Patrons of Husbandry – Grangers
Initiation Ritual – First Degree - Preparation


Instructions on Degree Work

The First Degree is intended to symbolize Springtime on the farm.

Court Robes—White with proper colored trimmings: Yellow for Ceres, green for Pomona, and pink for Flora. Ladies may, if desired, wear sunbonnets pushed back from the face. The use of different colored court robes for each degree is optional with the Grange.
The M. will declare a recess for a few moments to prepare the room for initiatory ceremony.
The A. S. shall have in readiness:
1.: The memorandum book, knife and pencil on the desk of the O.
2.: Implement Case, containing ax, plow, harrow and spade, on the desk of the M. (All other implements removed from the case)
3.: A bouquet of grasses for M. to illustrate his lecture
4.: Curtains down, screening the stage, if tableaux are to be used
The L.A.S. will have in readiness for the candidates to wear:
1.: Cloaks made of suitable green material, in the form of a circular neatly prepared and trimmed, covering the entire dress, to be worn by the lady candidates in first part of degree.
2.: Hoodwinks for all candidates.
All being ready for the ceremony, the A.S. and L.A.S. will prepare the candidates in the preparation room. They should adjust hoodwinks on all candidates. Arrange candidates in single file, place the left hand of each candidate on the left shoulder of the one in front, the leading candidates placing their left hands on
the left shoulder of the assistant they follow, and they will follow readily.
The A.S. and L.A.S. will now proceed, the candidates following, as described above. They will approach the Inner Gate and give the alarm.
When the door is opened they enter and pass to the right, as directed in Manual. (There should be perfect silence).
The “salute” consists of one clap of the hands simultaneously by all the members.
When directed by the M. the candidates are conducted by the A.S. and L.A.S. to the altar and placed in position to receive the pledge. The M. administers the Obligation. The A.S. and L.A.S. restore the candidates to light by removing the hoodwinks when so directed by the O. in his lecture, “Light be.”
The O. instructs them in the emblematic use of the memorandum book, knife and pencil.
The M. instructs in the use of the implements of this degree, the ax, plow, harrow and spade, which should be before him in miniature form in a neat case.
The sisters are instructed by the M. in the symbolism of the grasses by exhibiting a bouquet of dried grasses.
The M. also instructs the candidates in the U.W. and symbolism of the degree
C., P. and F. furnish the candidates with useful information and counsel in the spring season of the farmer’s life. In the ceremonies of all the degrees the M. should see that proper decorum is preserved, as talking or any noise disturbs and distracts the attention of the candidates, and seriously mars the impressiveness of the work.

Degree Work
SYMBOLS—Spring—Childhood—The Seed
EMBLEMS—Ax, Plow, Harrow and Spade.
SCENE—A Farm in the Springtime.
Having signed the roll, the candidates, properly prepared, are in the preparation roam, men in charge of A.S., women in charge of L.A.S. Always form the procession two and two, with women at the right of men, so that on coming to the stations of the Officers and facing to the right, the women will be in the front rank.
Before candidates are admitted, Steward shall caution them that they are about to engage in a serious task, that close attention should be paid to all lectures and that dignity and quiet should characterize every stage of the degree.
In similar manner the Master may properly caution the members inside the hall, in order that the degree may be given with maximum impressiveness.
All silent in the Grange. Alarm from the A.S.
S.: Worthy Overseer, an alarm at the gate.
O.: See who approaches.
S.: Who comes?
A.S.: Men and women seeking employment, who desire to assist in our work.
S.: Are they unconstrained and willing?
A.S.: They are
S.: Have they been tried and found worthy?
A.S.: They have
S.: You will tarry while I ascertain our Worthy Overseer’s pleasure. Worthy Overseer, the alarm comes from strangers seeking admittance.
O.: Satisfy yourself that they are worthy and well qualified, and, if so, admit them.
S. opens Inner Gate and says: None but those worthy and well qualified can enter here. It is the pleasure of our Worthy Overseer that you enter the field with this caution: Use discretion, respectfully obey all orders, and, should work be assigned you, labor with diligence.
A.S.: Let our future conduct prove us.
All silent Candidates are led once around hall to right; stop at O. and A.S. introduces candidates.
A.S.: Worthy Overseer, these friends of ours seek initiation into the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, and desire instruction.
O.: Friends, the Grange is a great fraternity, and the lessons of its ritual are expressed by the use of symbols drawn from the field, the farm and the farm home. The four degrees of our Order are based upon the seasons of the year, each conveying its appropriate lesson. You are about to enter the mysteries of the first degree, symbolic of springtime on the farm, when all Nature is burning into newness of life.
The wild flowers are making the woods and the hills glorious with their beauty; orchards are in bloom, and the air is redolent with their perfume; plowing the fields has begun and soon the sower will go forth to sow.
Additional laborers and maids are needed for work in field and household, and we accept you as willing workers, now in waiting for the tasks to which you will be assigned. For in our fraternity there is work for all, and the idler has no place among Patrons of Husbandry.
Candidates are led again around hall. As they approach station of L. on first round they are halted by L. with upraised hand, who commands “Hold”. This shall be the signal for all members to salute with one clap of the hand.
L.: Hold! Who are these who trespass within our peaceful enclosure?
A.S.: Friends, who desire to be initiated into the mysteries of our Order.
L.: By what token may we prove them?
A.S.: By this signet.
L.: Present it A.S. presents a card bearing these words: “An honest man is the noblest work of God.” Right, brother. The first and highest object of our Order is “to develop a better and higher manhood and womanhood among ourselves” Conduct them to the Worthy Overseer for his examination.
Candidates remain, in position before Lecturer, while Chaplain slowly and impressively gives charge.
Chap.: He that will not plow by reason of the cold shall beg in the harvest and have nothing. He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread; but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding. The band of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding, for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
After Chaplain’s charge march toward O. is started and when line is halfway between L. and O. it is halted by S. representing Ignorance. S. should not carry staff while giving this charge.
S.: My friends, whither are you going?
A.S.: We are traveling in search of light and knowledge.
S.: Take advice from one whose experience is blissful, and tarry with me. The promises of progress and improvement are delusive. The road you have traveled is familiar and easy, but the one you are now entering is full of obstacles, rough and uneven, environed with dangers, and leads, you know not where. With me you can find ease and comfort. While others are racking mind and body in seeking something new and better, we can secure enjoyment without mental or physical exertion. Moreover, you are blind and cannot see. Come, tarry with me.
All: Heed him not, but persevere!
A.S.: My friends, the person who has been speaking to yon is that worst of enemies to progress—Ignorance, attended by his companions, Sloth and Superstition. Give them no heed if you hope to advance.
Line passes to O.
O.: Who comes here?
A.S.: Friends who desire to become members our Order.
O.: Are they competent to assume the duties that will devolve upon them?
A.S.: They are.
O.: What wages do they expect?
A.S.: Wisdom, and not silver; Knowledge, rather than fine gold.
O.: Do you vouch for their integrity?
A.S.: I do
O.: Friends, is it of your own free will that you seek the position?
Candidates in unison: It is.
O.: It is well. You will conduct them to our Worthy Master; from him you will receive further instruction.
M.: Who are these persons, and why are they here
A.S.: They come to be employed as Laborers and Maids.
M.: Are you willing to engage in these duties?
Candidates in unison: We are.
M.: Friends, your present condition is but an example of Faith, and emblematic of a higher confidence in a Supreme Being. We are constantly passing blindly along the pathway of life, events occurring that we do not understand, and often encountering difficulties and obstructions in our way; but we should press forward, having Faith that God will ultimately bring us into the broad and pleasant fields of Paradise.
We have confidence that you will persevere, but, before assigning you a place in our work, it is necessary that you give us a solemn pledge, which will not conflict with ‘3rour moral, social, religious or civil duties. With this assurance, are you willing to proceed?
Candidates in unison: We are.
M.: Worthy Assistants, you will please place the candidates in position to give the pledge.
O. calls up and M. administers the Obligation
M.: In the presence of our Heavenly Father and these witnesses, I do hereby pledge my sacred honor that, whether in or out of the Order, I will never reveal any of the secrets of this Order, nor communicate them, nor any part of them, to any person in the world, unless I am satisfied by strict test, or in some legal manner, that they are lawfully entitled to receive them; that I will conform to and abide by the laws of my state and nation, the constitution, rules and regulations of the National Grange, and of the State Grange under whose jurisdiction I may be, and of the Subordinate Grange to which I may be attached; that I will never propose for membership in the Order, nor sanction the admission of, anyone I have reason to believe an improper person; nor will I oppose the admission of anyone solely on the grounds of a personal prejudice or difficulty. I will recognize and answer all lawful signs given me by a brother or sister of the Order, and will render them such assistance as may be needed, so far as I may be able and the interests of my family will permit. I will not knowingly wrong or defraud a brother or sister of the Order in word or deed; nor will I permit it to be done by another if in my power to prevent it. Should I knowingly or willfully violate this pledge, I invoke upon myself suspension or expulsion from the Order, and thus be disgraced among those who were my brothers and sisters.
Friends, is this your Obligation?
Candidates answer in a clear voice: It is.
O. calls down
M.: Brothers and Sisters, our desire and search for knowledge necessarily begins in the darkness of ignorance. The buried seed wakes to life in darkness, and then sends up its germ, seeking Heaven’s sunlight. Being pledged to the rules of this Order, you will now be conducted to the Worthy Overseer and prepared for further instruction.
A.S.: Worthy Overseer, it is our Worthy Master’s pleasure that our friends be prepared to receive instruction.
O.: I will obey his request.
My friends, to primeval darkness, covering the face of the deep, came the command, “Light be!” A.S. and L.A.S. suddenly remove the hoodwinks, and all in the Grange salute by one clap of the hands and light was! and the evening, with its darkness, and the morning, with its light, were the first day. Courage, then, and patience, when gloom broods over your pathway. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. To the upright there ariseth light in darkness, and the path of the righteous shineth brighter and brighter, unto the perfect day. Then shall the crooked be made straight, and the rough places plain, and knowledge be revealed.
I exhibit to you now a memorandum book, a knife and a pencil. Note down the new and useful ideas that come to you that they be not lost; for new ideas are the material with which progress is made. The knife is used to prune
straggling branch, to cut off the nests of insects, or to cut a plant whose nature you may wish to study. In your intercourse with your fellow-beings correct an error kindly, and with the smooth edge of affection, and do not bruise a wound you wish to heal.
I greet these sisters as worthy members of our Order. Man and woman are the educators of youth and co-students through life; therefore both must acquire knowledge and wisdom. Education adds the greatest charm to woman—it is companion of which no misfortune can deprive her, a friend no enemy can alienate, an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. In this degree—your Spring season in our Order—begin new the acquisition of knowledge.
Steward will advance near O. and address candidates: I must call your attention to the domestic animals that are committed to our keeping by the Great Author of our being. We are dependent upon them, for without their aid man could never have risen from barbarism to civilization. Practice mercy and compassion toward them. Never overwork nor overload them, and guard against haste in reprimanding them. Treat them with kindness and affection, and they will learn to love you. It is one of the objects of our Order to protect dumb animals from abuse, and any member who countenances their ill-treatment is liable to censure, suspension, or expulsion
A.S.: I will now introduce you to our Worthy Chaplain.
Chap.: Worthy Brothers and Sisters, Agriculture is the first and noblest of all occupations. It is the only one directly instituted by our Creator. God planted the Garden of Eden, and placed man therein to tend and keep it. He caused to spring forth out of the ground every tree and plant that is pleasant to the sight and bearing fruit good for food. It was a command of the Almighty that man should till the ground. History proves that where agriculture has been fostered, that nation has prospered and reached a high degree of perfection; but where it has been neglected degeneracy began. Let us heed the warning and escape the doom.
Worthy Sisters, the interests, the social relations and the destiny of man and woman are identical. She was intended by our Creator to be the helpmeet, companion, and equal of man— the perfecting half added to his hemisphere—thus completing the fully-globed orb of our common humanity; hence, as one, each shares the glory or the shame of the other.
A.S.: Brothers and Sisters, that you may be taught the use of the implements and symbols of this degree, I will now conduct you to our Worthy Master.
A.S.: Worthy Master, our Brothers and Sisters are prepared to receive your instructions.
M I will now call your attention to the implements of this degree—the Ax, Abe Plow, the Harrow and the Spade.
The Ax is used to cut away obstructions in the fields and to prepare timber for use. Its use teaches us perseverance in overcoming obstacles; for, as by repeated blows it cleaves its way through the hardest wood, so should we by repeated trials surmount every difficulty.
The Plow is used to break up the ground and prepare it for planting. This should teach us to drive the plowshare of thought diligently through the heavy soil of ignorance, and thus prepare the mind for the growth of knowledge and wisdom.
The Harrow is used to pulverize the soil as well as to cover the seed. Let this be emblematic of that course of study and observation necessary to enable you fully to understand your business.
The Spade we use when we wish to penetrate deeper into the soil than we can with the Plow. It thus becomes the emblem of thoroughness. Whatsoever you attempt to do, strive to do it well.
My sisters, I am happy to greet you and to encourage you to persevere in the pursuit of the true, the beautiful, and the good. The station of Maid in Our Order involves those general duties which, though common and lowly, prepare for all that is most honorable and useful. Therefore, scorn not to receive instruction from the humblest object that offers you its lesson This bouquet Exhibiting one of dried grasses as you perceive, is composed wholly of different varieties of grasses, possessing little, beauty and less of interest to the careless observer, but full of instruction to the reflecting mind.
Grass is the basis of Agriculture. Without it the earth would be an arid, barren waste. It is emblematic of man’s transitory state upon earth, and also of a brighter and more glorious truth. As the grass awakens to life again at the call of Spring, does not each tiny spear, as it shoots from the ground, preach to you of the resurrection and immortality!
Let the modesty and usefulness of the humble grass be to you an object of imitation as Maids in our Order.
Worthy Lady Assistant, you will now conduct our sisters to the Worthy Steward, and then meet our brothers at the station of the Worthy Lecturer.
Candidates are led around hall to station of L. and A.S. halts the men, while the women in charge of L.A.S. pass to station of S.
L.A.S.: Worthy Steward, I bring our sisters for further instruction.
S.: Sisters, you entered here blinded and covered with that garment. Before you were placed Ignorance and Knowledge. You were allowed to choose for yourself, and you chose wisely and found light. Wearing that garment is to teach you that those we admit into our circle are not chosen by outward appearance, and that we are not deceived by display in dress.
It is to the mind and heart that we look for all good works; therefore, in your intercourse with the world, remember that a noble mind and generous heart are often concealed beneath the garments of poverty. Removes the cloaks. I now greet you as sisters in our Order, and welcome you on your way.
Worthy Lady Assistant, you will please introduce the candidates to the Worthy Lecturer.
Pass around the hall, to places in front of the men, before station of L.
L.: Sisters, when God created the Garden of Eden, and planted therein all that was beautiful of tree and shrub, plant and flower, and so arranged His handiwork that it was Paradise, His last great work was to adorn it with woman.
To woman, then, we look for those noble traits that adorn humanity. Therefore remember the high portion assigned to womanhood, and sustain it with dignity and grace.
Brothers, the farmer at this season must be earnest in his labors, knowing full well that if he neglects to sow he cannot reap. So while occupied in the work of preparing your lands for the seed, have faith in God’s promise that seed-time and harvest shall never fail, and do not lose sight of preparation for that great harvest where you yourselves will at last be garnered.
A.S.: And now once more to the Worthy Master.
M.: In the Grange we are like one great family and when we assemble we securely close our gates to guard against intrusion At the Outer Gate stands the Gate Keeper and at the Inner Gate the Steward. To gain admission at each the proper signal and passwords must be given. Other signs are included in our work, to all of which you should give careful heed.
I will now impart to you the secret instructions of this degree.
Instructs the candidates in: 1st, Signal and Password at the Outer Gate; 2nd, Signal and Degree Words at the Inner Gate; 3rd, Sign and Salutation of this Degree; 4th, Sign of Caution, Sign of Distress, and Patrons’ General Sign
M.: You are now Laborers and Maids in the First Degree of our honorable Order. The salutation of this degree signifies that a member of this degree places Faith in God. Our Worthy Patrons, Ceres, Pomona and Flora will furnish you with advice essential to aid you in your duties.
Music—if candidates march.
Candidates will be marched once around hall and halted before Graces; except that in case of a small or very crowded hall Graces may give their charges while candidates remain in position before station of M. Same rule obtains after charge of F.
L.A.S.: I present you to our Worthy Patron, Ceres.
C.: As Laborers and Maids you will require food for sustenance; take of this corn, but save a portion of the best for seed. It is the Grange symbol of FAITH. The Faith in which you labor will have a realization in the promised reward. And in the blessed sunlight of that Faith all around you will be bright and beautiful. By this Faith even the nodding grain and pluming corn in their season furnish delight to the mind, as well as nourishment to the body.
L.A.S.: I now present you to our Worthy Patron, Pomona.
P.: As specimens of the refreshments in store for faithful Laborers and Maids, behold this fruit. It is the result of Faith in planting the seed, in training the tree and vine and in guarding the fruit during blossoming and ripening.
Fine fruits are the flower of all the products of the earth—blessings designed to please the eye and gratify the taste—to multiply our comforts and elevate our social and moral condition. The culture of fruits indicates refinement. Their use as food tends to a healthy and refined temperament, both of body and of mind; hence they should be esteemed necessities rather than luxuries. It is, therefore, our duty to improve and increase these bounties to their utmost extent.
L.A.S.: I now present you to our Worthy Patron, Flora.
F.: I will strew your path with flowers whose beauty and fragrance cannot fail to make life pleasant, and teach you that there is another and a better world—
“Where everlasting Spring abides,
And never-fading flowers.”
Music—If candidates march.
A.S.: Worthy Master, our brothers and sisters are now ready for labor in the field.
M.: I now greet you as Worthy Laborers and Maids, and charge you always to keep in remembrance the pledge of secrecy and fidelity you have given, and the lessons you have received, that your future conduct may be regulated by the precepts of wisdom and virtue.
Worthy Assistants, you will please introduce our brothers and sisters to their fellow-workers, for which purpose I declare a recess.
A.S. introduces the candidates, and all indulge in social greetings.