Equitable Aid Union
Initiation Ritual


The initiatory ceremony may be conducted without the officers dressing in costume, or using wands, and should be unless a corps of officers are drilled in this work and can execute it finely. Each Union should secure and drill a team for this work at once, and before proceeding with initiatory ceremonies the candidate must answer and sign the following:
How old are you? Ans
Where do you reside? Ans
What is your occupation? Ans
Do you promise upon your honor, that you will obey the mandates of the Supreme and Grand Union of this order, and keep secret everything that may transpire during your initiation? Should you cease to be a member from any cause, will you consider this promise of secrecy ever binding on your conscience? Ans
Signature of Applicant.


Opening Ceremony

The members will please come to order; the officers will assume their respective Stations. We are now about to open a session of this Union. If there be any present not privileged to sit with us they will please retire to the reception-room. The Vice-President will see that the ante-room is clear, and invite all members of the Order, properly qualified, to take seats with us, ascertain that the Watchman and Sentinel are on duty and correct in the passwords.
All officers will arise when addressed The Vice-President retires and fills the vacancies, if either the Watchman or Sentinel be absent, examines in the Passwords, and if necessary instructs them in the alarm and signal; invites any qualified member to enter, resumes his chair and reports.
Mr. President, the duty assigned me has been performed; the Watchman and Sentinel are correct in the passwords, alarm and signal, and the doors are closed.
Sentinel, you will permit no one to enter during our Opening, Initiatory or Closing Ceremonies.
The vacancies among the officers are now to be filled, the President saying:
Brother or Sister …, please occupy the chair of the … for this session, or until relieved.
The Conductor and Assistant Conductor will now examine all present in the permanent and term passwords. I Direct any not in possession of these words to approach the chair and be properly instructed and proven.
The Conductor and Assistant Conductor will now examine all present, each member rising for examination, which being done, the Conductor and the Assistant Conductor shall station themselves at the altar facing the President.
Mr. President, we have carefully performed the duty assigned us and find all present correct. (or all present correct except those referred to you.)
PRESIDENT: Sisters and Brothers, I give you cordial welcome and am sure that we all rejoice in being permitted to greet each other in health and strength again. Many of our fellows, since our last meeting, have passed into the unseen; but we still linger to rejoice with and care for our loved ones, and to unite in plans and labor for the good of our Order and of all mankind. May the smile of Divine approval rest upon us all, and brotherly kindness characterize our deliberations, so that much good may be accomplished during this meeting. Are we all now in readiness for work?
* * *.
When the President thus calls the members up the Vice-President immediately repeats the raps upon his pedestal, the Sentinel repeats them upon the inner door and the Watchman upon the outer.
It is well; all are in readiness for work. Officers and members, advance the salutation sign.
We will now sing our opening ode.
We’re gathered here a friendly band,
And we round our altar stand,
We pledge ourselves to Unity
To Prudence, Temperance, Equity.
All care forgot or cast aside,
Let neither Prejudice nor Pride,
Nor act, nor careless speech do aught
To mar this hour with kindness fraught.
The Chaplain will now invoke the Divine blessing.
Our Father who art in Heaven; we would draw near unto Thee with great joy, because Thou hast invited us to come boldly to a throne of grace. We come, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. We humbly thank Thee for the mercies we enjoy and the graces which have strengthened and soothed our lives. With one accord are we found in our places, and we lift up our hearts unto Thee with one consent. Bless and prosper our beloved Order, may it be the means of much good wherever it exists. Bless the members severally with all spiritual and temporal mercies— are any sick? be very near to them—are any in sorrow? soothe and comfort them we pray, may kind words and cheerful greetings be heard during the present session of this Union; and may all things be done for Thy glory and our eternal good. Amen.
Sisters and Brothers, we are here for a noble purpose, for recreation, social enjoyment, education, and to work for our general good, by working for the good of our Order. Let us keep these high objects ever in mind, and in Prudence, Equity, Temperance and Union strive together in harmony for their attainment. I hope that we shall each spend a pleasant and profitable evening and that oar united efforts may serve to promote the well-being and success of our Equitable Aid Union. I now declare this session open for business. Sentinel, inform the watchman that the Union is now open and admit any in waiting. *.


When the time comes to ballot for membership, the President shall call the order and proceed as follows:
Conductor, yon will prepare the ballot-box.
The Conductor satisfies himself that all the balls are in the outer apartment of the ballot box, and takes it to the Vice-President, who inspects it, then to the President, who also examines it and says:
We are now about to ballot upon the acceptance or rejection of the application for membership in this Union of …. White balls elect, black balls reject; vote not from prejudice, but only upon the qualification of the applicant.
The President then deposits his ballot, without leaving his seat, after which the Conductor places the ballot box on the altar and retires to his station. The officers and members, beginning at the right hand of the President then in turn advance to the altar and saluting the President, deposit their ballots with as little delay as possible. When all have voted the President shall say:
Have all voted who wish? If so, I now declare the ballot closed. Conductor, present the ballot for inspection.
The Conductor presents the ballot box at the Vice-President’s pedestal. That officer examines it, making careful observation to satisfy himself that the number of ballots correspond with the number of members who voted, and reports:
Mr. President, I find the ballot favorable (or unfavorable) to the candidate.
The Conductor then presents the ballot box to the President who examines the ballot for himself, and if he finds it as reported by the Vice-President, he says:
I find the ballot as reported by the Vice-President and declare the applicant accepted (or rejected) by the Union.


Sentinel, ascertain if there are any candidates in waiting for initiation and report their names.
SENTINEL, returning:
Mr. President I find … in waiting.
Secretary, have these candidates been duly proposed and elected?
They have.
Accountant, you will retire to the Reception room, receive the candidate’s promise of obedience, collect the Ices, and secure the necessary signatures to your roll.
The Accountant retires in proper order, records the residence, age and occupation of the candidates and secures their assent to the promise of obedience and obtains their signatures to the roll, as per form on page 3 of this Ritual, and returning reports.
Mr. President, the candidates have paid their fees, signed the roll and given their promise of obedience.
Chancellor, you will pl ease retire with the Conductor, Warden, Auxiliary, Chaplain and Assistant Conductor and prepare for the Initiatory Ceremony.
The officers named retire after saluting. The Chancellor to the Reception-room, and the others to the Ladies’ Dressing-room.
It is expected that the offices of Conductor, Assistant Conductor, Auxiliary, Chaplain and Warden shall be filled by lady members, so that at initiations they may wear robes— The Conductor, green; the Assistant Conductor, yellow; the Warden, blue; the Auxiliary red, and the Chaplain, white. They may also wear Liberty caps or crowns, and carry wands corresponding in color to the robes worn. These robes, wands and head-dresses must be uniform in pattern. When robed they shall enter the Union chamber in procession, led by the Conductor, then Auxiliary, Chaplain, Warden and Assistant Conductor, a march being-played. They shall proceed from the inner door to a point half way between the Chaplain’s chair and the door, change direction and form in line across the hall, between the chair of the Vice-President and the altar station facing the President; then proceed up the centre of the room halting between the chairs of the Chaplain and Auxiliary, change the wand to the left hand and address the President with the salutation sign. Face about and proceed five abreast nearly to the Vice-President’s station, where the altar has been placed. The Chaplain and Auxiliary shall take stations on the left side of the altar, and the Warden and Assistant Conductor on the right side, facing the President
; Chaplain and Warden nearest the Vice-President; an officer being at each corner of the altar, after being so stationed they may be seated, and the Conductor proceed to the inner door, facing the altar and in a line with the Chaplain and Warden. All being ready, the Chancellor is so informed.
The right and left sides of the halt are at the Presidents right and left respectively.
CHANCELLOR to candidates:
My friends, have you fully considered the step you are about to take, and are you willing to proceed?
Candidates answer.
The answer being in the affirmative, the Chancellor enters the ante-room with the candidates and gives an alarm at the inner door. One distinct rap.
Mr. President, there is an alarm at the door.
Sentinel, ascertain the cause.
The wicket being opened, the Sentinel shall demand in a tone of voice loud enough to be heard by all:
Who seeks admission to this Union chamber without the proper signal?
CHANCELLOR, speaking loudly:
The Chancellor of this Union, with friends who desire the benefits and advantages of membership in the Equitable Aid Union.
Mr. President, the Chancellor seeks admissions accompanied by friends, who desire to obtain the benefits and advantages of membership in this Fraternity.
Admit them.
The door is opened and the Chancellor with the candidates enter and are met by the Conductor who stops them.
Chancellor, where do you conduct these persons?
To our President, to be instructed in the secret work of this Fraternity and received into membership.
Worthy Chancellor, you and I have seen many that run hastily forward, who again after a little time have as hastily retraced their steps. Rave these strangers been advised of the duties required of them in this Order? Are they persons of good reputation in this community and likely to retain their membership with us.
Conductor, the candidates are fully apprised of the duties devolving upon members of this Fraternity. Their reputation for earnestness and stability of character is good and they come to us well recommended.
Worthy Chancellor, before presenting the candidates to our President, let me first conduct them to our altar for obligation. Please accompany us.
* * *.
The Conductor proceeds around the room followed by the candidates in single file, the Chancellor in the rear, during which time the initiatory Ode is sung by the union.

Friends of posterity,
Here in sincerity
We bid you come
We here our vows renew
And pledge our faith to you,
In friendship tried and true
By honor bound
Now to our shime repair
And lend attentive ear
To lessons given
There at our altar stand,
Virtues that guard our land,
And that our homes defend,
When want assails
The conductor shall time the march, so as to arrive at the altar in front of the Vice-President’s chair, at the close of the singing, and station herself to the left of the candidate, the Chancellor being on the right. The Warden and Chaplain, the Assistant Conductor and Auxiliary shall unite their wands over the altar with their faces towards the same.
Worthy Vice-President, of what does our altar remind us in this Fraternity?
Our altar reminds us of our God, our country, our homes, and our families, whose claims upon us are paramount to all others; and we are bound to adore, serve, protect and cherish them while life shall last.
Worthy Vice-President, who guards the altar of this Fraternity?
Our altar is guarded by Prudence, Equity, Temperance and Union.
Chaplain, Auxiliary, Warden and Assistant Conductor bring their wands to "Order Arms,’’ and face the candidates. The Vice- President to be seated.
Auxiliary, what say you of Prudence?
Worthy Chancellor, we live amid scenes of doubt and uncertainty. Accident, adversity, misfortune and death are the inseparable companions of our race. In the vicissitudes that surround us here, no age; sex, or condition, can claim immunity from the summons of the Great Leveller. The poet says truly,
The hand of the Reaper
Takes the sheaves that are hoary,
The voice of the weeper
Wails manhood in glory.
The autumn winds rushing
Waft the leaves that are searest,
And the rose is red blushing
When blighting is nearest.
These solemn facts should be deeply impressed upon the mind of every reasonable person, and the dictates of Prudence should lead all to guard their homes and those dependent upon them from the lamentable consequences of meeting with these calamities, when they are financially unprepared.
"The prudent man forseeth evil, and fleeth from it; but the foolish pass on and are punished."
Conductor, what say you of Equity?
Worthy Chancellor, if Equity in all its benevolent workings were to pervade the various ranks of our social life, rulers would not oppress their people, nor masters act unjustly towards their servants; nor would the people or servants refuse to submit to just and equitable laws, but all would act their part in this great moral machine, with harmony and delight, and every station in life would contribute to the prosperity and happiness of the other.
The Golden Rule is Equity itself.
"Whatsoever ye would, that men should do unto you, do you even so unto them."
Assistant Conductor, what say you of Temperance?
Worthy Chancellor, it is written, "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright, for at the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder." Temperance is a laudable virtue, and total abstinence from all intoxicants is to be highly commended.
When we look abroad upon the world and consider the vast amount of crime that is traceable to this vice of intemperance; the homes made desolate, the lives made bitter, the tears that fall, all because the taste for intoxicants is indulged; we believe it to be the duty of every person who loves our race, to abstain and to urge others to follow in the same path of duty. The use of stimulants injures the health, destroys the intellect, and hazards our good standing in society and in this Order.
Warden, what say you of Union?
WARDEN, passing her wand to the Assistant Conductor, and drawing a cord from her girdle, this cord should be made of five or six parts, and have a single thread wound loosely around it:
This word of our motto is most aptly illustrated by this cord, which is composed of many parts; each part again made lip of a multitude of fibres. Take a fibre separately, how frail it is. Exemplifies and breaks the thread. A breath of the morning air might sever it. But in their united capacity, as in the cord, how great is their strength? They form a body which requires a great force to rend, so we in our great Fraternity, united by our laws and firmly bound in our covenant to each other, do by our Union, bid defiance to those objects that to us in our individual capacity would be insurmountable.
"In many counselors there is wisdom. In union there is strength."
CHANCELLOR, to candidates:
Such, my friends, are the lessons of the motto of this Order. Will you agree that when you shall have been admitted to membership with us, to regulate your life and conduct by these teachings?
Candidates answer.
Worthy chaplain, invoke the divine blessing. The Chaplain moves to the altar, so as to place it between himself and the candidates.
* * *.
Father of the Universe, we implore Thy blessing upon this organization, upon this Union, and especially upon these candidates who are about to assume a deep, lifelong and responsible obligation. Give them wisdom to guide them. Give them judgment to weigh and strength to keep the solemn promises they make to this Union. Give them the disposition and means to retain their connection with this Order so long as life shall last; that when old age and disease shall prey upon them, and death comes like a welcome guest, their last days may not be clouded by the sad reflection that they are financially a weight upon their friends. For these and all the blessings we are receiving at Thy hands, our Father, we thank Thee. Amen.
The Chaplain now assumes the station Previously occupied at the altar.
Worthy Chancellor, the candidates are now ready to promise obedience to our laws.
The Chancellor passes to the altar in front of the Vice-President facing the candidates. The Chaplain and Warden cross their wands over the Chancellor. The Auxiliary and Assistant Conductor cross their wands over the candidates.
CHANCELLOR, to candidates:
You will raise your right hand toward Heaven, place your left hand over your heart, and repeat after me: I, of my own free will and accord, in the presence of the Supreme Ruler of the universe, and the members here assembled as witnesses, do most solemnly promise and declare that I will ever respect and strive to obey, all the laws, rules and usages of this Order. I will never, unless properly authorized to do so, impart any of the secrets or unwritten work of this Order. I will be kind and courteous to all, and especially to the sisters and brothers of this Union. I will aid and assist needy members, whenever I can do so without injury to myself, family, or those depending upon me. All of which, trusting in God for strength, I will endeavor to perform.
Officers bring their wands to a "carry."
Conductor, proceed whim our friends.
The Conductor leads the candidates once around the room, with the chancellor in the rear as before, during the singing of the Ode.

Be thou ready, fellow mortal,
In thy pilgrimage of life
To assist the weak and needy,
In the toil and in the strife.
Be thou ready, when thy brother
Bows in dark affliction’s shade,
Be thou ready when thy sister
Needs thy kindness and thy aid.
Let thine arms sustain and cheer them,
They have claims upon us all;
And thy deeds like morning sunlight,
On their weary hearts shall fall.
Be thou ready in thy meekness,
To do good to friend and foe,
As our Father sheddeth freely
Light on all that dwell below.
On arriving at the altar—after having gone once around the hall—the procession shall face the President, be joined by the robed officers in the rear, march up the hall, and at the centre of the room they shall be there met by the Advocate, who shall deliver his charge.
My friends, you have listened to the teachings of our Order, as made known through Prudence, Equity, Temperance, and Union. You have been obligated by our Chancellor, your vows have been witnessed by this company that surrounds us, and are registered on high. Your journey to our President’s chair is nearly completed, and as we are about to receive you into this Union, it is hot fitting that you should be admonished of the duties that will devolve upon you by virtue of your membership with us. A leading duty to this organization requires that you promptly respond to the calls made by the Benefit Department, if a participant thereof; for, upon the ability of this branch of our Order to meet its engagements depends our good name and success; and, therefore, as you expect any claims you, or yours, may hereafter have upon this Order, shall be promptly met, its claim on you should, be satisfied with all possible promptness. In uniting yourself with this Order, you are under obligations to aid and support your afflicted sisters and brothers by every honorable means in your power. The motives that have induced you to seek the protection this Order affords are trimly praiseworthy. I hope your association with us will be of the most pleasant kind. That your conduct and deportment towards the sisters and brothers of this Union will be at all times affable and generous, and uninfluenced by selfishness or any unworthy motive. And, as you proceed on your way through life, may you ever be guided by that spirit of Charity "which esteemeth another better than himself," and when you shall look back on your journey; when your pilgrimage shall close, may you contemplate "a life well spent, without one action to repent."
The Conductor shall now proceed in same order up the centre of the room to the President’s chair and remain standing until close of initiation. A march may be played.
Mr. President, I present to you these candidates who have listened to the teachings of our Order, and who have been obligated. They desire final instructions in our mysteries.
My friends, I welcome you to the Equitable Aid Union, and will with pleasure proceed to give you the necessary instruction in the secret work of this Order, which must be known to every person who seeks to enter this chamber.
Here instruct in the alarm, signal, salutation sign, and answer, caution sign and answer, distress sign and answer, distress words and answer, recognition and answer, and voting sign.
Should you at any time desire to visit this or any other Union when open for business, you would announce your presence at the outer-door by making any alarm that will attract the attention of the Watchman. Time Watchman will open the wicket and you must give him the term password which is ….. This password can only be obtained from the President, and must, on no account, be communicated by one member to another, except when directed by the President. Being correct the Watchman will admit you to the ante-room, where you will invest yourself with the regalia or badge, worn by members, and present yourselves at the inner door and give the signal, which is …. The sentinel opens the wicket, and to him you will give your name, with the name and number of your Union.
The Sentinel will close the wicket, and report to the Vice-President. The Vice-President, if satisfied, directs the Sentinel to admit you if correct.
The Sentinel again opens the wicket, and you must give him the permanent password, which is …; being correct, the Sentinel will admit you, and you will then advance to the altar and address the President with the salutation sign, and lie will respond, when you may be seated. Should you wish to retire while the Union is in session you will arise in your place, ask permission of the President, and if granted, approach the altar, advance the salutation sign and when recognized by the President you will be permitted to retire. You are now made acquainted with the secret world of this Fraternity, and here let me caution you against making any improper use of the words or signs. In this Order no duty is ever required of you, which as a good citizen, you cannot perform. You are strictly forbidden, under any circumstances, to make use of these signs or words, or to recognize them when made use of, in violation of the laws of the land. But on all proper occasions it is your duty, you are bound by your promises to recognize and answer them and render any assistance that may be in your power, if required. The place where you now stand, is considered by us, as sacred ground. Three times only are we permitted to assemble upon it, while the Union is in session. Once when we are initiated, again, when we take the oath of office to serve this Union; and lastly, when we gather to take a last look at the remains of a departed sister or brother, before we consign them to the narrow house appointed for all living. No member is permitted to pass between the altar and the President’s chair while the Union is in session. In conclusion let me urge upon you the duty of attendance at the sessions of our Union. Upon the promptness and attention of the members, much of our prosperity will depend. If neglect and indifference be characteristic of the membership; the officers lose interest and the duties imposed upon them become irksome instead of pleasurable. You are now one of us, be with us and for us, and ever manifest a deep interest in the prosperity and perpetuity of this Union and the success of our beloved Order. I will now instruct you in the use of the gavel. One blow giving it calls the meeting to order or seats the members if standing, two blows giving them call up the officers, and three blows giving them call up the Union. You will now turn and face the Union, and be introduced to the members.
PRESIDENT, standing at the right of the candidates, officers with wands separate to right and left:
Fellow members, I present to you these sisters and brothers, whom I now declare, by the authority of the Supreme Union of the Equitable Aid Union, to be members of this Union, and ask for them a cordial welcome. Please sing our welcome ode.
Welcome to our friendly Order,
Fellow laborers in our cause,
Here we pledge you he protection
Promised members by our laws.
Think upon our homes and country,
Think on those we love most dear;
We would be their shield and comfort,
We would dry the mourner’s tears
Here let us raise our banner,
Here now let us firmly stand,
Till we shall see our Order
Spread throughout this favored land
We will now have a recess for congratulations and social enjoyment.
The officers quietly disrobe at intermission.

Closing Ceremony

Officers and members, the business of this session has been concluded, I thank you for your presence, and assistance in disposing of the matters that have claimed our attention. Let me impress upon you as we part, the importance of our duties to this Order. Be ready at all times to aid and assist the members of this Fraternity, and to use every honest endeavour for its harmony and success, so that when we again assemble in this Union, we may all be able to render a good account of our Stewardship. Officers and members, we will join in singing our Closing Ode.
In thy great name, O God of love,
We’ve held, our meeting here tonight;
Let now Thy presence from above,
Guide all our thought and steps right.
May peace her white wings spread above
Each member of this noble hand,
Oh! guard and help us in Thy love,
Where’er we roam, on sea or land.
Our Heavenly Father, we come to Thee to crave Thy blessing upon our present meeting. As we now separate we put our lives into Thy hands. They were Thine before they were ours; they will be Thine again, we, therefore, commit ourselves to Thy care. Keep us and all ours in Thy love we humbly pray. Put around us all Thy strength. May we feel its gentle pressure and rejoice that our security is both human and divine. Follow us through all our wanderings and bring us safely to the time when we again assemble here, and, when earthly unions shall cease may we join the eternal union in the heavens, and Thine shall be the glory forever., Amen.
The above or an extemporary prayer may be used by the Chaplain.
Warden and Conductor, you will collect the Rituals. Our next session will open … evening …, when I hope to see you all again. The Union is now closed.