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Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst

Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite

4. Secret Master

5. Perfect Master

6. Intimate Secretary

7. Provost and Judge

8. Intendant of Buildings

9. Master Elect of Nine

10. Master Elect of Fifteen

11. Sublime Master Elected

12. Grand Master Architect

13. Royal Arch of Enoch

14. Grand Elect, Perfect and Sublime Master Mason

15. Knight of the East or Sword

16. Prince of Jerusalem

17. Knights of the East and West

18. Knight of the Rose-Croix de Heredom

19. Grand Pontiff

20. Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges

21. Noachite or Prussian Knight

22. Knight of the Royal Axe

23. Chief of the Tabernacle

24. Prince of the Tabernacle

25. Knight of the Brazen Serpent

26. Prince of Mercy

27 Commander of the Temple

28. Knight of the Sun

29. Knight of St Andrew, or Patriarch of the Crusades

30. Knight Kadosh

31. Grand Inspector Commander

32. Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.

33. Inspector-General


The Twenty-Five Grade of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and the Seventh Degree of the Historical and Philosophical Series


The Degree of Knight of the Brazen Serpent relates to the time when the camp of the Israelites was pitched at Punon, on the eastern side of the mountains of Hor, Seir, or Edom, In Arabia Petraea, on the confines of Idumaea, after the death of Aaron, when the new moon occurred at the vernal equinox, in the fortieth year of the wandering of the children of Israel in the desert.

The duties of a Knight of the Brazen Serpent are: To purify the soul of its alloy of earthliness, that through the gate of Capricorn and the seven spheres It may at length ascend to its eternal home beyond the stars; and also to perpetuate the great truths enveloped in the symbols and allegories of the ancient mysteries of Faith.


The Lodge, in this degree, is styled the Council. The camp, standards, and tabernacle with its court, are as in the two preceding degrees. In the East is a transparency on which is painted a cross, with a serpent coiled round it and over the arms.

On the right of the presiding officer is a short column, on which is a winged globe encircled by a serpent. On the left of the Senior Warden and right of the Junior Warden are similar columns, on each of which is a serpent or basilisk, his body coiled in folds, and his head and neck erect above the folds. The globe and all the serpents are gilded.

The presiding officer represents Moses, and, is styled " Most Puissant Leader." The Senior Warden, sitting in the West, on the left, represents Joshua, the son of Nun; and the Junior Warden, in the West, on the right, represents Caleb, the son of Yephanah. The former is styled "Most Valiant Captain of the Host;" and the latter, "Illustrious Chief Prince of the Tribes." The Orator sits on the right of the Most Puissant Leader, represents Eleazar, the son of Aaron, and is styled "Most Excellent High-Priest." He wears the full dress of the High-Priest, as prescribed in the two preceding degrees.

The Secretary represents Ithamar, the son of Aaron, sits on the right of the presiding officer, at the side of the hall, a little to the front, and is styled "Excellent Scribe." He wears the Priest's dress, as prescribed in the two preceding degrees.

The Treasurer represents Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, sits on the left of the presiding officer, at the side of the hall, a little to the front, and is styled "Excellent Recorder.", He also wears the Priest's dress, as before prescribed.

The Expert sits on the south side, and the Assistant Expert on the north side of the Tabernacle; the Grand Master of Ceremonies in front of the Senior Warden, and the Grand Captain of the Guard near the door of entrance. These brethren are all styled "Respectable;" and the other members are addressed as "Brother and Knight A," or "B."

The order is a crimson ribbon, on which are depicted the words, one under the other, Osiris, Ormuzd, Osarsiph, Moses; and under them a bull, with a disk, surmounted by a crescent between his horns. This is worn from left to right; and across it, from right to left, is worn a broad, white, watered ribbon, on which are the words Isis, Ceres, over a dog's head and a crescent. On the right breast, on the left breast, and at the crossing of these orders, is a star of gold. Under that on the right breast is the letter A [for Aldebaran]; under that on the left breast the letter A [for Antares]; and under that at the crossing of the orders, the letter F [for Fomalhaut]. On the crimson cordon is the word [Gevurah-Valour]; and on the white, [Aun - Virtus], meaning active energy or generative power, and passive energy or capacity to produce.

The jewel is a tau cross, of gold, surmounted by a circle - the Crux Ansata - round which a serpent is entwined. On the upright part of the cross is engraved the word [HoLaTal, he has suflered or been wounded], and on the arms the word [NeChuShTaN, the Brazen Serpent].

The apron is white, lined and edged with black; the white side spotted with golden stars, and the black side with silver ones. Those on the white side represent, by their position and distances, the Pleiades, the Hyades, Orion, and Capella. Those on the black side represent the stars of Perseus, Scorpio, and Bootes. In the middle of the white side is a triangle in a glory, in the centre of which is the word HoLaTal. On the flap is a serpent in a circle, with his tail in his mouth, and in the centre of the circle so formed a scarabaeus or beetle. Over this is a star of gold, with the letter R [Regulus] over it; on the right side of the apron another, with the letter A [Aldebaran] over it; on the left side another, with the letter A [Antares] over it; and at the bottom of the apron another, with the letter F [Fornalhaut] over it.

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So much of the truth as it is given to mortals to know, is within the reach of those alone whose intellects are unclouded by passion or excess. To attain it, to comprehend the delicate distinctions of the thought in which the truth is embodied, the intellect, like a keen instrument of the finest steel, must be able to dissect the thought, and distinguish one from the other its invisible nerves. The edge of the instrument is blunted by the indulgence of the sensual appetites, or of the intemperate passions of the soul.

Therefore it is that the sages have always required of those who sought to scale the heights of philosophy a preparatory discipline, of long-continued temperance and self-restraint; and fasting is enjoined, as well as prayer.

If thy intellect is dull and coarse by nature, or clouded and confused by indulgence, the symbolisms of the Kabala will have no meaning to thee; and we shall address thee in a foreign tongue.

Thus it is that true Masonry has always been, and always must be, confined to a few; since to the mass its truths are foolishness and valueless.

Most Puissant Leader, the soul of the people was discouraged, because of the way, journeying from Mount Hor, by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom; and they spake against Adonai and against thee, saying: " Why hath AI-Shadai and his servant Moses brought us up out of Egypt, to die in the wilderness? There is no bread nor any water, and our souls loathe this light manna. We go to and fro these forty years; and as Aaron died in the desert, so also shall we all die here. Let us put trust in Adonai no longer; but let us call on the great gods Amun and Astarte, Osiris and Isis, to deliver us from this misery." And as they cried aloud on them, lo! Adonai sent fiery serpents among them, by whom much people hath died. And those that remain have repented and, said unto me: "Put chains upon thy neck in token of our penitence, and go unto Moses our leader, and beseech him to pray unto Adonai that he take away the serpents from us;"' and I have done as they desired.

My brother, life is a war, in which one must prove his soldiership, in order to rise in rank. Force is not given. It has to be seized.

He only is worthy of initiation in the profounder mysteries who has overcome the fear of death, and is ready to hazard his life when the welfare of his country or the interests of humanity require it; and to die even an ignoble death, if thereby the people may be benefited.

I have prayed for the people, and Adonai hath said unto me: "Make thee an image of a venomous springing serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live."

The plague of serpents is stayed; and as they have fled to their caves, so the celestial serpent flees, with the scorpion, before the glittering stars of Orion. The great festival of the vernal equinox approaches, and it is time to prepare ourselves by purification for the Passover. Light will soon prevail once, more over darkness; and the pulses. of life again beat in the bosom of the earth, long chilled by the wintry frosts.

Let the brazen cross and the serpent be borne before the congregation, and be forever a symbol of Faith, by the dying out whereof in the hearts of nations, they fall into decay; and lest the knowledge of its true symbolic meaning should in time be lost, and the people hereafter imagine it to be something divine, and worship it, we will perpetuate the remembrance of this day's events, and the true meaning of this and our other symbols, and of the fables of Osiris and Ormuzd, and Typhon and Ahriman, as the last degree of those sacred mysteries which Joseph, the son of Jacob, like myself, learned from the Egyptians, and which I have taught to you such as our forefathers practised on the plains of Chaldaea.

The Father sends fiery serpents to sting and slay his children. Yet he commands us to forgive those who trespass against us. And this law is not the mandate of his will, but the expression of his nature. Who will explain this great mystery?

Below, upon the earth, the serpent is the minister of death. Its image, lifted on high, heals and restores life.

The first sages who sought for the cause of causes saw good and evil in the world; they observed the shadow and the light; they compared winter with spring, old age with youth, life with death, and said: "The first cause is beneficent and cruel. It gives life hnd destroys."

Are there, then, two contrary principles - a good and an evil?" cried the disciples of Manes.

No! the two principles of the universal equilibrium are not contrary to each other, though in apparent opposition; for it is a single wisdom that opposes them one to the other.

The good is on the right, the evil on the left; but the supreme good is above both, and makes the evil subserve the triumph of the good, and the good serve for the reparation of the evil.

Wherefore this first cause has always revealed itself by the cross; - the cross, that one composed of two, each of the two divided, so that they constitute four; - the cross, that key of the mysteries of India and Egypt, the tau of the patriarchs, the divine symbol of Osiris, the stauros of the Gnostics, the keystone of the Temple, the symbol of occult Masonry;  - the cross, that central point of junction of the right angles of four infinite triangles; the four - in - one X of the divine tetragram.

Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst

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