Ancient Order of Gleaners
First Introductory Degree

no date

Opening Ceremony

CHIEF GLEANER: Companion Vice Chief Gleaner, you will announce the opening of this Arbor on the First Degree, first satisfying yourself that all Present are entitled to remain as First Degree Gleaners.
The Vice Chief Gleaner passes around the Lodge room and takes up the quarterly password of the degree.
Companion Chief Gleaner, I have examined all present, and find that they are all members of this degree and so entitled.
Companion Vice Chief Gleaner, what number constitutes an Arbor of Gleaners?
Seven or more duly initiated members must be present when a stranger is balloted upon for admission to membership oh initiated into the Order; although three or more Companions may conduct the necessary business of the Order, provided that the Chief Gleaner, Secretary and Chaplain are present.
Companion Vice Chief Gleaner, what are you duties?
To preside in the absence of the Chief Gleaner add assist in the work prescribed in the Ritual.
Companion Secretary-Treasurer, what are your duties?
To keep a correct record of all meetings of the Arbor, and to transmit all communications from the State Arbor to the members of this Arbor. To keep a just and true account of all moneys received from the members of this Arbor, and to furnish a statement of all moneys received and paid out when the proper officers so direct.
Companion Chaplain: your duties?
To see that the sacred Volume is upon the Altar; to open the same when the Chief Gleaner declares the Arbor opened for the regular dispatch of business, and to close the same when our labors are concluded.
Companion Conductor, your duties?
To guide the feet of the uninitiated; leading them in the well beaten path, that they may finally find rest and fellowship among the members of this arbor.
Inner Guard, your duties?
To guard the inner gate, and allow none to enter except those in possession of the proper pass-word.
Companion Outer Guard, your duties?
To guard well the outer gate, allowing none to disturb this Arbor of Gleaners.
Companion Vice-Chief Gleaner, what are the duties of the Chief Gleaner of an Arbor of Gleaners?
To preside at all the meetings; and he should so govern his Arbor with Charity, Firmness and Kindness, that those who enter may be better fitted for their many duties as workmen in life’s harvest after having received the instruction here imparted.
In this spirit I shall endeavor so to preside that our labor may be successful, let us ask a divine blessing from the Lord of the harvest.
The Chief Gleaner gives * * * calling members and officers to their feet.
Merciful and beneficent Ruler of the universe, we halt in the midst of our life-work, crowded as it is with the duties we owe to ourselves and those dependent upon us: and humbly acknowledging that Thou art the source of every good and perfect gift, we do implore Thee to deal mercifully with us. Guide us in our walks of life, so that when death’s harvest o’ertakes us, we may be likened to the golden grain ready for the sickle; having lived a life so pure and noble that we may be gathered in the garner with the perfect seeds of Thy harvest.
Let the Companions all join in singing the Opening Ode:
Ho, Companions let us gather
In our Abor Shrine;
May this meeting be a blessing
Proved forever thine.
Ho, Companions, be on duty,
Every pledge fulfill;
Answer back the cry of "Rescue"
Coming with a will.
See the many reapers coming,
Patient Gleaners all;
Loyal friends about us gathered,
Answering to the call.
May this Order’s noble teaching
Be our rule and guide.
And the future find us numbered
On the Master’s side.
Give the Loyal hand of friendship,
Check the Orphan’s tear,
Ever onward be our motto;
Cheer, Companions Cheer.
I now declare this duly installed Arbor ready for the regular dispatch of business of the First Degree. Companions, you will attend the signs for the Opening of this degree.


Preparations for 1st Degree: The candidate having paid the fees required, will be prepared in the ante-room. The hoodwink will be adjusted so as to be quickly removed and replaced. He is then conducted to a chair within the inner door of lodge room, the room having been darkened by turning down lights.
Appointment of Actors: On election the Chief Gleaner shall appoint members to act as 1st and 2nd Robbers and two assistants. The part of Heraut will be taken by the Chaplain.
CONDUCTOR, standing near Chaplain’s station:
The day is done. Night casts her sable mantle o’er the landscape and findeth me with my journey but begun. I must push on though small encouragement be given me and alone I tread this narrow path. Sees candidate. Another belated traveler, a stranger in these parts it seems, has doubtless lost his way and now uncertain where to turn sits down to meditate on his misfortune.
Friend where goest thou and why art thou at this unseemly hour so far from human habitation? ‘Tis plain thou knowest not thy situation. To turn back is impossible, nor can we allow delay; no man can stay the hand of time for one brief moment. Thou hast chosen thy course and must proceed. Before lies life’s pathway, with its trials, uncertainties, and troubles; and let us trust that at the end, if our good efforts and strong courage but merit it, our compensation may be found. Come let us join resources and travel together.
Takes position with crook, on right of candidate.
My knowledge of this road gained from those who have gone before hath partly prepared me. Temptations I am told are many and a multitude of dividing paths entice the weary traveler from his true course. To follow any one of these deceiving paths is death, though pleasant do they look to human eye along the earlier portion of their length.
Conductor halts and hesitates.

Behold, before us does our path divide, and which way we shall turn I cannot say. Upon our right there runs into a close and dreary wood, a narrow road; upon our left a pleasant thoroughfare well-paved, invites. yet have I many tunes heard the better seems the harder way.
Which say you stranger, the right or leftward path? Why hesitate in your decision, the sky is already thick with clouds of the impending storm. We will pursue our journey along the path leading to the right. Our way leads into the ravine and through the thicket. The long impending storm is upon us, take a firm hold upon me and let us strive to push our way through this thicket. Step carefully upon the jagged rocks and broken limbs. We no sooner pass through one difficulty than another is upon us: how are we to cross this mountain stream? Fortunate again, some traveler has prepared this slender bridge and we can cross to the other side in safety. Step carefully. At last another difficulty is overcome. See, our way leads over yonder jagged cliff. Let us push to its summit and from that elevation we may be able to get a glimpse of the City of Bethlehem. Let each step be sure; guard well every move; careful, careful, a slip of the hand or foot means certain destruction. At last we have reached the summit. See; way to the eastward point Heavenward the temple spires in the ancient city of Bethlehem. Beyond us lies but one ravine and when that is passed our way will be clear.
Now to retrace our steps. It would be impossible to return by the niches of the rock by which we gained the summit. Must we remain here, where human assistance is improbable with the close of our journey in full sight. No, I will tear my mantle into ropes by which we can make the descent with safety. Conductor tears cloth with which to make a rope. All is now ready. Grasp this rope with a firm hand, and then hand over hand let yourself down to the solid rock, many, many feet below. At last we are once more ready to pursue our journey. Refreshed by having caught a glimpse of the end of our journey We will hasten on. By those who’ve traveled all the length of life’s uneven way we learn that every good resolution is followed by difficulties hard to overcome but leading to their well earned reward, We have now reached the ravine; once through this and the way to the city is clear. Conductor suddenly halts. Alas, alas, we are lost! See, beyond yonder thicket a band of robbers: an ambush has been prepared for us. Let us take this by-path; it is possible we are yet unseen. No, they come; they come! Conductor and candidate hasten on and are captured by robbers, after which a struggle takes place.
All that’s valuable on thy person must be ours. Comrades, seize the travelers and make search.
As this order is given Conductor starts with Candidate to escape, they are seized and as search is being made, the following dialogue us given:
Take from them all their wealth, aye all their clothing that has value, and throw their bodies down that rocky cavern as food for vultures of the air.
Conductor and candidate are carefully starched.
My liege, most careful search discloses but the poverty of our prey. Nothing of value find we in their raiment.
And start you on a journey without gold, or have you met our kind before, who took it from you?
It may be they are but friends who’ve gone in search of those with wealth more than their need.
They have no pike nor sword, and think you they were wont to rob with fingers for their weapons? Nay, they are none of us. But as their spirit seems as strong as body, what may they say to leaving off a life of poverty to east with us their lot, and take their share of captured riches. What answer, friends?
Two words, sir, we refuse.
My liege, time presses, and as neithfealty nor gold is here, we should make haste. Comrades, we will chain this man touching candidate and throw him down from yond’er cliff. The spokesman of the two we hold for ransom.
Agreed. We’ll take him step by step to that cliffs highest point, and throw him on the jagged rocks below.
Candidate is taken to cliffs, rope adjusted, and he is swung off at the words given below:

Now, down, down, down. No fear of ever hearing more of him. Now, with our captive we’ll be on our way.
Robbers depart until their footsteps die away. After pause, Conductor appears at side of Candidate, who is lying chained.
Ho, friend, are you here, and are you uninjured? Examines body. His pulse still beats, he lives! I’ll loose thy chains and we will hasten fence. The villains left me bound. A Gleaner chanced to pass that way, and with his sickle cut my bonds.
CONDCTOR, as they pass along:
It seems that every firm refusal of the wrong but strengthens us to make our journey on. A fearful storm is coming on. Behold! Our way lies in a cavern, the entrance being nearly barred with undergrowth and branches. It must have been some time since any man has traveled through that pass. It was at most severe and trying task to make our way into this quiet cave. A twinkling, tiny flame lights up our way. Some hermit from the world, it seems, does choose to heave the haunts of man, and here has carved for him among these rocks, a lonely home, where, far remote from civilization, he hives with only his own thoughts for company.
Friends or roes. whichever ye may be, I have a word to say before speed the on thy way. Behold an emblem here of man’s mortality. Shows skull, hoodwink raised. These empty sockets did once contain the windows to the soul of living man. He thought, and lived and moved as you do now. He strived with all his might in all his battle through the world. At early morn he rose and went abroad to earn his bread. He had ambition. so have you. He met discouragement and strove to overcome all obstacles. At times he failed, at other times succeeded. The constant question that beseiged his mind was how to most increase his worldly means and still retain respect of man and love of God. Like every other one of us, he often chose the way his conscience did forbid, that he might for a time enjoy a transitory pleasure. Years passed, and as to all must come the time of sad farewell, his last sun ‘rose. This man went forth as was his custom, into the strife of life with highest hopes. At night his form lay in his narrow bed, his soul had taken flight. His friends looked upon his cold, white form and told their love with tears. What then to him were all his temporary joys; how trivial did success appear if bought at sacrifice of manhood. How foolish do we deem the man who lives but for today, without regard to what he shall subsist upon tomorrow, and how much more stupendous is our folly to live regardless of eternity. There’s nothing certain in man’s life but this; that he must lose it. Look you upon this skull and hold in mind this truth: The richest prize is dearly bought, if to obtain it, one atom of thy honor thou shalt sacrifice.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan above,
Sustained and soothed by an unfaltering truth,
Thou wilt approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him and lies down to pleasant dreams.
Drop hoodwink. Bell heard in distance.
The bell which ringeth in the tower of Bethlehem. It bids the traveler cheer and tells him that his journey nears its end.
Conductor and candidate pass twice around lodge room and are suddenly halted by inner Guard.
Stand Strangers what do ye here at this unseemly hour? The law commands that any traveler found on this highway at night, with no one known to warrant his mission shall be confined until the day doth break in yonder city’s tower. Away with you. Rush candidate toward door.
OUTER GUARD, just within inner door:
Hold a moment! By these men’s garb I see that they are citizens of our country.
We are, and law-abiding ones.
Guard of the Gate of Bethlehem, but give these strangers in my charge, and I will vouch for their well doing.
Then take them in your charge, but mark you well, your life stands as a warrant for their conduct.
Come strangers, I will take you to an Arbor of Gleaners now in session, and ask our Chief that you may be admitted.
Raps, Door being opened.
While patrolling my beat before this Arbor, my attention was called to the arresting of two strangers. They appeared to be citizens of our country in need of assistance. I became pledge for their good behavior and now ask that they be admitted to this Arbor.
Tarry a moment until the Chief Gleaner is informed of your request Turning to Chief Gleaner: Companion Chief Gleaner; while patrolling his beat before this Arbor. our Companion Outer Guard’s attention was called to the arresting of two strangers. They appeared to be citizens of our country and in need of assistance. As became a Companion Gleaner, he made pledge for their good behavior and asks that they be admitted to this Arbor.
Let them enter. Conductor and candidate are conducted to Chief Gleaner.
: Companion Chief Gleaner, the strangers stand before you.
Here Conductor salutes Chief Gleaner and returns to seat.
Stranger. is it your desire to receive the privileges and benefits of the Ancient Order of Gleaners.
It is.
As a candidate for progression in to the Arbor of Gleaners of the field, you will take the position now assumed by me, position of giving sign of recognition and take the obligation appertaining to this degree, repeating after me:


I solemnly promise upon my honor that no part of the working of this Order so far as now disclosed to me, shall ever be communicated by me, directly or indirectly, to any person unless lawfully entitled to such information, that I will cherish the lesson here given and strive to apply its principle in all my life.


As our friend and colleague we greet you and rejoice to see and hear that which has happened and that which has been spoken on your behalf and accepted by you in your obligation.
In your future trials of life we cannot but expect that many times you will depart, for the time being, from your good resolution; to err in human: to forgive, divine. Yours shall be the duty from this time forth, to strive with all your moral power to live a life of rectitude and honor, befitting your newly made relation. Ours shall be the duty of lending timely aid and encouragement and exercising toward you charity for your failures while giving commendation for your exertions.
You have just done enacting a part in an allegorical life. At its commencement you were accorded the privilege of a conductor and counselor, who decided your movements with judgment and discretion. In this you were favored more than is mortal man. At the cradle he is the creature of command, as years roll on he takes upon himself authority, and presumes to direct his own movements. And here does his life’s work begin in earnest. At his first independent step he finds diverging roads. Oftimes the one of righteousness is rough and rugged, while that of sin seems smooth and pleasant. Here, he who hesitates for aught but prayer, is lost. Uncertain which course to pursue, doubtful of his own judgment, the wise man seeks the guidance of his Maker.
While he who seeks the broad and pleasant path, sees joys ahead and pleasure for a little time, e’er long the gathering clouds roll up before, and midst the awful scowling blackness of the night, he reads, "The Wages of Sin is Death." Gone are his anticipated pleasures and in his stead he has his bitter, vain regrets.
The narrow path, the pilgrim feels is hard to travel but all the time his conscience tells that at its end lie peace and joy. "Virtue is its own reward." and though he fail in earthly things, the satisfaction of his mind brings solace gold can never buy.
On commencing your journey, you were given opportunity to choose between the path of right and honor and the path of seeming ease but certain evil. You were conducted along the former, and overcoming every obstacle, resisting every temptation, you have arrived at your journeys successful close.
Who soweth good seed shall surely reap
The year grows much as it grows old,
And life’s latest sands are its sands of gold
Companion Conductor, you will conduct our friend to the Vice Chief Gleaner, who will give him information concerning his business relations to this Order.
Conductor advances and leads candidate to Vice Chief Gleaner.
Friend …, while you are not yet considered a Companion of this Arbor, your policy of insurance is from this moment in force. It will now be duly signed and deposited for safe keeping with the Secretary-Treasurer of this Arbor. Unless otherwise announced, the Companions of this Arbor will next convene … at which time you are expected to be present unless sickness detains to be finally initiated as Companion Gleaner, and receive the valuable instruction of the second and last degree. Only after receiving that degree will you be permitted to sit in a lodge of second degree Gleaners.
Vice Chief Gleaner then turns to the instructions of the last degree and gives recognition sign, general pass and current pass for first degree, giving full instructions as to their use. Conductor will then accompany Candidate to the ante-room on request of Chief Gleaner in these words:


Companion Conductor, you will accompany Friend … to the ante-room pending the further disposition of business of this degree.
Companion Vice Chief Gleaner, you will announce the closing of this degree.
Companions, I am ordered by the Chief Gleaner to announce the closing of this degree. Together Companions attend the signs.
Companion Inner Guard, you will announce to the Outer Guard that this Arbor has closed upon the first degree, authorize him to collect from those seeking admission, the words of the second degree. you demanding the same from those who enter by your station.
Companion Outer Guard, it is the order of the Chief Gleaner that this Arbor now open on the second degree, and that you demand from those who ask admission, the words of the second degree.
Inner Guard approaches Altar and reports as follows:
Companion Chief Gleaner, your orders have been obeyed and all is well without.