Sisters of the Mysterious Ten
Ritual of the First Degree
W.P. gives one rap. Bro. Caleb, Outside G. K. and Joshua. (Advance to front of W. P.) W. P. says: Brother O. G. K., what is your duty?
O.G.K. says: My duty, Worthy Princess, is to guard well the approaches to this sacred place.
W.P.: Then repair to your station at once.
W.P.: Bro. Caleb, state your duties in this Temple of Sisters.
Bro. Caleb.: My duties, Worthy Princess, are to guard the inner door, to receive the degree password, give notice of visits and intruders, and perform such other duties as may be required of me.
W.P.: Bro. Joshua, what are the duties required of you?
Bro. Joshua.: My duties, Worthy Princess, are to receive the quarterly password from each member present, and to report to you all who are not in possession of the same; also to assist you in1 opening and closing the Temple, and to perform such other duties from time to time as may be required of me.
W.P.: Then you will proceed at once to take up the password.
W.P.: Secretary, explain your duties.
Sec.: My duty is to keep a strict and accurate account between the members of the Temple and myself. Also to keep correct the proceedings of each meeting and receive all moneys due this Temple and pay the sum to the Treasurer.
W.P.: Worthy Treasurer, state your duty.
W.T.: My duty is to receive all moneys belonging to this Temple from the Secretary, receipt for same and pay it out only on the order of the Worthy Princess if sealed and signed by the Secretary.
W.P.: Worthy Chaplain, perform your duties. (First opens Bible at Esther, chapter 1. Members all rise.
Read 9 verses.
Assembled in thy court once more,
O Lord, thy blessings we implore.
Be with us while we meet tonight,
Make us in all things pure and right.
We’ll keep our secrets good and true,
Unto all others we will do
Kind acts of mercy, true and just,
As we would, have them do by us.
We’ll bow before our Father’s throne;
While there we’ll pray His will be done
On earth the same as ‘tis in heaven,
May our transgressions, be forgiven.
Prayer at opening a Temple.
Chaplain then says: Let us pray.
O Lord God, our Father and Ruler of the Universe, we are permitted once more to bow before Thee and in Thy divine presence. We humbly beseech Thee to cleanse our hearts from all impurities and make us true to Thee, true to each other in our every thought, deed and action. Help us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Be with us in this our assembly, and let thy spirit govern us in all our actions, and may it continue with us through the journey of life, and when our pilgrimage is ended here below take us into Thy Temple above, where the membership is composed of Holy Angels, and we will praise Thee forever. Amen.
Vice-Princess then says: Sisters, let us attend to giving the signs. The first Three signs are then given. One rap, members take seats, and take up the routine of business:
1. Reading minutes.
2. Roll call.
3. Report of committees.
4. Petitions for membership.
5. Petitions for degrees.
6. New business.
8. Closing exercises.
Initiatory Ceremony of the First Degree
When the hour for opening arrives the W. P. takes her station as at other meetings, calls the Temple to order, and opens in due form, or by omission of all ceremony except the password and Chaplain’s duty. After opening, the W. P. will state the object of the meeting, fill all vacancies of absent officers, and state the manner of procedure The Secretary (or her representative), accompanied by the Senor Marshal and Pilot, who shall act as Conductor, Guide and Interlocutor, by order of the W. P., retires to the preparatory room, where the candidates are in waiting. The Secretary approaches and asks the following questions of the candidates:
Secretary: Stranger (or strangers), have you been notified to appear here for initiation into the mysteries of our Order?
Candidate: I have.
Sec.: Do you believe in the existence of a Supreme Being?
Cand.: I do.
Sec.: Have you come prepared financially and otherwise to meet the requirements of our law relative to your initiation?
Cand.: I have.
Here Secretary receives the remaining fees and says:
Sec.: Are you willing to abide by the decision of this Temple should it be proven that you have made false statements regarding your age or general health?
Cand.: I am.
Sec.: You will hold up your right hand and repeat after me: I,…, hereby declare, upon my honor, that I will submit to all the rules, regulations and ceremonies necessary for me to become a member of the S. M. T., binding myself, under all penalties, for any failure thereof. So help me God.
All exclaim: We are witnesses to these obligations.
Sec.: Then let the stranger be fully equipped for the journey, and proceed forward at once before the alarm be given, the guards posted, or the gates closed.
Senior Marshal and Pilot then blindfold the stranger, place a bag or shepherd’s, pouch over her left shoulder and under the right arm, containing a cruse of wine and a loaf of bread, and place a long staff in her left hand and say: "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts: There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand."
Secretary leaves candidate to reflect, and approaches the throne and says: W.P., there is a stranger at the outer door, recommended, praying for admission into the House of the Women.
W.P. says: The worthy are always welcome. Bro. Caleb, let the guards be posted, and see that all is well.
Caleb answers: The guards are posted, and all is well, W.P.
W.P. says: Bro. Caleb, you will then spy around the outer gate, and see from whence came the stranger, and whither she wishes to go.
Caleb passes out, returns somewhat hurriedly, and says, aloud: W.P., I have spied around the outer gate, and find a stranger claiming to be one of the subjects of Her Majesty, Queen Candace of Ethiopia, seeking purification in the House of the Women, that she may worship at Jerusalem.
W.P. says: We all, like sheep, have gone astray. Go thou and bid her (or them) enter in at the straight gate, for he that climbeth over any other the same is a thief and a robber.
Caleb approaches the candidate and says: Stranger, you have orders to enter in at the straight gate. You will therefore remember it is written: "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Candidate is conducted to the door and knocks rapidly.
Joshua (who acts now in Caleb’s place as I.G.K. during this knocking) raises the wicket and speaks aloud: Who dares to interrupt the peace and quietude of this Temple without first applying the key of its mysteries?
Caleb (for candidate) says: A stranger well recommended, and possessing authority from Her Majesty to enter the straight gate that leads to the House of the Women.
Joshua: Present your authority and pass.
Caleb: With my lips have I declared all the judgments of my mouth.
Joshua opens the door and says: All is well.
This is repeated three times.
W. P. sounds her gavel once and says: Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye daughters; give ear to my speech.
V.P. sounds her gavel once, and says: Tremble ye women that are at ease; fear me, ye troubled ones.
Joshua strikes his staff against the floor and says: I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men.
Caleb: Show me the way where light dwellleth.
Chaplain: I am the way, the truth, and the light.
W. P. and members exclaim: And, like a lamb led to the slaughter, He opened not his mouth.
The following is sung during the march: "There is a fountain filled with blood," etc.
We humbly beseech Thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; turn from us all those evils that we most justly have deserved, and grant that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in Thy mercy, and evermore serve Thee in holiness and pureness of living, to Thy honor and glory. Amen, amen, amen.
After prayer, Father Jacob, as the old man is called, rushes up in front of the candidate, and cries in wild and angry tones: Hold! Hold! Hold! one step more and you would have been at the mercy of your enemies. She whom you have here, although in disguise, cannot deceive the experienced eye of Him who has guarded his flock so long from just such wolves. If you but knew her you would fly from her as from the sting of an adder. Ah, she trembles! Look at her; behold she is a witch, and by her cunning devices even these grounds have become enchanted. Away with her; bind her with ropes; place her upon the wild horse of death, and let the wolves tear her remains into atoms. "The wicked shall not live out half their days."
Here the candidate is hurriedly moved from place to place, as if to carry out the above order, when Joshua arrives in time to stop the confusion and save
Joshua: Peace, peace: have mercy! Father Jacob, though you have the eyes of an eagle, and your sight even fathoms the mysteries of the mighty deep, they have for once deceived you. This (or these) stranger(s) is one of the subjects of Her Majesty Queen Candace, of Ethiopia, and has come hither that
she may be purified before the feast.
Jacob, in death-like tones, asks: Have the gates of death been opened unto thee, or hast thou seen the doors of the shadows of death?
Joshua: She has not, but is willing to face even death itself, if so required at your hands, that she may reach her destination.
Father Jacob: Then let her depart, for it is written "They shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against Me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched."
Thunder and a flash of lightning.
During the above conversation the blind is suddenly taken off the candidate, and she is placed on her knees in front of a death scene, either painted or otherwise, with lights all dark except where the scenes are. Father Jacob standing before the candidate describes the scene.
W. P. now sounds her gavel three times, and says: Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem.
The Temple now rises and sings slowly and with understanding the following stanzas:
"Pass me not, oh, gentle Saviour,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others thou art smiling,
Do not pass me by.
CHORUS: Saviour, Saviour, hear my humble cry;
While on others thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.
"Let me at His throne of mercy
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling here in deep contrition,
Help my unbelief."
During the singing of the first verse five ugly figures pass in front of the candidate, stamping their feet and hissing, seeming to be in great distress, with broken lamps in their hands.
Father Jacob says loud and slowly: All that pass by stamp their feet at thee. They hiss and wag their heads: O ye daughters of Jerusalem, all thine enemies have opened their mouths against thee: hiss and gnash their teeth." (Lamentations, xi, 15, 16.)
During the second verse, FIVE HANDSOME FIGURES come with lighted lamps, carrying the Bible,, and, placing it upon the altar, stand there until the obligation is completed.
After singing, the candidate is caused to kneel and take the following obligation: position, fingers interlaced of both hands on top of the head.
I, …, of my own desire, and with a full conception of the foregoing, hereby promise and declare that I will never divulge any part of this my solemn obligation, to any person or persons, directly or indirectly, not entitled to receive them, as I now am. I further promise and declare that I will obey all my superior officers, the Constitution of the Grand Lodge, and National Grand Lodge, and By-Laws of this Temple, or any other Temple of this Order, I may visit or hereafter become a member of. Furthermore, I promise and sincerely declare that I will not assist in or be at the initiation of any candidate who has served a term of penal servitude, or is under the age mentioned in our general laws, or who is known to be guilty of high misdemeanor or gross immoral conduct; nor will I wilfully violate any law, form or ceremony of this Order, nor will I suffer it to be done in my presence. Furthermore, I promise never to absent myself from the regular meetings of this Temple unless forced to do so by sickness or other unavoidable circumstances, without first giving due notice to my Superior officers.
I furthermore promise and declare that I will obey all signs given me by worthy sisters or brothers, such as recognition of distress; and should I hear the word of distress, either day or night, I promise to obey its hail; and if I cannot relieve him or her myself I promise to seek relief. And further, should I violate any part of the foregoing obligation, hold any malice or prejudice against any of my superior officers, male or female, for the execution of these laws upon me, may my arm fall from the shoulder-blade and be broken from the bone, and my name disgraced forever. So help me God.
Candidate holds up hand.
Stranger, you have just passed through a few trying scenes, which it is hoped will be a blessing both to you and this Temple. Our Order is one of love and charity. In order to be a good member you must learn to practice Peace, Honesty, Patience, Temperance, Fidelity, Charity, Justice, Mercy, Purity and Truth.
Lord, I cry unto Thee; make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice; let my prayers be set before Thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity. Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness; and let Him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil. Mine eyes are unto Thee, O God the Lord; in Thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, and the gins of the works of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape. (Psalm cxli)
The Ten Mysteries will now be explained to you.
Candidate is then led to the Chart.
Candidates are seated.
Lecture and explanations of the emblems of the order
The cord near the top of this emblematic Chart, by which the Banner is upheld, is intended to illustrate the cord of love that binds the Order together in all its various branches: both Grand and Subordinate.
In the center of a group of emblems may be seen a beautiful Banner, on which is artistically engraven the Power and Authority guaranteed unto those who hold this Charter or Warrant unforfeited.
On top of the staff that supports the Banner is the shield of Justice, Mercy and Truth, and represents the shield of Protection, that the laws of the land hold over us by the powers guaranteed in our Charter.
Surrounding the Banner are the Ten Mysteries of the U. B. F. and S. M. T., which should be carefully studied, and the knowledge derived therefrom committed to memory, and treasured up in the hearts and minds of all members of the Order. The first of the Ten Divine Mysteries of Attributes is a representation of Peace on Earth. She holds out the olive branch to the world, while in the distance may be seen the faithful dove flying o’er the world, bearing the emblem of peace in its beak, which is intended to demonstrate the fact that if we are peaceful members we will soar high above everything like envy and strife; and this beloved Order of ours will ere long be wafted to every land and country on the globe.
The second mystery, Honor, is represented by a young damsel just budding into womanhood. She seems to be frightened at the old serpent; Error, who cunningly twines himself around the tree that stands in her pathway. He stealthily reaches out his head to intercept her as she passes, that he may draw her into his coils; but, luckily, she sees the danger that awaits her, and suddenly turns aside, and thus foils him in his cunning and evil designs. Although she retreats from him, yet she warns him not to pursue her, by means of the spear she holds in her hand, which she intends to use in case he follows her, in accord with that passage of Scripture which says, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." So may you always do.
Third: Patience stands at the closed door with a calm and serene countenance, staff in hand, pouch over her shoulder; she has been out in the field attending the flocks, which may be seen in the distance. She has now come to receive wages for her services, and finds the door shut; but she has knocked for admission and is willing to patiently wait until the door, is opened, for she has read the Scripture, that says: "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find. knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Be always patient and gentle in your actions.
Fourth: Temperance is the lovely and pious sister who has met an inebriate brother just emerging from a dram shop. She, with her gentle pleadings, has succeeded in causing him to pledge that he will turn from the evils of intemperance, and in future drink from the fountain of pure water, that may be seen in the distance. Follow his example.
Fifth: Fidelity, represented by the two spies, Caleb and Joshua, the faithful and true ones of the Children of Israel. Though others that have gone before to view the promised land, and returned with false reports, they, on account of their fidelity, brought in a true report, laden with rich fruit, saying: "We will be fully able to go up and possess the land that the Lord our God has given us." Then let us be faithful, that we may also go up and possess that heavenly Canaan.
Sixth: Charity, represented by an old and superannuated Past Master, who has fallen by the wayside, unable to provide for himself. He is hungry and thirsty, but behold a young pilgrim sister finds him in distress, and in accord with the obligation she has taken, flies to his relief with such nourishment as she thinks will be for his good. Let this teach you to always be ready to help the needy and distressed, and more especially the brothers and sisters of this Order when you find them worthy.
Seventh: Justice holds her scales poised. She more particularly addresses herself to the officers who enforce the laws of our different branches. They must always see that justice is done, let the result be as it may. She is to be blind in order that her chastising or protecting hand may fall on friends or enemies as their conduct merits. Her sword signifies that she will punish the guilty and shield the innocent from harm and danger. Be ye like her.
Eight: Mercy, with her arms opened out, and by her mild and lovely countenance, seems to say she will be merciful to all who appeal to her for mercy. From her hands she showers down mercy on all who place themselves under her protection, and says to them: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
Ninth: Purity, an innocent child and lamb playing together; they are on friendly terms. This should teach us ever to keep evil thoughts from our minds, and especially of true members of this Order, always try to love and regard them with and keep in a pure heart.
Tenth, and last, is Truth, who holds in one hand the mirror that reflects back truth on everything that passes before it. With her right hand on the Holy Bible she points out the true path that will lead us to that "haven of rest where tears never flow;" "where the wicked will cease to trouble and our weary will be at rest," when we are done with the turmoils of this life.
This aged friend, Father Jacob pointing to Father Jacob represents the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, whose fortunes were varied, but "trusted in God."
His long gray locks should be a lesson to you. Though your frame be bent with age and decay, you should let your last days be your ‘brightest and best."
When you fail in life’s warfare to wield the weapons, Peace, Honor, Patience, Temperance, Fidelity, Charity, Justice, Mercy, Purity and Truth, the "Ten Mysteries" of the Order that are represented on this chart, you will be caused to go forth and look upon the carcasses of dead men, who transgressed the law of God, where the worm dieth not, neither is the fire quenched.
Therefore, in order that you may have the assistance of others, I will instruct you in the signs, grips, hails, and tokens of the Order.
Should you wish to visit this or any other Temple, upon reaching the outer door you will shake the door easy. If the O.G.K. is there, he will raise the wicket, and you will whisper the quarterly pass in his ear and pass on inside of the ante-room, and approach the inner door and rap once; the I.G.K., or Bro. Caleb, will answer by one rap; you will give the degree word and pass in. Advance to the triangle and address the W.P., who sits there, with the salutation sign. Then you will be seated.
Should you forget the pass, you will send in your name, and you will be admitted as long as you are in a financial condition.
Signs and Tokens
The sign by which we recognize is given thus: Close the fingers of the right hand, except the thumb and forefinger, place the forefinger across the lips, pointing to the left eye, which means: "With my lips have I declared all the judgment of Thy mouth."
Clasp both hands in front of the breast and let them fall to the sides.
Sign of Distress
Catch the right arm with the left hand half way between elbow and wrist; let the wrist fall suddenly as though broken, then let both hands fall to the sides.
Raise the right hand to the heart, say: "How?", then place the end of the forefinger of the right hand under the right eye, and say:"Can I help thee?"
Let the hand fall to the side. Brothers answer, same motions, but say: "O king, live forever."
On entering the Temple the handkerchief must be kept in the bosom or belt of dress, handy for placing the hand on it. In the following manner salute: Place the hand on and catch hold of the handkerchief. Carry it down to the right side. Raise it to the heart and bow. Straighten the body up. Raise the right hand as high as the head, with the forefinger pointing up. Let the hand fall to the side, and at the same time say: "Incline my heart to keep Thy statutes always, even unto the end. Amen." (Suiting the motion to the words.)
Place the right hand on the forehead and say; "We will ever remember." Bring down the hand to the heart and say: "And cherish them in our hearts." Let the hand fall to the side. (Repeat three times.)
For State Grand Officers, strike the breast with the right hand with force, and let fall to the side with. equal force. (Repeat three times.)
Help, my Lord, O King!
How can I help thee?
O King, live forever!
Press the forefinger of the right hand on the joint that joins the wrist and hand, and press twice separately.
Test Words of the First Degree
Approach and say: Are you a Sister of the Mysterious Ten?
Ans.: I have always been so received.
Ques.: Where were you prepared to be made a Sister of the Mysterious Ten?
Ans.: At the entrance of the Temple.
Ques.: How were you prepared?
Ans.: With a cruse of wine and a loaf of bread.
Ques.: From whence came you and whither do you go?
Ans.: From Egypt, and journeying towards Canaan.
Ques.: What there to receive?
Ans.: The laws and customs of our fathers.
M.W.P.: This being the case I will speed you on your journey.
Both.: Then all is well.
W.P. gives one rap; Bro. Joshua rises.
Bro. Joshua: Where is our sister? She must be protected.
B.J.: She is under the watchful care of a brother and has the protection of the Order.
Two raps and the V.P. rises.
W.P.: W.V.P., what is the hour?
V.P.: The hour that we should cease from labor has arrived.
W.P.: Worthy Secretary, what are the receipts of the evening?
W.S.: The receipts of the evening, Most Worthy Princess, are ... The Treasurer has received the same and receipted therefor.
W.P.: Bro. Joshua, what is the last duty required of you?
Bro. J.: To see that the Temple is closed in duly form.
W.P.: Then you will at once inform the Gate-keepers that the business of this Temple is complete, that they may now assist us in the closing signs.
Joshua reports to Gate-keepers, returns in company with them, and salutes the W.P.
W.P. gives one rap and says: Arise, Sr. Marshal. One rap, arise; then members all arise and give signs of degrees in which the Temple is open, with honors and grave signs.
W.C. pronounces the benediction: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be with us all evermore. Amen, amen, amen.
Members exclaim: All is well, all is well, amen.