ceremony

1944 Tap-Out Ceremony

Precious little archival film footage of OA ceremonies exists.  Finding a vintage ceremony in color is exceptional.  This film, provided by CrescentBayCouncil.Org, may be the oldest color footage of an OA ceremony.  It was filmed in 1944 in the great lodge at Camp Josepho, in the Santa Monica Mountains.   At the time Camp Josepho was a part of Crescent Bay Area Council and the seat of Tamet Lodge. 

National Pow Wow

The 1987 National Pow Wow conducted at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyoming from August 2-8. It was a great success and the knowledge gained and enthusiasm generated was felt in the lodges for a long time. Nearly 500 Arrowmen gathered for the first National Pow Wow that offered outstanding workshop seminars in three separate areas of interest: OA Showmanship, Indian Lore, and Ceremonies. As he was with the National Indian Seminar series, National OA Committee member Don Thom was the driving force behind this event. 

Brotherhood Rituals Change

In 1956, the National OA Committee, after consultation with medical advisors, determined that it was no longer safe to draw and exchange blood between two people in the “Blood-rite” of the Brotherhood Ceremony.

Brotherhood Requirements Change

On October 9, 1950, a letter was sent to each lodge chief and lodge adviser through the local Scout Executive. The letter detailed changes in the Order of the Arrow Ceremonials – both Ordeal and Brotherhood. The changes sent were effective immediately and were to be written into the existing ceremonial pamphlets until the changes could be put into the next printing. The National Committee, Order of the Arrow, Norman C. Wood, Secretary signed the letter.

Vigil Honor Ceremony Changes

E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson wrote the first Vigil Honor ceremony (then known as the Third Degree) for the Grand Lodge. The ceremony served the Order well for twenty years from 1921 to 1940. However, with the changes necessary for the Order to become an official BSA program the National Executive Committee determined at their 1937 meeting in Pittsburgh that the ceremony needed to be revised.

Ceremonial Rituals are Changed

In 1933, the Grand Lodge was making the preparations necessary to become an official BSA program. In August of that year, a document entitled: A Statement of Principles Applying in the Case of National Approval of the Order of the Arrow, was produced to give guidance to the transition needed within the Order of the Arrow (OA).

One of the sections made reference to the Rituals of the Order of the Arrow and stated the following:

A competent committee will review the Ritual in its entirety with a view to assuring that it is free from:

1. Any words or phrases, which may cause offense to religious bodies
2. Any performance or expressions, which may be interpreted as acts of religious worship
3. Any employment of the element of secrecy as in obligation, which may prove inconsistent with the policies of Scouting.

Between 1933 and early 1935 the OA’s rituals underwent strong examination and rewrites to ascertain that the rituals were in compliance with the guidelines set forth in 1933 necessary for National Council BSA approval.

William Hinkle

William Hinkle was the gentle spirit of maturity and age among the enthusiasm and spirit of the young leaders of the emerging Wimachtendienk. He is a mystery person from the beginnings of the Wimachtendienk. He never emerges to the forefront, but his record of service and recognition places him in the same league with the founders and their key group of adult supporters.

First Modern Vigil Honor Ceremony

According to Edson, he recalled returning to Treasure Island at the end of camp in 1916 where he and Goodman wrote the ritual for the Second Degree (then equivalent to Vigil Honor). Edson further recalled that Goodman was put through that ritual. It is presumed that this is the ceremony that Edson experienced when he kept his vigil.

There is no known copy of this ritual. Presumably the Second Degree ceremony was evolving just like both parts of the First Degree ceremonies were evolving.

Grand Lodge Establishes Ceremonies

In 1921, the OA developed a national organization with the formation of the Grand Lodge.

One of the decisions of the Grand Lodge was that all ceremonies should be similar among the different lodges. To accomplish that choice it was resolved that the Grand Lodge would print both the First Degree and Second Degree ceremonies and distribute them. The ceremonies were mimeographed on 8.5” x 11” paper, stapled together, and were distributed to new lodges and current lodges in a packet of materials following payment of Lodge dues to the Grand Lodge.

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