Knights of the Mystic Chain
Degree of Mystery
This ritual was adopted by the
Supreme Lodge in 1900.
Officers should wear robes, Turkish fezzes, wigs
and beard. The following articles should be on hand: Regulation sword and belt,
hoodwink, one pair roller skates, one old shirt, one old hat, shaving outfit (consisting
of one large wooden razor, piece of oil cloth to fit around candidate during the shaving act, or large sheet will answer the purpose), water pail, lather pail, large paint brush and cake of soap,
towel, bottle of seltzer water, one saw-horse, old saw, stick of wood, oil can
for water, tin-seated chair, spirit or oil lamp, tunnel de trouble and ball.
COMMANDER: The officers
will assume their stations. If any are present who are not qualified to sit with
us in the Degree of Mystery, they will please retire. Marshal, you will satisfy
yourself that all present are chosen Mysterious Sir Knights.
examining Sir Knights, retires to Degree of Mystery, and says: Your instructions have been obeyed, and I am satisfied that all present are
qualified to remain with us.
Vice Commander, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir
Knights of the Degree of Mystery?
satisfy himself and say: I am.
Chaplain, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights
of the Degree of Mystery?
satisfy himself and say: I am.
Guard, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of
the Degree of Mystery?
shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: I do
then declare this Degree Lodge open for the degree of Mystery; let us direct our
deliberations with brotherly dignity, and with due regard for our fraternal
Marshal, you will retire and report the names in waiting to be initiated in the
Degree of Mystery of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
Marshal salutes and retires;
Commander, I find ... ready to become a Mysterious Knight.
Recorder, has ... been proposed and elected according to the rules of the Mystic
COMMANDER: Has the
required fee been received?
COMMANDER: I appoint
Sir Knight ... to act with the Marshal as Aide for this occasion. Marshal, you
will go to the ante-room, prepare the candidate, if be able to undergo our
trials and temptations.
MARSHAL: I will obey your commands retires
to the ante-room.
MARSHAL: Before proceeding on the journey
you have requested permission to make, I must
require of you certain pledges: First, will you promise upon your honor as a man
to obey the officers during your journey? I
await your answer?
CANDIDATE: I will.
MARSHAL: you promise not to
reveal to any human being anything that would give them knowledge of any of this degree or work, or private transactions of
the Knights of the Mystic Chain? I await your answer.
CANDIDATE: I will.
MARSHAL: Are you perfectly
willing to submit yourself to
severe and searching tests, in order that you may he able to
demonstrate your sincerity and good intentions, and will you absolve the officers and
Sir Knights from all blame
or censure, should they in any manner displease or offend you in their efforts
this night to impress upon your heart the sentiments and teachings of Kindness,
Mercy and Charity, the cardinal virtues of the
Knights of the Mystic Chain?
If he declines to answer in the affirmative to all, he cannot be admitted.
MARSHAL: I now
have your voluntary pledge of obedience,
but it is still time for you to retire if you fear the consequences of the
ceremonies into which you are about to enter. Are you satisfied to proceed?
CANDIDATE: I am.
MARSHAL: Then submit to this hoodwink.
Your eyes must be securely covered, so that you cannot gaze upon the mysteries of the Mystic Chain until you shall earn that right. Raps at door.
comes here? What are your wants?
MARSHAL: A candidate, long anxious to
behold the mysteries of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, for whom we vouch.
reporting to Vice-Commander, keeping wicket open:
A candidate, long anxious to receive the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic
Chain, vouched for by Knights of the order, stands waiting to
VICE-COMMANDER: Let him
enter with those who avouch him.
Guard opens door, and Marshal, Aide and candidate march twice around the
hail, and are stopped by the Guard. Candidate should have on a pair of roller
skates, but must be supported by
and Aide, who can allow him to slide
about, but care should he taken that he does not fall. Candidate should also
have on an old torn shirt and dilapidated hat.
GUARD: Great Cesar! Marshal, what have
MARSHAL: A candidate,
whom I am taking to the Vice-Commander.
Have you the audacity to present a stranger to the Vice-Commander in that
condition? Look he has his skates on, and his toilet generally needs arranging.
He will be all right shortly; don’t fear.
cannot permit any one to pass in that condition. Marshal, you had better spruce
him up a bit; put a coat upon him, shine his shoes, and make him look
Marshal, aide, and candidate retire to ante-room, remove skates and torn
shirt; and the candidate, having put his coat on, they re-enter, and stop before
Everything you mention has been done.
Well, he can: but say, Marshal, have you shaved him?
Have I shaved him? No, I forgot that.
he must be shaved before you apply for admission here for him.
and aide move to the centre of the room. Aide throws oil-cloth over the candidate and ties it about his neck, so that
his clothes cannot be soiled. The oil-cloth about the neck should have a row of
sponges about it, in order that no water may go down the neck. Candidate is
placed in a chair, partly reclining, to resemble a barber’s chair. Aide should
have a bucket of lather, large brush, and wooden razor, also a syphon bottle of
candidate, as he is appearing to arrange matters for business:
It is a long time since you have been shaved here. I thought I was going to lose
your custom. How are they voting down your way this season? Politics lively as
The marshal can ask such questions as come to mind while arranging the
candidate. When all is ready, the aide will apply the lather in goodly quantities. If
he splutter. and fumes, when it gets in his mouth and nose, use the syphon of seltzer to
remove a portion of the lather, standing at the side of the candidate, so as not
to force it straight into his mouth or nose; then proceed to remove the lather with a
wooden razor. When the shaving is completed, take the candidate to the ante-room,
bathe his face in Florida water, etc., and get him in a good humor. The Marshal
re-enters with the candidate, who is taken once around the hall, stopping before
All the details have been carried out.
Candidate is marched to Vice-Commander.
Vice-Commander, this candidate, long anxious to behold the mysteries of the
Knights of the Mystic Chain, begs to be allowed to know what are the full
benefits of the Order, and to learn its mysteries.
Has he the necessary qualifications? Is he straight of limb and sound of body,
and able to undergo our trials and temptations?
He has the necessary qualifications.
Candidate, do you reaffirm upon your honor that you will conform to the laws,
rules and usages of the Order, and the Degree of Mystery, which is now being
CANDIDATE: I do.
Then listen and profit, my friend. We believe the Supreme Being gave
intelligence to us to devise means for self-help in time of need. It is a part
of His divine plan that we should avail ourselves of the methods when devised,
and secure the help needed.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of life,
Be not like dumb driven cattle,
Be a hero in the
The mysteries can only be learned from our Commander, and I now release
you to your guides, who will conduct you on your journey through the Mystic
Chain, and at last send you to the Commander. “Remember to be kind to one
another.” Marshal, present this candidate to the Chaplain, that he may there
take his obligation.
Marshal, candidate and Aide now march around hall and are stopped by Guard.
Who comes here?
MARSHAL: A candidate
instructed by the Vice-Commander, and sent to our Chaplain to take the
Is he worthy?
GUARD: How do
you know, have you tried him?
MARSHAL: No, not
having had an opportunity.
I like that. This indiscriminate presenting to Chaplain must stop. We haven’t
time for drones and dullards, but only those with sound head, good heart, and
willing hand can pass these portals. Only those who succeed by honest labor
deserve our consideration or the benefits of our order; so you must understand
that every one must prove himself deserving before he passes this way.
MARSHAL: I have
not had an opportunity to personally test this candidate, yet he is of good
report and I will vouch for him.
Nothing short of proof will do.
MARSHAL: How can he
prove it tonight, at this late hour, when honest labor is all at an end?
He might augment our winter store of wood, which, as Mystic Chainers, we provide;
try him on that wood-pile over there and we can soon tell if he be used to
Marshal takes candidate to center of room where a saw-horse, saw and stick
of wood should be at hand. Candidate, blindfolded, is placed in position, given
a saw and told to go to work. Aide should have a can of water ready and
liberally apply so as to bind the saw. Members should encourage candidate by
advice and witticisms. When the wood is sawed, Marshal and candidate go to the Guard.
Guard, this candidate has proven himself worthy to take his obligation.
Candidate is marched before Chaplain.
Chaplain, this candidate has heard the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic
Chain from our Vice-Commander, and comes to you that he may make his vow.
My friend, you have heard the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain. Are
you willing to conform to our laws, rules and usages, and to make your vows
and take your obligations?
Commander calls up Lodge by three raps, followed by Past Commander,
Vice-Commander and Chaplain.
CANDIDATE: I am.
Marshal removes blindfold.
CHAPLAIN: Say, pronouncing
your name in full and repeating after me: I, ..., do
solemnly promise, in the presence of God and these witnessing Knights, that I
will never divulge the secrets of the Knights of the Mystic Chain. I further
promise that I will obey all orders issued by this Lodge, its officers acting as
such the Grand Lodge under whose jurisdiction it may be, and will pay due
respect to the Supreme Lodge. So help me God.
I further do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will never reveal any
of the signs, pass-words, hand grasps, or any of the secret work of the Degree
of Mystery of this order.
Further, I do solemnly affirm that I will, to the best of my ability, live and practice the teachings of this order, and be ready, at
all times, to warn a brother against danger,
and assist him in distress when in my power.
present this candidate to the Past Commander for further instruction.
Marshal and candidate march around hall and are stopped by the Guard.
GUARD: Slay! What
are your wants?
MARSHAL: A candidate who has
been instructed by the Vice-Commander, and has made his obligation to the
Chaplain, now seeks wisdom from the Past Commander.
GUARD to candidate: Give me the
instructions received by you from the Vice-Commander.
Guard waits a moment for reply.
GUARD: Away with him.
MARSHAL: No; let
him think a moment.
sit down I have some. business to look after and
may he you can in a few minutes recall the
instructions given you.
Marshal seats candidate upon a tin-seated chair, under which is placed a
spirit lamp, which should he lighted from a candle, so that no noise of lighting
may be heard after seating candidate. Candidate is allowed to leave chair of his
own free will, and is then prompted by the Marshal to give the
Vice-Commander’s instructions: “Remember to he kind to one another.”
candidate rises: Now give the instructions you received from the
CANDIDATE: “Remember to be kind to one another.”
GUARD: Pass on.
Guides now march candidate to Past Commander’s chair.
Marshal: Past Commander, this candidate
has heard the benefits of Knights of the Mystic Chain from our Vice-Commander,
and has made his obligations to our Chaplain, and is sent to you for further
PAST COMMANDER: Welcome, my
friend; the true-hearted are always
gladly received. I am glad to see you thus advancing in our progressive order. I
trust that you will lay to heart the instructions you have thus far received,
and will with a receptive mind and loyal heart harken to those that may
hereafter be given you. I will not detain you on your pathway through the stages
of the Mystic Chain further than to impress upon you the crowning grace
and glory of our order: the heaven descended attribute of love. Love is the
ladder on which we mount from earth to the radiant regions above. Plant your
aspiring feet upon the successive rounds of this ladder:
Thus alone shall you attain
To that summit whence the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
Your guides will now take
you on your way, and will at last send you to our Commander. The journey is
short, up hill and down dale.
is taken before
this candidate, after receiving some of the lessons this degree imparts, desires
to be allowed to see our Commander, and there to receive his commands.
Friend, go with our Marshal and prove that you have not only the physical
ability, but the disposition, will and determined spirit to overcome all
impediments in your desire to see our Commander, who sits the other side of
yonder wall. Go, but many will try to thwart you
in your passage.
Marshal takes candidate a few feet further on and makes him crawl on hands
and knees into the tunnel, telling him not to brook any attempt to prevent his
passage, but to push right along. The Aide is sent in at the other end (or the
other candidate, if two are going through). After several minutes exercise the
Aide or second
may he withdrawn.
The tunnel is made from netting, or small cord; is from thirty to
thirty-six feet long, twenty-four inches in diameter; six hoops of same diameter
placed at different positions hold the tunnel in proper shape. Guy ropes should
he attached to several of the hoops for members to hold, which tends to keep it in better
shape during use.
A round ball twenty inches in diameter, stuffed with resilient material is
used in the tunnel to impede the progress of the candidate in making his way to
the Commander. This ball should be between the candidate and the Aide, who
usually goes in to assist in impeding the
of the candidate.
MARSHAL, as candidate advances into
tunnel: Listen, friend; you are now to work your way into the inner circle of the
Mystic Chain. The passage is roughly constructed, and multitudes of opposing
obstacles are found
therein; failures are frequent; brook no interference; push right along. Energy,
pluck and determination always win. Should you succeed in reaching the inner
circle you will there be introduced to our Commander, who will give you such
instructions as will inure to your good. Make no haste; proceed slowly; push
everything before you.
The Aide or second candidate should be withdrawn. Marshal
to ante-room, removes blindfold, while Aide clears Lodge room, after which
Marshal enters with candidate and presents him to Commander.
Commander, I have in charge a candidate who has shown a desire to become a
Mysterious Knight of the Mystic Chain. He has worked his way through the crowded
tunnel, and by perseverance and toil has overcome all obstacles found in the way,
and has at last reached thus far. He now
before you, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce him to you for further
I welcome and congratulate you. Your progress has been
one of toil and difficulty. May it impress upon you what was intended in the lesson of this degree. The broad and liberal
principles upon which this order is founded should commend themselves to your
earnest consideration. This order does not tolerate licentiousness or vice. We
desire to live in conformity to law, and upon religion is based our strongest
lessons. Our first lesson is Kindness: a due consideration of our brothers’
privileges and wants. Our second is that
heaven-born quality, Mercy, which is ever ready to stoop to the lowest when in
distress or trouble. In conclusion, ever bear in mind that your character will
affect the world for good or evil. The crown and glory of life is character. It is the
noblest possession of man. Prize it above wealth, above all that glittering gold
can bestow. A good name is the jewel of the soul.
Who steals my purse steals trash , ‘tis something, nothing;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
I will now instruct you in the secret work of this degree. In order to
gain admission to the Degree of Mystery of a lodge of the Knights of the Mystic
Chain, you will approach the ante-room door and attract the attention of the Sentry, who will raise the wicket, and ask, “Who
comes here?” You will reply, “A Mysterious Sir Knight of the Mystic Chain.”
The Sentry will respond, “Approach, Mysterious Sir Knight, and give the
pass-word,” which you will do by whispering the word “Kindness”, when you
will be admitted to the ante-room. You will then approach the Lodge room door (giving
one rap), which will be answered by the Guard (giving one rap), and replied to
by you, giving the same (one rap), when the wicket will be raised and the Guard
will ask, “Who comes here?” You will respond, “A Mysterious Sir Knight of
the Mystic Chain,” giving name and number of your Lodge and rank. The wicket
is then closed. The Guard then reports to Vice-Commander, who, if it be correct,
orders him to receive the pass-word and admit you. The Guard will then raise the
wicket and say, “Approach, Mysterious Sir Knight, and give the pass-word,”
which you will do by whispering the word “sum”, which is interpreted I am.
You will then be admitted to the Lodge, if working in Degree of Mystery, when
you will approach the altar and salute the Commander with the sign of this
degree, by placing index finger of the right hand perpendicularly on chin, other
fingers closed. The Commander will respond with a salute, after which you may
take your seat.
This sign is given by all Mysterious Sir Knights on leaving or entering
the Lodge room while the Lodge is in session, and
by all Knights when the Lodge is open in the Degree of Mystery. Kneel on your
right knee. Commander,
laying sword lightly on right shoulder of candidate, says: “I
pronounce you a Mysterious Sir Knight of the Mystic Chain.” “Arise,
Mysterious Sir Knight.” Commander
gives three taps, likewise Past Commander, Vice-Commander and Chaplain, to call
up the Lodge. Marshal, you will face Mysterious Sir Knight to the
Lodge. We will now take a recess to welcome and congratulate the obligated
Mysterious Sir Knight, who has successfully passed through the Degree of Mystery.
MEMBERS (in chorus): Welcome, Mysterious Sir
rap): Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery, having concluded our deliberations,
we will retire from our Degree Lodge, resolved to be benefited by the lessons
learned. Let each and every one of us show by our conduct that we are true and
upright, Mysterious Knights. Marshal, you will take up the Rituals and deliver
them at this station. Sir Knights of Mystery, advance the sign of this degree. Commander
will answer by the same sign. Now, by authority vested in me, I do
declare this Degree Lodge closed until we shall meet again, and I bid you all an