PERFECT MISTRESS 4°
Dit rituaal is een amerikaanse vertaling van het franse rituaal, zoals dat halverwege de negentiende eeuw gebruikt werd..
Although Adoptive Masonry is complete in three degrees, yet it has been found necessary after the model of the Craft to establish a Chapter, consisting of two degrees, and which takes rank with the Senate of the A. and P. Rite. These ceremonies are never worked but are conferred by communication after the usual interval.
Decoration, Clothing, etc. The hangings are of crimson cloth, the throne dais seat of the same with gold lace and fringe. The Chapter represents the interior of the Tabernacle which Moses constructed in the Wilderness. Below and a little in front of the throne are two twisted columns. That on the side of Africa represents the column of fire which led the Israelites by night. It is hollow and made lumin6us. The column on the side of America represents the cloud which protected the Israelites during the day. These columns are so constructed as to appear to be lost at the ceiling in waves of light, an image of the heavens, and the summits appear to be joined by an arched rainbow under which is the dais. At one angle is the Altar of Firs, the Emblem of Truth, upon which are several antique vases; in the middle is a brazier of perfume and before it a plate to receive the offerings. Upon a bench at the side are a mallet and chisel as in the third degree, but instead of a heart is a tablet with these words thereon Amana (Ernenoth) Hur, Cana, or the Greek word Eullos (Truth, Liberty, Zeal, Prudence). On the floor is the Tableau or Painting on which is: 1. Pharoahs dream of the seven fat and seven lean kine. 2. Joseph reconciled to his brethren. 3. Several men with trowels to cut the earth for brick. 4. Moses exposed in a basket with Pharoah’s daughter drawing him out. 5. (in front) Moses and Aaron at the head of the Israelites at the time when the Egyptian army was submerged in the Red Sea. The clothing of Wor. Master and Senior Warden is the dress of a High Priest. The Brothers and Sisters as in the Third Degree. The Sisters have each a wand. The jewel is a golden mallet. Each Sister receives a ring on which is engraved the S.W. The garters are of white taffeta, or blue satin, upon which is embroidered a heart in gold with the device upon one “Virtue unites us” on the other “Heaven recompenses us”.
The Wor. Master represents Moses. Wor. Mistress his wife Sephorah (Hebrew Teophorahavis, daughter of Raguel or Jethro, priest of the Midianites). The Sen. Warden represents Aaron (Heb. Aaron, Montanus, Son of Amron, Son of Cabath, Son of Levi and brother of Moses).
High Priest: What hour is it?
Sen. Warden: It is sunrise.
High Priest: What signifies that hour?
Sen. Warden: The hour when Moses entered the Tabernacle of Alliance to place there Gods commandments to the Israelites.
High Priest: It is in allusion to it that we now assemble. Inform the Brothers and Sisters that the Chapter is open. Knocks 6 - 6 and 1; Wardens repeat and declare Chapter open.
Mistress of Ceremonies, goes to the Candidate and conducts her to the Chamber of Reflection; upon the table is a plate over which a perforated vase is turned containing a bird. The Mistress of Ceremonies questions the Candidate on the preceding degrees, and impresses upon her the necessity of practising the virtues which she has learnt and then says: My Sister, this vase which you see encloses a profound secret and is a sacred deposit confided to you by the Perfected, in order to prove your discretion and the high estimation formed of you. I leave it in your charge, but must impress upon you, that the least appearance of curiosity as to its contents will render you liable to forfeit the august degree to which you aspire.
After this, the candidate is left to herself and if she resist; the templation to lift the vase, the initiation proceeds, but if she yields she is reprimanded and the Degree is refused to her, until by patience and virtue she show; she is worthy but if continuing, the Mistress of Ceremonies knocks 6 - 6 and 1. Reports are again given within.
Sen. Warden: At the door of the Chapter is a Mistress who seeks admission to the august degree of a Perfect Mistress.
High Priest: Has she fulfilled the necessary duties, and is she worthy to enter the Chapter?
Sen. Warden: Very Venerable, our respected Sister, by her zeal and virtues has passed the last proofs and makes her demand to be admitted to the Degree of Perfection.
The High Priest orders her admission after the Jun. Warden has taken the place and vase at the door.
High Priest: As I am but the first among my equals, this request can only be complied with by the assent of the Brothers and Sisters. If you are willing to perfect thc Aspirant you will make the accustomed acclamation. (All 1 – 22 – 1 – 22). Let the Aspirant be admitted. The Assembly put the left knee on the floor and the Aspirant is introduced without any bandage, in the ordinary manner. The High Priest and Priestess have a wand in their left hands and the brethren a sword in the right. The orator passes a polished iron chain over the arms of the Aspirant and gives the end to the Sen. Warden.
Sen. Warden to Aspirant: Will you give the proof that you have obtained the Degree of Mistress? She gives the sign, grip and word.
Sen. Warden: Very Venerable, our Sister has finally satisfied us that she has, by happy inspiration, come to Masonic initiation, tasted the mysterious fruit, labored in the Ark, mounted the Mystic Ladder, and now her final desire is to join the Brothers and Sisters who are entering the Land of Promise.
High Priest: My Brothers, we cannot refuse her request with. out injustice, equip the Sister for the voyage and cause her to cross the sea. The Senior Warden gives her a wand, the High Priest strikes 5 equal blows: At the 1st, all rise, 2nd, the Brothers hold up their swords; 3rd, lower the points horizontally; 4th, all raise their wands; 5th, Cross them over their swords, forming an arch under which the Aspirant advances. The Sen. Warden now leads her to the Altar, where the High Priest cause; her to kneel and detach the chain.
High Priest: My dear Sister, it is time to break your bonds and liberate you from slavery, for the engagement which you come here to contract demands entire liberty. The errors and prejudices of your Masonic career have disappeared, before the clear light which our symbols have shed upon them even as the light of truth vanquishes the fog of falsehood and error. You will now take the solemn Obligation of this august degree. Repeat your name and surname and say after me. I. ..., promise and swear before the Creator of the Universe, preserver of all beings, and the avenger of crime, in presence of my Brothers and Sisters, never to reveal the grade of Perfection now conferred on me, to any Apprentice, Companion or Mistress; to practice the prescribed virtues and shun those proscribed under the penalty of being regarded by virtuous Masons as a perjurer who merits indignation and contempt. So be it. (Raises her). My dear Sister, the first step which you ought to take amongst us, should be one of benevolence, raise the vase and enjoy the pleasures which all virtuous souls feel in giving happiness. (She does so and the bird is set free.) You behold that liberty is a blessing which the Creator of the Universe has made common to all beings, and that nothing can be deprived of it without extreme injustice, and that the strong, who makes slaves of the weak, merit the indignation of mankind. Conduct the Sister to the Sacred Altar of Truth.
The orator conducts the Aspirant to the Altar of Fire or Truth and addresses her: My dear Sister, I lead you to the Altar of Truth, that you may learn the grand and inviolable secret of Masonry. It is to practice in silence the duties of religion; a virtuous heart should be sensible and compassionate; there are many unfortunates on the earth, and these are our Friends, our Companions, our Brothers, whatever may be their country or their form of worship; May I hope that they will find in you succour and a friend, and that you will give of ybur goods to the poor, for he who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.
The Hospitaller offers the plate for alms, and if the Aspirant puts in any considerable sum, the orator returns it, saying: My dear Sister, we content ourselves now with this assurance of your sentiments, and leave you to put them in practice, whenever you find the occasion; such benefits given from the heart are as pure as the sacred fire which you see on the altar.
Then the Senior Warden takes the mallet and giving 5 blows on the box, opens it, shows the words on the tablet and explains them to the Aspirant. He then conducts her to the High Priest saying: The Aspirant has inspired a portion of the Sacred Flame from the Altar of Truth.
High Priest: My dear Sister, it is with extreme pleasure that I admit you to the august degree which your wisdom hath merited, receive these marks of our favor, they are the prizes of virtue. (Insignia) The name of Perfect Mistress which we give you in. this degree teaches that we ought never to neglect our duty. Receive also these bands, they are the gage of our eternal alliance. (Garters). The sign by which we recognize you is that which God gave to Moses upon Mount Horeb. (The signs are explained). You will now conduct the Sister to the Officers that she may make herself known as a Perfect Mistress. (Done as before and she is placed at left of High Priest).
Q.: Are you perfected?
A.: Guided by the Eternal I am delivered from slavery.
Q.: What do you understand by slavery?
A.: The captivity in which many people lanquish, symbolised by the Israelites in Egypt. True Masons, in this world, look upon themselves as in a strange land; the profane groan in captivity and aspire not after their true country.
Q.: Subdued as you are by this weak body, how can you say that you are free?
A.: Masonry encloses lessons of wisdom and religion. Initiation into our mysteries has dazzled my eyes. I have shook off the yoke of the passions, reason has enlightened me, and the light, in piercing the veil, has shown me the mark of vice and revealed all its horrors.
Q.: How did you acquire this high degree of Masonry?
A.: By constancy, wisdom and charity.
Q.: What should a Mason be?
A.: The enemy of crime, the friend and disciple of virtue.
Q.: Then all human beings who are wise and just are Masons?
A.: Without doubt, they but lack the sacred signs by which we prove ourselves, signs all the more necessary, that thcy protect us from false hearts and the slaves of fortune and the senses.
Q.: What do you understand by Lodges?
A.: An assembly of virtuous persons, who are above pride and prejudice, and have no worldly distinctions amongst them, governed by wisdom, justice and humanity, and practising in silence the natural law.
Q.: Where was the first Lodge held?
A.: In the terrestrial paradise by Adam and Eve during their state of innocence.
Q.: When was the second held?
A.: During the deluge of Noah, when he was in the Ark with his family.
Q.: When was the third held?
A.: When God deigned to send three angels to visit Abraham and his wife.
Q.: When was the fourth held?
A.: After the burning of Sodom, when the Angels who had saved Lot and his daughters visited them in the cave to which they had retired.
Q.: When was the fifth held?
A.: When Joseph had found his dear brother, Benjamin, and received his brothers at this table.
Q.: Have they this instruction in all the Lodges?
A.: No, it is only in the fifth; Joseph preferred Benjamin five times above his brothers; he gave him five robes and presented five of his brothers to Pharoah; it is owing to this that the number five is sacred among Masons; and that they consider it a title of honor, as the five robes designate the 5 Masonic grades.
Q.: How did this patriarch attain to so high a degree of glory?
A.: By prudence and wisdom which reigned in all his actions; so each of us ought to aspire to the same happiness and march always in sentiments of virtue.
Q.: What was his recompense?
A.: Pharoah promoted him to the second place in Egypt, and committed to him his royal signet; we preserve the remembrance of it by giving the Perfected a ring.
Q.: Who, after Joseph, distinguished himself in this fifth lodge?
A.: Moses, elect of God, who broke the Israelites’ fetters.
Q.: Give me the explanation of the Painted Carpet of the Degree?
A.: 1. The four parts of the world signify that all beings are equally the work of the Creator of the universe, wherever found, and that they ought to cultivate virtue as the most agreeable homage which they can render to the Creator. 2. The dream of Pharoah represents the seven principles which we ought to practice, and the seven vices we ought to oppose. 3. The reconciliation of Joseph to his brethren and the kiss of peace, teaches us that goodness is the inseparable essence of the Creator, whose work we are, and that we ought by this example to add to pardon a perfect and durable friendship. 4. The brickmakers represent the Israelites in Egypt after the death of Joseph, meriting, by the patience with which they bore their unjust humiliation, the regards of providence. These tools are the origin of our Masonic trowels and hammers. 5. Moses escaped in a cradle to the mercy of the waters, is an emblem of the feebleness of our existence and the hazards to which we are exposed. 6. The daughter of Pharoah in preserving Moses teaches us Supreme Providence which protects us against the machinations of our enemies. 7. Moses and Aaron at the head of the Israelites after having traversed the Red Sea, rcp resents a Masonic Lodge, in which the Brothers and Sisters have thrown off the yoke of the passions; and the submerged army of Pharoah indicates the desires which have been overthrown.
Q.: Whom does the Grand Master represent?
A.: Moses. the conductor of the Israelites.
Q.: Whom does the Grand Mistress represent?
A.: Sephorah, the wife of Moses.
Q.: Whom does Brother Senior Warden represent?
A.: Aaron, brother of Moses.
Q.: Whom does Sister Sen. Warden represent?
A.: Miriam, sister of Moses.
Q.: What does the ring of a Perfect Mistress allude to?
A.: The ring given by Pharoah to Moses.
Q.: Give me the Signs, and Words of a Perfect Mistress. (Done.)
Very Illustrious and Dear Sisters: Were I only permitted to be here as a man of the world, I could have done no more than express to you the lively pleasure which we all again feel in receiving you amongst us. As it is, I shall without further compliments proceed to say that as you are the most exquisite and perfect portion of creation, so the most precious benefits of life emanate from you. It is to you that we owe the cares of infancy, the chaste delicacy of pure love, the sweets of married life, the benefits of paternity, the consolations of old age and finally the calmness of our last moments. It is from you that all the joys of the heart proceed, all the hopes and realities of happiness, all the alleviations of pain and evil inseparable from humanity; all the compensations and recompense of the labor to which man is condemned here below. I will say, in short, that it is through your influence that we become better and happier men. But if in holding this complimentary language to you, although I only speak the truth, I fear I am transgressing that Masonic austerity which prohibits flattering words; for you are worthy of a homage which is complete and sincere. In order to render you that homage which you merit, I hope I may be permitted to add a word to the sketch which I have thus lightly made of the magnificent portion which the eternal has accorded you. The word which I would add your hearts are formed to hear; it is, that if to so many attractions and charms, so many sweet gifts and qualities, is not added an enthusiasm for virtue, all ideas of perfection vanish and there no longer remains for you a beautiful destiny upon earth but only a vain and fugitive illusion. Virtue, my dear Sisters, is the flower, which cultivated by your beautiful hands, will never fade; behold the beauty which perishes not! Behold the true secret of your power and the immutable base of your empire. Virtue! It was for the purpose of attaching us to it that you were created; to render it more love-able in our eyes by your example; more persuasive to our hearts by your high inspirations; to render the practice more sweet by the desire of pleasing you; and the sacrifices which it sometimes commands, more easy by the noble hope of obtaining the hand of beauty; even if you desired, could you depart from such an august mission? No! In entering this Temple which is dedicated to virtue, you bring into it the most estimable sentiments. Be pleased, then, to receive from us this expression of the Masonic esteem with which you inspire us. But I must conclude for I hear around me a murmur of impatience, which is to see your Worshipful Mistress occupy that throne when all hearts call her. Come, new Esther, seat yourself there, and place the Masonic family under the powerful shield of wisdom and beauty.