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Before reading this post, I advise you to read or re-read part 1 , and part 2. Otherwise, it will not make much sense. His life is worthy of a full post, dedicated to his talents and deeds.
Suffices to say that Mackey was a physician, a journalist, and most importantly, an educator. Mackey dedicated most of his life to the study of languages, the middle ages, and Freemasonry, among other topics. From his extensive bibliography, I picked two that will fit our purpose here: find definitions that were written to be definitions. For the distance of both works in time, it is also interesting to notice the adjustments made by Mackey.
In the first one, he defines rite in masonry, in the second one, a Masonic rite. Although complementary, they bring different pieces of information. A modification of masonry, in which the three ancient degrees and their essentials being preserved, there are varieties in the ceremonies, and number and names of the additional degrees. A masonic rite is, therefore, in accordance with the general signification of the word, the method, order, and rules, observed in the performance and government of the masonic system.
Here, Mackey brings a word that will be mingled with rite quite often across masonic literature: system. A method of conferring Masonic light by a collection and distribution of degrees.
It is, in other words, the method and order observed in the government of a Masonic system. To match our previous post, it is pivotal to bring an English author with his definition of rite. He was writing at almost the same time, but on the other side of the pond. Woodford was one of these nineteenth-century Freemasons that through research took the Order to another level.
Besides being a reverend of the Anglican Church, Woodford was an avid Masonic practitioner and researcher. The book was edited by Woodford, by the time a Past Grand Chaplain of the UGLE, and shows a view as authorial as well-supported of the topics to be defined.
He wrote. Some of us may be disposed to reject this multiplication of Rites; others may look favourably upon some, at any rate; and therefore, in a work of reference, we have to mention them, whether we approve of them or not, whether we believe in them or not. It is impossible to give all here, as it would, we think, be profitless.
Some say there are rites and grades; but many of them are clearly only quasi- Masonic, and some not Masonic at all. A list of these works would be fascinating but terribly extenuating. Arturo de Hoyos. As in any handbook, de Hoyos had few pages to give an introductory, but deep, account of that topic.
I shall go back to that in the next post. For now, it is important to close this series on definitions of Masonic Rite. After the lexicographic definition, de Hoyos informs, among other things:. This chapter focuses on the latter application.
A Rite may be compared with a staircase, which is comprised of individual steps. The steps represent individual masonic degrees, whereas the staircase as a whole is analogous to a Rite. The degrees of a Rite will usually, although not always, have a numerical designation or fixed position on a calendar or schedule. It is possible to verify how Arturo de Hoyos condensed and sophisticated the definition of Rite to comprise all the variations of conferring Masonic degrees.
However, in the same article, he points out some differences that I understand as pivotal for a narrower definition of Masonic rite. Skip to content. Post to Cancel.
The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia of History, Rites, Symbolism, and Biography
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Catalog Record: The Royal Masonic cyclopaedia | HathiTrust Digital Library