Ancient Free Gardeners of Scotland
Rose of England Lodge
Initiation Ritual in the Masters Degree

2020


Opening of the Lodge
 
The Worthy Master gives Three Knocks, Repeated by the Deputy Master.
Worthy Master:
Worthy Deputy Master what is our first duty on opening the Masters Lodge?
Deputy Master:
To see whether all present have received the Masterís Degree!
Worthy Master:
Then I would thank you to ascertain if all are correct.
Here the Deputy Master shall examine any Brother whom he may suspect of not having received the Masterís Degree.
Deputy Master:
Worthy Master, I believe all are correct.
Knock Once.
Worthy Master:
Worthy Officers and Brothers, we are once more met together for the purpose of transacting the business of the Masterís Lodge. Allow me to solicit your patient and undivided attention to all its interest: and let me hope that your deliberations will be conducted in the spirit of Order and impartiality, equity, and unanimity: and tend to the establishment of truth and justice, peace, and harmony.
I declare this Lodge duly Opened.
Knock Three Times.

 
 
Initiation

 
Bro. Conductors escort the Candidates to the door and gives Three Knocks.
Inside Tyler, opens Door:
Who seeks entrance?
Outside Tyler:
A Brother with Journeyman who wishes to become Master Gardeners.
Inside Tyler:
Worthy Master a Brother with a Journeyman who wishes to become a Master Gardener seeks entrance.
Worthy Master:
Admit them.
The Bro. Conductors enters and leads the Candidates in front of the Deputy Master, who asks Candidates for the Sign, Word, and Grip of the Journeyman Degree, if he finds him correct, the Deputy Master shall say:
Deputy Master:
Do you desire to become a Master Gardener?
Candidate:
I Do.
Deputy Master:
Are you willing to give and receive instructions so far as your ability will enable you to do for the prosperity of this Order and the benefit of every Brother belonging thereto?
Candidate:
I Am.
Deputy Master:
Will you support and defend a Brotherís character as far as you can, with justice perform this friendly office?
Candidate:
I will.
Deputy Master:
Will you seriously strive to avoid giving offence to all whom you are connected with, so that no discredit may be brought upon this Order thereby?
Candidate:
I will.
Deputy Master:
Are you willing to renew your former promise, adding thereto all that you have now promised to perform, including therein the Sign, Word and Grip of a Master Gardener?
Candidate:
I Am.
Deputy Master:
Will you promise in the presence of all here assembled that you never will on any account whatsoever, reveal to any but a Master Gardener any matter connected with this Degree that ought to be kept secret?
Candidate:
I will.
Deputy Master:
Will you furthermore promise to keep, maintain, support and defend the Laws of the Order as passed at this meeting in their full force and integrity, and never willfully break or evade them, or allow others to do so with impunity: but at all times endeavour to promise order and unanimity, and diffuse peace and concord throughout the Order.
Candidate:
I will.
The Deputy Master shall then turn to the Master and Brotherís present and says:
Deputy Master:
Master and Brotherís all, I find the Candidates duly qualified, and receive him in kindness and affection into our fraternity of Master Gardenerís.
Bro. Conductors place the Candidate/s before the Worthy Master.
Bro First Conductor:
Worthy Master I commend our Candidates to your further care and instructions.
Worthy Master:
Dear Brother, you have now made a solemn and voluntary promise, and called all here to assemble and witness the same. Let us hope that your future life will be consistent with that promise and in obedience to the laws and principles of the Order. You will henceforth, through merit be able to fill the highest offices in the Order, but let not pride or restless ambition ever tempt you to aspire to offices for which you are not duly qualified.
To be proud of virtue and ambitious of doing good from the right motives are always laudable; therefore, strive to excel in virtue. Let no opportunity of doing good escape unemployed. Be virtuous for your own sake, for the sake of your family, your friends, and your country. You may not have the means of extending your beneficence to deserving and less fortunate objects in a pecuniary way, but everyone has the opportunity of being kind---of rendering consolation and sympathy to the helpless and unfortunate. The Society into which you are now entered will afford you many opportunities of doing good and cultivating charity and benevolence. Remember that every act of charity is a double blessing---the giver is blessed in the act of giving and the receiver is blessed in receiving the manifestation of your kindness. You ought to consider every object of your kindness as having a claim on your benevolence, but especially those to whom you are this evening united in the bonds of fraternal affection. Let your conduct be always in obedience to the laws and principles of our Order, so shall your future life be long and happy. That such may be the case is the ardent wish of every truehearted Free Gardener.
Deputy Master:
And so it is!
Worthy Master:
Respected Brethren, as we bear the title of Master Gardener, it is our duty to explain in a brief manner wherein the term is applicable to our community. In the first place the whole world may with propriety be termed a garden set apart for the production and cultivation of a great variety of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers.
When they are first raised from the seed, they are attended for a few years until they are arrived at a proper size and strength to be engrafted. The hand of a skilled Gardener is then required to place in those stocks such shoots from other trees as are most pleasing both to the eye and taste of the owner, thereby making a grateful return for the labour that has been bestowed upon them. Every man in the garden of this world bears a strong resemblance to one of these trees. He is first raised from the seed of nature and afterwards trained up with tender care until the buds of reason begin to break forth in his mind, at which time the shoots of wisdom and virtue are engrafted into his heart by Masters appointed for that purpose, who with anxious solitude strive to guard him until the shoots are properly incorporated with the stock and become a part of the same individual tree and fit to be transplanted to another situation where it will yield abundant stores of lovely and delicious fruit, and at the same time, give both pleasure and satisfaction to the proprietor. In the next place, our Lodges bear a striking resemblance to particular or select plots of fertile ground, which are planted with the most valuable trees and intend to grow in close compact or near to each otherís mutual support, one part shielding the other from the rude piercing blasts of the North and the other from the scorching rays of the meridian sun: thus, without sustaining any injury themselves they become each otherís safeguard and support.
From this we may learn the benefit derived from a mutual union with each other, and for this purpose we form ourselves in select societies, to be enabled thereby to shield each other from the piercing storms of adversity, and to mitigate those woes that are in a greater or less degree, the lot of every human being.
Our lodges are like small parts of a garden, or fertile plots of ground, set apart for the culture of such trees or individuals as shall by the choice of our hearts be selected to grow through life in fellowship and union with us, for the purpose of shielding each other from distress, and to heal those hearts that are rent by mental anguish, and to pour into the woe-worn breast the healing balm of consolation. If the virtues that are cherished, their branches will extend to all around us, laden with lovely blossoms, and their fruit will sustain our fainting spirits. In the third point of view, every intelligent being may be compared to a garden; and its desires and affections with all its passions and prejudices, may be likened to the different plants and Weeds that are cultivated or spontaneously spring up in the garden around us; and as it is impossible to keep a garden entirely free from useless and pernicious weeds.
Worthy Master:
So, it is almost impossible to keep the heart of man entirely free from those degrading desires and evil passions with which it is apt to overrun.
But as it is the practical Gardenerís duty to root up and destroy all useless weeds that impoverish the soil, and retard the growth and prosperity of the ripening fruit, so it is our duty to secure the heart, by freeing it from all enchased desires and evil passions that would overrun and choke the seed of virtue, and make our hearts a barren and fruitful wilderness.
I will now entrust you with the Sigh, Grip and Word of this Degree If more than One Candidate with the Assistance of the Deputy Master.
SIGN: O Word (Olive) Similar to OK Sign.
GRIP: Handshake with Index Finger up Sleeve
WORD: Knowledge Enriches
Candidates are Invested with Apron and presented with Diploma.

 
 
Free Gardeners Lecture

 
Gentlemen can I add to the foregoing ritual that the central idea of Free Gardenry was based on images of gardening in the Old Testament with occasional references in the New.
Gardenry may be defined as an art of disposing the earth in such a manner as to produce whatever vegetables and fruits we desire.
Free Gardenry is the applying of the cultivation of the ground and its productions, as symbols of the necessity of the cultivating the mind of intelligence and virtue.
So, the First or Apprentice Degree was based on the story of the Garden of Eden and Adam, who was the first gardener in which God described him as "the Great Gardener of the Universe".
When Adam fell from grace, he put on a apron, just as the Free Gardeners wore one and had to go forth into the world and battle with weeds, briars and thorns, the effects of sin.
The Second or Journeymanísí Degree, related to Noah, the gardener who planted a vineyard after the flood. It also speaks of the Four Rivers flowing out of the Garden, Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel (now called the Tigris) and the Euphrates.
The Third or Masterís Degree is about Solomon, described as a gardener, presumably on account of the imagery in the Song of Solomon.
Other Biblical references are used to gardens such as Gethsemane, and a number of trees and plants mentioned in the Bible were given significance, especially the Olive, a Sign of Peace!
That brings me to the Apron, the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners wore Long Aprons to their feet but latterly the style adopted into a more formal type as you can see today.
Various signs and symbols are evident on the Apron, printed around them are notably the letters P-G-H-E the initials of the Four RiversÖ. And locked around Triangles containing the Letters of the First Three Biblical characters Adam, Noah and Solomon.
The "O" in the center is unclear, but Olive could be relevant in this case.
On the Sash in a Triangle Three "Sís" can be noted these have been interpreted as Sythe, Syckle and Spade but figuratively as Secrecy, Solemnity and Service.
 
 
Closing the Masterís Lodge

 
Worthy Master:
Brothers, be upstanding, and assist us in Closing the Lodge.
Worthy Deputy, what demands our next care?
Deputy Master:
To close the Lodge in peace, harmony, and friendship.
Worthy Master:
Worthy Officers and Brothers, I thank you for your kind support this evening and for the attention you have paid to the interests of this institution, I trust a kind providence will enable us to meet again from time to time to forward our philanthropic and human objects. In the meantime, let me admonish you to cherish Brotherly love and kindly feelings one toward another, peace with your own conscience and all mankind, at the same time cultivating habits of industry and frugality, integrity sobriety and every virtue that can add lustre to the human character. I declare this Lodge duly Closed.
Knocks Three Times
Deputy Master:
So it is.
Knocks Three Times
Chaplain Closes Bible.