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Eclectic Rite

The Rite practiced by the Eclectic Union, which see.

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ECLECTIC UNION

The fundamental idea of a union of the German Lodges for the purpose of purifying the Masonic system of the corruptions which had been introduced by the numerous Degrees founded on alchemy, theosophy, and other occult sciences which at that time flooded the continent of Europe, originated, in 1779, with the Baron Von Ditfurth, who had been a prominent member of the Rite of Strict Observance; although Lenning attributes the earlier thought of a circular letter to Von Knigge. But the first practical step toward this purification was taken in 1783 by the Provincial Grand Lodges of Frankfort-on-the-Main and of Wetzlar. These two Bodies addressed an encyclical letter to the Lodges of Germany, in which they invited them to enter into an alliance for the purpose of "re-establishing the Royal Art of Freemasonry." The principal points on which this union or alliance was to be founded were:

1. That the three symbolic Degrees only were to be acknowledged by the united Lodges. 2. That each Lodge was permitted to practice for itself such high Degrees as it might select for itself, but that the recognition of these was not to be made compulsory on the other Lodges. 3. That all the united Lodges were to be equal, none being dependent on any other.

These propositions were accepted by several Lodges, and thence resulted the Eklectischer Bund, or Eclectic Union of Germany, at the head of which was established the Mother Grand Lodge of the Eclectic Union at Frankfort-on-the-Main. The system of Freemasonry practiced by this union is called the Eclectic System, and the Rite recognized by it is the Eclectic Rite, which consists of only the three Degrees of Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason.

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