Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis Misraim : Historical Notes - Joanny Jean Bricaud Cerneau Theodor Reuss Harry Seymour Marshal Maignan Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite John Yarker Gérard Encausse Papus William Wynn Westcott W.H. Quilliams Swedenborg Rite Charles Détré Teder George Lagrèze Eduardo Frosini Czesław Czyński Punar Bhava Universal Gnostic Church

Memphis Misraim
Ordo Templi Orientis
Gnostic Catholic Church

Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis Misraim : Historical Notes

Based upon a text by Joanny Bricaud (February 11th 1881 - February 21st 1934)

The following document dates from 1933, and offers only a brief historical synopsis of the "Rite of Memphis" and the "Rite of Misraim", originally separate bodies originating in 18th century France, and allegedly influenced by Cagliostro (1743-1795). [1] The author of this article, Joanny Bricaud was head of a Memphis Misraim [MM] group and part of the French O.T.O. and the Gnostic Church. His article is abbreviated that it takes at its starting-point the year 1856, when the Rite of Memphis first arrived in America [2]. I have omitted dates from 1863 to 1868, and from 1873 to 1900. In 1881 the ninety degrees of the Rite of Misraim were united with the ninety-seven degrees of Memphis. Regular Freemasons generally treat the MM (as they also do all O.T.O. groups) as 'fringe' or 'irregular' Masonry. Even so, mention of the originally regular Rite of Cerneau occurs in this text. The tangled history of these innumerable rites and their inter-relationships is in reality a depressing tale of squabbles over legitimacy and occasionally money-matters. So far as the O.T.O. phenomenon alone is concerned, where also Bricaud has omitted information, this has been inserted in [square] brackets. Many of the main figures mentioned here also come to light in association with the Gnostic Church.

Further reading:
Aleister Crowley, 'The Equinox' I:10, 1919, pp. xix-xxxix.
Theodor Reuss's volumes of the 'Oriflamme'.
'Wiener Freimaurer-Zeitung' No. 5, May 1929, p. 12.
K.H.F. Frick, 'Licht und Finsternis' volume II, Graz 1978.
Ellic Howe, 'Fringe Masonry in England 1870-1985', in 'Ars Quatuor Coronatorum', pp. 242-275, London 1972.
G. Ventura, 'I Riti Massonici di Misraim e Memphis', Venice 1975.
Gerard Galtier. 'Maçonnerie Egyptienne', Editions du Rocher 1989.
Serge Caillet, 'Franc-Maçonnerie', Paris 1988.
Pierre P. Pasleau, 'Des Templiers aux Francs-Macons', Paris 1988.
All my facsimile books.

1856 - [Memphis] Grand Hierophant Marconis set out [from France] for the USA, where on November 9th in New York he founded a Sovereign Grand Council of the 94°, with David MacLelland as Grand Master.

1861 - Harry Seymour discharged MacLelland as Grand Master of the 'Sovereign General Council' of the USA.

1862 - On April 30th Marshal Maignan, Grand Master of the French Grand Orient, addressed a proclamation to all bodies in his obedience with regard to a union of French Masonry. Due to a positive report from Razy, member of a Commission of Enquiry, the Rite of Memphis was united with the Grand Orient. The lodges of the Rite of Memphis constituted themselves under the control of the Grand Orient. In July the Grand Hierophant
[Marconis in Paris] presented a [96°] Warrant for America to Brother Seymour. This document was forwarded to the French Grand Orient and entered under the number 28,911 in its Great Sealed Book. [July 21st was given by Theodor Reuss and H.J. Metzger as the date of the O.T.O.'s foundation. On the basis of this warrant, the 'Symbolic Grand Lodge' of the Scottish Rite in Germany (AASR; 'Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite', of regular form with 33 degrees) - in other words Reuss - believed that he had the right to the first three degrees of the Scottish Rite of Cerneau. Harry J. Seymour was later struck off its list of members in good standing by the American Supreme Council, the ruling body of regular Freemasons the USA.]
To make the accord with the other grades of the Grand Orient simpler, the [active] ninety-five grades of Memphis [in France] were temporarily reduced to thirty-three.

1869 - America's S
[upreme] S[anctuary] broke with the French Grand Orient, because the latter had been granting lodge warrants in Louisiana without the Supreme Sanctuary's permission; Grand Master Seymour announced the division to the Grand Orient on March 20th. Since the death of the Grand Hierophant [Marconis, in 1868], the 'Supreme Governership'of the Rite of Egypt had passed to the Marquis de Beauregard as chief. [On November 30th 1870 the 'Supreme Council 33°' of the AASR expelled John Yarker (1833 - March 20th 1913). He had held the authority to bestow the fourth to the thirty-third degrees of the irregular and reduced Rite of Memphis since August 24th 1871.]

1872 - On June 4th the [irregular] American Supreme Sanctuary granted Letters Patent to John Yarker [in Manchester], giving him permission to establish a Supreme Sanctuary in England and Ireland. [If the first three degrees were revived, it is not mentioned; see August 24th 1871.] On October 8th this Supreme Sanctuary was definitively constituted at Freemason's Hall in London (the seat of the Grand Lodge of England); its Grand Master General was John Yarker. The new Sanctuary nominated General Garibaldi as an honorary member, at the same time proclaiming its friendly links with Sicily and Egypt.

[1891 - Gérard Encausse co-founded Martinism in France [3]. On June 24th 1901 Theodor Reuss received a Martinist warrant from Encausse; in the same year Encausse was granted letters patent by Yarker to open the Swedenborgian Lodge INRI, this warrant being renewed on March 20th 1906 [4]. On June 15th that year Reuss was made a Master Mason, and 'A.M. 5663 33°' in Emanuel Lodge Nº 1, by Max Scheuer (of New York, 33°, 90°, 96°, Grand Commander of the Rite of Cerneau from 1900-1904). Encausse belonged to the Sovereign Grand Lodge of England, as did the coroner William Wynn Westcott (1848-1925) and W.H. Quilliams (33°, 95°); Reuss however did not [5].]

1902 - The [formerly] independent Rite of Misraim in France disappeared. John Yarker was Grand Hierophant, Oddis his successor [as universal Grand Hierophant]. [No. 0 of the Oriflamme of January 1902 makes no mention of Reuss as being in the English or Irish Grand Lodges in return for the founding of the German 'Holy Grail Lodge and Temple No. 15', part of Yarker's Swedenborg Rite. German Freemasons who wished to associate themselves with this lodge were supposed to make themselves known to Max Rahn, August Weinholtz, Franz Held, or Leopold Engel, according to the magazine].

The English Supreme Sanctuary constituted a German Supreme Sanctuary, and chose Theodor Reuss as its Grand Master. [This was on September 24th 1902. On the 27th of December 1903 Carl Kellner was appointed to the 33°, 90°, and 96° for England and Germany, and in 1904 he became 'Fraternal Representative' of the MM for America. Kellner's descendants have no documentation in their possession which would indicate whether Kellner was definitely a regular Freemason, in the sense of recognition by Grand Lodge in London. [6] Reuss's association with the Theosophical Society is described by Ellic Howe (September 20th 1910 - September 28th 1991), in an article in Theosophical History. [7]]

1905 - The Grand Master for Italy stepped down, and the Rite in Italy became dormant. [Carl Kellner died on the 8th of June 1905 from a heart-attack, leaving his widow Marie Antoinette (originally from Trieste), and three children.]

[On the 24th of November 1905 Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) and Marie von Sivers (1867-1948), became members of MM, and recieved a warrant to work the 30°, 67°, and 89° from Reuss on the 3rd of January 1906. On the 21st of June 1906 Reuss published the 'General Statutes of the O.T.O.' with the Lamen of the O.T.O. which Crowley later maintained [8] was wholly his own invention [9]. However this Lamen can already be found as part of Joseph Peladan's coat-of-arms in the 'Ordre de la Rose-Croix du Temple et du Graal' [10]. On the 24th of June Reuss severed Memphis from Misraim, and made the 33° independent from both. In 1907 his young O.T.O. became known as the 'Union for International Reconciliation' (Bund für Internationale Versöhnung).]

1908 - Following a congress of Spiritualists at the temple of the 'Droit Humain' lodge [founded 1893] in Paris, the Rite of Memphis-Misraim was newly constituted in France. The constituting Letters Patent were sent to Berlin from England on June 24th; they were signed (as 'Peregrinos') by Theodor Reuss, who had travelled to Paris for this purpose. Grand Masters for France [on the 24th of June [11]] were Gérard Encausse "Papus" [33°, 90°, 96° [12]] and Charles Détré "Teder" [33°, 97°, X° [13]]. ["Joyous Jubilation Reigns in the Camp of the Martinists" [14]]. The Mother-Lodge of the Memphis-Misraim Rite in France was the 'Humanidad' lodge, formerly in communion with the Spanish Rite. [On March 15th 1908 Arnoldo Krumm-Heller received a warrant for Mexico from Reuss, and on April 7th the same year additionally obtained a licence for a Supreme Sanctuary for Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, equivalent to 33°, 90°, 96°. Hans-Rudolf Hilfiker, the highly conjectural later successor to Reuss in Switzerland, was mentioned on the front cover of the Oriflamme for December 1909 as an inactive Grand Inspector General. In the same number of the Oriflamme, Reuss announced an International Congress for Experimental Psychology to be held in Paris during 1910.]

[Yarker disagreed with Reuss and Encausse's activities in France, and nominated George Lagrèze in their place on the 9th of September 1909 [15]].

1910 - Eduardo Frosini, the Italian General Delegate for the Spanish Rite, founded the 'Rite Philosophique Italien' in Florence, devising seven grades for it, and uniting the Scottish, Memphis, and Misraim grades. [On the 21st of November 1910 Aleister Crowley was appointed to the 33° of the AASR; notwithstanding the fact that Yarker had been out of favour with the AASR ever since 1869.]

1911 - The Romanian Grand Master Constantin Moriou, the oldest founder-member (77 years) retired from his office; I.T. Ulic was his successor. [In November 1911 the O.T.O. was mentioned for the first time in the French occult journal Initiation. Bricaud's Gnostic Church and Encausse's Martinism entered into union.]

[On the 21st of April 1912 Crowley was elevated to the 33°, 90°, 95°, and X° for England and Ireland through Reuss. On the same day Reuss nominated Czesław Czyński "Punar Bhava" as X° for the Slavonic territories; [16] Czynski had been appointed by Encausse in 1910. Czynski was announced in the French periodical Mysteria (subtitled "the Organ of the O.T.O.") as the Legate of the Universal Gnostic Church in Russia [17]; he died in 1937. [18] On the 25th of October 1912 Frosini and Détré were made "gnostic legates of the Universal Gnostic Church". [19] The "first Grand Administrator-General" and "Past Grand Master" of the MM and O.T.O., Franz Hartmann "Emanuel", born on the 22nd of November 1838, died on the 7th of August 1912. The 'Jubilee Edition' of the Oriflamme appeared shortly afterwards; it contained many photographs of the protagonists, a 'History Lection' on the origins of the O.T.O., and included a contribution from the 'Mysteria Mystica Maxima' (Crowley's English branch) on sex-magic.]

1913 - On the 20th of March the Grand Hierophant John Yarker died. He was succeeded by Theodor Reuss. [20] After the death of Villarino del Villar, the Grand Master of the 'Spanish National Rite', this rite fused with the Catalonian 'Balearic Grand Lodge'. [Italy: after the death of Michele de Vicenzo Majulli (33°, 90°, 95°, VII°) [21] in the summer of 1912 Eduardo Frosini "Hermes" became 33°, 90°, 96° and VII° [22]. He had received MM-degrees already in 1909 by Yarker [23]. Also in Italy Arturo Reghini "Maximus" (12th of November 1878 - 1st of July 1946) was made 33°, VI°, and G. di San Fortunato was raised to 33°, 90°, 95° and VII°. [24] Frosini and Reghini are entered in Crowley's Golden Book [25] which only contains entries from 1912 to 1917. Encausse made Czesław Czyński 33°, 90°, 96°, VII° and 'Legate of the Universal Gnostic Church' for Russia [26]. On the 20th of October 1913 Crowley was a founder-member of the 'Rite Philosophique Italien'. Reghini, of whom no more was heard to do with Martinism, was made VII° at the same time. [27] Allegedly the Madrid Cardinal Mariano Rampolla di Tindaro (1843-1913), who was nearly elected as successor to Pope Leo the 13th, was a member of this Spanish O.T.O.. [28]]

1914 - The 'Rite Philosophique Italien' [founded 1910] was closed down by Frosini. [Reuss's Oriflamme published an historical summary of Leopold Engels' Order of Illuminati, as well as Crowley's 'Manifesto of the Mysteria Mystica Maxima', which was (with only trifling alterations) promulgated in 1919 as statutes of the O.T.O. with world-wide validity as Liber LII. Likewise Reuss again proclaimed the theme of the sexual act in his essay 'Parsifal and the Secret of the Holy Grail', and proposed his 'Plan of the New O.T.O. Temple' and its 'Cornerstone' [29].

1916 - The French Grand Master [each country had its Grand Master] Gérard Encausse died on the 25th of October as a consequence of wartime illness [tuberculosis]. Charles Détré was his successor as Grand Master.

[In 1917 there appeared the Description and Constitution of the O.T.O. "Otherwise: The Hermetic Brotherhood of Light" [30], and the "Message from the Master Thirion" (sic); a postal address was given at Lugano in Switzerland.]

1918 - On the 25th of September Grand Master Charles Détré died. During the war the Rite was concentrated in England, France, Germany, Romania, and Egypt. [Reuss supposedly granted a warrant on the 10th of November 1918 to Ida Hofmann and Clara Linke: 33°, 97°, and X°.]

1919 - A group of Masons belonging to the 'Rite Français' (Grand Orient), the Scottish Rite (Grand Lodge and Supreme Council), and at the same time the higher grades of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim, desired to revive the Memphis-Misraim Rite in France, whilst staying true to their obediences, with the object of working a purely initiatory Freemasonry. The 'Humanidad' Mother-Lodge was revived at Lyons in accordance with the 1908
[Reuss] warrant. Thus on the 10th of September Brother Joanny Bricaud was granted a warrant [through Reuss] to establish the French Sovereign Sanctuary of the MM [33°, 90°, 96°], and likewise on the 30th of September activated the French foundation of a "Supreme Grand Council of Confederated Rites, Early Grand Scottish Rite, Memphis and Misraim, Royal Order of Scotland" etc.)

[In May 1919 Hilfiker was raised to 33°, 95°, and VII° for Switzerland through Reuss. Brother Thomson ratified the 33° on the 29th of August 1919. Joanny Bricaud augmented these offices to 90° on the 12th of May 1920. In July 1920 Reuss called a World Congress of Freemasonry in Zürich, and announced the "Structural Programme of the Gnostic Neo-Christian O.T.O.", but with which Reuss's experiment in gaining Masonic recognition for his O.T.O. and the MM completely foundered.]

1921 - In Italy the MM was reanimated with the aid of an Egyptian warrant; G. Macbean was Grand Master in Palermo. [In July of this year Harvey Spencer Lewis (1883-1936) was made 33°, 90°, 95°, and an honorary member of the O.T.O.. On July 31st Carl William Hansen "Kadosh" recieved the 33° for Copenhagen from Joanny Bricaud, augmented by the X° from Reuss on September 3rd. In the same year Heinrich Traenker became 33°, 90°, 96° and X° for Germany. Later on Spencer Lewis too was raised to the 97° [31]. Living at Cefalù in Sicily after April 2nd 1920, Crowley noted in his diary on November 27th 1921 that he had selected himself as OHO of the O.T.O..]

In 1923 the Grand Hierophant Theodor Reuss (Peregrinos) died
[without naming a successor [32], which threw the legitimacy of all succeeding organisations into question].

[Original in French].


Notes, 1994

1. Rudolf von Sebottendorff, the founder of the Thule Order must nonetheless have joined the MM; see Ellic Howe: Rudolf Freiherr von Sebottendorff, MS., London 27.6.68, p. 39.
2. Complete text in: AHA August 1991, p. 9 ff.
3. Frick, op cit., Vol II, p. 404.
4. Galtier, op cit., p. 297.
5. Nº 0 of the Oriflamme, supplement to Die Übersinnliche Welt, December (?) 1901.
6. Sigrid Plutzar, letter of 6.11.92.
7. Vol. III Nº 1, January 1990, Fullerton, p. 17.
8. Crowley to F.M. Spann, letter of 13.1.1936. Lamen illustrated in Der Kleine Theodor Reuss Reader, Koenig, 1993.
9. Aleister Crowley to Smith, letter of 3.1.1935.
10. For instance on the cover of Théâtre de La Rose + Croix - Babylone, Paris 1895. Literature in Gerard Galtier: Maçonnerie, p. 198.
11. 'Jubilee Edition' of the Oriflamme, Schmiedeberg 1912, p. 14.
12. Signature to the invitation to the 1908 Congress, and Initiation, Paris, October 1908.
13. Laban de Laban: Memorandum pour les Dames, 1918, in R.S. Clymer: Rosicrucian Fraternity in America Vol. II, Quakertown 1937, p. 317. The Oriflamme for December 1909 also credits Détré with the 33°, 90°, and 95°; see also Mysteria, January 1913.
14. Wiener Freimaurerzeitung 7/8, August 1929, p. 13.
15. Galtier, op. cit., p. 302, 336.
16. 'Jubilee edition' of the Oriflamme, Bad Schmiedeberg 1.6.1912, p. 14. Facsimile in AHA, September 1991, p. 22.
17. Nº 6 of June 1913, p. 191.
18. Rafal T. Prinke: Polnischer Satanismus und Sexualmagie, in AHA 9, Bergen 1991, p. 18ff.
19. Serge Caillet: Franc-Maçonnerie, p. 52.
20. The successor in England and Ireland was Henry Meyer 33°, 90°, 96°. Oriflamme, July 1913, p. 2.
21. Mysteria Nº 1, Paris January 1913, p. 83. Initiation, January 1911.
22. Mysteria Nº 2, Paris February 1913, p. 179.
23. Oriflamme, Schmiedeberg December 1909, p. 1.
24. Facsimile in AHA, September 1991, p. 21.
25. A list of all members with their dates, titles, duties, debts, and a description of their real value to the Order.
26. Mysteria Vol. 2 Nº 1, Paris 1913, p. 191.
27. Francis King: Magic, London 1975, photograph on p. 60.
28. Georges Virebeau: Prélats et Franc-Maçons, Paris 1978.
29. Reprinted in: Der Kleine Theodor Reuss-Reader, published by P.R. Koenig, Munich 1993.
30. On the 'Hermetic Brotherhood of Light', see Theosophical History, Vol. 2 Nº5, London 1988, piece by David Board on p. 149. Ibid., Vol. 3 Nº 3, Fullerton 1990, piece by Joscelyn Godwin on p. 66, and by the same author in Vol 3 Nº5, 1991, p. 137.
31. Signature in facsimile in: Clymer, op. cit., Vol II p. 391. The charter reproduced here completely resembles those that Crowley received from Reghini for the 'Ritus Philosophicus Italianus.'
32. Galtier, op. cit., p.329 Howe & Möller op. cit., p. 251.

Translated and adapted from a chapter on MM in "Das O.T.O.-Phänomen", 1994, by Mark Parry-Maddocks

Theodor Reuss . Ordo Templi Orientis . Memphis Misraim . Alter Angenommener Schottischer Ritus . Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite . Martinismus . Cerneau . Swedenborg. See charters, magazines, photographs and many more

sitemap advanced
Search the O.T.O. Phenomenon Website

To the main page of Photographs and Documents
To the other chapters of the English online version of "The O.T.O. Phenomenon" book
To the main page about Memphis and Misraim

O.T.O. Phenomenon   navigation page   |    main page    |    mail

Click here to go back to where you came from or use this Java Navigation Bar:

Memphis Misraim Carl Kellner Spermo-Gnostics The Early Years O.T.O. Rituals Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua Fraternitas Saturni Typhonian O.T.O. 'Caliphate' Pictures RealAudio and MP3 David Bowie Self Portrait Books on O.T.O. Deutsche Beiträge Charles Manson Illuminati