«THE QUESTION OF LUCIFER A RECORD OF THINGS SEEN AND HEARD IN THE SECRET SOCIETIES ACCORDING TO THE EVIDENCE OF INITIATES BY A R T H U R E D WA R D WA ...»
At this point, however, it becomes my duty to state that there are some very curious facts in connection with the "Catechism of the Officiating Mistress," which is the source of information for the alleged Manichæan character of the third degree. The more considerable and essential portion of that document, so far from being referable to the supposed founder of the Rite, namely, Count Cagliostro, is a series of mutilated passages taken from Éliphas Lévi's Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, and pieced clumsily together. That is to say, Leo Taxil, while claiming to make public for the first time an instruction forming an essential part of a rite belonging to the last century, presents to us in that instruction the original philosophical reflections of a writer in the year 1856, and, moreover, he distorts palpably the fundamental principle of that writer, who, so far from establishing dualism and antagonism in God, exhibits most clearly the essential oneness in connection with a threefold manifestation of the divine principle. I conceive that there is only one construction to be placed upon this fact, and although it is severe upon the documents it cannot be said that it is unjust.
Having established, in any case, that Leo Taxil knew nothing of the Reformed Palladium in the year 1886, we may pass over his next work, which reproduces a considerable though selected proportion of some of his previous volumes, because precisely the same observation applies to "The Mysteries of Freemasonry," and we may come at once to the year 1891. Some time subsequently to the third of August, our witness published a volume entitled "Are there Women in Freemasonry?" which, so far as one can see, bears the marks of hurried production. It is, in fact, "The Sister Masons" almost in extenso—that work being still in circulation—with the addition of important fresh material. The bulk of the new matter is concerned with the rituals of the New and Reformed Palladium, consisting of five degrees, conformable, as regards the first three, with the somewhat banal but innocent grades of the Modern Rite of Adoption, and passing, as regards the two final, into pure Luciferian doctrine. How did Leo Taxil become possessed of these rituals? He informs us quite frankly that by means of arguments sonnants et trébuchants, that is to say, by a bribe, he persuaded an officer of a certain Palladian Grand Council located at Paris to forget his pledges for the time required in transcribing them. That was not a very creditable proceeding, but in exposing Freemasonry ordinary ethical considerations seem to be ruled out of court, and it is idle to examine methods when we are in need of documents. By these documents, and by the editorial matter which introduces and follows them, Leo Taxil, as already observed, created the Question of Lucifer. Premising that a dual object governed the institution of androgyne lodges, namely, the opportunity for forbidden enjoyments, and the creation of powerful unsuspected auxiliaries for political purposes, he states that the latter part of this programme was specially surrendered to the old Palladian Masonry. Now it is clear that the rituals of the order which he published in 1886 bear no such construction as he here, and for the first time, imputes; they connect with part one of the programme, and he was content at the time with their impeachment on the ground of sexual disorder. Why has he changed the impeachment? No assignable reason appears from his subsequent remarks, but he goes on to allege that, under the auspices of Albert Pike and his group, the original order developed the New and Reformed Palladian Rite, in which the political purpose was itself subordinated to "Satanism pure and simple."
Originating in the United States, it has invaded Europe, where it propagates with truly unheard of rapidity, so that in Paris alone there are three active lodges—that of the Lotus, founded in 1881, and situated in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, which has in turn created the lodges of St James, 1884, and of St Julian, 1889. The Lotus itself was preceded "by the organisation of some Areopagites of the Kadosch Grade of the French Rite and of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite," who practised theurgy under the direction of Ragon and Éliphas Lévi, both of whom are represented as given over, body and soul, to all the practices of lawless diabolism, the latter being apparently the leader, after whose death the association met only infrequently, until it was revived by Phileas Walder, the friend, as we have already seen, of Albert Pike.
It was he who imported the New and Reformed Palladium from America into France, and, assembling the disciples of Lévi, founded the Mother-Lodge of the Lotus.
The ritual obtained by Leo Taxil was printed in Latin and English, with an interleaved French version in manuscript. As presented by its discoverer, there is no doubt that it is an execrable production, involving the practice in open lodge of obscenity, diabolism, and sacrilege. Passing over the first three grades, and beginning "at the point of bifurcation," we find it stated in the ritual of the fourth degree of Elect that the New and Reformed Palladium has been instituted "to impart a new force to the traditions of high-grade Masonry," that the Palladium which gives its name to the order was presented to the fathers of the order by Eblis himself, that it is now at Charleston, and that Charleston is the first supreme Council of the globe.
Thus it will be seen that the Palladian ritual confuses the Palladium Order with the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite. For the rest, the legend of the fourth degree is the first part of what is termed a blasphemous life of Jesus, representing Baal-Zeboub as his ancestor, Joseph as his father, according to physical generation, and Mirzam as his mother, who is highly honoured as the parent of many other children. Adonaï is the principle of evil, and Eblis, otherwise Lucifer, the good God. But the ritual of the fourth grade is innocent in its character when compared with the abominations of the fifth degree of Templar-Mistress. The central point of the ceremonial is the resurrection of Lazarus, which is symbolically accomplished by the postulant suffering what is termed the ordeal of the Pastos, that is to say, by means of public fornication. The purpose of this ordeal is to show that the sacred act of physical generation is the key to the mystery of being. The life of Jesus begun in the previous grade is completed in the present, and it will be sufficient for my purpose to indicate that it represents the Saviour of Christianity, who originally "began well," passing over from the service of the good god Lucifer, and making a pact with the evil Adonaï, in sign of which he ceased indiscriminate commerce with the women who followed him and pledged himself to live in chastity, for which he was abandoned by BaalZeboub, and is cursed by Palladists. "The duty of a Templar-Mistress is to execrate Jesus, anathematise Adonaï, and adore Lucifer." The rite concludes by the recipient spitting on a consecrated host and the whole assembly piercing it in turn with stilettos.
So far the sole testimony to the actual operation, as indeed to the existence, of these infamous ceremonies, is Leo Taxil, and it is once more my duty to state that the documents are in no sense above the suspicion of having been fraudulently produced by some one. It seems scarcely credible, but the instruction of the Elect Grade incorporates Masonic references literatim from the scandalous memoirs of Cassanova. That is a fact which sets open a wide door to scepticism. Again, the instruction of the fifth degree contains more plagiarisms from Lévi, and in a section entitled "Evocations," Leo Taxil again reproduces the "Conjuration of the Four" which he has previously fathered on the Rite of Memphis and Misraim, and now states to be in use among Palladists. Once more, he prints a long list of the spirits of light which Palladians recommend for evocation, and this list is a haphazard gleaning among the eighty-four genii of the twelve hours given in Lévi's interpretation of the "Nuctemeron according to Apollonius." But these latter points are not arguments which necessarily reflect upon Leo Taxil, for, seeing that the New and Reformed Palladium was constituted in 1870, it is obvious that the author of the rituals may have drawn from the French magus, and Leo Taxil does connect the Palladium, as others have connected it, with Alphonse Louis Constant, partly through Phileas Walder his disciple, and partly by representing Constant as the leader of an occult association of Knights Kadosch. But when he represents Constant as himself a Mason we have to remember that Éliphas Lévi explicitly denied his initiation in his Histoire de la Magie.
I should add that Leo Taxil in one of the illustrations represents a lodge of the Templar-Mistress Rite, wherein the altar is over-shadowed by a Baphomet which is a reduction in facsimile of the frontispiece to Lévi's Rituel, and all reasonable limits seem to be transgressed when he quotes from Albert Pike's "Collection of Secret Instructions," an extended passage which swarms with thefts from the same source, everyone of which I can identify when required, showing them page by page in the originals. Leo Taxil tells us that the "Collection" was communicated to him, but by whom he does not say. We are evidently dealing with an exceedingly complex question, and many points must be made clear before we can definitely accept evidenced which is so mixed and uncertain in character.
If we ask the author of these disclosures what opportunities he has had to become personally acquainted with Masonry, we shall find that they are exceedingly few, for he was expelled from the order after receiving only the first degree. I do not say that this expulsion reflects in any sense discreditably upon him as a man of honour, but it closed his Masonic career almost as soon as it had begun, so that his title to speak rests only on his literary researches and other forms of derived knowledge, good enough, no doubt, in their way, but not so exhaustive as could be wished in view of the position he has assumed. It was shortly after this episode that Leo Taxil returned to the Catholic Church and attached himself to the interests of the clerical party.
Previously to this his literary history must be for him a painful memory. He was a writer of anticlerical romances and the editor of an anti-clerical newspaper— legitimate occupations in one sense, but in this instance too frequently connected with literary methods of a gravely discreditable kind. A catalogue of the defunct Libraire Anti-Cléricale is added to one of the romances, and advertises, among other productions from the same pen, the following contributions made by Leo Taxil to the literature of sacrilege and scandal:—1st, a Life of Jesus, being an instructive and satirical parody of the Gospels, with 500 comic designs; 2nd, The Comic Bible (Bible Amusante); 3rd, The Debaucheries of a Confessor, a romance founded on the affair of the Jesuit Girarde and Catherine Cadière; 4th, a Female Pope, being the adventures and crimes of Pope Joan, written in collaboration with F.
Laffont; 5th, The Pope's Mistresses, a "grand historical romance," written in collaboration with Karl Milo; 6th, Pius the Ninth before history, his life political and pontifical, his debaucheries, follies, and crimes, 3 vols.; 7th, The Poisoner Leo Thirteenth, an account of thefts and poisonings committed with the complicity of the present pontiff; 8th, Contemporary Prostitution, a collection of revolting statistics upon, inter alia, the methods, habits, and physical peculiarities of persons who practice pæderasty. It will be seen that since his conversion our author has changed his objects without altering his methods. As in the past he unveiled the supposed illdoings of popes and priests, as he exposed the corrupt practices of the Parisian police in the matter of crying social evils, so now he divulges the infamies of Masonic gatherings in the present. He claimed then to be actuated by a high motive and he claims it now. We must not deny the motive, but we certainly abhor the proceeding.
In some very curious memoirs which have obtained wide circulation Leo Taxil acknowledges that he was gravely mistaken then, and he may be mistaken now. It must also be respectfully stated in conclusion that few persons who have contributed to lubricity in literature have ever failed to speak otherwise than from an exalted standpoint. When a short time ago M. Huysman went in search of a type to which he could refer Luciferian "blasphemies" and outrages, he could find nothing more suitable to his purpose than Leo Taxil's "Bouffe Jesus." We do not refuse to accept him as a witness against Masonry because of these facts, but we must ask him as an honourable gentleman not to insist that we should do so on trust, and at the present moment the only opportunities which he has given us to check his statements do not wholly encourage us to accept them. It will be seen therefore that the knowledge of Palladian Masonry was first brought to light under circumstances of a debatable kind.
CHAPTER 5. THE DISCOVERY OF M. RICOUX