Ritual of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon

Adopted by the Supreme Forest, 1921.

We are about to open ... Forest, No. ..., of Tall Cedars of Lebanon. Those who are not Tall Cedars will retire.
Brother Sentinel, Sentinel rises and salutes you will guard the door, and allow no one to enter without the Password and the Card of the current year.
Brother Senior and Junior Deputies, they advance to the centre of the Forest and salute you will examine those present, and allow no one to remain without the Password and Card of the current year.
The Senior Deputy examines those on the right, and the Junior Deputy those on the left. When all have been examined, the Deputies advance to the center of the Forest and salute.
SENIOR DEPUTY: Grand Tall Cedar, we have examined all present, and find them to be Tall Cedars in good standing.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: All present being Tall Cedars, we are now ready to open the Forest.
Opening Ode
Tune: Maryland, My Maryland.
O Lebanon, dear Lebanon!
Tall Cedar trees of Lebanon!
We labor in the forest green
On Lebanon, dear Lebanon.
The timbers to the line we hew,
For temple roof-beams, straight and true,
From mighty cedar trees which grew
On Lebanon, dear Lebanon.
Instead of the Opening Ode, one stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner or of America, may be sung.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: The Chaplain will now pronounce the Invocation.
CHAPLAIN: Almighty Ruler of the Universe, we thank thee for the health and strength that permit us to come together. The labor of the day is over, and we are met for pleasure and refreshment. Help us to enjoy them without excess, and may harmony and brotherly love unite us. Amen.
ALL: May it ever be thus.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: By virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the Supreme Forest, I hereby declare ... Forest, No. ..., open and ready for the transaction of business one rap.
Order of Business
Reading of Minutes
Reports of Committees
Unfinished Business
New Business
Petitions for Membership
General Directions for the Royal Court
The Full Form of the Royal Court is a dramatic and spectacular presentation of the calling and employment of the workmen of Sidonia, to become hewers of timber in the forest of Lebanon.
It is not prescribed nor intended that the full ceremonies of the Royal Court shall be used at every meeting of the Forest. In most Forests, it will be found more satisfactory and more effective, if used at only a part of the meetings, say, once, or twice, or at the most, three times in each year. Each Grand Tall Cedar is at liberty to use his own discretion as to which Form shall be used. But, if at all possible, it should be presented at least once a year in each Forest, either in Full Form, or Plain Form.
It should be presented in a serious, dignified manner, and made as impressive as possible. All entrances and exits should be tyled and kept closed until the conclusion of the Secret Work. The members of the Forest should remain seated, and all unnecessary conversation and movements be avoided. The ceremonies of the Royal Court admit much elaboration in costumes and properties, and may be made very spectacular, especially in the entry of the King and his enthronement, and also the entry of Prince Azariah.
In working the Royal Court, the great aim should be to have the different movements follow one another in immediate and rapid succession. The whole ceremony has been planned as a whole, and there should be no break in the action, at any time.
If the Grand Tall Cedar is to take the part of the King, he should call some one to preside over the Forest and transact the preliminary business, while he is putting on his costume. The Princes and Rangers should be all READY TO ENTER as soon as the Royal Court is announced. Delay is ABSOLUTELY UNNECESSARY, if the different officers and the Chief Ranger will so STUDY THE RITUAL that they know where their parts come in.
The Guide should have the candidates arranged in the ante room in such manner that they can be brought in immediately, when the order is given by the Grand Tall Cedar.
All the movements and marching in the Royal Court should be with the greatest dignity and formality, and especially without levity or, appearance of haste.
The directions as to the movements of the Rangers, as given in the Ritual, must be governed by local conditions, such as the size of the room, and the location of the entrances. The Grand Tall Cedar and the Chief Ranger are at liberty to make such changes as will add to the beauty and impressiveness of the work.
At ordinary meetings, or in small Forests which have not suitable costumes, or where the room is small, the Short Form may be used, but the Sidonian Degree should be given IN FULL at every meeting of the Forest. The stunts may be omitted at the direction of the Grand Tall Cedar, but this should be done only for weighty reason.
If a Forest has no costumes or uniformed Rangers it may call upon some neighboring Forest. Very many of the Forests, having fully costumed Degree Teams and uniformed Rangers, will welcome an invitation to make a visitation and display their work. These friendly visitations are a most important feature in the life of any Forest, and greatly help to create and maintain that fraternal feeling which is the foundation of our Order.
The work of the Royal Court will be made most impressive and effective in every Forest by the institution of a Degree Team, who may, or may not be officers of the Forest. It will generally be found that the Grand Tall Cedar has enough to do without undertaking to memorize and perform one of the parts in the Royal Court. In order to be effective, it is absolutely necessary that all the parts be memorized, and the work done without a book in sight. In every Forest there may be found five members, possessing good voices and dramatic ability, who, with proper rehearsal together, can render the work of the Royal Court with dignity and impressiveness. This Team should continue from year to year, with only such changes as may be necessary. It will be found useful to have some understudies who can fill in when one of the members of the Team is unavoidably absent.
The parts of the King and Chamberlain are the most important, and it is especially necessary that the Chamberlain be thoroughly familiar with the movements of the Ritual, as from his position on the floor, and in the ante room, he can give directions to the other members of the Team and to the Rangers.
The salute in the Royal Court is made by stretching forth the right hand on a level with the shoulder, palm down, and bowing deeply. It is answered by the King stretching forth his sceptre, or by bowing his head. Always salute when addressing the King. When one is addressed by the King he shall salute, or, if seated, shall rise and salute.
When Supreme Officers, or other visitors are present, a suitable time for addresses may be found while the candidates are being prepared for the Sidonian Degree.
Where the dressing room is back of the stage, the Rangers may enter and form in front of the Throne. Princes enter from wings, and stand right and left of Throne. Chamberlain enters from wings, and says: “Arise, my Lords, etc.” King follows, and goes to Throne.
Initiation (Full Form)
When the time for Initiation has come, the Grand Tall Cedar—or some one designated by him—shall rise and say:
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Brother Tall Cedars, we are about to sit as the Royal Court of King Hiram of Tyre, in order that we may increase the number of workmen in the Forest. The Royal Court is no place for laughter and levity: that will be given opportunity in due season. In the presence of the King, the greatest order and decorum must prevail.
Brother Guide, the Guide rises and salutes you will admit the workmen who are in waiting, and place them in order in the audience chamber.
The Guide salutes and retires.
Brother Sentinel, the Sentinel rises and salutes you will inform the Chief of the Royal Rangers that we are ready to receive his Majesty as soon as the workmen are admitted to the Royal Court. After his entry, you will close the door, and allow none to pass until after the Secret Work.
The Sentinel salutes, retires to inform the Chief of the Royal Rangers, and then returns to his place at the door.
The Guide brings in the candidates quietly, and places them standing in the rear of the Court. They are not to be hoodwinked, and there must be no attempts at fun. All the proceedings in the Royal Court must be orderly and full of dignity. When all have entered and are arranged in order, the Guide shall say to them:
GUIDE: You are now in the Royal Court of King Hiram of Tyre. You represent skilled wood carvers, and will wait here in silence until you are summoned to the royal presence.
The Sentinel shall then inform the Chief of the Royal Rangers that the workmen are in the Royal Court.
Ceremony of Enthronement
The procession shall form in the ante room in the following order, as soon as the workmen have gone out, and must be ready to move as soon as the Sentinel gives the word that the workmen are arranged in the Royal Court.
1. Heralds and trumpeters.
2. Royal Rangers.
3. Princes Zadok and Adoniah.
The trumpeters shall sound a blast outside, as a signal to open the doors, and continue blowing until the procession has fully entered the Court, where it marches once around. Then, marching towards the throne, the Rangers and Princes shall halt, open ranks two paces apart, and raise their swords, or spears, or right hands, forming an archway. Immediately, the Chamberlain. shall enter and say:
CHAMBERLAIN: Arise, my Lords! All arise. Behold his Majesty, the King!
The King shall then enter the Court. Preceded by the Chamberlain, he marches slowly between the ranks of the Rangers. At the foot of the throne, the Chamberlain shall halt and allow the King to ascend the throne, where he remains standing. The Princes shall then pass between the Rangers, and on reaching the throne salute the King, and take their places, Zadok on the right .and Adoniah on the left of the King, where they remain standing. Then the King shall take his seat on the throne and say:
KING: Lords of the Royal Court, I greet you with a kingly salutation. May health and happiness abide with you, and may long life and prosperity be your portion. One rap.
All are seated. The Rangers march to the rear of the Court, and form in line in front of the candidates. The Chamberlain retires to the ante room and immediately returns. He approaches the King and salutes.
CHAMBERLAIN: Your Majesty, an Ambassador from King Solomon is in waiting.
KING: You will bring him at once into the Royal Court, that we may receive him with the honor due to his exalted Master.
The Chamberlain salutes and retires. The Rangers march to the entrance to receive Prince Azariah and his retinue. The procession enters the Royal Court in the following order:
1. Trumpeters.
2. Royal Rangers, in fours.
3. Guards of Prince Azariah, wearing purple capes, and carrying swords, or spears.
4. Attending Lords and retinue—in costume.
5. Chamberlain.
6. Prince Azariah.
The trumpeters sound a blast as Prince Azariah enters, and the procession moves forward. When they are in front of the throne, the Rangers file right and left in twos and halt, leaving space in the center for the Chamberlain and Prince Azariah. They approach the King and salute. The entry of Prince Azariah may be made as gorgeous and spectacular as desired.
CHAMBERLAIN: Your Majesty, this is Prince Azariah who bears a message from King Solomon.
KING: And what is thy message, most noble Prince?
AZARIAH, salutes: Most excellent King Hiram of Tyre, my worshipful Lord and Master, King Solomon, sends royal greetings, and bade me say that he is building a Temple in Jerusalem. The stones thereof are hewed in the quarries near the city, but he earnestly desires that it may be roofed with timbers of cedar. Therefore he begs that thou wilt command thy servants to hew timbers in the forest of Lebanon. It is well known unto him that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timbers like unto the Sidonians. Salutes.
KING: Prince Azariah, thy request is most freely granted. Return to thy royal and illustrious Master and tell him that I rejoice greatly in his wisdom, and will do all his desire concerning timbers of cedar for the Temple. My servants shall cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as he shall need,. and we will bring it in floats by sea to Joppa, so that he may carry it overland to Jerusalem. May peace abide with thee and thy royal Master.
The Chamberlain and Prince Azariah salute. The Rangers re-form in fours and lead the procession as it retires from the Forest. The Chamberlain immediately returns and takes a position in front of the candidates. The Rangers remain in line outside, ready for the proclamation.
KING: My Lords, you have heard the request of my illustrious brother, King Solomon, and the promise I have made. In order to accomplish this vast undertaking, we must have more workmen in the Forest. Therefore it is my royal command that Princes Zadok and Adoniah, accompanied by the Royal Rangers, shall forthwith travel throughout the Kingdom, and make public proclamation, calling upon all workers in wood to present themselves at the Royal Court.
The Princes rise and salute the King.
ZADOK: The command of your Majesty shall be immediately obeyed.
KING: May your journey be prosperous.
The Princes salute and retire to the ante room where the Rangers are waiting in line. The procession shall immediately re-enter the Royal Court, with the Princes and trumpeters in the center of the Rangers. They shall march once around the Court. When the Princes are at the center of the standing candidates, the procession shall halt and face the candidates. After a blast is sounded by the trumpets, the proclamation shall be made, either by one of the Princes, or by the two in concert.
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! By command of his royal Majesty, King Hiram of Tyre, all workers in wood not now employed, shall forthwith present themselves at his Royal Court, for labor in the forest of Lebanon. Long live the King!
ALL: Long live the King!
The proclamation having been made, the procession shall march around and halt in front of the King. The Princes advance two paces and salute.
ZADOK: May it please your Majesty, we have obeyed the royal command, and proclamation has been made throughout the Kingdom.
KING: Most noble Princes, you have my royal approbation. Let us hope for a willing response.
Then the Chamberlain shall face the candidates and say: Workmen, you have heard the royal proclamation. He that will offer himself for labor in the forest of Lebanon, let him hold up his right hand.
Candidates all raise their right hands. The Chamberlain signals for them to be lowered, faces about, marches quickly to a position between the Princes, and salutes.
CHAMBERLAIN: A message, your Majesty!
KING: And what is your message, my Lord Chamberlain?
CHAMBERLAIN: Your Majesty, there are ... workmen in the Audience Chamber who crave an audience with the King.
KING: Have you ascertained their business?
CHAMBERLAIN: They are workers in wood who have heard the royal proclamation, and desire to offer themselves for labor in the forest of Lebanon.
KING: Their prompt compliance is most gratifying, and I will presently receive them. You will return to these workmen, and remain with them in the Audience Chamber until they are summoned to the royal presence.
The Chamberlain salutes and returns to the candidates where he takes a position at their right, facing the King.
KING: Princes Zadok and Adoniah, they salute there are workmen in the Audience Chamber to whom I must soon grant an audience. Before I hear them, you may present before me the Chief of the Royal Rangers who accompanied you throughout the Kingdom.
The Chief of the Royal Rangers shall advance until he is in line with the Princes. All salute.
ZADOK: King Hiram, I present before you, Joab, the Chief of the Royal Rangers, who, with his faithful band, is ever ready to undertake any duty in your Majesty’s service.
KING: I have heard of you Joab, that you are a man of valor, and of great skill to command your Rangers. It is my pleasure that you now display their skill before this Royal Court.
Princes and Chief Ranger salute. The Princes return to their places and are seated. The Rangers perform their evolutions, ending with a military salute.
KING: I thank you Chief Ranger Joab, for this exhibition which does great credit both to you, and to your well trained men. You will assist Princes Zadok and Adoniah in bringing before me the workmen who are in the Audience Chamber.
The Princes rise and salute. The Chamberlain arranges the candidates in ranks of two or four at the rear of the Court, and takes his position at the right of the line. The Rangers file left and march to the rear of the Court, passing just in front of the line of candidates. Princes Zadok and Adoniah fall in line behind the Rangers, and when the candidates are reached, Prince Zadok takes a position at the foot of the line. The Rangers continue their march without halting, and the Chamberlain and candidates fall in behind Prince Adoniah. The Rangers file left along the side of the Court, and again file left and march across the Court in front of the King. When the candidates are in a line before the King, they shall be halted by the Princes. Prince Adoniah is at the left of the line Prince Zadok at the right. The Rangers and Chamberlain continue their march without halting, and retire to the ante room, where they prepare for the Sidonian Degree.
ZADOK: Your Majesty, these are workmen from the cities of the Kingdom, who desire to become hewers of timber in the forest of Lebanon.
KING: Are they of good report?
ZADOK: They are well known to me, and to many of the brethren.
KING: Are they skilled in any craft?
ZADOK: They are skilled wood carvers, master workmen, but hearing of the-need for more hewers of timber, they have offered themselves for your service.
KING: Workmen, you are welcome, for there is great need for more, hewers in the Forest. From Holy Writ, and from our previous teachings, we learn that at the building of the Temple, King Solomon sent to King Hiram of Tyre desiring that the Sidonians might hew cedars of Lebanon for use in the Temple. These timbers were hewed in the forest, brought down to the sea, conveyed in floats to Joppa, and thence overland to Jerusalem. A fraternal Brotherhood existed at that time among the hewers of timber in the forest of Lebanon, as well as among the hewers of stone in the quarries at Jerusalem. The Hewer’s Fraternity was known as the TALL CEDARS OF LEBANON. It was instituted by a royal decree in the days of King Amaram, so that the workers in Lebanon should live and work together in harmony and brotherly love. To this Fraternity only were imparted the secrets of the Forest. Do you desire to learn these secrets?
KING: Are you willing to bind yourself to us by a solemn and lasting obligation?
KING: Then place your right hand over your heart, and in an audible voice repeat after me.
The candidates face the altar, standing in a semi-circle. The Princes stand just behind the right and left sides of the altar facing the candidates. When all are in position, the King descends from his throne and takes his place between the Princes, just behind the altar. In places where it is convenient the lights may be turned off, except the lights upon the altar, which should be red or green. If the whole altar is not made of cedar wood, there should be some pieces of rough cedar, or cedar boughs laid upon it.
I, ...—in the presence of his Majesty—King Hiram of Tyre,—the Princes Zadok and Adoniah,—with these Tall Cedars as my witnesses,—and before this altar of cedar wood,—do hereby promise and vow—that I will never reveal—any of the secrets of this Order—that may now,— or at any future time,—be imparted to me as such.
Furthermore, I promise—that I will firmly support—the Supreme Forest and its officers,—and will abide by and loyally obey—all laws, rules, regulations,—orders and edicts—lawfully promulgated by them;—and in the same manner—will loyally support the officers,—and obey the authority and laws—of this, or any other Forest—with which I may be connected.
Furthermore, I promise—that I will neither alter nor change,—subtract from, nor add to,—the written or unwritten Work of the Order—as set forth by the Supreme Forest,—nor will I hold Cedar communication—with any Tall Cedar—who is not a member in good standing—in a lawfully chartered Forest.
Furthermore, I promise—that I will never consent to,—nor assist in the introduction—into any of the ceremonies of the Forest,—or into any meeting or festivities—under its name or auspices,—of anything indecent,—obscene,—irreverent,—immoral, —or harmful to the person or property of any one.
To the faithful observance—of all these promises,—I sincerely vow,—binding myself anew—by all the penalties—of any obligations—I have ever taken elsewhere. So help me God,—and keep me ever firm and true-in this my solemn vow.
At the end of the Obligation, the lights shall be turned on.
ADONIAH: Tall Cedars, Before you is the altar of cedar wood. The original meaning of the word “cedar” is, “grimly rooted, strong tree.” So may you ever be firmly rooted and strong in your love for our Order. And as the cedar wood is everlasting, so is the solemn obligation which you have just taken. Ever be mindful of your threefold promise of Secrecy, Loyalty, and Decency.
ZADOK: Brother Tall Cedars, we welcome you in Friendship, Love, and Brotherhood. Tall Cedarism is but another name for Hospitality and Good Cheer. Friendliness, Sociability, and Good Fellowship are the cardinal principles of our Order, so that when you meet a Tall Cedar, you may be certain that you are meeting a Friend, a Brother, and a Good Fellow. We welcome you as members of ... Forest, Number ....
KING: The ceremony through which you have just passed is not a mere show and spectacle. It has a deep and serious meaning. You have represented skilled wood carvers; artists, as well as craftsmen. The work of hewing timber is very rough for your skillful hands, but you were so loyal to your King, that as soon as you heard of his need, you offered yourself for any service. By such loyalty and willingness, you have shown us the grandeur of patriotism, the dignity of labor, and the beauty of willing service.
You may still be artists, for the highest and truest art is not so much in the thing produced, as in the spirit in which the thing is done. He is indeed the true artist who puts his whole heart and soul into whatever his hands find to do. All labor is equally honorable, and to every one who does his best with a willing heart and mind, the Great Master will say: “Well done, good and faithful servant, thou shall have a great reward.”
You will now be instructed in the Secret Work.
The sign of a Tall Cedar is .... This is called the Hewing Sign, and is symbolic of your labor as a Hewer of wood in Lebanon. On entering or retiring from a Forest, when in session, you will advance to the center of the Forest and throw this sign to the Grand Tall Cedar, who will answer it in this manner, thus signifying that everything that goes on in the Forest is to be kept under cover.
The Pass-word is ....
The Test is ....
The Grip is made thus: ....
The Sign of Welcome to the Supreme Officers is made by throwing the Hewing Sign three times, and saying in a loud voice “Welcome” with each Sign.
The Response to the Invocation is, “May it ever be thus.”
After the Secret Work is concluded, KING: You will receive the Card of the current year from the Scribe, without which you will not be able to gain admittance to this or any other Forest. Your Pyramid should always be worn at the meetings of the Forest, and at such other times as requested by the King.
You are now duly obligated Tall Cedars, but before you can learn the skill to hew timber, it will be necessary for you to receive further instructions, and be obligated as Sidonians. We are told in Holy Writ, that “there is none among us who can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians,” and only to duly obligated Tall Cedars may their secrets be imparted.
These secrets will be given you in the Sidonian Degree which is to follow. It teaches that the real spirit of Tall Cedarism is the spirit of mirth and enjoyment. A regular Cedar is a gentleman, a credit to society, and to our Order. He scatters sunshine, dispels gloom, spreads good cheer, is full of joy and laughter. Fun, Frolic, and Fellowship are the three great teachings of this Degree. Let your Fun be always clean and harmless: your Frolics full of innocent merriment: your Fellowship sincere in its friendliness and sociability. Thus will you prove that you have caught the true spirit of Tall Cedarism, and that you are a good Friend, a good Brother, and a good Sidonian.
A list of those who are to take the stunts shall be prepared in advance, and given to the King.
KING: You must all take the Sidonian Obligation, but a few have been selected for personal and individual instruction as overseers of the workmen. As their names are called, the following Cedars will step forward and arrange themselves in a line before me.
The King reads the list of names, and the Cedars come forward and arrange themselves before him.
KING: Tall Cedars, you have been signally honored in being the chosen ones upon whom will be exemplified the striking ceremonies of the Sidonian degree.
A very amusing feature may be introduced here by the King reading fake telegrams and letters, referring to the selected ones before him. These letters purport to come from wives and friends, and are full of harmless, but funny personal allusions, such as boasts they have made that they are not afraid, and that they hope they will get their money’s worth, talking in their sleep, etc., etc.
You will now retire to the ante room, and be prepared for the honors that await you. The other newly-made Cedars will remain standing as they are, and strictly do as they are told.
The ones who are to receive the stunts will then retire to the ante room. As soon as they have left the Court, the King and Princes shall return to their places, and the King shall say: Lords of the Royal Court, we have finished our labors, and largely increased our numbers. I therefore declare this Royal Court dissolved, and the Grand Tall Cedar shall preside over the Lodge of Sidonians. May peace and harmony ever abide with you. Farewell!
ALL: Long live the King!
Then the King, preceded by the Princes, shall retire, and the Grand Tall Cedar shall resume his station. The candidates remaining in the Forest shall immediately be arranged in a rectangular body in the center of the Forest, leaving sufficient space on all sides for the procession at the beginning of the Sidonian Degree. They shall be hoodwinked as soon as they are placed in position, the object being to mystify them, and keep them guessing as to what is going to happen to them, and what is coming next. As the candidates are being hoodwinked, they must be carefully instructed that they are to answer, “You Bet” in a LOUD voice, to all the questions asked them by the Grand Tall Cedar. This answer is to be given by the candidates alone. Rangers and members must keep silent.
The Sidonian Degree should follow as quickly as possible.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: By virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the Supreme Forest, I hereby declare ... Forest, No. ... closed, until called together by the Grand Tall Cedar. one rap