There is in Freemasonry a legend of certain unworthy Craftsmen who entered into a conspiracy to extort from a distinguished Brother a secret of which he was the possessor. The legend is altogether symbolic, and when its symbolism is truly comprehended, becomes a surpassingly beautiful. By those who look at it as having the pretension of an historical fact, it is sometimes treated with indifference, and sometimes considered an absurdity.
But it is not thus that the legends and symbols of Freemasonry must be read, if we would learn their true spirit. To behold the goddess in all her glorious beauty, the veil that conceals her statue must be withdrawn. Masonic writers who have sought to interpret the symbolism of the legend of the conspiracy of the three assassins, have not agreed always in the interpretation, although they have finally arrived at the same result, namely, that it has a spiritual signification. Those who trace Speculative Freemasonry to the ancient solar worship, of whom Ragon may be considered as the exponent, find in this legend a symbol of the conspiracy of the three winter months to destroy the life-giving heat of the sun.
Those who, like the disciples of the Rite of Strict Observance, trace Freemasonry to a Templar origin, a explain the legend as referring to the conspiracy of the three renegade knights who falsely accused the Order, and thus aided King Philip and Pope Clement to abolish Templarism, and to slay its Grand Master. Hutchinson and Oliver, who labored to give a Christian interpretation to all the symbols of Freemasonry, referred the legend to the crucifixion of the Messiah, the type of which is, of course, the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain.
Others, of whom the Chevalier Ramsay has been set forth as the leader, sought to give it a political significance; and, making Charles I the type of the Builder, symbolized Cromwell and his adherents as the conspirators.
The Masonic scholars whose aim has been to identify the modern system of Freemasonry with the Ancient Mysteries, and especially with the Egyptian, which they supposed to be the germ of all the others, interpret the conspirators as the symbol of the Evil Principle, or Typhon, slaying the Good Principle, or Osiris; or, when they refer to the Zoroastic Mysteries of Persia, as Ahriman contending against Ormuzd.
Lastly, in the Philosophic Degrees, the myth is interpreted as signifying the war of Falsehood, Ignorance, and Superstition against Truth. Of the supposed names of the three Assassins, there is hardly any end of variations, for they materially differ in all the principal rites. Thus, we have Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum in the York and American Rites. In the Adonhiramite system we have Romvel, Gravelot, and Abiram. Romvel has been claimed as a corruption of Cromwell. In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite we find the names given in the old rituals as Jubelum Akirop, sometimes Abiram, Jubelo Romvel, and Jubela Gravelot. Schterke and Oterfut are in some of the German rituals, while other Scottish rituals have Abiram, Romvel, and Hobhen. In all these names there is manifest corruption, and the patience of many Masonic scholars has been well-nigh exhausted in seeking for some plausible and satisfactory derivation.
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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