Twentieth Century Orient / Order of the Grand Orient
Initiation Ritual  


Stations of Officers.
The Grand Orient’s station is at the head of the Council Chamber.
On his right is the station of the Grand Purse-Bearer. On his left is the station of the Grand Parchment-Keeper.
The Grand Vice-Orient’s station is at the foot of the Council Chamber. On his right is the station of the Grand Prince. On his left is the station of the Grand Herald.
The position of the Grand Prophet is in the center of the Council Chamber, facing the Grand Vice-Orient.
Over the stations of the Grand Orient and Grand Vice Orient should be placed arches of some light material, or of wire, to which are suspended a row of Chinese lanterns. The Grand Prophet’s station should be formed of a platform about four feet square and one foot high, covered with rugs or other suitable material. On this he takes his position, sitting flat upon the platform, his legs crossed in oriental fashion.
Grand Orient: Grand Herald, you will now examine all present, and announce to me those who are not clothed in a manner befitting an Oriental Prince, or who are not in possession of the pass-word of this Order. Grand Herald obeys.
Grand Herald: Grand Orient, I find all present are properly clothed, and in possession of the pass-word.
Grand Orient: Princes, I am advised that in our outer chamber are assembled a band of Pilgrims, who are ready and willing to undergo the ordeals necessary to attaining the honor of becoming Oriental Princes. I wish you to maintain the strictest decorum throughout their initiation, to the end that the lessons which we shall impress upon them may not be lost, and that they may fully realize the wondrous teachings of our Order.
You will now be seated.
Princes seat themselves upon the floor, with legs crossed, facing the center of the Council Chamber.
In Councils not provided with regular regalia, it is a good plan to have each officer and Prince array himself in his own way, in some fantastic outfit, with false hair, whiskers, or some other means of concealing his identity. Much more satisfactory results are attained by this means than by remaining in citizen’s clothes.
It is also an excellent plan to provide a number of candle-sticks, made cheaply out of tin, with wire chimney holders, using ordinary lamp chimneys, painted with a mixture of carmine and shellac to a bright red. These are set around the Council Chamber on the floor, immediately in front of the members.
The Grand Prince and Grand herald will then pass to each Prince a bludgeon, made of strong muslin, shaped like a war club, and stuffed with excelsior. Grand Prince and Grand Herald then retire to the anteroom, where the candidates are admitted.
Grand Herald, to candidates in ante-room: Pilgrims, my first duty is to assure you that in the ordeals you are about to undergo, your persons will be held inviolate. You will probably be robbed of all your jewels and treasure by the blood-thirsty Bedouins whom you will encounter in your journey across the desert, but out of compassion for your helpless condition, we shall see that no harm comes to you. Under this assurance are you still willing to proceed?
Candidates answer.
Grand Herald: You will now take off your coats and turn them wrong side out.
This will protect you from the evil spirits which do infest the desert which you soon will have to travel. Candidates comply.
You will now roll up your right pants legs as high as they will go. Candidates comply.
I now wish to impress upon you the necessity of copying to the letter all movements and positions which our Grand Prince, your guide, shall assume as we journey along. Absolute obedience to this command will make your path much easier; failure to comply will bring down upon you the wrath of the entire Oriental Realm.
You will now form in single file, each Pilgrim placing his hands upon the shoulders of the one who precedes him, and follow our Grand Prince.
During the delivery of this part, the Grand Herald will stand in front of the candidates, with a bludgeon thrown across the hollow of his arm.
The Grand Prince then raps on the inner door two sharp raps four times in quick succession, thus: **   **   **   **. At this point the Council will sing a dirge, which is done by each Prince singing his own way at the top of his voice. This should be kept up for about a minute. After the dirge dies away the door will open and the Grand Prince, followed by the candidates, the Grand Herald bringing up the rear, will enter in single file. After marching twice around the Council Chamber, to the music of the Oriental band, halt in front of the Vice-Orient’s station, facing the candidates toward him. During this march, the Grand Prince can add much to the ridiculous situation by walking bow-legged, stiff-legged, string - halted, hippety - hop, etc. The Grand Herald will see that the candidates follow his movements and positions, enforcing obedience with the bludgeon. The band used can be made up in any manner desired. A good plan is to get about fifteen tin pans of various sizes; arranging them on a rack in a row, bottom side up, suspending them by wires, on which three Princes play, each with two small wooden hammers. Their station is immediately in front of the Grand Orient, facing the Council.
Grand Prince: Grand Vice-Orient, I present to you a band of Pilgrims, journeying through our Oriental Realm, meek and lowly in spirit, eager and anxious to hear from your lips their first lesson in the great and wondrous teachings of our Order.
Grand Vice-Orient: Pilgrims, by your presence here, I am assured that you are desirous of undergoing the many trials necessary to the attainment of the highest honor known to man— that of becoming an Oriental Prince.
You should remember that a sensible man will seek and will enter the portals of any secret society, with calm and serious thought. If any Pilgrim present is without this commodity he will be permitted to retire to the ante-room and select one from a box full we have on hand.
Pantomime and burlesque often teach a valuable and lasting lesson one which will make men better and stronger for its learning. Our chief aim is to elevate mankind to a higher and better sphere. This will be impressed upon you more forcibly as you journey along.
You, no doubt, come within our portals in fear and doubt; anxious lest some great harm may come to you. We would lull you to sleep as the wind and waves lull the ocean-tossed mariner. We would have you feel the utmost confidence in our good intentions. Confidence is the corner-stone of our order. We want you to have confidence in us, even if we haven’t any confidence in you.
Reminding you that the true Prince does no man wrong, but does every man good and proper whenever he gets a chance, I now deliver you into the custody of our Grand Prince, who will conduct you to our Grand Prophet, who will receive from you your pledge of honor.
Grand Prince then conducts candidates twice around the Council Chamber in sa rae manner as before, and halts candidates in front of Grand Prophet’s station.
Grand Prince: Grand Prophet, it has been my good fortune, in the decades gone by, to present to you for instruction many great and illustrious Pilgrims men of high purpose, of intelligence, and of learning. It had been my intention to ever present to you men of such character, but it is my misfortune to present tonight a band whose only merit is their ability to sleep, eat, and drink.
‘Tis through no fault of mine that they are here.
Grand Prophet: Pilgrims, having signified your willingness to proceed, you will be seated, as they sat in the ancient Mosques of the Orient, and repeat after me the most binding obligation known to man.
Grand Prince will seat candidates on the floor in front of Grand Prophet.
Pilgrims, from the very foundation of the earth there has never been found a more binding proposition than cheese.
In order that there may be no question as to this obligation being absolutely binding upon you, the Grand Prince will now hand to each of you a piece of rich, juicy cheese, which. you will eat in reverent silence. Candidates comply.
You will now repeat after me: I (giving your names) do sincerely promise, declare, and say, that I will truly and faithfully conform to all the obligations that I shall now, or may hereafter assume in this Order. 1 further promise that I will not disclose in any manner whatever any sign, grip, or pass-word, or any of the other secrets of this Order, except to a male of the human race, who upon full examination I shall find and know to be a man. All this I promise and swear, and it shall so remain upon my honor.
End of oath —Pause.
This obligation you must always keep inviolate. Temptation comes to every man at times, but it will be your solemn duty to ever guard our secrets from the outer world; and, lest you might feel moved to divulge them, I will now hand to each of you a talisman, which will check that movement, when properly and judiciously applied.
Grand Prophet hands each candidate a sheet of toilet paper, which he tears from a roll.
You will now arise and journey hence with our Grand Prince, who will further instruct you in the mysteries of our Order.
Grand Prince then conducts candidates twice around Council Chamber in the same manner as before, and halts in front of Grand Orient’s station, facing candidates toward the Council.
Grand Prince: Pilgrims, I now hand to each of you a verse from the Koran, the book of all books in our Oriental Realm. As your names are called you will advance two steps and read aloud.
Here use cards accompanying Ritual, as they are printed in large, clear type and more easily read in dim light.
I would like to be a Bull Frog,
With my hole all neatly dug;
I’d teach the tadpoles, all day long
To sing Rip Rip Boo Chug.
Oh, I wish I was a Dickey Bird;
I would perch upon her lip,
And there I’d sit in ecstasy
And sip, and sip, and sip.
Oh, I wish I was a bully Bull,
With a ring run through my nose,
With nice red hair and a great long tail,
I would have no use for clothes.
I would like to be a Daisy,
And grow upon the lea;
But it wouldn’t be nice when I come to think
What the cows would do to me.
Of all the good friends we have on earth,
The loyal are most valued by far;
This is why I should like to be a Skunk,
You always know just where they are.
I wish I was my grandpap’s big clock
That stands in the corner all day;
I always stand round and do business on tick,
So I’m pretty much used to that way.
I would like to be a big Rooster,
With a barn-yard full of hens,
I would hustle all day to make both ends meet,
I would make them all my friends.
I think I should like to be a Hound Pup,
With a tin bucket tied to my tail;
I would set a hot pace till my tail pulled out,
Or the bucket came loose from the bail.
I, by choice, would be an old whisky barrel,
With my hoops all driven on tight;
For, you see, if some sucker should steal out my bung
My bung-hole would still be all right.
I should like, to be a Donkey,
I’d be limber in every joint.
You all know that making an ass of myself
Always has been my strong point.
To be an Elephant would just suit me,
‘Twould relieve my mind of great strains;
For I always have been much bothered to know
In which end I carried my brains.
I would like to be a Nanny Goat,
Up and down the street I’d strut;
It then would be perfectly proper you know,
To show the Kids my butt.
Grand Prince then calls names of candidates, and after each has read his card, they will be faced about to the Grand Orient.
Grand Prince: Grand Orient, there stands before you a band of Pilgrims who have taken the obligation of our Order; have each read a verse from the Koran, and are now fitted to hear from you the supreme words of wisdom the crowning jewels of our Order.
Grand Orient: Mortals: Pause and go slow. That which you see before you you do not behold. Standing, as you do, upon the illimitable confines of the inevitable void, cogitating upon the profundity of the yet-to-be, you are—yet you are not. Therefore why?
Again pause, and do not proceed until you advance. You are not what you seem to be, therefore seem to be that which you are not; consequently, you occupy a position which you do not hold.
Man’s natural tendency is toward egotism. He thinks he amounts to something— he does not. Nobody does—except us.
The silent Sphinx sits in solemn grandeur, with the winds of the desert whistling through her whiskers, and the shining sands drifting through her stern. Ask her why? Wherefore? And of which? And she answers not. Perhaps she does not know.
Therefore, we, as members of this Order, teach you many beautiful things which you do not know, and of which we never heard.
Be honest and people will be suspicious of you; be saving and you will be called a skinflint; be virtuous and  you will be very, very lonesome; stand up for your rights and you will get it in the neck.
As a closing injunction I will say: We have watched your coming and your going. Your past history is known to all of us as it is known to you. You are ashamed of it so are we.
You will now journey hence with our Grand Prince.
Grand Prince then conducts candidates to center of Council Chamber and faces them toward the Grand Vice-Orient.
Grand Vice-Orient: Pilgrims, I have this to say to you: Poor, indeed, is the man who has not a friend in whom he would entrust his all. Poor, indeed, are each of you, if you have not such a friend within the borders of our Realm.
It is the royal edict of our Grand Orient that ... giving the total number of candidates, less two of your number shall be confined within the walls of our deepest dungeon, there to remain until such time as you shall be compelled to answer for your many misdeeds here on earth while two of your number will be permitted to proceed upon your journey through our Realm without hurt or hindrance. Who these lucky two shall be will be decided by the drawing of lots, and for this purpose each of you must now, in turn, select a friend to whom you will entrust this sacred duty. Each candidate names a friend.
Grand Prince, you will now conduct the Pilgrims to our inner fortress, whence they will be called to undergo the first ordeal that comes to them in their journey through our midst.
Grand Prince conducts candidates to property-room or club-room.
The Council Chamber floor is then cleared of lamps, etc., and the Princes form in double line lengthwise of lodge room, facing each other, forming a gauntlet, each with his bludgeon. The foot of gauntlet should rest at inner door, and Grand Herald a ad Grand Sentinel should stand in ante-room to stop candidates in their rush down the line. Candidates are then brought out of club-room, one at a time, and made to run the gauntlet, each Prince being privileged to strike him when even with or past his position. No Prince should strike him in front as he comes. Candidates are then escorted to reception room, and after arranging Council Chamber for second part, the Grand Prince will bring all but two of candidates into the Council Chamber, giving the others the impression that these are to be locked up and disposed of later. They are then permitted to witness the conferring of the second part upon the two yet outside.
Second Part.
One of the candidates is brought into the anteroom and his shoes, coat, and vest removed, and left in charge of the Grand Sentinel. He is then blindfolded. After candidate is taken into, the Council Chamber the Grand Sentinel will drop into each of his shoes a small quantity of the following mixture, which can be obtained at any drug store:
Ammonium Valerianate         1 oz.
Calcium Sulphide                   1 drachm.
Crude Carbolic Acid              1 drachm.
Water                                     4 oz.

This will out-smell anything yet discovered, and will be a constant reminder to him that he is an Oriental Prince.
Upon taking the candidate into the Council Chamber, he can be put through any number of ordeals and tests to suit the pleasure of the members, and dependent somewhat on the number of candidates and the time available.
In the absence of Burlesque Properties, it is a good plan to have arranged along the Council Chamber floor a number of soap boxes, or other small sized boxes, arranged in a long row of different heights, over which the candidate is forced to walk, with a Prince walking on each side to prevent accident. After this he may be laid out on a board and opera ted on, using a piece of ice for this purpose. The delusion is perfect, the ice giving the exact sensation of a knife. During this operation the members may make such comment as suits the occasion, no set ritual being required.
Isis also well to have an old piece of muslin handy at this time, and in arranging his shirt for the operation the muslin may be torn in strips, at the same time giving the candidate the impression that some impulsive Prince is tearing his shirt.
A number of such ordeals may be arranged for with little or no expense.
Where convenient, however, it is better to have a regular set of properties for this part. The “Rocky Road to Dublin” could first be used, followed by the “Undulating Motion,” after which the candidate might be persuaded to “Paddle His Own Canoe,” and he could then be branded with “The New Electric Brand,” concluding by riding him on the Sacred Camel, or “Billy Goat.”
After this part is concluded, the candidate will then be conducted to the center of Council Chamber, where is arranged a large square of can vas. which, for safety, should have underneath it two small-sized mattresses. Upon this the candidate is instructed to kneel, with his hands extended across his forehead, then bending forward until his hands touch the floor. In this position the following obligation is given:
Pilgrim, the position which you have now assumed is symbolic of your allegiance to our Order, and in assuming it you have arranged your anatomy in a position which you will never forget.
At this juncture it is a good plan to have a small and friendly dog placed on the floor by the candidate’s head so he will smell around him; lick his face and rub against him. A member will then squirt a small syringe of warm water into the candidate’s ear, leaving him to draw his own conclusions as to where it comes from.
While retaining your position, you will now repeat after me the oath of allegiance: I (giving your name), do sincerely promise and say that in order that my stomach may not become rusted, I will totally abstain from the use of water— except for irrigating purposes but this shall not deter me from observing my Oriental obligation to take a bath at least once every six months, whether I need it or not. I further promise that I will totally abstain from all intoxicating liquors of every kind and nature whatsoever except whisky, wine, and beer. That I will hereafter promptly pay in full all bills which I may incur, as well as those which I already owe unless I am able to stand them off until the statute of limitations shall have run against them.
I further promise that I will never again have any intercourse, social or otherwise, with any female woman whatsoever unless with her consent and unless she be present, either in person or by her attorney, duly authorized in the premises, with power to act.
And I do now declare and say, that which is evident to all, that my ass is higher than my head.
At this point the candidate is struck on that portion of his anatomy just mentioned by him with the “Pettibone Spanker,” and all the Princes around the canvas take hold and toss him up, being careful to keep him over the mattresses. After this the candidate is taken to a chair and seated, the members gathering around him.
The Grand Orient takes his position in front of the candidate, and after the hood-wink is removed, addresses the candidate as follows, holding in his hand a gilt-covered crown: Princes, behold before us a Pilgrim, who, having undergone the many trials necessary before attaining the highest honor we can confer, now resting foot-sore and weary, yet with firm and manly bearing, awaits the conferring of the final rite, the receiving of the emblem which only Princes of the Orient are entitled to wear.
And now, as you are, surrounded by the Princes of the Realm, by my command I bid you bow your head and receive the crown you have so nobly won.
As candidate bows his head, a member brings down upon his head from behind a large sponge full of warm water. After candidates are each initiated in the second part they will be permitted to resume their clothes, and will be conducted before the Grand Oricut for instructions in the secret work.
Secret Work.
Grand Orient: I will now instruct you in the secret work of our Order. Should you desire
to enter our Council while it is in session, you will slowly approach the outer door, upon which you will give two raps. You will then wait five minutes. If you receive no response within that time, you will again give two raps. You will then wait half an hour. If nobody responds within that time, you can make up your mind that the Council has been dissolved, and everybody has gone home.
If you gain admittance to the ante-room, you will invest yourself in the regalia of our Order, and approach the inner door. Upon this you will give six raps, when the wicket will be opened, and you will give, in a whisper, the pass-word, which is ...
Having gained admission, you will advance to the center of the Council Chamber, and salute the Grand Orient in the following manner: (You will follow me) Place your thumbs in your ears with the fingers all extending and pointing upward, your hands representing the ears of a mule. You will then slowly wave your extended fingers backward and forward three times, using your thumbs as pivots, and inclining your body forward with each movement. If this sign is
recognized by the Grand Orient by a waive of the hand, you may take your seat. If you should wish to retire while the Council is in session, you will advance to the center of the Council Chamber and give the same sign. If the sign is recognized by the Grand Orient, you are at liberty to retire from the Council.
The grip is given thus: (Follow me) Any ordinary shake of the hand, letting the index finger rest heavily on the wrist of the party saluted.
The sign of recognition is given thus: (Follow me) Close all of the fingers of the right hand, except the index finger. Raise the hand even with your head, the finger pointing up. This is answered by the member hailed by his closing all the fingers of the right hand, except the first and second finger, and dropping his hand to his side, the fingers pointing down. This you will answer by closing all the fingers of your right hand, except the first three, and raising the hand even with the head, the fingers pointing up.
The first sign, which is given thus (indicating), indicates “My Ass was up.” The answer, which is given thus (indicating): Indicates “So was mine.” The reply, which is given thus (indicating): Indicates “All our Asses have been up.”
The symbolic letters of our Order are O. M. A., signifying, “Oh, my Ass.”
The sign of distress is given thus (follow me): Close the fingers of the right hand, with the thumb extended upward. Place the thumb between the tips of the lips. Then close the fingers of the left hand in the same manner, and place the thumb in that part of your anatomy which but a few moments ago was higher than your head.
If you should tire of this position you will please reverse. (Follow me.) Now, I wish to say to you, that if your thumb should be disabled at any time, you are at liberty to call upon any member of this Order for the use of his thumb; and if that part of your anatomy referred to should at any time be in bad order, you are at liberty to call upon any member of this Order for the use of his.
There is a hailing sign used in this Order, which is given thus (follow me): Grasping the right hand of a Brother Prince with your right hand, you each of you say in unison: “I know, you know, we all know.” In meeting your Brother Princes in coming downtown in the morning, you use this hailing sign, each endeavoring to speak the words I have given to you before the other can do so, the object being that the party finishing last is obliged to set up the drinks. I will now illustrate this hailing sign, with each of you in turn.
Grand Orient then goes through dialogue with each candidate in turn, until he comes to the one who has been selected as the victim.
When this one says, “I know—you know—we all know” the Grand Orient will add, “That your Ass was higher than your head.”
Grand Orient then faces candidates to the Council.
Grand Orient: Princes you will now join in extending to these newly-created Princes a hearty Oriental welcome. The Council will be at ease.
The Princes then form in line and file past candidates, as is usual in lodges.