How do we work in the Egyptian Rites?
The Blue Lodge
The Blue Lodge within the Rite of Memphis-Misraïm works in the three symbolic degrees. However, the rituals of our Rite reveal an esoteric dimension in a much more explicit way. Already within the Apprentice degree the candidate is confronted with a metaphysical reading of their first initiatic experience which will be gradually unfolded within the candidate’s consciousness throughout their Masonic journey.
The newly initiated Apprentice will receive symbolic instruction in a series of lectures by the Surveyor and is tasked with writing a piece of architecture on their initiatic experience. Every degree has its own study-book to deepen their masonic education. When the Apprentice can demonstrate their practical, emotional and mental development they are ready for advancement to the next degree.
Our Tradition requires a deep understanding of every aspect of our Work and we are dedicated in developing our members into knowledgeable Masons. We require individuals that can pass on the Tradition to the next generation by preserving and transmitting it unaltered by modern inventions and objections for the benefit of humanity.
The education that our Rite provides is comparable to regular Freemasonry but emphasizes more strongly the esoteric dimension and provides a spiritual discipline that will allow the Mason to enter the interior Temple.
The Rite of Memphis-Misraim is governed by a Sovereign Sanctuary. A Sovereign Sanctuary acts as the conservator of the Rite and warrants its authenticity. A Lodge is extended a charter by which it is allowed to work according to this Rite. In the same way jurisdiction is divided among national authorities called Sovereign Sanctuary.
Our Lodge has been given a charter by the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Initiatic Traditions of Old Egypt in the United Kingdom who holds several spiritual filiations which are both an initiatic and historical continuation of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim. For more details about the historical continuation of our lineage please contact us.
The Rite of Memphis-Misraim constitutes an extension of the spiritual and esoteric sensitivity of Freemasonry, it studies the various currents which compose Freemasonry because many Masons sometimes forget too quickly that among the symbols of Freemasonry, many of them come from other traditions. Our degree scale introduces the various traditions that enter into Freemasonry gradually allowing the Mason to absorb the best that the Western Esoteric Tradition has to offer.
Under the influence of wanting to stay relevant in our modern world esoteric aspects are forgotten or removed because they are no longer understood. While such societal trends continue, the Egyptian Rites focus on the initiatory and spiritual aspect of Freemasonry, thus promoting a necessary balance in the diversity of Rites.
Three Noble Questions
Freemasonry rests upon three fundamental degrees, summarizing a triple study that must occupy the Mason. Our symbolic degrees have the purpose of familiarizing ourselves with the three noble questions with the purpose to prepare us for advancement into further degrees.
- Where he comes from? (the study of God)
- What he is? (the study of himself and his perfection)
- Where he is going? (the study of his transformation)
Social and Moral
There are multiple levels of interpretation of our initiatic work and each level is transcended and included in an ever deepening understanding. This is also true for the Three Noble Questions.
These questions evolve around the themes of birth, life and death of the Apprentice, Companion and Master degree. To show how multiple levels of understanding transcend and include each other we will take a quick look at these three questions:
On the most exterior level we are born from parents who have inherited external features and a certain disposition through genetics. In this way we are connected to a line of ancestors who lived before us.
We also live within a society and community to which we belong and with whom we share relationships. Just as a tree does not exist on its own, but depends on the nourishment from the earth and sunshine and provides shelter and food for animals, we do not exist on our own.
We also live only a short time on earth and this should make us aware that we should make the best of life while we have the opportunity. We cannot take our possessions into the grave with us and we do not want to regret anything in retrospect.
Philosophical and Alchemical
Within the context of meditation and consciousness this birth, life and death offers another perspective. When I sit in silent meditation phenomena arise and have a certain time-span before they die out again. This confronts me with the formula of IAO; also recognized as the Rule, the Square and the Compass.
What is this enigmatic something from which phenomena arise, have a certain time-span and to which they return? Who is it that witnesses these phenomena?
Alchemists understood that if our scientific inquiry into Nature does not consider itself with these three fundamental questions, we cannot be led to the ultimate divine principles which must be understood before any question relating to knowledge can have its ultimate answer.
By discovering the pure principle of life itself which stretches from Earth to Heaven, reconciling Spirit and Matter w can grasp that birth, life and death are three phases of the same mysterious something which the Alchemists gave the name of Prima Materia.
Within the context of the Egyptian Rites everything gains a deeper dimension. Nothing seems to exist by accident and everything invites us to develop ourselves into true Masters.
We are saturated by a Profane Light, a reflection deformed by the phenomenal prism. We should not settle for analyzing ourselves, our motives, our likes and dislikes and how our whole personality functions.
Despite previous studies and acquired knowledge we still know nothing about the new perspective that is offered to us. We might have a respectable position in the profane world and belong to the upper classes of society bowing before the mirage of rational intellectualism.
The distance between the Light of Freemasonry and the Profane Light is contained in the words ‘Know Thyself’. We are not merely encouraged to get to know the person; we are tasked to discover the Light by the sake of which everything that can be known is known!
Masonry internalizes and the Profane externalizes. The Profane communicates the reflection of the uncreated Light but Freemasonry creates a Light in the very consciousness of man by which he illuminates the visible world to put it in its true place. This is why the profane, grappling with the daily struggles of existence is inclined to allow himself to be dominated by external forces and finds himself distraught when the reflection, his usual guide, abandons him in the inner darkness.
Light of Hermes
Hermes, the messenger of the Gods, is winged at the head and feet to signify that he flies to Olympus to carry the Word of Man and from Olympus he returns to Earth to carry the Divine Word to Man. Hermes is also the Egyptian Thoth, the Trice Greatest and Catholic Holy Spirit who illuminates the minds of the Twelve Apostles on Pentecost. Hermes is synonymous of Intelligence, the Spirit whose secret “I” is still hidden to the Profane.
This Spirit was symbolized among the ancients as the five-pointed star or pentagram. All operations of the mind take place in a field to which we can give a name ‘mind space’ but no definition. This mind space cannot be measured in time or space; only by infinity and eternity itself.
The Spirit awakens in us in the silence and purity of innocence. When a Mason becomes a Master we say ‘he has seen the Acacia’ and in Greek that word means innocence or purity.
The Egyptians saw in the Goddess Ma’at the double idea of Truth and Justice. Any intellectual manifestation that is tainted by desire is false because it is borne from a state of non-equilibrium.
Within the context of meditative practice we learn that the masculine and feminine forces express themselves as clinging and aversion. Perfect silence is the equilibrium of these forces and a state of non-grasping which is often symbolized as Androgyne.
To obtain pure, unblemished intellectual manifestations it is necessary to use pure materials and this secret is contained in the symbol of the Immaculate Conception.
Egyptian Freemasonry gives a method and the rules of the royal art. Method and rules are contained under a veil that becomes transparent to the attentive member.
We are allowed to penetrate into the mysterious Middle Chamber by the discipline and practice of initiatic silence. In the silence of our interior being we receive peace beyond conception. We might consider this kind of peace the wages of a Mason.
We must discover the Light by the sake of which everything else is known through our inquiry into the nature of Self. We can only remain silent about the unmistakable discovery of this Light because nothing else but silence can express it. Our temporal personality takes the submissive position to this interior Being. Symbolically, the Square has been submitted to the rule of the Compass.
Alchemists told us that it is necessary to putrefy the mercury in the philosophical egg and to cook it over a slow fire. In order to check whether the mercury has sufficiently putrefied a Mason ‘pulls the finger of the corpse.’
This philosophical egg is also known as the astral body. It is the repository of memory and transforms sensations and judgments of the external man into emotion and experience. Everyone digests meals according to their digestive capacity and the same goes for sensations and feelings.
It is not our five senses that lie but the sensations developed within the conscious centers of man. Our discipline aims at developing an objective state of consciousness through which it becomes possible to dominate the passions and become free.
Perhaps it comes as a shock to the inquiring Mason that we do not work with the idea of ‘self-improvement’ but give another explanation to the work on the rough ashlar which evolves around ‘self-awakening’. Gurdjieff stated quite rightly that by trying to improve yourself you are fighting against something which in reality does not exist. It only reaffirms an illusion which the Mason has to overcome.
The Rite offers us a discipline to climb the spiritual ladder. The permanent cure for the disease of egoism is to apply ourselves to a discipline which can reveal the illusive nature of the person who we think ourselves to be.
Because of our esoteric approach to Freemasonry we require that the individual believes in an underlying principle that gives rise to the Creation which we address with the title of Grand Architect of the Universe as well as the immortality of the Soul.
Perhaps we are more cautious and careful with examining a candidate for admission than other branches of Freemasonry. This is for the purpose of protecting the inviolability of the atmosphere within which we work as well as the safety of the candidate.
Sometimes initiates turn out badly. Certain initiations can tip someone over the edge and bring forces to bear upon them that bring out things that are difficult to face or bear. We want to be sure that someone will benefit from our work and is mature enough to handle the process.
We are not interested in candidates who are engaged in conspiracy theories and who do not possess a sound mind, or people who are always finding themselves in conflicts with others or those who are looking for secrets, lineage, titles and degrees without a genuine motive.
We do not guard secrets to gain a competitive advantage in life. Our Rite communicates principles that point us towards the Transcendent Reality which shows human beings their place in the world and which requires them to play a beneficial role in the harmony of the Universe.
Sometimes we are detracted from the simple goal of universal love, social peace and spiritual elevation in a search for esoteric secrets. The Egyptian Rites teach Love for the Grand Architect of the Universe and our fellow human beings.
Our Rite attempts to provide a deeper philosophical and personal inquiry into the questions around our existence in order that we may attain true Self knowledge and behold the wonders of the miraculous Light by the sake of which everything that can be known is known.
Egyptian Masons are aware of their Duty to contribute to the construction of a social Temple and thereby contribute to Universal Peace. However, due to our discipline and interior silence, we are also painfully aware that this will always fail if an unshakeable internal peace has not been realized.
Therefore this social Temple is mirrored on subtler planes in spiritual regions in the very heart of the endless realm of the Eternal East.
Peace towards Humanity.