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Rituals

“Freemasonry is an initiatory system containing the keys to the ancient mysteries, which are experienced through a series of mystery dramas designed to open up and deepen awareness and understanding.”

Why does Freemasonry rely on ritual?


Freemasonry relies on ritual to illustrate those principles that cannot be verbally communicated. Ritual, being a series of actions set in a particular order, is the parable by which the Initiate can learn about himself, his society, and his universe.

There are various rituals used in the International Order of Freemasonry for men and women, Le Droit Humain.  The rituals used, however, are subject to the Federation and Lodge.  For informational purpose only, the following is given as an example.  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 Emulation 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.

The Emulation Ritual
The Emulation Ritual is based on a working of the United Grand Lodge of England. They gave approval to a form of ritual for the three degrees in 1816 and Emulation is now one of the recognised standard workings of the United Grand Lodge of England. Emulation, although approved, is not currently worked.

3DGREPT2