Sydney Ritual

The archives of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain has two little booklets, one of the first and one of the second degree. The image above says:

Ritual of the first or Entered Apprentice degree
Fairly complete translation of the Sydney Ritual

The booklet appears to be typed on an electrical typewriter on very thin paper and has, as you can see, a bit of an odd format. It does not look like it was really used in a lodge. My guess is that one or a few people were interested in the ritual that Wedgwood and Leadbeater came up with and translated it for members whose English wasn’t strong enough.

As we saw before, the fourth edition of “Dharma” (though no longer using that name) was printed in Sydney in 1916. This is most likely the edition that Wedgwood and Leadbeater made and which was used to initiate Leadbeater. The preface of this edition says: “certain verses from the V…s.S.L. and some well-known Masonic hymns have been inserted for their use.” The Dutch translation also starts two hymns. The fourth and fifth English editions have two to choose from, but they differ from the Dutch one (!). Then comes another remarkable similarity. “Introcessional” in the fifth edition is in Dutch the slightly awkward “introcessie”.

Unfortunately the Dutch translation isn’t dated, but perhaps the remark about it being a translation of the “Sydney rituals” is dating enough. The text begins with “Voorbereidende ceremoniën” which is a logical translation for the “Preliminary ceremonies” that are mentioned in the fourth English edition. It gets even better. The Dutch translation continues with: “Er behoort een zeer zacht getemperd licht in den Tempel te zyn.” This is much like the sentence: “There should be a very soft subtle light in the Temple.” which is a change compared to the third edition in which the lodge should be in total darkness.

The most remarkable difference between the fourth and fifth English editions and the Dutch translation is that in the Sydney printing an image of the “head of all true Freemasons” hangs behind the Worshipful Master and below the blazing star, while in the fifth edition it moved to the North wall.

It seems logical to refer to the fourth edition with “Sydney” as it was printed there. Yet, as you can see above, the name “Sydney” is not printed on the title page.


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