ROYAL PURPLE, OR THIRD ENCAMPMENT DEGREE

 

Dit amerikaanse rituaal dateert uit 1909. 


INITIATION

 

JW (with Candidate, two raps on inside door).

Inside Sentinel: Who comes there?

JW.: The Junior Warden, with a Patriarch who has served as a herdsman on the mountains of Horeb and in the wilderness of Parari, has suffered persecution by the prejudices of selfish and bigoted men, and now seeks further instruction, teaching him the good and evil that beset the pathway of life.

I Sent.: Enter. Your appeal shall not be in vain.

The Candidate is conducted by the Junior Warden around the room to the Senior Wardenís station; during the time occupied in the walk, the Junior Warden says: Patriarch, you are now about to receive the last degree of Patriarchal Odd-fellowship. Thus far in your progress through the Order, each degree has illustrated morals that will, if observed by you, give ultimate rest. Here is the Senior Warden, let us seek his advice.

Senior Warden, I present to you Patriarch ..., who has served as a novitiate on the mountains and in the wilderness with the herds, has been assailed and has suffered for his religious faith, and he now hopes among the Patriarchs to find rest.

Senior Warden: Rest? Knows he not there is no rest but one? That once launched on lifeís broad wilderness, thenceforward all is turmoil even from the cradle to the grave? Rest cannot be found on earth. Behold the joyous child basking in affectionís sun, its careless hours are each beguiled with some new hope or beauty. See, next, the gladsome youth, his ardent heart, deep filled with young ambitionís fires, is ever mounting to some new achievement. Then view manhoodís loftier state, and mark through what immensity of danger, toil, and strife lie struggles on to reach some wished-for, though imaginary, goal. Thus it is ever. Proud aspiration and never-ending hope lure on manís restless spirit, until exhausted nature sinks, and the weary body finds repose beneath its kindred earth.

JW.: Nay, but my friend is sound of body and of mind. The world is before him, tempting his stern energy; and he has confidence to stem its wild and reckless torrent, shunning the rocks and whirlpools which have proved the wreck of othersí hopes.

SW.: I am glad to hear of his laudable ambition to enter upon the career of life with a determination to avoid the errors that have destroyed the hopes and usefulness of others. Animated by such a sentiment he will ever have the encouragement of good men and the commendation of his God. What assistance, Junior Warden, can we give the brother?

JW.: The protection of the Patriarchs of the Royal Purple Degree.

SW.: That being your wish, my brother, I will administer to you the obligation of this, the highest degree of Patriarchal Odd-fellowship. You will place yourself in the attitude in which you were initiated, and repeat after me the following obligation. Two raps, calling up the Encampment.

 

 

OBLIGATION

 

I, ..., do solemnly promise, in the presence of the witnesses here assembled, that I will never improperly disclose or make known to any person, by any means whatever, any of the signs, passwords, or mysteries of the Royal Purple Degree, or those of any other of the Patriarchal degrees of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. I also promise to obey all legal summonses that may be issued by authority of any Encampment to which I may belong. I also promise that I will not write, print, or indite, in any manner or for any purpose, any of the written or unwritten work or mysteries of this degree, or of any other degree which I have received in this Order. For the faithful performance of all which, I pledge my sacred honor.

SW. (gives one rap, seating the Encampment): You are now an obligated Royal Purple Degree member of this Order. I need not add more than to call your attention to the moral teachings of the preceding degrees. Junior Warden, you will retire with the Candidate to the ante-room, and prepare him for further instructions.

The Junior Warden retires with the Candidate to the ante-room, where the latter is blindfolded after being dressed in a short garment of some dark material. When the Encampment room is darkened and otherwise prepared, the Junior Warden conducts the Candidate to the inside door.

Only one candidate can be conducted through this part of the degree. During this part of the initiation the Senior Warden virtually has charge of the Encampment.

JW. (with Candidate at inside door, two raps).

I Sent.: Who comes there?

JW.: The Junior Warden, with a friend who wishes to make the journey to the Most Excellent High Priest.

I Sent.: He may enter, but he must beware of pretended friends. Candidate is conducted to the Senior Wardenís chair.

JW.: Senior Warden, I present to you a brother Odd-fellow, who has become an obligated Patriarch. He wishes to make the journey to the Most Excellent High Priest.

SW.: Is he aware of the difficulties he will meet in the journey before him?

JW.: He is not; but he is prepared to meet them, and he has faith in his ultimate success.

SW.: Then Let him onward. Go on! Be that the word, even the countersign. Go on! But give him safe guidance and the best protection. I should think, Junior Warden, that you are too inexperienced to conduct the brother along the difficult pathway of life.

JW.: There is a Guide near by, who is by good habits well qualified to conduct the brother, so as to shun all places of vice and men of evil habits. This Guide has been a sinful man, but now he is willing, by industry and example, to make atonement for the errors of his past life.

SW.: Place him in charge, then, and remember the word. Go on.

JW.: Halloo! Halloo! Guide of the wilderness!

Guide: Who comes there?

JW.: A pilgrim awaits you.

Guide moves towards the Senior Wardenís chair.

JW. (to Senior Warden): Here comes the Guide, who will conduct the brother safely through the wilderness.

SW.: Guide, in taking care of this brother you assume a great responsibility. Be sure that you warn him of all dangerous places, so that he will be benefited by the light of your experience.

G.: I will prove to him a faithful companion. Intrusted to me I will conduct him safely. But is he prepared for the hard, uncertain fare that awaits him by the way?

JW.: No, except through mere intimation; but, you can advise him as you proceed.

G.: Well, be it so. We must take our leave, for we have a long and tolilsome journey to perform.

JW.: My friend, give me your hand. Here we part, and may never meet again. You have, as through life, a rugged journey before you. It is beset with difficulties; you must meet them with confidence and courage. Be not too hasty in forming opinions against the one having you in charge. Farewell, my brother. They bid adieu.

G.: You are safe with me, my friend, though if you hear me spoken of, no terms of flattery will be used, as you will find. Be cautious now, we are near the First Watch, an unerring indication of our onward progress.

First Watch: Hold! How entered you the wilderness?

G.: Lawfully.

First W.: Have you the countersign?

G.: Yes, or rather my pilgrim has,

First W.: Your pilgrim! Who intrusted him to you?

G.: His friend, and he did well.

First W.: I have seen such as you before, and know you think so; yet many have been led astray on this route. But now to talk is profitless. Stranger, give me the word.

Candidate: Go on.

First W.: Ay, go on, and beware how you tread. The way is encompassed with difficulties. On the one hand is a straight and narrow path, presenting a toilsome and laborious progress; while on the other your safety is hourly endangered in a broad and expansive plain, beautiful to the sight, but abounding with infections the most poisonous and destructive to human happiness. Death, in its most frightful shapes, lurks constantly by the wayside. May Heaven grant you safe deliverance.

G.: Come, my pilgrim, you must have confidence; be not alarmed by the words of that man. Here the pathway is narrow.

We here meet an impediment such as too often discourages a timorous spirit. But press on, be not dismayed. And now entering the supposed woods we seem encircled by a wild and dismal thicket. The living here is very bad, for the traveler is often in want of water as well as bread. But here is the Second Watch another index of our progress.

The rough road and thicket may be represented by blocks of wood or stone, stumps or brushwood.

Second W.: Stand! What is your object in entering this wilderness?

G.: It is decreed that we shall travel through it.

SW.: Have you passed the First Watch?

G.: Yes, he directed us to go on.

SW.: Then I will not detain you, except merely to admonish the pilgrim that, as the road grows rougher, he be not tempted to seek momentary ease at the expense of future pain and sorrow. A single aberration may tarnish and forever overcast a rash though well-meaning spirit. One false step may cost a limb, or even life itself. Beware, then, that you plunge not down some dark and deep abyss, involving disaster the most sad and irreparable. Beware how you proceed.

G.: Come, let us go. We can make our way. Pause. Yet, how strangely varied are the paths before us. Merriment, seeming to be distant. Hark! Heard you the voice of mirth and revelry? How fascinating, how easy of access is the path that leads that way. Yet it is beset with dangers. Lust, intemperance, sensuality; vice, in all its odious forms and all its horrors, lies deep concealed beneath tempting blandishments. We must not be deceived. The clash of arms heard at a distance. There, again! from a different direction come the clang of arms and sounds of deadly strife, a sad display of worldly glory, where cruel war tramples meek humanity in the dust. It is the stern warriorís sport to gratify the statesmanís proud ambition. Fame would tempt us on, but we must beep aloof, lest we be slain, or, surviving, imbibe the same fell spirit of destruction. No, we will not turn aside, either for fleeting pleasures or the soldierís honors. They who till the soil or ply the loom and hammer are far more happy. There surely is some good in store for us. We will cross this rugged path and see what lies beyond. Passing the ruins or other rough place. Ah! what is this? It is the ruins of an old castle where pomp an d vanity once held sway. Can we already have come so far? How quick time flies! I see by the waning light through the dense forest before us that our course lies around a steep declivity, beyond which will terminate our pilgrimage. Be careful and not too hasty.

Third W.: Stand! Whence come you?

G.: Through the wilderness.

Third W.: And passed the Watches?

G.: Yes. Informed of our purpose, they bade us go on.

Third W.: You have done well in arriving at this Watch, for ere they get thus far on their journey, many sink by the wayside, overcome with difficulties which they cannot surmount. You are now far advanced, though some troubles, such as you have passed, still appear in the distance. There is yet another Watch, whom many have tried in vain to reach. You must be careful when you get to the river Jordan. The recent rains have raised the water almost to the bridge, and you may not be able to cross. The stream there is very deep and rapid; be careful, therefore, and follow your Guide. While his reputation is said by some to be bad, he was never known to be unfaithful to a pilgrim placed in his care. Go on, my best wishes attend you.

G.: Yes, we will go from such a comforter as this; but so it is all along this road, and no one can ever judge of his treatment till he reach its end, and then, alas! it is too late. Our progress, however, should be more calm, much less exciting, and with our present experience, more free from danger. Your eyes are covered for your good; all who travel here are blinded; they neither see nor know what may befall them. A sudden change has come upon the air, indicative of an approaching storm. Thunders. It is near us, but we have naught to fear. Let us pause beneath this oak tree until the rain is over. How strangely significant, for the oak is the symbol of hospitality! Pause. We will now proceed, for I see in the heavens the bright rainbow of promise, reminding us that we are under the protection of a covenant-keeping Father, whose goodness is effectual to dispel the wretchedness of man.

But here we are at the river. It is very high and muddy. I am afraid we cannot cross, and it is dangerous for us to stay here at night, as beasts of prey infest these woodlands. We must venture to cross on this bridge. I will go before you. Hold to the side supports and be careful. Fear not! They cross the bridge. We are now over the worst of our journey. But here is the Fourth Watch.

The bridge should be arranged on a level with the floor it should be at least two feet wide, and have railings made of poles to guide the Candidate.

Fourth W.: Hold! How far have you come?

G.: Through the wilderness, traveling by night as well as by day.

Fourth W.: Pilgrim, I congratulate you on having journeyed so far with such a Guide.

G.: He that has experienced my care is best qualified to judge of me. Good or bad, few would desire to try the journey over again, even could they endure its fatigue.

Fourth W.: I merely apprised the pilgrim of the company he is in. I am rejoiced at his arrival, and, if admitted to the society of just men, he will find the way more pleasant, and the paths more smooth.

G.: I suppose, pilgrim, you think it very strange that all these Watches tell you of my bad character. You will see that it is prejudice. If a man commits an error, some people can neither forgive nor forget it, nor consider the beam in their own eyes. This last Watch has given me the credit of not neglecting a pilgrim placed in my charge, and that is all that you require.

We must pass on, for night is approaching.

After a few momentsí walk, music is heard in the distance; it continues for a short time, and then gradually diminishes in sound until it is lost to the ear. The music may either be vocal or instrumental, but it should be suitable to the occasion.

G.: Hark! I hear music. How sweet those notes! They soothe the heart and fill it with aspirations for the eternal home. Let us pause for awhile, and learn the cause for such a charm in these solitudes. Oh! I see people full of joy coming this way. They are harvesters. They have finished their work, and are now keeping their annual festival. We have passed all danger, and soon shall be at the end of our journey. You have escaped bad company and journeyed safely through dangerous places. Ho! here we are at the High Priestís tent, and we are safe.

Guards of the Tent, I have a pilgrim who desires to see the High Priest.

First Guard: Most Excellent High Priest, a pilgrim has arrived, and desires your blessing.

High Priest: Present the pilgrim. He is presented. Restore him to light. Blindfold is removed.

HP.: Patriarch, I welcome you to this temple of our Order. Your progress hither may have appeared tedious, but we trust that the lessons you have gathered by the way will prove profitable. All human excellence is the reward of perseverance, toil, and danger, such as we have endeavored to picture to the imagination in the mimic journey of life through which you have been conducted; a scene that has not been rehearsed for idle amusement, but to awaken rational meditation in a mind as mature as yours. The uncertainties of life are ever present to the understanding of considerate men. Literally blindfold, and beset on every side with danger and temptation, we struggle through this earthly pilgrimage. With desires never gratified, we are the subjects of endless toil and care, of never-ceasing hope and never-ending disappointment.

The false and flattering charms, which in the distance so attract our admiration, disappear the moment they are placed within our reach. Frail mortals that we are, we know not what a day or an hour may bring forth. Encompassed with peril on every side, with the seeds of disease implanted in our nature, and the very air we breathe impregnated with death, all the promises of life are but dust. They fade as a leaf, and pass as the shadow that fleeth away. How essential, then, that we should understand our true position, and keep constantly in view the realities that surround us! How essential that we should learn to practice those living and immortal virtues, which, while they secure ultimate happiness, contribute so largely to smooth the troubles and soften the asperities of life!

Junior Warden, you will retire with Candidate, and, after having prepared him, re-enter and present him to the Chief Patriarch for further instructions.

The Junior Warden and Candidate now retire to the ante-room; the Encampment room is restored to order, and the officers resume their respective stations.

If there be more than one Candidate to receive this degree, each, after having received the preceding part, may remain in the room until the last Candidate has received the same. They then retire to the ante-room, and all reenter the Encampment room, conducted by the Junior Warden.

JW. (proceeding to chair of Grand Patriarch): By direction of the Most Excellent High Priest, I present to you Patriarch ... for further instruction.

CP.: Patriarch, in congratulating you on your elevation to the highest rank in this Order, it would be useless for me to attempt to add a word to the moral instruction which has been already bestowed upon you. If this instruction shall have served to impress your mind with a train of moral thought, founded in principles the most pure and exalted, our labor will not have been in vain, your time will not have been wasted, and neither you nor your brethren will have cause to regret your connection with our fraternity. We earnestly hope that such may be the case, and that, as your mind shall advance in the progress of calm investigation, it may be continually blessed with a brighter and yet stronger light, until it realizes the fruition of all its earthly desires, and the care-worn man shall have bowed him down before his God.

Patriarch, it is now my duty to instruct you in the mysteries of this degree.

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

The Chief Patriarch now instincts the Candidate in these secrets, and continues as follows: Junior Warden, conduct the Candidate to the Most Excellent High Priest for further instruction.

JW.: Most Excellent High Priest, by direction of the Chief Patriarch I present to you Patriarch ... for further instruction.

HP.: Patriarch, I will now instruct you in the signification of the emblems belonging to the Patriarchal Order.

The Candidate is seated, and the High Priest proceeds as follows: The Three Pillars. The Three Pillars represent Faith, Hope, and Charity; but the greatest of these is Charity. Although we may possess all other virtues, if we are destitute of charity we are but as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. As symbols the Three Pillars direct to an enlightened faith in God, the Father of Spirits, the Maker and Preserver of the Universe, and impress upon us the importance of always wearing the mantle of Charity and Brotherly Love.

The Tent. The partriarchs dwelt in tents, and esteemed hospitality as one of the greatest of virtues; to them costly mansions were not necessary to acts of humanity. The sympathizing heart will provide the cooling draught and shelter for the stranger in the humblest places of abode; without it they cannot be found within palace gates.

The Pilgrimís Scrip, Sandals and Staff: These emblems symbolize the journey of life. The Scrip to contain the food, the Sandals to protect the feet, and the Staff to support the wearied limbs. How much more important to make provision for a journey which begins in infancy, lasts through life, and ends in death; for all beyond threescore years and ten are but labor and sorrow. We soon pass away and are gone; and be your journey long or short, let it be guided by well-regulated industry, perseverance in all good works, and humble reliance upon God.

The Altar of Sacrifice symbolizes Faith in God and obedience to His commands, and implies that no sacrifice is too great for the creature to please the Creator. Self-denial and submission are constantly recurring events in a virtuous life, and when called upon you should not hesitate to sacrifice comfort and personal gratification upon the altar of duty.

The Tables of Stone, the Crescent, and the Cross are symbols that signify to an Odd-fellow Universal Toleration. In works of humanity all differences in politics, creeds, or worship should be forgotten. The tables of Stone, with the moral law written upon them, present a common basis of worship and pure morality for all mankind. They teach that God is our Father, and we are brethren. Let the Golden Rule prevail, and whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.

The Altar of Incense reminds us of the rude altar of the patriarchs, and of the simplicity of that true worship which the Ruler of the Universe requires of his intelligent creatures: no costly oblation, no rendering of the fruit of the body for the sin of the soul, but to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

The Candidate must now rise.

HP.: Junior Warden, present the Candidate to the Chief Patriarch.

JW.: Chief Patriarch, I present to you Patriarch ....

CP.: Patriarch, the Junior Warden will now invest you with a Royal Purple collar, emblematic of this degree.

And now, in the name and by the authority of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, I declare you duly exalted to the Royal Purple Degree.

CP. (two raps, calling up the Encampment): Patriarchs, I now introduce and commend to you Patriarch ... as a member of the Patriarchal family.

 

 

CLOSING CEREMONIES

 

The Encampment must always be closed in the Royal Purple or highest degree.

CP. (two raps, all rise): The officers and Patriarchs will rise while our Junior Warden closes the Encampment in the Royal Purple Degree. Officers and Patriarchs, be attentive while our Most Excellent High Priest offers a prayer.

The Chief Patriarch and Senior Warden remain in their places during the closing ceremonies, unless, for lack of numbers, it is necessary for the latter to close in. All present form a chain, each brother linking his second finger with that of his neighbor. The position of the Junior Warden is at the right of the Chief Patriarch, and that of the High Priest is in the center of the circle. All stand.

 

 

PRAYER

 

Father of all mercy, God of love, we beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to defend us from the perils and dangers of this night. Let Thy blessing rest upon us; and may all our works,  begun, continued, and ended, redound to Thy glory and the happiness of all mankind. Amen.

After prayer an ode may be sung.
JW.:
By order of the Chief Patriarch, I proclaim this Encampment closed in the Royal Purple Degree. The chain is then broken without shaking arms.


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