Egyptian Rites of Freemasonry
Most Freemasons never proceed beyond the first three degrees of the Blue Lodge. These Rites are of great interest because of the colorful history and extraordinary number of degrees associated with them.
RITE OF MEMPHIS: Sometimes called the Oriental Rite. A modification of the Rite of Mizraim, organized in Paris, in 1839, by Messieurs Marconis and Mouttet. It afterward extended to Brussels and Marseilles, thence to New York. It was composed of 90 working and 6 official degrees. For a time it excited some interest in Paris, and then fell into obscurity until 1860, when it was reorganized, the 96 degrees reduced to 30, and then merged into the Grand Orient of France, where it is permitted to slumber. It may now be regarded as extinct.
RITE OF MISRAIM: This Rite was introduced into France near the commencement of the present century. It made considerable progress, and in 1817, application was made on the part of its friends to the Grand Orient, to accept it as a legitimate branch of Masonry. The application was denied, partly on the ground that the antiquity of the Rite had not been proved, and partly because of the 90 degrees which its ritual comprised 68 were already included in the French system. The rite of Misraim is interesting and instructive, but many of its degrees are too abstruse to be popular. The initiation is a reproduction of the ancient rite of Isis, and represents the contests of Osiris and Typhon, the death, resurrection, and triumph of the former, and the destruction of the latter. there are 90 degrees divided into four series – symbolic, philosophical, mystical and cabalistic, and again divided into seventeen classes. The traditions of this system are full of anachronisms, historical events and characters, separated by hundreds of years, being made to figure on the same scene at the same time. The work entitled “De l’Ordre Maconnique de Misraim,” published at Paris, in 1835, by Mons. Marc Bedirride, purporting to give the history of the Order, is a mere romance, and full of puerilities. Nevertheless, many of the degrees are highly interesting and instructive.
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