Mystic Order of Ravens of the Universe
Oh! Ravens ‘tis of thee
The hour of meeting having arrived, the Most Wise Raven will see that all officers are at their respective stations, by those regularly elected, or their places filled by pro tem appointment. This duty being performed, he will give one rap of gavel and say:
Most Wise Raven: Attention, Ravens! Lodge No. … is now called to order. Let silence prevail. Wise Guide, satisfy yourself that only Ravens here attend.
The Guide approaches the Most Wise Raven and receives the permanent and semi-annual password, after which he takes up both passwords from each member present. Those not having same are sent to the Vive Wise Raven, for instruction. The latter must satisfy himself that each one is in good standing before giving the passwords. His duty performed, the Guide presents himself before the altar, facing the Most Wise Raven, gives the salute of the Order and says:
Wise Guide Raven: Most Wise Raven, these are Ravens here assembled.
Most Wise Raven: ‘Tis well. Faithfull Ravens, listen to the invocation of the Wise Bishop.
Gives two raps, when all arise and bow their heads, with right hand over heart.
Wise Bishop Raven: Oh, Thou Supreme Spirit of all things, Creator of Light and Life, we have here assembled in the name of "Honestly, Justice and Charity." Assist us to ever keep these sacred principles uppermost in our daily lives, and contact with each other and our fellowmen. Guide us in our deliberations, on this occasion, that we may go hence with fraternal love in our hearts and good will toward all men. Selah!
Of thee we sing!
Our prayers shall ever be,
Shall be, shall ever be
For thy prosperity―
Let welkins ring!
Oh, thou fraternal hand,
Extended o’er the land,
Thy name is Love!
Honesty, good and true
And Love and Justice too,
And Charity to you,
Please, God above.
The Most Wise Raven gives one rap of gavel and all are seated. The Vice Wise Raven gives one rap and says:
Vice Wise Raven: Wise Inner Sentinel, notify our Ravens and visiting Ravens that the Lodge is now open for their admittance.
Prior to this, the Vice Wise Raven will see the opening ceremonies are not disturbed by the admission of members. All members being admitted, business will proceed.
Most Wise Raven: Wise Scribe, what officers were absent at our last meeting?
Scribe reads the names, if any, and gives the number of times each has been consecutively absent. If four times, and no valid reason is given, it shall be the duty of the Most Wise Raven to declare the office vacant, and under regular order of business bring up same for appointment and installation.
Most Wise Raven: Wise Scribe, you will now read the minutes of the previous meeting.
Having been read, he will give one rap and proceed:
Most Wise Raven: You have heard the minutes. If there are no corrections they will be approved.
No corrections having been made, he will say, giving one rap:
Most Wise Raven: The record is approved (as corrected).
The Wise Guide has charge of the candidate and may select five Ravens to assist him, from the body of the lodge, and the six shall compose the Degree Team and shall be designated as Second Wise Guide, Third Wise Guide, Fourth Wise Guide, Fifth Wise Guide and Sixth Wise Guide.
The candidates being in waiting, the Wise Guide Raven hoodwinks all of them, knocks at the door and says:
Wise Guide Raven: Ho! Within! Admit a stranger.
Wise Inside Sentinel: Vice Wise Raven, our Wise Guide, with a stranger, demands instant admittance.
Vice Wise Raven: Most Wise Raven, our Wise Guide, with a novice, is demanding entrance.
Most Wise Raven: Thy words are heard. Admit the novice.
Not more than six candidates shall be given the degree work at one time, one for each Guide, and they shall enter in pairs, The Wise Guide with the robed candidate, and all must wear hoodwinks. They march thus around the hall once, to the right, and when opposite the Vice Wise Raven’s station he says (Other candidates are seated in hall awaiting obligation and secret work, where same shall be given to all):
Vice Wise Raven: Hold! Whom have we here? By the beard of Elijah, ‘tis a novice! Speak! How dared thou here?
Wise Guide Raven: Stay thine anger, Vice Wise Raven! I will speak for him! He seeks to travel the path of "Honesty, Justice and Charity."
Vice Wise Raven: Ho! Say you so? Then ‘tis well. Stranger, art prepared for the journey?
Candidate: I am.
Vice Wise Raven: Thou hast answered wisely. These paths you seek are the best to follow. Hereafter wilt thou ever follow paths other than those of Honesty, Justice and Charity? Ravens, speak for him.
All will say in unison, in deep sepulchral voice:
Vice Wise Raven: Thou hast heard the verdict. Art willing to take a solemn oath of secrecy and fidelity, not in conflict with thy religious or political afflictions?
Candidate: I am.
Vice Wise Raven: Wise Guide, conduct the novice to our Wise Bishop Raven to receive the obligation of secrecy and fidelity.
The candidates (with all others in the hall) are conducted past the Wise Bishop’s station, past the Most Wise Raven’s station down to the Past Wise Raven’s station, and at right angles to the altar, facing the Wise Bishop Raven, with left hand over heart and right hand extended heavenward. The Wise Guide then says:
Wise Guide Raven: Wise Bishop Raven, the candidate is ready to receive the obligation.
Hoodwink is then raised and the Wise Bishop advances to the altar, stops in front and gives all candidates the obligation.
Wise Bishop Raven: Candidate(s), place your left hand over your heart in token of Honesty, extend your right hand toward heaven in token of Justice and Charity, use your name as I use mine, and repeat the following
I, …, do most solemnly promise and swear that I will never reveal any of the secrets of this Order, to any person not a Raven in good standing; that I will never discuss the business of this Order, outside the lodge room, unless authorized so to do; that I will obey the laws and mandates of this Order, as emanating from the Supreme Directorate, and the local by-laws, made by this lodge; that in all my dealings with my brother Ravens, "Honesty, Justice and Charity" shall be my guide; and I do most solemnly promise, and swear, that I will never knowingly, sexually violate the home circle of a Raven, nor allow others to do so, if in my power to prevent it. Should I knowingly violate this oath, I agree that my signature shall be stricken from the Roster of Ravens, in everlasting shame and disgrace, and that my name be forwarded to all local lodges of Ravens in the world, as a traitor, and that I be forever barred from further membership in this Order. This oath I most solemnly promise to maintain, should I honourably, or otherwise, cease to become a member of the Order, so help me God. Selah.
Wise Bishop Raven: You will now be conducted to the Past Wise Raven for instructions in "Honesty."
The candidate, with the hoodwink down, is conducted past the altar to the Bishop’s station, thence past the station of the Most Wise Raven, thence to Past Wise Raven, where he is halted. On the journey he may be conducted over rugged paths, mountains and valleys, which paraphernalia must be obtained of the Supreme Directorate by the lodge, to indicate ruggedness of the path of Honesty. On arrival at the Past Wise Raven’s station the Guide will say, after raising hoodwink:
Wise Guide Raven: I am directed by our Wise Bishop Raven to bring to you this candidate for further instruction.
Past Wise Raven: It is well. Honesty is one of our cardinal virtues, my friend, which is as rugged as the hills, and its path is rough and hard to follow. But it can, and has been strictly followed and, as a Raven, it must be strictly followed by you. "An honest man is the noblest work of God." A dishonest man is a thief, and without character or standing. Had you been such, you had not gained admittance into this sacred portal. Be ever watchful. Never allow your feet to stray into forbidden paths. Honesty has always proved the best policy, and will so be to the end of time. When you come to die, the highest honor that can be paid you is, for the world to say that you were honest; and it is a monument that your posterity can proudly erect over your grave. Go upon thy journey with the lesson in your heart, and may it never be effaced.
The Guide will now conduct the candidate to the station of the Vice Wise Raven and say:
Wise Guide Raven: Vice Wise Raven, methinks thou hast a lesson, in Justice, to impart to our friends.
Vice Wise Raven: Thou art indeed a Wise Guide, and were well chosen. My friend, the lesson thou hast just received in Honesty is the lesson of the whole world. It has been handed down to us from the pages of time, and it is now my duty to add to it the lesson of Justice, the second of our cardinal principles. Know, then, that the scales of justice were made by the hands of the Supreme Spirit Raven of the Universe, and are eternal and unvarying as the stars. What you weigh out unto others shall be weighed out unto you. "Sow to the wind, and thou shalt reap of the whirlwind." Do unto others as ye would be done by, is what Justice means. It is the Golden Rule, handed down from Confucius, the great Chinese Philosopher, and embodied in the religion of the Nazarene, and is now the religion of all mankind. Be just with your fellowmen. Be humane in your dealings and in your words. Speak kindly of your brother, and he will speak kindly of you. Close your ears to rumors of his evil doings―they may be as false as hell itself. I charge you to be just and to do justice to all men, that your tombstone may bear the inscription of Justice. Your journey through this sacred hall is fraught with lessons. The Wise Guide Raven will direct thy steps to the Wise Bishop Raven for the lesson of charity.
The Guide leaves the station of the Vice and goes directly to the Bishop and says:
Wise Guide Raven: Wise Bishop Raven, our footsteps pause before your sacred station. Have you words of wisdom to impart to our friend, who is now nearing his journey’s end?
Wise Bishop Raven: I am so bidden, Wise Guide, and if its wisdom that falls from my lips it is the wisdom of the world. My friend, you have received the lessons in Honesty and Justice, and you will now receive from me the lesson in Charity, the last of our Trinity of Principles, of which none are greater in the universe of men. In a book that many million men revere, we find these words: "And the word of the Lord came unto Him, saying: Get thee hence, and turn thee Eastward . . . by the brook Cherith . . . and I have commanded the Ravens to feed thee there . . . and the Ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the brook." This was spoken of Elijah the Prophet, and is indicative of the Charity of the Mystic Order of Ravens―the charity it extends to its members in hunger, sickness and distress, and when the death angel visits their homes. Without Charity life is without an oasis on the great desert of Time. Not only does the Mystic Order of Ravens extend Charity―financial aid―to its members, but it teaches them to cultivate charity of thought and feelings in their daily walks of life. I charge you to remember these things and be charitable. You sill now be conducted to our Most Wise Raven for final instructions.
The Guide conducts the candidate directly to the Most Wise Raven’s station and says:
Wise Guide Raven: Most Wise Raven, this is our journey’s end. We are waiting your final instructions.
Most Wise Raven: So it is written, Wise Guide. Faithfully have you performed your duties. My friend, you have received the three lessons in Honesty, Justice and Charity, our Trinity of Principles, upon which the Mystic Order of Ravens was founded. I may not add to the instructions given you, but, as you hope for mercy and eternal life, heed the lessons you have just been taught. Should you unconsciously, or unthoughtedly, fall by the wayside, out of these rugged paths, come to us in penitence, and we will exemplify those principles by lifting you up unto a higher plane. Should you wilfully and knowingly violate them, you have done a wrong and must bear the consequences of your evil doing. Be careful, for these, your brothers, will watch your every word and act, and are bound, in home, in honor, to report your misdoing to this lodge. We are trusting you. All that we ask in return is that you will trust us, and our daily intercourse can only be fraught with blessings.
I will now instruct you how to enter and leave a hall of the Mystic Order of Ravens, and give you the secret work.
At the outer door of the ante-room is posted the Wise Outer Sentinel. Approaching the door, you will give one rap. He will open the wicket; to him you will give the permanent password of this Order, which is ….
This will admit you to the ante-room. At the inner door is posted the Wise Inner Sentinel. Upon his door you will give three raps; and to him give the semi-annual password, together with your name. Should you be a visitor, in addition you will give him the name and number of your lodge. The name and number of this lodge is …, No. …. The permanent password never changes, and is taken from …. The semi-annual password will be given to you by the Most Wise Raven when you have paid your dues to our Wise Scribe. The semi-annual password you will give to the Wise Inner Sentinel, who will admit you, if correct, and, if incorrect, will report you to the Vice Wise Raven, when you will be instructed by him, upon showing your receipt, which must show you in good standing. Admitted to the lodge room, you will advance to the altar, which is in the center of the room, face the Past Wise Raven, who is stationed on your left, and salute him thus, …. This is the only salute, or sign, in our Order, and can be used as a signal of recognition or distress whenever necessary, and any brother seeing it is bound to recognize you and come to your assistance, if in his power to do so. Should you wish to retire before the lodge closes, advance to the same position as on entering, and give the same salute. The Past Wise Raven, in both instances, will respond in like manner, when you will be at liberty to leave. You will not be allowed to enter during the opening ceremonies, or retire while a motion is before the house, or while the lodge is closing. We have a test word taken from the words …., being the initial letters of these words, and they backward spell the word …. Meeting one whom you think, from any cause, is a Raven, you will approach him and say …. He will respond …. You will say …, to which he will answer …, which is, put together, the words ….
The motto adopted by the Mystic Order of Ravens is "Prove Always Loyal," which must be uppermost in your mind as a true Raven. The grip of the Ravens is simple, and is given in this manner: …, and …. There is none like it in the history of secret orders. It is odd, and means, "The hearts of Ravens beat in unison." Use the grip with caution. If a person refuses the way you proffer your hand, it is evidence he is not a Raven. Should he accept and give the grip, carry out the word test …. He will respond, if a Raven, in like manner.
The voting sign of the Order is simply raising the … hand … level with the shoulder and palm inward.
Should the lodge be visited by an authorized officer from the Supreme Directorate, he is conducted to the Most Wise Raven’s station. The lodge is called to its feet, and he is introduced by the Most Wise Raven, when at three raps of the gavel, all members give the following Supreme honor salutation: …, then at one rap all will be seated.
One rap calls to order, two calls up the members, and one seats them.
Never pass between the altar and the Most Wise Raven’s station, unless assisting in degree work. Should you be in the hall before the opening of the meeting, the Wise Guide will take up both passwords, the permanent and semi-annual. You will rise in your seat, give the voting sign, and whisper into his left ear both passwords.
The Wise Guide Raven will now conduct the brother(s) to the altar.
If more than one, all should be placed in a circle surrounding altar. If only one place in front of altar, facing Most Wise Raven’s station. The latter advances to altar and continues:
Most Wise Raven: Brother(s), place your left hand over your heart, extend your right hand upward, and repeat after met the following: I most solemnly promise, before God and those here assembled, and on my sacred word of honor, I will not join any other Order using the word Ravens; that I will not sue this Order until I have exhausted all means of redress under its laws; that, as far forth as in my power, I will attend the weekly meetings of this lodge, and that, for the benefit of the Order, of myself and family, I will promptly pay my dues; and I further promise that, for the benefit of the orphans and widows of brother Ravens, I will contribute, as I can, to the Orphans and Widows’ Fund, all that my means will allow; and that I will not create dissension in this lodge, but will always conduct myself in a peacable manner, and with due regard for the feelings of brother members. Selah.
My brothers, before you, upon this altar, is the Orphans and Widows’ contribution box. You are only expected top drop into it a nickel or a dime, if within your means, and, if you cannot do so, no criticisms are allowed. You are at liberty now to exercise that privilege.
After the brothers have contributed, the Most Wise Raven will proceed:
Most Wise Raven: My brothers, your action is laudable. "Bread cast upon the waters shall return to you after many days."
In closing, I will say that the Ravens have a phrase salute that can be used in all public places when meeting each other, and serves to remind them of the lessons they have absorbed, and the oath they have taken. It is from our motto "Prove Always Loyal," the initial letters being P. A. L., and they spell P―A―L. So we say, “Hello Pal!” which shows that we are pals, as well as Ravens. Use the salute whenever you meet a Raven, as it will advertise the Order and assist you to remember its teachings. The colors of this Degree are Grey and Red, exemplified in our robes and printed matter. The Grey is emblematic of wisdom, the grey matter in the brain of man, and the Red, emblematic of the red blood that flows through the veins and hearts of all mankind, regardless of race or color, and teaches us that, while men may not be equal in the stations of life, that all men are entitled to the respect of the world when they show themselves to be men of honor, of truth and of sterling character.
And now, by virtue of the authority vested in me, I declare you (and such of you) duly accredited Ravens of … Lodge, No. …, Mystic Order of Ravens, and salute our new members with the hailing words.
All: Hello Pal!
Most Wise Raven: Wise Guide, conduct our new-made member(s) to our Wise Scribe for enrolment and payment of dues. I now declare a recess of ten minutes to allow same. Gives one rap.
Most Wise Raven, gives one rap: Attention, Ravens! We stand on the order of closing. Have we any other business demanding our attention? Vice Wise Raven, what is the duty of our brothers?
Vice Wise Raven: They are commanded to remember their solemn obligations and, after leaving this hall, be silent as the dead as to what has transpired herein.
All Members: The command is wise.
Most Wise Raven gives two raps calling all members to their feet.
Most Wise Raven: Ravens, let us sing our closing ode.
We sing to-day of Ravens everywhere,
No matter where their feet may roam,
For them we will offer fervent, heartfelt prayer,
Before we journey toward our humble home,.
Oh, Father, keep us here with our spirits pure,
In mercy, in justice and love,
Help our Order, that it may in faith endure,
And we meet again in Heav’n above.
Chorus: Sing, Oh sing dear Ravens!
Oh! Raise thy voice to-day,
And our standard raise,
That the world shall ever praise
Faithful Ravens on life’s broad, dreary way.
Most Wise Raven: Wise Scribe, give the orphans and widows’ receipts, general receipts, and disbursements.
Wise Scribe Raven: The orphans and widows’ receipts are … and general receipts are …. The disbursements are ….
Most Wise Raven: Wise Banker Raven, has the cash just enumerated been placed in your hands, and have you given your official receipt of the same?
Wise Banker Raven: I have received the same and executed my official receipt therefore.
Most Wise Raven, gives two raps: We are about to depart for our separate abodes. Keep our principles of "Honesty, Justice and Charity" in your hearts, and exemplify them in your daily conduct. Let no Raven speak ill of a member, and let him not disclose the secrets of or the business of this lodge. Attend with bowed heads while our Wise Bishop delivers the closing benediction.
Wise Bishop Raven: Thou Almighty Giver of Life, we are about to separate and depart for our humble abodes. Over us cast thy protecting smiles of love. Keep our feet in the paths of "Honesty, Justice and Charity." Preserve us and our loved ones from sickness and distress, and gird up our loins to meet the troubles and trials of life; and when it is Thy will that we shall cross the Valley and the Shadow, take us into Thy supernal land. In Thy Great Name we plead, and bow in profound reverence. Selah!
Most Wise Raven: Vice Wise Raven, issue the commands.
Vice Wise Raven: Wise Inner Sentinel, dost thou attend? Command thy brother Sentinel to appear. Wise Sentinel, your watches are o’er.
All Respond: ‘Tis well
Most Wise Raven: Our session is ended. Ravens, depart in peace. Gives one loud rap of gavel.
Oh! Ravens ‘tis of thee