Germany’s national author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe called it a “masquerade in red and white”, but was himself a member (just as he became a member of the Illuminati a little bit later; it made sense to join such organisations and to know from within what they were all about). Freemasonry was in its most idealistic terms an updated edition of the brotherhood of men united under a simple and strikingly anti aristocratic system: the system of the old craft guilds. With their three degrees of apprentice, fellow and master there was no room for privilege of birth. German masonry evolved from the late 1730’s through the 1750’s principally as a system of four degrees, with Scots Master at the apex and the development did not stop there. The chivalric degrees of the 1760’s and 1770’s gave way to increasingly complex systems, overgrowing this initial construct. These high-degree systems claimed roots in the middle ages if not deeper pasts, synthesising Christianity with alchemy, magic, and theosophy. Masonic entrepreneurs travelled through Europe selling secrets which they would convey in extraordinary lodges. What they offered would have been considered heresies only a generation before, and now became a market of esotericism – a market that turned the masonic world into its first framework and distributor. The Strict Observance or Order of the Temple, the masonic high-grade-system founded by Carl Gotthelf von Hund und Altengrotkau in Germany in 1751 was the biggest player on this stage in central Europe – the system of red and white, the colours of the Knights Templars.