Ancient Order of Druids
Royal Arch Chapter Ritual
The Royal Arch-Druid shall take the chair at the appointed time, and shall instruct the Royal Arch-Guardian to see that the doors are closed. He shalt then instruct the Royal Arch-Bards to see that none are present but members of Royal Arch Chapters. He shall then open the Chapter with the following address: The objects for which this Royal Arch Chapter is instituted are to imbue the members with zeal for the general good and welfare of the Order, and to teach them to discharge the duties of their various offices in such a way as to impress the members with a due respect for the privileges of membership. It is the especial duty of all members of this Royal Arch Chapter to guard against nominating for membership any one who has been found to be an undesirable member of a Lodge. We must use our utmost efforts to raise the standard of Druidism to as high a level as possible, and we should resolve to carry out, to the best of our ability, the lofty principles of truth, integrity, justice and benevolence, which were the characteristics of the ancient Druids. Brothers, be seated.
The Royal Arch Druid will then request the Royal Arch-Secretary to read the minutes of the last meeting.
When candidates are present for the purpose of being initiated into the Chapter by receiving the Past Arch Degree, the Royal Vice Arch-Bards shall receive the candidates at the door of the Chapter Room, when the Royal Arch Guardian shall address them thus: Our Officers will now address you within the Inner Triangle of this our Royal Arch Chapter.
The Royal Vice Arch-Bards having conducted the candidates to the Royal Vice Arch, the Right Bard shall introduce them thus: Worthy Royal Vice-Arch, I present to you P.A. Brothers ... that they may receive the initial lecture.
The Royal Vice-Arch will then give the first portion of the
Brothers, Allow me to offer you my sincere congratulations that you have been considered by the members of your Lodge to be worthy of being admitted to the exalted privilege of membership of this our Royal Arch Chapter. We praise you for having given practical proof of your belief in the principle that “‘Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well.” We rejoice to see you animated with that spirit of laudable ambition that prompts you to aspire to the highest honor that the votes of the members can bestow. But you must now be determined to prove, by your renewed zeal for the interests of the Order, that you are really worthy of being placed in a position where your power for good or evil will be greater than it has been in your own Lodge.
Let me, therefore, exhort you to make now a firm resolution that you will henceforth be more watchful than ever over your actions; that you will resolve to cultivate the virtues which will make you good members of society, and those special qualities which will render you exemplary Druids. As you are now eager to be animated by such a laudable spirit, you must strive to make yourselves better acquainted, not only with all the present laws of the Order, but also with those general principles of equity, benevolence and justice, that will enable you to co-operate with members for the general good. Do you give me your word of honour that you will endeavour to shape your future progress in Druidism on the lines that I have just sketched out to you?
The candidates having answered in the affirmative. the Royal Vice Arch-Bards will lead them to the Royal Arch-Druid, the Left Bard introducing them thus: Worthy Royal Arch-Druid I present to you P.A. Brothers ... that they may receive further instruction in the duties and privileges of the Royal Arch Chapter.
The Royal Arch-Druid will then address them thus: At this stage of your connection with that beloved and venerable Order, for whose welfare you are now about to exert yourselves with redoubled zeal and energy, it is scarcely necessary to tell you that we are Druids in little more than the name, and that our chief claim to be considered the successors of those venerable men is founded on the garments that we wear at our ceremonials.
The ancient Druids performed their sacred and mysterious rites under the green boughs of a wide-spreading oak, called, in the language of old “drus.” We are content to meet in our Chapter-room or our Lodge-room; but whether in a lighted room or out in the noble forest lit up by the effulgent sun, or by the paler light of the beautiful moon and glittering stars, we know that we are in the immediate presence of omniscent Being, to Whom we must render an account for all the thoughts, words and deeds of this our present life.
We do not, like the old Druids, celebrate the tremendous sacrificial rites of which even the bare historical narratives that we now read are sufficient to fill us with reverential awe, but we can offer to our Maker the humble tribute of an upright, life, which shall be a practical acknowledgment of His universal sovereignty.
We cannot, like those venerable sages, ascend the throne of judgment and pass decrees that shall decide the fate of those who are summoned before our sacred tribunal, but we can, by our own example, proclaim to our members the joys of a life spent in the practice of every good work, and we can qualify ourselves by a diligent study of all the laws, rules, customs and observances of our Order, to give a sound and impartial judgment in any case of dispute. or other matter that may be referred to any tribunal of which we may be members.
The ancient Druids were the professors of science and literature, and kept the traditional records of the history of their country. They assiduously cultivated the power of memory, and, for the purpose of assisting it, they expressed their principal doctrines and traditions in stanzas, consisting of three lines in a species of verse, called “TRIADS.” There were a great number of these Triads, some of them being extremely beautiful. The following may serve as examples:
WHAT A DRUID SHOULD AVOID.
1. Sloth, because a Druid is a man of investigation.
2. Quarrelling, because he is a man of peace.
3. Folly, because he is a man of reason.
THE THREE DRUIDIC TRIUMPHS.
1. The triumph of Learning over ignorance.
2. The triumph of Reason over irrationality.
3. The triumph of Peace over lawlessness.
In their love of learning we may all imitate our Druidic forefathers to an unlimited extent, and we may at least cultivate our memory to the extent of learning all the lectures and instructions pertaining to our respective offices.
If time would permit, I might easily institute a much more lengthened parallel between ancient and modern Druids, but I will, in conclusion, merely exhort you to take a pride in reading for yourselves the history of early Britain, wherein you will learn all that is known of the Ancient Druids. There is nothing secret therein, and the only secrecy in connection with our beloved Order is what may be styled the family secrets of our Lodge-rooms, which must never be divulged to the uninitiated
Brother, as a full privileged Past-Arch of our beloved Order, I now greet you with the hand of true fraternal affection shaking hands with each, and will give you the TOKEN of a PAST-ARCH, which is the Sign of the Chapter.
I will now acquaint you with the Grip by which Past-Arches of our Order recognise each other. He gives the Grip. The ordinary grip denotes Friendship, the full-linked grip denotes Firm and Constant Friendship.
The Pass-word to the Past-Arch Degree is ...
Our P.R.A. will now address you.
P.R.A.: Brothers, Before you take your seats as full and privileged Past-Arches of the U.A.O.D., let me exhort you to bear in mind that you are now, more than ever, bound to devote your energy and talents to the advancement of our Order. Without appearing to arrogate to yourselves any superiority to those who have not yet advanced to your present grade of honour, you may strive to encourage them to greater zeal for the advancement and amelioration of our Order. Should you become Grand Lodge officers or delegates to the Grand Lodge, I trust that your conduct will be characterised by that spirit of gentleness. prudence. moderation and Druidic erudition, which will gain for you the approval of the chosen members of the Order, and make you worthy of the highest honour they can bestow.
Royal Arch-Druid: Brothers, I will thank you to rise and assist me to close the Chapter. Before parting, allow me to remind you that it is highly desirable for the members of the Chapter to be assiduous in attending their Lodges. It is only by continued zeal that we can hope to see our beloved Order flourish. To do good should be one of the main objects of our life; and assuredly it is a great good to foster the spirit of friendship amongst our members, and to strive to induce others to join our
Order. Let me counsel you to study your rules, and to see that everything is correctly done both in Lodge and Chapter Room.
I now declare this Chapter closed.