Phi Alpha Theta
Initiation Ritual

 
1950


The arrangement of the initiation hall and the kind of paraphernalia used shall be optional and may be altered to suit the custom of each chapters It is suggested, however, that the following arrangement might prove effective. Six small tables or stands may be placed so as to form the points of a six pointed Star. A candle may be placed on each small table or stand. A small table or stand may be placed directly behind the station of the Spirit of the Future, from which place the Spirit of Eternity explains the symbolism and ideals of the fraternity at the end of the ceremony. Six candles placed in the form of a six pointed star may be placed upon this table. All the candles will be kept lighted during the ritual, and they shall be red and blue - the colors of the fraternity. Rather than give each initiate a rose, it is suggested that six, deep red roses should be placed in a suitable vase in the center of the six-pointed star formed by the candles on the Spirit of Eternity's table.
The members of the initiation team shall stand at their stations during the ceremony of initiation.
The audience may be seated directly opposite the point of the star at which the Spirit of the Future is stationed. Only one candidate shall be taken through the entire ceremony of initiation while the remaining ones shall be seated in the front row of the audience.
When everything is ready for the initiation, the Outer Guide will escort the candidates to the Chapter Hall.
Outer Guide knocks three times on the door of the Chapter Hall.
Inner Sentry replies with three knocks and opens the door.
NOTE: When the candidates enter the Hull , the Spirit of Eternity challenges as follows:
Spirit of Eternity: Halt, Sentry! Know you not that strangers have no right in this Chapter Hall?
Inner Sentry: Yes, but these students have commenced the journey along the paths of history and desire to keep company with us.
Spirit of Eternity: Are they worthy? Does their scholarship meet our requirements? Does their character warrant our confidence? Are they eager to learn the truths of History and put in practice the ideals of this Fraternity?
Inner Sentry: I believe these candidates meet the requirements of Phi Alpha Theta.
Tho Spirit of Eternity: Present the candidates.
NOTE: The Inner Sentry then advances the selected candidate before the station of the Spirit of Eternity in the center of the Star. It is advisable to have only one candidate go through the ritual ceremony in order to prevent confusion in going to each of the stations of the Six Ages. Until the point in the ritual where the oath is administered the remaining candidates shall be seated in the front row of the audience.
The Spirit of the Prehistoric (this is to be memorized): In the Prehistoric Age the universe evolved and man emerged as a creature capable of civilization. At first incapable of speech and ignorant of how to make fire, with nothing but his bare hands to supply his needs, man's progress was painfully slow. Yet, during nearly four-hundred-and-fifty thousand years man made shift with a few crude hand tools and at length learned to communicate his ideas through the invention of language. During the next fifty thousand years the development of civilization was comparatively rapid, for man learned to make fire, to improve his tools and weapons, to domesticate animals, to raise cereals, to weave coarse cloth, and to construct crude permanent shelters. With the introduction of agriculture and the commencement of trade, man created a system of enduring human relationships and settled down to primitive community living. Then came the beginning of government and a more intricate social life. Late in this age, through a realization that he might create beautiful forms out of the storehouse of his memory, man discovered art, and with the dawning of a belief in divine beings and the hope of immortality, there slowly emerged religious faith.
Finally, after nearly half a million years, man's crowning achievement was the invention of writing, which provided him with an artificially extended and verifiable memory of objects and events not subject to sight, and man at long last emerged from the prehistoric to the Ancient Age.
NOTE: The speaker will step back one pace to indicate that the candidate is to be conducted to the station of the Ancient Age.
The Spirit of the Ancient (this address is to be memorized): In the beginning of the historic era, the invention of writing had more influence in uplifting the human race than any other achievement in the early life of man. From this time on, the speed of manís
development accelerated steadily.
Man organized powerful states and empires which were sustained by written records and defended, conquered, or destroyed by force of arms. For centuries many of those states were ruthlessly totalitarian, utterly indifferent to the dignity of man or the worth of the individual.
Human activities took on diverse qualities of intellectual discrimination, of ruthless action, and unstable splendor. With steadily increasing differentiation social hierarchies developed, The artists, craftsmen, and engineers made great progress in both the industrial and fine arts. And, from the world disclosed to the senses, mankind created by abstractions, the conceptual realms of religion, ethics, philosophy, and science. Philosophers and prophets taught man to transcend the frustrations and inequities of life, and led him along the path of religious faith to the realization of the close relationship between religion and ethics, and the belief in one true God.
The noble temples and dignified sculptures which were the products of Greek imagination, and the brilliance of the Greek mind in recognizing the worth, dignity, and freedom of the individual, revealed a hitherto unsuspected world of beauty and freedom, and at the same time raised culture and learning to a height never surpassed and seldom equaled. Later, splendid roads and practical aqueducts asserted the supremacy and organized control by which Imperial Rome extended the international civilization that Greece had brought forth. In addition, she left her own stamp on Western Europe in language, law, and ideals of government, while Sick philosophers and the Christian Church proclaimed the now ideal of human brotherhood. Rome declined after having transmitted to Western Europe all that had been preserved of ancient civilizations, thus transforming the life of the barbarians who presaged the beginning of a new age,
NOTE: The speaker will stop back one pace to indicate to the guide that the candidate is to be conducted to the station of the Middle Ages.
The Spirit of the Mediaeval (this address is to be memorized): You have now reached the third station Ė the Mediaeval Age.
This era was one in which barbarian migrations altered the institutions and civilizations of the ancient world. Although some remnants of ancient culture remained to lighten the West, the great seats of learning for several centuries were to be found in the Near East . Often called the "Dark Ages", the Mediaeval period was in fact an important age for the transmission and transmutation of cultures.
The Roman Empire broke down into the small feudal states, so characteristic of mediaeval society. It was an age of knighthood and serfdom, of deep religious emotionalism and crude brutality, of monasticism and scepticism, of imperial unity and feudal decentralization, of chivalry and bestiality. It was an age of high ethical idealism which, however, in actual practice, was more often violated than observed.
It was the time when representative government, trial by jury, and the Universities first emerged and developed to a point where they profoundly influenced succeeding civilizations. To this era man owes many of the ethical and moral concepts of modern civilization. Toward the end of this age, which had been dominated for centuries by the universal Church Militant, the rise of national states, the growth of towns, the beginnings of capitalism, and the rise of the bourgeoisie prepared the way for the Modern Age.
NOTE: The speaker will steep back one pace to indicate that the candidate is to be conducted to the station of the Modern Age.
The Modern Age (this is to be memorized): he Modern Age witnessed important developments along all lines of endeavor during five hundred years. National states arose and evolved until most of the world was under the influence of a few great sovereign powers. From the three estates of mediaeval society there grew an increasing number of social classes, each in turn seeking to become predominant in society, This age saw the rapid growth of capitalism from primitive beginnings and great changes in modes of production. New lands were discovered and, in successive waves of imperialism, Europeans carried both the virtues arid vices of their civilization to all corners of the earth. In the wake of these enlarged activities came revolutions in religion, in agriculture in economic life, and in political systems, each of which, fundamentally affected man's ideas and institutions. All these movements culminated in the dominance of the theory of progress which lulled men into the comfortable belief that they lived in the best of possible worlds and were rapidly nearing a state of perfection both for the individual and human institutions. This blind optimism received a rude shock at the beginning of the Contemporary Age. For, unhappily, although great progress had been made toward human betterment in material things, the high ethical idealism of the Middle Ages was eliminated from practical affairs in favor of a selfish materialism and cynical realism. The concentration of attention on material well-being diverted men's attention from the reality or the meaning of spiritual values. The widening gulf between man's material and spiritual progress posed seemingly insoluble problems at the end of this Age.
NOTE: The speaker will step back one pace to indicate that the candidate is to be conducted to the station of the Contemporary Age.
The Spirit of the Contemporary Age (this is to be memorized): At the beginning of the Contemporary Age, mankind had high hopes that it would be but a short time before the ideals of Democracy would become an actuality throughout the world. Many believed that the horrors of war which had haunted mankind since the beginning of recorded history would soon be dispelled forever by an era of perpetual peace through international cooperation! This optimism was soon dispelled, however, by titanic struggles between those nations which sought to destroy the dearly-bought liberty of the individual and freedom of thought, and those peoples who desired to put into effect the high ideals of democracy. Two world wars resulting in untold misery, serious economic and social dislocations, and an ever increasing complexity of internal and international relations, tended to promote pessimism. Prophets of Doom appeared who foretold the approaching end of civilization.
This Age, however, has been rich in spiritual values. Man has practiced humanitarianism on a scale far greater than anything known in any other era. The horizons of human understanding and learning have been widened immeasurably. This historian knows that human life can be made richer, sweeter, and more abundant, and that mankind has the opportunity to approach nearer to perfection. The number is constantly increasing of those who desire to see the progress of an unselfish idealism which will steadily narrow the gap between the material and the ideal. Sven though at times the future may look dark indeed, the historian knows well that to be optimistic is fatuous, while to be pessimistic is ignoble.
NOTE: The speaker will step back one pace to indicate that the candidate is to be conducted to the station of the Future Age.
The Spirit of the Future Age (this is to be memorized): You have now passed through the stages of history, and how far the path lies ahead no man can predict. The pessimists may be correct, for the increasing rate of material and technological progress may end in producing a destroying Frankinstein, On the other hand, mankind may succeed in producing a civilization immeasurably finer than any the world has yet seen, - an age in which may be realized the highest ideals of universal humanity and the freedom of the individual. Society may then put into application the belief that humanity is greater than all nations or any type of economic or social system; and, under the influence of a perfect combination of idealism and materialism create a civilization where universal peace shall be permanent and perfect justice enthroned.
NOTE: The candidate will now be conducted high table for the conclusion of the ritual.
The President of the Chapter will now administer the following oath: It will now be necessary to take upon yourselves the following obligation. Raise your right hand and repeat after me:
"In the presence of these members of Phi Alpha Theta, I promise that I will obey the Constitution and laws of the National Organization of the fraternity, and the by-laws and ordinances of the Chapter of which I an a member; that I will uphold the ideals and promote the interests of the fraternity to the best of my ability; and that I shall pursue the search for Truth and shall assist my co-laborers in their efforts to that same end."
You may lower your hands.
The Spirit of Eternity: The symbolism of our fraternity is a Star, a Serpent, the Colors, and the Flower. The Star, worked in black enamel and laid on a circular face, the whole encircled by a Serpent, is composed of two triangles.
Three forces control man and the universe: they are the Father, the word, and the Holy Spirit, - a Trinity in heaven which is symbolized by one of the triangles of our fraternity star. Ancient philosophers believed that man and the world were composed of three elements: Spirit, Blood, and Water. These are represented by the second triangle of our Star. The triangle with the apex below the base symbolizes the heavenly and divine. The Greek letter Pi, in the angle at the right of this triangle, signifies Pater (Father); the letter Psi in the angle at the left, signifies Psyche (Spirit), and the letter Lambda, in the angle at the apex signifies Logos (Word). The triangle with the apex above the base, signifies the earthly and the human. The letter Alpha, in the angle at the right of this triangle, signifies Haima (Blood); the letter Upsilon, in the angle at the left, signifies Hydor (Water) ; and the letter Psi, in the angle at the apex, signifies Psycho (Spirit). The union of these two triangles thus symbolizes the intimate relation between the divine and the human. The Serpent was regarded by some ancient peoples as a symbol of ternity, good fortune, and plenty. In our symbolism it signifies happiness, fruitfulness, and eternity. The six pointed star itself is the ancient Assyrian sign of divinity.
Superimposed on the black enamel within the two triangles are the three Greek letters Phi, Alpha, Theta, signifying Philia, Anthropos, Theos, - Love, Man, God.
The colors, the deep red and Madonna blue, also denote the relation between the human and divine. The flower, a deep red rose, symbolizes beauty, charm, and fervency.
The Spirit of Eternity: The Ideals of Phi Alpha Theta. In your endeavor to live up to the ideals of this fraternity keep in mind the three all-important, ever-present forces contained in the words Philia, Anthropos, Theos - Love, Man, and God. The invaluable lessons that may be learned from the study of history, and the ideals of this fraternity are in reality the same:
The spirit of toleration, which inculcates a sincere respect for the right of each individual to freedom of thought.
The belief in the brotherhood of man, which renders abhorrent all ideas that tend to foment national hatreds, racial discrimination and all forms of injustice.
The love of Truth, Frequently it is disheartening to the student to know how little even the most accomplished and hard-working historian can do towards building a palace in which Truth may live.
His great encouragement is that however long it may take or however wearisome may be the way, eventually he may be able to lighten the way of some future laborer, for the moment may come when he can contribute to the cause of Truth a fragment of knowledge. The one reward held out to the historian is that somewhere, sometime, it may be possible to do good work free from human limitations.
"And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame,
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
But each for the joy of the working, and each in his separate Star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees it, for the God of Things as they are."


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