Devil-Worship in France/Chapter IV
EX ORE LEONIS
For over ten years past Leo Taxil, that is to say, M. Gabriel Jogand-Pages, has been the great accuser of Masonry, and he possesses an indistinct reputation in England as a man whose hostility is formidable, having strong points in his brief. During the entire period of his impeachment, which is represented by many volumes, he has uniformly sought to identify the Fraternity with the general purposes of Lucifer, but until the year 1891, it was merely along the broad and general lines mentioned in the last chapter. Now, in presence of such attributions as, for example, the Satanic character of tolerance in matters of religion, I, for one, would unconditionally lay down my pen, as there is no common ground upon which a discussion could take place.
From the vague imputation Leo Taxil passed, however, to an exceedingly definite charge—and it is beyond all dispute that by his work entitled "Are there Women in Freemasonry?"—he has created the Question of Lucifer in its connection with the Palladian Order. He is the original source of information as to the existence of that association; no one had heard of it previously, and it is therefore of the first importance that we should know something of the discoverer himself, and everything as to the particulars of his discovery, including the date thereof.
Previously to the year 1891 Leo Taxil knew nothing of the Reformed Palladium. He is the one Anti-Masonic writer named in the last chapter as preceding Paul Rosen with information about Albert Pike. This was in the year 1885, and in a work entitled, "The Brethren of the Three Points," which began the "complete revelations concerning Freemasonry" undertaken by this witness. Like Paul Rosen, he represents Pike merely as a high dignitary of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite, but he does so under the incorrect title of Sovereign Commander Grand Master of the Supreme Council of the United States. He states further that the Grand Orient of France, as also the Supreme Council of the Scotch Rite of France, "send their correspondence" to the Grand Master of Washington. I conceive that no importance, as indeed no definite meaning, can be attached to this statement beyond the general and not very significant fact that there was some kind of communication between the three centres. In the year 1888 Pike was so little in harmonious relation with the French Grand Orient that by the depositions of later witnesses he placed it under the ban of his formal excommunication in virtue of his sovereign pontificate. For the rest, the "Brethren of the Three Points" contains no information concerning the New and Reformed Palladium, and this is proof positive that it was unknown at the time to the writer, for it would have been valuable in view of his purpose. The same observation applies to a second work published shortly after, "The Cultus of the Grand Architect." Had Leo Taxil been acquainted with a worship of Lucifer subsisting in Palladian Masonry he could not have failed to make use of it in a volume so entitled. The work in question is concerned, however, with the solemnities which obtain in Masonic temples, with the names and addresses of all French lodges, so that it is a directory as much as a revelation, with the political organisation of the Carbonari, with the Judge-Philosophers, and with certain official documents of Masonry.
But it may occur to those of my readers who are acquainted at first hand with the revelations of Leo Taxil that his knowledge was held over in view of his plan of publication, and that the Palladium would be disclosed in due course when he came to treat of androgyne or adoptive Masonry. Let us pass, therefore, to his next work, entitled, "Sister Masons, or Ladies' Freemasonry," which appeared in 1888, and in which we certainly meet with diabolism and also with Palladism, but not in connection with Albert Pike or the Charleston Central Directory. The reference in the first case is to practices which are alleged to obtain in the Egyptian Rite of Adoption, called the Rite of Cagliostro, and in the second to the Order of the Palladium as it was originally instituted in the year 1730. At the same time the information given is of serious importance, because it enables us to gauge the writer's method and credibility in the one case, and his knowledge at the period in the other. Once more, in the year 1886, Leo Taxil did not know of the Palladium as a reformed or revived institution; had he known he could not have failed to tell us.
I have not been able to trace all the sources of his information concerning the older Palladian Rite, but it comes chiefly from Ragon; he divides it into two systems:—(a) The Order of the Seven Sages, which was for men only, and appears as a banal invention with a ritual mainly derived from the "Travels of Anacharsis"; (b) The Order of the Palladium, composed of two masculine grades and one feminine grade, respectively, Adelphos and Companion of Ulysses for men, and Companion of Penelope for women. It pretends to have been founded by Fenelon, but at the same time claims an antiquity previous to the birth of the great Archbishop of Cambrai. Leo Taxil accuses it of gallantry, but the flirtations described in the ritual impress an impartial reader as a species of childish theatricals, a criticism practically exhausting the entire motive of the order, which, as I have already stated, lapsed into obscurity, and, so far as can be traced, into desuetude, though our witness uniformly refers to it in the present tense, and as if it were in active operation. However this may be, the description and summary of the ritual given by Leo Taxil place it outside the possibility of a connection with Templar Masonry, and also with the Baphomet Palladium in spite of what is alleged to the contrary. Accepting the worst construction which is placed on its intention, it could have offered no point of contact with the alleged project of Albert Pike. So far, therefore, the information contained in Les Sœurs Maçonnes conflicts with the history of the New and Reformed Palladium as given in my second chapter.
It has been said, however, that Leo Taxil charges another Masonic order of the androgyne type with satanic practices. He divides the Egyptian Rite of Adoption into three grades; in that of apprentice, the discourse represents Adonaï as the Genius of Pride, and the serpent-tempter of Genesis as the eternal principle of goodness; in that of Companion, the symbolism of the ritual enforces the necessity of rehabilitating the character of the mystic serpent; in that of Egyptian Mistress, there is a pretended evocation of planetary spirits by means of a clairvoyante, and Leo Taxil affirms on his own authority that the Supreme Being referred to in the discourse at initiation is Satan. "According to the doctrine of the sect, the divinity is formed of two opposite principles, the genius of Being, who is Lucifer, and the genius of Destruction, who is Adonaï." This is so obviously the doctrine of the Luciferian Palladians that it is difficult to understand why the institution of Charleston is not connected, as to purpose, if not as to origin, with the Egyptian Adoptive Rite of Misraïmite Masonry.
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 Manichaean 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. When, therefore, Leo Taxil terminates his study of the Egyptian Rite by "divulging some essentially diabolical practices of the Misraïm Lodges," namely, evocations of the elementary spirits, we shall not be surprised to find that the ritual of the proceedings is taken bodily from the same author who has been previously taxed for contributions. The reader need only compare Les Sœurs Maçonnes, pp. 323 to 330, with the "Conjuration of the Four" in the fourth chapter of the Rituel de la Haute Magie. It will be objected that this conjuration is derived by Lévi himself from a source which he does not name, and as a fact part of it is found in the Comte de Gabalis. Quite so, but my point is, that it has come to the Taxil documents through Éliphas Lévi. The proof is that part of the exorcisms are given in Latin and part in French, by the author of the Rituel, for arbitrary and unassignable reasons, and that Les Sœurs Maçonnes reproduces them in the same way. It is evident, therefore, that we must receive Leo Taxil's "divulgations" with severe caution. I may add that the proceedings of the Holy Inquisition in the trial of Count Cagliostro were published at Rome by order of the Apostolic Chamber, and they include some particulars concerning the Egyptian Rite, of which Cagliostro was the author. These particulars in part correspond with the documents of the "Sister-Masons," but offer also significant variations even along the lines of correspondence.
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 Baal-Zeboub, 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 anti-clerical 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 Cadiere; 4th, a Female Pope, being the adventures and crimes of Pope Joan, written in collaboration with F. Laffont; 5th, The Pope's Mistress, 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 poisoning 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 ill-doings 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.