Secret Societies of All Ages: Vol 2 - Charles Heckethorn

V. Genuine and Spurious Masonry

397. Distinction between Genuine and Spurious Masonry.—Modern Freemasonry is divided into genuine and spurious. The former embraces the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow-Craft, and Master Mason, which are known by the comprehensive name of Symbolic, and also of Blue Masonry, because the decorations are of that colour, the colour of the celestial canopy (27, 42, 85), which Blue Masonry is the only Masonry acknowledged by the Grand Lodge of England; the latter term, i.e. spurious, is applied to all other degrees. Without the Royal Arch degree Blue Masonry is incomplete, for we have seen in the Legend of the Temple that, through the murder of Hiram, the Master's word was lost; that word is not recovered in the Master's degree, its substitute only being given; but that lost word is recovered in the Royal Arch degree. Blue Masonry, in fact, answers to the lesser mysteries of the ancients, where in reality nothing but the exoteric doctrines were revealed; whilst spurious Masonry, or all subsequent degrees for no one can be initiated into them who has not passed through the first three degrees answers to the greater mysteries.

398. Some Eites only deserve Special Mention.—It would be a useless and unprofitable task to fully detail all the ceremonies practised in the lodges of Blue Masonry; and I shall, therefore, confine myself to giving such particulars of the three degrees as are most characteristic of the institution. As to spurious Masonry, its almost countless degrees form an incoherent medley of opposite principles, founded chiefly on Christian traditions and institutions, orders of knighthood, contested theological opinions, historical events; in fact, every important event or institution has afforded models for masonic mimicry. Of such as have been distinguished either by a philosophical spirit or influential action on the progress of mankind I shall speak at some length. The reader will, however, bear in mind that the ceremonies vary in different lodges and different countries, and that much that follows must be taken as typical, being modified according to local and other conditions and circumstances.