Wise Men of America
Ritual of the Second Degree


ARCHON: Herald, you will repair to the ante-room and ascertain if there be any candidate in waiting for the Second. Degree; if so, report their names.
After the report of the Herald is received, the Archon says:
Inspector General, you will proceed to the ante-room and see that the candidate is properly prepared.
The Inspector General proceeds to the ante-room:
INSP. GEN. to the candidate:
It is necessity that you be blindfolded.
This is done. If there be more than one candidate, they all go through together, but the officers must be careful to designate them in the plural where the singular is used in this book. Each candidate is put under the charge of one or more special conductors (to be selected by the Inspector General or Archon) who accompany the candidates, under the control of the Inspector General. The Inspector General gives the regular signal of the Degree, * * * * * * * loud knocks on the inner door.
Who knocks there?
The Inspector General, with a candidate in charge.
WARDER, reporting to the Provost:
Worshipful Provost, the Inspector General, with a candidate in charge, desires admission.
Eminent Archon, the Inspector General, with a candidate in charge, desires admission.
Worshipful Provost, are we in readiness, and are the signs favorable for his reception?
All is prepared, and the signs are favorable.
Then let him be admitted.
Enter within our portals.
The door is opened with a heavy sound, The candidate is conducted once around the entire circuit of the room, and halts when he returns to the Provost's station, where the Inspector General gives seven blows with his staff.
Worshipful Provost, I present to you a candidate for the mysteries of the Second Degree.
Candidate, do you solemnly promise to preserve and keep the instructions of the Second Degree, and never unlawfully impart them.
I do.
Before receiving the mysteries of the Second Degree, it will be necessary for you to pass through another ordeal. In the First Degree your courage and constancy, against impediments and in the hour of adverse vicissitude, were tested. Now you will be made to show how you will deport yourself and the giddy heights of ambition. Your ascent will be rapid; you may imagine yourself upon the lofty peaks of the Andes. It is well that you are blindfolded, so that the narrow defiles and hair-breadth contiguity to steep precipices may not be apparent to your eyes, and cause you to shudder, tremble and fall. My parting advice to you is to "look aloft;" let your thoughts be ever upward; for if you realize your danger, and waver for a moment, a terrific descent awaits you.
The candidate is now taken up a series of ascents; he is frequently told to "look aloft" and to step upward. The descents ought to be made so as to be scarcely perceptible; this degree contrasting with the First Degree, which is all descents−while the Second is all ascents, except at the close, when the candidate is made to come down suddenly, but safely, With a noise like the grating of rollers and bars, and the falling of chains.
The construction of apparatus for the initiation to the Second Degree may be left to the fancy of the members; a series of rough (but not dangerous) ascents and quiet descents may be made, terminating by a sort of bridge, or any other contrivance which breaks down noisily but safely.
When the candidate shall have attained the top of the ascent he is allowed to halt, and is thus addressed:
Be not over elated at your success in thus attaining a position of lofty grandeur, for Ambition blinds us to danger; Vanity conceals from us our weakness, and Pride ever precedes a fall.
The candidate moves on, the trap is sprung, and he is made to come down suddenly.
INSP. GEN. in a loud voice:
The candidate has passed the ordeal in safety.
Then let him he conducted to our Most Eminent Archon.
He is taken twice around the Lodge room, and halted near the Archon's Station.
Let the bandage be removed from the eyes of the candidate, and let him be clothed with a green apron and seated before me, to receive the instructions of the Second Degree.
The color of this Degree is Green.
The Inner Door Signal: Two raps, and after an interval, five more.
Password: Remember.
Sign: Made with the right hand over the right shoulder, first with the palm downward, pointing backward, over the right shoulder, meaning: Past. Then bring the hand just above the shoulder, pointing upward, palm in front, meaning: Present. Then extending the hand forward, indicating the future. The whole sign meaning Past; Present and Future.
Brothers of this Degree may use an exclamation of Distress, equivalent to the "Sign of Distress" of the Initiatory Work, but having the advantage of being available in the dark. "If Rostam would come," or "Would that Rostam, would come, " or "O! that Rostam would come,", or any expression involving a similar idea.
The legend of the Second Degree presents us a beautiful story of gratitude. It appears that a short, time after the occurrence related in the First Degree, Rostam, a victorious Persian warrior, having invaded Mazanderan, and taken captive the King of that country, brought him in turn before Kai-el Ko-az. The latter, out of gratitude, ordered his immediate release.
You will now be conducted to our Worthy Chancellor.
The candidate is now conducted to the Chancellor and seated before him.
I will endeavor, very briefly, to illustrate the fitness of the ordeal through which you have passed, leaving much, however, to your own reflections, At your leisure you win doubtless reflect upon many points of the similitude which I shall omit and you will be more impressed by the analogies formed in your own mind, than by any remarks of mine.
Your progress at first resembled the rapid, giddy, thoughtless, upward and onward struggle of your youth and ambition; surmounting all obstacles, and allowing nothing to impede its progress. Many struggle upward and onward, but few stop to inquire how they shall come down from the dangerous height.
If, in the course of your life, you should ever attain the possession of extensive power, or climb to a position of great eminence, requiring all your faculties to sustain you in your exalted but difficult position; look aloft. Remember that your only safety is in an unflinching integrity. Hence
our Password, "REMEMBER." Without integrity your fame can not endure: If you flinch you will falter and fall. Never shrink from responsibilities, nor from consequences.
The members who had you in charge, imagined you shrank and hesitated, when you had reached the highest place in the ordeal; hence your sudden fall at the close.
This was simply typical, and only intended to convey a lesson.
You will now please take your scat among the members.