A book on Egyptian freemasonry by Joseph Tsang Mang Kin
Dr Amit Achameesing
Joseph Tsang Mang Kin’s latest publication deals with freemasonry, a subject rarely mentioned in the public, and which ended up arousing suspicion and incongruous ideas about it. It aims to lift the veil and allow those who sincerely wish to know have a better understanding of what freemasonry really is about.
The book explains that there are several currents of freemasonry, namely an Anglo-Saxon current, a French and continental current, and an Egyptian current. The first two pool their spiritual and esoteric elements from the Judeo-Christian tradition; the last claims to draw its esoteric essence from the traditions of Pharaonic Egypt and Asia, in particular from India and China. We recall that, along with India, the Egyptian civilization is one of the oldest in the world, but French and European interest in Egyptology blossomed after Napoleon’s incursions there.
Egypt is reputed to have been the mother of Initiations. And today the Masonic Powers who practise so-called Egyptian masonry affirm that their rituals and traditions come from Egypt. Such assertions may seem fallacious, since these Powers are in no way able to provide proof, especially since the initiation centres of the past were unknown to the public and worked in the most absolute discretion and secrecy. In addition, they no longer returned any document or reported on their activities!
However, after many centuries, we now have evidence that the initiations practised in Ancient Egypt were not very different from those practised in masonic temples today. Indeed, the book recollects the findings of Egyptologist Max Guilmot and brings to light the proofs behind the assertions conveyed so far by tradition! And it is thanks to an initiate, the priest Horsiésis who wanted to record for posterity his experience of the initiations he had received in three different cities: Busiris, Abydos and Karnak. He had the accounts of his initiations placed in his sarcophagus. It was by chance in the middle of the last century that the extraordinary document was discovered. Reading his initiatory journey, we find that there are few differences between the initiation of Horsiésis 3000 years ago and the initiation of our contemporaries in Egyptian masonic lodges today.
The fame of Egyptian initiations was so great that it attracted seekers from the islands of the Mediterranean. Many personalities of ancient times were initiated in Egypt, such as Pythagoras of Samos, who went to Egypt at the age of 22, stayed there for 22 years to study Egyptian sciences, or Plutarch or Apuleius. But the initiations and the mysteries were soon to be erased by the Roman emperors and then the Catholic pontiffs.
The arrival of Constantine who convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 will definitively close the door to free thought, a suffocation that will last almost 12 centuries, until the arrival of Henry VIII that will change the course of history! Joseph Tsang Mang Kin provides a fresh perspective and highlights the fact that despite the terrors and ravages of Henry VIII, his rejection of Catholic authority at that time unexpectedly led to the emergence of the only country in the world where free thought was possible. The period of submission to the Catholic authority – the Vatican – disappeared in England and gave birth to a movement of exceptional thinkers like Bacon, Shakespeare, and Newton. Interestingly, Bacon introduced the scientific method which would be later used by Newton to introduce the law of gravity!
Interestingly, in the same vein, the book actually provides a new reading of historical events aiming to set records straight and also to reinstate a number of masonic personalities like John Yarker, who was slandered during his lifetime.
Joseph TMK’s book describes the many rites which have been practised by Egyptian freemasons and the one that is particularly relevant for multicultural Mauritius which is the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraïm (RAPMM). The RAPMM is the legacy left to us by Robert Ambelain.
During the Second World War, when all the European lodges were closed and freemasons of all persuasions were hiding so as to avoid persecution and arrests by hostile fascist regimes of the times, a single lodge, Alexandria of Egypt founded by Robert Ambelain, was the only one in all of Europe keeping alive, at the risk of his life, the torch of Egyptian masonry at home, which will make him a decorated hero of the Resistance.
After the war, Ambelain became the undisputed World Grand Master of the Rites of Memphis-Misraïm, recognized by all Egyptian Obediences throughout the world, including Europe and Latin America.
Egyptian freemasonry arrived in independent Mauritius in 1977. Robert Ambelain welcomes at his residence in Paris a young Egyptian Mason Joseph Tsang Mang Kin, initiated in Belgium, and entrusts him with a patent to create an Egyptian lodge in Mauritius.
Twenty-one years later, the supreme masonic authority of the RAPMM in Paris, sent Michel Kieffer to set up the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Indian Ocean (SSOI). It is this very first and only independent, autonomous, and sovereign Obedience of Mauritius, which has very recently celebrated its 25th anniversary on 1 August 2023.
The book concludes by explaining that from the beginning of the 21st century, some Egyptian freemasons thought of putting an end to the relations which were too reminiscent of the colonial era. For these masons, any independent country must also be masonically independent, and not administered from abroad, but by the sons and daughters of the land. The Egyptian freemasons then created a Traditional Sovereign Sanctuary with a President, who is the supreme masonic authority in the country.
A number of these met in Naples on 23rd March 2019, where they made the commitment to give themselves a Magna Carta. They signed the Naples Proclamation, in six languages, with the Malagasy language officially used in masonry for the very first time!
Last year, on the September equinox of 2022, Mauritius hosted delegations from Italy, Portugal, Poland, Madagascar, Reunion to pay homage to the late World Grand Master Robert Ambelain (and give his name to the Temple of Memphis-Misraïm in Mauritius), to sign the Magna Carta and, lastly, to offer the presidency of the Confederation for the next three years to Joseph Tsang Mang Kin in Mauritius.
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 11 August 2023
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