Rituals

“Seeing in a different light”

CRAFT RITUALS

The Craft rituals approved for use in the British Federation are as follows:

The Lauderdale Ritual

The Verulam Ritual

The Scottish Ritual

The Irish Ritual

The Georges Martin Ritual

The Lauderdale Ritual

This has evolved from the Dharma Ritual, dating from about 1904. The ritual is unique to Le Droit Humain. It has elaborate ceremonial, uses incense, and incorporates a candle lighting ceremony. It stresses the mystical side of Masonry, dear to Annie Besant and includes her specially written Mystic Charges.

The Verulam Ritual

This is another working unique to our Order, dating back to about 1925. It is a compromise between the very elaborate Lauderdale and the plainer ceremonial of the English and Scottish workings, again with its own traditions, such as the freeing ceremony. It is thought to have been written by Bishop Wedgwood, who was a leading member of the British Federation.

The Scottish Ritual

This was introduced by Annie Besant to cater for those joining from all-male obediences. The Scottish Standard Ritual is one of the oldest in existence and was that originally used and still used today by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It is thought to have been worked at the initiation of Robert Burns by Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No. 2 where he was installed as Poet Laureate of the lodge on 1st March 1787 and remained as such until 1796. The working is ceremonially sparse, but with unique characteristics of its own, for example the method of ballot. The Scottish Lodge No. 884 was formed in 1927 at the direct request of Annie Besant who was its founding master.

The Irish Ritual

This working is very different from the other workings available in the British Federation, being “in the round”. It was introduced in 1950 by a brother brought up in the Irish military lodge tradition but little more is known as the records are lost. It has spread, far and wide, through the travels of the Irish military lodges. Introduced with enthusiasm into the British Federation in the early 1950s, the intermingling of the practical and other-worldliness of Celtic mythology is preserved in the unique quality of the Irish Ritual.

The Georges Martin Ritual

This working is crammed full with symbolism. Its origins are unknown but it has much in common with the earliest Scottish workings. There is no incense used but it is easy to see why Annie Besant thought so much of it that she introduced elements from it into the Lauderdale working. The Magic Flute, Mozart’s famous Masonic opera, gives a flavour of the approach of this working which has considerable appeal, whilst also offering much to those of humanitarian principles. This working is commonly used throughout most of our Order, but also very similar versions are in use by other Grand Lodges.

ALLIED DEGREES RITUALS

The following are the different rituals of the allied (or side) degrees worked in the British Federation. Some of these belong to the York Rite, others are gathered from chivalric rites.

Mark

Royal Ark Mariner

Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem

Knights Templar

Royal Order of Scotland

These degrees, including those of the York rite, are quite distinct from the Antient & Accepted Scottish rite and are also known as the “allied or “side” degrees. These degrees, although they may in some ways be considered an adjunct to the main Scottish rite, have enormous value in their own right.

As you might suspect from their names, the York Rite and chivalric Orders are British in origin, although several are practised now in more than ten federations within our Order.

The allied degrees, some approved by the Supreme Council as early as 1910, comprise the Mark, Royal Ark Mariner and Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem degrees and the chivalric Orders of Knights Templar and the Royal Order of Scotland. They also include other degrees, not currently practised, such as the Red Cross of Constantine, the Order of the Secret Monitor and several others.

The naming convention derives from the time when the male Craft in this country comprised two rival orders, each claiming to have the true Masonic teachings. Thus, there are some areas of overlap with aspects of the Antient & Accepted Scottish Rite. However, the main content of these degrees might be considered quite unique and will add considerably to the insights afforded by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, particularly in understanding the origins of Freemasonry.

There are two main types of side degree; those derived from English rituals, and the Sydney workings, written especially for our Order and our Federation. The side degrees form a considerable Masonic heritage. The optional side degrees of the York Rite and chivalric Orders contain, if not in entirety, significant portions of knowledge, harmonious with the A. & A.S.R. which are not found in the A. & A.S.R.

The Mark

There are currently two Mark workings in our Federation. The English, or “Keystone” working is more dramatic and visual than the Sydney working which tends to be more subjective in approach and may suit those of a more reflective disposition. There is also another working, the Scottish Mark, but this is not currently approved.

Royal Ark Mariner

Although each degree has its own symbolism and specific teaching, it would be fair to say that the Royal Ark Mariner Degree is perhaps the most unusual of all Masonic Degrees. Very little is known about the history and antecedents of this fascinating Degree, but it probably was developed some time in the 18th century. In these days the Lodge was referred to as ‘a vessel’.

Holy Royal Arch

There are three workings of the degree currently available within the British Federation. The Sydney Working came into being in 1925 and is not based on a documentary historical past; it was created by a member living at the time in Sydney and he claimed that it was communicated to him. The Sydney Ritual is based on Hindu philosophy and anyone familiar with books such as Veda or Bhagavad Gita, would feel very much at home with it.

The English Working will be familiar to English male Masons.

There is also another working, the Scottish working.

The Knights Templar Degree – The Great Priory

The Knights Templar ceremonies are composed of two separate parts: rituals separated in 1974 following a decision of United Grand Lodge whose practice is followed. These parts are:

The Order of the Temple – and DrillThe Ancient and Masonic Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta.

The whole of the degree is worked under the aegis of “The Great Priory” of the “United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple, and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, of England and Wales and its provinces overseas.” This rather cumbersome title reflects the troubled history of the Templars and the subsequent rift that gave rise to the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

Royal Order of Scotland

This focuses on early Celtic themes.

PLEASE GET IN TOUCH