Ancient Order of Druids/Ritual
From Kook Science
Notes on the ritual of the Ancient Order of Druids.
Described by an Anonymous Member (1825)
- Togodubiline (pseud.) (1825), "TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE DORCHESTER GAOL. London, Oct. 1st.", The Republican 12 (16): 502-504, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044092629559&view=1up&seq=552
BEING much pleased with your excellent exposure of Free Masonry, and observing that you wish for information on the Druids, usually called the Ancient Order of Druids, I am induced to give you the best information I can. My description you may depend upon as containing the correct outlines of the order, which is evidently much inferior to Masonry; and I am not aware of its being in any way superior to that of the “Odd Fellows."
First, this society, as with the Masons, is governed by a Grand Lodge of England, to which certain fees are paid. The Grand Lodge is held at a house near Charing Cross, I believe, but was originally in Oxford Street. I rather think it is at the British Coffee House; where any one may get made a Druid for five shillings; and, afterwards sing a song, smoke his pipe, get drunk, kick up a row in the street, get into the watch-house, or go home, which he pleases. The fee for making is generally more in the couutry Lodges, of which there are several in different parts of the country. The principal affairs of the meetings are singing, smoking and drinking; and, now and then, marking a flat, a term used when a new member is introduced.
The officers are termed the Noble Grand Arch Druid, the Vice Arch, 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th, Bards, Secretary, and Guardian. The Landlord of the house, in which the lodge is held, is usually called the host. The Arches and Bards wear dresses of linen, like surplices, and long grey beards. The ceremony of opening and closing is short and somewhat in the Masonic stile; but with the addition of singing.
When a candidate is introduced, he is brought blind-folded to the door, received by the Guardian, presented with a branch of the sacred misletoe and led by a rope or chain into the middle of the Lodge, which is generally painted to represented a wood and large stones. Sometimes a distant view of Stonehenge is seen.
The Druids of our day are no more like the Druids that frequented that astonishing place, than you are like the Pope in the opinions for which you are now so shamefully confined. He is then asked some foolish questions, which he, of course, answers as desired, and is obligated or sworn on the Bible, in the Masonic way, to keep the secrets, &c., under no less a penalty, than that of being hewn to pieces with an axe, as Samuel the prophet hewed Agag king of the Amalekites. Being thus sworn, he is led round the room and the following ceremony takes place. One shakes a tea tray up and down with peas in it; another shakes a large sheet of tin or iron plate; a third puts a red hot poker into a large can of water; a fourth treats the blind Noodle with a hot poker to one cheek, whilst a fifth puts a piece of cold metal to the other. All this is done to represent hail, wind, thunder, &c. &c. The candidate is then brought to light amidst loud singing of.
“With-Evergreen his brows entwine
And hail him with your songs sublime,
Till from Great Togodubiline, &c.
A pedestal stands before him and a compost of salt, spirits of wine, verdigrease, &c. is burning to give the finish to the grey beards. The candidate is then entrusted with the signs and words, takes his seat, his pipe and pot, is called on for a song, by the Noble Arch, requested to be regular in his attendance, to introduce as many members as he can, and also to speak highly of the order, in his goings to and fro and up and down the country.
I had nearly forgotten to state, that [a] short account of the birth, progress, &c. of the Great Togodubiline (a sort of Solomon among the Druids) is given; but too foolish to be inserted here, having neither sense nor meaning in it.
The signs, grip, &c. are given as follows :— Give one rap at the door, which is opened; and if you are known to the Guardian, you are reported, walk on to the middle of the room, face the Noble Grand and salute him a militaire. This is done somewhat in the way in which soldiers salute their officers when they pass them — two fingers straight, two bent, lay the hand on the forehead, palm outward. The Noble Grand Arch will return it by laying his finger and thumb on his chin (each side) and draw it down, as if feeling his beard. You then do the same, place your hat under your left arm, make a motion with your forefinger round the inside edge, so as to form a half circle from within outwards.
The Grip is by pressing the thumb between the two forefingers at the first joint.
The word is Seretonius Paulinus given in syllables.
Paulinus Seretonius, the Druids say, was a Roman General, that drove the Ancient Druids from Britain to the Island of Mona and nearly murdered the whole. In consequence, the remainder held his name in abhorrence, and, by reversing the name, used it as a test word.
Mona is also a pass-word used by some lodges.
I believe, Sir, that I have now given a general outline of the order and have only further to observe, that any person applying to be admitted, who is not known to the Guardian, would have to go through the whole ceremony.
With best thanks for the excellent exposure you have given of Masonry, and with hopes, that you will so expose every secret association.
I remain, Sir,
Your well wisher and Brother Druid,
P.S. There is an Arch Chapter attached to some lodges of Druids; but so inferior, paltry a thing, that, when I say, beneath Druidism in general, I trust, I need not plead an excuse for not explaining it. It is never given but for the purpose of extorting a few shillings more from the already duped Noodle.