Knights of the Palm-Tree
Initiation Ritual


The organization entitled The Masonic Order of the Palm-tree, is based upon the efforts of the Masonic fraternity to explore the Holy Land, and maybe its accumulated facts available in the study of Masonic tradition and of the Holy Scriptures. In its structure it is, in most respects, analogous to all Masonic systems, having Supreme, Grand, and Subordinate bodies. None can be inducted into its mysteries, save Master Masons who are in fellowship with the American Holy Land Exploration, the London Palestine Fund, or some other recognized Society engaged in Oriental labors.
An ordinary assemblage of Knights of the Palm-tree is denominated a Tabernacle. A combination of Sir Knights coutrolling a jurisdiction commensurate with that of a Grand Lodge, is termed a Grand Tabernacle. The central and controlling body of the Rite is entitled the Supreme Tabernacle; having its headquarters at Jerusalem.
The proper place for assemblages of this Rite is the apartment of a Masonic Lodge; but in the want of that, any convenient secluded room may be used, in the discretion of the governing officers. The presence of at least four Sir Knights, together with an authorized chief, is indispensable to the Induction of a Candidate into the Rite, or the organization, for any purpose, of a subordinate or Grand Tabernacle. The locality where the Tabernacle is pitched is technically styled The Desert-place, and represents the broad arid wastes of Arabia. The theory of Induction is "the rescue of a pilgrim lost upon the deserts, by a band of Sir Knights of this Order, and his admission, by solemn ceremonies and covenants, into their brotherhood."
The five officers necessary to pitch and constitute a Tabernacle, are named, located, and ranked as follows:
1. THE CHIEF. His official title is Honoured Chief. His name is Suleyman. His place is in the East of the Tabernacle.
2. THE FIRST SHEIKH. His official title is Worthy Sir Knight. His name is Ibraheem. His place is in the South of the Tabernacle.
3. THE SECOND SHEIKH. His official title is Worthy Sir Knight. His name is Ali. His place is in the West of the Tabernacle.
4. THE THIRD SHEIKH. His official title is Worthy Sir Knight. His name is Hassan. His place is in the North of the Tabernacle.
5. THE KNIGHT-ERRANT. His official title is Worthy Sir Knight. His name is Noureddeen. He is ex officia Conductor, Inside Guard, and Recorder of the Rite. His place is near the portals of entrance. He may be assisted by one or more Sir Knights if necessary.
In constituting the Grand Tabernacle and Supreme Tabernacle, the same classes of officers are introduced, with no other change of title than the word "Grand" or "Supreme" preceding, as "Honored Grand Chief," "Grand Worthy Sir Knight,"etc.
The requisite qualifications for a Chief (Grand, Supreme, or Subordinate) is that he has held Chief of a Tabemacle, in the first organization of the Order in any locality, or at the will of the Grand Tabernacle of any jurisdiction. Any Master Mason may serve as Sheikh and Knight-Errant.
Strict usage demands that only one applicant shall be inducted at the same ceremony, but this rule is suspended in the discretion of the Chief, and the number enlarged at his pleasure.
The technical name of the candidate (as also the name of this book) is TAMAB, signifying a Palmtree.
He must be a Mastor Mason and qualified as stated before. To this rule there is no exception. The fee for Induction into the Order is such as may be ordered from time to time by the Board of Directors of the American Holy Land Exploration, and this must be paid before the ceremony of Induction is performed.

Pitching the Tabernacle and Inducting the Candidate
The five officers having assembled in a secure place, together with all Sir Knights of the vicinage, an object representing the Palm-tree is set up in the midst, and the apartment is prepared according to esoteric instructions, and the candidate is introduced.
The Knight-Errant conducts the candidate into the room, and the door of entrance is securely closed. Visitors enter by means of the VIGILANT KNOCK, answered from the inside by the Knight-Errant or his deputy.
The Candidate, standing near the door of entrance, is thus addressed by the Kuight-Errant:
My friend! How sultry and oppressive is this noontide of day upon the illimitable desert! All around, as far as the eye can reach, is silence and desolation. Not a tree; not a shrub; not a blade of grass. Even the beasts and birds have fled to the covert of den and thicket to escape this insupportable heat. Not a trace of man; for none save pilgrims, like ourselves, lost upon the desert, would dare this dangerous hour of noon, and we droop and faint beneath the unpitying sun.
Wearied with our severe travel: hungry from long fasting; scorched by a radiance only felt in these Eastern lauds, we cannot proceed farther, and unless speedy relief is afforded us, we perish.
Rest you here, then, my friend; you are more exhausted than I, while I take a last look over the desert, if haply some helpmay be found. Somewhere in this vicinity there should be a tabernacle of Knights of the Palm-tree, and I will endeavor to find it. I promise you I will return; and if we perish, we will perish together.
The Candidate now take his seat near the door. The Knight-Errant moves a few steps, and waits the conclusion of the following ceremonies.
The Ceremony of Pitching the Tabernacle is now begun.
Sir Knights of the Palm Tree! We are assembled here in a desert place. The earth is barren and desolate to the extreme horizon. The sky overhanging us is sultry and cheerless. Let us, therefore, pitch our tabernacle, that we may enjoy shelter and repose, during the noon-tide hour, and have wherewithal to relieve weary pilgrims should any such pass this way.
Around the base of this noble Palm-tree let us encamp; for wherever the Palm-tree grows, there is shade and rest: water beneath the earth, and the most bountiful fruit above. Sir Knight Ibrahim, at which of the tent-ropes will you stand?
Honoured Chief! at this one in the South.
Sir Knight Ali! at which of the tent-ropes will you stand?
Honoured Chief! at this one in the West.
Sir Knight Hassan! at which of the tent-ropes will you stand?
Honoured Chief! at this one in the North.
And I will stand at this tent-rope in the East.
The other Sir Knights station themselves right and left of the various officers, so as to form a hollow square-oblong.
Sir Knight Ibraheem! there are four great aims had in view in all the operations of this Masonic Order of the Palm-tree; will you rehearse the first?
Honoured Chief! the first is to enlarge our respect for the Holy Scriptures, by enlarging our knowledge of the country in which they were written.
Truly, Sir Knights, that is a rational aim. For the Book, and the Land of the Book are mutually explanatory: the Bible guiding us through the Holy Land and the Holy Land guiding us through the Bible: we read the game creative and inspiring power in both. Sir Knight Ali, will you rehearse the second?
Honoured Chief! the second is to afford a means of recognition amongst all those Masons, of every people, kindred, and tongue, who are engaged together in exploring Bible Lands, and bringing light and truth from the ruins of the past.
Truly, Sir Knights, that is a worthy aim. For our labours are in a desert place. The earth is barren and desolate. The overhanging sky is sultry and cheerless. Only in the bonds of congenial friendship can the desert way be made safe and pleasant. Sir Knight Hassan, will you rehearse the third?
Honoured Chief! the third is to draw more closely the bonds of unity amongst the Masonic brotherhood at large, and to urge upon them more forcibly the Divine duty of Benevolence in houra of adversity and misfortune.
Truly, Sir Knights, that is a God-like aim. For in this life we are so harassed by enemies, and by those temptations that are our greatest enemies, and by calamities which no man can foresee, that only under the prop of fraternal assistance can we expect to stand. Our Grand Master Solomon left it upon record, 'iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeueth the countenance of his friend.' It was his saying, likewise, that 'two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falletb, for he hath not another to help him up.'
And there is yet a fourth aim before us, which is Divine. It is to exhort each other to honor God and the Masonic Brotherhood by a virtuous and fruitful life. As a type of this, let us consider the Palm-tree: fragrant, aspiring, a shade in a weary land: a tree that abounds in fruit-bearing, even to the extreme age of seventy years. We will emulate this lesson, which the God of nature and revelation has given us through the inanimate tree.
And now, Sir Knights! unite your strength in the erection of our Desert Tabernacle, even as Freemasons unite theirs in erecting 'the house not made with hands.' Sir Knights! the tent-rope is strongly stretched in the East.
Honoured Chief! the tent rope is strongly stretched in the South.
Honoured Chief! the tent-rope is strongly stretched in the West.
Honoured Chief! the tent-rope is strongly stretched in the North.
Sir Knights! our Desert Tabernacle heing made secure from the stormy winds of the East, the South, the West, and the North, let us pray.
Here each Sir Knight puts ou his hat, in accordanee with the Oriental custom of covering the head at prayer.


Oh Thou, who aforetime didst lead our fathers through the wilderness, and didst bring them by a safe way into the Land of Promise! Thou, a Pillar of Cloud to them by day, and of Fire by night! lend us at this time, oh, Lord God, the guidance of Thy wisdom, and the spirit of Thy benevolence, that we may worthily impart to all enquiring minds the Divine lessons of this Order, and so bind Freemasons the more closely to the holy work of Benevolence in which we are engaged. Amen. So mote it be!
So mote it be.
So mote it be.
So mote it be!
As each repeats the words, So mote it be, he takes off his hat. This completes the Ceremony of Pitching the Tabernacle. All the Sir Knights, except the first four officers, take their seats.
Sir Knights! our Desert Tabernacle being now pitched, before we lie down to that repose so necessary at this noontide hour, disperse yourselves for a little while over the desert, to the South, and the West, and the North; and look you whether, perchance, there may be pilgrims perishing near us, who have the Divine claim upon our hospitality.
Go, Sir Knights! go promptly! go cheerfully! for as the cold of the snow in the time of harvest, so is a faitfful messenger to him that sent him; for he refresheth the soul of his masters.
Honoured Chief! I perceive in the north-west one swiftly running, who seems to crave our protectiou and help.
Give him a welcome, Sir Knights. We have enough here and to spare; prepare a bountiful welcome for him.
Here the Knight-Errant comes forward, crying out wildly, as though his mind was affected, and in the extremity of distress.
I beheld, and lo, there was no man! and all the birds of heaven were fled! I beheld, and lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness! Sir Knights of the Palm-tree, I claim your hospitality by our covenant of salt. Weary, hungry, thirsty, scorched by the desert heats, I demand your assistance by our mutual vows.
I acknowledge you, Sir Knight, as a Knight of the Palm-tree, bound to us indissolubly by the covenant of salt, and so entitled to our largest welcome. For what saith our Royal founder?: Whoso giveth to the poor shall not lack; but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
Make known your demands, Sir Knight.
For myself, water, shade, rest, food. I also have a companion, not a member of this Order, whom I left just now, exhausted upon the desert. I pray you, Honoured Chief, extend to lam, with me, these hospitalities of your tabernacle.
The claims of humanity know no restrictions of sect or society. Sir Knights, accompany me to the relief of the stranger. Sir Knight Ali, bear to him a cup of cold water.
The five go together to the Candidate. The Chief raises him to his feet by the Casual Grip of the rite. Water is given him to drink. Shiekh Ibraheem takes his right, and Shiekh Hassan his left arm, in the peculiar manner of the Masonto Prop, and lead him forward to the Palm-tree.
Honoured Chief! thanks to your timely aid, my friend is restored. Let me now explain the circumstances of our entrance upon the desert this morning, and introduce him to you. His name is …. Under my guidance, he was in search of a tabernacle of the Masonic Order of Knights of the Palm-tree, craving induction. He is a member of the American Holy Land Exploration, as his certificate will prove. He is a Master Mason, made in the year … in … Lodge, No. … at …, and having heard of the noble deeds of your Order, he is desirous to cast in his lot among you, and aid, to the utmost of his ability, in bringing to light the hidden things of Masonic and Scriptural truth, from the mother-land of both.
Let his plea enter your ears, Honoured Chief, and move you to grant him fellowship in your Order.
Sir Knights! so many of you as accept the plea of this applicant, make it known by the Desert Sign.
All the Sir Knights present reply by placing the right hand upon the left breast.
My friend! are you willing to assume the obligations that bind the members of this Order to be charitable; and will you honourably preserve the secrets, and observe the rules of the Masonic Order of the Palm-tree?
I will.
You have been informed of the four great aims that actuate Sir Knights of this Order, in the holy work of Benevolence; are they such as cordially meet your approbation?
They are.
Then no proper reason exists for refusing your request. Sir Knights, our duty is imperative. Resume your places around the palm-tree, Sir Knights, and honour, by your presence, the communication of our rite.
Sir Knights! the Candidate has now assumed the vows of the Order, and has become a Novitiate of the Palm-tree; join me in saluting him by the Desert Sign of Peace.
The Desert Sign of Peace is what is known in the East as the Salaam. It is made by placing the right hand alternately on the left breast, the lips, and the forehead, at the same time bowing slowly and lowly, and repeating the Arabic words, "Salaam Aleik", which signify, "Peace be with thee."
My friend! having assumed the sacred vows of the Order of the Palm-tree, we acknowledge you as a Novitiate, and will enter with you into the covenant of salt. This, among Orientals and Knights of the Palm tree, is a mutual pledge of fidelity and enduring brotherhood: the most binding covenant known among the tribes. To taste snit together is an assurance of hospitality and protection. Sir Knight Ibraheem! extend to the Novitiate the dish of salt, and let us all join him in the covenant of salt.
The five officers partake of sall with the Novitiate, in the same dish.
My brother! you are now our guest, and under our protection. Now we give you a name among us, that of TAMAH, or the Palmtree.
Henceforth, you shall share our food and our secrets. Sir Knight Hassan, extend to Brother Tamar the fruit of the Palm-tree, and let us all join him in a desert repast.
The five officers partake of dates with the Novitiate, in the same dish.
Sir Knight Ali! what ceremony is next in order, in the induction, of a Sir Knight of the Palm-tree?
Honoured Chief! it is our duty, before investing Brother Tamar with the essential secrets of this Rite, to draw for him suitable illustrations of hospitality from the Holy Pages before us, that so our Brother may acquire the Divine spirit of hospitality from celestial sources.
Sir Knight Ali! this counsel is good and I will select from the Holy Pages the forcible example of Abraham.
"Abraham sat in the tent at the heat of the day. And he lift up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him, and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sijrht, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant; let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts. After that ye shall pass on; for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do as thou hast said.
Sir Knights! make the other three selections in due order."
I will select for our brother the example of Lot:
"Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. And there came two angels to Sodom at even. And Lot seeing them rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face towards the ground. And he said, Behold, now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night; and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early and go on your way. And they said, Nay, but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly, and they turned in unto Mm and entered into his house. And he made them a feast and they did eat."
I will select for our brother the example of the Shunammite woman:
"Elisha passed to Shunem, where there was a great woman, and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold, now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God which passeth by us continually.
Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall, and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick. And it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither."
I will select for our brother the example of the disciples of Christ at Emmaus:
"And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went. And he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him. And he vanished out of their sight."
My brother! these examples are designed to stimulate you to extend hospitality without grudging, as thereby, like the patriarch Abraham, you may entertain angels unawares.
Sir Knights! let us now reward the obedience and confidence of our brother, by exhibiting to him the forcible manner in which Knights of the Palm-tree come up to the aid of a distressed Sir Knight in his time of adversity.
Sir Knight Ibraheem ! you will lead off in the exhibitiou of the Masonic Prop.
My Brother! when misfortnnes assail you, and the heavy burdens of life press you down, I will come up to you from the South, and will place myself beside you thus, and will hold you strongly up in the Name of God.
My Brother! when misfortunes assail you, and the heavy burdens of life press you down, I will come up to you from the North, and will place myself beside you thus, and will hold you strongly up in the Name of God!
My Brother! when misfortunes assail you, and the heavy burdens of life press you down, I will come up to you from the West, and will place myself beside you thus, and will hold you strongly up in the Name of God!
My Brother! when misfortunes assail you, and the heavy burdens of life press you down, I will come up to you from the East, and will place myself beside you thus, and will hold you strongly up in the Name of God.
Thus sustained, how can a Freemason fall? thus encouraged, how can a Freemason despair?
We are instructed in the Holy Pages before us, that ‘whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, hut shall not be heard.’
‘Thine own friend and thy father's friend forsake not.’ For he that bears the benevolent part among his fellows ‘shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. His leaf shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.’
Sir Knights! once again join me in saluting our brother by the Desert-Sign of Peace.
The Sign is made as before.
Sir Knights! we are assured in yonder infallible guide, that the righteous shall flourish like the Palm-tree, and shall grow up like the cedar in Lebanon. Let us, therefore, now communicate to our Brother Tamar the mystical growth of the Palm-tree, that he may experience the full force and application of the emblem. Sir Knight Hassan, will you begin?
Brother Tamar! raise your head manfully towards Heaven! scorn those mean tricks and vices by which men degrade themselves to the level of the brute. Raise it up, I say, like the Palm-tree, tall and towering, where the soft showers and genial sunbeams of Heaven can best gladden your exalted top!
Brother Tamar! raise your head slowly and prudently towards Heaven! human character is of slow growth. When the storm of adversity comes upon yon, bend humbly, that so, when the tempest is overpast, you may rise again and not be broken. Eaise it up, I say, like the Palmtree, tough and elastic, that you may f ully attain to your threescore years and ten!
Brother Tamar! raise your head gracefully towards Heaven! God made man, of all his creatures, upric/ht. In you may the world see the charms of purity, reliance upon God, and hope of immortality. Raise it up, I say, like the Palm-tree, straight and beautiful, like the plumb-line, that emblem of Masonic rectitude!
Brother Tamar! raise your head usefully towards Heaven! scorn to encumber the grouud as a barren, worthless tree. Honour God and the Masonic Brotherhood by abundaut fruitage. Eaise it up, I say, like the Palm-tree, genial, rich ingood works, that when you shall pass away, your memory may be f ragrant among the sons of men!
I now proceed to create you a Knight of the Masonic Order of the Palm-tree with a full Induction.
The Monitorial Charges
All being seated, Chief Suleyman, assisted by the Shieks, communicates to the newly-made Knight the Monitorial Charges as follows:
Sir Knight Tamar! we entitle this Degree, as you are already informed, The Masonic Order of the Palm-tree. That noble and graceful object is the pride of the Holy Land, as it was once its national emblem. When Titus destroyed Jerusalem and queuched the life of the Jewish nation, he struck numerous coins and medals in honour of his victory, upon which he impressed this emblem of beauty and fruitfulness: The Palm-tree, the tall, shadowy, fruit-bearing, enduring tree, equally a delight to the eye and a joy to the sense.
The Palm-tree arrives at perfection at about the age of thirty years, but continues strong and productive until seventy, thus closely assimilating to the life of a temperate, godly man. For what pays the Psalmist, ‘He that will love life let him eschew evil and do good, let him seek peace and ensue it;’ and the Royal Philosopher adds, ‘The wicked shall not live out half his days.’
The Palm-tree yields year by year from two to four hundred pounds of fruit, the most nutritious and wholesome of all that eastern lands produce. It is, therefore, in every respect the choicest emblem that Holy Land produces for a Knightly Brotherhood of Freemasons, chosen out of the mass of humanity for their mental, moral, and physical character.
The Palm-tree is also the badge of our Society and worn by no other; therefore the display of the Silver Palm-tree upon the person is prima facie evidence, to be followed up of course by a fuller exhibition of credentials, that the wearer is a Knight of the Palm-tree.
And most of all, bear in mind, that the Palm-tree is an emblem of fruitfulness in good works. The Orientals celebrate no less than three hundred and sixty uses for the Palm-tree, one for every day in the year. Make this thought practical; and as in our improved chronology we have added five days to the year, so under the light of religion and Freemasonry add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge; and so, step by step, ascend the mystical ladder marked out for us in yonder Holy Book.
The four grand objects wrought out in these impressive ceremonies were fully rehearsed in your hearing, and you expressed your assent to them. The summing-up of the whole is to inculcate mutual aid more strongly among Masons. We look upon human life as a desert-journey, and every man as a pilgrim, wandering over an unknown, inhospitable way, liable at any moment to stand in need of relief. This is the expression of all Oriental systems of Freemasonry, and we but imitate them in making to you now our solemn declarations.
Knight Hassan, will you begin?
Whenever I discover you to be in heavy distress and affliction, I promise you that my Heart shall be moved to share in your sorrows.
But I will do more than that. Whenever I discover you to be in heavy distress and affliction, I promise you not only that my Heart shall move for you, but my Foot shall be prompt to bring me to your relief.
But I will do more than that. Whenever I discover you to be in heavy distress and affliction, I promise you not only that my Heart shall move for you, and my Foot bring me to you, but my Head shall be exercised to discover means for your relief.
But I will do more than that. Whenever I discover you to be in heavy distress and affliction, I promise you not only that my Heart shall move for you, and my Poot bring me to you, and my Head discover means for your relief, but my Hand shall be open and full and emptied into yours, as far as it may be with due regard to myself and family.
Thus, with all the organs God hath bestowed upon us for each other's benefit, we strive to comfort, sustain, and relieve those whom He hath chastened.
You will now select from the seven Masonic Localities of the Holy Land, one wherein you prefer that your inheritance shall be set. They are:
1. Tyre, the ancient city of King Hiram.
2. Gebal, the city of Hiram the Architect.
3. Lebanon, the mountaiu of the Cedars.
4. The Bay of Bafts, near Beyrout.
5. Joppa, the city of Transhipment.
6. The Olay Grounds, the locality of the Furnaces.
7. Jerusalem, the place of the Temple.
Let us pray:
Most Merciful God! once more Thou hast graciously regarded our prayers. We owe Thee all gratitude for the pleasure of social communion. The bonds by which Thou hast bound us together are pleasing and beneficial. Do Thou add thy blessing to them and so strengthen us that we may duly keep our vows and enjoy the reward of well-doing. Preserve us, we beseech Thee, from the heavier misfortunes of life, but in every dispensation of Thy providence may we be patient, knowing that they who endure to the end, the same shall be saved. Amen.