em- 
blematic architecture, the statement will be purely 
arbitrary, and hence in respect of intention the 
hypothesis could have been toncerned only with 
some form of secret knowledge. The nature of 
this alleged knowledge is varied by the predisposi- 


The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

tions of its several makers, between whom there 
was, however, a common ground. It is repre- 
sented most especially by the Templar form, 
because it is in respect of this chivalrous Order 
that the suggestion becomes substantial on account 
of the charges preferred against the Knights at the 
time of their proscription. 

In order to support the theory of transmission 
through this channel, it became necessary to show 
in legend that something had persisted in Palestine, 
comparatively from the far past, and was of a kind 
which would answer to the object in view. That 
which was selected may be called a kind of 
Kabalistic tradition, which at some indeterminate 
period had become Christian. It was obviously 
not Christianity of the Latin type, as this would 
have been an importation of something already 
possessing the kingdoms of the West in a plenary 
sense. It is spoken of frequently as Johannite, 
but this implication is perhaps rather late in the 
legend, and represents the set of influences brought 
into modern Templary by Fabre Palaprat on his 
adoption of the Levitikon as a kind of secret gospel. 
We shall see that for Baron Tschoudy some so- 
called Knights of the Morning were probably a 
veil of the Essenian sect, and that something very 
nearly identical was implied by the poet Werner 
in respect of his Sons of the Valley. In the one 
case we have students of the mysteries of Nature 
who had pursued their researches along the lines 
of Alchemy because this art happened to be a 



Vol. A. to face p. 4' 2 - 

The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

particular interest of him who invented the story. 
In the case of Werner, who knew nothing of 
Alchemy, and was moreover a poet of his period, 
we have an imaginative creation with a suggestion 
behind it of strange occult powers and implied 
sanctity of design. The point is important as 
regards both indifferently, because both were 
seeking to celebrate a marriage between em- 
blematic Freemasonry and those Instituted 
Mysteries which I speak of as part and parcel 
of the Secret Tradition. 

The hypothesis of chivalry is of course a 
myth ; it has been discussed rather seriously by 
Masonic writers of ability, who have been led to 
reject it, while there has been a disposition on the 
part of Masonic dreamers to sustain the claim ; 
but to speak my mind frankly, it never stood in 
need of discussion, as demonstrably on the very 
surface its basis was (a) in pure reverie or (&) in a 
conventional device to insist on the identity 
between the root-matter of Masonry and that of 
the other Mysteries. It is this which constitutes 
its interest and imparts its strange charm. It is 
this also which gives a place to its serious con- 
sideration in these pages. 

The question which arises is whether on the 
assumption that it was a device we are dealing 
with a simple intuition, almost a blind feeling, or 
with a veil of secret knowledge. Behind the 
comparatively untutored and primitive forms of 
expression which are on the surface of the Grade 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

of Rose-Croix we have seen that there is a deep 
mystical sense, and it is the kind of sense which 
belongs to the Houses of Secret Knowledge. There 
is no legend attached to it ; there is no claim on 
the historical side ; it is not especially of the 
Temple, the Hospital, Palestine, Rhodes, or Malta : 
it is time immemorial of chivalry, and the chivalry 
is not of this world. We shall be on other and 
more explicit ground in the hypothesis formulated 
by Baron Tschoudy concerning the Knights of the 
Morning. It seems designed to intimate and 
conceal the relation of emblematical Masonry to 
the Mysteries by those who knew of the relation 
directly and indubitably. The available particulars 
concerning the external life of the inventor are 
very meagre, and of his inward life we know 
nothing. He wrote seriously within his own 
lines on his own subjects, and he claimed special 
knowledge without obtruding the claim. It is 
not exalting him to an undue grade of dignity if 
I suggest that he was the kind of person who 
at that period may have passed within some of 
the secret circles or have had cognizance concern- 
ing them. I do not believe that the Chevalier 
Ramsay was connected with any secret school, but 
his thesis was useful as a peg when the ulterior 
purpose intervened. In the case of Baron von 
Hund his story is so utterly entangled that it is 
difficult to reach any decision concerning it, as we 
have already seen ; but his Ecossais Grades of St. 
Andrew came out of a very curious mint ; it was 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

dissolved in another mint and rose again gloriously 
therefrom. The Templar legend in the RITE OF 
THE STRICT OBSERVANCE passes into something rich 
and strange when it issues in the hands of Werner 
into the suggestive mystery concerning the Sons 
of the Valley. 

If the secret schools put some counters into 
the hand of von Hund and left him to sort them 
out as he could, we understand at once (a) his 
apparent personal sincerity, which has impressed 
those who repel his claims in toto ; (fr) the affirma- 
tion on his honour that he came across something 
of which he did not pretend to know anything 
certainly, but from which he expected direction ; 

(c) his utter loss when the direction did not come ; 

(d) the facility with which he was duped for a 
period by every impostor who sought to exploit 
his Rite ; and finally, (e) the essential greatness 
of some of his materials, as well as their limita- 
tions when he worked them out as he best could 
by the help of his own lights. We can under- 
stand Werner also, possibly in touch with attaches 
of the Secret Tradition, but choosing the wiser 
part of the poet instead of the maker of Rituals. 

The whole legend of Masonic birth in 
chivalry, approached in this manner, becomes for 
us an allegory and symbol, and to debate its 
value historically is as little to the purpose as to 
take a similar line of criticism regarding the 
mystic death of the Master Builder or the quest 
of Christian Rosy Cross after the wisdom of 

The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry 

Arabia. I do not propose to consider whether 
the Charter of Larmenius and the four mythical 
Lodges founded by Jacques de Molay were part 
of the veiling ; the genesis of these things is 
utterly in the dark clouds ; the first would be 
especially regrettable on such a hypothesis, but 
up to a certain point at least the pseudo-historical 
fact was unquestionably part of the parable. 

After the great Grades those of Rose-Croix, 
the Order of the Temple, the Anights Beneficent 
and Heredom of Kilwinning, the purport of which 
we can understand in this light there remains 
the great crowd of stultified and stultifying imita- 
tions devised apart from all knowledge, figments 
of foolish minds ; we can understand exactly 
how they rose, how they took slgnum for signatum^ 
and why they are therefore worthless. 

Each of the great Grades has moving lessons 
of its own ; some of them shine upon the surface, 
some of them are buried beneath ; some of them 
have qualities of suggestion apart from their 
inner meaning ; in some it is the inner meaning 
alone by which they are redeemed from fatuity. 
The guise of all is fantastic enough at first sight, 
but it really co-ordinates the typical examples 
that I have mentioned with the spiritual chivalry 
in transcendence of the romantic literature of 
chivalry. And beneath this appealing charm 
there are all the deeper intimations. They are 
stories of quest, stories of attainment, stories of 
aspiration after the Lost Word of all-redeeming 


The Masonic Orders of Chivalry 

sanctity, of the Living Gospel, the Mystic Ross 
of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. The 
message brought away from them is far otherwise 
profound as we shall see than is anything 
communicated by alchemical Grades or Grades 
of Kabalism ; but for their proper understanding 
the first condition is that the historical side 
should be set definitely apart : it should be 
realised that we are moving only through a 
beautiful world of images. Those images repre- 
sent the hunger and thirst of the heart for 
things undemonstrable, or at least hardly declared 
in the records of the past, Mysteries of the Christ- 
life, a quest after their own manner for the 
realities everywhere bodied forth in the many 
languages of the Secret Tradition in a word, 
the ^Mystenum Fidel, which as I have said is 
a deep well of experience. 

JEnb of tbe jffrat IDolume 

VOL. I. 2 D 417 

Printed by MORRISON & GIBB LIMITED, Edinburgh 

2 1 1992