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Scale of Venice - History

Continuing with the History of the Rite of Misriam in Venice, we  nhave more certain data from the resurgence of the Venetian Branch of the Misraïm Rite in the year 1801 at the hands of the personality known under the initiatory name of Philalete Abraham, under which perhaps the historical person of Baron Tassoni of Modena was concealed, whose meaning of “Abraham the Lover of Truth,” clearly indicates to us on the one hand the connection to the Philalethes, Freemasons of the Primitive Rite of Narbonne who were known for their vast esoteric archive, and on the other hand the reference to the original unity of religions under the Great Architect of the Universe and especially in the guise of Jewish esotericism, the Kabbalah, which esoterically may have a common root origin in the Egyptian emanations henotheism proper to the reign of Akhenaten, linked to the monotheism of Moses and the doctrine of the 10 Commandments or principles, the 10 Sephiroth of the Tree of Life.

Some historians of Freemasonry provide some historical traces of the Rite of Misraïm. In Claude Antoine Thory's 1813 Histoire de la Franc-maçonnerie et de la Grande Loge d'Écosse we find “In 1815 it was very widespread in Venice and the Ionian Islands, before the French Revolution of 1789. There were many Chapters in Abruzzo and Apulia,” while Jacques Philippe Levesque, 1821 Jacques Philippe Levesque in his 1821 Aperçu Général et Historique des Principales Sectes Maçonniques, states “For five or six years this Rite has been established in Paris. It comes from Southern Italy and has some consideration in the Ionian Islands and on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. It was born in Egypt.”

The Rite of Misraïm thus seems to have spread throughout Italy, in Milan, Genoa and Naples, especially in Rosicrucian circles and then in France, despite the fact that, following the French Revolution, Masonic rites that had less to do with the tradition of the Ancient Mysteries of the Mediterranean were favored. Marc Bédarride (Caivillon, 1776 - 1846) in his L'Ordre Maçonique de Misraïm, published in 1845 in Paris, states that in 1782, the same year that the Rite of Misraïm arrived in Venice, the Father Gad Bédarride was visited by an Egyptian master, Ananiah the Wise, who allegedly passed on to him Masonic initiations from Egypt. Certainly it is known that it was Joseph, Michel and Marc Bédarride, from a Sephardic Jewish family, who brought the rite to France beginning in 1813, founding in 1815 the Arc en Ciel Lodge in Paris having been initiated in Milan and possibly also in Naples. In fact, as early as 1804 the Misraïm Rite was present in Lombardy so much so that in 1805 Le Changeur founded the Supreme Council of the Rite in Milan, with its 90 degrees. From the impulse of the Bédarride Brothers, lodges were then founded in Switzerland, Belgium and even Ireland. In France the Rite of Misraïm survived until 1902 and then went permanently into Sleep, surviving for some time instead in Belgium, so much so that in Brussels in 1819 the “Supreme Shingle Scale of Naples,” or Arcana Arcanorum, was regulated.

The Bédarride Brother’s version of the rite, however, seems to differ from the original Italian one: Jean Mallinger states that the Misraïm Rite was practiced in Italy even before 1789, having two different forms of the Rites of the last degrees: “A first ritual form consisted of a philosophical-cabalistic regime, practiced and disseminated by the Bédarride Brothers; a second form consisted of an Egyptian-Hellenic philosophical regime known as the “Naples Regime” condensed in the last degrees of the same Rite.” Indicating that perhaps the Bédarride Brothers either had not received the entire pyramid of the Rite or had replaced the Arcana Arcanorum with their own Kabbalistic version. Furthermore, in Marc Bedarride's book, he states that the Misraïm Rite goes all the way back in its initiatory chain to Adam, the first Mason, the one who had received the Tradition, i.e., the Kabbalah, directly from the hands of the Archangel Raziel to enable man one day to be able to return to Earthly Paradise, a theme dear to Cagliostro's Egyptian Freemasonry.

The Misraïm Rite then had to be discontinued in 1817, due to the riots caused by the Carbonari. Both the post-revolutionary, rationalist-inspired Masonic orders and the Austrian governments frowned upon the independence of the Rite of Misraïm, and persecuted it in both Venetia and Lombardy. For the same reasons he was later opposed by Fascism.

In fact, the Misraïm Rite has always had an autocratic, occult and theurgical vocation, centered on the concept of Hierophania (also proper to the Memphis Rite, albeit with more chivalrous overtones), that is, on the fact that the apex of the Pyramid of Rites was unique, in charge ad vitam, as well as the keeper of the key to the interpretation of the entire rite. Therefore, the Grand Master of the Misraïm Rite embodied the ritual itself in his person. This characteristic of its esoteric system made it as attractive in the eyes of the most widespread Masonic orders as it was difficult to incorporate and manage within a collection of Rites, especially in Masonic orders of materialist, if not outright atheist, inspiration, which would be forced to distort the very spirit of Misraïm. The Rite of Misraïm is in fact entirely autonomous, being able to begin in the Blue Lodges, and thus having no solution of continuity between what is called the Order and the Rite, being an esoteric continuum from the 1st degree of Apprentice to the 90th degree of Sublime Patriarch of the Magi.

The Rite’s Pyramid of degrees is composed of four sets of 90 degrees, which as a whole were intended to collect all (or nearly all) of the Masonic degrees of the High Degrees regimes derived from other Rites, Masonic, Chivalric, Illuminati and Rosicrucian, into a single coherent, universal system, a synthesis of all previous Masonic Rites, a “Rite of Rites” in its own right. The 4 series of degrees introduce the Misraïm initiate into an increasing range of esoteric knowledge, which gradually becomes more operative: 

  • Symbolic Series: 1° to 33° degree;

  • Philosophical Series: 34° to 66° degree;

  • Mystical Series: 67° to 77° degree;

  • Kabbalistic Series: 78° to 90° degree.

The last four degrees of the Rite, from 87° to 90°, culminate in the Arcana Arcanorum or Scale of Naples, which it should be remembered are never put to sleep as they are embodied by its members.

In 1856 the Misraïm Rite was absorbed into the Memphis Rite in France, however until 1870 several lodges continued ritual work. According to some interpretations, it was in 1881 that Giuseppe Garibaldi (Nice, July 4, 1807 - Caprera, La Maddalena Archipelago, 1882), was appointed Grand Master of the Misraïm Rite in 1860 was also elected Grand Heirophant General of the Memphis Rite in 1881, found himself able to unite the Misraïm and Memphis Rites into a single Rite, at least on paper, although this is disputed by some historians.

However, the Scale of Venice would be awakened from sleep several times: in 1848 when the Republic of St. Mark was declared as a reaction to the Austrian government, which had always opposed the Rite. Upon the return of Habsburg rule, the Rite was again put to sleep, to be awakened from 1865 until 1867 when the Supreme Grand General Council of the Sovereign Absolute Grand Masters of the Order of Misraïm met, composed of members of the 90th and last degrees, who unanimously decided to put the 4 sets of degrees, comprising the first 86 degrees, to sleep in Italy until it was deemed necessary to awaken them. As we have already mentioned, the four last degrees of the Arcana Arcanorum embodied in the brothers initiated to these degrees remain operational and therefore, as they were brought operationally by the initiates themselves, it was not possible to put them to sleep.

When Gastone Ventura (1906 - 1981) in 1966 became Sovereign Grand Hierophant General of the Ancient and Primitive Oriental Rite of Misraïm and Memphis, he had access to the archives of the Sovereign Grand Sanctuary of Adriatic, and in his book “The Masonic Rites of Misraïm and Memphis” (Atanòr Edizioni), he included some interesting documents, including one dated April 20, 1867, which reads:

Glory to the Almighty EMET
With respect to the SUPREME POWER Order.

From the East of the Supreme Grand General Council of the Sovereign Absolute Grand Masters of the Order of Misraïm and its four series, 90° and final degree, sitting in the Valley of the Venetian Lagoon under the fixed point of the North Star at 45° 26' 02' N. 12° 20' 33' E., on the 20th day of the fourth month of the year V.L. 5863.

to all regular Masons

SALUTE on all points of the triangle


We inform you that the Supreme Grand General Council of the 90° and last degree of the Rite of Misraïm, Supreme Power for Italy and Universal, decided in its general and extraordinary assembly on the 19° day of the 4th month of the year V.L. 5863 (A.D. 1867) to set to sleep, in Italy, the Rite in its 4 series and in the first 16 Classes and 86 degrees only, and this until such time as the revival of said Classes and degrees shall be deemed necessary or expedient by the Supreme Power and, for it, by its Supreme Grand Conservator.

For this reason, there was constituted a triangle of three Grand Conservators in the persons of the sublime brothers Giuseppe Darresio 90°, Antonio Zecchin 90° and Luigi Della Migna 90°, so that they will see to it, when the time is appropriate, that the supreme conservative powers of the Order and the Rite are passed on to that brother whom they will deem most worthy so that the continuity of the transmission of powers is maintained AB AETERNUM. By virtue of these decisions, the Supreme Grand Council of the Sovereign Absolute Grand Masters of the 90° and last degree of the Rite of Misraïm (seu Aegypti) gives the aforementioned Most Illustrious and Powerful brothers Giuseppe Darresio, Antonio Zecchin and Luigi della Migna full powers for the appointment of the Supreme Grand Conservator of the Order and Rite.

Given in the Valley of the Venetian Lagoon on the twentieth day of the fourth month of the Year 5863 Misraïm.

The Supreme Grand Conservator

  • -  Giovanni Pallesi d'Altamura 33° 66° 90°

  • -  Joseph Darresio 33° 66° 90° Locus

  • -  Antonio Zecchin 33° 66° 90° seals (in sealing wax)

  • -   Luigi della Migna M.T. 33° 66° 90°

So the Supreme Grand Conservators of the rite decided, in effect, to put the rite to sleep, at least for those who did not have access to the theurgical practices of the Arcana Arcanorum, until it would be possible to awaken the Classes in all degrees. The constitution of the triangle formed by Giuseppe Darresio, Antonio Zecchin and Luigi della Migna under Giovanni Pallesi d'Altamura made it possible to preserve the Rite and pass it on over time to those who would see fit. This historical document is very important because it bears on its back the signatures of the Supreme Grand Conservators from 1867 to the present. The Misraïm Rite is currently represented in its merger with the Oriental Rite of Memphis founded in Paris in 1839 by Jean Étienne Marconis de Nègre. This merger of the Misraïm and Memphis Rites was effected in 1941 by Marco Egidio Allegri (Venice, 1897 - Crespano del Grappa, 1949), who in 1923 found himself at the head of the Memphis Rite of the Palermo Branch as Grand Conservator for life of the Rite, and in 1925 he also became Grand Master of the Misraïm Rite of Venice, whose first 86 degrees had been placed in slumber. Because of the abolition of Freemasonry imposed by the Fascist regime of the time, it would not have been possible to awaken the degrees, and since the Memphis Rite of the Palermo Branch had also been placed in sleep the last time in 1906, Allegri decided to unite them into a single initiatory system, hoping to activate it at the end of the regime.

In fact, again in Ventura's book, we read that on May 16, 1945, Brother Allegri operates the merger of Rites:

"In the year 1867 of Vulgar Era, the Order of the Temple, Italic language, putting to sleep the Supreme Power of the Egyptian Rite seated in Venice, constituted the three Grand Conservators of the Rite itself in the persons of Sublime Brothers Giuseppe Darresio 90°, Antonio Zecchin 90° and Luigi della Migna 90°. From these the powers had passed to Most Powerful Supreme Grand Conservator Alberto Francis 90° who, in turn, passed them to Sub. Luigi Bo. 90°. From these the powers had passed to Most Powerful Marco Egidio Allegri, promoted on sight to Grand Conservator 90°."

In accordance with these prerogatives, availing ourselves of the powers set forth in Articles 14 and 15 of the Statutes (Title III, Section 1), on the first day of the month of Phemenot in the year of V.L. 5941 We Marcus Aegidius Allegri 33° of the Scottish Rite, 33° 95° of the Memphis Rite, Grand Master for life of the Order of Misraïm and Supreme Grand Conservator, have decided upon its revival and the erection of the Sovereign General Council of the 90th and last degree, Supreme Power of the Order and the Rite, establishing its union with the Memphis Rite and calling the following Very Clear and Distinguished Brethren to be members thereof.

At the bottom of this document are then the 11 signatures of the sublime brothers. Interesting is that, confirming the esoteric and transcendental vocation of the Misraïm Rite, most of the brothers present in Venetia were also members of the Martinist Order, which was present with three lodges located in the hill of Venice: the lodge Saint-Martin as well as the lodges “The Venetian” and “Poseidonia”, which had never ceased ritual work during the birth regime in grace of the ceremonial peculiarities of Martinism that do not necessarily provide for a physical temple, the rounds being valid even in the presence of only two members. It was therefore Martinism that enshrined within its bosom the Misraïm Rite of the Scale of Venice. It is no coincidence that Allegri, with the initiatory name of Flamelicus, and Count Ottavio Ulderico Zasio (1949 - 1966), with the name of Artephius, who later received from Allegri the leadership of the Sovereign Grand Sanctuary of Adriatic, headed the Martinist lodges in the Veneto.

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