Patriarchal, or First Encampement Degree

 

Dit amerikaanse rituaal dateert uit 1909.


OPENING CEREMONIES

 

Chief Patriarch (one rap, calling to order). Jun. or Warden, see that all present are Patriarchs, that the Sentinels are at their stations, and the password of the evening is given.

Junior Warden: Chief Patriarch, all present are Patriarchs, the Sentinels are at their stations, and the password of the evening is given.

CP.: Has the High Priest assumed his station?

JW. answers accordingly.

CP. (two raps, all rise): The officers and Patriarchs will rise while the Junior Warden assists me in opening the Encampment in the Royal Purple Degree.

JW.: By direction of the Chief Patriarch, I proclaim this Encampment open in the Royal Purple Degree.

CP.: Senior Warden, what is your duty in the Encampment?

Senior Warden: It is my duty to perform the ceremonies entrusted to me, and to support the Chief Patriarch and the High Priest in the discharge of their duties.

CP.: Junior Warden, what is your duty?

JW.: To examine the Patriarchs prior to opening; to assist the Chief Patriarch and High Priest according to my office, and to see that the signs are given correctly.

CP.: Scribe, explain your duty.

Scribe: It is my duty to record all proceedings of this Encampment [when the duties are divided between a Recording and a Financial Scribe, the answer of the Recording Scribe ends here, and the Financial Scribe gives the remainder]; to keep accurate accounts between this Encampment and its members; to receive all its moneys and pay them to the Treasurer, taking his receipt for the same.

CP.: Outside Sentinel, explain your duty.

Outside Sentinal: It is my duty to take charge of the ante-room, and to admit no Patriarch [except a Patriarch with a card] without the Chief Password of the term, unless directed by the Chief Patriarch to do so.

CP.: Inside Sentinel, explain your duty.

Inside Sentinal: It is my duty to prove every Patriarch before he is admitted; to report his name to the Chief Patriarch, upon whose direction to obtain the password of the degree in which the Encampment is opened, and, when the encampment is open in the Royal Purple Degree, to suffer none to retire without the password of the evening, or to return without that password or the password of the degree.

CP.: Most Excellent High Priest, explain the duties of your office.

High Priest: It is my duty to counsel the members of the Encampment to improve themselves in the Lectures and Charges, as well as in the practice of their doctrines; to conform to the General Regulations, and thus preserve the uniform mode of working in this Encampment; and to give such instructions to newly initiated members as the good of the fraternity may require.

CP.: Patriarchs, my office gives me charge of this Encampment, and requires me to see that the respective officers and brethren perform their duties in a proper manner. It is unnecessary now to recapitulate those duties, or to enlarge upon the relations which we all bear to each other. Our own experience has established the value of our laws and regulations, and we are pledged strenuously to support them, and be ready at all times to aid in their execution. We are not to palliate or aggravate, the offenses of our brethren, but in the decision of every trespass we should judge with candor, admonish with friendship, and reprehend with justice. Such is the nature of the engagements which we are bound by the most sacred ties to perform.

An ode is sometimes sung.

CP.: Officers and Patriarchs, be attentive while the Most Excellent High Priest offers a prayer.

 

 

PRAYER BY THE HIGH PRIEST

 

Heavenly Father, we pray Thee to look with favor upon this meeting. Guide us in our efforts to improve the time before us; let Thy care and the good we receive at Thy hands instruct us in our duties toward each other; and so direct all our acts that Thy name may be magnified now and forever. Amen.

CP. (one rap, all are seated).

 

 

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

One rap calls to order, two raps call up the Encampment, and one rap seats it.

1. Chief Patriarch: Scribe, you will call the roll of officers, and read the proceedings of our last meeting.

2. Does any brother know of a Patriarch who is entitled to our aid or sympathy?

3. Previous proposals for admission to membership will now be considered.

4. Candidates admitted and degrees conferred.

5. Proposals for membership received and referred.

6. Unfinished business.

7. New business.

8. Has any Patriarch anything to offer for the good of the Order?

9. Closing.

 

 

THE CHECK PASSWORD

 

The Check Password is determined upon by the Grand Patriarch of the State, District, or Territorial Grand Encampment. It is communicated to the Chief Patriarch and Senior Warden of each Subordinate Encampment at the installation of its officers, each term. After his installation the Chief Patriarch shall himself, or by the Junior Warden or other member of the Encampment, give the Check Password, privately, to each member of the Encampment who shall be present and entitled to receive it.

The Check Password shall be given to proper officers of Encampments immediately subordinate to the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, by the District Deputy Grand Sire of the jurisdiction.

The Chief Patriarch, or in his absence, the Senior Warden, can alone give (or cause to be given) the Check Password to members entitled thereto.

No officer, nor, of course, member, can enter or retire from an Encampment when open and working as such, without the proper sign, etc. (addressing the chairs), except the Junior Warden in charge of a Candidate.

 

 

INITIATION

 

The Junior Warden joins the Candidate in the ante-room, and clothes him in a brown gown with a rope girdle around the waist, and a turban of the same color as the gown. The Junior Warden also furnishes the Candidate with a staff to carry. After the Candidate is thus prepared, he is blindfolded. Meanwhile the lights are turned down low in the Encampment room, and a screen is placed so as to conceal the altar. The Encampment door is left ajar so as to permit the Candidate and his Conductor to enter.

Junior Warden (entering the Encampment door): Halloo! Halloo!

Members rise as if surprised at this intrusion.

Inside Sentinel: The camp is assailed?

Others: The camp is assailed?

The blindfold is temporarily removed from the Candidate, and First and Second Sentinels of the Wilderness advance with their spears pointing towards his breast.

JW.: Hold! we are not enemies, we are brothers and friends. We desire to see the Chief Patriarch and be instructed, that we may become herdsmen, and at the proper time Patriarchs.

First Sentinel (with spear pointing at the breast of Candidate): You cannot pass except as captives.

Bring forth the chains. They are brought. Now bind the prisoners. Candidate is bound and blindfolded.

Senior Warden (one rap, seating the Encampment).

JW.: Bind us as you will, but true friendship will ultimately sustain us in all our trials. And remember, though prejudice impose bonds and fetters, that justice will award the greetings of a brother.

First S.: Captives, you have permission to approach the Chief Patriarch with a Guide.

Guide (who takes him in charge): Captives, come this way. If you are friends, he will give you welcome, but you must prove to him that you are not impostors.

The trial to which you are to be subjected will serve to test your faith and sincerity. Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not. You are as one entering a pathless forest, relying on patience and perseverance for his guides. But all cause for gloom and doubt will soon be dispelled.

Hark! I hear the tramping of feet. What can it mean? Oh, I see; it is the Patriarchs returning from their visit to the venerable Abraham at Beersheba. It is their custom to visit him and do him honor at certain feasts, and receive his blessing. They pause, and a procession passes near the Candidate. They are traveling in the direction of Mt. Horeb, and we will follow them. We are still crossing the wilderness of Paran, the mountains are near, and our journey will soon be at an end. Ah! here are the Inner Sentinels, and we shall have to stop.

Third S.: Who comes there?

G.: Friends from Mt. Hor, traveling, by permission, to see the Chief Patriarch, desiring to get employment as herdsmen.

Fourth S.: Friends, you look fatigued. Pass and rest with the Chief Patriarch.

G.: That Sentinel was very kind. He has had experience as an old Patriarch, and he has sympathy for you. Ah! here is the tent.

First Guard to Tent: Who comes there?

G.: Travelers from Mt. Hor, who desire to see the Chief Patriarch. They have passed the Sen. tinels and desire food and rest.

FG. to Tent: Wait, and I will report their presence.

Chief Patriarch, there are travelers without who need food and rest, and wish employment that they may become herdsmen.

CP.: Whence came they, and did they properly pass the Sentinels ?

FG. to Tent: They are from Mt. Hor, and have crossed the plains of Paran. The Outer Sentinels passed them as captives, and gave them a Guide.

CP. (seated): Let the strangers enter and provide them with seats. They enter the tent. Take off the bandage and remove those chains. The bandage and chains are removed. Travelers, I welcome you. The door of a Patriarchís tent is never closed against any one in distress. Guard, bring forth refreshments, that we may give food to the strangers, for they must be hungry and thirsty, after having crossed the wilderness. He brings bread, salt, and water, placing them on a small table in or before the tent.

CP. (seated): Strangers, partake with me of some bread and salt, and drink of this pure water. I have but little, but that little I cheerfully share with you. Hospitality to the stranger is a solemn duty, acknowledged and practiced among the Patriarchs. The God whom we worship is the Father of all men; He sends His rain and His sun shine alike upon the evil and the good. The ties of a common humanity unite us with every creature, and stamp the character of brothers upon the whole intelligent creation. But while this is our duty and should ever be our practice, it is equally imperative upon us to admit no traitor or spy into our camp to mar our happiness or disturb our peace. It is necessary, therefore, having relieved your present wants, that you should now undergo a strict examination, to prove that you are not enemies in disguise, but true and honest men. Strangers, are you willing to prove, by an examination, that you are friends and not spies?

JW.: We are.

CP.: Give me the Password of the Degree of Friendship.  Candidate gives it.

CP.: Give me the Grip of the Degree of Brotherly Love. Candidate gives it.

CP.: Give me the Password and Grip of the Degree of Truth. Candidate gives them.

CP.: I am satisfied with your proficiency and greet you as Odd-fellows. Ever remember that you must be hailed and recognized as the representatives of the Oracle of Truth, and that it behooves you to form your characters by that expressive symbol which has been selected as the basis of the Scarlet Degree. And now, my brethren, what is it that you desire?

JW. (for Candidate): To be admitted as novitiates of the Patriarchal Degree, that we may obtain employment as herdsmen.

CP.: That being your wish, and being Odd-fellows, I have confidence in your fidelity, and you have now my permission to become novitiate Patriarchs. Guide, conduct the brothers to the Senior Warden, with my request to administer to them the Patriarchal obligation. The Candidate is led to the chair of the Senior Warden.

G.: Senior Warden, I am instructed by the Chief Patriarch to request you to administer to these brethren the Patriarchal obligation.

SW.: My brethren, it being your wish to take the obligation of the Patriarchal Degree, you will place yourselves in the attitude in which you were initiated into Odd-fellowship and repeat after me the following.

SW. two raps, calling up the Encampment.

 

 

OBLIGATION

 

I, ..., do solemnly promise never to reveal the secrets, signs, passwords, or grips of the Patriarchal Order to any person or persons, except to a legal Patriarch, or within a legal Encampment of Patriarchs. I will never reveal, directly or indirectly, any transaction of this or of any other Encampment, which, by the regulations of the Order, should be kept secret. And if I know that a brother has violated this duty, I will report him at the first meeting of the Encampment thereafter. To the keeping and performance of all this, I pledge my sacred honor.

SW. (one rap, seating the Encampment): Brothers, having taken the obligation of the Patriarchal Degree, you are now qualified to enter upon your course of life as shepherds. As herdsmen, watch well your flocks; see that none perish for want of attention. It is your duty to be good and faithful to all that may be placed in your charge. Brothers, you will now have three days for preparing yourselves for service as herdsmen. You will then report to me for employment.

JW. (for Isaac, the Candidate): I am the son of Abraham who is at Beersheba. Before I enter with my friend upon my duties as herdsman. I desire to make obedience to my father, that I may receive his blessing.

SW.: I commend your zeal and filial affection. Go to your father; and that you may travel safely across the wilderness of Paran, I will give to you the wilderness pass, which will insure your safety, advance and receive it. Junior Warden and Candidate advance close to the Senior Warden.

SW.: The pass is ... .... You may now proceed on your journey.

The Junior Warden and Candidate now retire to the ante-room, where the latter is again blindfolded. After the Encampment is properly prepared, they proceed to the door and are permitted to enter without interruption.

The High Priest, who represents Abraham, is seated at the opening of the tent.

A screen conceals the sacrificial altar.

In this part of the ceremony one Candidate only can proceed with the Junior Warden.

First S. (stopping Junior Warden and Candidate, who have just entered the room): Who comes there, and where are you going?

JW.: We are novitiate Patriarchs, traveling to Beersheba.

First S.: Have you the pass?

JW.: We have.

First S.: What is it?

JW.: ... ....

First S.: The pass is correct. Proceed, and be careful not to aggravate by arrogance or otherwise, for you may find that many are stronger than a few. They pass on.

JW.: We will be careful, for we are but two, and we may find, when too late, that many are stronger than a few. They proceed around the room until they meet the Second Sentinel.

Second S.: Who comes there, and where are you going?

JW.: Travelers, going to Beersheba.

Second S.: Give me the wilderness pass

JW gives the pass as before.

Second S.: The pass is correct. Should you meet with difficulties on your journey from quarrelsome men, remember that a soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up strife. They pass on.

JW.: We have nearly completed our journey. I see the walls of Beersheba. There we shall have rest. Our sandals are worn out, and our feet are bleeding. Ah, here we are at the Third Sentinel.

Third S.: Who comes there, and where are you going?

JW.: We are travelers, and wish to enter through the gates of Beersheba.

Third S.: Give me the pass.

JW. gives the pass.

Third S.: The pass is correct. Whom do you desire to see in Beersheba?

JW.: Abraham, the promised father of nations.

Third S.: You will find his tent within the walls of the city. You have my permission to pass through the gates. My words of exhortation are, A wise son maketh a glad father.

JW.: We are now passing through the walls of the city.

They are stopped by the Fourth Sentinel after having

passed through the gates.

Fourth S.: Who comes there, and where are you going?

JW.: We are herdsmen, traveling to see the venerable father Abraham.

Fourth S.: There is his tent, and he sits at the door. Listen to wisdom. The glory of young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

JW.: The glory of young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

When they arrive at the tent the Junior Warden removes the blindfold from the Candidate. Abraham rises, and at once recognizes the Candidate as his son Isaac.

Abraham: Isaac! my son! I welcome you. Sit down with your friend. You must be hungry and weary. Guard, bring refreshments, that we may extend hospitality to the travelers. The Guard brings bread, salt, and water, and they partake as before.

Abraham: Tell me, my son, if you saw the Chief Patriarch at Horeb, and did he accept of your offer to be a herdsman?

JW. (for Isaac): He received me with great kindness; conferred upon me the rank of a novitiate Patriarch, and I can now take charge of a flock.

Abraham: You give me great joy, my son. Your footsteps have been led to Beersheba by the finger of the Lord. He has commanded me to make a three daysí journey to the land of Moriah and there offer up to Him a sacrifice.

JW. (for Isaac): Let obedience crown your head. Honor the Lordís behests, and make ne delay in fulfilling them.

Abraham: My son, you speak wisely, and we will proceed on the three daysí journey.

The High Priest as Abraham, and the Candidate as Isaac (the latter being blindfolded and carrying a bundle of sticks), now head a procession. On arriving at the place for the altar the blindfold is removed from the Candidate.

Abraham: Here, my son, we will erect an altar, for this is Mount Moriah.

JW. (for Isaac): What shall we do for a sacrifice?

Abraham: Be patient, my son, and the Lord, will provide one.

The Watches stand close by, holding torches.

Abraham: We have been blessed hitherto, and we must hasten to serve the Lord, for His will must be done, that we may realize honor and glory. His command that I, Abraham, shall make this sacrifice, is not for an idle purpose, but that it may serve as an illustrious example to generations unborn, to show that God ever blesses the obedient, and accords to them prosperity. My son Isaac, be not surprised; it is Godís order that you shall be the sacrifice. The angel of the Lord shall gather and keep your ashes sacred in a golden urn as a memorial of your submissive obedience, and of my faith in God.

A vessel containing water, and a towel are placed convenient for use.

Abraham: Patriarchs, let us place the fagots upon the altar. Isaac, wash your hands with me in this bowl, which contains pure water. With this white linen dry your hands. They wash and wipe their hands. Patriarchs, place Isaac upon the altar.

The Candidate is blindfolded and instructed to kneel on the altar.

Abraham: Let us unite in praise to God.

The Patriarchs form round the altar. The Watches light the torches, and Abraham, placing his left hand on the Candidate, and elevating his right hand, recites the first tour verses of Psalm xxiii., as follows:

Abraham: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His nameís sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me,

After a short pause Abraham continues: Now, let the torch be applied!

A muffled gong is struck three times.

Pause.

Abraham: Let the fagots be fired.

The strokes on the gong are repeated, followed by a short pause.

Abraham: Isaac is not to be sacrificed. Let him be removed from the altar and restored to light, and become a member of the Patriarchal family, and I will return and dwell at Beersheba.

The blindfold is now removed from the Candidate, who retires with the Junior Warden.

After the Encampment has been restored to order, the Junior Warden and Candidate re-enter.

JW.: Chief Patriarch, I present to you Brother ..., who has been duly qualified and instructed as a novitiate Patriarch, and now desires to be admitted to the rank of a Patriarch.

CP.: My brother, I will proceed to instruct you in the mysteries of this degree.

In this degree there is an Alarm at the inner door, or Entersign; a Check Sign and Answer; a Sign and Answer; and a Grip.

The Chief Patriarch proceeds to instruct the Candidate in the signs and grip, and the method of working his way into the Encampment, and finally delivers the following charge to the Candidate: My brother, I now present to you this black apron. It indicates that you have served as a novitiate Patriarch. You have sought employment to qualify yourself to assume the high duties of manhood. You have traveled across the wilderness to reach the Chief Patriarchís tent, and, on your arrival, a welcome was given you. You have been obligated, that you might become a shepherd in the fields, on the mountains, arid in the valleys, preparatory to full recognition as a Patriarch. You assisted in the exemplification of Abrahamís faith in God. You have toiled ardently in the pursuit of truth, a cardinal virtue of Odd-fellowship, and you have been instructed in the unerring law by which you are to be governed. Virtue should be the great aim of your life; that virtue which gives whatever is great and good in man. Honor, Fidelity, Friendship, social and domestic happiness, are but empty sounds in the mouth of any but a virtuous man. Virtue gives joy which vice with all her flattering promises never pretends to offer, and bestows a zest upon those joys that are common to all, which they can never have without it. Its influence spreads through life, diverges in every direction, and penetrates every condition. It is the guardian of youth, the honor of manhood, the crown of age, the shield of prosperity, the prop of affliction, our guide in active life, and our solace in retirement. It holds the keys of life, and will finally open to us the gates of immortality. My brother, it is proper that you be prepared to test the presence of an intruder, in case he should invade our camp.

How shall I distinguish a Patriarch of this degree?

JW.: By the signs and tokens of the Patriarchal rank.

CP.: Advance the Patriarchal Sign.

Candidate gives sign.

CP.: What does it represent?

JW. (for Candidate): The three pillars of the Order: Faith, Hope, and Charity.

CP.: What else does it represent?

JW. (for Candidate): The motto of our Order: Friendship, Love, and Truth.

CP.: Have you a password?

JW. (for Candidate): We have. ... ....

CP.: My brother, I commend your skill, and trust that the remembrance of these symbols and the virtues which they imply will never fade from your mind. Our institution is a science of symbols, conveying by striking emblems the most interesting and exalted truths. There are moments in the experience of the most virtuous life when incentives are needed to dispel the lethargy of the soul and excite it to action.

I now present to you a crook, an implement of your vocation as a Patriarchal herdsman. It was used by the patriarchs of old, and strikingly reminds us of the simplicity of their lives and the purity of their faith. They dwelt in tents, and, surrounded by their flocks and herds, spent their lives in the inculcation of the most exalted social virtues. The onward march of civilization and the advance of human society have deprived the world of much of that simplicity and virtue which gave its richest charm to the patriarchal life. Here, in this sacred retreat, we would revive that simplicity and inculcate that purity. Here we would lay the broad foundation of that universal brotherhood, which shall link in the golden chain of our ever expanding sympathy, heart with heart, man to man, until the vices which defile and the passions and prejudices which separate the children of a common Father shall be extirpated from earth, and the abodes of sorrow and suffering be lighted with the benignant beams of peace and love.

To effect the great moral and social revolution, individual action must be combined with associated effort. Each should believe that his individual duty is essential to the integrity of the whole. Ever let that principle of generous beneficence dwell in your heart, which, silently and unseen, like the dew of heaven, blesses and refreshes with the gentle droppings of its bounty. Cherish the beautiful teachings of our Order, which, falling upon the heart like rays of light, give color to every affection of our nature, and dictate every act of our lives. Succor the stranger in distress; give him food and rest when he is hungry and weary, without inquiring his country or creed, by Whatsoever misfortune he may have fallen, by what destiny he may be controlled. With your brother shepherd, guard against jealousy and strife. Remember that he is your brother. If, under the influence of imperfection, the common lot of mortals, he wrongs you, go to him, and in the language of affection tell him his fault between him and you. If he repent, forgive him; enter no harsh judgment against him. Conscious of your own frailty, remember that to err is human, to forgive divine. These, my brother, are the principles we should, ever practice. A man may enter our camp and dwell beneath our tent; mistaken confidence may invest him with our mysteries, and clothe him with the badges of our Order; he may be exalted to official station among us; but all this does not make him an Odd-fellow, unless he behaves and acts as becomes an Odd-fellow.

Brother ..., you have passed through the several degrees of the Order to reach the distinction of Patriarchal fellowship. You are solemnly pledged to practice the virtues which, in your progress here, have been illustrated.

They teach sentiments that you will find useful to cultivate through life. They will give tone and honor to your manhood.

And now, in the name and by authority of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, I declare you duly admitted to the Patriarchal Degree.
The Encampment must always be closed in the Royal Purple, or highest degree.


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