The Red Cross Degrees of Babylon and Daniel
|Knight Masons with Sword & Trowel|
The much propagated opinion that the degrees of Knight Masonry are or were somehow the Ne Plus Ultra, is arguably even in Ireland, a blind. Their pre-Christian chivalry is at once intriguing. For these ancient degrees are but a bridge for the individual Mason's path to reunion with the GAOTU. So, there is in fact more. These degrees consist of the Knight of the Sword (formally Red Cross of Babylon or Red Cross of Daniel), Knight of the East (also known as the Jordan Pass or alternately as the Jewish Pass), and Knight of the East and West. They bridge the journeyman to that place where he is properly prepared to receive more from On High.
The Order of the Red Cross in Ireland (The Babylonian Pass aka Knight of the Sword) has been found to be a part of some of the earliest lodge records in Ireland, styled as having existed since "Time Immemorial". The secrets of this ritual are at once simple, but they are actually intended to ritualize the act of secrecy, adjusting the initiate to a new and insular world where self awareness and the examination of one's own myriad of personal mysteries, is the ultimate goal. The tales of Zerubbabel and Joshua mark the journey of the Companion from the pillar of baptism by fire (see Zerubbabel legend of the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar) to the pillar of baptism by water (see Joshua 4:19). Having traversed the firewater, a Mason was now ready for the Johannite Order, thus the reason for the craft degrees and the Royal Arch, then the Order of the Red Cross of Babylon being a pre-requisite and stabilizing force on the middle path in preparation for Masonic Knighthood.
The degree of Knight of the East, is in alignment with the Knight of the Tower in the Royal Order of Scotland, and the mysterious degree of the Red Cross of Babylon (consisting of the three sojourners Shadrach, Meshac and Abadnigo's trial by fire in the furnace, the passing of the bridge to and from Darius and the Council of the Persian Monarch) was named as such in the year 1744 as a bridge to be crossed, dealing with the erection of the 2nd temple in preparation for the other side of the river, where the journeyman cousin begins the erection of the spiritual temple, the house not made with hands…the Rose Croix of Heredom. Truth prevails over the strength of wine, the allure of the mysteries of women and the might of the sovereign.