Rituaal voor den Leerlingsgraad E.R. (Netherlands)

Some say that the so-called “English Ritual” never changes. Worshipful Masters even swear to make to changes to the ritual. Still, the history of this Dutch ritual is not as easy as it sounds!

On the right you see the (translated) “Ritual for the degree of Entered Apprentice E.R.” (English Rite). The red mark says ‘first printing 1947’. The title page also says the same. Well, I have the same text from 1930, which is very similar (but not the same!). It differs from the “Scottish” / “Dutch” ritual of the same time, but there is no mention of it being “English” anywhere. So, the 1947 printing is the first printing that does mention it being “E.R.”.

It would be easy if this “English Ritual” would simply be a translation of one of the editions of “Dharma” never to be changed again. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Dutch rituals always have a ‘plan of the lodge’. These plans were not common in the UK. The 1930 and 1947 Dutch “English” rituals have very different plans. In 1930 a simple plan was used, quite similar to the 1916 (‘Sydney’) edition. In 1947 there was a plan that looks very ‘English’ with a checkered floor in the middle of the plan. Dutch lodges usually have a checkered floor all over the floor.

So is 1930 comparable to ‘Sydney’ then? Not really. The Dutch rituals opens with (in translation): “There should be a soft, subdued light. The Star in the East will be found sufficient….” ‘Sydney’ starts with: “There should be a very soft subdued light in the Temple. The portrait of the H. of all true F…..”. The Dutch 1947 printing again has a very different text.

There is a Dutch translation of “Sydney” that also speaks about the ‘head of all true Freemasons’, so does a 1926 ritual from the Dutch Indies that I have.

In the 1913 third edition of “Dharma” the lodge is “in darkness except for the star in the E.”.

Continuing with the 1916 ‘Sydney’ edition, the text is literally the same up until the “ruby glass”. Later the “introcessional” / “introcessie” has been removed though. I think it is save to say that the Dutch translation of ‘Sydney’ was quite literal and for the “English” rituals these translations have been revised. The 1947 “first edition” differs substantially from the 1930 edition. I doesn’t seem that the 1925 edition from the UK was the basis for this, so there is the suggestion that the Dutch federation made their own adaptions. Also the ritual differs a lot from the 1926 ritual from the Dutch Indies that I have. There is the suggestion that after the colonisation of the Dutch Indies ended in the 1950, Dutchmen returned to their original country, some of them bringing with them the “English” ritual that the Dutch federation had tried to banish. Things seem to be not so simple. In 1930 there was an ‘English’ ritual and both the 1930 and 1947 editions, differ from the 1926 edition of the Dutch Indies.

Not as clear-cut as one might expect. I think the conclusion is that the 1916 ‘Sydney’ edition was the start to come to Dutch (and Dutch Indies) “English” rituals, but changes have been made either or not through using other sources.

As a side note. In some communication the Dutch federation calls their “English Rite” “Lauderdale” and some members do that too. “Lauderdale“, at least in the UK, is the 1951 edition of ‘Dharma’ (no longer under that name). The Dutch “English Rite” goes back to an earlier version, most likely the 1916 edition, so “Lauderdale” in the UK is ‘two versions up’ from the start of the Dutch “English Rite” which also appears to have been edited using other sources too. Would this mean that the term “Lauderdale” is very generic nowadays and does not necessarily refer to (translations of) the same ritual?

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