Enciclopédia Mackey – I ~ ILLUMINATI

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by ALBERT C. MACKEY M. D. Enciclopédia


The ninth letter in the alphabets of Western Europe, called by the Greeks Iota, after its Shemitic name. The Hebrew equivalent is, of the numerical value of 10, and signifies a hand. The oldest forms of the letter, as seen in the Phenician and Samaritan, have a rude resemblance to a hand with three fingers, but by a gradual simplification, the character came to be the smallest in the alphabet, and iota, or jot, is a synonym for a trifle. The thumb and two fingers are much used, and are of great significance, in religious forms, as well as in Freemasonry. It is the position of the hand when the Pope blesses the congregation, and signifies the Three in One. The Hebrew letter ain, y, with the numerical value of 70, possesses and gives the English sound of the letter i.

I. A. A. T.

Reghellini (i, 29) says that the Rose Croix Freemasons of Germany and Italy always wear a ring of gold or silver, on which are engraved these letters, the initials of Ignis, Aer, Aqua, Terra, in allusion to the Egyptian mystical doctrine of the generation, destruction, and regeneration of all things by the four elements, lire, air, water, and earth; which doctrine passed over from the Egyptians to the Greeks, and was taught in the philosophy of Empedocles. But these Rose Croix Freemasons, probably borrowed their doctrine from the Gnostics.


The name which the Great Architect directed Moses to use (Exodus iii, 14), that he might identify himself to the Israelites as the messenger sent to them by God. It is one of the modifications of the Tetragrammaton, and as such, in its Hebrew form eheyeh usher eheyeh, the e pronounced like a in fate, has been adopted as a significant word in the higher Degrees of the York, American, and several other Rites. The original Hebrew words are actually in the future tense, and grammatically mean I will be what I will bc; but all the versions give a present signification. Thus, the Vulgate has it, I am who am; the Septuagint, I am he who exists; and the Arabic paraphrase, I am the Eternal who passes not away. The expression seems intended to point out the eternity and self-existence of God, and such is the sense in which it is used in Freemasonry (see Eheyeh asher eheyeh).


From the Greek word the art of medicine. Ragon, in his Orthodoxic Maçonnique (page 450), says that this system was instituted in the eighteenth century, and thats its adepts were occupied in the search for the universal medicine. It must therefore have been a Hermetic Rite. Ragon knew very little of it, and mentions only one Degree, called the Oracle of Cos. The island of Cos was the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and to him the Degree is dedicated. The Order or Rite has no longer any existence.


An island south of the Hebrides, once the seat of the Order of the Culdees, containing the ruins of the monastery of Saint Columba, founded 565 A.D. Tradition plants the foundation of the Rite of Heredom on this island.


From the Greek words eikon, meaning image, and klazo, I break. The name used to designate those in the Church, from the eighth century downward, who have been opposed to the use of sacred images, or, rather, to the paying of religious honor or reverence to such representations. Image worship prevailed extensively in the sixth and seventh centuries in the Eastern Empire. The iconoclast movement commenced with the Imperial Edict issued, in 726, by the Emperor Leo III, surnamed the Isaurian, who allowed images only of the Redeemer. The second decree was issued in 730. This was opposed strenuously by Popes Gregory II and III, but without avail.


The science which teaches the doctrine of images and symbolic representations. It is a science collateral with Freemasonry, and is of great importance to the Masonic student, because it is engaged in the consideration of the meaning and history of the symbols which constitute so material a part of the Masonic system.


The Grand Lodge of Oregon granted a Dispensation to Idaho Lodge, No. 35, on July 7,1863, and on June 21,1864, a Charter was issued. At a Convention held in Idaho City on December 16, 1867, for the purpose of organizing a Grand Lodge, members of the four chartered Lodges in the State, namely, Idaho, No. 35; Boise City, No. 37; Placer, No. 38, and Pioneer, No. 12, were present. It was agreed that members of Owyhee Lodge, U. D., should be admitted and permitted to vote. On December 17, 1867, Grand of heers were elected and installed, and, adopting the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Oregon, the Grand Lodge of Idaho was opened in Ample Form.

Idaho Chapter in Idaho City, was granted a Charter on June 18, 1867, by the Grand Chapter of Oregon which was under the impression that the General Grand Chapter had ceased to exist. The General Grand Chapter, when considering the above Charter acknowledged that the petitioners acted in good faith and granted a Charter to Idaho Chapter, No. 1, on September 18, 1868. Ten Chapters in all were also chartered by the General Grand Chapter in this State. The eleven Chapters organized the Grand Chapter of Idaho on June 16, 1908. The first Council in Idaho, Idaho Council at Pocatello, was issued a Dispensation by the Officers of the General Grand Council on December 15, 1896. This Dispensation was annulled on October 11, 1897. on January 24, 1912, however, the General Grand Council issued a Dispensation to Idaho Council, No. 1, and chartered it on September 10, 1912.

Five Commanderies were instituted in Idaho before the Grand Commandery was organized. The first of these was Idaho, No. 1, at Boise, which was granted a Dispensation May 24, 1882, and a Charter September 13, 1882. With four other Commanderies, Lewiston, No. 2; Moscow, No. 3; Gate City, No. 4; Coeur d’Alene, No. 5, and Idaho, No. 1, the Grand Commandery was organized on August 21, 1904.

A Lodge of Perfections a Chapter of Rose Croix, a Council of Kadosh, and a Consistory, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, were established at Lewiston by the Supreme Council as Lewiston, No. 1, by Charters dated respectively June 15, 1895; January 18, 1898; April 29, 1899; and June 27, 1899.


Idiocy is one of the main disqualifications for initiation. This does not, however, include a mere dulness of intellect and indocility of apprehension. These amount only to stupidity, and “the judgment of the heavy or stupid man,” as Doctor Good has correctly remarked, “is often as sound in itself as that of the man of more capacious comprehension.” The idiot is defined by Blackstone as “one that hath had no understanding from his nativity; and therefore is by law presumed never likely to attain any.” A being thus mentally imperfect is incompetent to observe the obligations or to appreciate the instructions of Freemasonry. It is true that the word does not occur in any of the old Constitutions, but from their general tenor it is evident that idiots were excluded, because “cunning,” or knowledge and skill, are everywhere deemed essential qualifications of a Freemason. But the law of the ritual is explicit on the subject.


The worship paid to any created object. It was in some one of its forms the religion of the entire ancient world except the Jews. The forms of idolatry are generally reckoned as four in number.

  1. Fetichism, the lowest form, consisting in the worship of animals, trees, rivers, mountains, and stones.
  2. Sabianism or Sabaism, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars.
  3. Shintoism, or the worship of deceased ancestors or the leaders of a nation. 4. Idealism, or the worship of abstractions or mental qualities.

Brother Oliver and his school have propounded the theory that among the idolatrous nations of antiquity, who were, of course, the descendants, in common with the monotheistic Jews, of Noah, there were the remains of certain legends and religious truths which they had received from their common ancestor, but which had been greatly distorted and perverted in the system which they practised. This system, taught in the Ancient Mysteries, he called the Spurious Freemasonry of antiquity.


A Latin phrase meaning By fire, nature is perfectly renewed (see I.•. N.•. R.•.1.•.)


The ignorant Freemason is a drone and an encumbrance in the Order. He who does not study the nature, the design, the history and character of the Institution, but from the hour of his initiation neither gives nor receives any ideas that could not be shared by a profane, is of no more advantage to Freemasonry than Freemasonry is to him. The true Freemason seeks light that darkness may be dispelled, and knowledge that ignorance may be removed. The ignorant aspirant, no matter how loudly he may have asked for light, is still a blind grouper in the dark.


The Cabalistic mode of reading Ho-hi, one of the forms of the Tetragrammaton (see Zo-hi).

I. H. S.

A monogram, to which various meanings have been attached. Thus, these letters have been supposed to be the initials of In hoc signo, words which surrounded the cross seen by Constantine. But that inscription was in Greek; and besides, even in a Latin translation, the letter V, for vinces, would be required to complete it. The Church has generally accepted the monogram as containing the initials of Jesus Hominum Salvator, a Latin expression meaning Jesus the Savior of Men; a sense in which it has been adopted by the Jesuits, who have taken it in the form here illustrated, as the badge of their society. So, too, it is interpreted by the Masonic Templars, on whose banners it often appears. A later interpretation is advocated by the Cambridge Camden Society in a work published by them on the subject. In this work they contend that the monogram is of Greek origin, and is the first three letters of the Greek name, JESUS. But the second of these interpretations is the one most generally received.


The eighth month of the Hebrew civil year. It corresponds to a part of the months of April and May.


The Anti-Masonic movement had so great an effect on Freemasonry in Illinois that it practically died. After the agitation ceased the Craft appeared again with renewed vigor. There are thus two early Lodges and two Grand Lodges to be considered in an account of the growth of Freemasonry in this State. On September 4, 1805, a Dispensation for six months was issued to Western Star Lodge, No. 107, while Illinois was still in Indian Territory.

The Lodge was chartered and on September 13, 1806, was duly constituted. A Convention was held at Vandalia on December 9, 1822, to consider the organization of a Grand Lodge for the State. At another meeting held December 1, 1823, eight Lodges were represented and a Grand Lodge was opened with Brother Shadrach Bond as Grand Master. In 1827, this Grand Lodge ceased operations and after June 24, 1827, all the Lodgea in the State went out of existence. A Warrant was issued on August 30, 1838, to Bodley Lodge, No. 97, by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, there being at that time no other working Lodge in Illinois. At a Convention held at Jacksonville on April 6, 1840, six of the eight chartered Lodges in the State were present and one under Dispensation was represented. The Grand L,odge officers were elected and the Grand Lodge then opened. For some time, however, several Lodges in Illinois paid allegiance to Missouri because their business in St. Louis made it more convenient for the Brethreu to attend the Grand Lodge of Missouri.

A Dispensation was granted by the Deputy General Grand High Priest to Springfield Chapter, on July 19, 1841, and in the following September a Charter was issued. Seven Chapters were given permission subsequently by the General Grand Iiing to organize a Grand Chapter. On April 10, 1850, six of these Chapters held a Convention and opened the Grand Chapter of Illinois.

Degrees of the Cryptic Rite were conferred in some of the Royal Arch Chapters in this State. Then several Councils were chartered from 1852 by the Grand Council of Kentucky, the first being Illinois Council No. 15. A Charter was granted to Alton Council at Alton in 1853. Springfield Council at Springfield was not chartered until February, 1853, though the Convention to form a Grand Council was assembled on September 29, 1853, and during the adjourned meeting at Springfield the various Councils were arranged as Illinois Council No. 1; Springfield Council No. 2, and Alton Council No. 3. Any misunderstanding was cleared up by a second Convention at Springfield, March 10, 1854, when the Constitution was readopted and the Grand Council constituted by representatives of the three Councils.

Apollo Encampment, later Apollo Commandery, was organized at Chicago under Dispensation dated May 5, 1845, issued by Deputy Grand Master Joseph E. Stapleton of Baltimore. It receiveda Charter dated September 17, 1847. The Grand Commandery was organized on October 27, 1857, under authority of Grand Master W. B. Hubbard of the Grand Encampment, by three Commanderies: Apollo, No. 1; Belvidere, No. 2, and Peoria, No. 3. At the Conclave of 1858, Sir Hosmer A. Johnson presented a piece of the Charter Oak received from the Hon. Isaac W. Stewart of Hartford, Connecticut, which was afterwards made into a Patriarchal Cross for the use of the Grand Commanders as a Jewel of Office.

As early as 1857, appeared the first Body of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in Illinois, when an Rensselaer Lodge of Perfection was chartered on Alay 14, at Chicago. On that date also Chicago Council of Princes of Jerusalem, Gourgas Chapter of Rose Croix, and Oriental Consistory were established in the same city.


The word illiteracy, as signifying an ignorance of letters, an incapability to read and write, suggests the inquiry whether illiterate persons are qualified to be made Freemasons. There can be no doubt, from historic evidence, that at the period when the Institution was operative in its character, the members for the most part that is, the great mass of the Fraternity were unable to read or write. At a time when even kings made at the foot of documents the sign of the cross, pro ignorantia litterarum. because they could not write their names, it could hardly be expected that an Operative Mason should be gifted with a greater share of education than his sovereign. But the change of the Society from Operative to Speculative gave to it an intellectual elevation, and the philosophy and science of symbolism which was then introduced could hardly be understood by one who had no preliminary education. Accordingly, the provision in all Lodges, that initiation must be preceded by a written petition, would seem to indicate that no one is expected or desired to apply for initiation unless he can comply with that regulation, by writing, or at least signing, such a petition.

The Grand Lodge of England does not leave this principle to be settled by implication, but in express words requires that a candidate shall know how to write, by inserting in its Constitution the provision that a candidate, “previous to his initiation, must subscribe his name at full length to a declaration.” The official commentary on this, in an accompanying note, is, that “a Person who cannot write is consequently ineligible to be admitted into the Order,” aid this is now the very generally accepted law. The Latin words ne varies in Masonic diplomas, which follows the signature in the margin, indicates that the holder is required to know how to sign his name.


A modification of the system of Pernetty instituted at Paris by Benedict Chastanier, who subsequently succeeded in introducing it into London. It consisted of nine Degrees, for an account of which see Chastanier.


This is a Latin word, signifying the enlightened, and hence often applied in Latin Diplomas as an epithet of Freemasons.


See Avignon, Illuminati of


A secret society, founded on May 1, 1776, by Adam Weishaupt, who was Professor of Canon Law at the University of Ingolstadt. Its founder at first called it the Order of the Perfectibilists; but he subsequently gave it the name by which it is now universally known. Its professed object was, by the mutual assistance of its members, to attain the highest possible degree of morality and virtue, and to lay the foundation for the reformation of the world by the association of good men to oppose the progress of moral evil.

To give to the Order a higher influence, Weishaupt connected it with the Masonic Institution, after whose system of Degrees, of esoteric instruction, and of secret modes of recognition, it was organized. It has thus become confounded by superficial writers with Freemasonry, although it never could be considered as properly a Masonic Rite. Weishaupt, though a reformer in religion and a liberal in politics, had originally been a Jesuit; and he employed, therefore, in the construction of his association, the shrewdness and subtlety which distinguished the disciples of Loyola; and having been initiated in 1777 in a Lodge at Munich, he also borrowed for its use the mystical organization which was peculiar to Freemasonry. In this latter task he was greatly assisted by the Baron Von Knigge, a zealous and well-instructed Freemason, who joined the Illuminati in 1780, and soon became a leader, dividing with Weishaupt the control and direction of the Order.

In its internal organization the Order of Illuminati was divided into three great classes, namely,

  1. The Sursery;
  2. Symbolic Freemasonry; and
  3. The Mysteries; each of which was subdivided into several Degrees, making ten in all, as in the following table:
    1. Nursery. After a ceremony of preparation it began:
      1. Novice.
      2. Minerval.
      3. Illuminatus Minor.
    2. Symbolic Freemasonry.
      1. Illuminates Major, or Scottish Novice.
      2. Illuminates Diligent, or Scottish Knight.
    3. The Mysteries.This class was subdivided into the Lesser and the Greater Mysteries.
      1. Presbyter, Priest, or Epops.
      2. Prince, or Regent.
      3. Magus.
      4. Rex, or King.

Anyone otherwise qualified could be received into the Degree of Novice at the age of eighteen; and after a probation of not less than a year he was admitted to the Second and Third Degrees, and so on to the advanced Degrees; though but few reached the Ninth and Tenth Degrees, in which the inmost secret designs of the Order were contained, and, in fact, it is said that these last Degrees were never thoroughly worked up. The Illuminati selected for themselves Order Names, which were always of a classical character. Thus, Weishaupt called himself Spartocus, Knigge was Philo, and Zwack, another leader, was known as Cato. They gave also fictitious names to countries. Ingolstadt, where the Order originated, was called Eleusis; Austria was Egypt, in reference to the Egyptian darkness of that kingdom, which excluded all Freemasonry from its territories; Munich was called Athens, and Vienna was Rome. The Order had also its calendar, and the months were designated by peculiar names; as, Dimeh for January, and Bemeh for February. They had also a cipher, in which the official correspondence of the members was conducted. The character now so much used by Freemasons to represent a Lodge, was invented and first used by the Illuminati.

The Order was at first very popular, and enrolled no less than two thousand names upon its registers, among whom were some of the most distinguished men of Germany. It extended rapidly into other countries, and its Lodges were to be found in France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, and Italy. The original design of Illuminism was undoubtedly the elevation of the human race. Knigge, who was one of its most prominent working members, and the author of several of its Degrees, was a religious man, and would never have united with it had its object been, as has been charged, to abolish Christianity. But it cannot be denied, that in process of time abuses had crept into the Institution and that by the influence of unworthy men the system became corrupted; yet the coarse accusations of such writers as Barruel and Robison are known to be exaggerated, and some of them altogether false.

The Conversations-Lexicon, for instance, declares that the s society had no influence whatever on the French Revolution, which is charged upon it by these as well as other writers. But Illuminism came directly and professedly in conflict with the Jesuits and with the Roman Church, whose tendencies were to repress the freedom of thought. The priests became, therefore, its active enemies, and waged war so successfully against it, that on June 22, 1784, the Elector of Bavaria issued an Edict for its suppression. Many of its members were fined or imprisoned, and some, among whom was Weishaupt, were compelled to flee the country. The Edicts of the Elector of Bavaria were repeated in March and August, 1785, and the Order began to decline, so that by the end of the eighteenth century it had ceased to exist. Adopting Freemasonry only as a means for its own more successful propagation, and using it only as incidental to its own organization, it exercised while in prosperity no favorable influence on the Masonic Institution, nor any unfavorable effect on it by its dissolution.


An Order but little known; mentioned by Ragon in his Catalogue as having been instituted for the propagation of Martinism.

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