Friday, July 21, 2017

The Ancient & Primitive Rites of Memphis & Misraïm

In the early days of the Grand Lodge system and following Ramsay's Oration, European Freemasonry was plagued by degree fabricators and peddlers. Generally considered clandestine by most Grand Lodges, specifically the UGLE and American Grand Lodges, the Rites of Memphis & Misraïm are seen as clandestine or irregular as it claims jurisdiction over Ancient Craft Masonry and was seen by many as spurious at best, and nothing more than a money-making scheme to dupe title seekers out of money.. The Rites of Memphis & Misraïm are no longer worked by legitimate American Freemasons, but are now under the jurisdiction of the Grand College of Rites. These rites are worked in a few countries like Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, and the Dominican Republic. Prior to 1881, these rites were seperate and the Rite of Misraïm is older, but by the efforts of the renowned Italian patriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi, the two were merged together.

The degrees worked under these rites are as follows:
1º - Apprentice 
2º - Companion 
3º - Master 
4º - Secret Master 
5º - Perfect Master 
6º - Intimate Secretary 
7º - Provost and Judge 
8º - Intendant of the Buildings 
9º - Master Elect of Nine 
10º - Illustrious Elect of Fifteen 
11º - Sublime Prince Elect 
12º - Grand Master Architect 
13º - Royal Arch 
14º - Grand Elect Perfect and Sublime Master 
15º - Knight of the East or the Sword 
16º - Prince of Jerusalem 
17º - Knight of the East and the West 
18º - Knight of the Rose Cross 
19º - Grand Pontiff 
20º - Knight of the Temple 
21º - Patriarch Noachite 
22º - Knight of the Royal Axe 
23º - Chief of the Tabernacle 
24º - Prince of the Tabernacle 
25º - Knight of the Brazen Serpent 
26º - Prince of Mercy 
27º - Commander of the Temple 
28º - Knight of the Sun, or Prince Adept 
29º - Knight of St. Andrew 
30º - Grand Elected Knight of Kadosh 
31º - Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander 
32º - Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret 
33º - Sovereign Grand Inspector General 
34º - Knight of Scandinavia 
35º - Knight of the Temple 
36º - Sublime Negociant 
37º - Knight of Shota (Sage of Truth) 
38º - Sublime Elect of Truth (The Red Eagle) 
39º - Grand Elect of the Aeons 
40º - Sage Savaiste (Perfect Sage) 
41º - Knight of the Arch of Seven Colours 
42º - Prince of Light 
43º - Sublime Hermetic Sage (Hermetic Philosopher) 
44º - Prince of the Zodiac 
45º - Sublime Sage of the Mysteries 
46º - Sublime Pastor of the Huts
47º - Knight of the Seven Stars 
48º - Sublime Guardian of the Sacred Mount 
49º - Sublime Sage of the Pyramids 
50º - Sublime Philosopher of Samothrace 
51º - Sublime Titan of the Caucasus 
52º - Sage of the Labyrinth 
53º - Knight or Sage of the Phoenix 
54º - Sublime Scalde 
55º - Sublime Orphic Doctor 
56º - Pontiff, of Sage of Cadmia 
57º - Sublime Magus 
58º - Sage, or Prince Brahmine 
59º - Sublime Sage, or Grand Pontiff of Ogygia 
60º - Sublime Guardian of the Three Fires 
61º - Sublime Unknown Philosopher 
62º - Sublime Sage of Eulisis 
63º - Sublime Kawi 
64º - Sage of Mythras 
65º - Guardian of Sanctuary - Grand Installator 
66º - Grand Architect of the Mysterious City - Grand Consecrator 
67º - Guardian of the Incommunicable Name - Grand Eulogist 
68º - Patriarch of Truth 
69º - Knight or Sage of the Golden Branch of Eleusis 
70º - Prince of Light, or Patriarch of the Planispheres 
71º - Patriarch of the Sacred Vedas 
72º - Sublime Master of Wisdom 
73º - Patriarch, or Doctor of the Sacred Fire 
74º - Sublime Master of the Stoka 
75º - Knight Commandel of the Lybic Chain 
76º - Interpreter of Hieroglyphics, of Patriarch of Isis 
77º - Sublime Knight or Sage Theosopher 
78º - Grand Pontiff of the Thebiad 
79º - Knight, or Sage of the Redoubtable Sada 
80º - Sublime Elect of the Sanctuary of Mazias 
81º - Intendent Regulator, or Patriarch of Memphis 
82º - Grand Elect of the Temple of Midgard 
83º - Sublime Elect of the Valley of Oddy
84º - Patriarch or Doctor of the Izeds 
85º - Sublime Sage, or Knight of Kneph 
86º - Sublime Philosopher of the Valley of Kab 
87º - Sublime Prince of Masonry 
88º - Grand Elect of the Sacred Curtain 
89º - Patriarch of the Mystic City 
90º - Sublime Master of the Great Work 
91º - Grand Defender 
92º - Grand Catechist 
93º - Regulator General 
94º - Prince of Memphis, or Grand Administrator 
95º - Grand Conservator 
96º - Grand and Puissant Sovereign of the Order 
97º - Deputy International Grand Master 
98º - International Grand Master 
99º - Grand Hierophant
As mentioned above, the Rite of Misraïm is the older of the two rites. This rite was originally 90-degrees and Joseph Balsamo, also known as Count Cagliostro, was instrument in its development. The Rite of Misraïm was founded in 1784 and referred to by Cagliostro as the "Rite of High Egyptian Masonry." This rite spread quickly in Milan, Genoa, and Naples and then to France through the efforts of three brothers named Joseph, Michel and Marc Bedaridde. It hit a roadblock in 1817 when it was banned in Italy.

The Rite of Memphis was established by Jacques Etienne Marconis de Nègre in 1838. This rite was similar with Misraïm, but combined elements of Templarism into it. It took root in Paris as well as Brussels. This rite would go dormant in 1841, but would be revived in 1848. With refugees fleeing the revolutions plagueing France, Memphis Lodges were established in London. Many Masons denounced this rite as being undemocratic and contradictory to the principles of Freemasonry as well as being too involved with revolutionary politics. The rite seemed to be in disarray by the 1860s.

Starting in 1881, Giuseppe Garibaldi seeing some use in these rites, prepared to fuse them together which came into effect in 1889 and he served as Grand Hierophant. Garibaldi is considered one of Italy's "fathers of the fatherland" as his military exploits made the unification of Italy possible. He even attempted to unify all of the Masonic bodies in 1867, but failed at that endeavor. These newly merged rites became popular by the efforts of Theodore Reuss, a close friend of John Yarker, both of whom would preside over these rites.

In America, the Rites of Memphis and Misraïm were not warmly welcomed; the Rite of Memphis being introduced in 1856. They were seen as borrowing degrees of the Scottish Rite and trying to capitalize on this rite's popularity. Many leaders of the rites in the US were often expelled from the Scottish Rite and in some instances from their Grand Lodge. Masonic leaders condemned these rites as spurious and nothing more than money-making schemes. Some Grand Lodges have had either amended their constitutions or Grand Masters issued edicts forbidding their members from joining these Rites. Albert Pike had the following to say about it:
"Whatever the merits of the Egyptian Rite, or Rite of Memphis may be, it is quite sure that it is not generally recognized as a legitimate Rite of Freemasonry; that the Bodies of it in the United States of America are entitled to and receive no consideration, it having been constantly used here for purposes of private profit; and that elsewhere in the world it has only here and there two or three isolated Supreme Powers which cannot be recognized by nor have relations of correspondence and amity with, those of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite."
These rites would rise and fall in the US, never truly taking root, until 1932 when they were dissolved and absorbed by the Grand College of Rites; it should be noted that there is debate as to the authority to dissolve this group, but was again done in 1955. The Grand College of Rites, which does not to practice any of its rituals, remains the only regular Masonic organization in the United States dedicated to preserving the history and rituals of defunct and inactive Masonic orders, and holds authentic claims to the Rites of Memphis and Misraïm.

References

1. Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis Misraim: Historical Notes. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon: http://www.parareligion.ch/sunrise/mm1.htm 

2. Garibaldi — the mason. (2002, October 26). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/biography/garibaldi_g/garibaldi.html 

3. History. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Sovereign Sanctuary Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraïm for the United States and Jurisdictions: http://www.memphis-misraim.us/ 

4. History. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand College of Rites of the USA: http://grandcollegeofrites.org/history/ 

5. Pike, A., & Cummings, W. L. (2001). The Spurious Rites of Memphis and Misraim. Retrieved from Scottish Rite Research Society: http://scottishriteresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/9.Memphis.pdf 

6. Rite of Memphis-Misraim. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge Bet El: http://www.glbet-el.org/masonictexte/History%20and%20Degrees%20of%20Memphis-Misraim%20Rite.pdf 

7. Rites of Memphis Misraim. (2011). Retrieved from Freemason Information: http://freemasoninformation.com/what-is-freemasonry/family-of-freemasonry/rites-of-memphis-misraim/ 

8. The Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon: http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/kneph/aprm.html

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