Masonic Order of Athelstan
Ritual of Instruction of a Candidate


2010




A Court of Athelstan should be laid out as detailed in the diagram above.
The Wardens' Chairs should be just in front of the Worshipful Master and placed in a position where the Brethren's view of the Worshipful Master is not obscured. If the Wardens' Chairs, normally used in the Temple, are large or have high backs they should NOT be used, but smaller low backed replacements substituted.
The Rosetta Stone should be placed on a suitable stand on an appropriate small table or pedestal in the South of the Court and covered with a cloth or veil. The Junior Warden's Chair if not in use (and has been substituted by a smaller chair) should be placed away from its normal location, so that it does not detract from the focus on the Rosetta Stone.
The Hour-Glass is a Standard item of furniture in the Court. It should stand on an appropriate small table or pedestal in the West of the Court. The Senior Warden's Chair if not in use (and has been substituted by a smaller chair) should be placed away from its normal location, so that it does not detract from the focus on the Hour-Glass.
When the Hour-Glass is explained to the Candidate, he and the Officer presenting it should ensure that they stand in a position which does not block the view of the other Brethren present.
The two framed Visual Aids should be standardised, professionally produced graphic representations of the Emblems of a Master Mason's Court. Are commended size for all Visual Aids is A3 and these should be on display at all times in front of the Wardens' pedestals and turned for the reference.
It should be emphasised that the appropriate Volume of the Sacred Law be used. If the Brother concerned is not of the Christian faith, the appropriate VSL should be placed (open) next to the open Bible, or held by him (if appropriate) when taking his Obligation etc. On no account must either Book be placed on top of the other, nor may any object be placed upon either volume except the Sq and Cs.
Brethren who are not of the Christian faith may adopt the attitude appropriate to their faith (e.g. standing, covered, etc) at all points in the Ritual which contain the instruction to kneel for prayer or in order to take an obligation.
If there is a single Candidate, the W.M. should vary the verbal instruction appropriately.
If double ceremonies are undertaken, it is the responsibility of the Marshal of the Court to see that appropriate variations are made to the ritual to ensure that each candidate gets maximum benefit from the experience.
As a general point of principle, any of the work assigned to the W.M. or other Officer may be delegated to or shared with any other duly qualified Brother or Brethren.
Long pieces may, if desired, be divided into smaller sections, as long as continuity is assured and the ceremony proceeds smoothly for the candidate(s).
Wherever possible (unless specifically indicated otherwise) the ritual should be recited, rather than read. It is far preferable for a number of Brethren to learn short pieces than for a long piece to be read by a single Brother.
Where there are more than two candidates for "Instruction", a representative candidate should be selected and the other candidates take position behind him for the Obligation and Investiture under the guidance of the Marshal The Grand Marshal, with the assistance of Provincial Grand Marshals will ensure that all signs in the Order are consistent with the instruction laid down in the ritual.
Local variations may be permitted and guidance on such variations will be given. All local variations must be fully documented and approved by the Grand Secretary; the procedure for this is for the Court Secretary to make the application, with full copy and justification for the changes to the Provincial Grand Master via the Provincial Grand Secretary. If the Provincial Grand Master grants approval in principle, the application will be transmitted to the Grand Secretary. The Grand Secretary, acting on behalf of the M. W. Grand Master, will have final authority for approval.
This version of the Ritual dated 1st August, 2010 is the only authorised version and all previous versions are superseded and should be withdrawn from use as soon as possible.

 
 
Opening a Court of Athelstan
 
The Brethren assemble in the Court to await the entry of the Master and his Wardens. The Marshal positions himself by the entrance to the Court.
MAR.:
Brethren, our Master approaches this Court, be upstanding to greet him.
The Master and his Wardens enter the Court, the Master at the head of the procession, immediately followed by the Wardens, S.W. on his left, J.W. on his right. They each go directly to their seats and remain standing facing West. An opening Ode may be sung here, if it is the Court's custom.
W.M., *:
Brethren, assist me to call this Court to Session.
W.M. to J.W.:
Brother (Name) what is your first duty?
J.W.:
To see that the Court is duly sealed.
W.M.:
Direct that duty to be done.
J.W. to C. of G.:
Brother (Name) see that the Court is duly sealed.
C.of G., standing on the edge of the carpet, gives a Court Bow to the Master, turns, goes to the door, and gives one knock, answered by the Guard. He returns to the carpet edge and informs the J.W.:
The Court is duly sealed
J.W. to W.M., *:
The Court is duly sealed.
W.M. to S.W.:
Brother (Name) the next duty?
S.W.:
To see that the Brethren appear to order, as Master Masons of the Court.
W.M. to All:
To order Brethren, as Master Masons of the Court.
All assume the Due Guard
W.M. to J.W.:
Brother J.W., how many principal officers are there in the Court?
J.W.:
Four, the W.M., the S.W., J.W and E.P.
W.M. to S.W.:
Brother S.W., how many assistant officers are there?
S.W.:
Four, the S.D., J.D, the C. of G. and the Guard.
W.M. to J.W.:
The situation of the S.D.?
J.W.:
To the right of the S.W.
W.M.:
His duty?
J.W.:
To carry all messages of the W.M. to the S.W. and to see that the same are punctually obeyed. Likewise, to assist the J.D. during the Ceremony of Instruction.
W.M. to S.W.:
The situation of the J.D.?
S.W.:
To the left of the J.W.
W.M.:
His duty?
S.W.:
To bear all my messages to the J.W., and then return to his post. Likewise, to assist the S.D. during the Ceremony of Instruction.
W.M. to J.W.:
The situation of the Captain of the Guards?
J.W.:
Within the entrance of the Court.
W.M.:
His duty?
J.W.:
To admit Candidates in due form and obey the commands of the J.W.
W.M. to S.W.:
The situation of the Guard?
S.W.:
Outside the door of the Court
W.M.:
His duty?
S.W.:
Being armed with a drawn sword, to be ever watchful and guarded in his thoughts words and actions, particularly when before the enemies of Freemasonry. To ever bear in remembrance those truly Masonic virtues, silence and circumspection, and further to see that the Candidates are properly prepared.
W.M. to J.W.:
Brother J.W., your situation in the Court?
J.W.:
To the left of the W.M.
W.M.:
Why are you placed there?
J.W.:
To represent the sun at its meridian, to call the Brethren from labour to refreshment and refreshment to labour, that profit and pleasure may be the result.
W.M. to S.W.:
Brother S.W., your situation in the Court?
S.W.:
To the right of the W.M.
W.M.:
Why are you placed there?
S.W.:
To represent the setting sun and to close the Court by command of the W.M., having seen that every Brother has had his due.
W.M. to E.P.:
Eminent Brother Prior, your situation in the Court?
E.P.:
To the south of the W.M.
W.M.:
Why are you placed there?
E.P.:
To bring a spiritual blessing on all our works within the Court, and on all Brethren, irrespective of race, creed or culture.
W.M. to I.P.M.:
Brother I.P.M., the Master's place?
I.P.M.:
The East, whence comes the cold light of Venus, Worshipful Master.
W.M.:
Why is he placed there?
I.P.M.:
As the sun rises in the East to open and enliven the day, so the W.M. is placed in the East, to open the Court and employ and instruct the brethren in Freemasonry.
W.M. to All:
Then, Brethren, the Court being duly formed, before I declare it opened.
E.P.:
Let us pray: All give S of R. Supreme Being and Creator of all things, we humbly beseech Thee to pour down on mis Assembly Thy spiritual blessing. Grant unto us the continuance of Thy divine guidance in all our lawful undertakings so that we may live according to Thy Holy Will and Word.
ALL:
S.M.I.B. All discharge S of R and assume Due Guard.
W.M.:
I, in the name of the Supreme Being and Creator of all things, now declare this Court to be in session for the purpose of communicating light to those who seek it.
W.M., ** ** discharging the Due Guard after the fourth knock repeated by the S.W. and J.W.
This is done by the W.M. holding the gavel in his right hand whilst the left remains in position (supporting the virtual VSL). Having completed the fourth knock he returns his right hand to the centre.
All discharge Due Guard
Knocks ** ** are then repeated by S.W. and J.W.
C. of G. gives ** ** knocks on the door. Guard repeats the knocks. ** **.
The W.M. or Marshal opens the V.S.L. (if using the Bible, at Proverbs Chap. 3 v. 13) and positions the S & C as in the 3 Degree: points of C. pointing towards the bottom of the page; towards the Candidate
The J.D. unveils the Rosetta Stone.

 
 
The Instruction of a Candidate
 
The Candidate is prepared by the Guard with a Craft Master Mason's Badge.
The Guard gives the knocks of a Master Mason on the door of the Court. The C. of G. steps on to the corner of the carpet gives full penal sign of a Court Master Mason.
C of G. to J.W.:
Brother Junior Warden, there is a report.
J.W. to C. of G.:
Enquire who wants admission. C. of G. discharges sign.
C. of G. opens door to Guard:
Whom have you there?
GRD. to C. of G.:
Brother (Name) who having been summoned to this assembly of Court Master Masons, now requests admission.
C. of G.:
On what does he hope to gain admission?
GRD.:
The five points of Fellowship, the words of a Master Mason, and the Hailing or Reverential sign of a Royal Arch Mason.
C. of G.:
Is he in possession of those secrets?
GRD.:
He is, try him and prove him. C. of G. leaves the Court, doses the door, and in the ante-room the Candidate is proved.
C. of G.:
Wait, while I report to the W.M. Re-enters the Court. Closes the door, goes to the edge of the carpet, salutes the W.M. with full penal sign of a Court Master Mason: Worshipful Master, Brother (Name) having been summoned to this assembly of Court Master Masons, is now outside the door and requests admission.
W.M.:
On what does he hope to gain admission to this assembly?
C. of G.:
The five points of Fellowship, the words of a Master Mason and the Hailing or Reverential sign of a Royal Arch Mason.
W.M.:
Is he in possession of those secrets?
C. of G.:
He is W.M., I have tried and proved him.
W.M.:
Then let him be admitted in due form. Brother Junior Deacon.
J.D., after placing kneeling stool in position, goes to door, which is opened by the C. of G.
The Candidate is admitted and stands on the edge of the carpet in the West. J.D. on the Candidate's right.
W.M. to Can.:
Brother (Name) welcome to this assembly of Court Master Masons.
You have gained admission on the five points of Fellowship, the words of a Master Mason and the Hailing or Reverential sign of a Royal Arch Mason. However, before I can entrust you with the Ancient Charges of our Order, it is first necessary for you to give me further proofs of your rank and worthiness to receive them.
You will therefore advance to me as a Master Mason, first as an Entered Apprentice, showing the full signs and words of each Craft Degree.
The Candidate responds with full signs and communicates the words of each Degree

You will now advance to me as a Royal Arch Mason, giving the Hailing or Reverential sign of that Degree. Candidate does so.
W.M. to Can.:
Brother (Name) whilst I acknowledge you as a Master Mason of the Craft and a Companion of the Holy Royal Arch, it is clear from the manner in which you executed some of those signs, that you are in need of further instruction before you can take your place amongst Court Master Masons and fulfil your duty as a Brother of our Order.
But you will first kneel on both knees, whilst a blessing is invoked in aid of our proceedings. *. To order, Brethren.
All rise and give S of R
E.P.:
Let us pray: Supreme Being and Creator of all things, we implore Thee to send down Thy divine blessing on this assembly and pray that the Candidate who now kneels before Thee is imbued with the continuance of Thy spiritual guidance and the wisdom of Enoch, that he may one day, ascend beyond this earthly plane and pass through the cold light of Venus to everlasting life.
ALL:
S.M.I.B. All discharge S of R.
W.M.:
The Candidate will rise. Wait for Can. to do so. Brother J.D., you will conduct the Candidate to the centre of the Court, where he will be reminded of his duties as a Master Mason.
W.M.:
Be seated, Brethren.
All sit except J.D. and Candidate. J.D. removes kneeling stool and conducts the Candidate from the West to the centre of the Court, west of the pedestals, and facing the W.M. They are joined by the S.D. who stands to the left of the Candidate. The Candidate and Deacons remain in this position without further movement until after the Walking Charge.
W.M. to Can.:
Brother (Name). It must be very gratifying for you to know that you are a Master Mason and that you have sealed your allegiance to one of the Grandest and Noblest of Fraternities in existence, one that encircles the globe and whose influence for good is never ending.
Your particular reasons for becoming a member of this Grand and Noble Institution are known only to yourself. It may have been the prompting of idle curiosity - or it may have been for material reasons; that being true, be at once undeceived, for Freemasonry offers no pecuniary benefits to any of its Initiates.
It may have been the result of social aspirations; that being true, you are now afforded the opportunity to acquaint yourself with many intelligent Brethren, whose acquaintance might be of some benefit to you.
It may be that your father was a Mason and expressed a desire for you to follow in his footsteps. That being true, it is not only an honour to the Fraternity, but to yourself as well. But, be the reason what it may, this question now confronts you.
With emphasis Are you worm anything or nothing to Freemasonry and is Freemasonry worm anything or nothing to you?
The question is for you, and you alone, my Brother, to answer in your heart, for if you apply to your own life the teachings inculcated in the Three Degrees, you will not only become a better citizen, but also a better father, a better son and a fonder husband, and I now call upon some of our Brethren to further explain this.
J.W. rises, moves to the right of his pedestal, and recites from memory - not to be read.
J.W. to Can.:
In a Mason's Lodge, with darkened eyes
And cable tow about you
You swore to guard all mysteries
That Masons keep and prize.
The brother's secret, whispered low,
The words they speak, the things they do,
In mystic manner taught to you.
On yonder Book, that Oath you took Indicates VSL
And you should break it never
But stand by this Takes E.A. step
And this Makes E.A sign
And this Cuts E.A. sign
Forever and forever. Moves back to his pedestal.
S.W. rises, moves to the left of his pedestal and recites from memory - not to be read.
S.W, to Can.:
You swore to answer and obey
The summons sent you duly
By Brother's hand or Lodge away.
You swore that you would never stray
From ancient laws and rules that bind
All Masons in the Craft,
But would observe them truly.
On yonder Book, that Oath you took Indicates VSL
And you should break it never
But stand by this Takes F.C. step
And this Makes F.C. sign
And this Cuts F.C. sign
Forever and forever. Moves back to his pedestal.
W.M. rises, and moves to the side of his pedestal (if possible) and recites from memory - not to be read
W.M. to Can.:
You swore with generous gifts to care
For those in sorrow stricken,
The Brother on the darkened Square,
The widow full of grief and care,
The orphan doomed - alas - to stray,
Down life's cold path and cheerless way.
Upon this Book, that Oath you took Indicates VSL
And you should break it never
But stand by this Takes M.M. step
And this Makes M.M. sign
And this Cuts M.M. sign
Forever and forever. Moves back to his pedestal.
E.P. or I.P.M. who rises and recites from memory - not to be read
E.P. or I.P.M. to Can.:
You swore with honesty to deal
With each true heart around you,
That "honour bright" should ever be
The unbroken bond twixt him and thee.
No wrong, nor guile, nor cruel fraud
Should ever break the holy cord
With which that Vow hath bound you.
You swore the chastity to keep
Of women, true and tender.
A Mason's widow, wife or child,
His Mother, Sister - undefiled,
Those pure in heart,
Whose love adorns a Mason's home,
Of which you are the guardian, sworn.
On yonder Book, that Oath you took Indicates VSL
And you should break it never
But stand by it, Forever.
Marshal instructs the Brethren to stand to order with the S of F
W.M. rises and recites from memory - not to be read
W.M.:
These are our vows, our daily cares,
And may such light be given
In answer to our earnest prayers
To God, that we may do or dare
All that his Sacred Law enjoins.
So when the evening shades pass o'er us,
We may be found in Heaven, glorious.
For on this Book, that Oath we took,
And we should break it never
But stand by this Indicates VSL
And this Indicates Square
And this Indicates Compasses
Forever and forever.
Brethren discharge S of F and remain standing J.D. resumes his station and S.D. moves to right of Candidate.
W.M. to Can.:
Brother (Name) you are now about to take an obligation, in many respects similar to those you have taken in the former degrees. Are you prepared to meet it as you ought?
CAN.:
I am. Prompted by S.D. if necessary.
W.M.:
Then you will advance to the pedestal, Candidate complies, W.M. gavels once repeated by S.W. and J.W. kneel on both knees, place both hands on the V.S.L. ALL give S of F.
State your names at length and repeat after me:
I, , in the name of the Supreme Being and Creator of all things, and in the presence of this regular session and assembly of Court Master Masons, of my own free will and accord, do hereby and hereon solemnly promise and swear, that I will never divulge the secrets of a Court Master Mason, to anyone in the world not lawfully entitled thereto.
I further solemnly pledge myself to maintain and uphold the honour and dignity of the Order, and the high character and usefulness of this Court, in both my civil and private callings. That I will pay due allegiance to the Grand Master of the Order and to the Statutes of the Grand Court of the Masonic Order of Athelstan in England, Wales and its Provinces Overseas.
Lastly, I swear to pay due respect to the Head of State and to pay due obedience to the statutes of the country in which I do now, or may in the future reside. So help me the Supreme Being and Creator of all things in this, my solemn Obligation as a Court Master Mason.
You will seal that Obligation twice and twice further with your lips on the V.S.L.
Candidate seals Obligation on the V.S.L. All cut S of F.
W.M.:
Rise, duly obligated Court Master Mason. Candidate rises.
MAR.:
Brethren, be seated.
S.D. guides Candidate backwards to the west of the Wardens' pedestals.
W.M.:
may leave his seat and stand in front of his pedestal facing the Candidate
W.M. to Can.:
Having taken the Solemn Obligation of this Degree, I will now proceed to instruct you in its secrets. In this Order, the full signs of the Degrees of Craft Masonry are adopted. You will therefore take a short step, towards me with your left foot, bringing the right heel into its hollow. This is the first regular step in Freemasonry and it is also in this position that the first sign of this Degree is given.
Place your hands in this position, right above left, thumb extended in the form of a Square as if holding the open VSL between your palms. The full sign is given from this Due Guard, by dropping the left hand to the side, raising the right hand, thumb extended in the form of a Square, to the left of the windpipe, drawing it smartly across, dropping it to the side and recovering to the Due Guard thus.
W.M. demonstrates, Candidate copies him.

Please pay attention to the Junior Warden
J.W. rises, to Can.:
You are well aware of the words of the E.A.'s Degree and the usages of the twenty-four inch gauge, the common gavel and the chisel.
Likewise, the three immovable and three movable jewels. I will now explain the signification of a point within a circle.
Lodges were anciently dedicated to King Solomon, but Masons professing Christianity, dedicated theirs to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. Since their time, there is represented in every regular and well governed Lodge a certain point within a circle, that point representing an individual Brother; the circle, the boundary line of his conduct to God and man, beyond which he is never to suffer his passions, prejudices or interests to betray him on any occasion. This circle is embordered by two perpendicular parallel lines, which represent those Saints who were regarded as perfect parallels in Masonry, as well as in Christianity, and on the vertex rests the Holy Scriptures, which point out the whole duty of man. In going round this circle, we necessarily touch upon the Holy Scriptures and while a Mason keeps himself thus circumscribed, it is impossible that he should err.
J.W. sits
W.M. to Can.:
You will now take another short pace towards me with your left foot, bringing the right heel into its hollow as before. This is the second regular step in Freemasonry and it is also in this position that the second sign of this Degree is given. Stand to order thus, again with the Due Guard.
W.M. demonstrates. Candidate copies him

The full sign is given by placing the right hand on the left breast, with the thumb extended in the form of a Square, elevating the left hand palm to the front with the thumb likewise in the form of a Square. The sign is discharged by dropping the left hand to the side, drawing the right hand smartly across the chest, dropping it to the side and recovering to the Due Guard.
W.M. demonstrates. Candidate copies him

Again, you are well acquainted with the working tools of the F.C.'s Degree. You will therefore advance to me once again with your left foot, bringing the right heel into its hollow as before. This is the third regular step in Freemasonry and it is in this position that the third sign of this Degree is given. Stand to order thus.
W.M. demonstrates the Due Guard. Candidate copies him

The third sign of a Court Master Mason is given from this position; by dropping the left hand to the side, drawing the right hand smartly across the breast, dropping it to the side and recovering on the centre before finally discharging it.
This penal sign should always be given in full when addressing the W.M. or upon entering or leaving the Court, the Due Guard when addressing the W.M. and the penal sign to discharge it when finishing.
S.D. escorts the Candidate to the W.M. at his pedestal, unless the W.M. has previously left his Chair to demonstrate the signs.
These paragraphs may be presented as a whole or shared amongst a number of Past Masters
W.M. to Can.:
Brother (Name) The Grip or Token of this Degree is given by a distinct pressure with the thumb on the fourth knuckle joint of a Brother's right hand. This Grip demands a Word; a word to be treated with the same strict caution as the other secrets in Freemasonry. For your instruction, I will give you that word; it is Chokmah. It is spelt C H O K M A H and is pronounced HOK MAH. The import of the word is Wisdom, discharges grip and sits if he is at his pedestal. Its meaning comes from the earliest mists of time, when belief in an Almighty was beginning to form in the minds of mankind. It equates to the Greek word "Sophia", for it stands for the divine perfection of the Wisdom which is manifest in God's creative acts.
Perhaps the best way to describe Chokmah is as the "Eureka" moment. At the very instant at which we solve any problem or puzzle, there are no words. There are no thoughts. There is only an instant of "Eureka" as we realize we have found a solution. This moment is soon followed by thought, and yet the moment itself is beyond thought. The flash of creativity that is Chokmah is very close to the "nothingness" of Kether.
The Book of Proverbs, Chap. l v.7, begins:
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction"
The Hebrew word that is used for fear in this passage may also be translated as "awe", and it is in this context that this passage should be understood. Chokmah stands at the threshold of Kether and when we are enabled to trace that creative thought back to its origin in that which is beyond thought, we tremble with awe.
Hence, wisdom is the gateway to the awe which lies beyond our world of thought and form.
Solomon said, "Incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding" (Proverbs Chap. 2 v. 2)
For "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubics, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her." (Proverbs Chap 3 vs 13-15)
Knowledge is the cognizance of facts. Wisdom is the strength of mind to apply that cognizance soundly and to effect. A Brother may know every word of the Ritual from the beginning to the end, and yet still be without wisdom.
W.M. to Can.:
Our Brethren will now explain to you the meaning of the emblems of a Master Mason's Court.
The S.D. conducts the Candidate to the J.W.'s pedestal and then resumes his seat.
The J.D. moves to the right of the Candidate.
The J.D. picks up the Visual Aid from in front of the J.W.'s pedestal, on which are depicted the first eight emblems of a Master Mason's Court, and holds it up in front of the Candidate.
It is permissible for the following explanations to be shared amongst a number of Brethren of the Court under the Marshal's direction and guidance.
J.W. rises, to Can.:
The first three emblems of a Master Mason's Court are the Three Steps, the Pot of Incense and the Beehive.
The first three regular steps in Freemasonry represent to us the three principal stages of human life:- youth, manhood and age. In youth, as Entered Apprentices, we ought industriously to occupy our minds in the attainment of useful knowledge. In manhood, as Fellow Crafts, we should apply our knowledge to the discharge of our respective duties to God, our neighbours and ourselves. So with age, as Master Masons, we may enjoy the satisfaction and happy reflection consequent upon a well spent life, as we contemplate the ending of our mortal existence, with the hopes of the life which is to come.
The Pot of Incense alludes to a pure heart, which alone is an acceptable sacrifice to the deity and reminds us that, as this glows with fervent heat, so should our hearts continually glow with gratitude to the great and beneficent Author of our existence for the manifold blessings and comforts we enjoy.
The beehive is an emblem of industry which is essential to all created beings, from the highest seraph in Heaven, to the lowest reptile of the dust. It teaches us that, as we came into this world able, rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever remain industrious, never sitting down content, while our fellow creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them, often without inconvenience to ourselves.
Behold, man in his infancy, more helpless and indigent than brute creation. He lies languishing for days, weeks, months and years, totally incapable of self sustenance, of guarding against the attacks of the wild beasts of the field, or of sheltering himself from the inclemency of the weather.
It pleased the Great Creator of Heaven and Earth to make fully formed men capable of great independence and strength of mind. There is, however, a wonderful paradox, since dependence is one of the greatest strengths of Humanity.
By His wisdom, mankind were made social and dependent upon each other for protection and security. By this apparent weakness, we have been truly blessed, by the potential enjoyment and fulfilment of reciprocal love and friendship.
Hence, it is our profession as Masons, to teach and communicate happiness. Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God, and he that will so demean himself, as not to be endeavouring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a drone in the hive of nature, a useless member of society and unworthy of our protection as Masons.
J.W. takes the Visual Aid from the J.D. and holds it for him
J.D. to Can.:
The next five emblems are the Statutes, guarded by the Outer Guard's sword, the Sword pointing to the naked heart, the All-Seeing Eye, the Anchor and Ark and the Forty-Seventh problem of Euclid. It is the duty of the Deacons to explain them when required.
The Statutes, guarded by the Outer Guard's Sword, reminds us of that important Latin motto of the Craft, "Audi, Vide, Tace" and to be ever watchful and guarded in our thoughts, words and actions, particularly when before the enemies of Masonry, ever bearing in remembrance those truly Masonic virtues - silence and circumspection.
The Sword pointing to the naked heart, demonstrates that justice will sooner or later overtake us, and although our thoughts, words and actions may be bidden from the eye of man, yet that All-Seeing Eye, whom the sun, moon and stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our merits.
The J.D. resumes his seat and the S.D. takes his place and continues the explanation of the emblems of a Master Mason 's Court.
S.D. to Can.:
The Anchor and Ark, being emblems of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life, are emblematical of that Divine Ark, which will safely carry us over our tempestuous sea of troubles, and that anchor which will moor us securely in a peaceful harbour.
"There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary shall find rest" (Job Chap. 3 v 17)
The Forty-Seventh problem of Euclid was an invention of our ancient friend and Brother, the great Pythagoras, who, in his travels through Asia, Africa and Europe, was initiated into several orders of priesthood. This wise philosopher enriched his mind abundantly with a general knowledge of things, and more especially of Geometry or Masonry. On this subject he drew out many problems and theorems and among the most distinguished he erected this, which, in the joy of his heart, he called Eureka, in the Grecian language signifying "I have found it", and upon the discovery of which he is said to have sacrificed a hecatomb. It teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and sciences.
The J.W. passes the Visual Aid to the S.D. who places it down in front of the J.W.'s pedestal The Candidate is conducted to the front of the S.W. 's pedestal by the S.D. who picks up the Visual Aid from in front of the S.W.'s pedestal.
S.W. rises, to Can.:
The Hour Glass, the Scythe, the Spade, the Coffin, Death-Head, Marrowbones and Sprig of Acacia are the final seven emblems. You may be acquainted with some of their symbolism, but it is my duty to explain them to you further, that you may the better be enabled to contemplate the next step on your journey.
The S.D. replaces the Visual Aid in front of the S.W.'s pedestal.
The S.D., followed by the Candidate and the S.W., in column, move to the West of the Court where the Hour Glass is resting on a pedestal or table alternatively the Hour Glass may be brought to the S.W.'s pedestal, although the farmer is preferred. The Officers should ensure that they and the Candidate do not obscure the view of the other Brethren while the explanation of the Hour Glass is presented.
S.W. to Can.:
The Hour Glass is an emblem of human life. The Hour Glass should be turned over and the flow of sand indicated by the S.W. before continuing the explanation. Behold! How swiftly the sands run, and how rapidly our lives are drawing to a close. We cannot, without astonishment, behold the little particles which are contained in this machine, how they pass away, almost imperceptibly, and yet, to our surprise, in a short space of an hour, they are all exhausted. Thus wastes man!
Today, he puts forth the tender leaves of hope; tomorrow, blossoms and bears his blushing honours thick upon him. The next day comes a frost, which nips the root, and when he thinks his greatness is still ripening, he falls like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth.
The S.W. walks back to his pedestal but remains standing. The Candidate remains in the West, in order to reflect briefly on his mortality. When the S.W. is in position the Candidate is conducted to the East by the S.D. and placed in front of the S.W.'s pedestal. The S.D. then picks up the Visual Aid from in front of the S.W.'s pedestal, and holds it up in front of the Candidate.
S.W. to Can.:
The Scythe is an emblem of time, which cuts the brittle thread of life and launches us into eternity. Behold, what havoc the scythe of time makes among the human race! If by chance we should escape the numerous evils, incident to childhood and youth and with health and vigour come to the years of manhood, yet withal we must soon be cut down by the all-devouring Scythe of time and be gathered into the land where our fathers have gone before us.
The Spade, Coffin, Death-Head and Marrowbones are thus explained. The Spade opens the vault to receive our bodies, where our now inactive limbs will soon moulder into dust. The Coffin, Death-Head and Marrowbones are emblematical of the death and burial of H. A., whose noble example of fortitude and fidelity to his Obligation is worthy of your serious attention.
The Sprig of Acacia is emblematical of that important part of man which never dies, and when the cold winter of death shall have passed and the bright summer's morn of the Resurrection appears, the Son of Righteousness shall descend, and send forth his Angels to collect our ransomed dust. Then, if we are found worthy, by His password, we shall enter into the Celestial Court above, where the Supreme Being and Creator of all things presides. There we shall see the King in the beauty of holiness and with Him, enter into a happy and glorious eternity.
S.W. sits. Marshal places seat in South on the edge of the carpet.
S.D. replaces the Visual Aid in front of the S.W.'s pedestal.
W.M. to Can.:
Our Brother Secretary will now read to you the Ancient Charges of a Master Mason.
S.D. seats Candidate in the South and returns to his station and sits.
Sec. to Can.:
In former times, the Ancient Charges of a Master Mason applied to operative Masons, who needed to be able-bodied to perform their daily work. As Moralising or Speculative Masons, we have no need of such stringent health and fitness to perform our duties. Similarly, the Masons' Guilds admitted in those times only Christian men, regular churchgoers, whose "Allogements" (from whence the word "Lodge" is derived) were built as temporary structures on the side of the Cathedral, Abbey or Church they were working on. Nowadays, as has been the case for almost two centuries, our Craft Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters do not require members to be Christians, but admit all men professing a belief in a Supreme being.
There were nine Charges for all Masons and a further nineteen Charges for Masters and Fellows. In the course of a full year, all these Charges will be read out to the members in open Court.
 
 
Nine Charges for all Masons
 
The following Charges are to be delivered at all Instruction Ceremonies.

These are the Nine Charges for all Masons:
First, that you shall be true men of God and Holy Church and that you use no error or heresy, but be discreet and wise men.
Also, that you should be true liege men to the King of England, without treason or falsehood and that you know no treason unless you amend it, or warn the King or his Council.
Also, that you be true to one another, that is to say, to every Mason of the Craft. You shall do unto them as they should do unto you.
Also, that you keep the counsel of your fellows truly, in Lodge and in chamber or in other counsels that ought to be kept by way of Masonhood.
Also, that no Mason shall be a thief in company so far as he may know and that he shall be true each to the other and to the Lord or Master and truly see to his profits and advantages.
Also, you shall call Masons, Fellows or Brethren and no foul names.
Also, you shall not take your Fellow's wife in villainy, nor desire ungodly his daughter or his servant or put him to disworship.
Also, You shall truly pay for his meat and drink where you go to board.
Also, you shall do no villainy where you go to board, whereby the Craft might be slandered.
Secretary sits.
The Nineteen Charges for Masters and Fellows are only delivered at Installation Ceremonies but for the benefit of all Brethren.
S.D. collects Candidate and places him in the centre of the Court, facing the W.M.
W.M. to Can.:
Brother (Name) you have proved yourself worthy of your rank as a Master Mason. I therefore delegate our Brother S.W. to invest you with your apron as a Master Mason of this Court.
S.D. conducts Candidate to S.W.'s pedestal. Marshal carries Apron on a cushion to the S.W. who rises and leaves his pedestal in order to invest the Candidate.
S.W.:
Brother (Name) by command of the Worshipful Master, I invest you with this apron of crimson, ennobled by the Saxon Crown of King Athelstan. May you wear it with pride and by your actions bring honour to our Order every day.
S.W. returns to his pedestal and sits.
W.M. to Can.:
Brother (Name) you may now take your place in the Court and attend to a retrospective of the history of this degree.
Candidate is seated in the centre of the Court, in the South facing North, by the S.D. The S.D. then returns to his station and sits. E.P. moves to a position in the North, facing the Candidate. N.B.: This can be shared amongst a number of Brethren to recite.
E.P. to Can.:
Brother (Name) let me first congratulate you on taking this very important step in your Masonic knowledge. It is hoped that it will stimulate your mind to further Masonic research.
Although our Order can claim links with early Greek geometricians like Euclid and wise men like Solomon and Enoch, indeed, since the time of the first settlement being built by the first builder who laid the first stone on the Earth's soil, it is from the time of the first administrative structure in Operative Masonry that we take this Degree.
Athelstan reigned from AD 925 to 939 and was the son of Edward 'the Elder' and the grandson of Alfred the Great. On his father's death he was accepted as king, first of Mercia, then of Wessex. Between the two kingdoms, he was effectively ruler of the whole of England south of the River Humber and later in 927, having driven the Viking king Guthfrith out of York, he seized the kingdom of Northumbria, thus bringing the whole of England under his control. Various rulers of neighbouring kingdoms in Wales and Scotland are said to have submitted to his authority, and it was around this time and afterwards that Athelstan began to claim the title, "King of all the English" or even "Rex Totius Britanniae" (King of All Britain).
Athelstan was a distinguished and courageous soldier who pushed the boundaries of the kingdom further than anyone had done before, up until the time of his death at Gloucester on 27th October 939.
Athelstan built upon the foundations laid by his grandfather by further developing the codes of law and imposing taxes to help fund his militia and to provide alms to support the poor. Thus he strengthened royal and social control over his large kingdom. Currency was also regulated to control the weight of silver and to penalize fraudsters.
Buying and selling was largely confined to the Burghs, thereby encouraging town life and fortifying defences. Areas of settlement in the Midlands and Danish towns were Consolidated into shires.
Overseas, Athelstan built alliances by marrying four of his half-sisters to various rulers in Western Europe. He was also a great collector of artworks and religious relies which he gave away to many of his followers and to the churches to gain the support of the clergy.
Athelstan died at the height of his power, and was buried in Malmesbury Abbey. He had been an ardent supporter and endower of the Abbey and it was fitting that he should be buried there.
Sir Frank Stenton, whilst referring to a letter of gratitude from the great and the good sent to Athelstan in respect of his law making decrees, writes, in the Oxford History of England: "but the most significant of these texts is a memorandum recording the measures taken for the execution of the king's decrees by a body described as a "peace gild" (original spelling of Guild) of which the leading members were Bishops and Reeves belonging to London."
He continues: "The ordinary members of the gild were the countrymen of a region which certainly included Middlesex and may also have comprised parts of Surrey and parts of Hertfordshire."
"Like later associations of the same kind, this early gild made provision for the spiritual benefit of its members. These were divided into groups of ten, one of whom acted as headsman of his company. The groups of ten were combined into groups of one hundred over whom a separate headsman presided. He, with the headsmen of the groups of ten, formed a standing Committee".
They met once a month, accounted for the money they gave to the common stock, saw that the Gild statutes were adhered to and held a "Gild Fest". It is from this model we take our Order's structure.
In 926, Prince Edwin, half brother of King Athelstan, at the King's behest, summoned a general assembly of Master Masons at York. Athelstan had for some time been concerned about the poor practices of the operative Masons and had decided to lay down certain standards, eventually to be known as the Old Charges.
These were recorded in a number of manuscripts and a full list is available from each Court's Secretary.
E.P, returns to his station. C. of G. stands and addresses the Candidate from the North facing the Candidate. (Alternatively, this Address may also be shared by a number of Brethren who would take position in the North facing the Candidate.
C. of G. to Can.:
It was thus that, on your entry to this Court, you represented one of the Master Masons summoned to the Grand Assembly in York. Your shortcomings in the signs and words of the various degrees required you to take further "instruction" before being thought worthy to receive the Ancient Charges. The term "Instruction" is used in this Degree as it is the duty of a Master to both employ and instruct his Brethren in Freemasonry.
Prince Edwin went on to meet a shameful end in 933. He had attempted to gain power from Athelstan, but his treachery was discovered and he was set adrift at sea in a small boat without oars, food, water or other supplies. Rather than starve to death, he drowned himself. Early historians state that Edwin had been wrongly accused but written proof confirms this to be inaccurate and that an attempted coup d'etat had actually been led by Edwin.
Assemblies continued to take place at York and elsewhere, some yearly, some every third year, and eventually the Old Charges emerged, to be used by Masons as a guide to their work and faith.
These Old Charges were so important that when Freemasonry began to take on a speculative nature, even one of the earliest "occasional lodges" we know about, i.e. the initiation of Elias Ashmole at Warrington in 1646, required that a copy of the Old Charges be present in the Lodge to make it "regular".
You are no doubt aware of the further development of Speculative Freemasonry, which united the Craft and resulted in the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England. This is well documented elsewhere.
C. of G. resumes his station. S.D. rises and turns Candidate to receive a presentation on the significance of the Rosetta Stone.
W.M. to Can.:
Brother (Name) you will observe, displayed in the South of the Court, a copy of the Rosetta Stone. It was first erected c.195 B.C. in honour of Ptolemy the V Epiphanes who ruled Egypt from 205 to 180 B.C. It is of black basalt, bearing an inscription in Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Demotic (the popular and simplified form of Ancient Egyptian Script) and Greek. It was discovered in 1799 by Pierre-Francois Boussard, a French Officer of Engineers in an excavation made at Fort St. Julien, near Rosetta in the Nile Delta, during Napoleon's Egyptian campaign (1798 - 1801).
After many unsuccessful attempts, including those of Dr. Thomas Young, (a British Scientist), it was eventually translated by a French scholar and linguist, Jean Francois Champollion in the years following 1820. It was chosen to represent the many attributes displayed by him in providing the key to deciphering the important historical texts and hieroglyphics on the Stone. His persistence opened the way for understanding what had hitherto been a 'closed book' to all generations, since the languages portrayed thereon had fallen into disuse. It thus gives us the opportunity to understand the Wisdom of the Ancients. It is meant to encourage all of us to personally research and add to our store of knowledge and understanding - indeed to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. lts significance is intended to best illustrate the aims of our Order and thus it has become our Tracing Board.
The original Rosetta Stone can now be viewed in the British Museum in London.
S.D. escorts the Candidate to the W.M.'s pedestal. The W.M. shows the Warrant of the Court and presents him with the Statutes of the Order, Provincial By-Laws, and By-Laws of the Court, then welcomes him into the Order and Court, impromptu.
S.D. escorts the newly instructed Brother to a seat in the Court and then returns to his station and sits.

 
 

Closing a Court of Athelstan
 
W.M. rises:
I rise to enquire if any Brother has aught to communicate for the good of the Order in general or this the Court No. ... in particular. W.M. sits.
All matters are dealt with at one rising, commencing with Grand Court, the Province and then the Court. The Secretary will rise, give the Due Guard sign and immediately discharge it, to allow him to use both hands and communicate any appropriate matters.
The Almoner will give his Report
W.M., *:
Brethren, assist me to close this Court.
All rise
W.M. to J.W.:
Brother J.W., J.W. gives sign direct the C. of G. to ensure that the Guard is at his post.
J.W. discharges sign
J.W. to C. of G.:
Brother C. of G. C. of G. gives sign it is the W.M.'s command that you ensure that the Guard is at his post.
C. of G. discharges sign, goes to door and opens it. Having seen that the Guard is at his post, he closes door and returns to the edge of the carpet.
C of G. to J.W., gives sign:
Brother J.W., The Guard is at his post and all is secure. Discharges sign.
J.W. acknowledges C. of G. with an incline of the head.
J.W. to W.M., gives sign:
Worshipful Master, the Court is secure.
W.M. to S.W.:
Brother SW. S.W. gives sign see that the Brethren appear to order as Court Master Masons.
S.W., retaining the Due Guard:
Brethren, it is the W.M.'s command that you appear to order as Court Master Masons.
All assume the Due Guard
W.M. to E.P.:
Eminent Brother Prior, before the Court is closed, will you kindly discharge your final duty?
All discharge Due Guard and give S of R.
E.P.:
Let us pray: We thank Thee, Supreme Being and Creator of all things, for Thy spiritual presence during our labours and crave the continuance of Thy divine guidance in all our lawful undertakings in this world, so that we may finally receive our due reward in the world to come.
ALL:
S.M.I.B. All discharge S of R and assume Due Guard.
W.M. to S.W.:
Brother S.W., the labours of this day being ended, you have my command to close the Court. Gavels with his right hand ** ** whilst his left hand remains in position (supporting the virtual VSL). Having completed the fourth knock he returns his right hand to the centre.
S.W.:
Brethren, in the name of the Supreme Being and Creator of all things and by command of the W.M. I close this Court.
S.W. gavels with right hand ** **. All cut sign.
J.W.:
And it is closed accordingly until our next regular meeting on emergencies excepted, of which every Brother will receive due notice. Gavels ** **. This Court is no longer in session.
W.M. or Marshal closes VSL, places S & C on top and J.D. covers the Rosetta Stone
Capt. of the Guards knocks ** **.
Guard knocks ** **.
The Closing Ode followed by the National Anthem may be sung.
The Marshal will then form the retiring procession.


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