Knights of the Mystic Chain
Degree of Knighthood
This ritual was adopted by the Supreme Lodge in
COMMANDER: Sir Knights, I am about to open a Lodge of the Knights of the Mystic
Chain, and I ask your co-operation. Vice-Commander, are the officers at their
VICE-COMMANDER: They are, Commander.
COMMANDER: Marshal, you will take up the password and ascertain if all present are
MARSHAL, after taking up
password: They are, Commander.
COMMANDER: Marshal, what is the first duty of the assembled Sir Knights?
MARSHAL: To guard the Lodge, Commander.
COMMANDER: Instruct the Sentry that a Lodge of the Knights of the Mystic Chain is in
session, and that only those qualified can enter here.
MARSHAL, after instructing Sentry: The Lodge is guarded, Commander.
Commander gives three taps to
call up the Lodge.
COMMANDER: Officers and Knights, you will rise and give me the countersign; its
answer which is the same. The Recognition
Sign; its answer. The Sign of Distress; its answer. The Distress Word; its
answer. The Sign of Warning; its answer. The Voting Sign. The Sign of the Degree
of Knighthood; its answer. Face each other and give the hand grasp.
COMMANDER: Officers and Knights, I will thank you for your attention and assistance
in conducting the business of this Lodge. Our Chaplain will invoke divine aid.
CHAPLAIN, ex tempore or otherwise: Almighty
Chief, we ask Thy aid,
To do the work that’s on us laid,
To earn the wage ere we are paid
For duty done.
We ask Thy help the sad to cheer,
Protect the helpless: loved so dear:
From poverty and want and fear,
By duty done
To faithful work our hearts incline,
Our several powers and wills combine
In one fraternal battle line:
Till victory’s won.
COMMANDER: I now declare ... Lodge, No. ..., of the Knights of the Mystic Chain of
America, open. Illustrious Knights, I will thank you for your assistance in the
preservation of order and decorum during the present convocation.
Commander gives one tap of gavel: Knights, be seated.
Officers to wear robes trimmed in
gold and silver, and Turkish fezzes.
COMMANDER: Marshal, you will retire and report the names in waiting to be initiated
in the Knighthood Degree of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
MARSHAL salutes and retires;
returns again, saying: Commander, I find Mr. ... ready
to become a Sir Knight of this grand order.
COMMANDER: Recorder, has he been proposed and elected according to our prescribed
RECORDER: He has, Commander.
COMMANDER: Has the required fee been received?
RECORDER: It has, Commander.
COMMANDER: I appoint Sir Knight ... to act with the Marshal as Aide for this
occasion. Marshal, you will return to the ante-room and proceed to divest the
candidate of all valuables in his possession, thoroughly searching, that nothing
may escape you, and in doing so carefully drop this coin here
Commander hands Marshal a coin into the breast pocket of his vest
without his knowledge. You will then deliver the valuables to me at this
MARSHAL: I will obey your commands.
MARSHAL salutes Commander,
retires to ante-room, requests the candidate to give up everything he has in his
pockets, after which the Marshal inspects his pockets to see if everything is
given up, and while searching in his inside vest pocket leaves therein the
original coin. He does not leave him until thoroughly satisfied that he has all
his money, and his vest has been rebuttoned, and after performing prescribed
duties, works his way into Lodge and reports: Commander,
I have performed the duties entrusted to me.
COMMANDER: It is well. You will retire to the ante-room, conduct the candidate
through the inner door. Aide, you will be in readiness to assist in receiving
Marshal salutes Commander and
retires, and when ready to enter gives rap at inner door. Aide thereupon takes
position at inner door, and when Marshal and candidate enter the Aide assists in
conducting candidate around the hall.
GUARD: Commander, there is an unusual alarm at the inner door.
COMMANDER: Ascertain the cause of the disturbance.
GUARD, opening wicket: Who comes here?
MARSHAL: A candidate seeking admission to the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
GUARD, leaving wicket open: Commander, the Marshal has
in charge a candidate who seeks admission into our grand order.
COMMANDER: Guard, you will admit him.
Marshal and Aide march candidate
around the lodge room and stop, facing commander.
MARSHAL: Vice-Commander, this candidate, long anxious to receive the benefits of
the Knights of the Mystic Chain, begs to be allowed to know the full benefits of
the order, and to learn its mysteries.
VICE-COMMANDER: Has he the necessary qualifications? Is he straight of limb and sound of
body, and able to undergo our trials and temptations?
GUIDE: He has the necessary qualifications.
VICE-COMMANDER: Candidate, do you declare upon your honor that you will conform to the
laws, rules and usages of the Knights of the Mystic Chain?
CANDIDATE: I do.
VICE-COMMANDER: Then listen, my friend, and heed the words of advice and admonition I am
about to give. Help thyself and God will help thee. Self-help is the basis of
true independence and just pride of character. Only those who honestly and
earnestly exert their utmost energies to succeed in life, and who eagerly
embrace every opportunity for improving their condition and enhancing the
comfort and happiness of those dependent upon them, can be accounted worthy
members of this order, or can expect from it sympathy and assistance in the hour
of need. The principal object, and most distinctive characteristic, of our order
is the cultivation and exhibition of a sentiment of mutual help and assistance;
but the order aims to bestow its benevolences only upon worthy and deserving
Let me admonish you not to complain of the
hardships which may attend your struggles, nor to be unduly depressed at the
disappointments you may encounter. Realize that life’s battle is real; that in
your individual case all depends upon acting your part properly:
“Honor and shame from no condition rise,
Act well your part, there all the honor lies.”
Let a sensitive regard for your word and your
obligations be the touchstone of your actions; and observe an inviolate fidelity
to every duty, however humble or insignificant it may seem. It was the shepherd
boy David who, faithful to his flock, was called to be the King of Israel, and
his example may well inspire in you the expectation that, if you make him the
model of your life and conduct, you will attain to a position of honor and
esteem among your fellow-citizens.
Marshal takes candidate to the
altar, placing him in proper attitude for obligation, facing the Chaplain. The
Chaplain, Past-Commander, Commander, Vice-Commander and all Sir Knights assemble
around the altar to witness the obligation. At this point the Commander should
name some Knight to personate a beggar. He will post himself at once as to his
duties, retire to the ante-room, clothe himself in a dilapidated hat, wig, beard,
and ragged suit of clothes, with staff and tin cup in hand, and enter hall as
soon as the Chaplain finishes the charge.
CHAPLAIN: My friend, you have heard the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
Are you willing to conform to our laws, rules and usages, and to make your vows
and take your obligations?
CANDIDATE: I am.
Commander calls up Lodge by three taps.
CHAPLAIN, after advancing to the
altar: Place your right hand over your heart and your
left on the Bible. Say: I, pronounce your name in full, do solemnly promise, in
the presence of these witnessing Knights, that I will never divulge the secrets
of this order to any one, unless he be a true and lawful Knight. I further
promise that I will obey all orders of this Lodge and of its regularly
constituted officers, and all orders of the Grand Lodge, and of the Supreme
Lodge. I do further solemnly promise that I will never reveal the signs,
pass-words or hand-grasps, or any of the secret work of this order; and that I
will endeavor, to the best of my ability, to advance the interests of the
Knights of the Mystic Chain; to attend its meetings when practicable, and to
help my brother Knights, or members of their families, whenever an opportunity
presents itself to which I may be able to respond. I also promise that I will
punctually pay all dues and monthly contributions of the Lodge, the Grand Lodge,
or the Supreme Lodge, which may be legally required of me, for the discharge of
current expenses and beneficiary obligations. And I solemnly affirm that I will
to the best of my ability live up to the teachings and precepts of the order.
And should I violate this, my explicit and solemn pledge, I hereby consent to be
expelled from this order, and to incur the obloquy and shame of my disgraceful
conduct; and may Almighty God enable me to keep and perform all of the
obligations which I have assumed.
After the candidate has repeated
the obligation, the Chaplain most solemnly re-read it, In order to doubly
impress its importance upon the candidate’s mind, and get his renewed assent
thereto. Do not allow the candidate to repeat at second reading, but the
Chaplain’s remarks should be prefaced by saying that, as Chaplain of the Lodge,
he is required to re-read this to the Candidate in order that he may thoroughly
understand his obligation, which binds the members of this fraternity to one
CHAPLAIN: Let your every action be so open and straightforward that it will not be
in the power of calumny, however cunningly contrived, to tarnish your reputation
or impair your standing with your fellow-men. Be ever mindful of the rights, and
considerate of the feelings, of others, and look with leniency upon their
shortcomings. “Be to their faults a little blind, and to their virtues very
kind.” Be tender, be just, be generous, be merciful; be slow to anger and
quick to forgive. These are the lessons inculcated by our order; live up to them,
and you will find that in every sphere of life, and every vicissitude of fortune,
they will defend you from evil, and promote your temporal and eternal felicity.
Marshal, take the candidate to the Vice-Commander; he may have a word to say to
At beginning of march a beggar,
knocking on the door, is beard, and should be announced.
GUARD: Commander, a worthy Knight, who has been set upon by highwaymen, badly
wounded, and robbed of all he had, seeks admission, that he may ask aid from his
COMMANDER: Admit him.
BEGGAR, entering: Good sirs and brothers, I pray you, help the unfortunate and needy this
in a loud voice.
Beggar, making noise with stick
as if he were a lame man, presents tin cup to the members, who drop coin, etc.,
with a rattle into the cup, and stops in front of candidate, to whom he says:
BEGGAR: Kind stranger, give me a penny.
VICE-COMMANDER, after a pause, to
you not going to give this poor man something? Will you pass him by after the
obligation you have taken and the instructions you have received? This order,
though it gives benefits, also teaches Charity. Give to the needy; help the
blind and feed the poor. Have you no money about you? Answers
No, prompted by Aide. Search your pocket. Searches.
Have none, you say? Did you search carefully? Yes,
prompted by Aide. Aide, you search candidates’ pockets. Aide
money. So you had money, but refused to
give. Hand it to the poor man. It is always your duty to extend the hand of
Charity. Hands coin to blind man, who passes out.
I hardly know what to think of you. You must have known that the money was there.
Knights, shall we forgive him, or shall he be punished as such conduct merits?
COMMANDER, solemnly: Fellow-officers and esteemed Knights, this candidate has wittingly or
unintentionally committed a very grave offence; after having been solemnly
admonished to respond to the calls of Charity, he has proven recreaut by turning
a deaf ear to the poor and needy; and to make his offence the greater, he has
attempted to deceive not only this poor beggar, but the members of this Lodge
also. The fact that within the last quarter of an hour he has violated the most
solemn obligation necessarily puts us upon our guard with reference to his
further advancement in our order, in which we teach, by precept and example,
Kindness, Mercy and Charity. I am reluctant to believe that this candidate with
deliberate intent violated his obligation, but as we practice, above all other
things, Charity, we must be charitable in our construction of his conduct until
the charges are proven either false or true. He either did not realize where he
was, or did not comprehend the lamentable condition of the poor beggar. It
would seem that he must have forgotten the obligation just taken, or did not
possess the will power to execute his convictions of duty. We are his friends,
but it must be indelibly impressed upon him that if he does not realize at all
times where he is, he is liable to speak of the mysteries of our order in the
presence of strangers who have not earned the right to hear them. If his vision
is deficient he would be unable to see a brother Knight in distress; if his
hearing is imperfect he cannot hear the cries of distress; if his memory be not
good we cannot depend upon him to keep inviolate the secrets of this fraternity;
and if he does not possess the will power to execute his convictions of duty all
of hits strength will be powerless to do justice to the principles of our order
by responding to the necessities of the destitute and needy. Brother officers
here assembled, you will kindly meet me at the altar and devise the punishment
to be meted out to this candidate.
Here Commander, Past, Vice and
Chaplain assemble at the altar, and after discussing the matter in an informal
way, the Chaplain declares the verdict as hereinafter stated:
CHAPLAIN, all remaining at the
altar: This man is manifestly deficient in something. He
is lacking in some of the attributes of head or heart. This is the most
charitable construction, for we should else be obliged to attribute his conduct
to the despicable vice of avarice. If we could in any way ascertain what the
deficiency is, it might be possible to supply the defect, in part at least, or
else, to some extent, counteract the malign consequences of the dereliction, The
case seems to justify a resort to the supernatural assistance of the Mystic
Bowl. There is a cabalistic charm in the waters of that mysterious font which is
able to render up the secret we desire. Shall this recusant candidate be
required to search into the depths of the Mystic Bowl for a revelation of the
attributes in which he is deficient? What say you?
MEMBERS, all speaking at same
time: Let him be taken to the Mystic Bowl.
COMMANDER: Friend, the members of this Lodge demand that you shall inquire of the
Mystic Bowl for a revelation of the traits in which you appear to be deficient,
and without which it is not possible to fulfill the character of the perfect
Knight. Are you willing to learn wherein your greatest lack doth lie?
CANDIDATE, prompted by Aide: I am.
The Mystic Bowl consists of a
basin of water placed upon a small table or stand, and charged with electricity.
In front of the table or stand is spread a metallic mat, such as is usually
placed under a stove. A battery should be concealed behind a screen, two wires
from the battery secretly connecting, the one with the Mystic Bowl and the other
with the mat. As the candidate stands upon the mat and dips his hands into the
water the circuit is completed and the shock imparted to the candidate, in the
bottom of the basin there is placed a metallic plate, on which are imprinted the
words: “Practice in all thy dealings Kindness, Mercy, Charity.” These
preparations being ready, a brief intermission may be bad to enable the members
to gather around to witness the ceremony The candidate is now conducted o the
Bowl, his shoes having been removed, and care being taken that he stands upon
COMMANDER: Candidate, you have given your assent to a most solemn rite. Nothing
short of supernatural power possessed by this Bowl could enable it to reveal
traits of your character that are hidden from the scrutiny of your closest
friends, and perhaps unsuspected by yourself. You are about, therefore, to come
into contact with one of the most awful and mysterious auguries of nature, so to
speak; and you should approach it with the reverence of the man of God who, on
ascending the Sacred Mount, was commanded to remove his shoes, “for,” as the
divine voice proclaimed, “the place whereon thou standest is sacred ground.”
The Marshal will now remove your shoes.
This being done, the Marshal
conducts the candidate to the Mystic Bowl.
COMMANDER: Candidate, having removed your shoes, in token of reverence, you will
wash your hands as a symbol of the cleanliness and purification with which you
should approach the mysterious ceremony.
The candidate now dips his hands
into the Bowl, and is surprised by receiving an electric shock. The suddenness
with which he will withdraw and the look of astonishment upon his face will be
COMMANDER: Stretch forth thy hand and delve to the bottom of the Mystic Bowl.
Perchance you may there find some record, or intelligible clue to the attributes
in which you are deficient; and rest assured there will be revealed only what is
for thy good.
The candidate, who is probably
unsuccessful in his first attempts, finally succeeds in plunging his hand to the
bottom of the Bowl, and draws out the tin or copper plate. The amount of
electricity can be increased or diminished an ordinary battery, as may be
CHAPLAIN, after candidate has
drawn forth the plate: What is the motto which you find
mysteriously inscribed upon the plate?
CANDIDATE, reads aloud the
inscription: “Practice in all thy dealings, Kindness, Mercy,
CHAPLAIN: You have now, through the supernatural efficacy of the Mystic Bowl, been
apprised of the natural defects in your character, namely, Kindness, Mercy,
Charity. These are the cardinal virtues of this order, and the solemn vow you
have taken imposes upon you an obligation to religiously observe and practice
them in the future; and may the Supreme Searcher of Hearts enable you to perform
this vow, and discharge this is obligation.
Officers will now assume their stations, and members return to their seats. Marshal conducts candidate to
Past-Commander and seats him.
PAST-COMMANDER, attired in a
bearded wig, wearing Turkish fez and robe:
Thrice welcome, my friend. The scene you have just witnessed and in which you
have taken a part was not intended to be an occasion of amusement, but a device
by which we have wisely chosen to impart to you certain lessons which inculcate
the cardinal principles of our fraternity, and your relation thereto. The
harmless deception practiced upon you by placing the coin in your pocket, and
the results following its discovery, were intended to impress upon your mind the
importance of being ever straightforward in your dealings with your fellow man,
and of ever bearing in mind, and putting into practice, the beautiful and
heaven-sanctioned trait of one of the mottoes of our order and of this degree,
Charity. Live up to this motto and you will always be a worthy member of society
and will command the respect and confidence of all. The object of the Knights of
the Mystic Chain is, in a spirit of charity, to give moral and material aid to
each other; to provide for the intelligent enjoyment of its members; to give
attention and relief to the sick, and to assist those out of employment to
obtain positions; to encourage each other in business; to create a fund for the
relief of the members in case of accidents, and make a suitable provision for
their wives and little ones when deprived by death of their natural protector,
and to advance the common interests of humanity by mutual charity and protection.
The results sought to be accomplished are only such as are prompted by the
purest motives and the most disinterested benevolence, and tend to develop only
such qualities as are characteristic of an advanced civilization. I commend you
for the advance you have made in our progressive order. Let your inspiring
principle of action be to “look up, not down; to look forward, not backward.”
Let the dead past bury its dead. The field of
present endeavor is the inviting domain of opportunities which extend their
solicitations to you with the enchantment of a siren’s song. Have you the
heart and the hardihood to avail yourself of the precious opportunity? Much
depends upon the answer which you can give to this inquiry. The prizes of life
are won, not by dreamy longings, or inane aspirations; but by resolute purpose,
steady pursuit, stout heart, indomitable will, and unceasing endeavor. These are
the sterner virtues; but the softer qualities of the heart must exercise their
appropriate part. Kindness, Mercy and Charity are our cardinal virtues. They all
abide in their proper spheres, but the greatest of them all is Charity. Charity,
or love, is like the ladder on which the beloved Apostle, in the Island of
Patmos, was enabled to mount, and gain a glimpse of the celestial world.
Universal in its sway, and eternal in its duration, is the influence of this
principle of love.
“In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed;
In war, he mounts the warriors steed;
In halls, in gay attire is seen;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above,
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.”
By kindness we mean the warm sympathy and generous
philanthropy which prompts us to acts of friendship and benevolence. By mercy we
mean the heaven-instilled principle which melts the heart in the presence of
anguish and distress.
“The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.”
All that is great and good in this world partakes
of the attributes of clemency and mercy. Carry this lesson with you through life,
and you will possess the priceless charm that assuages the sorrows and mitigates
the calamities of envious fortune, and even relentless fate, and which in your
declining days will soothe the pillow of pain and strew with flowers the pathway
to the tomb.
Marshal, you will now conduct the candidate to our
Commander, who will instruct him in the secret work of the order.
Marshal takes candidate to Commander.
COMMANDER: The liberal and enlightened principles upon which
this order is founded should commend themselves to your earnest consideration.
Our order does not tolerate vice, in either its open and repulsive forms, or the
insinuating disguises under which it makes its most seductive appeals. Our first
lesson is Kindness: a due consideration of the privileges and rights and needs
and wants of our brothers. Who is the true brother? The parable of the Good
Samaritan teaches us that most beautiful lesson. Kindness is our first lesson;
our second is that heaven-born quality, Mercy, which is ever ready to stoop to
the assistance of the lowliest, to all who are in trouble or distress.
“Teach me to feel another’s woe
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show
That mercy show to me.”
In conclusion, ever bear in mind that your conduct
will affect the world for good or evil. The crown and glory of life is character.
It is the noblest possession of man. It exercises a greater power than wealth,
and secures all the honors without the jealousies of fame. Character is human
nature in its best form. When seasoned with Charity it partakes of the divine,
and becomes immortal. Charity, like the sun, brightens every object upon which
Let me impress upon your mind the importance of
being ever straightforward in your dealings with your fellow-man and of ever
bearing in mind and putting into practice the beautiful and heaven-sanctioned
trait, which is the third motto of this order, Charity. Live up to this motto
and you will always be a worthy member of society and will command the respect
and confidence of all. In this one word is embodied well-nigh all the virtues,
and no one can do his duty in life without exercising it. “For, though I speak
with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as
sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal; and though I have all faith, so that I
could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing; and though I give my
body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
I will now instruct you in the secret work of this
degree, in which all business of the order is transacted.
In order to gain admission to a Lodge of the
Knights of the Mystic Chain, you will approach the ante-room door, attract the
attention of the Sentry, who will raise the wicket and say, “Who comes here?”
You will reply, “A Knight of the Mystic Chain.” The Sentry will respond,
“Approach, Sir K night, and give the password,” which you will do, when you
will be admitted to the ante-room.
After properly attiring yourself (with a metal
badge of the order, if any have been provided), you will approach the Lodge room
door, answered by the Guard, upon which the Guard will raise the wicket and ask,
“Who comes here?” You will give him in a whisper your name, and the name and
number of your Lodge. The wicket will then be closed and Guard reports to
Vice-Commander, who, if it be correct, will order him to receive the pass-word
and admit you. The Guard will then raise the wicket. The door is then opened and
you pass to the altar, saluting the Commander with the countersign, which I will
now explain, with its significance.
The Commander will answer by same sign, after which
you face about and salute the Vice-Commander with the sign of the Degree of
Knighthood, thus: ...; he will answer by same sign; then you may take your seat.
This sign is given by all Sir Knights on leaving or entering the Lodge room,
while the Lodge is in session, and by all Knights when the Lodge is opened in
the degree of Knighthood.
COMMANDER: Friend, you will now go to the Recorder and in his
presence sign the order’s Book of Fidelity; this done, you will return to this
station. Marshal, take the candidate to the Recorder, that he may sign the Book
The Recorder must read the obligation to candidate, who, after signing, is
taken before the Commander.
Kneel on your right knee, my friend.
Commander, laying sword on candidate’s shoulder.
I pronounce thee a Knight of the Mystic Chain.
Arise, Sir Knight extending his
that I may greet thee with the hand-grasp of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
Commander here explains the grip.
COMMANDER: The Lodge will now take a recess to welcome our
new Sir Knight.
COMMANDER, one rap: Esteemed Knights, there being no further business before the
Lodge, we will proceed to close. Let us return thanks for the good accomplished.
Three raps to call up the Lodge.
CHAPLAIN, tune: Troyte No. 1.:
Our thanks receive, Almighty Chief,
For present good, and grant relief
To all in sorrow or in grief,
Till next we meet.
And, as life’s battle must be fought,
And face to duty all are brought,
Give strength to fight it as we ought,
Till next we meet.
Life’s battle fought, the victory won,
Our earthly work forever done,
To Heaven’s roll transfer each one:
May all there meet.
COMMANDER: Marshal, take up the Rituals and deliver them at
Marshal collects and delivers Rituals. The Lodge cannot be closed until
the Rituals are in possession of Commander or accounted for.
COMMANDER: Attention, Sir Knights.
PAST COMMANDER: We thank you for your presence
tonight, and cordially invite your attendance at our future meetings.
The Knights face the Commander and give the sign of the Degree of
COMMANDER: Esteemed Knights, by virtue of the power vested in
me, I now declare ... Lodge, No. ... duly closed. One rap.