Ritual of the Ancient Toltec Rite
Council Degree
Knights and Ladies of the Holy Cross


Bodies of this degree are styled COUNCILS. As the meetings are usually held in a Masonic Lodge room, the Masonic furnishings and settings can generally be used, altho they are not historically nor archaeologically correct. With such of these Masonic Temples as are provided with a stage, a setting with a back drop should be used representing the open entrance to a Toltec Temple, the vaulted roof of of which is formed by the Mayan arch, and the lodge room being symbolically the inside of this temple and a continuation of this scene.
Through the pictured doorway on this curtain should be depicted a scene of a mountainous country, and in the extreme distance a mighty smoking volcano, while the foreground contains palms and tropical vegetation. Included in the scene should be a reproduction of the Palenque cross. This background should be arranged to raise and thus display the tableaux which are prepared behind it and shown at the proper times.
The stage should be set with the stations for the Knight Commander and Lady Superior at one side of the procenium, towards the Toltec south of the stage in order not to obstruct the view of the tableaux. Upon the stage toward the Toltec south of same is a large Passion Cross, black or gold, to the center of which is attached a red rose.
In the center of the hall is a square altar covered with white and upon it, the Holy Bible, closed and a naked sword.
In front of the Knight Commander and Lady Superior are small altars, that of the Knight Commander having a gavel upon it. That of the Lady Superior should be draped with white and upon it a pot of perfume and a small trowel.
In front of Lady Ciencia is a small altar, draped with white and upon it a basin of water and gavel.
In front of Lady Natura is a similar altar with a basin of water and a towel and gavel.
In the east toward the Toltec north of procenium should be the Flag of the Nation and the Banner of the order.
The Emblem of this degree is a Passion Gross.
The Emblem of the Order is a Double Headed Eagle upon which is a Passion Gross in red. In the center of the cross may be a red stone if desired.
The banner of the Order is of blue silk, three feet long by two feet wide, on which are the words, in gilt letters, Faith, Hope, Charity, and on the reverse side The words Justice and Mercy. The banner has a gold fringe, and a chain at the top by which it is attached to the staff.
The Knight Commander, who sits in the East.
The Lady Superior, who sits in the East.
The Lady Ciencia, who sits in the North.
The Lady Natura, who sits in the South.
The Lady Secretary, who sits in the Southeast.
The Lady Treasurer, who sits in the Southeast, a little to the West of the Secretary.
The Lady (or Knight) Chaplain, who sits at the right of the Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies.
The Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, who sits in the Northeast.
The Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies, who sits in the Southwest.
The Musician, who is stationed at the organ or piano.
The Knight Orator, who sits in the Northwest.
The Lady Guardian, who sits near the door.
The Knight Sentinel, who is posted outside the door.
The Aspirant.
The Knight Commander upon ceremonial occasions should wear a black suit, suiting the conventions. A sword should swing from a gold belt upon the buckle of which is the emblem of the Order. He may wear throughout the ceremony except at invocation a black soft felt hat, over which is draped an ostrich plume.
On other than ceremonial occasions the Knight Commander wears no hat.
The other Sir Knights are similarly dressed with the exception of the hat, which is worn only by the Knight Commander.
As may be seen by the illustration shown in frontispiece of this book, the costume for the lady officers may consist of a cape worn over their gowns, each cape being differently colored and decorated, it is suggested they may be as follows:
Lady Superior; royal purple, embroidered with gold.
The Lady Ciencia; crimson, embroidered with white.
The Lady Natura; green, embroidered with white.
The Lady (or Knight) Chaplain; black, embroidered with white. The Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies, Lady Secretary, Lady Treasurer, Musician (if a lady), and Lady Guardian, wear capes of the same pattern, but the colors are left to the taste of the Chapter using them.
The Knight Orator wears a black robe, and collegiate cap.
The Knight Sentinel wears conventional clothes.
The Aspirant wears a white robe (or her own white gown if she desires), over her head is placed a long white veil.
Opening Ceremonies
The opening ceremonies may be divided into those for use at conferral of degrees and for use at stated convocations, business meetings, etc. At ceremonial meetings the officers are assembled at the door of the Knight Sentinel, in processional order. At the commencement of the processional music, they enter the temple, preceded by the Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, carrying a staff on the head of which is a Passion Cross. The exact form of this march is not essential, any formation and movement that will end gracefully, and leave the various officers at their respective stations, is all that is required.
When all are in position, the Knight Commander raps * and all are seated.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Sir Knights and Ladies: The preceding degrees are intended to impress upon us  the importance first of Faith, Hope and Charity, and next of Justice and Mercy, as stepping stones to the attainment of Truth. In this, the Council Degree, our ambitious journey is ever and always toward the Truth; permitting nothing here or even in the profane world to obscure that destiny.
You have all taken our solemn obligation and therefore it is not needful that I remind you that this meeting can be held only in the presence of our sworn initiates, also that we must observe the utmost care that our lectures c and our methods of recognition and means of seeking

the truth be kept a profound secret from the uninitiated, and from all who are unentitled to receive them, otherwise our identity as an order would be lost, and our efforts be all in vain.
If there be any present who are not members of our order, they will retire at this time.
Lady Ciencia: Proceed in the ancient way to ascertain if all present are Knights or Ladies of the Holy Cross.
LADY CIENCIA, raps * * and says: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies and Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies approach my altar.
Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies: Make a careful inspection of the plane of the North.
Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies: Make a careful inspection of the plane of the South and each of you ascertain if all present are Knights or Ladies of the Holy Cross. When you have concluded the inspection, return and report to me.
If any be found who are not known to either of these officers to be members of the order, they shalt stop in front of them and request them to stand, to have them identified by someone known to be a member. After they have returned and are facing Lady Ciencia.
LADY MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES, addressing Lady Ciencia: Lady Ciencia: All in the plane of the North are Knights or Ladies of the Holy Cross.
ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES, addressing Lady Ciencia: Lady Ciencia: All in the plane of the South are Knights or Ladies of the Holy Cross.
LADY CIENCIA: Are each of you in possession of the grip and password of this degree?
Lady Mistress of Ceremonies and Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies now half turn facing each other, each giving to the other the Grip and Password of the degree in a whisper, then facing Lady Ciencia, say.
LADY CIENCIA: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, you will receive the Grip and Password from each Sir Knight and Lady in the Plane of the North; you, Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies, will receive the Grip and Password from each Sir Knight and Lady in the Plane of the South. When you have performed this duty, report the findings to the Sir Knight Commander. * * *
The grip and word ace collected, if either be lost, the Mistress of the Ceremonies or Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies addresses the east: Knight Commander, the grip (or password) is lost. If the Knight Commander knows that they are entitled to the same, he directs the Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies to communicate it.
Lady Ciencia, the Grip and Password have both been correctly reported to me.
LADY CIENCIA: Knight Commander, all present here are Knights and Ladies of the Holy Cross.
KNIGHT COMMANDER, *: Lady Guardian, you will summon by the usual sounds the presence of the Knight Sentinel, and inform him that we are about to open a Council of Knights and Ladies of the Holy Cross; instruct him that during the course of, and until relieved of his duty, he is to permit no one to enter who is not qualified, and then only at such times as will conform with the pleasure of the Knight Commander.
LADY GUARDIAN, raps * * * Knight Sentinel answers * * * ; Knight Sentinel raps * Lady Guardian raps * the door is then opened: The Knight Commander instructs me to inform you that he is about to begin the ceremonial opening of a lawful session of a Council of the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Cross; that until otherwise ordered, you are to permit none to enter.
The door is closed, and then:
LADY GUARDIAN: Knight Commander, the duty is performed.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Ciencia, are you a Lady of the Holy Cross?
LADY CIENCIA: I am, for I have been baptized by Nature, annointed by Science, and I worship at the Altar of Truth.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: What is the period of your probation?
LADY CIENCIA: Till death.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Where were you created a Lady of the Holy Cross?
LADY CIENCIA: In the bosom of a Council, duly constituted, and in the presence of only those legally qualified.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: How many compose a Council of this Degree?
LADY CIENCIA: Twelve or more.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: When composed of twelve only, who are they?
LADY CIENCIA: Knight Commander, Lady Superior, Lady Ciencia, Lady Natura, Lady Secretary, Lady Treasurer, Lady (or Knight) Chaplain, Lady Mistress of. the Ceremonies, Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies, Knight Orator, Musician, Lady Guardian, Knight Sentinel.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Superior, what are the duties of Lady Natura?
LADY SUPERIOR: To preside over the Plane of the South; to explain to Aspirants how Nature expresses Truth to us, and to assist in amplifying such teaching.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Natura, what are the duties of Lady Ciencia?
LADY NATURA: To preside over the Plane of the North; to impress upon Aspirants the importance of applying Reason in the search for Truth, and to aid them in their efforts.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Ciencia, what are the duties of the Lady Superior?
LADY CIENCIA: To assist the Knight Commander in presiding over the Council; to supervise the social activities of the Council; to administer the Sacred Rites, and to the fullest of her ability, aid and assist Aspirants in the quest for Truth.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Ciencia, what are the duties of the Knight Commander?
LADY CIENCIA: To administer the business of the Council; to open and close its sessions, and to see that the laws and statutes of the Order are obeyed; to perform the traditional duties incumbent on his station.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, you will attend at the Altar.
She goes to the altar and opens the book, placing it on the center of the altar Places the sword across the book with the point towards the Toltec North.
Solemn music.
KNIGHT COMMANDER, * * *: Sir Knights and Ladies, standing and with reverent hearts, let us return thanks to the Divine Creator of the Universe, imploring His aid in our efforts to discover Truth.
CHAPLAIN: We acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, oh, Heavenly Father, for every earthly blessing we enjoy, and for the greater blessing of immortal life in Thy Kingdom.
We thank Thee for the beauties of Nature that are about us on every hand and for the spark of Reason that we received from Thee, to enable us to comprehend Thy teachings and to adore Thy mighty works created in the plenitude of Thy Wisdom and Power.
We ask Thee to be ever present with us in our convocations, in our homes and in all our daily walks of life. To incline our hearts to be just and merciful to all and to inspire us with an earnest desire to seek diligently for truth.
Keep us in the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal happiness and finally admit us to become members of Thy Heavenly Council and to abide with Thee. Amen.
ALL: Amen.
Music by choir, or song by all Ad lib
KNIGHT COMMANDER: I now declare this Council of Knights and Ladies of the Holy Cross lawfully opened for the transaction of such business as may come before it, within the meaning of the Rules and Statutes of the Order. Lady Guardian, you will so inform the Knight Sentinel.
LADY GUARDIAN, * * * , answered by Knight Sentinel etc. as before: Sir Knight Sentinel, this Council is formally opened for the transaction of business.
You can allow only those to enter who are qualified and only when the Knight Commander permits.
Closes door, faces Knight Commander. The duty is performed, Knight Commander.
LADY SUPERIOR: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, be pleased to ascertain if there be Aspirants in waiting to receive this Degree, and if so, who they are, whether or not they are qualified; and whether they have been legally elected. And if such there be, ascertain if they have been taught our lessons of Faith, Hope and Charity, likewise our teachings of Justice and Mercy, as exemplified in the two preceding Degrees.
LADY MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES retires and returns: Companions, are in waiting to receive this Degree; they have been legally elected, and have made the traditional vows in the Cloister and chapter. They now await your orders.
LADY SUPERIOR: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, repair to the Ante Sala and conduct all of the Companions, save one, who shall act as Aspirant, to the Council, seating them in the proper position facing the Altar.
The aspirants are marched in, to the solemn intoning of the organ and seated in places prepared for them, where they can see all that is done and be convenient to the Altar at the time of taking their obligations. When all are seated Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies advances to the Altar and pauses.
LADY SUPERIOR: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, retire again to the Ante Sala, and there prepare Companion to be the active aspirant to receive this Degree.
She retires to the preparation room. The aspirant is clothed in a white robe, a long white veil over her head. She is conducted to the door of the preparation room and Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies makes the alarm * * *.
LADY ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Lady Superior, there is the traditional alarm at the door of the Ante Sala.
LADY SUPERIOR: Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies, ascertain the cause of the alarm, and for what purpose.
LADY MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: It is the Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies accompanying a Companion of Justice and Mercy, who having received the Degree of Sister of Charity, taken the vows of a Companion of Justice and Mercy, seeks now to be elevated to the Degree of Lady of the Holy Cross.
LADY ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES to Aspirant: Is this your free and voluntary act; and do you do this with a determination to seek diligently for Truth?
LADY ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES to Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies: Do you vouch for her, and do you accept responsibility that she is indeed a pilgrim in the ranks of Truth, seeking it unselfishly and that she will not be recreant to duty?
LADY MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: She has it not, but she is well recommended, and having entire confidence in her sponsors, I will give it out of hearing of all but you.
LADY ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Give it to me. It is given in a whisper. Wait, now, in silence. Leave not this spot until I shall have informed the Lady Superior, and her pleasure ascertained.
Closes the door.
LADY ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Lady Superior, the alarm was made by the Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies conducting an Aspirant, who having taken the vows as a Sister of Charity, also those of a Companion of Justice’ and Mercy, now seeks opportunity to make further advance in the search for Truth by being elevated to the dignity of a Lady of the Holy Cross.
LADY SUPERIOR: Is she one who might prove inconstant, frivilous or recreant to vows? Is she one who accepts a pledge lightly, forgetting it straightway when challenged by error?
LADY ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: I fully believe that she is not.
LADY SUPERIOR: What proof have you that she is worthy of our confidence and esteem?
LADY ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Those of our order who know and love her have recommended her, and the Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, believing them fully, gave me the password for her entrance.
LADY SUPERIOR: Only those in whom we can place implicit trust do we welcome into our order; but to these choice souls, we extend the glad hand of fellowship. To be superior to littleness and the ignoble passions that embitter life; to speak always with the tongue of gentleness and good report; to envy not those whom fortune favors, or the world honors, is indeed a mark of true womanhood. Let her enter and be conducted into our presence.
Lights are lowered somewhat in house.
LADY ASSOCIATE MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES returns and opens the door of Ante Sala: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies: It is the order of the Lady Superior that the Aspirant enter, and that she be immediately conducted into the presence of the Lady Superior.
Solemn music during this movement.
LADY SUPERIOR: Companion, you have been initiated as a Sister of Charity, advanced through merit and desire to the degree of Companion of Justice and Mercy. You have been taught to find wisdom through the beautiful allegorical figures of Faith, Hope and Charity in the Cloister degree, and you vowed to be just and merciful at the shrine of Justice and Mercy in the preceding degree. You now stand in this presence seeking advancement: a volteer in quest of Truth, the most perfect human conception—the attribute of Deity.
Pause Reflect Interrogate yourself!!!
This is a solemn moment, freighted with responsibility that affects not only your life in this world, but likewise your immortal soul!
Virtue is the child of Truth, giving to us our truest liberty. She is not free who stoops to passion, and a venomous tongue thrice binds those who hate and envy.
Only on the mountain crests of service may Truth be found, and Truth sought for the sake of worldy gain, will never be possessed.
Wisely has the great Creator so fashioned us that we FEEL the principles of Truth, even though there be not upon our lips the words to so express what even the heart cannot tell.
Truth knows not creed, nor dogma, nor race. It makes us of one blood, binding us interdependently by numberless ties which even death itself cannot sever.
Companion, we crave likewise with you the boon of Truth. Seeking together along the pathway of Life, we can render to each other that aid and comfort that comes from the well-springs of love.
If you are still desirous of continuing your quest, divest yourself of every earthly attachment in which sordidness, envy, hatred, and self aggrandizement is a part, and with open mind and loving heart approach another step in your journey. If you are not so willing, retire while time is still yours. Pause.
Go now, with those who have sponsored thee, and may thy footsteps falter not until thou stand before the altar of Lady Natura.
Organ in solemn music during this movement.
House lights full, slowly.
LADY NATURA: Companion, the ancient laws of the Toltecs required that aspirants for advancement be strong of heart, without fear, and beyond reproach. Humility, Patience and Self-Denial are three essentials required by our order; likewise, Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice and Mercy. If you are to become a true member of our order, its an Apostle of Truth, your word must never be broken. All true and loyal Knights must hereafter be to you as Brothers; all distressed women as Sisters, all orphans as children. I ask you, and through you all members of this Class, do you still desire to unite with us?
ASPIRANT (and Class): I do.
LADY NATURA: Baptism is one of the most ancient symbols known to man; it has been used with both a sacred and a secular meaning. It belongs to no particular race or religion, but is common to all. We use it of right, not its a religious ceremony, but as a custom that existed from the earliest ages. It is administered in this Rite as a pledge of purification of the heart and soul. Nature baptized primitive man with the gentle rains from heaven, and you, standing before the Shrine of Nature, are pledged in baptism by the washing of the hands. Aspirant does so.
Sir Knights and Ladies, let us pray to our Heavenly Father to assist this Aspirant.
The Aspirant is caused to kneel. Raps * * *.
Our Father who art in Heaven, bless this Candidate about to become Thy true servant. Aid her to perform and keep the vows she takes, and make her pilgrimage on earth preparatory to the initiation into the mysteries of Thy Heavenly Council. Amen.
Raps *.
Arise, Companion, and accompany thy guide to the Altar of Lady Ciencia.
Organ as before.
LADY CIENCIA: Do you believe there is but one God, supreme, infinite, eternal and unchangeable—and that He is infinitely just and wise and merciful?
LADY CIENCIA: Kneel then, Companion, at this Shrine, and be consecrated to the service of Truth. She kneels Following the custom of our ancient exemplars, and as a pledge that you do hereafter renounce the vices of life, I pour upon your head this pure water and do devote and consecrate you, and through you each member of this Class, to the service of Truth. Purified, and exalted above the sordid things of life, may you walk in the effulgence of that light which shineth from the Great First Source.
Arise, Companion. She arises.
Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, you will conduct the Companion to the Holy Altar.
The Aspirants are now formed about the altar, with active Aspirant in the center. As many Sir Knights (or more) as there are Brothers in the class (other than Aspirants) form outside the circle and together raise over the Aspirants an arch of steel. The Aspirants shall place their right hand on the Book of their Faith and naked sword.
All arise. The Knight Commander and Lady Superior advance to in front of the Altar. The other officers form a semicircle behind them. The Sir Knights with swords form a semicircle behind the Aspirants. Music during this ceremony.
Knight Commander administers vow (see secret work), all aspirants repeating same with Aspirant.
At the proper time the Knights give each of the Brother Aspirants his sword.
At the completion of secret work, Knight Commander and Lady Superior and all officers return to stations. Knight Commander raps*.
All are now seated except Aspirant and Mistress of the Ceremonies who conducts candidate to the altar of the Lady Superior. Aspirant is caused to hood.
By virtue of the powers with which I am invested, you and those who have just taken the vow are accepted as Knights or Ladies of the Holy Cross, and by the mystic and sacred symbols of our order do all the Knights and Ladies of this Council and wherever dispersed in the world, here renew their obligations taken in this Degree, and pledge and promise you brotherly and sisterly protection at all times.
I therefore anoint your five senses and your powers of work She touches the eyes, nose, lips and hands of Aspirant with a little perfume, and do hereby forever devote and consecrate you and these Aspirants to the noble service of Truth.
Arise, Companion.
Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, present the Aspirant at the Shrine of Nature.
Organ as before.
LADY NATURA: Truth is written upon every page of the Great Book of Nature; an engaging, enchanting revelation, a gleam of the grandeur of God.
Lofty mountains, limitless oceans, innumerable suns and glittering stars, speak of His magnificence.
The Peace of God is told to us in the forests, on the hillside, on the fertile plain piercing endless horizons with expanse, by rippling waters in the brook and whispering words kissing leaf and flower. The productive Earth speaks to us of the Providence of God, while from dancing sunbeams, warm rains and caressing dews we learn of His mercy.
Everywhere are evidences of His solicitude for us. From the bosom of Mother Earth we derive our sustenance, and our happiness is unconfined as we contemplate the harmony of even the smallest thing in the universe. Nature appeals to us in life and in death. The life giving sun rises in the morning for work and action and sinks to slumberous repose at night. The seed buried in the earth lives again, the principle of which we know not. Man’s body dissolves after a time, but his soul is immortal and lives on. Nature teaches us, however, that as we sow, so shall we gather.
“Sown in the darkness or sown in the light;
Sown in our weakness or sown in our might.
Gathered in Time or Eternity,
Sure, Oh, sure, will the harvest be.”
How harmonious are the works of Nature—each occupying its alloted space, accomplishing a predestined purpose. The seasons appear in regular sequence; the sun kisses the hills at morning and dyes the heavens with  glory at evening at his appointed time; the stars move in their silent courses, irresistible in their power, sublime in their perfection. No variation, no inharmony.
And, too, Nature speaks to us of the wisdom of God. From the creation, all is good. Nothing forgotten or omitted. Everything in Nature is final perfection.
No palette and brush in human hands can improve the color of the flower, nor add lustre to the sky above us. Nature may be imitated, but it cannot be improved. Let us contemplate with our finite minds the Great First Wisdom that in the beginning conceived such a structure and then address ourselves to the task of finding, each for himself, that equilibrium where all is concord, moulded and fashioned into a deathless, fadeless harmony.
Music. While it is given, Aspirant Is seated with the Class. At the conclusion, the Tableau of Nature is revealed.
LADY NATURA: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies: You will now conduct the Aspirant to the Shrine of Science.
LADY CIENCIA: Companion, you have passed from the shrine of Nature to that of Science. Nature shows to no man the mysteries within her bosom, until he first shall have striven to possess them through labor—and he who would gain knowledge must place himself in harmony with the Great Creator.
Science is knowledge co-ordinated, arranged, systematized—and is indeed man’s greatest mental attainment. True science rests upon the solid foundation of Fundamental Truth, and cannot change. What sometimes appears to us a reversal of an accepted scientific truth, is when closely analyzed, but added light—a broader and wider opening of, a further look into, the Portals of Creation, giving us a more clear human understanding.
The Ancients believed the Sun, Moon and Stars were but lamps set in the heavens to give light to man. They conceived the universe according to the knowledge they possessed. The myriad of worlds, the unbounded spheres whirling through space—appearing to the inhabitants of earth some once a day, others once a year, and still others once in a thousand years, spake no words to them. Whether they were peopled, or were barren wastes, they knew not, and they cared not, for they had no conception of their existence.
Today, Science is ambitious to understand God through the mysteries of creation. It searches through the most minute form of force to learn the key, to the end that in some good day—we hope not far beyond—there will be that understandable harmony that will make the whole world a great brotherhood.
Compared with Eternity, our periods of time are as nothing. For eons of time this earth has revolved once a day; now presenting one side to the light—now another. Numberless beings have been born, and just as many have died, and still the endless procession of life and death moves steadily, irresistibly by.
“When you and I beyond the veil are pass’d, Oh, but the long, long, while the world shall last; Which of our coming and departure heeds As the sea’s self should heed a pebble cast.” In the infinite cycle of time, the building and decay of empires is as the twinkling of an eye. So it has ever been; so it will be forever. Contemplating this, then, how unimportant are all earthly pursuits except those that have to do with the building of character; fitting our human souls for the Everlasting Day that shall eventually be ushered in.
Our feeble minds cannot grasp Infinity, and we cannot analyze creation. We look in wonderment upon the phenomena; then lose ourselves in the contemplation.
Where and what is Infinity? We do not know, probably we do not need to know. But of this we are certain,
Companion: That Life is not only good, but it is glorious in the experience of millions. The glory of human virtues adorn it; the splendors of Heroism, Devotedness, Benificence, Fraternity, are upon its brow. It came from God to us in perfection, and when we finally give it back to Him at dissolution, may it be encrusted with gems of human accomplishment that will cause the All-Wise to say unto us, “Well done, thou faithful.”
There is an element of the Divine in every lawful human pursuit, in every lawful human affection, and it makes but little difference where we erect our altar on this mundane sphere so long as the fires of service burn, an incense to the Almighty.
Reason teaches immortality of the soul of man, and upon no other plane may we harmonize man with nature, or nature with God. This being true, we can understand a little of what man is, that God should be mindful of him. If every human soul is a part of God’s Truth, then we are each a component part of the Universe and destined to live forever. There is more here than the world in which we live. An unseen and Infinite Presence is here; a something greater than we possess; a seeking through all the void wastes of life for the good beyond it; a crying out of the heart for interpretation; a memory of our dead, touching continually some vibrant thread in this great tissue of mystery.
What then, if anything, are we doing to merit a life of eternal peace? Answer, oh Companion not in words, but in thy heart; and before that fateful day that will sooner or later overtake every one of us—and let thy lamp be trimmed and burning.
Music. While music is rendered, Aspirant is seated with Class. At the conclusion, the Tableau of Science is revealed.
Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies: You will now present the Aspirant at the Altar of Truth.
Organ as before.
LADY MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: Lady Superior: Through all the countless centuries the human race has sought to know the whole truth. It has been an ever distant light, a flame from which progressing man has found many embers, and many glittering sparks, as he has struggled on; but still the brilliant beacon seems as far away as ever. We cry to know if we must journey on forever in this thick darkness, or shall our weary feet eventually bring us to our quest?
We crave to know the truth—tell us, Lady Superior, what is TRUTH?
LADY SUPERIOR: Your question is indeed profound. Strange is it not, that so simple a thing, as Truth, should be so utterly indefinable. Philosopher and sage, theologian and seer in every age and generation have sought answer—and still the world seeks Truth. In all the history of mankind’s effort to contemplate Truth, there has never been on scroll or parchment, obelisk, or tablet a single dissertation that gave more than partial answer to man’s continual question.
To indulge in metaphor, we might say: Truth is that Angelic Messenger sent from God, who’s every feature, line and lineament is unqualified perfection, who’s every attribute is the quintessence of good. Faultless and unimprovable it stands, the highest ideal for human endeavor.
Truth, my Companion, is a Divine attribute, vouchsafed to those alone who divest their hearts and minds of the vices of life and place themselves in harmony with God himself. It is not enough for us to confess Truth with our lips, then resist it in our hearts, because Philosophy is not philosophy without the background of Truth; Governments are not just, until they shall have first been grounded in Truth: and true Religion is Truth indeed. Truth is the only perfect thing in all the world; it comes from God to us at the moment of birth, and is our only heritage. Nurtured in self-abnegation, cultured in service and grounded in faith, it becomes man’s greatest handmaiden, his liberator. Truth is not a sum of qualities, rather it is an atmosphere that cannot be expressed; it must be felt. It is at this moment in your own soul, Companion, glowing with an effulgence from on High. But it is only there in the measure you have sought. To possess it we shall then see, what now we can only believe. Then the cloud will be lifted, the gate of mystery passed, and that which caused us trial, shall yield us triumph. Seek it, Companion, and finding it, it will last forever and forever.
Thou shalt not fear the loss of much you prize;
The slow defeats of time,
The ruthless enemies who daily rise
Along the road thou climb.
Not pain, not avarice; nor envy’s steel
Can make thee cringe and whine;
Some light the darkest hours reveal—
If but the Truth be thine!!!
If but the Truth may be thy bread and wine,
The staff to stay thy feet;
Thou still can grasp a heritage divine,
And life will yet be sweet.
The truth can heal all wounds of false regret;
All foolish fears allay,
And do thou grasp it closer, closer yet—
And fling the rest away!
Thou may go gladly strip’d of worldly power—
Bereft of love and youth—
If thou but grasp thy soul’s transcendant dower,
The shining pearl of Truth.
Music, while it is rendered. Aspirant is seated with Class At conclusion of Music the Tableau of Truth is revealed.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: We will now have the address of the Knight Orator.
The Orator advances to behind the altar.
KNIGHT ORATOR: Sir Knights and Ladies: You were informed in the First Degree that our order was founded on Faith, Hope and Charity, and the beautiful lessons inculcated by these virtues were fully amplified. In the Second Degree you were taught the lessons of Justice and Mercy and a seat in the Temple was accorded you. In the Third Degree we seek to lead you further, even to the quest for Truth itself; to awakening in your heart the desire to seek for and know Truth.
The ancients possessed no conception of abstract Truth; hence varying religions adapted to their capacities were revealed to them, as we believe, by God. We here challenge no man’s religion. What concerns us is the Truth as revealed by God to man. How he speaks to the individual heart, only that person knows.
Two thousand years ago, after wandering in darkness, man caught a gleam of the coming dawn. The wise men of the East appeared saying, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and have come to worship Him.” A new law begins to reign; a gospel of Love is proclaimed, understandable to all. The Light shines. The burden is lifted from our shoulders, and confident in our hope, cheered by Faith we press on with free and joyous heart. The path is plain and clear; flowers bloom by the wayside, and friendly waters run at our feet. Despair and doubt and the anxiety of uncertainly are left behind. Our view is now toward the city of Peace within whose walls dwell our sisters and brothers, and in the house of our Father a glad welcome awaits. Silent and beautiful, the Star of the East, now risen, points the way. The humblest life may feel its connection with the Infinite Source.
There is something mighty in the soul of man; something of imortality in this momentary and transient body of ours. The mind stretches away on every side into inunity, flashing abroad into the immeasurable boundless space with almost God-like endowment.
To know the wonderful Author of All, to bring down wisdom from the eternal stars, and leave to generations following after the impress of a worthy character is to have done God’s will.
The world is filled with the labors and works of the dead. Our literature, the discoveries of science, the glories of art, the ever enduring temples, the comforts and inventions of industry, the laws, maxims and even the opinions of the now living; our philosophies and religions are all the works of those who lived before us. The province of Life is minute when compared with the Empire of Death—a point as it were in the center of immensity— a breath of existence amid the ages and regions of the Everlasting. The real conquerors and creators, the eternal proprietors of every nation are the heroic souls that were in it—each in his generation a laborer, many of them unknown, unhonored, unsung.
Sir Knights, fight manfully the battle before you. True, you ride on no crusade girded in sword and buckler against a foe. But, Sirs, you fight the battles of the lowly, the unprotected, the helpless. Yours is a crusade against Ignorance, Intolerance, Avarice, Greed, Wrong, and Vice and Error. Your sword is drawn to protect the innocent; champion the Right, and serve under the banner of Truth. Stand valiantly for that which is just, and countenance no evil.
Addressing the Ladies:
The bravest battle that ever was fought,
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you’ll find it not:
‘Twas fought by the mothers of men.
Nay, not with cannon or battle shot,
With sword or nobler pen:
Nay, not with eloquent word or thought
From mouths of wonderful men.
But deep in a walled-up woman’s heart—
Of woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently bore her part—
Lo! there is the battle-field.
No marshalling troup, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave I
But oh, these battles, they last so long—
From babyhood to the grave.
Ladies, you may never he called upon to bind the wounds of a brother in a literal sense, but you have as high and exalted a duty. Cheer and encourage him in all that is good and noble. Many times, the cup of cold water placed to his lips in the form of sympathy and admonition, may revive his fainting spirit, and speed him on his way.
Finally and always, Companions, Truth is Beauty.
Truth is Courage. Truth is Love, Truth is God’s daughter.
It is the highest thing a man may keep, and it is the
Golden Key unlocking the Palace of Eternity. Truth is
the Light that emenates from God.
Knight Orator retires to his station.
Music, ad lib.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, you will now conduct the Aspirant to the East for investiture.
The Candidate is brought standing before the station of the Knight Commander.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Knights and Ladies: It is our hope, our prayer, that our ceremonies, the vows you have taken in these degrees and the inspiration gained by your fellowship together, and with us, will have awakened your determination, renewed your ambition, to seek more diligently for the better things of life.
If our labors have succeeded, our joy is great.
We ask you to pass the good work along, as we firmly believe that in thus benefiting ourselves we are also benefiting others and bringing the peoples of the world more nearly into one great brotherhood.
I now invest you with the Jewel of this Degree. Let it ever remind you of the vows you have taken, of the duties you have voluntarily assumed. At your early convenience you will provide yourself with a Cross like this, on the reverse of which should be engraved your name and address, and the name and number of the Council to which you belong.
I now invest you with the Jewel of the Order. It is to remind you of the relation you now bear to the Higher Masonic fraternities’.
The sign of the Degree (See Secret work).
The Pass is (See Secret work).
The Answer (See Secret work).
The sign of Recognition (See Secret work).
The sign of Distress is given in this manner, (secret work) repeating the words (secret work). If the sign cannot be seen, the words alone may be used (secret work).
I now place upon your brow this crown of laurel, emblematic of Immortality and Truth, and advance you and through you the entire class to be a Lady of the Holy Cross, and a member of this Council, and as such entitled to all its rights and privileges.
Closing ceremonies
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Knights and Ladies, is there any further business to come before this Council?
Has any Officer anything to bring before the Council?
Lady Secretary, are your tablets completed?
LADY SECRETARY: They are, Knight Commander.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Secretary, what lesson have you to leave with us ere we part?
LADY SECRETARY: As our ancient brethren engraved upon enduring tablets of stone those thoughts and happenings they deemed most important, so should we as modern Toltecs engrave on the tablets of our hearts, the sacred lessons taught us by our Rite.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Treasurer, what words of value have you to leave with us?
LADY TREASURER: That which is truly precious today, will also be precious tomorrow. Let us store good thoughts, good acts, good deeds and hoard them for generations yet to come.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Natura, what have you to impress upon our minds?
LADY NATURA: That we should strive diligently for self-improvement; that Love, Charity, and Progress be our watchwords; that selfishness and error be crowded from our lives.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Ciencia, your station is dedicated to the higher attributes for which we strive: what is your admonition?
LADY CIENCIA: Reason is the Divine spark that separates us from the brute creation. They who cultivate this attribute are therefore highest above a base animal life. May we all apply Reason to our every daily act.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Superior, from your exalted station in the East, what message do you give?
LADY SUPERIOR: Truth, like the blessed sun that rises in the East, gives light to all the earth. Carry Truth with you, Knights and Ladies; be true to yourselves and you will be true to all the world.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Chaplain, you will perform your closing duty?
Organ in sacred cadence.
Organ cease, or plays p.p.p. during Invocation
CHAPLAIN: Oh, Our Father, keep Thou us wrapped in the eternal mantle of Thy love. Permeate our natures with that blessed peace that alone can come from Thee. Show us the way to Perfect Truth. Enlarge and amplify our reason, and bind us together and to Thee in perfect Love, and Trust and Truth. Amen.
ALL: Amen.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies, you will perform your duties at the altar.
Organ ceases. She closes the book and says:
LADY MISTRESS OF THE CEREMONIES: The duty is performed, Knight commander.
Closing music by choir or all Ad lib.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Knights and Ladies, we are parting at this hour not as the world parts, but as sisters and brothers bound by the most solemn ties. The happiness of one is the happiness of all, the sorrow of one is the sorrow of all. May we each have abundantly and always the blessing of peace with ourselves and with others.
I now declare this Council closed. Lady Guardian, you will so instruct the Sentinel. Lady Guardian raps * * * etc. as before.
LADY GUARDIAN: Knight Sentinel, this council is closed. Returns and reports. The duty is performed, Knight Commander.
KNIGHT COMMANDER: Will the Knights and Ladies kindly keep their places until the officers have retired.
At the beginning of the march the Lady Mistress of the Ceremonies bearing the staff with the passion cross marches across the hall south, and leads the procession making one circuit of the room, passing behind the Altar. When one circuit has been completed she marches through the exit.
As she passes the stations of the Knight Commander and Lady Superior they fall in behind her, next the Secretary and Treasurer. When they pass the station of Natura she falls in behind, when they pass before the stations of the Orator and Ciencia they fall in, with Ciencia on the left of Natura. When they pass the station of the Chaplain she falls in beside the Orator. When they pass the Station of the Lady Associate Mistress of the Ceremonies, she falls in behind, Lady Guardian joins at the door and so the procession leaves the room.