This address is a Potpourri, a collection of interesting items from our Ritual. appropriate to the title, a hotchpotch, a mixture of dried sweet-smelling flower-petals and herbs preserved in a vase, or in music, a medley of favourite tunes strung together. (The pronunciation is : - poe poo ree)


Presentation of the Collar

The presentation of the collar to the candidate introduces him to two of the symbols used for instruction in the 18th degree. These are the white eagle and the pelican. The presentation of the degree certificate at a latter date may be accompanied by a short lecture when the double-headed eagle will be explained and the Legend of Frederick the Great's masonic connections explored in its imaginative vagueness.

White eagle:
The emblems on the Jewel are described as the Collar is presented to the newly perfected Prince " on the reverse, a white eagle with wings extended as if rising in the air "The eagle reminds us that the Saviour is God himself, as he said to the Israelites of old, "I bare you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself" (RCR) p37
The white eagle is the American Eagle. It is also called the Bald Eagle, and is one of the largest. An eagle with "wings extended," is the heraldic emblem, a truly majestic sight. (DPF, p. 358) This has been reasonably adopted by the Rite. The precise origins of the ritual are confused during the years evolving through various countries. There is also an Egyptian Golden Eagle, a deep brown with a sprinkling of gold having a wing span of 2.5 metres and more likely to be the reference point for scriptural use. The Prophet Jeremiah refers to its habit of nesting on high places on mountaintops.
But in earlier times, the Lord speaks to his people:
"You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I carried you as an eagle carries her young on her wings." or "I bear you on eagles' wings... "(NIV) (Ex. 19:4)
This was said when Moses went to the mountaintop, and met with God. An agreement was struck, "Now if you obey me and keep my covenant you will be my own people. The whole earth is mine, but you will be my chosen people, a people dedicated to me alone and you will serve me as priests."
This was a dramatic moment in the long history of Israel, as Moses instructed and prepared the people. With thunder and lightning, thick clouds gathering on Mount Sinai, and the people assembled at the foot of the mountain, God spoke and these were his
words, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, worship no God but me." Here Moses received the tablets on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments. Ex 20
The Israelites continued their wandering for forty years. Joshua received his appointment as leader as they stood looking over the Promised Land. The Book of Deuteronomy details the closing days of Moses' life, with an extensive speech of farewell, addressing his people: "I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life." (Deut 30: 19 )


He reiterates the promises of the rich and fertile land and the prosperity of life ahead. Moses recited a song or poem, reminding them of the harshness of their travels in the wind-swept desert and used this beautiful picture of the mother eagle carrying her eaglets until they master the art of flying. "Like an eagle teaching its young to fly, catching them safely on its spreading wings, the Lord kept Israel from falling" (Deut 32:11). The sojourn in the desert was a mighty learning experience for the Hebrews.
This picture of the caring mother eagle is found again in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in "The Words of the Heavenly Lights", a set of prayers for the days of the week. (4Q504)
"Remember, pray, that we are Thy people and that Thou hast carried us marvellously on the wings of eagles and hast brought us toward Thee. And like an eagle which rouses its nestlings and hovers over its young, spreads out its wings, takes one and carries it on its pinions, so we dwell apart and are not reckoned among the nations..."
The eagle has become the symbol for St. John the Evangelist, representing immortality, the spirit of man mounting to heavenly places. Hence the use of the carved eagle on lecterns in churches.
The prophet Ezekiel saw in a storm a vision of four living creatures one with the form of an eagle, (Ezek: 1: 10), and there is a similar vision in The Book of Revelation (Rev: 4:7).
A further reference perhaps closer in meaning to the words of our Ritual comes from the Book of the prophet Isaiah when the Babylonians paid a visit to Jerusalem. a reconnoitre, an appraisal with a take-over in view of the Kingdom of Israel. This visit was on the surface one of good-will. Time revealed the true intention of the visitors from the land of the Tigris and Euphrates. Drought had severely affect the land of Judah, and Isaiah made it clear that the Babylonians would return and take the treasure they had seen and the people as captives. Comfort for the threatened people came in familiar words of Handel's Messiah, the voice crying out "Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord". Even the young men would fall exhausted is the stress of oppression and drought "but those who trust in the Lord will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weak." (lsa.40:31)
Some time after the fall of Jerusalem, the Prophet Obadiah reacts to the looting of the Holy City by the Edomites taking the words of the Lord and saying:
"Your capital is a fortress of solid rock;
your home is high in the mountains,
and so you say to yourself,
'Who can ever pull me down?'
Even though you make your home
as high as an eagle's nest
so that it seems to be among the stars
yet I will pull you down."
A similar thought is expressed in a Psalm of David, "He fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle" (Ps.I03.5) This is a reminder of an ancient superstition that every ten years the eagle soars upward to the "fiery region" loses all its feathers and plunges down into the sea, and acquiring a new covering and a new life:
"leaving his old plumes, hoary grey, and decketh himself with feathers youthly and gay" (Spenser: Fairie Queen).
Note that eagles often lived to 30 years almost the average male human life expectancy of the time!



Double headed-eagle

The Eighteenth Degree Certificate for the newly-perfected brother illustrates the

double-headed the eagle, the sword, the riband and motto, with the two supporting banners of the Supreme Council. One has the eagle and the other a the map of Australia with the gold seven-pointed Federation Star.
And quoting from the address at the time of presentation of this certificate, the newly perfected prince hears this description of, "The double-headed eagle holding a sword horizontally in its talons is the device of all Supreme Councils".
The original regalia for a member of the 33rd degree was described with complete detail in the Appendix to the Latin version of the Grand Constitutions of 1786. This did not appear until 30 years after the formation of the first Supreme Council but there is no reason to doubt that the regalia, as described, was that actually worn by the original members of these Supreme Councils.
The jewel of the degree was laid down as: "an Eagle similar to that on the Standard of the Order" and this Eagle is described as a "Black double-headed eagle, (un aigle noir a deux tetes) with wings outstretched, and the beaks and legs of gold. It holds in its one claw the golden hilt and, in the other, the steel blade of an old-fashioned sword, placed horizontally from right to left."
The emblem of single-headed eagle originated in early times with its head turned to the right, as carried by the Roman legions and symbolising the might of the original Roman Empire. The German eagle turns to the left.

In the course of history this Roman Eagle, was made into a double one. the double-eagle (doppel-adler) not "two-headed eagle", to signify the wide extent of the Roman Empire, with its twin capitals of Byzantium and Rome. It was also later adopted by Russia presumably for similar reasons. When the schism in the higher degrees occurred in France about 1762, a new body, calling itself "The Emperors of the East and West" broke away from the Knights of the East. It may have then taken a double-headed eagle as its badge to show how much more important and how much wider was its dominion than that of the Knights.

The Constitutions of 1762 were written earlier in the same year and these included. as far as is known, the start of the legend of the involvement of Frederick the Great or the II of Prussia with the Ancient and Accepted Rite. An explanation of this historical division is also contained in the above-mentioned address and remains as a first class enigma.
Frederick the Great ruled Prussia from 1740 dying in 1786 at the age of 72 after a long illness. He built a great kingdom, which was to become part of the United German Empire about a hundred years later under Bismark. He is famous for saying that "politics is the science of acting always by convenient means according to one's own interests".
He attacked Saxony, and made an alliance with England, but this aggression drew Russia, France and Austria into the conflict against him, the setting for the Seven Years War from 1757 to 1763. Aged prematurely by the strain of this conflict, he worked assiduously and with despotic severity to restore and develop his stricken kingdom. (OJE)


The legend has it that he formed a degree, "The Noachite or the Prussian Knight" as an Order to reward knights who served for him and whose contents are out of place among other Masonic degrees. The subject concerns the Great Flood with the descendants of Noah fearing another similar catastrophic event. It has however common ground with our 21 st Degree. The Degree appeared in French rituals of the time, and as the war involved Saxony and France fighting against Prussia, Masonic alliances were improbable.
What however is quite certain is that Frederick would never have allowed any document in his name to have, as its badge, his own crown in association with anything other than the single eagle of Prussia. He had spent most of his life fighting for survival against the double eagles of the Holy Roman Empire and of Russia. His eagle differed. The Prussian Eagle has its head turned to the left, its claws tucked up or spread and holding the sceptre and an orb.
Nevertheless, though there is this controversy of whether Frederick had any personal connection with the Ancient and Accepted Rite, it does not detract in any way from the use of the eagle in the present badge by the Supreme Council of the Rite. Many heraldic emblems are the result of oddities and, in spite of its curious origin, the double eagle holding a sword in its claws, is a fine badge and worthy to be used by Supreme Councils.
There is a more cultured side to Frederick. He studied organ in Berlin Cathedral, and later took flute lessons with Johann Quantz while he was still the Crown Prince. He established court bands in his country residences.
C.P .E. Bach, the harpsichordist and Quantz, master of the flute were among his employees and he was visited by "Poppa" Bach. J. S. Bach dedicated one of his works "The Musical Offering" to Frederick on one of these visits in 1747, written for his pleasure and interest with a fugal theme composed by Frederick for the flute. Frederick was also a prolific composer of over one hundred pieces.
He did not love music however. He loved the flute, and then only his own instrument. It is reported that when he lost his front teeth in the sixties, and could no longer play he developed an aversion to all music. :
The Supreme Council for England and Wales describes its badge officially as "a double spread-eagle, surmounted by a crown, and holding a sword in its claws". This badge is also the neck decoration worn by members of the 30th Degree and higher. Its colouring and that of its supporting collarette vary with the rank of the wearer. (JRC)
The Use of the words "Holy Empire" abbreviated to H. E. after signatures in our Rite is of interest as this is also referred to in the short address for the presentation of the Supreme Council Certificate to a newly perfected brother.
Since the establishment of Supreme Councils about 1800, the Grand Treasurers General and Grand Secretaries General, when signing their names officially have placed the words "Saint Empire" or "Holy Empire" (usually abbreviated as H E) after their titles. The words are associated with this legend of the Rite and the Empire of Frederick II of Prussia. Those who wrote this legend into the Constitutions of the Rite must have confused the new Prussian Empire with the centuries older Holy Roman Empire.
The term "Holy Empire" referred to the Habsburg Empire and appeared during the 12th century. This still existed, but was centered on Austria, when Frederick the Great was King of Prussia. It had become known as the "Holy Roman Empire" many centuries before the era of Frederick, because it had the patronage of the Pope: again nothing to do with the Protestant Frederick.


The first time that "H E" is found is in documents signed by the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of America which was constituted at Charleston at the start of the 19th century. This may have been at the suggestion of masons who had probably used the French version of the term toward the end of the previous century in documents of the Supreme Council for the French West Indies; and had probably invented it. The term may be found in the abridged edition of the Constitutions of 1786. There is also an earlier entry of the Treasurer being "du Saint-Empire", of the Holy Empire.
And one last comment on eagles. The authors of the Book of Proverbs have a word for almost anything, and in one particular section use Numerical Sayings. These are introduced by an explanatory title followed by the statements. Thus:
There are four things that are too mysterious for me to understand:                                      "a snake moving on a rock ………a ship finding its way over the sea,                                                             and a man and woman falling in love"                                                           but the first of the four is:
"an eagle flying in the sky" (Proverbs 30: 18)

It was only recently that the aviation engineers discovered the purpose of the small feathers on the extremities of eagles' wings and so fitted modern jet aircraft with upturned winglets. This reduces the flow of air around the wing-tip, and so increasing the amount of lift available.

The Pelican.
The jewel of the 18th Degree has the heraldic emblem, the "pelican in its piety", and refers to our Redeemer and his blood shed for us. This variously signifies the resurrection, sustenance or filial devotion. Christian art has used this image to depict charity, and in particular St Jerome is painted with a pelican giving succour to its young after they were destroyed by serpents. In the proper use of the heraldic emblem, "a pelican in its piety", it feed its young with regurgitated food, not with blood as is often said.
Alternatively, a venerable book, the Bestiary written in the 11-14th Century. describes the supposed habits and peculiarities of birds. The young of the pelican will rebel against their father who is then likely to kill them. The mother will then sit on the nest for three days, pouring her blood over them. (DPF)
The certain identification of this bird as biblical could not be achieved. Others birds receive mention.

Bread, Salt and Wine.
The Third Point brings together these three common elements of daily life and we use them in several combinations.
Unleavened bread, i.e. that made without yeast is a feature of the Passover Meal and was eaten for 7 days in the Feast of Unleaven Bread established in Moses' time and described in Leviticus (23:6), following the Passover. There are numerous references to the use of bread and the significance of leavening. This preparation with or without yeast has varied significance in New Testament writings.



In the Third Point. the taking of bread is linked first with salt: "among the wandering arabs of the desert" the custom of eating bread ' and taking salt was the sign of welcome and friendship.
The psalmist says "thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine
enemies." In the East the custom of admitting someone to one's tent and safety when
pursued by enemies, was sealed by the bread and salt as a promise of trust. If there were no open tent, there would be no bread and salt and his enemies may have had him for breakfast!
Those who sit together are committed to friendship.
There is in the Old Testament a "Covenant of salt", everlasting and unbreakable mentioned in Leviticus (2:13) where neither yeast nor honey were to be added to offerings to the Lord, but "Put salt on every grain offering, because salt represents the covenant between you and God." and with emphasis "you must put salt on all your offerings." Earlier, Exodus (30:35) specifies that salt is to be an ingredient of the special incense used in the sanctuary.
As he sat in his misery, surrounded by his unhelpful friends, Job was caused to exclaim -
" A donkey is content when eating grass,
and a cow is quiet when eating hay.
But who can eat tasteless unsalted food?
What flavour is there in the white of an egg?"
Thus salt indicates faithfulness, dependability and durability.
(In another book, enemies were said to spread salt over the fields of their enemies to render them barren.) (Judges 9:14)
The "goblet of fraternal affection", the cup of wine is the third element in this concluding part of the ritual. This was the staple drink of those times, often unfermented and a useful item of trade. Solomon traded 20,000 baths of wine with Hiram King of Tyre for much of the timber for the construction of his temple. (2 Chr. 2:10-15) Fines were paid in wine, and wine was given as an offering to the many gods and as an addition to the lamb offerings for the Lord God (Ex.28:7).


In praise of God, David in Psalm 104, says-

"You make grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to use,
so that he can grow his crops
and produce wine to make him happy,
olive oil to make him cheerful,
and bread to give him strength"
The earliest reference to an offering of bread and wine comes from Genesis 14 (v. 18-20) when Melchizedek who was king of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God brought bread and wine to Abraham, blessed him, shared his victory, and joined to praise God for deliverance. Groups of kings had formed alliances and joined battle with. the usual looting and taking of hostages. Abraham wished never to be beholden to any man, and refused to keep any of the spoils of the defeated kings.



The author of the New Testament Book of Hebrews highlights this Old Testament priest, as one without mother or father, or record of his birth or death, a prototype of Jesus as a great high priest, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending. Melchizedeck worshipped God in a religious stream separate from Abraham, and well before the time of the Levitical priests. Abraham did however give a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek, and the priestly analogy is continued in the tithing instituted under the Law of Moses.
A later occasion is worth including as an event leading up to Solomon's time. King Saul had severe fits of depression and musical therapy was advised by the court physicians. Following Samuel's secret anointing of David as king, David was summonsed to play his harp in the royal court. Messengers were sent out and David went on his way taking a 20at laden with bread and a leather bag; full of wine. gifts to the king. The therapy proved to be effective but this began a close and dangerous relationship between these two men. Saul failed as king, and after his death in battle David was again anointed and took over the reins of government. (4)(1 Sam. 16)


Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley

"By faith you have found the Rose of Sharon", is quoted when the candidate reaches the last step on the ladder". Then we hear, "In the Song of Solomon we find reference to the Saviour under the mystical title of the Rose of Sharon" in describing the collar and jewel, and later in the Third Point, "Let us invoke the blessing of Him who is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley".
The rose has a long and interesting history of symbolic application probably representing a variety of flowers according to the place and time. Its thorns no doubt characterise the shrub. It has been dedicated to Venus, a symbol of love. It denotes secrecy, "under the rose" a phrase meaning spoken in confidence. But immortality is . another association. The rose and cross are paired with immortality and death.
The Rose of Sharon takes us however into a different group of plants found on the coastal plains of Palestine. It is considered to be a compact shrubby plant unlike the modem rose, growing from a bulb, with 2 to 4 flowers on a stalks with a notable fragrance, but others plants are possibly referred to, namely tulips, anenomies. saffron or crocus all growing wild.(ffiD)
The Mediterranean margin of Palestine is formed as a plain, narrowed to only a few hundred metres at Mount Carmel, and widening to the south for a distance of 80 km. to 15 km. This is the Plain of Sharon.. a fertile region once covered with oak trees, but at all times renowned for its fields of flowers and crossed by a number of streams flowing to the sea. Further south is the Philistine Plain with the city of Gaza. Mount Carmel forms a prominence jutting out into the sea close to the modem city of Haifa. Upon this mount Elijah challenged the followers of Baal.
The prophet Isaiah tells of the fertility of this land and describes the country-side in time of drought - "the land lies idle and deserted. The forests of Lebanon have withered, the fertile valley of Sharon is like a desert, and in Bashan and Mount Carmel the leaves are falling from the trees" (Isa. 33:9)
And later he looks with optimism to when - "The desert will rejoice and flowers will bloom in the wilderness. The desert will sing and shout for joy~ it will be as beautiful as the fields of Carmel and Sharon". (Isa. 35: 1,2)

The Song of Songs, the poetic book ascribed to Solomon puts these beautiful words into this interchange between lovers. First the loved one - "How handsome you are my dearest~ how you delight me! The green grass will be our bed~ the cedars will be the beams of our house, and the cypress trees our ceiling. I am only a wild flower in Sharon, a lily in the mountain valley. (S.of Sol.I:16-2:1) The Lover replies -
"Like a lily among thorns is my darling among women." (2:2)
This is interpreted as an allegory of the love between God and Israel, or of a prophetic relationship between Christ and the Church. Perhaps it is a simple expression of the wonder of human love and admiration.
The New Testament has only the one related reference,"consider the Lilies of the ~, how they grow, and yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." (Luke 12:27) This flower was used as an ornament in the temple (1 Kings 7:22) and formed the pattern for the lily-shaped bronze capitals surmounting the two entrance pillars of the temple. It was remarkable for its large white or rose-purple blooms. However, Solomon's lily may in truth be a red anenome, a common spring-time flower in Galilee. (ffiD)


The significance of the serpent in our Ritual . The collar carries a depiction of the serpent. the symbol of wisdom. Formerly in part of the English and Scottish Rituals as used by us, there was a degree the Twenty-fifth, the Knight of the Brazen Serpent which refers to the Old Testament story from Numbers (21 :6-9) when the Children of Israel were moaning about their conditions, complaining about the food, no figs, no com, no grapes, no pomegranates and in the desert, little water. "We can't stand any more of this miserable food" referring to the dewy manna.

This episode followed their rejection by the Edomites through whose country they wished to pass, and they were turned back into the desert again. The Lord sent snakes among them. Many were bitten and died. They confessed their error and Moses set up a bronze snake upon a pole. Those who raised their eyes in faith survived. The snakes were seen to be evil, but the image gave them life.

The candidate comes as an intercessor to the chief officers who are Moses, Joshua and Caleb and ask for healing. The Jewel was a cross "crux ansafa", of a Tau or T -shaped surmounted by a circle or oval, an inverted drop-shape, of ancient Egyptian origin and entwined round with a serpent as depicted on monuments. The Hebrew word used in the Masonic ceremony expresses the guilt of the Israelites, "we have sinned", alluding to the healing and saving virtues of the Brazen Serpent in the wilderness. (EoF)
Serpents are prominent in old cultures, in Egypt, Phoenicia, Babylon and Greece and in their religions: as symbols of divine wisdom when extended to their length or with tail in mouth as emblems of eternity. This recalls the representation on the Eighteenth Degree collar, the embroidered serpent. In the First Point the circles remind us of the "world's existence which will end with the second coming of our Great Emanuel when time shall be swallowed up in eternity of which the seventh circle is an emblem," linking the enduring serpent to time without end. (EoF)




The serpent has earned this reputation of long life and regeneration by the process of discarding its skin each year emerging with a fresh new covering, resembling the mythical process of the Phoenix or the eagle referred to in an earlier paragraph. Although the earlier chapters of the Book of Genesis give the snake an evil reputation, in this later episode, of the Israelites in their wanderings in the desert the lesson is one of healing. (EoF)

Again we can refer to the Seven Circles. This number, seven has the mystical significance of perfection. The seven days of creation are but one of the numerous examples: the days of the week are seven taken from Norse mythology, the sun, moon, Tuesco, Woden, Thor, Friga and Seatur. And another example - an ancient Persian ritual has seven caverns through which the aspirant will pass to receive his reward. (EoF).

The First Point of the Eighteenth Degree uses the Seven Circles. The candidate is lead around these, collecting the Letters to be presented to the Most Wise Sovereign. The significance here is of six periods of the earth's existence, with the seventh when time shall be swallowed up in Eternity.

In the Seventeenth Degree, the Knights of the East and West, there is within the alcove an altar supporting the Volume of the Sacred Law with Seven Seals broken in turn by the candidate at the direction of the Venerable Master. On the wall in a circle are the initials of the letters written to the seven Churches of Asia Minor, those recorded in the early chapters of the Book of Revelation. (EoF) Thus the candidate is surrounded by a new symbolism for which he will find hi~ own meaning and response. The Seventeenth Degree is completely separate from all those preceding, and is the connecting link between them and the one which follows, the Ceremony of Perfection, moving from allegories of Symbolic Masonry to the first of the philosophic degrees, the Eighteenth, representing the Principles of Christianity. (EoF)


Nunc Dimittis

Many of our Chapters conclude their assemblies with this psalm, sung with little attention as members move out of the Chapter Room with their minds on the correct order of retirement as outlined by the Director of Ceremonies.

Old Simeon recites his familiar benediction, the Nunc Dimitis. He was a pious man longing for the "consolation of Israel" (i.e. the Messianic Age) and is assured by the Holy Spirit that he will see the promise fulfilled. The Holy Spirit leads him to the temple at the time of Jesus' presentation. In his inspired song he declares Jesus to be the means of salvation for all people, Jew and Gentile, and on that conviction rests Jesus' ministry and the mission of the church. This poem draws a quotation from Isaiah (42:6 and 49:6), that light will be brought also to the gentiles.



The ceremony of presentation of the young Hebrew boy dates from the time of Moses and is detailed in Leviticus (12:6-8), associated with the ceremony of purification of women after childbirth. Usually 3 to 4 weeks after confinement the mother brings an offering to the door of the Tent, a one year old lamb for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or dove as a sin offering.

Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem for this ceremony, as the law of Moses demanded, that "the first-born male is to be dedicated to the Lord." Leviticus allows for poverty, and then parents could substitute two pigeon or doves for the lamb and this was the offering made on this occasion. For town-dwellers, an offering from the pastures would have been less available, and less affordable for a village carpenter with a family.

You may be aware that there is a Simeon Chapter under the English Constitution meeting in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.



Thus we see that the writers and composers of our Ritual have drawn on a wide range of items mainly from Biblical sources and woven them with imagination into a plausible tableau for instruction, if you wish or entertainment if you prefer.
Thus they make up an interesting tableau, a potpourri.

written by       K E Goard.     Canberra ACT 2001
(reproduced by Omnes Sancti Sovereign Chapter no:193   by kind permission.)
References and Key to Sources
1. Illustrated Bible Dictionary H & S (IBD) .
2. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (DPF) Page 10
3. Jackson's Rose Croix (JRC)
4. Good News Bible (GNB) Scriptural references are from here unless otherwise stated.
5. Rose Croix Ritual (RCR)
6. New International Version (NTV)
7. Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia (OJE)
8. Encyclopaedia of Freemasonary - A G MacKey (EoF)




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