Rituaal voor den Leerlingsgraad (Netherlands)

This is where it all started for me. I was initiated using the current version of this ritual. I immediately found a curiosity to the predecessors of that ritual. What would have been changed over the years? It took quite some effort to find all different editions. Basically the ritual goes back to “Dharma“. The history in short.

In 1904 Annie Besant and a few others came to the Netherlands to initiate seven Theosophists. For the occasion she brought her (brand new) “Dharma Workings of Craft Masonry”. Two of the people who were initiated, Henri van Ginkel and Johannes Duwaer, published both the Dutch and the English first editions of “Dharma” in 1904 or 1905 (there is no year in the booklets). In 1905 the first Dutch lodge was founded.

Even though he was a Theosophist, Van Ginkel was of the opinion that Theosophy and Freemasonry was mixed too much in Besant’s ritual. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that he left his mother lodge and founded a new lodge in his own house in 1911. For that lodge he already had a new ritual. Van Ginkel had started to edit the “Dharma Workings” based on the rituals of the Grand Orient of the Netherlands, the men-only “regular” Grand Lodge. In order to do that, he had to make drastic changes. The officers had to move, the texts during the opening about their places in the lodge, etc. in the end, there were new editions of the Dutch rituals in 1904 (“Dharma”), 1915, 1918, 1925 and 1946.

There is something odd in this history. The Dutch federations seems to have done nothing with the second edition of “Dharma”, but the third edition was translated. By that time there were also already the edited rituals, so there are major changes between these rituals.

By 1946 the big changes were also processed and after that only minor changes were made to the text. Somewhere along the line, the description “Scottish” came in use, but within the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain, this was later changed to “Dutch”.

In 1918 Le Droit Humain had a schism. Both the National and the Supreme Council wanted to see the Theosophical rituals replaced by those of Van Ginkel. Some lodges disapproved and started their own Grand Lodge. This one lodge “N.V.V.V.” / “Nederlands Verbond Van Vrijmetselaren” (‘Dutch Union of Freemasons’) still exists.

In 1960 there was another schism. The “N.G.G.V.” / “Nederlandse Grootloge der Gemengde Vrijmetselarij” (‘Dutch Grand Lodge of co-Masonry’) kept using the rituals that the lodges also used when they worked under Le Droit Humain. From then on the “Dutch” (Le Droit Humain) and “Scottish” (N.G.G.V. kept the old name) started to develop on their own. Nowadays they are still a lot alike, but there are noticeable differences.

It was when my investigations lead back to “Dharma” that I also wanted to look at the history and later development of that ritual. This eventually led to a fair collection of co-Masonic rituals, not only in the Dutch language.

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