Acacia Fraternity
Initiation Ritual


Opening Ceremony
Venerable Dean: Brethren, having satisfied myself that all present are members of Acacia, the … Chapter will be in order. We are again assembled to consider the interests and promote the welfare of Acacia and to transact such business as may regularly come before us. May all that we do be done for the good of our Chapter and the benefit of our cherished Fraternity.
Brother Steward, *, Steward rises, summon the Sentinel.
The Steward knocks four times on the outside door. The Sentinel responds with four knocks, opens the door, and says: Brother sentinel, the Venerable Dean commands your presence within the chapter hall.
The Sentinel enters, closes door and stands at attention beside it.
Venerable Dean: Brother Sentinel, we are about to open the … Chapter for the transaction of such business as may regularly come before it. I command you, therefore, to allow no one to enter our hall without first having proved to you, in accordance with our Ritual, that he is a member of Acacia and entitled to admission. You have a most responsible position. Guard us faithfully.
Venerable Dean gives *. Sentinel retires and Steward takes his seat. The Venerable Dean gives * * and the Chaplain arises.
Venerable Dean: Brother Chaplain, arrange the altar.
Chaplain arranges the altar, opening the Bible to Proverbs, Chapter 4 and then takes his position at the apex of the altar, facing the Venerable Dean and gives due guard. The Venerable Dean then gives * * of the gavel and the Chaplain returns to his station and is seated. The Venerable Dean * * *, all members excepting himself and the Sentinel outside the door take position on the triangle giving the due guard of Acacia. The Venerable Dean then approaches the triangle. As he reaches it he says:
Venerable Dean: Brethren, why have we bound ourselves together in this brotherhood?
The Venerable Dean and the Brethren repeat in unison while under the due guard of Acacia:
All the Brethren: To strengthen the ties of friendship one with another, to prepare ourselves as educated men to take a more active part and have greater influence in the affairs of the community in which we may reside; above all to seek the Truth, and knowing it, to give Light to those with whom we may be associated as we travel along life’s pathway.
Venerable Dean: May you ever keep these principles in mind and so live that you may bring credit to yourselves as individuals and honour to our fraternity.
Venerable Dean returns to his station, * * * to seat members.
Venerable Dean: I now declare the … Chapter of Acacia regularly opened. Brethren, give your attention to the roll call.
Pledging Ceremony
Venerable Dean, at his seat, gives * * *, Chapter stands: Brethren , why have we bound ourselves together in this brotherhood?
Chapter in unison: To strengthen the ties of friendship, one with another; to prepare ourselves as educated men to take a more active part and to have a greater influence in the affairs of the community in which we may reside; and, above all, to seek the truth and, knowing it, to give light to those with whom we may be associated as we travel along life’s pathway.
Chaplain: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, be with this Chapter of Acacia as we perform the ceremonials of this hour. Grant that these candidates tonight may bring credit to our Fraternity and form again in this room to become our brothers. Amen.
Venerable Dean, *, Chapter sits: Brother Secretary, call the roll.
Secretary calls roll.
At this point the pledges who have been previously formally pledged and are to be initiated during the current semester are conducted into the hall. They sit outside the triangle as observers and not as participants. Therefore they are required to maintain silence. Such proceeding depends upon the rush and initiation proceedings of the various chapters.
Venerable Dean: Brother Senior Steward * *, present the candidates for formal pledging.
Steward and any necessary assistants leave and conduct the candidates hoodwinked into the Chapter Hall. They are lined up in single file on the hypothenuse of the triangle facing inward. When all are in place…
Senior Steward: Your order have been obeyed, Venerable Dean (no due guard.)
Venerable Dean goes to the ‘speaker’s position: Gentlemen, do you desire to become a member of Acacia?
Candidate(s): I do.
Venerable Dean: Acacia is an organization of college men that seeks to strengthen the friendship of all who have entered into its fellowship. It endeavors to develop in its members fundamental principles of life and action and to keep ever before them the ideals of morality and truth. It tries to do its parts in preparing them as educated men to take more active part and to have a greater influence in the life of the community in which they may reside for, as a fraternity, it believes that “Unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” With this understanding of the objectives of Acacia, is it still your desire to become one of its members by uniting with the … Chapter?
Candidate(s): It is.
Venerable Dean: Brother Senior Steward, cause the candidates to kneel upon one knee. Place the right hand of one of the candidates on top of the Bible and the hands of the rest upon his shoulders, or upon the shoulder of the man adjacent to him that in an unbroken line to the Bible they may take upon themselves the obligation of Formal Pledging. Done. The Bible is closed.
Senior Steward: Your orders have been obeyed, Venerable Dean (no due guard).
Venerable Dean: Do you declare, upon your honor, that insofar as you know, you are able to fulfil all the prerequisites fro membership in Acacia?
Candidate(s): I do.
Venerable Dean: Do you declare, upon your honor, that no unworthy motive prompts you to seek membership in this Fraternity?
Candidate(s): I do.
Venerable Dean: Do you promise, upon your honor, that if admitted to membership in this Chapter and in this National Fraternity of which it forms a part, you will endeavour so to live as to bring credit to them?
Candidate(s): I do.
Venerable Dean: Do you declare, upon your honor, that, pending your initiation into Acacia, you will not pledge yourself to any other similar organization?
Candidate(s): I do.
Venerable Dean: Do you declare, upon your honor, that, if admitted to membership in this Fraternity, you will live in its chapter house, unless excused from such residence for good and sufficient reasons?
Candidate(s): I do.
Venerable Dean: Do you declare, upon your honor, that, if during the course of the initiation ceremony to follow, you find yourself unable to continue for any reason, you will quietly retire and never reveal by word or sign anything you may have heard or seen during your presence among us?
Candidate(s): I do.
Venerable Dean: Do you declare, upon your honor, that as long as you shall be connected with the Acacia Fraternity in any relationship, you will faithfully observe all the rules and regulations adopted by the national organization or by the local chapter of its conduct?
Candidate(s): I do.
Venerable Dean: Having given your assent to these preliminary obligations you may rise. Brother Senior Steward, remove the hoodwinks. Done. Senior Steward receives the Bible.
Your Fraternity Father will now present you with your pledge pin, your pledge manual, and your pledge identification card. Done. Cards have been filled out in advance. V.D. and Fraternity Fathers return to seat.
Junior Dean, goes to speaker’s position: The pledge pin of the Acacia fraternity is a badge of honor and commitment. It signifies that the fraternity has accepted you as a potential Acacian and that you have undertaken to prepare yourself for the responsibilities and privileges of membership.
The pledge pin is a 3 by 4 by 5 right angled triangle of the first quadrant inscribed within a circle, and has significance which you may profitably ponder and make use of in building your life.
The circle is a figure universally accepted as symbolizing the ideal, the perfect, the complete, the infinite, the eternal, even Diety. The triangle which is formed by joining three points of the circle represents you as a man, because you would not be a living human being except you have three points in common with infinity, eternity, Diety.
These three points are your physical origin, your cultural heritage and your spiritual destiny.
Man, because of his very imperfect nature, can never hope to be represented by more than a three-sided figure in comparison with the circle, a figure with the infinite sides, which represents absolute perfection. It will be your duty as pledges therefore, to make that lowly three-sided figure which represents you as beautiful as possible. You must make your life shine as if studded with pearl and garnets. You must seek the truth and give the light.
The time will come when you will surrender your pledge pin, but let the philosophy which it represents be an everlasting guide to you, striving each day to make your life better.
You will now sign the roll of the …. year fall/spring class. J.D. takes seat.
The pledges are now led individually to sign the roll on the table. When they are returned to the line, they begin forming a line parallel to the altitude. They do not return to the hypothenuse.
After signing the roll:
Venerable Dean, goes to speaker’s corner: As you may have noticed , at the beginning of this ceremonial a right triangle, the emblem of the Acacia National Fraternity, was formed in this hall. The Active Chapter composed the base and altitude, and each of you in an unbroken line composed the hypothenuse. The triangle  was complete. Now having been presented with your pledge pin and having signed the roll, you are no longer a part of the triangle. Only after proving yourself worthy by your pre-initiation responsibilities and commitments can you once again form yourselves on the vital hypothenuse, thus once more completing the triangle.
The responsibility for this remains entirely with you. The Active Chapter is your host and challenger. Hear and heed the words of Pythagoras, your guide through pledged life, as read by your Senior Dean, Brother ….
V.D. takes seat.
Pledge Trainer, Senior Dean goes to speaker’s position and reads on pages 4-9 in the pledge manual, then returns to his seat.
Venerable Dean goes to speaker’s position: Thus you see some of what is to be expected of you. I trust that this date may mark for you the beginning of strong ties in the fellowship of Acacia. Returns to his seat, but remains standing.
As there is no further business to come before us at this time, I declare … Chapter adjourned. * * * * *.
Ceremony of Initiation
First Degree
The first degree of our initiation is an almost perfect psychological problem. In it the candidate runs a whole gamut of emotions from surprise to shock; from shock to frustration; from frustration to defeat and despair; grief and humility. And finally ending in elation and the deep satisfaction of acceptance by the brothers.
The solution of the test is no logical test of acceptance. But the shock of its sudden presentation, the limited time available and swift march of events leave no time for the candidate to think clearly on this. The compulsion to meet the test and his utter concentration on the possibility of failure swep aside all logic. All is heightened by the urgency of the brothers in wanting him to succeed as their simulated tenseness is communicated to him.
While our Ritual provides the lines and general plan, in this degree as in no other, provision is made for a wide latitude of language and the opportunity of demonstrating real acting ability.
It is extremely important that the candidate be in the proper frame of mind as he approaches this experience. Keep in mind that he has already passed his preliminary examination and while he is approaching his first appearance with some trepidation and nervousness, he still has the feeling that he is “in” and all that is necessary is for him to “steel” himself to the coming events and all will be well. This feeling should not be discouraged. In fact the candidate should be built up to the point where he glows from the warm words of praise spoken to him. This can be accomplished by allowing him to hear the preliminary remarks made by his sponsor as he stands outside the door waiting admission. No slightest remark should be made against him ─ only the highest praise.
Having thus been built up, his sense of failure will be all the more acute. Not only will he be deeply crushed by his own failure, but there will be the gnawing sense of having failed those who thought so highly of him.
To a large degree, the effectiveness of this degree will be dependent on the imagination and mobility of the Venerable Dean. His approach and technique can and should vary with the temperament and disposition of the candidate. He should show firmness in upholding the Laws of the Fraternity, compassion at failure, confusion as to what to do in such an unexpected situation as failure. He should direct the deliberations of the brothers in deciding what to do, making sure that the candidate be placed outside the door in close proximity so that he can hear the debate. And finally when the candidate is readmitted to make his statement, he should show deep disappointment of both himself and the Chapter at the tragic turn of circumstances. And then, when the candidate has had his say, approach him with dignity and fraternal affection and convey the good news that he has not, after all, failed.
Venerable Dean: The next order of business is the initiation of new members. Brother Steward, determine through the Sentinel whether any candidates are now in waiting.
Knocks once with the gavel to bring the Steward to his feet. Steward then goes to the door and gives four distinct knocks. The Sentinel replies with four knocks. The Steward opens the door, makes the inquiry, closes the door, knocks once upon it, and when the Sentinel replies with one knock, says:
Steward: Your instructions have been obeyed, Venerable Dean. Candidate … awaits the pleasure of the Chapter.
Venerable Dean, *, Steward sits: Brethren, Candidate …, who has been regularly elected to membership in this Chapter, has been duly pledged, and is now in the ante-room, desires to be initiated into the secrets of our Fraternity. Will any brother present act as sponsor for this candidate?
At this point a predetermined brother proceeds not only to sponsor him, but him most highly for his fine qualities, and his future contribution to the Chapter.
NOTE: The Sentinel should leave the door ajar so that the candidate awaiting admittance can clearly hear the things said about him.
Venerable Dean: Thank you …. However, should any member wish to object the initiation of this candidate, opportunity is now given him to do so. Remember , we are brothers and must not allow any element and must not allow any element of discord to enter our ranks. Pause. As I hear no objection, we will proceed. *.
Brother Steward, present the candidate.
Steward gives four knocks, then leaves the hall when the Sentinel answers with four knocks. On his return with the candidate, the candidate is instructed to knock on the door four times.
Venerable Dean: Brother Chaplain, go to the preparation room and ascertain the cause of the alarm. * *, Chaplain stands.
Chaplain goes to door, * * * *, throws door open: I am ordered by the Venerable Dean to ascertain the cause of the alarm at this door.
Steward: The alarm was given by Candidate …, who has been regularly elected to membership in this Chapter, has been duly pledged, and now presents himself for initiation.
Chaplain, to the candidate: Mr. …, are you willing to conform the customs of this Fraternity by assuming its obligations and submitting yourself to initiation?
Candidate: I am.
Chaplain: Brother Steward, conduct the candidate within the Chapter hall.
When the Steward brings the candidate inside the hall, he gives him to the Chaplain, and resumes his station. The Chaplain says to the candidate:
Chaplain: My friend, the Acacia Fraternity, into whose membership you seek admission, is, as you have been informed, an organization of college men engaged in the search of knowledge. Knowledge, hoodwink removed however, is of no value, unless it can be used when occasion demands. As he speaks they move slowly toward the chart on the wall or easel. I direct your attention to the chart before you. It represents the forty-seventh problem of Euclid with which you, as a student, are of course familiar. As the symbolism of our Fraternity is based upon this famous proposition, it is necessary, as a preliminary to further proceedings, that you state and prove this theorem geometrically to the satisfaction of those who hope to make your brethren.
The Chaplain hands a pointer to the candidate and returns to his station leaving the candidate standing before the chart. As he begins the demonstration, or hesitates unduly the Venerable Dean interrupts.
Venerable Dean: Just a moment, Mr. …, before you begin your demonstration, perhaps you ought to know that our Ritual says about this proposition. Brother Secretary, will you please read the article regarding to the demonstration?
Secretary: Article IX, Section 14, Clause 5: If any candidate fails to prove the forty-seventh problem of Euclid within three minutes the ceremony of initiation shall cease and he shall immediately be conducted from the hall of Acacia.
Venerable Dean: Thank you, Brother Secretary. Now, Mr. …, you may proceed. Brother Treasurer, will you please act as timekeeper?
The timekeeper will make frequent reports on the lapse of time. After the expiration of the time, if the candidate has solved the problem, the Venerable Dean says:
Venerable Dean: Because so many men have failed to demonstrate this problem to the satisfaction of the brethren, I congratulate you upon your success. This test is designed to impress an important lesson. We now have a common tie in this famous proposition. If you successfully complete the remaining degrees of our initiation ceremonies, you will be rewarded by even greater lessons of our Fraternity.
The Chapter adds a welcome as indicated below.
Venerable Dean, as is likely, the candidate fails, speaking informally, using first name: …, this is a terrible situation. You have failed this important test, however, you have heard the provisions in our National Ritual. Removes pledge pin from candidate’s coat or sweater. I have no alternative but to ask the Steward to conduct you from the Hall of Acacia.
Steward conducts the candidate to the ante-room, leaving the door slightly ajar in order that the candidate can hear the sharp debate which follows; some members arguing for the ability of the man and his worth, others pleading to proceed and denounce him. At length a motion prevails that the candidate be permitted to return and make his own statement. The Chaplain is sent for him and when he enters the Venerable Dean says:
Venerable Dean, informally: Since you have failed this test the Chapter has voted to permit you to make a statement. Before you leave, …, wouldn’t you like to say something to the brothers?
Candidate is allowed to express his feeling. At an appropriate moment the Venerable Dean intervenes with:
Venerable Dean: …, I am sorry. You have heard the rules laid down in our Ritual. It is my duty to remind you of the oath you took upon pledging our Chapter, that if during the course of the initiation ceremony you found yourself unable for any reason to continue, that you would quietly retire and never reveal by word or sign anything you may have heard or seen during your presence among us. Do you recall this oath?
Candidate: Yes.
Venerable Dean, pausing slightly, moves up to candidate with a friendly gesture of putting his arm about the shoulders of the candidate: …, this test was not designed to bring ridicule and embarrassment upon you, but to impress upon you an important lesson which our Fraternity teaches.
We all have a common tie in the 47th problem of Euclid and in the future we want you to know that you are welcome at our chapter house. And whenever you meet an Acacian on the street or campus ─ don’t just pass by him or try to avoid him, but clasp his hands and call him BROTHER.
This should provide a real climax with congratulations from the Brothers. The candidate is then led out of the Chapter Hall.
Ceremony of Initiation
Second Degree
Dress of Candidate: Have candidate remove all his clothing and put on suit of rather heavy white pajamas, with trousers cut off at knees. Sandals. Candidate must be hoodwinked. A pouch suspended by cords that can be carried over the shoulder of the candidate should be provided and in it his credentials to King Amasis.
Venerable Dean: …, you know the foundations on which we, as a Fraternity, seek to build are Truth and Light. Not all the Truth has yet been revealed to mankind. Ignorance and darkness still reign in many places. We seek to know the Truth so that, knowing it, we may be able to give Light to those with whom we may be associated as we travel along life’s pathway.
The proble, which was presented to you for solution is one which was used by the learned Greek, Pythagoras, a citizen of Samos , who made every geometrical theorem a secret. It was his rule not to admit anyone to a knowledge of them until they had first undergone a five year’s silence under his own instruction. Tradition states that when he discovered this particular theorem, he exclaimed in the joy of his heart, “ Eureka ,” signifying, “I have found it.” In the search fro Truth he is said to have travelled the world over, gaining the greatest insight from his study in Egypt, where from time immemorial the greatest and wisest of the learned men had lived and taught. Now, in the character of Pythagoras, YOU are to travel, as from Samos , in YOUR search fro Truth. Keep ever in mind your privileges and duties as a student. Like Pythagoras, so strive to learn the Truth and to make it a part of your life, that at any time when called upon, you, as an educated man, may be able to impart it to others who seek from you the Light.
You are now prepared to go forth upon a long and toilsome journey as he did. At its end may you have found the Light coming to you from Morality, Wisdom and Truth. In order that you may make the journey in safety. I present you with this letter to my friend, King Amasis of Egypt , with this triangle, and with this set of rules by which you are to be governed. Hold fast to them, as they may prove important to you. Having actually placed these items in the candidate’s hand, aid him in placing them in th bag about his neck.
Go! And may success attend your undertaking.
Venerable Dean leaves, Steward approaches the candidate and guides him around the room.
Steward: We have now passed the inner gate of Samos .
Guard: Who comes here?
Steward: Pythagoras, a citizen of Samos , bearing a letter and other credentials from King Polycrates to Amasis, King of Egypt.
Guard: Present them! Guard examines the credentials, returning them. Right! Pass on!
Steward, after conducting the candidate around the triangle four times: We have now passed the outer gate of Samos .
Outer Guard: Who comes here?
Steward: Pythagoras, a citizen of Samos , bearing a letter and other credentials from King Polycrates to Amasis, King of Egypt.
Guard: Present them! Examines the credentials, returning them. Pass on!
Steward, after two rounds of the triangle: What fortune! Here is a vessel just about to weigh anchor. Perhaps it is bound for Egypt and we may secure passage upon it. Hailing captain: Hail Captain, is this your fair ship?
Captain, from some distance: It is.
Steward: Where are you bound?
Captain: Egypt .
Steward, aside to candidate: The very place we wish to reach. To captain: How soon do you sail?
Captain: Ere Phoebus reaches the west.
Steward: Will you take us a passengers?
Captain: No, I may not take you with me.
Steward: But we have King Polycrates’ pass and other credentials too. Presents them.
Captain closely examines them and returns them: These credentials are satisfactory e entrance of any foreigner into Egypt , because many Persian, Greek, and Carthaginian spies have been detected in sacred places and also in military strongholds of the country. It would do you no good to embark, since you would not be allowed to land at the end of the voyage.
Steward: But you see that we go as friends of King Polycrates. We have his pass and a special letter. We are willing to pay you well.
Offers money, but Captain refuses.
Captain: Impossible.
Steward, pauses and moralizes the candidate: There are times in life when neither special letters of recommendation nor money avail. Pause. It is particularly so in the search for Truth. One cannot buy Truth. It must be obtained after toilsome effort on our part. Pause. I suppose that we shall have to give up our idea of going to Egypt . Pause. And yet, that is the place where the wise men are most famed, Long pause. Eureka ! I have found a awy. Egypt is the only place where the secret of preserving the human body after death is known. On this account the bodies of many eminent men are sent to that country for embalmment, being first deprived of their viscera and then swathed in medicated bandages to prevent decomposition. I have no doubt that the Captain has some of these bodies on board now. Addressing the captain: Captain, are you carrying mummies on this voyage?
Captain: I am.
Steward: Good. To the candidate: If you will submit yourself to be disguised as a partially embalmed mummy I am confident that we can secure your admission to Egypt as a mummy. Once over the border line, you need have no fear of further molestation. This is your only hope of obtaining your long-cherished desire of gaining entrance to Egypt and sitting at the feet of her scholars and philosophers. What do you say? Are you willing to be disguised as a mummy?
The affirmative answer being given, the candidate is prepared for shipment and put on board the vessel. Some conversation regarding mummification should take place by those preparing the candidate. It must be remembered that the spirit of Acacia and its Laws forbid the use of chemicals, or any substance of a harmful or disagreeable nature on the person of the candidate. Such illegal additions destroy its dignity and impart the effectiveness of this Ritual.
Steward, walking near the plank upon which Pythagoras is now strapped: After mummification Pythagoras was put on board and in due time the vessel started upon its voyage across the sea. Pause. Threading its way among the many small islands of the Aegean , the ship had favourable weather for several days and all went well. It passed near another vessel, and the captain hailed it.
Captain: Ship ahoy! What ship is that?
Answer, as if from a distance: The Argos . Who are you?
Captain: The Memnom from Samos . Whence came you and whither bound?
Answer: From Sidon to Crete . With what are you laden?
Captain: Mummies and olives. What is your cargo?
Answer: Slaves.
Captain: Have the Gods favored you?
Answer: Aye! With fair and friendly winds. Have they smiled upon you?
Captain: So far so good.
Steward, continuing: When within a day’s sail of Egypt a careless and clumsy helmsmen accidently crossed the tiller ropes. This inauspicious omen aroused the anger of Neptune , leading him to send a great storm to oppress the ship. For a time is was hoped that the staunch vessel would weather the gale, but the combined efforts of the ship’s company at the sweeps availed nothing. The ship was hurled with great violence upon the rocks and Pythagoras was thrown overboard, tossed upon the shore and nearly buried in the wreckage.
During this accounting by the Steward, who should speak loud, clear, and distinct for the benefit of the candidate, the latter is carried slowly around the hall. The various events described in the voyage are illustrated by the brethren who are handling the mummy, the gentle seas, the rough winds, the racking of the vessel, the pitching of Pythagoras overboard, the wreck of the vessel and the heaping up of debris upon the mummified candidate. After the final smash on the shore there should be several minutes of absolute silence. Then two Egyptian students appear on the scene discussing together the lessons of the day as they walk slowly along the shore.
Menes: Have you committed to memory the passage told to learn for today?
Rameses: I think so. Listen:
“The hour-glass is an emblem of human life. 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 device ─ how they flow almost imperceptibly; and yet, to our surprise, in the 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 honors thick upon him, the next day comes a frost which nips the shoot; and even when he thinks his greatness is still ripening, he falls, like autumn leaves, to enrich our mother earth.”
Menes: Good. You have learned it exactly. But tell me, Rameses, how you can reconcile that thought of the shortness of human life with the idea of Immortality which some of our teachers discuss? Only yesterday I heard one of them talking about it, using the Acacia as a fit emblem of the everlasting. And yet, why discuss the everlasting when even now the market place is filled with tales of disaster in which a good ship was wrecked just off this coast and all of its crew drowned?
Rameses: Was the ship a total loss, Menes?
Menes: So it was reported in the market.
Rameses: The sea is still troubled, and there appears to be much wreckage along the shore.
Menes: Let us look among the rocks to see what we can find.
Rameses: Agreed! They near the mummy and partially uncover the debris, the he exclaims: By the holy scarabeus! There is a mummy. Let us run and alarm the high priest.
Menes: No! Let’s look at it. See! It is imperfectly wrapped.
Rameses: It looks like the clumsy work of some of those infidel Greeks.
Menes: It has more the appearance of a living man. Let’s examine more closely. They handle the body, loosen the bandages and examine the abdomen. This is no mummy, but a living man! We must free him from this wrappings!
Rameses: Agreed!
They stand plank on end and unwrap candidate with ad lib conversation while doing so. Then Menes asks:
Menes: Who are you? Whence came you? Why do you appear in such a plight? Tell us, for we are friends.
Steward, speaking for Pythagoras: I am Pythagoras from Samos , a student. For a long time, I have desired to continue my education in the schools of Egypt and to sit at the feet of her great teachers. I have letters and other credentials from King Polycrates to Amasis, King of Egypt. Because of the edict against foreigners, I was unable to secure passage in any vessel coming to this country and finally resorted to this stratagem with the hope of attaining my long-cherished desire. But the gods were unfavourable. We met tempestuous seas, the ship was wrecked, and only by the greatest fortune have I escape with my life. Take me, I beg of you, to the capital of the land that I may present my letters to the king.
Rameses: This indeed is Egypt . But the capital is far away across the desert sands. The way thither is beset with many dangers. There are pitfalls and poisonous asps. Despite the king’s edict and the dangers which we may risk by aiding you, we will conduct you to the gate of the capital.
They conduct the candidate across the hot sands and after some walking both shout in unison:
Rameses & Menes: Beware! The asp!
The asp then bites Pythagoras who is quickly dropped to the ground by the two students.
Menes: O Rameses, quick! He is badly bitten! We must get the poison out of the wound or he will die!
Suction pump used.
Rameses: Give him this to drink. It will stimulate his heart.
They administer the stimulant.
Menes: The effect is good. See … he recovers.
They stand Pythagoras up again on his feet.
Rameses: You are fortunate, Pythagoras! That was a narrow escape from a horrible death! But we must resume our journey now.
They walk him to the sight of Memphis .
Rameses: Yonder is the outer gate of Memphis . We dare not enter the city. The rest of the journey you must take alone, but, having the letter to King Amasis and the other credentials you need have no fear. Go! And may success attend your undertaking.
They go away. The Steward takes Pythagoras and moves on when suddenly an officer and several men rush upon and rudely seize Pythagoras, bind his hands behind his back, and take him to King Amasis.
King Amasis: Officer of the guard, what means this disturbance?
Officer: Most illustrious King Amasis, as we were at our posts of duty on the outer wall, guarding the approaches to Memphis , we saw three persons crossing the desert sands. As they drew near the gate, two of the strangers suddenly turned back, leaving the third, a Greek, alone. Recalling your edict against foreigners, and fearing lest he be another of the spies who have caused so much disturbance of late, we rushed upon him, bound him, and have brought him before you.
King Amasis: Well done, good and faithful servant.
To Pythagoras: Who are you? Whence came you? What do you seek here?
Steward: I am Pythagoras, a citizen of Samos , bearing a letter and other credentials from King Polycrates.
King Amasis: Present them.
The guards search out the credentials and present them to the King, leaving Pythagoras still bound, after he has paused as though examining them, he says:
King Amasis: These are satisfactory. King Polycrates is my friend. I know his writing and recognize the seal of his signet ring. Loose the bonds. Pause. But how came you hither at this time? How did you pass my guards, who have been instructed to permit no foreigners to land in Egypt ?
Steward: O King, I am a student. I have completed the training given in our institutions at home. I have long desired to continue my search for Truth in the schools of Egypt and to sit at the feet of her great philosophers and teachers. After great hardships, I have made my way hither. I am no spy. I am an earnest seeker after Truth. Grant me, O King, the privilege of studying in the schools of Egypt and of sitting at the feet of her famous teachers.
King Amasis: Your story appeals to be, Pythagoras. Your apparent zeal for learning marks you as a proper object for the peculiar favour which you ask.
Your determination thus far is to be commended and with your continued efforts should be very beneficial to you throughout your lifetime. The principles and ideals of our teachings will be continued later.
Pythagoras is led from the room.
Ceremony of Initiation
Third Degree

In this degree the Venerable Dean, Senior Dean, Junior Dean and Chaplain each appear in the approved robes of their offices. The Venerable Dean is seated in the center of an appropriate size table in front of the altar and flanked by the other above mentioned officers. The right angled triangle is outlined on the floor of the chapter room; the altar is in place fully equipped; and to one side of the hall is a desk, upon it the chapter roll book, pen and ink (black india) ready for use. A sufficient number of chairs should be provided so that the candidates are prepared, preferably in formal dress and under the hoodwink.
The effectiveness of the ceremony will be greatly enhanced if all light can be excluded from the hall except that which comes from the burning tapers on the altar.
The Ceremony
When the candidates have been properly prepared by the Steward he will give four knocks on the outer door as a warning signal. When these have been answered from within by the Chaplain, the Steward enters with the candidates, conducting them to a point in the hall opposite to and facing the Venerable Dean.
Venerable Dean: My friends, you are again privileged to stand within the portals of the Acacia Fraternity Hall. This Fraternity aims to assist those who are striving for a better and more useful existence in this world. You have already travelled far in the search for Truth. Before proceeding further you will follow the example of the wise men of all ages and seek help from the Unseen and External God. You will kneel where you are for the benefit of prayer.
He gives three knocks of the gavel calling the brothers to their feet in silent attention. The Chaplain approaches the altar, kneels in front of it facing the Venerable Dean.
Chaplain (this is a suggested prayer: Let us pray. Our Father, we become before Thee at this hour seeking Thy blessings upon this Chapter of Acacia. We have established our Brotherhood on Thy great commandments, and Thy admonitions to love one another, and to do good to others, as we would have them do unto us. As we go beyond this hour of solemn allegiance and obligation, enrich us with Thy goodness. Strengthen us with Thy power. Entreat us to express Thy wisdom. Help us reflect Thy love. May we ever be mindful of our responsibilities in obedience to Thy Truth.  We thank Thee for Thy omnipotent care, and the blessed unity of the brotherhood that surrounds us. We especially ask Thy blessing on these who are about to become a part of our brotherhood. May they prove worthy of the confidence imposed in them; and may we be endowed to convey to them the true meaning of brotherhood. And may all of us be ever watchful that we be worthy to be called ‘Thy Sons.’ Amen.
Venerable Dean, knocks once to seat brethren: Arise. Pause. If admitted to its councils, do you promise to cherish the ideals of Acacia by living them during your active student days and all the rest of your life?
Candidates: I do.
Venerable Dean: Are you still willing to assume its obligations with the understanding that they contain nothing inconsistent with the duty you owe your neighbour, your country, and your God?
Candidates: I am.
Venerable Dean: Brother Steward, conduct the candidates to our altar and caus them to kneel on both knees, with both hands resting upon the Holy Bible and our right-angled triangle; that they may take upon themselves the solemn oath and obligation of Acacia.
Candidates are duly conducted to the altar. It is suggested that in a group initiation, the president of the pledge class or some one individual place his hands on the Bible. All the other candidates will kneel around him, each with his right hand placed on the left shoulder of another candidate, thus completing a chain.
Steward: Your orders have been obeyed, Venerable Dean.
Venerable Dean knocks three times calling the brothers to rise and to take their places in the form of a right triangle around the candidates. All are under the due guard of the Fraternity.
Venerable Dean, approaches the altar: My friends, having been placed in proper form to receive the obligation of Acacia, you will say, I, give your name in full, and repeat after me:
I, … pause, before my God and these brothers as witnesses pause do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear pause
That to the best of my knowledge pause I have satisfied all of the prerequisites pause to membership in Acacia pause and now of my own free will and accord pause I assume all of its obligations pause for so long as I live pause without equivocation pause mental reservation pause or secret evasion whatsoever.
That I will recognize and yield allegiance pause to the National Conclave as the only legislative body pause and to the National Council pause as the supreme judicial authority of Acacia pause and will abide by all the laws pause rules pause and regulations of the same.
That I will maintain the secrets pause and preserve the Ritual of Acacia pause communicating them only to those pause who are entitled to receive them pause in the manner prescribed by the National Conclave.
That I will stand to and abide by pause all the laws, rules, and regulations pause of this or any other chapter of Acacia pause of which I may hereafter become a member pause will live in its chapter house pause unless excused for good and sufficient reason pause and will so govern my conduct pause that no action of mine pause whether revealed or concealed pause may ever bring dishonour to my fraternity pause my brothers pause or myself.
That I fully acknowledge and freely accept pause the obligations of Acacia brotherhood pause will use all honourable efforts pause to aid and assist my brothers pause in the furtherance of their laudable undertakings pause and will ever seek to strengthen pause the ties of friendship, one with another.
That having prepared myself as an educated man pause I will exemplify the ideals of Acacia pause by taking an active part in the affairs of my community pause always striving to fulfill pause Acacia’s guiding principle, human service.
That I will love Truth for the sake of Truth pause will seek diligently for it pause and when I shall have found it pause I will use it to give Light to my fellow men.
To all this pause I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear pause binding myself under no less penalty pause than that one being expelled from Acacia pause as unworthy to be recognized pause as a true man among men pause should I in the least knowingly violate pause this my Acacia obligation.
So help me God and keep me steadfast pause in the due performance of the same.
Venerable Dean: In token of the sincerity of purpose in these solemn engagements Candidates … will kiss the Holy Bible open before him.
Pause as candidates do so. In small initiation classes you may wish for each candidate to kiss the Bible ─ in larger classes it is suggested that the pledge class president or some other individual be selected for this honor.
Venerable Dean: My Brothers, for by this title of affection I may now address you, up to the present time in this ceremony you have been hoodwinked, in order that you might be taught that the heart must first learn to conceive before the eyes are permitted to behold. Pause. Brothers, aid me, in properly presenting to these new brothers that which they will first see when brought to light in our Fraternity.
All the brothers are under due guard. The Venerable Dean and his aides step to the candidates and loosen the hoodwink so that it may be removed at the proper time.
Venerable Dean: May that which you are now about to discover always remain as vivid as it is at this moment.
At the word “moment” the hoodwink is removed.
Venerable Dean pauses and continues: While yet in darkness, in the character of Pythagoras seeking the light of Truth, you were presented to me, as if from King Polverates, Tyrant of Samos, with this right-angled triangle. The right-angled triangle, whose sides are proportional to the numbers three, four and five, is the symbol upon which the most important teachings of this fraternity are founded. For the ancients it had many meanings. Being a triad, it was the symbol which expressed the life history of all things in the universe, the beginning, the middle and the end. It was also the symbol of creation, for these ancients believed that all things were made up of, or produced by, two elements, the male and the female. The base of the triangle, represented by the sacred odd number three, typified the masculine element, Osiris, full and perfect and good. Pause. The altitude, represented by the sacred number four, typified the female element, Isis , innocent and modest. The sum of the squares of these two sides produces the square on the hypothenuse, which typified the product of the union, the son Horus, the giver of light and the judge of virtue. Similarly, Acacia uses the right-angled triangle to represent the teachings. Pause. To members of Acacia, the base of the triangle signifies Knowledge, the foundation upon which all advancement depends; the altitude represents Virtue, the force that directs abilities and acquirements in right channels; and the hypothenuse, which may be derived from the base and the altitude, is a symbol of Truth and of the corresponding Light that it sheds in the obscure corners of the mind and on the darkened paths of life.
As evidencing the importance which Acacia attaches to the right-angled triangle you will note the Holy Bible supporting this emblem, the manner in which the brethren are standing around the altar, the form of the altar itself, and the twelve burning tapers. There are three of these on the base of the triangle, four on its altitude and five on the hypothenuse, so placed as to remind us of the relative proportion of the sides of the triangle, one to the other. The brethren, as you observe, are under the due guard of the Fraternity, which is made by placing the left hand on the right shoulder, in the way forming the triangle. Pause. Arise. I now receive and acknowledge you as brothers of Acacia. Shakes their hands. You will now be presented with the badge of Acacia; its significance will be explained to you, and with it, the grip and the grand Acacia word.
Venerable Dean returns to his station. Gives one knock to seat the Chapter.
Junior Dean or member who has committed to members, advances to the altar: This jewelled emblem which henceforth you will wear to indicate to the outside world that you are a member of this secret brotherhood, has also a meaning for those who have taken the journey you have just completed. Its shape is that of a right-angled triangle, the import of which has been suggested to you. The bounds of this triangle are studded with jewels, for so is the way of Virtue, Knowledge and Truth set with jewels waiting for him who cares to seek them. Within the triangle you will discover three smaller triangles. They serve to impress more deeply on your mind the importance which Acacia attaches to the number three. Like the ancients, we hold it sacred and believe it symbolic of the principles of Virtue, Knowledge and Truth on which our brotherhood is based.
Your journey across the desert sands was emblematical of the toilsome path of Life, where hardships are cased by the unselfish devotion of brothers and friends. The asp which stung you, and endangered your life, represented those unexpected and unavoidable blows of Fate from which we are saved only by the prompt aid of others. As a helping hand was extended to you in your time of need, so you must be ever ready to help those about you, and more especially your brothers in Acacia.
On the scroll therefore, under the coat of arms of the Fraternity, are two Greek words meaning human service., the guiding principle of Acacia. They are called to your attention at this time that you may appreciate that the acquisition of learning and the amassing of riches are of no value except they be used to assist those who are less fortunate. Remember always the injunction in your pledging ceremony that “to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.”
The grip of the Fraternity is given thus: ….
Take me as I take you and I will communicate to you the grand Acacia word: ….
The sign of the Fraternity is given thus: ….
You will make use of it before the altar in entering or retiring from the hall of Acacia when the Chapter is in session. You will now sign the roll of thye … Chapter.
Initiates sign.
The historical lecture will now be given. You may be seated.
Appropriate seating will be easily available for initiates.
Senior Dean’s lecture: My brothers, you are now  Acacians in name. Before you lies a lifetime of opportunity to become Acacians in deed as well. You are now entitled to all the rights, privileges, and benefits of a full initiate in our fraternity. It remains for you to demonstrate your worthiness of this honor by also embracing the serious responsibilities and duties you have undertaken to fulfil in your Acacia obligation.
You have sworn to assume all of these obligations for so long as you live. Acacia is far more than a casual and enjoyable association  of young men during their college years. Acacia is a fraternal brotherhood whose term spans beyond the lives of individual men. The name of our fraternity is also the name of an eastern evergreen renowned for its eternal verdance and used since most ancient times as a fit symbol of immortality. Because men no longer living have contributed their honest share of efforts to Acacia, you are enabled to be received into our brotherhood today. You too must seek to serve Acacia to the best of your abilities so that future generations may also enjoy a fine fraternal opportunity.
You have sworn allegiance to our national organization and committed yourself to abide by its regulations and decisions. Our national organization represents Acacia in its highest sense, as a brotherhood of thousands of men throughout the world, and it is here that we have placed the final responsibility for preserving our fraternity’s identity and integrity. Each chapter rightly enjoys great freedom to conduct its affairs in the manner best suited to the needs of its particular campus and members. But so long as we call ourselves Acacians and enjoy the privileges of this honor, we must also protect this identity and the rights that it confers on all Acacians by deferring to that higher authority where each is represented.
You have sworn to maintain the secrets and preserve the Ritual of Acacia. In withholding our secrets from those who are not entitled to receive them you do not deny any civil, economic, or moral right to any man. A knowledge of our secrets can only serve to gratify the idle curiosity of others. But to Acacians our confidential signs, tokens, and words are the means by which one brother may know another, and our Ritual is the common bond that unites us. Each of you have invested many hours of effort to attain membership in Acacia, and to reveal those secrets you not only fail the trust that has been placed in you but perform a disservice to yourself and your brothers as well.
You have sworn to abide by the rules of your chapter and to govern your conduct so that nothing you do may bring dishonour to Acacia, your brothers, or yourself. No association of men can long survive, let alone achieve its worthy goals, if its members do not adopt and observe common rules to ensure their mutual harmony and accord. The simplest friendship of one man with another is cemented by common understandings which each is confident the other will respect. It is this mutual confidence which permits them to open their minds and hearts to each other without hesitation or doubt. A fraternity, whose goal is brotherhood among many, has all the greater need for this cement of common understandings and mutual confidence. And remember that you are an Acacia wherever you may happen to be. Your actions reflect upon your brothers and your fraternity as well as upon yourself.
NOTE: The following paragraph is to be used by chapters that operate a house:
You have also agreed to live in your chapter’s house unless excused for a compelling reason. In addition to the importance to the importance of strengthened brotherhood and underfostered by living together, your chapter’s house is the major financial obligation that your chapter must support. Your brothers have a right to expect that you will contribute your fair share to its financial resources as well as to its social and organizational pursuits.
You have sworn to accept the obligations of Acacia brotherhood. If you achieve the full accomplishment of only this one clause you will redeem the confidence of those who selected you for membership in Acacia, for brotherhood is our first and highest goal. But the obligations of brotherhood are not easily fulfilled. You are committed to expressing brotherhood not only to those fellow Acacians who are particularly congenial to you, but to all; not only to those who first demonstrate brotherhood to you, but also to those who wait for you to prove your brotherhood to them; and not only to those who return your brotherhood, but also to those who withhold it after your best efforts. The fulfilment of your fraternal obligation will not be measured by how much brotherhood you receive, but by how much you give. Your success will be assured when you fully realize that while we can only invite brotherhood from others, we can require it of ourselves.
And finally, you have sworn to use the education you have acquired, and the ideals of Acacia, into whose membership you have been received, to make a positive contribution to your community and the welfare of your fellow man. It will be tempting to enjoy the superficial social benefits of your fraternity now and the economic rewards of your education in the years ahead. Your friends, family, and profession will always provide ample distractions from the commitment you have made to serve others as well as yourself. But it is a measure of their wisdom that the men who shaped Acacia in its early years selected “human service” as our guiding principle. To those men of thought and vision, human service was the profoundest Truth upon which we can base our lives. For they knew, as you will also discover when you have completed your search for Truth, that in serving your fellow man we find the ultimate expression of our own humanity.
After finishing his lecture, he remains standing for a minute or two so as to make the effect more impressive. Then he takes his seat. Venerable Dean rises for final charge.
Venerable Dean: Thus we have endeavoured partially to explain to you the principles and ideals of Acacia. The word partially is used advisedly. We believe, that, as the days and years pass by, you will see more strength and beauty in our Fraternity and find through it increased inspiration to seek the light of Truth, greater zeal in the service of your fellow men, and a firmer faith in that blessed immortality which will survive the grave and never, never die. May you prove worthy of the confidence we have bestowed. May your life bring credit to yourself and reflect honor upon the … Chapter of Acacia. You will now take your place among the brethren and we will prepare for adjournment.
Closing Ceremony
Venerable Dean: As there is no further business to come before us at this time we will prepare for adjournment. * *. Brother Chaplain, approach the altar. * * *. Brethren, assemble on the triangle, giving the due guard of our Fraternity.
Venerable Dean: Brother Chaplain, at what Book do you find the Bible open?
Chaplain: At the Book of Proverbs, Venerable Dean.
Venerable Dean: Has this particular Book any special significance to us as members of Acacia?
Chaplain: It has. In the fourth chapter, verses five to fourteen, are found instructive words of King Solomon, who advising his son, urged him to choose wisdom above all things else.
Venerable Dean: Read the verses, Brother Chaplain.
Chaplain takes up the Bible and read verses.
Venerable Dean: Brethren, you have heard the words of the ancient King. Keep them ever in your minds and they will serve you well. Close the book of Wisdom, Brother Chaplain and remove our emblem fron the altar.
After performing the duty the Chaplain gives the due guard.
Venerable Dean: I now declare the … Chapter of Acacia adjourned. Brethren, as we go our way, may our lives exemplify the teachings of our Fraternity. May Morality, Wisdom and Truth follow as all the days of our life, and may the blessings of Heaven be ‘round about us. Amen.
* * * * *.