Ancient Order of Pilgrims
Initiation ritual Silver Cloud Degree (White)
Eight Pilgrims of the
third or Crown Degree in good and regular standing, acting
by and under authority guaranteed by charter or dispensation
of the Supreme Home of the Ancient Order of Pilgrims, duly
and legally issued and granted, are a requisite number to
constitute a sanctuary of Pilgrims, and to initiate a
candidate into the mysteries of either of the three degrees,
namely: the Silver Cloud, the Star Degree, and the Crown
Degree; and such persons, not less than eight in number, all
of the qualifications above set forth, are competent to form
and maintain a sanctuary with all intents and purposes as
expressed within the rules and regulations of the Order, and
by its customs and usages.
They assemble in a room well guarded from interruption and not upon a ground floor, unless otherwise permitted by the Supreme Worthy Shepherd, which room is, by Pilgrims, having been especially designed and prepared for the purpose, called a "sanctuary," and the officers and members seat themselves about the Sanctuary meetings are designated as "regular," which are held not less frequent than once a month, usually twice; and "special," which are held as the needs of the occasion demand and as provided by the Constitutional provisions of the Order.
All business relative to Pilgrimacy is transacted in a "regular" meeting, and when the sanctuary is convened in the third or Crown Degree. None but members of the Crown Degree can be present at a "regular" meeting, and all applications and petitions for membership, appointment of committees and committee reports, balloting for candidates, etc., etc., are acted upon at such meetings, but any business of the kind to be transacted at a "special" meeting is, customarily, specifically stated in the call therefor.
No business other than to initiate a candidate into the mysteries of those degrees can be transacted at a meeting of the Silver Cloud or of the Star Degree, and at any such n1eeting the requisite number to perform the rites and ceremonies is a Worthy Shepherd or a Past Worthy Shepherd of the Crown Degree, together with seven other members who are of the same degree, if not higher, as that to be conferred.
When a petition for a Pilgrim's Degree or an application for membership is made to a sanctuary, after the same has been read, the Worthy Shepherd refers it to a con1mittee of three, neither one of whom shall be the voucher thereon, and the duty of this committee shall be to investigate as to the fitness of the applicant or petitioner to become a member of the Order, and to report thereon at the next regular meeting, which report shall then be acted upon by the sanctuary.
When the committee's report is received, a ballot is taken, and if the candidate for admission does not receive exceeding two adverse votes-two opposing votes-he is declared elected; but, if he receives three or more such votes against him, on passing of the ballot, he is declared rejected by the Worthy Shepherd. A favorable ballot found for a candidate elects the candidate to the three degrees already referred to without further balloting, unless new or changed conditions arise, thereby justifying further consideration of the candidate's petition; and, if a 'petition is denied, the Worthy Shepherd may at his discretion, without violation of the customs of the Order, have the candidate's petition or application voted upon at any subsequent "regular" meeting.
The ballot for admission to membership by reinstatement or by clearance, and for conferring the degrees, is ordinarily passed in the following manner: The ballot box, a small wooden structure of two compartments, one opened and the other closed, but with a small opening at the top, after having been passed up to the Worthy Shepherd for inspection, is placed on the altar with the open section containing a number of white balls or marbles exceeding the number of members, and a number of black ones not less than the number of members present. The Worthy Inspirator having vacated the station near the altar, the Worthy Shepherd makes the following announcement:
Worthy Shepherd: We are passing the ballot for Mr …, who is a candidate for the Pilgrimic Degrees, or -
We are passing the ballot for Brother …, who is a candidate for membership by reinstatement (or by clearance, as the case may be).
If you favor his election you will cast a white ballot, and if you have a well founded reason to believe that he will not be a suitable member, you will cast a black ballot.
He then proceeds to call each of the members present, who pass in turn to the altar, make the due-guard sign of the degree, and cast their vote by placing one of the balls into the closed section of the ballot box through the small opening left at the top. The ballot is then inspected by the Worthy 'Shepherd, who makes his declaration thus:
W. S.: You have declared by your ballot that Mr. ... is eligible for membership, and I now declare him elected, or -
You have declared by your ballot that Mr ... is non-eligible for membership in this sanctuary, and I now declare him rejected.
In conferring degrees, the requisite number and qualifications of men1bers assembled for the purpose may be such as have been already referred to in the preceding pages, but a Constitutional number for a sanctuary, acting under a charter or dispensation granted by the Supreme Home of the Ancient Order of Pilgrims, unless specially authorized otherwise, when assembled and convened for business other than the conferring of degrees and giving instruction in the secret works, customs and ceremonies of the Order, must consist of not less than eight persons of the Crown Degree, and whose membership is lodged with the sanctuary then and there convened.
The sanctuary is furnished and the stations for the officers are arranged in the same manner for conferring the Silver Cloud Degree, the Star Degree, and the Crown Degree; and yet, those who have advanced through the various stages in the search for the light and the truth emanating from the ancient mysteries are referred to as "residing in Eden," "builders on the Ark," and "sojourners on Mount Ararat."
It is the duty of the Sentinel to keep the outer door closely guarded, to alarm the inner door for the members as they enter, and to see that they are carefully instructed as to the degree in which the sanctuary is conducting its work, to the end that the traditions of the institution be not unduly exposed to those not entitled thereto.
Those members who arrive after the sanctuary has been duly opened, will approach the outer door of the ante-room, which is occupied at all times during the progress of the meeting by the Sentinel armed with the sword.
The member gives one ordinary rap on the outer door of the ante-room, places his mouth to the wicket, and states in a low whisper his name, together with the name and nun1ber of the sanctuary of which he is himself a men1ber. Having received a like rap in response fron1 within, he places his ear to the wicket. The Sentinel having heard the rap from without, places his ear to the wicket in order to catch the message from without, and having so done he responds by a similar rap and announces quietly through the wicket the name and number of the sanctuary at work, together with the name of the degree in which the meeting is being conducted. The degree pass is then whispered by the member through the wicket (a small aperture cut in the door), and he is admitted into the anteroom by the Sentinel, who places upon him the regalia or an emblem of the degree in which the sanctuary is engaged, and instructs the member in reference thereto.
The process of gaining admission into the anteroom is the same for each of the degrees, and when the member has been properly adorned and instructed in the ante-room, it is the duty· of the Sentinel to alarm the inner door with. the raps peculiarly associated with the particular degree in which the business of the sanctuary is being conducted.
To pass from the ante-room into the sanctuary, if it is convened in the Silver Cloud Degree, he gives two distinct raps in quick succession, followed by two others, thus: ** **; if it be convened in the Star Degree, he gives two distinct raps in quick succession, followed by one distinct rap, and then by two others, thus: ** * **; if in the Crown Degree, he gives two distinct raps in quick succession, then two, and then two others, thus, ** ** **, which raps being. heard on the inside are reported to the Worthy Shepherd by the Worthy Junior Usher in the following manner:
Worthy Junior Usher: Worthy Shepherd, at the inner door of our sanctuary, there is· an interruption.
Worthy Shepherd: Brother Junior Usher, after making due inquiry, report the cause of this interruption.
The Worthy Junior Usher upon receiving the order from the Worthy Shepherd, responds by like raps on the door, which remains closed; he places his ear to the wicket of the inner door, accepts the degree pass if the sanctuary is working in the first or second degree; but, if the sanctuary is convened in the Crown Degree, then the words to be accepted are the degree pass and the quarterly pass. When the two passes are given they must be connected by the word "and" and in all cases where the person entering is a visitor the passes must be followed by the name of the visitor, together with the number and location of the sanctuary of which he is· a member. The report is made to the Worthy Shepherd as follows:
W. J. U.: Worthy Shepherd, Brother ..., with the pass (or without the pass), interrupts us for the purpose of admission.
If he is known to the Worthy Shepherd to be qualified, he will say:
W.S.: Our pleasure, Brother Junior Usher, is that you admit the brother (sister).
The Worthy Junior Usher having opened the door, invites the member in, using an undertone of the voice. The member advances to the front of the altar, facing the Worthy Shepherd, and makes the degree sign and the due-guard sign for the degree in which the sanctuary is convened, which signs are responded to by the due-guard sign of the degree made by the Worthy Shepherd.
When the sanctuary is convened in the Crown Degree, a member on entering, makes the degree sign and due-guard sign of each of the three degrees in successive order, to which the Worthy Shepherd responds by making the due-guard sign of the respective degrees at the moment the corresponding sign is made by the member.
The male members, having removed their hats in the ante-room, after saluting. the Worthy Shepherd in the above manner designated, it becomes essential for the female members to remove their hats or bonnets, and in passing to seats among the members, or in passing about the room, it is considered a gross violation to pass between the station of the Worthy Shepherd and the altar. In passing about the room custom requires that a member make the due-guard sign· on passing the altar.
There is no occasion when it will be permissible for a Worthy Junior Usher to permit the entrance of a member into the sanctuary after it has been duly opened without the permission of the Worthy Shepherd duly given, but from long established custom a Worthy Shepherd has authority, when otherwise engaged himself, to direct the Worthy Junior Usher to refer and communicate all interruptions from without to the Worthy Vice-Shepherd.
Where the membership is large, or where a number of sanctuaries are established in the same locality, all having co-ordinate jurisdiction, it frequently happens that the Worthy Shepherd will be in doubt as to the standing of a member reported by the Worthy Junior Usher. When the person reported is without the proper passes and is a member of the sanctuary, the Worthy Shepherd, if in doubt, will say:
W.S.: Brother Worthy Recorder, what is the standing of Brother ..., who interrupts us without the pass?
If the sanctuary is convened in the Silver Cloud Degree, he will say:
W.S.: Who vouches for him (or her) who interrupts us that he may reside in Eden?
But if it be convened in the Star Degree, he says:
W.S.: Who vouches for him (or her) who interrupts us· to become a builder on the Ark?
If the member is properly vouched for he is admitted by the order of the Worthy Shepherd; but should any person reported by the Worthy Junior Usher be without the proper passes, and no member present can vouch for said member as being of the Crown Degree and in good and regular standing, the Worthy Shepherd will send out a committee, the duty of which shall be to examine the applicant or visitor thoroughly as to his identity or fellowship with the fraternity and to report him accordingly.
No member can vouch for a visitor as having any particular degree of the secret work, unless he has been present with said visitor at a lawful meeting of a regularly constituted sanctuary convened in the same degree or in a higher degree; and the most perfect evidence of the good standing of a visitor, in the absence of the proper passes, is the member's financial card, together with a certificate issued by his sanctuary, properly signed and attested, with the seal attached.
When a visiting member without the pass has been allowed to enter on evidence of card or certificate, or by such evidence taken together with I examination properly made, it would be considered a violation of the customs for the Worthy Shepherd to permit the quarterly pass to be issued to such a visitor without authority legally and lawfully given under the seal of the sanctuary of which said visitor or sojourner is a member.
The members having gathered, not less than a constitutional number being present, the Worthy Shepherd will take his station in the East promptly at the hour designated in the by-laws, and will say:
Worthy Shepherd: The officers of the sanctuary will please occupy their respective stations, and the members be in order and due decorum.
The Worthy Recorder and the Worthy Locker occupy the stations to the left and the right, respectively, of the Worthy Shepherd; the Worthy Vice-President in the West; the Worthy Senior Usher in the North, with the Shepherd's Crook in hand; the Worthy Patrol in the South, with the Pilgrim's Staff in hand; the Worthy Inspirator in front of the altar, facing the East; the Worthy Counselor in front of the Worthy Shepherd, facing the Worthy Vice-Shepherd; the Worthy Junior Usher to the right of the Vice-Shepherd and near the inner door, Pilgrim's Staff in hand; and the Worthy Sentinel in the anteroom armed with the sword. The Senior Past Worthy Shepherd sits on the right of the Worthy Shepherd, and the Junior Past Worthy Shepherd on the left. The members remove their hats. Unnecessary wraps and cloaks, and be seated about the room.
W.S., *: Worthy Junior Usher, when thus assembled, what should be our watchful care and purpose?
W.J.U., rising and making the due-guard sign of the degree: Worthy Shepherd, our watchful care should protect us from unusual interruption that our purpose in walking hand in hand may be fulfilled.
W.S.: Then in conformity with our ancient customs let the Worthy Sentinel be advised against all interruptions by improper persons, while we proceed to open in due form.
The Worthy Junior Usher quietly opens the door and so advises the Sentinel in an undertone, who closes the outer door of the ante-room. The officers and members are invested with the proper regalia or emblems of office, female members being invested with badges only, whereupon the Worthy Junior Usher says:
W.J.U.: Worthy Shepherd, there will be no interruption.
W.S., *** ** ***, officers stand: Worthy Counselor, what number of officers constitutes a lawful sanctuary duly formed and guarded, and what are their proper titles?
W.C., making the due-guard sign of the degree: Worthy Shepherd, a lawful sanctuary duly formed and guarded requires ten ritualistic officers, namely: Worthy Shepherd, Worthy Vice- Shepherd, Worthy Senior Usher, Worthy Locker, Worthy Recorder, Worthy Patrol, Worthy Inspirator, Worthy Junior Usher, Worthy Counselor, and a Worthy Sentinel stationed outside the inner door.
W.S.: What is the emblem of office worn by the Worthy Sentinel?
W.C.: The badge of office, the crossed-swords, an emblem of protection, admonishes our Worthy Sentinel that security from unlawful interruption depends upon his watchful care.
W.S., *: Worthy Junior Usher, explain to us the emblem of your office.
W.J.U., making the due-guard sign: As I am acting with our Worthy Sentinel in protecting our sanctuary from the intrusions of improper persons, my badge of office - the dove within the star - the emblem of peace, ever admonishes me to promote that peace and harmony so essential to the success of our institution.
W.S., *: Worthy Senior Usher, explain to us the emblem of your office.
W.S.U., making the due-guard sign: As I proceed to ascertain if those upon the "mountain" (or in Eden, or within the Ark) are entitled to sojourn with us, and as I bear support to those candidates passing through the mazy labyrinths of our ancient rites and ceremonies, my badge of office - the scroll and baton within the star - the emblems of prepared plans and their fulfillment, ever admonishes me that first impressions are lasting and should be for good.
W.S., *: Worthy Locker, explain to us the emblem of your office.
W.L., making the due-guard sign: In receiving all money from the Worthy Recorder, giving a receipt therefor, and in paying out the same on an order of the Worthy Shepherd properly attested by the Worthy Recorder, my badge of office - the crossed-keys - an emblem of security, constantly admonishes me to the strictest fidelity in the preservation and disbursement of that entrusted to my care.
W.S., *: Worthy Recorder, explain to us· the emblem of your office.
W.R., making the due-guard sign: In recording the proceedings of the sanctuary, and in receiving all money due the sanctuary to be in turn paid over to the Worthy Locker on his receipt therefor, my badge of office - the crossed-pens – the emblem of power and intelligence, admonishes me of the faithful record made by the invisible pen of all our thoughts and actions.
W.S., *: Worthy Patrol, explain to us the emblem of your office.
W.P., making the due-guard sign: Acting as support to the Worthy Senior Usher in directing through Eden all who would sojourn upon Mount Ararat, my badge of office - the baton within the star - an emblem of direction, ever admonishes me that discipline is highly essential to the success of all who would dwell within the Ark.
W.S., *: Worthy Vice-Shepherd, explain to us the emblem of your office.
W.V.S., making the due-guard sign: From my station in the West I assist in the discharge of the duties of the office of Worthy Shepherd, and in presiding during his absence, my badge of office – the sun within the star - the emblem of brightness, admonishes me to counsel the Worthy Shepherd as the rising sun enlightens the day.
W.S.: What are the responsibilities of the Worthy Shepherd, and how do you explain the insignia of that office, Worthy Vice-Shepherd?
W.V.S.: Our Worthy Shepherd should preside over the deliberations of our sanctuary from the station in the East that none of· the ancient rites, customs, usages and ceremonies shall be violated.
The insignia of the office, that gavel within the star, is the emblem of supreme authority. It constantly admonishes us all that the prosperity of our institution rests upon the judgment and discretion of our Worthy Shepherd. The responsibility of that officer stationed in the East to the Supreme Worthy Shepherd of the Universe in impressing our cardinal principles, and to the membership of our sanctuary for the proper dissemination of light and knowledge, should prompt us to perform our work in a spirit of faith and prayer.
W.S.: It is in the spirit suggested by our Worthy Vice-Shepherd that this sanctuary shall be assembled in due form and decorum, and being supported by an implicit faith in the virtue of our ancient mysteries, let the principles of Love, Benevolence and Concord be our anchor under the direction of our Worthy Counselor. Let our patience and forbearance make us worthy of the "crown" we shall eventually wear if our wills are made subservient to the ad1nonitions of our Worthy Inspirator. Those of the faithful, are you assured that all present are entitled to remain with us longer?
The members carefully observe about the room to ascertain if any present are of a lower degree, or in arrears, and finding none they respond thus:
Members, making due-guard: Worthy Shepherd, we are assured.
Otherwise they will respond: Worthy Shepherd, we are not assured.
If any member should respond that he is not assured, and ho member qualified can vouch for those objected to, and the Worthy Vice-Shepherd is not satisfied as to the eligibility of every person present to remain, then the Worthy Vice-Shepherd will say:
W.V.S.: Worthy Shepherd, not being assured beyond all reasonable doubt, the Worthy Senior Usher and Worthy Patrol are now directed to call for the pass for the quarter, or for the Silver Cloud, the Star, or the Crown Degree, as the conditions may demand.
The Worthy Senior Usher and Worthy Patrol go before the altar, staff and crook in hand, make the due-guard sign of the ·degree in which the sanctuary is about to be opened, advance to the Worthy Shepherd and give him the pass called for by the Worthy Vice-Shepherd. They then proceed to take up the pass from each member, the Worthy Patrol passing down the south side and the Worthy Senior Usher along the north side of the room. As the officers strike the floor gently with the staff or crook, the member approached rises and gives the grip of the degree and the word or pass for which the call was made, and if he fails in the test he must remain standing. This duty performed, the two officers reappear before the altar, make the due-guard sign of the degree to the Worthy Vice-Shepherd, and say:
W.S.U. and W.P.: Worthy Vice-Shepherd, your instructions· have been obeyed and we find all qualified to remain, excepting those now standing and awaiting the orders of our Worthy Shepherd.
If the members standing can not be vouched for to the Worthy Vice-Shepherd, that officer will report as follows, after which by request of the Worthy Shepherd• they retire to the ante-room for more extended examination:
W.V.S.: Worthy Shepherd, upon the retirement of those who do not sojourn upon Mt. Ararat (or dwell in Eden, or are not builders upon the Ark, as the case may be) we are assured that all are of the faithful.
When those unqualified to remain shall have retired from the room to await the committee of examiners appointed by the Worthy Shepherd after the sanctuary has been opened and so declared, the Worthy Shepherd will say:
W.S., *** * ***; all members rise: That our work may be well done, while we form the unbroken chain, let us sing our opening ode:
The members form the unbroken chain enclosing the Worthy Inspirator at the altar within .the circle; the Worthy Shepherd and the Worthy Vice-Shepherd stand opposite each other in the· chain, all singing together:
Love is the tie that binds
Us in a Pilgrim band;
In fellowship of kindred mind,
We're walking "hand in hand."
Benevolence, our pride!
To Thee we shall be true!
Our trust in thee we ever prize
E'en when a faithful few.
W.S.: Worthy Inspirator, please pray for us.
Members response: Amen! amen! amen!
While the Worthy Inspirator recites the Lord's Prayer, or makes an extemporaneous prayer suitable to the occasion, as his judgment dictates, the members stand on the due-guard sign of the degree. After the response by the merilbers1 they repair to their respective seats and the officers to their stations, during which time the last stanza of the Ode is sung, all standing.
Concord's the righteous aim
Of consecrated hearts,
And forming this unbroken chain
No strife should be our part.
W.S.: Officers and members, in formally opening this sanctuary our· desire is that you give undivided attention to such matters as may be brought before you; that you bear in mind our purpose is for the welfare of all rather than for individual interest.
Let not your actions be determined by bias or prejudice, but in a spirit of justice and moderation; speak candidly and with proper regard and decorum on such matters as it shall be both my pleasure and my duty to present for your consideration; therefore, by virtue of authority in me vested as your Worthy Shepherd, … Sanctuary No …, Ancient Order of Pilgrims is, hereby and now, declared legally opened in the Crown Degree (or the Silver Cloud Degree, or the Star Degree) for the transaction of such business as may, in accordance with our customs, rules and practices, demand your consideration.
W.S., * **.
Members respond, making due-guard sign of the degree.
W.S., **, which seats the members.
W.S.: Worthy Junior Usher, you will please inform the Worthy Sentinel that the sanctuary is legally opened in due form and decorum in the Crown Degree (or the Silver Cloud, or the Star Degree), and that no unlawful interruption will be permitted. Worthy Patrol, please arrange the altar.
The Worthy Junior Usher opens the door and quietly gives the instruction to the Worthy Sentinel, calling his attention particularly to the degree in which the sanctuary is opened, while the Worthy Patrol arranges the altar in the following manner: In the Silver Cloud Degree, the Holy Bible upon the altar is opened to Exodus 20, 5-6; in the Star Degree it is opened to Deut. 16, 17; and. in the Crown Degree it is opened to Eph. 4, 29. In each instance the dove and anchor is placed upon the chapter.
Supposing the meeting to be a regular one and of the Crown Degree. the business would be proceeded with as follows:
W.S.: The Worthy Recorder is directed to call the roll of officers, and to read the minutes of the previous meeting.
The Worthy Recorder reads the minutes of the last regular or special meeting convened in the Crown Degree, and the minutes of all intervening meetings held in the lower degrees. each of which must be voted upon separately.
W.S.: Section One for consideration of the temporal relief of our worthy distressed members is now declared opened, and the Worthy Vice-Shepherd will please report those having received relief since last we thus convened, and the manner in which the same was granted.
The Worthy Vice-Shepherd rises in the station in the West and reports each case of relief in detail, and in regular order.
W.S.: The Worthy Vice-Shepherd or any member about the room may now report any of our worthy distressed needing attention.
The Worthy Vice-Shepherd reports such cases as have not at the time had relief, and of which there may be knowledge; and is followed by any member who may have knowledge of cases of needed relief not mentioned by the Vice-Shepherd.
W.S.: By virtue of authority in me vested as your Worthy Shepherd, Section One is declared closed, and we will proceed farther under Section Two, now declared opened for the consideration of any business conducive to the general welfare of our Order.
If the meeting is a special one, then the Worthy Shepherd shall state as the business for consideration only that stated in the call.
(a) Calling the roll for collection of dues. (The dues to be paid, together with the cards of
the members, are passed up to the Worthy Recorder by the Worthy Senior Usher and the Worthy Patrol as each name is called, Unless the Worthy Shepherd permits otherwise.)
(b) Reading. of communications.
(c) Reports of committees and disposal of the same.
(d) Consideration of the Worthy Vice·Shepherd's report.
(e) Presentation of petitions or applications for membership.
(f) Balloting for candidates.
(g) Miscellaneous business:
1. Worthy Recorder presents receipts for bills ordered paid at last meeting.
2. Worthy Recorder presents bills filed since last meeting.
3. Worthy Recorder specifies various bills due.
4. Worthy Recorder states the total receipts of the evening.
5. Bills ordered paid under the direction of the Worthy Shepherd.
6. All other business.
(h) Appointment of committees.
W.S.: Worthy Recorder, what are the total receipts of the evening, and what is the total amount of bills ordered paid?
The Worthy Recorder answers.
W.S.: Worthy Recorder, considering the cash on hand held by our Worthy Locker, what will be the cash balance after all bills just voted on have been paid?
The Worthy Recorder answers.
W.S.: Worthy Locker, after you shall have received the sum to be paid over to you (or you have paid over to the proper persons the money authorized) at this meeting, and considering the bills just mentioned as having been paid, what would be the cash balance held in trust by you for our Order?
The Worthy Locker answers.
W.S.: Section Two is hereby declared to be duly closed, and we will proceed with our closing ceremony.
Raising the Degree
Supposing the sanctuary to have been regularly opened in the Silver Cloud Degree, the process of raising the sanctuary to the Star Degree or to the Crown Degree is about as follows:
W.S., *: Worthy Vice-Shepherd, are you satisfied that all present are members of the Crown Degree (or of the Star Degree), and are entitled to remain?
W.V.S., making the due-guard sign: Worthy Shepherd, I am assured they are (or not assured, as the case may be).
If the Worthy Vice-Shepherd is not assured, then the Worthy Shepherd will say:
W.S., *: Worthy Vice-Shepherd, please make yourself assured.
The Worthy Vice-Shepherd calls the Worthy Senior Usher and the Worthy Patrol, who proceed to take the pass in the same manner indicated in the opening of the sanctuary, and which is likewise reported, following which the Worthy Vice-Shepherd says:
W.V.S., making the due-guard sign: Worthy Shepherd, I am assured (or not assured, as the case may be).
Those not properly vouched for and unqualified to remain, having retired from the room, the Worthy Shepherd will say:
W.S., *** * ***: Brethren and Sisters, proceed to qualify as of the Crown Degree (or of the Star Degree).
The order being properly given, the members make the sign of the degree and the due-guard sign of the degree to which the sanctuary is to be raised, just after the gavel sounds. thus:
W.S., * **.
Members make the degree sign, then the due-guard sign.
W.S., **: I now declare this sanctuary legally opened in due form and decorum in the Crown Degree (or in the Star Degree), for the dispatch of such business as may properly come before it in accordance with our customs, rules and regulations. Worthy Patrol, you will please arrange the altar accordingly, and the Worthy Junior Usher will likewise advise the Worthy Sentinel without the inner door.
Lowering the Degree
When the sanctuary is opened in the Crown Degree or in the Star Degree, and it becomes necessary to open in a lower degree, the most approved manner is to close the sanctuary in the· usual way, and then open in the required degree with the regular opening ceremony found in the preceding pages; but since it frequently occurs that degrees are conferred on occasions of regular meetings, by long established custom the process has been shortened somewhat as follows:
W.S., *** * ***: Brethren and Sisters, let us· qualify as of the Star Degree (or as of the Silver Cloud Degree).
W.S.: * **.
Members respond, making the due-guard sign of the degree called for, which is followed by the sign of the degree.
W.S., **: By virtue of authority in me vested as Worthy Shepherd, I now declare this sanctuary legally opened in due form and decorum. Worthy Patrol, you will please arrange the altar; Worthy Junior Usher, you will· so advise our Worthy Sentinel without the inner door.
Silver Cloud Degree (White)
No candidate can be initiated into the mysteries of this degree without first having been balloted on with a favorable result, at a meeting of the sanctuary held in the Crown Degree; but it frequently happens- through long established custom that the degrees may be conferred in a sanctuary other than that in which the candidate was balloted on, provided the matter of election to membership has been duly certified to under the seal of the sanctuary for which the initiation is performed.
In order to protect the interest of the institution, it is the prerogative of the Worthy Vice-Shepherd not only to inspect the certificate from another sanctuary requesting that an applicant be initiated or be advanced· in the degrees, but he may inspect the ballot on all petitions for initiation or advancement prior to the formal declaration of election, which is made by the Worthy Shepherd in the preceding pages.
The sanctuary having met for the express purpose of conferring the Silver Cloud Degree, the candidate is left in the ante-room with the Worthy Sentinel, to whom he has been introduced by a friend; otherwise, he is left in a room adjacent to the ante-room, until the sanctuary has been opened in the Silver Cloud Degree. The candidate having declared his intention or 1nade known the purpose of his presence, to the Worthy Sentinel, the following is the order of procedure:
Worthy Sentinel raps ** *** **. The seven raps as indicated is the manner of making interruption at the inner door for ·any degree, when non-members are. in the ante-room.
W.J.U.: Worthy Shepherd, we are interrupted by strange signals from without.
W.S.: Ascertain the cause, and after investigation, Worthy Junior Usher, report to us the reason of this strange alarm.
The Worthy Junior Usher opens the door and ascertains the name and identity of the candidate, his desire and purpose, and reports thus:
W.J.U.: Worthy Shepherd, Mr ..., a stranger no doubt, is in the ante-room and seeks to be inducted into our ancient mysteries.
W.S.: Worthy Recorder, has Mr ... complied with all our requirements in reference to admission into the Silver Cloud Degree, and what will the records show in that respect?
W.R. answers as to time of application, report on the same by the committee the result of the ballot and time, the payment by applicant of proposition fee, and the balance due etc.
W.S., *: Worthy Patrol and Worthy Recorder will proceed to the ante-roam and satisfy themselves as to the attitude of this stranger.
The Worthy Recorder and the Worthy Patrol appear before the altar, make the due-guard sign of the degree, and are passed out by the Worthy Junior Usher into the ante-room, where the examination is conducted, thus:
W.P. to the candidate: Mr. ..., do you here now in the presence of the Worthy Sentinel, willingly reaffirm your desire to be initiated into our mysteries, and that you are not influenced by mercenary motives nor undue solicitation of friends?
Candidate, prompted by Sentinel: I do.
W.P.: Do you then assert that your motives are prompted by a favorable impression of our Order, and that you have a sincere desire to ameliorate the conditions of others as well as yourself?
Candidate: I do.
W.P.: Do you promise to pay all dues and assessments, taxes and fines legally imposed when you shall have become subject thereto?
Candidate: I do.
W.P.: Do you promise, upon your honor, that you will go to relieve all worthy members in need of relief or in distress?
Candidate: I do.
W.P.: Do you promise to faithfully perform all duties assigned you by those duly authorized?
Candidate: I do.
W.P.: In addition to your former promises, do you cheerfully promise to conform to all the rites, ceremonies, established usages, and customs of our Order?
Candidate: I do.
W.P.: Since your answers are satisfactory, you may now tender our Worthy Recorder the· balance of your admission fee, that you may be properly reported to our Worthy Shepherd and a record duly made of the same.
The candidate pays the balance of the fee for the three degrees to the Worthy Recorder, giving his name and address, and the Worthy Recorder re-enters the sanctuary. Appearing before the altar, the Worthy Recorder salutes the Worthy Shepherd with the due-guard sign of the degree and reports thus:
W.R.: Worthy Shepherd, investigation has been made as you directed by our Worthy Patrol, who directs me to say satisfactory assurance has been given that the candidate is uninfluenced by mercenary motives or by undue solicitation of friends; that he has a favorable impression of our noble Order, and carries within his breast a sincere desire to ameliorate the conditions of others as well as hin1self; that he will meet all obligations due the sanctuary as he becomes subject thereto, and will in nowise hesitate to go to the relief of those who are worthy, whether in sickness or in distress; that he will faithfully perform all duties imposed by legal authority, and will in all things cheerfully conform to the secret rites, customs, usages and forms of our institution; and, in evidence of the same, here is now tendered the balance of the admission fee. Our Worthy Patrol recommends that we proceed.
W.S.: Acting upon the recommendation of our Worthy Patrol as reported by the Worthy Recorder, the Worthy Senior Usher is now directed to proceed to the ante-room, where he will find a candidate for the mysteries of our Order. Having properly advised and prepared the candidate, with the assistance of our Worthy Patrol, whom you will find there waiting, escort him through "Eden" in conformity with our customs and practices.
The Worthy Recorder resumes his station, the Worthy Senior Usher comes before the altar and makes the due-guard sign of the degree, and then retires to the ante-room where the candidate is prepared as follows:
The hat and gloves are removed, as well as all unnecessary wraps, and the candidate is hood-winked, his hands being bound together with a white silken cord.
W.S.U. raps ** **.
W.J.U., responds thus: * *: Who comes here?
W.S.U.: A stranger in Eden, blind and in darkness the door being partly opened by the W.J.U., but now seeking knowledge and light.
W.J.U.: Of your laudable desires and destitute condition our Worthy Shepherd will at once be informed.
The door is closed and the Worthy Junior Usher appears before the altar, and after making ** ** raps, as before, and the due-guard sign, which is responded to by the Worthy Shepherd with * * raps, and then the Worthy Shepherd says:
W.S., * *: What is the purpose of this strange alarm, Worthy Junior Usher?
W.J.U.: Worthy Shepherd, in behalf of a stranger to Eden who is blind and in darkness, we appeal for light and knowledge.
W.S.: If the stranger is properly prepared, he having apparently 'the proper qualifications, let him enter by way of the East gate.
The Worthy Junior Usher makes the due-guard sign of the degree, and going back to the inner door he says:
W.J.U.: Worthy Senior Usher, it is by the orders of the Worthy Shepherd that you are permitted to enter with the candidate for the purpose of prosecuting the object of your search.
The Worthy Senior Usher, carrying the Shepherd's Crook, enters with the candidate who is on the left, while the Worthy Patrol walks behind, with his staff in hand; the Worthy Shepherd calls up the sanctuary by *** * *** raps, and the candidate is marched three times around the room, passing by the way of the North first. During the journey the members sing, and on the second approach to the station in the South the Worthy Patrol must occupy his station; and, on the last approach to the station in the South the candidate is halted before the Worthy
W.S.U., gives ** ** on the floor with the Crook.
W.P., * *: Who art thou, and whither art thou traveling?
Candidate, prompted by W.S.U.: A poor, wayfaring stranger, who is blind and in darkness, traveling toward the East, in search of light and knowledge.
W.P.: What prompts you to be thus engaged?
Candidate, prompted: A desire to gain light and knowledge, and an earnest desire to ameliorate the condition of myself and my fellow creatures.
W.P.: Stranger, your aspirations are lofty and your motives the most worthy. Speed thee on thy journey.
The candidate is then conducted twice around the room in the same direction as before, stopping at the station in the West on the second approach, during which time the Worthy Vice-Shepherd reads the following, so timed as to conclude with the approach of the candidate.
W.V.S., reads: And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat;
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' (Genesis 2 :8-9; 15-17.)
W.S.U., gives ** ** on the floor with the Crook.
W.V.S., * *: Who comes here, and whither dost thou journey?
Candidate, prompted: A wayfaring stranger blind and in darkness, seeking not only light and knowledge, but rest in Eden.
W.V.S.: What motive prompts thee to be thus engaged?
Candidate, prompted: A desire to gain light and knowledge, and to ameliorate my present condition, as well as that of others; for to subdue the earth and to exercise dominion over "every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" require all that power which light and knowledge give.
W.V.S.: Stranger, your aspirations are lofty and your motives, for the most part, worthy. In keeping with our traditions and customs, I will permit you to be conducted to our Worthy Shepherd, who will further initiate you in the mysteries of ancient Eden.
As you stand here in darkness, and probably surrounded by dangers of which you are unaware, you must be advised of the obstacles which might confront you during your search through Eden.
And as a yearning chasm may open wide at your feet at any stage of your journey, so it might be in your search for the true light and knowledge from above, in your travels through this world. Eden is a place of delight and pleasantries, and in it is not 'Only the "tree of knowledge," but the '"tree of life." Our mission is to· help you succeed in your search, and now, having been thus admonished, is it your distinct purpose to continue your search as already begun?
Candidate, prompted: That is my purpose.
W.V.S.: Worthy· Shepherd, in the presence of .the officers and members assembled, I have assured myself that this stranger is willing to continue his (her) journey towards the East in search of the light and knowledge radiating from our ancient mysteries, and that he (she) is prompted by a sincere desire to be of service to his (her) fellow creatures. To your care I commend him (her) with the utmost confidence. Stranger, speed thee on thy journey.
The candidate is conducted once around the room in the same direction as before, and is confronted at the altar by the Worthy Shepherd. During this journey he meets with many obstructions placed in his pathway by the members, who are making much noise and confusion. At regular intervals during the journey several members, previously selected by the Worthy Shepherd, make the following exclamation: "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
W.S., rapping for order: Brethren and sisters, why is our peace in Eden so much disturbed by unseemly interruptions?
W.V.S.: Worthy Shepherd, a stranger has taken residence in Eden, and contrary to our regulations and customs, he now seeks the garden in the East to find the "tree of life,"· that he may live forever.
W.S.: Brethren and sisters, let us remember the time when you and I were strangers here, and because of our indiscretion and disobedience we were sent forth from Eden to toil and wander. May we not be merciful to a stranger?
Members: "His truth endureth forever and His mercy is everlasting.''
W.S.: Stranger, by the wishes of the members mercy will be shown you. Let this be a warning to you that in traveling through this unfriendly world each must depend upon the other, and that one can not live unto himself. Having gone thus, far, are you willing to take upon yourself the obligation as required, and to further prosecute your search?
Candidate, prompted: l am.
The candidate is placed in standing position before the altar, facing the Worthy Shepherd. His left hand is placed upon the altar emblem resting on the Holy Bible opened to Exodus 20, 5-6; his right hand elevated as if to pluck the fruit from the "tree of knowledge."
W.S.U.: The candidate is in order, Worthy Shepherd.
The members are called up by *** * *** raps of the gavel, and while standing on the sign of the degree the candidate is thus obligated:
W.S., *** * ***: I, ..., of my own accord, and in the presence of Almighty God and the members here assembled, do most solemnly promise and affirm, at the altar, that I will keep concealed all of the secrets and mysteries of this degree; and that I will never expose them nor any part of them to any person, except it be to a true and lawful member of this degree, in accordance with the custom, usages, and regulations of the Order.
With the established sacred rites, customs and ceremonies I promise and swear to cheerfully conform, and I shall not, so far as it may in my power lie, permit them to be exposed in any place or on any occasion in a manner to be. unlawfully observed or obtained by those unworthy to receive them.
All this I most sincerely promise and swear, without any mental reservation whatever, binding myself under no less penalty than that I be forever denied the rights and privileges of the ancient mysteries of Eden, and that my right arm be severed from my body, so help me God.
The Worthy Shepherd holds a piece of fruit high above the reach of the candidate, and commands him thus:
W.S.: Reach forth thy hand for the object of your search, but violate not the laws of Eden.
The candidate reaches up with the right hand, but fails.
W.S.: Stretch forth thy hand, stranger, for the object of your search; but let us remind you that your selection will be the true test of your discretion in exercising your dominion over everything that creepeth.
The candidate reaches up and his hand is pricked with a sharp instrument.
The candidate reaches up again and again until he finally finds the piece of fruit, and is quietly advised by the Worthy Senior Usher to eat what he finds, handing the last piece to his nearest companion, which piece of the fruit is taken by a member standing near.
W.S.: Brother (sister), ..., in your present condition what would you most desire?
Candidate, prompted: Having gained knowledge, give me the light of truth.
W.S., raps **, seating the sanctuary: Well said, my friend and brother (sister); Worthy Senior
Usher, reveal the truth.
The candidate is conducted twice around the room in the same direction as before, while the Worthy Vice-Shepherd reads the following, so timed as to conclude when the candidate is again halted at the altar.
W.V.S.: "And the Lord God said ... 'and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.' " (Gen. 3:14.) "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow." (Gen. 3:16.) "Because thou ... hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; ... for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. 3:17-19.) "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims; and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Gen. 3:24.)
W.S., *** * ***: Brethren and sisters, your assistance is required in bringing our brother to the true light.
At the sound of the gavel the members form a circle around the altar, the Worthy Senior Usher prepares to remove the hoodwink, which is done suddenly, just as the Worthy Shepherd pronounces the last word of the passage of Scripture, which is read three times; and, as the hoodwink is removed the members make a sudden crash of noise by violently stamping their feet and clapping their hands together once. Following is the passage:)
W.S.: "And the eyes of them both were opened." (Gen. 3:7.)
W.S., **, seating the members: My brother (sister), we have, to a certain extent, given you both light and knowledge to make manifest to you our desire to comfort you in time of sorrow and affliction, which you must of necessity experience in your travels through a friendless world.
You will find it incumbent upon you to revere and honor our most sacred and elevating principles by an unblemished course of conduct, and conscientious uprighteousness best calculated to reflect credit not upon yourself only, but that you may add dignity to the fraternity with whose progress your own welfare and interest are now associated.
It is our first duty to remind you of the frailty of human hands and of the vanity of human wishes, as shown by your own persistent desire to proceed in your journey for the object of your search without invoking the guidance and direction of your Creator. And just as your failure in that respect-your self-dependence – brought you almost to disaster during your search in this particular case, so may you have a disastrous fate, if it is your purpose to journey through life unsupported by the word of truth of the Supreme Worthy Shepherd of the Universe.
Our first degree, the Silver Cloud, is emblematical of the pitiful plight and condition of the first residents of Eden, who, on account of their irreverence for divine authority, were driven forth upon the earth to toil and wander. Sorrows overwhelmed them, and troubles gathered about them thick and fast, for of the earth it had been said, "thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." But in the floodtime of their grief and sorrows, midst conflicts and doubts and fears, and when "the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually," and the Lord repented that he had made man, the bright ray of hope, the silver lining behind the cloud, was that "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." ·
Here the candidate is invested with the badge of the first degree, a white rose:
W.S.: My brother (sister), you have been invested with the badge and color of this degree, a white rose taken from a tree in the Garden of Eden by the rightful hand of authority. It is symbolical of purity and peace, and is emblematical of the victory and rejoicing that ultimately come to those who shape their lives and conduct by our ancient usages.
I call your attention pointing to the Holy Bible and the altar emblem on the altar to the arrangement of the altar: "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments." (Exo. 20:5-6.)
Thus you have the foundation for our first cardinal principle, LOVE, and are reminded that disobedience and irreverence for authority grows out of disregard of our first cardinal principle, as just cited for attention. The iniquity of the residents of Eden was visited upon their children, who bad envy and hate rather than love in their hearts and who made unto God an unacceptable offering. The altar emblem will be explained to you when you are further advanced.
The Sign of the Degree
W.S.: The sign of the Silver Cloud Degree is made thus: Reach forth the right hand to such a position as would be required to pick fruit from a tree, hanging a little above the head. and is the manner in which your right hand was held as you obligated yourself to our ancient rites, customs and usages. It is emblematical of the effort you made, while still in darkness, in reaching forth for the object of your search.
Your effort in reaching forth several times serves to remind you how persistent our foreparents were in their desire to transgress God's laws in Eden, and the sharp instrument with which your hand came in contact was typical of the flaming swords wielded by the Cherubims, that no transgressor might re-enter beautiful Eden. This sign, my brother (sister), is not only impressive because of its truthfulness and beauty, but serves to inculcate in our mind obedience and authority to God's law, and the punishment which must ultimately come
for violation of that not ours to appropriate.
The Due-Guard Sign
W.S.: The due-guard sign of the Silver Cloud Degree is made thus: Reaching forth the right hand as if presenting the fruit from the tree in the garden to another dropping the hand suddenly. and is the position your hand was in after you had found, as you thought, the object of your search. It is typical of the act of the "mother of all living" when she gave of the tree of knowledge to her companion in Eden. Let it remind you of the humiliation and shame you must suffer, and the deplorable depth of sin to which you have fallen, if after transgression and disobedience of God's law, you have influenced others in any way to transgress. Therefore, we ·shall not only expect you to live in harmony with the laws of our institution and your country, but we would be grieved very much to have you exert a baneful influence upon your associates.
As a constant reminder of the responsibility resting upon you, when you arise to speak in a sanctuary duly and lawfully constituted, it is incumbent upon you to salute the Worthy Shepherd with this sign. If, on your arrival, the sanctuary has been regularly opened, then before you are seated be careful to appear before the altar and salute the Worthy Shepherd with the sign of the degree, followed by the due-guard sign.
The Grip and Password
W.S.: The grip this degree is made thus, and the password is: "I am my brother's keeper".
The Worthy Shepherd and the candidate grasp the right hands in the ordinary way, the former whispers gently into the ear of the candidate the pass-word.
The word in this degree is always associated with the grip, and in order to impress you at all times with your social responsibility, and as to how the iniquity of the first residents of Eden was visited upon their children. As a test, it is thus often given:
The Worthy Shepherd and the candidate grasp the right hands, and the Worthy Senior Usher prompts the candidate thus:
W.S.: "Where is thy honour?"
Candidate, prompted: "I am my brother’s keeper".
W.S.: "I trust you are, my friend."
The Unbroken Chain.
W.S.: The unbroken chain, made thus: The Worthy Shepherd and the Worthy Senior Usher stand one on either side of the candidate, all three clasping their hands with their forearms crossed and the fingers interlocked. is emblematical of the manner in which Adam and Eve departed from Eden, wiser but weaker. By it you will advance from one stage in our ancient rites and customs to another, and by it we are taught the duty of walking hand in hand through the struggle of an earthly life, and the duty of helping each other to surmount life's difficulties and to bear up under its disappointments.
W.S.: My brother (sister), I assure you that nothing has been done in derision, but we trust that there have been imparted to you some useful lessons, which we hope shall influence your life through all the years to come.
The silken cord by which you were bound is typical of the cords of friendship, respect and admiration, which unite us all into one common bond of fellowship; and you were blindfolded that your heart and mind might be more easily concentrated upon the secrets and principles without distraction, and that those not connected with us by rites and ceremonies might be kept in darkness; the obstacles in your pathway, in your journey around the room, were to remind you of the struggles accompanying the duties of this· life, and the trials, dangers and vicissitudes of our earthly journey; the member who accompanied you during the evening is typical of Him who is ever ready to come to your aid in time of need or distress; each stop in your journey about the room is emblematical of well marked and defined stages of progress and development, not only in your advancement in our ancient mysteries, but in your life's journey – they mark havens of rest and comfort in your earthly career.
W.S.: Worthy Senior Usher, you may retire with the brother (sister) to the ante-room and give proper instruction in regard to gaining admission to the sanctuary when convened in the Silver Cloud Degree.
The Worthy Senior Usher and the candidate make the due-guard sign to the Worthy Shepherd, who has resumed his station in the East, and retire to the outside of the ante-room, where the candidate is instructed how to enter the ante-room, and then the sanctuary. They both enter in due form and decorum, appear before the altar. whereupon the Worthy Shepherd says:
W.S.: Brother (sister) ..., you will associate yourself with some of the members well known to you, any one of whom will gladly assist you to become proficient in the work of the Silver Cloud Degree, evidence of which you must give prior to further advancement in our ancient
Question: My brother (companion) in Eden, I presume.
Answer: No, (the companion of) thy brother’s keeper.
Ques.: Then you alarmed the Gates of Eden with strange signals, and was admitted?
Ans.: Not because of the strange signals, but because of my purpose.
Ques.: What was the purpose of your entrance?
Ans.: A desire for light and knowledge to ameliorate the condition of myself and others, for to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over every creeping thing require all that power which light and knowledge give.
Ques.: How were you admonished in reference to Eden?
Ans.: Standing in darkness, I was admonished that my motives were lofty and that the journey through Eden would be conducted in accordance with its ancient traditions; that Eden was a place of delights and pleasantries, and in it was not only the "tree of knowledge" but the "'tree of life."
Ques.: How was your journey in Eden prosecuted?
Ans.: Having journeyed three days from the West toward the East, I proved myself qualified; after two days’ journey in the same direction, the regulations of Eden were made known to me, and my purpose was declared. Another day's journey revealed to me the error of relying upon self alone, whereupon the residents of Eden taught me that "His truth endureth forever and His mercy is everlasting."
Ques.: Did you acknowledge that each must depend upon the other?
Ans.: I did by my obligation. But in the prosecution of my journey my transgression was to gather from the "tree of knowledge," and lest I should partake of the "tree of life," contrary to the laws of Eden, I was driven from Eden to become a wanderer.
Ques.: What was the punishment, if any, for this transgression?
Ans.: That "His truth might endure forever," of the serpent that beguiled 'twas said, "Dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life;" of my companion (female) "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow" but to me, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake .... dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return."
Ques.: What provision was made for the protection of Eden?
Ans.: The man he drove from Eden, and at the gate were placed the Cherubims with the flaming swords to keep the way of the "tree of life."
Ques.: Having spoken of standing in darkness, how were. the eyes of both of you opened?
Ans.: My eyes were opened after the manner in Eden, and standing at the altar I beheld the Silver Lining behind the cloud.
Ques.: What was that, my friend?
Ans.: The Silver Cloud was that Patriarch Noah had found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and though I could not enter Eden the arrangement of the altar made impressive the importance of our first cardinal principle, Love.
Ques.: How do you explain this first principle?
Ans.: Mercy is shown to the thousands that love Him. His iniquity was visited upon the children of the residents of Eden who had envy and hate rather than love in their hearts, and who made an unacceptable offering.
Ques.: What was the true light and knowledge gained in the prosecution of your search in Eden?
Ans.: The signs and secrets of the Silver Cloud Degree.
Ques.: How do you explain the signs and the flaming sword?
Ans.: The sign of the Silver Cloud Degree making the sign indicates the manner in which my right hand was held as I vowed allegiance to the ancient rites, customs and usages. It reminds us of our persistent efforts in darkness to transgress God's laws. It inculcates obedience to His laws, reverence for authority.
The due-guard sign of the Silver Cloud Degree making the sign represents the act of the "mother of all living" when she gave of the "tree of knowledge." It should remind us of the deplorable depth of sin to which we sink, if, after transgression, we influence others in any way to transgress.
The flaming sword is typical of the swiftness and certainty of the punishment which must ultimately come for the violation of that not ours to appropriate.
The unbroken chain is emblematical of the manner in which Adam and Eve departed from Eden, weaker but wiser. By it we advance from one degree to another, and are taught the duty of walking hand in hand.
Ques.: If you walk hand in hand, "Where is thy honour?"
Ans.: "I am my brother’s keeper."
Ques.: "I trust you are, my friend."
Ans.: "Since I left Eden I have been."
Worthy Vice-Shepherd, has any deserving case of charity or
benevolence passed our notice?
W.V.S., making due-guard sign: Not one within my knowledge, Worthy Shepherd.
W.S., *: Worthy Junior Usher, advise our Worthy Sentinel that we are about to close this sanctuary, and that for our welfare he will permit no further interruptions.
The Worthy Junior Usher rises at the sound of the gavel, makes the due-guard sign of the degree, and quietly instructs the Worthy Sentinel as directed.
The Worthy Sentinel observes all such orders by making no reports nor interruptions during the opening or closing ceremonies, nor during the reading of the minutes.
W.S., *** * ***, all members rise: Members, as we form the unbroken chain, let us sing our Closing Ode.
The members form the unbroken chain around the altar as in the opening ceremony, singing a stanza of any hymn appropriate for the occasion.
W.S.: Worthy Inspirator, you will please perform your duty.
The Worthy Inspirator reads aloud (or repeats, which is better) the Scripture indicated by the emblem on the altar, and then repeats the Lord's Prayer or makes a short prayer suitable to the occasion.
The members stand in the chain on the due-guard sign of the degree, and the prayer being concluded they respond thus:
Members: Amen ! amen ! amen !
W.S.: As your Worthy Shepherd, I must insist upon impressing the members present with the importance of being punctual at our meetings and present on all occasions, in order to safeguard the interests of the sanctuary, and to share its duties and responsibilities. As we go forth into the world, not knowing what shall meet us there, save that trials and temptations are numerous along our pathway, and that in the construction of the Ark of human life there will be obstructions and embarrassments, let us never be dismayed, for the promise of the Supreme Worthy Shepherd of the Universe is to those who have kept the faith.
By virtue of authority in me vested as your Worthy Shepherd, I hereby declare, … Sanctuary No ..., to be duly and legally closed until the next regular meeting (state the time), unless otherwise ordered, in conformity with our rules and regulations.
The Worthy Shepherd then whispers the Quarterly Pass into the ear of the member standing at his right in the chain, which member passes the same on in like manner until it reaches the last member in the chain; it is then passed to the Worthy Inspirator by this member, and is in turn repassed to the Worthy Shepherd, who declares:
W.S.: The pass is right; together let us make the closing signs.
The members stand erect in the chain circle, the left foot advanced and the left forearm extended from the waist line, palm upwards, and the right hand resting on the left, palm downwards. These words are repeated three times: "And they shall be one flesh," during which time the right hand is raised about eighteen inches from the left hand, on each alternate word, beginning with the first. This is done very quietly, the hands being brought together in sharp clash, accompanied by a gentle stamp of the left foot just as the word "flesh" is said the last time.