Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America

Written by the late J. Edward Bullen, Past Grand Tall Cedar
 Baltimore no. 45, Supreme Historian 1970-1975.

It all started in 1843 with some very energetic and imaginative Master Masons who dreamed up the idea of a Tall Cedar Degree, and in those days the degree was called " The Ancient and Honorable Rite of Humility." The name "Tall Cedar Degree" does not reveal itself other than the possibility of a somewhat shorter title than the aforementioned, and this was to remain as such until we adopted the title of " Tall Cedars of Lebanon of the United States of America" upon incorporation in 1902.

It was some time around 1846, after the meetings of the Grand Lodge and some of the Blue Lodges in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area that they would have the Tall Cedar Degree performed., and from what I can gather, it was a form of hazing in which the candidates for the degree were gotten from those willing to receive it, and it was put on by those who had already received the degree. However, there was a great lapse of time and nothing was heard about this degree until the early 1850's when a Dr. Thomas J. Corson from the New Jersey area started conferring the degree as he had received it in Philadelphia.

As you well know, around that time your only means of travel was the horse and buggy, and the train, so this degree was not performed often, but rest assure, whenever they had a good gathering of Master Masons, the Tall Cedar Degree was put on. It was always so much clean fun to see someone get the works, even as it is today. Some " Old Timer" spoke of a jury of men being housed in the hotel in a town in New Jersey, that heard the Tall Cedar Degree was to be performed. The Deputy Sheriff being a Mason took those that were also Masons to see it performed and after it was over brought them back to the hotel. It must have been really something to go to all that trouble.

Upon the death of Dr. Corson in 1879 the Tall Cedar Degree was continued by Dr. Stevens , who organized the first regular degree team and went to several cities and towns throughout the New Jersey area performing the work.

It seems that Glassboro, New Jersey, was the focal point for the performance of the Tall Cedars Degree, for whenever that had enough candidates the work was put on. In 1887 Dr. Stevens and his degree team came to the town and conferred the degree on Frank W. Bowen and Orlando M. Bowen, and thirteen other candidates. I mention the names of these brethren because they were part of the charter group that formed the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. Even today, The Pitman Masonic Club in Pitman, New Jersey is where the 34th degree is performed, and perhaps is the aftermath of he Tall Cedar Degree.

In similar manner as the 34th degree is now conferred, at Pitman Masonic Club on May 24, 1901, fifty-four Master masons who had received the Tall Cedar Degree met in Glassboro, New Jersey, to watch and confer the degree on 53 candidates from Glassboro, Clayton, Williamstown, Manuta, Woodbury and Philadelphia, with the following as officers. They were Grand Mogul Frank W. Bowen, Vice-Mogul Jacob Bibo, Treasurer T.C. Allen, Secretary Dr. F.A. Stanger, Conductor S. Stanger Iszard, Assistant Conductor Charles W. Wood, Inside Announcer W.H. Jones, Outside Announcer B.T. Ferrell, Preparer of the Forest Bresier Westcoat, Jr. Chaplain Rev. John H. Algar.

I mentioned above officers' titles to give you an idea of what comprised Tall Cedar Degree Team,. It seems that the library of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has a manuscript in its archives written in 1864 by Brother William H. Adams, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge, recording the secret work, and a description of the degree.

Four Master Masons who received the Tall Cedar Degree later became Supreme Tall Cedars, They were Frank W. Bowen, and Orlando M. Bowen in 1887, David H. Lukens in 1888, and Johns S. Broughton in 1889. The above brethren along with several others (fifteen in all, charter members of our organization) assembled in the State Capitol of New Jersey, in the City of Trenton, on March 18, 1902 for the purpose of establishing a fraternal order to be know as the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of America for fun, frolic, and fellowship. These brethren felt that since this form of friendship and sociability occurred so infrequently and had little form, that by incorporating they could eliminate the haphazard, disorganized methods of conferring the Tall cedar Degree and thus stabilize and preserve a worthwhile ceremony.

I honestly believe that in the Prologue and Royal Court we have one of the most beautiful ritualistic works and we are indeed thankful to Rev. George S. Gassner who was instrumental in making up the ritual. It comes directly from the first book of Kings Chapter 5 verses 1 though 10, and the second book of Chronicles, Chapter 2 verses 8 and 9. Of the two passages, the first book of Kings, Chapter 5 is more specific. It revolves around the building of the Temple of Jerusalem, and that King Solomon had to rely in the help of King Hiram of Tyre who send his Hewers of Wood into the forest of Lebanon to strike down and shape all the tall cedars for use in the Temple thus the Tall Cedars of Lebanon have a biblical background and performance of the Tall Cedar Degree in the Blue Lodges at the conclusion of their meetings brings us closer to our Masonic forbearance.

Thus, from March 18, 1902 to 1971, we are known as the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of the United States of America, However, on November 13 1971 in our 70th year of existence we instituted a Forest in Canada, and be came known as the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America.  While our strength of membership lies in the eastern section of the United States were are slowly expanding westward.

All down through the years the Tall Cedars of Lebanon had in one way or anther, on occasion contributed to worthy causes, However they really became of age when they decided that "no organization could continue to prosper unless it had a definite uplifting objective for the benefit of humanity." These were the remarks of the Most Worshipful Grand Master Harry Campbell of Washington, DC in 1933. After years of investigation and research in 1951 they found not only a worthy cause but one which desperately needed support -- muscular dystrophy. Up until 1972 we supported the Metabolism Unity on the tenth floor of the Research Center in New York City through our Contributions and Life Fund Memberships in the National Charitable Objective.

When the Metabolism Unity of the Research Center was closed in 1972 the Supreme Forest was advised that the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America were going to submit monies in the form of research grants to various universities and colleges in the search and cure for muscular dystrophy, and they would welcome our support in this endeavor. It was decided that the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America would become a part of this project with the Jerry Lewis Tall Cedar Day Camp in the summertime. Thus while one aspect of our National Charitable Objective fades away another one comes into the forefront with the possible finding of a cure for the dreaded disease through the project and to provide for a little bit of fun for these children in the summertime.

Before I close I would like to leave this thought with you. Should you meet a Cedar wearing a pyramid upon his head, greet him for he is always glad to extend to you the hand of friendship for he carries in his heart compassion, friendship and love for his fellow man -- that is why he is a Tall Cedar.

Tall Cedar of Lebanon Fezes

     

     

KNOW YOUR PYRAMIDS

Legend:

            TCL                 = Tall Cedars of Lebanon

            Forest              = Forest Name & Number

            SF                    = Supreme Forest

STYLE

FELT

LETTERS

 TRIM  

TASSEL

LEFT

RIGHT

TO BE WORN BY

 

A

Green

Yellow

Green

Green

TCL

Forest

Members in general

 

B

Yellow

Red

Green

Green

TCL

Forest

Members of units

 

C

White

Green

Black

Black

TCL

Forest

Elective Officers of Constituent Forests

 

D

Red

Yellow

Green

Yellow

TCL

Forest

Grand Tall Cedars

 

E

Red

Yellow

Green

Green

TCL

Forest

Past Grand Tall Cedars

 

 

F

White

Green

Black

Yellow

TCL

Forest

Appointed Officers & Unit Heads

 

G

Purple

White

White

White

TCL

Forest

Forest Chaplain

 

H

Red

Yellow

Yellow

White

TCL

Forest

Past Scribe/Treasurer w/5yrs. Service;

Trustee w/5 cons. yrs. of service

 

I

White

Red

Red

Red

TCL

SF

Appointed Supreme Forest Officers

 

J-1

White

Red

Red

Green

TCL

SF

Past SF Appt. Officer w/3 yrs. Service

 

J-2

White

Red

Green

Green

TCL

SF

Past/Present SF Committeeman

w/3 yrs. Service

 

K

White

Red

Purple

Purple

TCL

SC

Supreme Chaplain

 

L

White

Gray

Gray

Gray

TCL

TCFT

TCF Trustee

 

M

White

     “

     “

Silver

     “

     “

Silver

     “

     “

Silver

Gray

Green

TCL

   “

   “

TCFD

    “

    “

TCF Chairman

TCF Director

Past TCF Director

 

N

White

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

Red

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

     “

Gold

     “
     “
     “

     “
     “
     “
     “
     “
     “

Red

Red

Red

Red

Red

Green

Green

Green

Gold

White

TCL

SD

SDSTC

JDSTC

SS

ST

PSD

PST

PSS

STC

PSTC

Supreme Director

Senior Deputy STC

Junior Deputy STC

Supreme Scribe

Supreme Treasurer

Past Supreme Director

Past Supreme Treasurer

Past Supreme Scribe

Supreme Tall Cedar

Past Supreme Tall Cedar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A special "Thank You" to Bro. Tyler Anderson of Sandia Mountain Lodge #72, AF&AM, Jurisdiction of NM for submitting the "Know Your Pyramids" chart above and some pictures of Tall Cedar Fezes from his collection.  Thank you Bro. Tyler!

 

How to become a Tall Cedar.

Membership into the Tall Cedars is open to all Master Masons
in good standing.
If you are interested in joining or require more information:
Contact:
The Supreme Forest Office:
2609 North Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Phone: 717-232-5991
Fax:717-232-5997
E-mail:
membership@TallCedars.org

 

Since 1972 the Tall Cedars have supported the Muscular Dystrophy Association, by helping those children that need it the most.  They have donated over $17,000,000
to this most important cause.

Ritual of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon

Opening  

GRAND TALL CEDAR, one rap:
We are about to open ... Forest, No. ..., of Tall Cedars of Lebanon. Those who are not Tall Cedars will retire.
Brother Sentinel, Sentinel rises and salutes you will guard the door, and allow no one to enter without the Password and the Card of the current year.
Brother Senior and Junior Deputies, they advance to the centre of the Forest and salute you will examine those present, and allow no one to remain without the Password and Card of the current year.
The Senior Deputy examines those on the right, and the Junior Deputy those on the left. When all have been examined, the Deputies advance to the center of the Forest and salute.
SENIOR DEPUTY: Grand Tall Cedar, we have examined all present, and find them to be Tall Cedars in good standing.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: All present being Tall Cedars, we are now ready to open the Forest.
Opening Ode
Tune: Maryland, My Maryland.
O Lebanon, dear Lebanon!
Tall Cedar trees of Lebanon!
We labor in the forest green
On Lebanon, dear Lebanon.
The timbers to the line we hew,
For temple roof-beams, straight and true,
From mighty cedar trees which grew
On Lebanon, dear Lebanon.
Instead of the Opening Ode, one stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner or of America, may be sung.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: The Chaplain will now pronounce the Invocation.
CHAPLAIN: Almighty Ruler of the Universe, we thank thee for the health and strength that permit us to come together. The labor of the day is over, and we are met for pleasure and refreshment. Help us to enjoy them without excess, and may harmony and brotherly love unite us. Amen.
ALL: May it ever be thus.
GRAND TALL CEDAR: By virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the Supreme Forest, I hereby declare ... Forest, No. ..., open and ready for the transaction of business one rap.
 
Order of Business
 
Opening
Reading of Minutes
Reports of Committees
Communications
Unfinished Business
New Business
Bills
Petitions for Membership
Initiation
Closing
 
 
General Directions for the Royal Court
 
The Full Form of the Royal Court is a dramatic and spectacular presentation of the calling and employment of the workmen of Sidonia, to become hewers of timber in the forest of Lebanon.
It is not prescribed nor intended that the full ceremonies of the Royal Court shall be used at every meeting of the Forest. In most Forests, it will be found more satisfactory and more effective, if used at only a part of the meetings, say, once, or twice, or at the most, three times in each year. Each Grand Tall Cedar is at liberty to use his own discretion as to which Form shall be used. But, if at all possible, it should be presented at least once a year in each Forest, either in Full Form, or Plain Form.
It should be presented in a serious, dignified manner, and made as impressive as possible. All entrances and exits should be tyled and kept closed until the conclusion of the Secret Work. The members of the Forest should remain seated, and all unnecessary conversation and movements be avoided. The ceremonies of the Royal Court admit much elaboration in costumes and properties, and may be made very spectacular, especially in the entry of the King and his enthronement, and also the entry of Prince Azariah.
In working the Royal Court, the great aim should be to have the different movements follow one another in immediate and rapid succession. The whole ceremony has been planned as a whole, and there should be no break in the action, at any time.
If the Grand Tall Cedar is to take the part of the King, he should call some one to preside over the Forest and transact the preliminary business, while he is putting on his costume. The Princes and Rangers should be all READY TO ENTER as soon as the Royal Court is announced. Delay is ABSOLUTELY UNNECESSARY, if the different officers and the Chief Ranger will so STUDY THE RITUAL that they know where their parts come in.
The Guide should have the candidates arranged in the ante room in such manner that they can be brought in immediately, when the order is given by the Grand Tall Cedar.
All the movements and marching in the Royal Court should be with the greatest dignity and formality, and especially without levity or, appearance of haste.
The directions as to the movements of the Rangers, as given in the Ritual, must be governed by local conditions, such as the size of the room, and the location of the entrances. The Grand Tall Cedar and the Chief Ranger are at liberty to make such changes as will add to the beauty and impressiveness of the work.
At ordinary meetings, or in small Forests which have not suitable costumes, or where the room is small, the Short Form may be used, but the Sidonian Degree should be given IN FULL at every meeting of the Forest. The stunts may be omitted at the direction of the Grand Tall Cedar, but this should be done only for weighty reason.
If a Forest has no costumes or uniformed Rangers it may call upon some neighboring Forest. Very many of the Forests, having fully costumed Degree Teams and uniformed Rangers, will welcome an invitation to make a visitation and display their work. These friendly visitations are a most important feature in the life of any Forest, and greatly help to create and maintain that fraternal feeling which is the foundation of our Order.
The work of the Royal Court will be made most impressive and effective in every Forest by the institution of a Degree Team, who may, or may not be officers of the Forest. It will generally be found that the Grand Tall Cedar has enough to do without undertaking to memorize and perform one of the parts in the Royal Court. In order to be effective, it is absolutely necessary that all the parts be memorized, and the work done without a book in sight. In every Forest there may be found five members, possessing good voices and dramatic ability, who, with proper rehearsal together, can render the work of the Royal Court with dignity and impressiveness. This Team should continue from year to year, with only such changes as may be necessary. It will be found useful to have some understudies who can fill in when one of the members of the Team is unavoidably absent.
The parts of the King and Chamberlain are the most important, and it is especially necessary that the Chamberlain be thoroughly familiar with the movements of the Ritual, as from his position on the floor, and in the ante room, he can give directions to the other members of the Team and to the Rangers.
The salute in the Royal Court is made by stretching forth the right hand on a level with the shoulder, palm down, and bowing deeply. It is answered by the King stretching forth his sceptre, or by bowing his head. Always salute when addressing the King. When one is addressed by the King he shall salute, or, if seated, shall rise and salute.
When Supreme Officers, or other visitors are present, a suitable time for addresses may be found while the candidates are being prepared for the Sidonian Degree.
Where the dressing room is back of the stage, the Rangers may enter and form in front of the Throne. Princes enter from wings, and stand right and left of Throne. Chamberlain enters from wings, and says: “Arise, my Lords, etc.” King follows, and goes to Throne.
 
 
Initiation (Full Form)
 
When the time for Initiation has come, the Grand Tall Cedar—or some one designated by him—shall rise and say:
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Brother Tall Cedars, we are about to sit as the Royal Court of King Hiram of Tyre, in order that we may increase the number of workmen in the Forest. The Royal Court is no place for laughter and levity: that will be given opportunity in due season. In the presence of the King, the greatest order and decorum must prevail.
Brother Guide, the Guide rises and salutes you will admit the workmen who are in waiting, and place them in order in the audience chamber.
The Guide salutes and retires.
Brother Sentinel, the Sentinel rises and salutes you will inform the Chief of the Royal Rangers that we are ready to receive his Majesty as soon as the workmen are admitted to the Royal Court. After his entry, you will close the door, and allow none to pass until after the Secret Work.
The Sentinel salutes, retires to inform the Chief of the Royal Rangers, and then returns to his place at the door.
The Guide brings in the candidates quietly, and places them standing in the rear of the Court. They are not to be hoodwinked, and there must be no attempts at fun. All the proceedings in the Royal Court must be orderly and full of dignity. When all have entered and are arranged in order, the Guide shall say to them:
GUIDE: You are now in the Royal Court of King Hiram of Tyre. You represent skilled wood carvers, and will wait here in silence until you are summoned to the royal presence.
The Sentinel shall then inform the Chief of the Royal Rangers that the workmen are in the Royal Court.
 
 
Ceremony of Enthronement
 
The procession shall form in the ante room in the following order, as soon as the workmen have gone out, and must be ready to move as soon as the Sentinel gives the word that the workmen are arranged in the Royal Court.
1. Heralds and trumpeters.
2. Royal Rangers.
3. Princes Zadok and Adoniah.
The trumpeters shall sound a blast outside, as a signal to open the doors, and continue blowing until the procession has fully entered the Court, where it marches once around. Then, marching towards the throne, the Rangers and Princes shall halt, open ranks two paces apart, and raise their swords, or spears, or right hands, forming an archway. Immediately, the Chamberlain. shall enter and say:
CHAMBERLAIN: Arise, my Lords! All arise. Behold his Majesty, the King!
The King shall then enter the Court. Preceded by the Chamberlain, he marches slowly between the ranks of the Rangers. At the foot of the throne, the Chamberlain shall halt and allow the King to ascend the throne, where he remains standing. The Princes shall then pass between the Rangers, and on reaching the throne salute the King, and take their places, Zadok on the right .and Adoniah on the left of the King, where they remain standing. Then the King shall take his seat on the throne and say:
KING: Lords of the Royal Court, I greet you with a kingly salutation. May health and happiness abide with you, and may long life and prosperity be your portion. One rap.
All are seated. The Rangers march to the rear of the Court, and form in line in front of the candidates. The Chamberlain retires to the ante room and immediately returns. He approaches the King and salutes.
CHAMBERLAIN: Your Majesty, an Ambassador from King Solomon is in waiting.
KING: You will bring him at once into the Royal Court, that we may receive him with the honor due to his exalted Master.
The Chamberlain salutes and retires. The Rangers march to the entrance to receive Prince Azariah and his retinue. The procession enters the Royal Court in the following order:
1. Trumpeters.
2. Royal Rangers, in fours.
3. Guards of Prince Azariah, wearing purple capes, and carrying swords, or spears.
4. Attending Lords and retinue—in costume.
5. Chamberlain.
6. Prince Azariah.
The trumpeters sound a blast as Prince Azariah enters, and the procession moves forward. When they are in front of the throne, the Rangers file right and left in twos and halt, leaving space in the center for the Chamberlain and Prince Azariah. They approach the King and salute. The entry of Prince Azariah may be made as gorgeous and spectacular as desired.
CHAMBERLAIN: Your Majesty, this is Prince Azariah who bears a message from King Solomon.
KING: And what is thy message, most noble Prince?
AZARIAH, salutes: Most excellent King Hiram of Tyre, my worshipful Lord and Master, King Solomon, sends royal greetings, and bade me say that he is building a Temple in Jerusalem. The stones thereof are hewed in the quarries near the city, but he earnestly desires that it may be roofed with timbers of cedar. Therefore he begs that thou wilt command thy servants to hew timbers in the forest of Lebanon. It is well known unto him that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timbers like unto the Sidonians. Salutes.
KING: Prince Azariah, thy request is most freely granted. Return to thy royal and illustrious Master and tell him that I rejoice greatly in his wisdom, and will do all his desire concerning timbers of cedar for the Temple. My servants shall cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as he shall need,. and we will bring it in floats by sea to Joppa, so that he may carry it overland to Jerusalem. May peace abide with thee and thy royal Master.
The Chamberlain and Prince Azariah salute. The Rangers re-form in fours and lead the procession as it retires from the Forest. The Chamberlain immediately returns and takes a position in front of the candidates. The Rangers remain in line outside, ready for the proclamation.
KING: My Lords, you have heard the request of my illustrious brother, King Solomon, and the promise I have made. In order to accomplish this vast undertaking, we must have more workmen in the Forest. Therefore it is my royal command that Princes Zadok and Adoniah, accompanied by the Royal Rangers, shall forthwith travel throughout the Kingdom, and make public proclamation, calling upon all workers in wood to present themselves at the Royal Court.
The Princes rise and salute the King.
ZADOK: The command of your Majesty shall be immediately obeyed.
KING: May your journey be prosperous.
The Princes salute and retire to the ante room where the Rangers are waiting in line. The procession shall immediately re-enter the Royal Court, with the Princes and trumpeters in the center of the Rangers. They shall march once around the Court. When the Princes are at the center of the standing candidates, the procession shall halt and face the candidates. After a blast is sounded by the trumpets, the proclamation shall be made, either by one of the Princes, or by the two in concert.
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! By command of his royal Majesty, King Hiram of Tyre, all workers in wood not now employed, shall forthwith present themselves at his Royal Court, for labor in the forest of Lebanon. Long live the King!
ALL: Long live the King!
The proclamation having been made, the procession shall march around and halt in front of the King. The Princes advance two paces and salute.
ZADOK: May it please your Majesty, we have obeyed the royal command, and proclamation has been made throughout the Kingdom.
KING: Most noble Princes, you have my royal approbation. Let us hope for a willing response.
Then the Chamberlain shall face the candidates and say: Workmen, you have heard the royal proclamation. He that will offer himself for labor in the forest of Lebanon, let him hold up his right hand.
Candidates all raise their right hands. The Chamberlain signals for them to be lowered, faces about, marches quickly to a position between the Princes, and salutes.
CHAMBERLAIN: A message, your Majesty!
KING: And what is your message, my Lord Chamberlain?
CHAMBERLAIN: Your Majesty, there are ... workmen in the Audience Chamber who crave an audience with the King.
KING: Have you ascertained their business?
CHAMBERLAIN: They are workers in wood who have heard the royal proclamation, and desire to offer themselves for labor in the forest of Lebanon.
KING: Their prompt compliance is most gratifying, and I will presently receive them. You will return to these workmen, and remain with them in the Audience Chamber until they are summoned to the royal presence.
The Chamberlain salutes and returns to the candidates where he takes a position at their right, facing the King.
KING: Princes Zadok and Adoniah, they salute there are workmen in the Audience Chamber to whom I must soon grant an audience. Before I hear them, you may present before me the Chief of the Royal Rangers who accompanied you throughout the Kingdom.
The Chief of the Royal Rangers shall advance until he is in line with the Princes. All salute.
ZADOK: King Hiram, I present before you, Joab, the Chief of the Royal Rangers, who, with his faithful band, is ever ready to undertake any duty in your Majesty’s service.
KING: I have heard of you Joab, that you are a man of valor, and of great skill to command your Rangers. It is my pleasure that you now display their skill before this Royal Court.
Princes and Chief Ranger salute. The Princes return to their places and are seated. The Rangers perform their evolutions, ending with a military salute.
KING: I thank you Chief Ranger Joab, for this exhibition which does great credit both to you, and to your well trained men. You will assist Princes Zadok and Adoniah in bringing before me the workmen who are in the Audience Chamber.
The Princes rise and salute. The Chamberlain arranges the candidates in ranks of two or four at the rear of the Court, and takes his position at the right of the line. The Rangers file left and march to the rear of the Court, passing just in front of the line of candidates. Princes Zadok and Adoniah fall in line behind the Rangers, and when the candidates are reached, Prince Zadok takes a position at the foot of the line. The Rangers continue their march without halting, and the Chamberlain and candidates fall in behind Prince Adoniah. The Rangers file left along the side of the Court, and again file left and march across the Court in front of the King. When the candidates are in a line before the King, they shall be halted by the Princes. Prince Adoniah is at the left of the line Prince Zadok at the right. The Rangers and Chamberlain continue their march without halting, and retire to the ante room, where they prepare for the Sidonian Degree.
ZADOK: Your Majesty, these are workmen from the cities of the Kingdom, who desire to become hewers of timber in the forest of Lebanon.
KING: Are they of good report?
ZADOK: They are well known to me, and to many of the brethren.
KING: Are they skilled in any craft?
ZADOK: They are skilled wood carvers, master workmen, but hearing of the-need for more hewers of timber, they have offered themselves for your service.
KING: Workmen, you are welcome, for there is great need for more, hewers in the Forest. From Holy Writ, and from our previous teachings, we learn that at the building of the Temple, King Solomon sent to King Hiram of Tyre desiring that the Sidonians might hew cedars of Lebanon for use in the Temple. These timbers were hewed in the forest, brought down to the sea, conveyed in floats to Joppa, and thence overland to Jerusalem. A fraternal Brotherhood existed at that time among the hewers of timber in the forest of Lebanon, as well as among the hewers of stone in the quarries at Jerusalem. The Hewer’s Fraternity was known as the TALL CEDARS OF LEBANON. It was instituted by a royal decree in the days of King Amaram, so that the workers in Lebanon should live and work together in harmony and brotherly love. To this Fraternity only were imparted the secrets of the Forest. Do you desire to learn these secrets?
CANDIDATES: I do.
KING: Are you willing to bind yourself to us by a solemn and lasting obligation?
CANDIDATES: I am.
KING: Then place your right hand over your heart, and in an audible voice repeat after me.
The candidates face the altar, standing in a semi-circle. The Princes stand just behind the right and left sides of the altar facing the candidates. When all are in position, the King descends from his throne and takes his place between the Princes, just behind the altar. In places where it is convenient the lights may be turned off, except the lights upon the altar, which should be red or green. If the whole altar is not made of cedar wood, there should be some pieces of rough cedar, or cedar boughs laid upon it.
 
 
Obligation
 
I, ...—in the presence of his Majesty—King Hiram of Tyre,—the Princes Zadok and Adoniah,—with these Tall Cedars as my witnesses,—and before this altar of cedar wood,—do hereby promise and vow—that I will never reveal—any of the secrets of this Order—that may now,— or at any future time,—be imparted to me as such.
Furthermore, I promise—that I will firmly support—the Supreme Forest and its officers,—and will abide by and loyally obey—all laws, rules, regulations,—orders and edicts—lawfully promulgated by them;—and in the same manner—will loyally support the officers,—and obey the authority and laws—of this, or any other Forest—with which I may be connected.
Furthermore, I promise—that I will neither alter nor change,—subtract from, nor add to,—the written or unwritten Work of the Order—as set forth by the Supreme Forest,—nor will I hold Cedar communication—with any Tall Cedar—who is not a member in good standing—in a lawfully chartered Forest.
Furthermore, I promise—that I will never consent to,—nor assist in the introduction—into any of the ceremonies of the Forest,—or into any meeting or festivities—under its name or auspices,—of anything indecent,—obscene,—irreverent,—immoral, —or harmful to the person or property of any one.
To the faithful observance—of all these promises,—I sincerely vow,—binding myself anew—by all the penalties—of any obligations—I have ever taken elsewhere. So help me God,—and keep me ever firm and true-in this my solemn vow.
At the end of the Obligation, the lights shall be turned on.
ADONIAH: Tall Cedars, Before you is the altar of cedar wood. The original meaning of the word “cedar” is, “grimly rooted, strong tree.” So may you ever be firmly rooted and strong in your love for our Order. And as the cedar wood is everlasting, so is the solemn obligation which you have just taken. Ever be mindful of your threefold promise of Secrecy, Loyalty, and Decency.
ZADOK: Brother Tall Cedars, we welcome you in Friendship, Love, and Brotherhood. Tall Cedarism is but another name for Hospitality and Good Cheer. Friendliness, Sociability, and Good Fellowship are the cardinal principles of our Order, so that when you meet a Tall Cedar, you may be certain that you are meeting a Friend, a Brother, and a Good Fellow. We welcome you as members of ... Forest, Number ....
KING: The ceremony through which you have just passed is not a mere show and spectacle. It has a deep and serious meaning. You have represented skilled wood carvers; artists, as well as craftsmen. The work of hewing timber is very rough for your skillful hands, but you were so loyal to your King, that as soon as you heard of his need, you offered yourself for any service. By such loyalty and willingness, you have shown us the grandeur of patriotism, the dignity of labor, and the beauty of willing service.
You may still be artists, for the highest and truest art is not so much in the thing produced, as in the spirit in which the thing is done. He is indeed the true artist who puts his whole heart and soul into whatever his hands find to do. All labor is equally honorable, and to every one who does his best with a willing heart and mind, the Great Master will say: “Well done, good and faithful servant, thou shall have a great reward.”
You will now be instructed in the Secret Work.
The sign of a Tall Cedar is .... This is called the Hewing Sign, and is symbolic of your labor as a Hewer of wood in Lebanon. On entering or retiring from a Forest, when in session, you will advance to the center of the Forest and throw this sign to the Grand Tall Cedar, who will answer it in this manner, thus signifying that everything that goes on in the Forest is to be kept under cover.
The Pass-word is ....
The Test is ....
The Grip is made thus: ....
The Sign of Welcome to the Supreme Officers is made by throwing the Hewing Sign three times, and saying in a loud voice “Welcome” with each Sign.
The Response to the Invocation is, “May it ever be thus.”
After the Secret Work is concluded, KING: You will receive the Card of the current year from the Scribe, without which you will not be able to gain admittance to this or any other Forest. Your Pyramid should always be worn at the meetings of the Forest, and at such other times as requested by the King.
You are now duly obligated Tall Cedars, but before you can learn the skill to hew timber, it will be necessary for you to receive further instructions, and be obligated as Sidonians. We are told in Holy Writ, that “there is none among us who can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians,” and only to duly obligated Tall Cedars may their secrets be imparted.
These secrets will be given you in the Sidonian Degree which is to follow. It teaches that the real spirit of Tall Cedarism is the spirit of mirth and enjoyment. A regular Cedar is a gentleman, a credit to society, and to our Order. He scatters sunshine, dispels gloom, spreads good cheer, is full of joy and laughter. Fun, Frolic, and Fellowship are the three great teachings of this Degree. Let your Fun be always clean and harmless: your Frolics full of innocent merriment: your Fellowship sincere in its friendliness and sociability. Thus will you prove that you have caught the true spirit of Tall Cedarism, and that you are a good Friend, a good Brother, and a good Sidonian.
A list of those who are to take the stunts shall be prepared in advance, and given to the King.
KING: You must all take the Sidonian Obligation, but a few have been selected for personal and individual instruction as overseers of the workmen. As their names are called, the following Cedars will step forward and arrange themselves in a line before me.
The King reads the list of names, and the Cedars come forward and arrange themselves before him.
KING: Tall Cedars, you have been signally honored in being the chosen ones upon whom will be exemplified the striking ceremonies of the Sidonian degree.
A very amusing feature may be introduced here by the King reading fake telegrams and letters, referring to the selected ones before him. These letters purport to come from wives and friends, and are full of harmless, but funny personal allusions, such as boasts they have made that they are not afraid, and that they hope they will get their money’s worth, talking in their sleep, etc., etc.
You will now retire to the ante room, and be prepared for the honors that await you. The other newly-made Cedars will remain standing as they are, and strictly do as they are told.
The ones who are to receive the stunts will then retire to the ante room. As soon as they have left the Court, the King and Princes shall return to their places, and the King shall say: Lords of the Royal Court, we have finished our labors, and largely increased our numbers. I therefore declare this Royal Court dissolved, and the Grand Tall Cedar shall preside over the Lodge of Sidonians. May peace and harmony ever abide with you. Farewell!
ALL: Long live the King!
Then the King, preceded by the Princes, shall retire, and the Grand Tall Cedar shall resume his station. The candidates remaining in the Forest shall immediately be arranged in a rectangular body in the center of the Forest, leaving sufficient space on all sides for the procession at the beginning of the Sidonian Degree. They shall be hoodwinked as soon as they are placed in position, the object being to mystify them, and keep them guessing as to what is going to happen to them, and what is coming next. As the candidates are being hoodwinked, they must be carefully instructed that they are to answer, “You Bet” in a LOUD voice, to all the questions asked them by the Grand Tall Cedar. This answer is to be given by the candidates alone. Rangers and members must keep silent.
The Sidonian Degree should follow as quickly as possible.
 
 
Closing
 
GRAND TALL CEDAR: By virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the Supreme Forest, I hereby declare ... Forest, No. ... closed, until called together by the Grand Tall Cedar. one rap

 

Tall Cedars of Lebanon – Sidonian Degree


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?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Do you want all that is coming to you?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Will you take it as we give it?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Have you got your nerve with you?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you game and full of ginger?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you as stupid as you look?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are your heads made of wood?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
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 promise—that 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?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Have you had a good time?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you sorry it is all over?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you fully satisfied?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Did you get your money’s worth?
CANDIDATES:
You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Are you glad you’re a Tall Cedar?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Will you try to bring in Saplings?
CANDIDATES:
You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: Will you help us give them what you got?
CANDIDATES: You bet!
GRAND TALL CEDAR: It is well.
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.

 

 

         

Museum Home Page     Phoenixmasonry Home Page

Copyrighted © 1999 - 2011   Phoenixmasonry, Inc.      The Fine Print