Supreme Union of Ethiopia
Initiation Ritual for the First Degree or Degree of Unity
At the proper hour the Loyal Prince or Princess gives one rap of the gavel and calls the Province to order, then says: Officers and members Regal Loyal Guide, relieve the Loyal Sentinel to be seated by the Loyal Guardian, close the outer door, return and examine the Province by the present semi-annual password:
After obeying orders the L. Guide advances to the altar and says: Loyal Princess, I find all present entitled to remain (except Sir …, Daughter …, Who are left standing). I now await your orders, Loyal Princess.
Loyal Princess: Thank you, Loyal Guide; take your seat.
Note: Should there be any left standing, the L. Princess should inquire of the L. Financial Recorder of her or his financial standing; if all dues have been paid she should order them to the L. Priest to receive the password; if not, should excuse them.
Loyal Princess: Sir Knights and Daughters of Ethiopia, we are now ready to open … Province No. … of the Union of Ethiopia. I thank you for your faithful attention and co-operation.
Loyal Recorder, call the roll of officers.
During which time the L. Guide will rise and answer for those present and absent. Those absent will be fined, and their places during that meeting will be filled.
The L. Princess will remain at her station, the other officers will form a semi-circle between the L. Princess's station and facing the altar. The members will begin from either side and complete the circle around the altar.
Loyal Princess: Officers and members, in the beginning of these ceremonies it is my duty to remind you that the obligations we have taken should guide our every word, act or deed. The spirit of solemnity should conduct these ceremonies, guided by the oath we have made to ourselves and to our God. We will sing the opening ode.
We sons and daughters of the East,
Sing Ethiopia's praise.
We move as one strong band of faith,
'Tis unity we'll raise.
Our Supreme King, that rules on high,
Gives Princess to our band,
We'll join that everlasting host,
When parting from this land.
At the end of song Loyal Prophet will come to altar, facing L. Princess, and pray:
Our Father in Heaven, we thank thee for the Unity that binds us together as members of this link in that great chain, and for the opportunities that life affords. We entrust Thee to help these sons and daughters of Ethiopia to stretch forth their hands unto God, from whence cometh all aid, and to live to enjoy the Princess that shall lead our people. Each day of our lives may we become more perfect until we are prepared to dwell in Thy glorious presence, where there is fullness of joy forever. Amen.
Members respond: Amen.
Loyal Princess: Officers will take their respective stations and members will resume their seats.
Loyal Priest, where is your station, and how do you serve this Province?
Loyal Priest: My station is to your right, Loyal Princess, midway the hall and facing the Loyal Prophet's station; I serve my people in any way where my good advice is needed. In the Priest's Court do I serve with justice and impartiality when a charge is brought against a member. I exemplify the degree.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Councilor, where is your station, and how do you serve this Province?
Loyal Councilor: My station faces you, Loyal Princess. I assist you in your presence, and perform your duties in your absence. I have charge of the inner door; must instruct the Guardian as to entering and retiring of members, giving due respect to reading of minutes, opening and closing ceremonies and initiation.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Prophet; where is your station, and how do you serve this Province? Loyal Prophet: My station is to your left, midway hall, facing Loyal Priest, Loyal Princess. I serve to obligate candidates during initiation and invoke the blessing of the Piety upon the deliberations of the Province.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Recorder, where is your station, and how do you serve this province?
Loyal Recorder: My station is at the right of the Loyal Princess. My duties are to keep a true and itemized record of the proceedings of the Province, conduct its correspondence; have charge of the seal, see that the minutes have the signature of the Loyal Princess, after approval of the Province.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Financial Recorder, where is your station, and how do you serve this Province?
Loyal Financial Recorder: My station is at the left of the Loyal Princess and to the right of the Treasurer. My duties are to keep an itemized account between the Province and its members, according to the form and direction of the Supreme Union; receive all moneys due the Province and pay the same to the Loyal Treasurer, getting a receipt before the close of the session.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Treasurer, where is your station and how do you serve this Province?
Loyal Treasurer: My station is to the left of the Loyal Recorder. It is my duty to receive all moneys of every kind belonging to the Province, and pay them out only when ordered by the Province upon your orders signed by the Loyal Princess and the Loyal Recorder.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Guide, where is your station and how do you serve this province?
Loyal Guide: To the right of the Loyal Princess and in front of the Loyal Recorder. It is my duty to know that all members are qualified to sit in the Province by having the proper password and wearing the proper regalia; conduct candidates during initiation, and have charge of all regalia and do whatever may be required of me by the Loyal Princess.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Guardian, where is your station, and how do you serve this Province?
Loyal Guardian: My station is to the right of the Loyal Councilor, at the inner door. It is my duty to report to the Loyal Councilor the names of all those applying for admission; and following the instruction of the Loyal Councilor in general, allowing no one to enter without the proper passport.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Sentinel, where is your station, and how do you serve this Province?
Loyal Sentinel: My station is at the outer door, in the ante-room. It is my duty to have charge of the outer door and ante-room; receive the semi-annual password, and permit but one person to enter at the time. If in doubt as to the qualification of a person desiring admittance, it is my duty to refer to the Loyal Councilor for advice.
Loyal Princess: Thank you, loyal officers. Gives three raps.
The station of the Loyal Princess is the executive chair of the Province; it is her duty to preside over the Province and preserve order during all its sessions. She should see that the laws are enforced and see that officers perform their duties faithfully and see that the ritualistic work be given correctly. She should govern with justice and impartiality; she should obey all orders of the Supreme Union with care and fidelity. With your assistance I will endeavor to discharge my whole duty. I now declare this Province now open for the transaction of its business.
Guide, retire to the ante-room and inform the members in waiting that the Province is open in due form.
1 Rap. After sufficient time has been given proceed with the order of business.
While making ready for this degree the Loyal Guide will drape the altar and stations in black or the color of the first degree.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Guide, retire to the ante-room and report if there are or are not applicants seeking citizenship in the first degree or Degree of Unity of this Province.
Loyal Guide goes to altar, gives salutation sign, retires, returns and says: Loyal Princess, I find … (gives names) who desire to be initiated in the first degree.
The Loyal Princess will inquire of the Loyal Financial Recorder if all fees have been paid or satisfied, then says: Loyal Priest, retire with the Loyal Guide, obligate the candidates and prepare them for initiation.
They salute at the altar and retire.
In the ante-room the Loyal Priest will cause the candidates to rise and raise the right hands toward Heaven.
Loyal Princess: Do you realize that this covenant is an agreement between you and the Supreme Union of Ethiopia, and are you willing to take the obligation?
Candidates answer: We do.
Loyal Princess: Pronounce . your full name and repeat after me:
I, …, do most solemnly declare and affirm that I am not an expelled or a suspended member of any Province of the Union of Ethiopia; that I have not within the last six months been rejected by any physician; and will never divulge the secret and private transactions of this Province, so help me God.
Loyal Priest will leave Loyal Guide and report at altar.
Loyal Priest: Loyal Princess, the candidates have taken the oath and obligation.
The Loyal Princess will appoint an escort for each candidate.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Priest, retire with the escorts and bring the candidates into our presence, wearing the black veil or hood-winked.
They will leave the ante-room in couples, Loyal Priest and Loyal Guide advancing.
Loyal Priest gives one rap, and is answered with the same by Loyal Guardian.
Loyal Guardian: Loyal Councilor, an alarm is heard.
Loyal Councilor: Loyal Guardian, inquire of the caller.
Loyal Guardian, opens the wickets: Who dares to disturb the peace of this Province?
Loyal Priest: Officers of this Province, escorting applicants for admittance into the workings of our Province.
Loyal Guardian, closes the wickets: Loyal Councilor officers of this Province escorting to be admitted into our works.
Loyal Councilor: Loyal Princess, officers and applicants are at the door and desire admittance.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Councilor, inform the Loyal Guardian to admit them.
Loyal Councilor: Loyal Guardian, you have permission to admit them.
The Loyal Princess calls up the court and sings while two circuits are made around the hall. They halt in front of the Loyal Councilor's station.
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thou blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not,
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Loyal Princess: Loyal Councilor, these poor candidates have wandered through the darkness of Africa, and have come, asking the assistance of this Province. I present to you for consolation.
Loyal Councilor: Friends, you have been accepted as candidates for initiation into the mysteries of the first degree in the United Kingdom of Ethiopia. Let me advise you that just here that you are making a wise step and one that will add to your usefulness in life, but while you are taking the vows of the secrets of this Province, let me make the indentation upon your hearts that you will ever remember to keep them. Have them present on your march from darkness to light, even to the land of the blessed where the light from the Supreme King of the Universe continues to shine through endless eternity.
Loyal Guide, conduct the candidates before the altar and facing the Loyal Prophet for obligation.
Loyal Guide: Loyal Prophet, I am instructed by the Loyal Priest to present the candidates to you for obligation.
Loyal Prophet: Seekers, in taking this, our obligation, you bind yourselves never to divulge the secret or private transactions of this Province; never to use the mystic signs or passwords unless absolute necessity demands; attend the sick, and do all things in keeping with loyal members of the Union of Ethiopia. You are to protect and defend the laws of this Province and further its aim throughout this land. If you are willing to carry out all these requirements and abide by all the laws, make it known by advancing to the altar, raising the right hand, placing the left hand on the Holy Bible and pronouncing your full name and repeating after me.
Remove the veil.
Loyal Prophet: I, …, in the presence of the Almighty God and these witnesses, do most solemnly declare that I will not communicate the secrets of this Province to any person in the known world, except it be a true member of this degree; that I will obey all laws and to the best of my ability faithfully discharge all duties, so help me God.
Replace the veil.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Guide, conduct the candidates to the ante-room.
During the absence the court room is made ready. Arrange the casket near the altar; turn off the lights; place three lights near altar-black, red and white; during circuits around room members will clasp their hands, stamp their feet, etc., and cause a general maneuvering – the secret fun; at last they form a circle around the casket and altar. Officers wear masks and robes of black.
Loyal Princess: Loyal Guardian, inform the Loyal Guide that the court is ready.
Loyal Guardian opens the door and says: Loyal Guide, the court is ready for the exemplification of the first degree.
Loyal Princess sings: "I'm bound for the Promise Land," etc.
Loyal Princess: Initiates, we now come to the solemn part of the ceremonies, and before explanation, we ask if you desire to dwell in the city of light.
Candidates answer: We do.
Loyal Princess: God said let there be light and there was light. At the last "light" the members will slap their hands and tramp their feet. The veil is removed during this time. Before you is an object for your consideration. It tells you that though you are a link in this great chain of Unity, and may have your health and riches, one day must lay lifeless, must meet your God. If you live up to the rules and principles of this Province, that when on your bed of affliction, and when you are laid to rest, you will not be alone, but the citizens of Ethiopia will be with you to cheer, but if you fall out and forget your good name we will pass you unnoticed, etc. The lights represent the colors of the Union of Ethiopia – black, red and white. From Ethiopia we traveled through darkness to this land; the red represents the blood that was shed for our freedom; white represents this period, or the period of enlightenment, where we hope to unite ourselves as one great chain of love to move to success.
The Loyal Priest will now explain the meaning of Unity.
Loyal Priest: Initiates, you have been well advised, obligated and talked to, but before you receive the secrets of the degree, allow me to impress upon you why Unity is one of our principles and is the first degree. Before anything of worth can be accomplished, forces must be united, and Unity in every particular must exist. What a wonder is the Unity and Harmony in creation! Vegetation, the sun, the moon, the stars and all the heavenly bodies must work together. We ask you to come to us because in Unity there is strength. When we are one all things move smoothly. When you are in trouble, we are in trouble. We share your joys, and we share your sorrows. We are one in business – Citizens of Ethiopia are obliged to support enterprises managed by their fellow craft, when wants can be satisfied, etc. Take up jewel. This is the jewel of the Union; wear it, that you may be known by all true citizens of Ethiopia; it will serve as a protection for you. While putting on the regalia. Being a member of the Union of Ethiopia, I decorate you with our regalia. We hope you will remain loyal citizens as a reward for the confidence that has been imposed in you.
Loyal Guide, present these new members to the Loyal Princess for further instruction.
Turn the light on.
Loyal Guide: Loyal Princess, I was ordered by the Loyal Priest to bring the new members for final instruction.
Loyal Princess: I am delighted to greet you as new members, and will now give you the signs, grips and passwords.
This is the sign of salutation: Place the left hand over the heart, raise the right hand heavenward, and bow. The answer is the same. It is used in addressing the Loyal Princess at the altar on entering and retiring, or whenever you rise to speak. It means in God's name I am with you.
The sign of recognition: Place the right hand over the heart in a closed fist.
A challenged member will meet him and extend the right hand and ask: Who are thou? I am a citizen of Ethiopia. How am I to know you? I am also a traveler from Abyssinia, seeking the Union of my fellow citizens.
The sign of warning: With the front finger of the right hand press the lips, while the thumb is pressed against the chin and displace slowly. It means danger awaits you; it is my duty to warn you.
The distress sign: with the right hand grasp the fingers of the left hand upright.
Shake hands: Stranger: Art thou my Brother?
Answer: Unto the Edoicope.
At night, word is: Save me.
Ordinary questions coming before the Province, we vote by the Ethiopian sign: a wave of the right hand.
The monogram of the Union is a round jewel colored black red and white, bearing letters U. G. A. The colors were displayed at the altar U. G. A., means Unity, Growth Assistance. Assistance is the permanent password of this degree.
This is the gavel and speaks for the officer who holds it. You are to obey it or become subject to expulsion.
Wishing to enter a Province when it is in session you will make an alarm at the outer door and give the Loyal Sentinel the present semi-annual password, …. In the anteroom you will regale and give your name and the permanent password to the Loyal Guardian; this will admit you. Advance to the altar on a right angle, give the salutation sign; when responded, you are at liberty to be seated. Should you desire to retire, you should advance to the altar, give the same sign, turn to the Loyal Councilor and repeat.
Powers of the gavel: One rap * seats when standing or silence when talking. Two raps * * calls up the officers. Three raps * * * calls up the entire body.
This ends your instruction in the first degree.
Grip of the first degree: With the first finger of the right hand press between knuckles of the second and third fingers.
The business of the evening being over, the Loyal Princess will say: Sir Knights and Daughters of Ethiopia, I am about to close … Province No. … Union of Ethiopia. I thank you for the interest and assistance you have given in conducting the business of the evening. As we separate, bear in mmd the obligations that bind us together as members of this Province. As we go to our several homes, bear in mind that the world will judge our Province by the acts of its members. Let us sing the closing ode:
Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies,
Heaven's morning breaks and earth's vain shadows flee!
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!
Loyal Princess: Loyal Prophet, dismiss us. (Any ordinary form.)
Loyal Princess: I now declare … Province No. … closed until ….