The name given to a comparatively small number of Masonic writers and researchers who have not agreed with the largest number of Masonic scholars that Freemasonry originated in Medieval architecture and was formed and constituted and manned by builders, but believe that it bas existed throughout the world for many centuries, or even for thousands of years.
Their answer to questions about rites, ceremonies, and symbols in the Lodge is to refer to rites and symbols of more or less primitive peoples, and especially to primitive tribes such as still are found in Africa. In order to maintain this theory they have broken with the established conclusions of Masonic historians of the type that is found in Quatuor Coronati and similar Lodges of Masonic research ; they also disagree with the established authorities on anthropology of whom none has ever found any Freemasonry in primitive rites and symbols; but who would have reported such findings if there had been any because among the thousands of professional anthropologists in America and Europe a large number have been Masons.
The terms used in duly-constituted and regular Freemasonry, Operative or Speculative, do not support the anthropologic theory. But from another point of view, and having in mind that ritualism and symbolism in Freemasonry are but one instance of ritualism and symbolism in general, anthropology gives a Masonic student a larger and richer background of thought and helps him better to understand Masonry's own rites and symbols. For that purpose there may be added to the books of Masonic anthropologists the non-Masonic works of such professional anthropologists as Lord Avebury, Rivers, Levy-Bruhl, Frazer, Goldenweiser, Boas, Mead,Webster, etc.
See Arcana of Freemasonry, by Albert Ch urch ward ; Macoy Publishing Co., New York; 1915. Signs and Symbols of Prilnordial Man, by Albert Churchward; Geo. Allen & Co., London. 1913. The Arcane Schools, by Jobn Yarker; William Tait; Belfast; 1909. Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods, by J. S. M. Ward; Simpkins, Marshall; London; 1921. Freemmonry; Its Aims and Ideals, by J. S. M Ward; Wm. Rider & sons; London; 1923.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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