Tall Cedars of Lebanon – Sidonian Degree

Adopted by the Supreme Forest, 1921

General Directions
This is the amusing and funny section of our work, and anything that is calculated to add to the sport of the occasion is permitted. But strict care should be taken that nothing indecent or obscene be introduced. There is abundant opportunity for ‘clean, wholesome fun, without descending to coarseness and vulgarity. Tall Cedarism stands for hearty recreation and genuine diversion of a wholesome character that leaves no nasty taste. While it is true that some of our proceedings are rather uproarious, and could hardly be called dignified, yet we should always keep within such bounds that we need not be ashamed to ask any member of the Fraternity to become a Tall Cedar, because we are afraid he would be offended by the coarseness of the work.
The selected ones should be dressed in grotesque garments, with funny masks, etc., being careful to avoid indecency and vulgarity.
In the stunts, care should be taken not to be too rough and especial watchfulness should be observed in the use of the electric current. Some are physically unable to stand a strong shock, and a serious accident might result which would be a great detriment to Tall Cedarism everywhere.
Although it is neither necessary nor desirable that the Grand Tall Cedar should go upon the floor during the working of the stunts, yet he should exercise a strict oversight upon what is being done, and should promptly check anything which oversteps the proper bounds.
While the stunts are being worked, the members should remain seated, and the floor kept absolutely clear of every one who is not actively engaged in the work.
The Forest is to be carefully instructed that the members are to keep absolute silence during the playing of the slow music at the entrance of the candidates, but as soon as the lively music begins, the noise may break loose and Bedlam can reign until the candidates are halted before the Grand Tall Cedar.
It is very important that the stunts should not be continued too long, or too often repeated. A short, quick, snappy succession of stunts is very funny, but the same stunts over and over become very tiresome to those looking on. Too many different stunts should not be used at one meeting. Don’t show everything you have. Save some for the next time. Simple, home-made stunts are often as successful as the elaborate and expensive ones. Aim for variety and novelty, as the members do not care to see the same old things, meeting after meeting.
Above all, do not keep them going until every one is tired. Many a good meeting has been spoiled by long drills, and long stunts. Quit while they want more, and they will come back to see the rest of it. Ten minutes should be the limit for the drill, and thirty to Forty-five minutes are enough for the stunts. Longer than this is sure to be tiresome to those who are looking on.
Sidonian Degree
The selected ones must be securely hoodwinked. They should have their shoes untied, and be dressed in fantastic costumes, but nothing vulgar or obscene should be allowed. They should be carefully instructed that they are to answer “YOU BET” to the questions asked by the Grand Tall Cedar. Accompanied by the Rangers, and led by the Guide, they shall enter the Forest and march around very slowly to the tune of the Dead March, or a Funeral March, (Chopin’s is suggested). Perfect silence should be kept in the Forest during the slow march. When the line is in front of the Grand Tall Cedar, it shall be halted by the Guide.
GRAND TALL CEDAR, in slow and solemn tones: Brother Guide, what is the meaning of this funeral procession? What is the reason for this solemn, doleful music?
GUIDE: Grand Tall Cedar, there is a meaning and a good reason. I know of no other appropriate manner to bring them in, for they are dead ones.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Alas, it is too true. They look like dead ones. They walk like dead ones. They are dead ones. And although we hate to do it, it is our manifest duty to put some new life into these dead bones. Brother Guide, lead them on again,. and see if you can bring them back to life.
Lively music begins,—like “Hot Time in the Old Town”—and the candidates are hurried around the Forest at a lively gait, amid great noise and cries of “Step High,” etc. When they are in front of the G. T. C. they are halted again.
GUIDE, in solemn tones: Take off your shoes, lest you defile this venerable Lodge of Sidonians.
Shoes are taken off and thrown in a heap in the center of the Lodge. If it is thought best, especially in the winter season, taking off the shoes may be omitted. The candidates shall then be placed in line before the Grand Tall Cedar who shall say: Brother Guide, where did you gather up this collection of bums and ragamuffins? Why have you dared to bring these hoboes and degenerates into this venerable Lodge of Sidonians?
GUIDE: Grand Tall Cedar, I know that their appearance is forbidding, and that they do not look like brothers, but I can assure you that these are Tall Cedars, who desire to be instructed in the secrets of the Sidonians, and to learn the skill to hew timber.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: How do you know that they are Tall Cedars?
GUIDE: Because they are in possession of the Secret work and the Pass-word.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Let them Sign. All the candidates throw the Hewing dates throw Sign.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Let them give the Pass-word. All the candidates give Pass-word.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: The Sign and the Pass-word are correct. This shows us how easy it is to be mistaken, for appearances are often deceitful. Young Cedars, do you desire to be taught our secrets?
CANDIDATES, in a very loud voice: You bet!
This answer is to be given by the Candidates alone. Rangers and members should remain silent.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Do you want to learn the skill to hew timber?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Do you want all that is coming to you?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Will you take it as we give it?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Have you got your nerve with you?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you game and full of ginger?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you as stupid as you look?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are your heads made of wood?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Such being the case, it is high time you were taken in hand. You are surrounded by a hundred Sidonians who are skilled in cutting wood, and it is clearly necessary that your wooden heads should be well trimmed at this time. Moreover, you must again give us your promise. You have been obligated as Tall Cedars, by a solemn and lasting obligation which must always be regarded most seriously and sacredly. Now, you are to take another obligation which will be binding only in a Lodge of Sidonians, and only while you are taking it. Raise both hands above your heads, and in a loud voice repeat after me.
Sidonian Obligation
I, ...—in the presence of this Lodge of Sidonians,—erected for the trimming of blockheads,and now assembled for that express purpose,—do hereby show my full assent—and give my hearty thanks—for what I am about to receive.
MOREOVER—I promise—that I will not show the white feather,—but will take all that is coming to me—like a little man.
MOREOVER—I promise—that I will lend a brother Sidonian—a sum not exceeding—thirty cents,—if I have no other use for it.
MOREOVER—I promise—that I will not marry any widow—grass or sod—or the mother-in-law of any Sidonian,—without her full consent.
MOREOVER—I promise—that at any free feed—I will not eat or drink—more than my skin will hold.
MOREOVER—I promise—that when I am—in the company of Sidonians,—or visit a Lodge of Sidonians—I will endeavor to conduct myself—as a perfect lady.
Here may be introduced any localisms.
MOREOVER—I promisethat three times in the year,—at New Year’s,—St. Patrick’s Day,—and Yom Kippur,—at the dead hour of midnight—I will rise from my bed,—divest myself of all apparel,—put on my slippers,—my pyramid,—and a smile,— and clad only in my birthday suit—will parade up and down street,—and will climb to the top of ... some high place—and there, with the icy winds of winter—blowing around my manly Corm,— will raise my face to the skies—stretch forth my hands to the stars—and there renew this obligation.
Here the hoodwinks may be raised on all except the selected ones, in the front.
MOREOVER—finally I promise-that I will not forget the words of this Obligation—as long as I remember them,—and in token of my submission,—I kneel on both knees,—bow my face to the ground,—and in this helpless position,—call for succor—from the great Sidonian saints,—O saints hear us! O saints help us!—Jift up thy mighty arms—O great saints—Knockus and Whackus!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Brother Sidonians, the great saints have evidently heard and answered your call for succor. They stretched forth their mighty arms, and found an easy mark. We know that you enjoyed it, but more is still to follow. The best is yet to come. You will now retire to the ante room, and return one by one, for further trimming and instruction.
The selected ones shall then retire to the ante room. The others shall be seated anywhere in the Forest. As the selected ones finish their stunts, they shall be seated in the Forest without retiring again to the ante room. When the stunts are finished, they shall all be brought in a body before the Grand Tall Cedar.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Brothers, you have wandered long in the Forest, and have passed through many novel, striking, and even shocking experiences. We hope that you have not been inconvenienced by our polite attentions, which were all intended for your good and our pleasure. We have had a lot of fun: did you enjoy it?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Have you had a good time?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you sorry it is all over?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you fully satisfied?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Did you get your money’s worth?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you glad you’re a Tall Cedar?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Will you try to bring in Saplings?
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Will you help us give them what you got?
I congratulate you on being good sports and having such willing spirits. You are now full-grown Sidonians, and may retire to the ante room and return when you are properly clothed.
The ordinary business of the Forest may then be resumed.