INITIATION RITUAL OF THE SAINT-CLAUDE PIPE MASTERS

Solemnly dressed pipe masters and brethren meet in a high-ceilinged room, its walls covered with dark oak wood. Everyone’s smoking his pipe, sitting on chairs placed along the sides of the room. Their outfit consists of a wide blue-striped yellow attire, a yellow cap with a blue hem and on one side of the cap a blue stripe on which are three golden pipes, the symbol of the confraternity. Postulants stay outside, behind a peepholed door.

At the beginning of the ceremonial, the postulants knock at the door. The “covering” brother opens the peephole and asks them:

- Who are you to dare enter a place forbidden to the profane?

The postulants had to stay silent and knocked twice more without answering that question.

The “covering” brother turns to the Grand Master and tells him:

- Grand Master, strangers ask to be admitted, but refuse to be recognized.
- If they remain silent, it means they know the price and that they are wisemen, the Grand Master declares, therefore let them in!

The “covering” brother opens the heavy oak door and the postulants arranged themselves, standing, in the center of the room. The Grand Master addresses them in these terms:

- You have just now entered a temple where everything is nothing but smoke. The pipe you hold in your hand is a sacred object, whose magic does not reveal itself but in these places. The pipe, symbol of peace, rest, calm and love, must be smoked with the greatest care and respect. Symbol of audacity, calculated courage and sangfroid, the pipe does not suit anyone but generous, honest and kind men.

The brother orator, taking his place at the side of the Grand Master, reads out the information collected about the profanes and their way of smoking the pipe. Following this, he asks the brethren and pipe masters to attest the veracity of this information.

At this point, the grand master proclaims:

- May the profanes be allowed to undergo the test of the great knowledge!

This test of great knowledge is, and must remain, secret. Each member of the congregation, to which I have the honor to be part of, swears to never reveal its details. For this reason, forgive me if I do not linger on this point.

After this test, the Grand Master says:

- Well then, we say that they deserve to be admitted to our illustrious Confraternity of Saint Claude’s pipe Masters, of the French County, of France and the entire world; and to grant them esteem, consideration, respect, friendship, help and assistance. Master of the ceremonials, please proceed with the installation of our new brethren in the place and rank that is rightfully theirs!

PIERRE SABBAGH