Advanced Order of Free Gardeners
Initiation Ritual



R. W. M.:
Officers, take your stations. Inner Guard, secure the Western gate against intrusion.
Senior Steward, ascertain if all present are qualified to remain within our inclosure.
The S. S. will perform this duty, and reports as follows:
S. S.:
R. W. M., I have examined each one separately, and all are qualified to remain.
The R. W. M. then calls up the Officers of the Lodge.
R. W. M.:
Senior Warden, what are your duties in this inclosure?
S. W.:
To preside in the west, and assist you in opening and closing our labors here.
R. W. M.:
Junior Warden, your duties?
J. W.:
To preside in the South; assist in maintaining order, so that our meetings will be profitable to all.
R. W. M.:
Deputy Master, what are your duties?
D. M.:
To sit at your left hand; assisting you in the performance of your duties; and to
officiate for you in your absence.
R. W. M.:
Senior Steward, what are your duties?
S. S.:
To examine the Brethren at the opening of our meetings; to conduct candidates at their initiation; and to see that members, who enter our inclosure, are properly clothed, and give the signs correctly.
R. W. M.:
Junior Steward, what are your duties?
J. S.:
To assist the S. S. in the performance of his duties; and to officiate for him in his absence.
R. W. M.:
Secretary, what are the duties of your office?
It is my duty to keep a correct and impartial account of the proceedings of our meetings, receive all moneys due from members, and pay the same to the Treasurer.
R. W. M.:
Inner Guard, what are your duties?
I. G.:
To guard the inner gate; allow none to enter without the proper signals; nor during the initiation of a candidate; or the opening and closing of our meetings.
R. W. M.:
Outside Guard, what are your duties?
O. G.:
To guard the outer gate against unworthy persons; and to make visitors and candidates welcome while waiting admission.
The R. W. M., then calls up the members.
R. W. M.:
The members will please sing our opening ode
Opening Ode
(Air – "Bonnie Doom")
Again we meet, with mystic light
To guide us through the waste of care:
And may each brother feel 'tis right
A wearied brother's load to bear.
For as we toil up life's rough steep,
Some brother, faint, may need our care;
Then help him on, that he may reap
The fruits that only brothers share.
No nobler tie can e'er exist,
The world o'er than Gardenery;
Then closely to our hearts he pressed
Its motto: "Love and Harmony."
And while life's spring flows o'er the sand
Of God's immeasurable time,
Let not a helpless brother strand-
A brother's help is love sublime.
At the close of the singing, the Chaplain may read the following, or an extempore prayer. Just as it may suit the Officers and the members:

Kind Master, we humbly ask that Thy Spirit may reign amongst the brethren during our present meeting; that what may be said or done here, will be in accordance with thy Divine will and law so that love and harmony may prevail amongst us. We ask Thy kind blessing on our Order, and every member of it; teach them to seek after that which is good, and shun that, which in Thy sight, is evil. We ask this in the name of Thy Son, who left us the Commandment: "Love ye one another, as I have loved you." Amen.
R. W. M.:
I now declare this meeting duly and legally opened for the transaction of such business as may be properly brought before it. We meet here for the purpose of assisting in the elevation of our member – morally and socially – and the relief of members in need.
Members are forbidden from introducing anything of a political or sectarian character, under the most severe penalty.
The R. W. M. then seats the Officers and members and proceeds, with the business of the evening.

Initiatory Ceremony
Preparation of a candidate – The Candidate is first blindfolded, and then pinioned, and led to the inner-door, when the J. S. gives … raps.
I. G.:
Right Worthy Master there is an alarm at the Western Gate.
R. W. M.:
Ascertain the cause of the alarm, and be careful that you admit no unworthy person.
I. G.:
The R. W. M. commands me to ascertain the cause of the alarm.
J. S.:
It is a stranger from the outer world, who desires to mingle in fellowship with us.
I. G.:
Is he duly qualified and prepared?
J. S.:
He is ready for examination and willing to undergo the ordeal required of those who went before him.
When inside the inner door, the S. W. give the raps to call up the Lodge, and the S. S. advances toward the candidate.
S. S.:
Stand! Stranger, what are your motives in seeking our fellowship: We demand an answer before you proceed further.
The members respond with the stamp of the foot:
Yes; the answer!
My Motives are pure.
S. S.:
'Tis wèll.
Members answer:
Yes; 'tis well.
S. S.:
Stranger, have you considered the step you are this night about to take? Are you prepared to take the obligations peculiar to Free Gardeners. With this assurance that it will not come in conflict with any of the duties you owe to God, your country or yourself?
Candidate answers.
S. S.:
Then follow me and fear not.
The candidate is then led slowly forward, and the S. S. continues while leading the procession.
S. S.:
Stranger, you are now treading a path that many have sought to tread, but few have been chosen. It is the path that leads to the retreat of one whose words of experience and wisdom is of value to us all, and we hope they will prove such to you. Heed well his words and let them sink deep into your heart, for as a young candidate, they concern you especially. Stand! you are now within that retreat, and in the presence of our Venerable Brother Adam.
The Candidate is restored to light, and Bro. A. assisted to his feet by the Ushers.
B. A.: Stranger, you are now in a place representing the Garden of Eden, – the first home of man – when God made man in his own image and placed him there. But even there, the tempter entered and man fell from the high estate in which he was placed; therefore, the Lord God drove him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken. This was the punishment inflicted on our first parents for transgressing the law and is a fitting simile of the punishment meted out to those who violate our laws. Therefore, profit well by the lesson this affords, and see to it, that you break not the laws of your country or of this Society. I hope you have considered well the step you have this night taken. It is my duty to administer to you the obligation peculiar to this degree. The obligation by which we are all bound, and which we all cherish. Are you ready and willing to take that obligation?
Candidate answers.
B. A.:
Then unloose his bonds. Stranger, you will kneel on your left knee, place your left hand on this open Bible, raise your right hand toward Heaven, and repeat after me the following solemn and binding obligation.
I, …, of my own free will and accord, now, before God and this Lodge of Free Gardeners, being lawfully constituted under the name, style and title of ... Lodge, No. … of A. O. F. G., located at …. I, now, in this lowly and humble position, do solemnly vow and declare, as I shall have to answer to God at the great day of judgment, that I will never make known to any one, not entitled to know the same; any of the signs passwords, grips, signals, tokens or tests, or any other secret or mystery of this order. I further promise, that I will always assist all poor and needy Brothers, as far as it is in my power so to do. And should I ever see a Brother in danger, I will consider it my duty to warn him of such danger, and do everything in my power to save him. Furthermore, do I promise, that I will never wrong a member of this order or see one wronged if in my power to prevent it. I further promise, that I will always so conduct myself, that no action of mine will ever bring disgrace on this order or any individual member of it. To all this, do I agree without the least hesitation, self-evasion or mental reservation whatever, coming under no less a penalty that that of being despised as a man, and disgraced as a brother. So help me God, to keep me steadfast in this, my 1st or apprentice obligation.
B. A.:
Having taken the obligations of an Apprentice Gardener, I now welcome you as a Brother. My Brother, arise to your feet as a man and a Free Gardener. My Brother in requiring of you such an obligation as you have now taken, we have the fullest authority for so doing, as the following passage from the Holy Scriptures proves: "Thou shalt serve the Lord thy God; to Him shalt thou cleave, and swear by His name." History also teaches us that covenants and vows are as old as the world itself. Be faithful the, my Brother, to the vows you have this night taken. We expect you will cherish and maintain them through life, so that when your life on earth is ended, you will reap the rich reward due you, in the great hereafter to come. You have not yet finished your journey, but be of good cheer; follow your guide correctly, and you will reach the end in safety.
Ushers, you will continue to act as guide to our young Brother, who has yet more to learn before be can rank as an Apprentice.
The Candidate is then pinioned and hoodwinked.



You are welcome, Pilgrim, here
With its love's cares to bear
On to life's end;
Long may you live to view
The labor of brothers true
We ask a brother's help from you
And on it depend.
Our secrets well protect
When you're a Gardener decked;
Through life's rough patch
Let peace your motto be:
Love, Truth and Harmony
The emblems of Gardenery,
Crowned with a wreath!
S. S.:
Brother, you are now within the mystic square, and in the presence of our Right Worthy
R. W. M.:
Has the young Brother taken our obligations in the silent and solemn retreat of our venerable Brother Adam?
S. S.:
He has, Right Worthy Master, and is here with the hearty recommendation of our V. B. A.
R. W. M.:
'Tis well.
Brothers respond:
'Tis well.
R. W. M.:
S. S., restore the Brother to Light and Freedom.
You are now within our Mystic Square, where none are allowed to enter unless those who have first taken upon themselves the obligations peculiar to our degree. Brother, stepping forward and taking the Candidate by the hand I now welcome you within the Square, that has never been broken by any good Free Gardener, and we hope it will never be broken by you.
There are certain words, signals and signs, which it will be necessary for you to know so as to enable you to correctly enter a working Lodge of the Apprentice Degree. When you enter the first ante-room, you will advance to the door and give … raps, this will be answered from within, and the officer there will open the wicket, when you will give him the word …; this will admit you to the inner-room, where you will clothe yourself according to your rank, and advance to the inner-door and give … raps, this will also be answered from within, and the officer in charge there will open the wicket, when you will give him the word …, this will admit you to the lodge room, when you will advance to the center of the floor, face the R. W. M., and salute him thus: …. If correct he will answer you, thus: …, when you will turn half around and facing the S. W., who always sits opposite the R. W. M., salute him thus: … if correct he will answer you thus: …, when you will then take your seat among the members.
In this manner, and in this manner only, can you enter a regular lodge of Free Gardeners; be studious, therefore, in retaining these forms and signs on your mind, and be careful also, that you do not communicate them to any one not entitled to know the same.
You will now retire with our Senior Steward to the ante-room and be clothed with a proper regalia and return to the lodge room for further instructions.
The members will here remove their disguises, and the room be again arranged in proper order, with every officer and member in their proper place; the S. S. enters first, leaving the Brother to work his own way in through the door. They then advance together, salute the R. W. M., then turn and salute the S. W., them turn again to the R. W. M.
S. S.:
Right Worthy Master, our Brother awaits the closing instructions in this degree.
The Right Worthy Master then instructs the Candidate in the "unwritten work" of the degree.
R. W. M.:
My Brother, we hope you will make yourself proficient in the signs, words and grips, and that you will never improperly use them; and should you ever see any of those signs given by anyone, we expect you will consider it your duty to go at once to his assistance and render him such assistance as is in your power to do. You may, perhaps, have thought our ceremonies strange, and even frivolous in their character. But there are lessons to be learned from those ceremonies, if properly applied. You were blindfolded and pinioned, to represent the helpless condition of man whilst isolated from his fellow-man. In your journey to this chair, you met difficulties which would have made it impossible for you to have made your journey successfully, but for the kindly assistance of your conductors, teaching us that if we remain aloof from our fellow-men, - neither asking for or giving assistance, - this life will certainly be a failure. Be united, ever ready to extend a helping hand in the hour of distress, and having the assurance through such unity as here exists, that a helping hand is always ready among the Brothers to assist another in the time of need. For in this way, and this alone, can we assist in making this life a success. How pleasant, then, it will be for us all and when our life on earth is ended, we will leave this world with the pleasant satisfaction that it has been the better from us living in it. And that in leaving this world, and it may be, leave a dear wife and loving children behind, that we leave behind us those whose duty it is to care for those dear ones, in making their path through life more easier to travel. This assurance will smooth our pillows in the last hours of our lives, and make our departure from those dear ones easier to bear. You were then led within a solid square, in which you were surrounded by your Brothers on all sides.
In your position you could be seen by all, yet, you could not distinguish those who surrounded you.
This is emblematical of the All-Seeing Eye of God which is ever upon us. Although we cannot distinguish it, yet, rest assured, it is always there, watching our every action. It also reminds us of the solid unity of the members. It is truly styled the Mystic Square for no hard feeling can be nurtured or hard words spoken, or bad action done by one of its members, but is felt by all the body. Then, my Brother, rule your passions well; let none of these gain the mastery over you, and try to live a life of Love, Harmony and Peace.


R. W. M. calls up the Lodge.
R. W. M.:
I. G., what is the last duty of your office?
I. G.:
To remove the fastening of the inner gate, and let the brothers depart to their homes.

Closing Ode

Air "Auld Lang Syne."
Good night, good night, we part to meet
Prompt at our Master's call;
Long may we live in love to greet
Our faithful brother all.
And as we daily tend the vine,
Which God to us hath given:
May we receive His grace divine,
And meet at last in Heaven.
Our Heavenly Master, we thank Thee for the privilege we have this night enjoyed. Bless the good work done here; lend Thy aid in spreading the good work our beloved Order has in view; hasten the day when it shall be spread throughout the length and breadth of this great land; and to Thee will we give praise for ever. Amen.
R. W. M.:
S. S., what is the last duty of your office?
S. S.:
To safely secure all Lodge property that requires to be kept under lock.
R. W. M.:
S. W., what is your closing duty?
S. W.:
To close this Lodge.
R. W. M.:
We are waiting the performance of that duty.
S. W.:
As the Sun travels from the East unto the West, and there sets as the close of the day; our labors being now closed, I declare this meeting ended, and command the I. G. to open the W. G. and let the members depart to their homes.
Gives one rap; answered by the R. W. M.