Masonic Order of Athelstan
Ritual for Consecration of a Eminent Prior
As in Ritual No. l, the parts of the Ceremony marked as being undertaken by the W.M. or other specified Officer, may be delegated to or shared with any other duly qualified Brother or Brethren. If this is done, care should be taken that the ceremony flows smoothly and continuity is preserved.
It is desirable that the four principal banners of the Royal Arch Degree are displayed at the east of the Court if possible and that these are pointed out by the Worshipful Master (or Installing Officer) at the appropriate part of the ceremony of Consecration.
It should be emphasised that the appropriate Volume of the Sacred Law be used. If the Brother concerned is not of the Christian faith, the appropriate VSL should be placed (open) next to the open Bible, or held by him (if appropriate) when taking his Obligation etc. On no account must either Book be placed on top of the other, nor may any object be placed upon either volume except the Sq. and Cs.
Brethren who are not of the Christian faith may adopt the attitude appropriate to their faith (e.g. standing, covered, etc.) at all points in the ritual which contain the instruction to kneel for prayer or in order to take an obligation.
If there is a single Candidate, the W.M. should vary the verbal instruction appropriately.
The full Installation Ceremony consists of the Master Elect taking an initial Obligation in Open Court. This is followed by a Priory of Consecrated Priors, when the new Master Elect is consecrated an Eminent Prior. (If however a new Eminent Prior is also to be consecrated, he will take precedence during this ceremony, and it will be necessary to substitute the plural for the singular throughout the ceremony when referring to the Eminent Prior Designate and the Master Elect. The Marshal, giving the S of F will present both the E.P. Designate and the M.E. by name; raising the right hand of the E.P.D. with his left hand). This is then followed by the Installation of the Master Elect.
Before the Priory of Consecrated Priors is opened, the Marshal will call upon the Officers to form a column in the North of the Court, Senior Officer at the N.E.
The Worshipful Master thanks his Officers for their support for the year and the collars are collected.
The Worshipful Master (or Installing Officer) then requests all who do not hold the rank of an Eminent Prior, with the exception of the Master Elect (or Eminent Prior(s) designate, if a new Eminent Prior is to be consecrated) to retire from the Court.
When the Lay Brethren have retired, the Marshal ensures that the Tubal Cane(s) (or suitable staves/wands) is/are in position.
The ceremony of Consecration proceeds.
The Priory of Consecrated Priors is then closed.
The Marshal collects the Tubal Cane(s) (or staves) and deposits them in a place of safety.
N.B. A Past Master of a Court will also have to undergo this part of the Ceremony, unless he is being installed a year after the introduction of this edition of the ritual, and has taken the Obligations now prescribed, on a previous occasion.
There should be a copy of Ritual No. 2 available for presentation.
This version of the Ritual dated 1st August 2010 is the only authorised version and all previous versions are superseded and should be withdrawn from use as soon as possible.
Consecration of an Eminent Prior
Unless they have previously served as Master or Eminent Prior of a Court, both Master Elect and Eminent Prior designate (hereinafter referred to as E.P.D.) MUST be instructed through this ceremony.
The Marshal assembles the Officers on the North side of the Court in order of seniority and the W.M. thanks them for their support. The Dep. Marshal collects the collars.
W.M., *: Brethren, I must now ask all those who do not hold the rank of an Eminent Prior, with the exception of the Master Elect (or Eminent Prior(s) designate, if a new Eminent Prior is to be consecrated) to retire from the Court.
Brethren do so under the direction of the Marshal.
W.M.: I declare this a duly constituted Priory of Consecrated Priors. *.
Marshal collects the Eminent Prior(s) designate, and presents him to the W.M. (If a new Eminent Prior is to be consecrated, he will take precedence and the M. E. will look on during the explanation of the signs, but both must kneel or stand for Prayer and affirm their Obligations on the VSL during the earlier part of the ceremony). The Marshal, giving the S of F, presents the E.P. Designate(s) (which includes the Master-Elect) by naming them individually and raising the E.P.D.'s right hand with his own left hand.
MAR.: Worshipful Master, I present to you Brother … (Name) to receive at your hands the benefit of consecration.
Marshal gives a court bow, places a kneeling stool in the centre of the Court and returns to his station and sits.
W.M.: Brother … (Name) you will kneel on both knees while the Blessing of the Supreme Being and Creator of all things is invoked upon our proceedings.
W.M., *: Brethren, to order.
All stand and give S of R.
E.P.: Let us pray: Almighty and Omnipresent Supreme Being and Creator of all things, assist us, we beseech Thee, to include this worthy and distinguished Brother among the Eminent Priors of our Order. Grant that his actions may be regulated in accordance with Thy Holy Will and Word.
Inspire him with a true humility of spirit and with a sincere desire to serve Thee. Vouchsafe to him that mercy which Thou didst not withhold from Thine ancient people and keep him steadfastly in the way of Thy commandments, so that, at the close of his mortal life, he may be admitted to dwell in Thy temple of eternal bliss and glory.
All discharge S of R.
W.M. to E.P.D.: You will rise.
E.P.D. rises. All remain standing.
W.M.: Brother … (Name) before proceeding to inform you of the secrets of this degree, I must first ask you to confirm your continued adherence to and support of those obligations you have taken in former degrees. Are you willing to do so?
E.P.D.: I am.
W.M.: Then you will advance to the pedestal, kneel on both knees and place both hands upon the V.S.L.
W.M.: Brethren, to order.
All give S of F.
Brother … (Name) you will seal that affirmation with your lips, twice and twice further on the V.S.L.
W.M.: Brother … (Name) having re-affirmed your former obligations, I now, by the authority vested in me, consecrate (each of) you places both hands on head an Eminent Prior within the Masonic Order of Athelstan in England, Wales and its Provinces Overseas.
Rise, duly consecrated Eminent Prior.
Takes him by the right hand and raises him.
All discharge S of F.
MAR.: Brethren, be seated.
All sit with the exception of the W.M. and new E.P.
Master leaves his pedestal and standing in the North, facing South, turns the E.P. to face him.
The following signs may be given by any Past Master of the Order – referred to as W.M.
W.M.: Brother … (Name) in the degree of a Court Master Mason, you reviewed and were then further instructed on your admission into the three degrees of Craft Masonry. In this, we re-visit the spiritual nature of the teachings of the Holy Royal Arch, which will prepare you for that which is to come.
You will have revealed to you the signs and words of the three Veils of a Grand Master of the Holy Royal Arch.
For your information, I will go through them and you will copy me.
The Marshal hands tubal canes or suitable wands/staves to the W.M. and E.P.
W.M.: The first Veil sign is given by taking a half step forward with the right foot, inclining the body slightly forward and with the right hand outstretched, holding the tubal cane W.M. demonstrates, resting the tubal cane on his right toe thus.
E.P. copies him.
W.M.: The words of the first Veil are: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
E.P. repeats the words.
W.M. transfers the Cane to his left hand and ensures that the E.P. copies him.
W.M.: The second Veil sign is given by standing erect, with the feet at right angles, and placing the right hand on the heart thus. W.M. places his right hand on his own left breast inside his jacket, ensuring the E.P., copies him.
W.M.: The words of the second Veil are: Shem, Japheth and Adoniram.
E.P. repeats the words.
W.M. transfers the Cane to his right hand again and ensures that the E.P. copies him.
W.M.: The third Veil sign is given by extending the right hand thus, holding the tubal cane resting on the right knee and ensuring the E.P. copies him in this position.
The words of the third Veil are: Haggai, Joshua and Zerubbabel. The signet of a Grand Master, third Veil, being Zerubbabel or Truth.
E.P. repeats the words.
The Marshal collects the Tubal Canes (wands or staves) from the W.M. and E.P.
W.M.: Brethren, the explanation of the Veil signs, as used in this Degree, is as follows. The first and second signs allude to Moses, at the foot of Mount Horeb in the wilderness of Sinai; where God commanded him to throw his staff upon the ground, which he did, and the staff became a serpent and Moses fled before it, as we read in the Book of Exodus.
At the Divine command, Moses took the serpent by the tail and it became again a staff in his hand.
The second sign refers to Moses being commanded by God to put his hand into his bosom W.M. demonstrates and prompts E.P. to copy When he drew it forth, it was as leprous as snow. W.M. holds his right hand as far away from him as possible, with his left hand shielding his face in an expression of horror.
At the Divine command, Moses put his hand into his bosom once more W.M. does so and prompts the E.P. to copy and when he drew it forth again, it was clean and whole. W.M. holds up his right hand. Thus, we are reminded of the transforming and healing power of the Most High, as revealed to his faithful servant Moses in the wilderness.
Court E.P. joins the W.M. in the North.
E.P.: Brother … (Name) from your experience and interest, you are no doubt aware that Masonry has drawn heavily on Judaism and Christianity for its traditions and symbolism. They in turn, were influenced by earlier beliefs and practices going back into the mists of time. These earlier practices were not only extant at the time of Athelstan, but flourished alongside the developing religion of Christianity. There were thus a multiplicity of thoughts and beliefs during Athelstan's reign, and that fact will now rightly claim our attention, for it is from the influence of these earlier traditions that we place importance on the number four in our ceremonies. You will now pay attention to an explanation of this importance.
Court E.P. returns to his station.
W.M. or one or more Past Masters may be selected to recite the following section.
W.M.: The Temple of Jerusalem expresses the notion of the four Worlds that compose existence. The lower three levels are the Physical, Psychological and Spiritual planes of the Universe. The Temple Building itself is the Divine level, with its twin pillars at the entrance, beyond which ten Menorot (or lamps), one for each Sephirah (symbols of the several attributes of the deity), stand before the innermost Level, the Holy of Holies.
The design for the Tabernacle, given to Moses on Sinai, contains the arrangement of the Four Worlds within its plan. The space between the Cherubim above the Ark is the upper part of the Divine; the Ark itself is the lower, and so on. The ranks of High Priest, Priest, Levite and Israelite correspond to the four human levels of Divinity, Spirit, Soul and Body.
Within Azilut, the Divine World of Emanation, are four levels; those of Will, Intellect, Emotion and Action. These in turn are manifested in the unfolding of existence out of Azilut (itself the realm of Will) into the lower worlds of Beriah (Intellect), Yezirah (Emotion) and Asiyyah (Action).
The four holy living creatures of Ezekiel 1 and the Book of Revelation are symbols of the four worlds. Points to the R.A. Banners which should be on display if possible. The human form is Adam Kadmon, the fiery and divine domain of Emanation; the Eagle, the airy level of cosmic Creation; the Lion, the watery level of the heart or Formation; and the Bull, the earthly level of the natural world of Action. In the centre is the Messiah, in accordance with an ancient Jewish conception, surrounded by Angelic beings and the souls of the righteous.
To the four worlds, Kabbalists add a fifth level, the realm of the Kelippot or Shells, better known as Hell. This dark side of existence is seen as having seven levels of suffering or uncleanness, where those who go against the Will of God remain, half in and half out of evolution, until they repent – or until, as the only truly dead, they are resurrected at the end of days.
Marshal conducts E.P. to the pedestal.
W.M.: Brother … (Name) that concludes the ceremony of your Consecration as an Eminent Prior in the Masonic Order of Athelstan. I personally congratulate you on achieving this high office and present to you a copy of Ritual No.2.
Marshal conducts the newly consecrated Eminent Prior(s) to a seat(s) in the Court.
W.M., *: I declare this Priory of Consecrated Priors closed.