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1st Royal Black Degree

in hoc signo vinces
1st Address

This degree is founded on the lives of three notable and important persons in Holy Writ namely Moses, Elijah and Joseph. The first thing you saw upon your travel was the representation of a burning bush, or the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed. The ineffable brightness of the Godhead was never more clearly brought before mortal vision than on that memorable occasion on the mount when weak and frail humanity stood face to face with Divinity. When Moses appeared before his God we are told that he hid his face because he was afraid to look upon that incomprehensible dignity. Likewise when we approach our Divine Master we should draw nigh with that awe and reverence that are due from the creature to his creator ever remembering that we are dust.

This is a representation of the rod that when cast upon the ground became a serpent, and when Moses put forth his hand and took it by the tail it became a rod again in his hand.

The next thing you saw upon your travel was the representation of a human hand, six times the servant of the prophet ascended the mount and saw nothing, but the seventh time he both saw and heard.

What did he see?

A little cloud rise out of the sea like unto a man’s hand which afterwards fell in a shower, and watered the earth.

What did he hear?

The sounds of abundance of rain.

The hand in this degree has a three fold purpose.

First at the opening of the preceptory you kneel upon your right knee, place your right hand in the bosom, representing the hand that was placed in the bosom and became as leprous as snow. When the Chaplain has read the opening prayer, you stand to your feet still holding your hand in this position. When the Worshipful Master declares the preceptory open you bring the hand smartly to your side.

Second at the close of the preceptory you kneel on your right knee hold your left hand in this position representing the little cloud that rose out of the sea like unto a mans hand which afterwards fell in a shower and watered the earth. When the Chaplain has read the closing prayer, you stand to your feet still holding your hand in this position. When the Worshipful Master declares the preceptory closed you bring the hand smartly to your side.

Third should you come late to your preceptory, or have occasion to retire and return again, you will advance to the front of the Deputy Masters chair, look over your shoulder to see that the door is properly closed. Bring your right hand smartly to the back of your head, make a polite bow to the Worshipful Master, turn and bow to the Deputy Master.

The first is the sign of the degree, the second is the answer, and the third is the sign of salutation.

Shortly before Joseph died he made his brethren take a vow that they would carry up his bones to the Promised Land. These are not the bones of Joseph, but they are the nearest representation we can get. You can see they are human bones. To the outside world they are known as the skull and cross-bones but to us they are known as the Black Knights crest. They are symbolic and emblematic of mortality. Death may come and seize the mortal tenement of the soul, shrouding it in the coffin, mouldering it in the dust - the soul still lives on. Thus when a Sir Knight receives the summons to appear before the Grand Lodge above he gets the going pass for the Tyler of eternity.

What is this world but the tyling room of heaven, what is death but the door to that eternal lodge room where our Great Grand Master and departed brethren are waiting to receive us with songs of joy and victory. These emblems of mortality, how forcibly do they serve to remind us of the state to which we are all fast hastening. Once animated, like any of us, they have ceased to act or think, their vital energies have fled. Their powers of life have discontinued their operations, all is now dark. Thus when the sands of life have run and our frail and mortal bodies like these mementos become sepulchral dust and ashes, our disembodied spirits may soar aloft to those regions above wherein dwelleth life, light and immortality for ever and ever more.”

This is a representation of the coffin in which the bones of Joseph were placed to be carried up to the Promised Land. It reminds us that the bodies of our departed brethren shall sleep in their hallowed receptacles, until our Great Grand Master shall order the trumpet of the Lord to sound and the angel shall set one foot upon the land and the other upon the sea and declare time to be no more.

Travel

Before the travel of the black degree the candidate is prepared by being blindfolded. His shirt is opened and his chest bared, both of his trouser legs are rolled up before he is led on a travel.

He begins his travel with a pack on his back and a staff in his hand.

The candidate is told he is representing Moses walking through the wilderness.

During the travel the blindfold is removed showing him the three great and mighty wonders Moses seen upon Mount Horeb.

Firstly he sees a representation of the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed.

The candidate is then shown a representation of the rod that encast upon the ground and became a serpent and afterwards a rod again.

The candidate then places his right hand in his bosom, representing the hand that was placed in the bosom that was as leprous as snow.

The candidate later ascends a mock mountain six times, representing Elijah’s servant who was commanded to ascend the mount six times he ascended and saw nothing, but the seventh time he sees a little cloud shaped like a mans hand rising up from the sea.

Black Communion

The Black candidate is asked to take a toast to the memory of Brother Joseph, being informed that this is his first Black toast. An artefact is then placed into the hand of the blindfolded novice called a “mystic cup.” He is informed, “This mystic cup is not fashioned by human hand.” He is told, “You have never drunk from it before.” He is then asked, “Can you tell what this is?” The candidate normally replies, “I do not know!” One of the lecturers then states: “It is the top of a human skull; it is properly cleansed and purified so that it can be used as a drinking vessel.” The Black newcomer is then assured: “Every Sir Knight who receives this degree takes a toast to the memory of Brother Joseph.”

The remaining brethren arise. The candidate then sups from the human skullcap. Whilst the mystic cup is customarily an actual human skullcap some preceptories that have no access to a skull (or are uncomfortable with using the same) use a coconut or shell as a representation of a skullcap.

Lecture

Why do you wear that colour?

What colour?

Royal Black?

Because I am in mourning.

For whom are you in mourning?

A friend and brother.

What friend and brother?

Brother Joseph

Why are you in mourning for Brother Joseph?

Because he was sold as a slave into Egypt and supposed to be dead.

What is that you carry in your hand?

A token.

What kind of token?

A piece of money.

What do you intend to do with it?

Buy burying ground.

For whom?

Joseph and the friends of Joseph.

Where are you from?

The Plains of Midian.

Where are you going?

To the back side of the desert even to Horeb the Mount of God.

What to do there?

Obtain all the regular signs and passwords of a Royal Black Knight of the camp of Israel.”

With a pack on my back and a staff in my hand.

Why where you thus prepared?

Because I was supposed to travel.

Where were you supposed to travel?

Through the wilderness and over the burning sands of the desert.

Where were all these regular signs and passwords first obtained?

On Horeb.

By whom?

Moses.

What did Moses see on Mount Horeb?

Three great and mighty wonders.

What were they?

First the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed. Second the rod that when cast upon the ground became a serpent and afterwards a rod again. Third the withered hand that was restored whole even as his other flesh.

What do you intend to do with these great and mighty wonders when you have obtained them?

Carry them down into Egypt and lay them before Pharaoh that I might free my brethren who are there in bondage.

How to you intend to get into Egypt?

By the benefit of a password.

Have you that password?

I have

Will you give it to me?

Are you a true Israelite?

I – am – that – I – am

Do you intend to remain in Egypt?

No.

Where are you going?

To the mount

What mount?

Mount Carmel.

What to do there?

Slay all the false prophets of Baal.

How do you intend to get there?

By the benefit of a password.

Have you that password?

I have

Will you give it to me?

I will, if you begin.

The – fire – of – the - Lord.

Why do you take the fire of the Lord for your password?

Because by the prayer of Elijah on Mount Carmel the fire of the Lord descended from heaven and consumed the burnt sacrifice.

Have you a number?

I have.

What is your number?

Seven and another seven.

What is that first seven?

Six times I ascended the mount and saw nothing, but the seventh time I both saw and heard.

What did you see?

A little cloud rise out of the sea like unto a man’s hand which afterwards fell in a shower, and watered the earth.

What did you here?

The sounds of abundance of rain.

What is that other seven?

The seven thousand of Israel that never bowed the knee to Baal nor kissed his lips.

Have you the great and grand password of a Royal Black Knight of the camp of Israel?

I have.

Will you give it to me?

If thine heart be right unto my heart even as mine is unto thine, stretch forth thine hand and show thy zeal for the Lord.

Why halt ye so long between two opinions if the Lord be God follow him, but if Baal then follow him?

The- Lord- he- is- the- God.

The- Lord- he- is- the- God.

2nd Address

Sir Knight and Brother you have this evening been initiated into Royal Black Preceptory No ----- it belongs to No—District ------in the county of------------ holding a warrant from the Imperial Grand Black Chapter of the British Commonwealth.

The teaching of our order are based upon this most precious book the bible, and the various degrees are but illustrations of the various truths and lessons taught thereby.

In this degree we learn the lesson of fidelity to the brotherhood for as the brethren of Joseph carried up his bones to their last resting place. So should we keep our promise to the brethren? The hand is the principal emblem in this degree it gives expression of the feeling of the heart and this sword with which you have been knighted is endowed with three most excellent qualities. It is hilted with justice bladed with fortitude and pointed with mercy and in the hands of Black Knights teaches us this lesson that having faith in the justice of our cause we should press onwards with fortitude never forgetting to extend the point of mercy towards a fallen foe.”

During the first, initiatory degree, the Royal Black, a triangle is placed in front of the initiate, who is asked: “How many lights do you see on the Triangle before you?” After counting them, the Candidate replies: twelve.” The guide then instructs the Black candidate to “extinguish one of the lights,” and the candidate obliges. The Lecturer then asks, “How many lights do you now see?” The initiate replies (again after counting them): “eleven.” Because of his nervous state, the entrant is normally helped with his answers.

The Black lecturer declare, “I would now draw your attention to this triangle of light. It is emblematic of the Holy Trinity in which, had you not been a believer you could not have been admitted a member of our illustrious order. The first time you counted them there were twelve lights, which represented the twelve sons of Jacob. The second time you counted them there was but eleven, representing the time when Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt and supposed to be dead. Joseph did die in Egypt, it is true, but not until the Lord had brought about a reunion between him and his brethren, which was represented the third time, you counted them and beheld twelve lights. They will also correspond with the number of the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, one of whom fell, and the ancient custom of our Order teaches us that he who would betray his trust deserves no better fate than that which befell Judas Iscariot.”

Biblcal analysis of the Royal Black degree

Why Black?
The Jesuit Connection
The Mystic cup
The use of human remains in Black rites
The biblical way to treat human bones
An evangelical response
Judas fate threatened to the Black candidate

Other Info

For further revelations read Inside the Royal Black Institution

A book for ‘black men’ to seriously consider by Cecil Andrew of Take Heed Ministries.

The Black Oath

The Royal Black Institution and British Israelism

United Protestant Council reject the "Royal" Black Institution

(1) Royal Black Degree
(2) Royal Scarlet Degree
(3) Royal Mark Degree
(4) Apron and Royal Blue Degree
(5) Royal White Degree
(6) Royal Green Degree
(7) Gold Degree
(8) Star and Garter Degree
(9) Crimson Arrow Degreee
(10) Link and Chain Degree
(11) Red Cross Degree