Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm

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The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, also known as M.O.V.P.E.R. or The Grotto, after its lodge equivalent, is an appendant body in Freemasonry.[1]

Overview[edit]

It is a social organization for Master Masons, and as such, all Master Masons are welcome to join. It encourages renewed interest in the Blue Lodges, though it makes no claim to be a part of Symbolic Craft Masonry.[2]

Members are distinguished by a black fez with a red tassel and a Mokanna head in the middle.[3]

History[edit]

The members Hamilton Lodge No. 120, Free and Accepted Masons, of Hamilton, NY, were planning a Royal Arch Degree that would be held under the auspices of Cyrus Chapter No. 50, Royal Arch Masons. The group found that they got along splendidly and continued to meet, even after the degree had been conferred. Soon, the men began playing friendly pranks on each other, which only heightened their fellowship. With this kind of jollity taking hold, it wasn’t long before other nearby Brothers wished to join the group which, by that time, had taken on the name of “The Fairchild Deviltry Committee,” in honor of the ringleader, Bro. Leroy Fairchild, who was a local merchant and business man.[4]

With interest growing, the members decided that it was time to formalize the group and scheduled a meeting for September 10, 1889. Seventeen men showed up for this first official gathering, which resulted in the election of Brother Fairchild as leader of the group. The office he assumed was dubbed “King Devil,” in honor of the moniker the brotherhood had earned. Brother Sidney D. Smith was elected Secretary on the same day and the basics began to take shape. They immediately decided to limit membership to Master Masons for obvious reasons. It was also voted that Brothers R.R. Riddell and H.P. Tompkins would be the first candidates for the Order and an initiation date was set.

The Grotto took shape during the first “Golden Age of Fraternalism.” During this time there were hundreds of fraternal groups in the United States and a significant portion of the country’s population belonged to at least one of them. The men knew that they’d have to have a ritual and ceremony unlike any other, as well as one that encompassed the ideals and values the group believed in. With this in mind, Brother George Beal and Brother Adon Smith worked together to create a ritual for the order. This work was brought before a ritual committee which was pleased with the result. This version of the ceremony would be used to initiate Riddell and Tompkins as the first new members.

Immediately upon joining, Riddell knew that he could assist in improving the ritual. He was appointed to a ritual committee consisting of himself, LeRoy Fairchild, George Beal, Adon Smith, and William West. The first revision was undertaken with earnest. Riddell would bring his sense of showmanship to the ritual, adding in many flashy and fanciful Persian portions. Beal, on the other hand, had more interest in classical mythology and wanted those elements incorporated into the work. A compromise was found that incorporated Beal’s desires, but also included the theatrical elements proposed by Riddell, not to mention the devilish motif that was still intact from the early days. From then on, only Beal would have any real say in changes to the ritual, which remains his legacy to this day. In 1917, Beal would be officially lauded by the Supreme Council for his work, cementing his place in Grotto history.

Come May of 1890, interest in the group had spread at a rapid pace and it was realized that methods for widening the membership of the Order was needed. This marks the early formation of what is today known as the Supreme Council. It was on May 28 that the Fairchild Deviltry Committee met and formally adopted new provisions for governance, better enabling them to expand the organization. The final preparations were made and on June 13, 1890, the men met and took the name “The Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm.” The name was chosen based on the story that had been laid out in the ritual and it was thought to be suitably mysterious and grandiose for the time period. LeRoy Fairchild presided at this meeting, with Sidney Smith acting as Secretary. The group was composed of fourteen men, hailing from several different areas that were interested in forming the first local Grottos. [5]

They adopted a Constitution and set of Statues to form the Supreme Council, after which elections were held based upon the rules outlined therein. The following were elected (all of whom are from Hamilton, NY, unless otherwise noted:)

  • Grand Monarch – Thomas L. James
  • Deputy Grand Monarch – LeRoy Fairchild
  • Grand Chief Justice – George H. Raymond of New York City, NY
  • Grand Master of Ceremonies – J. C. Terry of St. Paul, MN
  • Grand Treasurer – William M. West
  • Grand Secretary – Sidney D. Smith
  • Grand Keeper of the Archives – Oren Root of Clinton, NY
  • Grand Orator – James B. Murray of Auburn, NY
  • Venerable Grand Prophet – Name Unknown
  • Trustees – U. C. Van Vleck; Adon N. Smith; D. B. West

The Grand Monarch then made appointments as permitted by the Constitution. These consisted of the following (again, all from Hamilton, NY, unless otherwise noted):

  • Grand Captain of the Guard – Thomas H. Beal
  • Grand Alchemist – J. F. Gregory
  • Standard Bearer – Samuel J. Todd of New Orleans, LA
  • Grand Marshal – John Cunningham of Utica, NY
  • Grand Steward – J. W. Clark
  • Deputy Grand Chief Justice – B. J. Stimson
  • Deputy Grand Master of Ceremonies – George Beal

It is interesting to note that all but one of the original elected Grand Officer positions have survived to this day, with Grand Keeper of the Archives being the notable exception. However, the Appointed Grand Officer positions have changed significantly through the years. Today, the Grand Marshal and the Grand Captain of the Guard are elected positions in the Supreme Council line, which leads to being elected Grand Monarch. The two Appointed Grand Office positions that exist today were not even part of the original list – those being Grand Sentinel and Grand Chaplain.

The officers were installed by the Grand Chief Justice, which then empowered them to create subordinate bodies. They immediately granted a dispensation to Druid Grotto No. 1 of Hamilton, NY (which would change its name to Mokanna Grotto No. 1 before its chartering.) Other business to be brought before the new Supreme Council included the approval of an obligation, written by Brother W.C. Eaton, and the appointment of officers to oversee committees. The group adjourned to observe the dinner hour, reconvening the next day (July 14, 1890.) The men approved the seal and badge of the order, as well as the official head covering, which was to be a turban. Originally, the color of the turban was limited by the Supreme Council, but by the end of 1890, a local Grotto could choose any color for their turbans as long as the entire Grotto used the same color; all veils were required to be silver. Veils of purple were reserved for members of the Supreme Council.

The Supreme Council meeting of June 11, 1891, would prove to be the true launching point of the organization. On this day a report was made of the granting of a dispensation for the second Grotto to be formed – Khorassan Grotto No. 2, of Ilion, NY. Later that year dispensations were also granted to Lalla Rookh Grotto No. 3 of Rochester, NY, and Zeba Grotto No. 4 of Rome, NY. On June 9, 1892, Khorassan Grotto No. 2 was officially chartered, making it the second operational Grotto in the Enchanted Realm.

In 1893, the Supreme Council held its first meeting outside of Hamilton, NY. They would meet in New York City, which proved to be an easier travel destination for members outside of the Hamilton area. On June 27, 1893, the Supreme Council issued another charter and its first large batch of dispensations. It formally chartered Mirzola Grotto No. 5 at Amsterdam, NY, and provided dispensations to three other Grottoes – Hiawatha Grotto No. 6 of Anoka, MN (the first Grotto located outside of New York); Azim Grotto No. 7 of New York City; and Shiras Grotto No. 8 of Antwerp, NY.

At the meeting of the Supreme Council of June 14, 1894, the body issued final charters to Hiawatha No. 6, Azim No. 7, and Shiras No. 8, along with Zelica No. 9 (of Kinderhoook, NY), which had been granted a dispensation in between meetings. It was also at this meeting that Brother Thomas L. James relinquished the title of Grand Monarch, being replaced by Brother Adon Smith, who would serve until 1899. Smith would die one year later, at the age of 65, on June 13, 1900 – ten years to the day of the forming of the Enchanted Realm and the institution of the modern Supreme Council.

From 1902 on, the Supreme Council would elect and transition power to officers on a yearly basis.

[6][7][8]

The name of the organization, as well as its principle female auxiliary were derived from Lalla-Rookh by Thomas Moore.[9] [10]

Regalia[edit]

For a few years the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm had no official emblem to wear. Word got around that the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets were permitted to wear an emblem that set them apart from others and a black Fez head covering was selected with a Mokanna Head in the center, giving the name of the Grotto. Naturally, this attracted attention. The minutes of a February 26, 1903 stated meeting of Azim Grotto, Bronx, New York states: "Prophet Charles E. Lansing, Past Potent Monarch, after some preliminary remarks, descriptive thereto, presented to those present, a drawing in color of a headgear appropriate for the Order. The same was received with favor and by motion, regularly made and seconded and carried, it was unanimously decided to adopt and wear them on serious and other appropriate occasions." In the minutes of October 29, 1903, it is recorded: "The Potent Monarch reported that the Fez worn by our members was, at the Annual Session of the Supreme Council held at Hamilton, New York on October 20, adopted as the official headgear for all Prophets of the Realm."[citation needed]

Female auxiliaries[edit]

Sometime prior to 1917, the Mysterious Order Witches of Salem was founded as a female auxiliary to the Grotto. The first “Caldron,” the term used for a local chapter of the Mysterious Order Witches of Salem was founded in Chicago, IL, and was known as Aryan Caldron No. 1.[11]

On January 15, 1918, Amoo Caldron No. 2 was constituted in Rock Island, IL. In 1918, the Supreme Caldron was formed, consisting of Aryan No. 1 and Amoo No. 2, with officers coming from both groups. Later, Koom Caldron No. 3 was opened in Rockford, IL.[12]

On or about Wednesday, March 5, 1919, Amoo Caldron No. 2 seceded from the “Supreme Caldron,” which was mostly being operated out of Chicago. The ladies in Rock Island promptly declared themselves the new Supreme Caldron and Amoo Caldron became No. 1. On November 18, 1920, Mrs. Vashti H. Bollman, acting Supreme Enchantress of the "new" Supreme Caldron notes that Mrs. Josephine Mace, Mysterious Enchantress of Amoo No. 2, withdrew Amoo from the parent organization in Chicago. It is reported that she was brought up on fraternal charges, to which she pled guilty, surrendering the charter of Amoo No. 2 in the process. However, she refused to give up the name “Amoo Caldron” and used it to “usurp the name Supreme Caldron from the parent organization.” [13] The Amoo group began opening new Caldrons, getting up to at least five with the institution of Hapac Caldron No. 5 in 1920.[14]

According to the history published by Omala Caldron on its website,[15] the Daughters of Mokanna formed in 1919, in Rock Island, Illinois. This coincides with the secession of Amoo from Chicago and the founding of their own Supreme Caldron. They go one to describe how the ritual was decided upon and list the first four Daughters of Mokanna Caldrons – Amoo No. 1, Mohassan No. 2, Ankara, No. 3, and Zal No. 4. This would lead one to believe that Hapac was No. 5 as listed in the newspaper accounts. However, no account is given as to what happened to Koom Caldron No. 3, except that it shows up as participating in the Daughters of Mokanna national Convention in 1922.[16] What remains unclear is when the Illinois group officially dropped the Witches and became Daughters; this has to be somewhere between 1920 and 1922.

It appears that there was either a schism of the Daughters or an attempt to revitalize the Mysterious Order Witches of Salem in New England. There exists a petition from Hejaz Caldron No. 1, of the Original Mysterious Order Witches of Salem, in New Haven, CT. The form is undated, but the addition of “Original” leads one to believe it was a resurrection attempt of some sort.

Today, the organization remains named the "Daughters of Mokanna." Chapters were referred to as "Caldrons," with the national governing body being called the "Supreme Caldron." The head of the organization is the "Supreme Mighty Chosen One".

Like its male counterpart, the group was involved in charitable activities directed toward cerebral palsy and dentistry for the handicapped. Membership in this auxiliary dropped dramatically in the late 20th century. From 8,000 members in the mid-1960s to 4,822 in 1994[17]

Humanitarian Foundation[edit]

At the June 1949 Grottoes of North America meeting, the delegates adopted a resolution to establish a 501(c)3 national charitable program, which was to be named the Humanitarian Foundation. Its first project was "Aid for the Cerebral Palsy Child". Since its inception over $1,000,000 has been contributed to UCP Research.

In 1953 the Enchanted Lantern was adopted as their emblem to represent each contribution of $50 or more that was made, although contributions of any size are gratefully accepted.

In 1969, The Humanitarian Foundation Trustees expanded the scope of the program by adopting the Dental Care for Children with Special Needs program in conjunction with the Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. In 1973, The Extension Program was developed to treat children locally to remove the burden of travel and housing for the parent and child. The Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas are two of our National Treatment Centers.

Today the Humanitarian Foundation, not only remembers the child with Cerebral Palsy with their annual contribution to research, but adds to it the unique partnership with qualified dentists throughout the United States and Canada.

Since 1985 the foundation has paid out $6,734,373 for dentistry alone. Growth in the program and in donations has allowed the majority of those funds, $4,394,729, to be paid out in just the last ten years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alan Axelrod International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders New York; Facts on File, inc 1997 p.110
  2. ^ HISTORY OF THE GROTTOES OF NORTH AMERICA, M.O.V.P.E.R.
  3. ^ SOME OF THE MANY PRIVILEGES OF BEING A GROTTO MEMBER
  4. ^ Hutchinson, Kenneth (December 2011). History of the Grottoes of North America, MOVPER. The Grottoes of North America. The Grottoes of North America. 
  5. ^ Anthony, Seth. "A Veiled History". Ubar Grotto, MOVPER. 
  6. ^ Axelrod p.110
  7. ^ HISTORY OF THE GROTTOES OF NORTH AMERICA, M.O.V.P.E.R.
  8. ^ Frequently Asked Questions
  9. ^ The Grotto, MasonicDictionary.com, 2007, retrieved 2009-12-15 
  10. ^ Lalla Rookh Caldron, Daughters of Mokanna, Lalla Rookh Grotto, archived from the original on October 31, 2009, retrieved 2009-12-15 
  11. ^ Rock Island Argus., March 06, 1919, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92053934/1919-03-06/ed-1/seq-10/#date1=1789&index=2&rows=20&words=Mysterious+Order+Salem+Witches&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1924&proxtext=mysterious+order+witches+of+salem&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  12. ^ Rock Island Argus., April 03, 1919, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92053934/1919-04-03/ed-1/seq-5/#date1=1789&index=1&rows=20&words=caldron+CALDRON+Koom&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1924&proxtext=koom+caldron&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  13. ^ The Rock Island Argus and daily union., November 18, 1920, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92053933/1920-11-18/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1789&index=1&rows=20&words=Mysterious+Order+Salem+Witches&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1924&proxtext=mysterious+order+witches+of+salem&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  14. ^ The Rock Island Argus and daily union., October 12, 1920, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92053933/1920-10-12/ed-1/seq-8/#date1=1789&index=0&rows=20&words=Mysterious+Order+Salem+Witches&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1924&proxtext=mysterious+order+witches+of+salem&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  15. ^ http://grotto.albertpikedemolay.org/mokanna.html
  16. ^ The Rock Island Argus and daily union., June 26, 1922, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn92053933/1922-06-26/ed-1/seq-23/#date1=1789&index=4&rows=20&words=orders+Salem+Witches&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1924&proxtext=order+witches+of+salem&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
  17. ^ Axelrod pp.110-1

External links[edit]