Please join us in welcoming as January 2014 Author of the Month Robert W. Sullivan, whose new book the Royal Arch of Enoch: The Impact of Masonic Ritual, Philosophy and Symbolism, documents an undiscovered historical anomaly: how a high degree Masonic Ritual – developed in France in the mid 1700s – included elements of the Book of Enoch which was considered lost until Freemason and traveler James Bruce returned to Europe with copies from Ethiopia in 1773. These copies were not translated into English until 1821 at Oxford University. This high degree ritual – titled The Royal Arch of Enoch – documents the recovery of the Lost Word of a Master Mason, the Name of God. It is this ritual in particular that has defined, among other things, the American national character. The Royal Arch of Enoch also documents the symbolic restoration of the sun as the premier icon in all of Freemasonry and as the supreme emblem of imperial administration and religiosity lifted from the Ancient Mysteries, incorporated into the Abrahamic Faiths, and carried on in both Blue Lodge and High Degree Masonry. This book presents a real life Da Vinci Code/National Treasure mystery which, until the publication of this book, was previously unknown to history and historians in both the East and West. Meet Robert on the AoM Message Boards this month and join in on the discussion of this fascinating new book.

Freemasonry has long been known to historians for its capacity to influence public affairs.  Until recently however this was thought simply to be a general shaping of society by individuals impressed with its core principles of liberty and equality – the “brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God”.  Even more recently it has become abundantly clear that the Masonic tapestry of symbolism is rooted in broader currents of ideas within western science and religion neglected by scholars and historians, yet deeply resonant with major events in civilization.  Blue Lodge Masonry – its three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason – is egalitarian, as such it fundamentally opposes concepts like monarchy and ecclesiastical rule; yet the Masonic high degrees of the Scottish and York Rites embrace ideals such as divine kingship and religiosity, a contradiction. It is the argument of this book that among this contradiction, change, or transition of historical precepts the imagery of Masonic symbolism related to the Biblical patriarch Enoch achieves priority.  It is this single set of ceremonies codified into the two prevalent forms of the Royal Arch ceremony – one of which bears his name – of exaltation within the “haute or high degrees of Freemasonry which define templates of the unfolding of symbolism into material culture in general through architecture and rhetoric and in specific the integration of principles of solar emblematize in a sphere of public order which defined among other things the American national character.   In essence this array of emblems and symbols detail the emergence of the image of the sun as a central form of religiousness from the Ancient Mystery tradition through to the application of Copernicus’ scientific heliocentricity dating from 1543 into ideals of personal achievement and national character. The core of the Enochian saga is that lost wisdom was preserved in a secret underground vault or crypt related to an angelic-divine vision by the patriarch who did not die a physical death but who was transported directly into heaven by God.  Enoch thus became the paragon of supreme Masonic initiation and his achievement was the preservation of all wisdom and knowledge in the face of a comprehensive flood (of Noah) of creation.  In Masonic texts and ritual the recovery of the Ark of the Covenant was depicted as the means to this objective as it was deposited between two columns or pillars (not Jachin and Boaz) upon which was inscribed the ineffable name of God from which all learning could be derived.  In time the Ark of the Covenant was transformed into a redolent, rising sun by architects such as Joseph-Jacques Ramee (1764 – 1842, a friend of Thomas Jefferson) the designer of the campus of Union College in Schenectady, New York, the first college established after the American Revolution and the first civilian institution to teach civil engineering – operative masonry – in the United States. This college in many ways parallels Christ Church, Oxford University because its pedagogy and research heritage is echoed in its similar material fabric. Fraternal orders other than Freemasonry notably United States college fraternities and sororities and Odd Fellowship took up this concept in various ways. 

Odd Fellowship is a fraternal system of ceremonial initiations broadly reflective of Freemasonry with a Biblical base.  It was founded in October 1810 when 27 men came together to form the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Manchester Unity, England. Its symbols include specific emblems that Freemasonry uses (i.e. the all-seeing eye) but it has no dominant pervasive thread such as the Masonic emphasis on the building of King Solomon’s Temple and the search for the Lost Word of a Master Mason necessary to build it.  From Odd Fellows introduction in the United States in Baltimore, Maryland in 1819 the local unites spread quickly largely because it had – unlike Freemasonry – a unifying Sovereign Grand Lodge with comprehensive authority and laws conducive to rapid growth.  It was an augmented conduit for the application of esoteric emblems to practical life; it paid sick and death benefits and developed a women’s branch called The Rebekahs designed to attract and hold family loyalty to the fraternity.   Because the Sovereign Grand Lodge met annually in various parts of the nations, men who held multiple fraternal affiliation were in regular contact at local, state, and regional levels.  Odd Fellow Schuyler Colfax Jr. (1823 – 1885), was Speaker of the House of Representatives (1863 – 1869) and 17th Vice President of the United States (1869 – 1873) linking the presidential leadership of the Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865), Andrew Johnson (1808 – 1875) and Ulysses S. Grant (1822 – 1885) administrations through his ties with various railroad systems including but not limited to the Central Pacific Railroad and the Illinois Central Railroad. Colfax traveled through the American west instituting Odd Fellow Rebekah Lodges (permitting both female and male membership) which he founded in 1851. Colfax moved from New York City to South Bend, Indiana at an early age which put him in touch with Notre Dame University and the missionary activities of the Holy Cross Fathers with uneven results.  The Holy See (Vatican, the Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome) condemned Odd Fellow membership while prohibiting Catholics from joining the Knights of Pythias and the Sons of Temperance – the latter being the only lodge in which Abraham Lincoln maintained membership – through its ties with the Notre Dame faculty. Odd Fellow rituals celebrated the pristine period of patriarchal imagery linking the anointment of Abraham to a sequence of so-called higher degrees resonant with Freemasonry.  After the American Civil War it created a marching quasi-military order termed the Patriarchs Militant the ritual of which featured the Salem priest king Melchizedek, a figure who was symbolically central to haute degree Freemasonry through the rituals of the Order of High Priesthood, a ceremony reserved for Past High Priests of Masonic Royal Arch Chapters and in the Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, a society linked in England to the emergence of the Masonic Knights Templar. Odd Fellow bodies in England and Scotland became in time insurance societies, a feature which remained minor in the United States.  American lodges incorporated substantial emphasis on the human skeleton as an emblem of mortality combined with presence of a hermit figure, a thread which appeared originally in the American Masonic Knight Templar ceremony and was later developed by Justus Henry Rathbone (1839 – 1889), the founder of the Order of the Knights of Pythias. The emblem of Union College in Schenectady, New York – the Roman goddess of wisdom and magic Minerva – found her way there most likely through the Marian/Isis seal of Columbia University (f/k/a King’s College – DeWitt Clinton’s Alma Mater) and moved westward through the agency of railroad magnate and tycoon Leland Stanford Sr. (1824 – 1893) from Watervliet, New York into the seals of an Odd Fellow lodge – California Lodge #1 – and the seal of the Odd Fellow Grand Lodge of California and subsequently onto the state seal of California. Stanford was an Odd Fellow, Freemason, and the founder of Stanford University on the San Francisco peninsula. The state seal of California incorporated emblems which also suggest the Masonic high degrees: a laborer digging towards an underground vault or crypt with a pickax and shovel and the word Eureka – I have found it” – atop the seal referencing the recovery and restoration of the 47th Proposition of Euclid via the correct pronunciation of the Lost Word of a Master Mason. The result is a set of ordering emblematic features which document the subsistence of the Royal Arch of Enoch emblematize from New York State with reference to higher education and railroad technology into the far west as a recurrent and persistent theme.  Like Masonry, Odd Fellowship worked a Royal Arch ceremony termed the Royal Arch of Titus.

These orders – Masonry, Odd Fellowship, and college fraternities and sororities – constituted a mass movement which defined important national values and provided a means for leaders to tap into networks and ideational systems of appeal to the national consciousness.  Similarly through Freemasonry in particular the resulting ceremonies appeared on the surface to be conventionally religious both in Christianity in the Knights Templar Grand Encampment in the York or American Rite and in Judaism through the Free Sons of Israel and B’nai B’rith (Sons of the Covenant).  However it is clear from numerous sources that various pagan mythologies and mystery religions survived within an envelope of Christian theology and rationality derived from Renaissance and Enlightenment ideas that merged attempting exposure of this mythology.  The Roman Catholic Church in general and the Society of Jesus in specific appears to have appropriated these constricts in a Counter Reformation ruse – begun at the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century – to exchange Thomistic (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Augustinian (St. Augustine) theologies for a transformed “new age” eschatology within which the ideas and philosophies of Christian mystic Joachim of Fiore (ca. 1135 – 1202) whose theology included a “Third Age of the Holy Spirit” within which a universal monarch would rule through a new order of spiritual men. In time this “new age” theology became conflated with Egyptian imagery as an unfolding vista of political and religious order under the general umbrella of papal monarchy.  This third “Age was to be won by the church only after arduous pilgrimage and great tribulation, like the Israelites marching through the wilderness and crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land. As guides through this crucial stage, von Fiore prophesied the advent of two new orders of spiritual men, one of hermits to agonize for the world on the mountaintop and one a mediating order to lead men on to the new spiritual plane. As interpreted the former order is the Freemasons – especially in the high degree context; the latter the Jesuits. The result was the survival of political theories notably of Scots – Irish provenance associated with the Jacobite movement within which ruler-ship was intertwined with critical Masonic devices such as Euclid’s 47th Proposition – the Pythagorean Theorem – the emblem of a Masonic Lodge Worshipful Master, and the restoration of a lost yet legitimate monarchy.  As such restoration became associated with antediluvian ideas of the survival of an ideal peaceful or irenic age which survived the redemption of Eve in the Old Testament and made it possible for the initiated citizen to become as a God, in parallel form to Renaissance humanistic/hermetical ideas of the dignity of man, and to know good from evil through the personal, possession, and correct pronunciation of the Name of God – the “Lost Word of a Master Mason” – the Tetragrammaton. The remarkable instance that the saga of Enoch in Masonic rituals and texts predates the discovery in the west of the actual Book of Enoch – I Enoch – severely underscores the importance of researching this unique element of intellectual Masonic history and its significance for the culture of the new world’s new nation – the United States of America. The Royal Arch of Enoch: The Impact of Masonic Ritual, Philosophy, and Symbolism documents a previously unknown historical anomaly: the incorporation of elements of the Book of Enoch prior to its being discovered by Western Civilization.


Robert W. Sullivan IV is a philosopher, historian, antiquarian, jurist, theologian, writer, and lawyer. The only child of antique dealers, he was born on October 30, 1971 in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated high school from Friends School of Baltimore (the oldest private school in Baltimore, founded in 1784) in June 1990. He attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania becoming a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha (Theta Pi, member #1199) fraternity. He earned his B.A. in History in 1995. Mr. Sullivan spent his entire junior year of college (1992-1993) abroad at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, England studying European history and philosophy. Mr. Sullivan is a Freemason, having joined Amicable-St. John’s Lodge #25, Baltimore Maryland in 1997; he became a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason in 1999, Valley of Baltimore, Orient of Maryland. The Royal Arch of Enoch: The Impact of Masonic Ritual, Philosophy, and Symbolism is his first published work and is the result of twenty years of research. A lifelong Marylander, he resides in Baltimore.