Knight of the East, of the Sword, or of the Eagle
15º Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite - Southern Masonic Jurisdiction
The Council, its decorations and furniture
Bodies of this Degree are styled Councils. The Degree requires a preparation room and two principal apartments, styled Hall of the East and Hall of the West, between which should be an antechamber or passage. The preparation room is plain, without furniture or ornaments.
The First Apartment: The Hall of the West, or First Apartment, represents the encampment of the Hebrews, in huts and tents, amid the ruins of Jerusalem. The hangings are so arranged that the room may represent a large tent. They are white, blue, scarlet, and purple. When the room is fully lighted, there may be seventy lights, in ten groups, of seven each, each seven forming a triangle and a square. One in each group of seven is lit at all the times. The others will be lighted at the proper time in the work. The seats in the east and west are plain, without covering of any sort.
In the west is a painted scene, representing the ruins and prostrate and broken columns of the Temple, in the foreground, and in the rear the shattered wars of the city. This scene is arranged to roll up and when it does so, it discloses in the west the altar, with the candelabrum of seven lights near it. On the altar are the Book of the Law, or the Pentateuch, the Book of Constitutions, a Sword and Trowel. A pair of Compasses are open to sixty degrees. Above the altar a transparency, being a five-pointed star, blazing with rays of red and green and in its center the letter yod - in Hebrew [י].
The Second Apartment: The Hall of the East or Second Apartment represents the Council-chamber of Cyrus, King of Persia at Babylon. It is hung with green, from the ceiling to the floor. On the south, west, and north there must be a space of five or six feet between the hangings and the wall. The room is brilliantly lighted, by no particular number or arrangement of lights. In the east is a superb throne. In the west are two armchairs; on the north and south seats for the knights. The throne is elevated by two steps, and adorned with gold-lace and fringe. Behind the throne may be a transparency representing the dream of Cyrus, to wit: a roaring lion ready to spring upon him, above it a brilliant glory, surrounded with luminous clouds; and in the center of the glory the word YHWH [הןהי](in Hebrew). Out of the clouds an eagle emerges, bearing in his beak a pennant, upon which are the words, "RESTORE LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES." Below the luminous clouds are two human figures representing Nebuchadnezzar and Balshazzar, loaded with chains, the former on all fours, eating grass.
Inside of the hangings, with room for the brethren to sit between, should be a wall of canvas, painted to represent brickwork, commencing on each side of the throne. This goes entirely around the north, south, and west sides of the room, enclosing within it the two chairs in the west. At each of the four corners, and also midway each of the northern, southern, and western sides, is a round tower, also painted like brick-work; and except that midway the western side, six feet high. This last must be at least eight feet high, and large enough to contain a man. It must have two doors, one opening on the inside, and the other on the outside of the hangings. At the former door, in the space between the hangings and the wall, must be two sentinels, armed with pikes and swords. The hangings must fit closely to the side of this tower, so that one can pass in and out of it, behind them, without being seen by any one in the room; and there must be no passage for the light, from one door of the tower to the other.
The wall may extend along the east, behind the throne, and it may also be higher, and the towers higher and larger. When the Brethren stand, they will appear to be inside, and when they sit, outside the wall. In the antechamber or passage between the two apartments, must be a solid wooden bridge. Under it a representation of a running stream. Near it should be a representation of a watch fire. Several armed men must guard the approach to it, and one end of it should be near the door of the first apartment. On the bridge are the letters L.D.P.
OFFICERS AND TITLES
Speaking parts include: Hananiah, Captain of the Guard, the Scribe, and Zerubbabel.
The Council works in the First Apartment, except during a part of the reception of a Candidate. In this apartment the Presiding Officer represents, except during a reception, Zerubbabel, the Governor of Judea under Cyrus, and sits in the east. He is styled ‘Eminent Tarshatha’. The Senior Warden represents Joshua, the High Priest, sits in the west, and is styled ‘Excellent High-Priest’. The Junior Warden represents Nehemiah, the Scribe, sits in the west, on the left, and is styled ‘Excellent Scribe’.
The Orator, who sits in the south.
The Almoner, who sits in the north.
The Master of Ceremonies.
The Assistant Expert.
The Captain of the Guard.
The Tiler is styled ‘Warder’.
During the Reception, and in the First Apartment, these officers represent the chiefs of the remnant of the people that had returned from Egypt to Jerusalem, shortly before the beginning of the reign of Cyrus. Here the Master is styled ‘Worshipful Ruler’, the Senior Warden, ‘Venerable Priest’, and the Junior Warden, ‘Venerable Scribe. The Master of Ceremonies and the Captain of the Guard are the only other officers. The Master represents Hananiah, one of the descendants of Solomon.
Speaking parts include: Banah, Zerubbabel, Cyrus, Master of Cavalry, and the Master of the Palace. Here, the Presiding Officer is styled ‘King of Kings’. He sits in the east, and represents Cyrus. Two Brethren sit in the west, and are styled ‘Master of Cavalry’ and ‘Master of Infantry’.
The Master of the Palace sits in the south. The Master of the Chancery sits on the left of the Sovereign. The Master of Dispatches’ and another Master of the Finances.
The Master of Ceremonies is so styled.
The Expert is styled ‘Master of the Household’.
The Assistant Expert, ‘Master of the Wardrobe’.
The Captain of the Guard is styled ‘Captain of the Guards of the Palace’.
In the Second Apartment, during a reception, it is desirable that Brethren, other than the regular Officers should act as Officers. But if the number of members is too small to permit this, the Orator may preside, and the Almoner and Secretary act as Masters of Cavalry and Infantry.
Speaking parts include: Master of the Palace, Zerubbabel, and Cyrus. This represents the King Cyrus’ treasure chamber. It contains the Ark of the Covenant, table of shew bread, golden candlesticks, altar, gold and silver vessels, covered with black cloths; and a chest with bags of gold.
CLOTHING, DECORATIONS, AND JEWELS
The cordon of a Knight of the East is a broad, green, watered ribbon, worn as a baldric, from left to right, without a jewel. The Officers wear, instead, a collar of the same over the neck, the point on the stomach. That of the Governor is edged and fringed with gold; and on the left side are embroidered in gold a sword and a scepter, crossed, the latter surmounted by a sun.
All wear a broad sash or girdle of white watered silk, edged on the upper side and fringed on the lower, with gold. It is worn round the body, the ends falling down on the left side, over the hip. On the outer end a bridge is embroidered in gold, on the arch of which are the letters L.D.P. Each Knight wears a silver trowel with an ebony handle, suspended by a red ribbon from the girdle, on the right side.
The apron is of crimson velvet, edged with green. On the flap are embroidered, in gold, a bleeding head, on two swords crossed. In the center of the main apron, three triangles, one within the other, formed of chains with triangular links.
The jewel is three triangles, of gold, one within the other, enclosing two naked swords, crossed, hilts downward, and the hilts resting on the base of the inner triangle. Between the swords, below the point of their crossing, there is, in the Master’s jewel, a square; in the Senior Warden’s, a level and in the Junior Warden’s, a plumb. The other officers wear in like manner their ordinary jewel of the Blue Lodge, between the swords. In the Second Apartment, no apron is worn.
The gloves are of green kid. The hat, black, broad-brimmed, and the brim turned up on the right side, with a green plume. The sword is cross-hiked, the hilt plated with gold, and the scabbard black, with gilt bands. In the Second Apartment, the Sovereign wears royal robes of green and crimson silk, and a crown, and holds a scepter. All the Knights should, in this apartment, wear high Persian caps of black stuff without brims.
The Council is opened in the First Apartment. When the Brethren are assembled and the hour for opening has arrived, Hananiah assumes his station, raps once, and says:
HANANIAH: Brethren, we are assembled to deliberate in respect to the great work which we have on hand, and in which we have been so long hindered and delayed. Excellent High Priest, the Holy House of our Temple is destroyed, Jerusalem lies waste, and the gates are burned with fire.
What shall we do in our distress?
CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD: Eminent Governor, let us rise up and build, and strengthen our hands for the good work.
HANANIAH: Excellent Scribe, how shall we be able to build the Temple and the wall?
SCRIBE: Eminent Governor, the God of heaven, He will assure that we prosper; therefore we, His servants, will arise and build. Everyone who builds on the Temple and the wall shall labor with one of his hands, and with the other shall hold a weapon; and God will bring the counsel of our adversaries to nothing.
HANANIAH: In the name of the God of heaven and earth, Whose servants we are, and Whose House we build that was built so many years ago, let us resume our labors.
CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD: "And in this place will I give peace," said the Lord of Hosts.
HANANIAH, raps once and all the brethren sit down: Let us now proceed with the business of the Council.
The first portion of the reception takes place in the first apartment. The Brethren selected to act as Officers are in their places, except the Master of Ceremonies who is with the Candidate as the ceremony proceeds. The Master of Ceremonies prepares the Candidate, by causing him to be clothed as a Perfect Elu. They enter and stand near the altar.
HANANIAH: Brother Perfect Elu, state your name and the reason you have entered this Council.
ZERUBBABEL: I am Zerubbabel, one of the House of Solomon, and a Prince in Israel, of the children of the captivity. I bring the Lost Word from the shrines of truth among the Magi; being myself an adept. I have come to inspect the ruins of the Temple, and to offer my services to my Brethren who have returned here from Egypt.
HANANIAH, raps three times and all the Officers rise: The prince of the captivity is welcome. Brother Junior Warden, conduct the Prince Zerubbabel to the east.
The Scribe conducts Zerubbabel and the Candidate to the east, where they are placed on the left of Hananiah, who then raps once and all sit down. After a little interval, Hananiah says:
HANANIAH: Most Noble Prince Zerubbabel, this Council has been selected to govern those that remain of the children of Israel which returned here from Egypt after the destruction of the City and Temple by Nebuchadnezzer. The walls remain in ruins. The hands of the adversaries are against us, and trouble us in our building. We cannot receive you as befits your rank, for we are distressed and poor and discouraged. Yet we welcome you.
ZERUBBABEL: Worshipful Ruler, it is the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, who long since promised to rebuild the Lord’s House in Jerusalem. But the memory of kings is treacherous; and he has delayed until the hearts of your brethren of the captivity are very heavy. I have come here at their request to pray to the God of Israel that he will cause the king to remember his promise and set them free.
HANANIAH: May we not find means to petition the king, and ask him to perform his promise? Is there no one who can find favor in his sight, and speak to him for the children of the captivity?
ZERUBBABEL: Worshipful Ruler, after I have visited the ruins of the Temple and wept over the distresses of our people, I will return to Babylon, whence I have come by permission of the king. Cyrus has always kept his vows, and been distinguished by his virtue and honor. If I can obtain a hearing, I hope that he will remember his promise and release our brethren, allowing us to rebuild the House of the Lord.
HANANIAH: Most Noble Prince, we receive your assurance with thanks. Accept our poor hospitality, until you are prepared to return; and we will then furnish you with safe escort to the Persian frontier.
Zerubbabel is now conducted to the Preparation Room by Banah, where he is received by the Master of Ceremonies. He retains the collar and apron of the 14th degree, but wears no arms, ornament or jewel. His head is to be covered with sackcloth strewed with ashes. He is then led to the outer door of the tower, where the guards search him thoroughly. He is then led to the Second Apartment.
All are in their proper places, and properly clothed, except the Captain of the Guard, styled ‘Banah’, who goes to the outer door of the tower, and interrogates Zerubbabel upon his entry:
BANAH: Who are you and what do you desire?
ZERUBBABEL: I am Zerubbabel, a prince of the house of Solomon: the first among my Peers; freeborn, but a captive by misfortune. I have come from Jerusalem to speak with the King of Kings.
BANAH: What brings you here?
ZERUBBABEL: The tears and miseries of my Brethren.
BANAH: You will await the report of the king.
He advances to the east and inquires:
BANAH: Lord of the Medians and Persians, a Prince of the House of Solomon desires an audience; what is your desire?
CYRUS: Let him enter.
Zerubbabel is conducted to the west and the Master of Cavalry says:
MASTER OF CAVALRY: For what purpose do you come here?
ZERUBBABEL: To demand the performance of a promise, and appeal to the good faith of a king.
MASTER OF CAVALRY: In what matter?
ZERUBBABEL: In behalf of my Brethren of the House of Israel, who have now been captive seventy years.
MASTER OF CAVALRY: What do you wish to ask of the great king?
ZERUBBABEL: That he keep his promise made to his God, Mithra; that he set us free; and suffer us to return to Jerusalem, and to rebuild the city and Temple of Jehovah our God.
The Master of Cavalry then goes to the east and says:
MASTER OF CAVALRY: King of Kings, what is your pleasure?
CYRUS: He has the right to remind me of my promise, and demand of me performance of it. Let him appear before us with his face uncovered, and we will hear him.
The Master of Cavalry conducts Zerubbabel to the east and causes him to kneel on one knee before Cyrus.
CYRUS: This is indeed Zerubbabel, who fought by my side and saved my life at the risk of his own. Arise, my friend, and speak fearlessly and frankly.
ZERUBBABEL: O King, the tears and miseries of my people here and at Jerusalem have compelled me to appeal to your justice and good faith. Many languish here in slavery and pine for the day when the Holy City and Temple shall be rebuilt. They have asked me to gain access to you and remind you of the promise that you would restore to freedom those who are here in bondage. Did you not promise to permit them to join their countrymen in Jerusalem, there to rebuild the city and Temple of Jehovah our God?
CYRUS: Zerubbabel, your distinction as an adept of our mysteries is known to me. I have heard with interest of an order instituted by Solomon, your ancestor, and know you to be of high rank therein; and I will grant your request, upon your imparting to me the secret knowledge of that order.
ZERUBBABEL: O King, when our wise Monarch, Solomon, instituted our Order of Architects, he taught us that equality was the foundation of the whole system. Here that does not reign. Your rank and your titles are incompatible with the principles of our order. He instructed us, that a talebearer reveals secrets but the faithful spirit conceals the matter. To faithfully keep our secrets, is the first lesson we are taught. My engagements are sacred. If I can obtain your favor only at the expense of my integrity, the Temple must remain in ruins.
CYRUS: I shall consider your request. He then signals the Master of the Palace to approach, and says as an aside to him: Master of the Palace, conduct Zerubbabel to the treasure chamber of my palace, and show him the riches that will be in his power alone to recover on condition that he reveals to me the secrets of his order.
The Master of the Palace leads Zerubbabel out, they halt every few steps for the following dialogue: Curtain closes but lights and sound remain on [no music].
MASTER OF THE PALACE: Zerubbabel, of what tribe are you?
ZERUBBABEL: I am of the tribe of Judah. Solomon, the son of David was my ancestor and wonderful and glorious was the Temple that he built. There is no Temple now. The place where it stood is desolate and the melodies that once gave rapture to the soul are silenced.
MASTER OF THE PALACE: How would you rebuild your temple?
ZERUBBABEL: From the ashes and crumbling ruins of its predecessor would I see it rise, Phoenix-like, to heaven: its marble walls and towering turrets glittering in the sunlight.
MASTER OF THE PALACE: Grand indeed is your picture of this monument and architectural splendor, but what good would all this be if; within it, are not the sacred treasures of the first Temple? What became of the treasures of the Temple?
ZERUBBABEL: In the days of darkness and disaster, when the ruthless Chaldeans laid waste to Jerusalem and the Temple, they were carried away, never I fear to gladden our hearts again.
Both then proceed to the Treasure Chamber.
The Treasure Chamber
MASTER OF THE PALACE: Zerubbabel, what is the mystic art to which you belong? What secret is so profound that, rather than disclose it, you have dared incur the anger of our Sovereign Master?
ZERUBBABEL: When Solomon, with Hiram of Tyre and Hiram, the widows son, joined in building the House of the Lord, the first lodge then was formed. To them others came, the best, the noblest and the truest in the land. What our belief; or what our mission, is, neither time nor words suffice. It is enough to say that if the hand of hate should sweep the sacred fire off the altars of our temples, which may God forbid, in our fraternity a shrine would still be found, and thousands would haste to raise the overturned altars to our God.
MASTER OF THE PALACE: A noble Order truly, but why refuse to endow our king with your mysterious secrets? Consider well how mighty his power is. Bind this sovereign to your fraternity with ties which death alone can break, what earthly power can then withstand you? The empire of the world would be yours. The best, the noblest and the greatest in the land would throng to your doors, eager to enter; and there would none be found so high and mighty as to refuse to do you homage.
ZERUBBABEL: Persian, we do not seek sovereign power, nor care to chain unwilling captives to our chariot wheels. Kings and princes we know not, neither do we fear them. To God alone we bend the knee. To us, the great man is one who, with firm faith in God, goes forth to fight the battles of the weak, shield the innocent, and protect the poor. The promotion of the brotherhood of man is our chief joy and greatest good. They both proceed to the treasure chamber.
MASTER OF THE PALACE: Zerubbabel, that which is lightly gained by us is least esteemed. Behold how royally we would pay for what we might extort. This gold I offer you; and countless shekels more, which shall be yours if you but comply with what our Sovereign asks. Look well upon the gold and think what it is. You should not disdain riches, Zerubbabel. They who are not wealthy do not know what life is capable of Gold: it is the king of kings. Before its throne, monarch and peasant bow with unfeigned love. It is the greatest magician; it dries the tears upon the mourner’s cheek. It soothes the pangs of conscience and heals the wounds of injured honor without leaving a scar; it seals the eyes and dulls the sword of justice. It is the mightiest, yet the most obedient, of our slaves. There is a grandeur, a sublimity in its possession. Note the poor wretch crawling along the street as if it were a sin for him to even live. What cares the world whether he lives or dies? But give him gold and. see how eagerly the throng swarms around, longing to steal some sweet from out his store.
Give me gold and I will sway the world; its rulers, judges: all, both high and low. Give me gold and I will be the wisest, though but a driveling idiot. Give me gold and I will be most pure, though reeking with the foulest moral filth. Such is the power of gold, Zerubbabel; think well before refusing it.
ZERUBBABEL: He who sells himself for gold barters for years of earthly joy, eternity in heaven. No, no. Away with it waves it firmly from him.
MASTER OF THE PALACE: Zerubbabel, turn your thoughts to where, among the olive groves of Babylon, your home lies. There your Rachel is, at this hour, kneeling in fervent prayer to God for your return. Closely clinging to her breast, her infant babe. She gazes fondly on the child and sees your own self reflected there. Would you be happy at the sight of your own hearthstone? Or would you, by your own stubborn folly, fall victim before the fury of our angered King?
ZERUBBABEL: Peace, Persian peace. The friends I have love me because I am Zerubbabel. Should I return dishonored, the eyes that now would welcome me would dim with tears. The hands that now would stretch forth in fond embrace, would palsied fall. No, tempt me no more. Life without honor is worthless.
MASTER OF THE PALACE: Zerubbabel, behold! Here are the gold and silver vessels that were used in the service of the Temple at Jerusalem. Here is the table of shew bread and here the altar, and here the golden candlesticks. All these and more shall be given to you if you will comply with what our Sovereign asks of you. You shall bear them away in triumph to Jerusalem, and be hailed by the people as a deliverer. And now, I will show you that most dear to the heart of every true worshipper at Jerusalem; the most sacred, holy and mysterious of all the furniture that adorned the Temple of the Lord, your God. Behold the Ark of the Covenant! Throws back a cover revealing the Ark.
ZERUBBABEL: O, Mighty Eternal, grant me strength to resist this great temptation prostrate in front of the Ark of the Covenant. Shall we ever again bask in the halo of Your glory; and listen to Your voice? See; there is where the overshadowing Presence of God rested on the Mercy seat; where God made known His will to man. Speak to me. Yea, You speak and I will hear. The still small voice, which floats to my senses and fills my soul with joy. Speak yet again.
A voice behind the scene slowly and distinctly: "You shall be free, you and your people; you shall yet again see my Temple, reared in proportions majestic; you shall again be my people."
ZERUBBABEL: No more? It is the voice of the oracle; it is God’s voice. Persian, No! I do disdain your temptings. My God, who was and is, and shall forever be, will in His own good time restore liberty to the captives and the holy vessels to the people of His choice. Again, I say, I cannot, dare not, and will not yield!
MASTER OF THE PALACE: Unhappy man, can stubborn folly go any further? Will you not yield?
The Master of the Palace kneels as Cyrus, who has been listening in the wings, advances to Zerubbabel and says:
CYRUS: Reflect, my friend, before you finally decide. Your life and the freedom of your people are in my hand. Are you willing that your Temple shall remain in ruins? If you concede what I desire, I will restore liberty to all your people, and deliver to you the holy vessels of the Temple, and give you permission to rebuild the Holy House. I will make you Governor of Judea and a prince of Persia.
ZERUBBABEL: O King, the honors and the rank that are earned by violation of vows, are worthless. My life is always at my country’s service but even to free my people and rebuild the House of the Lord, I cannot sacrifice my honor. I keep the Holy Fire!
CYRUS, angrily: Rash man! What shall save you from passing through the fire, for your stubborn defiance?
ZERUBBABEL: Your oath, O soldier of Mithra, and your honor as a king.
CYRUS, humbly: Both, Zerubbabel, both. I did not doubt your fidelity, knowing you to be a Master of the Light. I did but test your resolve. Your responses were such that it should serve as an inspiration for future generations. That this lesson will not be lost on others, and because of your integrity, we clothe you in garments suited to your rank and deserved by your virtues. Cyrus takes off the chains and sack-cloth, and clothes him in a purple robe from among the riches of the Treasure Room. It is our win that Zerubbabel be enrolled among the nobles and princes of Media and Persia.
ZERUBBABEL: O King, you are worthy to ascend from the sphere of Mars to that of Jupiter, for you are just; but if you would reach the highest sphere, and become a Master of the Light, you must be generous. Grant the prayer of the captives. You did promise to set them free, and allow them to return to their own land, where God has promised that they shall be gathered together, and shall dwell in Jerusalem, and be His people, and He will be their God. Hear His voice so that you may reign long upon the throne that He has given you!
CYRUS: Long ago I resolved to set the Hebrews free, whom we have held in captivity for so many years. They, like us, worship one God. Other matters of serious import caused me to forget them, but I have been reminded of my duty.
Last night I dreamed that I saw a lion ready to spring upon and devour me. I endeavored to escape by flight, but my feet refused to obey. Then I saw Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, the kings of Babylon, prostrate, and loaded with chains. Above them, in a bright glory, was the name of Jehovah, God of the Hebrews. From the glory and the luminous clouds around it flew an eagle Saying that I should restore the captives to their liberty, or my crown should pass into the hands of strangers. Then, amazed and in terror, I awoke. Do you, our Master of the Palace, in whom are light and wisdom, understand my dream? With your wisdom, advise me what I shall do!
MASTER OF THE PALACE: King of Kings, the voice that you heard in your dream was that of Jehovah, who, through his prophets, foretold your coming, and gave you the dominion of the east. The captives are the children of Israel who have now been seventy years in slavery. Their God commands you to restore them to their homes, return them their holy vessels, and aid them in rebuilding their city and His Holy House. The chains upon the kings betoken your fate, if you disobey His commands. And the lion represents His anger, which will swiftly destroy you, if you remain deaf to His voice.
CYRUS: I will obey. Zerubbabel, I give you permission to rebuild your Temple. I do decree that every captive of Judea and Israel in my dominions be liberated from this moment. The Master of the Chancery shall cause this to be proclaimed and cut on stones set up throughout my entire kingdom. The Master of the Finances shall bring forth the vessels of the House of Jehovah and deliver them to whomsoever you shall appoint.
Let the House be built, and the foundations thereof be strongly laid, and the expenses be given out of our treasury. Let the golden and silver vessels be restored and brought again to the Temple at Jerusalem. Zerubbabel, you are the Governor of Judea. I order that you be obeyed in every place through which you may pass, and that all supplies and assistance be furnished you, as they would be to myself. Draw near, my Brother!
I return you your sword, taken from you by my guards. I am persuaded that you will never draw it in the cause of injustice and oppression, but only in defense of your country or other just and holy cause.
He then takes a signet ring from his own finger and places it upon a finger of Zerubbabel’s left hand, saying:
CYRUS: This signet is the evidence of your authority and command over your people, as my representative. Exercise wisely and generously your great powers, always remembering that the prosperity and happiness of the people should be the constant care of a ruler; and that justice and equity and clemency are the fit supports of the throne. As a mark of my esteem, I also invest you with this collar, places collar around Zerubbabel’s neck which you wear as a noble of Media and Persia. It is the decoration of an Order of Brotherhood conferred only on the princes of Persia, and as a high mark of honor.
ZERUBBABEL: O Great King, now truly have you proven yourself worthy to receive that which neither greed nor riches can acquire. If you will place yourself in my charge, the Order of Solomon shall be bestowed upon you.
CYRUS: Officers, retire, and await us in the outer chamber until I call for you.
All but Cyrus and Zerubbabel retire. The Master of the Palace drops the bag of gold beside the altar and retires with the others.
ZERUBBABEL, kneeling at the altar: Upon this altar, taken from the holy Temple of Solomon, kneel and receive the order named for that great and wise king.
Cyrus removes his crown and places it upon a pedestal provided for the purpose and kneels at the altar.
ZERUBBABEL: Your equipoise between justice and mercy has lifted you to the spheres of wisdom and understanding. The blessings of our God be upon you! May your Kingdom and your reign prosper under His hand! No great undertaking can be accomplished without God’s aid, which we here invoke and pray His blessing upon the great work lying before us: to do only good and walk humbly in God’s sight. Amen!
Great King, You kneel now at the altar of the Lord; before Whom even kings are subject. The horns of this altar represent that holy fire, which purifies, refines and makes sacred all things. Prepare to reaffirm your obligations as a just and wise king by grasping the horns.
Cyrus grasps the horns of the altar and Zerubabbel raises his right arm to a square.
In the presence of the Lord and these holy vessels, I now receive and bind you as a Brother of the Order of Solomon, with this charge: that you will forever follow the example of King Solomon in his pursuit of wisdom, his equitable use of strength, and his appreciation of beauty. Hold always the love of truth above all things and labor for the prosperity of your people. And in so doing, ever honor the memory of that king of whose order you are now the guardian, that your people, by your example, may see the reflected glory of the Lord.
CYRUS: I do so promise.
ZERUBABBEL: I now place in your hands this token and symbol of truth. Zerubabbel removes the sash around his waist, reaches down and takes a gold coin from the bag left on the floor by the Master of the Palace. He folds the coin into the sash and ties it into a knot around the coin. This gold does not represent the wealth of kings. It is symbolic of the light of the sun, which to you now represents knowledge of God and yourself It is hidden from view to remind you that knowledge is progressive and only those fit to receive it should be elevated to the Order just bestowed upon you.
Receive it, Brother of the Light Cyrus takes the sash and rise.
Cyrus rises and says:
CYRUS: I now commit you to the charge of those who will furnish escort to conduct you and those who go with you, and your treasures, safely to the borders of your country. Farewell!
They embrace, and leave together.
The cast rises as Hananiah claps twice. The Candidate and Zerubabbel enter. They salute him and cry, Hail! Hail! Zerubbabel, governor of Judah! They enter and approach the east. Hananiah steps forward to meet Zerubbabel and taking him by the hand, conducts them to their seats on the right. Then he says:
HANANIAH: Eminent Governor, the Brethren await anxiously for information of your mission, and how you have succeeded in its objects.
ZERUBBABEL: Worshipful Ruler, the king has appointed me to rule over the people and direct the work. His General gave me an escort to conduct me here; we journeyed up the Euphrates, to compass the desert, and then came by way of Damascus. On the way I lost the decoration given me by the king. Behold the king’s proclamation of freedom to the children of the captivity.
HANANIAH: We regret, Eminent Governor, that you have lost the decoration conferred upon you by the monarch, and know not how to replace it.
ZERUBBABEL: My Brother, I have lost only that which had for me little value. The rank and honors that are in the gift of princes, are so commonly undeserved by those who wear them, that a wise man may well look upon them with disdain, or at least with indifference, and bear their loss without grieving. There are dignities much more to be valued that are not the gift of kings, and not always even within their reach, to be worn by themselves. Nevertheless, I do not slight or despise the gift bestowed on me by the King, and I wish still to wear the collar of the Persian Order of the Sword. I will having in the proper place received authority to that end, create here a body of the degree of the Eagle, known only to a select few in the various countries of the Orient. It is consecrated to that of which the eagle, loving the light, and scaling with free flight the heights of the Empyrean, is the symbol. This degree shall be known among us as that of Knights of the East; in Persia it shall be that of Knights of the Sword; and elsewhere in the Orient, that of Knights of the Eagle. Of this Order, you, my Brother, Hananiah and the Brethren who compose Your Council, with those who have come with me from Babylon, shall be the first members. All shall wear, with the apron of the builders of the Holy House, the collar of the Persian Knights of the Sword.
When the Worshipful Master moves to the front of the stage, then: close curtain but continue lights & sound [no music].
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of Jehovah, the holy place of the tabernacles of God. Our God is in the midst of her. 0 send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto Your holy hill and to Your tabernacles. Then will I go to the altar of Jehovah to pay my vows in the presence of all His people. Jehovah is the God that has revealed Himself to us.
If available the seventy lights are lighted immediately and the scene in the east is rolled up, disclosing the altar, candelabrum, and transparency. The Worshipful Master says:
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: Dear Brother Master of Ceremonies, cause this Candidate to advance by five and two steps, to the east, the last bringing him to the holy altar, there to enter into such engagements as we shall require.
The Candidate, stepping off the left foot first, makes five steps; and then, stepping with the right foot first, two more. Then he stands on the west side of the altar, facing It, his right hand, open, on his left shoulder. The Worshipful Master raps three times and says:
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: Knights of the East, come with me to the altar, to receive and witness the creation of this new knight.
All repair to the altar, and form a semicircle on the west of it, the ends of the semicircle on a line, north and south, with the altar, and the Worshipful Master in the center, with the Master of Cavalry on his right and the Junior Warden on his left. The Expert is on the northern extremity and the Assistant Expert on the southern. All hold their drawn swords upright above their heads, the arms at full length. The Candidate kneels on both knees and lays his left hand, open, on the books and furniture of the altar, his right hand on his left shoulder. The Expert and Assistant Expert advance and lay their swords on his head as all the other Brethren suddenly bring theirs down, to a horizontal position at the height of the shoulder, arm extended, and the sword pointing toward the Candidate. The Worshipful Master says:
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: Kneel on the right knee!
The Candidate does so, and the Worshipful Master strikes him lightly with his sword-blade, three times, on the right shoulder, left shoulder and head, as indicated by the asterisks, saying:
By virtue of my authority and prerogative as [acting] Master of this Council and in the name of Scottish Freemasonry I do * create, entitle and * declare you a Knight of the East, of the Sword or of the Eagle. You are devoted to the holy cause of civil, political, and religious freedom. Rise, Sir states Candidate’s name, and be armed.
The Candidate rises, and the Worshipful Master hands him a sword, saying:
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: I arm you with the weapon of a knight, the symbol of honor and of loyalty. You are not to draw it, for either king or people in an unjust cause, or in resistance to rightful authority. For the columns Jachin and Boaz of the Holy House are authority and liberty in equilibrium, and there is no true freedom except in implicit obedience to the just laws and rightful magistrates of the state.
Upon the conclusion of this, the Candidate is directed to rise. All the Brethren bring their swords to the carry, and return to their seats. The Expert and Assistant Expert step back to the extremities of the semicircle, and the Worshipful Master says:
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: The great purpose of all the Hebrew initiates was to rebuild the Holy House and to restore the worship of the true God, in His Temple on the holy hill. To this all the idolaters in Samaria were opposed, and by every means in their power hindered the work. You know one symbolical meaning of the Temple. It and its rebuilding have another, which you may perhaps know hereafter. In this Degree, Masonry presents itself as the royal and sacerdotal art, and the east and the west are in communication. You are surrounded by a new symbolism, and you must define its meaning for yourself.
The Master of Ceremonies invests the new knight with the apron, girdle, and collar of the degree; the Worshipful Master saying:
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: We invest you with the apron, girdle, and collar of this Degree. The cordon, or collar, represents that conferred by the great Persian Monarch upon the Master Zerubbabel; and in the apron, the color of the collar and of the Degree of Perfection are combined.
The three concentric triangles, formed of chains of triangular links are symbols of the three great and holy words that constitute the motto of Scottish Freemasonry: LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY; and the links are those of our Masonic brotherhood and obligation.
The severed and bleeding head upon the cross-swords is that of tyranny, conquered by the swords of freemen, and severed from the body by the ax of public justice.
The girdle alludes to the passage of the bridge by the escort of Zerubbabel, and the results of the engagement there. But it also alludes to the defeat of the armies of crowned despotism by the armies of freedom.
The trowel is a significant symbol in this Degree. The hostility and threats of the surrounding colonies and tribes compelled those who toiled in rebuilding the Holy House and the wars of the city to work with one hand and in the other hold a weapon. So the sword of knighthood and the trowel of Masonry met in the same service, as they were again found united in much later days.
On the ends of the girdle you see a representation of abridge, upon the arch of which are the letters L.D.P. The initials, it is said in the old French Rituals, are of the words LIBERTÉ DE PASSER, or Liberty of Passage; but they also have a concealed meaning, as they are the initials of the phrase LIBERTÉ DE PENSER, meaning freedom of thought, or freedom of conscience; for the free mind is an indispensable qualification of the true Free Mason: freedom from intellectual serfdom; freedom from vapid ignorance; freedom from all that oppresses the aspirations of the human spirit. Liberty of Passage: It was thus that our Brethren anciently concealed the meaning of their symbols, and the purposes and intents of their organizations when those purposes were deemed treasonable by tyrants and death was the penalty for belonging to a dreaded Order. To freedom of thought, freedom of the conscience, political, and religious liberty, the Knights of the East of old were devoted. The eagle is the symbol of liberty as the bridge spanning the stream is a symbol of the passage of an individual or a people from slavery to freedom, from servitude and subjugation to independence and nationality, from spiritual bondage to spiritual liberty.
This life and this warfare you have voluntarily accepted; and I do now exhort you to do your duty manfully, as a true knight should.
Finally, my Brother, I present you with the jewel of this Degree. The three concentric triangles are not only liberty, equality and fraternity, and liberty: civil, political and religious, but also law, order and subordination. The swords are not only to be used against despots, who rule and rob by force or craft, but for the laws and civil institutions of the state against anarchy and unjust military power.
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: Since evening has arrived and the work advances, it is time to rest. knocks three. To order, Brethren!
WORSHIPFUL MASTER, knocks five and two: The Scriptures say, "Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness."
MASTER OF CAVALRY, knocks five and two: And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name and I will hear them.
JUNIOR WARDEN, knocks five and two: If you will walk in my ways, and if you will keep my charge, then you shall also judge my house, and shall also keep my courts, and I will give you places to walk in among these that stand by.
WORSHIPFUL MASTER: In the name of the God of heaven and earth, whose servants we are, and whose House we build, and under the auspices, etc.... I declare this Council of Knights of the East closed. May your hands be strong, you that hear in these days the words, of the prophets! Go in peace!