Progressive & Protective Order Buffaloes of America
Ritual of the Initiatory Degree
At the appointed hour the Exalted Ruler shall ascend the Rostum, and with one distinct rap of the Gavel call the Lodge to order, then request of the Officers to take their stations, fill the stations of absentees.
Order the Standing and Roving Buffaloes to close the doors, and allow no one to enter or retire until so ordered.
ROVING BUFFALO: Exalted Ruler, I have done your bidding.
EXALTED RULER: Conductor, examine the Lodge and collect the Semi-Annual and Universal Passwords of the Order, and report all visiting brothers if there be any present.
The Conductor examines the Lodge for the Passwords of the Order, should he find any brothers without the words he shall order them to take a standing position before the altar. After he finishes examining the Lodge, he shall make the following report: Exalted Ruler, I have examined the Lodge and found all the brothers in possession of the Passwords and qualified to remain except the brothers standing before the altar.
EXALTED RULER: Brother Conductor, examine the membership cards of the brothers standing, and report all who owe three months dues or more.
Conductor examines the membership cards and reports all owing three months dues or more to the Exalted Ruler, by saying: Exalted Ruler, I have examined the membership cards of the brothers and find brother … owing … months dues.
EXALTED RULER: Brothers, are you prepared to settle up your indebtedness? If so, I will order the Conductor to give you. the Passwords, if not, you will kindly be excused.
The Exalted Ruler gives two raps, then one rap. Lodge stands.
EXALTED RULER: Brothers, by what are we bound together?
LODGE: We are bound together by the triple ties of Honor, Charity and Justice.
EXALTED RULER: Brothers, attitude of prayer, by placing the finger tips of the right hand against the forehead and the left hand over the heart.
The Priest will please offer the invocation to the Deity.
The Priest prays the following official prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that Thou hast kept us through this day, and permitted us to assemble here at this hour, we humbly pray for the continued abidance of Thy Holy Spirit to teach and inspire us to exemplify the spirit of Honor, Charity and Justice one to the other, and finally, re-unite us around Thy Great White Throne, hear and answer us we beseech Thee. Amen.
The Lodge shall say: Amen.
EXALTED RULER: Brothers will join in singing the Opening Ode.
Dear Lord, as we assemble here,
Let there be nothing but justice and cheer;
Fill every heart with honor and deed
And help us remove our brother’s need.
EXALTED RULER: Brother Vice Exalted Ruler, for what purpose have we assembled here?
VICE EXALTED RULER: We have assembled here for the purpose of dispensing Charity, Diffusing Honor, dealing Justly and to transact such other business as may legally come before us.
I, …, Exalted Ruler of Lodge …, Number …, do by power vested in me declare this Lodge open to transact such business as may legally come before it, and request strict abeyance to the Gavel, observance of the laws and respect to each other
Two raps, Lodge is seated.
EXALTED RULER: Roving Buffalo, state your duty.
ROVING BUFFALO: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to have charge of the inner door, to receive the name and Universal Password from every brother before admitting him; to admit none who cannot give the Password or is vouched by the Accountant, to report to the Conductor all who arrive without the Password, and to relieve the Standing Buffalo to allow him to report in stating his duty, Relieve the Standing Buffalo, that he may report from your station.
EXALTED RULER: Standing Buffalo, state your duty.
STANDING BUFFALO: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to guard the outer door against the intrusion if strangers, receive the name and Semi-Annual Password from every brother, and report the name of all who appear without the Password to the Roving Buffalo and await their orders of the Exalted Ruler before admitting them and otherwise obey the orders of the Exalted Ruler.
EXALTED RULER: Marshal, state your duty.
MARSHAL: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to have general supervision over the Lodge at all public demonstrations, maintain order and decorum and perform such other duties as are set forth in the Laws of this Lodge and Order.
EXALTED RULER: Advocate, state your duty.
ADVOCATE: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to familiarize myself with the Laws of the Lodge and Order, and be ever prepared and ready to cite Law whenever required and otherwise act as the Lodge’s Attorney having charge of all charges brought into the Lodge against any brother, prosecute same and report my findings and such recommendations as the Committee shall agree upon at the following meeting.
EXALTED RULER: Priest, state your duty.
PRIEST: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to offer invocation to the Deity for the Lodge, asking His blessing upon the brotherhood, and to be ever ready to help maintain peace and harmony in the Lodge.
EXALTED RULER: Treasurer, state your duty.
TREASURER: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to receive all moneys from the Accountant belonging to the Lodge, giving my receipt for the same; pay all Crafts properly signed and sealed, to keep an accurate record of the receipts and disbursements and submit to the Lodge semi-annually my report on the first meetings in June and December, and to turn over to the Lodge all moneys, papers and documents belonging to the Lodge at the expiration of my term of offlize, or whenever ordered to do so by the Lodge.
EXALTED RULER: Accountant, state your duty.
ACCOUNTANT: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to keep a fair and impartial account between the brothers and the Lodge, be the keeper of the seal, receive all moneys due the Lodge and Grand Lodge coming into my hands and give due and just credit for the same; to make out semi-annual reports of the business of the Lodge, balancing my accounts correctly and submit them to the Lodge on the first meetings in June and December, and forward the per capita taxes with the Report Sheet of the Order properly filled out, signed and sealed whenever ordered by the Lodge; to turn over to the Treasurer all moneys received by me at my earliest convenience and take his receipt there-for, and deliver to the Lodge all moneys, papers, seal, books, documents, and such other properties belonging to the Lodge and Order at the expiration of my term of office or whenever ordered by the Lodge; send out all notices bearing on finance and candidates.
EXALTED RULER: Scribe, state your duty.
SCRIBE: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to minuet the transactions of’ the business of the Lodge in a precise and intelligible manner, send out notices for all meetings of the Lodge and assist the Accountant whenever required by the Lodge and serve during his absence.
EXALTED RULER: Vice Exalted Ruler, state your duty.
VICE EXALTED RULER: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to attend all meetings of the Lodge, assist you in governing the Lodge, have charge of the wicket, perform the duties as the Chairman of the Sick Committee, submit at the end of my term of office a written report of the sick visited and the amount of Sick Aid paid, and to officiate for you in your absence.
EXALTED RULER: Past Exalted Ruler, state your duty in the Lodge.
PAST EXALTED RULER: Exalted Ruler, it is my duty to familiarize myself with the Laws and Ritualistic Work of the Order, administer the Oath of Obligation to candidates, to instruct the Exalted Ruler, and see that the Laws are enforced and that the Ritualistic Work is conferred properly, and to preside over the Lodge whenever called upon to do so.
EXALTED RULER: The station of the Exalted Ruler is the Executive Chair of the Lodge, it is my duty to preside over the meetings of the Lodge, judge impartially, every transaction, enforce the Laws, maintain order and decorum in the true spirit of Honor, Charity and Justice, and to give my charge in the initiation of candidates, sign all drafts legally ordered and properly drawn and sealed.
In the discharge of my duty, I ask your earnest co-operation. Gives two raps the Lodge is seated. Roving Buffalo, admit all qualified members.
EXALTED RULER: Brother Conductor, what is the purpose of and pleasure of the Lodge at this hour?
CONDUCTOR: Exalted Ruler, the purpose is that of initiation, and it is our pleasure to capture, brand and acquaint the strangers in the habits and mysteries of the GREAT BUFFALO.
EXALTED RULER: Brother Conductor, has all the requirements of this Lodge and order been complied with ?
CONDUCTOR: Exalted Ruler, they have, and the strangers come highly recommended by two of our worthy brothers.
EXALTED RULER: Then prepare them for the trip across the Prairie that all hearty Buffaloes have taken. Conductor, blind folds the candidates in the ante room and leaves them in charge of the Standing Buffalo, and reports to the Exalted Ruler. Exalted Ruler, I have left the candidates in the charge of our Standing Buffalo who will apply for admission after they have met his test.
STANDING BUFFALO grasps them by the hand and says: Friend I take this not to be an unclean hand nor thee a man with lying lips but friendly to our Order, justice to you and our Order demands that you hold no deceit, nor come to us with impure motives or traitorous desires, and if you believe not in the existence of a Supreme Being, who rules and governs all things, we command that you go hence and count not the moments in thy going.
S. B. releases the hand of the candidate and proceeds as follows: Are you willing to take upon you an oath that will not conflict with your religious or political opinions?
Answer: I am.
Are you willing to be governed by the Rules Regulations and Laws as are now or may hereafter be?
Answer: I am.
STANDING BUFFALO: Repeat after me the following declaration: Sir, I speak of a truth that I bring a clean record, and with an honest heart and pure desires, would of your number be, and I have regard for and will support such Laws, Rules, Regulations, Forms and Ceremonies as are now or may hereafter be.
STANDING BUFFALO gives several exciting raps on the door and waits for request from the Roving Buffalo.
ROVING BUFFALO: Who dare disturb the Peace and Harmony of our Prairie?
STANDING BUFFALO: The Standing Buffalo of this Lodge with seekers who wish to be Admitted, Branded and made acquainted with the habits and Mysteries of the Great Buffalo.
ROVING BUFFALO: Exalted Ruler, outside awaits the Standing Buffalo, with seekers who crave admission, to be branded and made acquainted with the habits and Mysteries of the Great Buffalo.
EXALTED RULER: Do they bring clean records and pure desires?
ROVING BUFFALO: Exalted Ruler, of a truth they do, (or he does).
EXALTED RULER: Obtain his name and address and hinder him not with any further challenge.
ROVING BUFFALO obtains the name and address and reports to the Lodge: Exalted Ruler, it is Mr … of … St., or Avenue.
EXALTED RULER: The Lodge will rise and sing "The chorus of "Bringing in the Sheaves".
Conductor in the ante room takes the candidate by the arm and advance and stop in the open door and says: Ye who enter through this door must leave all hopes behind.
Lodge sings:"Just as I am without one plea".
Conductor, marches the candidate three times around ~he room and stops before the altar of the Exalted Ruler.
EXALTED RULER: Bring therefore fruits, meet for repentance, and now also the axe is laid to the roots of the trees, therefore every tree that bringeth not forth fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire, then cometh Jesus, from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him, but John said, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and cometh Thou to me? And Jesus said unto John, "Suffer it be so now".
Then the S of the C. is R. and a strong P. of E. is drawn and L-G-On the B. of the C. The candidate is now led to the P. E. R’s station.
PAST EXALTED RULER to the candidate: Place your right hand, palm down upon the open Book of Law (the Bible) and your left hand over your heart and repeat after me.
I (call your name) do solemnly declare and say that what I am about to do and say, will be done upon my word of honor without hesitation or refusal on my part provided, no promise, pledge or obligation of this Order is political or religious in cause or effect.
Then I promise, pledge swear and declare never to recognize or acknowledge any person or persons connected with this Order, unless he and they prove to and to satisfy me of being in legal and perfect possession of a complete knowledge and all instructions, private and exclusive, of this and every Degree of this Order.
NEXT: To allow no person or persons, nor myself, unless under and with proper legal authority, to in any manner or for any purpose whatever, print, paint, copy, publish, change, alter, add to, take from, transpose, borrow, loan or expose this or any other ritual, Degree, private thing or matter, now or hereafter connected with, relating to or used by this Order.
AGAIN: Never to use unlawfully, or permit the name or ritual of this Order to be used unlawfully, whereby the same may be subverted or brought into disrepute if in my power to prevent.
ALSO: To the utmost of my ability and means, to protect woman in all her honor and virtue and to aid her and render her all the kindly offices of honor, charity and justice, and to do the same to every member~ of this Order, worthy and in need, even though extreme and extenuating circumstances demand.
FURTHER: Never by any act, consent or knowledge of mine to confer, assist in conferring or permit to be conferred, this or any part or portion of this or any other Degree of this Order upon any other than a male person of lawful age and reputable character, and not then unless he has been vouched for by two members in good standing, investigated by a duly appointed committee and reported favorable on and having received a clear ballot of a regular Lodge working under the authority of the Grand Lodge Progressive and Protective Order of Buffaloes of America, first organized in New York City, November 14, 1924 by James M. Hall, James F. Chatham, James N. West, Archie Chatman and John A. Driver.
FINALLY: To regard, conform to, and obey now henceforth and evermore, even unto death to the best of my ability and understanding, this and every obligation promise, pledge and declaration of this Order, declaring at last, that when I fail to do so
I surrender all the honor I may have or may come in possession of and shall be known as a fraternal outcast.
ALL SING: Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee
Even though it be a cross, that raiseth me
Still all my song shall be, nearer my God to Thee,
Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee.
The candidate is now seated before the Charter, perfect silence is given and the past exalted Rulers delivers the following Lecture:
Though we gather together in our secret cloister and there hold sweet communion, and though we assemble in our safely guarded and well protected shrine, we are shut out from the world and may be by the world forgotten, we are first reminded by the Sign of the Eye, that the ever watchful eye of God is ever upon us and our every secret to Him is an open book, and that He is ever ready to assist and render unto us protection and safe guidance in all our good and worthy undertakings; making a true and pleasing record of all our deeds and acts that tend toward the purpose of His kingdom among mankind.
SECOND: It is to remind us of those precious principles "HONOR, CHARITY and JUSTICE" although surrounded by a host of friends seemingly most loyal and true to-day. But what are they or what may they be on the morrow?
Hands of Friendship: A Buffalo will never grasp the hand of a friend or brother without the purest intentions of the heart accompanies it, which stand eve ready and willing to aid in distress and brighten the darkened hours of the life of one who is Less fortunate than himself.
The Quill of Antiquity: The Quill is used by the members of this Order to dip cautiously into the non-fading fluid of brotherhood, and on the surface of one’s past we write brotherly love, we adorn this with Honor, Charity and Justice and overlay the appearance of all short comings, leaving it all at the entrance of our Order to induce others to come and do likewise.
The Gavel: The Gavel is the emblem, of authority, which is to be used impartially to command respect, obedience and decorum and is to be so regarded by every member of the Order.
The Great Buffalo inserted in the breast of the American Eagle without spread wings.
According to the epoch of history, when Columbus discovered this country, America was inhabited by Indians, and there existed a wild animal known as the Buffalo, this animal was of great value to the Red Man, both as food and raiment.
His hide was used as an article of clothing and to adorn wigwams of Great Chiefs.
This animal was also known for its great speed, one of the great characteristics of this animal was the great determination they possessed; whenever necessity demanded, there was no obstacle too great to change its course.
When in a state of excitement, it was even known to uproot small trees and move aside large Boulders so great was its determination to reach some coveted spot that nothing but death would stop its flight.
In some instances they have been known to strike fire from their hoofs, and thereby cause great prairie fires.
Now, since we have adopted the name of this great animal, let us start with the same determination as those animals did to do or die, for the right; to strike fire from the hoofs of our conscience, and set fire to the prairie of neglect.
CONDUCTOR: The candidates will now stand and face the Exalted Ruler.
EXALTED RULER: Go through yonder outer door, and when next thou entereth here, lay all of thy hopes upon the honor and integrity of these brethren.
CONDUCTOR to Candidates: About face, I will now escort you to the Ante-Room there to wait the will and pleasure of this Lodge.
CONDUCTOR in the Ante-Room: Sir, ‘tis desired that you covenant with us, till then, see through thy thoughts and ponder well on what thou hearest."
CONDUCTOR blind folds the candidates and leads them to and halts at the open door and says: He who falters fails, and in this hour of need denies us friendship, is but a ghost of the coldest deception amid a wreck of ruined and misplaced confidence, but he who volunteers in such an hour, appears a brilliant star from behind the benighted clouds.
CONDUCTOR brings the candidates in the Lodge Room and stops them before the station of the Past Exalted Ruler who delivers the following poem:
PAST EXALTED RULER: Laugh, and the world laughs with you,
Weep, and you weep alone;
For this brave old earth, must borrow its mirth
It has troubles enough of its own.
Be glad and your friends are many,
Be sad and you lose them all;
Not one will decline your nectar and wine
Alone you must drink life’s gall.
Feast and your hails are crowded,
Fast, and the world goes by;
Succeed and give, for it helps you to live
But no man can help you to die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure,
For a long and lordly train;
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
The candidate is L-to and P-on the A-and G-the Prin. of HC-J. by having H-R them, and for each as it is R-H is G-The Imp. then H-Is A-T-R-Them, on failing H-Is G-Them-U-H-C.
The candidates will now give their undivided attention to the Past Exalted Ruler who will instruct in the signs, grips, pass words and test of the Order.
PAST EXALTED RULER: The courtesy sign is the sign given in addressing the Exalted Ruler on entering and retiring from the Lodge room, unless you are being sent out on official business by the Exalted Ruler, and is made thusly … advance to within three feet of the altar, raise the right hand with the fingers and thumb parallel, pointing toward the left and place your thumb nail against the forehead, then bring the hand down and place the open palm over the heart, bow your body, raise the body erect and drop the hand down to the side.
Hailing Sign: The hailing sign is made by raising the right hand and place it on the right hip with the thumb extended forward, which means: "I am calling you".
This sign is answered by placing the left hand on the hip with the thumb extended forward, which means: "I am coming to you".
If in the dark and you wish to call a brother, you will say "IACY", which means: "I am calling you".
A brother hearing this will say: "COMTY", which means: "Coming to you".
The Grip: The grip is given by grasping the hand and ‘interlocking the four fingers and pressing the thumb down into the palm of the hand, and cover it with the palm of the left hand.
Pass Words: The Password of the Order is "AMERICA", never changes and must not be given anywhere but to a brother through the wicket of the, inner door of the Lodge room, and then in a whisper.
Semi-Annual Pass Word: The Semi-Annual Pass Word is created by the Grand Exalted Ruler and is forwarded to the Deputy with instructions to communicate it to the Lodges that are entitled to receive it. This word must be given to a brother through the wicket of the outer door in a whisper.
The Test: Are you a Buffalo?
Answer:"I have been herder?"
How am I to know it?
Answer :"By my declaration."
Then declare unto me the principles that entitle us to be called Progressive?
Answer: Honor, Charity and Justice."
Raps: Outer door of a Lodge Room: One-then One.
Inner door: One-then Two.
On the door of a brother :One-Two-Then-Two.
Voting Sign: Raise the right hand.
EXALTED RULER gives two raps, then one rap: The Lodge will please stand and assist me in closing the Lodge.
Watch by the sick, enrich the poor,
With blessings from Thy boundless store;
Be every mourner’s sleep to-night
Like infant’s slumber pure and light.
EXALTED RULER: Attitude of prayer, brothers, while the Priest prays.
EXALTED RULER: Brother Conductor, collect the rituals and other Lodge paraphernalia and put them away in their proper places.
I, …, Exalted Ruler of … Lodge Number …, do by power vested in me declare this Lodge adjourned without further ceremony until … in … to so remain unless by special call.
Gives one rap, two raps and two raps, which adjourns the Lodge.