Among the Masonic Rites, this Rite has occupied a particular
position since its origin. It has its place among the Egyptian rites
that drank from the source of the ancient initiatic traditions of
the Mediterranean basin: Pythagoreans, Alexandrian hermetic authors,
neo-Platonics, the Sabbeans of HarrÔn, Ismaelies ... It was
necessary to wait until the XVIIIth century to find any traces in
Europe. These rites were numerous but only two among them came to
us: Misra´m and later Memphis. These two would associate and then
merge under the influence of General Garibaldi in 1881.
The Rite of Misra´m
Since 1738, one can find traces of this Rite filled with
alchemical, occult and Egyptian references, with a structure of 90
degrees. Joseph Balsamo, called Cagliostro, a key character of his
time, known how to give it the impulse necessary for its
Very close to the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of
Malta, Manual Pinto de Fonseca, Cagliostro founded the Rite of High
Egyptian Masonry in 1784. He received, between 1767 and 1775, from
Sir Knight Luigi dĺAquino, the brother of the national Grand Master
of Neapolitan Masonry, the Arcana Arcanorum, three very high
hermetic degrees. In 1788, he introduced them into the Rite of
Misra´m and gave a patent to this Rite.
It developed quickly in Milan, Genoa and Naples. In 1803, it was
introduced by Joseph Marc and Michel BÚdarride. During this period
of time, the Rite recruited not only aristocrats but Bonapartists
and Republicans, and sometimes even revolutionary Carbonari.
It was forbidden in 1817, following the business of the Four
Sergeants of La Rochelle and the uneasyness caused by the Carbonari.
It became the meeting-place of opponents to the regime. This
progressively let to its decline. Toward 1890, the last Masons of
the Rite regrouped in the only remaining Lodge: Arc-en-Ciel.
The Rite of Memphis
Constituted by Jacques Etienne Marconis de NŔgre in 1838, the
Rite of Memphis is a variant of the Rite of Misra´m. It takes the
Egypto - alchemical mythology and completes it with pieces borrowed
from the Templars and chivalry.
The Rite of Memphis attracted personalities in quest of an ideal.
It knew a certain success among military Lodges until 1841; the date
where it was put to sleep. But, with the dismissal of Louis -
Philippe in 1848, the Rite was reactivated.
In England, from about 1850 numerous English Lodges worked the
Rite of Memphis in French. They maintained celebrity for having
welcomed ardent Republicans (Louis Blanc, Alfred Talandier, Charles
Longuet and Joseph Garibaldi, (honorary member)). In 1871, the crash
of the Commune of Paris contributed to a decrease in Lodges that
would further decline around 1880 following the declaration of
amnesty of the new French republican government.
In Egypt, from 1873, the Rite of Memphis developed quickly, under
the direction of Brother Solutore Avventure Zola, Grand Hierophant
until the reign of king Farouk.
In the United States, Marconis de NŔgre implanted the Rite around
1856. There was a noticeable emphatuation, particularly under the
Grand Mastery of Brother Seymour in 1861.
The Rite of Memphis-Misra´m
In 1881, General Garibaldi was preparing to fuse the two Rites,
which would be effective as of 1889. From this moment, the Rite of
Memphis-Misra´m became implanted on the many different continents of