The Web of Hiram

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York Rite Side Degrees

The Old York T.I. Lodge

The Grand Lodge of York


Ark Mariners

Order of the Grand High Priest

The Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners

Opening Remarks

The Layout of the Lodge.

The Lodge should be set out the from of a Triangular Delta with one point directed to the East.

Lodge Furniture.

The Master (known as Commander Noah) is located in the East, with triangular pedestal, on top of which are placed: the Porphyry Stone on which, when the Lodge is open, is placed a small Delta of Enoch (Golden equilateral Triangle); the Working Tools, namely Axe, Saw and Auger. The Commander has a small Sceptre which he uses to give the knocks.

The Wardens sit at the two angles of the Triangle of the Lodge in the North-West and South-West respectively; each has a small pedestal and a small Sceptre, with which he gives the knocks.

Both Deacons are seated side by side in the West, the Senior Deacon to the South; both carry wands.

The Guardian is situated close inside the entrance; he is provided with a small delta.

The Delta

In the centre of the Lodge a large equilateral Tniangle, approximately two feet long; is placed on the floor; it should be laid flat to allow a Brother to stand comfortably in the middle, and also to reach from one apex to the next in a single stride.

One apex of this Triangle will point to the East; except during the Ceremony of Elevation the Triangle when it is turned so that one apex points to the West.


The brethren follow a triangular form when moving around the Lodge symbolically recalling the Delta of Enoch.

Whenever possible, cerenionial movements about the Lodae should follow this triangular path.

Point of Announcement.

The Guardian stands in the centre point of the Western base of the Delta to address the Master.

The Olive Branch

If a branch of living olive is not available a suitable live sprig of green will be used but will be refered to the Olive Branch.


The Candidates must present themselves to the Lodge for the Ceremony of Elevation, grabed in the apron of a Mark Master Mason. The candidates are hoodwinked by the Warder before entering the Lodge.

Opening a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge

Having ascertained that the Lodge is properly secured the Commander instructs the S.W to prove the Brethren present to be Royal Ark Mariners by signs.

C.Noah. Son Shem, from what part of the world did Royal Ark Mariners come?

Shem: From the mountains of Armenia.

C. Noah. Son Japheth, whither did they take their course?

Japheth: They were dispersed over the whole earth, and rested wherever the providence of God was pleased to direct them.

C. Noah: Then, since we have found a resting place, it is my will and pleasure that this Royal Ark Mariner Lodge be held.

Chaplain: Let us beseech the continuance of the aid of the Supreme Commander of the Universe, that our labours thus begun in order maybe conducted in harmony and closed in peace.

Omnes: Amen, So mote it be.

C. Noah: Glory be to God on High and peace to us on earth. Son Japheth, on what is a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge properly opened?

Japheth: On the mysterious Porphyry Stone.

C. Noah: Son Shem, why on the Porphyry Stone and not on the Volume of the Sacred Law?

Shen: Because, at the origin of this Degree, the Sacred Writings were not in existence.

C. Noah: Son Japheth, I presume there are traditions with reference to the Porphyry Stone sufficiently important to Justify its use as that upon which a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge should properly be opened?

Japheth: There are.

C. Noah: Relate them.

Japheth: The traditions connected with the Porphyry Stone associating it with this Degree are three in number:

First; Upon this stone the Patriarch Noah reposed when he daily returned from his pious labour in buildine, the Ark, and it was placed by him in the centre of the Ark when finished.

Secondly; With this Stone as an Anchor of Hope did Noah fix the station of the Ark when it rested on Mount Ararat.

Thirdly; Upon this Stone Noah made his first offering to the Lord in thankfulness for his safe deliverance; and he desired that it should be fixed at the foot of Mount Ararat until the first of his descendants should be called upon to travel again by either land or water.

C. Noah: In the name of the Supreme Commander of the Universe, I declare this Royal Ark Mariner Lodge duly open.

Past C.N. goes to front of pedestal and places Triangle on the Porphyry Stone apex towards the East.

Ceremony of Elevating a Candidate.

C. Noah: Sons, since by the providence of God you have been preserved from the overwhelming waters, and have observed and obeyed God's voice in being fruitful and multiplying on the earth, are you aware of anyone willing to join this Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, to keep up the memorial of so signal a deliverance?

Japheth: We are, and we believe that, if permitted to me into our Ark, he will prove a true and faithful other.

C. Noah: Brother Deacons. You will retire and examine the Candidate as a Mark Master Mason and prepare him according to ancient custom. (S.D. rotates the Delta so that an apex points to the West before attending on the Candidate)

Once the candate has been prepared he is escorted to the door of the Lodge and an alarm is sounded.

Guardian: Commander Noah, a Mark Master Mason, tried and proved, who states his name to be Noachida, and who is clothed in the habiliments of a distressed Mason, requres admission to the Royal Ark Mariner Lodge.

C. Noah: Is he in possession of the password?

Gdn: He is not; but his escort has given it to me on his behalf.

C. Noah: Advance and communicate it to me.

This is done.

C. Noah. The pass is correct. Let the Candidate enter.

(Gdn. discharges H.Sn.)

Brother Deacons.

The Guardian. picks up the small Delta and presents one point to breast of the Canidate.

Gdn: Enter, Brother Noachida.

Chaplain: Glorious Commander of Heaven and Earth, Who didst speak and it was done. Who didst command and it stood fast: we, the frail creatures of Thy providence,meet in Thy name to elevate a Brother, who with us may continue to commemorate so wonderful a deliverance as that of Noah and his family from the Deluge.

Grant that he may prove a true Brother, able to unfold the mysteries of the Ancient and Honourable Fraternity of Royal Ark Mariners. May he love the Brotherhood unfeignedly, well knowing that love is the fulfilling of the Law. May we so conduct ourselves in the Ark here that, when we be called hence by Thy command, we may find a refuge in the mansions of everlasting rest.

Omnes: Amen. So mote it be.

Shem: The first point to which you have been directed is called Beauty. This should adorn the inward man and remind us that God's Beauty shines forth throughout the whole of creation in symmetry and order. It exemplifies also the curious and masterly workmanship of Noah in the construction of the Ark, the simplicity of which was Beauty itself.

Japheth: The second point is called Strength. It denotes that the Supreme Commander of the Universe is Omnipotent and will support you under all difficulties. This was exemplified when the waters which overspread the face of the earth upheld the Ark in which Noah and his family were saved.

C.Noah: The third and last point is called Wisdom, which reminds us that God's Wisdom is infinite and will direct you in all your undertakings. Being an emblem of that divine attribute, it also represents the wisdom of Noah in building the Ark, by which mankind was preserved from perishing in the Universal Deluge.

I now present to you an Olive Branch. It is an emblem of hope and commemorates the abatement of the waters. Listen to the promise given in reference to the covenant made by God with Noah.

Chaplain: In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment: but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.

For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.

C. Noah. With that promise of God you may confidently meet your Brother Royal Ark Mariners, for it will comfort you in trouble, cheer you in the hour of death and make you happy for all eternity. Remember also this further promise.

Chaplain: No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

The Signs of the Degree

C. Noah: The Signs of the Degree are seven in number. They are the Sn. of Distress; the Pass Sn.; the Sn. of the Dove; the P. Sn.; the H. Sn.; the Sn. of Demand and the Sn. of S.

The first is the Sn. of Distress or Swimming Sign.

It refers to the Antediluvians making a foolish attempt to escape to some elevated object by swimmina. It also refers to the Symbol of the Degree, the Equilateral Triangle of Delta of Enoch. (Comdr. points to Equilateral Triangle on Porphyry Stone) .

The second is the Pass Sign.

It refers to Noah lookina out for the Dove and resting his head in the hollow of his l.a.

The third is the Sign of the Dove.

It refers to Noah extendine, his hand for the Dove.

The fourth is the P. Sn.

It alludes to the ancient penalty of the degree, that of having the r.b., and b.o.b.t.w.

The fifth is the H. Sn. os S. of S.

This Sign is given on entering or retiring from the Lodge, or when addressing the Commander.

The sixth is the Sn. of Demand or Q. Sn.

This Sn. is always answered by the seventh and last Sign, the Sn. of S.

It refers to the perfect bow in token of the Covenant made by God with Noah.

By this Grip a Brother may be known by night as well as by day. It refers to the period when the Antediluvians, sentenced to the watery abyss, endeavoured to frustrate the wrath of Heaven by pulling each other to the summit of hills, to the tops of trees and all other places which presented a temporary relief from the justice of Him who was pouring down destruction upon their heads. Hence it is called the Tn. of D.

I would remind you that Lamech, Methuselah, Enoch and Jared were respectively the Father, the Grandfather, the Great Grandfather and the Great Great Grandfather of Noah.

Shem: A Brother's distress may arise from three different causes.

Firstly, from circumstances of difficulty, wherein it may be necessary to seek a Brother's advice. The Brother hailed will give such advice as may be in his power, in faithfulness and truth, his conduct being squared by that rule. which saith, "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you".

Secondly, a Brother's distress may arise from excessive poverty. He may not have a meal to eat or proper clothing to put on. If this be the case, the Brother to whom it may be made known would do well to relieve such distress, remembering, that it is more blessed to give than to receive; for who so seeth his Brother hath need and shutteth up his compassion from him. How dwelleth the love of God in him? Therefore as wise stewards of the manifold gifts of God, we should always have a hand and heart ready to help a distressed Brother.

Thirdly, a Brother's distress may arise from being situated among enemies, so as to render it necessary to call upon a Brother to aid him with his bodily strength. The Brother who perceives the H. Sn. should immediately come to his assistance.

Such should be his love for his Brother, if he believe him to be worthy, that he would sooner die by his side than desert him.

On occasions of importance the Delta is always placed on a Royal Ark Mariner summons; in such cases you must attend if possible. If prevented by unavoidable circumstances you must send your reasons in writing with the same mark, the Brother or Lodge receiving your communications will accept it as a discharge of your duty.

Japheth: Brother, I invest you with this apron, and decorate you with this jewel. enjoin you never to put on this apron if you are angry with a Brother, for it is an emblem of love and virtue, and as such is more valuable than any gift an Emperor or King can bestow. Therefore first be reconciled.with your Brother, that you may sit down in concord and fraternal affection. To as many as walk by this rule, Peace be unto them.

The Working Tools and Symbols of the Lodge

C. Noah: I present to you the Working Tools of a Royal Ark Mariner, with which Noah worked when he built the Ark.

These are an Axe, with which he cut down trees and squared them; a Saw, with which he sawed those trees into planks; and a Auger, with which he made holes in the planks.

Also with the Axe he cut out pins and drove them in, by which means the planks were kept together. By the wisdom and cunning workmanship of Noah, that beautiful structure, the Ark, was formed, the strength of which proved the temporal salvation of himself and his family and all the living creatures contained therein.

These tools have other meanings, which I will explain to you. The Axe felled the trees, and they, being cut down, are emblematic of the fall of the old world. The Saw, dividing the timber into planks, is emblematic of the separation of Noah and his family from the rest of mankind by the Lord. The Auger, making holes in the planks, teaches us the use of affliction in producing self-abasement and searchinds of heart.

As the Ark was built by these tools, so we are shown that by perseverance in faith, hope and love, we may be shut into an Ark of safety, when the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the whole earth shall be dissolved.

The triangular path which you followed after your entrance was to fix in your mind the form of the Lodge. The reason you were stopped at the three points was to remind you that Wisdom, Strength and Beauty were displayed in the construction of the Ark, they having also the moral significations then explained to you.

Your erect posture on entering into your obligation was meant to remind you of the position in which Noah stood when he offered up the sacrifice to God in thanksgiving for his safe deliverance from the Deluge.

The Supreme Commander of the Universe then fixed His bow in the sky and established His covenant with Noah that the waters should no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

The principal officers of the Lodge represent Noah and his two sons, Japheth and Shem. The Delta is also emblematical of the Sun, Moon and Stars, in this sense: Those in the highest sphere of life have the largest province wherein to do good, but those of an inferior degree will be as eminently distinguished if they move regularly and prove useful members of society. The highest is he who performs his part best, not he who fills the most exalted position: for the Moon, although reflecting her light from the Sun, evidently sets forth the glory of God; and the flowers of the field declare His power equally with the Stars of the firmament.

The Steps from West to East

My sons will now explain the nine steps by which you advanced from the West to the East.

Jepheth: The first three steps taken on the Delta in a manner conform to the first regular steps in Symbolic or Craft Masonry; but here they have an additional import. You have already been told that the three points of the Delta are synonymous with Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. Man, in his ignorance, at the commencement of his pilgrimage believes himself secure, and, oftentimes discarding the use of the unerring compass, strays from the true course, and thus incurs the risk of being overwhelmed by the waters.

Having, however, taken the first regular step, his feet rest apparently upon solid ground and his eyes are opened to look upon the spot where Beauty reigns. The danger now threatening, him is even greater than before, for should his step deviate from the straight line his fate will be that of the bullrush swayed to and fro by every breath.

If, however, my Brother, you take the second step firmly and manfully resting upon the point of Strength, you will find yourself on the road to Wisdom, and thenceforward your path is easy, for when Wisdom guides your footsteps, you may with confidence rely on attaining to that eminence which is the object of your desires, and the end and aim of all your efforts.

The fourth step brings you to the centre of the Delta, whence surrounded by Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, you may mount the ladder until you reach the Ark, the haven of rest.

The last five steps imply that, during your onward course, you must always be careful to practise, without remission, those five Cardinal Virtues peculiarly characteristic of Masonry;

Watchfulness; Discretion; Brotherly Love; Truth; and Charity.

Closing a Royal Ark Mariner Lodge

C. Noah: Brother Royal Ark Mariners, assist me to close the Lodge.

Chaplain: Before the Lodge is closed, let us beseech the Supreme Commander of the Universe, who maketh the storm to cease and the waves to be still, the wilderness to be a standing, water and the water springs a dry ground, to have us in His good keeping until we meet again in His name, or until it is His pleasure that we be received into the Ark of His Covenant.

Omnes: Amen, So mote it be.

Home Lectures of the Craft Lectures of the Holy Royal Arch Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite The Royal Order of Scotland York Rite Side Degrees English Knights Templar Order of Women Freemasons Walter Leslie Wilmshurst Preston Illustrations of Masonry Masonic Tutor Support

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