Lectures of the Craft of Freemasonry
The First Degree
The Second Degree
The Third Degree
The Various Rituals of Freemasonry
from the Tenth Century
The Masonic Calender
Masons of the York and French Rites (i.e., Masons of England, Scotland, Ireland,
France, Germany, and America) date from the creation of the world; calling
it Anno Lucis, which is abbreviated A. L. signifying "in the Year of Light!'
Thus, 1801 is A.L. 5801. This has a symbolic reference to the Light of Masonry.
In the Scottish Rite, (now known as the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite),
the Era also begins from the date of the Creation; but Masons of that Rite,
using the Jewish chronology, would call the year 1801, A. M. or Anno Mundi
(in the year of the world), 5541. Sometimes the initials A.H. are used,
signifying Anno Hebraico, or "in the Hebrew Year!' They have also adopted
the Hebrew months, therefore the year ends with them on the 16th of September,
and the new year begins on the 17th of the same month, which is the first
of Tisri. The A. and P Rite uses the Egyptian Calendar and the Era oooooo,ooo
to denote an indefinite period of vast extent.
In the York Rite, the year begins on the 1st of January; but in the French
Rite it begins on the 1st of March, and instead of the months receiving their
usual names they are designated numerically, as first, second, &c. In
a French Masonic document the 1st of January, 1801, would thus be called
the first day of the eleventh Masonic month, Anno Lucis, 5801. The French
sometimes use L'an de la V. L, Vraie Lumdre, Signifying "Year of True Light!"
Royal Arch Masons date from the commencement of the Second Temple, which
was 530 years before the Christian Era; hence A.D. 1801 would be represented
by Anno Inventionis (A.. INV'.), 2331 in Capitular Freemasonry.
Knights Templar have also their mode of chronology, taking their year one
from the organisation of the Order, A.D. 1118; so that Anno Ordinis would
be A.O. 683, instead of A.D. 1801.
Other Degrees have their fanciful chronology, but the foregoing are the only
styles of consequence.