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third DEGREE - THE master mason

by Meredith Sanderson, M.R.C.S., F.R.G.S., F.R.A.I., P.M., P.Z., P.M.M.
Member of the Council of the Masonic Study Society.
First Edition, 1923.Second Edition, 1924.Third Edition, 1926


(1) " Without scruple or diffidence."

I do not think anybody would suggest that the modern craftsman shows either scruple or diffidence when receiving his wages as this phrase would seem, on the face of it, to imply. When considered in the light of an agricultural allegory as suggested, (28) however, it at once becomes intelligible, and we can see that the F.C. is "justly entitled" to the reward of his labor in ploughing and planting the corn, and that he would reap it at the harvest "without scruple, well knowing that he was justly entitled" to it. Similarly in "receiving his due" he would not be "diffident" as he above all others should place "great reliance" in the Author of his gain.

(2) The P. W.

In a work on ancient ecclesiastical history (29) the following occurs, "By a singular lapsus linguae the moderns have substituted T.C. in the 3rd Degree for tymboxein, 'to be entombed.' This in the ancient catechesis Arcani was the p.w. from the symbolical representation of the state of d. h to the restored and undying existence." Unfortunately no authority is quoted for the statement that this p.w. was used in the Mysteries, for if it is correct it would imply either that masonry obtained the p.w. of this degree from the Grecian mysteries, or that both obtained a word resembling it in sound from some common source.

The word c. in Arabic, Hebrew and indeed all Syrian languages, means "blacksmith" or any "smith," though in Hebrew another word similarly pronounced means "acquisition" (Cheyne). The word t. is derived from a Persian word, meaning "dross" or "scoria of metal, (esp.) of iron or copper," a word in common use to this day in Persian, Arabic and other languages of the near East. As in so many instances an allegorical title has in translating the Old Testament been mistaken for the name of an actual person, for the name itself means "a w. in m..Is." The connection with H.A.B. is obvious.

Bro. Churchward boldly states that the Egyptian P.W. was "Horus-Behutet." (30) He says, "Any brother who is interested will find all in the Ritual of Ancient Egypt" (i.e., the Book of the Dead); all I can find is that Horus - (or Heru -) Behutet was the god of the metal-workers at Edfu (i.e., ancient Teb), as is also apparent from an inscription in the temple in that place; e.g., "Heru-Behutet arrived . . . . and his followers in the form of workers in metal." That the metal-workers brought into Egypt this useful art as well as that of brickmaking is not in doubt, but this is not proof that their god's name was used as a p.w., even if we assume that the prototype of the god was a man and "the first artificer in metals."

It would seem probable, however, that the ancient p.w. had reference to an artificer, mythical, if not deified, and possibly dating back to the close of the stone age. As already mentioned, iron-workers often form guilds among primitive people ; in some cases they constitute a separate clan, even a cult, while they are everywhere treated with marked respect. Among the African tribe with which the writer has been most associated, the iron-workers until recently constituted a distinct clan having considerable political power; they were called the Wachisi or "The People of the Darkness." It is possibly from such a society, as for example that at Edfu, that Freemasonry derived its operative character in the first place; the more peculiarly architectural traits may have been added later by the priests, though the evidence as to this is not irrefutable. We know that the Mysteries as a whole were astronomical in expression though deeply religious in meaning, but it should be noted that mason's tools were depicted in hieroglyphics with a symbolic meaning so that their occurrence in the mysteries (or indeed in Freemasonry) may have no special significance, any more than the wafer amongst ourselves as typifying thinness, or a board as symbolic of flatness.


(1) "... applies the p. . of the c... to b..b..ts.

The object of this procedure is probably the same as the application of the p. in the 1st Degree, that is, it is a relic of the ordeals the candidate had to undergo in ancient times. The sq. should also be used Enter . on the sq. and c. combined as the esoteric meaning of the Masonic symbol is not complete until they are combined.

(2) Perambulation.

In the absence of the cubic stone this ceremony has rather lost its point. In all the ancient mysteries this perambulation was observed and a similar custom is common in both religious and magical ceremonies; the number of rounds is usually either three or seven. It was until quite recent years common in all parts of the British Isles especially in regard to "holy" wells, and in many parts of the world the fields were annually protected by means of a procession carrying lighted torches; in Scotland this custom was observed on Halloween up to the last century. (31) The rule appears to be that when a blessing is intended the course of the sun is followed, but in black magic the perambulation was performed against the sun, which has the general meaning of Death. Muslims, however, perambulate the Kaaba at Mecca seven times against the sun, and the WaYao (Central Africa) do the same round a model of the sacred mountain.

Here the form of going through the lodges of the E.A. and F.C. is observed in the course of the perambulations, which seems incorrect - the latter is and should be observed as a distinct ceremony.

(3) The Can. gives the P.W. to the S.W..

The P.W. should be given to the W.M. who presides over the M.M.'s Lodge. This is done, though by proxy (the candidate not being put in possession of the P.W. until after the ob.) in the Scotch ritual.

(4) S ... n

Note that these s. ps are divided into groups of t. . and f. . the meaning of which has already been explained (sq. and tri..) (32) Bro. Ward, in his book "Who was H.A.B.?" recently published, * suggests that the form of these s. ps is connected with re-incarnation or rebirth, and quotes similar customs which undoubtedly have this significance. Among most primitive peoples, however, s....g over a g. like this would be an unthinkable action and an insult to the d. d. It is possible that they have a more materialistic origin and that formerly the s. . ps of the 2nd Degree were performed on a square, by walking round the angle, and those of the 3rd Degree on the sq. and c. combined by s. . g on the corners of the figure thus made. Until quite recently chalk or charcoal drawings were executed on the floor on which the s. . ps were carried out, though we have no information as to the subject of these drawings.

(5) The ob: "Lodge duly opened on the center."

In the center of the Lodge is the Eye, the symbol of Osiris. The dead god was said to be situated at the Pole-star, guarded by the Seven Masters who revolved about him, never setting (Renouf) (33); in this aspect he was symbolized by the point within a circle. Osiris, as God of the R ... n was the possessor of the s. sought by the candidate in the Mysteries, which s. he would therefore expect to find "on the center" and in the Lodge "opened on the center." (Cf. the opening in the 3rd Degree).

(6) " My foot shall traverse."

Some commentators have taken exception to the use of the word "traverse" on the grounds that it means "cross, thwart, oppose"; they appear to have overlooked the old English meaning of the word preserved in the nautical expression "traverse sailing," i.e., tacking or following a zigzag course. It is not impossible that the wording is deliberate and has reference to the s. ps of this degree, symbolic of adherence to the "principles of the sq. and c . . . s." (34)

(7) The principal Architect.

This is not strictly true : H.A.B. was, of course, a worker in metals. The title H.A.B. is taken direct from the Hebrew of 2 Chron., IV., 16, and means " H. his father." ** H. means "Exaltation of life, their liberty or whiteness, he that destroys"; it is of interest to note that abib in Hebrew means "ears of corn," or "green fruits," and there is just a possibility that this is the correct title of H..

(8) Fifteen F. C's.

There must be some reason for this number especially as it recurs in the number of F.C ... S. who were sent out to search for the missing H.. In the hope of finding a clue in the myth of the d. of Osiris I have searched the authorities, but the only reference to the number of conspirators I have been able to find is in Plutarch's "Isis et Osiris." (35) Here the number is given as 72, which possibly refers to the number of hours during which the moon is absolutely invisible, day or night; - there is, of course, very little doubt that the myth of Osiris owes many of its details to the period when Osiris was especially identified with the moon, witness the 14 pieces into which he was cut up (i.e., the 14 days of the waning moon), his age when murdered - 28, and other points. (36) Now in the Masonic legend there are three in ... rs, and 72 hours = 3 days, and without pressing the point unduly there is at least a possibility that a lunar month of thirty days has been taken in the Masonic legend, half of them being allegorized as conspirators and the other 15 being sent out in search of the d. . Master, while the three m.. rs represent the three days when the planet is not seen. There is no mention in the Osirian myth of any of the conspirators having relented, all the 72 being regarded as m. . rs, but if only three out of 15 are regarded as the actual m. . rs, as in our ritual, the transition of the remainder into 12 who relented is quite credible.

The influence of the moon on growth is, in all parts of the world, regarded as different in effect according as she is waxing or waning; during the first half of the lunar month growth is stimulated, in the latter half, retarded." Care must be taken, say the wiseacres, to choose a phase of the moon favorable o the character of the work in hand ; agriculture, building and marriage, for instance, being relegated to the period before full moon, haircutting and felling of trees being better performed during the wane. (38) The same superstition was prevalent in Egypt, and the 15th day of the month was observed as a special festival, marking the acme of the moon's influence, as we learn from the Book of the Dead. (39) There is therefore some warrant for the suggested origin of the recurrent figure of 15, though the hypothesis is put forward merely as a suggestion, tentatively.

(9) The Entrances of the Temple.

In the English ritual the three doors at which the were posted are given as S., N. and E.; in that of the Scotch Constitution they are E., W. and S.. Both are agreed in this, that the fatal blow was struck in the East. The reason for the difference in the Scotch ritual would appear to be the custom still observed in some lodges of enacting the m. . r, instead of merely relating it, the three principal officers taking the parts of the assassins; thus the cand. is taken first to the South, then to the West, and is finally dispatched by the W.M. in the East.

The assignment of two of the entrances to the North and South in the English ritual (and, I think, probably in the old Scotch ritual) betrays the influences of the Solar cult, in which the Sun was said to be in difficulties at both the northern and southern solstices, and, in the northern hemisphere at least, was said to die and be reborn at the latter. The difficulties encountered by H.A.B. at the North and South gates are therefore easily understandable; if he had been finally dispatched in the South the allegory would obviously have referred to the annual death of the sun, whereas his d. in the West would refer to the daily d. of that body. Both views would have ample authority.

All rituals agree, however, that he received his d.-blow in the East, and one is tempted at first to regard this as being so arranged as to allow the W.M. to conduct the ceremony, and is a mistake. Reference to the myth of Osiris, however, shows that in the annual mourning for the god they lamented "him who was born on the right side of the world, and who perished on the left." (40) Now in all texts the front of the world was the South (khent), the West is the right side (unemi), and the East is the left (abti) (41); thus Osiris was mourned as one who was born in the West and perished in the East, --obviously in reference to the moon.

These facts would supply an explanation of the statement in all rituals that H.A.B. was killed in the East, and, incidentally, would be evidence that the Scotch ritual is wrong in introducing the West as one of the entrances: for though the North and South may be added in another (solar) mythology as places where the god received injury, the West could not be associated with the East in the same sense, but as the birth-place of the older god would rather tend to be omitted as in the English ritual.

(10) Without the consent of the other two.

This refers, of course, to the unity of the Trinity, - without one the others are not. The absurdity of the statement is excused by its allegorical meaning, but the whole story is badly conceived. Companions of the R.A. will here note a parallel to the method of communication of the w. in that degree.

(11) The parts of the b. of H.A.B. struck.

Some rituals make the blows correspond to the penal s. of the first two degrees, the first m. striking him across the t., and the second across the b.. If any alteration be desirable this version has something to recommend it as bringing the three degrees together, and supplying a reason for the pp. . of the other two. I would hazard a suggestion, also, that the penalty of the third is of modern invention, and that the earlier one is the, - shall we say capital one, of at least two higher degrees; this would be more in keeping also with the ritual as it stands.

In the Scotch ritual the reference to the R. and L.K.s is pointed by recalling the attitude of the cand. in taking the ob. of the first and second degrees.

(12) " . . . laid him l. at his feet."

In the Scotch and some other Constitutions the ritual up to this point is merely related. The cand. then leaves the Lodge and on his readmittance the m.. of H.A.B. and the search for his b. . is enacted by the whole Lodge, the three principals taking the chief parts. This has the merit of making the narration of the traditional story continuous, instead of being broken up as in the English ritual by the charge and the communication of the s. and w..

(13) The grip of the I... or I ... like hold.

There is a regrettable tendency in some rituals to lose this landmark, for landmark it is. Thus we find throughout the Book of the Dead the Supreme God, whether Ra or Osiris, appealed to as the "god in the Lion form;" always in such cases the prayer is that the soul of the departed be permitted to "come forth" in the East, rising with the Sun from the d ... s of the g.. The lion, in Egypt, as nowadays, was the personification of strength and power, but it was almost exclusively associated with the regeneration of the Sun and so with the r..n. Thus Sbu (Anheyu, "the Lifter") who, as the light of the Dawn, was said to lift up the sky-goddess from the arms of the sleeping Earth, is often represented as a Lion, for only through him was the rebirth of the Sun made possible. Osiris is called the Lion of Yesterday, and Ra the Lion of To-morrow (42); the bier of Osiris is always represented as having the head and legs of the lion, and so on.

It was probably from the same association of ideas that the first sign of the Zodiac entered by the sun after the summer solstice was named the Lion, though here the power of Osiris in causing the inundation of the Nile, which began at this season, may also have been allegorized.

The propriety of the expression "l.. -like gr." or "hold" in specifying that which r. . the cand. from a figurative d. is evident from the above. It has survived from the Solar cult and is eminently a landmark which should be restored to all rituals.

(14) The Morning Star.

This is a figurative allusion to Sirius or Sothis, the dog-star, which by its rising at dawn brought tidings of the approaching inundation, and so Peace and Salvation to the whole of Egypt. It was only the inundation of the Nile which kept Egypt from becoming a desert like the surrounding country.

(15) The w..ds.

It should be noted not only that there are alternative words, but that they have the same general form, their consonants being identical, suggesting that they are but slightly different form's of the same word. It is more than probable that one of these words was that used by the "Ancients" and the other by the "Moderns," and that they were bracketed at the time of the Union.

In their present form the first has no meaning in Hebrew and the second is a proper name occurring in the Old Testament. It is the belief of the writer that the latter was adopted because it was the only word occurring in the Authorized Version of the Bible resembling the original word: whether this was done by the Ancients or by the Modems there is no evidence to show.

Now in the ritual we are given the words and their "meanings," and since neither as it stands can have the meaning given it follows that either a word having that meaning has become corrupt, or that a wrong meaning has been given to the word; in the latter case also there is no guarantee that the original word has not been distorted. It has been seen that spurious meanings are given in our ritual to some Masonic words (as, for example, the P.W.s ***) and the writer has found the same thing to have happened in some of the "higher" degrees. It is submitted, therefore, that in the present instance the same process has most probably occurred and that the real meaning is different from that given in the ritual. Obviously in such a matter and under such circumstances no dogmatic statement can be made, but it may be mentioned that Hebrew words meaning "the son is d." and "Alas, my (or the) son is d." have very nearly the same sound as the M.M's. words, and further that two tenses of an Arabic verb identical with these two words mean, literally, "not dying" and "we did not die" respectively. Any of these meanings would be singularly apposite, the first relating to the prototypes of H.A.B. (The Widow's Son) mourned by the mother (Isis, Ishtar, etc.), and the others to the subject of the degree.

(16) They formed ... three F. C. Lodges.

In the Scotch ritual an unspecified number is sent out in search of the lost M., presumably in order that all the brethren present at the ceremony may take part; the aprons and white gloves of some rituals are there said to have been worn by the 12 who recanted. In some old rituals this same 12 are sent out in search of the b., and they divide themselves into four parties of three each. It is often stated by writers on Freemasonry that 12 is the correct number, having allusion to the 12 signs of the Zodiac.

(17) "Caught hold of a shrub ... which ... came easily out of the ground."

It seems probable that the compilers of the modern ritual took this incident from the Aeneid, where Aeneas discovers the body of the murdered Polydorus by accidentally plucking up a shrub that was near him on the side of a hill. (43) The two accounts are too much alike for mere coincidence, especially when we find that in some rituals (e.g,, that of the Scotch Constitution) the b. of H.A.B. is said to have been found on the slopes of Mount Moriah. It is possible, however, that the resemblance is due to a common origin.

(18) Acacia.

The importance which even apparently insignificant details in the ritual may possess as landmarks is well illustrated in the "sprig" of Acacia. This tree was in ancient Egypt peculiarly associated with the soul, and with Osiris as God of the Resurrection; according to the most ancient accounts it was an Acacia which grew up and enclosed his coffin - more modern accounts state that it was either a tamarisk or a sycamore. In the Egyptian Tale of the Two Brothers the hero deposited his soul in an Acacia, and so intimately was his fate bound up in it that he fell dead when it was cut down, and came to life again when one of its seeds was thrown into water. (44)

It may be mentioned, also, that the sacred character of this tree is not by any means peculiar to Egypt; in Patagonia (45) and in Arabia, (46) for instance, it is regarded as the intermediary between this world and the next, and any acacia near a village is always loaded with offerings. In India (47) and many parts of Africa (48) its wood is essential for the ceremonial making of fire by friction, and it is the Shittim wood of the Old Testament, of which the Ark and Tabernacle were made.

(19) Origin of casual  and w..s.

As we shall see, many of these S.ns are found outside Freemasonry and it is probable, therefore, that the details of this part of the legend were invented to explain S., T. and possibly W.s the meaning of which has been lost. The injunction to observe incidents at the opening of the g. bears a strong resemblance to a superstition frequently observed even nowadays, - that of opening a sacred book at random and taking an omen from the first words to meet the eye. So in ancient times people were wont to take an omen from the first words they heard after quitting the temple, as to whether their petition would be granted. Plutarch mentions (49) that the Egyptians "look upon children as endued with a kind of faculty for divining" and "form omens and presages" from their talk among themselves "especially if it be in a sacred place." He states that this superstition originated from Isis having obtained the first news of the fate of Osiris from some children; by analogy, however, it is probable that this incident in the myth was invented to explain an established custom.

(20) The S..ns.

It will be observed that the position of the r.b. in the first Cas. S.n is identical with the final position of the same h. in the English S.n of G. and D.: that of the Lh. is seen on Egyptian monuments and in the vignettes, in association with a S.n now belonging to a higher Masonic degree, and made with the r.. The second Cas. S.n is also found in Egyptian pictures where it is used by those saluting Osiris in his coffin. (50) The second part of the P. S.n is found in India where it is used by Shiva (51): the navel is frequently regarded as symbolical of the center in Eastern and African thought; in some Bantu (Central African) languages it is the only word for "center." There may also be an esoteric meaning having reference to rebirth, which is a common rite, especially in secret societies, in all parts of the world.

The S.n of G. and D. of the English Constitution is, I think, misinterpreted; it should be a p. S.n. (52) The continental S.n appears in some of our "Higher Degrees" with quite a different, and, in my view, more correct interpretation. The genuine S.n expressive of G. in a religious sense and of D. in a secular, is almost certainly that used in Scotland, Ireland and U.S.A.: it is found in the initiation ceremonies of the WaYao to which reference has already been made, (53) with a religious meaning, and in Ceylon (54) and Arabia (55) at least as an appeal for assistance.

The S.n of J. and E. is the usual attitude or adoration or, with one h., of salute, in the East ; in ancient Egypt it would appear from the paintings to have been especially appropriate to the Sun rising at dawn from the d. of the g.. It probably has allusion to the attitude of Shu (the prototype of Atlas) when raising the heavens at dawn.

It cannot be too strongly insisted upon that these Sns. were not intended to be mere means of "proof," but were formerly expressive of inarticulate feelings. They are just as much symbols as the sq. and p. L, but differ in that they are deeply religious. No doubt in Egypt they tended to become conventionalized and may in the beginning have been magical, but their persistence through the ages has been due to their function of expressing abstract ideas of dependence on the Great Spirit, worship and the like, feelings which could not be clothed in words.

* Op. cit.. Chap. XXI..** That is "His father, H."*** See Part II. I. (5) and Part III. II. (2).


(1) The Ornaments.

While there is evidence that these "ornaments" have traditional sanction, the "explanations" given for them are obviously modern, and have not even biblical authority

(a) The Porch.

The Porch or porpylon of the Egyptian temples was symbolic of tattu, the Entrance to Amenta, represented by the two, but there is no evidence whatever that it was duplicated within the precincts; probably nothing more than "gateway" was intended. (Lat. Porta, from which the word "porch" is derived.)

(b) The Dormer.

In all temples dedicated to the Sun the altar was so arranged that a shaft of sunlight fell on it at noon or sunrise on the occasion of a special festival, usually at one or other of the solstices; obviously only when the sun was at its furthest south or north could an annual festival be so marked: at Stonehenge, for instance, the summer solstice was chosen. Temples closed to the sky had a window in the roof especially for this purpose, and I think there can be no doubt that such is the "dormer" referred to in the ritual. The reference to an annual festival at which special prayers were offered tends to confirm this supposition.

(c) The square or Mosaic Pavement has already been discussed (56); it was used in the Egyptian temples and the occurrence of the word rizpah ("a tesselated pavement") in Hebrew proves that it was known farther East also.

(2) The Coffin.

Some commentators have taken exception to this on the ground that coffins were not used in Judea. That may be so but, as everybody knows, the coffin was used in Egypt, and it plays a very prominent part in the myth of Osiris, the prototype of H.A.B.. The god was killed by being shut up in a coffin by means of a stratagem (57): the coffin was then thrown into the Nile and eventually became lodged in an acacia which grew up and enclosed it. Out of the trunk of this tree a pillar was made which still contained the coffin and the body of the murdered god when discovered by Isis. (58) It is therefore emphatically a landmark which should be retained in the ritual.


"From the East ... towards the West."

This phrase and its concomitant in the closing, "From the West," betrays the influence of the Solar cult, a daily cycle, and refers to. the portal of d. . h in the West through which the sun daily sinks, only by the passage of which the s. of the M.M. can be attained.

It must be remembered that the modern arrangement of the degrees is quite arbitrary and not identical with that of the original ceremonies; this bit of the ritual ought to precede that which now forms part of the lecture on the First Degree (59) where the Freemason is said to be traveling from W. to E. in search of a Master. That Master is Osiris in Amenta, to reach whom the Freemason has first to pass the Western Gate and then travel in an easterly direction.


1. "Signs and Symbols."
2. Frazer, "Balder the Beautiful," 11, 267 sqq., "Totemism and Exogamy," III, 462 sqq., 487 sqq.; 505, 542, 546. 31.
3. "Balder the Beautiful," 11, 251 sqq. 
4. Ibid., 227, 233 sq.; "Totemism," 1, 43 sq.
5. "Balder," 240, 243, sqq., 260. 34.
6. Frazer, "Adonis, Allis and Osiris," II, 85; 35. Churchward, op. cit., 276; idem, "Arcana," 133. 
7. Churchward, "Arcana," 40. 
8. Frazer, "Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild," 
9. Mannhardt, "Baumkultus," 532 sqq
10. Baldwin Spencer & F. J. Gillen, "The Native Tribes of Central Australia."
11. Sir William Ridgeway, "Dramas and Dramatic Dances of Non-European Races."
12. Paintings in the Temple of Isis at Philae; papyrus No. 3377, Louvre; inscription in Temple of Osiris at Denderah.
13. Inscr., T. of Osiris, Denderah.
14. Plutarch, "Isis et Osiris," XLI.
15. Ibid., XXXIL
16. "Adonis, Allis and Osiris," 11, 90.
17. Hippolytus, "Refutatio omnium haeresium," V, 8, p. 162 (Edit. Duncker & Schneidewin).
18. Frazer, "The Magic Art," 32; "Adonis, Attis and Osiris," I, 258; II, 41; "Spirits of the Corn", I. 45, 116, 122, 230 sqq. ; id., "The Scapegoat," 262, 326.
19. Part I, VI, (3).
20. "Signs and Symbols," 340.
21. "Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods," Chap. XVIII.
22. Gould, "History of Freemasonry," I, 409.
23. Ibid., II, 153; III, 472.
24. Gateshead M.S.S. (1730), publ. "Masonic Magazine," September, 1875.
25. Gould, op. cit. II, 365; III, 473.
26. Oliver, "The Historical Landmarks of Freemasonry", II, 288. (1846).
27. Privately printed and published by Lewis, 13, Paternoster Row, 1915.
28. Supra, I, (a).
29. "The Secret Discipline," ed. S. L. Knapp. 
30. "Arcana," 61 ; "Signs and Symbols," 340. 
31. "Balder the Beautiful," I, 233.
32. Part I, X, (6).
33. Renouf "Life-Work," IV, 49. 
34. Phrase occurring in the ob.
35. Op. cit., XIII. 
36. Plutarch, op. cit., XXII-XLIV.
37. "Adonis, Allis and Osiris," 11, 132. 
38. Ibid., 133 sqq.. 
39. Chap. CXLIV. 
40. Plutarch, op. cit., XXXII. 
41. Budge, "Egyptian Literature," I, 230, notes 2 and 3; 240, note 1.
42. Renouf, "Life-Work," IV, 46.
43. Op. cit., III, 22 sqq.
44. Flinders-Petrie, "Egyptian Tales," 2nd Series, 36 sqq.
45. "The Magic Art," II, 16.
46. Ibid., 42.
47. Ibid., 249.
48. Ibid., 210.
49. "Isis et Osiris," XIV.
50. E.g. Papyrus 9908, British Museum; painting at Theb. 
51. Ward, "Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods," illus.
52. Supra, III, 10.
53. Supra, III, (a).
54. Ward, "Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods," I
55. "Masonic Record."
56. Part I, VIII, (5).
57. Plutarch, op. cit., XIII.
58. Ibid., XIII and XV.
59. Part I, IX, (7).



When Darwin first carried conviction to the world that man is but a glorified ape his converts made the mistake of searching for "missing links" to complete a chain of evolution connecting modern man with the modern anthropoid. There are, as we now recognize, two chains to be traced, one from each converging to a junction at their common ancestor, and the modern types of all animals, including man, are now pictured as situated at the tips of the twigs of the tree of evolution: no two twigs are directly joined though all arise from a common stem.

Now, I think, judging from remarks I have often heard, that there are some Masons who are bewildered at the number of explanations of the ritual given to them by different authors and lecturers on Masonic origins. They are beginning to feel that somebody is taking advantage of them, but they cannot be sure which of their instructors is right and which are wrong, for surely they cannot all be right. This feeling is, I fear, in danger of reviving the old parties of Ancients and Modems. The students who have convinced themselves and their followers that Masonry has been handed down from time immemorial will form the Ancients, and the Moderns will be recruited from reactionists who are suffering from a kind of mental dyspepsia caused by a, diet too rich in apparently contradictory theories.

I must confess myself a convinced Ancient, and I would crave the indulgence of the potential Modern while I attempt, as briefly as possible, to prove to him that these many theories are not necessarily contradictory; that these writers and lecturers may all be right. The fact that I do not personally agree with all of them does not affect the matter at all ; I merely want to show that they may be right, and that such an admission does not prove me wrong.

I would ask the reader to apply the simile of the Tree of Evolution to the evolution of Masonry. He will see that the ceremonies of which he has heard as prototypes of Freemasonry may be placed in one of two positions on that tree - either as the tip of a twig or at the fork of a branch, according to the period at which it is being considered. Modern Freemasonry (including the "higher degrees") we will put at the tips of twigs - the twig may become a branch later but with that we are not concerned now. The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt, for example, will be placed at the fork of a branch, and the point I wish to make is that the twig of modem Craft Freemasonry may not be on this branch at all; to trace its connection with the Egyptian mysteries it may be necessary to go down to a lower fork and then climb up again to them along another branch. At this lower fork will be situated their common ancestor, but there is no direct communication between them.

What constituted the trunk of the tree of Masonic evolution we shall probably never know, but personally I regard the modern initiatory ceremonies of savages as a stunted branch growing very low down on it.

Still pursuing the same simile, and passing from the general to the particular, think of the number of personages whom, you have been told from time to time, the J.W., for instance, typifies; (I myself have a brand new theory founded on my experiences in Central Africa, but I spare you that now). Consider our tree of evolution as applying to that officer only and you will see, I think, that every one of the impersonations you have heard claimed for him may be true. Sitting on one branch will be the member of the Mexican Trinity with the unpronounceable name; on another is Bro. Ward's favorite Vishnu; over there is Bro. Churchward's Anup, and so on. So long as the essayist does not dogmatically state that his particular identification of the JW. sits on the branch which bears the twig of modern Craft Freemasonry who is to say him nay ? Observe that the discovery (or creation ?) of another branch to the tree does not subvert all or any of the previous identifications; they are all forms of the original J.W. which have developed under the influence of different cults at different periods or in different parts of the world.

I may mention here that my experience of the primitive type of mind leads me to the conclusion that Masonry is founded on Magic. When Magic merged into Religion the magical ceremonies were perpetuated by Custom, allegorized by Mysticism and paralleled in the uninstructed world by Superstition. This is, of course, pure speculation, but I hope at some future time to put before my readers some evidence in support of it.

When anyone shows symptoms of becoming longwinded we say in Africa, "Chisonde huifia njete," which being interpreted means "Salt made from a corn-cob is very sharp," in other words, a little of it goes a very long way. I have said my say.

If my reader is a symbologist, I would ask him to be gentle with his fellow-theorists - they may be as correct as he. If the reader is as yet inarticulate-a listener (and, let me whisper it, the listener is the salt of the earth) - I would urge him not to be dismayed; there may be as many types of the J.W. as there are animals in the world, and all of them just as absolute.

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