The French word elu means elected; and the Degrees, whose object is to detail the detection and punishment of the actors in the crime traditionally related among the Craft, are called Elus, or the Degrees of the Elected, because they referred to those of the Craft who were chosen or elected to make the discovery, and to inflict the punishment.
They form a particular system of Freemasonry, and are to be found in every Rite, if not in all in name, at least in principle. In the York and American Rites, the Elu is incorporated in the Master's Degree; in the French Rite it constitutes an independent Degree; and in the Scottish Rite it consists of three Degrees, the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh.
Ragon counts the five preceding Degrees among the Elus, but they more properly belong to the Order of Masters. The symbolism of these Elu Degrees has been greatly mistaken and perverted by anti-Masonic writers, who have thus attributed to Freemasonry a spirit of vengeance which is not its characteristic. They must be looked upon as conveying only a symbolic meaning.
Those higher Degrees, in which the object of the election is changed and connected with Templarism, are more properly called Kadoshes. Thory says that all the Elus are derived from the Degree of Kadosh, which preceded them. The reverse, we think, is the truth. The Elu system sprang naturally from the Master's Degree, and was only applied to Templarism when DeMolay was substituted for Hiram the Builder.
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