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ADONIS, MYSTERIES OF.
Departed, parted from us. Sleep no more
In purple, Cypris! but in watchet weed,
All'wretched! beat thy breast and all aread-
" Adonis is no more." The Loves and I
Lament him. " Oh! her grief to see him bleed,
Smitten by white tooth on whiter thigh,
Out-breathing life's faint sigh upon the mountain high."
"The Muses, too, lament the son of Cinyras, and invoke him in their song; but he does not heed them, not because he does not wish, but because Proserpine will not release him." This was, indeed, the favorite form of the myth, and on it was framed the symbolism of the ancient mystery. But there are other Grecian mythologues that relate the tale of Adonis differently. According to these, he was the product of the incestuous connection of Cinyras and his daughter Myrrha. Cinyras subsequently, on discovering the crime of his daughter, pursued her with a drawn sword, intending to kill her.
Myrrha entreated the gods to make her invisible, and they changed her into a myrrh tree. Ten months after the myrrh tree opened, and the young Adonis was born. This is the form of the myth that has been adopted by the poet Ovid, who gives it with all its moral horrors in the Tenth Book (lines 298-559) of his Metamorphoses.
Venus, who was delighted with the extraordinary beauty of the boy, put him in a coffer or chest, unknown to all the gods, and gave him to Proserpine to keep and to nurture in the under world. But Proserpine had no sooner beheld him than she became enamored of him and refused, when Venus applied for him, to surrender him to her rival. The subject was then referred to Jupiter, who decreed that Adonis should have one-third of the year to himself, should be another third with Venus, and the remainder of the time with Proserpine. Adonis gave his own portion to Venus, arn lived happily with her till, having offended Diana, he was killed by a wild boar.
The mythographer Pharnutus gives a still different story, and says that Adonis was the grandson of Cinyras, and fled with his father, Ammon, into Egypt, whose people he civilized, taught them agriculture, and enacted many wise laws for their government. He subsequently passed over into Syria, and was wounded in the thigh by a wild boar while hunting on Mount Lebanon.
His wife, Isis, or Astarte, and the people of Phoenicia and Egypt, supposing that the wound was mortal, profoundly deplored his death. But he afterward recovered, and their grief was replaced by transports of joy.
All the myths, it wi1l be seen, agree in his actual or supposed death by violence, in the grief for his loss, in his recovery or restoration to life, and in the consequent joy thereon. On these facts are founded the Adonisian mysteries which were established in his honor.
While, therefore, we may grant the possibility that there was originally some connection between the Sabean worship of the sun and the celebration of the Adonisian festival, we cannot forget that these mysteries, in common with all the other sacred initiations of the ancient world, had been originally established to promulgate among the initiates the once hidden doctrine of a future life.
The myth of Adonis in Syria, like that of Osiris in Egypt, of Atys in Samothrace, or of Dionysus in Greece, presented, symbolically, the two great ideas of decay and restoration. This doctrine sometimes figured as darkness and light, sometimes as winter and summer, sometimes as death and life, but always maintaining, no matter what was the framework of the allegory, the inseparable ideas of something that was lost and afterward recovered, as its interpretation, and so teaching, as does Freemasonry at this day, by a similar system of allegorizing, that after the death of the body comes the eternal life of the soul. The inquiring Freemason will thus readily see the analogy in the symbolism that exists between Adonis in the Mysteries of the Gebalites at Byblos and Hiram the Builder in his own Institution.
MASONIC. The adoption by the Lodge of the child of a Freemason is practised with peculiar ceremonies in some of the French and German Lodges, and has been introduced, but not with the general approval of the Craft, into one or two Lodges of this country.
Clavel, in his Histoire Pittoresque de la Franc-Maçonnerie, meaning in French The Picturesque History of Freemasonry (page 40, third edition), gives the following account of the ceremonies of Adoption :
"It is a custom, in many Lodges, when the wife of a Freemason is near the period of her confinement, for the Hospitaller, if he is a physieian, and if not, for some other Brother who is, to visit her, inquire after her health, in the name of the Lodge, and to offer her his professional services, and even pecuniary aid if he thinks she needs it.
Nine days after the birth of her child, the Master and Wardens call upon her to congratulate her on the happy event. If the infant is a boy, a special communication of the Lodge is convened for the purpose of proceeding to its adoption.
The hall is decorated with flowers and foliage, and censers are prepared for burning incense. Before the commencement of labor, the child and its nurse are introduced into an anteroom. The Lodge is then opened, and the Wardens, who are to aet as godfathers, repair to the infant at the head of a deputation of five Brethren. The chief of the deputation, then addressing the nurse, exhorts her not only to watch over the health of the child that has been intrusted to her care, but also to cultivate his youthful intellect, and to instruct him with truthful and sensible conversation. The child is then taken from the nurse, placed by its father upon a cushion, and carried by the deputation into the Lodge room. The procession advances beneath an arch of foliage to the pedestal of the east, where it halts while the Master and Senior Warden rehearse this dialogue : "'Whom bring you here, my Brethren?' says the Master to the godfathers.
"'The son of one of our Brethren whom the Lodge is desirous of adopting,' is the reply of the Senior Warden.
"'What are his names, and what Masonic name will you give him?'
"The Warden replies, adding to the baptismal and surname of the child a characteristic name, such as Truth, Devotion, Benevolence, or some other of a similar nature.
"The Master then descends from his seat, approaches the Louveteau or lewis, for such is the appollation given to the son of a Freemason, and extending his hands over its head, offers up a prayer that the child may render itself worthy of the love and care which the Lodge intends to bestow upon it.
He then casts incense into the censers, and pronounces the Apprentice's obligation, which the godfathers repeat after him in the name of the Louveteau.
Afterwards he puts a white apron on the infant, proclaiming it to be the adopted child of the Lodge, and causes this proclamation to be received with honors.
"As soon as this ceremony has been performed, the Master retums to his seat, and having caused the Wardens with the child to be placed in front of the north column, he recounts to the former the duties which they have assumed as godfathers. After the Wardens have made a suitable response, the deputation which had brought the child into the Lodge room is again formed, carries it out, and restores it to its nurse in the anteroom.
"The adoption of a Louveteau binds all the members of the Lodge to watch over his education, and subsequently to aid him, if it be necessary, in establishing himself in life. A circumstantial account of the ceremony is drawn up, which having been signed by all the members is delivered to the father of the child.
This document serves as a Dispensation, which relieves him from the necessity of passing through the ordinary preliminary examinations when, at the proper age, he is desirous of participating in the labors of Freemasonry. He is then only required to renew his obligations." Louveteau in French with Lewis in English, mean the same. Two meanings may be applied to each of the words in both countries. Among members of the trade as distinct from Brethren of the Craft, a Louveteau or Lewis means a wedge of iron or steel to support a stone when raising it, a chain or rope being attached to the wedge which grips a place cut for it in the stone.
The words Louveteau and Lewis are thus applied to sons of Freemasons as supports of their fathers.
In the United States, the ceremony has been practised by a few Lodges, the earliest instance being that of Foyer Maçonnique Lodge of New Orleans, in 1859.
The Supreme Council for the Southem Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, has published the ritual of Masonic Adoption for the use of the members of that Rite. This ritual under the title of offices of Masonic Baptism, Reception of a Louveleau and Adoption, is a very beautiful one, and is the composition of Brother Albert Pike. It is scarcely necessary to say that the word Baptism there used has not the slightest reference to the Christian sacrament of the same name (see Lewis).
ADOPTIVE FREEMASONRY, AMERICAN
The Rite of Adoption as practised on the continent of Europe, and especially in France, has never been introduced into America. The system does not accord, with the manners or habits of the people, and undoubtedly never would become popular. But Rob Morris attempted, in 1855, to introduce an imitation of it, which he had invented under the name of the American Adoptive Rite. This consisted of a ceremony of initiation, which was intended as a preliminary trial of the candidate, and of five degrees, named as follows:
2. Ruth, or the Widow's Degree.
3. Esther, or the Wife's Degree.
4. Martha or the Sister's Degree.
5. Electa, or the Christian Martyr's Degree.
The whole assemblage of the five degrees was called the Eastern Star.
The objects of this Rite, as expressed by the framer, were "to associate in one common bond the worthy wives, widows, daughters, and sisters of Freemasons, so as to make their adoptive privileges available for all the purposes contemplated in Freemasonry; to secure to them the advantages of their claim in a moral, social, and charitable point of view, and from them the performance of corresponding duties." Hence, no females but those holding the above recited relations to Freemasons were eligible for admission.
The male members were called Protectors; the female, Stellae; the reunions of these members were styled Constellations; and the Rite was presided over and governed by a Supreme Constellation. There is some ingenuity and even beauty in many of the ceremonies, although it is by no means equal in this respect to the French Adoptive system.
Much dissatisfaction was, however, expressed by the leading Freemasons of the country at the time of its attempted organization; and therefore, notwithstanding very strenuous efforts were made by its founder and his friends to establish it in some of the Western States, it was slow in winning popularity.
It has, however, gained much growth under the name of The Eastern Star. Brother Albert Pike has also printed, for the use of Scottish Rite Freemasons, The Masonry of Adoption.
It is in seven degrees, and is a translation from the French system, but greatly enlarged, and is far superior to the original.
The last phrase of this Female Freemasonry to which our attention is directed is the system of androgynous degrees which are practised to some extent in the United States.
This term androgynous is derived from two Greek words, a man, and a woman, and it is equivalent to the English compound, masculo-feminine. It is applied to those side degrees which are conferred on both males and females.
The essential regulation prevailing in these degrees, is that they can be conferred only on Master Masons, and in some instances only on Royal Arch Masons, and on their female relatives, the peculiar relationship differing in the various degrees.
Thus there is a degree generally called the Mason's Wife, which can be conferred only on Master Masons, their wives, unmarried daughters and sisters, and their widowed mothers. Another degree, called the Heroine of Jericho, is conferred only on the wives and daughters of Royal Arch Masons; and the third, the only one that has much pretension of ceremony or ritual, is the Good Samaritan, whose privileges are confined to Royal Arch Masons and their wives.
In some parts of the United States these degrees are very popular, while in other places they are never practised, and are strongly condemned as modern innovations.
The fact is, that by their friends as well as their enemies these so-called degrees have been greatly misrepresented. When females are told that in receiving these degrees they are admitted into the Masonic Order, and are obtaining Masonic information, under the name of Ladies' Freemasonry, they are simply deceived. When a woman is informed that, by passing through the brief and unimpressive ceremony of any one of these degrees, she has become a Freemason, the deception is still more gross and inexcusable. But it is true that every woman who is related by ties of consanguinity to a Master Mason is at all times and under all circumstances peculiarly entitled to Masonic protection and assistance.
Now, if the recipient of an androgynous degree is candidly instructed that, by the use of these degrees, the female relatives of Freemasons are put in possession of the means of making their claims known by what may be called a sort of oral testimony, which, unlike a written certificate, can be neither lost nor destroyed; but that, by her initiation as a Mason's Wife or as a Heroine of Jericho, she is brought no nearer to the inner portal of Freemasonry than she was before---if she is honestly told all this, then there can hardly be any harm, and there may be some good in these forms if prudently bestowed. But all attempts to make Freemasonry of them, and especially that anomalous thing called Female Freemasonry, are reprehensible, and are well calculated to produce opposition among the wellinformed and cautious members of the Fraternity.
ADOPTIVE FREEMASONRY, EGYPTIAN.
A system invented by Cagliostro (see Cagliostro).
The act of paying divine worship. The Latin word adorare is derived from ad, to, and os, oris, the mouth, and we thus etymologically learn that the primitive and most general method of adoration was by the application of the fingers to the mouth.
Hence we read in Job (xx~, 26) : "If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness, and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand, this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judges; for I should have denied the God that is above." Here the mouth kissing the hand is equal in meaning and force to adoration, as if he had said, If I have adored the sun or the moon.
This mode of adoration is said to have originated among the Persians, who, as worshipers of the sun, always turned their faces to the east and kissed their hands to that luminary. The gesture was first used as a token of respect to their monarchs, and was easily transferred to objects of worship. Other additional forms of adoration were used in various countries, but in almost all of them this reference to kissing was in some degree preserved.
It is yet a practise of quite common usage for Orientals to kiss what they deem sacred or that which they wish to adore---as, for example, Wailing Place of the Jews at Jerusalem, the nearest wall to the Temple where they were permitted by the Mahommedans to approach and on which their tears and kisses were affectionately bestowed before the British General Allenby, took possession of the city in the World War and equalized the rights of the inhabitants.
The marble toes of the statue of Saint Peter in the Cathedral of Saint Peter's at Rome have been worn away by the kissings of Roman Catholics and have been replaced by bronze.
Among the ancient Romans the act of adoration was thus performed: The worshiper, having his head covered, applied his right hand to his lips, thumb erect, and the forefinger resting on it, and then, bowing his head, he turned round from right to left. Hence, Lucius Apuleius, a Roman author, born in the first century, in his Apologia sive oratio de magia, a defense against the charge of witchcraft, uses the exprossion to apply the hand to the lips, manum labris admovere, to express the act of adoration.
The Grecian mode of adoration difiered from the Roman in having the head uncovered, which practise was adopted by the Christians. The Oriental nations cover the head, but uncover the feet.
They also express the act of adorationby prostrating themselves on their faces and applying their foreheads to the ground.
The ancient Jews adored by kneeling, sometimes by prostration of the whole body, and by kissing the hand. This act, therefore, of kissing the hand was an early and a very general symbol of adoration.
But we must not be led into the error of supposing that a somewhat similar gesture used in some of the high degrees of Freemasonry has any allusion to an act of worship. It refers to that symbol of silence and secrecy which is figured in the statues of Harpocrates, the god of silence.
The Masonic idea of adoration has been well depicted by the medieval Christian painters, who represented the act by angels prostrated before a luminous triangle.
This word has two technical meanings in Freemasonry.
l. We speak of a candidate as being advanced when he has passed from a lower to a higher degree; as we say that a candidate is qualified for advancement from the Entered Apprentice Degree to that of a Fellow Craft when he has made that "suitable proficiency in the former which, by the regulations of the Order, entitle him to receive the initiation into and the instructions of the latter." When the Apprentice has thus been promoted to the Second Degree he is said to have advanced in Freemasonry.
2. However, this use of the term is by no means universal, and the word is peculiarly applied to the initiation of a candidate into the Mark Degree, which is the fourth in the modification of the American Rite.
The Master Mason is thus said to be "advanced to the honorary degree of a Mark Master," to indicate either that he has now been promoted one step beyond the degrees of Ancient Craft Freemasonry on his way to the Royal Arch, or to express the fact that he has been elevated from the common class of Fellow Crafts to that higher and more select one which, according to the traditions of Freemasonry, constituted, at the first Temple, the class of Mark Masters (see Mark Master).
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Last modified: March 22, 2014