Ritual of the Ancient Toltec Rite
Cloister Degree
Sisters and Brother of Charity


The presentation of the work of the Cloister is divided into two sections. For the first section the stage is set with a gloomily lit scene of a restoration of the Palace at Uxmal with blue or green light predominating. The lodge room is half illuminated, sufficient light being present to allow everything to be plainly seen, but having a somber effect.
In the center of the room is a black draped altar upon which is the Holy Bible, closed and bound around with heavy cords, emblematic of the bonds of ignorance and superstition. A deep toned gong mounted so it can be sounded at the proper time. The Toltec emblem, illuminated, is in the East.

Officers and Characters
The Excellent High Priest, who sits in the East.
The Excellent High Priestess, who sits in the East and represents Charity, being clothed in appropriate costume.
The Sister Faith, who sits in the South.
The Sister Hope, who sits in the North.
Sister Inscriber of the Codices, who sits in the Southeast
Sister Custodian of the Treasure House, who sits in the Southeast.
The Chaplain, who sits in the Northeast.
The Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies, who sits in the Northeast.
The Sister Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies, who sits in the Southwest.
The Musician.
The Orator, who sits in the Northwest.
The Sister Guardian, who sits near the door.
The Brother Sentinel, who stands outside the door, armed with a sword.
Clothing in the First Apartment
The Excellent High Priest wears a plain black robe, and sandals.
The Excellent High Priestess wears a plain black gown.
The other officers are dressed in a similar manner.
Each officer wears a jewel appropriate to the office, of yellow metal, suspended from a ribbon about the neck, the same as described in the Council Degree.
Second Apartment
The stage is set with a brilliant garden scene or a decorative Temple of Justice scene that contains a brilliant outdoor effect. The back drop is arranged to raise and show the tableaux. The stage and the stations of the officers can be decked with palms, ornamental foliage and flowers. The Altar is covered with a white cloth attached to which is a profusion of flowers preferably red, and with green leaves. On the Altar is the Holy Bible, open, on which reposes a red rose, also a passion cross.
At the entrance of the workers (as will be seen by the ritual further along) the house and stage are still gloomily lighted. At the cue word “Light” in the opening prayer, all lights are brought on to full brilliance and remain so throughout the degree.
Clothing in the Second Apartment
The Excellent High Priest wears the costume of a Jewish High Priest.
The Excellent High Priestess wears the costume similar to that of the Lady Superior of the Council degree.
Sister Faith wears costume similar to Lady Ciencia.
Sister Hope wears costume similar to Lady Natura.
Sister Inscriber of the Codices wears the costume of Lady Secretary.
Sister Custodian of the Treasure House, costume of Lady Treasurer.
The Chaplain wears the robes of the Lady Chaplain of the Council.
Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies wears the costume of the Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies of the Council degree.
Sister Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies wears the costume of the Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies of the Council degree.
The Musician wears the robes of Musician in Council.
The Orator wears a black robe and a collegiate “mortar board” cap.
The Sister Guardian wears the costume of the Lady -Guardian of the Council.
Opening of Cloister
A Council is opened in its regular form When its work is completed the Knight Commander will, in place of closing the Council, declare it to be at rest for the purpose of conferring the Cloister degree and ask the officers of the Council to vacate their seats and allow the officers of the Cloister to occupy them.
When all is ready, the High Priest being seated
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST, *: The dawn is breaking in the East. It will not be long until the brilliant sun will illuminate the forests and the hillsides, covering all as with a life giving garment of glory.
The labors of our Cloister must be resumed; this is the hour. Duty beckons us to the call of service, her brow radiant as she unfolds the tasks for us to accomplish—all for the betterment of the Human Race.
Sister Hope, you will make sure that there are none among us who are not of our Degree, and that all are indeed entitled to be present at this time
SISTER HOPE, * *: Sisters Mistress of the Ceremonies a1nd Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies. You will scan the faces of all present and if you find any one who is not known to you, you will have them properly vouched for or report their presence to the Excellent High Priest.
They begin at the East and work toward the West, using a similar method with strangers as that used in the Council degree. When they are satisfied all are of the Order, they return to their stations and report
ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF CEREMONIES: Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies, all who have come within my vision are of the Order.
MISTRESS OF CEREMONIES: Sister Hope, we find all to be of the Order.
SISTER HOPE: We are all of the Order, Excellent High Priest and await your commands.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies, I am informed that at the foot of the pyramid on which our Temple is built, there are assembled those who would help us in our service. You will retire and if such you find, you will give to all, the usual admonition.
Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies retires and in the ante sala repeats the following admonition:
MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: You have been elected to receive the Degrees conferred by the Ancient Toltec Rite. The object of this order is to teach by allegory, symbolism, precept and example the great primitive Truths as man understands them. To inculcate the purest morality and establish among us the willing desire to render to the world unselfish service.
The ceremonies of these Degrees are of such a character that they cannot be communicated to you until you shall have first pledged yourselves to secrecy. Before receiving such assurance from you, it will be necessary for you to divest your minds of Envy, Malice, Jealousy, Hatred, and by such declaration, symbolically apprentice yourselves to Duty.
However, I assure you that nothing will be required of you that will in any way conflict with the duty you owe to God, Country or social or family ties. Do you so promise?
ASPIRANT (each): I do.
The Stage and House are now darkened to a gloomy light in which this section is given, when all is ready, the Aspirants, except the one chosen to he the active one, are formed in double file and to the solemn intoning of the organ. march slowly to just before the stage, then right wheel, across the room, again right wheel to seats prepared for them When all are seated and everything is in readiness, the active Aspirant accompanied by the Mistress of Ceremonies is caused to rap three times on the door of the ante sala.
ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Excellent High Priest, there is a knocking at the sacred door.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies, you will cause the sacred door to be opened, and learn who ventures through the mysterious portal.
ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES, goes to the door, opens it wide and says: Who would pass the mysterious portal of the sacred door?
MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: It is a maiden, fair of feature, of good repute, selected for her worth and virtues and who would see the Excellent High Priest upon a sacred mission.
ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Without doubt I know the purport of her mission, but does she know that for this service, only the pure of heart, the truest of the true are taken? That position, wealth or worldly power will avail her not. Does she seek to enter to benefit mankind; or does curiosity, vanity or self aggrandizment prompt her to do this deed? To candidate: Do you come of your own volition?
ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: I must close the portal until I know the will of the Excellent High Priest. Closes door, returns to west of altar a deep toned gong rings three times.
She then says: Excellent High Priest, I have opened the sacred door and I find a maiden, fair of feature, of good repute, selected for her worth and virtues, who would see the Excellent High Priest upon a sacred mission.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Coming as she does to the sacred door, we well know what she seeks. Does she know that for this service, only the pure of heart, the truest of the true are taken, and that position,’ wealth and worldly power will avail her not? Does vanity or self aggrandizment prompt her to this act? Does she come of her own volition?
ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: She answers that it is her own wish.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Open then again the sacred door and bid her enter. Tell her that if she be pure of heart and seeking to benefit mankind she has naught to fear.
ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES, returns to the door, opens it and says: The Excellent High Priest bids you enter with the assurance that if you be pure of heart and are seeking to benefit mankind, that you have naught to fear.
Organ begins solemn intoning Escorted by the Associate Mistress of Ceremonies leading, the aspirant enters with the Mistress of Ceremonies on her right, they march straight east to near the stage, turn right, across the room, turn right to just behind the altar, turn right until directly behind the altar, wheel into line behind it with Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies on aspirant’s left and Mistress of the Ceremonies on her right The deep toned gong is rung three times
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Who is this maiden who would join the solemn procession of those, who, through the centuries have voluntarily sought to benefit others?
MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: She answers, Oh Excellent High Priest, that she is. That she is the of who has been initiated into many mysteries.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Does she come of her own volition?
LADY MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: She has answered that she does.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Many before you have sought to benefit the world but here we can take for this service only those who are of known goodness, who are of excellent report before the world and who are willing to devote to this service their fullest energy, their untiring efforts.
The Highway of Human Life is strewn with wreckage of false hope, good intentions and weak wills. It is not enough for us to merely declare our adherance to the principles of Truth; we must have within us the courage to practice morality, sustain Truth wherever found, and give ourselves to Service. If you would proceed further, the Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies will conduct you to the altar of Sister Faith, that you may there hear what this oracle may tell you.
Organ Begins.
Associate Mistress of the ceremonies steps back Mistress of the Ceremonies at side of Aspirant conducts her towards the north side of the room. Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies returns to her station and is seated. Mistress of the Ceremonies with Aspirant right wheels and marches to near stage, again right wheels, marching across the room, again right wheels and continues until in front of Faith. They turn facing Faith and addressing her says.
Organ ceases.
MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Sister Faith, there is before you an Aspirant. She avows—and her sincerity is evident—that she is one whose heart does yearn to serve others without the hope of reward. She seeks the way, Sister Faith. Tell her of the Plane of the South, that she may, if need be, enlist in the ranks of Service.
SISTER FAITH: Hear me then aspirant, hearken,
Take my words and wishes with thee.
Grave them sharply on thy memory,
So that they be not forgotten
Should thy pathway lead thee
To the silent and the unknown
World from whence none ever
Returning, come again to tell us
Whether they have failed their mission
Or their efforts have succeeded.
Know then, Oh thou fair aspirant
That the southland suffers sorely.
All the wells are dry and dusty.
All the cisterns without water.
And the rain clouds come and mock us,
Come and show themselves and leave us,
Leave us and let fall no water.
All our vegetation withers,
All our fields are bare and fruitless,
All the game has left the forests,
Pestilence stalks wide among us
And starvation leers upon us.
Gone is all our strength and vigor,
Gone all songs and happy faces.
Pinched the bodies of our mothers,
And the cooling blood of old folks
Needs the fire and heat of feeding.
If you be sent the bearer
Of our prayers and supplications,
Be the teller of our sufferings;
Beg that we be granted water,
Granted food and health and comfort.
We have faith thou canst obtain it,
You can sway by charm and beauty
Sway with gentleness and patience,
Where the people, old and ugly
Never could obtain these favors.
Faith’s blessing carry with you,
It may help you on your journey.
Organ begins.
The march is now resumed, turning square corners and passing behind the altar they come to a stop in front of Hope.
Organ ceases.
MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Sister Hope, you see before you an Aspirant, one who hopes to lift the burdens of her people. One who wishes to benefit her fellowmen. Tell her, Sister Hope, what afflicts the peoples of the North, that she may if need be, make of herself a sacrifice and thus relieve their suffering.
SISTER HOPE: Listen closely, now Aspirant.
Take my words and message with you,
That you may have it truly
When you leave the dark cenote,
And begin your intercessions.
Know then, fair one, that the northland
Has its miseries and troubles,
That it has its woes and sorrows,
Has its griefs and tribulations
This land too is parched and thirsty
And the mighty flaming mountains
Pour out fire and smoke and sulphur.
Pour out melted rock that causes
Fire to burn up field and forest;
Covers up the towns and temples.
Winds have torn down many forests
And destroyed our fields and gardens
Left our ‘young folks and our old ones,
Dead and crushed by falling branches.
But though elements deal harshly,
Worse by far have been a people
Coming armed with spear and Hul-Che,
Sweeping fiercely in upon us,
When we’re near o’erwhelmed by nature.
If you go as intercessor,
Beg that we may have our burdens
Lightened, as they now are heavy.
Try to get some favors for us.
Let the raindrops fall upon us
And the sun shine out in kindness.
Hope now speaks to you her message.
Hope inspire you on your journey.
Hope will wait with resignation.
Hope will loosen all our heartstrings.
Go thou on, Oh fair Aspirant,
And our hope will follow after.
Organ begins.
Mistress of the Ceremonies resumes march towards the East, turning a sharp wheel when near the stage and marching across the room until in front of the Excellent High Priestess Facing her with Aspirant, she says.
Organ ceases.
MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Excellent High Priestess, from the Oracle of Hope this Aspirant comes, bearing in her bosom words of wisdom learned at that Shrine. She would seek further, Sister, and craves from you that which she should know, coming out of the Plane of the East.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIESTESS: Fair Aspirant, listen closely.
Have thy ears at close attention.
Have thy memory sharply focussed.
Keep my words within thy bosom
Closely held, as holds a basket,
The ripe fruit of the harvest.
In the east the vines and leafage,
Twist and writhe in wild contortion
In their agony for water.
Then they die, and savage breezes,
Sweep them into piles and winrows,
Toss them ‘round with vagrant fancy,
While the black earth, parched and thirsty
Turns to dust and mingles with them.
Then the hot eye of the Sun God
Gazes fiercely on the red earth,
Bakes it, hardens it and dries it,
Makes it firm and as unyielding
As the tiles that form our roadways.
Swarms-of insects take our substance,
Poison reptiles sting and strike us
‘Til the whole land seems accursed
And the birds will not fly o’er it,
Nor will snakes now, burrow in it.
Fair one if you be chosen
Bride of Yum Chac, the Rain God,
If you bear to him our message,
Be the living prayer we give him,
Try to soften down his fierceness,
Try to make him tender hearted
And more lenient with his people.
Many other brides we’ve sent him
Fairest ones the earth could offer,
But we fear that they’ve forgotten
Have been surfeited with pleasures,
Have been overfed with gladness
And have wearied of their mission.
If you be the one that’s taken,
You will be the youngest, fairest,—
Will have more influence o’er him
And we hope, can sway him farthest.
All our hopes are centered in you,
Your charity will be a watchword
For forthcoming generations,
And may bliss attend your footsteps.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Yum Chac is the rain God of the ancient Toltecs. Every year, he claims a Bride from among the fairest daughters of the race, and she who is chosen for the sacrifice deems it an honor beyond the power of speech to describe. For weeks before the Day of the Choosing, in the Palace of the Virgins, these Aspirants await with longing the eventful hour. Always as they go about upon even the most uneventful ‘errand, they are borne in flower-decked litters, carried swiftly by strong young men, sons of the Nobles of the land. Garlands of flowers and sweet-scented herbs shield them from the sun; their thirst is quenched with the milk of new corn and wild honey, while food is prepared for them by the Vestal Virgins of the Temple. On the Day of the Choosing the Aspirants are clad in garments of the shiny soft tree-cotton, lustrous as the wings of a sea bird, filmy as the fleecy cloud of a summer dawn. About the neck, each wear a string of glittering green stones, from which dangle pendants of burnished sun metal. Sandals of the softest doe-skin are upon their feet.
So environed they symbolize a rite—awaiting as true believers for whatever lot may be theirs.
You, Oh Aspirant, this day and this very hour represent the historical character chosen as the sacrificial bride. Follow now Thy Guide: fear no danger, but trust in her who leads you.
Aspirant and Mistress of the Ceremonies march onto the stage and disappear behind one of the wings.
End of First Section
The Aspirants are now conducted to the waiting room, by the Mistress and Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies and the hail is prepared as directed for the Second Apartment The Sister who represents the Aspirants is conducted to a separate room and clothed with a white robe and a white vell over her head.
The officers are clothed in costumes as prescribed for this Apartment. A procession is formed, with Excellent High Priest and Excellent High Priestess at the head, with Inscriber of the Codices, Custodian of the Treasurer-house, the Sisters Faith and Mope and the other officers following, two by two, and the Brother and Sister Aspirants, two by two. Last of all, the Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies, who conducts the Sister representing the Aspirants
The procession enters the Cloister to the solemn intoning of the organ or the slow tolling of a bell. At the end of the first circuit Excellent High Priest and Excellent High Priestess take their stations, Inscriber of the Codices and Custodian of Treasurer House drop out at their stations. When procession reaches her station, Faith drops out and takes her station—at her station Hope drops out and does likewise, at their respective places all other officers do likewise, except the Mistress and Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies who continue and at the end of the third circuit the aspirants are conducted to their places. The Associate Mistress retires to her station, the Mistress of the Ceremonies and Aspirant halt about six feet behind the altar facing East.
THE EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST, * * * and says: Sister Chaplain you will conduct our supplication to the Most High.
All lights are kept dimmed as in the first section until the Chaplain utters the word (light) in the opening prayer when the lights are brought on, so that at end of prayer, they are all at full brilliancy.
Organ Solemn.
CHAPLAIN: O Thou who moved upon the face of the waters and said, Let there be light, and light was, we invoke Thy blessing on this our present day assembly. We thank Thee that the past, with its barbarism is gone forever, and that with each year the gloomy mists of ignorance and superstition are dissipating, more and more. Let the illumination of true wisdom be about us. Imbue our hearts with faith in Thy wisdom and hope in Thy mercy, and make us charitable towards our Brothers and Sisters. Divest us of our many sins and make the light of truth to shine in our hearts. Amen!
ALL: Amen.
At the conclusion of the prayer the organ begins a stately march and the Candidate is conducted to the East, going first north then East, then South to in front of the Excellent High Priest. Organ ceases.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: In all ages, woman has been distinguished for those virtues which separate man from the brute creation. Gentleness, Kindness, Faith, Charity, Goodness, and Mercy are characteristics that have established her in an exalted place among men in all civilized lands.
This Order is founded on Faith, Hope and Charity. We seek the true meaning of these virtues, and the inculcation of such rules of conduct as will enable us to practice them; we seek to divest ourselves of Hatred, Malice and Envy, and with open mind seek for the Truth.
Our lives are so interrelated by the Ordinances of the Great Creator, that every human being can contribute something, if he will, to the aggrandizement of the race and generation; and he who would of himself alone seek the Elysian fields beyond this life, and go thither unattended, will never find them. To possess virtue, one must struggle for it; not merely in public, but in the uneventful things of life where none are witnesses of our acts, save God. We strive here to erect a Temple from whose portals shall emenate only Truth and its attributes; to teach, without the use of Creed; to devote ourselves to Charity, as taught by Faith and Hope. Are you one who aspires to enlist in such a cause?
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies present the Aspirant at the altar of Faith.
The organ resumes, the march is resumed and the aspirant is conducted to Faith. Organ ceases.
SISTER FAITH: My Sister, Faith is a virtue everywhere inculcated in all Holy Writings, and is indeed the foundation of every noble achievement. We believe that each have within us an emanation from the Divine Spirit, coming from God and that it must return to Him, and, so believing, we set out to achieve the noblest end that can occupy the interest of man, to find the Truth, and finding it fit our souls for that destiny.
No human is entirely bad or base. Somewhere, hidden in every soul, is a spark of Truth that needs only to be exposed to the breath of Reason to flash with brilliant flame. No one is so completely lost and steeped in sin and degradation that kindly admonition will not find lodgment in his heart, and start him on the upward path. So long as reason lives in the soul of man he is susceptible of uplift, capable of reformation. If our brother has sinned and erred and fallen, much may be attributed to a vicious education and environment, and yet, he is one of God’s creatures and deserving of our solicitude.
Faith in precept. Truth is inculcated line upon line and precept upon precept. The incessant dropping of water wears away the stone. And so it is that the constant reiteration of a precept finally penetrates the heart and finds sure and permanent abiding place. We can never tell what kindly word will cheer a drooping spirit, or when helpful admonition will stay the erring footsteps of one started in the wrong direction; what friendly hand, given to a fallen brother, will lift him from his low estate and place him on the path of rectitude.
Faith in example. Our precepts will be of little value we do not show by example that we practice what we teach. If we have not profited by our own teachings, we cannot expect others to be benefited by them. We little realize the influence we exert by the example we set before others, the child, our friends and associates, and even before our enemies. Our every act is the subject of circumspection. The higher our position in life the most closely we are scrutinized.
Faith in God. A high, perfect and pure faith in God, that He is infinitely wise and good and merciful and loving. If doubt and despair engulf us and our faith falters, let us remember that God is the Father of all His children. Although we cannot understand His ways or comprehend His wisdom, we are sure that His paths all tend to harmony with Him and will lead us to a haven of rest and peace.
Aspirant is seated, music. Tableau of Faith.
FAITH: Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies, present the Aspirant at the altar of Hope.
Organ resumes Candidate resumes march halting in front of Hope. Organ ceases.
HOPE: When clouds lower and danger threatens; when disaster impends and despair seizes upon us; when sorrow bows us low and grief overwhelms us; when hunger and cold starve us, and darkness hovers and we can see no light, then it is that Hope reaches forth her gentle hand and bids us come to her. Although at times upon the earth we see appalling evidences of man’s depravity and cruelty; even nations steeped in crime, and man making war upon his brother and laying waste his country; though the powerful often crush the weak, and the tyrant grinds the face of his subject; though we see penury and want, pale, unclad and haggard, cringing in the street, yet over all this hangs the radiant star of Hope. Her light penetrates the darkness, dispels its gloom and illumines the way that leads to a final cessation of all misery.
Sad and appaling as these scenes are, they have been worse. For ages the history of nations has been the story of the wars of nations; and although we still have such records, we have others that record the fruits of peace and happiness, the useful service of souls who lived not f or themselves, but who found their greatest joy in helping others.
Hope teaches us that in time all evil will disappear from the earth, and that good will prevail. She bids us trust in God who points out to us the Gospel of Love for all men and malice toward none; who makes the way possible for us to emerge from a state of sin and evil and accept his plan for our salvation; whose loving kindness embraces every living thing, and who assures us that the time will surely come when His law will reign supreme over all the world.
Hope points out to us that already the civilized are taking the place of barbarous nations; that knowledge will supplant ignorance; that the arts of peace are after all more practiced than the hideous arts of war; that the Divine law is superseding paganism, and that a day of progress toward perfection has dawned.
Hope heralds the ultimate triumph for the principles of the Toltec Rite. We are here united in an Order belonging to no particular sect or creed, but standing upon the broad principles of humanity and loving kindness; on the Great Primitive truths revealed by God to the first men; on the immutable law propounded by God to Moses on Sinai’s Mount; on the lessons taught by Jesus to His disciples in that memorable sermon on that other Mount.
Hope pictures an immortal state of happiness in the Great Hereafter; where all things doubtful shall be made sure; where we shall comprehend the mysteries of creation and the enigma of our own existence; where we shall harmonize the seeming inconsistencies that environ us here; where we shall lay down the burdens and trials that afflict us.
Then let us cherish Hope, and that will confirm our faith in our Heavenly Father who has prepared such a place for our immortal dwelling.
Aspirant seated. Music. Tableau of Hope.
HOPE: Sister Mistress of the Ceremonies present the Aspirant to the altar of Charity.
Organ resumes, candidate resumes march halting in front’ of Charity. Organ ceases.
EXCELLENT FIIGH PRIESTESS: “Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have not Charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have all Faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not Charity, I am nothing.”
Charity means more than the bestowal of alms. To give is sometimes but a gesture the easiest and least important duty of a member of this Order. Charity is Sympathy, Kindness and Love.
Sympathy for the downtrodden and those without home or kindred; humans struggling alone against adversity and in want; sympathy for those who are without friends.
There is nothing more becoming a man or woman than the bestowal to others of a kindly word or expression. It beams from the eye, shines from the countenance and proceeds from the heart. It is sure of a response from even the most hardened criminal, the most forsaken outcast. Likewise it comforts and assures the innocent child, the aged and infirm and brings joy even to the dumb animal. No grander epitaph can be inscribed on the tomb of any man than this: “He was kind to everyone and everything.”
Love alone is immortal and renders the True Believer unshakable in all the events of life. When we strive to explore the realm of Love we penetrate every atom of things terrestrial, and mount with wings divine to the very Sanctum Sanctorum of the God of All. Love knows no frontier when service calls; inclined is the ear of Love to the lispings of childhood, likewise to the broken accents of age. The poorest of men is he to whom no one is indebted for Love . . . . the richest, he whom most men owe, for Love unrequited. Love is another synonym for the good deeds we do, the kindly offices we render one another, making of themselves the angels that watch over us and smile in our sleep. Love makes it easy for us to die.
My Sister, if you would indeed become a true Sister of Charity, your heart must feel with the poor and afflicted; your hand must raise the fallen, and your feet follow willingly in any cause to help the friendless and forsaken. Let not your voice be stilled beside those who mourn, and return ever and always the soft answer to the angry word. Such are the things that bind us together indissolubly in bonds of true kindred.
Charity, Caritas, Caridad. The sweetest word in any tongue. Blessed be Charity!
Faith, Hope, Charity, these three; but the greatest of these is CHARITY.
Aspirant is seated with the Class. Music is rendered. Tableau of Charity shown.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST, * * *, leaves his station and advances to in front of the Altar. At the sound of the gavel the Mistress of the Ceremonies and the Associate Mistress of Ceremonies, advance and arrange the Aspirants, standing, behind the Altar, with the active Aspirant in the center, her right hand resting on the Holy Bible, and a Passion cross, each other Aspirant touches with their right hand some portion of the Altar. If there are too many Aspirants for all to reach the Altar, those behind can place their right hand on the shoulder of an Aspirant in front of them.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: You will each repeat with me the following obligation. I (you will pronounce aloud your name) in the presence of our Father who is in Heaven, and these Sisters and Brothers, do most solemnly promise and vow that I will not consent to receive into this Cloister any one who is not a member in good standing of some Consistory of the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, or a Knight Templar, or the Wife, Widow, Mother, Sister or Daughter of such a Mason. That I will cultivate Faith and Hope and practice Charity toward all my Sisters and Brothers of this Degree. That I will strive to divest myself of Hatred, Malice and Envy. That I will not speak slightingly of my Sisters or Brothers of this Degree, or defame their characters or intentionally wound their feelings. That I will at all times defend them against their enemies. That I will at all times be honest and straightforward in all my dealings with them, and will comfort them in their sorrows, minister to them in sickness and relieve them when in distress. That I will faithfully obey all of the Laws, rules and regulations of this Cloister and at all times conduct myself as becomes a member of this Body.
All this I promise under the penalty of being expelled from the Order and being despised by the Sisters and Brothers as one foresworn and unworthy of the confidence of good men and women. Amen.
Addressing active Aspirant: I will now invest you with this trowel of gold as an emblem of your association with an Order which devotes itself to works of Charity, Justice and Mercy. It is a symbol of Harmony and Unity, being the instrument which since history began, has been used to spread the uniting mortar that has enabled buildings to withstand the ruthless hand of time.
The password of this degree is …
The answer is …
Excellent High Priest retires to his Station. *
Class is seated.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: You will now give attention to our Orator.
Orator delivers lecture standing in his Station
ORATOR: The Ancient Toltec Rite was founded by Charles Bard Hamilton in 1904 following an extended sojourn in Mexico . He was impressed—we believe inspired—by the marvelous structures raised by early men in North America, as they were then to be seen, and which was before archaeologists had made a very extensive decipherment of the writing and hieroglyphs of these ancient races.
Men held but a superficial view at that time of the origin of the ruins and the nature of the people who constructed them. Centuries had passed since they were erected and the tribes who builded them had long since disappeared. Even the uses for which these crumbling ruins were constructed was likewise uncertain and tradition told the only tales to be known about them.
Legend and story aver they were built by the Toltecs, an ancient and unwarlike race who later were overrun by tribes from the North and were subjugated and intermingled with the conquering races until they ceased to exist as a separate ethnological unit.
It is not the purpose here to enter into a recital of the mysterious rise and disappearance of an ancient civilization on the American continent. In truth, it would indeed be a courageous narrator, who in the present state of archaeological research would be able to outline definite details of the life and habits, or even the origin of this race, so far is it lost in the mists of ages.
There are some things however, that we know with much certainty; that there was, on the American continent, a civilization of different root from ours; that it was the equal of the civilization of Egypt and Babylon of that time. The pick and shovel of scholars has revealed that these ancient people knew as much of astronomy, art, architecture, and the sciences generally as any nation of those times.
They had their books, or codices, wonderfully written, and Yucatan and Guatemala and many of the Central American States are dotted with the ruins of their cities and temples, all of which are elaborately carved with their inscriptions.
When Cortez, with his conquestidores overran these countries, they found a civilization not so vastly behind that of the conquerors themselves, although it, had evidently deteriorated from a previous level. The fact that they had not learned the use and making of iron and steel and had no beasts of burden, rendered them comparatively an easy race for the Spanish swords and guns to subdue first and later enslave.
With the Spaniards came the priests, who though perhaps honest enough, were not sufficiently intelligent to recognize that they were in the presence of a different type of civilization from any that had been known before. They knew that the religion of the people was different from the one they taught, and ignorance coupled with bigotry ascribed the native priesthood and religion to the work of the Devil and as such they determined to exterminate and destroy it.
Countless volumes of the native history, the value of which is beyond measure, were destroyed, the native scholars who could read them were executed or driven into the forests ahead of the conquering invaders. Thus all knowledge of how to translate or decipher the writings was lost.
A very few of the books, or codices, were sent as curiosities to Europe and some of these remain and have been a puzzle of the greatest magnitude to scholars, who up to the present time have not been able to read a great amount of the clearly written history, which by a little foresight on the part of the Spanish priesthood would probably have been readily deciphered.
The first section of the degree you have just witnessed is presented wholly from tradition. It is all that remains of an intimate human interest. It is a picture of the selection of the bride of Yum-Chac, who these people believed to be the rain God and who was supposed to dwell in a very large Cenote or natural well in their sacred city of Chichen-Itza.
While the ideas they had of Diety is incompatible to modern minds, we remember that they were living and practicing these rites, without doubt, before 600 A. D., as dates have been found (and their numbers are readily read by archaeologists) on buildings built at this early time Consequently their semi-civilization must have long ante-dated this.
Do not be too much disturbed by the savage form of their religion, for, when they were flourishing, Europe was a wilderness peopled by utterly savage tribes; the eastern world was ruled by the war hosts of Tiglath-Pielser and the Ptolemies, and long after their rites held sway, Jepthah offered up his own daughter as a sacrifice.
The Modern Toltecs are not a body of archaeological students who with pick and shovel, with machete and axe are trying to decipher the enigma of the past. We are a body builded upon the very human needs of sympathy, love, toleration and friendship for one another, that have existed in all countries, among all races, and in all stages of civilization.
We endeavor here to expound no new theories of life, to enforce no doctrines, political or metaphysical that are not self-evident and of known influence for good in the general progress of mankind. We recognize that the human race has never yet climbed to the peak of civilization, but that it is to this ambitious end the feet of men are traveling and we endeavor by showing the inherent and non-racial beauties of Faith, Hope, Charity, of Justice and Mercy, to so stimulate the ideals of our devotees that they will falter not, but will pursue with all their might and endeavor, their pathway to the highest of all things human or Divine, TRUTH.
Music ad lib.
EXCELLENT HIGH PRIEST: Aspirants, be assured that we welcome you among us. It is our hope that the teachings of our Order will find lodgement in your souls; that you will find joy in your association with the Rite. We will now place you in charge of the Class Director, who will prepare you for your entrance into the Chapter Degree.
The work of the Cloister is done. The members will kindly remain seated while the officers followed by the class will retire. * *
Organ begins a triumphal march
The officers in the East march West to behind Altar. Turn North to north of room turn East to near stage, turn South to south side of room, turn West to exit from hall. As they first pass each station, the officer there drops into the procession so that when they have made the circuit all of the officers are in processional order.
When the officers have made a circuit the class lead by the class director march out two by two.