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CADET-GASSICOURT, CHARLES LOUIS
The youngest of the Cabiri, and as he is slain in the Cabiric Mysteries, he becomes the analogue or representative of the Builder in the legend of Freemasonry. '
The Caduceus was the magic wand of the god Hermes. It was an olive staff twined with fillets, which were gradually converted to wings and serpents. Hermes, or Mercury, was the messenger of Jove. Among his numerous attributes, one of the most important was that of conducting disembodied spirits to the other world, and, on necessary occasions, of bringing them back. He was the guide of souls, and the restorer of the dead to life.
Thus, Horace, in addressing him, says:
Unspotted spirits you consign
To blissful seats and joys divine,
And powerful with your golden wand
The light unburied crowd command.
Vergil also alludes to this attribute of the magic wand
when he is describing the flight of
Mercury on his way to bear Jove's warning message to Aeneas:
His wand he takes ; with this pale ghost he calls
From Pluto's realms, or sends to Tartarus' shore.
And Statius, imitating this passage, makes the same allusion in his Thebaid (1, 314), thus translated by Lewis :
He grasps the wand whith draws from hollow graves,
Or drives the trembling shades to Stygian waves ;
With magic power seals the watchful eye
In slumbers soft or causes sleep to fly.
The history of this Caduceus, or magic wand, will lead us to its symbolism. Mercury, who had invented the lyre, making it out of the shell of the tortoise, exchanged it with Apollo for the latter's magical wand. This wand was simply an olive branch around which were placed two fillets of ribbon. Afterward, when Mercury was in Arcadia, he encountered two serpents engaged in deadly combat. These he separated with his wand; hence the olive wand became the symbol of peace, and the two fillets were replaced by the two serpents, thus giving to the Caduceus its well-known form of a staff, around which two serpents are entwined.
Such is the legend; but we may readily see that in the olive, as the symbol of immortality, borne as the attribute of Mercury, the giver of life to the dead, we have a more ancient and profounder symbolism.
The serpents, symbols also of immortality, are appropriately united with the olive wand. The legend also accounts for a later and secondary symbolism-that of peace.
The Caduceus then-the original meaning of which word is a herald's staff-as the attribute of a life-restoring God, is in its primary. meaning the symbol of immortality; so in Freemasonry the rod of the Senior Deacon, or the Master of Ceremonies, is but an analogue or representation of the Hermean Caduceus. This officer, as leading the aspirant through the forms of initiation into his new birth or Masonic regeneration, and teaching him in the solemn ceremonies of the Third Degree the lesson of eternal life, may well use the magic wand as a representation of it, which was the attribute of that ancient deity who brought the dead into life.
Latin. A builder of walls, a mason, from caemantum, a rough, unhewn stone as it comes from the quarry. In medieval Latin, the word is used to designate an Operative Mason.
Du Cange cites Magister Caementariorum as used to designate him who presided over the building of edifices, that is, the Master of the works. It has been adopted by some modern writers as a translation of the word Freemason. Its employment for that purpose is perhaps more correct than that of the more usual word latomus, which owes its use to the authority of Thory.
Of all the Masonic persons of romantic celebrity who flourished in the eighteenth century the Count Cagliostro was most prominent, whether we consider the ingenuity of his schemes, the extensive field of his operations through almost every country of Europe, or the distinguished character and station of many of those whose credulity made them his enthusiastic supporters.
The history of Freemasonry in that century would not be complete without a reference to this personage. To write the history of Freemasonry in the eighteenth century and to leave out Cagliostro, would be like enacting the play of Hamlet and leaving out the part of the Prince of Denmark. And yet Carlyle has had occasion to complain of the paucity of materials for such a work.
Indeed, of one so well known as Cagliostro comparatively little is to be found in print. Doctor Mackey held that there was sufficient published to prove him to be a "charlatan" and a "prince of Masonic imposters."
The authorities on which Brother Mackey rested his belief are mentioned in his following sentence. The only works upon which he who would write his life must depend are a Life of him published in London, 1787; Memoirs, in Paris, 1786 ; and Memoirs Authentiques, Strasbourg, 1786 ; a Life, in Germany, published at Berlin, 1787; another in Italian, published at Rome in 1791; and a few fugitive pieces, consisting chiefly of manifestoes of himself and his disciples.
The widest differences exist among writers as to Cagliostro's true standing, the majority following the lead of Doctor Mackey, whose account is appended.
Joseph Balsamo, subsequently known as Count Cagliostro, was the son of Peter Balsamo and Felicia Braconieri, both of mean extraction, and was born on the 8th of June, 1743, in the city of Palermo.
Upon the death of his father, he was taken under the protection of his maternal uncles, who caused him to be instructed in the elements of religion and learning, by both of which he profited so little that he eloped several times from the Seminary of St. Roch, near Palermo, where he had been placed for his instruction.
At the age of thirteen he was carried to the Convent of the Good Brotherhood at Castiglione. There, having assumed the habit of a novice, he was placed under the tuition of the apothecary, from whom he learned the principles of chemistry and medicine. His brief residence at the convent was marked by violations of many of its rules; and finally, abandoning it altogether, he returned to Palermo. There he continued his vicious courses, and was frequently seized and imprisoned for infractions of the law. At length, having cheated a goldsmith, named Marano, of a large amount of gold, he was compelled to flee from his native country.
He then repaired to Messina, where he became acquainted with one Altotas, who pretended to be a great chemist. Together they proceeded to Alexandria in Egypt, where, by means of certain chemical, or perhaps rather by financial, operations, they succeeded in collecting a considerable amount of money.
In 1776 Cagliostro appeared in London. During this visit, Cagliostro become connected with the Order of Freemasonry. In the month of April he received the degrees in Esperance Lodge, No. 289, which then met at the King's Head Tavern. Cagliostro did not join the Order with disinterested motives, or at least he determined in a very short period after his initiation to use the Institution as an instrument for the advancement of his personal interests. Here he is said to have invented, in 1777, that grand scheme of imposture under the name of Egyptian Freemasonry, by the propagation of which he subsequently became so famous as the great Masonic charlatan of his age.
London did not fail to furnish him with a fertile field for his impositions, and the English Freemasons seemed no way reluctant to become his dupes; but, , being ambitious for the extension of his Rite, and anxious for the greater income which it promised, he again passed over to the Continent, where he justly anticipated abundant success in its propagation. This Egypt Freemasonry constituted the great pursuit of the rest of his life, and was the instrument which he used for many years to make dupes of thousands of credulous persons.
During Cagliostro's residenee in England, on his last visit, he was attacked by the editor Morand, in the Courier de l'Europe, in a series of abusive articles, to which Cagliostro replied in a letter to the English people. But, although he had a few Egyptian Lodges in London under his government, he appears, perhaps from Morand's revelations of his character and life, to have lost his popularity, and he left England permanently in May, 1787.
He went to Savoy, Sardinia, and other places in the south of Europe, and at last, in May, 1789, by an act of rash temerity, proceeded to Rome, where he organized an Egyptian Lodge under the very shadow of , the Vatican. But this was more than the Church, which had been excommunicating Freemasons for fifty years, was willing to endure. On the 27th of December of that year, on the festival of St. John the Evangelist, to whom he had dedicated his Lodges, the Holy Inquisition arrested him, and locked him up in the castle of San Angelo.
There, after such a trial as the Inquisition is wont to give to the accused-in which his wife is said to have been the principal witness against him-he was convicted of having formed''societies and conventicles of Freemasonry." His manuseript entitled Maçonnerie Egyptienne was ordered to be burned by the public executioner, and he himself was condemned to death; a sentence which the Pope subsequently commuted for that of perpetual imprisonment. Cagliostro appealed to the French Constituent Assembly, but of course in vain.
Thenceforth no more is seen of him. For four years this adventurer, who had filled during his life so large a space in the world's history-the associate of princes, prelates, and philosophers; the inventor of a spurious Rite, which had, however, its thousands of disciples-languished within the gloomy walls of the prison of St. Leo, in the Duchy of Urbino, and at length, in the year 1795, in a fit of apoplexy, bade the world adieu. But there is another side to the foregoing account by Doctor Mackey. Some more recent writers have seriously questioned the identity of Cagliostro and Balsamo.
Both Trowbridge and Spence deem the later evidence to have proven that Cagliostro was not Balsamo. Lewis Spenee sums up the situation thus in his Encyclopedia of Occultism after a lengthy review of the various assertions of the authorities and the test of them by the ascertained facts:
"It is distinctly no easy matter to get at the bedrock truth regarding Cagliostro or to form any just estimate of his true character. That he was vain, naturally pompous, fond of theatrical mystery, and of the popular side of occultism, is most probable.
Another circumstance which stands out in relation to his personality is that he was vastly desirous of gaining cheap popularity. He was probably a little mad. On the other hand he was beneficent, and felt it his mission in the then king-ridden state of Europe to found Egyptian Masonry for the protection of society in general, and the middle and lower classes in particular. A born adventurer, he was by no means a rogue, as his lack of shrewdness has been proved on many occasions. There is small question either that the various Masonic lodges which he founded and which were patronized by persons of ample means, provided him with extensive funds and it is a known fact that he was subsidized by several extremely wealthy men, who, themselves dissatisfied by the state of affairs in Europe, did not hesitate to place their riches at his disposal for the purpose of undermining the tyrannic powers which then wielded sway.
There is reason to believe that he had in some way and at some period of his life acquired a certain working knowledge of practical occultism, and that he possessed certain elementary psychic powers of hypnotism and telepathy. His absurd account of his childhood is almost undoubtedly a plagiarism of that stated in the first manifesto to the publie of the mysterious Rosicrucian Brotherhood, as containing an account of the childhood of their Chief. But on the whole he is a mystery, and in all likelihood the clouds which surround his origin and earlier years will never be dispersed. It is probably better that this should be so, as although Cagliostro was by no means an exalted character, he was yet one of the most picturesque figures in the later history of Europe; and assuredly not the least aid to his picturesqueness is the obscurity in which his origin is involved."
For further reading on the career of Cagliostro, a showing to the effect that if he was not of unalloyed honor, he was not altogether an impostor and scoundrel, consult Cagliostro: The Splendour and Mystery of a Master of Magic by W. R H, Trowbridge, and An Encyclopedia of Occukism by Lewis Spence.
Other books of reference are Cagliostro and Company, by Franz Funck-Brentano, and the Life of Joseph Balsamo, published at Dublin in 1792, the latter being translated from the original proceedings published at Rome by order of the Apostolic Chamber and therefore of especial interest as the Roman Catholic argument against one condemned by the Inquisition for being a Freemason. This report (page 239), asserts that the judgment entirely accords with justice, equity, prudence, religion, and public tranquillity.
It then runs thus: "Joseph Balsamo, attainted and convieted of many crimes, and having incurred the censures and penalties pronounced against formal heretics, dogmatists, heresiarchs, and propagators of magic and superstition, has been found guilty, and condemned to the censures and penalties denounced as well by the apostolic laws of Clement XII and of Benedict XIV against those who in any manner whatever favor or form societies and conventicles of Free Masons, as by the edict of the Council of State against those who are guilty of this crime at Rome, or any other place under the dominion of the Pope.
Notwithstanding this, by way of special grace and favor, this crime, the expiation of which demands the delivery of the culprit over to the secular arm, to be by it punished with death, is hereby changed and commuted into perpetual imprisonment, in a fortress where the culprit is to be strictly guarded, without any hope of pardon whatever."
This order was carried into effect as was also the burning by "the hand of the hangman" of Cagliostro's manuseript on Egyptian Freemasonry as were all his other books, instruments, symbols, etc., relating thereto. The order also confirmed and renewed the laws of the Roman Catholic Church prohibiting societies and conventicles of Freemasons, and winds up by declaring "We shall enact the most grievous corporal punishments, and principally those provided for hereties, against whosoever shall associate, hold communication with, or protect, these societies."
French. A number of sheets of parchment or paper fastened together at one end. The word is used by French Freemasons to designate a small book printed, or in manuseript, containing the ritual of a Degree. The word has been borrowed from French history, where it denotes the reports and proceedings of certain assemblies, such as the clergy, the States-General, etc.
Derived from the Gaelic carn, meaning a mound, and applied thus to heaps of stones of a conical form erected bjy the Druids. Some suppose them to have been sepulchral monuments, others altars. They were undoubtedly of a religious character, since sacrificial fires were lighted upon them, and processions were made around them.
These processions were analogous to the circumambulations in Freemasonry, and were conducted, like them, with reference to the apparent course of the sun. Thus, Toland, in his Letters on the Celtic Religion, II, xvii, says of these mystical processions, that the people of the Scottish islands "never come to the ancient sacrificing and fire-hallowing Carns but they walk three times round them from east to west, according to the course of the sun. This sanctified tour, or round by the south, is called Deaseal, as the unhallowed contrary one by the north, Tuapholl" ; and he says that Deaseal is derived from "Deas, the right (understanding hand), and soil, one of the ancient names of the sun, the right hand in this round being ever next the heap." In all this the Freemason will be reminded of the Masonic ceremony of circumambulation around the altar and the rules which govern it.
CALATRAVA, MILITARY ORDER OF.
Instituted l158, during the reign of Sancho III, King of Castile, who conquered and gave the Castle of Calatrava, an important fortress of the Moors of Andalusia, to the Knights Templar, who subsequently relinquished their possession of it to the king.
The king, being disappointed in the ability of the Templars to retain it, then offered the defense of the place to Don Raymond of Navarre, Abbot of St. Mary of Hitero, a Cistercian convent, who accepted it. Don Raymond being successful, the king gave the place to him and his companions, and instituted the 0rder of Calatrava. A Grand Master was appointed and approved of by the Pope, Alexander III, l164, which was confirmed by Innocent III in 1198.
The knights had been granted the power of electing their own Grand Master; but on the death of Don Gareias Lopez de Pardella, 1489, Ferdinand and Isabella annexed the Grand Mastership to the Crown of Castile, which was sanctioned by Pope Innoeent VIII.
A distinguished Masonic writer of the eighteenth century, and the author of a work published in 1769, under the title of A Candid Disquisition of the Principles and Practices of the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons; together with some Strictures on the 0rigin, Nature, and Design of that Institution, in which he has traced Freemasonry from its origin, explained its symbols and hieroglyphies, its social virtues and advantages, suggested the propriety of building halls for the peculiar and exclusive practise of Freemasonry and reprehended its slanderers with great but judicious severity.
This was the first extended effort to illustrate philosophically the science of Freemasonry, and was followed, a few years after, by Hutchinson's admirable work ; so that Oliver justly says that ''Calcott opened the mine of Freemasonry, and Hutchinson worked it."
Freemasons, in affixing dates to their official documents, never make use of the Common Epoch or Vulgar Era, but have one peculiar to themselves, which, however, varies in the different rites. Era and epoch are, in this sense, synonymous.
Strictly, the epoch is an important point in history beginning a period termed an era, as the epoch of the Crucifixion followed by the Christian Era.
Freemasons of the York, American, and French Rites, that is to say, the Freemasons of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, and America, date from the creation of the world, calling it Anno Lucis, which they abbreviate A.°. L.°., signifying in the Year of Light. Thus with them the year 1872 is A.'. L.'. 5872. This they do, not because they believe Freemasonry to be coeval with the Creation, but with a symbolic reference to the light of Freemasonry.
In the Scottish Rite, the epoch also begins from the date of the creation, but Freemasons of that Rite, using the Jewish chronology, would call the year 1872 A.'. M.'. or Anno Mundi meaning in the Year of the World, 5632. They sometimes use the initials A.'. H. '., signifying Anno Hebraico, or, in the Hebrew year.
They have also adopted the Hebrew months, and the year, therefore, begins with them in the middle of september (see Months, Hebrew).
Freemasons of the York and Ameriean Rites begin the year on the lst of January, but in the French Rite it commences on the lst of March, and instead of the months receiving their usual names, they are designated numerically, as first, second, third, ete. Thus, the lst of January, 1872, would be styled, in a French Masonic document, the lst day of the 11th Masonic month, Anno Lucis, 5872. The French sometimes, instead of the initials A.'. L.'., use L'an de la V.'. L. '., or Vraie Lumiére, that is, Year of True Light.
Royal Arch Masons commence their epoch with the year in which Zerubbabel began to build the second Temple, which was 530 years before Christ.
Their style for the year 1872 is, therefore, A.'. Inv.'., that is, Anno Inventionis, or, in the Year of the Discovery, 2402.
Royal and Select Masters very often make use of the common Masonic date, Anno Lucis, but properly they should date from the year in which Solomon's Temple was completed; and their style would then be, Anna Depositionis, or, in the Year of the Deposit, and they would date the year 1872 as 2872.
Knights Templar use the epoch of the organization of their Order in 1118. Their style for the year 1872 is A.'. O.'., Anno 0rdinis, or, in the Year of the 0rder, 754.
We subjoin, for the convenience of reference, the rules for discovering these different dates. l. To find the Ancient Craft date. Add 4000 to the Vulgar Era. Thus 1872 and 4000 are 5872.
2. To find the date of the Scottish Rite. Add 3760 to the Vulgar Era. Thus 1872 and 3760 are 5632. After September add one year more.
3. To find the date of Royal Arch Masonry. Add 530 to the Vulgar Era. Thus 530 and 1872 are 2402.
4. To find the Royal and Select Masters' date. Add 1000 to the Vulgar Era. Thus 1000 and 1872 are 2872.
5. To find the Knights Templar's. Subtract 1118 from the Vulgar Era. Thus 1118 from 1872 is 754. The following will show, in one view, the date of the year 1872 in all the branches of the Order:
Year of the Lord, 1872 A.D.-Vulgar Era.
Year of Light, A.'. L.'. 5872-Ancient Craft Masonry.
Year of the World, A.'. M.'. 5632-Seottish Rite.
Year of the Discovery, A.'. 1.'. 2402-Royal Arch Masonry.
Year of the Deposit, A.'. Dep.'. 2872-Royal and Select Masters.
Year of the Order, A.'. O.'. 754-Knights Templar.
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