Improved Order of Heptasophs
Archon: Brother Provost, are the portals to our approaches securely guarded?
Provost: Brother Warder, is the Sentinel at his post?
Warder: He is, Brother Provost.
Provost: Brother Archon, our portals are guarded.
Archon: The Inspector will examine the members present in the Conclave term
password and the permanent password.
Inspector, after examination,
will advance to the centre of the floor, address the Archon, and report: All correct, Brother Archon.
The brethren will advance the sign of salutation.
AIR : “I’ll stand by you
‘til the morning.”
Brothers all, who stand before us,
Mingle freely in our song,
Tune your hearts to join the chorus,
Sound our motto loud and long.
Chorus: We are marching onward proudly,
FRATERNITY, our watchword hail,
WISDOM, also sound it loudly;
TRUTH proclaim, we cannot fail.
Repeat the last two lines.
The I. O. H. is still progressing
North and South, in East and West;
None of nature’s laws transgressing,
Honesty within our breast.
We are marching onward proudly, etc.
The worthy welcome in our Order,
The hand of fellowship extend,
Protecting all within our border,
The lonely orphan as their friend.
We are marching onward proudly, etc.
Archon: Listen to the words of our Prelate.
Prelate: Oh! Thou most merciful and good God, Father and Ruler of the Universe, we
most humbly and reverently return Thee our sincere thanks for Thy mercy in
allowing us once more to assemble here to perform our labors. Be with us in all
our deliberations; guide and protect us in all our deeds; give us strength to
carry out the teachings and precepts of our Order, and aid us in our efforts to
improve our day and generation. Hear us, and answer us, and to Thee be praise
All respond: Amen.
Archon: Now I proclaim ... Conclave, No ... Improved Order Heptasophs, open for
the transaction of such business as may be legally brought before it.
Order of Business
1: Calling roll of officers.
2: Reading of Minutes.
3: Does a brother know of a
brother or his family in need of relief ?
4: Reports of Investigating
Committees, and balloting for candidates.
6: Application for membership.
7: Reports of Committees.
8: Reading of Communications.
9: Bills and appropriations
10: Unfinished business.
11: Collections of dues and
12: New business.
13: Good of the Order.
14: Report of Financier.
15. Closing in due form.
NOTE—This Order of Business may
be changed to suit the convenience of the Conclave for time being. The order may
be printed in the By-Laws of a Conclave, and additions made to it, but no part
of the above can be omitted.
Note: By resolution of the
Supreme Conclave it is optional with Conclaves to use the entire ritual, or only
the Obligation, Sitting Past Archon’s Charge and Secret Work. Conclaves so
desiring, may therefore proceed as follows:
Introduce the candidate to the
Archon, who will obligate him and send him to the Sitting Past Archon, who,
after delivering his charge, will recommend him to the Archon for instruction in
the secret work. The ceremony may conclude with the customary introduction to
The Sitting Past Archon’s
lecture may he curtailed at the option of that officer.
Archon: Inspector, you will retire to the ante room of the Conclave, ascertain if
there are any candidates in waiting for initiation, and report.
Inspector retires, and after
Archon: Brother Secretary, has the candidate been duly elected?
Archon: Brother Financier, has he paid his initiation fee, and other money, as
required by law?
Archon: We are about to initiate into this Order, Mr. ... The Inspector will
please make preparations, and report when all is in readiness.
The room is prepared for
initiation, under the care of the Inspector, as he is to take charge of the
candidate. If there be more than one, he may select a special conductor for
each, conducting the head candidate himself, or entrusting him, also, to a
special conductor, as he (the Inspector) may choose. The Inspector and each
conductor should carry a staff.
Inspector: Brother Archon, I find the Conclave in readiness for initiation.
Archon: Inspector, you will retire, and introduce the candidate.
The Inspector now retires,
accompanied by his suite, if any. On meeting the candidate, he accosts him thus:
Inspector, to the candidate: You have been announced in waiting for the purpose of being initiated
into the mysteries of our Order. Were you not of good report you could not have
reached this ante-room. As you came info the world ignorant of all things, past,
present and future, you are to be blindfolded, to illustrate your condition. It
may refer to your actual condition then, or your emblematic condition now. Have
you any objections to being blindfolded ?
Candidate answers, and is
Inspector: You will advance with me, do as you are told, and fear no danger. We
exact nothing unreasonable, the instructions that will be given, you will
The Inspector gives *
*** knocks on the door of the Conclave.
Warder: Who knocks at our inner door.
Inspector: The Inspector with a pilgrim, a candidate for initiation.
Warder: I will report you to the Provost, under whose direction I have charge of
this door. Door partially opened.
Provost,. an alarm is made at our portal by the Inspector, with a candidate for
Provost: Let him be admitted.
Warder: I am directed by the Provost, to admit you, enter and be welcome.
The door is opened by the Warder,
the Inspector enters with the candidate and proceeds slowly around the room,
beating his staff at intervals. The organist may play an appropriate air. After
passing twice around, halts before the Provost.
Inspector: You will hear our Provost, listen attentively.
Provost: Beloved initiate, we ask no promise that the most upright and honorable
man, the best citizen, or the most consistent follower of morality and religion
cannot follow and fulfill. It does not conflict with your duties to God, your
country, your government, your family or yourself. “Dust thou art, and to dust
thou shall return.” We should never depart from the path of duty prescribed by
God to man, that when we quit this world, all will go well with us hereafter, in
the world to come. You are brought before us, as a pilgrim in search of the
sublime mysteries and teachings of our Order, whose motto is Fraternity, Truth
and Wisdom, and whose honorable purposes will be made manifest before you become
fully acquainted with its commendable features. You have been blindfolded, in
order to illustrate your condition in passing through this life where we meet
with great trials, misfortunes, temptations and numerous obstacles, before we
reach the end of life’s journey. Being in darkness, you should proceed
cautiously, in order to avoid the dangers of the rugged paths before you, and
keep clear of the many barriers thrown in your way as you pass along; have faith
and courage; proceed with energy and a determination to pass the ordeal in
safety, and all will go well with you. A philosopher was asked from whom he
received the first lesson in wisdom. He replied, “From the blind man,” who
never takes a step until he has first felt the ground before him. The Inspector
will now place in your hand a staff which may serve you in a like way. Should
your pathway appear doubtful, unsafe or difficult, apply the staff, and examine
with it the next step that is to be taken.
The Inspector hands him a staff;
he is told to proceed on his journey without fear, but to observe caution.
Slight obstructions should be placed, to compel him to use the staff in stepping
over them. The Inspector should accompany the candidate, and take him before the
Prelate, who stands before an altar or table, in the centre of the room. After
the candidate has halted, the Provost will proceed as follows:
Provost: You have had confidence, and have successfully passed the ordeal; the
Inspector will present the candidate to the Prelate.
Inspector: Brother Prelate by direction of the Provost, this candidate is presented.
Prelate: My friend, I congratulate you on your remembrance of the instructions
given you by, the Provost, and ever bear in mind that the path of life hath two
sides; one, rugged and sharp, and the other smooth and pleasant; it depends upon
you as to which course you pursue; if the latter you will have a happy life. We
now require you to enter into an obligation with us, which will in no wise
conflict with your duties as a man or a citizen either religiously, politically
or otherwise. Are you willing to take such an obligation?
You will repeat after me.
I, ... , in the presence of Almighty God, and the
witnesses here assembled, do, of my own free will and accord, solemnly promise
that I will strictly comply with all laws and usages of the Improved Order
Heptasophs, established by the Supreme Conclave. I will hold allegiance to the
Supreme Conclave, and recognize its authority. I will obey all orders emanating
therefrom, so long as they do not conflict with my civil or religious liberty. I
will not defraud or wrong any department of the Order, nor any member thereof,
nor suffer another to do so, if in my power to prevent it. I will forever keep
secret all that may transpire during my initiation. I will never communicate unlawfully to any person any of the words, signs or tokens. I will assist a
distressed Brother as far as in my power lies. I will warn a Brother of
approaching danger, and use all my endeavors to protect him from harm. I will
obey all orders of the Archon of this Conclave, if promulgated to me in a lawful
manner, and assist the prosperity of the Order, to the best of my ability. All
of which I promise on the honor of a man and a Heptasoph.
You have taken the solemn obligation of our Order,
and are bound by the highest principles of honor to observe secrecy, and obey
our laws; there is, therefore, no necessity to keep you any longer in darkness.
Restore the Brother to light.
Hoodwink removed. A promissory
note is prepared, and should be so arranged as to be unseen by the candidate, so
that when he signs his name, he will have signed the note. After he has signed,
the note is taken to the Archon.
Prelate: Sign your name.
Strew the path of duty with bright thoughts and
noble purposes, and however many obstructions may be found therein, let the halo
which encircles and the air which pervades it, be so bright, and so sweet and
pure, as to insure its being recognized as the proper one to pursue. This duty,
which is not too much to expect, will be most cheerfully and patiently performed
by you, and that in truth and consistency, von will find your highest reward.
Conduct the Brother to the Archon.
The candidate is taken to the
Archon, who addresses him as follows: It
gives me unbounded satisfaction to meet with you on the. floor of this Conclave.
You have received admonitions instructive, which we trust may be remembered by
you. You have taken an obligation, such as cannot possibly be objectionable to
any good man. It was never our intention that a candidate should be permitted to
do wrong. The Improved Order Heptasophs teaches nothing that can conflict with
the most sacred of duties. On the contrary, it seeks to enforce those duties
which, in the hardened struggles of life, men are too prone to forget. Be ever
firm and watchful, and ever adhere to principle. Is this your signature?
Promissory note shown.
After the candidate has
acknowledged his signature, the Archon will ready the note aloud, when comments
should be made thereon by the members.
Archon: My Brother, now mark the lesson we teach. You should never do an act
without careful thought, and know what you are doing. See the evidence of the
onerous charge you have thoughtlessly assumed; hereafter, never affix your
signature to any document, until you have first examined its contents.
The Archon burns the paper and
continues: You failed to observe caution when signing your
name. Many of us have been alike thoughtless and inconsiderate. We are happy to
know, from the character von have sustained, and which has shown you worthy of
admission in our Order, that yours has been an error of want of thought and
attention, not of principle. Let this lesson make a lasting impression on you.
Conduct the Brother to the Sitting Past Archon.
Taken to the Sitting Past Archon.
Inspector: Brother Past Archon, our Archon refers the Brother to you.
Sitting Past Archon: My Brother, what you have already passed through, teaches important
lessons, not easily forgotten. The objects of our Order is to elevate man, and
make him the noblest of God’s creation, to dispense that charity taught us by
the Great Omniscience, and to prepare for the support of those whom we love so
dearly, when it shall please the Great Being to call us hence. Fraternity, Truth
and Wisdom, are the principles we advocate. To mingle freely amongst our
Brothers and give evidence of true Brotherly love. To guide each other in the
way we should go, and to instruct and counsel, so as to enable us to do that
which is right. Your devotion to the pure principles and hallowed purposes, to
which our motto is dedicated, we feel assured, that in your practice of them,
the advantages to you will be made manifest. In faithfully following the
teachings of our Order, you will find your greatest satisfaction, your noblest
reward, for any sacrifice which you may be required to make. Your offerings upon
the altar of self-sacrifice, will cause to ascend a perfume, which shall reach
the heart of the weary, lonely, helpless widow and orphan, as a holy and sweet
incense. Brief reflection will convince you of the propriety of appropriating to
yourself whatever of good may be gathered, from the teachings and examples of
others, whilst you should studiously avoid the imitation of that which is
inconsistent with the highest moral teachings.
I counsel you, that: In the management of business,
be reverently attentive ; in intercourse with others be strictly sincere.
The superior man has a dignified ease without
pride; the mean man has a pride without dignified ease.
The firm, the enduring, the simple and the modest,
are near to virtue.
He who speaks without modesty, will find it
difficult to make his words good.
The way of the superior man is three-fold:
Virtuous, he is free from anxieties. Wise, he is free from perplexities; Bold,
he is free from fear.
Riches adorn a house, but virtue adorns the person.
If you are grave you will not be treated with
disrespect. If you are generous you will win all. If you are sincere, people
will repose bust in you. If you are in earnest you will accomplish much.
We are bound together by the ties of Brotherhood.
Our Conclaves are organized to protect the worthy and distressed; to protect
from the ills of want, the suffering widow and orphan; never to turn a deaf ear
to the helpless and deserving. Let us never forget. the duties of Fraternity,
Truth and Wisdom, which are the greatest purposes of our organization. Let us
practice these noble lessons, and thus do credit to ourselves and honor to the
Order. You will now be again conducted to the Archon.
Taken to the Archon.
Inspector: Brother Archon, the candidate is again before you.
Here give the Secret Work.
Archon: I now present you with a copy of our laws, and the Inspector will place
upon you the badge you are entitled to wear. As it should be your pride never to
soil or dishonor it, so it should be your study never to soil or dishonor the
good reputation that has, recommended you to fellowship here.
The Archon gives * *.
And now in the name of the Supreme Conclave,
Improved Order Heptasophs, and by virtue of authority vested in me by the
Charter of ... Conclave, No ... , I hereby declare and proclaim you to be duly
and fully invested with the rights of membership in the Order.
You will now retire, after addressing the chairs,
accompanied by the Inspector, and work your way in, to satisfy us that you rememiber the instructions imparted to you. Inspector, instruct the Brother if
After the candidate has entered and addressed the Chair, the Archon will
proceed: Brother, it is with pleasure I greet you ns a
member of the Order. I now declare a recess for general introduction.
During the congratulation an Ode may he sung, or a piece of music may be
performed by the Organist.
Archon, * *: Brothers, our labors are
finished for the evening, our task is done, and we are once more permitted to
turn our steps homeward in peace. Before doing so, let us join in singing the
We’ve reached our session’s close to-night,
To join in prayer—and songs delight,
Then let our voices now arise
With echoed cadence from the skies.
Sing, Brothers, sing, while here we stand,
Our Order’s firm united hand,
Free from the power of evil sway,
Rejoicing in the right to-day;
Fraternally in bonds, forsooth,
Of Wisdom, Honor and of Truth.
Now, let our voices in the love
We bear our Archon high above,
Ascend unto the Throne of Light,
With prayers that we no wrong requite.
And as we part in pride of peace,
With hope to prosper and increase,
Let each resolve and vow again,
Our Order’s Honor we’ll maintain.
Archon: Reverently listen to prayer from our Prelate.
Prelate: Supreme and Sovereign Ruler of the world, deign
once more to hear the voice of our supplication, and remember us in mercy. We
thank Thee for many favors past, and invoke a continuance of them. Go with us to
our several homes, save us from all harm during the coming week, shield and
protect our families and those who are near to us, and when we have struck our
earthly tents here below, receive us into Thy tabernacle above, we ask for Thy
name’s sake. Amen.
All respond: Amen.
Archon: I now proclaim ... Conclave, No. ..., closed until
... evening, at ... o’clock, when it will be opened for business.