The sacred bull, held in high reverence by the Egyptians as possessing Divine powers, especially the gift of prophecy. As it was deemed essential the animal should be peculiarly marked by nature, much difficulty was experienced in procuring it. The bull was required to be black, with a white triangle on its forehead, a white crescent on its side, and a knotted growth, like a scarabaeus or sacred beetle, under the tongue. Such an animal being found, it was fed for four months in a building facing the East. At new moon it was embarked on a special vessel, prepared with exquisite care, and with solemn ceremony conveyed to Heliopolis, where for forty days it was fed by priests and women. In its sanctified condition it was taken to Memphis and housed in a temple with two chapels and a court wherein to exercise. The omen was good or evil in accordance with which chapel it entered from the court. At the age of twenty-five years it was led to its death, amid great mourning and lamentations. The bull or apis was an important religious factor in the Isian worship, and was continued as a creature of reverence during the Roman domination of Egypt.
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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